The Complete Poetical Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
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What land is this? Yon pretty town Is Delft, with all its wares displayed; The pride, the market-place, the crown And centre of the Potter's trade. See! every house and room is bright With glimmers of reflected light From plates that on the dresser shine; Flagons to foam with Flemish beer, Or sparkle with the Rhenish wine, And pilgrim flasks with fleurs-de-lis, And ships upon a rolling sea, And tankards pewter topped, and queer With comic mask and musketeer! Each hospitable chimney smiles A welcome from its painted tiles; The parlor walls, the chamber floors, The stairways and the corridors, The borders of the garden walks, Are beautiful with fadeless flowers, That never droop in winds or showers, And never wither on their stalks.

Turn, turn, my wheel! All life is brief; What now is bud wilt soon be leaf, What now is leaf will soon decay; The wind blows east, the wind blows west; The blue eyes in the robin's nest Will soon have wings and beak and breast, And flutter and fly away.

Now southward through the air I glide, The song my only pursuivant, And see across the landscape wide The blue Charente, upon whose tide The belfries and the spires of Saintes Ripple and rock from side to side, As, when an earthquake rends its walls, A crumbling city reels and falls.

Who is it in the suburbs here, This Potter, working with such cheer, In this mean house, this mean attire, His manly features bronzed with fire, Whose figulines and rustic wares Scarce find him bread from day to day? This madman, as the people say, Who breaks his tables and his chairs To feed his furnace fires, nor cares Who goes unfed if they are fed, Nor who may live if they are dead? This alchemist with hollow cheeks And sunken, searching eyes, who seeks, By mingled earths and ores combined With potency of fire, to find Some new enamel, hard and bright, His dream, his passion, his delight?

O Palissy! within thy breast Burned the hot fever of unrest; Thine was the prophets vision, thine The exultation, the divine Insanity of noble minds, That never falters nor abates, But labors and endures and waits, Till all that it foresees it finds, Or what it cannot find creates!

Turn, turn, my wheel! This earthen jar A touch can make, a touch can mar; And shall it to the Potter say, What makest thou. Thou hast no hand? As men who think to understand A world by their Creator planned, Who wiser is than they.

Still guided by the dreamy song, As in a trance I float along Above the Pyrenean chain, Above the fields and farms of Spain, Above the bright Majorcan isle, That lends its softened name to art,— A spot, a dot upon the chart, Whose little towns, red-roofed with tile, Are ruby-lustred with the light Of blazing furnaces by night, And crowned by day with wreaths of smoke. Then eastward, wafted in my flight On my enchanter's magic cloak, I sail across the Tyrrhene Sea Into the land of Italy, And o'er the windy Apennines, Mantled and musical with pines.

The palaces, the princely halls, The doors of houses and the walls Of churches and of belfry towers, Cloister and castle, street and mart, Are garlanded and gay with flowers That blossom in the fields of art. Here Gubbio's workshops gleam and glow With brilliant, iridescent dyes, The dazzling whiteness of the snow, The cobalt blue of summer skies; And vase and scutcheon, cup and plate, In perfect finish emulate Faenza, Florence, Pesaro.

Forth from Urbino's gate there came A youth with the angelic name Of Raphael, in form and face Himself angelic, and divine In arts of color and design. From him Francesco Xanto caught Something of his transcendent grace, And into fictile fabrics wrought Suggestions of the master's thought. Nor less Maestro Giorgio shines With madre-perl and golden lines Of arabesques, and interweaves His birds and fruits and flowers and leaves About some landscape, shaded brown, With olive tints on rock and town. Behold this cup within whose bowl, Upon a ground of deepest blue With yellow-lustred stars o'erlaid, Colors of every tint and hue Mingle in one harmonious whole! With large blue eyes and steadfast gaze, Her yellow hair in net and braid, Necklace and ear-rings all ablaze With golden lustre o'er the glaze, A woman's portrait; on the scroll, Cana, the Beautiful! A name Forgotten save for such brief fame As this memorial can bestow,— A gift some lover long ago Gave with his heart to this fair dame.

A nobler title to renown Is thine, O pleasant Tuscan town, Seated beside the Arno's stream; For Lucca della Robbia there Created forms so wondrous fair, They made thy sovereignty supreme. These choristers with lips of stone, Whose music is not heard, but seen, Still chant, as from their organ-screen, Their Maker's praise; nor these alone, But the more fragile forms of clay, Hardly less beautiful than they, These saints and angels that adorn The walls of hospitals, and tell The story of good deeds so well That poverty seems less forlorn, And life more like a holiday.

Here in this old neglected church, That long eludes the traveller's search, Lies the dead bishop on his tomb; Earth upon earth he slumbering lies, Life-like and death-like in the gloom; Garlands of fruit and flowers in bloom And foliage deck his resting place; A shadow in the sightless eyes, A pallor on the patient face, Made perfect by the furnace heat; All earthly passions and desires Burnt out by purgatorial fires; Seeming to say, "Our years are fleet, And to the weary death is sweet."

But the most wonderful of all The ornaments on tomb or wall That grace the fair Ausonian shores Are those the faithful earth restores, Near some Apulian town concealed, In vineyard or in harvest field,— Vases and urns and bas-reliefs, Memorials of forgotten griefs, Or records of heroic deeds Of demigods and mighty chiefs: Figures that almost move and speak, And, buried amid mould and weeds, Still in their attitudes attest The presence of the graceful Greek,— Achilles in his armor dressed, Alcides with the Cretan bull, And Aphrodite with her boy, Or lovely Helena of Troy, Still living and still beautiful.

Turn, turn, my wheel! 'T is nature's plan The child should grow into the man, The man grow wrinkled, old, and gray; In youth the heart exults and sings, The pulses leap, the feet have wings; In age the cricket chirps, and brings The harvest home of day.

And now the winds that southward blow, And cool the hot Sicilian isle, Bear me away. I see below The long line of the Libyan Nile, Flooding and feeding the parched land With annual ebb and overflow, A fallen palm whose branches lie Beneath the Abyssinian sky, Whose roots are in Egyptian sands, On either bank huge water-wheels, Belted with jars and dripping weeds, Send forth their melancholy moans, As if, in their gray mantles hid, Dead anchorites of the Thebaid Knelt on the shore and told their beads, Beating their breasts with loud appeals And penitential tears and groans.

This city, walled and thickly set With glittering mosque and minaret, Is Cairo, in whose gay bazaars The dreaming traveller first inhales The perfume of Arabian gales, And sees the fabulous earthen jars, Huge as were those wherein the maid Morgiana found the Forty Thieves Concealed in midnight ambuscade; And seeing, more than half believes The fascinating tales that run Through all the Thousand Nights and One, Told by the fair Scheherezade.

More strange and wonderful than these Are the Egyptian deities, Ammonn, and Emeth, and the grand Osiris, holding in his hand The lotus; Isis, crowned and veiled; The sacred Ibis, and the Sphinx; Bracelets with blue enamelled links; The Scarabee in emerald mailed, Or spreading wide his funeral wings; Lamps that perchance their night-watch kept O'er Cleopatra while she slept,— All plundered from the tombs of kings.

Turn, turn, my wheel! The human race, Of every tongue, of every place, Caucasian, Coptic, or Malay, All that inhabit this great earth, Whatever be their rank or worth, Are kindred and allied by birth, And made of the same clay.

O'er desert sands, o'er gulf and bay, O'er Ganges and o'er Himalay, Bird-like I fly, and flying sing, To flowery kingdoms of Cathay, And bird-like poise on balanced wing Above the town of King-te-tching, A burning town, or seeming so,— Three thousand furnaces that glow Incessantly, and fill the air With smoke uprising, gyre on gyre And painted by the lurid glare, Of jets and flashes of red fire.

As leaves that in the autumn fall, Spotted and veined with various hues, Are swept along the avenues, And lie in heaps by hedge and wall, So from this grove of chimneys whirled To all the markets of the world, These porcelain leaves are wafted on,— Light yellow leaves with spots and stains Of violet and of crimson dye, Or tender azure of a sky Just washed by gentle April rains, And beautiful with celadon.

Nor less the coarser household wares,— The willow pattern, that we knew In childhood, with its bridge of blue Leading to unknown thoroughfares; The solitary man who stares At the white river flowing through Its arches, the fantastic trees And wild perspective of the view; And intermingled among these The tiles that in our nurseries Filled us with wonder and delight, Or haunted us in dreams at night.

And yonder by Nankin, behold! The Tower of Porcelain, strange and old, Uplifting to the astonished skies Its ninefold painted balconies, With balustrades of twining leaves, And roofs of tile, beneath whose eaves Hang porcelain bells that all the time Ring with a soft, melodious chime; While the whole fabric is ablaze With varied tints, all fused in one Great mass of color, like a maze Of flowers illumined by the sun.

Turn, turn, my wheel! What is begun At daybreak must at dark be done, To-morrow will be another day; To-morrow the hot furnace flame Will search the heart and try the frame, And stamp with honor or with shame These vessels made of clay.

Cradled and rocked in Eastern seas, The islands of the Japanese Beneath me lie; o'er lake and plain The stork, the heron, and the crane Through the clear realms of azure drift, And on the hillside I can see The villages of Imari, Whose thronged and flaming workshops lift Their twisted columns of smoke on high, Cloud cloisters that in ruins lie, With sunshine streaming through each rift, And broken arches of blue sky.

All the bright flowers that fill the land, Ripple of waves on rock or sand, The snow on Fusiyama's cone, The midnight heaven so thickly sown With constellations of bright stars, The leaves that rustle, the reeds that make A whisper by each stream and lake, The saffron dawn, the sunset red, Are painted on these lovely jars; Again the skylark sings, again The stork, the heron, and the crane Float through the azure overhead, The counterfeit and counterpart Of Nature reproduced in Art.

Art is the child of Nature; yes, Her darling child, in whom we trace The features of the mother's face, Her aspect and her attitude, All her majestic loveliness Chastened and softened and subdued Into a more attractive grace, And with a human sense imbued. He is the greatest artist, then, Whether of pencil or of pen, Who follows Nature. Never man, As artist or as artisan, Pursuing his own fantasies, Can touch the human heart, or please, Or satisfy our nobler needs, As he who sets his willing feet In Nature's footprints, light and fleet, And follows fearless where she leads.

Thus mused I on that morn in May, Wrapped in my visions like the Seer, Whose eyes behold not what is near, But only what is far away, When, suddenly sounding peal on peal, The church-bell from the neighboring town Proclaimed the welcome hour of noon. The Potter heard, and stopped his wheel, His apron on the grass threw down, Whistled his quiet little tune, Not overloud nor overlong, And ended thus his simple song:

Stop, stop, my wheel! Too soon, too soon The noon will be the afternoon, Too soon to-day be yesterday; Behind us in our path we cast The broken potsherds of the past, And all are ground to dust a last, And trodden into clay!





Warm and still is the summer night, As here by the river's brink I wander; White overhead are the stars, and white The glimmering lamps on the hillside yonder.

Silent are all the sounds of day; Nothing I hear but the chirp of crickets, And the cry of the herons winging their way O'er the poet's house in the Elmwood thickets.

Call to him, herons, as slowly you pass To your roosts in the haunts of the exiled thrushes, Sing him the song of the green morass; And the tides that water the reeds and rushes.

Sing him the mystical Song of the Hern, And the secret that baffles our utmost seeking; For only a sound of lament we discern, And cannot interpret the words you are speaking.

Sing of the air, and the wild delight Of wings that uplift and winds that uphold you, The joy of freedom, the rapture of flight Through the drift of the floating mists that infold you.

Of the landscape lying so far below, With its towns and rivers and desert places; And the splendor of light above, and the glow Of the limitless, blue, ethereal spaces.

Ask him if songs of the Troubadours, Or of Minnesingers in old black-letter, Sound in his ears more sweet than yours, And if yours are not sweeter and wilder and better.

Sing to him, say to him, here at his gate, Where the boughs of the stately elms are meeting, Some one hath lingered to meditate, And send him unseen this friendly greeting;

That many another hath done the same, Though not by a sound was the silence broken; The surest pledge of a deathless name Is the silent homage of thoughts unspoken.


Simon Danz has come home again, From cruising about with his buccaneers; He has singed the beard of the King of Spain, And carried away the Dean of Jaen And sold him in Algiers.

In his house by the Maese, with its roof of tiles, And weathercocks flying aloft in air, There are silver tankards of antique styles, Plunder of convent and castle, and piles Of carpets rich and rare.

In his tulip-garden there by the town, Overlooking the sluggish stream, With his Moorish cap and dressing-gown, The old sea-captain, hale and brown, Walks in a waking dream.

A smile in his gray mustachio lurks Whenever he thinks of the King of Spain, And the listed tulips look like Turks, And the silent gardener as he works Is changed to the Dean of Jaen.

The windmills on the outermost Verge of the landscape in the haze, To him are towers on the Spanish coast, With whiskered sentinels at their post, Though this is the river Maese.

But when the winter rains begin, He sits and smokes by the blazing brands, And old seafaring men come in, Goat-bearded, gray, and with double chin, And rings upon their hands.

They sit there in the shadow and shine Of the flickering fire of the winter night; Figures in color and design Like those by Rembrandt of the Rhine, Half darkness and half light.

And they talk of ventures lost or won, And their talk is ever and ever the same, While they drink the red wine of Tarragon, From the cellars of some Spanish Don, Or convent set on flame.

Restless at times with heavy strides He paces his parlor to and fro; He is like a ship that at anchor rides, And swings with the rising and falling tides, And tugs at her anchor-tow.

Voices mysterious far and near, Sound of the wind and sound of the sea, Are calling and whispering in his ear, "Simon Danz! Why stayest thou here? Come forth and follow me!"

So he thinks he shall take to the sea again For one more cruise with his buccaneers, To singe the beard of the King of Spain, And capture another Dean of Jaen And sell him in Algiers.


How much of my young heart, O Spain, Went out to thee in days of yore! What dreams romantic filled my brain, And summoned back to life again The Paladins of Charlemagne The Cid Campeador!

And shapes more shadowy than these, In the dim twilight half revealed; Phoenician galleys on the seas, The Roman camps like hives of bees, The Goth uplifting from his knees Pelayo on his shield.

It was these memories perchance, From annals of remotest eld, That lent the colors of romance To every trivial circumstance, And changed the form and countenance Of all that I beheld.

Old towns, whose history lies hid In monkish chronicle or rhyme, Burgos, the birthplace of the Cid, Zamora and Valladolid, Toledo, built and walled amid The wars of Wamba's time;

The long, straight line of the high-way, The distant town that seems so near, The peasants in the fields, that stay Their toil to cross themselves and pray, When from the belfry at midday The Angelus they hear;

White crosses in the mountain pass, Mules gay with tassels, the loud din Of muleteers, the tethered ass That crops the dusty wayside grass, And cavaliers with spurs of brass Alighting at the inn;

White hamlets hidden in fields of wheat, White cities slumbering by the sea, White sunshine flooding square and street, Dark mountain-ranges, at whose feet The river-beds are dry with heat,— All was a dream to me.

Yet something sombre and severe O'er the enchanted landscape reigned; A terror in the atmosphere As if King Philip listened near, Or Torquemada, the austere, His ghostly sway maintained.

The softer Andalusian skies Dispelled the sadness and the gloom; There Cadiz by the seaside lies, And Seville's orange-orchards rise, Making the land a paradise Of beauty and of bloom.

There Cordova is hidden among The palm, the olive, and the vine; Gem of the South, by poets sung, And in whose Mosque Ahmanzor hung As lamps the bells that once had rung At Compostella's shrine.

But over all the rest supreme, The star of stars, the cynosure, The artist's and the poet's theme, The young man's vision, the old man's dream,— Granada by its winding stream, The city of the Moor!

And there the Alhambra still recalls Aladdin's palace of delight; Allah il Allah! through its halls Whispers the fountain as it falls, The Darro darts beneath its walls, The hills with snow are white.

Ah yes, the hills are white with snow, And cold with blasts that bite and freeze; But in the happy vale below The orange and pomegranate grow, And wafts of air toss to and fro The blossoming almond-trees.

The Vega cleft by the Xenil, The fascination and allure Of the sweet landscape chains the will; The traveller lingers on the hill, His parted lips are breathing still The last sigh of the Moor.

How like a ruin overgrown With flower's that hide the rents of time, Stands now the Past that I have known, Castles in Spain, not built of stone But of white summer clouds, and blown Into this little mist of rhyme!


VITTORIA COLONNA, on the death of her hushand, the Marchese di Pescara, retired to her castle at Ischia (Inarime), and there wrote the Ode upon his death, which gained her the title of Divine.

Once more, once more, Inarime, I see thy purple hills!—once more I hear the billows of the bay Wash the white pebbles on thy shore.

High o'er the sea-surge and the sands, Like a great galleon wrecked and cast Ashore by storms, thy castle stands, A mouldering landmark of the Past.

Upon its terrace-walk I see A phantom gliding to and fro; It is Colonna,—it is she Who lived and loved so long ago.

Pescara's beautiful young wife, The type of perfect womanhood, Whose life was love, the life of life, That time and change and death withstood.

For death, that breaks the marriage band In others, only closer pressed The wedding-ring upon her hand And closer locked and barred her breast.

She knew the life-long martyrdom, The weariness, the endless pain Of waiting for some one to come Who nevermore would come again.

The shadows of the chestnut-trees, The odor of the orange blooms, The song of birds, and, more than these, The silence of deserted rooms;

The respiration of the sea, The soft caresses of the air, All things in nature seemed to be But ministers of her despair;

Till the o'erburdened heart, so long Imprisoned in itself, found vent And voice in one impassioned song Of inconsolable lament.

Then as the sun, though hidden from sight, Transmutes to gold the leaden mist, Her life was interfused with light, From realms that, though unseen, exist,

Inarime! Inarime! Thy castle on the crags above In dust shall crumble and decay, But not the memory of her love.


In that desolate land and lone, Where the Big Horn and Yellowstone Roar down their mountain path, By their fires the Sioux Chiefs Muttered their woes and griefs And the menace of their wrath.

"Revenge!" cried Rain-in-the-Face, "Revenue upon all the race Of the White Chief with yellow hair!" And the mountains dark and high From their crags re-echoed the cry Of his anger and despair.

In the meadow, spreading wide By woodland and riverside The Indian village stood; All was silent as a dream, Save the rushing a of the stream And the blue-jay in the wood.

In his war paint and his beads, Like a bison among the reeds, In ambush the Sitting Bull Lay with three thousand braves Crouched in the clefts and caves, Savage, unmerciful!

Into the fatal snare The White Chief with yellow hair And his three hundred men Dashed headlong, sword in hand; But of that gallant band Not one returned again.

The sudden darkness of death Overwhelmed them like the breath And smoke of a furnace fire: By the river's bank, and between The rocks of the ravine, They lay in their bloody attire.

But the foemen fled in the night, And Rain-in-the-Face, in his flight Uplifted high in air As a ghastly trophy, bore The brave heart, that beat no more, Of the White Chief with yellow hair.

Whose was the right and the wrong? Sing it, O funeral song, With a voice that is full of tears, And say that our broken faith Wrought all this ruin and scathe, In the Year of a Hundred Years.


O lovely river of Yvette! O darling river! like a bride, Some dimpled, bashful, fair Lisette, Thou goest to wed the Orge's tide.

Maincourt, and lordly Dampierre, See and salute thee on thy way, And, with a blessing and a prayer, Ring the sweet bells of St. Forget.

The valley of Chevreuse in vain Would hold thee in its fond embrace; Thou glidest from its arms again And hurriest on with swifter pace.

Thou wilt not stay; with restless feet Pursuing still thine onward flight, Thou goest as one in haste to meet Her sole desire, her head's delight.

O lovely river of Yvette! O darling stream! on balanced wings The wood-birds sang the chansonnette That here a wandering poet sings.


"Combien faudrait-il de peaux d'Espagne pour faire un gant de cette grandeur?" A play upon the words gant, a glove, and Gand, the French for Ghent.

On St. Baron's tower, commanding Half of Flanders, his domain, Charles the Emperor once was standing, While beneath him on the landing Stood Duke Alva and his train.

Like a print in books of fables, Or a model made for show, With its pointed roofs and gables, Dormer windows, scrolls and labels, Lay the city far below.

Through its squares and streets and alleys Poured the populace of Ghent; As a routed army rallies, Or as rivers run through valleys, Hurrying to their homes they went

"Nest of Lutheran misbelievers!" Cried Duke Alva as he gazed; "Haunt of traitors and deceivers, Stronghold of insurgent weavers, Let it to the ground be razed!"

On the Emperor's cap the feather Nods, as laughing he replies: "How many skins of Spanish leather, Think you, would, if stitched together Make a glove of such a size?"




A fleet with flags arrayed Sailed from the port of Brest, And the Admiral's ship displayed The signal: "Steer southwest." For this Admiral D'Anville Had sworn by cross and crown To ravage with fire and steel Our helpless Boston Town.

There were rumors in the street, In the houses there was fear Of the coming of the fleet, And the danger hovering near. And while from mouth to mouth Spread the tidings of dismay, I stood in the Old South, Saying humbly: "Let us pray!

"O Lord! we would not advise; But if in thy Providence A tempest should arise To drive the French fleet hence, And scatter it far and wide, Or sink it in the sea, We should be satisfied, And thine the glory be."

This was the prayer I made, For my soul was all on flame, And even as I prayed The answering tempest came; It came with a mighty power, Shaking the windows and walls, And tolling the bell in the tower, As it tolls at funerals.

The lightning suddenly Unsheathed its flaming sword, And I cried: "Stand still, and see The salvation of the Lord!" The heavens were black with cloud, The sea was white with hail, And ever more fierce and loud Blew the October gale.

The fleet it overtook, And the broad sails in the van Like the tents of Cushan shook, Or the curtains of Midian. Down on the reeling decks Crashed the o'erwhelming seas; Ah, never were there wrecks So pitiful as these!

Like a potter's vessel broke The great ships of the line; They were carried away as a smoke, Or sank like lead in the brine. O Lord! before thy path They vanished and ceased to be, When thou didst walk in wrath With thine horses through the sea!


Mounted on Kyrat strong and fleet, His chestnut steed with four white feet, Roushan Beg, called Kurroglou, Son of the road and bandit chief, Seeking refuge and relief, Up the mountain pathway flew.

Such was Kyrat's wondrous speed, Never yet could any steed Reach the dust-cloud in his course. More than maiden, more than wife, More than gold and next to life Roushan the Robber loved his horse.

In the land that lies beyond Erzeroum and Trebizond, Garden-girt his fortress stood; Plundered khan, or caravan Journeying north from Koordistan, Gave him wealth and wine and food.

Seven hundred and fourscore Men at arms his livery wore, Did his bidding night and day. Now, through regions all unknown, He was wandering, lost, alone, Seeking without guide his way.

Suddenly the pathway ends, Sheer the precipice descends, Loud the torrent roars unseen; Thirty feet from side to side Yawns the chasm; on air must ride He who crosses this ravine.

Following close in his pursuit, At the precipice's foot, Reyhan the Arab of Orfah Halted with his hundred men, Shouting upward from the glen, "La Illah illa Allah!"

Gently Roushan Beg caressed Kyrat's forehead, neck, and breast; Kissed him upon both his eyes; Sang to him in his wild way, As upon the topmost spray Sings a bird before it flies.

"O my Kyrat, O my steed, Round and slender as a reed, Carry me this peril through! Satin housings shall be thine, Shoes of gold, O Kyrat mine, O thou soul of Kurroglou!

"Soft thy skin as silken skein, Soft as woman's hair thy mane, Tender are thine eyes and true; All thy hoofs like ivory shine, Polished bright; O, life of mine, Leap, and rescue Kurroglou!"

Kyrat, then, the strong and fleet, Drew together his four white feet, Paused a moment on the verge, Measured with his eye the space, And into the air's embrace Leaped as leaps the ocean surge.

As the ocean surge o'er sand Bears a swimmer safe to land, Kyrat safe his rider bore; Rattling down the deep abyss Fragments of the precipice Rolled like pebbles on a shore.

Roushan's tasselled cap of red Trembled not upon his head, Careless sat he and upright; Neither hand nor bridle shook, Nor his head he turned to look, As he galloped out of sight.

Flash of harness in the air, Seen a moment like the glare Of a sword drawn from its sheath; Thus the phantom horseman passed, And the shadow that he cast Leaped the cataract underneath.

Reyhan the Arab held his breath While this vision of life and death Passed above him. "Allahu!" Cried he. "In all Koordistan Lives there not so brave a man As this Robber Kurroglou!"


One day, Haroun Al Raschid read A book wherein the poet said:—

"Where are the kings, and where the rest Of those who once the world possessed?

"They're gone with all their pomp and show, They're gone the way that thou shalt go.

"O thou who choosest for thy share The world, and what the world calls fair,

"Take all that it can give or lend, But know that death is at the end!"

Haroun Al Raschid bowed his head: Tears fell upon the page he read.


Viswamitra the Magician, By his spells and incantations, Up to Indra's realms elysian Raised Trisanku, king of nations.

Indra and the gods offended Hurled him downward, and descending In the air he hung suspended, With these equal powers contending.

Thus by aspirations lifted, By misgivings downward driven, Human hearts are tossed and drifted Midway between earth and heaven.


"Sir, I should build me a fortification, if I came to live here." —BOSWELL'S Johnson.

On the green little isle of Inchkenneth, Who is it that walks by the shore, So gay with his Highland blue bonnet, So brave with his targe and claymore?

His form is the form of a giant, But his face wears an aspect of pain; Can this be the Laird of Inchkenneth? Can this be Sir Allan McLean?

Ah, no! It is only the Rambler, The Idler, who lives in Bolt Court, And who says, were he Laird of Inchkenneth, He would wall himself round with a fort.


Three Kings came riding from far away, Melchior and Gaspar and Baltasar; Three Wise Men out of the East were they, And they travelled by night and they slept by day, For their guide was a beautiful, wonderful star.

The star was so beautiful, large, and clear, That all the other stars of the sky Became a white mist in the atmosphere, And by this they knew that the coming was near Of the Prince foretold in the prophecy.

Three caskets they bore on their saddle-bows, Three caskets of gold with golden keys; Their robes were of crimson silk with rows Of bells and pomegranates and furbelows, Their turbans like blossoming almond-trees.

And so the Three Kings rode into the West, Through the dusk of night, over hill and dell, And sometimes they nodded with beard on breast And sometimes talked, as they paused to rest, With the people they met at some wayside well.

"Of the child that is born," said Baltasar, "Good people, I pray you, tell us the news; For we in the East have seen his star, And have ridden fast, and have ridden far, To find and worship the King of the Jews."

And the people answered, "You ask in vain; We know of no king but Herod the Great!" They thought the Wise Men were men insane, As they spurred their horses across the plain, Like riders in haste, and who cannot wait.

And when they came to Jerusalem, Herod the Great, who had heard this thing, Sent for the Wise Men and questioned them; And said, "Go down unto Bethlehem, And bring me tidings of this new king."

So they rode away; and the star stood still, The only one in the gray of morn Yes, it stopped, it stood still of its own free will, Right over Bethlehem on the hill, The city of David where Christ was born.

And the Three Kings rode through the gate and the guard, Through the silent street, till their horses turned And neighed as they entered the great inn-yard; But the windows were closed, and the doors were barred, And only a light in the stable burned.

And cradled there in the scented hay, In the air made sweet by the breath of kine, The little child in the manger lay, The child, that would be king one day Of a kingdom not human but divine.

His mother Mary of Nazareth Sat watching beside his place of rest, Watching the even flow of his breath, For the joy of life and the terror of death Were mingled together in her breast.

They laid their offerings at his feet: The gold was their tribute to a King, The frankincense, with its odor sweet, Was for the Priest, the Paraclete, The myrrh for the body's burying.

And the mother wondered and bowed her head, And sat as still as a statue of stone; Her heart was troubled yet comforted, Remembering what the Angel had said Of an endless reign and of David's throne.

Then the Kings rode out of the city gate, With a clatter of hoofs in proud array; But they went not back to Herod the Great, For they knew his malice and feared his hate, And returned to their homes by another way.


Stay, stay at home, my heart, and rest; Home-keeping hearts are happiest, For those that wander they know not where Are full of trouble and full of care; To stay at home is best.

Weary and homesick and distressed, They wander east, they wander west, And are baffled and beaten and blown about By the winds of the wilderness of doubt; To stay at home is best.

Then stay at home, my heart, and rest; The bird is safest in its nest; O'er all that flutter their wings and fly A hawk is hovering in the sky; To stay at home is best.


The White Czar is Peter the Great. Batyushka, Father dear, and Gosudar, Sovereign, are titles the Russian people are fond of giving to the Czar in their popular songs.

Dost thou see on the rampart's height That wreath of mist, in the light Of the midnight moon? O, hist! It is not a wreath of mist; It is the Czar, the White Czar, Batyushka! Gosudar!

He has heard, among the dead, The artillery roll o'erhead; The drums and the tramp of feet Of his soldiery in the street; He is awake! the White Czar, Batyushka! Gosudar!

He has heard in the grave the cries Of his people: "Awake! arise!" He has rent the gold brocade Whereof his shroud was made; He is risen! the White Czar, Batyushka! Gosudar!

From the Volga and the Don He has led his armies on, Over river and morass, Over desert and mountain pass; The Czar, the Orthodox Czar, Batyushka! Gosudar!

He looks from the mountain-chain Toward the seas, that cleave in twain The continents; his hand Points southward o'er the land Of Roumili! O Czar, Batyushka! Gosudar!

And the words break from his lips: "I am the builder of ships, And my ships shall sail these seas To the Pillars of Hercules! I say it; the White Czar, Batyushka! Gosudar!

"The Bosphorus shall be free; It shall make room for me; And the gates of its water-streets Be unbarred before my fleets. I say it; the White Czar, Batyushka! Gosudar!

"And the Christian shall no more Be crushed, as heretofore, Beneath thine iron rule, O Sultan of Istamboul! I swear it; I the Czar, Batyushka! Gosudar!"


Sweet as the tender fragrance that survives, When martyred flowers breathe out their little lives, Sweet as a song that once consoled our pain, But never will be sung to us again, Is thy remembrance. Now the hour of rest Hath come to thee. Sleep, darling; it is best.




With favoring winds, o'er sunlit seas, We sailed for the Hesperides, The land where golden apples grow; But that, ah! that was long ago.

How far, since then, the ocean streams Have swept us from that land of dreams, That land of fiction and of truth, The lost Atlantis of our youth!

Whither, oh, whither? Are not these The tempest-haunted Hebrides, Where sea gulls scream, and breakers roar, And wreck and sea-weed line the shore?

Ultima Thule! Utmost Isle! Here in thy harbors for a while We lower our sails; a while we rest From the unending, endless quest.



Dead he lay among his books! The peace of God was in his looks.

As the statues in the gloom Watch o'er Maximilian's tomb,

So those volumes from their shelves Watched him, silent as themselves.

Ah! his hand will nevermore Turn their storied pages o'er;

Nevermore his lips repeat Songs of theirs, however sweet.

Let the lifeless body rest! He is gone, who was its guest;

Gone, as travellers haste to leave An inn, nor tarry until eve.

Traveller! in what realms afar, In what planet, in what star,

In what vast, aerial space, Shines the light upon thy face?

In what gardens of delight Rest thy weary feet to-night?

Poet! thou, whose latest verse Was a garland on thy hearse;

Thou hast sung, with organ tone, In Deukalion's life, thine own;

On the ruins of the Past Blooms the perfect flower at last.

Friend! but yesterday the bells Rang for thee their loud farewells;

And to-day they toll for thee, Lying dead beyond the sea;

Lying dead among thy books, The peace of God in all thy looks!


Is it so far from thee Thou canst no longer see, In the Chamber over the Gate, That old man desolate, Weeping and wailing sore For his son, who is no more? O Absalom, my son!

Is it so long ago That cry of human woe From the walled city came, Calling on his dear name, That it has died away In the distance of to-day? O Absalom, my son!

There is no far or near, There is neither there nor here, There is neither soon nor late, In that Chamber over the Gate, Nor any long ago To that cry of human woe, O Absalom, my son!

From the ages that are past The voice sounds like a blast, Over seas that wreck and drown, Over tumult of traffic and town; And from ages yet to be Come the echoes back to me, O Absalom, my son!

Somewhere at every hour The watchman on the tower Looks forth, and sees the fleet Approach of the hurrying feet Of messengers, that bear The tidings of despair. O Absalom, my son!

He goes forth from the door Who shall return no more. With him our joy departs; The light goes out in our hearts; In the Chamber over the Gate We sit disconsolate. O Absalom, my son!

That 't is a common grief Bringeth but slight relief; Ours is the bitterest loss, Ours is the heaviest cross; And forever the cry will be "Would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son!"



Who presented to me on my Seventy-second Birth-day, February 27, 1879, this Chair, made from the Wood of the Village Blacksmith's Chestnut Tree.

Am I a king, that I should call my own This splendid ebon throne? Or by what reason, or what right divine, Can I proclaim it mine?

Only, perhaps, by right divine of song It may to me belong; Only because the spreading chestnut tree Of old was sung by me.

Well I remember it in all its prime, When in the summer-time The affluent foliage of its branches made A cavern of cool shade.

There, by the blacksmith's forge, beside the street, Its blossoms white and sweet Enticed the bees, until it seemed alive, And murmured like a hive.

And when the winds of autumn, with a shout, Tossed its great arms about, The shining chestnuts, bursting from the sheath, Dropped to the ground beneath.

And now some fragments of its branches bare, Shaped as a stately chair, Have by my hearthstone found a home at last, And whisper of the past.

The Danish king could not in all his pride Repel the ocean tide, But, seated in this chair, I can in rhyme Roll back the tide of Time.

I see again, as one in vision sees, The blossoms and the bees, And hear the children's voices shout and call, And the brown chestnuts fall.

I see the smithy with its fires aglow, I hear the bellows blow, And the shrill hammers on the anvil beat The iron white with heat!

And thus, dear children, have ye made for me This day a jubilee, And to my more than three-score years and ten Brought back my youth again.

The heart hath its own memory, like the mind, And in it are enshrined The precious keepsakes, into which is wrought The giver's loving thought.

Only your love and your remembrance could Give life to this dead wood, And make these branches, leafless now so long, Blossom again in song.


How cold are thy baths, Apollo! Cried the African monarch, the splendid, As down to his death in the hollow Dark dungeons of Rome he descended, Uncrowned, unthroned, unattended; How cold are thy baths, Apollo!

How cold are thy baths, Apollo! Cried the Poet, unknown, unbefriended, As the vision, that lured him to follow, With the mist and the darkness blended, And the dream of his life was ended; How cold are thy baths, Apollo!


Made from a fetter of Bonnivard, the Prisoner of Chillon; the handle of wood from the Frigate Constitution, and bound with a circlet of gold, inset with three precious stones from Siberia, Ceylon, and Maine.

I thought this Pen would arise From the casket where it lies— Of itself would arise and write My thanks and my surprise.

When you gave it me under the pines, I dreamed these gems from the mines Of Siberia, Ceylon, and Maine Would glimmer as thoughts in the lines;

That this iron link from the chain Of Bonnivard might retain Some verse of the Poet who sang Of the prisoner and his pain;

That this wood from the frigate's mast Might write me a rhyme at last, As it used to write on the sky The song of the sea and the blast.

But motionless as I wait, Like a Bishop lying in state Lies the Pen, with its mitre of gold, And its jewels inviolate.

Then must I speak, and say That the light of that summer day In the garden under the pines Shall not fade and pass away.

I shall see you standing there, Caressed by the fragrant air, With the shadow on your face, And the sunshine on your hair.

I shall hear the sweet low tone Of a voice before unknown, Saying, "This is from me to you— From me, and to you alone."

And in words not idle and vain I shall answer and thank you again For the gift, and the grace of the gift, O beautiful Helen of Maine!

And forever this gift will be As a blessing from you to me, As a drop of the dew of your youth On the leaves of an aged tree.


I see amid the fields of Ayr A ploughman, who, in foul and fair, Sings at his task So clear, we know not if it is The laverock's song we hear, or his, Nor care to ask.

For him the ploughing of those fields A more ethereal harvest yields Than sheaves of grain; Songs flush with Purple bloom the rye, The plover's call, the curlew's cry, Sing in his brain.

Touched by his hand, the wayside weed Becomes a flower; the lowliest reed Beside the stream Is clothed with beauty; gorse and grass And heather, where his footsteps pass, The brighter seem.

He sings of love, whose flame illumes The darkness of lone cottage rooms; He feels the force, The treacherous undertow and stress Of wayward passions, and no less The keen remorse.

At moments, wrestling with his fate, His voice is harsh, but not with hate; The brushwood, hung Above the tavern door, lets fall Its bitter leaf, its drop of gall Upon his tongue.

But still the music of his song Rises o'er all elate and strong; Its master-chords Are Manhood, Freedom, Brotherhood, Its discords but an interlude Between the words.

And then to die so young and leave Unfinished what he might achieve! Yet better sure Is this, than wandering up and down An old man in a country town, Infirm and poor.

For now he haunts his native land As an immortal youth; his hand Guides every plough; He sits beside each ingle-nook, His voice is in each rushing brook, Each rustling bough.

His presence haunts this room to-night, A form of mingled mist and light From that far coast. Welcome beneath this roof of mine! Welcome! this vacant chair is thine, Dear guest and ghost!


What phantom is this that appears Through the purple mist of the years, Itself but a mist like these? A woman of cloud and of fire; It is she; it is Helen of Tyre, The town in the midst of the seas.

O Tyre! in thy crowded streets The phantom appears and retreats, And the Israelites that sell Thy lilies and lions of brass, Look up as they see her pass, And murmur "Jezebel!"

Then another phantom is seen At her side, in a gray gabardine, With beard that floats to his waist; It is Simon Magus, the Seer; He speaks, and she pauses to hear The words he utters in haste.

He says: "From this evil fame, From this life of sorrow and shame, I will lift thee and make thee mine; Thou hast been Queen Candace, And Helen of Troy, and shalt be The Intelligence Divine!"

Oh, sweet as the breath of morn, To the fallen and forlorn Are whispered words of praise; For the famished heart believes The falsehood that tempts and deceives, And the promise that betrays.

So she follows from land to land The wizard's beckoning hand, As a leaf is blown by the gust, Till she vanishes into night. O reader, stoop down and write With thy finger in the dust.

O town in the midst of the seas, With thy rafts of cedar trees, Thy merchandise and thy ships, Thou, too, art become as naught, A phantom, a shadow, a thought, A name upon men's lips.


Dark is the morning with mist; in the narrow mouth of the harbor Motionless lies the sea, under its curtain of cloud; Dreamily glimmer the sails of ships on the distant horizon, Like to the towers of a town, built on the verge of the sea.

Slowly and stately and still, they sail forth into the ocean; With them sail my thoughts over the limitless deep, Farther and farther away, borne on by unsatisfied longings, Unto Hesperian isles, unto Ausonian shores.

Now they have vanished away, have disappeared in the ocean; Sunk are the towers of the town into the depths of the sea! AU have vanished but those that, moored in the neighboring roadstead, Sailless at anchor ride, looming so large in the mist.

Vanished, too, are the thoughts, the dim, unsatisfied longings; Sunk are the turrets of cloud into the ocean of dreams; While in a haven of rest my heart is riding at anchor, Held by the chains of love, held by the anchors of trust!


What an image of peace and rest Is this little church among its graves! All is so quiet; the troubled breast, The wounded spirit, the heart oppressed, Here may find the repose it craves.

See, how the ivy climbs and expands Over this humble hermitage, And seems to caress with its little hands The rough, gray stones, as a child that stands Caressing the wrinkled cheeks of age!

You cross the threshold; and dim and small Is the space that serves for the Shepherd's Fold; The narrow aisle, the bare, white wall, The pews, and the pulpit quaint and tall, Whisper and say: "Alas! we are old."

Herbert's chapel at Bemerton Hardly more spacious is than this; But Poet and Pastor, blent in one, Clothed with a splendor, as of the sun, That lowly and holy edifice.

It is not the wall of stone without That makes the building small or great But the soul's light shining round about, And the faith that overcometh doubt, And the love that stronger is than hate.

Were I a pilgrim in search of peace, Were I a pastor of Holy Church, More than a Bishop's diocese Should I prize this place of rest, and release From farther longing and farther search.

Here would I stay, and let the world With its distant thunder roar and roll; Storms do not rend the sail that is furled; Nor like a dead leaf, tossed and whirled In an eddy of wind, is the anchored soul.



In St. Luke's Gospel we are told How Peter in the days of old Was sifted; And now, though ages intervene, Sin is the same, while time and scene Are shifted.

Satan desires us, great and small, As wheat to sift us, and we all Are tempted; Not one, however rich or great, Is by his station or estate Exempted.

No house so safely guarded is But he, by some device of his, Can enter; No heart hath armor so complete But he can pierce with arrows fleet Its centre.

For all at last the cock will crow, Who hear the warning voice, but go Unheeding, Till thrice and more they have denied The Man of Sorrows, crucified And bleeding.

One look of that pale suffering face Will make us feel the deep disgrace Of weakness; We shall be sifted till the strength Of self-conceit be changed at length To meekness.

Wounds of the soul, though healed will ache; The reddening scars remain, and make Confession; Lost innocence returns no more; We are not what we were before Transgression.

But noble souls, through dust and heat, Rise from disaster and defeat The stronger, And conscious still of the divine Within them, lie on earth supine No longer.


MAIDEN O weathercock on the village spire, With your golden feathers all on fire, Tell me, what can you see from your perch Above there over the tower of the church?

WEATHERCOCK. I can see the roofs and the streets below, And the people moving to and fro, And beyond, without either roof or street, The great salt sea, and the fisherman's fleet.

I can see a ship come sailing in Beyond the headlands and harbor of Lynn, And a young man standing on the deck, With a silken kerchief round his neck.

Now he is pressing it to his lips, And now he is kissing his finger-tips, And now he is lifting and waving his hand And blowing the kisses toward the land.

MAIDEN. Ah, that is the ship from over the sea, That is bringing my lover back to me, Bringing my lover so fond and true, Who does not change with the wind like you.

WEATHERCOCK. If I change with all the winds that blow, It is only because they made me so, And people would think it wondrous strange, If I, a Weathercock, should not change.

O pretty Maiden, so fine and fair, With your dreamy eyes and your golden hair, When you and your lover meet to-day You will thank me for looking some other way.


Behold! a giant am I! Aloft here in my tower, With my granite jaws I devour The maize, and the wheat, and the rye, And grind them into flour.

I look down over the farms; In the fields of grain I see The harvest that is to be, And I fling to the air my arms, For I know it is all for me.

I hear the sound of flails Far off, from the threshing-floors In barns, with their open doors, And the wind, the wind in my sails, Louder and louder roars.

I stand here in my place, With my foot on the rock below, And whichever way it may blow I meet it face to face, As a brave man meets his foe.

And while we wrestle and strive My master, the miller, stands And feeds me with his hands; For he knows who makes him thrive, Who makes him lord of lands.

On Sundays I take my rest; Church-going bells begin Their low, melodious din; I cross my arms on my breast, And all is peace within.


The tide rises, the tide falls, The twilight darkens, the curlew calls; Along the sea-sands damp and brown The traveller hastens toward the town, And the tide rises, the tide falls.

Darkness settles on roofs and walls, But the sea in the darkness calls and calls; The little waves, with their soft, white hands, Efface the footprints in the sands, And the tide rises, the tide falls.

The morning breaks; the steeds in their stalls Stamp and neigh, as the hostler calls; The day returns, but nevermore Returns the traveller to the shore, And the tide rises, the tide falls.



Like two cathedral towers these stately pines Uplift their fretted summits tipped with cones; The arch beneath them is not built with stones, Not Art but Nature traced these lovely lines, And carved this graceful arabesque of vines; No organ but the wind here sighs and moans, No sepulchre conceals a martyr's bones. No marble bishop on his tomb reclines. Enter! the pavement, carpeted with leaves, Gives back a softened echo to thy tread! Listen! the choir is singing; all the birds, In leafy galleries beneath the eaves, Are singing! listen, ere the sound be fled, And learn there may be worship with out words.



In the old churchyard of his native town, And in the ancestral tomb beside the wall, We laid him in the sleep that comes to all, And left him to his rest and his renown. The snow was falling, as if Heaven dropped down White flowers of Paradise to strew his pall;— The dead around him seemed to wake, and call His name, as worthy of so white a crown. And now the moon is shining on the scene, And the broad sheet of snow is written o'er With shadows cruciform of leafless trees, As once the winding-sheet of Saladin With chapters of the Koran; but, ah! more Mysterious and triumphant signs are these.


Into the darkness and the hush of night Slowly the landscape sinks, and fades away, And with it fade the phantoms of the day, The ghosts of men and things, that haunt the light, The crowd, the clamor, the pursuit, the flight, The unprofitable splendor and display, The agitations, and the cares that prey Upon our hearts, all vanish out of sight. The better life begins; the world no more Molests us; all its records we erase From the dull common-place book of our lives, That like a palimpsest is written o'er With trivial incidents of time and place, And lo! the ideal, hidden beneath, revives.



As the birds come in the Spring, We know not from where; As the stars come at evening From depths of the air;

As the rain comes from the cloud, And the brook from the ground; As suddenly, low or loud, Out of silence a sound;

As the grape comes to the vine, The fruit to the tree; As the wind comes to the pine, And the tide to the sea;

As come the white sails of ships O'er the ocean's verge; As comes the smile to the lips, The foam to the surge;

So come to the Poet his songs, All hitherward blown From the misty realm, that belongs To the vast unknown.

His, and not his, are the lays He sings; and their fame Is his, and not his; and the praise And the pride of a name.

For voices pursue him by day, And haunt him by night, And he listens, and needs must obey, When the Angel says: "Write!"




Becalmed upon the sea of Thought, Still unattained the land it sought, My mind, with loosely-hanging sails, Lies waiting the auspicious gales.

On either side, behind, before, The ocean stretches like a floor,— A level floor of amethyst, Crowned by a golden dome of mist.

Blow, breath of inspiration, blow! Shake and uplift this golden glow! And fill the canvas of the mind With wafts of thy celestial wind.

Blow, breath of song! until I feel The straining sail, the lifting keel, The life of the awakening sea, Its motion and its mystery!



Janus am I; oldest of potentates; Forward I look, and backward, and below I count, as god of avenues and gates, The years that through my portals come and go. I block the roads, and drift the fields with snow; I chase the wild-fowl from the frozen fen; My frosts congeal the rivers in their flow, My fires light up the hearths and hearts of men.


I am lustration, and the sea is mine. I wash the sands and headlands with my tide; My brow is crowned with branches of the pine; Before my chariot-wheels the fishes glide. By me all things unclean are purified, By me the souls of men washed white again; E'en the unlovely tombs of those who died Without a dirge, I cleanse from every stain.


I Martius am! Once first, and now the third! To lead the Year was my appointed place; A mortal dispossessed me by a word, And set there Janus with the double face. Hence I make war on all the human race; I shake the cities with my hurricanes; I flood the rivers and their banks efface, And drown the farms and hamlets with my rains.


I open wide the portals of the Spring To welcome the procession of the flowers, With their gay banners, and the birds that sing Their song of songs from their aerial towers. I soften with my sunshine and my showers The heart of earth; with thoughts of love I glide Into the hearts of men; and with the Hours Upon the Bull with wreathed horns I ride.


Hark! The sea-faring wild-fowl loud proclaim My coming, and the swarming of the bees. These are my heralds, and behold! my name Is written in blossoms on the hawthorn-trees. I tell the mariner when to sail the seas; I waft o'er all the land from far away The breath and bloom of the Hesperides, My birthplace. I am Maia. I am May.


Mine is the Month of Roses; yes, and mine The Month of Marriages! All pleasant sights And scents, the fragrance of the blossoming vine, The foliage of the valleys and the heights. Mine are the longest days, the loveliest nights; The mower's scythe makes music to my ear; I am the mother of all dear delights; I am the fairest daughter of the year.


My emblem is the Lion, and I breathe The breath of Libyan deserts o'er the land; My sickle as a sabre I unsheathe, And bent before me the pale harvests stand. The lakes and rivers shrink at my command, And there is thirst and fever in the air; The sky is changed to brass, the earth to sand; I am the Emperor whose name I bear.


The Emperor Octavian, called the August, I being his favorite, bestowed his name Upon me, and I hold it still in trust, In memory of him and of his fame. I am the Virgin, and my vestal flame Burns less intensely than the Lion's rage; Sheaves are my only garlands, and I claim The golden Harvests as my heritage.


I bear the Scales, where hang in equipoise The night and day; and when unto my lips I put my trumpet, with its stress and noise Fly the white clouds like tattered sails of ships; The tree-tops lash the air with sounding whips; Southward the clamorous sea-fowl wing their flight; The hedges are all red with haws and hips, The Hunter's Moon reigns empress of the night.


My ornaments are fruits; my garments leaves, Woven like cloth of gold, and crimson dyed; I do not boast the harvesting of sheaves, O'er orchards and o'er vineyards I preside. Though on the frigid Scorpion I ride, The dreamy air is full, and overflows With tender memories of the summer-tide, And mingled voices of the doves and crows.


The Centaur, Sagittarius, am I, Born of Ixion's and the cloud's embrace; With sounding hoofs across the earth I fly, A steed Thessalian with a human face. Sharp winds the arrows are with which I chase The leaves, half dead already with affright; I shroud myself in gloom; and to the race Of mortals bring nor comfort nor delight.


Riding upon the Goat, with snow-white hair, I come, the last of all. This crown of mine Is of the holly; in my hand I bear The thyrsus, tipped with fragrant cones of pine. I celebrate the birth of the Divine, And the return of the Saturnian reign;— My songs are carols sung at every shrine, Proclaiming "Peace on earth, good will to men."


It is autumn; not without, But within me is the cold. Youth and spring are all about; It is I that have grown old.

Birds are darting through the air, Singing, building without rest; Life is stirring everywhere, Save within my lonely breast.

There is silence: the dead leaves Fall and rustle and are still; Beats no flail upon the sheaves Comes no murmur from the mill.


Four limpid lakes,—four Naiades Or sylvan deities are these, In flowing robes of azure dressed; Four lovely handmaids, that uphold Their shining mirrors, rimmed with gold, To the fair city in the West.

By day the coursers of the sun Drink of these waters as they run Their swift diurnal round on high; By night the constellations glow Far down the hollow deeps below, And glimmer in another sky.

Fair lakes, serene and full of light, Fair town, arrayed in robes of white, How visionary ye appear! All like a floating landscape seems In cloud-land or the land of dreams, Bathed in a golden atmosphere!


As one who long hath fled with panting breath Before his foe, bleeding and near to fall, I turn and set my back against the wall, And look thee in the face, triumphant Death, I call for aid, and no one answereth; I am alone with thee, who conquerest all; Yet me thy threatening form doth not appall, For thou art but a phantom and a wraith. Wounded and weak, sword broken at the hilt, With armor shattered, and without a shield, I stand unmoved; do with me what thou wilt; I can resist no more, but will not yield. This is no tournament where cowards tilt; The vanquished here is victor of the field.


As a pale phantom with a lamp Ascends some ruin's haunted stair, So glides the moon along the damp Mysterious chambers of the air.

Now hidden in cloud, and now revealed, As if this phantom, full of pain, Were by the crumbling walls concealed, And at the windows seen again.

Until at last, serene and proud In all the splendor of her light, She walks the terraces of cloud, Supreme as Empress of the Night.

I look, but recognize no more Objects familiar to my view; The very pathway to my door Is an enchanted avenue.

All things are changed. One mass of shade, The elm-trees drop their curtains down; By palace, park, and colonnade I walk as in a foreign town.

The very ground beneath my feet Is clothed with a diviner air; White marble paves the silent street And glimmers in the empty square.

Illusion! Underneath there lies The common life of every day; Only the spirit glorifies With its own tints the sober gray.

In vain we look, in vain uplift Our eyes to heaven, if we are blind, We see but what we have the gift Of seeing; what we bring we find.




What is this I read in history, Full of marvel, full of mystery, Difficult to understand? Is it fiction, is it truth? Children in the flower of youth, Heart in heart, and hand in hand, Ignorant of what helps or harms, Without armor, without arms, Journeying to the Holy Land!

Who shall answer or divine? Never since the world was made Such a wonderful crusade Started forth for Palestine. Never while the world shall last Will it reproduce the past; Never will it see again Such an army, such a band, Over mountain, over main, Journeying to the Holy Land.

Like a shower of blossoms blown From the parent trees were they; Like a flock of birds that fly Through the unfrequented sky, Holding nothing as their own, Passed they into lands unknown, Passed to suffer and to die.

O the simple, child-like trust! O the faith that could believe What the harnessed, iron-mailed Knights of Christendom had failed, By their prowess, to achieve, They the children, could and must?

Little thought the Hermit, preaching Holy Wars to knight and baron, That the words dropped in his teaching, His entreaty, his beseeching, Would by children's hands be gleaned, And the staff on which he leaned Blossom like the rod of Aaron.

As a summer wind upheaves The innumerable leaves In the bosom of a wood,— Not as separate leaves, but massed All together by the blast,— So for evil or for good His resistless breath upheaved All at once the many-leaved, Many-thoughted multitude.

In the tumult of the air Rock the boughs with all the nests Cradled on their tossing crests; By the fervor of his prayer Troubled hearts were everywhere Rocked and tossed in human breasts.

For a century, at least, His prophetic voice had ceased; But the air was heated still By his lurid words and will, As from fires in far-off woods, In the autumn of the year, An unwonted fever broods In the sultry atmosphere.


In Cologne the bells were ringing, In Cologne the nuns were singing Hymns and canticles divine; Loud the monks sang in their stalls, And the thronging streets were loud With the voices of the crowd;— Underneath the city walls Silent flowed the river Rhine.

From the gates, that summer day, Clad in robes of hodden gray, With the red cross on the breast, Azure-eyed and golden-haired, Forth the young crusaders fared; While above the band devoted Consecrated banners floated, Fluttered many a flag and streamer, And the cross o'er all the rest! Singing lowly, meekly, slowly, "Give us, give us back the holy Sepulchre of the Redeemer!" On the vast procession pressed, Youths and maidens. . . .


Ah! what master hand shall paint How they journeyed on their way, How the days grew long and dreary, How their little feet grew weary, How their little hearts grew faint!

Ever swifter day by day Flowed the homeward river; ever More and more its whitening current Broke and scattered into spray, Till the calmly-flowing river Changed into a mountain torrent, Rushing from its glacier green Down through chasm and black ravine. Like a phoenix in its nest, Burned the red sun in the West, Sinking in an ashen cloud; In the East, above the crest Of the sea-like mountain chain, Like a phoenix from its shroud, Came the red sun back again.

Now around them, white with snow, Closed the mountain peaks. Below, Headlong from the precipice Down into the dark abyss, Plunged the cataract, white with foam; And it said, or seemed to say: "Oh return, while yet you may, Foolish children, to your home, There the Holy City is!"

But the dauntless leader said: "Faint not, though your bleeding feet O'er these slippery paths of sleet Move but painfully and slowly; Other feet than yours have bled; Other tears than yours been shed Courage! lose not heart or hope; On the mountains' southern slope Lies Jerusalem the Holy!"

As a white rose in its pride, By the wind in summer-tide Tossed and loosened from the branch, Showers its petals o'er the ground, From the distant mountain's side, Scattering all its snows around, With mysterious, muffled sound, Loosened, fell the avalanche. Voices, echoes far and near, Roar of winds and waters blending, Mists uprising, clouds impending, Filled them with a sense of fear, Formless, nameless, never ending.

. . . . . . . . . .


The summer sun is sinking low; Only the tree-tops redden and glow: Only the weathercock on the spire Of the neighboring church is a flame of fire; All is in shadow below.

O beautiful, awful summer day, What hast thou given, what taken away? Life and death, and love and hate, Homes made happy or desolate, Hearts made sad or gay!

On the road of life one mile-stone more! In the book of life one leaf turned o'er! Like a red seal is the setting sun On the good and the evil men have done,— Naught can to-day restore!


Sweet chimes! that in the loneliness of night Salute the passing hour, and in the dark And silent chambers of the household mark The movements of the myriad orbs of light! Through my closed eyelids, by the inner sight, I see the constellations in the arc Of their great circles moving on, and hark! I almost hear them singing in their flight. Better than sleep it is to lie awake O'er-canopied by the vast starry dome Of the immeasurable sky; to feel The slumbering world sink under us, and make Hardly an eddy,—a mere rush of foam On the great sea beneath a sinking keel.


"NAHANT, September 8, 1880, Four o'clock in the morning."

Four by the clock! and yet not day; But the great world rolls and wheels away, With its cities on land, and its ships at sea, Into the dawn that is to be!

Only the lamp in the anchored bark Sends its glimmer across the dark, And the heavy breathing of the sea Is the only sound that comes to me.



Until we meet again! That is the meaning Of the familiar words, that men repeat At parting in the street. Ah yes, till then! but when death intervening Rends us asunder, with what ceaseless pain We wait for the Again!

The friends who leave us do not feel the sorrow Of parting, as we feel it, who must stay Lamenting day by day, And knowing, when we wake upon the morrow, We shall not find in its accustomed place The one beloved face.

It were a double grief, if the departed, Being released from earth, should still retain A sense of earthly pain; It were a double grief, if the true-hearted, Who loved us here, should on the farther shore Remember us no more.

Believing, in the midst of our afflictions, That death is a beginning, not an end, We cry to them, and send Farewells, that better might be called predictions, Being fore-shadowings of the future, thrown Into the vast Unknown.

Faith overleaps the confines of our reason, And if by faith, as in old times was said, Women received their dead Raised up to life, then only for a season Our partings are, nor shall we wait in vain Until we meet again!



Peradventure of old, some bard in Ionian Islands, Walking alone by the sea, hearing the wash of the waves, Learned the secret from them of the beautiful verse elegiac, Breathing into his song motion and sound of the sea.

For as the wave of the sea, upheaving in long undulations, Plunges loud on the sands, pauses, and turns, and retreats, So the Hexameter, rising and singing, with cadence sonorous, Falls; and in refluent rhythm back the Pentameter flows?


Not in his youth alone, but in age, may the heart of the poet Bloom into song, as the gorse blossoms in autumn and spring.


Not in tenderness wanting, yet rough are the rhymes of our poet; Though it be Jacob's voice, Esau's, alas! are the hands.


Let us be grateful to writers for what is left in the inkstand; When to leave off is an art only attained by the few.


How can the Three be One? you ask me; I answer by asking, Hail and snow and rain, are they not three, and yet one?


By the mirage uplifted the land floats vague in the ether, Ships and the shadows of ships hang in the motionless air; So by the art of the poet our common life is uplifted, So, transfigured, the world floats in a luminous haze.


Like a French poem is Life; being only perfect in structure When with the masculine rhymes mingled the feminine are.


Down from the mountain descends the brooklet, rejoicing in freedom; Little it dreams of the mill hid in the valley below; Glad with the joy of existence, the child goes singing and laughing, Little dreaming what toils lie in the future concealed.


As the ink from our pen, so flow our thoughts and our feelings When we begin to write, however sluggish before.


Like the Kingdom of Heaven, the Fountain of Youth is within us; If we seek it elsewhere, old shall we grow in the search.


If you would hit the mark, you must aim a little above it; Every arrow that flies feels the attraction of earth.


Wisely the Hebrews admit no Present tense in their language; While we are speaking the word, it is is already the Past.


In the twilight of age all things seem strange and phantasmal, As between daylight and dark ghost-like the landscape appears.


Great is the art of beginning, but greater the art is of ending; Many a poem is marred by a superfluous verse.


The panting City cried to the Sea, "I am faint with heat,—O breathe on me!"

And the Sea said, "Lo, I breathe! but my breath To some will be life, to others death!"

As to Prometheus, bringing ease In pain, come the Oceanides,

So to the City, hot with the flame Of the pitiless sun, the east wind came.

It came from the heaving breast of the deep, Silent as dreams are, and sudden as sleep.

Life-giving, death-giving, which will it be; O breath of the merciful, merciless Sea?


Oft I remember those whom I have known In other days, to whom my heart was led As by a magnet, and who are not dead, But absent, and their memories overgrown With other thoughts and troubles of my own, As graves with grasses are, and at their head The stone with moss and lichens so o'erspread, Nothing is legible but the name alone. And is it so with them? After long years, Do they remember me in the same way, And is the memory pleasant as to me? I fear to ask; yet wherefore are my fears? Pleasures, like flowers, may wither and decay, And yet the root perennial may be.


As Seleucus narrates, Hermes describes the principles that rank as wholes in two myriads of books; or, as we are informed by Manetho, he perfectly unfolded these principles in three myriads six thousand five hundred and twenty-five volumes. . . . . . . Our ancestors dedicated the inventions of their wisdom to this deity, inscribing all their own writings with the name of Hermes.—IAMBLICUS.

Still through Egypt's desert places Flows the lordly Nile, From its banks the great stone faces Gaze with patient smile. Still the pyramids imperious Pierce the cloudless skies, And the Sphinx stares with mysterious, Solemn, stony eyes.

But where are the old Egyptian Demi-gods and kings? Nothing left but an inscription Graven on stones and rings. Where are Helios and Hephaestus, Gods of eldest eld? Where is Hermes Trismegistus, Who their secrets held?

Where are now the many hundred Thousand books he wrote? By the Thaumaturgists plundered, Lost in lands remote; In oblivion sunk forever, As when o'er the land Blows a storm-wind, in the river Sinks the scattered sand.

Something unsubstantial, ghostly, Seems this Theurgist, In deep meditation mostly Wrapped, as in a mist. Vague, phantasmal, and unreal To our thought he seems, Walking in a world ideal, In a land of dreams.

Was he one, or many, merging Name and fame in one, Like a stream, to which, converging Many streamlets run? Till, with gathered power proceeding, Ampler sweep it takes, Downward the sweet waters leading From unnumbered lakes.

By the Nile I see him wandering, Pausing now and then, On the mystic union pondering Between gods and men; Half believing, wholly feeling, With supreme delight, How the gods, themselves concealing, Lift men to their height.

Or in Thebes, the hundred-gated, In the thoroughfare Breathing, as if consecrated, A diviner air; And amid discordant noises, In the jostling throng, Hearing far, celestial voices Of Olympian song.

Who shall call his dreams fallacious? Who has searched or sought All the unexplored and spacious Universe of thought? Who, in his own skill confiding, Shall with rule and line Mark the border-land dividing Human and divine?

Trismegistus! three times greatest! How thy name sublime Has descended to this latest Progeny of time! Happy they whose written pages Perish with their lives, If amid the crumbling ages Still their name survives!

Thine, O priest of Egypt, lately Found I in the vast, Weed-encumbered sombre, stately, Grave-yard of the Past; And a presence moved before me On that gloomy shore, As a waft of wind, that o'er me Breathed, and was no more.


Flow on, sweet river! like his verse Who lies beneath this sculptured hearse Nor wait beside the churchyard wall For him who cannot hear thy call.

Thy playmate once; I see him now A boy with sunshine on his brow, And hear in Stratford's quiet street The patter of his little feet.

I see him by thy shallow edge Wading knee-deep amid the sedge; And lost in thought, as if thy stream Were the swift river of a dream.

He wonders whitherward it flows; And fain would follow where it goes, To the wide world, that shall erelong Be filled with his melodious song.

Flow on, fair stream! That dream is o'er; He stands upon another shore; A vaster river near him flows, And still he follows where it goes.


"E venni dal martirio a questa pace."

These words the poet heard in Paradise, Uttered by one who, bravely dying here, In the true faith was living in that sphere Where the celestial cross of sacrifice Spread its protecting arms athwart the skies; And set thereon, like jewels crystal clear, The souls magnanimous, that knew not fear, Flashed their effulgence on his dazzled eyes. Ah me! how dark the discipline of pain, Were not the suffering followed by the sense Of infinite rest and infinite release! This is our consolation; and again A great soul cries to us in our suspense, "I came from martyrdom unto this peace!"


Sadly as some old mediaeval knight Gazed at the arms he could no longer wield, The sword two-handed and the shining shield Suspended in the hall, and full in sight, While secret longings for the lost delight Of tourney or adventure in the field Came over him, and tears but half concealed Trembled and fell upon his beard of white, So I behold these books upon their shelf, My ornaments and arms of other days; Not wholly useless, though no longer used, For they remind me of my other self, Younger and stronger, and the pleasant ways In which I walked, now clouded and confused.



TRAVELLER Why dost thou wildly rush and roar, Mad River, O Mad River? Wilt thou not pause and cease to pour Thy hurrying, headlong waters o'er This rocky shelf forever?

What secret trouble stirs thy breast? Why all this fret and flurry? Dost thou not know that what is best In this too restless world is rest From over-work and worry?

THE RIVER What wouldst thou in these mountains seek, O stranger from the city? Is it perhaps some foolish freak Of thine, to put the words I speak Into a plaintive ditty?

TRAVELLER Yes; I would learn of thee thy song, With all its flowing number; And in a voice as fresh and strong As thine is, sing it all day long, And hear it in my slumbers.

THE RIVER A brooklet nameless and unknown Was I at first, resembling A little child, that all alone Comes venturing down the stairs of stone, Irresolute and trembling.

Later, by wayward fancies led, For the wide world I panted; Out of the forest dark and dread Across the open fields I fled, Like one pursued and haunted.

I tossed my arms, I sang aloud, My voice exultant blending With thunder from the passing cloud, The wind, the forest bent and bowed, The rush of rain descending.

I heard the distant ocean call, Imploring and entreating; Drawn onward, o'er this rocky wall I plunged, and the loud waterfall Made answer to the greeting.

And now, beset with many ills, A toilsome life I follow; Compelled to carry from the hills These logs to the impatient mills Below there in the hollow.

Yet something ever cheers and charms The rudeness of my labors; Daily I water with these arms The cattle of a hundred farms, And have the birds for neighbors.

Men call me Mad, and well they may, When, full of rage and trouble, I burst my banks of sand and clay, And sweep their wooden bridge away, Like withered reeds or stubble.

Now go and write thy little rhyme, As of thine own creating. Thou seest the day is past its prime; I can no longer waste my time; The mills are tired of waiting.


Where are the Poets, unto whom belong The Olympian heights; whose singing shafts were sent Straight to the mark, and not from bows half bent, But with the utmost tension of the thong? Where are the stately argosies of song, Whose rushing keels made music as they went Sailing in search of some new continent, With all sail set, and steady winds and strong? Perhaps there lives some dreamy boy, untaught In schools, some graduate of the field or street, Who shall become a master of the art, An admiral sailing the high seas of thought, Fearless and first and steering with his fleet For lands not yet laid down in any chart.


Sleep, comrades, sleep and rest On this Field of the Grounded Arms, Where foes no more molest, Nor sentry's shot alarms!

Ye have slept on the ground before, And started to your feet At the cannon's sudden roar, Or the drum's redoubling beat.

But in this camp of Death No sound your slumber breaks; Here is no fevered breath, No wound that bleeds and aches.

All is repose and peace, Untrampled lies the sod; The shouts of battle cease, It is the Truce of God!

Rest, comrades, rest and sleep! The thoughts of men shall be As sentinels to keep Your rest from danger free.

Your silent tents of green We deck with fragrant flowers; Yours has the suffering been, The memory shall be ours.


Awake! arise! the hour is late! Angels are knocking at thy door! They are in haste and cannot wait, And once departed come no more.

Awake! arise! the athlete's arm Loses its strength by too much rest; The fallow land, the untilled farm Produces only weeds at best.

LOSS AND GAIN When I compare What I have lost with what I have gained, What I have missed with what attained, Little room do I find for pride.

I am aware How many days have been idly spent; How like an arrow the good intent Has fallen short or been turned aside.

But who shall dare To measure loss and gain in this wise? Defeat may be victory in disguise; The lowest ebb is the turn of the tide.


O traveller, stay thy weary feet; Drink of this fountain, pure and sweet; It flows for rich and poor the same. Then go thy way, remembering still The wayside well beneath the hill, The cup of water in His name.


What say the Bells of San Blas To the ships that southward pass From the harbor of Mazatlan? To them it is nothing more Than the sound of surf on the shore,— Nothing more to master or man.

But to me, a dreamer of dreams, To whom what is and what seems Are often one and the same,— The Bells of San Blas to me Have a strange, wild melody, And are something more than a name.

For bells are the voice of the church; They have tones that touch and search The hearts of young and old; One sound to all, yet each Lends a meaning to their speech, And the meaning is manifold.

They are a voice of the Past, Of an age that is fading fast, Of a power austere and grand, When the flag of Spain unfurled Its folds o'er this western world, And the Priest was lord of the land.

The chapel that once looked down On the little seaport town Has crumbled into the dust; And on oaken beams below The bells swing to and fro, And are green with mould and rust.

"Is, then, the old faith dead," They say, "and in its stead Is some new faith proclaimed, That we are forced to remain Naked to sun and rain, Unsheltered and ashamed?

"Once, in our tower aloof, We rang over wall and roof Our warnings and our complaints; And round about us there The white doves filled the air, Like the white souls of the saints.

"The saints! Ah, have they grown Forgetful of their own? Are they asleep, or dead, That open to the sky Their ruined Missions lie, No longer tenanted?

"Oh, bring us back once more The vanished days of yore, When the world with faith was filled; Bring back the fervid zeal, The hearts of fire and steel, The hands that believe and build.

"Then from our tower again We will send over land and main Our voices of command, Like exiled kings who return To their thrones, and the people learn That the Priest is lord of the land!"

O Bells of San Blas in vain Ye call back the Past again; The Past is deaf to your prayer! Out of the shadows of night The world rolls into light; It is daybreak everywhere.



October 22, 1838.

Neglected record of a mind neglected, Unto what "lets and stops" art thou subjected! The day with all its toils and occupations, The night with its reflections and sensations, The future, and the present, and the past,— All I remember, feel, and hope at last, All shapes of joy and sorrow, as they pass,— Find but a dusty image in this glass.

August 18, 1847.

O faithful, indefatigable tides, That evermore upon God's errands go,— Now seaward bearing tidings of the land,— Now landward bearing tidings of the sea,— And filling every frith and estuary, Each arm of the great sea, each little creek, Each thread and filament of water-courses, Full with your ministration of delight! Under the rafters of this wooden bridge I see you come and go; sometimes in haste To reach your journey's end, which being done With feet unrested ye return again And recommence the never-ending task; Patient, whatever burdens ye may bear, And fretted only by the impeding rocks.

December 18, 1847.

Soft through the silent air descend the feathery snow-flakes; White are the distant hills, white are the neighboring fields; Only the marshes are brown, and the river rolling among them Weareth the leaden hue seen in the eyes of the blind.

August 4, 1856.

A lovely morning, without the glare of the sun, the sea in great commotion, chafing and foaming.

So from the bosom of darkness our days come roaring and gleaming, Chafe and break into foam, sink into darkness again. But on the shores of Time each leaves some trace of its passage, Though the succeeding wave washes it out from the sand.




The ANGEL bearing the PROPHET HABAKKUK through the air.

PROPHET. Why dost thou bear me aloft, O Angel of God, on thy pinions O'er realms and dominions? Softly I float as a cloud In air, for thy right hand upholds me, Thy garment enfolds me!

ANGEL. Lo! as I passed on my way In the harvest-field I beheld thee, When no man compelled thee, Bearing with thine own hands This food to the famishing reapers, A flock without keepers!

The fragrant sheaves of the wheat Made the air above them sweet; Sweeter and more divine Was the scent of the scattered grain, That the reaper's hand let fall To be gathered again By the hand of the gleaner! Sweetest, divinest of all, Was the humble deed of thine, And the meekness of thy demeanor!

PROPHET. Angel of Light, I cannot gainsay thee, I can but obey thee!

ANGEL. Beautiful was it in the lord's sight, To behold his Prophet Feeding those that toil, The tillers of the soil. But why should the reapers eat of it And not the Prophet of Zion In the den of the lion? The Prophet should feed the Prophet! Therefore I thee have uplifted, And bear thee aloft by the hair Of thy head, like a cloud that is drifted Through the vast unknown of the air! Five days hath the Prophet been lying In Babylon, in the den Of the lions, death-defying, Defying hunger and thirst; But the worst Is the mockery of men! Alas! how full of fear Is the fate of Prophet and Seer! Forevermore, forevermore, It shall be as it hath been heretofore; The age in which they live Will not forgive The splendor of the everlasting light, That makes their foreheads bright, Nor the sublime Fore-running of their time!

PROPHET. Oh tell me, for thou knowest, Wherefore and by what grace, Have I, who am least and lowest, Been chosen to this place, To this exalted part?

ANGEL. Because thou art The Struggler; and from thy youth Thy humble and patient life Hath been a strife And battle for the Truth; Nor hast thou paused nor halted, Nor ever in thy pride Turned from the poor aside, But with deed and word and pen Hast served thy fellow-men; Therefore art thou exalted!

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