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´╗┐Title: Personal Poems, Complete - Volume IV of The Works of John Greenleaf Whittier
Author: Whittier, John Greenleaf, 1807-1892
Language: English
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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 "Personal Poems, Complete - Volume IV of The Works of John Greenleaf Whittier" ***

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THE WORKS OF JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER, Volume IV. (of VII)

PERSONAL POEMS


By John Greenleaf Whittier


 CONTENTS

     PERSONAL POEMS
          A LAMENT
          TO THE MEMORY OF CHARLES B. STORRS
          LINES ON THE DEATH OF S. OLIVER TORREY
          TO ----, WITH A COPY OF WOOLMAN'S JOURNAL
          LEGGETT'S MONUMENT
          TO A FRIEND, ON HER RETURN FROM EUROPE
          LUCY HOOPER
          FOLLEN
          TO J. P.
          CHALKLEY HALL
          GONE
          TO RONGE
          CHANNING
          TO MY FRIEND ON THE DEATH OF HIS SISTER
          DANIEL WHEELER
          TO FREDRIKA BREMER
          TO AVIS KEENE
          THE HILL-TOP
          ELLIOTT
          ICHABOD
          THE LOST OCCASION
          WORDSWORTH
          TO ---- LINES WRITTEN AFTER A SUMMER DAY'S EXCURSION
          IN PEACE
          BENEDICITE
          KOSSUTH
          TO MY OLD SCHOOLMASTER
          THE CROSS
          THE HERO
          RANTOUL
          WILLIAM FORSTER
          TO CHARLES SUMNER
          BURNS
          TO GEORGE B. CHEEVER
          TO JAMES T. FIELDS
          THE MEMORY OF BURNS
          IN REMEMBRANCE OF JOSEPH STURGER
          BROWN OF OSSAWATOMIE
          NAPLES
          A MEMORIAL
          BRYANT ON HIS BIRTHDAY
          THOMAS STARR KING
          LINES ON A FLY-LEAF
          GEORGE L. STEARNS
          GARIBALDI
          TO LYDIA MARIA CHILD
          THE SINGER
          HOW MARY GREW
          SUMNER
          THIERS
          FITZ-GREENE HALLECK
          WILLIAM FRANCIS BARTLETT
          BAYARD TAYLOR
          OUR AUTOCRAT
          WITHIN THE GATE
          IN MEMORY: JAMES T. FIELDS
          WILSON
          THE POET AND THE CHILDREN
          A WELCOME TO LOWELL
          AN ARTIST OF THE BEAUTIFUL
          MULFORD
          TO A CAPE ANN SCHOONER
          SAMUEL J. TILDEN

     OCCASIONAL POEMS.
          EVA
          A LAY OF OLD TIME
          A SONG OF HARVEST
          KENOZA LAKE
          FOR AN AUTUMN FESTIVAL
          THE QUAKER ALUMNI
          OUR RIVER
          REVISITED
          "THE LAURELS"
          JUNE ON THE MERRIMAC
          HYMN FOR THE OPENING OF THOMAS STARR KING'S HOUSE OF WORSHIP
          HYMN FOR THE HOUSE OF WORSHIP AT GEORGETOWN, ERECTED IN MEMORY
               OF A MOTHER
          A SPIRITUAL MANIFESTATION
          CHICAGO
          KINSMAN
          THE GOLDEN WEDDING OF LONGWOOD
          HYMN FOR THE OPENING OF PLYMOUTH CHURCH, ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA
          LEXINGTON
          THE LIBRARY
          "I WAS A STRANGER, AND YE TOOK ME IN"
          CENTENNIAL HYMN
          AT SCHOOL-CLOSE
          HYMN OF THE CHILDREN
          THE LANDMARKS
          GARDEN
          A GREETING
          GODSPEED
          WINTER ROSES
          THE REUNION
          NORUMBEGA HALL
          THE BARTHOLDI STATUE
          ONE OF THE SIGNERS

     THE TENT ON THE BEACH.
          PRELUDE
          THE TENT ON THE BEACH
          THE WRECK OF RIVERMOUTH
          THE GRAVE BY THE LAKE
          THE BROTHER OF MERCY
          THE CHANGELING
          THE MAIDS OF ATTITASH
          KALLUNDBORG CHURCH
          THE CABLE HYMN
          THE DEAD SHIP OF HARPSWELL
          THE PALATINE
          ABRAHAM DAVENPORT
          THE WORSHIP OF NATURE

     AT SUNDOWN.
          TO E. C. S.
          THE CHRISTMAS OF 1888.
          THE Vow OF WASHINGTON
          THE CAPTAIN'S WELL
          AN OUTDOOR RECEPTION
          R. S. S., AT DEER ISLAND ON THE MERRIMAC
          BURNING DRIFT-WOOD.
          O. W. HOLMES ON HIS EIGHTIETH BIRTHDAY
          JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL
          HAVERHILL. 1640-1890
          To G. G.
          PRESTON POWERS, INSCRIPTION FOR BASS-RELIEF
          LYDIA H. SIGOURNEY, INSCRIPTION ON TABLET
          MILTON, ON MEMORIAL WINDOW
          THE BIRTHDAY WREATH
          THE WIND OF MARCH
          BETWEEN THE GATES
          THE LAST EVE OF SUMMER
          TO OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, 8TH Mo. 29TH, 1892



NOTE. The portrait prefacing this volume is from an engraving on steel
by J. A. J. WILCOX in 1888, after a photograph taken by Miss ISA E. GRAY
in July, 1885.



A LAMENT

          "The parted spirit,
          Knoweth it not our sorrow? Answereth not
          Its blessing to our tears?"

     The circle is broken, one seat is forsaken,
     One bud from the tree of our friendship is shaken;
     One heart from among us no longer shall thrill
     With joy in our gladness, or grief in our ill.

     Weep! lonely and lowly are slumbering now
     The light of her glances, the pride of her brow;
     Weep! sadly and long shall we listen in vain
     To hear the soft tones of her welcome again.

     Give our tears to the dead! For humanity's claim
     From its silence and darkness is ever the same;
     The hope of that world whose existence is bliss
     May not stifle the tears of the mourners of this.

     For, oh! if one glance the freed spirit can throw
     On the scene of its troubled probation below,
     Than the pride of the marble, the pomp of the dead,
     To that glance will be dearer the tears which we shed.

     Oh, who can forget the mild light of her smile,
     Over lips moved with music and feeling the while,
     The eye's deep enchantment, dark, dream-like, and clear,
     In the glow of its gladness, the shade of its tear.

     And the charm of her features, while over the whole
     Played the hues of the heart and the sunshine of soul;
     And the tones of her voice, like the music which seems
     Murmured low in our ears by the Angel of dreams!

     But holier and dearer our memories hold
     Those treasures of feeling, more precious than gold,
     The love and the kindness and pity which gave
     Fresh flowers for the bridal, green wreaths for the grave!

     The heart ever open to Charity's claim,
     Unmoved from its purpose by censure and blame,
     While vainly alike on her eye and her ear
     Fell the scorn of the heartless, the jesting and jeer.

     How true to our hearts was that beautiful sleeper
     With smiles for the joyful, with tears for the weeper,
     Yet, evermore prompt, whether mournful or gay,
     With warnings in love to the passing astray.

     For, though spotless herself, she could sorrow for them
     Who sullied with evil the spirit's pure gem;
     And a sigh or a tear could the erring reprove,
     And the sting of reproof was still tempered by love.

     As a cloud of the sunset, slow melting in heaven,
     As a star that is lost when the daylight is given,
     As a glad dream of slumber, which wakens in bliss,
     She hath passed to the world of the holy from this.

     1834.



TO THE MEMORY OF CHARLES B. STORRS,

Late President of Western Reserve College, who died at his post of duty,
overworn by his strenuous labors with tongue and  pen in the cause of
Human Freedom.


     Thou hast fallen in thine armor,
     Thou martyr of the Lord
     With thy last breath crying "Onward!"
     And thy hand upon the sword.
     The haughty heart derideth,
     And the sinful lip reviles,
     But the blessing of the perishing
     Around thy pillow smiles!

     When to our cup of trembling
     The added drop is given,
     And the long-suspended thunder
     Falls terribly from Heaven,--
     When a new and fearful freedom
     Is proffered of the Lord
     To the slow-consuming Famine,
     The Pestilence and Sword!

     When the refuges of Falsehood
     Shall be swept away in wrath,
     And the temple shall be shaken,
     With its idol, to the earth,
     Shall not thy words of warning
     Be all remembered then?
     And thy now unheeded message
     Burn in the hearts of men?

     Oppression's hand may scatter
     Its nettles on thy tomb,
     And even Christian bosoms
     Deny thy memory room;
     For lying lips shall torture
     Thy mercy into crime,
     And the slanderer shall flourish
     As the bay-tree for a time.

     But where the south-wind lingers
     On Carolina's pines,
     Or falls the careless sunbeam
     Down Georgia's golden mines;
     Where now beneath his burthen
     The toiling slave is driven;
     Where now a tyrant's mockery
     Is offered unto Heaven;

     Where Mammon hath its altars
     Wet o'er with human blood,
     And pride and lust debases
     The workmanship of God,--
     There shall thy praise be spoken,
     Redeemed from Falsehood's ban,
     When the fetters shall be broken,
     And the slave shall be a man!

     Joy to thy spirit, brother!
     A thousand hearts are warm,
     A thousand kindred bosoms
     Are baring to the storm.
     What though red-handed Violence
     With secret Fraud combine?
     The wall of fire is round us,
     Our Present Help was thine.

     Lo, the waking up of nations,
     From Slavery's fatal sleep;
     The murmur of a Universe,
     Deep calling unto Deep!
     Joy to thy spirit, brother!
     On every wind of heaven
     The onward cheer and summons
     Of Freedom's voice is given!

     Glory to God forever!
     Beyond the despot's will
     The soul of Freedom liveth
     Imperishable still.
     The words which thou hast uttered
     Are of that soul a part,
     And the good seed thou hast scattered
     Is springing from the heart.

     In the evil days before us,
     And the trials yet to come,
     In the shadow of the prison,
     Or the cruel martyrdom,--
     We will think of thee, O brother!
     And thy sainted name shall be
     In the blessing of the captive,
     And the anthem of the free.

     1834



LINES ON THE DEATH OF S. OLIVER TORREY,

SECRETARY OF THE BOSTON YOUNG MEN'S ANTI-SLAVERY SOCIETY.

     Gone before us, O our brother,
     To the spirit-land!
     Vainly look we for another
     In thy place to stand.
     Who shall offer youth and beauty
     On the wasting shrine
     Of a stern and lofty duty,
     With a faith like thine?

     Oh, thy gentle smile of greeting
     Who again shall see?
     Who amidst the solemn meeting
     Gaze again on thee?
     Who when peril gathers o'er us,
     Wear so calm a brow?
     Who, with evil men before us,
     So serene as thou?

     Early hath the spoiler found thee,
     Brother of our love!
     Autumn's faded earth around thee,
     And its storms above!
     Evermore that turf lie lightly,
     And, with future showers,
     O'er thy slumbers fresh and brightly
     Blow the summer flowers

     In the locks thy forehead gracing,
     Not a silvery streak;
     Nor a line of sorrow's tracing
     On thy fair young cheek;
     Eyes of light and lips of roses,
     Such as Hylas wore,--
     Over all that curtain closes,
     Which shall rise no more!

     Will the vigil Love is keeping
     Round that grave of thine,
     Mournfully, like Jazer weeping
     Over Sibmah's vine;
     Will the pleasant memories, swelling
     Gentle hearts, of thee,
     In the spirit's distant dwelling
     All unheeded be?

     If the spirit ever gazes,
     From its journeyings, back;
     If the immortal ever traces
     O'er its mortal track;
     Wilt thou not, O brother, meet us
     Sometimes on our way,
     And, in hours of sadness, greet us
     As a spirit may?

     Peace be with thee, O our brother,
     In the spirit-land
     Vainly look we for another
     In thy place to stand.
     Unto Truth and Freedom giving
     All thy early powers,
     Be thy virtues with the living,
     And thy spirit ours!

     1837.



TO ------,

WITH A COPY OF WOOLMAN'S JOURNAL.

"Get the writings of John Woolman by heart."--Essays of Elia.


     Maiden! with the fair brown tresses
     Shading o'er thy dreamy eye,
     Floating on thy thoughtful forehead
     Cloud wreaths of its sky.

     Youthful years and maiden beauty,
     Joy with them should still abide,--
     Instinct take the place of Duty,
     Love, not Reason, guide.

     Ever in the New rejoicing,
     Kindly beckoning back the Old,
     Turning, with the gift of Midas,
     All things into gold.

     And the passing shades of sadness
     Wearing even a welcome guise,
     As, when some bright lake lies open
     To the sunny skies,

     Every wing of bird above it,
     Every light cloud floating on,
     Glitters like that flashing mirror
     In the self-same sun.

     But upon thy youthful forehead
     Something like a shadow lies;
     And a serious soul is looking
     From thy earnest eyes.

     With an early introversion,
     Through the forms of outward things,
     Seeking for the subtle essence,
     And the bidden springs.

     Deeper than the gilded surface
     Hath thy wakeful vision seen,
     Farther than the narrow present
     Have thy journeyings been.

     Thou hast midst Life's empty noises
     Heard the solemn steps of Time,
     And the low mysterious voices
     Of another clime.

     All the mystery of Being
     Hath upon thy spirit pressed,--
     Thoughts which, like the Deluge wanderer,
     Find no place of rest:

     That which mystic Plato pondered,
     That which Zeno heard with awe,
     And the star-rapt Zoroaster
     In his night-watch saw.

     From the doubt and darkness springing
     Of the dim, uncertain Past,
     Moving to the dark still shadows
     O'er the Future cast,

     Early hath Life's mighty question
     Thrilled within thy heart of youth,
     With a deep and strong beseeching
     What and where is Truth?

     Hollow creed and ceremonial,
     Whence the ancient life hath fled,
     Idle faith unknown to action,
     Dull and cold and dead.

     Oracles, whose wire-worked meanings
     Only wake a quiet scorn,--
     Not from these thy seeking spirit
     Hath its answer drawn.

     But, like some tired child at even,
     On thy mother Nature's breast,
     Thou, methinks, art vainly seeking
     Truth, and peace, and rest.

     O'er that mother's rugged features
     Thou art throwing Fancy's veil,
     Light and soft as woven moonbeams,
     Beautiful and frail

     O'er the rough chart of Existence,
     Rocks of sin and wastes of woe,
     Soft airs breathe, and green leaves tremble,
     And cool fountains flow.

     And to thee an answer cometh
     From the earth and from the sky,
     And to thee the hills and waters
     And the stars reply.

     But a soul-sufficing answer
     Hath no outward origin;
     More than Nature's many voices
     May be heard within.

     Even as the great Augustine
     Questioned earth and sea and sky,
     And the dusty tomes of learning
     And old poesy.

     But his earnest spirit needed
     More than outward Nature taught;
     More than blest the poet's vision
     Or the sage's thought.

     Only in the gathered silence
     Of a calm and waiting frame,
     Light and wisdom as from Heaven
     To the seeker came.

     Not to ease and aimless quiet
     Doth that inward answer tend,
     But to works of love and duty
     As our being's end;

     Not to idle dreams and trances,
     Length of face, and solemn tone,
     But to Faith, in daily striving
     And performance shown.

     Earnest toil and strong endeavor
     Of a spirit which within
     Wrestles with familiar evil
     And besetting sin;

     And without, with tireless vigor,
     Steady heart, and weapon strong,
     In the power of truth assailing
     Every form of wrong.

     Guided thus, how passing lovely
     Is the track of Woolman's feet!
     And his brief and simple record
     How serenely sweet!

     O'er life's humblest duties throwing
     Light the earthling never knew,
     Freshening all its dark waste places
     As with Hermon's dew.

     All which glows in Pascal's pages,
     All which sainted Guion sought,
     Or the blue-eyed German Rahel
     Half-unconscious taught

     Beauty, such as Goethe pictured,
     Such as Shelley dreamed of, shed
     Living warmth and starry brightness
     Round that poor man's head.

     Not a vain and cold ideal,
     Not a poet's dream alone,
     But a presence warm and real,
     Seen and felt and known.

     When the red right-hand of slaughter
     Moulders with the steel it swung,
     When the name of seer and poet
     Dies on Memory's tongue,

     All bright thoughts and pure shall gather
     Round that meek and suffering one,--
     Glorious, like the seer-seen angel
     Standing in the sun!

     Take the good man's book and ponder
     What its pages say to thee;
     Blessed as the hand of healing
     May its lesson be.

     If it only serves to strengthen
     Yearnings for a higher good,
     For the fount of living waters
     And diviner food;

     If the pride of human reason
     Feels its meek and still rebuke,
     Quailing like the eye of Peter
     From the Just One's look!

     If with readier ear thou heedest
     What the Inward Teacher saith,
     Listening with a willing spirit
     And a childlike faith,--

     Thou mayst live to bless the giver,
     Who, himself but frail and weak,
     Would at least the highest welfare
     Of another seek;

     And his gift, though poor and lowly
     It may seem to other eyes,
     Yet may prove an angel holy
     In a pilgrim's guise.

     1840.



LEGGETT'S MONUMENT.

William Leggett, who died in 1839 at the age of thirty-seven, was the
intrepid editor of the New York Evening Post and afterward of The Plain
Dealer. His vigorous assault upon the system of slavery brought down
upon him the enmity of political defenders of the system.

"Ye build the tombs of the prophets."--Holy Writ.


     Yes, pile the marble o'er him! It is well
     That ye who mocked him in his long stern strife,
     And planted in the pathway of his life
     The ploughshares of your hatred hot from hell,
     Who clamored down the bold reformer when
     He pleaded for his captive fellow-men,
     Who spurned him in the market-place, and sought
     Within thy walls, St. Tammany, to bind
     In party chains the free and honest thought,
     The angel utterance of an upright mind,
     Well is it now that o'er his grave ye raise
     The stony tribute of your tardy praise,
     For not alone that pile shall tell to Fame
     Of the brave heart beneath, but of the builders' shame!

     1841.



TO A FRIEND, ON HER RETURN FROM EUROPE.

     How smiled the land of France
     Under thy blue eye's glance,
     Light-hearted rover
     Old walls of chateaux gray,
     Towers of an early day,
     Which the Three Colors play
     Flauntingly over.

     Now midst the brilliant train
     Thronging the banks of Seine
     Now midst the splendor
     Of the wild Alpine range,
     Waking with change on change
     Thoughts in thy young heart strange,
     Lovely, and tender.

     Vales, soft Elysian,
     Like those in the vision
     Of Mirza, when, dreaming,
     He saw the long hollow dell,
     Touched by the prophet's spell,
     Into an ocean swell
     With its isles teeming.

     Cliffs wrapped in snows of years,
     Splintering with icy spears
     Autumn's blue heaven
     Loose rock and frozen slide,
     Hung on the mountain-side,
     Waiting their hour to glide
     Downward, storm-driven!

     Rhine-stream, by castle old,
     Baron's and robber's hold,
     Peacefully flowing;
     Sweeping through vineyards green,
     Or where the cliffs are seen
     O'er the broad wave between
     Grim shadows throwing.

     Or, where St. Peter's dome
     Swells o'er eternal Rome,
     Vast, dim, and solemn;
     Hymns ever chanting low,
     Censers swung to and fro,
     Sable stoles sweeping slow
     Cornice and column!

     Oh, as from each and all
     Will there not voices call
     Evermore back again?
     In the mind's gallery
     Wilt thou not always see
     Dim phantoms beckon thee
     O'er that old track again?

     New forms thy presence haunt,
     New voices softly chant,
     New faces greet thee!
     Pilgrims from many a shrine
     Hallowed by poet's line,
     At memory's magic sign,
     Rising to meet thee.

     And when such visions come
     Unto thy olden home,
     Will they not waken
     Deep thoughts of Him whose hand
     Led thee o'er sea and land
     Back to the household band
     Whence thou wast taken?

     While, at the sunset time,
     Swells the cathedral's chime,
     Yet, in thy dreaming,
     While to thy spirit's eye
     Yet the vast mountains lie
     Piled in the Switzer's sky,
     Icy and gleaming:

     Prompter of silent prayer,
     Be the wild picture there
     In the mind's chamber,
     And, through each coming day
     Him who, as staff and stay,
     Watched o'er thy wandering way,
     Freshly remember.

     So, when the call shall be
     Soon or late unto thee,
     As to all given,
     Still may that picture live,
     All its fair forms survive,
     And to thy spirit give
     Gladness in Heaven!

     1841



LUCY HOOPER.

Lucy Hooper died at Brooklyn, L. I., on the 1st of 8th mo., 1841, aged
twenty-four years.


     They tell me, Lucy, thou art dead,
     That all of thee we loved and cherished
     Has with thy summer roses perished;
     And left, as its young beauty fled,
     An ashen memory in its stead,
     The twilight of a parted day
     Whose fading light is cold and vain,
     The heart's faint echo of a strain
     Of low, sweet music passed away.
     That true and loving heart, that gift
     Of a mind, earnest, clear, profound,
     Bestowing, with a glad unthrift,
     Its sunny light on all around,
     Affinities which only could
     Cleave to the pure, the true, and good;
     And sympathies which found no rest,
     Save with the loveliest and best.
     Of them--of thee--remains there naught
     But sorrow in the mourner's breast?
     A shadow in the land of thought?
     No! Even my weak and trembling faith
     Can lift for thee the veil which doubt
     And human fear have drawn about
     The all-awaiting scene of death.

     Even as thou wast I see thee still;
     And, save the absence of all ill
     And pain and weariness, which here
     Summoned the sigh or wrung the tear,
     The same as when, two summers back,
     Beside our childhood's Merrimac,
     I saw thy dark eye wander o'er
     Stream, sunny upland, rocky shore,
     And heard thy low, soft voice alone
     Midst lapse of waters, and the tone
     Of pine-leaves by the west-wind blown,
     There's not a charm of soul or brow,
     Of all we knew and loved in thee,
     But lives in holier beauty now,
     Baptized in immortality!
     Not mine the sad and freezing dream
     Of souls that, with their earthly mould,
     Cast off the loves and joys of old,
     Unbodied, like a pale moonbeam,
     As pure, as passionless, and cold;
     Nor mine the hope of Indra's son,
     Of slumbering in oblivion's rest,
     Life's myriads blending into one,
     In blank annihilation blest;
     Dust-atoms of the infinite,
     Sparks scattered from the central light,
     And winning back through mortal pain
     Their old unconsciousness again.
     No! I have friends in Spirit Land,
     Not shadows in a shadowy band,
     Not others, but themselves are they.
     And still I think of them the same
     As when the Master's summons came;
     Their change,--the holy morn-light breaking
     Upon the dream-worn sleeper, waking,--
     A change from twilight into day.

     They 've laid thee midst the household graves,
     Where father, brother, sister lie;
     Below thee sweep the dark blue waves,
     Above thee bends the summer sky.
     Thy own loved church in sadness read
     Her solemn ritual o'er thy head,
     And blessed and hallowed with her prayer
     The turf laid lightly o'er thee there.
     That church, whose rites and liturgy,
     Sublime and old, were truth to thee,
     Undoubted to thy bosom taken,
     As symbols of a faith unshaken.
     Even I, of simpler views, could feel
     The beauty of thy trust and zeal;
     And, owning not thy creed, could see
     How deep a truth it seemed to thee,
     And how thy fervent heart had thrown
     O'er all, a coloring of its own,
     And kindled up, intense and warm,
     A life in every rite and form,
     As. when on Chebar's banks of old,
     The Hebrew's gorgeous vision rolled,
     A spirit filled the vast machine,
     A life, "within the wheels" was seen.

     Farewell! A little time, and we
     Who knew thee well, and loved thee here,
     One after one shall follow thee
     As pilgrims through the gate of fear,
     Which opens on eternity.
     Yet shall we cherish not the less
     All that is left our hearts meanwhile;
     The memory of thy loveliness
     Shall round our weary pathway smile,
     Like moonlight when the sun has set,
     A sweet and tender radiance yet.
     Thoughts of thy clear-eyed sense of duty,
     Thy generous scorn of all things wrong,
     The truth, the strength, the graceful beauty
     Which blended in thy song.
     All lovely things, by thee beloved,
     Shall whisper to our hearts of thee;
     These green hills, where thy childhood roved,
     Yon river winding to the sea,
     The sunset light of autumn eves
     Reflecting on the deep, still floods,
     Cloud, crimson sky, and trembling leaves
     Of rainbow-tinted woods,
     These, in our view, shall henceforth take
     A tenderer meaning for thy sake;
     And all thou lovedst of earth and sky,
     Seem sacred to thy memory.

     1841.



FOLLEN. ON READING HIS ESSAY ON THE "FUTURE STATE."

Charles Follen, one of the noblest contributions of Germany to American
citizenship, was at an early age driven from his professorship in the
University of Jena, and compelled to seek shelter from official
prosecution in Switzerland, on account of his liberal political
opinions. He became Professor of Civil Law in the University of Basle.
The governments of Prussia, Austria, and Russia united in demanding his
delivery as a political offender; and, in consequence, he left
Switzerland, and came to the United States. At the time of the formation
of the American Anti-Slavery Society he was a Professor in Harvard
University, honored for his genius, learning, and estimable character.
His love of liberty and hatred of oppression led him to seek an
interview with Garrison and express his sympathy with him. Soon after,
he attended a meeting of the New England Anti-Slavery Society. An able
speech was made by Rev. A. A. Phelps, and a letter of mine addressed to
the Secretary of the Society was read. Whereupon he rose and stated that
his views were in unison with those of the Society, and that after
hearing the speech and the letter, he was ready to join it, and abide
the probable consequences of such an unpopular act. He lost by so doing
his professorship. He was an able member of the Executive Committee of
the American Anti-Slavery Society. He perished in the ill-fated steamer
Lexington, which was burned on its passage from New York, January 13,
1840. The few writings left behind him show him to have been a profound
thinker of rare spiritual insight.


     Friend of my soul! as with moist eye
     I look up from this page of thine,
     Is it a dream that thou art nigh,
     Thy mild face gazing into mine?

     That presence seems before me now,
     A placid heaven of sweet moonrise,
     When, dew-like, on the earth below
     Descends the quiet of the skies.

     The calm brow through the parted hair,
     The gentle lips which knew no guile,
     Softening the blue eye's thoughtful care
     With the bland beauty of their smile.

     Ah me! at times that last dread scene
     Of Frost and Fire and moaning Sea
     Will cast its shade of doubt between
     The failing eyes of Faith and thee.

     Yet, lingering o'er thy charmed page,
     Where through the twilight air of earth,
     Alike enthusiast and sage,
     Prophet and bard, thou gazest forth,

     Lifting the Future's solemn veil;
     The reaching of a mortal hand
     To put aside the cold and pale
     Cloud-curtains of the Unseen Land;

     Shall these poor elements outlive
     The mind whose kingly will, they wrought?
     Their gross unconsciousness survive
     Thy godlike energy of thought?

     In thoughts which answer to my own,
     In words which reach my inward ear,
     Like whispers from the void Unknown,
     I feel thy living presence here.

     The waves which lull thy body's rest,
     The dust thy pilgrim footsteps trod,
     Unwasted, through each change, attest
     The fixed economy of God.

     Thou livest, Follen! not in vain
     Hath thy fine spirit meekly borne
     The burthen of Life's cross of pain,
     And the thorned crown of suffering worn.

     Oh, while Life's solemn mystery glooms
     Around us like a dungeon's wall,
     Silent earth's pale and crowded tombs,
     Silent the heaven which bends o'er all!

     While day by day our loved ones glide
     In spectral silence, hushed and lone,
     To the cold shadows which divide
     The living from the dread Unknown;

     While even on the closing eye,
     And on the lip which moves in vain,
     The seals of that stern mystery
     Their undiscovered trust retain;

     And only midst the gloom of death,
     Its mournful doubts and haunting fears,
     Two pale, sweet angels, Hope and Faith,
     Smile dimly on us through their tears;

     'T is something to a heart like mine
     To think of thee as living yet;
     To feel that such a light as thine
     Could not in utter darkness set.

     Less dreary seems the untried way
     Since thou hast left thy footprints there,
     And beams of mournful beauty play
     Round the sad Angel's sable hair.

     Oh! at this hour when half the sky
     Is glorious with its evening light,
     And fair broad fields of summer lie
     Hung o'er with greenness in my sight;

     While through these elm-boughs wet with rain
     The sunset's golden walls are seen,
     With clover-bloom and yellow grain
     And wood-draped hill and stream between;

     I long to know if scenes like this
     Are hidden from an angel's eyes;
     If earth's familiar loveliness
     Haunts not thy heaven's serener skies.

     For sweetly here upon thee grew
     The lesson which that beauty gave,
     The ideal of the pure and true
     In earth and sky and gliding wave.

     And it may be that all which lends
     The soul an upward impulse here,
     With a diviner beauty blends,
     And greets us in a holier sphere.

     Through groves where blighting never fell
     The humbler flowers of earth may twine;
     And simple draughts-from childhood's well
     Blend with the angel-tasted wine.

     But be the prying vision veiled,
     And let the seeking lips be dumb,
     Where even seraph eyes have failed
     Shall mortal blindness seek to come?

     We only know that thou hast gone,
     And that the same returnless tide
     Which bore thee from us still glides on,
     And we who mourn thee with it glide.

     On all thou lookest we shall look,
     And to our gaze erelong shall turn
     That page of God's mysterious book
     We so much wish yet dread to learn.

     With Him, before whose awful power
     Thy spirit bent its trembling knee;
     Who, in the silent greeting flower,
     And forest leaf, looked out on thee,

     We leave thee, with a trust serene,
     Which Time, nor Change, nor Death can move,
     While with thy childlike faith we lean
     On Him whose dearest name is Love!

     1842.



TO J. P.

John Pierpont, the eloquent preacher and poet of Boston.


     Not as a poor requital of the joy
     With which my childhood heard that lay of thine,
     Which, like an echo of the song divine
     At Bethlehem breathed above the Holy Boy,
     Bore to my ear the Airs of Palestine,--
     Not to the poet, but the man I bring
     In friendship's fearless trust my offering
     How much it lacks I feel, and thou wilt see,
     Yet well I know that thou Last deemed with me
     Life all too earnest, and its time too short
     For dreamy ease and Fancy's graceful sport;
     And girded for thy constant strife with wrong,
     Like Nehemiah fighting while he wrought
     The broken walls of Zion, even thy song
     Hath a rude martial tone, a blow in every thought!

     1843.



CHALKLEY HALL.

     Chalkley Hall, near Frankford, Pa., was the residence of Thomas
     Chalkley, an eminent minister of the Friends' denomination. He was
     one of the early settlers of the Colony, and his Journal, which was
     published in 1749, presents a quaint but beautiful picture of a
     life of unostentatious and simple goodness. He was the master of a
     merchant vessel, and, in his visits to the west Indies and Great
     Britain, omitted no opportunity to labor for the highest interests
     of his fellow-men. During a temporary residence in Philadelphia, in
     the summer of 1838, the quiet and beautiful scenery around the
     ancient village of Frankford frequently attracted me from the heat
     and bustle of the city. I have referred to my youthful acquaintance
     with his writings in Snow-Bound.


     How bland and sweet the greeting of this breeze
     To him who flies
     From crowded street and red wall's weary gleam,
     Till far behind him like a hideous dream
     The close dark city lies
     Here, while the market murmurs, while men throng
     The marble floor
     Of Mammon's altar, from the crush and din
     Of the world's madness let me gather in
     My better thoughts once more.

     Oh, once again revive, while on my ear
     The cry of Gain
     And low hoarse hum of Traffic die away,
     Ye blessed memories of my early day
     Like sere grass wet with rain!

     Once more let God's green earth and sunset air
     Old feelings waken;
     Through weary years of toil and strife and ill,
     Oh, let me feel that my good angel still
     Hath not his trust forsaken.

     And well do time and place befit my mood
     Beneath the arms
     Of this embracing wood, a good man made
     His home, like Abraham resting in the shade
     Of Mamre's lonely palms.

     Here, rich with autumn gifts of countless years,
     The virgin soil
     Turned from the share he guided, and in rain
     And summer sunshine throve the fruits and grain
     Which blessed his honest toil.

     Here, from his voyages on the stormy seas,
     Weary and worn,
     He came to meet his children and to bless
     The Giver of all good in thankfulness
     And praise for his return.

     And here his neighbors gathered in to greet
     Their friend again,
     Safe from the wave and the destroying gales,
     Which reap untimely green Bermuda's vales,
     And vex the Carib main.

     To hear the good man tell of simple truth,
     Sown in an hour
     Of weakness in some far-off Indian isle,
     From the parched bosom of a barren soil,
     Raised up in life and power.

     How at those gatherings in Barbadian vales,
     A tendering love
     Came o'er him, like the gentle rain from heaven,
     And words of fitness to his lips were given,
     And strength as from above.

     How the sad captive listened to the Word,
     Until his chain
     Grew lighter, and his wounded spirit felt
     The healing balm of consolation melt
     Upon its life-long pain

     How the armed warrior sat him down to hear
     Of Peace and Truth,
     And the proud ruler and his Creole dame,
     Jewelled and gorgeous in her beauty came,
     And fair and bright-eyed youth.

     Oh, far away beneath New England's sky,
     Even when a boy,
     Following my plough by Merrimac's green shore,
     His simple record I have pondered o'er
     With deep and quiet joy.

     And hence this scene, in sunset glory warm,--
     Its woods around,
     Its still stream winding on in light and shade,
     Its soft, green meadows and its upland glade,--
     To me is holy ground.

     And dearer far than haunts where Genius keeps
     His vigils still;
     Than that where Avon's son of song is laid,
     Or Vaucluse hallowed by its Petrarch's shade,
     Or Virgil's laurelled hill.

     To the gray walls of fallen Paraclete,
     To Juliet's urn,
     Fair Arno and Sorrento's orange-grove,
     Where Tasso sang, let young Romance and Love
     Like brother pilgrims turn.

     But here a deeper and serener charm
     To all is given;
     And blessed memories of the faithful dead
     O'er wood and vale and meadow-stream have shed
     The holy hues of Heaven!

     1843.



GONE

     Another hand is beckoning us,
     Another call is given;
     And glows once more with Angel-steps
     The path which reaches Heaven.

     Our young and gentle friend, whose smile
     Made brighter summer hours,
     Amid the frosts of autumn time
     Has left us with the flowers.

     No paling of the cheek of bloom
     Forewarned us of decay;
     No shadow from the Silent Land
     Fell round our sister's way.

     The light of her young life went down,
     As sinks behind the hill
     The glory of a setting star,
     Clear, suddenly, and still.

     As pure and sweet, her fair brow seemed
     Eternal as the sky;
     And like the brook's low song, her voice,--
     A sound which could not die.

     And half we deemed she needed not
     The changing of her sphere,
     To give to Heaven a Shining One,
     Who walked an Angel here.

     The blessing of her quiet life
     Fell on us like the dew;
     And good thoughts where her footsteps pressed
     Like fairy blossoms grew.

     Sweet promptings unto kindest deeds
     Were in her very look;
     We read her face, as one who reads
     A true and holy book,

     The measure of a blessed hymn,
     To which our hearts could move;
     The breathing of an inward psalm,
     A canticle of love.

     We miss her in the place of prayer,
     And by the hearth-fire's light;
     We pause beside her door to hear
     Once more her sweet "Good-night!"

     There seems a shadow on the day,
     Her smile no longer cheers;
     A dimness on the stars of night,
     Like eyes that look through tears.

     Alone unto our Father's will
     One thought hath reconciled;
     That He whose love exceedeth ours
     Hath taken home His child.

     Fold her, O Father! in Thine arms,
     And let her henceforth be
     A messenger of love between
     Our human hearts and Thee.

     Still let her mild rebuking stand
     Between us and the wrong,
     And her dear memory serve to make
     Our faith in Goodness strong.

     And grant that she who, trembling, here
     Distrusted all her powers,
     May welcome to her holier home
     The well-beloved of ours.

     1845.



TO RONGE.

This was written after reading the powerful and manly protest of
Johannes Ronge against the "pious fraud" of the Bishop of Treves. The
bold movement of the young Catholic priest of Prussian Silesia seemed to
me full of promise to the cause of political as well as religious
liberty in Europe. That it failed was due partly to the faults of the
reformer, but mainly to the disagreement of the Liberals of Germany upon
a matter of dogma, which prevented them from unity of action. Rouge was
born in Silesia in 1813 and died in October, 1887. His autobiography was
translated into English and published in London in 1846.


     Strike home, strong-hearted man! Down to the root
     Of old oppression sink the Saxon steel.
     Thy work is to hew down. In God's name then
     Put nerve into thy task. Let other men
     Plant, as they may, that better tree whose fruit
     The wounded bosom of the Church shall heal.
     Be thou the image-breaker. Let thy blows
     Fall heavy as the Suabian's iron hand,
     On crown or crosier, which shall interpose
     Between thee and the weal of Fatherland.
     Leave creeds to closet idlers. First of all,
     Shake thou all German dream-land with the fall
     Of that accursed tree, whose evil trunk
     Was spared of old by Erfurt's stalwart monk.
     Fight not with ghosts and shadows. Let us hear
     The snap of chain-links. Let our gladdened ear
     Catch the pale prisoner's welcome, as the light
     Follows thy axe-stroke, through his cell of night.
     Be faithful to both worlds; nor think to feed
     Earth's starving millions with the husks of creed.
     Servant of Him whose mission high and holy
     Was to the wronged, the sorrowing, and the lowly,
     Thrust not his Eden promise from our sphere,
     Distant and dim beyond the blue sky's span;
     Like him of Patmos, see it, now and here,
     The New Jerusalem comes down to man
     Be warned by Luther's error. Nor like him,
     When the roused Teuton dashes from his limb
     The rusted chain of ages, help to bind
     His hands for whom thou claim'st the freedom of the mind.

     1846.



CHANNING.

The last time I saw Dr. Channing was in the summer of 1841, when, in
company with my English friend, Joseph Sturge, so well known for his
philanthropic labors and liberal political opinions, I visited him in
his summer residence in Rhode Island. In recalling the impressions of
that visit, it can scarcely be necessary to say, that I have no
reference to the peculiar religious opinions of a man whose life,
beautifully and truly manifested above the atmosphere of sect, is now
the world's common legacy.


     Not vainly did old poets tell,
     Nor vainly did old genius paint
     God's great and crowning miracle,
     The hero and the saint!

     For even in a faithless day
     Can we our sainted ones discern;
     And feel, while with them on the way,
     Our hearts within us burn.

     And thus the common tongue and pen
     Which, world-wide, echo Channing's fame,
     As one of Heaven's anointed men,
     Have sanctified his name.

     In vain shall Rome her portals bar,
     And shut from him her saintly prize,
     Whom, in the world's great calendar,
     All men shall canonize.

     By Narragansett's sunny bay,
     Beneath his green embowering wood,
     To me it seems but yesterday
     Since at his side I stood.

     The slopes lay green with summer rains,
     The western wind blew fresh and free,
     And glimmered down the orchard lanes
     The white surf of the sea.

     With us was one, who, calm and true,
     Life's highest purpose understood,
     And, like his blessed Master, knew
     The joy of doing good.

     Unlearned, unknown to lettered fame,
     Yet on the lips of England's poor
     And toiling millions dwelt his name,
     With blessings evermore.

     Unknown to power or place, yet where
     The sun looks o'er the Carib sea,
     It blended with the freeman's prayer
     And song of jubilee.

     He told of England's sin and wrong,
     The ills her suffering children know,
     The squalor of the city's throng,
     The green field's want and woe.

     O'er Channing's face the tenderness
     Of sympathetic sorrow stole,
     Like a still shadow, passionless,
     The sorrow of the soul.

     But when the generous Briton told
     How hearts were answering to his own,
     And Freedom's rising murmur rolled
     Up to the dull-eared throne,

     I saw, methought, a glad surprise
     Thrill through that frail and pain-worn frame,
     And, kindling in those deep, calm eyes,
     A still and earnest flame.

     His few, brief words were such as move
     The human heart,--the Faith-sown seeds
     Which ripen in the soil of love
     To high heroic deeds.

     No bars of sect or clime were felt,
     The Babel strife of tongues had ceased,
     And at one common altar knelt
     The Quaker and the priest.

     And not in vain: with strength renewed,
     And zeal refreshed, and hope less dim,
     For that brief meeting, each pursued
     The path allotted him.

     How echoes yet each Western hill
     And vale with Channing's dying word!
     How are the hearts of freemen still
     By that great warning stirred.

     The stranger treads his native soil,
     And pleads, with zeal unfelt before,
     The honest right of British toil,
     The claim of England's poor.

     Before him time-wrought barriers fall,
     Old fears subside, old hatreds melt,
     And, stretching o'er the sea's blue wall,
     The Saxon greets the Celt.

     The yeoman on the Scottish lines,
     The Sheffield grinder, worn and grim,
     The delver in the Cornwall mines,
     Look up with hope to him.

     Swart smiters of the glowing steel,
     Dark feeders of the forge's flame,
     Pale watchers at the loom and wheel,
     Repeat his honored name.

     And thus the influence of that hour
     Of converse on Rhode Island's strand
     Lives in the calm, resistless power
     Which moves our fatherland.

     God blesses still the generous thought,
     And still the fitting word He speeds
     And Truth, at His requiring taught,
     He quickens into deeds.

     Where is the victory of the grave?
     What dust upon the spirit lies?
     God keeps the sacred life he gave,--
     The prophet never dies!

     1844.



TO MY FRIEND ON THE DEATH OF HIS SISTER.

Sophia Sturge, sister of Joseph Sturge, of Birmingham, the President of
the British Complete Suffrage Association, died in the 6th month, 1845.
She was the colleague, counsellor, and ever-ready helpmate of her
brother in all his vast designs of beneficence. The Birmingham Pilot
says of her: "Never, perhaps, were the active and passive virtues of the
human character more harmoniously and beautifully blended than in this
excellent woman."


     Thine is a grief, the depth of which another
     May never know;
     Yet, o'er the waters, O my stricken brother!
     To thee I go.

     I lean my heart unto thee, sadly folding
     Thy hand in mine;
     With even the weakness of my soul upholding
     The strength of thine.

     I never knew, like thee, the dear departed;
     I stood not by
     When, in calm trust, the pure and tranquil-hearted
     Lay down to die.

     And on thy ears my words of weak condoling
     Must vainly fall
     The funeral bell which in thy heart is tolling,
     Sounds over all!

     I will not mock thee with the poor world's common
     And heartless phrase,
     Nor wrong the memory of a sainted woman
     With idle praise.

     With silence only as their benediction,
     God's angels come
     Where, in the shadow of a great affliction,
     The soul sits dumb!

     Yet, would I say what thy own heart approveth
     Our Father's will,
     Calling to Him the dear one whom He loveth,
     Is mercy still.

     Not upon thee or thine the solemn angel
     Hath evil wrought
     Her funeral anthem is a glad evangel,--
     The good die not!

     God calls our loved ones, but we lose not wholly
     What He hath given;
     They live on earth, in thought and deed, as truly
     As in His heaven.

     And she is with thee; in thy path of trial
     She walketh yet;
     Still with the baptism of thy self-denial
     Her locks are wet.

     Up, then, my brother! Lo, the fields of harvest
     Lie white in view
     She lives and loves thee, and the God thou servest
     To both is true.

     Thrust in thy sickle! England's toilworn peasants
     Thy call abide;
     And she thou mourn'st, a pure and holy presence,
     Shall glean beside!
     1845.



DANIEL WHEELER

Daniel Wheeler, a minister of the Society of Friends, who had labored in
the cause of his Divine Master in Great Britain, Russia, and the islands
of the Pacific, died in New York in the spring of 1840, while on a
religious visit to this country.


     O Dearly loved!
     And worthy of our love! No more
     Thy aged form shall rise before
     The bushed and waiting worshiper,
     In meek obedience utterance giving
     To words of truth, so fresh and living,
     That, even to the inward sense,
     They bore unquestioned evidence
     Of an anointed Messenger!
     Or, bowing down thy silver hair
     In reverent awfulness of prayer,
     The world, its time and sense, shut out
     The brightness of Faith's holy trance
     Gathered upon thy countenance,
     As if each lingering cloud of doubt,
     The cold, dark shadows resting here
     In Time's unluminous atmosphere,
     Were lifted by an angel's hand,
     And through them on thy spiritual eye
     Shone down the blessedness on high,
     The glory of the Better Land!

     The oak has fallen!
     While, meet for no good work, the vine
     May yet its worthless branches twine,
     Who knoweth not that with thee fell
     A great man in our Israel?
     Fallen, while thy loins were girded still,
     Thy feet with Zion's dews still wet,
     And in thy hand retaining yet
     The pilgrim's staff and scallop-shell
     Unharmed and safe, where, wild and free,
     Across the Neva's cold morass
     The breezes from the Frozen Sea
     With winter's arrowy keenness pass;
     Or where the unwarning tropic gale
     Smote to the waves thy tattered sail,
     Or where the noon-hour's fervid heat
     Against Tahiti's mountains beat;
     The same mysterious Hand which gave
     Deliverance upon land and wave,
     Tempered for thee the blasts which blew
     Ladaga's frozen surface o'er,
     And blessed for thee the baleful dew
     Of evening upon Eimeo's shore,
     Beneath this sunny heaven of ours,
     Midst our soft airs and opening flowers
     Hath given thee a grave!

     His will be done,
     Who seeth not as man, whose way
     Is not as ours! 'T is well with thee!
     Nor anxious doubt nor dark dismay
     Disquieted thy closing day,
     But, evermore, thy soul could say,
     "My Father careth still for me!"
     Called from thy hearth and home,--from her,
     The last bud on thy household tree,
     The last dear one to minister
     In duty and in love to thee,
     From all which nature holdeth dear,
     Feeble with years and worn with pain,
     To seek our distant land again,
     Bound in the spirit, yet unknowing
     The things which should befall thee here,
     Whether for labor or for death,
     In childlike trust serenely going
     To that last trial of thy faith!
     Oh, far away,
     Where never shines our Northern star
     On that dark waste which Balboa saw
     From Darien's mountains stretching far,
     So strange, heaven-broad, and lone, that there,
     With forehead to its damp wind bare,
     He bent his mailed knee in awe;
     In many an isle whose coral feet
     The surges of that ocean beat,
     In thy palm shadows, Oahu,
     And Honolulu's silver bay,
     Amidst Owyhee's hills of blue,
     And taro-plains of Tooboonai,
     Are gentle hearts, which long shall be
     Sad as our own at thought of thee,
     Worn sowers of Truth's holy seed,
     Whose souls in weariness and need
     Were strengthened and refreshed by thine.
     For blessed by our Father's hand
     Was thy deep love and tender care,
     Thy ministry and fervent prayer,--
     Grateful as Eshcol's clustered vine
     To Israel in a weary land.

     And they who drew
     By thousands round thee, in the hour
     Of prayerful waiting, hushed and deep,
     That He who bade the islands keep
     Silence before Him, might renew
     Their strength with His unslumbering power,
     They too shall mourn that thou art gone,
     That nevermore thy aged lip
     Shall soothe the weak, the erring warn,
     Of those who first, rejoicing, heard
     Through thee the Gospel's glorious word,--
     Seals of thy true apostleship.
     And, if the brightest diadem,
     Whose gems of glory purely burn
     Around the ransomed ones in bliss,
     Be evermore reserved for them
     Who here, through toil and sorrow, turn
     Many to righteousness,
     May we not think of thee as wearing
     That star-like crown of light, and bearing,
     Amidst Heaven's white and blissful band,
     Th' unfading palm-branch in thy hand;
     And joining with a seraph's tongue
     In that new song the elders sung,
     Ascribing to its blessed Giver
     Thanksgiving, love, and praise forever!

     Farewell!
     And though the ways of Zion mourn
     When her strong ones are called away,
     Who like thyself have calmly borne
     The heat and burden of the day,
     Yet He who slumbereth not nor sleepeth
     His ancient watch around us keepeth;
     Still, sent from His creating hand,
     New witnesses for Truth shall stand,
     New instruments to sound abroad
     The Gospel of a risen Lord;
     To gather to the fold once more
     The desolate and gone astray,
     The scattered of a cloudy day,
     And Zion's broken walls restore;
     And, through the travail and the toil
     Of true obedience, minister
     Beauty for ashes, and the oil
     Of joy for mourning, unto her!
     So shall her holy bounds increase
     With walls of praise and gates of peace
     So shall the Vine, which martyr tears
     And blood sustained in other years,
     With fresher life be clothed upon;
     And to the world in beauty show
     Like the rose-plant of Jericho,
     And glorious as Lebanon!

     1847



TO FREDRIKA BREMER.

It is proper to say that these lines are the joint impromptus of my
sister and myself. They are inserted here as an expression of our
admiration of the gifted stranger whom we have since learned to love as
a friend.


     Seeress of the misty Norland,
     Daughter of the Vikings bold,
     Welcome to the sunny Vineland,
     Which thy fathers sought of old!

     Soft as flow of Siija's waters,
     When the moon of summer shines,
     Strong as Winter from his mountains
     Roaring through the sleeted pines.

     Heart and ear, we long have listened
     To thy saga, rune, and song;
     As a household joy and presence
     We have known and loved thee long.

     By the mansion's marble mantel,
     Round the log-walled cabin's hearth,
     Thy sweet thoughts and northern fancies
     Meet and mingle with our mirth.

     And o'er weary spirits keeping
     Sorrow's night-watch, long and chill,
     Shine they like thy sun of summer
     Over midnight vale and hill.

     We alone to thee are strangers,
     Thou our friend and teacher art;
     Come, and know us as we know thee;
     Let us meet thee heart to heart!

     To our homes and household altars
     We, in turn, thy steps would lead,
     As thy loving hand has led us
     O'er the threshold of the Swede.

     1849.



TO AVIS KEENE ON RECEIVING A BASKET OF SEA-MOSSES.

     Thanks for thy gift
     Of ocean flowers,
     Born where the golden drift
     Of the slant sunshine falls
     Down the green, tremulous walls
     Of water, to the cool, still coral bowers,
     Where, under rainbows of perpetual showers,
     God's gardens of the deep
     His patient angels keep;
     Gladdening the dim, strange solitude
     With fairest forms and hues, and thus
     Forever teaching us
     The lesson which the many-colored skies,
     The flowers, and leaves, and painted butterflies,
     The deer's branched antlers, the gay bird that flings
     The tropic sunshine from its golden wings,
     The brightness of the human countenance,
     Its play of smiles, the magic of a glance,
     Forevermore repeat,
     In varied tones and sweet,
     That beauty, in and of itself, is good.

     O kind and generous friend, o'er whom
     The sunset hues of Time are cast,
     Painting, upon the overpast
     And scattered clouds of noonday sorrow
     The promise of a fairer morrow,
     An earnest of the better life to come;
     The binding of the spirit broken,
     The warning to the erring spoken,
     The comfort of the sad,
     The eye to see, the hand to cull
     Of common things the beautiful,
     The absent heart made glad
     By simple gift or graceful token
     Of love it needs as daily food,
     All own one Source, and all are good
     Hence, tracking sunny cove and reach,
     Where spent waves glimmer up the beach,
     And toss their gifts of weed and shell
     From foamy curve and combing swell,
     No unbefitting task was thine
     To weave these flowers so soft and fair
     In unison with His design
     Who loveth beauty everywhere;
     And makes in every zone and clime,
     In ocean and in upper air,
     All things beautiful in their time.

     For not alone in tones of awe and power
     He speaks to Inan;
     The cloudy horror of the thunder-shower
     His rainbows span;
     And where the caravan
     Winds o'er the desert, leaving, as in air
     The crane-flock leaves, no trace of passage there,
     He gives the weary eye
     The palm-leaf shadow for the hot noon hours,
     And on its branches dry
     Calls out the acacia's flowers;
     And where the dark shaft pierces down
     Beneath the mountain roots,
     Seen by the miner's lamp alone,
     The star-like crystal shoots;
     So, where, the winds and waves below,
     The coral-branched gardens grow,
     His climbing weeds and mosses show,
     Like foliage, on each stony bough,
     Of varied hues more strangely gay
     Than forest leaves in autumn's day;--
     Thus evermore,
     On sky, and wave, and shore,
     An all-pervading beauty seems to say
     God's love and power are one; and they,
     Who, like the thunder of a sultry day,
     Smite to restore,
     And they, who, like the gentle wind, uplift
     The petals of the dew-wet flowers, and drift
     Their perfume on the air,
     Alike may serve Him, each, with their own gift,
     Making their lives a prayer!

     1850



THE HILL-TOP

     The burly driver at my side,
     We slowly climbed the hill,
     Whose summit, in the hot noontide,
     Seemed rising, rising still.
     At last, our short noon-shadows bid
     The top-stone, bare and brown,
     From whence, like Gizeh's pyramid,
     The rough mass slanted down.

     I felt the cool breath of the North;
     Between me and the sun,
     O'er deep, still lake, and ridgy earth,
     I saw the cloud-shades run.
     Before me, stretched for glistening miles,
     Lay mountain-girdled Squam;
     Like green-winged birds, the leafy isles
     Upon its bosom swam.

     And, glimmering through the sun-haze warm,
     Far as the eye could roam,
     Dark billows of an earthquake storm
     Beflecked with clouds like foam,
     Their vales in misty shadow deep,
     Their rugged peaks in shine,
     I saw the mountain ranges sweep
     The horizon's northern line.

     There towered Chocorua's peak; and west,
     Moosehillock's woods were seem,
     With many a nameless slide-scarred crest
     And pine-dark gorge between.
     Beyond them, like a sun-rimmed cloud,
     The great Notch mountains shone,
     Watched over by the solemn-browed
     And awful face of stone!

     "A good look-off!" the driver spake;
     "About this time, last year,
     I drove a party to the Lake,
     And stopped, at evening, here.
     'T was duskish down below; but all
     These hills stood in the sun,
     Till, dipped behind yon purple wall,
     He left them, one by one.

     "A lady, who, from Thornton hill,
     Had held her place outside,
     And, as a pleasant woman will,
     Had cheered the long, dull ride,
     Besought me, with so sweet a smile,
     That--though I hate delays--
     I could not choose but rest awhile,--
     (These women have such ways!)

     "On yonder mossy ledge she sat,
     Her sketch upon her knees,
     A stray brown lock beneath her hat
     Unrolling in the breeze;
     Her sweet face, in the sunset light
     Upraised and glorified,--
     I never saw a prettier sight
     In all my mountain ride.

     "As good as fair; it seemed her joy
     To comfort and to give;
     My poor, sick wife, and cripple boy,
     Will bless her while they live!"
     The tremor in the driver's tone
     His manhood did not shame
     "I dare say, sir, you may have known"--
     He named a well-known name.

     Then sank the pyramidal mounds,
     The blue lake fled away;
     For mountain-scope a parlor's bounds,
     A lighted hearth for day!
     From lonely years and weary miles
     The shadows fell apart;
     Kind voices cheered, sweet human smiles
     Shone warm into my heart.

     We journeyed on; but earth and sky
     Had power to charm no more;
     Still dreamed my inward-turning eye
     The dream of memory o'er.
     Ah! human kindness, human love,--
     To few who seek denied;
     Too late we learn to prize above
     The whole round world beside!

     1850



ELLIOTT.

Ebenezer Elliott was to the artisans of England what Burns was to the
peasantry of Scotland. His Corn-law Rhymes contributed not a little to
that overwhelming tide of popular opinion and feeling which resulted in
the repeal of the tax on bread. Well has the eloquent author of The
Reforms and Reformers of Great Britain said of him, "Not corn-law
repealers alone, but all Britons who moisten their scanty bread with the
sweat of the brow, are largely indebted to his inspiring lay, for the
mighty bound which the laboring mind of England has taken in our day."


     Hands off! thou tithe-fat plunderer! play
     No trick of priestcraft here!
     Back, puny lordling! darest thou lay
     A hand on Elliott's bier?
     Alive, your rank and pomp, as dust,
     Beneath his feet he trod.

     He knew the locust swarm that cursed
     The harvest-fields of God.
     On these pale lips, the smothered thought
     Which England's millions feel,
     A fierce and fearful splendor caught,
     As from his forge the steel.
     Strong-armed as Thor, a shower of fire
     His smitten anvil flung;
     God's curse, Earth's wrong, dumb Hunger's ire,
     He gave them all a tongue!

     Then let the poor man's horny hands
     Bear up the mighty dead,
     And labor's swart and stalwart bands
     Behind as mourners tread.
     Leave cant and craft their baptized bounds,
     Leave rank its minster floor;
     Give England's green and daisied grounds
     The poet of the poor!

     Lay down upon his Sheaf's green verge
     That brave old heart of oak,
     With fitting dirge from sounding forge,
     And pall of furnace smoke!
     Where whirls the stone its dizzy rounds,
     And axe and sledge are swung,
     And, timing to their stormy sounds,
     His stormy lays are sung.

     There let the peasant's step be heard,
     The grinder chant his rhyme,
     Nor patron's praise nor dainty word
     Befits the man or time.
     No soft lament nor dreamer's sigh
     For him whose words were bread;
     The Runic rhyme and spell whereby
     The foodless poor were fed!

     Pile up the tombs of rank and pride,
     O England, as thou wilt!
     With pomp to nameless worth denied,
     Emblazon titled guilt!
     No part or lot in these we claim;
     But, o'er the sounding wave,
     A common right to Elliott's name,
     A freehold in his grave!

     1850



ICHABOD

This poem was the outcome of the surprise and grief and forecast of evil
consequences which I felt on reading the seventh of March speech of
Daniel Webster in support of the "compromise," and the Fugitive Slave
Law. No partisan or personal enmity dictated it. On the contrary my
admiration of the splendid personality and intellectual power of the
great Senator was never stronger than when I laid down his speech, and,
in one of the saddest moments of my life, penned my protest. I saw, as I
wrote, with painful clearness its sure results,--the Slave Power
arrogant and defiant, strengthened and encouraged to carry out its
scheme for the extension of its baleful system, or the dissolution of
the Union, the guaranties of personal liberty in the free States broken
down, and the whole country made the hunting-ground of slave-catchers.
In the horror of such a vision, so soon fearfully fulfilled, if one
spoke at all, he could only speak in tones of stern and sorrowful
rebuke. But death softens all resentments, and the consciousness of a
common inheritance of frailty and weakness modifies the severity of
judgment. Years after, in _The Lost Occasion_ I gave utterance to an
almost universal regret that the great statesman did not live to see the
flag which he loved trampled under the feet of Slavery, and, in view of
this desecration, make his last days glorious in defence of "Liberty and
Union, one and inseparable."


     So fallen! so lost! the light withdrawn
     Which once he wore!
     The glory from his gray hairs gone
     Forevermore!

     Revile him not, the Tempter hath
     A snare for all;
     And pitying tears, not scorn and wrath,
     Befit his fall!

     Oh, dumb be passion's stormy rage,
     When he who might
     Have lighted up and led his age,
     Falls back in night.

     Scorn! would the angels laugh, to mark
     A bright soul driven,
     Fiend-goaded, down the endless dark,
     From hope and heaven!

     Let not the land once proud of him
     Insult him now,
     Nor brand with deeper shame his dim,
     Dishonored brow.

     But let its humbled sons, instead,
     From sea to lake,
     A long lament, as for the dead,
     In sadness make.

     Of all we loved and honored, naught
     Save power remains;
     A fallen angel's pride of thought,
     Still strong in chains.

     All else is gone; from those great eyes
     The soul has fled
     When faith is lost, when honor dies,
     The man is dead!

     Then, pay the reverence of old days
     To his dead fame;
     Walk backward, with averted gaze,
     And hide the shame!

     1850



THE LOST OCCASION.

     Some die too late and some too soon,
     At early morning, heat of noon,
     Or the chill evening twilight. Thou,
     Whom the rich heavens did so endow
     With eyes of power and Jove's own brow,
     With all the massive strength that fills
     Thy home-horizon's granite hills,
     With rarest gifts of heart and head
     From manliest stock inherited,
     New England's stateliest type of man,
     In port and speech Olympian;

     Whom no one met, at first, but took
     A second awed and wondering look
     (As turned, perchance, the eyes of Greece
     On Phidias' unveiled masterpiece);
     Whose words in simplest homespun clad,
     The Saxon strength of Caedmon's had,
     With power reserved at need to reach
     The Roman forum's loftiest speech,
     Sweet with persuasion, eloquent
     In passion, cool in argument,
     Or, ponderous, falling on thy foes
     As fell the Norse god's hammer blows,
     Crushing as if with Talus' flail
     Through Error's logic-woven mail,
     And failing only when they tried
     The adamant of the righteous side,--
     Thou, foiled in aim and hope, bereaved
     Of old friends, by the new deceived,
     Too soon for us, too soon for thee,
     Beside thy lonely Northern sea,
     Where long and low the marsh-lands spread,
     Laid wearily down thy August head.

     Thou shouldst have lived to feel below
     Thy feet Disunion's fierce upthrow;
     The late-sprung mine that underlaid
     Thy sad concessions vainly made.
     Thou shouldst have seen from Sumter's wall
     The star-flag of the Union fall,
     And armed rebellion pressing on
     The broken lines of Washington!
     No stronger voice than thine had then
     Called out the utmost might of men,
     To make the Union's charter free
     And strengthen law by liberty.
     How had that stern arbitrament
     To thy gray age youth's vigor lent,
     Shaming ambition's paltry prize
     Before thy disillusioned eyes;
     Breaking the spell about thee wound
     Like the green withes that Samson bound;
     Redeeming in one effort grand,
     Thyself and thy imperilled land!
     Ah, cruel fate, that closed to thee,
     O sleeper by the Northern sea,
     The gates of opportunity!
     God fills the gaps of human need,
     Each crisis brings its word and deed.
     Wise men and strong we did not lack;
     But still, with memory turning back,
     In the dark hours we thought of thee,
     And thy lone grave beside the sea.

     Above that grave the east winds blow,
     And from the marsh-lands drifting slow
     The sea-fog comes, with evermore
     The wave-wash of a lonely shore,
     And sea-bird's melancholy cry,
     As Nature fain would typify
     The sadness of a closing scene,
     The loss of that which should have been.
     But, where thy native mountains bare
     Their foreheads to diviner air,
     Fit emblem of enduring fame,
     One lofty summit keeps thy name.
     For thee the cosmic forces did
     The rearing of that pyramid,
     The prescient ages shaping with
     Fire, flood, and frost thy monolith.
     Sunrise and sunset lay thereon
     With hands of light their benison,
     The stars of midnight pause to set
     Their jewels in its coronet.
     And evermore that mountain mass
     Seems climbing from the shadowy pass
     To light, as if to manifest
     Thy nobler self, thy life at best!

     1880



WORDSWORTH, WRITTEN ON A BLANK LEAF OF HIS MEMOIRS.

     Dear friends, who read the world aright,
     And in its common forms discern
     A beauty and a harmony
     The many never learn!

     Kindred in soul of him who found
     In simple flower and leaf and stone
     The impulse of the sweetest lays
     Our Saxon tongue has known,--

     Accept this record of a life
     As sweet and pure, as calm and good,
     As a long day of blandest June
     In green field and in wood.

     How welcome to our ears, long pained
     By strife of sect and party noise,
     The brook-like murmur of his song
     Of nature's simple joys!

     The violet' by its mossy stone,
     The primrose by the river's brim,
     And chance-sown daffodil, have found
     Immortal life through him.

     The sunrise on his breezy lake,
     The rosy tints his sunset brought,
     World-seen, are gladdening all the vales
     And mountain-peaks of thought.

     Art builds on sand; the works of pride
     And human passion change and fall;
     But that which shares the life of God
     With Him surviveth all.

     1851.



TO ------, LINES WRITTEN AFTER A SUMMER DAY'S EXCURSION.

     Fair Nature's priestesses! to whom,
     In hieroglyph of bud and bloom,
     Her mysteries are told;
     Who, wise in lore of wood and mead,
     The seasons' pictured scrolls can read,
     In lessons manifold!

     Thanks for the courtesy, and gay
     Good-humor, which on Washing Day
     Our ill-timed visit bore;
     Thanks for your graceful oars, which broke
     The morning dreams of Artichoke,
     Along his wooded shore!

     Varied as varying Nature's ways,
     Sprites of the river, woodland fays,
     Or mountain nymphs, ye seem;
     Free-limbed Dianas on the green,
     Loch Katrine's Ellen, or Undine,
     Upon your favorite stream.

     The forms of which the poets told,
     The fair benignities of old,
     Were doubtless such as you;
     What more than Artichoke the rill
     Of Helicon? Than Pipe-stave hill
     Arcadia's mountain-view?

     No sweeter bowers the bee delayed,
     In wild Hymettus' scented shade,
     Than those you dwell among;
     Snow-flowered azaleas, intertwined
     With roses, over banks inclined
     With trembling harebells hung!

     A charmed life unknown to death,
     Immortal freshness Nature hath;
     Her fabled fount and glen
     Are now and here: Dodona's shrine
     Still murmurs in the wind-swept pine,--
     All is that e'er hath been.

     The Beauty which old Greece or Rome
     Sung, painted, wrought, lies close at home;
     We need but eye and ear
     In all our daily walks to trace
     The outlines of incarnate grace,
     The hymns of gods to hear!

     1851



IN PEACE.

     A track of moonlight on a quiet lake,
     Whose small waves on a silver-sanded shore
     Whisper of peace, and with the low winds make
     Such harmonies as keep the woods awake,
     And listening all night long for their sweet sake
     A green-waved slope of meadow, hovered o'er
     By angel-troops of lilies, swaying light
     On viewless stems, with folded wings of white;
     A slumberous stretch of mountain-land, far seen
     Where the low westering day, with gold and green,
     Purple and amber, softly blended, fills
     The wooded vales, and melts among the hills;
     A vine-fringed river, winding to its rest
     On the calm bosom of a stormless sea,
     Bearing alike upon its placid breast,
     With earthly flowers and heavenly' stars impressed,
     The hues of time and of eternity
     Such are the pictures which the thought of thee,
     O friend, awakeneth,--charming the keen pain
     Of thy departure, and our sense of loss
     Requiting with the fullness of thy gain.
     Lo! on the quiet grave thy life-borne cross,
     Dropped only at its side, methinks doth shine,
     Of thy beatitude the radiant sign!
     No sob of grief, no wild lament be there,
     To break the Sabbath of the holy air;
     But, in their stead, the silent-breathing prayer
     Of hearts still waiting for a rest like thine.
     O spirit redeemed! Forgive us, if henceforth,
     With sweet and pure similitudes of earth,
     We keep thy pleasant memory freshly green,
     Of love's inheritance a priceless part,
     Which Fancy's self, in reverent awe, is seen
     To paint, forgetful of the tricks of art,
     With pencil dipped alone in colors of the heart.

     1851.



BENEDICITE.

     God's love and peace be with thee, where
     Soe'er this soft autumnal air
     Lifts the dark tresses of thy hair.

     Whether through city casements comes
     Its kiss to thee, in crowded rooms,
     Or, out among the woodland blooms,

     It freshens o'er thy thoughtful face,
     Imparting, in its glad embrace,
     Beauty to beauty, grace to grace!

     Fair Nature's book together read,
     The old wood-paths that knew our tread,
     The maple shadows overhead,--

     The hills we climbed, the river seen
     By gleams along its deep ravine,--
     All keep thy memory fresh and green.

     Where'er I look, where'er I stray,
     Thy thought goes with me on my way,
     And hence the prayer I breathe to-day;

     O'er lapse of time and change of scene,
     The weary waste which lies between
     Thyself and me, my heart I lean.

     Thou lack'st not Friendship's spell-word, nor
     The half-unconscious power to draw
     All hearts to thine by Love's sweet law.

     With these good gifts of God is cast
     Thy lot, and many a charm thou hast
     To hold the blessed angels fast.

     If, then, a fervent wish for thee
     The gracious heavens will heed from me,
     What should, dear heart, its burden be?

     The sighing of a shaken reed,--
     What can I more than meekly plead
     The greatness of our common need?

     God's love,--unchanging, pure, and true,--
     The Paraclete white-shining through
     His peace,--the fall of Hermon's dew!

     With such a prayer, on this sweet day,
     As thou mayst hear and I may say,
     I greet thee, dearest, far away!

     1851.



KOSSUTH

It can scarcely be necessary to say that there are elements in the
character and passages in the history of the great Hungarian statesman
and orator, which necessarily command the admiration of those, even, who
believe that no political revolution was ever worth the price of human
blood.


     Type of two mighty continents!--combining
     The strength of Europe with the warmth and glow
     Of Asian song and prophecy,--the shining
     Of Orient splendors over Northern snow!
     Who shall receive him? Who, unblushing, speak
     Welcome to him, who, while he strove to break
     The Austrian yoke from Magyar necks, smote off
     At the same blow the fetters of the serf,
     Rearing the altar of his Fatherland
     On the firm base of freedom, and thereby
     Lifting to Heaven a patriot's stainless hand,
     Mocked not the God of Justice with a lie!
     Who shall be Freedom's mouthpiece? Who shall give
     Her welcoming cheer to the great fugitive?
     Not he who, all her sacred trusts betraying,
     Is scourging back to slavery's hell of pain
     The swarthy Kossuths of our land again!
     Not he whose utterance now from lips designed
     The bugle-march of Liberty to wind,
     And call her hosts beneath the breaking light,
     The keen reveille of her morn of fight,
     Is but the hoarse note of the blood-hound's baying,
     The wolf's long howl behind the bondman's flight!
     Oh for the tongue of him who lies at rest
     In Quincy's shade of patrimonial trees,
     Last of the Puritan tribunes and the best,
     To lend a voice to Freedom's sympathies,
     And hail the coming of the noblest guest
     The Old World's wrong has given the New World of the West!

     1851.



TO MY OLD SCHOOLMASTER.

AN EPISTLE NOT AFTER THE MANNER OF HORACE

These lines were addressed to my worthy friend Joshua Coffin, teacher,
historian, and antiquarian. He was one of the twelve persons who with
William Lloyd Garrison formed the first anti-slavery society in New
England.


     Old friend, kind friend! lightly down
     Drop time's snow-flakes on thy crown!
     Never be thy shadow less,
     Never fail thy cheerfulness;
     Care, that kills the cat, may, plough
     Wrinkles in the miser's brow,
     Deepen envy's spiteful frown,
     Draw the mouths of bigots down,
     Plague ambition's dream, and sit
     Heavy on the hypocrite,
     Haunt the rich man's door, and ride
     In the gilded coach of pride;--
     Let the fiend pass!--what can he
     Find to do with such as thee?
     Seldom comes that evil guest
     Where the conscience lies at rest,
     And brown health and quiet wit
     Smiling on the threshold sit.

     I, the urchin unto whom,
     In that smoked and dingy room,
     Where the district gave thee rule
     O'er its ragged winter school,
     Thou didst teach the mysteries
     Of those weary A B C's,--
     Where, to fill the every pause
     Of thy wise and learned saws,
     Through the cracked and crazy wall
     Came the cradle-rock and squall,
     And the goodman's voice, at strife
     With his shrill and tipsy wife,
     Luring us by stories old,
     With a comic unction told,
     More than by the eloquence
     Of terse birchen arguments
     (Doubtful gain, I fear), to look
     With complacence on a book!--
     Where the genial pedagogue
     Half forgot his rogues to flog,
     Citing tale or apologue,
     Wise and merry in its drift
     As was Phaedrus' twofold gift,
     Had the little rebels known it,
     Risum et prudentiam monet!
     I,--the man of middle years,
     In whose sable locks appears
     Many a warning fleck of gray,--
     Looking back to that far day,
     And thy primal lessons, feel
     Grateful smiles my lips unseal,
     As, remembering thee, I blend
     Olden teacher, present friend,
     Wise with antiquarian search,
     In the scrolls of State and Church
     Named on history's title-page,
     Parish-clerk and justice sage;
     For the ferule's wholesome awe
     Wielding now the sword of law.

     Threshing Time's neglected sheaves,
     Gathering up the scattered leaves
     Which the wrinkled sibyl cast
     Careless from her as she passed,--
     Twofold citizen art thou,
     Freeman of the past and now.
     He who bore thy name of old
     Midway in the heavens did hold
     Over Gibeon moon and sun;
     Thou hast bidden them backward run;
     Of to-day the present ray
     Flinging over yesterday!

     Let the busy ones deride
     What I deem of right thy pride
     Let the fools their treadmills grind,
     Look not forward nor behind,
     Shuffle in and wriggle out,
     Veer with every breeze about,
     Turning like a windmill sail,
     Or a dog that seeks his tail;
     Let them laugh to see thee fast
     Tabernacled in the Past,
     Working out with eye and lip,
     Riddles of old penmanship,
     Patient as Belzoni there
     Sorting out, with loving care,
     Mummies of dead questions stripped
     From their sevenfold manuscript.

     Dabbling, in their noisy way,
     In the puddles of to-day,
     Little know they of that vast
     Solemn ocean of the past,
     On whose margin, wreck-bespread,
     Thou art walking with the dead,
     Questioning the stranded years,
     Waking smiles, by turns, and tears,
     As thou callest up again
     Shapes the dust has long o'erlain,--
     Fair-haired woman, bearded man,
     Cavalier and Puritan;
     In an age whose eager view
     Seeks but present things, and new,
     Mad for party, sect and gold,
     Teaching reverence for the old.

     On that shore, with fowler's tact,
     Coolly bagging fact on fact,
     Naught amiss to thee can float,
     Tale, or song, or anecdote;
     Village gossip, centuries old,
     Scandals by our grandams told,
     What the pilgrim's table spread,
     Where he lived, and whom he wed,
     Long-drawn bill of wine and beer
     For his ordination cheer,
     Or the flip that wellnigh made
     Glad his funeral cavalcade;
     Weary prose, and poet's lines,
     Flavored by their age, like wines,
     Eulogistic of some quaint,
     Doubtful, puritanic saint;
     Lays that quickened husking jigs,
     Jests that shook grave periwigs,
     When the parson had his jokes
     And his glass, like other folks;
     Sermons that, for mortal hours,
     Taxed our fathers' vital powers,
     As the long nineteenthlies poured
     Downward from the sounding-board,
     And, for fire of Pentecost,
     Touched their beards December's frost.

     Time is hastening on, and we
     What our fathers are shall be,--
     Shadow-shapes of memory!
     Joined to that vast multitude
     Where the great are but the good,
     And the mind of strength shall prove
     Weaker than the heart of love;
     Pride of graybeard wisdom less
     Than the infant's guilelessness,
     And his song of sorrow more
     Than the crown the Psalmist wore
     Who shall then, with pious zeal,
     At our moss-grown thresholds kneel,
     From a stained and stony page
     Reading to a careless age,
     With a patient eye like thine,
     Prosing tale and limping line,
     Names and words the hoary rime
     Of the Past has made sublime?
     Who shall work for us as well
     The antiquarian's miracle?
     Who to seeming life recall
     Teacher grave and pupil small?
     Who shall give to thee and me
     Freeholds in futurity?

     Well, whatever lot be mine,
     Long and happy days be thine,
     Ere thy full and honored age
     Dates of time its latest page!
     Squire for master, State for school,
     Wisely lenient, live and rule;
     Over grown-up knave and rogue
     Play the watchful pedagogue;
     Or, while pleasure smiles on duty,
     At the call of youth and beauty,
     Speak for them the spell of law
     Which shall bar and bolt withdraw,
     And the flaming sword remove
     From the Paradise of Love.
     Still, with undimmed eyesight, pore
     Ancient tome and record o'er;
     Still thy week-day lyrics croon,
     Pitch in church the Sunday tune,
     Showing something, in thy part,
     Of the old Puritanic art,
     Singer after Sternhold's heart
     In thy pew, for many a year,
     Homilies from Oldbug hear,
     Who to wit like that of South,
     And the Syrian's golden mouth,
     Doth the homely pathos add
     Which the pilgrim preachers had;
     Breaking, like a child at play,
     Gilded idols of the day,
     Cant of knave and pomp of fool
     Tossing with his ridicule,
     Yet, in earnest or in jest,
     Ever keeping truth abreast.
     And, when thou art called, at last,
     To thy townsmen of the past,
     Not as stranger shalt thou come;
     Thou shalt find thyself at home
     With the little and the big,
     Woollen cap and periwig,
     Madam in her high-laced ruff,
     Goody in her home-made stuff,--
     Wise and simple, rich and poor,
     Thou hast known them all before!

     1851



THE CROSS.

Richard Dillingham, a young member of the Society of Friends, died in
the Nashville penitentiary, where he was confined for the act of aiding
the escape of fugitive slaves.


     "The cross, if rightly borne, shall be
     No burden, but support to thee;"
     So, moved of old time for our sake,
     The holy monk of Kempen spake.

     Thou brave and true one! upon whom
     Was laid the cross of martyrdom,
     How didst thou, in thy generous youth,
     Bear witness to this blessed truth!

     Thy cross of suffering and of shame
     A staff within thy hands became,
     In paths where faith alone could see
     The Master's steps supporting thee.

     Thine was the seed-time; God alone
     Beholds the end of what is sown;
     Beyond our vision, weak and dim,
     The harvest-time is hid with Him.

     Yet, unforgotten where it lies,
     That seed of generous sacrifice,
     Though seeming on the desert cast,
     Shall rise with bloom and fruit at last.

     1852.



THE HERO.

The hero of the incident related in this poem was Dr. Samuel Gridley
Howe, the well-known philanthropist, who when a young man volunteered
his aid in the Greek struggle for independence.


     "Oh for a knight like Bayard,
     Without reproach or fear;
     My light glove on his casque of steel,
     My love-knot on his spear!

     "Oh for the white plume floating
     Sad Zutphen's field above,--
     The lion heart in battle,
     The woman's heart in love!

     "Oh that man once more were manly,
     Woman's pride, and not her scorn:
     That once more the pale young mother
     Dared to boast 'a man is born'!

     "But, now life's slumberous current
     No sun-bowed cascade wakes;
     No tall, heroic manhood
     The level dulness breaks.

     "Oh for a knight like Bayard,
     Without reproach or fear!
     My light glove on his casque of steel,
     My love-knot on his spear!"

     Then I said, my own heart throbbing
     To the time her proud pulse beat,
     "Life hath its regal natures yet,
     True, tender, brave, and sweet!

     "Smile not, fair unbeliever!
     One man, at least, I know,
     Who might wear the crest of Bayard
     Or Sidney's plume of snow.

     "Once, when over purple mountains
     Died away the Grecian sun,
     And the far Cyllenian ranges
     Paled and darkened, one by one,--

     "Fell the Turk, a bolt of thunder,
     Cleaving all the quiet sky,
     And against his sharp steel lightnings
     Stood the Suliote but to die.

     "Woe for the weak and halting!
     The crescent blazed behind
     A curving line of sabres,
     Like fire before the wind!

     "Last to fly, and first to rally,
     Rode he of whom I speak,
     When, groaning in his bridle-path,
     Sank down a wounded Greek.

     "With the rich Albanian costume
     Wet with many a ghastly stain,
     Gazing on earth and sky as one
     Who might not gaze again.

     "He looked forward to the mountains,
     Back on foes that never spare,
     Then flung him from his saddle,
     And placed the stranger there.

     "'Allah! hu!' Through flashing sabres,
     Through a stormy hail of lead,
     The good Thessalian charger
     Up the slopes of olives sped.

     "Hot spurred the turbaned riders;
     He almost felt their breath,
     Where a mountain stream rolled darkly down
     Between the hills and death.

     "One brave and manful struggle,--
     He gained the solid land,
     And the cover of the mountains,
     And the carbines of his band!"

     "It was very great and noble,"
     Said the moist-eyed listener then,
     "But one brave deed makes no hero;
     Tell me what he since hath been!"

     "Still a brave and generous manhood,
     Still an honor without stain,
     In the prison of the Kaiser,
     By the barricades of Seine.

     "But dream not helm and harness
     The sign of valor true;
     Peace hath higher tests of manhood
     Than battle ever knew.

     "Wouldst know him now? Behold him,
     The Cadmus of the blind,
     Giving the dumb lip language,
     The idiot-clay a mind.

     "Walking his round of duty
     Serenely day by day,
     With the strong man's hand of labor
     And childhood's heart of play.

     "True as the knights of story,
     Sir Lancelot and his peers,
     Brave in his calm endurance
     As they in tilt of spears.

     "As waves in stillest waters,
     As stars in noonday skies,
     All that wakes to noble action
     In his noon of calmness lies.

     "Wherever outraged Nature
     Asks word or action brave,
     Wherever struggles labor,
     Wherever groans a slave,--

     "Wherever rise the peoples,
     Wherever sinks a throne,
     The throbbing heart of Freedom finds
     An answer in his own.

     "Knight of a better era,
     Without reproach or fear!
     Said I not well that Bayards
     And Sidneys still are here?"

     1853.



RANTOUL.

No more fitting inscription could be placed on the tombstone of Robert
Rantoul than this: "He died at his post in Congress, and his last words
were a protest in the name of Democracy against the Fugitive-Slave Law."


     One day, along the electric wire
     His manly word for Freedom sped;
     We came next morn: that tongue of fire
     Said only, "He who spake is dead!"

     Dead! while his voice was living yet,
     In echoes round the pillared dome!
     Dead! while his blotted page lay wet
     With themes of state and loves of home!

     Dead! in that crowning grace of time,
     That triumph of life's zenith hour!
     Dead! while we watched his manhood's prime
     Break from the slow bud into flower!

     Dead! he so great, and strong, and wise,
     While the mean thousands yet drew breath;
     How deepened, through that dread surprise,
     The mystery and the awe of death!

     From the high place whereon our votes
     Had borne him, clear, calm, earnest, fell
     His first words, like the prelude notes
     Of some great anthem yet to swell.

     We seemed to see our flag unfurled,
     Our champion waiting in his place
     For the last battle of the world,
     The Armageddon of the race.

     Through him we hoped to speak the word
     Which wins the freedom of a land;
     And lift, for human right, the sword
     Which dropped from Hampden's dying hand.

     For he had sat at Sidney's feet,
     And walked with Pym and Vane apart;
     And, through the centuries, felt the beat
     Of Freedom's march in Cromwell's heart.

     He knew the paths the worthies held,
     Where England's best and wisest trod;
     And, lingering, drank the springs that welled
     Beneath the touch of Milton's rod.

     No wild enthusiast of the right,
     Self-poised and clear, he showed alway
     The coolness of his northern night,
     The ripe repose of autumn's day.

     His steps were slow, yet forward still
     He pressed where others paused or failed;
     The calm star clomb with constant will,
     The restless meteor flashed and paled.

     Skilled in its subtlest wile, he knew
     And owned the higher ends of Law;
     Still rose majestic on his view
     The awful Shape the schoolman saw.

     Her home the heart of God; her voice
     The choral harmonies whereby
     The stars, through all their spheres, rejoice,
     The rhythmic rule of earth and sky.

     We saw his great powers misapplied
     To poor ambitions; yet, through all,
     We saw him take the weaker side,
     And right the wronged, and free the thrall.

     Now, looking o'er the frozen North,
     For one like him in word and act,
     To call her old, free spirit forth,
     And give her faith the life of fact,--

     To break her party bonds of shame,
     And labor with the zeal of him
     To make the Democratic name
     Of Liberty the synonyme,--

     We sweep the land from hill to strand,
     We seek the strong, the wise, the brave,
     And, sad of heart, return to stand
     In silence by a new-made grave!

     There, where his breezy hills of home
     Look out upon his sail-white seas,
     The sounds of winds and waters come,
     And shape themselves to words like these.

     "Why, murmuring, mourn that he, whose power
     Was lent to Party over-long,
     Heard the still whisper at the hour
     He set his foot on Party wrong?

     "The human life that closed so well
     No lapse of folly now can stain
     The lips whence Freedom's protest fell
     No meaner thought can now profane.

     "Mightier than living voice his grave
     That lofty protest utters o'er;
     Through roaring wind and smiting wave
     It speaks his hate of wrong once more.

     "Men of the North! your weak regret
     Is wasted here; arise and pay
     To freedom and to him your debt,
     By following where he led the way!"

     1853.



WILLIAM FORSTER.

William Forster, of Norwich, England, died in East Tennessee, in the 1st
month, 1854, while engaged in presenting to the governors of the States
of this Union the address of his religious society on the evils of
slavery. He was the relative and coadjutor of the Buxtons, Gurneys, and
Frys; and his whole life, extending al-most to threescore and ten years,
was a pore and beautiful example of Christian benevolence. He had
travelled over Europe, and visited most of its sovereigns, to plead
against the slave-trade and slavery; and had twice before made visits to
this country, under impressions of religious duty. He was the father of
the Right Hon. William Edward Forster. He visited my father's house in
Haverhill during his first tour in the United States.


     The years are many since his hand
     Was laid upon my head,
     Too weak and young to understand
     The serious words he said.

     Yet often now the good man's look
     Before me seems to swim,
     As if some inward feeling took
     The outward guise of him.

     As if, in passion's heated war,
     Or near temptation's charm,
     Through him the low-voiced monitor
     Forewarned me of the harm.

     Stranger and pilgrim! from that day
     Of meeting, first and last,
     Wherever Duty's pathway lay,
     His reverent steps have passed.

     The poor to feed, the lost to seek,
     To proffer life to death,
     Hope to the erring,--to the weak
     The strength of his own faith.

     To plead the captive's right; remove
     The sting of hate from Law;
     And soften in the fire of love
     The hardened steel of War.

     He walked the dark world, in the mild,
     Still guidance of the Light;
     In tearful tenderness a child,
     A strong man in the right.

     From what great perils, on his way,
     He found, in prayer, release;
     Through what abysmal shadows lay
     His pathway unto peace,

     God knoweth: we could only see
     The tranquil strength he gained;
     The bondage lost in liberty,
     The fear in love unfeigned.

     And I,--my youthful fancies grown
     The habit of the man,
     Whose field of life by angels sown
     The wilding vines o'erran,--

     Low bowed in silent gratitude,
     My manhood's heart enjoys
     That reverence for the pure and good
     Which blessed the dreaming boy's.

     Still shines the light of holy lives
     Like star-beams over doubt;
     Each sainted memory, Christlike, drives
     Some dark possession out.

     O friend! O brother I not in vain
     Thy life so calm and true,
     The silver dropping of the rain,
     The fall of summer dew!

     How many burdened hearts have prayed
     Their lives like thine might be
     But more shall pray henceforth for aid
     To lay them down like thee.

     With weary hand, yet steadfast will,
     In old age as in youth,
     Thy Master found thee sowing still
     The good seed of His truth.

     As on thy task-field closed the day
     In golden-skied decline,
     His angel met thee on the way,
     And lent his arm to thine.

     Thy latest care for man,--thy last
     Of earthly thought a prayer,--
     Oh, who thy mantle, backward cast,
     Is worthy now to wear?

     Methinks the mound which marks thy bed
     Might bless our land and save,
     As rose, of old, to life the dead
     Who touched the prophet's grave

     1854.



TO CHARLES SUMNER.

     If I have seemed more prompt to censure wrong
     Than praise the right; if seldom to thine ear
     My voice hath mingled with the exultant cheer
     Borne upon all our Northern winds along;
     If I have failed to join the fickle throng
     In wide-eyed wonder, that thou standest strong
     In victory, surprised in thee to find
     Brougham's scathing power with Canning's grace combined;
     That he, for whom the ninefold Muses sang,
     From their twined arms a giant athlete sprang,
     Barbing the arrows of his native tongue
     With the spent shafts Latona's archer flung,
     To smite the Python of our land and time,
     Fell as the monster born of Crissa's slime,
     Like the blind bard who in Castalian springs
     Tempered the steel that clove the crest of kings,
     And on the shrine of England's freedom laid
     The gifts of Cumve and of Delphi's' shade,--
     Small need hast thou of words of praise from me.
     Thou knowest my heart, dear friend, and well canst guess
     That, even though silent, I have not the less
     Rejoiced to see thy actual life agree
     With the large future which I shaped for thee,
     When, years ago, beside the summer sea,
     White in the moon, we saw the long waves fall
     Baffled and broken from the rocky wall,
     That, to the menace of the brawling flood,
     Opposed alone its massive quietude,
     Calm as a fate; with not a leaf nor vine
     Nor birch-spray trembling in the still moonshine,
     Crowning it like God's peace. I sometimes think
     That night-scene by the sea prophetical,
     (For Nature speaks in symbols and in signs,
     And through her pictures human fate divines),
     That rock, wherefrom we saw the billows sink
     In murmuring rout, uprising clear and tall
     In the white light of heaven, the type of one
     Who, momently by Error's host assailed,
     Stands strong as Truth, in greaves of granite mailed;
     And, tranquil-fronted, listening over all
     The tumult, hears the angels say, Well done!

     1854.



BURNS, ON RECEIVING A SPRIG OF HEATHER IN BLOSSOM.

     No more these simple flowers belong
     To Scottish maid and lover;
     Sown in the common soil of song,
     They bloom the wide world over.

     In smiles and tears, in sun and showers,
     The minstrel and the heather,
     The deathless singer and the flowers
     He sang of live together.

     Wild heather-bells and Robert Burns
     The moorland flower and peasant!
     How, at their mention, memory turns
     Her pages old and pleasant!

     The gray sky wears again its gold
     And purple of adorning,
     And manhood's noonday shadows hold
     The dews of boyhood's morning.

     The dews that washed the dust and soil
     From off the wings of pleasure,
     The sky, that flecked the ground of toil
     With golden threads of leisure.

     I call to mind the summer day,
     The early harvest mowing,
     The sky with sun and clouds at play,
     And flowers with breezes blowing.

     I hear the blackbird in the corn,
     The locust in the haying;
     And, like the fabled hunter's horn,
     Old tunes my heart is playing.

     How oft that day, with fond delay,
     I sought the maple's shadow,
     And sang with Burns the hours away,
     Forgetful of the meadow.

     Bees hummed, birds twittered, overhead
     I heard the squirrels leaping,
     The good dog listened while I read,
     And wagged his tail in keeping.

     I watched him while in sportive mood
     I read "_The Twa Dogs_" story,
     And half believed he understood
     The poet's allegory.

     Sweet day, sweet songs! The golden hours
     Grew brighter for that singing,
     From brook and bird and meadow flowers
     A dearer welcome bringing.

     New light on home-seen Nature beamed,
     New glory over Woman;
     And daily life and duty seemed
     No longer poor and common.

     I woke to find the simple truth
     Of fact and feeling better
     Than all the dreams that held my youth
     A still repining debtor,

     That Nature gives her handmaid, Art,
     The themes of sweet discoursing;
     The tender idyls of the heart
     In every tongue rehearsing.

     Why dream of lands of gold and pearl,
     Of loving knight and lady,
     When farmer boy and barefoot girl
     Were wandering there already?

     I saw through all familiar things
     The romance underlying;
     The joys and griefs that plume the wings
     Of Fancy skyward flying.

     I saw the same blithe day return,
     The same sweet fall of even,
     That rose on wooded Craigie-burn,
     And sank on crystal Devon.

     I matched with Scotland's heathery hills
     The sweetbrier and the clover;
     With Ayr and Doon, my native rills,
     Their wood-hymns chanting over.

     O'er rank and pomp, as he had seen,
     I saw the Man uprising;
     No longer common or unclean,
     The child of God's baptizing!

     With clearer eyes I saw the worth
     Of life among the lowly;
     The Bible at his Cotter's hearth
     Had made my own more holy.

     And if at times an evil strain,
     To lawless love appealing,
     Broke in upon the sweet refrain
     Of pure and healthful feeling,

     It died upon the eye and ear,
     No inward answer gaining;
     No heart had I to see or hear
     The discord and the staining.

     Let those who never erred forget
     His worth, in vain bewailings;
     Sweet Soul of Song! I own my debt
     Uncancelled by his failings!

     Lament who will the ribald line
     Which tells his lapse from duty,
     How kissed the maddening lips of wine
     Or wanton ones of beauty;

     But think, while falls that shade between
     The erring one and Heaven,
     That he who loved like Magdalen,
     Like her may be forgiven.

     Not his the song whose thunderous chime
     Eternal echoes render;
     The mournful Tuscan's haunted rhyme,
     And Milton's starry splendor!

     But who his human heart has laid
     To Nature's bosom nearer?
     Who sweetened toil like him, or paid
     To love a tribute dearer?

     Through all his tuneful art, how strong
     The human feeling gushes
     The very moonlight of his song
     Is warm with smiles and blushes!

     Give lettered pomp to teeth of Time,
     So "Bonnie Doon" but tarry;
     Blot out the Epic's stately rhyme,
     But spare his Highland Mary!

     1854.



TO GEORGE B. CHEEVER

     So spake Esaias: so, in words of flame,
     Tekoa's prophet-herdsman smote with blame
     The traffickers in men, and put to shame,
     All earth and heaven before,
     The sacerdotal robbers of the poor.

     All the dread Scripture lives for thee again,
     To smite like lightning on the hands profane
     Lifted to bless the slave-whip and the chain.
     Once more the old Hebrew tongue
     Bends with the shafts of God a bow new-strung!

     Take up the mantle which the prophets wore;
     Warn with their warnings, show the Christ once more
     Bound, scourged, and crucified in His blameless poor;
     And shake above our land
     The unquenched bolts that blazed in Hosea's hand!

     Not vainly shalt thou cast upon our years
     The solemn burdens of the Orient seers,
     And smite with truth a guilty nation's ears.
     Mightier was Luther's word
     Than Seckingen's mailed arm or Hutton's sword!

     1858.



TO JAMES T. FIELDS

ON A BLANK LEAF OF "POEMS PRINTED, NOT PUBLISHED."

     Well thought! who would not rather hear
     The songs to Love and Friendship sung
     Than those which move the stranger's tongue,
     And feed his unselected ear?

     Our social joys are more than fame;
     Life withers in the public look.
     Why mount the pillory of a book,
     Or barter comfort for a name?

     Who in a house of glass would dwell,
     With curious eyes at every pane?
     To ring him in and out again,
     Who wants the public crier's bell?

     To see the angel in one's way,
     Who wants to play the ass's part,--
     Bear on his back the wizard Art,
     And in his service speak or bray?

     And who his manly locks would shave,
     And quench the eyes of common sense,
     To share the noisy recompense
     That mocked the shorn and blinded slave?

     The heart has needs beyond the head,
     And, starving in the plenitude
     Of strange gifts, craves its common food,--
     Our human nature's daily bread.

     We are but men: no gods are we,
     To sit in mid-heaven, cold and bleak,
     Each separate, on his painful peak,
     Thin-cloaked in self-complacency.

     Better his lot whose axe is swung
     In Wartburg woods, or that poor girl's
     Who by the him her spindle whirls
     And sings the songs that Luther sung,

     Than his who, old, and cold, and vain,
     At Weimar sat, a demigod,
     And bowed with Jove's imperial nod
     His votaries in and out again!

     Ply, Vanity, thy winged feet!
     Ambition, hew thy rocky stair!
     Who envies him who feeds on air
     The icy splendor of his seat?

     I see your Alps, above me, cut
     The dark, cold sky; and dim and lone
     I see ye sitting,--stone on stone,--
     With human senses dulled and shut.

     I could not reach you, if I would,
     Nor sit among your cloudy shapes;
     And (spare the fable of the grapes
     And fox) I would not if I could.

     Keep to your lofty pedestals!
     The safer plain below I choose
     Who never wins can rarely lose,
     Who never climbs as rarely falls.

     Let such as love the eagle's scream
     Divide with him his home of ice
     For me shall gentler notes suffice,--
     The valley-song of bird and stream;

     The pastoral bleat, the drone of bees,
     The flail-beat chiming far away,
     The cattle-low, at shut of day,
     The voice of God in leaf and breeze;

     Then lend thy hand, my wiser friend,
     And help me to the vales below,
     (In truth, I have not far to go,)
     Where sweet with flowers the fields extend.

     1858.



THE MEMORY OF BURNS.

Read at the Boston celebration of the hundredth anniversary of the birth
of Robert Burns, 25th 1st mo., 1859. In my absence these lines were read
by Ralph Waldo Emerson.


     How sweetly come the holy psalms
     From saints and martyrs down,
     The waving of triumphal palms
     Above the thorny crown
     The choral praise, the chanted prayers
     From harps by angels strung,
     The hunted Cameron's mountain airs,
     The hymns that Luther sung!

     Yet, jarring not the heavenly notes,
     The sounds of earth are heard,
     As through the open minster floats
     The song of breeze and bird
     Not less the wonder of the sky
     That daisies bloom below;
     The brook sings on, though loud and high
     The cloudy organs blow!

     And, if the tender ear be jarred
     That, haply, hears by turns
     The saintly harp of Olney's bard,
     The pastoral pipe of Burns,
     No discord mars His perfect plan
     Who gave them both a tongue;
     For he who sings the love of man
     The love of God hath sung!

     To-day be every fault forgiven
     Of him in whom we joy
     We take, with thanks, the gold of Heaven
     And leave the earth's alloy.
     Be ours his music as of spring,
     His sweetness as of flowers,
     The songs the bard himself might sing
     In holier ears than ours.

     Sweet airs of love and home, the hum
     Of household melodies,
     Come singing, as the robins come
     To sing in door-yard trees.
     And, heart to heart, two nations lean,
     No rival wreaths to twine,
     But blending in eternal green
     The holly and the pine!



IN REMEMBRANCE OF JOSEPH STURGE.

     In the fair land o'erwatched by Ischia's mountains,
     Across the charmed bay
     Whose blue waves keep with Capri's silver fountains
     Perpetual holiday,

     A king lies dead, his wafer duly eaten,
     His gold-bought masses given;
     And Rome's great altar smokes with gums to sweeten
     Her foulest gift to Heaven.

     And while all Naples thrills with mute thanksgiving,
     The court of England's queen
     For the dead monster so abhorred while living
     In mourning garb is seen.

     With a true sorrow God rebukes that feigning;
     By lone Edgbaston's side
     Stands a great city in the sky's sad raining,
     Bareheaded and wet-eyed!

     Silent for once the restless hive of labor,
     Save the low funeral tread,
     Or voice of craftsman whispering to his neighbor
     The good deeds of the dead.

     For him no minster's chant of the immortals
     Rose from the lips of sin;
     No mitred priest swung back the heavenly portals
     To let the white soul in.

     But Age and Sickness framed their tearful faces
     In the low hovel's door,
     And prayers went up from all the dark by-places
     And Ghettos of the poor.

     The pallid toiler and the negro chattel,
     The vagrant of the street,
     The human dice wherewith in games of battle
     The lords of earth compete,

     Touched with a grief that needs no outward draping,
     All swelled the long lament,
     Of grateful hearts, instead of marble, shaping
     His viewless monument!

     For never yet, with ritual pomp and splendor,
     In the long heretofore,
     A heart more loyal, warm, and true, and tender,
     Has England's turf closed o'er.

     And if there fell from out her grand old steeples
     No crash of brazen wail,
     The murmurous woe of kindreds, tongues, and peoples
     Swept in on every gale.

     It came from Holstein's birchen-belted meadows,
     And from the tropic calms
     Of Indian islands in the sunlit shadows
     Of Occidental palms;

     From the locked roadsteads of the Bothniaii peasants,
     And harbors of the Finn,
     Where war's worn victims saw his gentle presence
     Come sailing, Christ-like, in,

     To seek the lost, to build the old waste places,
     To link the hostile shores
     Of severing seas, and sow with England's daisies
     The moss of Finland's moors.

     Thanks for the good man's beautiful example,
     Who in the vilest saw
     Some sacred crypt or altar of a temple
     Still vocal with God's law;

     And heard with tender ear the spirit sighing
     As from its prison cell,
     Praying for pity, like the mournful crying
     Of Jonah out of hell.

     Not his the golden pen's or lip's persuasion,
     But a fine sense of right,
     And Truth's directness, meeting each occasion
     Straight as a line of light.

     His faith and works, like streams that intermingle,
     In the same channel ran
     The crystal clearness of an eye kept single
     Shamed all the frauds of man.

     The very gentlest of all human natures
     He joined to courage strong,
     And love outreaching unto all God's creatures
     With sturdy hate of wrong.

     Tender as woman, manliness and meekness
     In him were so allied
     That they who judged him by his strength or weakness
     Saw but a single side.

     Men failed, betrayed him, but his zeal seemed nourished
     By failure and by fall;
     Still a large faith in human-kind he cherished,
     And in God's love for all.

     And now he rests: his greatness and his sweetness
     No more shall seem at strife,
     And death has moulded into calm completeness
     The statue of his life.

     Where the dews glisten and the songbirds warble,
     His dust to dust is laid,
     In Nature's keeping, with no pomp of marble
     To shame his modest shade.

     The forges glow, the hammers all are ringing;
     Beneath its smoky vale,
     Hard by, the city of his love is swinging
     Its clamorous iron flail.


     But round his grave are quietude and beauty,
     And the sweet heaven above,--
     The fitting symbols of a life of duty
     Transfigured into love!

     1859.



BROWN OF OSSAWATOMIE

     John Brown of Ossawatomie spake on his dying day:
     "I will not have to shrive my soul a priest in Slavery's pay.
     But let some poor slave-mother whom I have striven to free,
     With her children, from the gallows-stair put up a prayer for me!"

     John Brown of Ossawatomie, they led him out to die;
     And lo! a poor slave-mother with her little child pressed nigh.
     Then the bold, blue eye grew tender, and the old harsh face grew mild,
     As he stooped between the jeering ranks and kissed the negro's child.

     The shadows of his stormy life that moment fell apart;
     And they who blamed the bloody hand forgave the loving heart.
     That kiss from all its guilty means redeemed the good intent,
     And round the grisly fighter's hair the martyr's aureole bent!

     Perish with him the folly that seeks through evil good
     Long live the generous purpose unstained with human blood!
     Not the raid of midnight terror, but the thought which underlies;
     Not the borderer's pride of daring, but the Christian's sacrifice.

     Nevermore may yon Blue Ridges the Northern rifle hear,
     Nor see the light of blazing homes flash on the negro's spear.
     But let the free-winged angel Truth their guarded passes scale,
     To teach that right is more than might, and justice more than mail!

     So vainly shall Virginia set her battle in array;
     In vain her trampling squadrons knead the winter snow with clay.
     She may strike the pouncing eagle, but she dares not harm the dove;
     And every gate she bars to Hate shall open wide to Love!

     1859.



NAPLES

INSCRIBED TO ROBERT C. WATERSTON, OF BOSTON.

Helen Waterston died at Naples in her eighteenth year, and lies buried
in the Protestant cemetery there. The stone over her grave bears the
lines,

               Fold her, O Father, in Thine arms,
               And let her henceforth be
               A messenger of love between
               Our human hearts and Thee.


     I give thee joy!--I know to thee
     The dearest spot on earth must be
     Where sleeps thy loved one by the summer sea;


     Where, near her sweetest poet's tomb,
     The land of Virgil gave thee room
     To lay thy flower with her perpetual bloom.

     I know that when the sky shut down
     Behind thee on the gleaming town,
     On Baiae's baths and Posilippo's crown;

     And, through thy tears, the mocking day
     Burned Ischia's mountain lines away,
     And Capri melted in its sunny bay;

     Through thy great farewell sorrow shot
     The sharp pang of a bitter thought
     That slaves must tread around that holy spot.

     Thou knewest not the land was blest
     In giving thy beloved rest,
     Holding the fond hope closer to her breast,

     That every sweet and saintly grave
     Was freedom's prophecy, and gave
     The pledge of Heaven to sanctify and save.

     That pledge is answered. To thy ear
     The unchained city sends its cheer,
     And, tuned to joy, the muffled bells of fear

     Ring Victor in. The land sits free
     And happy by the summer sea,
     And Bourbon Naples now is Italy!

     She smiles above her broken chain
     The languid smile that follows pain,
     Stretching her cramped limbs to the sun again.

     Oh, joy for all, who hear her call
     From gray Camaldoli's convent-wall
     And Elmo's towers to freedom's carnival!

     A new life breathes among her vines
     And olives, like the breath of pines
     Blown downward from the breezy Apennines.

     Lean, O my friend, to meet that breath,
     Rejoice as one who witnesseth
     Beauty from ashes rise, and life from death!

     Thy sorrow shall no more be pain,
     Its tears shall fall in sunlit rain,
     Writing the grave with flowers: "Arisen again!"

     1860.



A MEMORIAL

Moses Austin Cartland, a dear friend and relation, who led a faithful
life as a teacher and died in the summer of 1863.


     Oh, thicker, deeper, darker growing,
     The solemn vista to the tomb
     Must know henceforth another shadow,
     And give another cypress room.

     In love surpassing that of brothers,
     We walked, O friend, from childhood's day;
     And, looking back o'er fifty summers,
     Our footprints track a common way.

     One in our faith, and one our longing
     To make the world within our reach
     Somewhat the better for our living,
     And gladder for our human speech.

     Thou heard'st with me the far-off voices,
     The old beguiling song of fame,
     But life to thee was warm and present,
     And love was better than a name.

     To homely joys and loves and friendships
     Thy genial nature fondly clung;
     And so the shadow on the dial
     Ran back and left thee always young.

     And who could blame the generous weakness
     Which, only to thyself unjust,
     So overprized the worth of others,
     And dwarfed thy own with self-distrust?

     All hearts grew warmer in the presence
     Of one who, seeking not his own,
     Gave freely for the love of giving,
     Nor reaped for self the harvest sown.

     Thy greeting smile was pledge and prelude
     Of generous deeds and kindly words;
     In thy large heart were fair guest-chambers,
     Open to sunrise and the birds;

     The task was thine to mould and fashion
     Life's plastic newness into grace
     To make the boyish heart heroic,
     And light with thought the maiden's face.

     O'er all the land, in town and prairie,
     With bended heads of mourning, stand
     The living forms that owe their beauty
     And fitness to thy shaping hand.

     Thy call has come in ripened manhood,
     The noonday calm of heart and mind,
     While I, who dreamed of thy remaining
     To mourn me, linger still behind,

     Live on, to own, with self-upbraiding,
     A debt of love still due from me,--
     The vain remembrance of occasions,
     Forever lost, of serving thee.

     It was not mine among thy kindred
     To join the silent funeral prayers,
     But all that long sad day of summer
     My tears of mourning dropped with theirs.

     All day the sea-waves sobbed with sorrow,
     The birds forgot their merry trills
     All day I heard the pines lamenting
     With thine upon thy homestead hills.

     Green be those hillside pines forever,
     And green the meadowy lowlands be,
     And green the old memorial beeches,
     Name-carven in the woods of Lee.

     Still let them greet thy life companions
     Who thither turn their pilgrim feet,
     In every mossy line recalling
     A tender memory sadly sweet.

     O friend! if thought and sense avail not
     To know thee henceforth as thou art,
     That all is well with thee forever
     I trust the instincts of my heart.

     Thine be the quiet habitations,
     Thine the green pastures, blossom-sown,
     And smiles of saintly recognition,
     As sweet and tender as thy own.

     Thou com'st not from the hush and shadow
     To meet us, but to thee we come,
     With thee we never can be strangers,
     And where thou art must still be home.

     1863.



BRYANT ON HIS BIRTHDAY

Mr. Bryant's seventieth birthday, November 3, 1864, was celebrated by a
festival to which these verses were sent.


     We praise not now the poet's art,
     The rounded beauty of his song;
     Who weighs him from his life apart
     Must do his nobler nature wrong.

     Not for the eye, familiar grown
     With charms to common sight denied,
     The marvellous gift he shares alone
     With him who walked on Rydal-side;

     Not for rapt hymn nor woodland lay,
     Too grave for smiles, too sweet for tears;
     We speak his praise who wears to-day
     The glory of his seventy years.

     When Peace brings Freedom in her train,
     Let happy lips his songs rehearse;
     His life is now his noblest strain,
     His manhood better than his verse!

     Thank God! his hand on Nature's keys
     Its cunning keeps at life's full span;
     But, dimmed and dwarfed, in times like these,
     The poet seems beside the man!

     So be it! let the garlands die,
     The singer's wreath, the painter's meed,
     Let our names perish, if thereby
     Our country may be saved and freed!

     1864.



THOMAS STARR KING

Published originally as a prelude to the posthumous volume of selections
edited by Richard Frothingham.


     The great work laid upon his twoscore years
     Is done, and well done. If we drop our tears,
     Who loved him as few men were ever loved,
     We mourn no blighted hope nor broken plan
     With him whose life stands rounded and approved
     In the full growth and stature of a man.
     Mingle, O bells, along the Western slope,
     With your deep toll a sound of faith and hope!
     Wave cheerily still, O banner, half-way down,
     From thousand-masted bay and steepled town!
     Let the strong organ with its loftiest swell
     Lift the proud sorrow of the land, and tell
     That the brave sower saw his ripened grain.
     O East and West! O morn and sunset twain
     No more forever!--has he lived in vain
     Who, priest of Freedom, made ye one, and told
     Your bridal service from his lips of gold?

     1864.



LINES ON A FLY-LEAF.

     I need not ask thee, for my sake,
     To read a book which well may make
     Its way by native force of wit
     Without my manual sign to it.
     Its piquant writer needs from me
     No gravely masculine guaranty,
     And well might laugh her merriest laugh
     At broken spears in her behalf;
     Yet, spite of all the critics tell,
     I frankly own I like her well.
     It may be that she wields a pen
     Too sharply nibbed for thin-skinned men,
     That her keen arrows search and try
     The armor joints of dignity,
     And, though alone for error meant,
     Sing through the air irreverent.
     I blame her not, the young athlete
     Who plants her woman's tiny feet,
     And dares the chances of debate
     Where bearded men might hesitate,
     Who, deeply earnest, seeing well
     The ludicrous and laughable,
     Mingling in eloquent excess
     Her anger and her tenderness,
     And, chiding with a half-caress,
     Strives, less for her own sex than ours,
     With principalities and powers,
     And points us upward to the clear
     Sunned heights of her new atmosphere.

     Heaven mend her faults!--I will not pause
     To weigh and doubt and peck at flaws,
     Or waste my pity when some fool
     Provokes her measureless ridicule.
     Strong-minded is she? Better so
     Than dulness set for sale or show,
     A household folly, capped and belled
     In fashion's dance of puppets held,
     Or poor pretence of womanhood,
     Whose formal, flavorless platitude
     Is warranted from all offence
     Of robust meaning's violence.
     Give me the wine of thought whose head
     Sparkles along the page I read,--
     Electric words in which I find
     The tonic of the northwest wind;
     The wisdom which itself allies
     To sweet and pure humanities,
     Where scorn of meanness, hate of wrong,
     Are underlaid by love as strong;
     The genial play of mirth that lights
     Grave themes of thought, as when, on nights
     Of summer-time, the harmless blaze
     Of thunderless heat-lightning plays,
     And tree and hill-top resting dim
     And doubtful on the sky's vague rim,
     Touched by that soft and lambent gleam,
     Start sharply outlined from their dream.

     Talk not to me of woman's sphere,
     Nor point with Scripture texts a sneer,
     Nor wrong the manliest saint of all
     By doubt, if he were here, that Paul
     Would own the heroines who have lent
     Grace to truth's stern arbitrament,
     Foregone the praise to woman sweet,
     And cast their crowns at Duty's feet;
     Like her, who by her strong Appeal
     Made Fashion weep and Mammon feel,
     Who, earliest summoned to withstand
     The color-madness of the land,
     Counted her life-long losses gain,
     And made her own her sisters' pain;
     Or her who, in her greenwood shade,
     Heard the sharp call that Freedom made,
     And, answering, struck from Sappho's lyre
     Of love the Tyrtman carmen's fire
     Or that young girl,--Domremy's maid
     Revived a nobler cause to aid,--
     Shaking from warning finger-tips
     The doom of her apocalypse;
     Or her, who world-wide entrance gave
     To the log-cabin of the slave,
     Made all his want and sorrow known,
     And all earth's languages his own.

     1866.



GEORGE L. STEARNS

No man rendered greater service to the cause of freedom than Major
Stearns in the great struggle between invading slave-holders and the
free settlers of Kansas.


     He has done the work of a true man,--
     Crown him, honor him, love him.
     Weep, over him, tears of woman,
     Stoop manliest brows above him!

     O dusky mothers and daughters,
     Vigils of mourning keep for him!
     Up in the mountains, and down by the waters,
     Lift up your voices and weep for him,

     For the warmest of hearts is frozen,
     The freest of hands is still;
     And the gap in our picked and chosen
     The long years may not fill.

     No duty could overtask him,
     No need his will outrun;
     Or ever our lips could ask him,
     His hands the work had done.

     He forgot his own soul for others,
     Himself to his neighbor lending;
     He found the Lord in his suffering brothers,
     And not in the clouds descending.

     So the bed was sweet to die on,
     Whence he saw the doors wide swung
     Against whose bolted iron
     The strength of his life was flung.

     And he saw ere his eye was darkened
     The sheaves of the harvest-bringing,
     And knew while his ear yet hearkened
     The voice of the reapers singing.

     Ah, well! The world is discreet;
     There are plenty to pause and wait;
     But here was a man who set his feet
     Sometimes in advance of fate;

     Plucked off the old bark when the inner
     Was slow to renew it,
     And put to the Lord's work the sinner
     When saints failed to do it.

     Never rode to the wrong's redressing
     A worthier paladin.
     Shall he not hear the blessing,
     "Good and faithful, enter in!"

     1867



GARIBALDI

     In trance and dream of old, God's prophet saw
     The casting down of thrones. Thou, watching lone
     The hot Sardinian coast-line, hazy-hilled,
     Where, fringing round Caprera's rocky zone
     With foam, the slow waves gather and withdraw,
     Behold'st the vision of the seer fulfilled,
     And hear'st the sea-winds burdened with a sound
     Of falling chains, as, one by one, unbound,
     The nations lift their right hands up and swear
     Their oath of freedom. From the chalk-white wall
     Of England, from the black Carpathian range,
     Along the Danube and the Theiss, through all
     The passes of the Spanish Pyrenees,
     And from the Seine's thronged banks, a murmur strange
     And glad floats to thee o'er thy summer seas
     On the salt wind that stirs thy whitening hair,--
     The song of freedom's bloodless victories!
     Rejoice, O Garibaldi! Though thy sword
     Failed at Rome's gates, and blood seemed vainly poured
     Where, in Christ's name, the crowned infidel
     Of France wrought murder with the arms of hell
     On that sad mountain slope whose ghostly dead,
     Unmindful of the gray exorcist's ban,
     Walk, unappeased, the chambered Vatican,
     And draw the curtains of Napoleon's bed!
     God's providence is not blind, but, full of eyes,
     It searches all the refuges of lies;
     And in His time and way, the accursed things
     Before whose evil feet thy battle-gage
     Has clashed defiance from hot youth to age
     Shall perish. All men shall be priests and kings,
     One royal brotherhood, one church made free
     By love, which is the law of liberty.

     1869.



TO LYDIA MARIA CHILD,

ON READING HER POEM IN "THE STANDARD."

Mrs. Child wrote her lines, beginning, "Again the trees are clothed in
vernal green," May 24, 1859, on the first anniversary of Ellis Gray
Loring's death, but did not publish them for some years afterward, when
I first read them, or I could not have made the reference which I did to
the extinction of slavery.


     The sweet spring day is glad with music,
     But through it sounds a sadder strain;
     The worthiest of our narrowing circle
     Sings Loring's dirges o'er again.

     O woman greatly loved! I join thee
     In tender memories of our friend;
     With thee across the awful spaces
     The greeting of a soul I send!

     What cheer hath he? How is it with him?
     Where lingers he this weary while?
     Over what pleasant fields of Heaven
     Dawns the sweet sunrise of his smile?

     Does he not know our feet are treading
     The earth hard down on Slavery's grave?
     That, in our crowning exultations,
     We miss the charm his presence gave?

     Why on this spring air comes no whisper
     From him to tell us all is well?
     Why to our flower-time comes no token
     Of lily and of asphodel?

     I feel the unutterable longing,
     Thy hunger of the heart is mine;
     I reach and grope for hands in darkness,
     My ear grows sharp for voice or sign.

     Still on the lips of all we question
     The finger of God's silence lies;
     Will the lost hands in ours be folded?
     Will the shut eyelids ever rise?

     O friend! no proof beyond this yearning,
     This outreach of our hearts, we need;
     God will not mock the hope He giveth,
     No love He prompts shall vainly plead.

     Then let us stretch our hands in darkness,
     And call our loved ones o'er and o'er;
     Some day their arms shall close about us,
     And the old voices speak once more.

     No dreary splendors wait our coming
     Where rapt ghost sits from ghost apart;
     Homeward we go to Heaven's thanksgiving,
     The harvest-gathering of the heart.

     1870.



THE SINGER.

This poem was written on the death of Alice Cary. Her sister Phoebe,
heart-broken by her loss, followed soon after. Noble and richly gifted,
lovely in person and character, they left behind them only friends and
admirers.


     Years since (but names to me before),
     Two sisters sought at eve my door;
     Two song-birds wandering from their nest,
     A gray old farm-house in the West.

     How fresh of life the younger one,
     Half smiles, half tears, like rain in sun!
     Her gravest mood could scarce displace
     The dimples of her nut-brown face.

     Wit sparkled on her lips not less
     For quick and tremulous tenderness;
     And, following close her merriest glance,
     Dreamed through her eyes the heart's romance.

     Timid and still, the elder had
     Even then a smile too sweetly sad;
     The crown of pain that all must wear
     Too early pressed her midnight hair.

     Yet ere the summer eve grew long,
     Her modest lips were sweet with song;
     A memory haunted all her words
     Of clover-fields and singing birds.

     Her dark, dilating eyes expressed
     The broad horizons of the west;
     Her speech dropped prairie flowers; the gold
     Of harvest wheat about her rolled.

     Fore-doomed to song she seemed to me
     I queried not with destiny
     I knew the trial and the need,
     Yet, all the more, I said, God speed?

     What could I other than I did?
     Could I a singing-bird forbid?
     Deny the wind-stirred leaf? Rebuke
     The music of the forest brook?

     She went with morning from my door,
     But left me richer than before;
     Thenceforth I knew her voice of cheer,
     The welcome of her partial ear.

     Years passed: through all the land her name
     A pleasant household word became
     All felt behind the singer stood
     A sweet and gracious womanhood.

     Her life was earnest work, not play;
     Her tired feet climbed a weary way;
     And even through her lightest strain
     We heard an undertone of pain.

     Unseen of her her fair fame grew,
     The good she did she rarely knew,
     Unguessed of her in life the love
     That rained its tears her grave above.

     When last I saw her, full of peace,
     She waited for her great release;
     And that old friend so sage and bland,
     Our later Franklin, held her hand.

     For all that patriot bosoms stirs
     Had moved that woman's heart of hers,
     And men who toiled in storm and sun
     Found her their meet companion.

     Our converse, from her suffering bed
     To healthful themes of life she led
     The out-door world of bud and bloom
     And light and sweetness filled her room.

     Yet evermore an underthought
     Of loss to come within us wrought,
     And all the while we felt the strain
     Of the strong will that conquered pain.

     God giveth quietness at last!
     The common way that all have passed
     She went, with mortal yearnings fond,
     To fuller life and love beyond.

     Fold the rapt soul in your embrace,
     My dear ones! Give the singer place
     To you, to her,--I know not where,--
     I lift the silence of a prayer.

     For only thus our own we find;
     The gone before, the left behind,
     All mortal voices die between;
     The unheard reaches the unseen.

     Again the blackbirds sing; the streams
     Wake, laughing, from their winter dreams,
     And tremble in the April showers
     The tassels of the maple flowers.

     But not for her has spring renewed
     The sweet surprises of the wood;
     And bird and flower are lost to her
     Who was their best interpreter.

     What to shut eyes has God revealed?
     What hear the ears that death has sealed?
     What undreamed beauty passing show
     Requites the loss of all we know?

     O silent land, to which we move,
     Enough if there alone be love,
     And mortal need can ne'er outgrow
     What it is waiting to bestow!

     O white soul! from that far-off shore
     Float some sweet song the waters o'er.
     Our faith confirm, our fears dispel,
     With the old voice we loved so well!

     1871.



HOW MARY GREW.

These lines were in answer to an invitation to hear a lecture of Mary
Grew, of Philadelphia, before the Boston Radical Club. The reference in
the last stanza is to an essay on Sappho by T. W. Higginson, read at the
club the preceding month.


     With wisdom far beyond her years,
     And graver than her wondering peers,
     So strong, so mild, combining still
     The tender heart and queenly will,
     To conscience and to duty true,
     So, up from childhood, Mary Grew!

     Then in her gracious womanhood
     She gave her days to doing good.
     She dared the scornful laugh of men,
     The hounding mob, the slanderer's pen.
     She did the work she found to do,--
     A Christian heroine, Mary Grew!

     The freed slave thanks her; blessing comes
     To her from women's weary homes;
     The wronged and erring find in her
     Their censor mild and comforter.
     The world were safe if but a few
     Could grow in grace as Mary Grew!

     So, New Year's Eve, I sit and say,
     By this low wood-fire, ashen gray;
     Just wishing, as the night shuts down,
     That I could hear in Boston town,
     In pleasant Chestnut Avenue,
     From her own lips, how Mary Grew!

     And hear her graceful hostess tell
     The silver-voiced oracle
     Who lately through her parlors spoke
     As through Dodona's sacred oak,
     A wiser truth than any told
     By Sappho's lips of ruddy gold,--
     The way to make the world anew,
     Is just to grow--as Mary Grew.
     1871.



SUMNER

"I am not one who has disgraced beauty of sentiment by deformity of
conduct, or the maxims of a freeman by the actions of a slave; but, by
the grace of God, I have kept my life unsullied." --MILTON'S _Defence of
the People of England_.


     O Mother State! the winds of March
     Blew chill o'er Auburn's Field of God,
     Where, slow, beneath a leaden arch
     Of sky, thy mourning children trod.

     And now, with all thy woods in leaf,
     Thy fields in flower, beside thy dead
     Thou sittest, in thy robes of grief,
     A Rachel yet uncomforted!

     And once again the organ swells,
     Once more the flag is half-way hung,
     And yet again the mournful bells
     In all thy steeple-towers are rung.

     And I, obedient to thy will,
     Have come a simple wreath to lay,
     Superfluous, on a grave that still
     Is sweet with all the flowers of May.

     I take, with awe, the task assigned;
     It may be that my friend might miss,
     In his new sphere of heart and mind,
     Some token from my band in this.

     By many a tender memory moved,
     Along the past my thought I send;
     The record of the cause he loved
     Is the best record of its friend.

     No trumpet sounded in his ear,
     He saw not Sinai's cloud and flame,
     But never yet to Hebrew seer
     A clearer voice of duty came.

     God said: "Break thou these yokes; undo
     These heavy burdens. I ordain
     A work to last thy whole life through,
     A ministry of strife and pain.

     "Forego thy dreams of lettered ease,
     Put thou the scholar's promise by,
     The rights of man are more than these."
     He heard, and answered: "Here am I!"

     He set his face against the blast,
     His feet against the flinty shard,
     Till the hard service grew, at last,
     Its own exceeding great reward.

     Lifted like Saul's above the crowd,
     Upon his kingly forehead fell
     The first sharp bolt of Slavery's cloud,
     Launched at the truth he urged so well.

     Ah! never yet, at rack or stake,
     Was sorer loss made Freedom's gain,
     Than his, who suffered for her sake
     The beak-torn Titan's lingering pain!

     The fixed star of his faith, through all
     Loss, doubt, and peril, shone the same;
     As through a night of storm, some tall,
     Strong lighthouse lifts its steady flame.

     Beyond the dust and smoke he saw
     The sheaves of Freedom's large increase,
     The holy fanes of equal law,
     The New Jerusalem of peace.

     The weak might fear, the worldling mock,
     The faint and blind of heart regret;
     All knew at last th' eternal rock
     On which his forward feet were set.

     The subtlest scheme of compromise
     Was folly to his purpose bold;
     The strongest mesh of party lies
     Weak to the simplest truth he told.

     One language held his heart and lip,
     Straight onward to his goal he trod,
     And proved the highest statesmanship
     Obedience to the voice of God.

     No wail was in his voice,--none heard,
     When treason's storm-cloud blackest grew,
     The weakness of a doubtful word;
     His duty, and the end, he knew.

     The first to smite, the first to spare;
     When once the hostile ensigns fell,
     He stretched out hands of generous care
     To lift the foe he fought so well.

     For there was nothing base or small
     Or craven in his soul's broad plan;
     Forgiving all things personal,
     He hated only wrong to man.

     The old traditions of his State,
     The memories of her great and good,
     Took from his life a fresher date,
     And in himself embodied stood.

     How felt the greed of gold and place,
     The venal crew that schemed and planned,
     The fine scorn of that haughty face,
     The spurning of that bribeless hand!

     If than Rome's tribunes statelier
     He wore his senatorial robe,
     His lofty port was all for her,
     The one dear spot on all the globe.

     If to the master's plea he gave
     The vast contempt his manhood felt,
     He saw a brother in the slave,--
     With man as equal man he dealt.

     Proud was he? If his presence kept
     Its grandeur wheresoe'er he trod,
     As if from Plutarch's gallery stepped
     The hero and the demigod,

     None failed, at least, to reach his ear,
     Nor want nor woe appealed in vain;
     The homesick soldier knew his cheer,
     And blessed him from his ward of pain.

     Safely his dearest friends may own
     The slight defects he never hid,
     The surface-blemish in the stone
     Of the tall, stately pyramid.

     Suffice it that he never brought
     His conscience to the public mart;
     But lived himself the truth he taught,
     White-souled, clean-handed, pure of heart.

     What if he felt the natural pride
     Of power in noble use, too true
     With thin humilities to hide
     The work he did, the lore he knew?

     Was he not just? Was any wronged
     By that assured self-estimate?
     He took but what to him belonged,
     Unenvious of another's state.

     Well might he heed the words he spake,
     And scan with care the written page
     Through which he still shall warm and wake
     The hearts of men from age to age.

     Ah! who shall blame him now because
     He solaced thus his hours of pain!
     Should not the o'erworn thresher pause,
     And hold to light his golden grain?

     No sense of humor dropped its oil
     On the hard ways his purpose went;
     Small play of fancy lightened toil;
     He spake alone the thing he meant.

     He loved his books, the Art that hints
     A beauty veiled behind its own,
     The graver's line, the pencil's tints,
     The chisel's shape evoked from stone.

     He cherished, void of selfish ends,
     The social courtesies that bless
     And sweeten life, and loved his friends
     With most unworldly tenderness.

     But still his tired eyes rarely learned
     The glad relief by Nature brought;
     Her mountain ranges never turned
     His current of persistent thought.

     The sea rolled chorus to his speech
     Three-banked like Latium's' tall trireme,
     With laboring oars; the grove and beach
     Were Forum and the Academe.

     The sensuous joy from all things fair
     His strenuous bent of soul repressed,
     And left from youth to silvered hair
     Few hours for pleasure, none for rest.

     For all his life was poor without,
     O Nature, make the last amends
     Train all thy flowers his grave about,
     And make thy singing-birds his friends!

     Revive again, thou summer rain,
     The broken turf upon his bed
     Breathe, summer wind, thy tenderest strain
     Of low, sweet music overhead!

     With calm and beauty symbolize
     The peace which follows long annoy,
     And lend our earth-bent, mourning eyes,
     Some hint of his diviner joy.

     For safe with right and truth he is,
     As God lives he must live alway;
     There is no end for souls like his,
     No night for children of the day!

     Nor cant nor poor solicitudes
     Made weak his life's great argument;
     Small leisure his for frames and moods
     Who followed Duty where she went.

     The broad, fair fields of God he saw
     Beyond the bigot's narrow bound;
     The truths he moulded into law
     In Christ's beatitudes he found.

     His state-craft was the Golden Rule,
     His right of vote a sacred trust;
     Clear, over threat and ridicule,
     All heard his challenge: "Is it just?"

     And when the hour supreme had come,
     Not for himself a thought he gave;
     In that last pang of martyrdom,
     His care was for the half-freed slave.

     Not vainly dusky hands upbore,
     In prayer, the passing soul to heaven
     Whose mercy to His suffering poor
     Was service to the Master given.

     Long shall the good State's annals tell,
     Her children's children long be taught,
     How, praised or blamed, he guarded well
     The trust he neither shunned nor sought.

     If for one moment turned thy face,
     O Mother, from thy son, not long
     He waited calmly in his place
     The sure remorse which follows wrong.

     Forgiven be the State he loved
     The one brief lapse, the single blot;
     Forgotten be the stain removed,
     Her righted record shows it not!

     The lifted sword above her shield
     With jealous care shall guard his fame;
     The pine-tree on her ancient field
     To all the winds shall speak his name.

     The marble image of her son
     Her loving hands shall yearly crown,
     And from her pictured Pantheon
     His grand, majestic face look down.

     O State so passing rich before,
     Who now shall doubt thy highest claim?
     The world that counts thy jewels o'er
     Shall longest pause at Sumner's name!

     1874.



THEIRS

     I.
     Fate summoned, in gray-bearded age, to act
     A history stranger than his written fact,
     Him who portrayed the splendor and the gloom
     Of that great hour when throne and altar fell
     With long death-groan which still is audible.
     He, when around the walls of Paris rung
     The Prussian bugle like the blast of doom,
     And every ill which follows unblest war
     Maddened all France from Finistere to Var,
     The weight of fourscore from his shoulders flung,
     And guided Freedom in the path he saw
     Lead out of chaos into light and law,
     Peace, not imperial, but republican,
     And order pledged to all the Rights of Man.

     II.
     Death called him from a need as imminent
     As that from which the Silent William went
     When powers of evil, like the smiting seas
     On Holland's dikes, assailed her liberties.
     Sadly, while yet in doubtful balance hung
     The weal and woe of France, the bells were rung
     For her lost leader. Paralyzed of will,
     Above his bier the hearts of men stood still.
     Then, as if set to his dead lips, the horn
     Of Roland wound once more to rouse and warn,
     The old voice filled the air! His last brave word
     Not vainly France to all her boundaries stirred.
     Strong as in life, he still for Freedom wrought,
     As the dead Cid at red Toloso fought.

     1877.



FITZ-GREENE HALLECK. AT THE UNVEILING OF HIS STATUE.

     Among their graven shapes to whom
     Thy civic wreaths belong,
     O city of his love, make room
     For one whose gift was song.

     Not his the soldier's sword to wield,
     Nor his the helm of state,
     Nor glory of the stricken field,
     Nor triumph of debate.

     In common ways, with common men,
     He served his race and time
     As well as if his clerkly pen
     Had never danced to rhyme.

     If, in the thronged and noisy mart,
     The Muses found their son,
     Could any say his tuneful art
     A duty left undone?

     He toiled and sang; and year by year
     Men found their homes more sweet,
     And through a tenderer atmosphere
     Looked down the brick-walled street.

     The Greek's wild onset gall Street knew;
     The Red King walked Broadway;
     And Alnwick Castle's roses blew
     From Palisades to Bay.

     Fair City by the Sea! upraise
     His veil with reverent hands;
     And mingle with thy own the praise
     And pride of other lands.

     Let Greece his fiery lyric breathe
     Above her hero-urns;
     And Scotland, with her holly, wreathe
     The flower he culled for Burns.

     Oh, stately stand thy palace walls,
     Thy tall ships ride the seas;
     To-day thy poet's name recalls
     A prouder thought than these.

     Not less thy pulse of trade shall beat,
     Nor less thy tall fleets swim,
     That shaded square and dusty street
     Are classic ground through him.

     Alive, he loved, like all who sing,
     The echoes of his song;
     Too late the tardy meed we bring,
     The praise delayed so long.

     Too late, alas! Of all who knew
     The living man, to-day
     Before his unveiled face, how few
     Make bare their locks of gray!

     Our lips of praise must soon be dumb,
     Our grateful eyes be dim;
     O brothers of the days to come,
     Take tender charge of him!

     New hands the wires of song may sweep,
     New voices challenge fame;
     But let no moss of years o'ercreep
     The lines of Halleck's name.

     1877.



WILLIAM FRANCIS BARTLETT.

     Oh, well may Essex sit forlorn
     Beside her sea-blown shore;
     Her well beloved, her noblest born,
     Is hers in life no more!

     No lapse of years can render less
     Her memory's sacred claim;
     No fountain of forgetfulness
     Can wet the lips of Fame.

     A grief alike to wound and heal,
     A thought to soothe and pain,
     The sad, sweet pride that mothers feel
     To her must still remain.

     Good men and true she has not lacked,
     And brave men yet shall be;
     The perfect flower, the crowning fact,
     Of all her years was he!

     As Galahad pure, as Merlin sage,
     What worthier knight was found
     To grace in Arthur's golden age
     The fabled Table Round?

     A voice, the battle's trumpet-note,
     To welcome and restore;
     A hand, that all unwilling smote,
     To heal and build once more;

     A soul of fire, a tender heart
     Too warm for hate, he knew
     The generous victor's graceful part
     To sheathe the sword he drew.

     When Earth, as if on evil dreams,
     Looks back upon her wars,
     And the white light of Christ outstreams
     From the red disk of Mars,

     His fame who led the stormy van
     Of battle well may cease,
     But never that which crowns the man
     Whose victory was Peace.

     Mourn, Essex, on thy sea-blown shore
     Thy beautiful and brave,
     Whose failing hand the olive bore,
     Whose dying lips forgave!

     Let age lament the youthful chief,
     And tender eyes be dim;
     The tears are more of joy than grief
     That fall for one like him!

     1878.



BAYARD TAYLOR.

     I.
     "And where now, Bayard, will thy footsteps tend?"
     My sister asked our guest one winter's day.
     Smiling he answered in the Friends' sweet way
     Common to both: "Wherever thou shall send!
     What wouldst thou have me see for thee?" She laughed,
     Her dark eyes dancing in the wood-fire's glow
     "Loffoden isles, the Kilpis, and the low,
     Unsetting sun on Finmark's fishing-craft."
     "All these and more I soon shall see for thee!"
     He answered cheerily: and he kept his pledge
     On Lapland snows, the North Cape's windy wedge,
     And Tromso freezing in its winter sea.
     He went and came. But no man knows the  track
     Of his last journey, and he comes not back!

     II.
     He brought us wonders of the new and old;
     We shared all climes with him. The Arab's tent
     To him its story-telling secret lent.
     And, pleased, we listened to the tales he told.
     His task, beguiled with songs that shall endure,
     In manly, honest thoroughness he wrought;
     From humble home-lays to the heights of thought
     Slowly he climbed, but every step was sure.
     How, with the generous pride that friendship hath,
     We, who so loved him, saw at last the crown
     Of civic honor on his brows pressed down,
     Rejoiced, and knew not that the gift was death.
     And now for him, whose praise in deafened ears
     Two nations speak, we answer but with tears!

     III.
     O Vale of Chester! trod by him so oft,
     Green as thy June turf keep his memory. Let
     Nor wood, nor dell, nor storied stream forget,
     Nor winds that blow round lonely Cedarcroft;
     Let the home voices greet him in the far,
     Strange land that holds him; let the messages
     Of love pursue him o'er the chartless seas
     And unmapped vastness of his unknown star
     Love's language, heard beyond the loud discourse
     Of perishable fame, in every sphere
     Itself interprets; and its utterance here
     Somewhere in God's unfolding universe
     Shall reach our traveller, softening the surprise
     Of his rapt gaze on unfamiliar skies!

     1879.



OUR AUTOCRAT.

Read at the breakfast given in honor of Dr. Holmes by the publishers of
the Atlantic Monthly, December 3, 1879.


     His laurels fresh from song and lay,
     Romance, art, science, rich in all,
     And young of heart, how dare we say
     We keep his seventieth festival?

     No sense is here of loss or lack;
     Before his sweetness and his light
     The dial holds its shadow back,
     The charmed hours delay their flight.

     His still the keen analysis
     Of men and moods, electric wit,
     Free play of mirth, and tenderness
     To heal the slightest wound from it.

     And his the pathos touching all
     Life's sins and sorrows and regrets,
     Its hopes and fears, its final call
     And rest beneath the violets.

     His sparkling surface scarce betrays
     The thoughtful tide beneath it rolled,
     The wisdom of the latter days,
     And tender memories of the old.

     What shapes and fancies, grave or gay,
     Before us at his bidding come
     The Treadmill tramp, the One-Horse Shay,
     The dumb despair of Elsie's doom!

     The tale of Avis and the Maid,
     The plea for lips that cannot speak,
     The holy kiss that Iris laid
     On Little Boston's pallid cheek!

     Long may he live to sing for us
     His sweetest songs at evening time,
     And, like his Chambered Nautilus,
     To holier heights of beauty climb,

     Though now unnumbered guests surround
     The table that he rules at will,
     Its Autocrat, however crowned,
     Is but our friend and comrade still.

     The world may keep his honored name,
     The wealth of all his varied powers;
     A stronger claim has love than fame,
     And he himself is only ours!



WITHIN THE GATE. L. M. C.

I have more fully expressed my admiration and regard for Lydia Maria
Child in the biographical introduction which I wrote for the volume of
Letters, published after her death.


     We sat together, last May-day, and talked
     Of the dear friends who walked
     Beside us, sharers of the hopes and fears
     Of five and forty years,

     Since first we met in Freedom's hope forlorn,
     And heard her battle-horn
     Sound through the valleys of the sleeping North,
     Calling her children forth,

     And youth pressed forward with hope-lighted eyes,
     And age, with forecast wise
     Of the long strife before the triumph won,
     Girded his armor on.

     Sadly, ass name by name we called the roll,
     We heard the dead-bells toll
     For the unanswering many, and we knew
     The living were the few.

     And we, who waited our own call before
     The inevitable door,
     Listened and looked, as all have done, to win
     Some token from within.

     No sign we saw, we heard no voices call;
     The impenetrable wall
     Cast down its shadow, like an awful doubt,
     On all who sat without.

     Of many a hint of life beyond the veil,
     And many a ghostly tale
     Wherewith the ages spanned the gulf between
     The seen and the unseen,

     Seeking from omen, trance, and dream to gain
     Solace to doubtful pain,
     And touch, with groping hands, the garment hem
     Of truth sufficing them,

     We talked; and, turning from the sore unrest
     Of an all-baffling quest,
     We thought of holy lives that from us passed
     Hopeful unto the last,

     As if they saw beyond the river of death,
     Like Him of Nazareth,
     The many mansions of the Eternal days
     Lift up their gates of praise.

     And, hushed to silence by a reverent awe,
     Methought, O friend, I saw
     In thy true life of word, and work, and thought
     The proof of all we sought.

     Did we not witness in the life of thee
     Immortal prophecy?
     And feel, when with thee, that thy footsteps trod
     An everlasting road?

     Not for brief days thy generous sympathies,
     Thy scorn of selfish ease;
     Not for the poor prize of an earthly goal
     Thy strong uplift of soul.

     Than thine was never turned a fonder heart
     To nature and to art
     In fair-formed Hellas in her golden prime,
     Thy Philothea's time.

     Yet, loving beauty, thou couldst pass it by,
     And for the poor deny
     Thyself, and see thy fresh, sweet flower of fame
     Wither in blight and blame.

     Sharing His love who holds in His embrace
     The lowliest of our race,
     Sure the Divine economy must be
     Conservative of thee!

     For truth must live with truth, self-sacrifice
     Seek out its great allies;
     Good must find good by gravitation sure,
     And love with love endure.

     And so, since thou hast passed within the gate
     Whereby awhile I wait,
     I give blind grief and blinder sense the lie
     Thou hast not lived to die!

     1881.



IN MEMORY. JAMES T. FIELDS.

     As a guest who may not stay
     Long and sad farewells to say
     Glides with smiling face away,

     Of the sweetness and the zest
     Of thy happy life possessed
     Thou hast left us at thy best.

     Warm of heart and clear of brain,
     Of thy sun-bright spirit's wane
     Thou hast spared us all the pain.

     Now that thou hast gone away,
     What is left of one to say
     Who was open as the day?

     What is there to gloss or shun?
     Save with kindly voices none
     Speak thy name beneath the sun.

     Safe thou art on every side,
     Friendship nothing finds to hide,
     Love's demand is satisfied.

     Over manly strength and worth,
     At thy desk of toil, or hearth,
     Played the lambent light of mirth,--

     Mirth that lit, but never burned;
     All thy blame to pity turned;
     Hatred thou hadst never learned.

     Every harsh and vexing thing
     At thy home-fire lost its sting;
     Where thou wast was always spring.

     And thy perfect trust in good,
     Faith in man and womanhood,
     Chance and change and time, withstood.

     Small respect for cant and whine,
     Bigot's zeal and hate malign,
     Had that sunny soul of thine.

     But to thee was duty's claim
     Sacred, and thy lips became
     Reverent with one holy Name.

     Therefore, on thy unknown way,
     Go in God's peace! We who stay
     But a little while delay.

     Keep for us, O friend, where'er
     Thou art waiting, all that here
     Made thy earthly presence dear;

     Something of thy pleasant past
     On a ground of wonder cast,
     In the stiller waters glassed!

     Keep the human heart of thee;
     Let the mortal only be
     Clothed in immortality.

     And when fall our feet as fell
     Thine upon the asphodel,
     Let thy old smile greet us well;

     Proving in a world of bliss
     What we fondly dream in this,--
     Love is one with holiness!

     1881.



WILSON

Read at the Massachusetts Club on the seventieth anniversary the
birthday of Vice-President Wilson, February 16, 1882.


     The lowliest born of all the land,
     He wrung from Fate's reluctant hand
     The gifts which happier boyhood claims;
     And, tasting on a thankless soil
     The bitter bread of unpaid toil,
     He fed his soul with noble aims.

     And Nature, kindly provident,
     To him the future's promise lent;
     The powers that shape man's destinies,
     Patience and faith and toil, he knew,
     The close horizon round him grew,
     Broad with great possibilities.

     By the low hearth-fire's fitful blaze
     He read of old heroic days,
     The sage's thought, the patriot's speech;
     Unhelped, alone, himself he taught,
     His school the craft at which he wrought,
     His lore the book within his, reach.

     He felt his country's need; he knew
     The work her children had to do;
     And when, at last, he heard the call
     In her behalf to serve and dare,
     Beside his senatorial chair
     He stood the unquestioned peer of all.

     Beyond the accident of birth
     He proved his simple manhood's worth;
     Ancestral pride and classic grace
     Confessed the large-brained artisan,
     So clear of sight, so wise in plan
     And counsel, equal to his place.

     With glance intuitive he saw
     Through all disguise of form and law,
     And read men like an open book;
     Fearless and firm, he never quailed
     Nor turned aside for threats, nor failed
     To do the thing he undertook.

     How wise, how brave, he was, how well
     He bore himself, let history tell
     While waves our flag o'er land and sea,
     No black thread in its warp or weft;
     He found dissevered States, he left
     A grateful Nation, strong and free!



THE POET AND THE CHILDREN. LONGFELLOW.

     WITH a glory of winter sunshine
     Over his locks of gray,
     In the old historic mansion
     He sat on his last birthday;

     With his books and his pleasant pictures,
     And his household and his kin,
     While a sound as of myriads singing
     From far and near stole in.

     It came from his own fair city,
     From the prairie's boundless plain,
     From the Golden Gate of sunset,
     And the cedarn woods of Maine.

     And his heart grew warm within him,
     And his moistening eyes grew dim,
     For he knew that his country's children
     Were singing the songs of him,

     The lays of his life's glad morning,
     The psalms of his evening time,
     Whose echoes shall float forever
     On the winds of every clime.

     All their beautiful consolations,
     Sent forth like birds of cheer,
     Came flocking back to his windows,
     And sang in the Poet's ear.

     Grateful, but solemn and tender,
     The music rose and fell
     With a joy akin to sadness
     And a greeting like farewell.

     With a sense of awe he listened
     To the voices sweet and young;
     The last of earth and the first of heaven
     Seemed in the songs they sung.

     And waiting a little longer
     For the wonderful change to come,
     He heard the Summoning Angel,
     Who calls God's children home!

     And to him in a holier welcome
     Was the mystical meaning given
     Of the words of the blessed Master
     "Of such is the kingdom of heaven!"

     1882



A WELCOME TO LOWELL

     Take our hands, James Russell Lowell,
     Our hearts are all thy own;
     To-day we bid thee welcome
     Not for ourselves alone.

     In the long years of thy absence
     Some of us have grown old,
     And some have passed the portals
     Of the Mystery untold;

     For the hands that cannot clasp thee,
     For the voices that are dumb,
     For each and all I bid thee
     A grateful welcome home!

     For Cedarcroft's sweet singer
     To the nine-fold Muses dear;
     For the Seer the winding Concord
     Paused by his door to hear;

     For him, our guide and Nestor,
     Who the march of song began,
     The white locks of his ninety years
     Bared to thy winds, Cape Ann!

     For him who, to the music
     Her pines and hemlocks played,
     Set the old and tender story
     Of the lorn Acadian maid;

     For him, whose voice for freedom
     Swayed friend and foe at will,
     Hushed is the tongue of silver,
     The golden lips are still!

     For her whose life of duty
     At scoff and menace smiled,
     Brave as the wife of Roland,
     Yet gentle as a Child.

     And for him the three-hilled city
     Shall hold in memory long,
     Those name is the hint and token
     Of the pleasant Fields of Song!

     For the old friends unforgotten,
     For the young thou hast not known,
     I speak their heart-warm greeting;
     Come back and take thy own!

     From England's royal farewells,
     And honors fitly paid,
     Come back, dear Russell Lowell,
     To Elmwood's waiting shade!

     Come home with all the garlands
     That crown of right thy head.
     I speak for comrades living,
     I speak for comrades dead!

     AMESBURY, 6th mo., 1885.



AN ARTIST OF THE BEAUTIFUL. GEORGE FULLER

     Haunted of Beauty, like the marvellous youth
     Who sang Saint Agnes' Eve! How passing fair
     Her shapes took color in thy homestead air!
     How on thy canvas even her dreams were truth!
     Magician! who from commonest elements
     Called up divine ideals, clothed upon
     By mystic lights soft blending into one
     Womanly grace and child-like innocence.
     Teacher I thy lesson was not given in vain.
     Beauty is goodness; ugliness is sin;
     Art's place is sacred: nothing foul therein
     May crawl or tread with bestial feet profane.
     If rightly choosing is the painter's test,
     Thy choice, O master, ever was the best.

     1885.



MULFORD.

Author of The Nation and The Republic of God.


     Unnoted as the setting of a star
     He passed; and sect and party scarcely knew
     When from their midst a sage and seer withdrew
     To fitter audience, where the great dead are
     In God's republic of the heart and mind,
     Leaving no purer, nobler soul behind.

     1886.



TO A CAPE ANN SCHOONER

     Luck to the craft that bears this name of mine,
     Good fortune follow with her golden spoon
     The glazed hat and tarry pantaloon;
     And wheresoe'er her keel shall cut the brine,
     Cod, hake and haddock quarrel for her line.
     Shipped with her crew, whatever wind may blow,
     Or tides delay, my wish with her shall go,
     Fishing by proxy. Would that it might show
     At need her course, in lack of sun and star,
     Where icebergs threaten, and the sharp reefs are;
     Lift the blind fog on Anticosti's lee
     And Avalon's rock; make populous the sea
     Round Grand Manan with eager finny swarms,
     Break the long calms, and charm away the storms.

     OAK KNOLL, 23 3rd mo., 1886.



SAMUEL J. TILDEN.

GREYSTONE, AUG. 4, 1886.

     Once more, O all-adjusting Death!
     The nation's Pantheon opens wide;
     Once more a common sorrow saith
     A strong, wise man has died.

     Faults doubtless had he. Had we not
     Our own, to question and asperse
     The worth we doubted or forgot
     Until beside his hearse?

     Ambitious, cautious, yet the man
     To strike down fraud with resolute hand;
     A patriot, if a partisan,
     He loved his native land.

     So let the mourning bells be rung,
     The banner droop its folds half way,
     And while the public pen and tongue
     Their fitting tribute pay,

     Shall we not vow above his bier
     To set our feet on party lies,
     And wound no more a living ear
     With words that Death denies?

     1886



OCCASIONAL POEMS



EVA

Suggested by Mrs. Stowe's tale of Uncle Tom's Cabin, and written when
the characters in the tale were realities by the fireside of countless
American homes.


     Dry the tears for holy Eva,
     With the blessed angels leave her;
     Of the form so soft and fair
     Give to earth the tender care.

     For the golden locks of Eva
     Let the sunny south-land give her
     Flowery pillow of repose,
     Orange-bloom and budding rose.

     In the better home of Eva
     Let the shining ones receive her,
     With the welcome-voiced psalm,
     Harp of gold and waving palm,

     All is light and peace with Eva;
     There the darkness cometh never;
     Tears are wiped, and fetters fall.
     And the Lord is all in all.

     Weep no more for happy Eva,
     Wrong and sin no more shall grieve her;
     Care and pain and weariness
     Lost in love so measureless.

     Gentle Eva, loving Eva,
     Child confessor, true believer,
     Listener at the Master's knee,
     "Suffer such to come to me."

     Oh, for faith like thine, sweet Eva,
     Lighting all the solemn river,
     And the blessings of the poor
     Wafting to the heavenly shore!
     1852



A LAY OF OLD TIME.

Written for the Essex County Agricultural Fair, and sung at the banquet
at Newburyport, October 2, 1856.


     One morning of the first sad Fall,
     Poor Adam and his bride
     Sat in the shade of Eden's wall--
     But on the outer side.

     She, blushing in her fig-leaf suit
     For the chaste garb of old;
     He, sighing o'er his bitter fruit
     For Eden's drupes of gold.

     Behind them, smiling in the morn,
     Their forfeit garden lay,
     Before them, wild with rock and thorn,
     The desert stretched away.

     They heard the air above them fanned,
     A light step on the sward,
     And lo! they saw before them stand
     The angel of the Lord!

     "Arise," he said, "why look behind,
     When hope is all before,
     And patient hand and willing mind,
     Your loss may yet restore?

     "I leave with you a spell whose power
     Can make the desert glad,
     And call around you fruit and flower
     As fair as Eden had.

     "I clothe your hands with power to lift
     The curse from off your soil;
     Your very doom shall seem a gift,
     Your loss a gain through Toil.

     "Go, cheerful as yon humming-bees,
     To labor as to play."
     White glimmering over Eden's trees
     The angel passed away.

     The pilgrims of the world went forth
     Obedient to the word,
     And found where'er they tilled the earth
     A garden of the Lord!

     The thorn-tree cast its evil fruit
     And blushed with plum and pear,
     And seeded grass and trodden root
     Grew sweet beneath their care.

     We share our primal parents' fate,
     And, in our turn and day,
     Look back on Eden's sworded gate
     As sad and lost as they.

     But still for us his native skies
     The pitying Angel leaves,
     And leads through Toil to Paradise
     New Adams and new Eves!



A SONG OF HARVEST

For the Agricultural and Horticultural Exhibition at Amesbury and
Salisbury, September 28, 1858.


     This day, two hundred years ago,
     The wild grape by the river's side,
     And tasteless groundnut trailing low,
     The table of the woods supplied.

     Unknown the apple's red and gold,
     The blushing tint of peach and pear;
     The mirror of the Powow told
     No tale of orchards ripe and rare.

     Wild as the fruits he scorned to till,
     These vales the idle Indian trod;
     Nor knew the glad, creative skill,
     The joy of him who toils with God.

     O Painter of the fruits and flowers!
     We thank Thee for thy wise design
     Whereby these human hands of ours
     In Nature's garden work with Thine.

     And thanks that from our daily need
     The joy of simple faith is born;
     That he who smites the summer weed,
     May trust Thee for the autumn corn.

     Give fools their gold, and knaves their power;
     Let fortune's bubbles rise and fall;
     Who sows a field, or trains a flower,
     Or plants a tree, is more than all.

     For he who blesses most is blest;
     And God and man shall own his worth
     Who toils to leave as his bequest
     An added beauty to the earth.

     And, soon or late, to all that sow,
     The time of harvest shall be given;
     The flower shall bloom, the fruit shall grow,
     If not on earth, at last in heaven.



KENOZA LAKE.

This beautiful lake in East Haverhill was the "Great Pond" the writer's
boyhood. In 1859 a movement was made for improving its shores as a
public park. At the opening of the park, August 31, 1859, the poem which
gave it the name of Kenoza (in Indian language signifying Pickerel) was
read.


     As Adam did in Paradise,
     To-day the primal right we claim
     Fair mirror of the woods and skies,
     We give to thee a name.

     Lake of the pickerel!--let no more
     The echoes answer back, "Great Pond,"
     But sweet Kenoza, from thy shore
     And watching hills beyond,

     Let Indian ghosts, if such there be
     Who ply unseen their shadowy lines,
     Call back the ancient name to thee,
     As with the voice of pines.

     The shores we trod as barefoot boys,
     The nutted woods we wandered through,
     To friendship, love, and social joys
     We consecrate anew.

     Here shall the tender song be sung,
     And memory's dirges soft and low,
     And wit shall sparkle on the tongue,
     And mirth shall overflow,

     Harmless as summer lightning plays
     From a low, hidden cloud by night,
     A light to set the hills ablaze,
     But not a bolt to smite.

     In sunny South and prairied West
     Are exiled hearts remembering still,
     As bees their hive, as birds their nest,
     The homes of Haverhill.

     They join us in our rites to-day;
     And, listening, we may hear, erelong,
     From inland lake and ocean bay,
     The echoes of our song.

     Kenoza! o'er no sweeter lake
     Shall morning break or noon-cloud sail,--
     No fairer face than thine shall take
     The sunset's golden veil.

     Long be it ere the tide of trade
     Shall break with harsh-resounding din
     The quiet of thy banks of shade,
     And hills that fold thee in.

     Still let thy woodlands hide the hare,
     The shy loon sound his trumpet-note,
     Wing-weary from his fields of air,
     The wild-goose on thee float.

     Thy peace rebuke our feverish stir,
     Thy beauty our deforming strife;
     Thy woods and waters minister
     The healing of their life.

     And sinless Mirth, from care released,
     Behold, unawed, thy mirrored sky,
     Smiling as smiled on Cana's feast
     The Master's loving eye.

     And when the summer day grows dim,
     And light mists walk thy mimic sea,
     Revive in us the thought of Him
     Who walked on Galilee!



FOR AN AUTUMN FESTIVAL

     The Persian's flowery gifts, the shrine
     Of fruitful Ceres, charm no more;
     The woven wreaths of oak and pine
     Are dust along the Isthmian shore.

     But beauty hath its homage still,
     And nature holds us still in debt;
     And woman's grace and household skill,
     And manhood's toil, are honored yet.

     And we, to-day, amidst our flowers
     And fruits, have come to own again
     The blessings of the summer hours,
     The early and the latter rain;

     To see our Father's hand once more
     Reverse for us the plenteous horn
     Of autumn, filled and running o'er
     With fruit, and flower, and golden corn!

     Once more the liberal year laughs out
     O'er richer stores than gems or gold;
     Once more with harvest-song and shout
     Is Nature's bloodless triumph told.

     Our common mother rests and sings,
     Like Ruth, among her garnered sheaves;
     Her lap is full of goodly things,
     Her brow is bright with autumn leaves.

     Oh, favors every year made new!
     Oh, gifts with rain and sunshine sent
     The bounty overruns our due,
     The fulness shames our discontent.

     We shut our eyes, the flowers bloom on;
     We murmur, but the corn-ears fill,
     We choose the shadow, but the sun
     That casts it shines behind us still.

     God gives us with our rugged soil
     The power to make it Eden-fair,
     And richer fruits to crown our toil
     Than summer-wedded islands bear.

     Who murmurs at his lot to-day?
     Who scorns his native fruit and bloom?
     Or sighs for dainties far away,
     Beside the bounteous board of home?

     Thank Heaven, instead, that Freedom's arm
     Can change a rocky soil to gold,--
     That brave and generous lives can warm
     A clime with northern ices cold.

     And let these altars, wreathed with flowers
     And piled with fruits, awake again
     Thanksgivings for the golden hours,
     The early and the latter rain!

     1859



THE QUAKER ALUMNI.

Read at the Friends' School Anniversary, Providence, R. I., 6th mo.,
1860.


     From the well-springs of Hudson, the sea-cliffs of Maine,
     Grave men, sober matrons, you gather again;
     And, with hearts warmer grown as your heads grow more cool,
     Play over the old game of going to school.

     All your strifes and vexations, your whims and complaints,
     (You were not saints yourselves, if the children of saints!)
     All your petty self-seekings and rivalries done,
     Round the dear Alma Mater your hearts beat as one!

     How widely soe'er you have strayed from the fold,
     Though your "thee" has grown "you," and your drab blue and gold,
     To the old friendly speech and the garb's sober form,
     Like the heart of Argyle to the tartan, you warm.

     But, the first greetings over, you glance round the hall;
     Your hearts call the roll, but they answer not all
     Through the turf green above them the dead cannot hear;
     Name by name, in the silence, falls sad as a tear!

     In love, let us trust, they were summoned so soon
     rom the morning of life, while we toil through its noon;
     They were frail like ourselves, they had needs like our own,
     And they rest as we rest in God's mercy alone.

     Unchanged by our changes of spirit and frame,
     Past, now, and henceforward the Lord is the same;
     Though we sink in the darkness, His arms break our fall,
     And in death as in life, He is Father of all!

     We are older: our footsteps, so light in the play
     Of the far-away school-time, move slower to-day;--
     Here a beard touched with frost, there a bald, shining crown,
     And beneath the cap's border gray mingles with brown.

     But faith should be cheerful, and trust should be glad,
     And our follies and sins, not our years, make us sad.
     Should the heart closer shut as the bonnet grows prim,
     And the face grow in length as the hat grows in brim?

     Life is brief, duty grave; but, with rain-folded wings,
     Of yesterday's sunshine the grateful heart sings;
     And we, of all others, have reason to pay
     The tribute of thanks, and rejoice on our way;

     For the counsels that turned from the follies of youth;
     For the beauty of patience, the whiteness of truth;
     For the wounds of rebuke, when love tempered its edge;
     For the household's restraint, and the discipline's hedge;

     For the lessons of kindness vouchsafed to the least
     Of the creatures of God, whether human or beast,
     Bringing hope to the poor, lending strength to the frail,
     In the lanes of the city, the slave-hut, and jail;

     For a womanhood higher and holier, by all
     Her knowledge of good, than was Eve ere her fall,--
     Whose task-work of duty moves lightly as play,
     Serene as the moonlight and warm as the day;

     And, yet more, for the faith which embraces the whole,
     Of the creeds of the ages the life and the soul,
     Wherein letter and spirit the same channel run,
     And man has not severed what God has made one!

     For a sense of the Goodness revealed everywhere,
     As sunshine impartial, and free as the air;
     For a trust in humanity, Heathen or Jew,
     And a hope for all darkness the Light shineth through.

     Who scoffs at our birthright?--the words of the seers,
     And the songs of the bards in the twilight of years,
     All the foregleams of wisdom in santon and sage,
     In prophet and priest, are our true heritage.

     The Word which the reason of Plato discerned;
     The truth, as whose symbol the Mithra-fire burned;
     The soul of the world which the Stoic but guessed,
     In the Light Universal the Quaker confessed!

     No honors of war to our worthies belong;
     Their plain stem of life never flowered into song;
     But the fountains they opened still gush by the way,
     And the world for their healing is better to-day.

     He who lies where the minster's groined arches curve down
     To the tomb-crowded transept of England's renown,
     The glorious essayist, by genius enthroned,
     Whose pen as a sceptre the Muses all owned,--

     Who through the world's pantheon walked in his pride,
     Setting new statues up, thrusting old ones aside,
     And in fiction the pencils of history dipped,
     To gild o'er or blacken each saint in his crypt,--

     How vainly he labored to sully with blame
     The white bust of Penn, in the niche of his fame!
     Self-will is self-wounding, perversity blind
     On himself fell the stain for the Quaker designed!

     For the sake of his true-hearted father before him;
     For the sake of the dear Quaker mother that bore him;
     For the sake of his gifts, and the works that outlive him,
     And his brave words for freedom, we freely forgive him!

     There are those who take note that our numbers are small,--
     New Gibbons who write our decline and our fall;
     But the Lord of the seed-field takes care of His own,
     And the world shall yet reap what our sowers have sown.

     The last of the sect to his fathers may go,
     Leaving only his coat for some Barnum to show;
     But the truth will outlive him, and broaden with years,
     Till the false dies away, and the wrong disappears.

     Nothing fails of its end. Out of sight sinks the stone,
     In the deep sea of time, but the circles sweep on,
     Till the low-rippled murmurs along the shores run,
     And the dark and dead waters leap glad in the sun.

     Meanwhile shall we learn, in our ease, to forget
     To the martyrs of Truth and of Freedom our debt?--
     Hide their words out of sight, like the garb that they wore,
     And for Barclay's Apology offer one more?

     Shall we fawn round the priestcraft that glutted the shears,
     And festooned the stocks with our grandfathers' ears?
     Talk of Woolman's unsoundness? count Penn heterodox?
     And take Cotton Mather in place of George Fox?

     Make our preachers war-chaplains? quote Scripture to take
     The hunted slave back, for Onesimus' sake?
     Go to burning church-candles, and chanting in choir,
     And on the old meeting-house stick up a spire?

     No! the old paths we'll keep until better are shown,
     Credit good where we find it, abroad or our own;
     And while "Lo here" and "Lo there" the multitude call,
     Be true to ourselves, and do justice to all.

     The good round about us we need not refuse,
     Nor talk of our Zion as if we were Jews;
     But why shirk the badge which our fathers have worn,
     Or beg the world's pardon for having been born?

     We need not pray over the Pharisee's prayer,
     Nor claim that our wisdom is Benjamin's share;
     Truth to us and to others is equal and one
     Shall we bottle the free air, or hoard up the sun?

     Well know we our birthright may serve but to show
     How the meanest of weeds in the richest soil grow;
     But we need not disparage the good which we hold;
     Though the vessels be earthen, the treasure is gold!

     Enough and too much of the sect and the name.
     What matters our label, so truth be our aim?
     The creed may be wrong, but the life may be true,
     And hearts beat the same under drab coats or blue.

     So the man be a man, let him worship, at will,
     In Jerusalem's courts, or on Gerizim's hill.
     When she makes up her jewels, what cares yon good town
     For the Baptist of Wayland, the Quaker of Brown?

     And this green, favored island, so fresh and seablown,
     When she counts up the worthies her annals have known,
     Never waits for the pitiful gaugers of sect
     To measure her love, and mete out her respect.

     Three shades at this moment seem walking her strand,
     Each with head halo-crowned, and with palms in his hand,--
     Wise Berkeley, grave Hopkins, and, smiling serene
     On prelate and puritan, Channing is seen.

     One holy name bearing, no longer they need
     Credentials of party, and pass-words of creed
     The new song they sing hath a threefold accord,
     And they own one baptism, one faith, and one Lord!

     But the golden sands run out: occasions like these
     Glide swift into shadow, like sails on the seas
     While we sport with the mosses and pebbles ashore,
     They lessen and fade, and we see them no more.

     Forgive me, dear friends, if my vagrant thoughts seem
     Like a school-boy's who idles and plays with his theme.
     Forgive the light measure whose changes display
     The sunshine and rain of our brief April day.

     There are moments in life when the lip and the eye
     Try the question of whether to smile or to cry;
     And scenes and reunions that prompt like our own
     The tender in feeling, the playful in tone.

     I, who never sat down with the boys and the girls
     At the feet of your Slocums, and Cartlands, and Earles,--
     By courtesy only permitted to lay
     On your festival's altar my poor gift, to-day,--

     I would joy in your joy: let me have a friend's part
     In the warmth of your welcome of hand and of heart,--
     On your play-ground of boyhood unbend the brow's care,
     And shift the old burdens our shoulders must bear.

     Long live the good School! giving out year by year
     Recruits to true manhood and womanhood dear
     Brave boys, modest maidens, in beauty sent forth,
     The living epistles and proof of its worth!

     In and out let the young life as steadily flow
     As in broad Narragansett the tides come and go;
     And its sons and its daughters in prairie and town
     Remember its honor, and guard its renown.

     Not vainly the gift of its founder was made;
     Not prayerless the stones of its corner were laid
     The blessing of Him whom in secret they sought
     Has owned the good work which the fathers have wrought.

     To Him be the glory forever! We bear
     To the Lord of the Harvest our wheat with the tare.
     What we lack in our work may He find in our will,
     And winnow in mercy our good from the ill!



OUR RIVER.

FOR A SUMMER FESTIVAL AT "THE LAURELS" ON THE MERRIMAC.

Jean Pierre Brissot, the famous leader of the Girondist party in the
French Revolution, when a young man travelled extensively in the United
States. He visited the valley of the Merrimac, and speaks in terms of
admiration of the view from Moulton's hill opposite Amesbury. The
"Laurel Party" so called, as composed of ladies and gentlemen in the
lower valley of the Merrimac, and invited friends and guests in other
sections of the country. Its thoroughly enjoyable annual festivals were
held in the early summer on the pine-shaded, laurel-blossomed slopes of
the Newbury side of the river opposite Pleasant Valley in Amesbury. The
several poems called out by these gatherings are here printed in
sequence.


     Once more on yonder laurelled height
     The summer flowers have budded;
     Once more with summer's golden light
     The vales of home are flooded;
     And once more, by the grace of Him
     Of every good the Giver,
     We sing upon its wooded rim
     The praises of our river,

     Its pines above, its waves below,
     The west-wind down it blowing,
     As fair as when the young Brissot
     Beheld it seaward flowing,--
     And bore its memory o'er the deep,
     To soothe a martyr's sadness,
     And fresco, hi his troubled sleep,
     His prison-walls with gladness.

     We know the world is rich with streams
     Renowned in song and story,
     Whose music murmurs through our dreams
     Of human love and glory
     We know that Arno's banks are fair,
     And Rhine has castled shadows,
     And, poet-tuned, the Doon and Ayr
     Go singing down their meadows.

     But while, unpictured and unsung
     By painter or by poet,
     Our river waits the tuneful tongue
     And cunning hand to show it,--
     We only know the fond skies lean
     Above it, warm with blessing,
     And the sweet soul of our Undine
     Awakes to our caressing.

     No fickle sun-god holds the flocks
     That graze its shores in keeping;
     No icy kiss of Dian mocks
     The youth beside it sleeping
     Our Christian river loveth most
     The beautiful and human;
     The heathen streams of Naiads boast,
     But ours of man and woman.

     The miner in his cabin hears
     The ripple we are hearing;
     It whispers soft to homesick ears
     Around the settler's clearing
     In Sacramento's vales of corn,
     Or Santee's bloom of cotton,
     Our river by its valley-born
     Was never yet forgotten.

     The drum rolls loud, the bugle fills
     The summer air with clangor;
     The war-storm shakes the solid hills
     Beneath its tread of anger;
     Young eyes that last year smiled in ours
     Now point the rifle's barrel,
     And hands then stained with fruits and flowers
     Bear redder stains of quarrel.

     But blue skies smile, and flowers bloom on,
     And rivers still keep flowing,
     The dear God still his rain and sun
     On good and ill bestowing.
     His pine-trees whisper, "Trust and wait!"
     His flowers are prophesying
     That all we dread of change or fate
     His live is underlying.

     And thou, O Mountain-born!--no more
     We ask the wise Allotter
     Than for the firmness of thy shore,
     The calmness of thy water,
     The cheerful lights that overlay,
     Thy rugged slopes with beauty,
     To match our spirits to our day
     And make a joy of duty.

     1861.



REVISITED.

Read at "The Laurels," on the Merrimac, 6th month, 1865.


     The roll of drums and the bugle's wailing
     Vex the air of our vales-no more;
     The spear is beaten to hooks of pruning,
     The share is the sword the soldier wore!

     Sing soft, sing low, our lowland river,
     Under thy banks of laurel bloom;
     Softly and sweet, as the hour beseemeth,
     Sing us the songs of peace and home.

     Let all the tenderer voices of nature
     Temper the triumph and chasten mirth,
     Full of the infinite love and pity
     For fallen martyr and darkened hearth.

     But to Him who gives us beauty for ashes,
     And the oil of joy for mourning long,
     Let thy hills give thanks, and all thy waters
     Break into jubilant waves of song!

     Bring us the airs of hills and forests,
     The sweet aroma of birch and pine,
     Give us a waft of the north-wind laden
     With sweethrier odors and breath of kine!

     Bring us the purple of mountain sunsets,
     Shadows of clouds that rake the hills,
     The green repose of thy Plymouth meadows,
     The gleam and ripple of Campton rills.

     Lead us away in shadow and sunshine,
     Slaves of fancy, through all thy miles,
     The winding ways of Pemigewasset,
     And Winnipesaukee's hundred isles.

     Shatter in sunshine over thy ledges,
     Laugh in thy plunges from fall to fall;
     Play with thy fringes of elms, and darken
     Under the shade of the mountain wall.

     The cradle-song of thy hillside fountains
     Here in thy glory and strength repeat;
     Give us a taste of thy upland music,
     Show us the dance of thy silver feet.

     Into thy dutiful life of uses
     Pour the music and weave the flowers;
     With the song of birds and bloom of meadows
     Lighten and gladden thy heart and ours.

     Sing on! bring down, O lowland river,
     The joy of the hills to the waiting sea;
     The wealth of the vales, the pomp of mountains,
     The breath of the woodlands, bear with thee.

     Here, in the calm of thy seaward, valley,
     Mirth and labor shall hold their truce;
     Dance of water and mill of grinding,
     Both are beauty and both are use.

     Type of the Northland's strength and glory,
     Pride and hope of our home and race,--
     Freedom lending to rugged labor
     Tints of beauty and lines of grace.

     Once again, O beautiful river,
     Hear our greetings and take our thanks;
     Hither we come, as Eastern pilgrims
     Throng to the Jordan's sacred banks.

     For though by the Master's feet untrodden,
     Though never His word has stilled thy waves,
     Well for us may thy shores be holy,
     With Christian altars and saintly graves.

     And well may we own thy hint and token
     Of fairer valleys and streams than these,
     Where the rivers of God are full of water,
     And full of sap are His healing trees!



"THE LAURELS"

At the twentieth and last anniversary.


     FROM these wild rocks I look to-day
     O'er leagues of dancing waves, and see
     The far, low coast-line stretch away
     To where our river meets the sea.

     The light wind blowing off the land
     Is burdened with old voices; through
     Shut eyes I see how lip and hand
     The greeting of old days renew.

     O friends whose hearts still keep their prime,
     Whose bright example warms and cheers,
     Ye teach us how to smile at Time,
     And set to music all his years!

     I thank you for sweet summer days,
     For pleasant memories lingering long,
     For joyful meetings, fond delays,
     And ties of friendship woven strong.

     As for the last time, side by side,
     You tread the paths familiar grown,
     I reach across the severing tide,
     And blend my farewells with your own.

     Make room, O river of our home!
     For other feet in place of ours,
     And in the summers yet to come,
     Make glad another Feast of Flowers!

     Hold in thy mirror, calm and deep,
     The pleasant pictures thou hast seen;
     Forget thy lovers not, but keep
     Our memory like thy laurels green.

     ISLES of SHOALS, 7th mo., 1870.



JUNE ON THE MERRIMAC.

     O dwellers in the stately towns,
     What come ye out to see?
     This common earth, this common sky,
     This water flowing free?

     As gayly as these kalmia flowers
     Your door-yard blossoms spring;
     As sweetly as these wild-wood birds
     Your caged minstrels sing.

     You find but common bloom and green,
     The rippling river's rune,
     The beauty which is everywhere
     Beneath the skies of June;

     The Hawkswood oaks, the storm-torn plumes
     Of old pine-forest kings,
     Beneath whose century-woven shade
     Deer Island's mistress sings.

     And here are pictured Artichoke,
     And Curson's bowery mill;
     And Pleasant Valley smiles between
     The river and the hill.

     You know full well these banks of bloom,
     The upland's wavy line,
     And how the sunshine tips with fire
     The needles of the pine.

     Yet, like some old remembered psalm,
     Or sweet, familiar face,
     Not less because of commonness
     You love the day and place.

     And not in vain in this soft air
     Shall hard-strung nerves relax,
     Not all in vain the o'erworn brain
     Forego its daily tax.

     The lust of power, the greed of gain
     Have all the year their own;
     The haunting demons well may let
     Our one bright day alone.

     Unheeded let the newsboy call,
     Aside the ledger lay
     The world will keep its treadmill step
     Though we fall out to-day.

     The truants of life's weary school,
     Without excuse from thrift
     We change for once the gains of toil
     For God's unpurchased gift.

     From ceiled rooms, from silent books,
     From crowded car and town,
     Dear Mother Earth, upon thy lap,
     We lay our tired heads down.

     Cool, summer wind, our heated brows;
     Blue river, through the green
     Of clustering pines, refresh the eyes
     Which all too much have seen.

     For us these pleasant woodland ways
     Are thronged with memories old,
     Have felt the grasp of friendly hands
     And heard love's story told.

     A sacred presence overbroods
     The earth whereon we meet;
     These winding forest-paths are trod
     By more than mortal feet.

     Old friends called from us by the voice
     Which they alone could hear,
     From mystery to mystery,
     From life to life, draw near.

     More closely for the sake of them
     Each other's hands we press;
     Our voices take from them a tone
     Of deeper tenderness.

     Our joy is theirs, their trust is ours,
     Alike below, above,
     Or here or there, about us fold
     The arms of one great love!

     We ask to-day no countersign,
     No party names we own;
     Unlabelled, individual,
     We bring ourselves alone.

     What cares the unconventioned wood
     For pass-words of the town?
     The sound of fashion's shibboleth
     The laughing waters drown.

     Here cant forgets his dreary tone,
     And care his face forlorn;
     The liberal air and sunshine laugh
     The bigot's zeal to scorn.

     From manhood's weary shoulder falls
     His load of selfish cares;
     And woman takes her rights as flowers
     And brooks and birds take theirs.

     The license of the happy woods,
     The brook's release are ours;
     The freedom of the unshamed wind
     Among the glad-eyed flowers.

     Yet here no evil thought finds place,
     Nor foot profane comes in;
     Our grove, like that of Samothrace,
     Is set apart from sin.

     We walk on holy ground; above
     A sky more holy smiles;
     The chant of the beatitudes
     Swells down these leafy aisles.

     Thanks to the gracious Providence
     That brings us here once more;
     For memories of the good behind
     And hopes of good before.

     And if, unknown to us, sweet days
     Of June like this must come,
     Unseen of us these laurels clothe
     The river-banks with bloom;

     And these green paths must soon be trod
     By other feet than ours,
     Full long may annual pilgrims come
     To keep the Feast of Flowers;

     The matron be a girl once more,
     The bearded man a boy,
     And we, in heaven's eternal June,
     Be glad for earthly joy!

     1876.



HYMN

FOR THE OPENING OF THOMAS STARR KING'S HOUSE OF WORSHIP, 1864.

The poetic and patriotic preacher, who had won fame in the East, went to
California in 1860 and became a power on the Pacific coast. It was not
long after the opening of the house of worship built for him that he
died.


     Amidst these glorious works of Thine,
     The solemn minarets of the pine,
     And awful Shasta's icy shrine,--

     Where swell Thy hymns from wave and gale,
     And organ-thunders never fail,
     Behind the cataract's silver veil,

     Our puny walls to Thee we raise,
     Our poor reed-music sounds Thy praise:
     Forgive, O Lord, our childish ways!

     For, kneeling on these altar-stairs,
     We urge Thee not with selfish prayers,
     Nor murmur at our daily cares.

     Before Thee, in an evil day,
     Our country's bleeding heart we lay,
     And dare not ask Thy hand to stay;

     But, through the war-cloud, pray to Thee
     For union, but a union free,
     With peace that comes of purity!

     That Thou wilt bare Thy arm to, save
     And, smiting through this Red Sea wave,
     Make broad a pathway for the slave!

     For us, confessing all our need,
     We trust nor rite nor word nor deed,
     Nor yet the broken staff of creed.

     Assured alone that Thou art good
     To each, as to the multitude,
     Eternal Love and Fatherhood,--

     Weak, sinful, blind, to Thee we kneel,
     Stretch dumbly forth our hands, and feel
     Our weakness is our strong appeal.

     So, by these Western gates of Even
     We wait to see with Thy forgiven
     The opening Golden Gate of Heaven!

     Suffice it now. In time to be
     Shall holier altars rise to Thee,--
     Thy Church our broad humanity

     White flowers of love its walls shall climb,
     Soft bells of peace shall ring its chime,
     Its days shall all be holy time.

     A sweeter song shall then be heard,--
     The music of the world's accord
     Confessing Christ, the Inward Word!

     That song shall swell from shore to shore,
     One hope, one faith, one love, restore
     The seamless robe that Jesus wore.



HYMN

FOR THE HOUSE OF WORSHIP AT GEORGETOWN,
ERECTED IN MEMORY OF A MOTHER.

The giver of the house was the late George Peabody, of London.


     Thou dwellest not, O Lord of all
     In temples which thy children raise;
     Our work to thine is mean and small,
     And brief to thy eternal days.

     Forgive the weakness and the pride,
     If marred thereby our gift may be,
     For love, at least, has sanctified
     The altar that we rear to thee.

     The heart and not the hand has wrought
     From sunken base to tower above
     The image of a tender thought,
     The memory of a deathless love!

     And though should never sound of speech
     Or organ echo from its wall,
     Its stones would pious lessons teach,
     Its shade in benedictions fall.

     Here should the dove of peace be found,
     And blessings and not curses given;
     Nor strife profane, nor hatred wound,
     The mingled loves of earth and heaven.

     Thou, who didst soothe with dying breath
     The dear one watching by Thy cross,
     Forgetful of the pains of death
     In sorrow for her mighty loss,

     In memory of that tender claim,
     O Mother-born, the offering take,
     And make it worthy of Thy name,
     And bless it for a mother's sake!

     1868.



A SPIRITUAL MANIFESTATION.

Read at the President's Levee, Brown University, 29th 6th month, 1870.


     To-day the plant by Williams set
     Its summer bloom discloses;
     The wilding sweethrier of his prayers
     Is crowned with cultured roses.

     Once more the Island State repeats
     The lesson that he taught her,
     And binds his pearl of charity
     Upon her brown-locked daughter.

     Is 't fancy that he watches still
     His Providence plantations?
     That still the careful Founder takes
     A part on these occasions.

     Methinks I see that reverend form,
     Which all of us so well know
     He rises up to speak; he jogs
     The presidential elbow.

     "Good friends," he says, "you reap a field
     I sowed in self-denial,
     For toleration had its griefs
     And charity its trial.

     "Great grace, as saith Sir Thomas More,
     To him must needs be given
     Who heareth heresy and leaves
     The heretic to Heaven!

     "I hear again the snuffled tones,
     I see in dreary vision
     Dyspeptic dreamers, spiritual bores,
     And prophets with a mission.

     "Each zealot thrust before my eyes
     His Scripture-garbled label;
     All creeds were shouted in my ears
     As with the tongues of Babel.

     "Scourged at one cart-tail, each denied
     The hope of every other;
     Each martyr shook his branded fist
     At the conscience of his brother!

     "How cleft the dreary drone of man.
     The shriller pipe of woman,
     As Gorton led his saints elect,
     Who held all things in common!

     "Their gay robes trailed in ditch and swamp,
     And torn by thorn and thicket,
     The dancing-girls of Merry Mount
     Came dragging to my wicket.

     "Shrill Anabaptists, shorn of ears;
     Gray witch-wives, hobbling slowly;
     And Antinomians, free of law,
     Whose very sins were holy.

     "Hoarse ranters, crazed Fifth Monarchists,
     Of stripes and bondage braggarts,
     Pale Churchmen, with singed rubrics snatched
     From Puritanic fagots.

     "And last, not least, the Quakers came,
     With tongues still sore from burning,
     The Bay State's dust from off their feet
     Before my threshold spurning;

     "A motley host, the Lord's debris,
     Faith's odds and ends together;
     Well might I shrink from guests with lungs
     Tough as their breeches leather

     "If, when the hangman at their heels
     Came, rope in hand to catch them,
     I took the hunted outcasts in,
     I never sent to fetch them.

     "I fed, but spared them not a whit;
     I gave to all who walked in,
     Not clams and succotash alone,
     But stronger meat of doctrine.

     "I proved the prophets false, I pricked
     The bubble of perfection,
     And clapped upon their inner light
     The snuffers of election.

     "And looking backward on my times,
     This credit I am taking;
     I kept each sectary's dish apart,
     No spiritual chowder making.

     "Where now the blending signs of sect
     Would puzzle their assorter,
     The dry-shod Quaker kept the land,
     The Baptist held the water.

     "A common coat now serves for both,
     The hat's no more a fixture;
     And which was wet and which was dry,
     Who knows in such a mixture?

     "Well! He who fashioned Peter's dream
     To bless them all is able;
     And bird and beast and creeping thing
     Make clean upon His table!

     "I walked by my own light; but when
     The ways of faith divided,
     Was I to force unwilling feet
     To tread the path that I did?

     "I touched the garment-hem of truth,
     Yet saw not all its splendor;
     I knew enough of doubt to feel
     For every conscience tender.

     "God left men free of choice, as when
     His Eden-trees were planted;
     Because they chose amiss, should I
     Deny the gift He granted?

     "So, with a common sense of need,
     Our common weakness feeling,
     I left them with myself to God
     And His all-gracious dealing!

     "I kept His plan whose rain and sun
     To tare and wheat are given;
     And if the ways to hell were free,
     I left then free to heaven!"

     Take heart with us, O man of old,
     Soul-freedom's brave confessor,
     So love of God and man wax strong,
     Let sect and creed be lesser.

     The jarring discords of thy day
     In ours one hymn are swelling;
     The wandering feet, the severed paths,
     All seek our Father's dwelling.

     And slowly learns the world the truth
     That makes us all thy debtor,--
     That holy life is more than rite,
     And spirit more than letter;

     That they who differ pole-wide serve
     Perchance the common Master,
     And other sheep He hath than they
     Who graze one narrow pasture!

     For truth's worst foe is he who claims
     To act as God's avenger,
     And deems, beyond his sentry-beat,
     The crystal walls in danger!

     Who sets for heresy his traps
     Of verbal quirk and quibble,
     And weeds the garden of the Lord
     With Satan's borrowed dibble.

     To-day our hearts like organ keys
     One Master's touch are feeling;
     The branches of a common Vine
     Have only leaves of healing.

     Co-workers, yet from varied fields,
     We share this restful nooning;
     The Quaker with the Baptist here
     Believes in close communing.

     Forgive, dear saint, the playful tone,
     Too light for thy deserving;
     Thanks for thy generous faith in man,
     Thy trust in God unswerving.

     Still echo in the hearts of men
     The words that thou hast spoken;
     No forge of hell can weld again
     The fetters thou hast broken.

     The pilgrim needs a pass no more
     From Roman or Genevan;
     Thought-free, no ghostly tollman keeps
     Henceforth the road to Heaven!



CHICAGO

The great fire at Chicago was on 8-10 October, 1871.


     Men said at vespers: "All is well!"
     In one wild night the city fell;
     Fell shrines of prayer and marts of gain
     Before the fiery hurricane.

     On threescore spires had sunset shone,
     Where ghastly sunrise looked on none.
     Men clasped each other's hands, and said
     "The City of the West is dead!"

     Brave hearts who fought, in slow retreat,
     The fiends of fire from street to street,
     Turned, powerless, to the blinding glare,
     The dumb defiance of despair.

     A sudden impulse thrilled each wire
     That signalled round that sea of fire;
     Swift words of cheer, warm heart-throbs came;
     In tears of pity died the flame!

     From East, from West, from South and North,
     The messages of hope shot forth,
     And, underneath the severing wave,
     The world, full-handed, reached to save.

     Fair seemed the old; but fairer still
     The new, the dreary void shall fill
     With dearer homes than those o'erthrown,
     For love shall lay each corner-stone.

     Rise, stricken city! from thee throw
     The ashen sackcloth of thy woe;
     And build, as to Amphion's strain,
     To songs of cheer thy walls again!

     How shrivelled in thy hot distress
     The primal sin of selfishness!
     How instant rose, to take thy part,
     The angel in the human heart!

     Ah! not in vain the flames that tossed
     Above thy dreadful holocaust;
     The Christ again has preached through thee
     The Gospel of Humanity!

     Then lift once more thy towers on high,
     And fret with spires the western sky,
     To tell that God is yet with us,
     And love is still miraculous!

     1871.



KINSMAN.

Died at the Island of Panay (Philippine group), aged nineteen years.


     Where ceaseless Spring her garland twines,
     As sweetly shall the loved one rest,
     As if beneath the whispering pines
     And maple shadows of the West.

     Ye mourn, O hearts of home! for him,
     But, haply, mourn ye not alone;
     For him shall far-off eyes be dim,
     And pity speak in tongues unknown.

     There needs no graven line to give
     The story of his blameless youth;
     All hearts shall throb intuitive,
     And nature guess the simple truth.

     The very meaning of his name
     Shall many a tender tribute win;
     The stranger own his sacred claim,
     And all the world shall be his kin.

     And there, as here, on main and isle,
     The dews of holy peace shall fall,
     The same sweet heavens above him smile,
     And God's dear love be over all
     1874.



THE GOLDEN WEDDING OF LONGWOOD.

Longwood, not far from Bayard Taylor's birthplace in Kennett Square,
Pennsylvania, was the home of my esteemed friends John and Hannah Cox,
whose golden wedding was celebrated in 1874.


     With fifty years between you and your well-kept wedding vow,
     The Golden Age, old friends of mine, is not a fable now.

     And, sweet as has life's vintage been through all your pleasant past,
     Still, as at Cana's marriage-feast, the best wine is the last!

     Again before me, with your names, fair Chester's landscape comes,
     Its meadows, woods, and ample barns, and quaint, stone-builded homes.

     The smooth-shorn vales, the wheaten slopes, the boscage green and soft,
     Of which their poet sings so well from towered Cedarcroft.

     And lo! from all the country-side come neighbors, kith and kin;
     From city, hamlet, farm-house old, the wedding guests come in.

     And they who, without scrip or purse, mob-hunted, travel-worn,
     In Freedom's age of martyrs came, as victors now return.

     Older and slower, yet the same, files in the long array,
     And hearts are light and eyes are glad, though heads are badger-gray.

     The fire-tried men of Thirty-eight who saw with me the fall,
     Midst roaring flames and shouting mob, of Pennsylvania Hall;

     And they of Lancaster who turned the cheeks of tyrants pale,
     Singing of freedom through the grates of Moyamensing jail!

     And haply with them, all unseen, old comrades, gone before,
     Pass, silently as shadows pass, within your open door,--

     The eagle face of Lindley Coates, brave Garrett's daring zeal,
     Christian grace of Pennock, the steadfast heart of Neal.

     Ah me! beyond all power to name, the worthies tried and true,
     Grave men, fair women, youth and maid, pass by in hushed review.

     Of varying faiths, a common cause fused all their hearts in one.
     God give them now, whate'er their names, the peace of duty done!

     How gladly would I tread again the old-remembered places,
     Sit down beside your hearth once more and look in the dear old faces!

     And thank you for the lessons your fifty years are teaching,
     For honest lives that louder speak than half our noisy preaching;

     For your steady faith and courage in that dark and evil time,
     When the Golden Rule was treason, and to feed the hungry, crime;

     For the poor slave's house of refuge when the hounds were on his track,
     And saint and sinner, church and state, joined hands to send him back.

     Blessings upon you!--What you did for each sad, suffering one,
     So homeless, faint, and naked, unto our Lord was done!

     Fair fall on Kennett's pleasant vales and Longwood's bowery ways
     The mellow sunset of your lives, friends of my early days.

     May many more of quiet years be added to your sum,
     And, late at last, in tenderest love, the beckoning angel come.

     Dear hearts are here, dear hearts are there, alike below, above;
     Our friends are now in either world, and love is sure of love.

     1874.



HYMN FOR THE OPENING OF PLYMOUTH CHURCH, ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA.

     All things are Thine: no gift have we,
     Lord of all gifts, to offer Thee;
     And hence with grateful hearts to-day,
     Thy own before Thy feet we lay.

     Thy will was in the builders' thought;
     Thy hand unseen amidst us wrought;
     Through mortal motive, scheme and plan,
     Thy wise eternal purpose ran.

     No lack Thy perfect fulness knew;
     For human needs and longings grew
     This house of prayer, this home of rest,
     In the fair garden of the West.

     In weakness and in want we call
     On Thee for whom the heavens are small;
     Thy glory is Thy children's good,
     Thy joy Thy tender Fatherhood.

     O Father! deign these walls to bless,
     Fill with Thy love their emptiness,
     And let their door a gateway be
     To lead us from ourselves to Thee!

     1872.



LEXINGTON 1775.

     No Berserk thirst of blood had they,
     No battle-joy was theirs, who set
     Against the alien bayonet
     Their homespun breasts in that old day.

     Their feet had trodden peaceful, ways;
     They loved not strife, they dreaded pain;
     They saw not, what to us is plain,
     That God would make man's wrath his praise.

     No seers were they, but simple men;
     Its vast results the future hid
     The meaning of the work they did
     Was strange and dark and doubtful then.

     Swift as their summons came they left
     The plough mid-furrow standing still,
     The half-ground corn grist in the mill,
     The spade in earth, the axe in cleft.

     They went where duty seemed to call,
     They scarcely asked the reason why;
     They only knew they could but die,
     And death was not the worst of all!

     Of man for man the sacrifice,
     All that was theirs to give, they gave.
     The flowers that blossomed from their grave
     Have sown themselves beneath all skies.

     Their death-shot shook the feudal tower,
     And shattered slavery's chain as well;
     On the sky's dome, as on a bell,
     Its echo struck the world's great hour.

     That fateful echo is not dumb
     The nations listening to its sound
     Wait, from a century's vantage-ground,
     The holier triumphs yet to come,--

     The bridal time of Law and Love,
     The gladness of the world's release,
     When, war-sick, at the feet of Peace
     The hawk shall nestle with the dove!--

     The golden age of brotherhood
     Unknown to other rivalries
     Than of the mild humanities,
     And gracious interchange of good,

     When closer strand shall lean to strand,
     Till meet, beneath saluting flags,
     The eagle of our mountain-crags,
     The lion of our Motherland!

     1875.



THE LIBRARY.

Sung at the opening of the Haverhill Library, November 11, 1875.


     "Let there be light!" God spake of old,
     And over chaos dark and cold,
     And through the dead and formless frame
     Of nature, life and order came.

     Faint was the light at first that shone
     On giant fern and mastodon,
     On half-formed plant and beast of prey,
     And man as rude and wild as they.

     Age after age, like waves, o'erran
     The earth, uplifting brute and man;
     And mind, at length, in symbols dark
     Its meanings traced on stone and bark.

     On leaf of palm, on sedge-wrought roll,
     On plastic clay and leathern scroll,
     Man wrote his thoughts; the ages passed,
     And to! the Press was found at last!

     Then dead souls woke; the thoughts of men
     Whose bones were dust revived again;
     The cloister's silence found a tongue,
     Old prophets spake, old poets sung.

     And here, to-day, the dead look down,
     The kings of mind again we crown;
     We hear the voices lost so long,
     The sage's word, the sibyl's song.

     Here Greek and Roman find themselves
     Alive along these crowded shelves;
     And Shakespeare treads again his stage,
     And Chaucer paints anew his age.

     As if some Pantheon's marbles broke
     Their stony trance, and lived and spoke,
     Life thrills along the alcoved hall,
     The lords of thought await our call!



"I WAS A STRANGER, AND YE TOOK ME IN."

An incident in St. Augustine, Florida.


     'Neath skies that winter never knew
     The air was full of light and balm,
     And warm and soft the Gulf wind blew
     Through orange bloom and groves of palm.

     A stranger from the frozen North,
     Who sought the fount of health in vain,
     Sank homeless on the alien earth,
     And breathed the languid air with pain.

     God's angel came! The tender shade
     Of pity made her blue eye dim;
     Against her woman's breast she laid
     The drooping, fainting head of him.

     She bore him to a pleasant room,
     Flower-sweet and cool with salt sea air,
     And watched beside his bed, for whom
     His far-off sisters might not care.

     She fanned his feverish brow and smoothed
     Its lines of pain with tenderest touch.
     With holy hymn and prayer she soothed
     The trembling soul that feared so much.

     Through her the peace that passeth sight
     Came to him, as he lapsed away
     As one whose troubled dreams of night
     Slide slowly into tranquil day.

     The sweetness of the Land of Flowers
     Upon his lonely grave she laid
     The jasmine dropped its golden showers,
     The orange lent its bloom and shade.

     And something whispered in her thought,
     More sweet than mortal voices be
     "The service thou for him hast wrought
     O daughter! hath been done for me."

     1875.



CENTENNIAL HYMN.

Written for the opening of the International Exhibition, Philadelphia,
May 10, 1876. The music for the hymn was written by John K. Paine, and
may be found in The Atlantic Monthly for June, 1876.


     I.
     Our fathers' God! from out whose hand
     The centuries fall like grains of sand,
     We meet to-day, united, free,
     And loyal to our land and Thee,
     To thank Thee for the era done,
     And trust Thee for the opening one.

     II.
     Here, where of old, by Thy design,
     The fathers spake that word of Thine
     Whose echo is the glad refrain
     Of rended bolt and falling chain,
     To grace our festal time, from all
     The zones of earth our guests we call.

     III.
     Be with us while the New World greets
     The Old World thronging all its streets,
     Unveiling all the triumphs won
     By art or toil beneath the sun;
     And unto common good ordain
     This rivalship of hand and brain.

     IV.
     Thou, who hast here in concord furled
     The war flags of a gathered world,
     Beneath our Western skies fulfil
     The Orient's mission of good-will,
     And, freighted with love's Golden Fleece,
     Send back its Argonauts of peace.

     V.
     For art and labor met in truce,
     For beauty made the bride of use,
     We thank Thee; but, withal, we crave
     The austere virtues strong to save,
     The honor proof to place or gold,
     The manhood never bought nor sold.

     VI.
     Oh make Thou us, through centuries long,
     In peace secure, in justice strong;
     Around our gift of freedom draw
     The safeguards of Thy righteous law
     And, cast in some diviner mould,
     Let the new cycle shame the old!



AT SCHOOL-CLOSE. BOWDOIN STREET, BOSTON, 1877.

     The end has come, as come it must
     To all things; in these sweet June days
     The teacher and the scholar trust
     Their parting feet to separate ways.

     They part: but in the years to be
     Shall pleasant memories cling to each,
     As shells bear inland from the sea
     The murmur of the rhythmic beach.

     One knew the joy the sculptor knows
     When, plastic to his lightest touch,
     His clay-wrought model slowly grows
     To that fine grace desired so much.

     So daily grew before her eyes
     The living shapes whereon she wrought,
     Strong, tender, innocently wise,
     The child's heart with the woman's thought.

     And one shall never quite forget
     The voice that called from dream and play,
     The firm but kindly hand that set
     Her feet in learning's pleasant way,--

     The joy of Undine soul-possessed,
     The wakening sense, the strange delight
     That swelled the fabled statue's breast
     And filled its clouded eyes with sight.

     O Youth and Beauty, loved of all!
     Ye pass from girlhood's gate of dreams;
     In broader ways your footsteps fall,
     Ye test the truth of all that seams.

     Her little realm the teacher leaves,
     She breaks her wand of power apart,
     While, for your love and trust, she gives
     The warm thanks of a grateful heart.

     Hers is the sober summer noon
     Contrasted with your morn of spring,
     The waning with the waxing moon,
     The folded with the outspread wing.

     Across the distance of the years
     She sends her God-speed back to you;
     She has no thought of doubts or fears
     Be but yourselves, be pure, be true,

     And prompt in duty; heed the deep,
     Low voice of conscience; through the ill
     And discord round about you, keep
     Your faith in human nature still.

     Be gentle: unto griefs and needs,
     Be pitiful as woman should,
     And, spite of all the lies of creeds,
     Hold fast the truth that God is good.

     Give and receive; go forth and bless
     The world that needs the hand and heart
     Of Martha's helpful carefulness
     No less than Mary's better part.

     So shall the stream of time flow by
     And leave each year a richer good,
     And matron loveliness outvie
     The nameless charm of maidenhood.

     And, when the world shall link your names
     With gracious lives and manners fine,
     The teacher shall assert her claims,
     And proudly whisper, "These were mine!"



HYMN OF THE CHILDREN.

Sung at the anniversary of the Children's Mission, Boston, 1878.


     Thine are all the gifts, O God!
     Thine the broken bread;
     Let the naked feet be shod,
     And the starving fed.

     Let Thy children, by Thy grace,
     Give as they abound,
     Till the poor have breathing-space,
     And the lost are found.

     Wiser than the miser's hoards
     Is the giver's choice;
     Sweeter than the song of birds
     Is the thankful voice.

     Welcome smiles on faces sad
     As the flowers of spring;
     Let the tender hearts be glad
     With the joy they bring.

     Happier for their pity's sake
     Make their sports and plays,
     And from lips of childhood take
     Thy perfected praise!



THE LANDMARKS.

This poem was read at a meeting of citizens of Boston having for its
object the preservation of the Old South Church famous in Colonial and
Revolutionary history.


     I.
     THROUGH the streets of Marblehead
     Fast the red-winged terror sped;

     Blasting, withering, on it came,
     With its hundred tongues of flame,

     Where St. Michael's on its way
     Stood like chained Andromeda,

     Waiting on the rock, like her,
     Swift doom or deliverer!

     Church that, after sea-moss grew
     Over walls no longer new,

     Counted generations five,
     Four entombed and one alive;

     Heard the martial thousand tread
     Battleward from Marblehead;

     Saw within the rock-walled bay
     Treville's liked pennons play,

     And the fisher's dory met
     By the barge of Lafayette,

     Telling good news in advance
     Of the coming fleet of France!

     Church to reverend memories, dear,
     Quaint in desk and chandelier;

     Bell, whose century-rusted tongue
     Burials tolled and bridals rung;

     Loft, whose tiny organ kept
     Keys that Snetzler's hand had swept;

     Altar, o'er whose tablet old
     Sinai's law its thunders rolled!

     Suddenly the sharp cry came
     "Look! St. Michael's is aflame!"

     Round the low tower wall the fire
     Snake-like wound its coil of ire.

     Sacred in its gray respect
     From the jealousies of sect,

     "Save it," seemed the thought of all,
     "Save it, though our roof-trees fall!"

     Up the tower the young men sprung;
     One, the bravest, outward swung

     By the rope, whose kindling strands
     Smoked beneath the holder's hands,

     Smiting down with strokes of power
     Burning fragments from the tower.

     Then the gazing crowd beneath
     Broke the painful pause of breath;

     Brave men cheered from street to street,
     With home's ashes at their feet;

     Houseless women kerchiefs waved:
     "Thank the Lord! St. Michael's saved!"

     II.
     In the heart of Boston town
     Stands the church of old renown,

     From whose walls the impulse went
     Which set free a continent;

     From whose pulpit's oracle
     Prophecies of freedom fell;

     And whose steeple-rocking din
     Rang the nation's birth-day in!

     Standing at this very hour
     Perilled like St. Michael's tower,

     Held not in the clasp of flame,
     But by mammon's grasping claim.

     Shall it be of Boston said
     She is shamed by Marblehead?

     City of our pride! as there,
     Hast thou none to do and dare?

     Life was risked for Michael's shrine;
     Shall not wealth be staked for thine?

     Woe to thee, when men shall search
     Vainly for the Old South Church;

     When from Neck to Boston Stone,
     All thy pride of place is gone;

     When from Bay and railroad car,
     Stretched before them wide and far,

     Men shall only see a great
     Wilderness of brick and slate,

     Every holy spot o'erlaid
     By the commonplace of trade!

     City of our love': to thee
     Duty is but destiny.

     True to all thy record saith,
     Keep with thy traditions faith;

     Ere occasion's overpast,
     Hold its flowing forelock fast;

     Honor still the precedents
     Of a grand munificence;

     In thy old historic way
     Give, as thou didst yesterday

     At the South-land's call, or on
     Need's demand from fired St. John.

     Set thy Church's muffled bell
     Free the generous deed to tell.

     Let thy loyal hearts rejoice
     In the glad, sonorous voice,

     Ringing from the brazen mouth
     Of the bell of the Old South,--

     Ringing clearly, with a will,
     "What she was is Boston still!"

     1879



GARDEN

The American Horticultural Society, 1882.


     O painter of the fruits and flowers,
     We own wise design,
     Where these human hands of ours
     May share work of Thine!

     Apart from Thee we plant in vain
     The root and sow the seed;
     Thy early and Thy later rain,
     Thy sun and dew we need.

     Our toil is sweet with thankfulness,
     Our burden is our boon;
     The curse of Earth's gray morning is
     The blessing of its noon.

     Why search the wide world everywhere
     For Eden's unknown ground?
     That garden of the primal pair
     May nevermore be found.

     But, blest by Thee, our patient toil
     May right the ancient wrong,
     And give to every clime and soil
     The beauty lost so long.

     Our homestead flowers and fruited trees
     May Eden's orchard shame;
     We taste the tempting sweets of these
     Like Eve, without her blame.

     And, North and South and East and West,
     The pride of every zone,
     The fairest, rarest, and the best
     May all be made our own.

     Its earliest shrines the young world sought
     In hill-groves and in bowers,
     The fittest offerings thither brought
     Were Thy own fruits and flowers.

     And still with reverent hands we cull
     Thy gifts each year renewed;
     The good is always beautiful,
     The beautiful is good.



A GREETING

Read at Harriet Beecher Stowe's seventieth anniversary, June 14, 1882,
at a garden party at ex-Governor Claflin's in Newtonville, Mass.


     Thrice welcome from the Land of Flowers
     And golden-fruited orange bowers
     To this sweet, green-turfed June of ours!
     To her who, in our evil time,
     Dragged into light the nation's crime
     With strength beyond the strength of men,
     And, mightier than their swords, her pen!
     To her who world-wide entrance gave
     To the log-cabin of the slave;
     Made all his wrongs and sorrows known,
     And all earth's languages his own,--
     North, South, and East and West, made all
     The common air electrical,
     Until the o'ercharged bolts of heaven
     Blazed down, and every chain was riven!

     Welcome from each and all to her
     Whose Wooing of the Minister
     Revealed the warm heart of the man
     Beneath the creed-bound Puritan,
     And taught the kinship of the love
     Of man below and God above;
     To her whose vigorous pencil-strokes
     Sketched into life her Oldtown Folks;
     Whose fireside stories, grave or gay,
     In quaint Sam Lawson's vagrant way,
     With old New England's flavor rife,
     Waifs from her rude idyllic life,
     Are racy as the legends old
     By Chaucer or Boccaccio told;
     To her who keeps, through change of place
     And time, her native strength and grace,
     Alike where warm Sorrento smiles,
     Or where, by birchen-shaded isles,
     Whose summer winds have shivered o'er
     The icy drift of Labrador,
     She lifts to light the priceless Pearl
     Of Harpswell's angel-beckoned girl!
     To her at threescore years and ten
     Be tributes of the tongue and pen;
     Be honor, praise, and heart-thanks given,
     The loves of earth, the hopes of heaven!

     Ah, dearer than the praise that stirs
     The air to-day, our love is hers!
     She needs no guaranty of fame
     Whose own is linked with Freedom's name.
     Long ages after ours shall keep
     Her memory living while we sleep;
     The waves that wash our gray coast lines,
     The winds that rock the Southern pines,
     Shall sing of her; the unending years
     Shall tell her tale in unborn ears.
     And when, with sins and follies past,
     Are numbered color-hate and caste,
     White, black, and red shall own as one
     The noblest work by woman done.



GODSPEED

Written on the occasion of a voyage made by my friends Annie Fields and
Sarah Orne Jewett.


     Outbound, your bark awaits you. Were I one
     Whose prayer availeth much, my wish should be
     Your favoring trade-wind and consenting sea.
     By sail or steed was never love outrun,
     And, here or there, love follows her in whom
     All graces and sweet charities unite,
     The old Greek beauty set in holier light;
     And her for whom New England's byways bloom,
     Who walks among us welcome as the Spring,
     Calling up blossoms where her light feet stray.
     God keep you both, make beautiful your way,
     Comfort, console, and bless; and safely bring,
     Ere yet I make upon a vaster sea
     The unreturning voyage, my friends to me.

     1882.



WINTER ROSES.

In reply to a flower gift from Mrs. Putnam's school at Jamaica Plain.


     My garden roses long ago
     Have perished from the leaf-strewn walks;
     Their pale, fair sisters smile no more
     Upon the sweet-brier stalks.

     Gone with the flower-time of my life,
     Spring's violets, summer's blooming pride,
     And Nature's winter and my own
     Stand, flowerless, side by side.

     So might I yesterday have sung;
     To-day, in bleak December's noon,
     Come sweetest fragrance, shapes, and hues,
     The rosy wealth of June!

     Bless the young bands that culled the gift,
     And bless the hearts that prompted it;
     If undeserved it comes, at least
     It seems not all unfit.

     Of old my Quaker ancestors
     Had gifts of forty stripes save one;
     To-day as many roses crown
     The gray head of their son.

     And with them, to my fancy's eye,
     The fresh-faced givers smiling come,
     And nine and thirty happy girls
     Make glad a lonely room.

     They bring the atmosphere of youth;
     The light and warmth of long ago
     Are in my heart, and on my cheek
     The airs of morning blow.

     O buds of girlhood, yet unblown,
     And fairer than the gift ye chose,
     For you may years like leaves unfold
     The heart of Sharon's rose.

     1883.



THE REUNION

Read September 10, 1885, to the surviving students of Haverhill Academy
in 1827-1830.


     The gulf of seven and fifty years
     We stretch our welcoming hands across;
     The distance but a pebble's toss
     Between us and our youth appears.

     For in life's school we linger on
     The remnant of a once full list;
     Conning our lessons, undismissed,
     With faces to the setting sun.

     And some have gone the unknown way,
     And some await the call to rest;
     Who knoweth whether it is best
     For those who went or those who stay?

     And yet despite of loss and ill,
     If faith and love and hope remain,
     Our length of days is not in vain,
     And life is well worth living still.

     Still to a gracious Providence
     The thanks of grateful hearts are due,
     For blessings when our lives were new,
     For all the good vouchsafed us since.

     The pain that spared us sorer hurt,
     The wish denied, the purpose crossed,
     And pleasure's fond occasions lost,
     Were mercies to our small desert.

     'T is something that we wander back,
     Gray pilgrims, to our ancient ways,
     And tender memories of old days
     Walk with us by the Merrimac;

     That even in life's afternoon
     A sense of youth comes back again,
     As through this cool September rain
     The still green woodlands dream of June.

     The eyes grown dim to present things
     Have keener sight for bygone years,
     And sweet and clear, in deafening ears,
     The bird that sang at morning sings.

     Dear comrades, scattered wide and far,
     Send from their homes their kindly word,
     And dearer ones, unseen, unheard,
     Smile on us from some heavenly star.

     For life and death with God are one,
     Unchanged by seeming change His care
     And love are round us here and there;
     He breaks no thread His hand has spun.

     Soul touches soul, the muster roll
     Of life eternal has no gaps;
     And after half a century's lapse
     Our school-day ranks are closed and whole.

     Hail and farewell! We go our way;
     Where shadows end, we trust in light;
     The star that ushers in the night
     Is herald also of the day!



NORUMBEGA HALL.

Norumbega Hall at Wellesley College, named in honor of Eben Norton
Horsford, who has been one of the most munificent patrons of that noble
institution, and who had just published an essay claiming the discovery
of the site of the somewhat mythical city of Norumbega, was opened with
appropriate ceremonies, in April, 1886. The following sonnet was written
for the occasion, and was read by President Alice E. Freeman, to whom it
was addressed.


     Not on Penobscot's wooded bank the spires
     Of the sought City rose, nor yet beside
     The winding Charles, nor where the daily tide
     Of Naumkeag's haven rises and retires,
     The vision tarried; but somewhere we knew
     The beautiful gates must open to our quest,
     Somewhere that marvellous City of the West
     Would lift its towers and palace domes in view,
     And, to! at last its mystery is made known--
     Its only dwellers maidens fair and young,
     Its Princess such as England's Laureate sung;
     And safe from capture, save by love alone,
     It lends its beauty to the lake's green shore,
     And Norumbega is a myth no more.



THE BARTHOLDI STATUE 1886

     The land, that, from the rule of kings,
     In freeing us, itself made free,
     Our Old World Sister, to us brings
     Her sculptured Dream of Liberty,

     Unlike the shapes on Egypt's sands
     Uplifted by the toil-worn slave,
     On Freedom's soil with freemen's hands
     We rear the symbol free hands gave.

     O France, the beautiful! to thee
     Once more a debt of love we owe
     In peace beneath thy Colors Three,
     We hail a later Rochambeau!

     Rise, stately Symbol! holding forth
     Thy light and hope to all who sit
     In chains and darkness! Belt the earth
     With watch-fires from thy torch uplit!

     Reveal the primal mandate still
     Which Chaos heard and ceased to be,
     Trace on mid-air th' Eternal Will
     In signs of fire: "Let man be free!"

     Shine far, shine free, a guiding light
     To Reason's ways and Virtue's aim,
     A lightning-flash the wretch to smite
     Who shields his license with thy name!



ONE OF THE SIGNERS.

Written for the unveiling of the statue of Josiah Bartlett at Amesbury,
Mass., July 4, 1888. Governor Bartlett, who was a native of the town,
was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Amesbury or Ambresbury,
so called from the "anointed stones" of the great Druidical temple near
it, was the seat of one of the earliest religious houses in Britain. The
tradition that the guilty wife of King Arthur fled thither for
protection forms one of the finest passages in Tennyson's Idyls of the
King.


     O storied vale of Merrimac
     Rejoice through all thy shade and shine,
     And from his century's sleep call back
     A brave and honored son of thine.

     Unveil his effigy between
     The living and the dead to-day;
     The fathers of the Old Thirteen
     Shall witness bear as spirits may.

     Unseen, unheard, his gray compeers
     The shades of Lee and Jefferson,
     Wise Franklin reverend with his years
     And Carroll, lord of Carrollton!

     Be thine henceforth a pride of place
     Beyond thy namesake's over-sea,
     Where scarce a stone is left to trace
     The Holy House of Amesbury.

     A prouder memory lingers round
     The birthplace of thy true man here
     Than that which haunts the refuge found
     By Arthur's mythic Guinevere.

     The plain deal table where he sat
     And signed a nation's title-deed
     Is dearer now to fame than that
     Which bore the scroll of Runnymede.

     Long as, on Freedom's natal morn,
     Shall ring the Independence bells,
     Give to thy dwellers yet unborn
     The lesson which his image tells.

     For in that hour of Destiny,
     Which tried the men of bravest stock,
     He knew the end alone must be
     A free land or a traitor's block.

     Among those picked and chosen men
     Than his, who here first drew his breath,
     No firmer fingers held the pen
     Which wrote for liberty or death.

     Not for their hearths and homes alone,
     But for the world their work was done;
     On all the winds their thought has flown
     Through all the circuit of the sun.

     We trace its flight by broken chains,
     By songs of grateful Labor still;
     To-day, in all her holy fanes,
     It rings the bells of freed Brazil.

     O hills that watched his boyhood's home,
     O earth and air that nursed him, give,
     In this memorial semblance, room
     To him who shall its bronze outlive!

     And thou, O Land he loved, rejoice
     That in the countless years to come,
     Whenever Freedom needs a voice,
     These sculptured lips shall not be dumb!



THE TENT ON THE BEACH

It can scarcely be necessary to name as the two companions whom I
reckoned with myself in this poetical picnic, Fields the lettered
magnate, and Taylor the free cosmopolite. The long line of sandy beach
which defines almost the whole of the New Hampshire sea-coast is
especially marked near its southern extremity, by the salt-meadows of
Hampton. The Hampton River winds through these meadows, and the reader
may, if he choose, imagine my tent pitched near its mouth, where also
was the scene of the _Wreck of Rivermouth_. The green bluff to the
northward is Great Boar's Head; southward is the Merrimac, with
Newburyport lifting its steeples above brown roofs and green trees on
banks.


     I would not sin, in this half-playful strain,--
     Too light perhaps for serious years, though born
     Of the enforced leisure of slow pain,--
     Against the pure ideal which has drawn
     My feet to follow its far-shining gleam.
     A simple plot is mine: legends and runes
     Of credulous days, old fancies that have lain
     Silent, from boyhood taking voice again,
     Warmed into life once more, even as the tunes
     That, frozen in the fabled hunting-horn,
     Thawed into sound:--a winter fireside dream
     Of dawns and-sunsets by the summer sea,
     Whose sands are traversed by a silent throng
     Of voyagers from that vaster mystery
     Of which it is an emblem;--and the dear
     Memory of one who might have tuned my song
     To sweeter music by her delicate ear.


     When heats as of a tropic clime
     Burned all our inland valleys through,
     Three friends, the guests of summer time,
     Pitched their white tent where sea-winds blew.
     Behind them, marshes, seamed and crossed
     With narrow creeks, and flower-embossed,
     Stretched to the dark oak wood, whose leafy arms
     Screened from the stormy East the pleasant inland farms.

     At full of tide their bolder shore
     Of sun-bleached sand the waters beat;
     At ebb, a smooth and glistening floor
     They touched with light, receding feet.
     Northward a 'green bluff broke the chain
     Of sand-hills; southward stretched a plain
     Of salt grass, with a river winding down,
     Sail-whitened, and beyond the steeples of the town,

     Whence sometimes, when the wind was light
     And dull the thunder of the beach,
     They heard the bells of morn and night
     Swing, miles away, their silver speech.
     Above low scarp and turf-grown wall
     They saw the fort-flag rise and fall;
     And, the first star to signal twilight's hour,
     The lamp-fire glimmer down from the tall light-house tower.

     They rested there, escaped awhile
     From cares that wear the life away,
     To eat the lotus of the Nile
     And drink the poppies of Cathay,--
     To fling their loads of custom down,
     Like drift-weed, on the sand-slopes brown,
     And in the sea waves drown the restless pack
     Of duties, claims, and needs that barked upon their track.

     One, with his beard scarce silvered, bore
     A ready credence in his looks,
     A lettered magnate, lording o'er
     An ever-widening realm of books.
     In him brain-currents, near and far,
     Converged as in a Leyden jar;
     The old, dead authors thronged him round about,
     And Elzevir's gray ghosts from leathern graves looked out.

     He knew each living pundit well,
     Could weigh the gifts of him or her,
     And well the market value tell
     Of poet and philosopher.
     But if he lost, the scenes behind,
     Somewhat of reverence vague and blind,
     Finding the actors human at the best,
     No readier lips than his the good he saw confessed.

     His boyhood fancies not outgrown,
     He loved himself the singer's art;
     Tenderly, gently, by his own
     He knew and judged an author's heart.
     No Rhadamanthine brow of doom
     Bowed the dazed pedant from his room;
     And bards, whose name is legion, if denied,
     Bore off alike intact their verses and their pride.

     Pleasant it was to roam about
     The lettered world as he had, done,
     And see the lords of song without
     Their singing robes and garlands on.
     With Wordsworth paddle Rydal mere,
     Taste rugged Elliott's home-brewed beer,
     And with the ears of Rogers, at fourscore,
     Hear Garrick's buskined tread and Walpole's wit once more.

     And one there was, a dreamer born,
     Who, with a mission to fulfil,
     Had left the Muses' haunts to turn
     The crank of an opinion-mill,
     Making his rustic reed of song
     A weapon in the war with wrong,
     Yoking his fancy to the breaking-plough
     That beam-deep turned the soil for truth to spring and grow.

     Too quiet seemed the man to ride
     The winged Hippogriff Reform;
     Was his a voice from side to side
     To pierce the tumult of the storm?
     A silent, shy, peace-loving man,
     He seemed no fiery partisan
     To hold his way against the public frown,
     The ban of Church and State, the fierce mob's hounding down.

     For while he wrought with strenuous will
     The work his hands had found to do,
     He heard the fitful music still
     Of winds that out of dream-land blew.
     The din about him could not drown
     What the strange voices whispered down;
     Along his task-field weird processions swept,
     The visionary pomp of stately phantoms stepped:

     The common air was thick with dreams,--
     He told them to the toiling crowd;
     Such music as the woods and streams
     Sang in his ear he sang aloud;
     In still, shut bays, on windy capes,
     He heard the call of beckoning shapes,
     And, as the gray old shadows prompted him,
     To homely moulds of rhyme he shaped their legends grim.

     He rested now his weary hands,
     And lightly moralized and laughed,
     As, tracing on the shifting sands
     A burlesque of his paper-craft,
     He saw the careless waves o'errun
     His words, as time before had done,
     Each day's tide-water washing clean away,
     Like letters from the sand, the work of yesterday.

     And one, whose Arab face was tanned
     By tropic sun and boreal frost,
     So travelled there was scarce a land
     Or people left him to exhaust,
     In idling mood had from him hurled
     The poor squeezed orange of the world,
     And in the tent-shade, as beneath a palm,
     Smoked, cross-legged like a Turk, in Oriental calm.

     The very waves that washed the sand
     Below him, he had seen before
     Whitening the Scandinavian strand
     And sultry Mauritanian shore.
     From ice-rimmed isles, from summer seas
     Palm-fringed, they bore him messages;
     He heard the plaintive Nubian songs again,
     And mule-bells tinkling down the mountain-paths of Spain.

     His memory round the ransacked earth
     On Puck's long girdle slid at ease;
     And, instant, to the valley's girth
     Of mountains, spice isles of the seas,
     Faith flowered in minster stones, Art's guess
     At truth and beauty, found access;
     Yet loved the while, that free cosmopolite,
     Old friends, old ways, and kept his boyhood's dreams in sight.

     Untouched as yet by wealth and pride,
     That virgin innocence of beach
     No shingly monster, hundred-eyed,
     Stared its gray sand-birds out of reach;
     Unhoused, save where, at intervals,
     The white tents showed their canvas walls,
     Where brief sojourners, in the cool, soft air,
     Forgot their inland heats, hard toil, and year-long care.

     Sometimes along the wheel-deep sand
     A one-horse wagon slowly crawled,
     Deep laden with a youthful band,
     Whose look some homestead old recalled;
     Brother perchance, and sisters twain,
     And one whose blue eyes told, more plain
     Than the free language of her rosy lip,
     Of the still dearer claim of love's relationship.

     With cheeks of russet-orchard tint,
     The light laugh of their native rills,
     The perfume of their garden's mint,
     The breezy freedom of the hills,
     They bore, in unrestrained delight,
     The motto of the Garter's knight,
     Careless as if from every gazing thing
     Hid by their innocence, as Gyges by his ring.

     The clanging sea-fowl came and went,
     The hunter's gun in the marshes rang;
     At nightfall from a neighboring tent
     A flute-voiced woman sweetly sang.
     Loose-haired, barefooted, hand-in-hand,
     Young girls went tripping down the sand;
     And youths and maidens, sitting in the moon,
     Dreamed o'er the old fond dream from which we wake too soon.

     At times their fishing-lines they plied,
     With an old Triton at the oar,
     Salt as the sea-wind, tough and dried
     As a lean cusk from Labrador.
     Strange tales he told of wreck and storm,--
     Had seen the sea-snake's awful form,
     And heard the ghosts on Haley's Isle complain,
     Speak him off shore, and beg a passage to old Spain!

     And there, on breezy morns, they saw
     The fishing-schooners outward run,
     Their low-bent sails in tack and flaw
     Turned white or dark to shade and sun.
     Sometimes, in calms of closing day,
     They watched the spectral mirage play,
     Saw low, far islands looming tall and nigh,
     And ships, with upturned keels, sail like a sea the sky.

     Sometimes a cloud, with thunder black,
     Stooped low upon the darkening main,
     Piercing the waves along its track
     With the slant javelins of rain.
     And when west-wind and sunshine warm
     Chased out to sea its wrecks of storm,
     They saw the prismy hues in thin spray showers
     Where the green buds of waves burst into white froth flowers.

     And when along the line of shore
     The mists crept upward chill and damp,
     Stretched, careless, on their sandy floor
     Beneath the flaring lantern lamp,
     They talked of all things old and new,
     Read, slept, and dreamed as idlers do;
     And in the unquestioned freedom of the tent,
     Body and o'er-taxed mind to healthful ease unbent.

     Once, when the sunset splendors died,
     And, trampling up the sloping sand,
     In lines outreaching far and wide,
     The white-waned billows swept to land,
     Dim seen across the gathering shade,
     A vast and ghostly cavalcade,
     They sat around their lighted kerosene,
     Hearing the deep bass roar their every pause between.

     Then, urged thereto, the Editor
     Within his full portfolio dipped,
     Feigning excuse while seaching for
     (With secret pride) his manuscript.
     His pale face flushed from eye to beard,
     With nervous cough his throat he cleared,
     And, in a voice so tremulous it betrayed
     The anxious fondness of an author's heart, he read:

            .     .     .     .     .



THE WRECK OF RIVERMOUTH

The Goody Cole who figures in this poem and The Changeling as Eunice
Cole, who for a quarter of a century or more was feared, persecuted, and
hated as the witch of Hampton. She lived alone in a hovel a little
distant from the spot where the Hampton Academy now stands, and there
she died, unattended. When her death was discovered, she was hastily
covered up in the earth near by, and a stake driven through her body, to
exorcise the evil spirit. Rev. Stephen Bachiler or Batchelder was one of
the ablest of the early New England preachers. His marriage late in life
to a woman regarded by his church as disreputable induced him to return
to England, where he enjoyed the esteem and favor of Oliver Cromwell
during the Protectorate.


     Rivermouth Rocks are fair to see,
     By dawn or sunset shone across,
     When the ebb of the sea has left them free,
     To dry their fringes of gold-green moss
     For there the river comes winding down,
     From salt sea-meadows and uplands brown,
     And waves on the outer rocks afoam
     Shout to its waters, "Welcome home!"

     And fair are the sunny isles in view
     East of the grisly Head of the Boar,
     And Agamenticus lifts its blue
     Disk of a cloud the woodlands o'er;
     And southerly, when the tide is down,
     'Twixt white sea-waves and sand-hills brown,
     The beach-birds dance and the gray gulls wheel
     Over a floor of burnished steel.

     Once, in the old Colonial days,
     Two hundred years ago and more,
     A boat sailed down through the winding ways
     Of Hampton River to that low shore,
     Full of a goodly company
     Sailing out on the summer sea,
     Veering to catch the land-breeze light,
     With the Boar to left and the Rocks to right.

     In Hampton meadows, where mowers laid
     Their scythes to the swaths of salted grass,
     "Ah, well-a-day! our hay must be made!"
     A young man sighed, who saw them pass.
     Loud laughed his fellows to see him stand
     Whetting his scythe with a listless hand,
     Hearing a voice in a far-off song,
     Watching a white hand beckoning long.

     "Fie on the witch!" cried a merry girl,
     As they rounded the point where Goody Cole
     Sat by her door with her wheel atwirl,
     A bent and blear-eyed poor old soul.
     "Oho!" she muttered, "ye 're brave to-day!
     But I hear the little waves laugh and say,
     'The broth will be cold that waits at home;
     For it 's one to go, but another to come!'"

     "She's cursed," said the skipper; "speak her fair:
     I'm scary always to see her shake
     Her wicked head, with its wild gray hair,
     And nose like a hawk, and eyes like a snake."
     But merrily still, with laugh and shout,
     From Hampton River the boat sailed out,
     Till the huts and the flakes on Star seemed nigh,
     And they lost the scent of the pines of Rye.

     They dropped their lines in the lazy tide,
     Drawing up haddock and mottled cod;
     They saw not the Shadow that walked beside,
     They heard not the feet with silence shod.
     But thicker and thicker a hot mist grew,
     Shot by the lightnings through and through;
     And muffled growls, like the growl of a beast,
     Ran along the sky from west to east.

     Then the skipper looked from the darkening sea
     Up to the dimmed and wading sun;
     But he spake like a brave man cheerily,
     "Yet there is time for our homeward run."
     Veering and tacking, they backward wore;
     And just as a breath-from the woods ashore
     Blew out to whisper of danger past,
     The wrath of the storm came down at last!

     The skipper hauled at the heavy sail
     "God be our help!" he only cried,
     As the roaring gale, like the stroke of a flail,
     Smote the boat on its starboard side.
     The Shoalsmen looked, but saw alone
     Dark films of rain-cloud slantwise blown,
     Wild rocks lit up by the lightning's glare,
     The strife and torment of sea and air.

     Goody Cole looked out from her door
     The Isles of Shoals were drowned and gone,
     Scarcely she saw the Head of the Boar
     Toss the foam from tusks of stone.
     She clasped her hands with a grip of pain,
     The tear on her cheek was not of rain
     "They are lost," she muttered, "boat and crew!
     Lord, forgive me! my words were true!"

     Suddenly seaward swept the squall;
     The low sun smote through cloudy rack;
     The Shoals stood clear in the light, and all
     The trend of the coast lay hard and black.
     But far and wide as eye could reach,
     No life was seen upon wave or beach;
     The boat that went out at morning never
     Sailed back again into Hampton River.

     O mower, lean on thy bended snath,
     Look from the meadows green and low
     The wind of the sea is a waft of death,
     The waves are singing a song of woe!
     By silent river, by moaning sea,
     Long and vain shall thy watching be
     Never again shall the sweet voice call,
     Never the white hand rise and fall!

     O Rivermouth Rocks, how sad a sight
     Ye saw in the light of breaking day
     Dead faces looking up cold and white
     From sand and seaweed where they lay.
     The mad old witch-wife wailed and wept,
     And cursed the tide as it backward crept
     "Crawl back, crawl back, blue water-snake
     Leave your dead for the hearts that break!"

     Solemn it was in that old day
     In Hampton town and its log-built church,
     Where side by side the coffins lay
     And the mourners stood in aisle and porch.
     In the singing-seats young eyes were dim,
     The voices faltered that raised the hymn,
     And Father Dalton, grave and stern,
     Sobbed through his prayer and wept in turn.

     But his ancient colleague did not pray;
     Under the weight of his fourscore years
     He stood apart with the iron-gray
     Of his strong brows knitted to hide his tears;
     And a fair-faced woman of doubtful fame,
     Linking her own with his honored name,
     Subtle as sin, at his side withstood
     The felt reproach of her neighborhood.

     Apart with them, like them forbid,
     Old Goody Cole looked drearily round,
     As, two by two, with their faces hid,
     The mourners walked to the burying-ground.
     She let the staff from her clasped hands fall
     "Lord, forgive us! we're sinners all!"
     And the voice of the old man answered her
     "Amen!" said Father Bachiler.

     So, as I sat upon Appledore
     In the calm of a closing summer day,
     And the broken lines of Hampton shore
     In purple mist of cloudland lay,
     The Rivermouth Rocks their story told;
     And waves aglow with sunset gold,
     Rising and breaking in steady chime,
     Beat the rhythm and kept the time.

     And the sunset paled, and warmed once more
     With a softer, tenderer after-glow;
     In the east was moon-rise, with boats off-shore
     And sails in the distance drifting slow.
     The beacon glimmered from Portsmouth bar,
     The White Isle kindled its great red star;
     And life and death in my old-time lay
     Mingled in peace like the night and day!

            .     .     .     .     .

     "Well!" said the Man of Books, "your story
     Is really not ill told in verse.
     As the Celt said of purgatory,
     One might go farther and fare worse."
     The Reader smiled; and once again
     With steadier voice took up his strain,
     While the fair singer from the neighboring tent
     Drew near, and at his side a graceful listener bent.

     1864.



THE GRAVE BY THE LAKE

     At the mouth of the Melvin River, which empties into Moulton-Bay in
     Lake Winnipesaukee, is a great mound. The Ossipee Indians had their
     home in the neighborhood of the bay, which is plentifully stocked
     with fish, and many relics of their occupation have been found.


     Where the Great Lake's sunny smiles
     Dimple round its hundred isles,
     And the mountain's granite ledge
     Cleaves the water like a wedge,
     Ringed about with smooth, gray stones,
     Rest the giant's mighty bones.

     Close beside, in shade and gleam,
     Laughs and ripples Melvin stream;
     Melvin water, mountain-born,
     All fair flowers its banks adorn;
     All the woodland's voices meet,
     Mingling with its murmurs sweet.

     Over lowlands forest-grown,
     Over waters island-strown,
     Over silver-sanded beach,
     Leaf-locked bay and misty reach,
     Melvin stream and burial-heap,
     Watch and ward the mountains keep.

     Who that Titan cromlech fills?
     Forest-kaiser, lord o' the hills?
     Knight who on the birchen tree
     Carved his savage heraldry?
     Priest o' the pine-wood temples dim,
     Prophet, sage, or wizard grim?

     Rugged type of primal man,
     Grim utilitarian,
     Loving woods for hunt and prowl,
     Lake and hill for fish and fowl,
     As the brown bear blind and dull
     To the grand and beautiful:

     Not for him the lesson drawn
     From the mountains smit with dawn,
     Star-rise, moon-rise, flowers of May,
     Sunset's purple bloom of day,--
     Took his life no hue from thence,
     Poor amid such affluence?

     Haply unto hill and tree
     All too near akin was he
     Unto him who stands afar
     Nature's marvels greatest are;
     Who the mountain purple seeks
     Must not climb the higher peaks.

     Yet who knows in winter tramp,
     Or the midnight of the camp,
     What revealings faint and far,
     Stealing down from moon and star,
     Kindled in that human clod
     Thought of destiny and God?

     Stateliest forest patriarch,
     Grand in robes of skin and bark,
     What sepulchral mysteries,
     What weird funeral-rites, were his?
     What sharp wail, what drear lament,
     Back scared wolf and eagle sent?

     Now, whate'er he may have been,
     Low he lies as other men;
     On his mound the partridge drums,
     There the noisy blue-jay comes;
     Rank nor name nor pomp has he
     In the grave's democracy.

     Part thy blue lips, Northern lake!
     Moss-grown rocks, your silence break!
     Tell the tale, thou ancient tree!
     Thou, too, slide-worn Ossipee!
     Speak, and tell us how and when
     Lived and died this king of men!

     Wordless moans the ancient pine;
     Lake and mountain give no sign;
     Vain to trace this ring of stones;
     Vain the search of crumbling bones
     Deepest of all mysteries,
     And the saddest, silence is.

     Nameless, noteless, clay with clay
     Mingles slowly day by day;
     But somewhere, for good or ill,
     That dark soul is living still;
     Somewhere yet that atom's force
     Moves the light-poised universe.

     Strange that on his burial-sod
     Harebells bloom, and golden-rod,
     While the soul's dark horoscope
     Holds no starry sign of hope!
     Is the Unseen with sight at odds?
     Nature's pity more than God's?

     Thus I mused by Melvin's side,
     While the summer eventide
     Made the woods and inland sea
     And the mountains mystery;
     And the hush of earth and air
     Seemed the pause before a prayer,--

     Prayer for him, for all who rest,
     Mother Earth, upon thy breast,--
     Lapped on Christian turf, or hid
     In rock-cave or pyramid
     All who sleep, as all who live,
     Well may need the prayer, "Forgive!"

     Desert-smothered caravan,
     Knee-deep dust that once was man,
     Battle-trenches ghastly piled,
     Ocean-floors with white bones tiled,
     Crowded tomb and mounded sod,
     Dumbly crave that prayer to God.

     Oh, the generations old
     Over whom no church-bells tolled,
     Christless, lifting up blind eyes
     To the silence of the skies!
     For the innumerable dead
     Is my soul disquieted.

     Where be now these silent hosts?
     Where the camping-ground of ghosts?
     Where the spectral conscripts led
     To the white tents of the dead?
     What strange shore or chartless sea
     Holds the awful mystery?

     Then the warm sky stooped to make
     Double sunset in the lake;
     While above I saw with it,
     Range on range, the mountains lit;
     And the calm and splendor stole
     Like an answer to my soul.

     Hear'st thou, O of little faith,
     What to thee the mountain saith,
     What is whispered by the trees?
     Cast on God thy care for these;
     Trust Him, if thy sight be dim
     Doubt for them is doubt of Him.

     "Blind must be their close-shut eyes
     Where like night the sunshine lies,
     Fiery-linked the self-forged chain
     Binding ever sin to pain,
     Strong their prison-house of will,
     But without He waiteth still.

     "Not with hatred's undertow
     Doth the Love Eternal flow;
     Every chain that spirits wear
     Crumbles in the breath of prayer;
     And the penitent's desire
     Opens every gate of fire.

     "Still Thy love, O Christ arisen,
     Yearns to reach these souls in prison!
     Through all depths of sin and loss
     Drops the plummet of Thy cross!
     Never yet abyss was found
     Deeper than that cross could sound!"

     Therefore well may Nature keep
     Equal faith with all who sleep,
     Set her watch of hills around
     Christian grave and heathen mound,
     And to cairn and kirkyard send
     Summer's flowery dividend.

     Keep, O pleasant Melvin stream,
     Thy sweet laugh in shade and gleam
     On the Indian's grassy tomb
     Swing, O flowers, your bells of bloom!
     Deep below, as high above,
     Sweeps the circle of God's love.
     1865

            .     .     .     .     .

     He paused and questioned with his eye
     The hearers' verdict on his song.
     A low voice asked: Is 't well to pry
     Into the secrets which belong
     Only to God?--The life to be
     Is still the unguessed mystery
     Unsealed, unpierced the cloudy walls remain,
     We beat with dream and wish the soundless doors in vain.

     "But faith beyond our sight may go."
     He said: "The gracious Fatherhood
     Can only know above, below,
     Eternal purposes of good.
     From our free heritage of will,
     The bitter springs of pain and ill
     Flow only in all worlds. The perfect day
     Of God is shadowless, and love is love alway."

     "I know," she said, "the letter kills;
     That on our arid fields of strife
     And heat of clashing texts distils
     The clew of spirit and of life.
     But, searching still the written Word,
     I fain would find, Thus saith the Lord,
     A voucher for the hope I also feel
     That sin can give no wound beyond love's power to heal."

     "Pray," said the Man of Books, "give o'er
     A theme too vast for time and place.
     Go on, Sir Poet, ride once more
     Your hobby at his old free pace.
     But let him keep, with step discreet,
     The solid earth beneath his feet.
     In the great mystery which around us lies,
     The wisest is a fool, the fool Heaven-helped is wise."

     The Traveller said: "If songs have creeds,
     Their choice of them let singers make;
     But Art no other sanction needs
     Than beauty for its own fair sake.
     It grinds not in the mill of use,
     Nor asks for leave, nor begs excuse;
     It makes the flexile laws it deigns to own,
     And gives its atmosphere its color and its tone.

     "Confess, old friend, your austere school
     Has left your fancy little chance;
     You square to reason's rigid rule
     The flowing outlines of romance.
     With conscience keen from exercise,
     And chronic fear of compromise,
     You check the free play of your rhymes, to clap
     A moral underneath, and spring it like a trap."

     The sweet voice answered: "Better so
     Than bolder flights that know no check;
     Better to use the bit, than throw
     The reins all loose on fancy's neck.
     The liberal range of Art should be
     The breadth of Christian liberty,
     Restrained alone by challenge and alarm
     Where its charmed footsteps tread the border land of harm.

     "Beyond the poet's sweet dream lives
     The eternal epic of the man.
     He wisest is who only gives,
     True to himself, the best he can;
     Who, drifting in the winds of praise,
     The inward monitor obeys;
     And, with the boldness that confesses fear,
     Takes in the crowded sail, and lets his conscience steer.

     "Thanks for the fitting word he speaks,
     Nor less for doubtful word unspoken;
     For the false model that he breaks,
     As for the moulded grace unbroken;
     For what is missed and what remains,
     For losses which are truest gains,
     For reverence conscious of the Eternal eye,
     And truth too fair to need the garnish of a lie."

     Laughing, the Critic bowed. "I yield
     The point without another word;
     Who ever yet a case appealed
     Where beauty's judgment had been heard?
     And you, my good friend, owe to me
     Your warmest thanks for such a plea,
     As true withal as sweet. For my offence
     Of cavil, let her words be ample recompense."

     Across the sea one lighthouse star,
     With crimson ray that came and went,
     Revolving on its tower afar,
     Looked through the doorway of the tent.
     While outward, over sand-slopes wet,
     The lamp flashed down its yellow jet
     On the long wash of waves, with red and green
     Tangles of weltering weed through the white foam-wreaths seen.

     "Sing while we may,--another day
     May bring enough of sorrow;'--thus
     Our Traveller in his own sweet lay,
     His Crimean camp-song, hints to us,"
     The lady said. "So let it be;
     Sing us a song," exclaimed all three.
     She smiled: "I can but marvel at your choice
     To hear our poet's words through my poor borrowed voice."

            .     .     .     .     .

     Her window opens to the bay,
     On glistening light or misty gray,
     And there at dawn and set of day
     In prayer she kneels.

     "Dear Lord!" she saith, "to many a borne
     From wind and wave the wanderers come;
     I only see the tossing foam
     Of stranger keels.

     "Blown out and in by summer gales,
     The stately ships, with crowded sails,
     And sailors leaning o'er their rails,
     Before me glide;
     They come, they go, but nevermore,
     Spice-laden from the Indian shore,
     I see his swift-winged Isidore
     The waves divide.

     "O Thou! with whom the night is day
     And one the near and far away,
     Look out on yon gray waste, and say
     Where lingers he.
     Alive, perchance, on some lone beach
     Or thirsty isle beyond the reach
     Of man, he hears the mocking speech
     Of wind and sea.

     "O dread and cruel deep, reveal
     The secret which thy waves conceal,
     And, ye wild sea-birds, hither wheel
     And tell your tale.
     Let winds that tossed his raven hair
     A message from my lost one bear,--
     Some thought of me, a last fond prayer
     Or dying wail!

     "Come, with your dreariest truth shut out
     The fears that haunt me round about;
     O God! I cannot bear this doubt
     That stifles breath.
     The worst is better than the dread;
     Give me but leave to mourn my dead
     Asleep in trust and hope, instead
     Of life in death!"

     It might have been the evening breeze
     That whispered in the garden trees,
     It might have been the sound of seas
     That rose and fell;
     But, with her heart, if not her ear,
     The old loved voice she seemed to hear
     "I wait to meet thee: be of cheer,
     For all is well!"
     1865

            .     .     .     .     .

     The sweet voice into silence went,
     A silence which was almost pain
     As through it rolled the long lament,
     The cadence of the mournful main.
     Glancing his written pages o'er,
     The Reader tried his part once more;
     Leaving the land of hackmatack and pine
     For Tuscan valleys glad with olive and with vine.



THE BROTHER OF MERCY.

     Piero Luca, known of all the town
     As the gray porter by the Pitti wall
     Where the noon shadows of the gardens fall,
     Sick and in dolor, waited to lay down
     His last sad burden, and beside his mat
     The barefoot monk of La Certosa sat.

     Unseen, in square and blossoming garden drifted,
     Soft sunset lights through green Val d'Arno sifted;
     Unheard, below the living shuttles shifted
     Backward and forth, and wove, in love or strife,
     In mirth or pain, the mottled web of life
     But when at last came upward from the street
     Tinkle of bell and tread of measured feet,
     The sick man started, strove to rise in vain,
     Sinking back heavily with a moan of pain.
     And the monk said, "'T is but the Brotherhood
     Of Mercy going on some errand good
     Their black masks by the palace-wall I see."
     Piero answered faintly, "Woe is me!
     This day for the first time in forty years
     In vain the bell hath sounded in my ears,
     Calling me with my brethren of the mask,
     Beggar and prince alike, to some new task
     Of love or pity,--haply from the street
     To bear a wretch plague-stricken, or, with feet
     Hushed to the quickened ear and feverish brain,
     To tread the crowded lazaretto's floors,
     Down the long twilight of the corridors,
     Midst tossing arms and faces full of pain.
     I loved the work: it was its own reward.
     I never counted on it to offset
     My sins, which are many, or make less my debt
     To the free grace and mercy of our Lord;
     But somehow, father, it has come to be
     In these long years so much a part of me,
     I should not know myself, if lacking it,
     But with the work the worker too would die,
     And in my place some other self would sit
     Joyful or sad,--what matters, if not I?
     And now all's over. Woe is me!"--"My son,"
     The monk said soothingly, "thy work is done;
     And no more as a servant, but the guest
     Of God thou enterest thy eternal rest.
     No toil, no tears, no sorrow for the lost,
     Shall mar thy perfect bliss. Thou shalt sit down
     Clad in white robes, and wear a golden crown
     Forever and forever."--Piero tossed
     On his sick-pillow: "Miserable me!
     I am too poor for such grand company;
     The crown would be too heavy for this gray
     Old head; and God forgive me if I say
     It would be hard to sit there night and day,
     Like an image in the Tribune, doing naught
     With these hard hands, that all my life have wrought,
     Not for bread only, but for pity's sake.
     I'm dull at prayers: I could not keep awake,
     Counting my beads. Mine's but a crazy head,
     Scarce worth the saving, if all else be dead.
     And if one goes to heaven without a heart,
     God knows he leaves behind his better part.
     I love my fellow-men: the worst I know
     I would do good to. Will death change me so
     That I shall sit among the lazy saints,
     Turning a deaf ear to the sore complaints
     Of souls that suffer? Why, I never yet
     Left a poor dog in the strada hard beset,
     Or ass o'erladen! Must I rate man less
     Than dog or ass, in holy selfishness?
     Methinks (Lord, pardon, if the thought be sin!)
     The world of pain were better, if therein
     One's heart might still be human, and desires
     Of natural pity drop upon its fires
     Some cooling tears."

     Thereat the pale monk crossed
     His brow, and, muttering, "Madman! thou art lost!"
     Took up his pyx and fled; and, left alone,
     The sick man closed his eyes with a great groan
     That sank into a prayer, "Thy will be done!"
     Then was he made aware, by soul or ear,
     Of somewhat pure and holy bending o'er him,
     And of a voice like that of her who bore him,
     Tender and most compassionate: "Never fear!
     For heaven is love, as God himself is love;
     Thy work below shall be thy work above."
     And when he looked, lo! in the stern monk's place
     He saw the shining of an angel's face!

     1864.

            .     .     .     .     .

     The Traveller broke the pause. "I've seen
     The Brothers down the long street steal,
     Black, silent, masked, the crowd between,
     And felt to doff my hat and kneel
     With heart, if not with knee, in prayer,
     For blessings on their pious care."

     Reader wiped his glasses: "Friends of mine,
     I'll try our home-brewed next, instead of foreign wine."



THE CHANGELING.

     For the fairest maid in Hampton
     They needed not to search,
     Who saw young Anna Favor
     Come walking into church,

     Or bringing from the meadows,
     At set of harvest-day,
     The frolic of the blackbirds,
     The sweetness of the hay.

     Now the weariest of all mothers,
     The saddest two-years bride,
     She scowls in the face of her husband,
     And spurns her child aside.

     "Rake out the red coals, goodman,--
     For there the child shall lie,
     Till the black witch comes to fetch her
     And both up chimney fly.

     "It's never my own little daughter,
     It's never my own," she said;
     "The witches have stolen my Anna,
     And left me an imp instead.

     "Oh, fair and sweet was my baby,
     Blue eyes, and hair of gold;
     But this is ugly and wrinkled,
     Cross, and cunning, and old.

     "I hate the touch of her fingers,
     I hate the feel of her skin;
     It's not the milk from my bosom,
     But my blood, that she sucks in.

     "My face grows sharp with the torment;
     Look! my arms are skin and bone!
     Rake open the red coals, goodman,
     And the witch shall have her own.

     "She 'll come when she hears it crying,
     In the shape of an owl or bat,
     And she'll bring us our darling Anna
     In place of her screeching brat."

     Then the goodman, Ezra Dalton,
     Laid his hand upon her head
     "Thy sorrow is great, O woman!
     I sorrow with thee," he said.

     "The paths to trouble are many,
     And never but one sure way
     Leads out to the light beyond it
     My poor wife, let us pray."

     Then he said to the great All-Father,
     "Thy daughter is weak and blind;
     Let her sight come back, and clothe her
     Once more in her right mind.

     "Lead her out of this evil shadow,
     Out of these fancies wild;
     Let the holy love of the mother
     Turn again to her child.

     "Make her lips like the lips of Mary
     Kissing her blessed Son;
     Let her hands, like the hands of Jesus,
     Rest on her little one.

     "Comfort the soul of thy handmaid,
     Open her prison-door,
     And thine shall be all the glory
     And praise forevermore."

     Then into the face of its mother
     The baby looked up and smiled;
     And the cloud of her soul was lifted,
     And she knew her little child.

     A beam of the slant west sunshine
     Made the wan face almost fair,
     Lit the blue eyes' patient wonder,
     And the rings of pale gold hair.

     She kissed it on lip and forehead,
     She kissed it on cheek and chin,
     And she bared her snow-white bosom
     To the lips so pale and thin.

     Oh, fair on her bridal morning
     Was the maid who blushed and smiled,
     But fairer to Ezra Dalton
     Looked the mother of his child.

     With more than a lover's fondness
     He stooped to her worn young face,
     And the nursing child and the mother
     He folded in one embrace.

     "Blessed be God!" he murmured.
     "Blessed be God!" she said;
     "For I see, who once was blinded,--
     I live, who once was dead.

     "Now mount and ride, my goodman,
     As thou lovest thy own soul
     Woe's me, if my wicked fancies
     Be the death of Goody Cole!"

     His horse he saddled and bridled,
     And into the night rode he,
     Now through the great black woodland,
     Now by the white-beached sea.

     He rode through the silent clearings,
     He came to the ferry wide,
     And thrice he called to the boatman
     Asleep on the other side.

     He set his horse to the river,
     He swam to Newbury town,
     And he called up Justice Sewall
     In his nightcap and his gown.

     And the grave and worshipful justice
     (Upon whose soul be peace!)
     Set his name to the jailer's warrant
     For Goodwife Cole's release.

     Then through the night the hoof-beats
     Went sounding like a flail;
     And Goody Cole at cockcrow
     Came forth from Ipswich jail.
     1865

            .     .     .     .     .

     "Here is a rhyme: I hardly dare
     To venture on its theme worn out;
     What seems so sweet by Doon and Ayr
     Sounds simply silly hereabout;
     And pipes by lips Arcadian blown
     Are only tin horns at our own.
     Yet still the muse of pastoral walks with us,
     While Hosea Biglow sings, our new Theocritus."



THE MAIDS OF ATTITASH.

Attitash, an Indian word signifying "huckleberry," is the name of a
large and beautiful lake in the northern part of Amesbury.


     In sky and wave the white clouds swam,
     And the blue hills of Nottingham
     Through gaps of leafy green
     Across the lake were seen,

     When, in the shadow of the ash
     That dreams its dream in Attitash,
     In the warm summer weather,
     Two maidens sat together.

     They sat and watched in idle mood
     The gleam and shade of lake and wood;
     The beach the keen light smote,
     The white sail of a boat;

     Swan flocks of lilies shoreward lying,
     In sweetness, not in music, dying;
     Hardback, and virgin's-bower,
     And white-spiked clethra-flower.

     With careless ears they heard the plash
     And breezy wash of Attitash,
     The wood-bird's plaintive cry,
     The locust's sharp reply.

     And teased the while, with playful band,
     The shaggy dog of Newfoundland,
     Whose uncouth frolic spilled
     Their baskets berry-filled.

     Then one, the beauty of whose eyes
     Was evermore a great surprise,
     Tossed back her queenly head,
     And, lightly laughing, said:

     "No bridegroom's hand be mine to hold
     That is not lined with yellow gold;
     I tread no cottage-floor;
     I own no lover poor.

     "My love must come on silken wings,
     With bridal lights of diamond rings,
     Not foul with kitchen smirch,
     With tallow-dip for torch."

     The other, on whose modest head
     Was lesser dower of beauty shed,
     With look for home-hearths meet,
     And voice exceeding sweet,

     Answered, "We will not rivals be;
     Take thou the gold, leave love to me;
     Mine be the cottage small,
     And thine the rich man's hall.

     "I know, indeed, that wealth is good;
     But lowly roof and simple food,
     With love that hath no doubt,
     Are more than gold without."

     Hard by a farmer hale and young
     His cradle in the rye-field swung,
     Tracking the yellow plain
     With windrows of ripe grain.

     And still, whene'er he paused to whet
     His scythe, the sidelong glance he met
     Of large dark eyes, where strove
     False pride and secret love.

     Be strong, young mower of the-grain;
     That love shall overmatch disdain,
     Its instincts soon or late
     The heart shall vindicate.

     In blouse of gray, with fishing-rod,
     Half screened by leaves, a stranger trod
     The margin of the pond,
     Watching the group beyond.

     The supreme hours unnoted come;
     Unfelt the turning tides of doom;
     And so the maids laughed on,
     Nor dreamed what Fate had done,--

     Nor knew the step was Destiny's
     That rustled in the birchen trees,
     As, with their lives forecast,
     Fisher and mower passed.

     Erelong by lake and rivulet side
     The summer roses paled and died,
     And Autumn's fingers shed
     The maple's leaves of red.

     Through the long gold-hazed afternoon,
     Alone, but for the diving loon,
     The partridge in the brake,
     The black duck on the lake,

     Beneath the shadow of the ash
     Sat man and maid by Attitash;
     And earth and air made room
     For human hearts to bloom.

     Soft spread the carpets of the sod,
     And scarlet-oak and golden-rod
     With blushes and with smiles
     Lit up the forest aisles.

     The mellow light the lake aslant,
     The pebbled margin's ripple-chant
     Attempered and low-toned,
     The tender mystery owned.

     And through the dream the lovers dreamed
     Sweet sounds stole in and soft lights streamed;
     The sunshine seemed to bless,
     The air was a caress.

     Not she who lightly laughed is there,
     With scornful toss of midnight hair,
     Her dark, disdainful eyes,
     And proud lip worldly-wise.

     Her haughty vow is still unsaid,
     But all she dreamed and coveted
     Wears, half to her surprise,
     The youthful farmer's guise!

     With more than all her old-time pride
     She walks the rye-field at his side,
     Careless of cot or hall,
     Since love transfigures all.

     Rich beyond dreams, the vantage-ground
     Of life is gained; her hands have found
     The talisman of old
     That changes all to gold.

     While she who could for love dispense
     With all its glittering accidents,
     And trust her heart alone,
     Finds love and gold her own.

     What wealth can buy or art can build
     Awaits her; but her cup is filled
     Even now unto the brim;
     Her world is love and him!
     1866.

            .     .     .     .     .

     The while he heard, the Book-man drew
     A length of make-believing face,
     With smothered mischief laughing through
     "Why, you shall sit in Ramsay's place,
     And, with his Gentle Shepherd, keep
     On Yankee hills immortal sheep,
     While love-lorn swains and maids the seas beyond
     Hold dreamy tryst around your huckleberry-pond."

     The Traveller laughed: "Sir Galahad
     Singing of love the Trouvere's lay!
     How should he know the blindfold lad
     From one of Vulcan's forge-boys?"--"Nay,
     He better sees who stands outside
     Than they who in procession ride,"
     The Reader answered: "selectmen and squire
     Miss, while they make, the show that wayside folks admire.

     "Here is a wild tale of the North,
     Our travelled friend will own as one
     Fit for a Norland Christmas hearth
     And lips of Christian Andersen.
     They tell it in the valleys green
     Of the fair island he has seen,
     Low lying off the pleasant Swedish shore,
     Washed by the Baltic Sea, and watched by Elsinore."



KALLUNDBORG CHURCH

                    "Tie stille, barn min
                    Imorgen kommer Fin,
                    Fa'er din,
     Og gi'er dig Esbern Snares nine og hjerte at lege med!"
                                             Zealand Rhyme.


     "Build at Kallundborg by the sea
     A church as stately as church may be,
     And there shalt thou wed my daughter fair,"
     Said the Lord of Nesvek to Esbern Snare.

     And the Baron laughed. But Esbern said,
     "Though I lose my soul, I will Helva wed!"
     And off he strode, in his pride of will,
     To the Troll who dwelt in Ulshoi hill.

     "Build, O Troll, a church for me
     At Kallundborg by the mighty sea;
     Build it stately, and build it fair,
     Build it quickly," said Esbern Snare.

     But the sly Dwarf said, "No work is wrought
     By Trolls of the Hills, O man, for naught.
     What wilt thou give for thy church so fair?"
     "Set thy own price," quoth Esbern Snare.

     "When Kallundborg church is builded well,
     Than must the name of its builder tell,
     Or thy heart and thy eyes must be my boon."
     "Build," said Esbern, "and build it soon."

     By night and by day the Troll wrought on;
     He hewed the timbers, he piled the stone;
     But day by day, as the walls rose fair,
     Darker and sadder grew Esbern Snare.

     He listened by night, he watched by day,
     He sought and thought, but he dared not pray;
     In vain he called on the Elle-maids shy,
     And the Neck and the Nis gave no reply.

     Of his evil bargain far and wide
     A rumor ran through the country-side;
     And Helva of Nesvek, young and fair,
     Prayed for the soul of Esbern Snare.

     And now the church was wellnigh done;
     One pillar it lacked, and one alone;
     And the grim Troll muttered, "Fool thou art
     To-morrow gives me thy eyes and heart!"

     By Kallundborg in black despair,
     Through wood and meadow, walked Esbern Snare,
     Till, worn and weary, the strong man sank
     Under the birches on Ulshoi bank.

     At, his last day's work he heard the Troll
     Hammer and delve in the quarry's hole;
     Before him the church stood large and fair
     "I have builded my tomb," said Esbern Snare.

     And he closed his eyes the sight to hide,
     When he heard a light step at his side
     "O Esbern Snare!" a sweet voice said,
     "Would I might die now in thy stead!"

     With a grasp by love and by fear made strong,
     He held her fast, and he held her long;
     With the beating heart of a bird afeard,
     She hid her face in his flame-red beard.

     "O love!" he cried, "let me look to-day
     In thine eyes ere mine are plucked away;
     Let me hold thee close, let me feel thy heart
     Ere mine by the Troll is torn apart!

     "I sinned, O Helva, for love of thee!
     Pray that the Lord Christ pardon me!"
     But fast as she prayed, and faster still,
     Hammered the Troll in Ulshoi hill.

     He knew, as he wrought, that a loving heart
     Was somehow baffling his evil art;
     For more than spell of Elf or Troll
     Is a maiden's prayer for her lover's soul.

     And Esbern listened, and caught the sound
     Of a Troll-wife singing underground
     "To-morrow comes Fine, father thine
     Lie still and hush thee, baby mine!

     "Lie still, my darling! next sunrise
     Thou'lt play with Esbern Snare's heart and eyes!"
     "Ho! ho!" quoth Esbern, "is that your game?
     Thanks to the Troll-wife, I know his name!"

     The Troll he heard him, and hurried on
     To Kallundborg church with the lacking stone.
     "Too late, Gaffer Fine!" cried Esbern Snare;
     And Troll and pillar vanished in air!

     That night the harvesters heard the sound
     Of a woman sobbing underground,
     And the voice of the Hill-Troll loud with blame
     Of the careless singer who told his name.

     Of the Troll of the Church they sing the rune
     By the Northern Sea in the harvest moon;
     And the fishers of Zealand hear him still
     Scolding his wife in Ulshoi hill.

     And seaward over its groves of birch
     Still looks the tower of Kallundborg church,
     Where, first at its altar, a wedded pair,
     Stood Helva of Nesvek and Esbern Snare!
     1865.

            .     .     .     .     .

     "What," asked the Traveller, "would our sires,
     The old Norse story-tellers, say
     Of sun-graved pictures, ocean wires,
     And smoking steamboats of to-day?
     And this, O lady, by your leave,
     Recalls your song of yester eve:
     Pray, let us have that Cable-hymn once more."
     "Hear, hear!" the Book-man cried, "the lady has the floor.

     "These noisy waves below perhaps
     To such a strain will lend their ear,
     With softer voice and lighter lapse
     Come stealing up the sands to hear,
     And what they once refused to do
     For old King Knut accord to you.
     Nay, even the fishes shall your listeners be,
     As once, the legend runs, they heard St. Anthony."



THE CABLE HYMN.

     O lonely bay of Trinity,
     O dreary shores, give ear!
     Lean down unto the white-lipped sea
     The voice of God to hear!

     From world to world His couriers fly,
     Thought-winged and shod with fire;
     The angel of His stormy sky
     Rides down the sunken wire.

     What saith the herald of the Lord?
     "The world's long strife is done;
     Close wedded by that mystic cord,
     Its continents are one.

     "And one in heart, as one in blood,
     Shall all her peoples be;
     The hands of human brotherhood
     Are clasped beneath the sea.

     "Through Orient seas, o'er Afric's plain
     And Asian mountains borne,
     The vigor of the Northern brain
     Shall nerve the world outworn.

     "From clime to clime, from shore to shore,
     Shall thrill the magic thread;
     The new Prometheus steals once more
     The fire that wakes the dead."

     Throb on, strong pulse of thunder! beat
     From answering beach to beach;
     Fuse nations in thy kindly heat,
     And melt the chains of each!

     Wild terror of the sky above,
     Glide tamed and dumb below!
     Bear gently, Ocean's carrier-dove,
     Thy errands to and fro.

     Weave on, swift shuttle of the Lord,
     Beneath the deep so far,
     The bridal robe of earth's accord,
     The funeral shroud of war!

     For lo! the fall of Ocean's wall
     Space mocked and time outrun;
     And round the world the thought of all
     Is as the thought of one!

     The poles unite, the zones agree,
     The tongues of striving cease;
     As on the Sea of Galilee
     The Christ is whispering, Peace!
     1858.

            .     .     .     .     .

     "Glad prophecy! to this at last,"
     The Reader said, "shall all things come.
     Forgotten be the bugle's blast,
     And battle-music of the drum.

     "A little while the world may run
     Its old mad way, with needle-gun
     And iron-clad, but truth, at last, shall reign
     The cradle-song of Christ was never sung in vain!"

     Shifting his scattered papers, "Here,"
     He said, as died the faint applause,
     "Is something that I found last year
     Down on the island known as Orr's.
     I had it from a fair-haired girl
     Who, oddly, bore the name of Pearl,
     (As if by some droll freak of circumstance,)
     Classic, or wellnigh so, in Harriet Stowe's romance."



THE DEAD SHIP OF HARPSWELL.

     What flecks the outer gray beyond
     The sundown's golden trail?
     The white flash of a sea-bird's wing,
     Or gleam of slanting sail?
     Let young eyes watch from Neck and Point,
     And sea-worn elders pray,--
     The ghost of what was once a ship
     Is sailing up the bay.

     From gray sea-fog, from icy drift,
     From peril and from pain,
     The home-bound fisher greets thy lights,
     O hundred-harbored Maine!
     But many a keel shall seaward turn,
     And many a sail outstand,
     When, tall and white, the Dead Ship looms
     Against the dusk of land.

     She rounds the headland's bristling pines;
     She threads the isle-set bay;
     No spur of breeze can speed her on,
     Nor ebb of tide delay.
     Old men still walk the Isle of Orr
     Who tell her date and name,
     Old shipwrights sit in Freeport yards
     Who hewed her oaken frame.

     What weary doom of baffled quest,
     Thou sad sea-ghost, is thine?
     What makes thee in the haunts of home
     A wonder and a sign?
     No foot is on thy silent deck,
     Upon thy helm no hand;
     No ripple hath the soundless wind
     That smites thee from the land!

     For never comes the ship to port,
     Howe'er the breeze may be;
     Just when she nears the waiting shore
     She drifts again to sea.
     No tack of sail, nor turn of helm,
     Nor sheer of veering side;
     Stern-fore she drives to sea and night,
     Against the wind and tide.

     In vain o'er Harpswell Neck the star
     Of evening guides her in;
     In vain for her the lamps are lit
     Within thy tower, Seguin!
     In vain the harbor-boat shall hail,
     In vain the pilot call;
     No hand shall reef her spectral sail,
     Or let her anchor fall.

     Shake, brown old wives, with dreary joy,
     Your gray-head hints of ill;
     And, over sick-beds whispering low,
     Your prophecies fulfil.
     Some home amid yon birchen trees
     Shall drape its door with woe;
     And slowly where the Dead Ship sails,
     The burial boat shall row!

     From Wolf Neck and from Flying Point,
     From island and from main,
     From sheltered cove and tided creek,
     Shall glide the funeral train.
     The dead-boat with the bearers four,
     The mourners at her stern,--
     And one shall go the silent way
     Who shall no more return!

     And men shall sigh, and women weep,
     Whose dear ones pale and pine,
     And sadly over sunset seas
     Await the ghostly sign.
     They know not that its sails are filled
     By pity's tender breath,
     Nor see the Angel at the helm
     Who steers the Ship of Death!
     1866.

            .     .     .     .     .

     "Chill as a down-east breeze should be,"
     The Book-man said. "A ghostly touch
     The legend has. I'm glad to see
     Your flying Yankee beat the Dutch."
     "Well, here is something of the sort
     Which one midsummer day I caught
     In Narragansett Bay, for lack of fish."
     "We wait," the Traveller said;
     "serve hot or cold your dish."



THE PALATINE.

Block Island in Long Island Sound, called by the Indians Manisees, the
isle of the little god, was the scene of a tragic incident a hundred
years or more ago, when _The Palatine_, an emigrant ship bound for
Philadelphia, driven off its course, came upon the coast at this point.
A mutiny on board, followed by an inhuman desertion on the part of the
crew, had brought the unhappy passengers to the verge of starvation and
madness. Tradition says that wreckers on shore, after rescuing all but
one of the survivors, set fire to the vessel, which was driven out to
sea before a gale which had sprung up. Every twelvemonth, according to
the same tradition, the spectacle of a ship on fire is visible to the
inhabitants of the island.


     Leagues north, as fly the gull and auk,
     Point Judith watches with eye of hawk;
     Leagues south, thy beacon flames, Montauk!

     Lonely and wind-shorn, wood-forsaken,
     With never a tree for Spring to waken,
     For tryst of lovers or farewells taken,

     Circled by waters that never freeze,
     Beaten by billow and swept by breeze,
     Lieth the island of Manisees,

     Set at the mouth of the Sound to hold
     The coast lights up on its turret old,
     Yellow with moss and sea-fog mould.

     Dreary the land when gust and sleet
     At its doors and windows howl and beat,
     And Winter laughs at its fires of peat!

     But in summer time, when pool and pond,
     Held in the laps of valleys fond,
     Are blue as the glimpses of sea beyond;

     When the hills are sweet with the brier-rose,
     And, hid in the warm, soft dells, unclose
     Flowers the mainland rarely knows;

     When boats to their morning fishing go,
     And, held to the wind and slanting low,
     Whitening and darkening the small sails show,--

     Then is that lonely island fair;
     And the pale health-seeker findeth there
     The wine of life in its pleasant air.

     No greener valleys the sun invite,
     On smoother beaches no sea-birds light,
     No blue waves shatter to foam more white!

     There, circling ever their narrow range,
     Quaint tradition and legend strange
     Live on unchallenged, and know no change.

     Old wives spinning their webs of tow,
     Or rocking weirdly to and fro
     In and out of the peat's dull glow,

     And old men mending their nets of twine,
     Talk together of dream and sign,
     Talk of the lost ship Palatine,--

     The ship that, a hundred years before,
     Freighted deep with its goodly store,
     In the gales of the equinox went ashore.

     The eager islanders one by one
     Counted the shots of her signal gun,
     And heard the crash when she drove right on!

     Into the teeth of death she sped
     (May God forgive the hands that fed
     The false lights over the rocky Head!)

     O men and brothers! what sights were there!
     White upturned faces, hands stretched in prayer!
     Where waves had pity, could ye not spare?

     Down swooped the wreckers, like birds of prey
     Tearing the heart of the ship away,
     And the dead had never a word to say.

     And then, with ghastly shimmer and shine
     Over the rocks and the seething brine,
     They burned the wreck of the Palatine.

     In their cruel hearts, as they homeward sped,
     "The sea and the rocks are dumb," they said
     "There 'll be no reckoning with the dead."

     But the year went round, and when once more
     Along their foam-white curves of shore
     They heard the line-storm rave and roar,

     Behold! again, with shimmer and shine,
     Over the rocks and the seething brine,
     The flaming wreck of the Palatine!

     So, haply in fitter words than these,
     Mending their nets on their patient knees
     They tell the legend of Manisees.

     Nor looks nor tones a doubt betray;
     "It is known to us all," they quietly say;
     "We too have seen it in our day."

     Is there, then, no death for a word once spoken?
     Was never a deed but left its token
     Written on tables never broken?

     Do the elements subtle reflections give?
     Do pictures of all the ages live
     On Nature's infinite negative,

     Which, half in sport, in malice half,
     She shows at times, with shudder or laugh,
     Phantom and shadow in photograph?

     For still, on many a moonless night,
     From Kingston Head and from Montauk light
     The spectre kindles and burns in sight.

     Now low and dim, now clear and higher,
     Leaps up the terrible Ghost of Fire,
     Then, slowly sinking, the flames expire.

     And the wise Sound skippers, though skies be fine,
     Reef their sails when they see the sign
     Of the blazing wreck of the Palatine!
     1867.

            .     .     .     .     .

     "A fitter tale to scream than sing,"
     The Book-man said. "Well, fancy, then,"
     The Reader answered, "on the wing
     The sea-birds shriek it, not for men,
     But in the ear of wave and breeze!"
     The Traveller mused: "Your Manisees
     Is fairy-land: off Narragansett shore
     Who ever saw the isle or heard its name before?

     "'T is some strange land of Flyaway,
     Whose dreamy shore the ship beguiles,
     St. Brandan's in its sea-mist gray,
     Or sunset loom of Fortunate Isles!"
     "No ghost, but solid turf and rock
     Is the good island known as Block,"
     The Reader said. "For beauty and for ease
     I chose its Indian name, soft-flowing Manisees!

     "But let it pass; here is a bit
     Of unrhymed story, with a hint
     Of the old preaching mood in it,
     The sort of sidelong moral squint
     Our friend objects to, which has grown,
     I fear, a habit of my own.
     'Twas written when the Asian plague drew near,
     And the land held its breath and paled with sudden fear."



ABRAHAM DAVENPORT

The famous Dark Day of New England, May 19, 1780, was a physical puzzle
for many years to our ancestors, but its occurrence brought something
more than philosophical speculation into the winds of those who passed
through it. The incident of Colonel Abraham Davenport's sturdy protest
is a matter of history.


     In the old days (a custom laid aside
     With breeches and cocked hats) the people sent
     Their wisest men to make the public laws.
     And so, from a brown homestead, where the Sound
     Drinks the small tribute of the Mianas,
     Waved over by the woods of Rippowams,
     And hallowed by pure lives and tranquil deaths,
     Stamford sent up to the councils of the State
     Wisdom and grace in Abraham Davenport.

     'T was on a May-day of the far old year
     Seventeen hundred eighty, that there fell
     Over the bloom and sweet life of the Spring,
     Over the fresh earth and the heaven of noon,
     A horror of great darkness, like the night
     In day of which the Norland sagas tell,--

     The Twilight of the Gods. The low-hung sky
     Was black with ominous clouds, save where its rim
     Was fringed with a dull glow, like that which climbs
     The crater's sides from the red hell below.
     Birds ceased to sing, and all the barn-yard fowls
     Roosted; the cattle at the pasture bars
     Lowed, and looked homeward; bats on leathern wings
     Flitted abroad; the sounds of labor died;
     Men prayed, and women wept; all ears grew sharp
     To hear the doom-blast of the trumpet shatter
     The black sky, that the dreadful face of Christ
     Might look from the rent clouds, not as he looked
     A loving guest at Bethany, but stern
     As Justice and inexorable Law.

     Meanwhile in the old State House, dim as ghosts,
     Sat the lawgivers of Connecticut,
     Trembling beneath their legislative robes.
     "It is the Lord's Great Day! Let us adjourn,"
     Some said; and then, as if with one accord,
     All eyes were turned to Abraham Davenport.
     He rose, slow cleaving with his steady voice
     The intolerable hush. "This well may be
     The Day of Judgment which the world awaits;
     But be it so or not, I only know
     My present duty, and my Lord's command
     To occupy till He come. So at the post
     Where He hath set me in His providence,
     I choose, for one, to meet Him face to face,--
     No faithless servant frightened from my task,
     But ready when the Lord of the harvest calls;
     And therefore, with all reverence, I would say,
     Let God do His work, we will see to ours.
     Bring in the candles." And they brought them in.

     Then by the flaring lights the Speaker read,
     Albeit with husky voice and shaking hands,
     An act to amend an act to regulate
     The shad and alewive fisheries. Whereupon
     Wisely and well spake Abraham Davenport,
     Straight to the question, with no figures of speech
     Save the ten Arab signs, yet not without
     The shrewd dry humor natural to the man
     His awe-struck colleagues listening all the while,
     Between the pauses of his argument,
     To hear the thunder of the wrath of God
     Break from the hollow trumpet of the cloud.

     And there he stands in memory to this day,
     Erect, self-poised, a rugged face, half seen
     Against the background of unnatural dark,
     A witness to the ages as they pass,
     That simple duty hath no place for fear.
     1866.

            .     .     .     .     .

     He ceased: just then the ocean seemed
     To lift a half-faced moon in sight;
     And, shore-ward, o'er the waters gleamed,
     From crest to crest, a line of light,
     Such as of old, with solemn awe,
     The fishers by Gennesaret saw,
     When dry-shod o'er it walked the Son of God,
     Tracking the waves with light where'er his sandals trod.

     Silently for a space each eye
     Upon that sudden glory turned
     Cool from the land the breeze blew by,
     The tent-ropes flapped, the long beach churned
     Its waves to foam; on either hand
     Stretched, far as sight, the hills of sand;
     With bays of marsh, and capes of bush and tree,
     The wood's black shore-line loomed beyond the meadowy sea.

     The lady rose to leave. "One song,
     Or hymn," they urged, "before we part."
     And she, with lips to which belong
     Sweet intuitions of all art,
     Gave to the winds of night a strain
     Which they who heard would hear again;
     And to her voice the solemn ocean lent,
     Touching its harp of sand, a deep accompaniment.



THE WORSHIP OF NATURE.

     The harp at Nature's advent strung
     Has never ceased to play;
     The song the stars of morning sung
     Has never died away.

     And prayer is made, and praise is given,
     By all things near and far;
     The ocean looketh up to heaven,
     And mirrors every star.

     Its waves are kneeling on the strand,
     As kneels the human knee,
     Their white locks bowing to the sand,
     The priesthood of the sea'

     They pour their glittering treasures forth,
     Their gifts of pearl they bring,
     And all the listening hills of earth
     Take up the song they sing.

     The green earth sends her incense up
     From many a mountain shrine;
     From folded leaf and dewy cup
     She pours her sacred wine.

     The mists above the morning rills
     Rise white as wings of prayer;
     The altar-curtains of the hills
     Are sunset's purple air.

     The winds with hymns of praise are loud,
     Or low with sobs of pain,--
     The thunder-organ of the cloud,
     The dropping tears of rain.

     With drooping head and branches crossed
     The twilight forest grieves,
     Or speaks with tongues of Pentecost
     From all its sunlit leaves.

     The blue sky is the temple's arch,
     Its transept earth and air,
     The music of its starry march
     The chorus of a prayer.

     So Nature keeps the reverent frame
     With which her years began,
     And all her signs and voices shame
     The prayerless heart of man.

            .     .     .     .     .

     The singer ceased. The moon's white rays
     Fell on the rapt, still face of her.
     "_Allah il Allah_! He hath praise
     From all things," said the Traveller.
     "Oft from the desert's silent nights,
     And mountain hymns of sunset lights,
     My heart has felt rebuke, as in his tent
     The Moslem's prayer has shamed my Christian knee unbent."

     He paused, and lo! far, faint, and slow
     The bells in Newbury's steeples tolled
     The twelve dead hours; the lamp burned low;
     The singer sought her canvas fold.
     One sadly said, "At break of day
     We strike our tent and go our way."
     But one made answer cheerily, "Never fear,
     We'll pitch this tent of ours in type another year."



AT SUNDOWN, TO  E. C. S.

     Poet and friend of poets, if thy glass
     Detects no flower in winter's tuft of grass,
     Let this slight token of the debt I owe
     Outlive for thee December's frozen day,
     And, like the arbutus budding under snow,
     Take bloom and fragrance from some morn of May
     When he who gives it shall have gone the way
     Where faith shall see and reverent trust shall know.



THE CHRISTMAS OF 1888.

     Low in the east, against a white, cold dawn,
     The black-lined silhouette of the woods was drawn,
     And on a wintry waste
     Of frosted streams and hillsides bare and brown,
     Through thin cloud-films, a pallid ghost looked down,
     The waning moon half-faced!

     In that pale sky and sere, snow-waiting earth,
     What sign was there of the immortal birth?
     What herald of the One?
     Lo! swift as thought the heavenly radiance came,
     A rose-red splendor swept the sky like flame,
     Up rolled the round, bright sun!

     And all was changed. From a transfigured world
     The moon's ghost fled, the smoke of home-hearths curled
     Up the still air unblown.
     In Orient warmth and brightness, did that morn
     O'er Nain and Nazareth, when the Christ was born,
     Break fairer than our own?

     The morning's promise noon and eve fulfilled
     In warm, soft sky and landscape hazy-hilled
     And sunset fair as they;
     A sweet reminder of His holiest time,
     A summer-miracle in our winter clime,
     God gave a perfect day.

     The near was blended with the old and far,
     And Bethlehem's hillside and the Magi's star
     Seemed here, as there and then,--
     Our homestead pine-tree was the Syrian palm,
     Our heart's desire the angels' midnight psalm,
     Peace, and good-will to men!



THE VOW OF WASHINGTON.

Read in New York, April 30, 1889, at the Centennial Celebration of the
Inauguration of George Washington as the first President of the United
States.


     The sword was sheathed: in April's sun
     Lay green the fields by Freedom won;
     And severed sections, weary of debates,
     Joined hands at last and were United States.

     O City sitting by the Sea
     How proud the day that dawned on thee,
     When the new era, long desired, began,
     And, in its need, the hour had found the man!

     One thought the cannon salvos spoke,
     The resonant bell-tower's vibrant stroke,
     The voiceful streets, the plaudit-echoing halls,
     And prayer and hymn borne heavenward from St. Paul's!

     How felt the land in every part
     The strong throb of a nation's heart,
     As its great leader gave, with reverent awe,
     His pledge to Union, Liberty, and Law.

     That pledge the heavens above him heard,
     That vow the sleep of centuries stirred;
     In world-wide wonder listening peoples bent
     Their gaze on Freedom's great experiment.

     Could it succeed? Of honor sold
     And hopes deceived all history told.
     Above the wrecks that strewed the mournful past,
     Was the long dream of ages true at last?

     Thank God! the people's choice was just,
     The one man equal to his trust,
     Wise beyond lore, and without weakness good,
     Calm in the strength of flawless rectitude.

     His rule of justice, order, peace,
     Made possible the world's release;
     Taught prince and serf that power is but a trust,
     And rule, alone, which serves the ruled, is just;

     That Freedom generous is, but strong
     In hate of fraud and selfish wrong,
     Pretence that turns her holy truths to lies,
     And lawless license masking in her guise.

     Land of his love! with one glad voice
     Let thy great sisterhood rejoice;
     A century's suns o'er thee have risen and set,
     And, God be praised, we are one nation yet.

     And still we trust the years to be
     Shall prove his hope was destiny,
     Leaving our flag, with all its added stars,
     Unrent by faction and unstained by wars.

     Lo! where with patient toil he nursed
     And trained the new-set plant at first,
     The widening branches of a stately tree
     Stretch from the sunrise to the sunset sea.

     And in its broad and sheltering shade,
     Sitting with none to make afraid,
     Were we now silent, through each mighty limb,
     The winds of heaven would sing the praise of him.

     Our first and best!--his ashes lie
     Beneath his own Virginian sky.
     Forgive, forget, O true and just and brave,
     The storm that swept above thy sacred grave.

     For, ever in the awful strife
     And dark hours of the nation's life,
     Through the fierce tumult pierced his warning word,
     Their father's voice his erring children heard.

     The change for which he prayed and sought
     In that sharp agony was wrought;
     No partial interest draws its alien line
     'Twixt North and South, the cypress and the pine!

     One people now, all doubt beyond,
     His name shall be our Union-bond;
     We lift our hands to Heaven, and here and now.
     Take on our lips the old Centennial vow.

     For rule and trust must needs be ours;
     Chooser and chosen both are powers
     Equal in service as in rights; the claim
     Of Duty rests on each and all the same.

     Then let the sovereign millions, where
     Our banner floats in sun and air,
     From the warm palm-lands to Alaska's cold,
     Repeat with us the pledge a century old?



THE CAPTAIN'S WELL.

The story of the shipwreck of Captain Valentine Bagley, on the coast of
Arabia, and his sufferings in the desert, has been familiar from my
childhood. It has been partially told in the singularly beautiful lines
of my friend, Harriet Prescott Spofford, an the occasion of a public
celebration at the Newburyport Library. To the charm and felicity of her
verse, as far as it goes, nothing can be added; but in the following
ballad I have endeavored to give a fuller detail of the touching
incident upon which it is founded.


     From pain and peril, by land and main,
     The shipwrecked sailor came back again;

     And like one from the dead, the threshold cross'd
     Of his wondering home, that had mourned him lost.

     Where he sat once more with his kith and kin,
     And welcomed his neighbors thronging in.

     But when morning came he called for his spade.
     "I must pay my debt to the Lord," he said.

     "Why dig you here?" asked the passer-by;
     "Is there gold or silver the road so nigh?"

     "No, friend," he answered: "but under this sod
     Is the blessed water, the wine of God."

     "Water! the Powow is at your back,
     And right before you the Merrimac,

     "And look you up, or look you down,
     There 's a well-sweep at every door in town."

     "True," he said, "we have wells of our own;
     But this I dig for the Lord alone."

     Said the other: "This soil is dry, you know.
     I doubt if a spring can be found below;

     "You had better consult, before you dig,
     Some water-witch, with a hazel twig."

     "No, wet or dry, I will dig it here,
     Shallow or deep, if it takes a year.

     "In the Arab desert, where shade is none,
     The waterless land of sand and sun,

     "Under the pitiless, brazen sky
     My burning throat as the sand was dry;

     "My crazed brain listened in fever dreams
     For plash of buckets and ripple of streams;

     "And opening my eyes to the blinding glare,
     And my lips to the breath of the blistering air,

     "Tortured alike by the heavens and earth,
     I cursed, like Job, the day of my birth.

     "Then something tender, and sad, and mild
     As a mother's voice to her wandering child,

     "Rebuked my frenzy; and bowing my head,
     I prayed as I never before had prayed:

     "Pity me, God! for I die of thirst;
     Take me out of this land accurst;

     "And if ever I reach my home again,
     Where earth has springs, and the sky has rain,

     "I will dig a well for the passers-by,
     And none shall suffer from thirst as I.

     "I saw, as I prayed, my home once more,
     The house, the barn, the elms by the door,

     "The grass-lined road, that riverward wound,
     The tall slate stones of the burying-ground,

     "The belfry and steeple on meeting-house hill,
     The brook with its dam, and gray grist mill,

     "And I knew in that vision beyond the sea,
     The very place where my well must be.

     "God heard my prayer in that evil day;
     He led my feet in their homeward way,

     "From false mirage and dried-up well,
     And the hot sand storms of a land of hell,

     "Till I saw at last through the coast-hill's gap,
     A city held in its stony lap,

     "The mosques and the domes of scorched Muscat,
     And my heart leaped up with joy thereat;

     "For there was a ship at anchor lying,
     A Christian flag at its mast-head flying,

     "And sweetest of sounds to my homesick ear
     Was my native tongue in the sailor's cheer.

     "Now the Lord be thanked, I am back again,
     Where earth has springs, and the skies have rain,

     "And the well I promised by Oman's Sea,
     I am digging for him in Amesbury."

     His kindred wept, and his neighbors said
     "The poor old captain is out of his head."

     But from morn to noon, and from noon to night,
     He toiled at his task with main and might;

     And when at last, from the loosened earth,
     Under his spade the stream gushed forth,

     And fast as he climbed to his deep well's brim,
     The water he dug for followed him,

     He shouted for joy: "I have kept my word,
     And here is the well I promised the Lord!"

     The long years came and the long years went,
     And he sat by his roadside well content;

     He watched the travellers, heat-oppressed,
     Pause by the way to drink and rest,

     And the sweltering horses dip, as they drank,
     Their nostrils deep in the cool, sweet tank,

     And grateful at heart, his memory went
     Back to that waterless Orient,

     And the blessed answer of prayer, which came
     To the earth of iron and sky of flame.

     And when a wayfarer weary and hot,
     Kept to the mid road, pausing not

     For the well's refreshing, he shook his head;
     "He don't know the value of water," he said;

     "Had he prayed for a drop, as I have done,
     In the desert circle of sand and sun,

     "He would drink and rest, and go home to tell
     That God's best gift is the wayside well!"



AN OUTDOOR RECEPTION.

The substance of these lines, hastily pencilled several years ago, I
find among such of my unprinted scraps as have escaped the waste-basket
and the fire. In transcribing it I have made some changes, additions,
and omissions.


     On these green banks, where falls too soon
     The shade of Autumn's afternoon,
     The south wind blowing soft and sweet,
     The water gliding at nay feet,
     The distant northern range uplit
     By the slant sunshine over it,
     With changes of the mountain mist
     From tender blush to amethyst,
     The valley's stretch of shade and gleam
     Fair as in Mirza's Bagdad dream,
     With glad young faces smiling near
     And merry voices in my ear,
     I sit, methinks, as Hafiz might
     In Iran's Garden of Delight.
     For Persian roses blushing red,
     Aster and gentian bloom instead;
     For Shiraz wine, this mountain air;
     For feast, the blueberries which I share
     With one who proffers with stained hands
     Her gleanings from yon pasture lands,
     Wild fruit that art and culture spoil,
     The harvest of an untilled soil;
     And with her one whose tender eyes
     Reflect the change of April skies,
     Midway 'twixt child and maiden yet,
     Fresh as Spring's earliest violet;
     And one whose look and voice and ways
     Make where she goes idyllic days;
     And one whose sweet, still countenance
     Seems dreamful of a child's romance;
     And others, welcome as are these,
     Like and unlike, varieties
     Of pearls on nature's chaplet strung,
     And all are fair, for all are young.
     Gathered from seaside cities old,
     From midland prairie, lake, and wold,
     From the great wheat-fields, which might feed
     The hunger of a world at need,
     In healthful change of rest and play
     Their school-vacations glide away.

     No critics these: they only see
     An old and kindly friend in me,
     In whose amused, indulgent look
     Their innocent mirth has no rebuke.
     They scarce can know my rugged rhymes,
     The harsher songs of evil times,
     Nor graver themes in minor keys
     Of life's and death's solemnities;
     But haply, as they bear in mind
     Some verse of lighter, happier kind,--
     Hints of the boyhood of the man,
     Youth viewed from life's meridian,
     Half seriously and half in play
     My pleasant interviewers pay
     Their visit, with no fell intent
     Of taking notes and punishment.

     As yonder solitary pine
     Is ringed below with flower and vine,
     More favored than that lonely tree,
     The bloom of girlhood circles me.
     In such an atmosphere of youth
     I half forget my age's truth;
     The shadow of my life's long date
     Runs backward on the dial-plate,
     Until it seems a step might span
     The gulf between the boy and man.

     My young friends smile, as if some jay
     On bleak December's leafless spray
     Essayed to sing the songs of May.
     Well, let them smile, and live to know,
     When their brown locks are flecked with snow,
     'T is tedious to be always sage
     And pose the dignity of age,
     While so much of our early lives
     On memory's playground still survives,
     And owns, as at the present hour,
     The spell of youth's magnetic power.

     But though I feel, with Solomon,
     'T is pleasant to behold the sun,
     I would not if I could repeat
     A life which still is good and sweet;
     I keep in age, as in my prime,
     A not uncheerful step with time,
     And, grateful for all blessings sent,
     I go the common way, content
     To make no new experiment.
     On easy terms with law and fate,
     For what must be I calmly wait,
     And trust the path I cannot see,--
     That God is good sufficeth me.
     And when at last on life's strange play
     The curtain falls, I only pray
     That hope may lose itself in truth,
     And age in Heaven's immortal youth,
     And all our loves and longing prove
     The foretaste of diviner love.

     The day is done. Its afterglow
     Along the west is burning low.
     My visitors, like birds, have flown;
     I hear their voices, fainter grown,
     And dimly through the dusk I see
     Their 'kerchiefs wave good-night to me,--
     Light hearts of girlhood, knowing nought
     Of all the cheer their coming brought;
     And, in their going, unaware
     Of silent-following feet of prayer
     Heaven make their budding promise good
     With flowers of gracious womanhood!



R. S. S., AT DEER ISLAND ON THE MERRIMAC.

     Make, for he loved thee well, our Merrimac,
     From wave and shore a low and long lament
     For him, whose last look sought thee, as he went
     The unknown way from which no step comes back.
     And ye, O ancient pine-trees, at whose feet
     He watched in life the sunset's reddening glow,
     Let the soft south wind through your needles blow
     A fitting requiem tenderly and sweet!
     No fonder lover of all lovely things
     Shall walk where once he walked, no smile more glad
     Greet friends than his who friends in all men had,
     Whose pleasant memory, to that Island clings,
     Where a dear mourner in the home he left
     Of love's sweet solace cannot be bereft.



BURNING DRIFT-WOOD

     Before my drift-wood fire I sit,
     And see, with every waif I burn,
     Old dreams and fancies coloring it,
     And folly's unlaid ghosts return.

     O ships of mine, whose swift keels cleft
     The enchanted sea on which they sailed,
     Are these poor fragments only left
     Of vain desires and hopes that failed?

     Did I not watch from them the light
     Of sunset on my towers in Spain,
     And see, far off, uploom in sight
     The Fortunate Isles I might not gain?

     Did sudden lift of fog reveal
     Arcadia's vales of song and spring,
     And did I pass, with grazing keel,
     The rocks whereon the sirens sing?

     Have I not drifted hard upon
     The unmapped regions lost to man,
     The cloud-pitched tents of Prester John,
     The palace domes of Kubla Khan?

     Did land winds blow from jasmine flowers,
     Where Youth the ageless Fountain fills?
     Did Love make sign from rose blown bowers,
     And gold from Eldorado's hills?

     Alas! the gallant ships, that sailed
     On blind Adventure's errand sent,
     Howe'er they laid their courses, failed
     To reach the haven of Content.

     And of my ventures, those alone
     Which Love had freighted, safely sped,
     Seeking a good beyond my own,
     By clear-eyed Duty piloted.

     O mariners, hoping still to meet
     The luck Arabian voyagers met,
     And find in Bagdad's moonlit street,
     Haroun al Raschid walking yet,

     Take with you, on your Sea of Dreams,
     The fair, fond fancies dear to youth.
     I turn from all that only seems,
     And seek the sober grounds of truth.

     What matter that it is not May,
     That birds have flown, and trees are bare,
     That darker grows the shortening day,
     And colder blows the wintry air!

     The wrecks of passion and desire,
     The castles I no more rebuild,
     May fitly feed my drift-wood fire,
     And warm the hands that age has chilled.

     Whatever perished with my ships,
     I only know the best remains;
     A song of praise is on my lips
     For losses which are now my gains.

     Heap high my hearth! No worth is lost;
     No wisdom with the folly dies.
     Burn on, poor shreds, your holocaust
     Shall be my evening sacrifice.

     Far more than all I dared to dream,
     Unsought before my door I see;
     On wings of fire and steeds of steam
     The world's great wonders come to me,

     And holier signs, unmarked before,
     Of Love to seek and Power to save,--
     The righting of the wronged and poor,
     The man evolving from the slave;

     And life, no longer chance or fate,
     Safe in the gracious Fatherhood.
     I fold o'er-wearied hands and wait,
     In full assurance of the good.

     And well the waiting time must be,
     Though brief or long its granted days,
     If Faith and Hope and Charity
     Sit by my evening hearth-fire's blaze.

     And with them, friends whom Heaven has spared,
     Whose love my heart has comforted,
     And, sharing all my joys, has shared
     My tender memories of the dead,--

     Dear souls who left us lonely here,
     Bound on their last, long voyage, to whom
     We, day by day, are drawing near,
     Where every bark has sailing room!

     I know the solemn monotone
     Of waters calling unto me
     I know from whence the airs have blown
     That whisper of the Eternal Sea.

     As low my fires of drift-wood burn,
     I hear that sea's deep sounds increase,
     And, fair in sunset light, discern
     Its mirage-lifted Isles of Peace.



O. W. HOLMES ON HIS EIGHTIETH BIRTH-DAY.

     Climbing a path which leads back never more
     We heard behind his footsteps and his cheer;
     Now, face to face, we greet him standing here
     Upon the lonely summit of Fourscore
     Welcome to us, o'er whom the lengthened day
     Is closing and the shadows colder grow,
     His genial presence, like an afterglow,
     Following the one just vanishing away.
     Long be it ere the table shall be set
     For the last breakfast of the Autocrat,
     And love repeat with smiles and tears thereat
     His own sweet songs that time shall not forget.
     Waiting with us the call to come up higher,
     Life is not less, the heavens are only higher!



JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL.

From purest wells of English undefiled
None deeper drank than he, the New World's child,
Who in the language of their farm-fields spoke
The wit and wisdom of New England folk,
Shaming a monstrous wrong. The world-wide laugh
Provoked thereby might well have shaken half
The walls of Slavery down, ere yet the ball
And mine of battle overthrew them all.



HAVERHILL. 1640-1890.

Read at the Celebration of the Two Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of
the City, July 2, 1890.


     O river winding to the sea!
     We call the old time back to thee;
     From forest paths and water-ways
     The century-woven veil we raise.

     The voices of to-day are dumb,
     Unheard its sounds that go and come;
     We listen, through long-lapsing years,
     To footsteps of the pioneers.

     Gone steepled town and cultured plain,
     The wilderness returns again,
     The drear, untrodden solitude,
     The gloom and mystery of the wood!

     Once more the bear and panther prowl,
     The wolf repeats his hungry howl,
     And, peering through his leafy screen,
     The Indian's copper face is seen.

     We see, their rude-built huts beside,
     Grave men and women anxious-eyed,
     And wistful youth remembering still
     Dear homes in England's Haverhill.

     We summon forth to mortal view
     Dark Passaquo and Saggahew,--
     Wild chiefs, who owned the mighty sway
     Of wizard Passaconaway.

     Weird memories of the border town,
     By old tradition handed down,
     In chance and change before us pass
     Like pictures in a magic glass,--

     The terrors of the midnight raid,
     The-death-concealing ambuscade,
     The winter march, through deserts wild,
     Of captive mother, wife, and child.

     Ah! bleeding hands alone subdued
     And tamed the savage habitude
     Of forests hiding beasts of prey,
     And human shapes as fierce as they.

     Slow from the plough the woods withdrew,
     Slowly each year the corn-lands grew;
     Nor fire, nor frost, nor foe could kill
     The Saxon energy of will.

     And never in the hamlet's bound
     Was lack of sturdy manhood found,
     And never failed the kindred good
     Of brave and helpful womanhood.

     That hamlet now a city is,
     Its log-built huts are palaces;
     The wood-path of the settler's cow
     Is Traffic's crowded highway now.

     And far and wide it stretches still,
     Along its southward sloping hill,
     And overlooks on either hand
     A rich and many-watered land.

     And, gladdening all the landscape, fair
     As Pison was to Eden's pair,
     Our river to its valley brings
     The blessing of its mountain springs.

     And Nature holds with narrowing space,
     From mart and crowd, her old-time grace,
     And guards with fondly jealous arms
     The wild growths of outlying farms.

     Her sunsets on Kenoza fall,
     Her autumn leaves by Saltonstall;
     No lavished gold can richer make
     Her opulence of hill and lake.

     Wise was the choice which led out sires
     To kindle here their household fires,
     And share the large content of all
     Whose lines in pleasant places fall.

     More dear, as years on years advance,
     We prize the old inheritance,
     And feel, as far and wide we roam,
     That all we seek we leave at home.

     Our palms are pines, our oranges
     Are apples on our orchard trees;
     Our thrushes are our nightingales,
     Our larks the blackbirds of our vales.

     No incense which the Orient burns
     Is sweeter than our hillside ferns;
     What tropic splendor can outvie
     Our autumn woods, our sunset sky?

     If, where the slow years came and went,
     And left not affluence, but content,
     Now flashes in our dazzled eyes
     The electric light of enterprise;

     And if the old idyllic ease
     Seems lost in keen activities,
     And crowded workshops now replace
     The hearth's and farm-field's rustic grace;


     No dull, mechanic round of toil
     Life's morning charm can quite despoil;
     And youth and beauty, hand in hand,
     Will always find enchanted land.

     No task is ill where hand and brain
     And skill and strength have equal gain,
     And each shall each in honor hold,
     And simple manhood outweigh gold.

     Earth shall be near to Heaven when all
     That severs man from man shall fall,
     For, here or there, salvation's plan
     Alone is love of God and man.

     O dwellers by the Merrimac,
     The heirs of centuries at your back,
     Still reaping where you have not sown,
     A broader field is now your own.

     Hold fast your Puritan heritage,
     But let the free thought of the age
     Its light and hope and sweetness add
     To the stern faith the fathers had.

     Adrift on Time's returnless tide,
     As waves that follow waves, we glide.
     God grant we leave upon the shore
     Some waif of good it lacked before;

     Some seed, or flower, or plant of worth,
     Some added beauty to the earth;
     Some larger hope, some thought to make
     The sad world happier for its sake.

     As tenants of uncertain stay,
     So may we live our little day
     That only grateful hearts shall fill
     The homes we leave in Haverhill.

     The singer of a farewell rhyme,
     Upon whose outmost verge of time
     The shades of night are falling down,
     I pray, God bless the good old town!



TO G. G. AN AUTOGRAPH.

The daughter of Daniel Gurteen, Esq., delegate from Haverhill, England,
to the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary celebration of Haverhill,
Massachusetts. The Rev. John Ward of the former place and many of his
old parishioners were the pioneer settlers of the new town on the
Merrimac.


     Graceful in name and in thyself, our river
     None fairer saw in John Ward's pilgrim flock,
     Proof that upon their century-rooted stock
     The English roses bloom as fresh as ever.

     Take the warm welcome of new friends with thee,
     And listening to thy home's familiar chime
     Dream that thou hearest, with it keeping time,
     The bells on Merrimac sound across the sea.

     Think of our thrushes, when the lark sings clear,
     Of our sweet Mayflowers when the daisies bloom;
     And bear to our and thy ancestral home
     The kindly greeting of its children here.

     Say that our love survives the severing strain;
     That the New England, with the Old, holds fast
     The proud, fond memories of a common past;
     Unbroken still the ties of blood remain!



INSCRIPTION

For the bass-relief by Preston Powers, carved upon the huge boulder in
Denver Park, Col., and representing the Last Indian and the Last Bison.

     The eagle, stooping from yon snow-blown peaks,
     For the wild hunter and the bison seeks,
     In the changed world below; and finds alone
     Their graven semblance in the eternal stone.



LYDIA H. SIGOURNEY.

Inscription on her Memorial Tablet in Christ Church at Hartford, Conn.

     She sang alone, ere womanhood had known
     The gift of song which fills the air to-day
     Tender and sweet, a music all her own
     May fitly linger where she knelt to pray.



MILTON

Inscription on the Memorial Window in St. Margaret's Church,
Westminster, the gift of George W. Childs, of America.

     The new world honors him whose lofty plea
     For England's freedom made her own more sure,
     Whose song, immortal as its theme, shall be
     Their common freehold while both worlds endure.



THE BIRTHDAY WREATH

December 17, 1891.


     Blossom and greenness, making all
     The winter birthday tropical,
     And the plain Quaker parlors gay,
     Have gone from bracket, stand, and wall;
     We saw them fade, and droop, and fall,
     And laid them tenderly away.

     White virgin lilies, mignonette,
     Blown rose, and pink, and violet,
     A breath of fragrance passing by;
     Visions of beauty and decay,
     Colors and shapes that could not stay,
     The fairest, sweetest, first to die.

     But still this rustic wreath of mine,
     Of acorned oak and needled pine,
     And lighter growths of forest lands,
     Woven and wound with careful pains,
     And tender thoughts, and prayers, remains,
     As when it dropped from love's dear hands.

     And not unfitly garlanded,
     Is he, who, country-born and bred,
     Welcomes the sylvan ring which gives
     A feeling of old summer days,
     The wild delight of woodland ways,
     The glory of the autumn leaves.

     And, if the flowery meed of song
     To other bards may well belong,
     Be his, who from the farm-field spoke
     A word for Freedom when her need
     Was not of dulcimer and reed.
     This Isthmian wreath of pine and oak.



THE WIND OF MARCH.

     Up from the sea, the wild north wind is blowing
     Under the sky's gray arch;
     Smiling, I watch the shaken elm-boughs, knowing
     It is the wind of March.

     Between the passing and the coming season,
     This stormy interlude
     Gives to our winter-wearied hearts a reason
     For trustful gratitude.

     Welcome to waiting ears its harsh forewarning
     Of light and warmth to come,
     The longed-for joy of Nature's Easter morning,
     The earth arisen in bloom.

     In the loud tumult winter's strength is breaking;
     I listen to the sound,
     As to a voice of resurrection, waking
     To life the dead, cold ground.

     Between these gusts, to the soft lapse I hearken
     Of rivulets on their way;
     I see these tossed and naked tree-tops darken
     With the fresh leaves of May.

     This roar of storm, this sky so gray and lowering
     Invite the airs of Spring,
     A warmer sunshine over fields of flowering,
     The bluebird's song and wing.

     Closely behind, the Gulf's warm breezes follow
     This northern hurricane,
     And, borne thereon, the bobolink and swallow
     Shall visit us again.

     And, in green wood-paths, in the kine-fed pasture
     And by the whispering rills,
     Shall flowers repeat the lesson of the Master,
     Taught on his Syrian hills.

     Blow, then, wild wind! thy roar shall end in singing,
     Thy chill in blossoming;
     Come, like Bethesda's troubling angel, bringing
     The healing of the Spring.



BETWEEN THE GATES.

     Between the gates of birth and death
     An old and saintly pilgrim passed,
     With look of one who witnesseth
     The long-sought goal at last.

     O thou whose reverent feet have found
     The Master's footprints in thy way,
     And walked thereon as holy ground,
     A boon of thee I pray.

     "My lack would borrow thy excess,
     My feeble faith the strength of thine;
     I need thy soul's white saintliness
     To hide the stains of mine.

     "The grace and favor else denied
     May well be granted for thy sake."
     So, tempted, doubting, sorely tried,
     A younger pilgrim spake.

     "Thy prayer, my son, transcends my gift;
     No power is mine," the sage replied,
     "The burden of a soul to lift
     Or stain of sin to hide.

     "Howe'er the outward life may seem,
     For pardoning grace we all must pray;
     No man his brother can redeem
     Or a soul's ransom pay.

     "Not always age is growth of good;
     Its years have losses with their gain;
     Against some evil youth withstood
     Weak hands may strive in vain.

     "With deeper voice than any speech
     Of mortal lips from man to man,
     What earth's unwisdom may not teach
     The Spirit only can.

     "Make thou that holy guide thine own,
     And following where it leads the way,
     The known shall lapse in the unknown
     As twilight into day.

     "The best of earth shall still remain,
     And heaven's eternal years shall prove
     That life and death, and joy and pain,
     Are ministers of Love."



THE LAST EVE OF SUMMER.

     Summer's last sun nigh unto setting shines
     Through yon columnar pines,
     And on the deepening shadows of the lawn
     Its golden lines are drawn.

     Dreaming of long gone summer days like this,
     Feeling the wind's soft kiss,
     Grateful and glad that failing ear and sight
     Have still their old delight,

     I sit alone, and watch the warm, sweet day
     Lapse tenderly away;
     And, wistful, with a feeling of forecast,
     I ask, "Is this the last?

     "Will nevermore for me the seasons run
     Their round, and will the sun
     Of ardent summers yet to come forget
     For me to rise and set?"

     Thou shouldst be here, or I should be with thee
     Wherever thou mayst be,
     Lips mute, hands clasped, in silences of speech
     Each answering unto each.

     For this still hour, this sense of mystery far
     Beyond the evening star,
     No words outworn suffice on lip or scroll:
     The soul would fain with soul

     Wait, while these few swift-passing days fulfil
     The wise-disposing Will,
     And, in the evening as at morning, trust
     The All-Merciful and Just.

     The solemn joy that soul-communion feels
     Immortal life reveals;
     And human love, its prophecy and sign,
     Interprets love divine.

     Come then, in thought, if that alone may be,
     O friend! and bring with thee
     Thy calm assurance of transcendent Spheres
     And the Eternal Years!

     August 31, 1890.



TO OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES.

8TH Mo. 29TH, 1892.

This, the last of Mr. Whittier's poems, was written but a few weeks
before his death.

     Among the thousands who with hail and cheer
     Will welcome thy new year,
     How few of all have passed, as thou and I,
     So many milestones by!

     We have grown old together; we have seen,
     Our youth and age between,
     Two generations leave us, and to-day
     We with the third hold way,

     Loving and loved. If thought must backward run
     To those who, one by one,
     In the great silence and the dark beyond
     Vanished with farewells fond,

     Unseen, not lost; our grateful memories still
     Their vacant places fill,
     And with the full-voiced greeting of new friends
     A tenderer whisper blends.

     Linked close in a pathetic brotherhood
     Of mingled ill and good,
     Of joy and grief, of grandeur and of shame,
     For pity more than blame,--

     The gift is thine the weary world to make
     More cheerful for thy sake,
     Soothing the ears its Miserere pains,
     With the old Hellenic strains,

     Lighting the sullen face of discontent
     With smiles for blessings sent.
     Enough of selfish wailing has been had,
     Thank God! for notes more glad.

     Life is indeed no holiday; therein
     Are want, and woe, and sin,
     Death and its nameless fears, and over all
     Our pitying tears must fall.

     Sorrow is real; but the counterfeit
     Which folly brings to it,
     We need thy wit and wisdom to resist,
     O rarest Optimist!

     Thy hand, old friend! the service of our days,
     In differing moods and ways,
     May prove to those who follow in our train
     Not valueless nor vain.

     Far off, and faint as echoes of a dream,
     The songs of boyhood seem,
     Yet on our autumn boughs, unflown with spring,
     The evening thrushes sing.

     The hour draws near, howe'er delayed and late,
     When at the Eternal Gate
     We leave the words and works we call our own,
     And lift void hands alone

     For love to fill. Our nakedness of soul
     Brings to that Gate no toll;
     Giftless we come to Him, who all things gives,
     And live because He lives.





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