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´╗┐Title: Out of the North
Author: Sutherland, Howard V. (Howard Vigne), 1868-
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 "Out of the North" ***

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  _of the_







[Illustration: JOAQUIN MILLER]


  _Howard V. Sutherland_

  _With a Foreword by_
  _Joaquin Miller_


  _New York_
  _Desmond FitzGerald, Inc._

  _Copyright 1913 by_



  _Frontispiece, Joaquin Miller, Dawson, Y. T._
  _Foreword by Joaquin Miller_
  _The Northern Light_                                              1
  _In Winter_                                                       2
  _Lyric_                                                           3
  _Dark Days_                                                       4
  _The Unanswerable_                                                5
  _Vain Dreams_                                                     6
  _December_                                                        7
  _The Unassuageable_                                               8
  _Father Judge S. F._                                              9
  _The Light-o'-Love_                                           10-11
  _Two Quests_                                                     12
  _The Return of the Sun_                                          13
  _Klondyke Roses_                                                 14
  _A Song for the Return of Birds_                                 15
  _The Forest Cotillion_                                           16
  _The Spruces of the Forest_                                      17
  _The Wild Lover_                                                 18
  _Homeward Bound_                                                 19
  _Approaching Night_                                              20


Songs from a far-away world; a cry from another sphere. To those of
us who once experienced the still and pitiless cold, a cry terribly
suggestive of the horror-charged gloom, of the icy silence as
unbroken as that of unfathomable deeps, of the stern and
uncompromising individuality of a disturbed and vengeful North.

Yet one is also reminded that, even in the Klondyke, in due season
the brooding spruces are awakened from slumber by the songs of
happy-throated songsters, that the melancholy of the forest is
brightened by gay flowers. The weight is then lifted from men's
hearts; singing is heard in the cabin, and the sound of laughter on
the trail. When the mighty Yukon is open to the Behring Sea, the far
North is in touch with the world and men are glad.

But the Arctic summer is short-lived. The days of the bird and the
flower and the rippling creeks are numbered. Soon the sky turns grey,
the wind chants the sun's requiem, the snow falls; and then returns
the cold, the gloom, the feeling of isolation, the indescribable

I heard these songs sung in the Arctic, the singer at my side--these
songs of nature, songs of hope, home, heart. They seem a part of my
life. I heard them as the cry of a lone bird in the vast silence of
eternal snows.

  _Nov. 15th '99_

_The Northern Light_

    Who drapes that mystic veil across that everbrooding sky?
      Who hues it with a soul of pearl? Who draws it to and fro?
    Who breathes upon it with the breath that makes it glow and die,
      Lighting that crystal river, those mountains cowl'd with snow?

_In Winter_

    Beneath the snow the mosses sleep
      Amid the forest's silence;
    Above, the stately birches keep
        Unbroken vigils.

    The spruce trees dream of summer hours
      And birds that carrolled sweetly,
    Of gentle winds and smiling flowers
        That died too quickly.


    Tell me, tell me, gentle stars,
      Ever watchful, ever bright,
    From your stations in the sky
      Do you see my love to-night?

    White the snow beneath my feet,
      Whiter far her holy breast;
    Peaceful are the mighty woods,
      But her eyes are soft with rest.

    Sweet the scent of spruce and pine,
      Sweeter, though, her fragrant breath;
    Tell her, tell her, gentle stars,
      I am hers alone till death.

_Dark Days_

    The sun has left his throne,
      The sky is leaden-hued;
    The hopeless winds bemoan,
      In icy aisles, their fate.

    All day the shadows press
      About the forest's nuns,
    That dream in loneliness
      Their dreams of birds and spring.

_The Unanswerable_

    O sombre skies that ever mourn,
      O silent skies so grey and stern,
    Are ye the curtains of that bourne
      Where we at last our fate must learn?

    Is it behind your gloomy veil
      The Judge with Book of Judgment stands?
    Where we must pass, with faces pale,
      Awaiting judgment at His hands?

    O sombre skies that frown all day
      Upon us hopeless, hapless men,
    When Death shall beckon us away
      What happens then? What happens then?

_Vain Dreams_

    The trees, my sisters, robed in white,
          Now dream of spring;
    Of sun-lit day and fragrant night,
          Of birds that sing.

    They little think that I can tell
          About their pain;
    They do not know I dream as well
          A dream most vain.


    Beneath a shroud of unpolluted white,
      The frozen hills lie silent and asleep;
      And moveless spruce and ghostly birches keep
    Their silent vigils through the endless night.
    The frozen creeks, long voiceless, partly veiled
      'Neath drifting snow, dream fondly of the trees;
      Within the woods no bird's song and no breeze
    Make wondrous music when the skies have paled.
    The kingly sun ne'er sends his laughing rays
      To wake the hills and warm the trees and streams;
      His face is hid, and hid are now the beams
    That woke the world on long-dead summer days.
    The patient moon with all her silent train
      Of maiden stars patrols the roads on high,
      And watches well all things that sleeping lie
    Till Spring's first song shall waken them again.
    The white world sleeps, and all is very still,
      Except when rises on the frosted air
      From out its chilly and forbidding lair
    A lone wolf's howl, long-drawn and terrible.

_The Unassuageable_

    I sometimes hear among the snow-clad trees
    The lone wind chanting solemn symphonies.

    I sometimes smell, while yet the woods are bare,
    The breath of unborn blossoms in the air.

    I am at times aware of gentle sighs
    There where the creek, ice-fettered, dreaming lies.

    I sometimes witness when the air is still
    Unearthly splendors on the white-robed hill.

    I sometimes read in flashing stars at night
    Mysterious promises of future light.

    But what can make a spirit's anguish less,
    Or ease a heart's eternal loneliness?

_Father Judge, S. F._

    Here was a man, a humble minister
    Beloved of all in northern latitudes
    Who knew the value of the kingly heart
    That beat beneath his worn and priestly coat.

    A soldier he, who ne'er forsook his post;
    Whose actions were more numerous than words;
    His soul was God's; his heart and body man's--
    Nothing his own except our gratitude.

    Worn e'er his time by hardship none may know
    Who shirked the bitter schooling of the North,
    He passed away, and now forever stands
    As close to God as gentle Damien.

_The Light-o'-Love_

    The dogs were whining; they sensed too well
      The load upon the sled;
    The rough-hewn box with the light-o'-love--
          A girl, 'twas said.

    A week ago, at the Palace Bar,
      She sang the songs of France;
    But many a heart is lead the while
          The feet must dance.

    Kisses she gave and kisses she took,
      Sinned for her daily bread;
    But all we knew as we eyed the box
          Was: she was dead.

    We placed upon it (How much it hurt
      Only the good God knows!)
    A gaud she had worn in her dusky hair--
          A paper rose.

    A crumpled thing that seemed beautiful
      To lonely, broken men,
    Hinting of fairer flowers and things
          Beyond our ken.

    We thought of her as we closed her door
      As somebody's little child;
    As somebody's darling, lost, long lost,
          But undefiled.

           *       *       *       *       *

    The grey above us, the white beneath;
      Chill silence everywhere;
    Yet deep in our hearts we knew that God
          Was also there.

    We knew, far better than others know
      Whose ways are bright and glad,
    His judgments are very merciful
          On good and bad.

    Our little sister was now at peace.
      The snow began to fall.
    The flakes soon hid that gift of ours
          Beneath their pall.

    Under the white, white flakes the rose,
      Crumpled, tawdry and red;
    Hinting the pity which all men need
          When they are dead.

           *       *       *       *       *

    The dogs still whined as they dragged the sled
      To where the spruces dream;
    And there we left her, a wayward child,
          At rest in Him.

_Two Quests_

    Every day I watch men go
      Up the trail
    Seeking gold. It is a show
    Worth the watching; much I know
          About the game.

    In the dead of night they creep
      Past my door;
    But I hear them in my sleep,
    And I pity. Very steep
          The road to Fame.

_The Return of the Sun_

    Winter is passing. The inconstant sun--
    Neglectful lover, therefore doubly dear--
    Kisses the stern, white faces of the hills,
    Melting their hearts to tenderness again;
    Kisses the earth, still shiv'ring 'neath its shroud,
    And whispers it of blossoms to be born.
    Kisses the boughs and lures the fresh young leaves,
    Spring's verdant heralds, from their hiding place;
    Kisses the trees and tells them of bright birds
    Seeking new homes for merry families.

    Winter is passing. The inconstant sun--
    Neglectful lover, therefore doubly dear--
    Enters the hearts of long despondent men,
    Bidding them smile and be consoled again;
    Enters their souls and whispers them of God,
    Of distant homes and friends that pray for them;
    Enters our cabins and dispels the gloom
    Of soundless days and never-ending nights;
    Enters our eyes and bids us rise and see
    Winter's interment, mourn'd by laughing Spring.

_Klondyke Roses_

    When melts at last the lingering snow
      In sunny days of May or June,
    Amid the velvet mosses grow
        Shy roses, fragrant-smelling.
    A fated sisterhood is theirs,
      They sigh their souls out wistfully;
    No bee makes love to them or hears
        Their tender love a-telling.

    They dream, perhaps, of distant lands,
      (O lands, that seem as far-off spheres;)
    Of love-lit eyes and tender hands
        That pluck far happier roses.
    But while they dream the days pass by
      And August comes with ebon nights,
    And sombre is September's sky--
        And then their sad life closes.

_A Song for the Return of Birds_

    Haste, little songsters, and return
      To your nests in the silent wood;
    The birches are lonely and they yearn
      For your twittering brotherhood.
    The leaves are green on the wakened trees
      And the snow has left the moss;
          The sighing breeze
          With its symphonies
      Suggests our greatest loss--
    Haste, little birds, haste home!

    Haste little songsters, for the Spring
      Has come with her laughing train
    Of radiant blossoms; and now the King
      Is here, and the pattering rain.
    The nights are warm and the days are long,
      There is no more ice or frost;
          And oh! we long
          For a songbird's song,
      For a music the woods have lost--
    Haste, little birds, haste home!

_The Forest Cotillion_

    When the wind is joyous-hearted it stirs the graceful spruces,
    And they nod at one another and toss their arms in abandon;
    Then they sway their supple bodies in wonderful undulations,
    Keeping a perfect time with the wind's mysterious music.

    Then the watchmen of the forest, the solemn and silent birches,
    Bend stiffly their stately heads, saluting their laughing sisters;
    And the alders wake from slumber, and the willows grieve no longer
    When the wild wind woos the stream and sets the trees a-dancing.

_The Spruces of the Forest_

    Unhappy trees, beneath whose graceful branches
      No lovers walk, no children ever play;
    Who never hear the sound of girlish laughter,
      But pass in gloom your silent lives away;
    I wonder if ye heed me as I press
    My heart to yours in utter loneliness.

    I wonder if ye see me as I wander
      Along the trail no feet but mine e'er tread;
    I wonder if ye hear me when I murmur
      The name of one who might as well be dead
    So far away, so very far is she--
    I wonder if ye heed and pity me?

_The Wild Lover_

    Sway your lithe arms, ye graceful trees,
      The wind is out a-wooing!
    Ye may be many, yet he sees
      A way to your undoing.

          Ye need not fear,
          Though birds may hear
              Your whispers or your sighs;
          Or tell the night
          Of your delight--
              Nay, Nay, the birds are wise.

    Your vestiture of maiden green
      Doth very well adorn ye;
    The wind will deem each one a queen,
      And woo. He dare not scorn ye!

_Homeward Bound_

    I have ventured on many a journey,
        By land and sea;
    And whether success or failure
        Was granted me,
    It mattered but very little--
    It is good to be Homeward Bound.

    When thou bravest the final voyage,
        And thou must steer
    Across the mysterious ocean,
        Friend, have no fear;
    There is only one port for the sailors
    When once they are Homeward Bound!

_Approaching Night_

    The lower'd skies are grey; the trees are bare.
      A week ago they gleam'd in splendid rows
    Of gold and crimson; now in gaunt despair
      They stand like ghosts above new-fallen snows.

    The world seems even greyer than the skies.
      'Twas yesterday the homeward-honking geese
    Fled as from death. They know too well what lies
      Behind this sinister, foreboding peace!

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