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´╗┐Title: A Dome of Many-Coloured Glass
Author: Lowell, Amy, 1874-1925
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Dome of Many-Coloured Glass" ***

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A DOME OF MANY-COLOURED GLASS

by Amy Lowell

[American (Massachusetts) poet and critic -- 1874-1925.]

[This etext has been transcribed from the 3rd printing (1916),
of the 1912 (original) edition.]


     "Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass,
     Stains the white radiance of Eternity."

                              Shelley, "Adonais".


     "Le silence est si grand que mon coeur en frissonne,
     Seul, le bruit de mes pas sur le pave resonne."

                              Albert Samain.



     Contents



          Lyrical Poems


     Before the Altar
     Suggested by the Cover of a Volume of Keats's Poems
     Apples of Hesperides
     Azure and Gold
     Petals
     Venetian Glass
     Fatigue
     A Japanese Wood-Carving
     A Little Song
     Behind a Wall
     A Winter Ride
     A Coloured Print by Shokei
     Song
     The Fool Errant
     The Green Bowl
     Hora Stellatrix
     Fragment
     Loon Point
     Summer
     "To-morrow to Fresh Woods and Pastures New"
     The Way
     Diya  {original title is Greek, Delta-iota-psi-alpha}
     Roads
     Teatro Bambino.  Dublin, N. H.
     The Road to Avignon
     New York at Night
     A Fairy Tale
     Crowned
     To Elizabeth Ward Perkins
     The Promise of the Morning Star
     J--K. Huysmans
     March Evening


          Sonnets

     Leisure
     On Carpaccio's Picture:  The Dream of St. Ursula
     The Matrix
     Monadnock in Early Spring
     The Little Garden
     To an Early Daffodil
     Listening
     The Lamp of Life
     Hero-Worship
     In Darkness
     Before Dawn
     The Poet
     At Night
     The Fruit Garden Path
     Mirage
     To a Friend
     A Fixed Idea
     Dreams
     Frankincense and Myrrh
     From One Who Stays
     Crepuscule du Matin
     Aftermath
     The End
     The Starling
     Market Day
     Epitaph in a Church-Yard in Charleston, South Carolina
     Francis II, King of Naples
     To John Keats


          The Boston Athenaeum



          Verses for Children

     Sea Shell
     Fringed Gentians
     The Painted Ceiling
     The Crescent Moon
     Climbing
     The Trout
     Wind
     The Pleiades



Thanks are due to the editor of the 'Atlantic Monthly',
and to Messrs. G. Schirmer, Inc., for their courteous permission
to reprint certain of these poems which have been copyrighted by them.

[All these copyrights are now expired.]



LYRICAL POEMS



Before the Altar


          Before the Altar, bowed, he stands
          With empty hands;
          Upon it perfumed offerings burn
          Wreathing with smoke the sacrificial urn.
          Not one of all these has he given,
          No flame of his has leapt to Heaven
          Firesouled, vermilion-hearted,
          Forked, and darted,
          Consuming what a few spare pence
          Have cheaply bought, to fling from hence
          In idly-asked petition.

          His sole condition
          Love and poverty.
          And while the moon
          Swings slow across the sky,
          Athwart a waving pine tree,
          And soon
          Tips all the needles there
          With silver sparkles, bitterly
          He gazes, while his soul
          Grows hard with thinking of the poorness of his dole.

          "Shining and distant Goddess, hear my prayer
          Where you swim in the high air!
          With charity look down on me,
          Under this tree,
          Tending the gifts I have not brought,
          The rare and goodly things
          I have not sought.
          Instead, take from me all my life!

          "Upon the wings
          Of shimmering moonbeams
          I pack my poet's dreams
          For you.
          My wearying strife,
          My courage, my loss,
          Into the night I toss
          For you.
          Golden Divinity,
          Deign to look down on me
          Who so unworthily
          Offers to you:
          All life has known,
          Seeds withered unsown,
          Hopes turning quick to fears,
          Laughter which dies in tears.
          The shredded remnant of a man
          Is all the span
          And compass of my offering to you.

          "Empty and silent, I
          Kneel before your pure, calm majesty.
          On this stone, in this urn
          I pour my heart and watch it burn,
          Myself the sacrifice; but be
          Still unmoved:  Divinity."

          From the altar, bathed in moonlight,
          The smoke rose straight in the quiet night.



Suggested by the Cover of a Volume of Keats's Poems


          Wild little bird, who chose thee for a sign
          To put upon the cover of this book?
          Who heard thee singing in the distance dim,
          The vague, far greenness of the enshrouding wood,
          When the damp freshness of the morning earth
          Was full of pungent sweetness and thy song?

          Who followed over moss and twisted roots,
          And pushed through the wet leaves of trailing vines
          Where slanting sunbeams gleamed uncertainly,
          While ever clearer came the dropping notes,
          Until, at last, two widening trunks disclosed
          Thee singing on a spray of branching beech,
          Hidden, then seen; and always that same song
          Of joyful sweetness, rapture incarnate,
          Filled the hushed, rustling stillness of the wood?

          We do not know what bird thou art.  Perhaps
          That fairy bird, fabled in island tale,
          Who never sings but once, and then his song
          Is of such fearful beauty that he dies
          From sheer exuberance of melody.

          For this they took thee, little bird, for this
          They captured thee, tilting among the leaves,
          And stamped thee for a symbol on this book.
          For it contains a song surpassing thine,
          Richer, more sweet, more poignant.  And the poet
          Who felt this burning beauty, and whose heart
          Was full of loveliest things, sang all he knew
          A little while, and then he died; too frail
          To bear this untamed, passionate burst of song.



Apples of Hesperides


          Glinting golden through the trees,
           Apples of Hesperides!
          Through the moon-pierced warp of night
          Shoot pale shafts of yellow light,
          Swaying to the kissing breeze
          Swings the treasure, golden-gleaming,
           Apples of Hesperides!

          Far and lofty yet they glimmer,
           Apples of Hesperides!
          Blinded by their radiant shimmer,
          Pushing forward just for these;
          Dew-besprinkled, bramble-marred,
          Poor duped mortal, travel-scarred,
          Always thinking soon to seize
          And possess the golden-glistening
           Apples of Hesperides!

          Orbed, and glittering, and pendent,
           Apples of Hesperides!
          Not one missing, still transcendent,
          Clustering like a swarm of bees.
          Yielding to no man's desire,
          Glowing with a saffron fire,
          Splendid, unassailed, the golden
           Apples of Hesperides!



Azure and Gold


          April had covered the hills
           With flickering yellows and reds,
          The sparkle and coolness of snow
           Was blown from the mountain beds.

          Across a deep-sunken stream
           The pink of blossoming trees,
          And from windless appleblooms
           The humming of many bees.

          The air was of rose and gold
           Arabesqued with the song of birds
          Who, swinging unseen under leaves,
           Made music more eager than words.

          Of a sudden, aslant the road,
           A brightness to dazzle and stun,
          A glint of the bluest blue,
           A flash from a sapphire sun.

          Blue-birds so blue, 't was a dream,
           An impossible, unconceived hue,
          The high sky of summer dropped down
           Some rapturous ocean to woo.

          Such a colour, such infinite light!
           The heart of a fabulous gem,
          Many-faceted, brilliant and rare.
           Centre Stone of the earth's diadem!
               .    .    .    .    .
          Centre Stone of the Crown of the World,
           "Sincerity" graved on your youth!
          And your eyes hold the blue-bird flash,
           The sapphire shaft, which is truth.



Petals


          Life is a stream
          On which we strew
          Petal by petal the flower of our heart;
          The end lost in dream,
          They float past our view,
          We only watch their glad, early start.

          Freighted with hope,
          Crimsoned with joy,
          We scatter the leaves of our opening rose;
          Their widening scope,
          Their distant employ,
          We never shall know.  And the stream as it flows
          Sweeps them away,
          Each one is gone
          Ever beyond into infinite ways.
          We alone stay
          While years hurry on,
          The flower fared forth, though its fragrance still stays.



Venetian Glass



          As one who sails upon a wide, blue sea
          Far out of sight of land, his mind intent
          Upon the sailing of his little boat,
          On tightening ropes and shaping fair his course,
          Hears suddenly, across the restless sea,
          The rhythmic striking of some towered clock,
          And wakes from thoughtless idleness to time:
          Time, the slow pulse which beats eternity!
          So through the vacancy of busy life
          At intervals you cross my path and bring
          The deep solemnity of passing years.
          For you I have shed bitter tears, for you
          I have relinquished that for which my heart
          Cried out in selfish longing.  And to-night
          Having just left you, I can say:  "'T is well.
          Thank God that I have known a soul so true,
          So nobly just, so worthy to be loved!"



Fatigue


          Stupefy my heart to every day's monotony,
           Seal up my eyes, I would not look so far,
          Chasten my steps to peaceful regularity,
           Bow down my head lest I behold a star.

          Fill my days with work, a thousand calm necessities
           Leaving no moment to consecrate to hope,
          Girdle my thoughts within the dull circumferences
           Of facts which form the actual in one short hour's scope.

          Give me dreamless sleep, and loose night's power over me,
           Shut my ears to sounds only tumultuous then,
          Bid Fancy slumber, and steal away its potency,
           Or Nature wakes and strives to live again.

          Let each day pass, well ordered in its usefulness,
           Unlit by sunshine, unscarred by storm;
          Dower me with strength and curb all foolish eagerness --
           The law exacts obedience.  Instruct, I will conform.



A Japanese Wood-Carving


          High up above the open, welcoming door
          It hangs, a piece of wood with colours dim.
          Once, long ago, it was a waving tree
          And knew the sun and shadow through the leaves
          Of forest trees, in a thick eastern wood.
          The winter snows had bent its branches down,
          The spring had swelled its buds with coming flowers,
          Summer had run like fire through its veins,
          While autumn pelted it with chestnut burrs,
          And strewed the leafy ground with acorn cups.
          Dark midnight storms had roared and crashed among
          Its branches, breaking here and there a limb;
          But every now and then broad sunlit days
          Lovingly lingered, caught among the leaves.
          Yes, it had known all this, and yet to us
          It does not speak of mossy forest ways,
          Of whispering pine trees or the shimmering birch;
          But of quick winds, and the salt, stinging sea!
          An artist once, with patient, careful knife,
          Had fashioned it like to the untamed sea.
          Here waves uprear themselves, their tops blown back
          By the gay, sunny wind, which whips the blue
          And breaks it into gleams and sparks of light.
          Among the flashing waves are two white birds
          Which swoop, and soar, and scream for very joy
          At the wild sport.  Now diving quickly in,
          Questing some glistening fish.  Now flying up,
          Their dripping feathers shining in the sun,
          While the wet drops like little glints of light,
          Fall pattering backward to the parent sea.
          Gliding along the green and foam-flecked hollows,
          Or skimming some white crest about to break,
          The spirits of the sky deigning to stoop
          And play with ocean in a summer mood.
          Hanging above the high, wide open door,
          It brings to us in quiet, firelit room,
          The freedom of the earth's vast solitudes,
          Where heaping, sunny waves tumble and roll,
          And seabirds scream in wanton happiness.



A Little Song


          When you, my Dear, are away, away,
          How wearily goes the creeping day.
          A year drags after morning, and night
          Starts another year of candle light.
          O Pausing Sun and Lingering Moon!
          Grant me, I beg of you, this boon.

          Whirl round the earth as never sun
          Has his diurnal journey run.
          And, Moon, slip past the ladders of air
          In a single flash, while your streaming hair
          Catches the stars and pulls them down
          To shine on some slumbering Chinese town.
          O Kindly Sun!  Understanding Moon!
          Bring evening to crowd the footsteps of noon.

          But when that long awaited day
          Hangs ripe in the heavens, your voyaging stay.
          Be morning, O Sun! with the lark in song,
          Be afternoon for ages long.
          And, Moon, let you and your lesser lights
          Watch over a century of nights.



Behind a Wall


          I own a solace shut within my heart,
           A garden full of many a quaint delight
           And warm with drowsy, poppied sunshine; bright,
          Flaming with lilies out of whose cups dart
              Shining things
              With powdered wings.

          Here terrace sinks to terrace, arbors close
           The ends of dreaming paths; a wanton wind
           Jostles the half-ripe pears, and then, unkind,
          Tumbles a-slumber in a pillar rose,
              With content
              Grown indolent.

          By night my garden is o'erhung with gems
           Fixed in an onyx setting.  Fireflies
           Flicker their lanterns in my dazzled eyes.
          In serried rows I guess the straight, stiff stems
              Of hollyhocks
              Against the rocks.

          So far and still it is that, listening,
           I hear the flowers talking in the dawn;
           And where a sunken basin cuts the lawn,
          Cinctured with iris, pale and glistening,
              The sudden swish
              Of a waking fish.



A Winter Ride


          Who shall declare the joy of the running!
           Who shall tell of the pleasures of flight!
          Springing and spurning the tufts of wild heather,
           Sweeping, wide-winged, through the blue dome of light.
          Everything mortal has moments immortal,
           Swift and God-gifted, immeasurably bright.

          So with the stretch of the white road before me,
           Shining snowcrystals rainbowed by the sun,
          Fields that are white, stained with long, cool, blue shadows,
           Strong with the strength of my horse as we run.
          Joy in the touch of the wind and the sunlight!
           Joy!  With the vigorous earth I am one.



A Coloured Print by Shokei


          It winds along the face of a cliff
           This path which I long to explore,
          And over it dashes a waterfall,
           And the air is full of the roar
          And the thunderous voice of waters which sweep
          In a silver torrent over some steep.

          It clears the path with a mighty bound
           And tumbles below and away,
          And the trees and the bushes which grow in the rocks
           Are wet with its jewelled spray;
          The air is misty and heavy with sound,
          And small, wet wildflowers star the ground.

          Oh!  The dampness is very good to smell,
           And the path is soft to tread,
          And beyond the fall it winds up and on,
           While little streamlets thread
          Their own meandering way down the hill
          Each singing its own little song, until

          I forget that 't is only a pictured path,
           And I hear the water and wind,
          And look through the mist, and strain my eyes
           To see what there is behind;
          For it must lead to a happy land,
          This little path by a waterfall spanned.



Song


          Oh!  To be a flower
           Nodding in the sun,
          Bending, then upspringing
           As the breezes run;
          Holding up
          A scent-brimmed cup,
           Full of summer's fragrance to the summer sun.

          Oh!  To be a butterfly
           Still, upon a flower,
          Winking with its painted wings,
           Happy in the hour.
          Blossoms hold
          Mines of gold
           Deep within the farthest heart of each chaliced flower.

          Oh!  To be a cloud
           Blowing through the blue,
          Shadowing the mountains,
           Rushing loudly through
          Valleys deep
          Where torrents keep
           Always their plunging thunder and their misty arch of blue.

          Oh!  To be a wave
           Splintering on the sand,
          Drawing back, but leaving
           Lingeringly the land.
          Rainbow light
          Flashes bright
           Telling tales of coral caves half hid in yellow sand.

          Soon they die, the flowers;
           Insects live a day;
          Clouds dissolve in showers;
           Only waves at play
          Last forever.
          Shall endeavor
           Make a sea of purpose mightier than we dream to-day?



The Fool Errant


          The Fool Errant sat by the highway of life
           And his gaze wandered up and his gaze wandered down,
          A vigorous youth, but with no wish to walk,
           Yet his longing was great for the distant town.

          He whistled a little frivolous tune
           Which he felt to be pulsing with ecstasy,
          For he thought that success always followed desire,
           Such a very superlative fool was he.

          A maiden came by on an ambling mule,
           Her gown was rose-red and her kerchief blue,
          On her lap she carried a basket of eggs.
           Thought the fool, "There is certainly room for two."

          So he jauntily swaggered towards the maid
           And put out his hand to the bridle-rein.
          "My pretty girl," quoth the fool, "take me up,
           For to ride with you to the town I am fain."

          But the maiden struck at his upraised arm
           And pelted him hotly with eggs, a score.
          The mule, lashed into a fury, ran;
           The fool went back to his stone and swore.

          Then out of the cloud of settling dust
           The burly form of an abbot appeared,
          Reading his office he rode to the town.
           And the fool got up, for his heart was cheered.

          He stood in the midst of the long, white road
           And swept off his cap till it touched the ground.
          "Ah, Reverent Sir, well met," said the fool,
           "A worthier transport never was found.

          "I pray you allow me to mount with you,
           Your palfrey seems both sturdy and young."
          The abbot looked up from the holy book
           And cried out in anger, "Hold your tongue!

          "How dare you obstruct the King's highroad,
           You saucy varlet, get out of my way."
          Then he gave the fool a cut with his whip
           And leaving him smarting, he rode away.

          The fool was angry, the fool was sore,
           And he cursed the folly of monks and maids.
          "If I could but meet with a man," sighed the fool,
           "For a woman fears, and a friar upbraids."

          Then he saw a flashing of distant steel
           And the clanking of harness greeted his ears,
          And up the road journeyed knights-at-arms,
           With waving plumes and glittering spears.

          The fool took notice and slowly arose,
           Not quite so sure was his foolish heart.
          If priests and women would none of him
           Was it likely a knight would take his part?

          They sang as they rode, these lusty boys,
           When one chanced to turn toward the highway's side,
          "There's a sorry figure of fun," jested he,
           "Well, Sirrah! move back, there is scarce room to ride."

          "Good Sirs, Kind Sirs," begged the crestfallen fool,
           "I pray of your courtesy speech with you,
          I'm for yonder town, and have no horse to ride,
           Have you never a charger will carry two?"

          Then the company halted and laughed out loud.
           "Was such a request ever made to a knight?"
          "And where are your legs," asked one, "if you start,
           You may be inside the town gates to-night."

          "'T is a lazy fellow, let him alone,
           They've no room in the town for such idlers as he."
          But one bent from his saddle and said, "My man,
           Art thou not ashamed to beg charity!

          "Thou art well set up, and thy legs are strong,
           But it much misgives me lest thou'rt a fool;
          For beggars get only a beggar's crust,
           Wise men are reared in a different school."

          Then they clattered away in the dust and the wind,
           And the fool slunk back to his lonely stone;
          He began to see that the man who asks
           Must likewise give and not ask alone.

          Purple tree-shadows crept over the road,
           The level sun flung an orange light,
          And the fool laid his head on the hard, gray stone
           And wept as he realized advancing night.

          A great, round moon rose over a hill
           And the steady wind blew yet more cool;
          And crouched on a stone a wayfarer sobbed,
           For at last he knew he was only a fool.



The Green Bowl


          This little bowl is like a mossy pool
          In a Spring wood, where dogtooth violets grow
          Nodding in chequered sunshine of the trees;
          A quiet place, still, with the sound of birds,
          Where, though unseen, is heard the endless song
          And murmur of the never resting sea.
          'T was winter, Roger, when you made this cup,
          But coming Spring guided your eager hand
          And round the edge you fashioned young green leaves,
          A proper chalice made to hold the shy
          And little flowers of the woods.  And here
          They will forget their sad uprooting, lost
          In pleasure that this circle of bright leaves
          Should be their setting; once more they will dream
          They hear winds wandering through lofty trees
          And see the sun smiling between the leaves.



Hora Stellatrix


          The stars hang thick in the apple tree,
          The south wind smells of the pungent sea,
          Gold tulip cups are heavy with dew.
          The night's for you, Sweetheart, for you!
          Starfire rains from the vaulted blue.

          Listen!  The dancing of unseen leaves.
          A drowsy swallow stirs in the eaves.
          Only a maiden is sorrowing.
          'T is night and spring, Sweetheart, and spring!
          Starfire lights your heart's blossoming.

          In the intimate dark there's never an ear,
          Though the tulips stand on tiptoe to hear,
          So give; ripe fruit must shrivel or fall.
          As you are mine, Sweetheart, give all!
          Starfire sparkles, your coronal.



Fragment


          What is poetry?  Is it a mosaic
           Of coloured stones which curiously are wrought
           Into a pattern?  Rather glass that's taught
          By patient labor any hue to take
          And glowing with a sumptuous splendor, make
           Beauty a thing of awe; where sunbeams caught,
           Transmuted fall in sheafs of rainbows fraught
          With storied meaning for religion's sake.



Loon Point


          Softly the water ripples
           Against the canoe's curving side,
          Softly the birch trees rustle
           Flinging over us branches wide.

          Softly the moon glints and glistens
           As the water takes and leaves,
          Like golden ears of corn
           Which fall from loose-bound sheaves,

          Or like the snow-white petals
           Which drop from an overblown rose,
          When Summer ripens to Autumn
           And the freighted year must close.

          From the shore come the scents of a garden,
           And between a gap in the trees
          A proud white statue glimmers
           In cold, disdainful ease.

          The child of a southern people,
           The thought of an alien race,
          What does she in this pale, northern garden,
           How reconcile it with her grace?

          But the moon in her wayward beauty
           Is ever and always the same,
          As lovely as when upon Latmos
           She watched till Endymion came.

          Through the water the moon writes her legends
           In light, on the smooth, wet sand;
          They endure for a moment, and vanish,
           And no one may understand.

          All round us the secret of Nature
           Is telling itself to our sight,
          We may guess at her meaning but never
           Can know the full mystery of night.

          But her power of enchantment is on us,
           We bow to the spell which she weaves,
          Made up of the murmur of waves
           And the manifold whisper of leaves.



Summer


          Some men there are who find in nature all
          Their inspiration, hers the sympathy
          Which spurs them on to any great endeavor,
          To them the fields and woods are closest friends,
          And they hold dear communion with the hills;
          The voice of waters soothes them with its fall,
          And the great winds bring healing in their sound.
          To them a city is a prison house
          Where pent up human forces labour and strive,
          Where beauty dwells not, driven forth by man;
          But where in winter they must live until
          Summer gives back the spaces of the hills.
          To me it is not so.  I love the earth
          And all the gifts of her so lavish hand:
          Sunshine and flowers, rivers and rushing winds,
          Thick branches swaying in a winter storm,
          And moonlight playing in a boat's wide wake;
          But more than these, and much, ah, how much more,
          I love the very human heart of man.
          Above me spreads the hot, blue mid-day sky,
          Far down the hillside lies the sleeping lake
          Lazily reflecting back the sun,
          And scarcely ruffled by the little breeze
          Which wanders idly through the nodding ferns.
          The blue crest of the distant mountain, tops
          The green crest of the hill on which I sit;
          And it is summer, glorious, deep-toned summer,
          The very crown of nature's changing year
          When all her surging life is at its full.
          To me alone it is a time of pause,
          A void and silent space between two worlds,
          When inspiration lags, and feeling sleeps,
          Gathering strength for efforts yet to come.
          For life alone is creator of life,
          And closest contact with the human world
          Is like a lantern shining in the night
          To light me to a knowledge of myself.
          I love the vivid life of winter months
          In constant intercourse with human minds,
          When every new experience is gain
          And on all sides we feel the great world's heart;
          The pulse and throb of life which makes us men!



"To-morrow to Fresh Woods and Pastures New"


          As for a moment he stands, in hardy masculine beauty,
          Poised on the fircrested rock, over the pool which below him
          Gleams in the wavering sunlight, waiting the shock of his plunging.
          So for a moment I stand, my feet planted firm in the present,
          Eagerly scanning the future which is so soon to possess me.



The Way


          At first a mere thread of a footpath half blotted out by the grasses
          Sweeping triumphant across it, it wound between hedges of roses
          Whose blossoms were poised above leaves as pond lilies float on the water,
          While hidden by bloom in a hawthorn a bird filled the morning with singing.

          It widened a highway, majestic, stretching ever to distant horizons,
          Where shadows of tree-branches wavered, vague outlines invaded by sunshine;
          No sound but the wind as it whispered the secrets of earth to the flowers,
          And the hum of the yellow bees, honey-laden and dusty with pollen.
          And Summer said, "Come, follow onward, with no thought save the longing
            to wander,
          The wind, and the bees, and the flowers, all singing the great song
            of Nature,
          Are minstrels of change and of promise, they herald the joy of the Future."

          Later the solitude vanished, confused and distracted the road
          Where many were seeking and jostling.  Left behind were the trees
            and the flowers,
          The half-realized beauty of quiet, the sacred unconscious communing.
          And now he is come to a river, a line of gray, sullen water,
          Not blue and splashing, but dark, rolling somberly on to the ocean.
          But on the far side is a city whose windows flame gold in the sunset.
          It lies fair and shining before him, a gem set betwixt sky and water,
          And spanning the river a bridge, frail promise to longing desire,
          Flung by man in his infinite courage, across the stern force of the water;
          And he looks at the river and fears, the bridge is so slight,
            yet he ventures
          His life to its fragile keeping, if it fails the waves will engulf him.
          O Arches! be strong to uphold him, and bear him across to the city,
          The beautiful city whose spires still glow with the fires of sunset!



Diya  {original title is Greek, Delta-iota-psi-alpha}


          Look, Dear, how bright the moonlight is to-night!
          See where it casts the shadow of that tree
          Far out upon the grass.  And every gust
          Of light night wind comes laden with the scent
          Of opening flowers which never bloom by day:
          Night-scented stocks, and four-o'clocks, and that
          Pale yellow disk, upreared on its tall stalk,
          The evening primrose, comrade of the stars.
          It seems as though the garden which you love
          Were like a swinging censer, its incense
          Floating before us as a reverent act
          To sanctify and bless our night of love.
          Tell me once more you love me, that 't is you
          Yes, really you, I touch, so, with my hand;
          And tell me it is by your own free will
          That you are here, and that you like to be
          Just here, with me, under this sailing pine.
          I need to hear it often for my heart
          Doubts naturally, and finds it hard to trust.
          Ah, Dearest, you are good to love me so,
          And yet I would not have it goodness, rather
          Excess of selfishness in you to need
          Me through and through, as flowers need the sun.
          I wonder can it really be that you
          And I are here alone, and that the night
          Is full of hours, and all the world asleep,
          And none can call to you to come away;
          For you have given all yourself to me
          Making me gentle by your willingness.
          Has your life too been waiting for this time,
          Not only mine the sharpness of this joy?
          Dear Heart, I love you, worship you as though
          I were a priest before a holy shrine.
          I'm glad that you are beautiful, although
          Were you not lovely still I needs must love;
          But you are all things, it must have been so
          For otherwise it were not you.  Come, close;
          When you are in the circle of my arm
          Faith grows a mountain and I take my stand
          Upon its utmost top.  Yes, yes, once more
          Kiss me, and let me feel you very near
          Wanting me wholly, even as I want you.
          Have years behind been dark?  Will those to come
          Bring unguessed sorrows into our two lives?
          What does it matter, we have had to-night!
          To-night will make us strong, for we believe
          Each in the other, this is a sacrament.
          Beloved, is it true?



Roads


          I know a country laced with roads,
           They join the hills and they span the brooks,
          They weave like a shuttle between broad fields,
           And slide discreetly through hidden nooks.
          They are canopied like a Persian dome
           And carpeted with orient dyes.
          They are myriad-voiced, and musical,
           And scented with happiest memories.
          O Winding roads that I know so well,
           Every twist and turn, every hollow and hill!
          They are set in my heart to a pulsing tune
           Gay as a honey-bee humming in June.
          'T is the rhythmic beat of a horse's feet
           And the pattering paws of a sheep-dog bitch;
          'T is the creaking trees, and the singing breeze,
           And the rustle of leaves in the road-side ditch.

          A cow in a meadow shakes her bell
           And the notes cut sharp through the autumn air,
          Each chattering brook bears a fleet of leaves
           Their cargo the rainbow, and just now where
           The sun splashed bright on the road ahead
          A startled rabbit quivered and fled.
           O Uphill roads and roads that dip down!
          You curl your sun-spattered length along,
           And your march is beaten into a song
          By the softly ringing hoofs of a horse
           And the panting breath of the dogs I love.
          The pageant of Autumn follows its course
           And the blue sky of Autumn laughs above.

          And the song and the country become as one,
           I see it as music, I hear it as light;
          Prismatic and shimmering, trembling to tone,
           The land of desire, my soul's delight.
          And always it beats in my listening ears
           With the gentle thud of a horse's stride,
          With the swift-falling steps of many dogs,
           Following, following at my side.
          O Roads that journey to fairyland!
           Radiant highways whose vistas gleam,
          Leading me on, under crimson leaves,
           To the opaline gates of the Castles of Dream.



Teatro Bambino.  Dublin, N. H.


          How still it is!  Sunshine itself here falls
           In quiet shafts of light through the high trees
          Which, arching, make a roof above the walls
           Changing from sun to shadow as each breeze
          Lingers a moment, charmed by the strange sight
          Of an Italian theatre, storied, seer
           Of vague romance, and time's long history;
          Where tiers of grass-grown seats sprinkled with white,
           Sweet-scented clover, form a broken sphere
           Grouped round the stage in hushed expectancy.

          What sound is that which echoes through the wood?
           Is it the reedy note of an oaten pipe?
          Perchance a minute more will see the brood
           Of the shaggy forest god, and on his lip
          Will rest the rushes he is wont to play.
           His train in woven baskets bear ripe fruit
           And weave a dance with ropes of gray acorns,
          So light their touch the grasses scarcely sway
           As they the measure tread to the lilting flute.
           Alas! 't is only Fancy thus adorns.

          A cloud drifts idly over the shining sun.
           How damp it seems, how silent, still, and strange!
          Surely 't was here some tragedy was done,
           And here the chorus sang each coming change?
          Sure this is deep in some sweet, southern wood,
           These are not pines, but cypress tall and dark;
           That is no thrush which sings so rapturously,
          But the nightingale in his most passionate mood
           Bursting his little heart with anguish.  Hark!
           The tread of sandalled feet comes noiselessly.

          The silence almost is a sound, and dreams
           Take on the semblances of finite things;
          So potent is the spell that what but seems
           Elsewhere, is lifted here on Fancy's wings.
          The little woodland theatre seems to wait,
           All tremulous with hope and wistful joy,
           For something that is sure to come at last,
          Some deep emotion, satisfying, great.
           It grows a living presence, bold and shy,
           Cradling the future in a glorious past.



The Road to Avignon


          A Minstrel stands on a marble stair,
          Blown by the bright wind, debonair;
          Below lies the sea, a sapphire floor,
          Above on the terrace a turret door
          Frames a lady, listless and wan,
          But fair for the eye to rest upon.
          The minstrel plucks at his silver strings,
          And looking up to the lady, sings: --
             Down the road to Avignon,
             The long, long road to Avignon,
             Across the bridge to Avignon,
             One morning in the spring.

          The octagon tower casts a shade
          Cool and gray like a cutlass blade;
          In sun-baked vines the cicalas spin,
          The little green lizards run out and in.
          A sail dips over the ocean's rim,
          And bubbles rise to the fountain's brim.
          The minstrel touches his silver strings,
          And gazing up to the lady, sings: --
             Down the road to Avignon,
             The long, long road to Avignon,
             Across the bridge to Avignon,
             One morning in the spring.

          Slowly she walks to the balustrade,
          Idly notes how the blossoms fade
          In the sun's caress; then crosses where
          The shadow shelters a carven chair.
          Within its curve, supine she lies,
          And wearily closes her tired eyes.
          The minstrel beseeches his silver strings,
          And holding the lady spellbound, sings: --
             Down the road to Avignon,
             The long, long road to Avignon,
             Across the bridge to Avignon,
             One morning in the spring.

          Clouds sail over the distant trees,
          Petals are shaken down by the breeze,
          They fall on the terrace tiles like snow;
          The sighing of waves sounds, far below.
          A humming-bird kisses the lips of a rose
          Then laden with honey and love he goes.
          The minstrel woos with his silver strings,
          And climbing up to the lady, sings: --
             Down the road to Avignon,
             The long, long road to Avignon,
             Across the bridge to Avignon,
             One morning in the spring.

          Step by step, and he comes to her,
          Fearful lest she suddenly stir.
          Sunshine and silence, and each to each,
          The lute and his singing their only speech;
          He leans above her, her eyes unclose,
          The humming-bird enters another rose.
          The minstrel hushes his silver strings.
          Hark!  The beating of humming-birds' wings!
             Down the road to Avignon,
             The long, long road to Avignon,
             Across the bridge to Avignon,
             One morning in the spring.



New York at Night


          A near horizon whose sharp jags
           Cut brutally into a sky
          Of leaden heaviness, and crags
          Of houses lift their masonry
           Ugly and foul, and chimneys lie
          And snort, outlined against the gray
           Of lowhung cloud.  I hear the sigh
          The goaded city gives, not day
          Nor night can ease her heart, her anguished labours stay.

          Below, straight streets, monotonous,
           From north and south, from east and west,
          Stretch glittering; and luminous
           Above, one tower tops the rest
           And holds aloft man's constant quest:
          Time!  Joyless emblem of the greed
           Of millions, robber of the best
          Which earth can give, the vulgar creed
          Has seared upon the night its flaming ruthless screed.

          O Night!  Whose soothing presence brings
           The quiet shining of the stars.
          O Night!  Whose cloak of darkness clings
           So intimately close that scars
           Are hid from our own eyes.  Beggars
          By day, our wealth is having night
           To burn our souls before altars
          Dim and tree-shadowed, where the light
          Is shed from a young moon, mysteriously bright.

          Where art thou hiding, where thy peace?
           This is the hour, but thou art not.
          Will waking tumult never cease?
           Hast thou thy votary forgot?
           Nature forsakes this man-begot
          And festering wilderness, and now
           The long still hours are here, no jot
          Of dear communing do I know;
          Instead the glaring, man-filled city groans below!



A Fairy Tale


          On winter nights beside the nursery fire
          We read the fairy tale, while glowing coals
          Builded its pictures.  There before our eyes
          We saw the vaulted hall of traceried stone
          Uprear itself, the distant ceiling hung
          With pendent stalactites like frozen vines;
          And all along the walls at intervals,
          Curled upwards into pillars, roses climbed,
          And ramped and were confined, and clustered leaves
          Divided where there peered a laughing face.
          The foliage seemed to rustle in the wind,
          A silent murmur, carved in still, gray stone.
          High pointed windows pierced the southern wall
          Whence proud escutcheons flung prismatic fires
          To stain the tessellated marble floor
          With pools of red, and quivering green, and blue;
          And in the shade beyond the further door,
          Its sober squares of black and white were hid
          Beneath a restless, shuffling, wide-eyed mob
          Of lackeys and retainers come to view
          The Christening.
          A sudden blare of trumpets, and the throng
          About the entrance parted as the guests
          Filed singly in with rare and precious gifts.
          Our eager fancies noted all they brought,
          The glorious, unattainable delights!
          But always there was one unbidden guest
          Who cursed the child and left it bitterness.

          The fire falls asunder, all is changed,
          I am no more a child, and what I see
          Is not a fairy tale, but life, my life.
          The gifts are there, the many pleasant things:
          Health, wealth, long-settled friendships, with a name
          Which honors all who bear it, and the power
          Of making words obedient.  This is much;
          But overshadowing all is still the curse,
          That never shall I be fulfilled by love!
          Along the parching highroad of the world
          No other soul shall bear mine company.
          Always shall I be teased with semblances,
          With cruel impostures, which I trust awhile
          Then dash to pieces, as a careless boy
          Flings a kaleidoscope, which shattering
          Strews all the ground about with coloured sherds.
          So I behold my visions on the ground
          No longer radiant, an ignoble heap
          Of broken, dusty glass.  And so, unlit,
          Even by hope or faith, my dragging steps
          Force me forever through the passing days.



Crowned


          You came to me bearing bright roses,
           Red like the wine of your heart;
          You twisted them into a garland
           To set me aside from the mart.
          Red roses to crown me your lover,
           And I walked aureoled and apart.

          Enslaved and encircled, I bore it,
           Proud token of my gift to you.
          The petals waned paler, and shriveled,
           And dropped; and the thorns started through.
          Bitter thorns to proclaim me your lover,
           A diadem woven with rue.



To Elizabeth Ward Perkins


          Dear Bessie, would my tired rhyme
           Had force to rise from apathy,
           And shaking off its lethargy
          Ring word-tones like a Christmas chime.

          But in my soul's high belfry, chill
           The bitter wind of doubt has blown,
           The summer swallows all have flown,
          The bells are frost-bound, mute and still.

          Upon the crumbling boards the snow
           Has drifted deep, the clappers hang
           Prismed with icicles, their clang
          Unheard since ages long ago.

          The rope I pull is stiff and cold,
           My straining ears detect no sound
           Except a sigh, as round and round
          The wind rocks through the timbers old.

          Below, I know the church is bright
           With haloed tapers, warm with prayer;
           But here I only feel the air
          Of icy centuries of night.

          Beneath my feet the snow is lit
           And gemmed with colours, red, and blue,
           Topaz, and green, where light falls through
          The saints that in the windows sit.

          Here darkness seems a spectred thing,
           Voiceless and haunting, while the stars
           Mock with a light of long dead years
          The ache of present suffering.

          Silent and winter-killed I stand,
           No carol hymns my debt to you;
           But take this frozen thought in lieu,
          And thaw its music in your hand.



The Promise of the Morning Star


          Thou father of the children of my brain
           By thee engendered in my willing heart,
           How can I thank thee for this gift of art
          Poured out so lavishly, and not in vain.

          What thou created never more can die,
           Thy fructifying power lives in me
           And I conceive, knowing it is by thee,
          Dear other parent of my poetry!

          For I was but a shadow with a name,
           Perhaps by now the very name's forgot;
           So strange is Fate that it has been my lot
          To learn through thee the presence of that aim

          Which evermore must guide me.  All unknown,
           By me unguessed, by thee not even dreamed,
           A tree has blossomed in a night that seemed
          Of stubborn, barren wood.  For thou hast sown

          This seed of beauty in a ground of truth.
           Humbly I dedicate myself, and yet
           I tremble with a sudden fear to set
          New music ringing through my fading youth.



J--K. Huysmans



          A flickering glimmer through a window-pane,
          A dim red glare through mud bespattered glass,
          Cleaving a path between blown walls of sleet
          Across uneven pavements sunk in slime
          To scatter and then quench itself in mist.
          And struggling, slipping, often rudely hurled
          Against the jutting angle of a wall,
          And cursed, and reeled against, and flung aside
          By drunken brawlers as they shuffled past,
          A man was groping to what seemed a light.
          His eyelids burnt and quivered with the strain
          Of looking, and against his temples beat
          The all enshrouding, suffocating dark.
          He stumbled, lurched, and struck against a door
          That opened, and a howl of obscene mirth
          Grated his senses, wallowing on the floor
          Lay men, and dogs and women in the dirt.
          He sickened, loathing it, and as he gazed
          The candle guttered, flared, and then went out.

          Through travail of ignoble midnight streets
          He came at last to shelter in a porch
          Where gothic saints and warriors made a shield
          To cover him, and tortured gargoyles spat
          One long continuous stream of silver rain
          That clattered down from myriad roofs and spires
          Into a darkness, loud with rushing sound
          Of water falling, gurgling as it fell,
          But always thickly dark.  Then as he leaned
          Unconscious where, the great oak door blew back
          And cast him, bruised and dripping, in the church.
          His eyes from long sojourning in the night
          Were blinded now as by some glorious sun;
          He slowly crawled toward the altar steps.
          He could not think, for heavy in his ears
          An organ boomed majestic harmonies;
          He only knew that what he saw was light!
          He bowed himself before a cross of flame
          And shut his eyes in fear lest it should fade.



March Evening


          Blue through the window burns the twilight;
           Heavy, through trees, blows the warm south wind.
          Glistening, against the chill, gray sky light,
           Wet, black branches are barred and entwined.

          Sodden and spongy, the scarce-green grass plot
           Dents into pools where a foot has been.
          Puddles lie spilt in the road a mass, not
           Of water, but steel, with its cold, hard sheen.

          Faint fades the fire on the hearth, its embers
           Scattering wide at a stronger gust.
          Above, the old weathercock groans, but remembers
           Creaking, to turn, in its centuried rust.

          Dying, forlorn, in dreary sorrow,
           Wrapping the mists round her withering form,
          Day sinks down; and in darkness to-morrow
           Travails to birth in the womb of the storm.



SONNETS



Leisure


          Leisure, thou goddess of a bygone age,
           When hours were long and days sufficed to hold
           Wide-eyed delights and pleasures uncontrolled
          By shortening moments, when no gaunt presage
          Of undone duties, modern heritage,
           Haunted our happy minds; must thou withhold
           Thy presence from this over-busy world,
          And bearing silence with thee disengage
           Our twined fortunes?  Deeps of unhewn woods
           Alone can cherish thee, alone possess
          Thy quiet, teeming vigor.  This our crime:
           Not to have worshipped, marred by alien moods
           That sole condition of all loveliness,
          The dreaming lapse of slow, unmeasured time.



On Carpaccio's Picture:  The Dream of St. Ursula


          Swept, clean, and still, across the polished floor
           From some unshuttered casement, hid from sight,
           The level sunshine slants, its greater light
          Quenching the little lamp which pallid, poor,
          Flickering, unreplenished, at the door
           Has striven against darkness the long night.
           Dawn fills the room, and penetrating, bright,
          The silent sunbeams through the window pour.
           And she lies sleeping, ignorant of Fate,
           Enmeshed in listless dreams, her soul not yet
          Ripened to bear the purport of this day.
           The morning breeze scarce stirs the coverlet,
           A shadow falls across the sunlight; wait!
          A lark is singing as he flies away.



The Matrix


          Goaded and harassed in the factory
           That tears our life up into bits of days
           Ticked off upon a clock which never stays,
          Shredding our portion of Eternity,
          We break away at last, and steal the key
           Which hides a world empty of hours; ways
           Of space unroll, and Heaven overlays
          The leafy, sun-lit earth of Fantasy.
           Beyond the ilex shadow glares the sun,
           Scorching against the blue flame of the sky.
          Brown lily-pads lie heavy and supine
           Within a granite basin, under one
           The bronze-gold glimmer of a carp; and I
          Reach out my hand and pluck a nectarine.



Monadnock in Early Spring


          Cloud-topped and splendid, dominating all
           The little lesser hills which compass thee,
           Thou standest, bright with April's buoyancy,
          Yet holding Winter in some shaded wall
          Of stern, steep rock; and startled by the call
           Of Spring, thy trees flush with expectancy
           And cast a cloud of crimson, silently,
          Above thy snowy crevices where fall
           Pale shrivelled oak leaves, while the snow beneath
           Melts at their phantom touch.  Another year
          Is quick with import.  Such each year has been.
           Unmoved thou watchest all, and all bequeath
           Some jewel to thy diadem of power,
          Thou pledge of greater majesty unseen.



The Little Garden


          A little garden on a bleak hillside
           Where deep the heavy, dazzling mountain snow
           Lies far into the spring.  The sun's pale glow
          Is scarcely able to melt patches wide
          About the single rose bush.  All denied
           Of nature's tender ministries.  But no, --
           For wonder-working faith has made it blow
          With flowers many hued and starry-eyed.
           Here sleeps the sun long, idle summer hours;
          Here butterflies and bees fare far to rove
           Amid the crumpled leaves of poppy flowers;
          Here four o'clocks, to the passionate night above
           Fling whiffs of perfume, like pale incense showers.
          A little garden, loved with a great love!



To an Early Daffodil


          Thou yellow trumpeter of laggard Spring!
           Thou herald of rich Summer's myriad flowers!
           The climbing sun with new recovered powers
          Does warm thee into being, through the ring
          Of rich, brown earth he woos thee, makes thee fling
           Thy green shoots up, inheriting the dowers
           Of bending sky and sudden, sweeping showers,
          Till ripe and blossoming thou art a thing
           To make all nature glad, thou art so gay;
          To fill the lonely with a joy untold;
           Nodding at every gust of wind to-day,
          To-morrow jewelled with raindrops.  Always bold
           To stand erect, full in the dazzling play
          Of April's sun, for thou hast caught his gold.



Listening


          'T is you that are the music, not your song.
           The song is but a door which, opening wide,
           Lets forth the pent-up melody inside,
          Your spirit's harmony, which clear and strong
          Sings but of you.  Throughout your whole life long
           Your songs, your thoughts, your doings, each divide
           This perfect beauty; waves within a tide,
          Or single notes amid a glorious throng.
           The song of earth has many different chords;
          Ocean has many moods and many tones
           Yet always ocean.  In the damp Spring woods
          The painted trillium smiles, while crisp pine cones
           Autumn alone can ripen.  So is this
           One music with a thousand cadences.



The Lamp of Life


          Always we are following a light,
           Always the light recedes; with groping hands
           We stretch toward this glory, while the lands
          We journey through are hidden from our sight
          Dim and mysterious, folded deep in night,
           We care not, all our utmost need demands
           Is but the light, the light!  So still it stands
          Surely our own if we exert our might.
          Fool!  Never can'st thou grasp this fleeting gleam,
           Its glowing flame would die if it were caught,
          Its value is that it doth always seem
           But just a little farther on.  Distraught,
           But lighted ever onward, we are brought
          Upon our way unknowing, in a dream.



Hero-Worship


          A face seen passing in a crowded street,
           A voice heard singing music, large and free;
           And from that moment life is changed, and we
          Become of more heroic temper, meet
          To freely ask and give, a man complete
           Radiant because of faith, we dare to be
           What Nature meant us.  Brave idolatry
          Which can conceive a hero!  No deceit,
           No knowledge taught by unrelenting years,
           Can quench this fierce, untamable desire.
          We know that what we long for once achieved
           Will cease to satisfy.  Be still our fears;
           If what we worship fail us, still the fire
          Burns on, and it is much to have believed.



In Darkness


          Must all of worth be travailled for, and those
           Life's brightest stars rise from a troubled sea?
           Must years go by in sad uncertainty
          Leaving us doubting whose the conquering blows,
          Are we or Fate the victors?  Time which shows
           All inner meanings will reveal, but we
           Shall never know the upshot.  Ours to be
          Wasted with longing, shattered in the throes,
           The agonies of splendid dreams, which day
           Dims from our vision, but each night brings back;
          We strive to hold their grandeur, and essay
           To be the thing we dream.  Sudden we lack
          The flash of insight, life grows drear and gray,
           And hour follows hour, nerveless, slack.



Before Dawn


          Life!  Austere arbiter of each man's fate,
           By whom he learns that Nature's steadfast laws
           Are as decrees immutable; O pause
          Your even forward march!  Not yet too late
          Teach me the needed lesson, when to wait
           Inactive as a ship when no wind draws
           To stretch the loosened cordage.  One implores
          Thy clemency, whose wilfulness innate
           Has gone uncurbed and roughshod while the years
              Have lengthened into decades; now distressed
          He knows no rule by which to move or stay,
           And teased with restlessness and desperate fears
          He dares not watch in silence thy wise way
              Bringing about results none could have guessed.



The Poet


          What instinct forces man to journey on,
           Urged by a longing blind but dominant!
           Nothing he sees can hold him, nothing daunt
          His never failing eagerness.  The sun
          Setting in splendour every night has won
           His vassalage; those towers flamboyant
           Of airy cloudland palaces now haunt
          His daylight wanderings.  Forever done
          With simple joys and quiet happiness
           He guards the vision of the sunset sky;
          Though faint with weariness he must possess
           Some fragment of the sunset's majesty;
          He spurns life's human friendships to profess
           Life's loneliness of dreaming ecstasy.



At Night


          The wind is singing through the trees to-night,
           A deep-voiced song of rushing cadences
           And crashing intervals.  No summer breeze
          Is this, though hot July is at its height,
          Gone is her gentler music; with delight
           She listens to this booming like the seas,
           These elemental, loud necessities
          Which call to her to answer their swift might.
           Above the tossing trees shines down a star,
           Quietly bright; this wild, tumultuous joy
          Quickens nor dims its splendour.  And my mind,
           O Star! is filled with your white light, from far,
           So suffer me this one night to enjoy
          The freedom of the onward sweeping wind.



The Fruit Garden Path


          The path runs straight between the flowering rows,
           A moonlit path, hemmed in by beds of bloom,
           Where phlox and marigolds dispute for room
          With tall, red dahlias and the briar rose.
          'T is reckless prodigality which throws
           Into the night these wafts of rich perfume
           Which sweep across the garden like a plume.
          Over the trees a single bright star glows.
           Dear garden of my childhood, here my years
          Have run away like little grains of sand;
           The moments of my life, its hopes and fears
          Have all found utterance here, where now I stand;
           My eyes ache with the weight of unshed tears,
          You are my home, do you not understand?



Mirage


          How is it that, being gone, you fill my days,
           And all the long nights are made glad by thee?
           No loneliness is this, nor misery,
          But great content that these should be the ways
          Whereby the Fancy, dreaming as she strays,
           Makes bright and present what she would would be.
           And who shall say if the reality
          Is not with dreams so pregnant.  For delays
           And hindrances may bar the wished-for end;
          A thousand misconceptions may prevent
           Our souls from coming near enough to blend;
          Let me but think we have the same intent,
           That each one needs to call the other, "friend!"
          It may be vain illusion.  I'm content.



To a Friend


          I ask but one thing of you, only one,
           That always you will be my dream of you;
           That never shall I wake to find untrue
          All this I have believed and rested on,
          Forever vanished, like a vision gone
           Out into the night.  Alas, how few
           There are who strike in us a chord we knew
          Existed, but so seldom heard its tone
           We tremble at the half-forgotten sound.
          The world is full of rude awakenings
           And heaven-born castles shattered to the ground,
          Yet still our human longing vainly clings
           To a belief in beauty through all wrongs.
           O stay your hand, and leave my heart its songs!



A Fixed Idea


          What torture lurks within a single thought
          When grown too constant, and however kind,
          However welcome still, the weary mind
          Aches with its presence.  Dull remembrance taught
          Remembers on unceasingly; unsought
          The old delight is with us but to find
          That all recurring joy is pain refined,
          Become a habit, and we struggle, caught.
          You lie upon my heart as on a nest,
          Folded in peace, for you can never know
          How crushed I am with having you at rest
          Heavy upon my life.  I love you so
          You bind my freedom from its rightful quest.
          In mercy lift your drooping wings and go.



Dreams


          I do not care to talk to you although
           Your speech evokes a thousand sympathies,
           And all my being's silent harmonies
          Wake trembling into music.  When you go
          It is as if some sudden, dreadful blow
           Had severed all the strings with savage ease.
           No, do not talk; but let us rather seize
          This intimate gift of silence which we know.
           Others may guess your thoughts from what you say,
          As storms are guessed from clouds where darkness broods.
           To me the very essence of the day
          Reveals its inner purpose and its moods;
           As poplars feel the rain and then straightway
          Reverse their leaves and shimmer through the woods.



Frankincense and Myrrh


          My heart is tuned to sorrow, and the strings
           Vibrate most readily to minor chords,
           Searching and sad; my mind is stuffed with words
          Which voice the passion and the ache of things:
          Illusions beating with their baffled wings
           Against the walls of circumstance, and hoards
           Of torn desires, broken joys; records
          Of all a bruised life's maimed imaginings.
           Now you are come!  You tremble like a star
          Poised where, behind earth's rim, the sun has set.
             Your voice has sung across my heart, but numb
           And mute, I have no tones to answer.  Far
          Within I kneel before you, speechless yet,
             And life ablaze with beauty, I am dumb.



From One Who Stays


          How empty seems the town now you are gone!
           A wilderness of sad streets, where gaunt walls
           Hide nothing to desire; sunshine falls
          Eery, distorted, as it long had shone
          On white, dead faces tombed in halls of stone.
           The whir of motors, stricken through with calls
           Of playing boys, floats up at intervals;
          But all these noises blur to one long moan.
           What quest is worth pursuing?  And how strange
          That other men still go accustomed ways!
             I hate their interest in the things they do.
           A spectre-horde repeating without change
          An old routine.  Alone I know the days
             Are still-born, and the world stopped, lacking you.



Crepuscule du Matin


          All night I wrestled with a memory
           Which knocked insurgent at the gates of thought.
           The crumbled wreck of years behind has wrought
          Its disillusion; now I only cry
          For peace, for power to forget the lie
           Which hope too long has whispered.  So I sought
           The sleep which would not come, and night was fraught
          With old emotions weeping silently.
          I heard your voice again, and knew the things
           Which you had promised proved an empty vaunt.
          I felt your clinging hands while night's broad wings
          Cherished our love in darkness.  From the lawn
           A sudden, quivering birdnote, like a taunt.
          My arms held nothing but the empty dawn.



Aftermath


          I learnt to write to you in happier days,
           And every letter was a piece I chipped
           From off my heart, a fragment newly clipped
          From the mosaic of life; its blues and grays,
          Its throbbing reds, I gave to earn your praise.
           To make a pavement for your feet I stripped
           My soul for you to walk upon, and slipped
          Beneath your steps to soften all your ways.
           But now my letters are like blossoms pale
          We strew upon a grave with hopeless tears.
           I ask no recompense, I shall not fail
          Although you do not heed; the long, sad years
           Still pass, and still I scatter flowers frail,
          And whisper words of love which no one hears.



The End


          Throughout the echoing chambers of my brain
           I hear your words in mournful cadence toll
           Like some slow passing-bell which warns the soul
          Of sundering darkness.  Unrelenting, fain
          To batter down resistance, fall again
           Stroke after stroke, insistent diastole,
           The bitter blows of truth, until the whole
          Is hammered into fact made strangely plain.
           Where shall I look for comfort?  Not to you.
            Our worlds are drawn apart, our spirit's suns
          Divided, and the light of mine burnt dim.
           Now in the haunted twilight I must do
            Your will.  I grasp the cup which over-runs,
          And with my trembling lips I touch the rim.



The Starling


               "'I can't get out', said the starling."
                              Sterne's 'Sentimental Journey'.


          Forever the impenetrable wall
           Of self confines my poor rebellious soul,
           I never see the towering white clouds roll
          Before a sturdy wind, save through the small
          Barred window of my jail.  I live a thrall
           With all my outer life a clipped, square hole,
           Rectangular; a fraction of a scroll
          Unwound and winding like a worsted ball.
           My thoughts are grown uneager and depressed
            Through being always mine, my fancy's wings
          Are moulted and the feathers blown away.
           I weary for desires never guessed,
            For alien passions, strange imaginings,
          To be some other person for a day.



Market Day


          White, glittering sunlight fills the market square,
           Spotted and sprigged with shadows.  Double rows
           Of bartering booths spread out their tempting shows
          Of globed and golden fruit, the morning air
          Smells sweet with ripeness, on the pavement there
           A wicker basket gapes and overflows
           Spilling out cool, blue plums.  The market glows,
          And flaunts, and clatters in its busy care.
           A stately minster at the northern side
          Lifts its twin spires to the distant sky,
           Pinnacled, carved and buttressed; through the wide
          Arched doorway peals an organ, suddenly --
           Crashing, triumphant in its pregnant tide,
          Quenching the square in vibrant harmony.



Epitaph in a Church-Yard in Charleston, South Carolina

                 GEORGE  AUGUSTUS  CLOUGH
                  A NATIVE OF LIVERPOOL,
            DIED SUDDENLY OF "STRANGER'S FEVER"
                      NOV'R 5th 1843
                          AGED 22


          He died of "Stranger's Fever" when his youth
           Had scarcely melted into manhood, so
           The chiselled legend runs; a brother's woe
          Laid bare for epitaph.  The savage ruth
          Of a sunny, bright, but alien land, uncouth
           With cruel caressing dealt a mortal blow,
           And by this summer sea where flowers grow
          In tropic splendor, witness to the truth
          Of ineradicable race he lies.
           The law of duty urged that he should roam,
          Should sail from fog and chilly airs to skies
           Clear with deceitful welcome.  He had come
          With proud resolve, but still his lonely eyes
           Ached with fatigue at never seeing home.



Francis II, King of Naples

Written after reading Trevelyan's "Garibaldi and the making of Italy"


          Poor foolish monarch, vacillating, vain,
           Decaying victim of a race of kings,
           Swift Destiny shook out her purple wings
          And caught him in their shadow; not again
          Could furtive plotting smear another stain
           Across his tarnished honour.  Smoulderings
           Of sacrificial fires burst their rings
          And blotted out in smoke his lost domain.
          Bereft of courtiers, only with his queen,
           From empty palace down to empty quay.
          No challenge screamed from hostile carabine.
           A single vessel waited, shadowy;
           All night she ploughed her solitary way
          Beneath the stars, and through a tranquil sea.



To John Keats


          Great master!  Boyish, sympathetic man!
           Whose orbed and ripened genius lightly hung
           From life's slim, twisted tendril and there swung
          In crimson-sphered completeness; guardian
          Of crystal portals through whose openings fan
           The spiced winds which blew when earth was young,
           Scattering wreaths of stars, as Jove once flung
          A golden shower from heights cerulean.
           Crumbled before thy majesty we bow.
            Forget thy empurpled state, thy panoply
          Of greatness, and be merciful and near;
           A youth who trudged the highroad we tread now
            Singing the miles behind him; so may we
          Faint throbbings of thy music overhear.



THE BOSTON ATHENAEUM


                   The Boston Athenaeum


          Thou dear and well-loved haunt of happy hours,
          How often in some distant gallery,
          Gained by a little painful spiral stair,
          Far from the halls and corridors where throng
          The crowd of casual readers, have I passed
          Long, peaceful hours seated on the floor
          Of some retired nook, all lined with books,
          Where reverie and quiet reign supreme!
          Above, below, on every side, high shelved
          From careless grasp of transient interest,
          Stand books we can but dimly see, their charm
          Much greater that their titles are unread;
          While on a level with the dusty floor
          Others are ranged in orderly confusion,
          And we must stoop in painful posture while
          We read their names and learn their histories.
          The little gallery winds round about
          The middle of a most secluded room,
          Midway between the ceiling and the floor.
          A type of those high thoughts, which while we read
          Hover between the earth and furthest heaven
          As fancy wills, leaving the printed page;
          For books but give the theme, our hearts the rest,
          Enriching simple words with unguessed harmony
          And overtones of thought we only know.
          And as we sit long hours quietly,
          Reading at times, and at times simply dreaming,
          The very room itself becomes a friend,
          The confidant of intimate hopes and fears;
          A place where are engendered pleasant thoughts,
          And possibilities before unguessed
          Come to fruition born of sympathy.
          And as in some gay garden stretched upon
          A genial southern slope, warmed by the sun,
          The flowers give their fragrance joyously
          To the caressing touch of the hot noon;
          So books give up the all of what they mean
          Only in a congenial atmosphere,
          Only when touched by reverent hands, and read
          By those who love and feel as well as think.
          For books are more than books, they are the life,
          The very heart and core of ages past,
          The reason why men lived, and worked, and died,
          The essence and quintessence of their lives.
          And we may know them better, and divine
          The inner motives whence their actions sprang,
          Far better than the men who only knew
          Their bodily presence, the soul forever hid
          From those with no ability to see.
          They wait here quietly for us to come
          And find them out, and know them for our friends;
          These men who toiled and wrote only for this,
          To leave behind such modicum of truth
          As each perceived and each alone could tell.
          Silently waiting that from time to time
          It may be given them to illuminate
          Dull daily facts with pristine radiance
          For some long-waited-for affinity
          Who lingers yet in the deep womb of time.
          The shifting sun pierces the young green leaves
          Of elm trees, newly coming into bud,
          And splashes on the floor and on the books
          Through old, high, rounded windows, dim with age.
          The noisy city-sounds of modern life
          Float softened to us across the old graveyard.
          The room is filled with a warm, mellow light,
          No garish colours jar on our content,
          The books upon the shelves are old and worn.
          'T was no belated effort nor attempt
          To keep abreast with old as well as new
          That placed them here, tricked in a modern guise,
          Easily got, and held in light esteem.
          Our fathers' fathers, slowly and carefully
          Gathered them, one by one, when they were new
          And a delighted world received their thoughts
          Hungrily; while we but love the more,
          Because they are so old and grown so dear!
          The backs of tarnished gold, the faded boards,
          The slightly yellowing page, the strange old type,
          All speak the fashion of another age;
          The thoughts peculiar to the man who wrote
          Arrayed in garb peculiar to the time;
          As though the idiom of a man were caught
          Imprisoned in the idiom of a race.
          A nothing truly, yet a link that binds
          All ages to their own inheritance,
          And stretching backward, dim and dimmer still,
          Is lost in a remote antiquity.
          Grapes do not come of thorns nor figs of thistles,
          And even a great poet's divinest thought
          Is coloured by the world he knows and sees.
          The little intimate things of every day,
          The trivial nothings that we think not of,
          These go to make a part of each man's life;
          As much a part as do the larger thoughts
          He takes account of.  Nay, the little things
          Of daily life it is which mold, and shape,
          And make him apt for noble deeds and true.
          And as we read some much-loved masterpiece,
          Read it as long ago the author read,
          With eyes that brimmed with tears as he saw
          The message he believed in stamped in type
          Inviolable for the slow-coming years;
          We know a certain subtle sympathy,
          We seem to clasp his hand across the past,
          His words become related to the time,
          He is at one with his own glorious creed
          And all that in his world was dared and done.
          The long, still, fruitful hours slip away
          Shedding their influences as they pass;
          We know ourselves the richer to have sat
          Upon this dusty floor and dreamed our dreams.
          No other place to us were quite the same,
          No other dreams so potent in their charm,
          For this is ours!  Every twist and turn
          Of every narrow stair is known and loved;
          Each nook and cranny is our very own;
          The dear, old, sleepy place is full of spells
          For us, by right of long inheritance.
          The building simply bodies forth a thought
          Peculiarly inherent to the race.
          And we, descendants of that elder time,
          Have learnt to love the very form in which
          The thought has been embodied to our years.
          And here we feel that we are not alone,
          We too are one with our own richest past;
          And here that veiled, but ever smouldering fire
          Of race, which rarely seen yet never dies,
          Springs up afresh and warms us with its heat.
          And must they take away this treasure house,
          To us so full of thoughts and memories;
          To all the world beside a dismal place
          Lacking in all this modern age requires
          To tempt along the unfamiliar paths
          And leafy lanes of old time literatures?
          It takes some time for moss and vines to grow
          And warmly cover gaunt and chill stone walls
          Of stately buildings from the cold North Wind.
          The lichen of affection takes as long,
          Or longer, ere it lovingly enfolds
          A place which since without it were bereft,
          All stript and bare, shorn of its chiefest grace.
          For what to us were halls and corridors
          However large and fitting, if we part
          With this which is our birthright; if we lose
          A sentiment profound, unsoundable,
          Which Time's slow ripening alone can make,
          And man's blind foolishness so quickly mar.



VERSES FOR CHILDREN



Sea Shell


          Sea Shell, Sea Shell,
           Sing me a song, O Please!
          A song of ships, and sailor men,
           And parrots, and tropical trees,

          Of islands lost in the Spanish Main
          Which no man ever may find again,
          Of fishes and corals under the waves,
          And seahorses stabled in great green caves.

          Sea Shell, Sea Shell,
          Sing of the things you know so well.



Fringed Gentians


          Near where I live there is a lake
          As blue as blue can be, winds make
          It dance as they go blowing by.
          I think it curtseys to the sky.

          It's just a lake of lovely flowers
          And my Mamma says they are ours;
          But they are not like those we grow
          To be our very own, you know.

          We have a splendid garden, there
          Are lots of flowers everywhere;
          Roses, and pinks, and four o'clocks
          And hollyhocks, and evening stocks.

          Mamma lets us pick them, but never
          Must we pick any gentians -- ever!
          For if we carried them away
          They'd die of homesickness that day.



The Painted Ceiling


          My Grandpapa lives in a wonderful house
           With a great many windows and doors,
          There are stairs that go up, and stairs that go down,
           And such beautiful, slippery floors.

          But of all of the rooms, even mother's and mine,
           And the bookroom, and parlour and all,
          I like the green dining-room so much the best
           Because of its ceiling and wall.

          Right over your head is a funny round hole
           With apples and pears falling through;
          There's a big bunch of grapes all purply and sweet,
           And melons and pineapples too.

          They tumble and tumble, but never come down
           Though I've stood underneath a long while
          With my mouth open wide, for I always have hoped
           Just a cherry would drop from the pile.

          No matter how early I run there to look
           It has always begun to fall through;
          And one night when at bedtime I crept in to see,
           It was falling by candle-light too.

          I am sure they are magical fruits, and each one
           Makes you hear things, or see things, or go
          Forever invisible; but it's no use,
           And of course I shall just never know.

          For the ladder's too heavy to lift, and the chairs
           Are not nearly so tall as I need.
          I've given up hope, and I feel I shall die
           Without having accomplished the deed.

          It's a little bit sad, when you seem very near
           To adventures and things of that sort,
          Which nearly begin, and then don't; and you know
           It is only because you are short.



The Crescent Moon


          Slipping softly through the sky
           Little horned, happy moon,
          Can you hear me up so high?
           Will you come down soon?

          On my nursery window-sill
           Will you stay your steady flight?
          And then float away with me
           Through the summer night?

          Brushing over tops of trees,
           Playing hide and seek with stars,
          Peeping up through shiny clouds
           At Jupiter or Mars.

          I shall fill my lap with roses
           Gathered in the milky way,
          All to carry home to mother.
           Oh! what will she say!

          Little rocking, sailing moon,
           Do you hear me shout -- Ahoy!
          Just a little nearer, moon,
           To please a little boy.



Climbing


          High up in the apple tree climbing I go,
          With the sky above me, the earth below.
          Each branch is the step of a wonderful stair
          Which leads to the town I see shining up there.

          Climbing, climbing, higher and higher,
          The branches blow and I see a spire,
          The gleam of a turret, the glint of a dome,
          All sparkling and bright, like white sea foam.

          On and on, from bough to bough,
          The leaves are thick, but I push my way through;
          Before, I have always had to stop,
          But to-day I am sure I shall reach the top.

          Today to the end of the marvelous stair,
          Where those glittering pinacles flash in the air!
          Climbing, climbing, higher I go,
          With the sky close above me, the earth far below.



The Trout


          Naughty little speckled trout,
          Can't I coax you to come out?
          Is it such great fun to play
          In the water every day?

          Do you pull the Naiads' hair
          Hiding in the lilies there?
          Do you hunt for fishes' eggs,
          Or watch tadpoles grow their legs?

          Do the little trouts have school
          In some deep sun-glinted pool,
          And in recess play at tag
          Round that bed of purple flag?

          I have tried so hard to catch you,
          Hours and hours I've sat to watch you;
          But you never will come out,
          Naughty little speckled trout!



Wind


          He shouts in the sails of the ships at sea,
          He steals the down from the honeybee,
          He makes the forest trees rustle and sing,
          He twirls my kite till it breaks its string.
             Laughing, dancing, sunny wind,
             Whistling, howling, rainy wind,
             North, South, East and West,
             Each is the wind I like the best.

          He calls up the fog and hides the hills,
          He whirls the wings of the great windmills,
          The weathercocks love him and turn to discover
          His whereabouts -- but he's gone, the rover!
             Laughing, dancing, sunny wind,
             Whistling, howling, rainy wind,
             North, South, East and West,
             Each is the wind I like the best.

          The pine trees toss him their cones with glee,
          The flowers bend low in courtesy,
          Each wave flings up a shower of pearls,
          The flag in front of the school unfurls.
             Laughing, dancing, sunny wind,
             Whistling, howling, rainy wind,
             North, South, East and West,
             Each is the wind I like the best.



The Pleiades



          By day you cannot see the sky
          For it is up so very high.
          You look and look, but it's so blue
          That you can never see right through.

          But when night comes it is quite plain,
          And all the stars are there again.
          They seem just like old friends to me,
          I've known them all my life you see.

          There is the dipper first, and there
          Is Cassiopeia in her chair,
          Orion's belt, the Milky Way,
          And lots I know but cannot say.

          One group looks like a swarm of bees,
          Papa says they're the Pleiades;
          But I think they must be the toy
          Of some nice little angel boy.

          Perhaps his jackstones which to-day
          He has forgot to put away,
          And left them lying on the sky
          Where he will find them bye and bye.

          I wish he'd come and play with me.
          We'd have such fun, for it would be
          A most unusual thing for boys
          To feel that they had stars for toys!



                    THE END



----------------------------------------------
| Advertisements of books by the same author |
----------------------------------------------

(These are taken from the back of the 1916 printing.)



A Dome of Many-Coloured Glass
By AMY LOWELL
New edition, cloth, $1.25


PRESS NOTICES



"These poems arouse interest, and justify it by the result. Miss Lowell
is the sister of President Lowell of Harvard.  Her art, however, needs
no reflection from such distinguished influence to make apparent its
distinction.  Such verse as this is delightful, has a sort of personal
flavour, a loyalty to the fundamentals of life and nationality. . . .
The child poems are particularly graceful." -- 'Boston Evening
Transcript', Boston, Mass.

"Miss Lowell has given expression in exquisite form to many beautiful
thoughts, inspired by a variety of subjects and based on some of the
loftiest ideals. . . .

"The verses are grouped under the captions 'Lyrical Poems', 'Sonnets',
and 'Verses for Children'. . . .

"It is difficult to say which of these are the most successful.  Indeed,
all reveal Miss Lowell's powers of observation from the view-point of a
lover of nature.  Moreover, Miss Lowell writes with a gentle philosophy
and a deep knowledge of humanity. . . .

"The sonnets are especially appealing and touch the heart strings so
tenderly that there comes immediate response in the same spirit. . . .

"That she knows the workings of the juvenile mind is plainly indicated
by her verses written for their reading."  -- 'Boston Sunday Globe',
Boston, Mass.

"A quite delightful little collection of verses." -- 'Toronto Globe',
Toronto, Canada.

"The Lyrics are true to the old definition; they would sing well to the
accompaniment of the strings.  We should like to hear "Hora Stellatrix"
rendered by an artist." -- 'Hartford Courant', Hartford, Conn.

"Verses that show delicate appreciation of the beautiful, and
imaginative quality.  A sonnet entitled 'Dreams' is peculiarly full of
sympathy and feeling." -- 'The Sun', Baltimore, Md.

----------



By the same author
Sword Blades and Poppy Seed
Price, $1.25


Opinions of Leading Reviewers



"Against the multitudinous array of daily verse our times produce this
volume utters itself with a range and brilliancy wholly remarkable. I
cannot see that Miss Lowell's use of unrhymed 'vers libre' has been
surpassed in English.  Read 'The Captured Goddess', 'Music', and 'The
Precinct.  Rochester', a piece of mastercraft in this kind. A wealth of
subtleties and sympathies, gorgeously wrought, full of macabre effects
(as many of the poems are) and brilliantly worked out.  The things of
splendor she has made she will hardly outdo in their kind." -- Josephine
Preston Peabody, 'The Boston Herald'.

"For quaint pictorial exactitude and bizarrerie of color these poems
remind one of Flemish masters and Dutch tulip gardens; again, they are
fine and fantastic, like Venetian glass; and they are all curiously
flooded with the moonlight of dreams. . . . Miss Lowell has a remarkable
gift of what one might call the dramatic-decorative.  Her decorative
imagery is intensely dramatic, and her dramatic pictures are in
themselves vivid and fantastic decorations." -- Richard Le Gallienne,
'New York Times Book Review'.

"The book as a whole is notable for the organic relation it bears to
life and to art.  Miss Lowell can find authentic inspiration equally in
the lapidarian stanzas of Henri de Regnier and in the color effects
produced by the flicking of the tail of the great northern pike. Her
work is always vivid, sincere, poetically energetic. Throughout it run,
in the quaint phrase of an old poet, 'bright shoots of
everlastingnesse'." -- Ferris Greenslet, in the 'New Republic'.

"Such poems as 'A Lady', 'Music', 'White and Green', are well-nigh
flawless in their beauty -- perfect 'images'." -- Harriet Monroe,
'Poetry'.





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