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´╗┐Title: Narrative and Legendary Poems, Complete - Volume I 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 "Narrative and Legendary Poems, Complete - Volume I of The Works of John Greenleaf Whittier" ***

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THE WORKS OF JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER


By John Greenleaf Whittier



VOLUME I. NARRATIVE AND LEGENDARY POEMS



PUBLISHERS' ADVERTISEMENT

The Standard Library Edition of Mr. Whittier's  writings comprises his
poetical and prose works as re-arranged and thoroughly revised by
himself or with his cooperation.  Mr. Whittier has supplied  such
additional information regarding the subject and occasion of certain
poems as may be stated in brief head-notes, and this edition has been
much enriched by the poet's personal comment. So far as practicable the
dates of publication of the various articles have been given, and since
these were  originally published soon after composition, the dates of
their first appearance have been taken as  determining the time at which
they were written. At the request of the Publishers, Mr. Whittier  has
allowed his early poems, discarded from previous collections, to be
placed, in the general order  of their appearance, in an appendix to the
final volume of poems. By this means the present edition is made so
complete and retrospective that students of the poet's career will
always find the most abundant material for their purpose. The Publishers
congratulate themselves and the public that the careful attention which
Mr. Whittier has been able to give to this revision of his works has
resulted in so comprehensive and well-adjusted a collection.

The portraits prefixed to the several volumes have been chosen with a
view to illustrating successive periods in the poet's life.  The
original sources and dates are indicated in each case.


     CONTENTS:

     THE VAUDOIS TEACHER
     THE FEMALE MARTYR
     EXTRACT FROM "A NEW ENGLAND LEGEND"
     THE DEMON OF THE STUDY
     THE FOUNTAIN
     PENTUCKET
     THE NORSEMEN
     FUNERAL TREE OF THE SOKOKIS
     ST JOHN
     THE CYPRESS-TREE OF CEYLON
     THE EXILES
     THE KNIGHT OF ST JOHN
     CASSANDRA SOUTHWICK
     THE NEW WIFE AND THE OLD

     THE BRIDAL OF PENNACOOK
          I.    THE MERRIMAC
          II.   THE BASHABA
          III.  THE DAUGHTER
          IV.   THE WEDDING
          V.    THE NEW HOME
          VI.   AT PENNACOOK
          VII.  THE DEPARTURE
          VIII. SONG OF INDIAN WOMEN

     BARCLAY OF URY
     THE ANGELS OF BUENA VISTA
     THE LEGEND OF ST MARK
     KATHLEEN
     THE WELL OF LOCH MAREE
     THE CHAPEL OF THE HERMITS
     TAULER
     THE HERMIT OF THE THEBAID
     THE GARRISON OF CAPE ANN
     THE GIFT OF TRITEMIUS
     SKIPPER IRESON'S RIDE
     THE SYCAMORES
     THE PIPES AT LUCKNOW
     TELLING THE BEES
     THE SWAN SONG OF PARSON AVERY
     THE DOUBLE-HEADED SNAKE OF NEWBURY

     MABEL MARTIN: A HARVEST IDYL
          PROEM
          I.    THE RIVER VALLEY
          II.   THE HUSKING
          III.  THE WITCH'S DAUGHTER
          IV.   THE CHAMPION
          V.    IN THE SHADOW
          VI.   THE BETROTHAL

     THE PROPHECY OF SAMUEL SEWALL
     THE RED RIVER VOYAGEUR
     THE PREACHER
     THE TRUCE OF PISCATAQUA
     MY PLAYMATE
     COBBLER KEEZAR'S VISION
     AMY WENTWORTH
     THE COUNTESS

     AMONG THE HILLS
          PRELUDE
          AMONG THE HILLS

     THE DOLE OF JARL THORKELL
     THE TWO RABBINS
     NOREMBEGA
     MIRIAM
     MAUD MULLER
     MARY GARVIN
     THE RANGER
     NAUHAUGHT, THE DEACON
     THE SISTERS
     MARGUERITE
     THE ROBIN

     THE PENNSYLVANIA PILGRIM
          INTRODUCTORY NOTE
          PRELUDE
          THE PENNSYLVANIA PILGRIM

     KING VOLMER AND ELSIE
     THE THREE BELLS
     JOHN UNDERHILL
     CONDUCTOR BRADLEY
     THE WITCH OF WENHAM
     KING SOLOMON AND THE ANTS
     IN THE "OLD SOUTH"
     THE HENCHMAN
     THE DEAD FEAST OF THE KOL-FOLK
     THE KHAN'S DEVIL
     THE KING'S MISSIVE
     VALUATION
     RABBI ISHMAEL
     THE ROCK-TOMB OF BRADORE

     THE BAY OF SEVEN ISLANDS
          To H P S
          THE BAY OF SEVEN ISLANDS

     THE WISHING BRIDGE
     HOW THE WOMEN WENT FROM DOVER
     ST GREGORY'S GUEST
     CONTENTS
     BIRCHBROOK MILL
     THE TWO ELIZABETHS
     REQUITAL
     THE HOMESTEAD
     HOW THE ROBIN CAME
     BANISHED FROM MASSACHUSETTS
     THE BROWN DWARF OF RUGEN


NOTE.--The portrait prefixed to this volume was etched by
S. A. Schoff, in 1888, after a painting by Bass Otis, a pupil of
Gilbert Stuart, made in the winter of 1836-1837.



PROEM

     I LOVE the old melodious lays
     Which softly melt the ages through,
     The songs of Spenser's golden days,
     Arcadian Sidney's silvery phrase,
     Sprinkling our noon of time with freshest morning dew.

     Yet, vainly in my quiet hours
     To breathe their marvellous notes I try;
     I feel them, as the leaves and flowers
     In silence feel the dewy showers,
     And drink with glad, still lips the blessing of the sky.

     The rigor of a frozen clime,
     The harshness of an untaught ear,
     The jarring words of one whose rhyme
     Beat often Labor's hurried time,
     Or Duty's rugged march through storm and strife, are here.

     Of mystic beauty, dreamy grace,
     No rounded art the lack supplies;
     Unskilled the subtle lines to trace,
     Or softer shades of Nature's face,
     I view her common forms with unanointed eyes.

     Nor mine the seer-like power to show
     The secrets of the heart and mind;
     To drop the plummet-line below
     Our common world of joy and woe,
     A more intense despair or brighter hope to find.

     Yet here at least an earnest sense
     Of human right and weal is shown;
     A hate of tyranny intense,
     And hearty in its vehemence,
     As if my brother's pain and sorrow were my own.

     O Freedom! if to me belong
     Nor mighty Milton's gift divine,
     Nor Marvell's wit and graceful song,
     Still with a love as deep and strong
     As theirs, I lay, like them, my best gifts on thy shrine.

     AMESBURY, 11th mo., 1847.



INTRODUCTION

The edition of my poems published in 1857 contained the following note
by way of preface:--

"In these volumes, for the first time, a complete collection of my
poetical writings has been made. While it is satisfactory to know that
these scattered children of my brain have found a home, I cannot but
regret that I have been unable, by reason of illness, to give that
attention to their revision and arrangement, which respect for the
opinions of others and my own afterthought and experience demand.

"That there are pieces in this collection which I would 'willingly let
die,' I am free to confess. But it is now too late to disown them, and I
must submit to the inevitable penalty of poetical as well as other sins.
There are others, intimately connected with the author's life and times,
which owe their tenacity of vitality to the circumstances under which
they were written, and the events by which they were suggested.

"The long poem of Mogg Megone was in a great measure composed in early
life; and it is scarcely necessary to say that its subject is not such
as the writer would have chosen at any subsequent period."

After a lapse of thirty years since the above was written, I have been
requested by my publishers to make some preparation for a new and
revised edition of my poems. I cannot flatter myself that I have added
much to the interest of the work beyond the correction of my own errors
and those of the press, with the addition of a few heretofore
unpublished pieces, and occasional notes of explanation which seemed
necessary. I have made an attempt to classify the poems under a few
general heads, and have transferred the long poem of Mogg Megone to the
Appendix, with other specimens of my earlier writings. I have endeavored
to affix the dates of composition or publication as far as possible.

In looking over these poems I have not been unmindful of occasional
prosaic lines and verbal infelicities, but at this late day I have
neither strength nor patience to undertake their correction.

Perhaps a word of explanation may be needed in regard to a class of
poems written between the years 1832 and 1865. Of their defects from an
artistic point of view it is not necessary to speak. They were the
earnest and often vehement expression of the writer's thought and
feeling at critical periods in the great conflict between Freedom and
Slavery. They were written with no expectation that they would survive
the occasions which called them forth: they were protests, alarm
signals, trumpet-calls to action, words wrung from the writer's heart,
forged at white heat, and of course lacking the finish and careful
word-selection which reflection and patient brooding over them might
have given. Such as they are, they belong to the history of the
Anti-Slavery movement, and may serve as way-marks of its progress. If
their language at times seems severe and harsh, the monstrous wrong of
Slavery which provoked it must be its excuse, if any is needed. In
attacking it, we did not measure our words. "It is," said Garrison,
"a waste of politeness to be courteous to the devil." But in truth the
contest was, in a great measure, an impersonal one,--hatred of slavery
and not of slave-masters.

                    "No common wrong provoked our zeal,
                    The silken gauntlet which is thrown
                    In such a quarrel rings like steel."

Even Thomas Jefferson, in his terrible denunciation of Slavery in the
Notes on Virginia, says "It is impossible to be temperate and pursue the
subject of Slavery." After the great contest was over, no class of the
American people were more ready, with kind words and deprecation of
harsh retaliation, to welcome back the revolted States than the
Abolitionists; and none have since more heartily rejoiced at the fast
increasing prosperity of the South.

Grateful for the measure of favor which has been accorded to my
writings, I leave this edition with the public. It contains all that I
care to re-publish, and some things which, had the matter of choice been
left solely to myself, I should have omitted.
                                               J. G. W.



NARRATIVE AND LEGENDARY POEMS



THE VAUDOIS TEACHER.

This poem was suggested by the account given of the manner which the
Waldenses disseminated their principles among the Catholic gentry. They
gained access to the house through their occupation as peddlers of
silks, jewels, and trinkets. "Having disposed of some of their goods,"
it is said by a writer who quotes the inquisitor Rainerus Sacco, "they
cautiously intimated that they had commodities far more valuable than
these, inestimable jewels, which they would show if they could be
protected from the clergy. They would then give their purchasers a Bible
or Testament; and thereby many were deluded into heresy." The poem,
under the title Le Colporteur Vaudois, was translated into French by
Professor G. de Felice, of Montauban, and further naturalized by
Professor Alexandre Rodolphe Vinet, who quoted it in his lectures on
French literature, afterwards published. It became familiar in this form
to the Waldenses, who adopted it as a household poem. An American
clergyman, J. C. Fletcher, frequently heard it when he was a student,
about the year 1850, in the theological seminary at Geneva, Switzerland,
but the authorship of the poem was unknown to those who used it.
Twenty-five years later, Mr. Fletcher, learning the name of the author,
wrote to the moderator of the Waldensian synod at La Tour, giving the
information. At the banquet which closed the meeting of the synod, the
moderator announced the fact, and was instructed in the name of the
Waldensian church to write to me a letter of thanks. My letter, written
in reply, was translated into Italian and printed throughout Italy.

     "O LADY fair, these silks of mine
          are beautiful and rare,--
     The richest web of the Indian loom, which beauty's
          queen might wear;
     And my pearls are pure as thy own fair neck, with whose
          radiant light they vie;
     I have brought them with me a weary way,--will my
          gentle lady buy?"

     The lady smiled on the worn old man through the
          dark and clustering curls
     Which veiled her brow, as she bent to view his
          silks and glittering pearls;
     And she placed their price in the old man's hand
          and lightly turned away,
     But she paused at the wanderer's earnest call,--
          "My gentle lady, stay!

     "O lady fair, I have yet a gem which a purer
          lustre flings,
     Than the diamond flash of the jewelled crown on
          the lofty brow of kings;
     A wonderful pearl of exceeding price, whose virtue
          shall not decay,
     Whose light shall be as a spell to thee and a
          blessing on thy way!"

     The lady glanced at the mirroring steel where her
          form of grace was seen,
     Where her eye shone clear, and her dark locks
          waved their clasping pearls between;
     "Bring forth thy pearl of exceeding worth, thou
          traveller gray and old,
     And name the price of thy precious gem, and my
          page shall count thy gold."

     The cloud went off from the pilgrim's brow, as a
          small and meagre book,
     Unchased with gold or gem of cost, from his
          folding robe he took!
     "Here, lady fair, is the pearl of price, may it prove
          as such to thee
     Nay, keep thy gold--I ask it not, for the word of
          God is free!"

     The hoary traveller went his way, but the gift he
          left behind
     Hath had its pure and perfect work on that high-
          born maiden's mind,
     And she hath turned from the pride of sin to the
          lowliness of truth,
     And given her human heart to God in its beautiful
          hour of youth

     And she hath left the gray old halls, where an evil
          faith had power,
     The courtly knights of her father's train, and the
          maidens of her bower;
     And she hath gone to the Vaudois vales by lordly
          feet untrod,
     Where the poor and needy of earth are rich in the
          perfect love of God!
     1830.



THE FEMALE MARTYR.

Mary G-----, aged eighteen, a "Sister of Charity," died in one  of our
Atlantic cities, during the prevalence of the Indian cholera, while
in voluntary attendance upon the sick.


     "BRING out your dead!" The midnight street
     Heard and gave back the hoarse, low call;
     Harsh fell the tread of hasty feet,
     Glanced through the dark the coarse white sheet,
     Her coffin and her pall.
     "What--only one!" the brutal hack-man said,
     As, with an oath, he spurned away the dead.

     How sunk the inmost hearts of all,
     As rolled that dead-cart slowly by,
     With creaking wheel and harsh hoof-fall!
     The dying turned him to the wall,
     To hear it and to die!
     Onward it rolled; while oft its driver stayed,
     And hoarsely clamored, "Ho! bring out your dead."

     It paused beside the burial-place;
     "Toss in your load!" and it was done.
     With quick hand and averted face,
     Hastily to the grave's embrace
     They cast them, one by one,
     Stranger and friend, the evil and the just,
     Together trodden in the churchyard dust.

     And thou, young martyr! thou wast there;
     No white-robed sisters round thee trod,
     Nor holy hymn, nor funeral prayer
     Rose through the damp and noisome air,
     Giving thee to thy God;
     Nor flower, nor cross, nor hallowed taper gave
     Grace to the dead, and beauty to the grave!

     Yet, gentle sufferer! there shall be,
     In every heart of kindly feeling,
     A rite as holy paid to thee
     As if beneath the convent-tree
     Thy sisterhood were kneeling,
     At vesper hours, like sorrowing angels, keeping
     Their tearful watch around thy place of sleeping.

     For thou wast one in whom the light
     Of Heaven's own love was kindled well;
     Enduring with a martyr's might,
     Through weary day and wakeful night,
     Far more than words may tell
     Gentle, and meek, and lowly, and unknown,
     Thy mercies measured by thy God alone!

     Where manly hearts were failing, where
     The throngful street grew foul with death,
     O high-souled martyr! thou wast there,
     Inhaling, from the loathsome air,
     Poison with every breath.
     Yet shrinking not from offices of dread
     For the wrung dying, and the unconscious dead.

     And, where the sickly taper shed
     Its light through vapors, damp, confined,
     Hushed as a seraph's fell thy tread,
     A new Electra by the bed
     Of suffering human-kind!
     Pointing the spirit, in its dark dismay,
     To that pure hope which fadeth not away.

     Innocent teacher of the high
     And holy mysteries of Heaven!
     How turned to thee each glazing eye,
     In mute and awful sympathy,
     As thy low prayers were given;
     And the o'er-hovering Spoiler wore, the while,
     An angel's features, a deliverer's smile!

     A blessed task! and worthy one
     Who, turning from the world, as thou,
     Before life's pathway had begun
     To leave its spring-time flower and sun,
     Had sealed her early vow;
     Giving to God her beauty and her youth,
     Her pure affections and her guileless truth.

     Earth may not claim thee. Nothing here
     Could be for thee a meet reward;
     Thine is a treasure far more dear
     Eye hath not seen it, nor the ear
     Of living mortal heard
     The joys prepared, the promised bliss above,
     The holy presence of Eternal Love!

     Sleep on in peace. The earth has not
     A nobler name than thine shall be.
     The deeds by martial manhood wrought,
     The lofty energies of thought,
     The fire of poesy,
     These have but frail and fading honors; thine
     Shall Time unto Eternity consign.

     Yea, and when thrones shall crumble down,
     And human pride and grandeur fall,
     The herald's line of long renown,
     The mitre and the kingly crown,--
     Perishing glories all!
     The pure devotion of thy generous heart
     Shall live in Heaven, of which it was a part.
     1833.



EXTRACT FROM "A NEW ENGLAND LEGEND."

(Originally a part of the author's Moll Pitcher.)


     How has New England's romance fled,
     Even as a vision of the morning!
     Its rites foredone, its guardians dead,
     Its priestesses, bereft of dread,
     Waking the veriest urchin's scorning!
     Gone like the Indian wizard's yell
     And fire-dance round the magic rock,
     Forgotten like the Druid's spell
     At moonrise by his holy oak!
     No more along the shadowy glen
     Glide the dim ghosts of murdered men;
     No more the unquiet churchyard dead
     Glimpse upward from their turfy bed,
     Startling the traveller, late and lone;
     As, on some night of starless weather,
     They silently commune together,
     Each sitting on his own head-stone
     The roofless house, decayed, deserted,
     Its living tenants all departed,
     No longer rings with midnight revel
     Of witch, or ghost, or goblin evil;
     No pale blue flame sends out its flashes
     Through creviced roof and shattered sashes!
     The witch-grass round the hazel spring
     May sharply to the night-air sing,
     But there no more shall withered hags
     Refresh at ease their broomstick nags,
     Or taste those hazel-shadowed waters
     As beverage meet for Satan's daughters;
     No more their mimic tones be heard,
     The mew of cat, the chirp of bird,
     Shrill blending with the hoarser laughter
     Of the fell demon following after!
     The cautious goodman nails no more
     A horseshoe on his outer door,
     Lest some unseemly hag should fit
     To his own mouth her bridle-bit;
     The goodwife's churn no more refuses
     Its wonted culinary uses
     Until, with heated needle burned,
     The witch has to her place returned!
     Our witches are no longer old
     And wrinkled beldames, Satan-sold,
     But young and gay and laughing creatures,
     With the heart's sunshine on their features;
     Their sorcery--the light which dances
     Where the raised lid unveils its glances;
     Or that low-breathed and gentle tone,
     The music of Love's twilight hours,
     Soft, dream-like, as a fairy's moan
     Above her nightly closing flowers,
     Sweeter than that which sighed of yore
     Along the charmed Ausonian shore!
     Even she, our own weird heroine,
     Sole Pythoness of ancient Lynn,'
     Sleeps calmly where the living laid her;
     And the wide realm of sorcery,
     Left by its latest mistress free,
     Hath found no gray and skilled invader.
     So--perished Albion's "glammarye,"
     With him in Melrose Abbey sleeping,
     His charmed torch beside his knee,
     That even the dead himself might see
     The magic scroll within his keeping.
     And now our modern Yankee sees
     Nor omens, spells, nor mysteries;
     And naught above, below, around,
     Of life or death, of sight or sound,
     Whate'er its nature, form, or look,
     Excites his terror or surprise,
     All seeming to his knowing eyes
     Familiar as his "catechise,"
     Or "Webster's Spelling-Book."

     1833.



THE DEMON OF THE STUDY.

     THE Brownie sits in the Scotchman's room,
     And eats his meat and drinks his ale,
     And beats the maid with her unused broom,
     And the lazy lout with his idle flail;
     But he sweeps the floor and threshes the corn,
     And hies him away ere the break of dawn.

     The shade of Denmark fled from the sun,
     And the Cocklane ghost from the barn-loft cheer,
     The fiend of Faust was a faithful one,
     Agrippa's demon wrought in fear,
     And the devil of Martin Luther sat
     By the stout monk's side in social chat.

     The Old Man of the Sea, on the neck of him
     Who seven times crossed the deep,
     Twined closely each lean and withered limb,
     Like the nightmare in one's sleep.
     But he drank of the wine, and Sindbad cast
     The evil weight from his back at last.

     But the demon that cometh day by day
     To my quiet room and fireside nook,
     Where the casement light falls dim and gray
     On faded painting and ancient book,
     Is a sorrier one than any whose names
     Are chronicled well by good King James.

     No bearer of burdens like Caliban,
     No runner of errands like Ariel,
     He comes in the shape of a fat old man,
     Without rap of knuckle or pull of bell;
     And whence he comes, or whither he goes,
     I know as I do of the wind which blows.

     A stout old man with a greasy hat
     Slouched heavily down to his dark, red nose,
     And two gray eyes enveloped in fat,
     Looking through glasses with iron bows.
     Read ye, and heed ye, and ye who can,
     Guard well your doors from that old man!

     He comes with a careless "How d' ye do?"
     And seats himself in my elbow-chair;
     And my morning paper and pamphlet new
     Fall forthwith under his special care,
     And he wipes his glasses and clears his throat,
     And, button by button, unfolds his coat.

     And then he reads from paper and book,
     In a low and husky asthmatic tone,
     With the stolid sameness of posture and look
     Of one who reads to himself alone;
     And hour after hour on my senses come
     That husky wheeze and that dolorous hum.

     The price of stocks, the auction sales,
     The poet's song and the lover's glee,
     The horrible murders, the seaboard gales,
     The marriage list, and the jeu d'esprit,
     All reach my ear in the self-same tone,--
     I shudder at each, but the fiend reads on!

     Oh, sweet as the lapse of water at noon
     O'er the mossy roots of some forest tree,
     The sigh of the wind in the woods of June,
     Or sound of flutes o'er a moonlight sea,
     Or the low soft music, perchance, which seems
     To float through the slumbering singer's dreams,

     So sweet, so dear is the silvery tone,
     Of her in whose features I sometimes look,
     As I sit at eve by her side alone,
     And we read by turns, from the self-same book,
     Some tale perhaps of the olden time,
     Some lover's romance or quaint old rhyme.

     Then when the story is one of woe,--
     Some prisoner's plaint through his dungeon-bar,
     Her blue eye glistens with tears, and low
     Her voice sinks down like a moan afar;
     And I seem to hear that prisoner's wail,
     And his face looks on me worn and pale.

     And when she reads some merrier song,
     Her voice is glad as an April bird's,
     And when the tale is of war and wrong,
     A trumpet's summons is in her words,
     And the rush of the hosts I seem to hear,
     And see the tossing of plume and spear!

     Oh, pity me then, when, day by day,
     The stout fiend darkens my parlor door;
     And reads me perchance the self-same lay
     Which melted in music, the night before,
     From lips as the lips of Hylas sweet,
     And moved like twin roses which zephyrs meet!

     I cross my floor with a nervous tread,
     I whistle and laugh and sing and shout,
     I flourish my cane above his head,
     And stir up the fire to roast him out;
     I topple the chairs, and drum on the pane,
     And press my hands on my ears, in vain!

     I've studied Glanville and James the wise,
     And wizard black-letter tomes which treat
     Of demons of every name and size
     Which a Christian man is presumed to meet,
     But never a hint and never a line
     Can I find of a reading fiend like mine.

     I've crossed the Psalter with Brady and Tate,
     And laid the Primer above them all,
     I've nailed a horseshoe over the grate,
     And hung a wig to my parlor wall
     Once worn by a learned Judge, they say,
     At Salem court in the witchcraft day!

     "Conjuro te, sceleratissime,
     Abire ad tuum locum!"--still
     Like a visible nightmare he sits by me,--
     The exorcism has lost its skill;
     And I hear again in my haunted room
     The husky wheeze and the dolorous hum!

     Ah! commend me to Mary Magdalen
     With her sevenfold plagues, to the wandering Jew,
     To the terrors which haunted Orestes when
     The furies his midnight curtains drew,
     But charm him off, ye who charm him can,
     That reading demon, that fat old man!

     1835.



THE FOUNTAIN.

On the declivity of a hill in Salisbury, Essex County, is a fountain of
clear water, gushing from the very roots of a venerable oak. It is about
two miles from the junction of the Powow River with the Merrimac.

     TRAVELLER! on thy journey toiling
     By the swift Powow,
     With the summer sunshine falling
     On thy heated brow,
     Listen, while all else is still,
     To the brooklet from the hill.

     Wild and sweet the flowers are blowing
     By that streamlet's side,
     And a greener verdure showing
     Where its waters glide,
     Down the hill-slope murmuring on,
     Over root and mossy stone.

     Where yon oak his broad arms flingeth
     O'er the sloping hill,
     Beautiful and freshly springeth
     That soft-flowing rill,
     Through its dark roots wreathed and bare,
     Gushing up to sun and air.

     Brighter waters sparkled never
     In that magic well,
     Of whose gift of life forever
     Ancient legends tell,
     In the lonely desert wasted,
     And by mortal lip untasted.

     Waters which the proud Castilian
     Sought with longing eyes,
     Underneath the bright pavilion
     Of the Indian skies,
     Where his forest pathway lay
     Through the blooms of Florida.

     Years ago a lonely stranger,
     With the dusky brow
     Of the outcast forest-ranger,
     Crossed the swift Powow,
     And betook him to the rill
     And the oak upon the hill.

     O'er his face of moody sadness
     For an instant shone
     Something like a gleam of gladness,
     As he stooped him down
     To the fountain's grassy side,
     And his eager thirst supplied.

     With the oak its shadow throwing
     O'er his mossy seat,
     And the cool, sweet waters flowing
     Softly at his feet,
     Closely by the fountain's rim
     That lone Indian seated him.

     Autumn's earliest frost had given
     To the woods below
     Hues of beauty, such as heaven
     Lendeth to its bow;
     And the soft breeze from the west
     Scarcely broke their dreamy rest.

     Far behind was Ocean striving
     With his chains of sand;
     Southward, sunny glimpses giving,
     'Twixt the swells of land,
     Of its calm and silvery track,
     Rolled the tranquil Merrimac.

     Over village, wood, and meadow
     Gazed that stranger man,
     Sadly, till the twilight shadow
     Over all things ran,
     Save where spire and westward pane
     Flashed the sunset back again.

     Gazing thus upon the dwelling
     Of his warrior sires,
     Where no lingering trace was telling
     Of their wigwam fires,
     Who the gloomy thoughts might know
     Of that wandering child of woe?

     Naked lay, in sunshine glowing,
     Hills that once had stood
     Down their sides the shadows throwing
     Of a mighty wood,
     Where the deer his covert kept,
     And the eagle's pinion swept!

     Where the birch canoe had glided
     Down the swift Powow,
     Dark and gloomy bridges strided
     Those clear waters now;
     And where once the beaver swam,
     Jarred the wheel and frowned the dam.

     For the wood-bird's merry singing,
     And the hunter's cheer,
     Iron clang and hammer's ringing
     Smote upon his ear;
     And the thick and sullen smoke
     From the blackened forges broke.

     Could it be his fathers ever
     Loved to linger here?
     These bare hills, this conquered river,--
     Could they hold them dear,
     With their native loveliness
     Tamed and tortured into this?

     Sadly, as the shades of even
     Gathered o'er the hill,
     While the western half of heaven
     Blushed with sunset still,
     From the fountain's mossy seat
     Turned the Indian's weary feet.

     Year on year hath flown forever,
     But he came no more
     To the hillside on the river
     Where he came before.
     But the villager can tell
     Of that strange man's visit well.

     And the merry children, laden
     With their fruits or flowers,
     Roving boy and laughing maiden,
     In their school-day hours,
     Love the simple tale to tell
     Of the Indian and his well.

     1837



PENTUCKET.

The village of Haverhill, on the Merrimac, called by the Indians
Pentucket, was for nearly seventeen years a frontier town, and during
thirty years endured all the horrors of savage warfare. In the year
1708, a combined body of French and Indians, under the command of De
Chaillons, and Hertel de Rouville, the famous and bloody sacker of
Deerfield, made an attack upon the village, which at that time contained
only thirty houses. Sixteen of the villagers were massacred, and a still
larger number made prisoners. About thirty of the enemy also fell, among
them Hertel de Rouville. The minister of the place, Benjamin Rolfe, was
killed by a shot through his own door. In a paper entitled The Border
War of 1708, published in my collection of Recreations and Miscellanies,
I have given a prose narrative of the surprise of Haverhill.


     How sweetly on the wood-girt town
     The mellow light of sunset shone!
     Each small, bright lake, whose waters still
     Mirror the forest and the hill,
     Reflected from its waveless breast
     The beauty of a cloudless west,
     Glorious as if a glimpse were given
     Within the western gates of heaven,
     Left, by the spirit of the star
     Of sunset's holy hour, ajar!

     Beside the river's tranquil flood
     The dark and low-walled dwellings stood,
     Where many a rood of open land
     Stretched up and down on either hand,
     With corn-leaves waving freshly green
     The thick and blackened stumps between.
     Behind, unbroken, deep and dread,
     The wild, untravelled forest spread,
     Back to those mountains, white and cold,
     Of which the Indian trapper told,
     Upon whose summits never yet
     Was mortal foot in safety set.

     Quiet and calm without a fear,
     Of danger darkly lurking near,
     The weary laborer left his plough,
     The milkmaid carolled by her cow;
     From cottage door and household hearth
     Rose songs of praise, or tones of mirth.

     At length the murmur died away,
     And silence on that village lay.
     --So slept Pompeii, tower and hall,
     Ere the quick earthquake swallowed all,
     Undreaming of the fiery fate
     Which made its dwellings desolate.

     Hours passed away. By moonlight sped
     The Merrimac along his bed.
     Bathed in the pallid lustre, stood
     Dark cottage-wall and rock and wood,
     Silent, beneath that tranquil beam,
     As the hushed grouping of a dream.
     Yet on the still air crept a sound,
     No bark of fox, nor rabbit's bound,
     Nor stir of wings, nor waters flowing,
     Nor leaves in midnight breezes blowing.

     Was that the tread of many feet,
     Which downward from the hillside beat?
     What forms were those which darkly stood
     Just on the margin of the wood?--
     Charred tree-stumps in the moonlight dim,
     Or paling rude, or leafless limb?
     No,--through the trees fierce eyeballs glowed,
     Dark human forms in moonshine showed,
     Wild from their native wilderness,
     With painted limbs and battle-dress.

     A yell the dead might wake to hear
     Swelled on the night air, far and clear;
     Then smote the Indian tomahawk
     On crashing door and shattering lock;

     Then rang the rifle-shot, and then
     The shrill death-scream of stricken men,--
     Sank the red axe in woman's brain,
     And childhood's cry arose in vain.
     Bursting through roof and window came,
     Red, fast, and fierce, the kindled flame,
     And blended fire and moonlight glared
     On still dead men and scalp-knives bared.

     The morning sun looked brightly through
     The river willows, wet with dew.
     No sound of combat filled the air,
     No shout was heard, nor gunshot there;
     Yet still the thick and sullen smoke
     From smouldering ruins slowly broke;
     And on the greensward many a stain,
     And, here and there, the mangled slain,
     Told how that midnight bolt had sped
     Pentucket, on thy fated head.

     Even now the villager can tell
     Where Rolfe beside his hearthstone fell,
     Still show the door of wasting oak,
     Through which the fatal death-shot broke,
     And point the curious stranger where
     De Rouville's corse lay grim and bare;
     Whose hideous head, in death still feared,
     Bore not a trace of hair or beard;
     And still, within the churchyard ground,
     Heaves darkly up the ancient mound,
     Whose grass-grown surface overlies
     The victims of that sacrifice.
     1838.



THE NORSEMEN.

In the early part of the present century, a fragment of a statue, rudely
chiselled from dark gray stone, was found in the town of Bradford, on
the Merrimac. Its origin must be left entirely to conjecture. The fact
that the ancient Northmen visited the north-east coast of North America
and probably New England, some centuries before the discovery of the
western world by Columbus, is very generally admitted.

     GIFT from the cold and silent Past!
     A relic to the present cast,
     Left on the ever-changing strand
     Of shifting and unstable sand,
     Which wastes beneath the steady chime
     And beating of the waves of Time!
     Who from its bed of primal rock
     First wrenched thy dark, unshapely block?
     Whose hand, of curious skill untaught,
     Thy rude and savage outline wrought?

     The waters of my native stream
     Are glancing in the sun's warm beam;
     From sail-urged keel and flashing oar
     The circles widen to its shore;
     And cultured field and peopled town
     Slope to its willowed margin down.
     Yet, while this morning breeze is bringing
     The home-life sound of school-bells ringing,
     And rolling wheel, and rapid jar
     Of the fire-winged and steedless car,
     And voices from the wayside near
     Come quick and blended on my ear,--
     A spell is in this old gray stone,
     My thoughts are with the Past alone!

     A change!--The steepled town no more
     Stretches along the sail-thronged shore;
     Like palace-domes in sunset's cloud,
     Fade sun-gilt spire and mansion proud
     Spectrally rising where they stood,
     I see the old, primeval wood;
     Dark, shadow-like, on either hand
     I see its solemn waste expand;
     It climbs the green and cultured hill,
     It arches o'er the valley's rill,
     And leans from cliff and crag to throw
     Its wild arms o'er the stream below.
     Unchanged, alone, the same bright river
     Flows on, as it will flow forever
     I listen, and I hear the low
     Soft ripple where its waters go;
     I hear behind the panther's cry,
     The wild-bird's scream goes thrilling by,
     And shyly on the river's brink
     The deer is stooping down to drink.

     But hark!--from wood and rock flung back,
     What sound comes up the Merrimac?
     What sea-worn barks are those which throw
     The light spray from each rushing prow?
     Have they not in the North Sea's blast
     Bowed to the waves the straining mast?
     Their frozen sails the low, pale sun
     Of Thule's night has shone upon;
     Flapped by the sea-wind's gusty sweep
     Round icy drift, and headland steep.
     Wild Jutland's wives and Lochlin's daughters
     Have watched them fading o'er the waters,
     Lessening through driving mist and spray,
     Like white-winged sea-birds on their way!

     Onward they glide,--and now I view
     Their iron-armed and stalwart crew;
     Joy glistens in each wild blue eye,
     Turned to green earth and summer sky.
     Each broad, seamed breast has cast aside
     Its cumbering vest of shaggy hide;
     Bared to the sun and soft warm air,
     Streams back the Norsemen's yellow hair.
     I see the gleam of axe and spear,
     The sound of smitten shields I hear,
     Keeping a harsh and fitting time
     To Saga's chant, and Runic rhyme;
     Such lays as Zetland's Scald has sung,
     His gray and naked isles among;
     Or muttered low at midnight hour
     Round Odin's mossy stone of power.
     The wolf beneath the Arctic moon
     Has answered to that startling rune;
     The Gael has heard its stormy swell,
     The light Frank knows its summons well;
     Iona's sable-stoled Culdee
     Has heard it sounding o'er the sea,
     And swept, with hoary beard and hair,
     His altar's foot in trembling prayer.

     'T is past,--the 'wildering vision dies
     In darkness on my dreaming eyes
     The forest vanishes in air,
     Hill-slope and vale lie starkly bare;
     I hear the common tread of men,
     And hum of work-day life again;

     The mystic relic seems alone
     A broken mass of common stone;
     And if it be the chiselled limb
     Of Berserker or idol grim,
     A fragment of Valhalla's Thor,
     The stormy Viking's god of War,
     Or Praga of the Runic lay,
     Or love-awakening Siona,
     I know not,--for no graven line,
     Nor Druid mark, nor Runic sign,
     Is left me here, by which to trace
     Its name, or origin, or place.
     Yet, for this vision of the Past,
     This glance upon its darkness cast,
     My spirit bows in gratitude
     Before the Giver of all good,
     Who fashioned so the human mind,
     That, from the waste of Time behind,
     A simple stone, or mound of earth,
     Can summon the departed forth;
     Quicken the Past to life again,
     The Present lose in what hath been,
     And in their primal freshness show
     The buried forms of long ago.
     As if a portion of that Thought
     By which the Eternal will is wrought,
     Whose impulse fills anew with breath
     The frozen solitude of Death,
     To mortal mind were sometimes lent,
     To mortal musings sometimes sent,
     To whisper-even when it seems
     But Memory's fantasy of dreams--
     Through the mind's waste of woe and sin,
     Of an immortal origin!

     1841.



FUNERAL TREE OF THE SOKOKIS.

Polan, chief of the Sokokis Indians of the country between Agamenticus
and Casco Bay, was killed at Windham on Sebago Lake in the spring of
1756. After the whites had retired, the surviving Indians "swayed" or
bent down a young tree until its roots were upturned, placed the body of
their chief beneath it, then released the tree, which, in springing back
to its old position, covered the grave. The Sokokis were early converts
to the Catholic faith. Most of them, prior to the year 1756, had removed
to the French settlements on the St. Francois.

     AROUND Sebago's lonely lake
     There lingers not a breeze to break
     The mirror which its waters make.

     The solemn pines along its shore,
     The firs which hang its gray rocks o'er,
     Are painted on its glassy floor.

     The sun looks o'er, with hazy eye,
     The snowy mountain-tops which lie
     Piled coldly up against the sky.

     Dazzling and white! save where the bleak,
     Wild winds have bared some splintering peak,
     Or snow-slide left its dusky streak.

     Yet green are Saco's banks below,
     And belts of spruce and cedar show,
     Dark fringing round those cones of snow.

     The earth hath felt the breath of spring,
     Though yet on her deliverer's wing
     The lingering frosts of winter cling.

     Fresh grasses fringe the meadow-brooks,
     And mildly from its sunny nooks
     The blue eye of the violet looks.

     And odors from the springing grass,
     The sweet birch and the sassafras,
     Upon the scarce-felt breezes pass.

     Her tokens of renewing care
     Hath Nature scattered everywhere,
     In bud and flower, and warmer air.

     But in their hour of bitterness,
     What reek the broken Sokokis,
     Beside their slaughtered chief, of this?

     The turf's red stain is yet undried,
     Scarce have the death-shot echoes died
     Along Sebago's wooded side;

     And silent now the hunters stand,
     Grouped darkly, where a swell of land
     Slopes upward from the lake's white sand.

     Fire and the axe have swept it bare,
     Save one lone beech, unclosing there
     Its light leaves in the vernal air.

     With grave, cold looks, all sternly mute,
     They break the damp turf at its foot,
     And bare its coiled and twisted root.

     They heave the stubborn trunk aside,
     The firm roots from the earth divide,--
     The rent beneath yawns dark and wide.

     And there the fallen chief is laid,
     In tasselled garb of skins arrayed,
     And girded with his wampum-braid.

     The silver cross he loved is pressed
     Beneath the heavy arms, which rest
     Upon his scarred and naked breast.

     'T is done: the roots are backward sent,
     The beechen-tree stands up unbent,
     The Indian's fitting monument!

     When of that sleeper's broken race
     Their green and pleasant dwelling-place,
     Which knew them once, retains no trace;

     Oh, long may sunset's light be shed
     As now upon that beech's head,
     A green memorial of the dead!

     There shall his fitting requiem be,
     In northern winds, that, cold and free,
     Howl nightly in that funeral tree.

     To their wild wail the waves which break
     Forever round that lonely lake
     A solemn undertone shall make!

     And who shall deem the spot unblest,
     Where Nature's younger children rest,
     Lulled on their sorrowing mother's breast?

     Deem ye that mother loveth less
     These bronzed forms of the wilderness
     She foldeth in her long caress?

     As sweet o'er them her wild-flowers blow,
     As if with fairer hair and brow
     The blue-eyed Saxon slept below.

     What though the places of their rest
     No priestly knee hath ever pressed,--
     No funeral rite nor prayer hath blessed?

     What though the bigot's ban be there,
     And thoughts of wailing and despair,
     And cursing in the place of prayer.

     Yet Heaven hath angels watching round
     The Indian's lowliest forest-mound,--
     And they have made it holy ground.

     There ceases man's frail judgment; all
     His powerless bolts of cursing fall
     Unheeded on that grassy pall.

     O peeled and hunted and reviled,
     Sleep on, dark tenant of the wild!
     Great Nature owns her simple child!

     And Nature's God, to whom alone
     The secret of the heart is known,--
     The hidden language traced thereon;

     Who from its many cumberings
     Of form and creed, and outward things,
     To light the naked spirit brings;

     Not with our partial eye shall scan,
     Not with our pride and scorn shall ban,
     The spirit of our brother man!
     1841.



ST. JOHN.

The fierce rivalry between Charles de La Tour, a Protestant, and
D'Aulnay Charnasy, a Catholic, for the possession of Acadia, forms one
of the most romantic passages in the history of the New World. La Tour
received aid in several instances from the Puritan colony of
Massachusetts. During one of his voyages for the purpose of obtaining
arms and provisions for his establishment at St. John, his castle was
attacked by D'Aulnay, and successfully defended by its high-spirited
mistress. A second attack however followed in the fourth month, 1647,
when D'Aulnay was successful, and the garrison was put to the sword.
Lady La Tour languished a few days in the hands of her enemy, and then
died of grief.

     "To the winds give our banner!
     Bear homeward again!"
     Cried the Lord of Acadia,
     Cried Charles of Estienne;
     From the prow of his shallop
     He gazed, as the sun,
     From its bed in the ocean,
     Streamed up the St. John.

     O'er the blue western waters
     That shallop had passed,
     Where the mists of Penobscot
     Clung damp on her mast.
     St. Saviour had looked
     On the heretic sail,
     As the songs of the Huguenot
     Rose on the gale.

     The pale, ghostly fathers
     Remembered her well,
     And had cursed her while passing,
     With taper and bell;
     But the men of Monhegan,
     Of Papists abhorred,
     Had welcomed and feasted
     The heretic Lord.

     They had loaded his shallop
     With dun-fish and ball,
     With stores for his larder,
     And steel for his wall.
     Pemaquid, from her bastions
     And turrets of stone,
     Had welcomed his coming
     With banner and gun.

     And the prayers of the elders
     Had followed his way,
     As homeward he glided,
     Down Pentecost Bay.
     Oh, well sped La Tour
     For, in peril and pain,
     His lady kept watch,
     For his coming again.

     O'er the Isle of the Pheasant
     The morning sun shone,
     On the plane-trees which shaded
     The shores of St. John.
     "Now, why from yon battlements
     Speaks not my love!
     Why waves there no banner
     My fortress above?"

     Dark and wild, from his deck
     St. Estienne gazed about,
     On fire-wasted dwellings,
     And silent redoubt;
     From the low, shattered walls
     Which the flame had o'errun,
     There floated no banner,
     There thundered no gun!

     But beneath the low arch
     Of its doorway there stood
     A pale priest of Rome,
     In his cloak and his hood.
     With the bound of a lion,
     La Tour sprang to land,
     On the throat of the Papist
     He fastened his hand.

     "Speak, son of the Woman
     Of scarlet and sin!
     What wolf has been prowling
     My castle within?"
     From the grasp of the soldier
     The Jesuit broke,
     Half in scorn, half in sorrow,
     He smiled as he spoke:

     "No wolf, Lord of Estienne,
     Has ravaged thy hall,
     But thy red-handed rival,
     With fire, steel, and ball!
     On an errand of mercy
     I hitherward came,
     While the walls of thy castle
     Yet spouted with flame.

     "Pentagoet's dark vessels
     Were moored in the bay,
     Grim sea-lions, roaring
     Aloud for their prey."
     "But what of my lady?"
     Cried Charles of Estienne.
     "On the shot-crumbled turret
     Thy lady was seen:

     "Half-veiled in the smoke-cloud,
     Her hand grasped thy pennon,
     While her dark tresses swayed
     In the hot breath of cannon!
     But woe to the heretic,
     Evermore woe!
     When the son of the church
     And the cross is his foe!

     "In the track of the shell,
     In the path of the ball,
     Pentagoet swept over
     The breach of the wall!
     Steel to steel, gun to gun,
     One moment,--and then
     Alone stood the victor,
     Alone with his men!

     "Of its sturdy defenders,
     Thy lady alone
     Saw the cross-blazoned banner
     Float over St. John."
     "Let the dastard look to it!"
     Cried fiery Estienne,
     "Were D'Aulnay King Louis,
     I'd free her again!"

     "Alas for thy lady!
     No service from thee
     Is needed by her
     Whom the Lord hath set free;
     Nine days, in stern silence,
     Her thraldom she bore,
     But the tenth morning came,
     And Death opened her door!"

     As if suddenly smitten
     La Tour staggered back;
     His hand grasped his sword-hilt,
     His forehead grew black.
     He sprang on the deck
     Of his shallop again.
     "We cruise now for vengeance!
     Give way!" cried Estienne.

     "Massachusetts shall hear
     Of the Huguenot's wrong,
     And from island and creekside
     Her fishers shall throng!
     Pentagoet shall rue
     What his Papists have done,
     When his palisades echo
     The Puritan's gun!"

     Oh, the loveliest of heavens
     Hung tenderly o'er him,
     There were waves in the sunshine,
     And green isles before him:
     But a pale hand was beckoning
     The Huguenot on;
     And in blackness and ashes
     Behind was St. John!

     1841



THE CYPRESS-TREE OF CEYLON.

Ibn Batuta, the celebrated Mussulman traveller of the fourteenth
century, speaks of a cypress-tree in Ceylon, universally held sacred by
the natives, the leaves of which were said to fall only at certain
intervals, and he who had the happiness to find and eat one of them was
restored, at once, to youth and vigor. The traveller saw several
venerable Jogees, or saints, sitting silent and motionless under the
tree, patiently awaiting the falling of a leaf.

     THEY sat in silent watchfulness
     The sacred cypress-tree about,
     And, from beneath old wrinkled brows,
     Their failing eyes looked out.

     Gray Age and Sickness waiting there
     Through weary night and lingering day,--
     Grim as the idols at their side,
     And motionless as they.

     Unheeded in the boughs above
     The song of Ceylon's birds was sweet;
     Unseen of them the island flowers
     Bloomed brightly at their feet.

     O'er them the tropic night-storm swept,
     The thunder crashed on rock and hill;
     The cloud-fire on their eyeballs blazed,
     Yet there they waited still!

     What was the world without to them?
     The Moslem's sunset-call, the dance
     Of Ceylon's maids, the passing gleam
     Of battle-flag and lance?

     They waited for that falling leaf
     Of which the wandering Jogees sing:
     Which lends once more to wintry age
     The greenness of its spring.

     Oh, if these poor and blinded ones
     In trustful patience wait to feel
     O'er torpid pulse and failing limb
     A youthful freshness steal;

     Shall we, who sit beneath that Tree
     Whose healing leaves of life are shed,
     In answer to the breath of prayer,
     Upon the waiting head;

     Not to restore our failing forms,
     And build the spirit's broken shrine,
     But on the fainting soul to shed
     A light and life divine--

     Shall we grow weary in our watch,
     And murmur at the long delay?
     Impatient of our Father's time
     And His appointed way?

     Or shall the stir of outward things
     Allure and claim the Christian's eye,
     When on the heathen watcher's ear
     Their powerless murmurs die?

     Alas! a deeper test of faith
     Than prison cell or martyr's stake,
     The self-abasing watchfulness
     Of silent prayer may make.

     We gird us bravely to rebuke
     Our erring brother in the wrong,--
     And in the ear of Pride and Power
     Our warning voice is strong.

     Easier to smite with Peter's sword
     Than "watch one hour" in humbling prayer.
     Life's "great things," like the Syrian lord,
     Our hearts can do and dare.

     But oh! we shrink from Jordan's side,
     From waters which alone can save;

     And murmur for Abana's banks
     And Pharpar's brighter wave.

     O Thou, who in the garden's shade
     Didst wake Thy weary ones again,
     Who slumbered at that fearful hour
     Forgetful of Thy pain;

     Bend o'er us now, as over them,
     And set our sleep-bound spirits free,
     Nor leave us slumbering in the watch
     Our souls should keep with Thee!

     1841



THE EXILES.

The incidents upon which the following ballad has its foundation
about the year 1660. Thomas Macy was one of the first, if not the first
white settler of Nantucket. The career of Macy is briefly but carefully
outlined in James S. Pike's The New Puritan.

     THE goodman sat beside his door
     One sultry afternoon,
     With his young wife singing at his side
     An old and goodly tune.

     A glimmer of heat was in the air,--
     The dark green woods were still;
     And the skirts of a heavy thunder-cloud
     Hung over the western hill.

     Black, thick, and vast arose that cloud
     Above the wilderness,

     As some dark world from upper air
     Were stooping over this.

     At times the solemn thunder pealed,
     And all was still again,
     Save a low murmur in the air
     Of coming wind and rain.

     Just as the first big rain-drop fell,
     A weary stranger came,
     And stood before the farmer's door,
     With travel soiled and lame.

     Sad seemed he, yet sustaining hope
     Was in his quiet glance,
     And peace, like autumn's moonlight, clothed
     His tranquil countenance,--

     A look, like that his Master wore
     In Pilate's council-hall:
     It told of wrongs, but of a love
     Meekly forgiving all.

     "Friend! wilt thou give me shelter here?"
     The stranger meekly said;
     And, leaning on his oaken staff,
     The goodman's features read.

     "My life is hunted,--evil men
     Are following in my track;
     The traces of the torturer's whip
     Are on my aged back;

     "And much, I fear, 't will peril thee
     Within thy doors to take
     A hunted seeker of the Truth,
     Oppressed for conscience' sake."

     Oh, kindly spoke the goodman's wife,
     "Come in, old man!" quoth she,
     "We will not leave thee to the storm,
     Whoever thou mayst be."

     Then came the aged wanderer in,
     And silent sat him down;
     While all within grew dark as night
     Beneath the storm-cloud's frown.

     But while the sudden lightning's blaze
     Filled every cottage nook,
     And with the jarring thunder-roll
     The loosened casements shook,

     A heavy tramp of horses' feet
     Came sounding up the lane,
     And half a score of horse, or more,
     Came plunging through the rain.

     "Now, Goodman Macy, ope thy door,--
     We would not be house-breakers;
     A rueful deed thou'st done this day,
     In harboring banished Quakers."

     Out looked the cautious goodman then,
     With much of fear and awe,
     For there, with broad wig drenched with rain
     The parish priest he saw.

     Open thy door, thou wicked man,
     And let thy pastor in,
     And give God thanks, if forty stripes
     Repay thy deadly sin."

     "What seek ye?" quoth the goodman;
     "The stranger is my guest;
     He is worn with toil and grievous wrong,--
     Pray let the old man rest."

     "Now, out upon thee, canting knave!"
     And strong hands shook the door.
     "Believe me, Macy," quoth the priest,
     "Thou 'lt rue thy conduct sore."

     Then kindled Macy's eye of fire
     "No priest who walks the earth,
     Shall pluck away the stranger-guest
     Made welcome to my hearth."

     Down from his cottage wall he caught
     The matchlock, hotly tried
     At Preston-pans and Marston-moor,
     By fiery Ireton's side;

     Where Puritan, and Cavalier,
     With shout and psalm contended;
     And Rupert's oath, and Cromwell's prayer,
     With battle-thunder blended.

     Up rose the ancient stranger then
     "My spirit is not free
     To bring the wrath and violence
     Of evil men on thee;

     "And for thyself, I pray forbear,
     Bethink thee of thy Lord,
     Who healed again the smitten ear,
     And sheathed His follower's sword.

     "I go, as to the slaughter led.
     Friends of the poor, farewell!"
     Beneath his hand the oaken door
     Back on its hinges fell.

     "Come forth, old graybeard, yea and nay,"
     The reckless scoffers cried,
     As to a horseman's saddle-bow
     The old man's arms were tied.

     And of his bondage hard and long
     In Boston's crowded jail,
     Where suffering woman's prayer was heard,
     With sickening childhood's wail,

     It suits not with our tale to tell;
     Those scenes have passed away;
     Let the dim shadows of the past
     Brood o'er that evil day.

     "Ho, sheriff!" quoth the ardent priest,
     "Take Goodman Macy too;
     The sin of this day's heresy
     His back or purse shall rue."

     "Now, goodwife, haste thee!" Macy cried.
     She caught his manly arm;
     Behind, the parson urged pursuit,
     With outcry and alarm.

     Ho! speed the Macys, neck or naught,--
     The river-course was near;
     The plashing on its pebbled shore
     Was music to their ear.

     A gray rock, tasselled o'er with birch,
     Above the waters hung,
     And at its base, with every wave,
     A small light wherry swung.

     A leap--they gain the boat--and there
     The goodman wields his oar;
     "Ill luck betide them all," he cried,
     "The laggards on the shore."

     Down through the crashing underwood,
     The burly sheriff came:--
     "Stand, Goodman Macy, yield thyself;
     Yield in the King's own name."

     "Now out upon thy hangman's face!"
     Bold Macy answered then,--
     "Whip women, on the village green,
     But meddle not with men."

     The priest came panting to the shore,
     His grave cocked hat was gone;
     Behind him, like some owl's nest, hung
     His wig upon a thorn.

     "Come back,--come back!" the parson cried,
     "The church's curse beware."
     "Curse, an' thou wilt," said Macy, "but
     Thy blessing prithee spare."

     "Vile scoffer!" cried the baffled priest,
     "Thou 'lt yet the gallows see."
     "Who's born to be hanged will not be drowned,"
     Quoth Macy, merrily;

     "And so, sir sheriff and priest, good-by!"
     He bent him to his oar,
     And the small boat glided quietly
     From the twain upon the shore.

     Now in the west, the heavy clouds
     Scattered and fell asunder,
     While feebler came the rush of rain,
     And fainter growled the thunder.

     And through the broken clouds, the sun
     Looked out serene and warm,
     Painting its holy symbol-light
     Upon the passing storm.

     Oh, beautiful! that rainbow span,
     O'er dim Crane-neck was bended;
     One bright foot touched the eastern hills,
     And one with ocean blended.

     By green Pentucket's southern'slope
     The small boat glided fast;
     The watchers of the Block-house saw
     The strangers as they passed.

     That night a stalwart garrison
     Sat shaking in their shoes,
     To hear the dip of Indian oars,
     The glide of birch canoes.

     The fisher-wives of Salisbury--
     The men were all away--
     Looked out to see the stranger oar
     Upon their waters play.

     Deer-Island's rocks and fir-trees threw
     Their sunset-shadows o'er them,
     And Newbury's spire and weathercock
     Peered o'er the pines before them.

     Around the Black Rocks, on their left,
     The marsh lay broad and green;
     And on their right, with dwarf shrubs crowned,
     Plum Island's hills were seen.

     With skilful hand and wary eye
     The harbor-bar was crossed;
     A plaything of the restless wave,
     The boat on ocean tossed.

     The glory of the sunset heaven
     On land and water lay;
     On the steep hills of Agawam,
     On cape, and bluff, and bay.

     They passed the gray rocks of Cape Ann,
     And Gloucester's harbor-bar;
     The watch-fire of the garrison
     Shone like a setting star.

     How brightly broke the morning
     On Massachusetts Bay!
     Blue wave, and bright green island,
     Rejoicing in the day.

     On passed the bark in safety
     Round isle and headland steep;
     No tempest broke above them,
     No fog-cloud veiled the deep.

     Far round the bleak and stormy Cape
     The venturous Macy passed,
     And on Nantucket's naked isle
     Drew up his boat at last.

     And how, in log-built cabin,
     They braved the rough sea-weather;
     And there, in peace and quietness,
     Went down life's vale together;

     How others drew around them,
     And how their fishing sped,
     Until to every wind of heaven
     Nantucket's sails were spread;

     How pale Want alternated
     With Plenty's golden smile;
     Behold, is it not written
     In the annals of the isle?

     And yet that isle remaineth
     A refuge of the free,
     As when true-hearted Macy
     Beheld it from the sea.

     Free as the winds that winnow
     Her shrubless hills of sand,
     Free as the waves that batter
     Along her yielding land.

     Than hers, at duty's summons,
     No loftier spirit stirs,
     Nor falls o'er human suffering
     A readier tear then hers.

     God bless the sea-beat island!
     And grant forevermore,
     That charity and freedom dwell
     As now upon her shore!

     1841.



THE KNIGHT OF ST. JOHN.

     ERE down yon blue Carpathian hills
     The sun shall sink again,
     Farewell to life and all its ills,
     Farewell to cell and chain!

     These prison shades are dark and cold,
     But, darker far than they,
     The shadow of a sorrow old
     Is on my heart alway.

     For since the day when Warkworth wood
     Closed o'er my steed, and I,
     An alien from my name and blood,
     A weed cast out to die,--

     When, looking back in sunset light,
     I saw her turret gleam,
     And from its casement, far and white,
     Her sign of farewell stream,

     Like one who, from some desert shore,
     Doth home's green isles descry,
     And, vainly longing, gazes o'er
     The waste of wave and sky;

     So from the desert of my fate
     I gaze across the past;
     Forever on life's dial-plate
     The shade is backward cast!

     I've wandered wide from shore to shore,
     I've knelt at many a shrine;
     And bowed me to the rocky floor
     Where Bethlehem's tapers shine;

     And by the Holy Sepulchre
     I've pledged my knightly sword
     To Christ, His blessed Church, and her,
     The Mother of our Lord.

     Oh, vain the vow, and vain the strife!
     How vain do all things seem!
     My soul is in the past, and life
     To-day is but a dream.

     In vain the penance strange and long,
     And hard for flesh to bear;
     The prayer, the fasting, and the thong,
     And sackcloth shirt of hair.

     The eyes of memory will not sleep,
     Its ears are open still;
     And vigils with the past they keep
     Against my feeble will.

     And still the loves and joys of old
     Do evermore uprise;
     I see the flow of locks of gold,
     The shine of loving eyes!

     Ah me! upon another's breast
     Those golden locks recline;
     I see upon another rest
     The glance that once was mine.

     "O faithless priest!  O perjured knight!"
     I hear the Master cry;
     "Shut out the vision from thy sight,
     Let Earth and Nature die.

     "The Church of God is now thy spouse,
     And thou the bridegroom art;
     Then let the burden of thy vows
     Crush down thy human heart!"

     In vain! This heart its grief must know,
     Till life itself hath ceased,
     And falls beneath the self-same blow
     The lover and the priest!

     O pitying Mother! souls of light,
     And saints and martyrs old!
     Pray for a weak and sinful knight,
     A suffering man uphold.

     Then let the Paynim work his will,
     And death unbind my chain,
     Ere down yon blue Carpathian hill
     The sun shall fall again.

     1843



CASSANDRA SOUTHWICK.

In 1658 two young persons, son and daughter of Lawrence Smithwick of
Salem, who had himself been imprisoned and deprived of nearly all his
property for having entertained Quakers at his house, were fined for
non-attendance at church. They being unable to pay the fine, the General
Court issued an order empowering "the Treasurer of the County to sell
the said persons to any of the English nation of Virginia or Barbadoes,
to answer said fines." An attempt was made to carry this order into
execution, but no shipmaster was found willing to convey them to the
West Indies.

     To the God of all sure mercies let my blessing rise
     to-day,
     From the scoffer and the cruel He hath plucked
     the spoil away;
     Yea, He who cooled the furnace around the faithful
     three,
     And tamed the Chaldean lions, hath set His hand-
     maid free!
     Last night I saw the sunset melt through my prison
     bars,
     Last night across my damp earth-floor fell the pale
     gleam of stars;
     In the coldness and the darkness all through the
     long night-time,
     My grated casement whitened with autumn's early
     rime.
     Alone, in that dark sorrow, hour after hour crept
     by;
     Star after star looked palely in and sank adown
     the sky;
     No sound amid night's stillness, save that which
     seemed to be
     The dull and heavy beating of the pulses of the sea;

     All night I sat unsleeping, for I knew that on the
     morrow
     The ruler and the cruel priest would mock me in
     my sorrow,
     Dragged to their place of market, and bargained
     for and sold,
     Like a lamb before the shambles, like a heifer
     from the fold!

     Oh, the weakness of the flesh was there, the
     shrinking and the shame;
     And the low voice of the Tempter like whispers to
     me came:
     "Why sit'st thou thus forlornly," the wicked
     murmur said,
     "Damp walls thy bower of beauty, cold earth thy
     maiden bed?

     "Where be the smiling faces, and voices soft and
     sweet,
     Seen in thy father's dwelling, heard in the pleasant
     street?
     Where be the youths whose glances, the summer
     Sabbath through,
     Turned tenderly and timidly unto thy father's pew?


     "Why sit'st thou here, Cassandra?-Bethink
     thee with what mirth
     Thy happy schoolmates gather around the warm
     bright hearth;
     How the crimson shadows tremble on foreheads
     white and fair,
     On eyes of merry girlhood, half hid in golden hair.

     "Not for thee the hearth-fire brightens, not for
     thee kind words are spoken,
     Not for thee the nuts of Wenham woods by laughing
     boys are broken;
     No first-fruits of the orchard within thy lap are
     laid,
     For thee no flowers of autumn the youthful hunters
     braid.

     "O weak, deluded maiden!--by crazy fancies
     led,
     With wild and raving railers an evil path to tread;
     To leave a wholesome worship, and teaching pure
     and sound,
     And mate with maniac women, loose-haired and
     sackcloth bound,--

     "Mad scoffers of the priesthood; who mock at
     things divine,
     Who rail against the pulpit, and holy bread and
     wine;
     Sore from their cart-tail scourgings, and from the
     pillory lame,
     Rejoicing in their wretchedness, and glorying in
     their shame.

     "And what a fate awaits thee!--a sadly toiling
     slave,
     Dragging the slowly lengthening chain of bondage
     to the grave!
     Think of thy woman's nature, subdued in hopeless
     thrall,
     The easy prey of any, the scoff and scorn of all!"

     Oh, ever as the Tempter spoke, and feeble Nature's
     fears
     Wrung drop by drop the scalding flow of unavailing
     tears,
     I wrestled down the evil thoughts, and strove in
     silent prayer,
     To feel, O Helper of the weak! that Thou indeed
     wert there!

     I thought of Paul and Silas, within Philippi's cell,
     And how from Peter's sleeping limbs the prison
     shackles fell,
     Till I seemed to hear the trailing of an angel's
     robe of white,
     And to feel a blessed presence invisible to sight.

     Bless the Lord for all his mercies!--for the peace
     and love I felt,
     Like dew of Hermon's holy hill, upon my spirit
     melt;
     When "Get behind me, Satan!" was the language
     of my heart,
     And I felt the Evil Tempter with all his doubts
     depart.

     Slow broke the gray cold morning; again the sunshine
     fell,
     Flecked with the shade of bar and grate within
     my lonely cell;
     The hoar-frost melted on the wall, and upward
     from the street
     Came careless laugh and idle word, and tread of
     passing feet.

     At length the heavy bolts fell back, my door was
     open cast,
     And slowly at the sheriff's side, up the long street
     I passed;
     I heard the murmur round me, and felt, but dared
     not see,
     How, from every door and window, the people
     gazed on me.

     And doubt and fear fell on me, shame burned upon
     my cheek,
     Swam earth and sky around me, my trembling
     limbs grew weak:
     "O Lord! support thy handmaid; and from her
     soul cast out
     The fear of man, which brings a snare, the weakness
     and the doubt."

     Then the dreary shadows scattered, like a cloud in
     morning's breeze,
     And a low deep voice within me seemed whispering
     words like these:
     "Though thy earth be as the iron, and thy heaven
     a brazen wall,
     Trust still His loving-kindness whose power is over
     all."

     We paused at length, where at my feet the sunlit
     waters broke
     On glaring reach of shining beach, and shingly
     wall of rock;
     The merchant-ships lay idly there, in hard clear
     lines on high,
     Tracing with rope and slender spar their network
     on the sky.

     And there were ancient citizens, cloak-wrapped
     and grave and cold,
     And grim and stout sea-captains with faces bronzed
     and old,
     And on his horse, with Rawson, his cruel clerk at
     hand,
     Sat dark and haughty Endicott, the ruler of the
     land.

     And poisoning with his evil words the ruler's ready
     ear,
     The priest leaned o'er his saddle, with laugh and
     scoff and jeer;
     It stirred my soul, and from my lips the seal of
     silence broke,
     As if through woman's weakness a warning spirit
     spoke.

     I cried, "The Lord rebuke thee, thou smiter of the
     meek,
     Thou robber of the righteous, thou trampler of
     the weak!
     Go light the dark, cold hearth-stones,--go turn
     the prison lock
     Of the poor hearts thou hast hunted, thou wolf
     amid the flock!"

     Dark lowered the brows of Endicott, and with a
     deeper red
     O'er Rawson's wine-empurpled cheek the flush of
     anger spread;
     "Good people," quoth the white-lipped priest,
     "heed not her words so wild,
     Her Master speaks within her,--the Devil owns
     his child!"

     But gray heads shook, and young brows knit, the
     while the sheriff read
     That law the wicked rulers against the poor have
     made,
     Who to their house of Rimmon and idol priesthood
     bring
     No bended knee of worship, nor gainful offering.

     Then to the stout sea-captains the sheriff, turning,
     said,--
     "Which of ye, worthy seamen, will take this
     Quaker maid?
     In the Isle of fair Barbadoes, or on Virginia's
     shore,
     You may hold her at a higher price than Indian
     girl or Moor."

     Grim and silent stood the captains; and when
     again he cried,
     "Speak out, my worthy seamen!"--no voice, no
     sign replied;
     But I felt a hard hand press my own, and kind
     words met my ear,--
     "God bless thee, and preserve thee, my gentle girl
     and dear!"

     A weight seemed lifted from my heart, a pitying
     friend was nigh,--
     I felt it in his hard, rough hand, and saw it in his
     eye;
     And when again the sheriff spoke, that voice, so
     kind to me,
     Growled back its stormy answer like the roaring
     of the sea,--

     "Pile my ship with bars of silver, pack with coins
     of Spanish gold,
     From keel-piece up to deck-plank, the roomage of
     her hold,
     By the living God who made me!--I would sooner
     in your bay
     Sink ship and crew and cargo, than bear this child
     away!"

     "Well answered, worthy captain, shame on their
     cruel laws!"
     Ran through the crowd in murmurs loud the people's
     just applause.
     "Like the herdsman of Tekoa, in Israel of old,
     Shall we see the poor and righteous again for
     silver sold?"

     I looked on haughty Endicott; with weapon half-
     way drawn,
     Swept round the throng his lion glare of bitter hate
     and scorn;
     Fiercely he drew his bridle-rein, and turned in
     silence back,
     And sneering priest and baffled clerk rode
     murmuring in his track.

     Hard after them the sheriff looked, in bitterness of
     soul;
     Thrice smote his staff upon the ground, and
     crushed his parchment roll.
     "Good friends," he said, "since both have fled,
     the ruler and the priest,
     Judge ye, if from their further work I be not well
     released."

     Loud was the cheer which, full and clear, swept
     round the silent bay,
     As, with kind words and kinder looks, he bade me
     go my way;
     For He who turns the courses of the streamlet of
     the glen,
     And the river of great waters, had turned the
     hearts of men.

     Oh, at that hour the very earth seemed changed
     beneath my eye,
     A holier wonder round me rose the blue walls of
     the sky,
     A lovelier light on rock and hill and stream and
     woodland lay,
     And softer lapsed on sunnier sands the waters of
     the bay.

     Thanksgiving to the Lord of life! to Him all
     praises be,
     Who from the hands of evil men hath set his hand-
     maid free;
     All praise to Him before whose power the mighty
     are afraid,
     Who takes the crafty in the snare which for the
     poor is laid!

     Sing, O my soul, rejoicingly, on evening's twilight
     calm
     Uplift the loud thanksgiving, pour forth the grateful
     psalm;
     Let all dear hearts with me rejoice, as did the
     saints of old,
     When of the Lord's good angel the rescued Peter
     told.

     And weep and howl, ye evil priests and mighty
     men of wrong,
     The Lord shall smite the proud, and lay His hand
     upon the strong.
     Woe to the wicked rulers in His avenging hour!
     Woe to the wolves who seek the flocks to raven
     and devour!

     But let the humble ones arise, the poor in heart
     be glad,
     And let the mourning ones again with robes of
     praise be clad.
     For He who cooled the furnace, and smoothed the
     stormy wave,
     And tamed the Chaldean lions, is mighty still to
     save!

     1843.



THE NEW WIFE AND THE OLD.

The following ballad is founded upon one of the marvellous legends
connected with the famous General ----, of Hampton, New Hampshire,
who was regarded by his neighbors as a Yankee Faust, in league with
the adversary. I give the story, as I heard it when a child, from a
venerable family visitant.


     DARK the halls, and cold the feast,
     Gone the bridemaids, gone the priest.
     All is over, all is done,
     Twain of yesterday are one!
     Blooming girl and manhood gray,
     Autumn in the arms of May!

     Hushed within and hushed without,
     Dancing feet and wrestlers' shout;
     Dies the bonfire on the hill;
     All is dark and all is still,
     Save the starlight, save the breeze
     Moaning through the graveyard trees,
     And the great sea-waves below,
     Pulse of the midnight beating slow.

     From the brief dream of a bride
     She hath wakened, at his side.
     With half-uttered shriek and start,--
     Feels she not his beating heart?
     And the pressure of his arm,
     And his breathing near and warm?

     Lightly from the bridal bed
     Springs that fair dishevelled head,
     And a feeling, new, intense,
     Half of shame, half innocence,
     Maiden fear and wonder speaks
     Through her lips and changing cheeks.

     From the oaken mantel glowing,
     Faintest light the lamp is throwing
     On the mirror's antique mould,
     High-backed chair, and wainscot old,
     And, through faded curtains stealing,
     His dark sleeping face revealing.

     Listless lies the strong man there,
     Silver-streaked his careless hair;
     Lips of love have left no trace
     On that hard and haughty face;
     And that forehead's knitted thought
     Love's soft hand hath not unwrought.

     "Yet," she sighs, "he loves me well,
     More than these calm lips will tell.
     Stooping to my lowly state,
     He hath made me rich and great,
     And I bless him, though he be
     Hard and stern to all save me!"

     While she speaketh, falls the light
     O'er her fingers small and white;
     Gold and gem, and costly ring
     Back the timid lustre fling,--
     Love's selectest gifts, and rare,
     His proud hand had fastened there.

     Gratefully she marks the glow
     From those tapering lines of snow;
     Fondly o'er the sleeper bending
     His black hair with golden blending,
     In her soft and light caress,
     Cheek and lip together press.

     Ha!--that start of horror! why
     That wild stare and wilder cry,
     Full of terror, full of pain?
     Is there madness in her brain?
     Hark! that gasping, hoarse and low,
     "Spare me,--spare me,--let me go!"

     God have mercy!--icy cold
     Spectral hands her own enfold,
     Drawing silently from them
     Love's fair gifts of gold and gem.
     "Waken! save me!" still as death
     At her side he slumbereth.

     Ring and bracelet all are gone,
     And that ice-cold hand withdrawn;
     But she hears a murmur low,
     Full of sweetness, full of woe,
     Half a sigh and half a moan
     "Fear not! give the dead her own!"

     Ah!--the dead wife's voice she knows!
     That cold hand whose pressure froze,
     Once in warmest life had borne
     Gem and band her own hath worn.
     "Wake thee! wake thee!" Lo, his eyes
     Open with a dull surprise.

     In his arms the strong man folds her,
     Closer to his breast he holds her;
     Trembling limbs his own are meeting,
     And he feels her heart's quick beating
     "Nay, my dearest, why this fear?"
     "Hush!" she saith, "the dead is here!"

     "Nay, a dream,--an idle dream."
     But before the lamp's pale gleam
     Tremblingly her hand she raises.
     There no more the diamond blazes,
     Clasp of pearl, or ring of gold,--
     "Ah!" she sighs, "her hand was cold!"

     Broken words of cheer he saith,
     But his dark lip quivereth,
     And as o'er the past he thinketh,
     From his young wife's arms he shrinketh;
     Can those soft arms round him lie,
     Underneath his dead wife's eye?

     She her fair young head can rest
     Soothed and childlike on his breast,
     And in trustful innocence
     Draw new strength and courage thence;
     He, the proud man, feels within
     But the cowardice of sin!

     She can murmur in her thought
     Simple prayers her mother taught,
     And His blessed angels call,
     Whose great love is over all;
     He, alone, in prayerless pride,
     Meets the dark Past at her side!

     One, who living shrank with dread
     From his look, or word, or tread,
     Unto whom her early grave
     Was as freedom to the slave,
     Moves him at this midnight hour,
     With the dead's unconscious power!

     Ah, the dead, the unforgot!
     From their solemn homes of thought,
     Where the cypress shadows blend
     Darkly over foe and friend,
     Or in love or sad rebuke,
     Back upon the living look.

     And the tenderest ones and weakest,
     Who their wrongs have borne the meekest,
     Lifting from those dark, still places,
     Sweet and sad-remembered faces,
     O'er the guilty hearts behind
     An unwitting triumph find.

     1843



THE BRIDAL OF PENNACOOK.

Winnepurkit, otherwise called George, Sachem of Saugus, married a
daughter of Passaconaway, the great Pennacook chieftain, in 1662. The
wedding took place at Pennacook (now Concord, N. H.), and the ceremonies
closed with a great feast. According to the usages of the chiefs,
Passaconaway ordered a select number of his men to accompany the
newly-married couple to the dwelling of the husband, where in turn there
was another great feast. Some time after, the wife of Winnepurkit
expressing a desire to visit her father's house was permitted to go,
accompanied by a brave escort of her husband's chief men. But when she
wished to return, her father sent a messenger to Saugus, informing her
husband, and asking him to come and take her away. He returned for
answer that he had escorted his wife to her father's house in a style
that became a chief, and that now if she wished to return, her father
must send her back, in the same way. This Passaconaway refused to do,
and it is said that here terminated the connection of his daughter with
the Saugus chief.--Vide MORTON'S New Canaan.


     WE had been wandering for many days
     Through the rough northern country. We had seen
     The sunset, with its bars of purple cloud,
     Like a new heaven, shine upward from the lake
     Of Winnepiseogee; and had felt
     The sunrise breezes, midst the leafy isles
     Which stoop their summer beauty to the lips
     Of the bright waters. We had checked our steeds,
     Silent with wonder, where the mountain wall
     Is piled to heaven; and, through the narrow rift
     Of the vast rocks, against whose rugged feet
     Beats the mad torrent with perpetual roar,
     Where noonday is as twilight, and the wind
     Comes burdened with the everlasting moan
     Of forests and of far-off waterfalls,
     We had looked upward where the summer sky,
     Tasselled with clouds light-woven by the sun,
     Sprung its blue arch above the abutting crags
     O'er-roofing the vast portal of the land
     Beyond the wall of mountains. We had passed
     The high source of the Saco; and bewildered
     In the dwarf spruce-belts of the Crystal Hills,
     Had heard above us, like a voice in the cloud,
     The horn of Fabyan sounding; and atop
     Of old Agioochook had seen the mountains'
     Piled to the northward, shagged with wood, and thick
     As meadow mole-hills,--the far sea of Casco,
     A white gleam on the horizon of the east;
     Fair lakes, embosomed in the woods and hills;
     Moosehillock's mountain range, and Kearsarge
     Lifting his granite forehead to the sun!

     And we had rested underneath the oaks
     Shadowing the bank, whose grassy spires are shaken
     By the perpetual beating of the falls
     Of the wild Ammonoosuc. We had tracked
     The winding Pemigewasset, overhung
     By beechen shadows, whitening down its rocks,
     Or lazily gliding through its intervals,
     From waving rye-fields sending up the gleam
     Of sunlit waters. We had seen the moon
     Rising behind Umbagog's eastern pines,
     Like a great Indian camp-fire; and its beams
     At midnight spanning with a bridge of silver
     The Merrimac by Uncanoonuc's falls.

     There were five souls of us whom travel's chance
     Had thrown together in these wild north hills
     A city lawyer, for a month escaping
     From his dull office, where the weary eye
     Saw only hot brick walls and close thronged streets;
     Briefless as yet, but with an eye to see
     Life's sunniest side, and with a heart to take
     Its chances all as godsends; and his brother,
     Pale from long pulpit studies, yet retaining
     The warmth and freshness of a genial heart,
     Whose mirror of the beautiful and true,
     In Man and Nature, was as yet undimmed
     By dust of theologic strife, or breath
     Of sect, or cobwebs of scholastic lore;
     Like a clear crystal calm of water, taking
     The hue and image of o'erleaning flowers,
     Sweet human faces, white clouds of the noon,
     Slant starlight glimpses through the dewy leaves,
     And tenderest moonrise. 'T was, in truth, a study,
     To mark his spirit, alternating between
     A decent and professional gravity
     And an irreverent mirthfulness, which often
     Laughed in the face of his divinity,
     Plucked off the sacred ephod, quite unshrined
     The oracle, and for the pattern priest
     Left us the man. A shrewd, sagacious merchant,
     To whom the soiled sheet found in Crawford's inn,
     Giving the latest news of city stocks
     And sales of cotton, had a deeper meaning
     Than the great presence of the awful mountains
     Glorified by the sunset; and his daughter,
     A delicate flower on whom had blown too long
     Those evil winds, which, sweeping from the ice
     And winnowing the fogs of Labrador,
     Shed their cold blight round Massachusetts Bay,
     With the same breath which stirs Spring's opening leaves
     And lifts her half-formed flower-bell on its stem,
     Poisoning our seaside atmosphere.

     It chanced that as we turned upon our homeward way,
     A drear northeastern storm came howling up
     The valley of the Saco; and that girl
     Who had stood with us upon Mount Washington,
     Her brown locks ruffled by the wind which whirled
     In gusts around its sharp, cold pinnacle,
     Who had joined our gay trout-fishing in the streams
     Which lave that giant's feet; whose laugh was heard
     Like a bird's carol on the sunrise breeze
     Which swelled our sail amidst the lake's green islands,
     Shrank from its harsh, chill breath, and visibly drooped
     Like a flower in the frost. So, in that quiet inn
     Which looks from Conway on the mountains piled
     Heavily against the horizon of the north,
     Like summer thunder-clouds, we made our home
     And while the mist hung over dripping hills,
     And the cold wind-driven rain-drops all day long
     Beat their sad music upon roof and pane,
     We strove to cheer our gentle invalid.

     The lawyer in the pauses of the storm
     Went angling down the Saco, and, returning,
     Recounted his adventures and mishaps;
     Gave us the history of his scaly clients,
     Mingling with ludicrous yet apt citations
     Of barbarous law Latin, passages
     From Izaak Walton's Angler, sweet and fresh
     As the flower-skirted streams of Staffordshire,
     Where, under aged trees, the southwest wind
     Of soft June mornings fanned the thin, white hair
     Of the sage fisher. And, if truth be told,
     Our youthful candidate forsook his sermons,
     His commentaries, articles and creeds,
     For the fair page of human loveliness,
     The missal of young hearts, whose sacred text
     Is music, its illumining, sweet smiles.
     He sang the songs she loved; and in his low,
     Deep, earnest voice, recited many a page
     Of poetry, the holiest, tenderest lines
     Of the sad bard of Olney, the sweet songs,
     Simple and beautiful as Truth and Nature,
     Of him whose whitened locks on Rydal Mount
     Are lifted yet by morning breezes blowing
     From the green hills, immortal in his lays.
     And for myself, obedient to her wish,
     I searched our landlord's proffered library,--
     A well-thumbed Bunyan, with its nice wood pictures
     Of scaly fiends and angels not unlike them;
     Watts' unmelodious psalms; Astrology's
     Last home, a musty pile of almanacs,
     And an old chronicle of border wars
     And Indian history. And, as I read
     A story of the marriage of the Chief
     Of Saugus to the dusky Weetamoo,
     Daughter of Passaconaway, who dwelt
     In the old time upon the Merrimac,
     Our fair one, in the playful exercise
     Of her prerogative,--the right divine
     Of youth and beauty,--bade us versify
     The legend, and with ready pencil sketched
     Its plan and outlines, laughingly assigning
     To each his part, and barring our excuses
     With absolute will. So, like the cavaliers
     Whose voices still are heard in the Romance
     Of silver-tongued Boccaccio, on the banks
     Of Arno, with soft tales of love beguiling
     The ear of languid beauty, plague-exiled
     From stately Florence, we rehearsed our rhymes
     To their fair auditor, and shared by turns
     Her kind approval and her playful censure.

     It may be that these fragments owe alone
     To the fair setting of their circumstances,--
     The associations of time, scene, and audience,--
     Their place amid the pictures which fill up
     The chambers of my memory. Yet I trust
     That some, who sigh, while wandering in thought,
     Pilgrims of Romance o'er the olden world,
     That our broad land,--our sea-like lakes and mountains
     Piled to the clouds, our rivers overhung
     By forests which have known no other change
     For ages than the budding and the fall
     Of leaves, our valleys lovelier than those
     Which the old poets sang of,--should but figure
     On the apocryphal chart of speculation
     As pastures, wood-lots, mill-sites, with the privileges,
     Rights, and appurtenances, which make up
     A Yankee Paradise, unsung, unknown,
     To beautiful tradition; even their names,
     Whose melody yet lingers like the last
     Vibration of the red man's requiem,
     Exchanged for syllables significant,
     Of cotton-mill and rail-car, will look kindly
     Upon this effort to call up the ghost
     Of our dim Past, and listen with pleased ear
     To the responses of the questioned Shade.



I. THE MERRIMAC.

     O child of that white-crested mountain whose
     springs
     Gush forth in the shade of the cliff-eagle's
     wings,
     Down whose slopes to the lowlands thy wild waters
     shine,
     Leaping gray walls of rock, flashing through the
     dwarf pine;
     From that cloud-curtained cradle so cold and so
     lone,
     From the arms of that wintry-locked mother of
     stone,
     By hills hung with forests, through vales wide and
     free,
     Thy mountain-born brightness glanced down to the
     sea.

     No bridge arched thy waters save that where the
     trees
     Stretched their long arms above thee and kissed in
     the breeze:
     No sound save the lapse of the waves on thy
     shores,
     The plunging of otters, the light dip of oars.

     Green-tufted, oak-shaded, by Amoskeag's fall
     Thy twin Uncanoonucs rose stately and tall,
     Thy Nashua meadows lay green and unshorn,
     And the hills of Pentucket were tasselled with
     corn.
     But thy Pennacook valley was fairer than these,
     And greener its grasses and taller its trees,
     Ere the sound of an axe in the forest had rung,
     Or the mower his scythe in the meadows had
     swung.

     In their sheltered repose looking out from the
     wood
     The bark-builded wigwams of Pennacook stood;
     There glided the corn-dance, the council-fire shone,
     And against the red war-post the hatchet was
     thrown.

     There the old smoked in silence their pipes, and
     the young
     To the pike and the white-perch their baited lines
     flung;
     There the boy shaped his arrows, and there the
     shy maid
     Wove her many-hued baskets and bright wampum
     braid.

     O Stream of the Mountains! if answer of thine
     Could rise from thy waters to question of mine,
     Methinks through the din of thy thronged banks
     a moan
     Of sorrow would swell for the days which have
     gone.

     Not for thee the dull jar of the loom and the wheel,
     The gliding of shuttles, the ringing of steel;
     But that old voice of waters, of bird and of breeze,
     The dip of the wild-fowl, the rustling of trees.



II. THE BASHABA.

     Lift we the twilight curtains of the Past,
     And, turning from familiar sight and sound,
     Sadly and full of reverence let us cast
     A glance upon Tradition's shadowy ground,
     Led by the few pale lights which, glimmering round
     That dim, strange land of Eld, seem dying fast;
     And that which history gives not to the eye,
     The faded coloring of Time's tapestry,
     Let Fancy, with her dream-dipped brush, supply.

     Roof of bark and walls of pine,
     Through whose chinks the sunbeams shine,
     Tracing many a golden line
     On the ample floor within;
     Where, upon that earth-floor stark,
     Lay the gaudy mats of bark,
     With the bear's hide, rough and dark,
     And the red-deer's skin.

     Window-tracery, small and slight,
     Woven of the willow white,
     Lent a dimly checkered light;
     And the night-stars glimmered down,
     Where the lodge-fire's heavy smoke,
     Slowly through an opening broke,
     In the low roof, ribbed with oak,
     Sheathed with hemlock brown.

     Gloomed behind the changeless shade
     By the solemn pine-wood made;
     Through the rugged palisade,
     In the open foreground planted,
     Glimpses came of rowers rowing,
     Stir of leaves and wild-flowers blowing,
     Steel-like gleams of water flowing,
     In the sunlight slanted.

     Here the mighty Bashaba
     Held his long-unquestioned sway,
     From the White Hills, far away,
     To the great sea's sounding shore;
     Chief of chiefs, his regal word
     All the river Sachems heard,
     At his call the war-dance stirred,
     Or was still once more.

     There his spoils of chase and war,
     Jaw of wolf and black bear's paw,
     Panther's skin and eagle's claw,
     Lay beside his axe and bow;
     And, adown the roof-pole hung,
     Loosely on a snake-skin strung,
     In the smoke his scalp-locks swung
     Grimly to and fro.

     Nightly down the river going,
     Swifter was the hunter's rowing,
     When he saw that lodge-fire, glowing
     O'er the waters still and red;
     And the squaw's dark eye burned brighter,
     And she drew her blanket tighter,
     As, with quicker step and lighter,
     From that door she fled.

     For that chief had magic skill,
     And a Panisee's dark will,
     Over powers of good and ill,
     Powers which bless and powers which ban;
     Wizard lord of Pennacook,
     Chiefs upon their war-path shook,
     When they met the steady look
     Of that wise dark man.

     Tales of him the gray squaw told,
     When the winter night-wind cold
     Pierced her blanket's thickest fold,
     And her fire burned low and small,
     Till the very child abed,
     Drew its bear-skin over bead,
     Shrinking from the pale lights shed
     On the trembling wall.

     All the subtle spirits hiding
     Under earth or wave, abiding
     In the caverned rock, or riding
     Misty clouds or morning breeze;
     Every dark intelligence,
     Secret soul, and influence
     Of all things which outward sense
     Feels, or bears, or sees,--

     These the wizard's skill confessed,
     At his bidding banned or blessed,
     Stormful woke or lulled to rest
     Wind and cloud, and fire and flood;
     Burned for him the drifted snow,
     Bade through ice fresh lilies blow,
     And the leaves of summer grow
     Over winter's wood!

     Not untrue that tale of old!
     Now, as then, the wise and bold
     All the powers of Nature hold
     Subject to their kingly will;
     From the wondering crowds ashore,
     Treading life's wild waters o'er,
     As upon a marble floor,
     Moves the strong man still.

     Still, to such, life's elements
     With their sterner laws dispense,
     And the chain of consequence
     Broken in their pathway lies;
     Time and change their vassals making,
     Flowers from icy pillows waking,
     Tresses of the sunrise shaking
     Over midnight skies.
     Still, to th' earnest soul, the sun
     Rests on towered Gibeon,
     And the moon of Ajalon
     Lights the battle-grounds of life;
     To his aid the strong reverses
     Hidden powers and giant forces,
     And the high stars, in their courses,
     Mingle in his strife!



III. THE DAUGHTER.

     The soot-black brows of men, the yell
     Of women thronging round the bed,
     The tinkling charm of ring and shell,
     The Powah whispering o'er the dead!

     All these the Sachem's home had known,
     When, on her journey long and wild
     To the dim World of Souls, alone,
     In her young beauty passed the mother of his child.

     Three bow-shots from the Sachem's dwelling
     They laid her in the walnut shade,
     Where a green hillock gently swelling
     Her fitting mound of burial made.
     There trailed the vine in summer hours,
     The tree-perched squirrel dropped his shell,--
     On velvet moss and pale-hued flowers,
     Woven with leaf and spray, the softened sunshine fell!

     The Indian's heart is hard and cold,
     It closes darkly o'er its care,
     And formed in Nature's sternest mould,
     Is slow to feel, and strong to bear.
     The war-paint on the Sachem's face,
     Unwet with tears, shone fierce and red,
     And still, in battle or in chase,
     Dry leaf and snow-rime crisped beneath his
     foremost tread.

     Yet when her name was heard no more,
     And when the robe her mother gave,
     And small, light moccasin she wore,
     Had slowly wasted on her grave,
     Unmarked of him the dark maids sped
     Their sunset dance and moonlit play;
     No other shared his lonely bed,
     No other fair young head upon his bosom lay.

     A lone, stern man. Yet, as sometimes
     The tempest-smitten tree receives
     From one small root the sap which climbs
     Its topmost spray and crowning leaves,
     So from his child the Sachem drew
     A life of Love and Hope, and felt
     His cold and rugged nature through
     The softness and the warmth of her young
     being melt.

     A laugh which in the woodland rang
     Bemocking April's gladdest bird,--
     A light and graceful form which sprang
     To meet him when his step was heard,--
     Eyes by his lodge-fire flashing dark,
     Small fingers stringing bead and shell
     Or weaving mats of bright-hued bark,--
     With these the household-god (3) had graced
     his wigwam well.

     Child of the forest! strong and free,
     Slight-robed, with loosely flowing hair,
     She swam the lake or climbed the tree,
     Or struck the flying bird in air.
     O'er the heaped drifts of winter's moon
     Her snow-shoes tracked the hunter's way;
     And dazzling in the summer noon
     The blade of her light oar threw off its shower
     of spray!

     Unknown to her the rigid rule,
     The dull restraint, the chiding frown,
     The weary torture of the school,
     The taming of wild nature down.
     Her only lore, the legends told
     Around the hunter's fire at night;
     Stars rose and set, and seasons rolled,
     Flowers bloomed and snow-flakes fell, unquestioned
     in her sight.

     Unknown to her the subtle skill
     With which the artist-eye can trace
     In rock and tree and lake and hill
     The outlines of divinest grace;
     Unknown the fine soul's keen unrest,
     Which sees, admires, yet yearns alway;
     Too closely on her mother's breast
     To note her smiles of love the child of Nature lay!

     It is enough for such to be
     Of common, natural things a part,
     To feel, with bird and stream and tree,
     The pulses of the same great heart;
     But we, from Nature long exiled,
     In our cold homes of Art and Thought
     Grieve like the stranger-tended child,
     Which seeks its mother's arms, and sees but feels
     them not.

     The garden rose may richly bloom
     In cultured soil and genial air,
     To cloud the light of Fashion's room
     Or droop in Beauty's midnight hair;
     In lonelier grace, to sun and dew
     The sweetbrier on the hillside shows
     Its single leaf and fainter hue,
     Untrained and wildly free, yet still a sister rose!

     Thus o'er the heart of Weetamoo
     Their mingling shades of joy and ill
     The instincts of her nature threw;
     The savage was a woman still.
     Midst outlines dim of maiden schemes,
     Heart-colored prophecies of life,
     Rose on the ground of her young dreams
     The light of a new home, the lover and the wife.



IV. THE WEDDING.

     Cool and dark fell the autumn night,
     But the Bashaba's wigwam glowed with light,
     For down from its roof, by green withes hung,
     Flaring and smoking the pine-knots swung.

     And along the river great wood-fires
     Shot into the night their long, red spires,
     Showing behind the tall, dark wood,
     Flashing before on the sweeping flood.

     In the changeful wind, with shimmer and shade,
     Now high, now low, that firelight played,
     On tree-leaves wet with evening dews,
     On gliding water and still canoes.

     The trapper that night on Turee's brook,
     And the weary fisher on Contoocook,
     Saw over the marshes, and through the pine,
     And down on the river, the dance-lights shine.
     For the Saugus Sachem had come to woo
     The Bashaba's daughter Weetamoo,
     And laid at her father's feet that night
     His softest furs and wampum white.

     From the Crystal Hills to the far southeast
     The river Sagamores came to the feast;
     And chiefs whose homes the sea-winds shook
     Sat down on the mats of Pennacook.

     They came from Sunapee's shore of rock,
     From the snowy sources of Snooganock,
     And from rough Coos whose thick woods shake
     Their pine-cones in Umbagog Lake.

     From Ammonoosuc's mountain pass,
     Wild as his home, came Chepewass;
     And the Keenomps of the bills which throw
     Their shade on the Smile of Manito.

     With pipes of peace and bows unstrung,
     Glowing with paint came old and young,
     In wampum and furs and feathers arrayed,
     To the dance and feast the Bashaba made.

     Bird of the air and beast of the field,
     All which the woods and the waters yield,
     On dishes of birch and hemlock piled,
     Garnished and graced that banquet wild.

     Steaks of the brown bear fat and large
     From the rocky slopes of the Kearsarge;
     Delicate trout from Babboosuck brook,
     And salmon speared in the Contoocook;

     Squirrels which fed where nuts fell thick
     in the gravelly bed of the Otternic;
     And small wild-hens in reed-snares caught
     from the banks of Sondagardee brought;

     Pike and perch from the Suncook taken,
     Nuts from the trees of the Black Hills shaken,
     Cranberries picked in the Squamscot bog,
     And grapes from the vines of Piscataquog:

     And, drawn from that great stone vase which stands
     In the river scooped by a spirit's hands,(4)
     Garnished with spoons of shell and horn,
     Stood the birchen dishes of smoking corn.

     Thus bird of the air and beast of the field,
     All which the woods and the waters yield,
     Furnished in that olden day
     The bridal feast of the Bashaba.

     And merrily when that feast was done
     On the fire-lit green the dance begun,
     With squaws' shrill stave, and deeper hum
     Of old men beating the Indian drum.

     Painted and plumed, with scalp-locks flowing,
     And red arms tossing and black eyes glowing,
     Now in the light and now in the shade
     Around the fires the dancers played.

     The step was quicker, the song more shrill,
     And the beat of the small drums louder still
     Whenever within the circle drew
     The Saugus Sachem and Weetamoo.

     The moons of forty winters had shed
     Their snow upon that chieftain's head,
     And toil and care and battle's chance
     Had seamed his hard, dark countenance.

     A fawn beside the bison grim,--
     Why turns the bride's fond eye on him,
     In whose cold look is naught beside
     The triumph of a sullen pride?

     Ask why the graceful grape entwines
     The rough oak with her arm of vines;
     And why the gray rock's rugged cheek
     The soft lips of the mosses seek.

     Why, with wise instinct, Nature seems
     To harmonize her wide extremes,
     Linking the stronger with the weak,
     The haughty with the soft and meek!



V. THE NEW HOME.

     A wild and broken landscape, spiked with firs,
     Roughening the bleak horizon's northern edge;
     Steep, cavernous hillsides, where black hemlock
     spurs
     And sharp, gray splinters of the wind-swept
     ledge
     Pierced the thin-glazed ice, or bristling rose,
     Where the cold rim of the sky sunk down upon
     the snows.

     And eastward cold, wide marshes stretched away,
     Dull, dreary flats without a bush or tree,
     O'er-crossed by icy creeks, where twice a day
     Gurgled the waters of the moon-struck sea;
     And faint with distance came the stifled roar,
     The melancholy lapse of waves on that low shore.

     No cheerful village with its mingling smokes,
     No laugh of children wrestling in the snow,
     No camp-fire blazing through the hillside oaks,
     No fishers kneeling on the ice below;
     Yet midst all desolate things of sound and view,
     Through the long winter moons smiled dark-eyed
     Weetamoo.

     Her heart had found a home; and freshly all
     Its beautiful affections overgrew
     Their rugged prop. As o'er some granite wall
     Soft vine-leaves open to the moistening dew
     And warm bright sun, the love of that young wife
     Found on a hard cold breast the dew and warmth
     of life.

     The steep, bleak hills, the melancholy shore,
     The long, dead level of the marsh between,
     A coloring of unreal beauty wore
     Through the soft golden mist of young love seen.
     For o'er those hills and from that dreary plain,
     Nightly she welcomed home her hunter chief again.

     No warmth of heart, no passionate burst of feeling,
     Repaid her welcoming smile and parting kiss,
     No fond and playful dalliance half concealing,
     Under the guise of mirth, its tenderness;

     But, in their stead, the warrior's settled pride,
     And vanity's pleased smile with homage satisfied.

     Enough for Weetamoo, that she alone
     Sat on his mat and slumbered at his side;
     That he whose fame to her young ear had flown
     Now looked upon her proudly as his bride;
     That he whose name the Mohawk trembling heard
     Vouchsafed to her at times a kindly look or word.

     For she had learned the maxims of her race,
     Which teach the woman to become a slave,
     And feel herself the pardonless disgrace
     Of love's fond weakness in the wise and brave,--
     The scandal and the shame which they incur,
     Who give to woman all which man requires of her.

     So passed the winter moons. The sun at last
     Broke link by link the frost chain of the rills,
     And the warm breathings of the southwest passed
     Over the hoar rime of the Saugus hills;
     The gray and desolate marsh grew green once more,
     And the birch-tree's tremulous shade fell round the
     Sachem's door.

     Then from far Pennacook swift runners came,
     With gift and greeting for the Saugus chief;
     Beseeching him in the great Sachem's name,
     That, with the coming of the flower and leaf,
     The song of birds, the warm breeze and the rain,
     Young Weetamoo might greet her lonely sire again.

     And Winnepurkit called his chiefs together,
     And a grave council in his wigwam met,
     Solemn and brief in words, considering whether
     The rigid rules of forest etiquette
     Permitted Weetamoo once more to look
     Upon her father's face and green-banked
     Pennacook.

     With interludes of pipe-smoke and strong water,
     The forest sages pondered, and at length,
     Concluded in a body to escort her
     Up to her father's home of pride and strength,
     Impressing thus on Pennacook a sense
     Of Winnepurkit's power and regal consequence.

     So through old woods which Aukeetamit's(5) hand,
     A soft and many-shaded greenness lent,
     Over high breezy hills, and meadow land
     Yellow with flowers, the wild procession went,
     Till, rolling down its wooded banks between,
     A broad, clear, mountain stream, the Merrimac
     was seen.

     The hunter leaning on his bow undrawn,
     The fisher lounging on the pebbled shores,
     Squaws in the clearing dropping the seed-corn,
     Young children peering through the wigwam doors,
     Saw with delight, surrounded by her train
     Of painted Saugus braves, their Weetamoo again.



VI. AT PENNACOOK.

     The hills are dearest which our childish feet
     Have climbed the earliest; and the streams most sweet
     Are ever those at which our young lips drank,
     Stooped to their waters o'er the grassy bank.

     Midst the cold dreary sea-watch, Home's hearth-light
     Shines round the helmsman plunging through the night;
     And still, with inward eye, the traveller sees
     In close, dark, stranger streets his native trees.

     The home-sick dreamer's brow is nightly fanned
     By breezes whispering of his native land,
     And on the stranger's dim and dying eye
     The soft, sweet pictures of his childhood lie.

     Joy then for Weetamoo, to sit once more
     A child upon her father's wigwam floor!
     Once more with her old fondness to beguile
     From his cold eye the strange light of a smile.

     The long, bright days of summer swiftly passed,
     The dry leaves whirled in autumn's rising blast,
     And evening cloud and whitening sunrise rime
     Told of the coming of the winter-time.

     But vainly looked, the while, young Weetamoo,
     Down the dark river for her chief's canoe;
     No dusky messenger from Saugus brought
     The grateful tidings which the young wife sought.

     At length a runner from her father sent,
     To Winnepurkit's sea-cooled wigwam went
     "Eagle of Saugus,--in the woods the dove
     Mourns for the shelter of thy wings of love."

     But the dark chief of Saugus turned aside
     In the grim anger of hard-hearted pride;
     "I bore her as became a chieftain's daughter,
     Up to her home beside the gliding water.

     If now no more a mat for her is found
     Of all which line her father's wigwam round,
     Let Pennacook call out his warrior train,
     And send her back with wampum gifts again."

     The baffled runner turned upon his track,
     Bearing the words of Winnepurkit back.
     "Dog of the Marsh," cried Pennacook, "no more
     Shall child of mine sit on his wigwam floor.

     "Go, let him seek some meaner squaw to spread
     The stolen bear-skin of his beggar's bed;
     Son of a fish-hawk! let him dig his clams
     For some vile daughter of the Agawams,

     "Or coward Nipmucks! may his scalp dry black
     In Mohawk smoke, before I send her back."
     He shook his clenched hand towards the ocean wave,
     While hoarse assent his listening council gave.

     Alas poor bride! can thy grim sire impart
     His iron hardness to thy woman's heart?
     Or cold self-torturing pride like his atone
     For love denied and life's warm beauty flown?

     On Autumn's gray and mournful grave the snow
     Hung its white wreaths; with stifled voice and low
     The river crept, by one vast bridge o'er-crossed,
     Built by the boar-locked artisan of Frost.

     And many a moon in beauty newly born
     Pierced the red sunset with her silver horn,
     Or, from the east, across her azure field
     Rolled the wide brightness of her full-orbed shield.

     Yet Winnepurkit came not,--on the mat
     Of the scorned wife her dusky rival sat;
     And he, the while, in Western woods afar,
     Urged the long chase, or trod the path of war.

     Dry up thy tears, young daughter of a chief!
     Waste not on him the sacredness of grief;
     Be the fierce spirit of thy sire thine own,
     His lips of scorning, and his heart of stone.

     What heeds the warrior of a hundred fights,
     The storm-worn watcher through long hunting nights,
     Cold, crafty, proud of woman's weak distress,
     Her home-bound grief and pining loneliness?



VII. THE DEPARTURE.

     The wild March rains had fallen fast and long
     The snowy mountains of the North among,
     Making each vale a watercourse, each hill
     Bright with the cascade of some new-made rill.

     Gnawed by the sunbeams, softened by the rain,
     Heaved underneath by the swollen current's strain,
     The ice-bridge yielded, and the Merrimac
     Bore the huge ruin crashing down its track.

     On that strong turbid water, a small boat
     Guided by one weak hand was seen to float;
     Evil the fate which loosed it from the shore,
     Too early voyager with too frail an oar!

     Down the vexed centre of that rushing tide,
     The thick huge ice-blocks threatening either side,
     The foam-white rocks of Amoskeag in view,
     With arrowy swiftness sped that light canoe.

     The trapper, moistening his moose's meat
     On the wet bank by Uncanoonuc's feet,
     Saw the swift boat flash down the troubled stream;
     Slept he, or waked he? was it truth or dream?

     The straining eye bent fearfully before,
     The small hand clenching on the useless oar,
     The bead-wrought blanket trailing o'er the water--
     He knew them all--woe for the Sachem's daughter!

     Sick and aweary of her lonely life,
     Heedless of peril, the still faithful wife
     Had left her mother's grave, her father's door,
     To seek the wigwam of her chief once more.

     Down the white rapids like a sear leaf whirled,
     On the sharp rocks and piled-up ices hurled,
     Empty and broken, circled the canoe
     In the vexed pool below--but where was Weetamoo.



VIII. SONG OF INDIAN WOMEN.

     The Dark eye has left us,
     The Spring-bird has flown;
     On the pathway of spirits
     She wanders alone.
     The song of the wood-dove has died on our shore
     Mat wonck kunna-monee!(6) We hear it no more!

     O dark water Spirit
     We cast on thy wave
     These furs which may never
     Hang over her grave;
     Bear down to the lost one the robes that she wore
     Mat wonck kunna-monee! We see her no more!

     Of the strange land she walks in
     No Powah has told:
     It may burn with the sunshine,
     Or freeze with the cold.
     Let us give to our lost one the robes that she wore:
     Mat wonck kunna-monee! We see her no more!

     The path she is treading
     Shall soon be our own;
     Each gliding in shadow
     Unseen and alone!
     In vain shall we call on the souls gone before:
     Mat wonck kunna-monee! They hear us no more!

     O mighty Sowanna!(7)
     Thy gateways unfold,
     From thy wigwam of sunset
     Lift curtains of gold!

     Take home the poor Spirit whose journey is o'er
     Mat wonck kunna-monee! We see her no more!

     So sang the Children of the Leaves beside
     The broad, dark river's coldly flowing tide;
     Now low, now harsh, with sob-like pause and swell,
     On the high wind their voices rose and fell.
     Nature's wild music,--sounds of wind-swept trees,
     The scream of birds, the wailing of the breeze,
     The roar of waters, steady, deep, and strong,--
     Mingled and murmured in that farewell song.

     1844.



BARCLAY OF URY.

Among the earliest converts to the doctrines of Friends in Scotland was
Barclay of Ury, an old and distinguished soldier, who had fought under
Gustavus Adolphus, in Germany. As a Quaker, he became the object of
persecution and abuse at the hands of the magistrates and the populace.
None bore the indignities of the mob with greater patience and nobleness
of soul than this once proud gentleman and soldier. One of his friends,
on an occasion of uncommon rudeness, lamented that he should be treated
so harshly in his old age who had been so honored before. "I find more
satisfaction," said Barclay, "as well as honor, in being thus insulted
for my religious principles, than when, a few years ago, it was usual
for the magistrates, as I passed the city of Aberdeen, to meet me on the
road and conduct me to public entertainment in their hall, and then
escort me out again, to gain my favor."

     Up the streets of Aberdeen,
     By the kirk and college green,
     Rode the Laird of Ury;
     Close behind him, close beside,
     Foul of mouth and evil-eyed,
     Pressed the mob in fury.

     Flouted him the drunken churl,
     Jeered at him the serving-girl,
     Prompt to please her master;
     And the begging carlin, late
     Fed and clothed at Ury's gate,
     Cursed him as he passed her.

     Yet, with calm and stately mien,
     Up the streets of Aberdeen
     Came he slowly riding;
     And, to all he saw and heard,
     Answering not with bitter word,
     Turning not for chiding.

     Came a troop with broadswords swinging,
     Bits and bridles sharply ringing,
     Loose and free and froward;
     Quoth the foremost, "Ride him down!
     Push him! prick him! through the town
     Drive the Quaker coward!"

     But from out the thickening crowd
     Cried a sudden voice and loud
     "Barclay! Ho! a Barclay!"
     And the old man at his side
     Saw a comrade, battle tried,
     Scarred and sunburned darkly;

     Who with ready weapon bare,
     Fronting to the troopers there,
     Cried aloud: "God save us,
     Call ye coward him who stood
     Ankle deep in Lutzen's blood,
     With the brave Gustavus?"

     "Nay, I do not need thy sword,
     Comrade mine," said Ury's lord;
     "Put it up, I pray thee
     Passive to His holy will,
     Trust I in my Master still,
     Even though He slay me.

     "Pledges of thy love and faith,
     Proved on many a field of death,
     Not by me are needed."
     Marvelled much that henchman bold,
     That his laird, so stout of old,
     Now so meekly pleaded.

     "Woe's the day!" he sadly said,
     With a slowly shaking head,
     And a look of pity;
     "Ury's honest lord reviled,
     Mock of knave and sport of child,
     In his own good city.

     "Speak the word, and, master mine,
     As we charged on Tilly's(8) line,
     And his Walloon lancers,
     Smiting through their midst we'll teach
     Civil look and decent speech
     To these boyish prancers!"

     "Marvel not, mine ancient friend,
     Like beginning, like the end:"
     Quoth the Laird of Ury;
     "Is the sinful servant more
     Than his gracious Lord who bore
     Bonds and stripes in Jewry?

     "Give me joy that in His name
     I can bear, with patient frame,
     All these vain ones offer;
     While for them He suffereth long,
     Shall I answer wrong with wrong,
     Scoffing with the scoffer?

     "Happier I, with loss of all,
     Hunted, outlawed, held in thrall,
     With few friends to greet me,
     Than when reeve and squire were seen,
     Riding out from Aberdeen,
     With bared heads to meet me.

     "When each goodwife, o'er and o'er,
     Blessed me as I passed her door;
     And the snooded daughter,
     Through her casement glancing down,
     Smiled on him who bore renown
     From red fields of slaughter.

     "Hard to feel the stranger's scoff,
     Hard the old friend's falling off,
     Hard to learn forgiving;
     But the Lord His own rewards,
     And His love with theirs accords,
     Warm and fresh and living.

     "Through this dark and stormy night
     Faith beholds a feeble light
     Up the blackness streaking;
     Knowing God's own time is best,
     In a patient hope I rest
     For the full day-breaking!"

     So the Laird of Ury said,
     Turning slow his horse's head
     Towards the Tolbooth prison,
     Where, through iron gates, he heard
     Poor disciples of the Word
     Preach of Christ arisen!

     Not in vain, Confessor old,
     Unto us the tale is told
     Of thy day of trial;
     Every age on him who strays
     From its broad and beaten ways
     Pours its seven-fold vial.

     Happy he whose inward ear
     Angel comfortings can hear,
     O'er the rabble's laughter;
     And while Hatred's fagots burn,
     Glimpses through the smoke discern
     Of the good hereafter.

     Knowing this, that never yet
     Share of Truth was vainly set
     In the world's wide fallow;
     After hands shall sow the seed,
     After hands from hill and mead
     Reap the harvests yellow.

     Thus, with somewhat of the Seer,
     Must the moral pioneer
     From the Future borrow;
     Clothe the waste with dreams of grain,
     And, on midnight's sky of rain,
     Paint the golden morrow!



THE ANGELS OF BUENA VISTA.

A letter-writer from Mexico during the Mexican war, when detailing some
of the incidents at the terrible fight of Buena Vista, mentioned that
Mexican women were seen hovering near the field of death, for the
purpose of giving aid and succor to the wounded. One poor woman was
found surrounded by the maimed and suffering of both armies, ministering
to the wants of Americans as well as Mexicans, with impartial
tenderness.

     SPEAK and tell us, our Ximena, looking northward
     far away,
     O'er the camp of the invaders, o'er the Mexican
     array,
     Who is losing? who is winning? are they far or
     come they near?
     Look abroad, and tell us, sister, whither rolls the
     storm we hear.
     Down the hills of Angostura still the storm of
     battle rolls;
     Blood is flowing, men are dying; God have mercy
     on their souls!
     "Who is losing? who is winning?" Over hill
     and over plain,
     I see but smoke of cannon clouding through the
     mountain rain.

     Holy Mother! keep our brothers! Look, Ximena,
     look once more.
     "Still I see the fearful whirlwind rolling darkly
     as before,
     Bearing on, in strange confusion, friend and foeman,
     foot and horse,
     Like some wild and troubled torrent sweeping
     down its mountain course."

     Look forth once more, Ximena! "Ah! the smoke
     has rolled away;
     And I see the Northern rifles gleaming down the
     ranks of gray.
     Hark! that sudden blast of bugles! there the troop
     of Minon wheels;
     There the Northern horses thunder, with the cannon
     at their heels.

     "Jesu, pity I how it thickens I now retreat and
     now advance!
     Bight against the blazing cannon shivers Puebla's
     charging lance!
     Down they go, the brave young riders; horse and
     foot together fall;
     Like a ploughshare in the fallow, through them
     ploughs the Northern ball."

     Nearer came the storm and nearer, rolling fast and
     frightful on!
     Speak, Ximena, speak and tell us, who has lost,
     and who has won?
     Alas! alas! I know not; friend and foe together
     fall,
     O'er the dying rush the living: pray, my sisters,
     for them all!

     "Lo! the wind the smoke is lifting. Blessed
     Mother, save my brain!
     I can see the wounded crawling slowly out from
     heaps of slain.
     Now they stagger, blind and bleeding; now they
     fall, and strive to rise;
     Hasten, sisters, haste and save them, lest they die
     before our eyes!

     "O my hearts love! O my dear one! lay thy
     poor head on my knee;
     Dost thou know the lips that kiss thee? Canst
     thou hear me? canst thou see?
     O my husband, brave and gentle! O my Bernal,
     look once more
     On the blessed cross before thee! Mercy!
     all is o'er!"

     Dry thy tears, my poor Ximena; lay thy dear one
     down to rest;
     Let his hands be meekly folded, lay the cross upon
     his breast;
     Let his dirge be sung hereafter, and his funeral
     masses said;
     To-day, thou poor bereaved one, the living ask thy
     aid.

     Close beside her, faintly moaning, fair and young,
     a soldier lay,
     Torn with shot and pierced with lances, bleeding
     slow his life away;
     But, as tenderly before him the lorn Ximena knelt,
     She saw the Northern eagle shining on his pistol-
     belt.

     With a stifled cry of horror straight she turned
     away her head;
     With a sad and bitter feeling looked she back upon
     her dead;
     But she heard the youth's low moaning, and his
     struggling breath of pain,
     And she raised the cooling water to his parching
     lips again.

     Whispered low the dying soldier, pressed her hand
     and faintly smiled;
     Was that pitying face his mother's? did she watch
     beside her child?
     All his stranger words with meaning her woman's
     heart supplied;
     With her kiss upon his forehead, "Mother!"
     murmured he, and died!

     "A bitter curse upon them, poor boy, who led thee
     forth,
     From some gentle, sad-eyed mother, weeping, lonely,
     in the North!"
     Spake the mournful Mexic woman, as she laid him
     with her dead,
     And turned to soothe the living, and bind the
     wounds which bled.

     "Look forth once more, Ximena!" Like a cloud
     before the wind
     Rolls the battle down the mountains, leaving blood
     and death behind;
     Ah! they plead in vain for mercy; in the dust the
     wounded strive;
     "Hide your faces, holy angels! O thou Christ of
     God, forgive!"

     Sink, O Night, among thy mountains! let the cool,
     gray shadows fall;
     Dying brothers, fighting demons, drop thy curtain
     over all!
     Through the thickening winter twilight, wide apart
     the battle rolled,
     In its sheath the sabre rested, and the cannon's
     lips grew cold.

     But the noble Mexic women still their holy task
     pursued,
     Through that long, dark night of sorrow, worn and
     faint and lacking food.
     Over weak and suffering brothers, with a tender
     care they hung,
     And the dying foeman blessed them in a strange
     and Northern tongue.

     Not wholly lost, O Father! is this evil world of
     ours;
     Upward, through its blood and ashes, spring afresh
     the Eden flowers;
     From its smoking hell of battle, Love and Pity
     send their prayer,
     And still thy white-winged angels hover dimly in
     our air!

     1847.



THE LEGEND OF ST. MARK.

"This legend (to which my attention was called by my friend Charles
Sumner), is the subject of a celebrated picture by Tintoretto, of which
Mr. Rogers possesses the original sketch. The slave lies on the ground,
amid a crowd of spectators, who look on, animated by all the various
emotions of sympathy, rage, terror; a woman, in front, with a child in
her arms, has always been admired for the lifelike vivacity of her
attitude and expression. The executioner holds up the broken implements;
St. Mark, with a headlong movement, seems to rush down from heaven in
haste to save his worshipper. The dramatic grouping in this picture is
wonderful; the coloring, in its gorgeous depth and harmony, is, in Mr.
Rogers's sketch, finer than in the picture."--MRS. JAMESON'S Sacred and
Legendary Art, I. 154.

     THE day is closing dark and cold,
     With roaring blast and sleety showers;
     And through the dusk the lilacs wear
     The bloom of snow, instead of flowers.

     I turn me from the gloom without,
     To ponder o'er a tale of old;
     A legend of the age of Faith,
     By dreaming monk or abbess told.

     On Tintoretto's canvas lives
     That fancy of a loving heart,
     In graceful lines and shapes of power,
     And hues immortal as his art.

     In Provence (so the story runs)
     There lived a lord, to whom, as slave,
     A peasant-boy of tender years
     The chance of trade or conquest gave.

     Forth-looking from the castle tower,
     Beyond the hills with almonds dark,
     The straining eye could scarce discern
     The chapel of the good St. Mark.

     And there, when bitter word or fare
     The service of the youth repaid,
     By stealth, before that holy shrine,
     For grace to bear his wrong, he prayed.

     The steed stamped at the castle gate,
     The boar-hunt sounded on the hill;
     Why stayed the Baron from the chase,
     With looks so stern, and words so ill?

     "Go, bind yon slave! and let him learn,
     By scath of fire and strain of cord,
     How ill they speed who give dead saints
     The homage due their living lord!"

     They bound him on the fearful rack,
     When, through the dungeon's vaulted dark,
     He saw the light of shining robes,
     And knew the face of good St. Mark.

     Then sank the iron rack apart,
     The cords released their cruel clasp,
     The pincers, with their teeth of fire,
     Fell broken from the torturer's grasp.

     And lo! before the Youth and Saint,
     Barred door and wall of stone gave way;
     And up from bondage and the night
     They passed to freedom and the day!

     O dreaming monk! thy tale is true;
     O painter! true thy pencil's art;
     in tones of hope and prophecy,
     Ye whisper to my listening heart!

     Unheard no burdened heart's appeal
     Moans up to God's inclining ear;
     Unheeded by his tender eye,
     Falls to the earth no sufferer's tear.

     For still the Lord alone is God
     The pomp and power of tyrant man
     Are scattered at his lightest breath,
     Like chaff before the winnower's fan.

     Not always shall the slave uplift
     His heavy hands to Heaven in vain.
     God's angel, like the good St. Mark,
     Comes shining down to break his chain!

     O weary ones! ye may not see
     Your helpers in their downward flight;
     Nor hear the sound of silver wings
     Slow beating through the hush of night!

     But not the less gray Dothan shone,
     With sunbright watchers bending low,
     That Fear's dim eye beheld alone
     The spear-heads of the Syrian foe.

     There are, who, like the Seer of old,
     Can see the helpers God has sent,
     And how life's rugged mountain-side
     Is white with many an angel tent!

     They hear the heralds whom our Lord
     Sends down his pathway to prepare;
     And light, from others hidden, shines
     On their high place of faith and prayer.

     Let such, for earth's despairing ones,
     Hopeless, yet longing to be free,
     Breathe once again the Prophet's prayer
     "Lord, ope their eyes, that they may see!"

     1849.



KATHLEEN.

This ballad was originally published in my prose work, Leaves from
Margaret Smith's Journal, as the song of a wandering Milesian
schoolmaster. In the seventeenth century, slavery in the New World was
by no means confined to the natives of Africa. Political offenders and
criminals were transported by the British government to the plantations
of Barbadoes and Virginia, where they were sold like cattle in the
market. Kidnapping of free and innocent white persons was practised to a
considerable extent in the seaports of the United Kingdom.

     O NORAH, lay your basket down,
     And rest your weary hand,
     And come and hear me sing a song
     Of our old Ireland.

     There was a lord of Galaway,
     A mighty lord was he;
     And he did wed a second wife,
     A maid of low degree.

     But he was old, and she was young,
     And so, in evil spite,
     She baked the black bread for his kin,
     And fed her own with white.

     She whipped the maids and starved the kern,
     And drove away the poor;
     "Ah, woe is me!" the old lord said,
     "I rue my bargain sore!"

     This lord he had a daughter fair,
     Beloved of old and young,
     And nightly round the shealing-fires
     Of her the gleeman sung.

     "As sweet and good is young Kathleen
     As Eve before her fall;"
     So sang the harper at the fair,
     So harped he in the hall.

     "Oh, come to me, my daughter dear!
     Come sit upon my knee,
     For looking in your face, Kathleen,
     Your mother's own I see!"

     He smoothed and smoothed her hair away,
     He kissed her forehead fair;
     "It is my darling Mary's brow,
     It is my darling's hair!"

     Oh, then spake up the angry dame,
     "Get up, get up," quoth she,
     "I'll sell ye over Ireland,
     I'll sell ye o'er the sea!"

     She clipped her glossy hair away,
     That none her rank might know;
     She took away her gown of silk,
     And gave her one of tow,

     And sent her down to Limerick town
     And to a seaman sold
     This daughter of an Irish lord
     For ten good pounds in gold.

     The lord he smote upon his breast,
     And tore his beard so gray;
     But he was old, and she was young,
     And so she had her way.

     Sure that same night the Banshee howled
     To fright the evil dame,
     And fairy folks, who loved Kathleen,
     With funeral torches came.

     She watched them glancing through the trees,
     And glimmering down the hill;
     They crept before the dead-vault door,
     And there they all stood still!

     "Get up, old man! the wake-lights shine!"
     "Ye murthering witch," quoth he,
     "So I'm rid of your tongue, I little care
     If they shine for you or me."

     "Oh, whoso brings my daughter back,
     My gold and land shall have!"
     Oh, then spake up his handsome page,
     "No gold nor land I crave!

     "But give to me your daughter dear,
     Give sweet Kathleen to me,
     Be she on sea or be she on land,
     I'll bring her back to thee."

     "My daughter is a lady born,
     And you of low degree,
     But she shall be your bride the day
     You bring her back to me."

     He sailed east, he sailed west,
     And far and long sailed he,
     Until he came to Boston town,
     Across the great salt sea.

     "Oh, have ye seen the young Kathleen,
     The flower of Ireland?
     Ye'll know her by her eyes so blue,
     And by her snow-white hand!"

     Out spake an ancient man, "I know
     The maiden whom ye mean;
     I bought her of a Limerick man,
     And she is called Kathleen.

     "No skill hath she in household work,
     Her hands are soft and white,
     Yet well by loving looks and ways
     She doth her cost requite."

     So up they walked through Boston town,
     And met a maiden fair,
     A little basket on her arm
     So snowy-white and bare.

     "Come hither, child, and say hast thou
     This young man ever seen?"
     They wept within each other's arms,
     The page and young Kathleen.

     "Oh give to me this darling child,
     And take my purse of gold."
     "Nay, not by me," her master said,
     "Shall sweet Kathleen be sold.

     "We loved her in the place of one
     The Lord hath early ta'en;
     But, since her heart's in Ireland,
     We give her back again!"

     Oh, for that same the saints in heaven
     For his poor soul shall pray,
     And Mary Mother wash with tears
     His heresies away.

     Sure now they dwell in Ireland;
     As you go up Claremore
     Ye'll see their castle looking down
     The pleasant Galway shore.

     And the old lord's wife is dead and gone,
     And a happy man is he,
     For he sits beside his own Kathleen,
     With her darling on his knee.

     1849.



THE WELL OF LOCH MAREE

Pennant, in his Voyage to the Hebrides, describes the holy well of Loch
Maree, the waters of which were supposed to effect a miraculous cure of
melancholy, trouble, and insanity.

     CALM on the breast of Loch Maree
     A little isle reposes;
     A shadow woven of the oak
     And willow o'er it closes.

     Within, a Druid's mound is seen,
     Set round with stony warders;
     A fountain, gushing through the turf,
     Flows o'er its grassy borders.

     And whoso bathes therein his brow,
     With care or madness burning,
     Feels once again his healthful thought
     And sense of peace returning.

     O restless heart and fevered brain,
     Unquiet and unstable,
     That holy well of Loch Maree
     Is more than idle fable!

     Life's changes vex, its discords stun,
     Its glaring sunshine blindeth,
     And blest is he who on his way
     That fount of healing findeth!

     The shadows of a humbled will
     And contrite heart are o'er it;
     Go read its legend, "TRUST IN GOD,"
     On Faith's white stones before it.

     1850.



THE CHAPEL OF THE HERMITS.

The incident upon which this poem is based is related in a note to
Bernardin Henri Saint Pierre's Etudes de la Nature. "We arrived at the
habitation of the Hermits a little before they sat down to their table,
and while they were still at church. J. J. Rousseau proposed to me to
offer up our devotions. The hermits were reciting the Litanies of
Providence, which are remarkably beautiful. After we had addressed our
prayers to God, and the hermits were proceeding to the refectory,
Rousseau said to me, with his heart overflowing, 'At this moment I
experience what is said in the gospel: Where two or three are gathered
together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. There is here a
feeling of peace and happiness which penetrates the soul.' I said, 'If
Finelon had lived, you would have been a Catholic.' He exclaimed, with
tears in his eyes, 'Oh, if Finelon were alive, I would struggle to get
into his service, even as a lackey!'" In my sketch of Saint Pierre, it
will be seen that I have somewhat antedated the period of his old age.
At that time he was not probably more than fifty. In describing him, I
have by no means exaggerated his own history of his mental condition at
the period of the story. In the fragmentary Sequel to his Studies of
Nature, he thus speaks of himself: "The ingratitude of those of whom I
had deserved kindness, unexpected family misfortunes, the total loss of
my small patrimony through enterprises solely undertaken for the benefit
of my country, the debts under which I lay oppressed, the blasting of
all my hopes,--these combined calamities made dreadful inroads upon my
health and reason. . . . I found it impossible to continue in a room
where there was company, especially if the doors were shut. I could not
even cross an alley in a public garden, if several persons had got
together in it. When alone, my malady subsided. I felt myself likewise
at ease in places where I saw children only. At the sight of any one
walking up to the place where I was, I felt my whole frame agitated, and
retired. I often said to myself, 'My sole study has been to merit well
of mankind; why do I fear them?'"

He attributes his improved health of mind and body to the counsels of
his friend, J. J. Rousseau. "I renounced," says he, "my books. I threw
my eyes upon the works of nature, which spake to all my senses a
language which neither time nor nations have it in their power to alter.
Thenceforth my histories and my journals were the herbage of the fields
and meadows. My thoughts did not go forth painfully after them, as in
the case of human systems; but their thoughts, under a thousand engaging
forms, quietly sought me. In these I studied, without effort, the laws
of that Universal Wisdom which had surrounded me from the cradle, but on
which heretofore I had bestowed little attention."

Speaking of Rousseau, he says: "I derived inexpressible satisfaction
from his society. What I prized still more than his genius was his
probity. He was one of the few literary characters, tried in the furnace
of affliction, to whom you could, with perfect security, confide your
most secret thoughts. . . . Even when he deviated, and became the victim
of himself or of others, he could forget his own misery in devotion to
the welfare of mankind. He was uniformly the advocate of the miserable.
There might be inscribed on his tomb these affecting words from that
Book of which he carried always about him some select passages, during
the last years of his life: 'His sins, which are many, are forgiven, for
he loved much.'"

     "I DO believe, and yet, in grief,
     I pray for help to unbelief;
     For needful strength aside to lay
     The daily cumberings of my way.

     "I 'm sick at heart of craft and cant,
     Sick of the crazed enthusiast's rant,
     Profession's smooth hypocrisies,
     And creeds of iron, and lives of ease.

     "I ponder o'er the sacred word,
     I read the record of our Lord;
     And, weak and troubled, envy them
     Who touched His seamless garment's hem;

     "Who saw the tears of love He wept
     Above the grave where Lazarus slept;
     And heard, amidst the shadows dim
     Of Olivet, His evening hymn.

     "How blessed the swineherd's low estate,
     The beggar crouching at the gate,
     The leper loathly and abhorred,
     Whose eyes of flesh beheld the Lord!

     "O sacred soil His sandals pressed!
     Sweet fountains of His noonday rest!
     O light and air of Palestine,
     Impregnate with His life divine!

     "Oh, bear me thither! Let me look
     On Siloa's pool, and Kedron's brook;
     Kneel at Gethsemane, and by
     Gennesaret walk, before I die!

     "Methinks this cold and northern night
     Would melt before that Orient light;
     And, wet by Hermon's dew and rain,
     My childhood's faith revive again!"

     So spake my friend, one autumn day,
     Where the still river slid away
     Beneath us, and above the brown
     Red curtains of the woods shut down.

     Then said I,--for I could not brook
     The mute appealing of his look,--
     "I, too, am weak, and faith is small,
     And blindness happeneth unto all.

     "Yet, sometimes glimpses on my sight,
     Through present wrong, the eternal right;
     And, step by step, since time began,
     I see the steady gain of man;

     "That all of good the past hath had
     Remains to make our own time glad,
     Our common daily life divine,
     And every land a Palestine.

     "Thou weariest of thy present state;
     What gain to thee time's holiest date?
     The doubter now perchance had been
     As High Priest or as Pilate then!

     "What thought Chorazin's scribes? What faith
     In Him had Nain and Nazareth?
     Of the few followers whom He led
     One sold Him,--all forsook and fled.

     "O friend! we need nor rock nor sand,
     Nor storied stream of Morning-Land;
     The heavens are glassed in Merrimac,--
     What more could Jordan render back?

     "We lack but open eye and ear
     To find the Orient's marvels here;
     The still small voice in autumn's hush,
     Yon maple wood the burning bush.

     "For still the new transcends the old,
     In signs and tokens manifold;
     Slaves rise up men; the olive waves,
     With roots deep set in battle graves!

     "Through the harsh noises of our day
     A low, sweet prelude finds its way;
     Through clouds of doubt, and creeds of fear,
     A light is breaking, calm and clear.

     "That song of Love, now low and far,
     Erelong shall swell from star to star!
     That light, the breaking day, which tips
     The golden-spired Apocalypse!"

     Then, when my good friend shook his head,
     And, sighing, sadly smiled, I said:
     "Thou mind'st me of a story told
     In rare Bernardin's leaves of gold."

     And while the slanted sunbeams wove
     The shadows of the frost-stained grove,
     And, picturing all, the river ran
     O'er cloud and wood, I thus began:--

      . . . . . . . . . . . . .

     In Mount Valerien's chestnut wood
     The Chapel of the Hermits stood;
     And thither, at the close of day,
     Came two old pilgrims, worn and gray.

     One, whose impetuous youth defied
     The storms of Baikal's wintry side,
     And mused and dreamed where tropic day
     Flamed o'er his lost Virginia's bay.

     His simple tale of love and woe
     All hearts had melted, high or low;--
     A blissful pain, a sweet distress,
     Immortal in its tenderness.

     Yet, while above his charmed page
     Beat quick the young heart of his age,
     He walked amidst the crowd unknown,
     A sorrowing old man, strange and lone.

     A homeless, troubled age,--the gray
     Pale setting of a weary day;
     Too dull his ear for voice of praise,
     Too sadly worn his brow for bays.

     Pride, lust of power and glory, slept;
     Yet still his heart its young dream kept,
     And, wandering like the deluge-dove,
     Still sought the resting-place of love.

     And, mateless, childless, envied more
     The peasant's welcome from his door
     By smiling eyes at eventide,
     Than kingly gifts or lettered pride.

     Until, in place of wife and child,
     All-pitying Nature on him smiled,
     And gave to him the golden keys
     To all her inmost sanctities.

     Mild Druid of her wood-paths dim!
     She laid her great heart bare to him,
     Its loves and sweet accords;--he saw
     The beauty of her perfect law.

     The language of her signs lie knew,
     What notes her cloudy clarion blew;
     The rhythm of autumn's forest dyes,
     The hymn of sunset's painted skies.

     And thus he seemed to hear the song
     Which swept, of old, the stars along;
     And to his eyes the earth once more
     Its fresh and primal beauty wore.

     Who sought with him, from summer air,
     And field and wood, a balm for care;
     And bathed in light of sunset skies
     His tortured nerves and weary eyes?

     His fame on all the winds had flown;
     His words had shaken crypt and throne;
     Like fire, on camp and court and cell
     They dropped, and kindled as they fell.

     Beneath the pomps of state, below
     The mitred juggler's masque and show,
     A prophecy, a vague hope, ran
     His burning thought from man to man.

     For peace or rest too well he saw
     The fraud of priests, the wrong of law,
     And felt how hard, between the two,
     Their breath of pain the millions drew.

     A prophet-utterance, strong and wild,
     The weakness of an unweaned child,
     A sun-bright hope for human-kind,
     And self-despair, in him combined.

     He loathed the false, yet lived not true
     To half the glorious truths he knew;
     The doubt, the discord, and the sin,
     He mourned without, he felt within.

     Untrod by him the path he showed,
     Sweet pictures on his easel glowed
     Of simple faith, and loves of home,
     And virtue's golden days to come.

     But weakness, shame, and folly made
     The foil to all his pen portrayed;
     Still, where his dreamy splendors shone,
     The shadow of himself was thrown.

     Lord, what is man, whose thought, at times,
     Up to Thy sevenfold brightness climbs,
     While still his grosser instinct clings
     To earth, like other creeping things!

     So rich in words, in acts so mean;
     So high, so low; chance-swung between
     The foulness of the penal pit
     And Truth's clear sky, millennium-lit!

     Vain, pride of star-lent genius!--vain,
     Quick fancy and creative brain,
     Unblest by prayerful sacrifice,
     Absurdly great, or weakly wise!

     Midst yearnings for a truer life,
     Without were fears, within was strife;
     And still his wayward act denied
     The perfect good for which he sighed.

     The love he sent forth void returned;
     The fame that crowned him scorched and burned,
     Burning, yet cold and drear and lone,--
     A fire-mount in a frozen zone!

     Like that the gray-haired sea-king passed,(9)
     Seen southward from his sleety mast,
     About whose brows of changeless frost
     A wreath of flame the wild winds tossed.

     Far round the mournful beauty played
     Of lambent light and purple shade,
     Lost on the fixed and dumb despair
     Of frozen earth and sea and air!

     A man apart, unknown, unloved
     By those whose wrongs his soul had moved,
     He bore the ban of Church and State,
     The good man's fear, the bigot's hate!

     Forth from the city's noise and throng,
     Its pomp and shame, its sin and wrong,
     The twain that summer day had strayed
     To Mount Valerien's chestnut shade.

     To them the green fields and the wood
     Lent something of their quietude,
     And golden-tinted sunset seemed
     Prophetical of all they dreamed.

     The hermits from their simple cares
     The bell was calling home to prayers,
     And, listening to its sound, the twain
     Seemed lapped in childhood's trust again.

     Wide open stood the chapel door;
     A sweet old music, swelling o'er
     Low prayerful murmurs, issued thence,--
     The Litanies of Providence!

     Then Rousseau spake: "Where two or three
     In His name meet, He there will be!"
     And then, in silence, on their knees
     They sank beneath the chestnut-trees.

     As to the blind returning light,
     As daybreak to the Arctic night,
     Old faith revived; the doubts of years
     Dissolved in reverential tears.

     That gush of feeling overpast,
     "Ah me!" Bernardin sighed at last,
     I would thy bitterest foes could see
     Thy heart as it is seen of me!

     "No church of God hast thou denied;
     Thou hast but spurned in scorn aside
     A bare and hollow counterfeit,
     Profaning the pure name of it!

     "With dry dead moss and marish weeds
     His fire the western herdsman feeds,
     And greener from the ashen plain
     The sweet spring grasses rise again.

     "Nor thunder-peal nor mighty wind
     Disturb the solid sky behind;
     And through the cloud the red bolt rends
     The calm, still smile of Heaven descends.

     "Thus through the world, like bolt and blast,
     And scourging fire, thy words have passed.
     Clouds break,--the steadfast heavens remain;
     Weeds burn,--the ashes feed the grain!

     "But whoso strives with wrong may find
     Its touch pollute, its darkness blind;
     And learn, as latent fraud is shown
     In others' faith, to doubt his own.

     "With dream and falsehood, simple trust
     And pious hope we tread in dust;
     Lost the calm faith in goodness,--lost
     The baptism of the Pentecost!

     "Alas!--the blows for error meant
     Too oft on truth itself are spent,
     As through the false and vile and base
     Looks forth her sad, rebuking face.

     "Not ours the Theban's charmed life;
     We come not scathless from the strife!
     The Python's coil about us clings,
     The trampled Hydra bites and stings!

     "Meanwhile, the sport of seeming chance,
     The plastic shapes of circumstance,
     What might have been we fondly guess,
     If earlier born, or tempted less.

     "And thou, in these wild, troubled days,
     Misjudged alike in blame and praise,
     Unsought and undeserved the same
     The skeptic's praise, the bigot's blame;--

     "I cannot doubt, if thou hadst been
     Among the highly favored men
     Who walked on earth with Fenelon,
     He would have owned thee as his son;

     "And, bright with wings of cherubim
     Visibly waving over him,
     Seen through his life, the Church had seemed
     All that its old confessors dreamed."

     "I would have been," Jean Jaques replied,
     "The humblest servant at his side,
     Obscure, unknown, content to see
     How beautiful man's life may be!

     "Oh, more than thrice-blest relic, more
     Than solemn rite or sacred lore,
     The holy life of one who trod
     The foot-marks of the Christ of God!

     "Amidst a blinded world he saw
     The oneness of the Dual law;
     That Heaven's sweet peace on Earth began,
     And God was loved through love of man.

     "He lived the Truth which reconciled
     The strong man Reason, Faith the child;
     In him belief and act were one,
     The homilies of duty done!"

     So speaking, through the twilight gray
     The two old pilgrims went their way.
     What seeds of life that day were sown,
     The heavenly watchers knew alone.

     Time passed, and Autumn came to fold
     Green Summer in her brown and gold;
     Time passed, and Winter's tears of snow
     Dropped on the grave-mound of Rousseau.

     "The tree remaineth where it fell,
     The pained on earth is pained in hell!"
     So priestcraft from its altars cursed
     The mournful doubts its falsehood nursed.

     Ah! well of old the Psalmist prayed,
     "Thy hand, not man's, on me be laid!"
     Earth frowns below, Heaven weeps above,
     And man is hate, but God is love!

     No Hermits now the wanderer sees,
     Nor chapel with its chestnut-trees;
     A morning dream, a tale that's told,
     The wave of change o'er all has rolled.

     Yet lives the lesson of that day;
     And from its twilight cool and gray
     Comes up a low, sad whisper, "Make
     The truth thine own, for truth's own sake.

     "Why wait to see in thy brief span
     Its perfect flower and fruit in man?
     No saintly touch can save; no balm
     Of healing hath the martyr's palm.

     "Midst soulless forms, and false pretence
     Of spiritual pride and pampered sense,
     A voice saith, 'What is that to thee?
     Be true thyself, and follow Me!

     "In days when throne and altar heard
     The wanton's wish, the bigot's word,
     And pomp of state and ritual show
     Scarce hid the loathsome death below,--

     "Midst fawning priests and courtiers foul,
     The losel swarm of crown and cowl,
     White-robed walked Francois Fenelon,
     Stainless as Uriel in the sun!

     "Yet in his time the stake blazed red,
     The poor were eaten up like bread
     Men knew him not; his garment's hem
     No healing virtue had for them.

     "Alas! no present saint we find;
     The white cymar gleams far behind,
     Revealed in outline vague, sublime,
     Through telescopic mists of time!

     "Trust not in man with passing breath,
     But in the Lord, old Scripture saith;
     The truth which saves thou mayst not blend
     With false professor, faithless friend.

     "Search thine own heart. What paineth thee
     In others in thyself may be;
     All dust is frail, all flesh is weak;
     Be thou the true man thou dost seek!

     "Where now with pain thou treadest, trod
     The whitest of the saints of God!
     To show thee where their feet were set,
     the light which led them shineth yet.

     "The footprints of the life divine,
     Which marked their path, remain in thine;
     And that great Life, transfused in theirs,
     Awaits thy faith, thy love, thy prayers!"

     A lesson which I well may heed,
     A word of fitness to my need;
     So from that twilight cool and gray
     Still saith a voice, or seems to say.

     We rose, and slowly homeward turned,
     While down the west the sunset burned;
     And, in its light, hill, wood, and tide,
     And human forms seemed glorified.

     The village homes transfigured stood,
     And purple bluffs, whose belting wood
     Across the waters leaned to hold
     The yellow leaves like lamps of hold.

     Then spake my friend: "Thy words are true;
     Forever old, forever new,
     These home-seen splendors are the same
     Which over Eden's sunsets came.

     "To these bowed heavens let wood and hill
     Lift voiceless praise and anthem still;
     Fall, warm with blessing, over them,
     Light of the New Jerusalem!

     "Flow on, sweet river, like the stream
     Of John's Apocalyptic dream
     This mapled ridge shall Horeb be,
     Yon green-banked lake our Galilee!

     "Henceforth my heart shall sigh no more
     For olden time and holier shore;
     God's love and blessing, then and there,
     Are now and here and everywhere."

     1851.



TAULER.

     TAULER, the preacher, walked, one autumn day,
     Without the walls of Strasburg, by the Rhine,
     Pondering the solemn Miracle of Life;
     As one who, wandering in a starless night,
     Feels momently the jar of unseen waves,
     And hears the thunder of an unknown sea,
     Breaking along an unimagined shore.

     And as he walked he prayed. Even the same
     Old prayer with which, for half a score of years,
     Morning, and noon, and evening, lip and heart
     Had groaned: "Have pity upon me, Lord!
     Thou seest, while teaching others, I am blind.
     Send me a man who can direct my steps!"

     Then, as he mused, he heard along his path
     A sound as of an old man's staff among
     The dry, dead linden-leaves; and, looking up,
     He saw a stranger, weak, and poor, and old.

     "Peace be unto thee, father!" Tauler said,
     "God give thee a good day!" The old man raised
     Slowly his calm blue eyes. "I thank thee, son;
     But all my days are good, and none are ill."

     Wondering thereat, the preacher spake again,
     "God give thee happy life." The old man smiled,
     "I never am unhappy."

                               Tauler laid
     His hand upon the stranger's coarse gray sleeve
     "Tell me, O father, what thy strange words mean.
     Surely man's days are evil, and his life
     Sad as the grave it leads to."  "Nay, my son,
     Our times are in God's hands, and all our days
     Are as our needs; for shadow as for sun,
     For cold as heat, for want as wealth, alike
     Our thanks are due, since that is best which is;
     And that which is not, sharing not His life,
     Is evil only as devoid of good.
     And for the happiness of which I spake,
     I find it in submission to his will,
     And calm trust in the holy Trinity
     Of Knowledge, Goodness, and Almighty Power."

     Silently wondering, for a little space,
     Stood the great preacher; then he spake as one
     Who, suddenly grappling with a haunting thought
     Which long has followed, whispering through the dark
     Strange terrors, drags it, shrieking, into light
     "What if God's will consign thee hence to Hell?"

     "Then," said the stranger, cheerily, "be it so.
     What Hell may be I know not; this I know,--
     I cannot lose the presence of the Lord.
     One arm, Humility, takes hold upon
     His dear Humanity; the other, Love,
     Clasps his Divinity. So where I go
     He goes; and better fire-walled Hell with Him
     Than golden-gated Paradise without."

     Tears sprang in Tauler's eyes. A sudden light,
     Like the first ray which fell on chaos, clove
     Apart the shadow wherein he had walked
     Darkly at noon. And, as the strange old man
     Went his slow way, until his silver hair
     Set like the white moon where the hills of vine
     Slope to the Rhine, he bowed his head and said
     "My prayer is answered. God hath sent the man
     Long sought, to teach me, by his simple trust,
     Wisdom the weary schoolmen never knew."

     So, entering with a changed and cheerful step
     The city gates, he saw, far down the street,
     A mighty shadow break the light of noon,
     Which tracing backward till its airy lines
     Hardened to stony plinths, he raised his eyes
     O'er broad facade and lofty pediment,
     O'er architrave and frieze and sainted niche,
     Up the stone lace-work chiselled by the wise
     Erwin of Steinbach, dizzily up to where
     In the noon-brightness the great Minster's tower,
     Jewelled with sunbeams on its mural crown,
     Rose like a visible prayer. "Behold!" he said,
     "The stranger's faith made plain before mine eyes.
     As yonder tower outstretches to the earth
     The dark triangle of its shade alone
     When the clear day is shining on its top,
     So, darkness in the pathway of Man's life
     Is but the shadow of God's providence,
     By the great Sun of Wisdom cast thereon;
     And what is dark below is light in Heaven."

     1853.



THE HERMIT OF THE THEBAID.

     O STRONG, upwelling prayers of faith,
     From inmost founts of life ye start,--
     The spirit's pulse, the vital breath
     Of soul and heart!

     From pastoral toil, from traffic's din,
     Alone, in crowds, at home, abroad,
     Unheard of man, ye enter in
     The ear of God.

     Ye brook no forced and measured tasks,
     Nor weary rote, nor formal chains;
     The simple heart, that freely asks
     In love, obtains.

     For man the living temple is
     The mercy-seat and cherubim,
     And all the holy mysteries,
     He bears with him.

     And most avails the prayer of love,
     Which, wordless, shapes itself in needs,
     And wearies Heaven for naught above
     Our common needs.

     Which brings to God's all-perfect will
     That trust of His undoubting child
     Whereby all seeming good and ill
     Are reconciled.

     And, seeking not for special signs
     Of favor, is content to fall
     Within the providence which shines
     And rains on all.

     Alone, the Thebaid hermit leaned
     At noontime o'er the sacred word.
     Was it an angel or a fiend
     Whose voice be heard?

     It broke the desert's hush of awe,
     A human utterance, sweet and mild;
     And, looking up, the hermit saw
     A little child.

     A child, with wonder-widened eyes,
     O'erawed and troubled by the sight
     Of hot, red sands, and brazen skies,
     And anchorite.

     "'What dost thou here, poor man? No shade
     Of cool, green palms, nor grass, nor well,
     Nor corn, nor vines." The hermit said
     "With God I dwell.

     "Alone with Him in this great calm,
     I live not by the outward sense;
     My Nile his love, my sheltering palm
     His providence."

     The child gazed round him. "Does God live
     Here only?--where the desert's rim
     Is green with corn, at morn and eve,
     We pray to Him.

     "My brother tills beside the Nile
     His little field; beneath the leaves
     My sisters sit and spin, the while
     My mother weaves.

     "And when the millet's ripe heads fall,
     And all the bean-field hangs in pod,
     My mother smiles, and, says that all
     Are gifts from God."

     Adown the hermit's wasted cheeks
     Glistened the flow of human tears;
     "Dear Lord!" he said, "Thy angel speaks,
     Thy servant hears."

     Within his arms the child he took,
     And thought of home and life with men;
     And all his pilgrim feet forsook
     Returned again.

     The palmy shadows cool and long,
     The eyes that smiled through lavish locks,
     Home's cradle-hymn and harvest-song,
     And bleat of flocks.

     "O child!" he said, "thou teachest me
     There is no place where God is not;
     That love will make, where'er it be,
     A holy spot."

     He rose from off the desert sand,
     And, leaning on his staff of thorn,
     Went with the young child hand in hand,
     Like night with morn.

     They crossed the desert's burning line,
     And heard the palm-tree's rustling fan,
     The Nile-bird's cry, the low of kine,
     And voice of man.

     Unquestioning, his childish guide
     He followed, as the small hand led
     To where a woman, gentle-eyed,
     Her distaff fed.

     She rose, she clasped her truant boy,
     She thanked the stranger with her eyes;
     The hermit gazed in doubt and joy
     And dumb surprise.

     And to!--with sudden warmth and light
     A tender memory thrilled his frame;
     New-born, the world-lost anchorite
     A man became.

     "O sister of El Zara's race,
     Behold me!--had we not one mother?"
     She gazed into the stranger's face
     "Thou art my brother!"

     "And when to share our evening meal,
     She calls the stranger at the door,
     She says God fills the hands that deal
     Food to the poor."

     "O kin of blood! Thy life of use
     And patient trust is more than mine;
     And wiser than the gray recluse
     This child of thine.

     "For, taught of him whom God hath sent,
     That toil is praise, and love is prayer,
     I come, life's cares and pains content
     With thee to share."

     Even as his foot the threshold crossed,
     The hermit's better life began;
     Its holiest saint the Thebaid lost,
     And found a man!

     1854.



MAUD MULLER.

The recollection of some descendants of a Hessian deserter in the
Revolutionary war bearing the name of Muller doubtless suggested the
somewhat infelicitous title of a New England idyl. The poem had no real
foundation in fact, though a hint of it may have been found in recalling
an incident, trivial in itself, of a journey on the picturesque Maine
seaboard with my sister some years before it was written. We had stopped
to rest our tired horse under the shade of an apple-tree, and refresh
him with water from a little brook which rippled through the stone wall
across the road. A very beautiful young girl in scantest summer attire
was at work in the hay-field, and as we talked with her we noticed that
she strove to hide her bare feet by raking hay over them, blushing as
she did so, through the tan of her cheek and neck.

     MAUD MULLER on a summer's day,
     Raked the meadow sweet with hay.

     Beneath her torn hat glowed the wealth
     Of simple beauty and rustic-health.

     Singing, she wrought, and her merry glee
     The mock-bird echoed from his tree.

     But when she glanced to the far-off town,
     White from its hill-slope looking down,

     The sweet song died, and a vague unrest
     And a nameless longing filled her breast,--

     A wish, that she hardly dared to own,
     For something better than she had known.

     The Judge rode slowly down the lane,
     Smoothing his horse's chestnut mane.

     He drew his bridle in the shade
     Of the apple-trees, to greet the maid,

     And asked a draught from the spring that flowed
     Through the meadow across the road.

     She stooped where the cool spring bubbled up,
     And filled for him her small tin cup,

     And blushed as she gave it, looking down
     On her feet so bare, and her tattered gown.

     "Thanks!" said the Judge; "a sweeter draught
     From a fairer hand was never quaffed."

     He spoke of the grass and flowers and trees,
     Of the singing birds and the humming bees;

     Then talked of the haying, and wondered whether
     The cloud in the west would bring foul weather.

     And Maud forgot her brier-torn gown,
     And her graceful ankles bare and brown;

     And listened, while a pleased surprise
     Looked from her long-lashed hazel eyes.

     At last, like one who for delay
     Seeks a vain excuse, he rode away.

     Maud Muller looked and sighed: "Ah me!
     That I the Judge's bride might be!

     "He would dress me up in silks so fine,
     And praise and toast me at his wine.

     "My father should wear a broadcloth coat;
     My brother should sail a painted boat.

     "I'd dress my mother so grand and gay,
     And the baby should have a new toy each day.

     "And I 'd feed the hungry and clothe the poor,
     And all should bless me who left our door."

     The Judge looked back as he climbed the hill,
     And saw Maud Muller standing still.

     A form more fair, a face more sweet,
     Ne'er hath it been my lot to meet.

     "And her modest answer and graceful air
     Show her wise and good as she is fair.

     "Would she were mine, and I to-day,
     Like her, a harvester of hay;

     "No doubtful balance of rights and wrongs,
     Nor weary lawyers with endless tongues,

     "But low of cattle and song of birds,
     And health and quiet and loving words."

     But he thought of his sisters, proud and cold,
     And his mother, vain of her rank and gold.

     So, closing his heart, the Judge rode on,
     And Maud was left in the field alone.

     But the lawyers smiled that afternoon,
     When he hummed in court an old love-tune;

     And the young girl mused beside the well
     Till the rain on the unraked clover fell.

     He wedded a wife of richest dower,
     Who lived for fashion, as he for power.

     Yet oft, in his marble hearth's bright glow,
     He watched a picture come and go;

     And sweet Maud Muller's hazel eyes
     Looked out in their innocent surprise.

     Oft, when the wine in his glass was red,
     He longed for the wayside well instead;

     And closed his eyes on his garnished rooms
     To dream of meadows and clover-blooms.

     And the proud man sighed, with a secret pain,
     "Ah, that I were free again!

     "Free as when I rode that day,
     Where the barefoot maiden raked her hay."

     She wedded a man unlearned and poor,
     And many children played round her door.

     But care and sorrow, and childbirth pain,
     Left their traces on heart and brain.

     And oft, when the summer sun shone hot
     On the new-mown hay in the meadow lot,

     And she heard the little spring brook fall
     Over the roadside, through the wall,

     In the shade of the apple-tree again
     She saw a rider draw his rein.

     And, gazing down with timid grace,
     She felt his pleased eyes read her face.

     Sometimes her narrow kitchen walls
     Stretched away into stately halls;

     The weary wheel to a spinnet turned,
     The tallow candle an astral burned,

     And for him who sat by the chimney lug,
     Dozing and grumbling o'er pipe and mug,

     A manly form at her side she saw,
     And joy was duty and love was law.

     Then she took up her burden of life again,
     Saying only, "It might have been."

     Alas for maiden, alas for Judge,
     For rich repiner and household drudge!

     God pity them both! and pity us all,
     Who vainly the dreams of youth recall.

     For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
     The saddest are these: "It might have been!"

     Ah, well! for us all some sweet hope lies
     Deeply buried from human eyes;

     And, in the hereafter, angels may
     Roll the stone from its grave away!

     1854.



MARY GARVIN.

     FROM the heart of Waumbek Methna, from the
     lake that never fails,
     Falls the Saco in the green lap of Conway's
     intervales;
     There, in wild and virgin freshness, its waters
     foam and flow,
     As when Darby Field first saw them, two hundred
     years ago.

     But, vexed in all its seaward course with bridges,
     dams, and mills,
     How changed is Saco's stream, how lost its freedom
     of the hills,
     Since travelled Jocelyn, factor Vines, and stately
     Champernoon
     Heard on its banks the gray wolf's howl, the trumpet
     of the loon!

     With smoking axle hot with speed, with steeds of
     fire and steam,
     Wide-waked To-day leaves Yesterday behind him
     like a dream.
     Still, from the hurrying train of Life, fly backward
     far and fast
     The milestones of the fathers, the landmarks of
     the past.

     But human hearts remain unchanged: the sorrow
     and the sin,
     The loves and hopes and fears of old, are to our
     own akin;

     And if, in tales our fathers told, the songs our
     mothers sung,
     Tradition wears a snowy beard, Romance is always
     young.

     O sharp-lined man of traffic, on Saco's banks today!
     O mill-girl watching late and long the shuttle's
     restless play!
     Let, for the once, a listening ear the working hand
     beguile,
     And lend my old Provincial tale, as suits, a tear or
     smile!

              . . . . . . . . . . . . .

     The evening gun had sounded from gray Fort
     Mary's walls;
     Through the forest, like a wild beast, roared and
     plunged the Saco's' falls.

     And westward on the sea-wind, that damp and
     gusty grew,
     Over cedars darkening inland the smokes of Spurwink
     blew.

     On the hearth of Farmer Garvin, blazed the crackling
     walnut log;
     Right and left sat dame and goodman, and between
     them lay the dog,

     Head on paws, and tail slow wagging, and beside
     him on her mat,
     Sitting drowsy in the firelight, winked and purred
     the mottled cat.

     "Twenty years!" said Goodman Garvin, speaking
     sadly, under breath,
     And his gray head slowly shaking, as one who
     speaks of death.

     The goodwife dropped her needles: "It is twenty
     years to-day,
     Since the Indians fell on Saco, and stole our child
     away."

     Then they sank into the silence, for each knew
     the other's thought,
     Of a great and common sorrow, and words were,
     needed not.

     "Who knocks?" cried Goodman Garvin. The
     door was open thrown;
     On two strangers, man and maiden, cloaked and
     furred, the fire-light shone.

     One with courteous gesture lifted the bear-skin
     from his head;
     "Lives here Elkanah Garvin?"  "I am he," the
     goodman said.

     "Sit ye down, and dry and warm ye, for the night
     is chill with rain."
     And the goodwife drew the settle, and stirred the
     fire amain.

     The maid unclasped her cloak-hood, the firelight
     glistened fair
     In her large, moist eyes, and over soft folds of
     dark brown hair.

     Dame Garvin looked upon her: "It is Mary's self
     I see!"
     "Dear heart!" she cried, "now tell me, has my
     child come back to me?"

     "My name indeed is Mary," said the stranger sobbing
     wild;
     "Will you be to me a mother? I am Mary Garvin's child!"

     "She sleeps by wooded Simcoe, but on her dying
     day
     She bade my father take me to her kinsfolk far
     away.

     "And when the priest besought her to do me no
     such wrong,
     She said, 'May God forgive me! I have closed
     my heart too long.'

     "'When I hid me from my father, and shut out
     my mother's call,
     I sinned against those dear ones, and the Father
     of us all.

     "'Christ's love rebukes no home-love, breaks no
     tie of kin apart;
     Better heresy in doctrine, than heresy of heart.

     "'Tell me not the Church must censure: she who
     wept the Cross beside
     Never made her own flesh strangers, nor the claims
     of blood denied;

     "'And if she who wronged her parents, with her
     child atones to them,
     Earthly daughter, Heavenly Mother! thou at least
     wilt not condemn!'

     "So, upon her death-bed lying, my blessed mother
     spake;
     As we come to do her bidding, So receive us for her
     sake."

     "God be praised!" said Goodwife Garvin, "He taketh,
     and He gives;
     He woundeth, but He healeth; in her child our
     daughter lives!"

     "Amen!" the old man answered, as he brushed a
     tear away,
     And, kneeling by his hearthstone, said, with reverence,
     "Let us pray."

     All its Oriental symbols, and its Hebrew pararphrase,
     Warm with earnest life and feeling, rose his prayer
     of love and praise.

     But he started at beholding, as he rose from off
     his knee,
     The stranger cross his forehead with the sign of
     Papistrie.

     "What is this?" cried Farmer Garvin. "Is an English
     Christian's home
     A chapel or a mass-house, that you make the sign
     of Rome?"

     Then the young girl knelt beside him, kissed his
     trembling hand, and cried:
     Oh, forbear to chide my father; in that faith my
     mother died!

     "On her wooden cross at Simcoe the dews and
     sunshine fall,
     As they fall on Spurwink's graveyard; and the
     dear God watches all!"

     The old man stroked the fair head that rested on
     his knee;
     "Your words, dear child," he answered, "are God's
     rebuke to me.

     "Creed and rite perchance may differ, yet our
     faith and hope be one.
     Let me be your father's father, let him be to me
     a son."

     When the horn, on Sabbath morning, through the
     still and frosty air,
     From Spurwink, Pool, and Black Point, called to
     sermon and to prayer,

     To the goodly house of worship, where, in order
     due and fit,
     As by public vote directed, classed and ranked the
     people sit;

     Mistress first and goodwife after, clerkly squire
     before the clown,
     "From the brave coat, lace-embroidered, to the gray
     frock, shading down;"

     From the pulpit read the preacher, "Goodman
     Garvin and his wife
     Fain would thank the Lord, whose kindness has
     followed them through life,

     "For the great and crowning mercy, that their
     daughter, from the wild,
     Where she rests (they hope in God's peace), has
     sent to them her child;

     "And the prayers of all God's people they ask,
     that they may prove
     Not unworthy, through their weakness, of such
     special proof of love."

     As the preacher prayed, uprising, the aged couple
     stood,
     And the fair Canadian also, in her modest maiden-
     hood.

     Thought the elders, grave and doubting, "She is
     Papist born and bred;"
     Thought the young men, "'T is an angel in Mary
     Garvin's stead!"



THE RANGER.

Originally published as Martha Mason; a Song of the Old
French War.

     ROBERT RAWLIN!--Frosts were falling
     When the ranger's horn was calling
     Through the woods to Canada.

     Gone the winter's sleet and snowing,
     Gone the spring-time's bud and blowing,
     Gone the summer's harvest mowing,
     And again the fields are gray.
     Yet away, he's away!
     Faint and fainter hope is growing
     In the hearts that mourn his stay.

     Where the lion, crouching high on
     Abraham's rock with teeth of iron,
     Glares o'er wood and wave away,
     Faintly thence, as pines far sighing,
     Or as thunder spent and dying,
     Come the challenge and replying,
     Come the sounds of flight and fray.
     Well-a-day! Hope and pray!
     Some are living, some are lying
     In their red graves far away.

     Straggling rangers, worn with dangers,
     Homeward faring, weary strangers
     Pass the farm-gate on their way;
     Tidings of the dead and living,
     Forest march and ambush, giving,
     Till the maidens leave their weaving,
     And the lads forget their play.
     "Still away, still away!"
     Sighs a sad one, sick with grieving,
     "Why does Robert still delay!"

     Nowhere fairer, sweeter, rarer,
     Does the golden-locked fruit bearer
     Through his painted woodlands stray,
     Than where hillside oaks and beeches
     Overlook the long, blue reaches,
     Silver coves and pebbled beaches,
     And green isles of Casco Bay;
     Nowhere day, for delay,
     With a tenderer look beseeches,
     "Let me with my charmed earth stay."

     On the grain-lands of the mainlands
     Stands the serried corn like train-bands,
     Plume and pennon rustling gay;
     Out at sea, the islands wooded,
     Silver birches, golden-hooded,
     Set with maples, crimson-blooded,
     White sea-foam and sand-hills gray,
     Stretch away, far away.
     Dim and dreamy, over-brooded
     By the hazy autumn day.

     Gayly chattering to the clattering
     Of the brown nuts downward pattering,
     Leap the squirrels, red and gray.
     On the grass-land, on the fallow,
     Drop the apples, red and yellow;
     Drop the russet pears and mellow,
     Drop the red leaves all the day.
     And away, swift away,
     Sun and cloud, o'er hill and hollow
     Chasing, weave their web of play.

     "Martha Mason, Martha Mason,
     Prithee tell us of the reason
     Why you mope at home to-day
     Surely smiling is not sinning;
     Leave, your quilling, leave your spinning;
     What is all your store of linen,
     If your heart is never gay?
     Come away, come away!
     Never yet did sad beginning
     Make the task of life a play."

     Overbending, till she's blending
     With the flaxen skein she's tending
     Pale brown tresses smoothed away
     From her face of patient sorrow,
     Sits she, seeking but to borrow,
     From the trembling hope of morrow,
     Solace for the weary day.
     "Go your way, laugh and play;
     Unto Him who heeds the sparrow
     And the lily, let me pray."

     "With our rally, rings the valley,--
     Join us!" cried the blue-eyed Nelly;
     "Join us!" cried the laughing May,
     "To the beach we all are going,
     And, to save the task of rowing,
     West by north the wind is blowing,
     Blowing briskly down the bay
     Come away, come away!
     Time and tide are swiftly flowing,
     Let us take them while we may!

     "Never tell us that you'll fail us,
     Where the purple beach-plum mellows
     On the bluffs so wild and gray.
     Hasten, for the oars are falling;
     Hark, our merry mates are calling;
     Time it is that we were all in,
     Singing tideward down the bay!"
     "Nay, nay, let me stay;
     Sore and sad for Robert Rawlin
     Is my heart," she said, "to-day."

     "Vain your calling for Rob Rawlin
     Some red squaw his moose-meat's broiling,
     Or some French lass, singing gay;
     Just forget as he's forgetting;
     What avails a life of fretting?
     If some stars must needs be setting,
     Others rise as good as they."
     "Cease, I pray; go your way!"
     Martha cries, her eyelids wetting;
     "Foul and false the words you say!"

     "Martha Mason, hear to reason!--
     Prithee, put a kinder face on!"
     "Cease to vex me," did she say;
     "Better at his side be lying,
     With the mournful pine-trees sighing,
     And the wild birds o'er us crying,
     Than to doubt like mine a prey;
     While away, far away,
     Turns my heart, forever trying
     Some new hope for each new day.

     "When the shadows veil the meadows,
     And the sunset's golden ladders
     Sink from twilight's walls of gray,--
     From the window of my dreaming,
     I can see his sickle gleaming,
     Cheery-voiced, can hear him teaming
     Down the locust-shaded way;
     But away, swift away,
     Fades the fond, delusive seeming,
     And I kneel again to pray.

     "When the growing dawn is showing,
     And the barn-yard cock is crowing,
     And the horned moon pales away
     From a dream of him awaking,
     Every sound my heart is making
     Seems a footstep of his taking;
     Then I hush the thought, and say,
     'Nay, nay, he's away!'
     Ah! my heart, my heart is breaking
     For the dear one far away."

     Look up, Martha! worn and swarthy,
     Glows a face of manhood worthy
     "Robert!"  "Martha!" all they say.
     O'er went wheel and reel together,
     Little cared the owner whither;
     Heart of lead is heart of feather,
     Noon of night is noon of day!
     Come away, come away!
     When such lovers meet each other,
     Why should prying idlers stay?

     Quench the timber's fallen embers,
     Quench the recd leaves in December's
     Hoary rime and chilly spray.

     But the hearth shall kindle clearer,
     Household welcomes sound sincerer,
     Heart to loving heart draw nearer,
     When the bridal bells shall say:
     "Hope and pray, trust alway;
     Life is sweeter, love is dearer,
     For the trial and delay!"

     1856.



THE GARRISON OF CAPE ANN.

     FROM the hills of home forth looking, far beneath
     the tent-like span
     Of the sky, I see the white gleam of the headland
     of Cape Ann.
     Well I know its coves and beaches to the ebb-tide
     glimmering down,
     And the white-walled hamlet children of its ancient
     fishing town.

     Long has passed the summer morning, and its
     memory waxes old,
     When along yon breezy headlands with a pleasant
     friend I strolled.
     Ah! the autumn sun is shining, and the ocean
     wind blows cool,
     And the golden-rod and aster bloom around thy
     grave, Rantoul!

     With the memory of that morning by the summer
     sea I blend
     A wild and wondrous story, by the younger Mather
     penned,
     In that quaint Magnalia Christi, with all strange
     and marvellous things,
     Heaped up huge and undigested, like the chaos
     Ovid sings.

     Dear to me these far, faint glimpses of the dual
     life of old,
     Inward, grand with awe and reverence; outward,
     mean and coarse and cold;
     Gleams of mystic beauty playing over dull and
     vulgar clay,
     Golden-threaded fancies weaving in a web of
     hodden gray.

     The great eventful Present hides the Past; but
     through the din
     Of its loud life hints and echoes from the life
     behind steal in;
     And the lore of homeland fireside, and the legendary
     rhyme,
     Make the task of duty lighter which the true man
     owes his time.

     So, with something of the feeling which the Covenanter
     knew,
     When with pious chisel wandering Scotland's
     moorland graveyards through,
     From the graves of old traditions I part the black-
     berry-vines,
     Wipe the moss from off the headstones, and retouch
     the faded lines.

     Where the sea-waves back and forward, hoarse
     with rolling pebbles, ran,
     The garrison-house stood watching on the gray
     rocks of Cape Ann;
     On its windy site uplifting gabled roof and palisade,
     And rough walls of unhewn timber with the moonlight
     overlaid.

     On his slow round walked the sentry, south and
     eastward looking forth
     O'er a rude and broken coast-line, white with
     breakers stretching north,--
     Wood and rock and gleaming sand-drift, jagged
     capes, with bush and tree,
     Leaning inland from the smiting of the wild and
     gusty sea.

     Before the deep-mouthed chimney, dimly lit by
     dying brands,
     Twenty soldiers sat and waited, with their muskets
     in their hands;
     On the rough-hewn oaken table the venison haunch
     was shared,
     And the pewter tankard circled slowly round from
     beard to beard.

     Long they sat and talked together,--talked of
     wizards Satan-sold;
     Of all ghostly sights and noises,--signs and wonders
     manifold;
     Of the spectre-ship of Salem, with the dead men
     in her shrouds,
     Sailing sheer above the water, in the loom of morning
     clouds;

     Of the marvellous valley hidden in the depths of
     Gloucester woods,
     Full of plants that love the summer,--blooms of
     warmer latitudes;
     Where the Arctic birch is braided by the tropic's
     flowery vines,
     And the white magnolia-blossoms star the twilight
     of the pines!

     But their voices sank yet lower, sank to husky
     tones of fear,
     As they spake of present tokens of the powers of
     evil near;
     Of a spectral host, defying stroke of steel and aim
     of gun;
     Never yet was ball to slay them in the mould of
     mortals run.

     Thrice, with plumes and flowing scalp-locks, from
     the midnight wood they came,--
     Thrice around the block-house marching, met, unharmed,
     its volleyed flame;
     Then, with mocking laugh and gesture, sunk in
     earth or lost in air,
     All the ghostly wonder vanished, and the moonlit
     sands lay bare.

     Midnight came; from out the forest moved a
     dusky mass that soon
     Grew to warriors, plumed and painted, grimly
     marching in the moon.
     "Ghosts or witches," said the captain, "thus I foil
     the Evil One!"
     And he rammed a silver button, from his doublet,
     down his gun.

     Once again the spectral horror moved the guarded
     wall about;
     Once again the levelled muskets through the palisades
     flashed out,
     With that deadly aim the squirrel on his tree-top
     might not shun,
     Nor the beach-bird seaward flying with his slant
     wing to the sun.

     Like the idle rain of summer sped the harmless
     shower of lead.
     With a laugh of fierce derision, once again the
     phantoms fled;
     Once again, without a shadow on the sands the
     moonlight lay,
     And the white smoke curling through it drifted
     slowly down the bay!

     "God preserve us!" said the captain; "never
     mortal foes were there;
     They have vanished with their leader, Prince and
     Power of the air!
     Lay aside your useless weapons; skill and prowess
     naught avail;
     They who do the Devil's service wear their master's
     coat of mail!"

     So the night grew near to cock-crow, when again
     a warning call
     Roused the score of weary soldiers watching round
     the dusky hall
     And they looked to flint and priming, and they
     longed for break of day;
     But the captain closed his Bible: "Let us cease
     from man, and pray!"

     To the men who went before us, all the unseen
     powers seemed near,
     And their steadfast strength of courage struck its
     roots in holy fear.
     Every hand forsook the musket, every head was
     bowed and bare,
     Every stout knee pressed the flag-stones, as the
     captain led in prayer.

     Ceased thereat the mystic marching of the spectres
     round the wall,
     But a sound abhorred, unearthly, smote the ears
     and hearts of all,--
     Howls of rage and shrieks of anguish! Never
     after mortal man
     Saw the ghostly leaguers marching round the
     block-house of Cape Ann.

     So to us who walk in summer through the cool and
     sea-blown town,
     From the childhood of its people comes the solemn
     legend down.
     Not in vain the ancient fiction, in whose moral
     lives the youth
     And the fitness and the freshness of an undecaying
     truth.

     Soon or late to all our dwellings come the spectres
     of the mind,
     Doubts and fears and dread forebodings, in the
     darkness undefined;
     Round us throng the grim projections of the heart
     and of the brain,
     And our pride of strength is weakness, and the
     cunning hand is vain.

     In the dark we cry like children; and no answer
     from on high
     Breaks the crystal spheres of silence, and no white
     wings downward fly;
     But the heavenly help we pray for comes to faith,
     and not to sight,
     And our prayers themselves drive backward all the
     spirits of the night!

     1857.



THE GIFT OF TRITEMIUS.

     TRITEMIUS of Herbipolis, one day,
     While kneeling at the altar's foot to pray,
     Alone with God, as was his pious choice,
     Heard from without a miserable voice,
     A sound which seemed of all sad things to tell,
     As of a lost soul crying out of hell.

     Thereat the Abbot paused; the chain whereby
     His thoughts went upward broken by that cry;
     And, looking from the casement, saw below
     A wretched woman, with gray hair a-flow,
     And withered hands held up to him, who cried
     For alms as one who might not be denied.

     She cried, "For the dear love of Him who gave
     His life for ours, my child from bondage save,--
     My beautiful, brave first-born, chained with slaves
     In the Moor's galley, where the sun-smit waves
     Lap the white walls of Tunis!"--"What I can
     I give," Tritemius said, "my prayers."--"O man
     Of God!" she cried, for grief had made her bold,
     "Mock me not thus; I ask not prayers, but gold.
     Words will not serve me, alms alone suffice;
     Even while I speak perchance my first-born dies."

     "Woman!" Tritemius answered, "from our door
     None go unfed, hence are we always poor;
     A single soldo is our only store.
     Thou hast our prayers;--what can we give thee
     more?"

     "Give me," she said, "the silver candlesticks
     On either side of the great crucifix.
     God well may spare them on His errands sped,
     Or He can give you golden ones instead."

     Then spake Tritemius, "Even as thy word,
     Woman, so be it! Our most gracious Lord,
     Who loveth mercy more than sacrifice,
     Pardon me if a human soul I prize
     Above the gifts upon his altar piled!
     Take what thou askest, and redeem thy child."

     But his hand trembled as the holy alms
     He placed within the beggar's eager palms;
     And as she vanished down the linden shade,
     He bowed his head and for forgiveness prayed.
     So the day passed, and when the twilight came
     He woke to find the chapel all aflame,
     And, dumb with grateful wonder, to behold
     Upon the altar candlesticks of gold!

     1857.



SKIPPER IRESON'S RIDE.

In the valuable and carefully prepared History of Marblehead, published
in 1879 by Samuel Roads, Jr., it is stated that the crew of Captain
Ireson, rather than himself, were responsible for the abandonment of the
disabled vessel. To screen themselves they charged their captain with
the crime. In view of this the writer of the ballad addressed the
following letter to the historian:--

OAK KNOLL, DANVERS, 5 mo. 18, 1880.
MY DEAR FRIEND: I heartily thank thee for a copy of thy History of
Marblehead. I have read it with great interest and think good use has
been made of the abundant material. No town in Essex County has a record
more honorable than Marblehead; no one has done more to develop the
industrial interests of our New England seaboard, and certainly none
have given such evidence of self-sacrificing patriotism. I am glad the
story of it has been at last told, and told so well. I have now no doubt
that thy version of Skipper Ireson's ride is the correct one. My verse
was founded solely on a fragment of rhyme which I heard from one of my
early schoolmates, a native of Marblehead. I supposed the story to which
it referred dated back at least a century. I knew nothing of the
participators, and the narrative of the ballad was pure fancy. I am glad
for the sake of truth and justice that the real facts are given in thy
book. I certainly would not knowingly do injustice to any one, dead or
living.

I am very truly thy friend,
JOHN G. WHITTIER.


     OF all the rides since, the birth of time,
     Told in story or sung in rhyme,--
     On Apuleius's Golden Ass,
     Or one-eyed Calendar's horse of brass;
     Witch astride of a human back,
     Islam's prophet on Al-Borak,--
     The strangest ride that ever was sped
     Was Ireson's, out from Marblehead!
     Old Floyd Ireson, for his hard heart,
     Tarred and feathered and carried in a cart
     By the women of Marblehead!
     Body of turkey, head of owl,
     Wings a-droop like a rained-on fowl,
     Feathered and ruffled in every part,
     Skipper Ireson stood in the cart.
     Scores of women, old and young,
     Strong of muscle, and glib of tongue,
     Pushed and pulled up the rocky lane,
     Shouting and singing the shrill refrain
     "Here's Flud Oirson, fur his horrd horrt,
     Torr'd an' futherr'd an' corr'd in a corrt
     By the women o' Morble'ead!"

     Wrinkled scolds with hands on hips,
     Girls in bloom of cheek and lips,
     Wild-eyed, free-limbed, such as chase
     Bacchus round some antique vase,
     Brief of skirt, with ankles bare,
     Loose of kerchief and loose of hair,
     With conch-shells blowing and fish-horns' twang,
     Over and over the Manads sang
     "Here's Flud Oirson, fur his horrd horrt,
     Torr'd an' futherr'd an dorr'd in a corrt
     By the women o' Morble'ead!"

     Small pity for him!--He sailed away
     From a leaking ship, in Chaleur Bay,--
     Sailed away from a sinking wreck,
     With his own town's-people on her deck!
     "Lay by! lay by!" they called to him.
     Back he answered, "Sink or swim!
     Brag of your catch of fish again!"
     And off he sailed through the fog and rain!
     Old Floyd Ireson, for his hard heart,
     Tarred and feathered and carried in a cart
     By the women of Marblehead!

     Fathoms deep in dark Chaleur
     That wreck shall lie forevermore.
     Mother and sister, wife and maid,
     Looked from the rocks of Marblehead
     Over the moaning and rainy sea,--
     Looked for the coming that might not be!
     What did the winds and the sea-birds say
     Of the cruel captain who sailed away?--
     Old Floyd Ireson, for his hard heart,
     Tarred and feathered and carried in a cart
     By the women of Marblehead!

     Through the street, on either side,
     Up flew windows, doors swung wide;
     Sharp-tongued spinsters, old wives gray,
     Treble lent the fish-horn's bray.
     Sea-worn grandsires, cripple-bound,
     Hulks of old sailors run aground,
     Shook head, and fist, and hat, and cane,
     And cracked with curses the hoarse refrain
     "Here's Flud Oirson, fur his horrd horrt,
     Torr'd an' futherr'd an' corr'd in a corrt
     By the women o''Morble'ead!"

     Sweetly along the Salem road
     Bloom of orchard and lilac showed.
     Little the wicked skipper knew
     Of the fields so green and the sky so blue.
     Riding there in his sorry trim,
     Like to Indian idol glum and grim,
     Scarcely he seemed the sound to hear
     Of voices shouting, far and near
     "Here's Flud Oirson, fur his horrd horrt,
     Torr'd an' futherr'd an' corr'd in a corrt
     By the women o' Morble'ead!"

     "Hear me, neighbors!" at last he cried,--
     "What to me is this noisy ride?
     What is the shame that clothes the skin
     To the nameless horror that lives within?
     Waking or sleeping, I see a wreck,
     And hear a cry from a reeling deck!
     Hate me and curse me,--I only dread
     The hand of God and the face of the dead!"
     Said old Floyd Ireson, for his hard heart,
     Tarred and feathered and carried in a cart
     By the women of Marblehead!

     Then the wife of the skipper lost at sea
     Said, "God has touched him! why should we?"
     Said an old wife mourning her only son,
     "Cut the rogue's tether and let him run!"
     So with soft relentings and rude excuse,
     Half scorn, half pity, they cut him loose,
     And gave him a cloak to hide him in,
     And left him alone with his shame and sin.
     Poor Floyd Ireson, for his hard heart,
     Tarred and feathered and carried in a cart
     By the women of Marblehead!

     1857.



THE SYCAMORES.

Hugh Tallant was the first Irish resident of Haverhill, Mass. He planted
the button-wood trees on the bank of the river below the village in the
early part of the seventeenth century. Unfortunately this noble avenue
is now nearly destroyed.

     IN the outskirts of the village,
     On the river's winding shores,
     Stand the Occidental plane-trees,
     Stand the ancient sycamores.

     One long century hath been numbered,
     And another half-way told,
     Since the rustic Irish gleeman
     Broke for them the virgin mould.

     Deftly set to Celtic music,
     At his violin's sound they grew,
     Through the moonlit eves of summer,
     Making Amphion's fable true.

     Rise again, then poor Hugh Tallant
     Pass in jerkin green along,
     With thy eyes brimful of laughter,
     And thy mouth as full of song.

     Pioneer of Erin's outcasts,
     With his fiddle and his pack;
     Little dreamed the village Saxons
     Of the myriads at his back.

     How he wrought with spade and fiddle,
     Delved by day and sang by night,
     With a hand that never wearied,
     And a heart forever light,--

     Still the gay tradition mingles
     With a record grave and drear,
     Like the rollic air of Cluny,
     With the solemn march of Mear.

     When the box-tree, white with blossoms,
     Made the sweet May woodlands glad,
     And the Aronia by the river
     Lighted up the swarming shad,

     And the bulging nets swept shoreward,
     With their silver-sided haul,
     Midst the shouts of dripping fishers,
     He was merriest of them all.

     When, among the jovial huskers,
     Love stole in at Labor's side,
     With the lusty airs of England,
     Soft his Celtic measures vied.

     Songs of love and wailing lyke--wake,
     And the merry fair's carouse;
     Of the wild Red Fox of Erin
     And the Woman of Three Cows,

     By the blazing hearths of winter,
     Pleasant seemed his simple tales,
     Midst the grimmer Yorkshire legends
     And the mountain myths of Wales.

     How the souls in Purgatory
     Scrambled up from fate forlorn,
     On St. Eleven's sackcloth ladder,
     Slyly hitched to Satan's horn.

     Of the fiddler who at Tara
     Played all night to ghosts of kings;
     Of the brown dwarfs, and the fairies
     Dancing in their moorland rings.

     Jolliest of our birds of singing,
     Best he loved the Bob-o-link.
     "Hush!" he 'd say, "the tipsy fairies
     Hear the little folks in drink!"

     Merry-faced, with spade and fiddle,
     Singing through the ancient town,
     Only this, of poor Hugh Tallant,
     Hath Tradition handed down.

     Not a stone his grave discloses;
     But if yet his spirit walks,
     'T is beneath the trees he planted,
     And when Bob-o-Lincoln talks;

     Green memorials of the gleeman I
     Linking still the river-shores,
     With their shadows cast by sunset,
     Stand Hugh Tallant's sycamores!

     When the Father of his Country
     Through the north-land riding came,
     And the roofs were starred with banners,
     And the steeples rang acclaim,--

     When each war-scarred Continental,
     Leaving smithy, mill, and farm,
     Waved his rusted sword in welcome,
     And shot off his old king's arm,--

     Slowly passed that August Presence
     Down the thronged and shouting street;
     Village girls as white as angels,
     Scattering flowers around his feet.

     Midway, where the plane-tree's shadow
     Deepest fell, his rein he drew
     On his stately head, uncovered,
     Cool and soft the west-wind blew.

     And he stood up in his stirrups,
     Looking up and looking down
     On the hills of Gold and Silver
     Rimming round the little town,--

     On the river, full of sunshine,
     To the lap of greenest vales
     Winding down from wooded headlands,
     Willow-skirted, white with sails.

     And he said, the landscape sweeping
     Slowly with his ungloved hand,
     "I have seen no prospect fairer
     In this goodly Eastern land."

     Then the bugles of his escort
     Stirred to life the cavalcade
     And that head, so bare and stately,
     Vanished down the depths of shade.

     Ever since, in town and farm-house,
     Life has had its ebb and flow;
     Thrice hath passed the human harvest
     To its garner green and low.

     But the trees the gleeman planted,
     Through the changes, changeless stand;
     As the marble calm of Tadmor
     Mocks the desert's shifting sand.

     Still the level moon at rising
     Silvers o'er each stately shaft;
     Still beneath them, half in shadow,
     Singing, glides the pleasure craft;

     Still beneath them, arm-enfolded,
     Love and Youth together stray;
     While, as heart to heart beats faster,
     More and more their feet delay.

     Where the ancient cobbler, Keezar,
     On the open hillside wrought,
     Singing, as he drew his stitches,
     Songs his German masters taught,

     Singing, with his gray hair floating
     Round his rosy ample face,--
     Now a thousand Saxon craftsmen
     Stitch and hammer in his place.

     All the pastoral lanes so grassy
     Now are Traffic's dusty streets;
     From the village, grown a city,
     Fast the rural grace retreats.

     But, still green, and tall, and stately,
     On the river's winding shores,
     Stand the Occidental plane-trees,
     Stand, Hugh Taliant's sycamores.

     1857.



THE PIPES AT LUCKNOW.

An incident of the Sepoy mutiny.

     PIPES of the misty moorlands,
     Voice of the glens and hills;
     The droning of the torrents,
     The treble of the rills!
     Not the braes of broom and heather,
     Nor the mountains dark with rain,
     Nor maiden bower, nor border tower,
     Have heard your sweetest strain!

     Dear to the Lowland reaper,
     And plaided mountaineer,--
     To the cottage and the castle
     The Scottish pipes are dear;--
     Sweet sounds the ancient pibroch
     O'er mountain, loch, and glade;
     But the sweetest of all music
     The pipes at Lucknow played.

     Day by day the Indian tiger
     Louder yelled, and nearer crept;
     Round and round the jungle-serpent
     Near and nearer circles swept.
     "Pray for rescue, wives and mothers,--
     Pray to-day!" the soldier said;
     "To-morrow, death's between us
     And the wrong and shame we dread."

     Oh, they listened, looked, and waited,
     Till their hope became despair;
     And the sobs of low bewailing
     Filled the pauses of their prayer.
     Then up spake a Scottish maiden,
     With her ear unto the ground
     "Dinna ye hear it?--dinna ye hear it?
     The pipes o' Havelock sound!"

     Hushed the wounded man his groaning;
     Hushed the wife her little ones;
     Alone they heard the drum-roll
     And the roar of Sepoy guns.
     But to sounds of home and childhood
     The Highland ear was true;--
     As her mother's cradle-crooning
     The mountain pipes she knew.

     Like the march of soundless music
     Through the vision of the seer,
     More of feeling than of hearing,
     Of the heart than of the ear,
     She knew the droning pibroch,
     She knew the Campbell's call
     "Hark! hear ye no' MacGregor's,
     The grandest o' them all!"

     Oh, they listened, dumb and breathless,
     And they caught the sound at last;
     Faint and far beyond the Goomtee
     Rose and fell the piper's blast
     Then a burst of wild thanksgiving
     Mingled woman's voice and man's;
     "God be praised!--the march of Havelock!
     The piping of the clans!"

     Louder, nearer, fierce as vengeance,
     Sharp and shrill as swords at strife,
     Came the wild MacGregor's clan-call,
     Stinging all the air to life.
     But when the far-off dust-cloud
     To plaided legions grew,
     Full tenderly and blithesomely
     The pipes of rescue blew!

     Round the silver domes of Lucknow,
     Moslem mosque and Pagan shrine,
     Breathed the air to Britons dearest,
     The air of Auld Lang Syne.
     O'er the cruel roll of war-drums
     Rose that sweet and homelike strain;
     And the tartan clove the turban,
     As the Goomtee cleaves the plain.

     Dear to the corn-land reaper
     And plaided mountaineer,--
     To the cottage and the castle
     The piper's song is dear.
     Sweet sounds the Gaelic pibroch
     O'er mountain, glen, and glade;
     But the sweetest of all music
     The Pipes at Lucknow played!

     1858.



TELLING THE BEES.

A remarkable custom, brought from the Old Country, formerly prevailed
in the rural districts of New England. On the death of a member of the
family, the bees were at once informed of the event, and their hives
dressed in mourning. This ceremonial was supposed to be necessary to
prevent the swarms from leaving their hives and seeking a new home.

     HERE is the place; right over the hill
     Runs the path I took;
     You can see the gap in the old wall still,
     And the stepping-stones in the shallow brook.

     There is the house, with the gate red-barred,
     And the poplars tall;
     And the barn's brown length, and the cattle-yard,
     And the white horns tossing above the wall.

     There are the beehives ranged in the sun;
     And down by the brink
     Of the brook are her poor flowers, weed-o'errun,
     Pansy and daffodil, rose and pink.

     A year has gone, as the tortoise goes,
     Heavy and slow;
     And the same rose blooms, and the same sun glows,
     And the same brook sings of a year ago.

     There's the same sweet clover-smell in the breeze;
     And the June sun warm
     Tangles his wings of fire in the trees,
     Setting, as then, over Fernside farm.

     I mind me how with a lover's care
     From my Sunday coat
     I brushed off the burrs, and smoothed my hair,
     And cooled at the brookside my brow and
     throat.

     Since we parted, a month had passed,--
     To love, a year;
     Down through the beeches I looked at last
     On the little red gate and the well-sweep near.

     I can see it all now,--the slantwise rain
     Of light through the leaves,
     The sundown's blaze on her window-pane,
     The bloom of her roses under the eaves.

     Just the same as a month before,--
     The house and the trees,
     The barn's brown gable, the vine by the door,--
     Nothing changed but the hives of bees.

     Before them, under the garden wall,
     Forward and back,
     Went drearily singing the chore-girl small,
     Draping each hive with a shred of black.

     Trembling, I listened: the summer sun
     Had the chill of snow;
     For I knew she was telling the bees of one
     Gone on the journey we all must go.

     Then I said to myself, "My Mary weeps
     For the dead to-day;
     Haply her blind old grandsire sleeps
     The fret and the pain of his age away."

     But her dog whined low; on the doorway sill,
     With his cane to his chin,
     The old man sat; and the chore-girl still
     Sung to the bees stealing out and in.

     And the song she was singing ever since
     In my ear sounds on:--
     "Stay at home, pretty bees, fly not hence!
     Mistress Mary is dead and gone!"

     1858.



THE SWAN SONG OF PARSON AVERY.

In Young's Chronicles of Massachusetts Bay front 1623 to 1636 may be
found Anthony Thacher's Narrative of his Shipwreck. Thacher was Avery's
companion and survived to tell the tale. Mather's Magnalia, III. 2,
gives further Particulars of Parson Avery's End, and suggests the title
of the poem.

     WHEN the reaper's task was ended, and the
     summer wearing late,
     Parson Avery sailed from Newbury, with his wife
     and children eight,
     Dropping down the river-harbor in the shallop
     "Watch and Wait."

     Pleasantly lay the clearings in the mellow summer-
     morn,
     With the newly planted orchards dropping their
     fruits first-born,
     And the home-roofs like brown islands amid a sea
     of corn.

     Broad meadows reached out 'seaward the tided
     creeks between,
     And hills rolled wave-like inland, with oaks and
     walnuts green;--
     A fairer home, a--goodlier land, his eyes had never
     seen.

     Yet away sailed Parson Avery, away where duty led,
     And the voice of God seemed calling, to break the
     living bread
     To the souls of fishers starving on the rocks of
     Marblehead.

     All day they sailed: at nightfall the pleasant land-
     breeze died,
     The blackening sky, at midnight, its starry lights
     denied,
     And far and low the thunder of tempest prophesied.

     Blotted out were all the coast-lines, gone were rock,
     and wood, and sand;
     Grimly anxious stood the skipper with the rudder
     in his hand,
     And questioned of the darkness what was sea and
     what was land.

     And the preacher heard his dear ones, nestled
     round him, weeping sore,
     "Never heed, my little children! Christ is walking
     on before;
     To the pleasant land of heaven, where the sea shall
     be no more."

     All at once the great cloud parted, like a curtain
     drawn aside,
     To let down the torch of lightning on the terror
     far and wide;
     And the thunder and the whirlwind together smote
     the tide.

     There was wailing in the shallop, woman's wail
     and man's despair,
     A crash of breaking timbers on the rocks so sharp
     and bare,
     And, through it all, the murmur of Father Avery's
     prayer.

     From his struggle in the darkness with the wild
     waves and the blast,
     On a rock, where every billow broke above him as
     it passed,
     Alone, of all his household, the man of God was
     cast.

     There a comrade heard him praying, in the pause
     of wave and wind
     "All my own have gone before me, and I linger
     just behind;
     Not for life I ask, but only for the rest Thy
     ransomed find!

     "In this night of death I challenge the promise of
     Thy word!--
     Let me see the great salvation of which mine ears
     have heard!--
     Let me pass from hence forgiven, through the
     grace of Christ, our Lord!

     "In the baptism of these waters wash white my
     every sin,
     And let me follow up to Thee my household and
     my kin!
     Open the sea-gate of Thy heaven, and let me enter
     in!"

     When the Christian sings his death-song, all the
     listening heavens draw near,
     And the angels, leaning over the walls of crystal,
     hear
     How the notes so faint and broken swell to music
     in God's ear.

     The ear of God was open to His servant's last
     request;
     As the strong wave swept him downward the sweet
     hymn upward pressed,
     And the soul of Father Avery went, singing, to its
     rest.

     There was wailing on the mainland, from the rocks
     of Marblehead;
     In the stricken church of Newbury the notes of
     prayer were read;
     And long, by board and hearthstone, the living
     mourned the dead.

     And still the fishers outbound, or scudding from
     the squall,
     With grave and reverent faces, the ancient tale
     recall,
     When they see the white waves breaking on the
     Rock of Avery's Fall!

     1808.



THE DOUBLE-HEADED SNAKE OF NEWBURY.

"Concerning ye Amphisbaena, as soon as I received your commands, I made
diligent inquiry: . . . he assures me yt it had really two heads, one
at each end; two mouths, two stings or tongues."--REV. CHRISTOPHER
TOPPAN to COTTON MATHER.

     FAR away in the twilight time
     Of every people, in every clime,
     Dragons and griffins and monsters dire,
     Born of water, and air, and fire,
     Or nursed, like the Python, in the mud
     And ooze of the old Deucalion flood,
     Crawl and wriggle and foam with rage,
     Through dusk tradition and ballad age.
     So from the childhood of Newbury town
     And its time of fable the tale comes down
     Of a terror which haunted bush and brake,
     The Amphisbaena, the Double Snake!

     Thou who makest the tale thy mirth,
     Consider that strip of Christian earth
     On the desolate shore of a sailless sea,
     Full of terror and mystery,
     Half redeemed from the evil hold
     Of the wood so dreary, and dark, and old,
     Which drank with its lips of leaves the dew
     When Time was young, and the world was new,
     And wove its shadows with sun and moon,
     Ere the stones of Cheops were squared and hewn.
     Think of the sea's dread monotone,
     Of the mournful wail from the pine-wood blown,
     Of the strange, vast splendors that lit the North,
     Of the troubled throes of the quaking earth,
     And the dismal tales the Indian told,
     Till the settler's heart at his hearth grew cold,
     And he shrank from the tawny wizard boasts,
     And the hovering shadows seemed full of ghosts,
     And above, below, and on every side,
     The fear of his creed seemed verified;--
     And think, if his lot were now thine own,
     To grope with terrors nor named nor known,
     How laxer muscle and weaker nerve
     And a feebler faith thy need might serve;
     And own to thyself the wonder more
     That the snake had two heads, and not a score!

     Whether he lurked in the Oldtown fen
     Or the gray earth-flax of the Devil's Den,
     Or swam in the wooded Artichoke,
     Or coiled by the Northman's Written Rock,
     Nothing on record is left to show;
     Only the fact that he lived, we know,
     And left the cast of a double head
     In the scaly mask which he yearly shed.
     For he carried a head where his tail should be,
     And the two, of course, could never agree,
     But wriggled about with main and might,
     Now to the left and now to the right;
     Pulling and twisting this way and that,
     Neither knew what the other was at.

     A snake with two beads, lurking so near!
     Judge of the wonder, guess at the fear!
     Think what ancient gossips might say,
     Shaking their heads in their dreary way,
     Between the meetings on Sabbath-day!
     How urchins, searching at day's decline
     The Common Pasture for sheep or kine,
     The terrible double-ganger heard
     In leafy rustle or whir of bird!
     Think what a zest it gave to the sport,
     In berry-time, of the younger sort,
     As over pastures blackberry-twined,
     Reuben and Dorothy lagged behind,
     And closer and closer, for fear of harm,
     The maiden clung to her lover's arm;
     And how the spark, who was forced to stay,
     By his sweetheart's fears, till the break of day,
     Thanked the snake for the fond delay.

     Far and wide the tale was told,
     Like a snowball growing while it rolled.
     The nurse hushed with it the baby's cry;
     And it served, in the worthy minister's eye,
     To paint the primitive serpent by.
     Cotton Mather came galloping down
     All the way to Newbury town,
     With his eyes agog and his ears set wide,
     And his marvellous inkhorn at his side;
     Stirring the while in the shallow pool
     Of his brains for the lore he learned at school,
     To garnish the story, with here a streak
     Of Latin, and there another of Greek
     And the tales he heard and the notes he took,
     Behold! are they not in his Wonder-Book?

     Stories, like dragons, are hard to kill.
     If the snake does not, the tale runs still
     In Byfield Meadows, on Pipestave Hill.
     And still, whenever husband and wife
     Publish the shame of their daily strife,
     And, with mad cross-purpose, tug and strain
     At either end of the marriage-chain,
     The gossips say, with a knowing shake
     Of their gray heads, "Look at the Double Snake
     One in body and two in will,
     The Amphisbaena is living still!"

     1859.



MABEL MARTIN.

A HARVEST IDYL.

Susanna Martin, an aged woman of Amesbury, Mass., was tried and executed
for the alleged crime of witchcraft. Her home was in what is now known
as Pleasant Valley on the Merrimac, a little above the old Ferry way,
where, tradition says, an attempt was made to assassinate Sir Edmund
Andros on his way to Falmouth (afterward Portland) and Pemaquid, which
was frustrated by a warning timely given. Goody Martin was the only
woman hanged on the north side of the Merrimac during the dreadful
delusion. The aged wife of Judge Bradbury who lived on the other side of
the Powow River was imprisoned and would have been put to death but for
the collapse of the hideous persecution.

The substance of the poem which follows was published under the name of
The Witch's Daughter, in The National Era in 1857. In 1875 my publishers
desired to issue it with illustrations, and I then enlarged it and
otherwise altered it to its present form. The principal addition was in
the verses which constitute Part I.



PROEM.

     I CALL the old time back: I bring my lay
     in tender memory of the summer day
     When, where our native river lapsed away,

     We dreamed it over, while the thrushes made
     Songs of their own, and the great pine-trees laid
     On warm noonlights the masses of their shade.

     And she was with us, living o'er again
     Her life in ours, despite of years and pain,--
     The Autumn's brightness after latter rain.

     Beautiful in her holy peace as one
     Who stands, at evening, when the work is done,
     Glorified in the setting of the sun!

     Her memory makes our common landscape seem
     Fairer than any of which painters dream;
     Lights the brown hills and sings in every stream;

     For she whose speech was always truth's pure gold
     Heard, not unpleased, its simple legends told,
     And loved with us the beautiful and old.



I. THE RIVER VALLEY.

     Across the level tableland,
     A grassy, rarely trodden way,
     With thinnest skirt of birchen spray

     And stunted growth of cedar, leads
     To where you see the dull plain fall
     Sheer off, steep-slanted, ploughed by all

     The seasons' rainfalls. On its brink
     The over-leaning harebells swing,
     With roots half bare the pine-trees cling;

     And, through the shadow looking west,
     You see the wavering river flow
     Along a vale, that far below

     Holds to the sun, the sheltering hills
     And glimmering water-line between,
     Broad fields of corn and meadows green,

     And fruit-bent orchards grouped around
     The low brown roofs and painted eaves,
     And chimney-tops half hid in leaves.

     No warmer valley hides behind
     Yon wind-scourged sand-dunes, cold and bleak;
     No fairer river comes to seek

     The wave-sung welcome of the sea,
     Or mark the northmost border line
     Of sun-loved growths of nut and vine.

     Here, ground-fast in their native fields,
     Untempted by the city's gain,
     The quiet farmer folk remain

     Who bear the pleasant name of Friends,
     And keep their fathers' gentle ways
     And simple speech of Bible days;

     In whose neat homesteads woman holds
     With modest ease her equal place,
     And wears upon her tranquil face

     The look of one who, merging not
     Her self-hood in another's will,
     Is love's and duty's handmaid still.

     Pass with me down the path that winds
     Through birches to the open land,
     Where, close upon the river strand

     You mark a cellar, vine o'errun,
     Above whose wall of loosened stones
     The sumach lifts its reddening cones,

     And the black nightshade's berries shine,
     And broad, unsightly burdocks fold
     The household ruin, century-old.

     Here, in the dim colonial time
     Of sterner lives and gloomier faith,
     A woman lived, tradition saith,

     Who wrought her neighbors foul annoy,
     And witched and plagued the country-side,
     Till at the hangman's hand she died.

     Sit with me while the westering day
     Falls slantwise down the quiet vale,
     And, haply ere yon loitering sail,

     That rounds the upper headland, falls
     Below Deer Island's pines, or sees
     Behind it Hawkswood's belt of trees

     Rise black against the sinking sun,
     My idyl of its days of old,
     The valley's legend, shall be told.



II. THE HUSKING.

     It was the pleasant harvest-time,
     When cellar-bins are closely stowed,
     And garrets bend beneath their load,

     And the old swallow-haunted barns,--
     Brown-gabled, long, and full of seams
     Through which the rooted sunlight streams,

     And winds blow freshly in, to shake
     The red plumes of the roosted cocks,
     And the loose hay-mow's scented locks,

     Are filled with summer's ripened stores,
     Its odorous grass and barley sheaves,
     From their low scaffolds to their eaves.

     On Esek Harden's oaken floor,
     With many an autumn threshing worn,
     Lay the heaped ears of unhusked corn.

     And thither came young men and maids,
     Beneath a moon that, large and low,
     Lit that sweet eve of long ago.

     They took their places; some by chance,
     And others by a merry voice
     Or sweet smile guided to their choice.

     How pleasantly the rising moon,
     Between the shadow of the mows,
     Looked on them through the great elm-boughs!

     On sturdy boyhood, sun-embrowned,
     On girlhood with its solid curves
     Of healthful strength and painless nerves!

     And jests went round, and laughs that made
     The house-dog answer with his howl,
     And kept astir the barn-yard fowl;

     And quaint old songs their fathers sung
     In Derby dales and Yorkshire moors,
     Ere Norman William trod their shores;

     And tales, whose merry license shook
     The fat sides of the Saxon thane,
     Forgetful of the hovering Dane,--

     Rude plays to Celt and Cimbri known,
     The charms and riddles that beguiled
     On Oxus' banks the young world's child,--

     That primal picture-speech wherein
     Have youth and maid the story told,
     So new in each, so dateless old,

     Recalling pastoral Ruth in her
     Who waited, blushing and demure,
     The red-ear's kiss of forfeiture.

     But still the sweetest voice was mute
     That river-valley ever heard
     From lips of maid or throat of bird;

     For Mabel Martin sat apart,
     And let the hay-mow's shadow fall
     Upon the loveliest face of all.

     She sat apart, as one forbid,
     Who knew that none would condescend
     To own the Witch-wife's child a friend.

     The seasons scarce had gone their round,
     Since curious thousands thronged to see
     Her mother at the gallows-tree;

     And mocked the prison-palsied limbs
     That faltered on the fatal stairs,
     And wan lip trembling with its prayers!

     Few questioned of the sorrowing child,
     Or, when they saw the mother die;
     Dreamed of the daughter's agony.

     They went up to their homes that day,
     As men and Christians justified
     God willed it, and the wretch had died!

     Dear God and Father of us all,
     Forgive our faith in cruel lies,--
     Forgive the blindness that denies!

     Forgive thy creature when he takes,
     For the all-perfect love Thou art,
     Some grim creation of his heart.

     Cast down our idols, overturn
     Our bloody altars; let us see
     Thyself in Thy humanity!

     Young Mabel from her mother's grave
     Crept to her desolate hearth-stone,
     And wrestled with her fate alone;

     With love, and anger, and despair,
     The phantoms of disordered sense,
     The awful doubts of Providence!

     Oh, dreary broke the winter days,
     And dreary fell the winter nights
     When, one by one, the neighboring lights

     Went out, and human sounds grew still,
     And all the phantom-peopled dark
     Closed round her hearth-fire's dying spark.

     And summer days were sad and long,
     And sad the uncompanioned eyes,
     And sadder sunset-tinted leaves,

     And Indian Summer's airs of balm;
     She scarcely felt the soft caress,
     The beauty died of loneliness!

     The school-boys jeered her as they passed,
     And, when she sought the house of prayer,
     Her mother's curse pursued her there.

     And still o'er many a neighboring door
     She saw the horseshoe's curved charm,
     To guard against her mother's harm!

     That mother, poor and sick and lame,
     Who daily, by the old arm-chair,
     Folded her withered hands in prayer;--

     Who turned, in Salem's dreary jail,
     Her worn old Bible o'er and o'er,
     When her dim eyes could read no more!

     Sore tried and pained, the poor girl kept
     Her faith, and trusted that her way,
     So dark, would somewhere meet the day.

     And still her weary wheel went round
     Day after day, with no relief
     Small leisure have the poor for grief.



III. THE CHAMPION.

     So in the shadow Mabel sits;
     Untouched by mirth she sees and hears,
     Her smile is sadder than her tears.

     But cruel eyes have found her out,
     And cruel lips repeat her name,
     And taunt her with her mother's shame.

     She answered not with railing words,
     But drew her apron o'er her face,
     And, sobbing, glided from the place.

     And only pausing at the door,
     Her sad eyes met the troubled gaze
     Of one who, in her better days,

     Had been her warm and steady friend,
     Ere yet her mother's doom had made
     Even Esek Harden half afraid.

     He felt that mute appeal of tears,
     And, starting, with an angry frown,
     Hushed all the wicked murmurs down.

     "Good neighbors mine," he sternly said,
     "This passes harmless mirth or jest;
     I brook no insult to my guest.

     "She is indeed her mother's child;
     But God's sweet pity ministers
     Unto no whiter soul than hers.

     "Let Goody Martin rest in peace;
     I never knew her harm a fly,
     And witch or not, God knows--not I.

     "I know who swore her life away;
     And as God lives, I'd not condemn
     An Indian dog on word of them."

     The broadest lands in all the town,
     The skill to guide, the power to awe,
     Were Harden's; and his word was law.

     None dared withstand him to his face,
     But one sly maiden spake aside
     "The little witch is evil-eyed!

     "Her mother only killed a cow,
     Or witched a churn or dairy-pan;
     But she, forsooth, must charm a man!"



IV. IN THE SHADOW.

     Poor Mabel, homeward turning, passed
     The nameless terrors of the wood,
     And saw, as if a ghost pursued,

     Her shadow gliding in the moon;
     The soft breath of the west-wind gave
     A chill as from her mother's grave.

     How dreary seemed the silent house!
     Wide in the moonbeams' ghastly glare
     Its windows had a dead man's stare!

     And, like a gaunt and spectral hand,
     The tremulous shadow of a birch
     Reached out and touched the door's low porch,

     As if to lift its latch; hard by,
     A sudden warning call she beard,
     The night-cry of a boding bird.

     She leaned against the door; her face,
     So fair, so young, so full of pain,
     White in the moonlight's silver rain.

     The river, on its pebbled rim,
     Made music such as childhood knew;
     The door-yard tree was whispered through

     By voices such as childhood's ear
     Had heard in moonlights long ago;
     And through the willow-boughs below.

     She saw the rippled waters shine;
     Beyond, in waves of shade and light,
     The hills rolled off into the night.

     She saw and heard, but over all
     A sense of some transforming spell,
     The shadow of her sick heart fell.

     And still across the wooded space
     The harvest lights of Harden shone,
     And song and jest and laugh went on.

     And he, so gentle, true, and strong,
     Of men the bravest and the best,
     Had he, too, scorned her with the rest?

     She strove to drown her sense of wrong,
     And, in her old and simple way,
     To teach her bitter heart to pray.

     Poor child! the prayer, begun in faith,
     Grew to a low, despairing cry
     Of utter misery: "Let me die!

     "Oh! take me from the scornful eyes,
     And hide me where the cruel speech
     And mocking finger may not reach!

     "I dare not breathe my mother's name
     A daughter's right I dare not crave
     To weep above her unblest grave!

     "Let me not live until my heart,
     With few to pity, and with none
     To love me, hardens into stone.

     "O God! have mercy on Thy child,
     Whose faith in Thee grows weak and small,
     And take me ere I lose it all!"

     A shadow on the moonlight fell,
     And murmuring wind and wave became
     A voice whose burden was her name.



V. THE BETROTHAL.

     Had then God heard her? Had He sent
     His angel down? In flesh and blood,
     Before her Esek Harden stood!

     He laid his hand upon her arm
     "Dear Mabel, this no more shall be;
     Who scoffs at you must scoff at me.

     "You know rough Esek Harden well;
     And if he seems no suitor gay,
     And if his hair is touched with gray,

     "The maiden grown shall never find
     His heart less warm than when she smiled,
     Upon his knees, a little child!"

     Her tears of grief were tears of joy,
     As, folded in his strong embrace,
     She looked in Esek Harden's face.

     "O truest friend of all'" she said,
     "God bless you for your kindly thought,
     And make me worthy of my lot!"

     He led her forth, and, blent in one,
     Beside their happy pathway ran
     The shadows of the maid and man.

     He led her through his dewy fields,
     To where the swinging lanterns glowed,
     And through the doors the huskers showed.

     "Good friends and neighbors!" Esek said,
     "I'm weary of this lonely life;
     In Mabel see my chosen wife!

     "She greets you kindly, one and all;
     The past is past, and all offence
     Falls harmless from her innocence.

     "Henceforth she stands no more alone;
     You know what Esek Harden is;--
     He brooks no wrong to him or his.

     "Now let the merriest tales be told,
     And let the sweetest songs be sung
     That ever made the old heart young!

     "For now the lost has found a home;
     And a lone hearth shall brighter burn,
     As all the household joys return!"

     Oh, pleasantly the harvest-moon,
     Between the shadow of the mows,
     Looked on them through the great elm--boughs!

     On Mabel's curls of golden hair,
     On Esek's shaggy strength it fell;
     And the wind whispered, "It is well!"



THE PROPHECY OF SAMUEL SEWALL.

The prose version of this prophecy is to be found in Sewall's The New
Heaven upon the New Earth, 1697, quoted in Joshua Coffin's History of
Newbury. Judge Sewall's father, Henry Sewall, was one of the pioneers
of Newbury.

     UP and down the village streets
     Strange are the forms my fancy meets,
     For the thoughts and things of to-day are hid,
     And through the veil of a closed lid
     The ancient worthies I see again
     I hear the tap of the elder's cane,
     And his awful periwig I see,
     And the silver buckles of shoe and knee.
     Stately and slow, with thoughtful air,
     His black cap hiding his whitened hair,
     Walks the Judge of the great Assize,
     Samuel Sewall the good and wise.
     His face with lines of firmness wrought,
     He wears the look of a man unbought,
     Who swears to his hurt and changes not;
     Yet, touched and softened nevertheless
     With the grace of Christian gentleness,
     The face that a child would climb to kiss!
     True and tender and brave and just,
     That man might honor and woman trust.

     Touching and sad, a tale is told,
     Like a penitent hymn of the Psalmist old,
     Of the fast which the good man lifelong kept to
     With a haunting sorrow that never slept,
     As the circling year brought round the time
     Of an error that left the sting of crime,
     When he sat on the bench of the witchcraft courts,
     With the laws of Moses and Hale's Reports,
     And spake, in the name of both, the word
     That gave the witch's neck to the cord,
     And piled the oaken planks that pressed
     The feeble life from the warlock's breast!
     All the day long, from dawn to dawn,
     His door was bolted, his curtain drawn;
     No foot on his silent threshold trod,
     No eye looked on him save that of God,
     As he baffled the ghosts of the dead with charms
     Of penitent tears, and prayers, and psalms,
     And, with precious proofs from the sacred word
     Of the boundless pity and love of the Lord,
     His faith confirmed and his trust renewed
     That the sin of his ignorance, sorely rued,
     Might be washed away in the mingled flood
     Of his human sorrow and Christ's dear blood!

     Green forever the memory be
     Of the Judge of the old Theocracy,
     Whom even his errors glorified,
     Like a far-seen, sunlit mountain-side
     By the cloudy shadows which o'er it glide I
     Honor and praise to the Puritan
     Who the halting step of his age outran,
     And, seeing the infinite worth of man
     In the priceless gift the Father gave,
     In the infinite love that stooped to save,
     Dared not brand his brother a slave
     "Who doth such wrong," he was wont to say,
     In his own quaint, picture-loving way,
     "Flings up to Heaven a hand-grenade
     Which God shall cast down upon his head!"

     Widely as heaven and hell, contrast
     That brave old jurist of the past
     And the cunning trickster and knave of courts
     Who the holy features of Truth distorts,
     Ruling as right the will of the strong,
     Poverty, crime, and weakness wrong;
     Wide-eared to power, to the wronged and weak
     Deaf as Egypt's gods of leek;
     Scoffing aside at party's nod
     Order of nature and law of God;
     For whose dabbled ermine respect were waste,
     Reverence folly, and awe misplaced;
     Justice of whom 't were vain to seek
     As from Koordish robber or Syrian Sheik!
     Oh, leave the wretch to his bribes and sins;
     Let him rot in the web of lies he spins!
     To the saintly soul of the early day,
     To the Christian judge, let us turn and say
     "Praise and thanks for an honest man!--
     Glory to God for the Puritan!"

     I see, far southward, this quiet day,
     The hills of Newbury rolling away,
     With the many tints of the season gay,
     Dreamily blending in autumn mist
     Crimson, and gold, and amethyst.
     Long and low, with dwarf trees crowned,
     Plum Island lies, like a whale aground,
     A stone's toss over the narrow sound.
     Inland, as far as the eye can go,
     The hills curve round like a bended bow;
     A silver arrow from out them sprung,
     I see the shine of the Quasycung;
     And, round and round, over valley and hill,
     Old roads winding, as old roads will,
     Here to a ferry, and there to a mill;
     And glimpses of chimneys and gabled eaves,
     Through green elm arches and maple leaves,--
     Old homesteads sacred to all that can
     Gladden or sadden the heart of man,
     Over whose thresholds of oak and stone
     Life and Death have come and gone
     There pictured tiles in the fireplace show,
     Great beams sag from the ceiling low,
     The dresser glitters with polished wares,
     The long clock ticks on the foot-worn stairs,
     And the low, broad chimney shows the crack
     By the earthquake made a century back.
     Up from their midst springs the village spire
     With the crest of its cock in the sun afire;
     Beyond are orchards and planting lands,
     And great salt marshes and glimmering sands,
     And, where north and south the coast-lines run,
     The blink of the sea in breeze and sun!

     I see it all like a chart unrolled,
     But my thoughts are full of the past and old,
     I hear the tales of my boyhood told;
     And the shadows and shapes of early days
     Flit dimly by in the veiling haze,
     With measured movement and rhythmic chime
     Weaving like shuttles my web of rhyme.
     I think of the old man wise and good
     Who once on yon misty hillsides stood,
     (A poet who never measured rhyme,
     A seer unknown to his dull-eared time,)
     And, propped on his staff of age, looked down,
     With his boyhood's love, on his native town,
     Where, written, as if on its hills and plains,
     His burden of prophecy yet remains,
     For the voices of wood, and wave, and wind
     To read in the ear of the musing mind:--

     "As long as Plum Island, to guard the coast
     As God appointed, shall keep its post;
     As long as a salmon shall haunt the deep
     Of Merrimac River, or sturgeon leap;
     As long as pickerel swift and slim,
     Or red-backed perch, in Crane Pond swim;
     As long as the annual sea-fowl know
     Their time to come and their time to go;
     As long as cattle shall roam at will
     The green, grass meadows by Turkey Hill;
     As long as sheep shall look from the side
     Of Oldtown Hill on marishes wide,
     And Parker River, and salt-sea tide;
     As long as a wandering pigeon shall search
     The fields below from his white-oak perch,
     When the barley-harvest is ripe and shorn,
     And the dry husks fall from the standing corn;
     As long as Nature shall not grow old,
     Nor drop her work from her doting hold,
     And her care for the Indian corn forget,
     And the yellow rows in pairs to set;--
     So long shall Christians here be born,
     Grow up and ripen as God's sweet corn!--
     By the beak of bird, by the breath of frost,
     Shall never a holy ear be lost,
     But, husked by Death in the Planter's sight,
     Be sown again in the fields of light!"

     The Island still is purple with plums,
     Up the river the salmon comes,
     The sturgeon leaps, and the wild-fowl feeds
     On hillside berries and marish seeds,--
     All the beautiful signs remain,
     From spring-time sowing to autumn rain
     The good man's vision returns again!
     And let us hope, as well we can,
     That the Silent Angel who garners man
     May find some grain as of old lie found
     In the human cornfield ripe and sound,
     And the Lord of the Harvest deign to own
     The precious seed by the fathers sown!

     1859.



THE RED RIPER VOYAGEUR.

     OUT and in the river is winding
     The links of its long, red chain,
     Through belts of dusky pine-land
     And gusty leagues of plain.

     Only, at times, a smoke-wreath
     With the drifting cloud-rack joins,--
     The smoke of the hunting-lodges
     Of the wild Assiniboins.

     Drearily blows the north-wind
     From the land of ice and snow;
     The eyes that look are weary,
     And heavy the hands that row.

     And with one foot on the water,
     And one upon the shore,
     The Angel of Shadow gives warning
     That day shall be no more.

     Is it the clang of wild-geese?
     Is it the Indian's yell,
     That lends to the voice of the north-wind
     The tones of a far-off bell?

     The voyageur smiles as he listens
     To the sound that grows apace;
     Well he knows the vesper ringing
     Of the bells of St. Boniface.

     The bells of the Roman Mission,
     That call from their turrets twain,
     To the boatman on the river,
     To the hunter on the plain!

     Even so in our mortal journey
     The bitter north-winds blow,
     And thus upon life's Red River
     Our hearts, as oarsmen, row.

     And when the Angel of Shadow
     Rests his feet on wave and shore,
     And our eyes grow dim with watching
     And our hearts faint at the oar,

     Happy is he who heareth
     The signal of his release
     In the bells of the Holy City,
     The chimes of eternal peace!

     1859



THE PREACHER.

George Whitefield, the celebrated preacher, died at Newburyport in 1770,
and was buried under the church which has since borne his name.

     ITS windows flashing to the sky,
     Beneath a thousand roofs of brown,
     Far down the vale, my friend and I
     Beheld the old and quiet town;
     The ghostly sails that out at sea
     Flapped their white wings of mystery;
     The beaches glimmering in the sun,
     And the low wooded capes that run
     Into the sea-mist north and south;
     The sand-bluffs at the river's mouth;
     The swinging chain-bridge, and, afar,
     The foam-line of the harbor-bar.

     Over the woods and meadow-lands
     A crimson-tinted shadow lay,
     Of clouds through which the setting day
     Flung a slant glory far away.
     It glittered on the wet sea-sands,
     It flamed upon the city's panes,
     Smote the white sails of ships that wore
     Outward or in, and glided o'er
     The steeples with their veering vanes!

     Awhile my friend with rapid search
     O'erran the landscape. "Yonder spire
     Over gray roofs, a shaft of fire;
     What is it, pray?"--"The Whitefield Church!
     Walled about by its basement stones,
     There rest the marvellous prophet's bones."
     Then as our homeward way we walked,
     Of the great preacher's life we talked;
     And through the mystery of our theme
     The outward glory seemed to stream,
     And Nature's self interpreted
     The doubtful record of the dead;
     And every level beam that smote
     The sails upon the dark afloat
     A symbol of the light became,
     Which touched the shadows of our blame,
     With tongues of Pentecostal flame.

     Over the roofs of the pioneers
     Gathers the moss of a hundred years;
     On man and his works has passed the change
     Which needs must be in a century's range.
     The land lies open and warm in the sun,
     Anvils clamor and mill-wheels run,--
     Flocks on the hillsides, herds on the plain,
     The wilderness gladdened with fruit and grain!
     But the living faith of the settlers old
     A dead profession their children hold;
     To the lust of office and greed of trade
     A stepping-stone is the altar made.

     The church, to place and power the door,
     Rebukes the sin of the world no more,
     Nor sees its Lord in the homeless poor.
     Everywhere is the grasping hand,
     And eager adding of land to land;
     And earth, which seemed to the fathers meant
     But as a pilgrim's wayside tent,--
     A nightly shelter to fold away
     When the Lord should call at the break of day,--
     Solid and steadfast seems to be,
     And Time has forgotten Eternity!

     But fresh and green from the rotting roots
     Of primal forests the young growth shoots;
     From the death of the old the new proceeds,
     And the life of truth from the rot of creeds
     On the ladder of God, which upward leads,
     The steps of progress are human needs.
     For His judgments still are a mighty deep,
     And the eyes of His providence never sleep
     When the night is darkest He gives the morn;
     When the famine is sorest, the wine and corn!

     In the church of the wilderness Edwards wrought,
     Shaping his creed at the forge of thought;
     And with Thor's own hammer welded and bent
     The iron links of his argument,
     Which strove to grasp in its mighty span
     The purpose of God and the fate of man
     Yet faithful still, in his daily round
     To the weak, and the poor, and sin-sick found,
     The schoolman's lore and the casuist's art
     Drew warmth and life from his fervent heart.

     Had he not seen in the solitudes
     Of his deep and dark Northampton woods
     A vision of love about him fall?
     Not the blinding splendor which fell on Saul,
     But the tenderer glory that rests on them
     Who walk in the New Jerusalem,
     Where never the sun nor moon are known,
     But the Lord and His love are the light alone
     And watching the sweet, still countenance
     Of the wife of his bosom rapt in trance,
     Had he not treasured each broken word
     Of the mystical wonder seen and heard;
     And loved the beautiful dreamer more
     That thus to the desert of earth she bore
     Clusters of Eshcol from Canaan's shore?

     As the barley-winnower, holding with pain
     Aloft in waiting his chaff and grain,
     Joyfully welcomes the far-off breeze
     Sounding the pine-tree's slender keys,
     So he who had waited long to hear
     The sound of the Spirit drawing near,
     Like that which the son of Iddo heard
     When the feet of angels the myrtles stirred,
     Felt the answer of prayer, at last,
     As over his church the afflatus passed,
     Breaking its sleep as breezes break
     To sun-bright ripples a stagnant lake.

     At first a tremor of silent fear,
     The creep of the flesh at danger near,
     A vague foreboding and discontent,
     Over the hearts of the people went.
     All nature warned in sounds and signs
     The wind in the tops of the forest pines
     In the name of the Highest called to prayer,
     As the muezzin calls from the minaret stair.
     Through ceiled chambers of secret sin
     Sudden and strong the light shone in;
     A guilty sense of his neighbor's needs
     Startled the man of title-deeds;
     The trembling hand of the worldling shook
     The dust of years from the Holy Book;
     And the psalms of David, forgotten long,
     Took the place of the scoffer's song.

     The impulse spread like the outward course
     Of waters moved by a central force;
     The tide of spiritual life rolled down
     From inland mountains to seaboard town.

     Prepared and ready the altar stands
     Waiting the prophet's outstretched hands
     And prayer availing, to downward call
     The fiery answer in view of all.
     Hearts are like wax in the furnace; who
     Shall mould, and shape, and cast them anew?
     Lo! by the Merrimac Whitefield stands
     In the temple that never was made by hands,--
     Curtains of azure, and crystal wall,
     And dome of the sunshine over all--
     A homeless pilgrim, with dubious name
     Blown about on the winds of fame;
     Now as an angel of blessing classed,
     And now as a mad enthusiast.
     Called in his youth to sound and gauge
     The moral lapse of his race and age,
     And, sharp as truth, the contrast draw
     Of human frailty and perfect law;
     Possessed by the one dread thought that lent
     Its goad to his fiery temperament,
     Up and down the world he went,
     A John the Baptist crying, Repent!

     No perfect whole can our nature make;
     Here or there the circle will break;
     The orb of life as it takes the light
     On one side leaves the other in night.
     Never was saint so good and great
     As to give no chance at St. Peter's gate
     For the plea of the Devil's advocate.
     So, incomplete by his being's law,
     The marvellous preacher had his flaw;
     With step unequal, and lame with faults,
     His shade on the path of History halts.

     Wisely and well said the Eastern bard
     Fear is easy, but love is hard,--
     Easy to glow with the Santon's rage,
     And walk on the Meccan pilgrimage;
     But he is greatest and best who can
     Worship Allah by loving man.
     Thus he,--to whom, in the painful stress
     Of zeal on fire from its own excess,
     Heaven seemed so vast and earth so small
     That man was nothing, since God was all,--
     Forgot, as the best at times have done,
     That the love of the Lord and of man are one.
     Little to him whose feet unshod
     The thorny path of the desert trod,
     Careless of pain, so it led to God,
     Seemed the hunger-pang and the poor man's wrong,
     The weak ones trodden beneath the strong.
     Should the worm be chooser?--the clay withstand
     The shaping will of the potter's hand?

     In the Indian fable Arjoon hears
     The scorn of a god rebuke his fears
     "Spare thy pity!" Krishna saith;
     "Not in thy sword is the power of death!
     All is illusion,--loss but seems;
     Pleasure and pain are only dreams;
     Who deems he slayeth doth not kill;
     Who counts as slain is living still.
     Strike, nor fear thy blow is crime;
     Nothing dies but the cheats of time;
     Slain or slayer, small the odds
     To each, immortal as Indra's gods!"

     So by Savannah's banks of shade,
     The stones of his mission the preacher laid
     On the heart of the negro crushed and rent,
     And made of his blood the wall's cement;
     Bade the slave-ship speed from coast to coast,
     Fanned by the wings of the Holy Ghost;
     And begged, for the love of Christ, the gold
     Coined from the hearts in its groaning hold.
     What could it matter, more or less
     Of stripes, and hunger, and weariness?
     Living or dying, bond or free,
     What was time to eternity?

     Alas for the preacher's cherished schemes!
     Mission and church are now but dreams;
     Nor prayer nor fasting availed the plan
     To honor God through the wrong of man.
     Of all his labors no trace remains
     Save the bondman lifting his hands in chains.
     The woof he wove in the righteous warp
     Of freedom-loving Oglethorpe,
     Clothes with curses the goodly land,
     Changes its greenness and bloom to sand;
     And a century's lapse reveals once more
     The slave-ship stealing to Georgia's shore.
     Father of Light! how blind is he
     Who sprinkles the altar he rears to Thee
     With the blood and tears of humanity!

     He erred: shall we count His gifts as naught?
     Was the work of God in him unwrought?
     The servant may through his deafness err,
     And blind may be God's messenger;
     But the Errand is sure they go upon,--
     The word is spoken, the deed is done.
     Was the Hebrew temple less fair and good
     That Solomon bowed to gods of wood?
     For his tempted heart and wandering feet,
     Were the songs of David less pure and sweet?
     So in light and shadow the preacher went,
     God's erring and human instrument;
     And the hearts of the people where he passed
     Swayed as the reeds sway in the blast,
     Under the spell of a voice which took
     In its compass the flow of Siloa's brook,
     And the mystical chime of the bells of gold
     On the ephod's hem of the priest of old,--
     Now the roll of thunder, and now the awe
     Of the trumpet heard in the Mount of Law.

     A solemn fear on the listening crowd
     Fell like the shadow of a cloud.
     The sailor reeling from out the ships
     Whose masts stood thick in the river-slips
     Felt the jest and the curse die on his lips.
     Listened the fisherman rude and hard,
     The calker rough from the builder's yard;
     The man of the market left his load,
     The teamster leaned on his bending goad,
     The maiden, and youth beside her, felt
     Their hearts in a closer union melt,
     And saw the flowers of their love in bloom
     Down the endless vistas of life to come.
     Old age sat feebly brushing away
     From his ears the scanty locks of gray;
     And careless boyhood, living the free
     Unconscious life of bird and tree,
     Suddenly wakened to a sense
     Of sin and its guilty consequence.
     It was as if an angel's voice
     Called the listeners up for their final choice;
     As if a strong hand rent apart
     The veils of sense from soul and heart,
     Showing in light ineffable
     The joys of heaven and woes of hell
     All about in the misty air
     The hills seemed kneeling in silent prayer;
     The rustle of leaves, the moaning sedge,
     The water's lap on its gravelled edge,
     The wailing pines, and, far and faint,
     The wood-dove's note of sad complaint,--
     To the solemn voice of the preacher lent
     An undertone as of low lament;
     And the note of the sea from its sand coast,
     On the easterly wind, now heard, now lost,
     Seemed the murmurous sound of the judgment host.

     Yet wise men doubted, and good men wept,
     As that storm of passion above them swept,
     And, comet-like, adding flame to flame,
     The priests of the new Evangel came,--
     Davenport, flashing upon the crowd,
     Charged like summer's electric cloud,
     Now holding the listener still as death
     With terrible warnings under breath,
     Now shouting for joy, as if he viewed
     The vision of Heaven's beatitude!
     And Celtic Tennant, his long coat bound
     Like a monk's with leathern girdle round,
     Wild with the toss of unshorn hair,
     And wringing of hands, and, eyes aglare,
     Groaning under the world's despair!
     Grave pastors, grieving their flocks to lose,
     Prophesied to the empty pews
     That gourds would wither, and mushrooms die,
     And noisiest fountains run soonest dry,
     Like the spring that gushed in Newbury Street,
     Under the tramp of the earthquake's feet,
     A silver shaft in the air and light,
     For a single day, then lost in night,
     Leaving only, its place to tell,
     Sandy fissure and sulphurous smell.
     With zeal wing-clipped and white-heat cool,
     Moved by the spirit in grooves of rule,
     No longer harried, and cropped, and fleeced,
     Flogged by sheriff and cursed by priest,
     But by wiser counsels left at ease
     To settle quietly on his lees,
     And, self-concentred, to count as done
     The work which his fathers well begun,
     In silent protest of letting alone,
     The Quaker kept the way of his own,--
     A non-conductor among the wires,
     With coat of asbestos proof to fires.
     And quite unable to mend his pace
     To catch the falling manna of grace,
     He hugged the closer his little store
     Of faith, and silently prayed for more.
     And vague of creed and barren of rite,
     But holding, as in his Master's sight,
     Act and thought to the inner light,
     The round of his simple duties walked,
     And strove to live what the others talked.

     And who shall marvel if evil went
     Step by step with the good intent,
     And with love and meekness, side by side,
     Lust of the flesh and spiritual pride?--
     That passionate longings and fancies vain
     Set the heart on fire and crazed the brain?
     That over the holy oracles
     Folly sported with cap and bells?
     That goodly women and learned men
     Marvelling told with tongue and pen
     How unweaned children chirped like birds
     Texts of Scripture and solemn words,
     Like the infant seers of the rocky glens
     In the Puy de Dome of wild Cevennes
     Or baby Lamas who pray and preach
     From Tartir cradles in Buddha's speech?

     In the war which Truth or Freedom wages
     With impious fraud and the wrong of ages,
     Hate and malice and self-love mar
     The notes of triumph with painful jar,
     And the helping angels turn aside
     Their sorrowing faces the shame to bide.
     Never on custom's oiled grooves
     The world to a higher level moves,
     But grates and grinds with friction hard
     On granite boulder and flinty shard.
     The heart must bleed before it feels,
     The pool be troubled before it heals;
     Ever by losses the right must gain,
     Every good have its birth of pain;
     The active Virtues blush to find
     The Vices wearing their badge behind,
     And Graces and Charities feel the fire
     Wherein the sins of the age expire;
     The fiend still rends as of old he rent
     The tortured body from which he went.

     But Time tests all. In the over-drift
     And flow of the Nile, with its annual gift,
     Who cares for the Hadji's relics sunk?
     Who thinks of the drowned-out Coptic monk?
     The tide that loosens the temple's stones,
     And scatters the sacred ibis-bones,
     Drives away from the valley-land
     That Arab robber, the wandering sand,
     Moistens the fields that know no rain,
     Fringes the desert with belts of grain,
     And bread to the sower brings again.
     So the flood of emotion deep and strong
     Troubled the land as it swept along,
     But left a result of holier lives,
     Tenderer-mothers and worthier wives.
     The husband and father whose children fled
     And sad wife wept when his drunken tread
     Frightened peace from his roof-tree's shade,
     And a rock of offence his hearthstone made,
     In a strength that was not his own began
     To rise from the brute's to the plane of man.
     Old friends embraced, long held apart
     By evil counsel and pride of heart;
     And penitence saw through misty tears,
     In the bow of hope on its cloud of fears,
     The promise of Heaven's eternal years,--
     The peace of God for the world's annoy,--
     Beauty for ashes, and oil of joy
     Under the church of Federal Street,
     Under the tread of its Sabbath feet,
     Walled about by its basement stones,
     Lie the marvellous preacher's bones.
     No saintly honors to them are shown,
     No sign nor miracle have they known;
     But he who passes the ancient church
     Stops in the shade of its belfry-porch,
     And ponders the wonderful life of him
     Who lies at rest in that charnel dim.
     Long shall the traveller strain his eye
     From the railroad car, as it plunges by,
     And the vanishing town behind him search
     For the slender spire of the Whitefield Church;
     And feel for one moment the ghosts of trade,
     And fashion, and folly, and pleasure laid,
     By the thought of that life of pure intent,
     That voice of warning yet eloquent,
     Of one on the errands of angels sent.
     And if where he labored the flood of sin
     Like a tide from the harbor-bar sets in,
     And over a life of tune and sense
     The church-spires lift their vain defence,
     As if to scatter the bolts of God
     With the points of Calvin's thunder-rod,--
     Still, as the gem of its civic crown,
     Precious beyond the world's renown,
     His memory hallows the ancient town!

     1859.



THE TRUCE OF PISCATAQUA.

In the winter of 1675-76, the Eastern Indians, who had been making war
upon the New Hampshire settlements, were so reduced in numbers by
fighting and famine that they agreed to a  peace with Major Waldron at
Dover, but the peace was broken in the fall of 1676. The famous chief,
Squando, was the principal negotiator on the part of the savages. He had
taken up the  hatchet to revenge the brutal treatment of his child by
drunken white sailors, which caused its death.

It not unfrequently happened during the Border wars that young white
children were adopted by their Indian captors, and so kindly treated
that they were unwilling to leave the free, wild life of the woods; and
in some instances they utterly refused to go back with their parents to
their old homes and civilization.

     RAZE these long blocks of brick and stone,
     These huge mill-monsters overgrown;
     Blot out the humbler piles as well,
     Where, moved like living shuttles, dwell
     The weaving genii of the bell;
     Tear from the wild Cocheco's track
     The dams that hold its torrents back;
     And let the loud-rejoicing fall
     Plunge, roaring, down its rocky wall;
     And let the Indian's paddle play
     On the unbridged Piscataqua!
     Wide over hill and valley spread
     Once more the forest, dusk and dread,
     With here and there a clearing cut
     From the walled shadows round it shut;
     Each with its farm-house builded rude,
     By English yeoman squared and hewed,
     And the grim, flankered block-house bound
     With bristling palisades around.
     So, haply shall before thine eyes
     The dusty veil of centuries rise,
     The old, strange scenery overlay
     The tamer pictures of to-day,
     While, like the actors in a play,
     Pass in their ancient guise along
     The figures of my border song
     What time beside Cocheco's flood
     The white man and the red man stood,
     With words of peace and brotherhood;
     When passed the sacred calumet
     From lip to lip with fire-draught wet,
     And, puffed in scorn, the peace-pipe's smoke
     Through the gray beard of Waldron broke,
     And Squando's voice, in suppliant plea
     For mercy, struck the haughty key
     Of one who held, in any fate,
     His native pride inviolate!

     "Let your ears be opened wide!
     He who speaks has never lied.
     Waldron of Piscataqua,
     Hear what Squando has to say!

     "Squando shuts his eyes and sees,
     Far off, Saco's hemlock-trees.
     In his wigwam, still as stone,
     Sits a woman all alone,

     "Wampum beads and birchen strands
     Dropping from her careless hands,
     Listening ever for the fleet
     Patter of a dead child's feet!

     "When the moon a year ago
     Told the flowers the time to blow,
     In that lonely wigwam smiled
     Menewee, our little child.

     "Ere that moon grew thin and old,
     He was lying still and cold;
     Sent before us, weak and small,
     When the Master did not call!

     "On his little grave I lay;
     Three times went and came the day,
     Thrice above me blazed the noon,
     Thrice upon me wept the moon.

     "In the third night-watch I heard,
     Far and low, a spirit-bird;
     Very mournful, very wild,
     Sang the totem of my child.

     "'Menewee, poor Menewee,
     Walks a path he cannot see
     Let the white man's wigwam light
     With its blaze his steps aright.

     "'All-uncalled, he dares not show
     Empty hands to Manito
     Better gifts he cannot bear
     Than the scalps his slayers wear.'

     "All the while the totem sang,
     Lightning blazed and thunder rang;
     And a black cloud, reaching high,
     Pulled the white moon from the sky.

     "I, the medicine-man, whose ear
     All that spirits bear can hear,--
     I, whose eyes are wide to see
     All the things that are to be,--

     "Well I knew the dreadful signs
     In the whispers of the pines,
     In the river roaring loud,
     In the mutter of the cloud.

     "At the breaking of the day,
     From the grave I passed away;
     Flowers bloomed round me, birds sang glad,
     But my heart was hot and mad.

     "There is rust on Squando's knife,
     From the warm, red springs of life;
     On the funeral hemlock-trees
     Many a scalp the totem sees.

     "Blood for blood! But evermore
     Squando's heart is sad and sore;
     And his poor squaw waits at home
     For the feet that never come!

     "Waldron of Cocheco, hear!
     Squando speaks, who laughs at fear;
     Take the captives he has ta'en;
     Let the land have peace again!"

     As the words died on his tongue,
     Wide apart his warriors swung;
     Parted, at the sign he gave,
     Right and left, like Egypt's wave.

     And, like Israel passing free
     Through the prophet-charmed sea,
     Captive mother, wife, and child
     Through the dusky terror filed.

     One alone, a little maid,
     Middleway her steps delayed,
     Glancing, with quick, troubled sight,
     Round about from red to white.

     Then his hand the Indian laid
     On the little maiden's head,
     Lightly from her forehead fair
     Smoothing back her yellow hair.

     "Gift or favor ask I none;
     What I have is all my own
     Never yet the birds have sung,
     Squando hath a beggar's tongue.'

     "Yet for her who waits at home,
     For the dead who cannot come,
     Let the little Gold-hair be
     In the place of Menewee!

     "Mishanock, my little star!
     Come to Saco's pines afar;
     Where the sad one waits at home,
     Wequashim, my moonlight, come!"

     "What!" quoth Waldron, "leave a child
     Christian-born to heathens wild?
     As God lives, from Satan's hand
     I will pluck her as a brand!"

     "Hear me, white man!" Squando cried;
     "Let the little one decide.
     Wequashim, my moonlight, say,
     Wilt thou go with me, or stay?"

     Slowly, sadly, half afraid,
     Half regretfully, the maid
     Owned the ties of blood and race,--
     Turned from Squando's pleading face.

     Not a word the Indian spoke,
     But his wampum chain he broke,
     And the beaded wonder hung
     On that neck so fair and young.

     Silence-shod, as phantoms seem
     In the marches of a dream,
     Single-filed, the grim array
     Through the pine-trees wound away.

     Doubting, trembling, sore amazed,
     Through her tears the young child gazed.
     "God preserve her!" Waldron said;
     "Satan hath bewitched the maid!"

     Years went and came. At close of day
     Singing came a child from play,
     Tossing from her loose-locked head
     Gold in sunshine, brown in shade.

     Pride was in the mother's look,
     But her head she gravely shook,
     And with lips that fondly smiled
     Feigned to chide her truant child.

     Unabashed, the maid began
     "Up and down the brook I ran,
     Where, beneath the bank so steep,
     Lie the spotted trout asleep.

     "'Chip!' went squirrel on the wall,
     After me I heard him call,
     And the cat-bird on the tree
     Tried his best to mimic me.

     "Where the hemlocks grew so dark
     That I stopped to look and hark,
     On a log, with feather-hat,
     By the path, an Indian sat.

     "Then I cried, and ran away;
     But he called, and bade me stay;
     And his voice was good and mild
     As my mother's to her child.

     "And he took my wampum chain,
     Looked and looked it o'er again;
     Gave me berries, and, beside,
     On my neck a plaything tied."

     Straight the mother stooped to see
     What the Indian's gift might be.
     On the braid of wampum hung,
     Lo! a cross of silver swung.

     Well she knew its graven sign,
     Squando's bird and totem pine;
     And, a mirage of the brain,
     Flowed her childhood back again.

     Flashed the roof the sunshine through,
     Into space the walls outgrew;
     On the Indian's wigwam-mat,
     Blossom-crowned, again she sat.

     Cool she felt the west-wind blow,
     In her ear the pines sang low,
     And, like links from out a chain,
     Dropped the years of care and pain.
     From the outward toil and din,
     From the griefs that gnaw within,
     To the freedom of the woods
     Called the birds, and winds, and floods.

     Well, O painful minister!
     Watch thy flock, but blame not her,
     If her ear grew sharp to hear
     All their voices whispering near.

     Blame her not, as to her soul
     All the desert's glamour stole,
     That a tear for childhood's loss
     Dropped upon the Indian's cross.

     When, that night, the Book was read,
     And she bowed her widowed head,
     And a prayer for each loved name
     Rose like incense from a flame,

     With a hope the creeds forbid
     In her pitying bosom hid,
     To the listening ear of Heaven
     Lo! the Indian's name was given.

     1860.



MY PLAYMATE.

     THE pines were dark on Ramoth hill,
     Their song was soft and low;
     The blossoms in the sweet May wind
     Were falling like the snow.

     The blossoms drifted at our feet,
     The orchard birds sang clear;
     The sweetest and the saddest day
     It seemed of all the year.

     For, more to me than birds or flowers,
     My playmate left her home,
     And took with her the laughing spring,
     The music and the bloom.

     She kissed the lips of kith and kin,
     She laid her hand in mine
     What more could ask the bashful boy
     Who fed her father's kine?

     She left us in the bloom of May
     The constant years told o'er
     Their seasons with as sweet May morns,
     But she came back no more.

     I walk, with noiseless feet, the round
     Of uneventful years;
     Still o'er and o'er I sow the spring
     And reap the autumn ears.

     She lives where all the golden year
     Her summer roses blow;
     The dusky children of the sun
     Before her come and go.

     There haply with her jewelled hands
     She smooths her silken gown,--
     No more the homespun lap wherein
     I shook the walnuts down.

     The wild grapes wait us by the brook,
     The brown nuts on the hill,
     And still the May-day flowers make sweet
     The woods of Follymill.

     The lilies blossom in the pond,
     The bird builds in the tree,
     The dark pines sing on Ramoth hill
     The slow song of the sea.

     I wonder if she thinks of them,
     And how the old time seems,--
     If ever the pines of Ramoth wood
     Are sounding in her dreams.

     I see her face, I hear her voice;
     Does she remember mine?
     And what to her is now the boy
     Who fed her father's kine?

     What cares she that the orioles build
     For other eyes than ours,--
     That other hands with nuts are filled,
     And other laps with flowers?

     O playmate in the golden time!
     Our mossy seat is green,
     Its fringing violets blossom yet,
     The old trees o'er it lean.

     The winds so sweet with birch and fern
     A sweeter memory blow;
     And there in spring the veeries sing
     The song of long ago.

     And still the pines of Ramoth wood
     Are moaning like the sea,--

     The moaning of the sea of change
     Between myself and thee!

     1860.



COBBLER KEEZAR'S VISION.

This ballad was written on the occasion of a Horticultural Festival.
Cobbler Keezar was a noted character among the first settlers in the
valley of the Merrimac.

     THE beaver cut his timber
     With patient teeth that day,
     The minks were fish-wards, and the crows
     Surveyors of highway,--

     When Keezar sat on the hillside
     Upon his cobbler's form,
     With a pan of coals on either hand
     To keep his waxed-ends warm.

     And there, in the golden weather,
     He stitched and hammered and sung;
     In the brook he moistened his leather,
     In the pewter mug his tongue.

     Well knew the tough old Teuton
     Who brewed the stoutest ale,
     And he paid the goodwife's reckoning
     In the coin of song and tale.

     The songs they still are singing
     Who dress the hills of vine,
     The tales that haunt the Brocken
     And whisper down the Rhine.

     Woodsy and wild and lonesome,
     The swift stream wound away,
     Through birches and scarlet maples
     Flashing in foam and spray,--

     Down on the sharp-horned ledges
     Plunging in steep cascade,
     Tossing its white-maned waters
     Against the hemlock's shade.

     Woodsy and wild and lonesome,
     East and west and north and south;
     Only the village of fishers
     Down at the river's mouth;

     Only here and there a clearing,
     With its farm-house rude and new,
     And tree-stumps, swart as Indians,
     Where the scanty harvest grew.

     No shout of home-bound reapers,
     No vintage-song he heard,
     And on the green no dancing feet
     The merry violin stirred.

     "Why should folk be glum," said Keezar,
     "When Nature herself is glad,
     And the painted woods are laughing
     At the faces so sour and sad?"

     Small heed had the careless cobbler
     What sorrow of heart was theirs
     Who travailed in pain with the births of God,
     And planted a state with prayers,--

     Hunting of witches and warlocks,
     Smiting the heathen horde,--
     One hand on the mason's trowel,
     And one on the soldier's sword.

     But give him his ale and cider,
     Give him his pipe and song,
     Little he cared for Church or State,
     Or the balance of right and wrong.

     "T is work, work, work," he muttered,--
     "And for rest a snuffle of psalms!"
     He smote on his leathern apron
     With his brown and waxen palms.

     "Oh for the purple harvests
     Of the days when I was young
     For the merry grape-stained maidens,
     And the pleasant songs they sung!

     "Oh for the breath of vineyards,
     Of apples and nuts and wine
     For an oar to row and a breeze to blow
     Down the grand old river Rhine!"

     A tear in his blue eye glistened,
     And dropped on his beard so gray.
     "Old, old am I," said Keezar,
     "And the Rhine flows far away!"

     But a cunning man was the cobbler;
     He could call the birds from the trees,
     Charm the black snake out of the ledges,
     And bring back the swarming bees.

     All the virtues of herbs and metals,
     All the lore of the woods, he knew,
     And the arts of the Old World mingle
     With the marvels of the New.

     Well he knew the tricks of magic,
     And the lapstone on his knee
     Had the gift of the Mormon's goggles
     Or the stone of Doctor Dee.(11)

     For the mighty master Agrippa
     Wrought it with spell and rhyme
     From a fragment of mystic moonstone
     In the tower of Nettesheim.

     To a cobbler Minnesinger
     The marvellous stone gave he,--
     And he gave it, in turn, to Keezar,
     Who brought it over the sea.

     He held up that mystic lapstone,
     He held it up like a lens,
     And he counted the long years coming
     Ey twenties and by tens.

     "One hundred years," quoth Keezar,
     "And fifty have I told
     Now open the new before me,
     And shut me out the old!"

     Like a cloud of mist, the blackness
     Rolled from the magic stone,
     And a marvellous picture mingled
     The unknown and the known.

     Still ran the stream to the river,
     And river and ocean joined;
     And there were the bluffs and the blue sea-line,
     And cold north hills behind.

     But--the mighty forest was broken
     By many a steepled town,
     By many a white-walled farm-house,
     And many a garner brown.

     Turning a score of mill-wheels,
     The stream no more ran free;
     White sails on the winding river,
     White sails on the far-off sea.

     Below in the noisy village
     The flags were floating gay,
     And shone on a thousand faces
     The light of a holiday.

     Swiftly the rival ploughmen
     Turned the brown earth from their shares;
     Here were the farmer's treasures,
     There were the craftsman's wares.

     Golden the goodwife's butter,
     Ruby her currant-wine;
     Grand were the strutting turkeys,
     Fat were the beeves and swine.

     Yellow and red were the apples,
     And the ripe pears russet-brown,
     And the peaches had stolen blushes
     From the girls who shook them down.

     And with blooms of hill and wildwood,
     That shame the toil of art,
     Mingled the gorgeous blossoms
     Of the garden's tropic heart.

     "What is it I see?" said Keezar
     "Am I here, or ant I there?
     Is it a fete at Bingen?
     Do I look on Frankfort fair?

     "But where are the clowns and puppets,
     And imps with horns and tail?
     And where are the Rhenish flagons?
     And where is the foaming ale?

     "Strange things, I know, will happen,--
     Strange things the Lord permits;
     But that droughty folk should be jolly
     Puzzles my poor old wits.

     "Here are smiling manly faces,
     And the maiden's step is gay;
     Nor sad by thinking, nor mad by drinking,
     Nor mopes, nor fools, are they.

     "Here's pleasure without regretting,
     And good without abuse,
     The holiday and the bridal
     Of beauty and of use.

     "Here's a priest and there is a Quaker,
     Do the cat and dog agree?
     Have they burned the stocks for ovenwood?
     Have they cut down the gallows-tree?

     "Would the old folk know their children?
     Would they own the graceless town,
     With never a ranter to worry
     And never a witch to drown?"


     Loud laughed the cobbler Keezar,
     Laughed like a school-boy gay;
     Tossing his arms above him,
     The lapstone rolled away.

     It rolled down the rugged hillside,
     It spun like a wheel bewitched,
     It plunged through the leaning willows,
     And into the river pitched.

     There, in the deep, dark water,
     The magic stone lies still,
     Under the leaning willows
     In the shadow of the hill.

     But oft the idle fisher
     Sits on the shadowy bank,
     And his dreams make marvellous pictures
     Where the wizard's lapstone sank.

     And still, in the summer twilights,
     When the river seems to run
     Out from the inner glory,
     Warm with the melted sun,

     The weary mill-girl lingers
     Beside the charmed stream,
     And the sky and the golden water
     Shape and color her dream.

     Air wave the sunset gardens,
     The rosy signals fly;
     Her homestead beckons from the cloud,
     And love goes sailing by.

     1861.



AMY WENTWORTH

TO WILLIAM BRADFORD.

     As they who watch by sick-beds find relief
     Unwittingly from the great stress of grief
     And anxious care, in fantasies outwrought
     From the hearth's embers flickering low, or caught
     From whispering wind, or tread of passing feet,
     Or vagrant memory calling up some sweet
     Snatch of old song or romance, whence or why
     They scarcely know or ask,--so, thou and I,
     Nursed in the faith that Truth alone is strong
     In the endurance which outwearies Wrong,
     With meek persistence baffling brutal force,
     And trusting God against the universe,--
     We, doomed to watch a strife we may not share
     With other weapons than the patriot's prayer,
     Yet owning, with full hearts and moistened eyes,
     The awful beauty of self-sacrifice,
     And wrung by keenest sympathy for all
     Who give their loved ones for the living wall
     'Twixt law and treason,--in this evil day
     May haply find, through automatic play
     Of pen and pencil, solace to our pain,
     And hearten others with the strength we gain.
     I know it has been said our times require
     No play of art, nor dalliance with the lyre,
     No weak essay with Fancy's chloroform
     To calm the hot, mad pulses of the storm,
     But the stern war-blast rather, such as sets
     The battle's teeth of serried bayonets,
     And pictures grim as Vernet's. Yet with these
     Some softer tints may blend, and milder keys
     Relieve the storm-stunned ear. Let us keep sweet,
     If so we may, our hearts, even while we eat
     The bitter harvest of our own device
     And half a century's moral cowardice.
     As Nurnberg sang while Wittenberg defied,
     And Kranach painted by his Luther's side,
     And through the war-march of the Puritan
     The silver stream of Marvell's music ran,
     So let the household melodies be sung,
     The pleasant pictures on the wall be hung--
     So let us hold against the hosts of night
     And slavery all our vantage-ground of light.
     Let Treason boast its savagery, and shake
     From its flag-folds its symbol rattlesnake,
     Nurse its fine arts, lay human skins in tan,
     And carve its pipe-bowls from the bones of man,
     And make the tale of Fijian banquets dull
     By drinking whiskey from a loyal skull,--
     But let us guard, till this sad war shall cease,
     (God grant it soon!) the graceful arts of peace
     No foes are conquered who the victors teach
     Their vandal manners and barbaric speech.

     And while, with hearts of thankfulness, we bear
     Of the great common burden our full share,
     Let none upbraid us that the waves entice
     Thy sea-dipped pencil, or some quaint device,
     Rhythmic, and sweet, beguiles my pen away
     From the sharp strifes and sorrows of to-day.
     Thus, while the east-wind keen from Labrador
     Sings it the leafless elms, and from the shore
     Of the great sea comes the monotonous roar
     Of the long-breaking surf, and all the sky
     Is gray with cloud, home-bound and dull, I try
     To time a simple legend to the sounds
     Of winds in the woods, and waves on pebbled bounds,--
     A song for oars to chime with, such as might
     Be sung by tired sea-painters, who at night
     Look from their hemlock camps, by quiet cove
     Or beach, moon-lighted, on the waves they love.
     (So hast thou looked, when level sunset lay
     On the calm bosom of some Eastern bay,
     And all the spray-moist rocks and waves that rolled
     Up the white sand-slopes flashed with ruddy gold.)
     Something it has--a flavor of the sea,
     And the sea's freedom--which reminds of thee.
     Its faded picture, dimly smiling down
     From the blurred fresco of the ancient town,
     I have not touched with warmer tints in vain,
     If, in this dark, sad year, it steals one thought
     from pain.

              . . . . . . . . . . . .


     Her fingers shame the ivory keys
     They dance so light along;
     The bloom upon her parted lips
     Is sweeter than the song.

     O perfumed suitor, spare thy smiles!
     Her thoughts are not of thee;
     She better loves the salted wind,
     The voices of the sea.

     Her heart is like an outbound ship
     That at its anchor swings;
     The murmur of the stranded shell
     Is in the song she sings.

     She sings, and, smiling, hears her praise,
     But dreams the while of one
     Who watches from his sea-blown deck
     The icebergs in the sun.

     She questions all the winds that blow,
     And every fog-wreath dim,
     And bids the sea-birds flying north
     Bear messages to him.

     She speeds them with the thanks of men
     He perilled life to save,
     And grateful prayers like holy oil
     To smooth for him the wave.

     Brown Viking of the fishing-smack!
     Fair toast of all the town!--
     The skipper's jerkin ill beseems
     The lady's silken gown!

     But ne'er shall Amy Wentworth wear
     For him the blush of shame
     Who dares to set his manly gifts
     Against her ancient name.

     The stream is brightest at its spring,
     And blood is not like wine;
     Nor honored less than he who heirs
     Is he who founds a line.

     Full lightly shall the prize be won,
     If love be Fortune's spur;
     And never maiden stoops to him
     Who lifts himself to her.

     Her home is brave in Jaffrey Street,
     With stately stairways worn
     By feet of old Colonial knights
     And ladies gentle-born.

     Still green about its ample porch
     The English ivy twines,
     Trained back to show in English oak
     The herald's carven signs.

     And on her, from the wainscot old,
     Ancestral faces frown,--
     And this has worn the soldier's sword,
     And that the judge's gown.

     But, strong of will and proud as they,
     She walks the gallery floor
     As if she trod her sailor's deck
     By stormy Labrador.

     The sweetbrier blooms on Kittery-side,
     And green are Elliot's bowers;
     Her garden is the pebbled beach,
     The mosses are her flowers.

     She looks across the harbor-bar
     To see the white gulls fly;
     His greeting from the Northern sea
     Is in their clanging cry.

     She hums a song, and dreams that he,
     As in its romance old,
     Shall homeward ride with silken sails
     And masts of beaten gold!

     Oh, rank is good, and gold is fair,
     And high and low mate ill;
     But love has never known a law
     Beyond its own sweet will!

     1862.



THE COUNTESS.

TO E. W.

I inscribed this poem to Dr. Elias Weld of Haverhill, Massachusetts,
to whose kindness I was much indebted in my boyhood. He was the one
cultivated man in the neighborhood. His small but well-chosen library
was placed at my disposal. He is the "wise old doctor" of Snow-Bound.
Count Francois de Vipart with his cousin Joseph Rochemont de Poyen came
to the United States in the early part of the present century. They took
up their residence at Rocks Village on the Merrimac, where they both
married. The wife of Count Vipart was Mary Ingalls, who as my father
remembered her was a very lovely young girl. Her wedding dress, as
described by a lady still living, was "pink satin with an overdress of
white lace, and white satin slippers." She died in less than a year
after her marriage. Her husband returned to his native country. He lies
buried in the family tomb of the Viparts at Bordeaux.

     I KNOW not, Time and Space so intervene,
     Whether, still waiting with a trust serene,
     Thou bearest up thy fourscore years and ten,
     Or, called at last, art now Heaven's citizen;
     But, here or there, a pleasant thought of thee,
     Like an old friend, all day has been with me.
     The shy, still boy, for whom thy kindly hand
     Smoothed his hard pathway to the wonder-land
     Of thought and fancy, in gray manhood yet
     Keeps green the memory of his early debt.
     To-day, when truth and falsehood speak their words
     Through hot-lipped cannon and the teeth of swords,
     Listening with quickened heart and ear intent
     To each sharp clause of that stern argument,
     I still can hear at times a softer note
     Of the old pastoral music round me float,
     While through the hot gleam of our civil strife
     Looms the green mirage of a simpler life.
     As, at his alien post, the sentinel
     Drops the old bucket in the homestead well,
     And hears old voices in the winds that toss
     Above his head the live-oak's beard of moss,
     So, in our trial-time, and under skies
     Shadowed by swords like Islam's paradise,
     I wait and watch, and let my fancy stray
     To milder scenes and youth's Arcadian day;
     And howsoe'er the pencil dipped in dreams
     Shades the brown woods or tints the sunset streams,
     The country doctor in the foreground seems,
     Whose ancient sulky down the village lanes
     Dragged, like a war-car, captive ills and pains.
     I could not paint the scenery of my song,
     Mindless of one who looked thereon so long;
     Who, night and day, on duty's lonely round,
     Made friends o' the woods and rocks, and knew the sound
     Of each small brook, and what the hillside trees
     Said to the winds that touched their leafy keys;
     Who saw so keenly and so well could paint
     The village-folk, with all their humors quaint,
     The parson ambling on his wall-eyed roan.
     Grave and erect, with white hair backward blown;
     The tough old boatman, half amphibious grown;
     The muttering witch-wife of the gossip's tale,
     And the loud straggler levying his blackmail,--
     Old customs, habits, superstitions, fears,
     All that lies buried under fifty years.
     To thee, as is most fit, I bring my lay,
     And, grateful, own the debt I cannot pay.

              . . . . . . . . . .

     Over the wooded northern ridge,
     Between its houses brown,
     To the dark tunnel of the bridge
     The street comes straggling down.

     You catch a glimpse, through birch and pine,
     Of gable, roof, and porch,
     The tavern with its swinging sign,
     The sharp horn of the church.

     The river's steel-blue crescent curves
     To meet, in ebb and flow,
     The single broken wharf that serves
     For sloop and gundelow.

     With salt sea-scents along its shores
     The heavy hay-boats crawl,
     The long antennae of their oars
     In lazy rise and fall.

     Along the gray abutment's wall
     The idle shad-net dries;
     The toll-man in his cobbler's stall
     Sits smoking with closed eyes.

     You hear the pier's low undertone
     Of waves that chafe and gnaw;
     You start,--a skipper's horn is blown
     To raise the creaking draw.

     At times a blacksmith's anvil sounds
     With slow and sluggard beat,
     Or stage-coach on its dusty rounds
     Fakes up the staring street.

     A place for idle eyes and ears,
     A cobwebbed nook of dreams;
     Left by the stream whose waves are years
     The stranded village seems.

     And there, like other moss and rust,
     The native dweller clings,
     And keeps, in uninquiring trust,
     The old, dull round of things.

     The fisher drops his patient lines,
     The farmer sows his grain,
     Content to hear the murmuring pines
     Instead of railroad-train.

     Go where, along the tangled steep
     That slopes against the west,
     The hamlet's buried idlers sleep
     In still profounder rest.

     Throw back the locust's flowery plume,
     The birch's pale-green scarf,
     And break the web of brier and bloom
     From name and epitaph.

     A simple muster-roll of death,
     Of pomp and romance shorn,
     The dry, old names that common breath
     Has cheapened and outworn.

     Yet pause by one low mound, and part
     The wild vines o'er it laced,
     And read the words by rustic art
     Upon its headstone traced.

     Haply yon white-haired villager
     Of fourscore years can say
     What means the noble name of her
     Who sleeps with common clay.

     An exile from the Gascon land
     Found refuge here and rest,
     And loved, of all the village band,
     Its fairest and its best.

     He knelt with her on Sabbath morns,
     He worshipped through her eyes,
     And on the pride that doubts and scorns
     Stole in her faith's surprise.

     Her simple daily life he saw
     By homeliest duties tried,
     In all things by an untaught law
     Of fitness justified.

     For her his rank aside he laid;
     He took the hue and tone
     Of lowly life and toil, and made
     Her simple ways his own.

     Yet still, in gay and careless ease,
     To harvest-field or dance
     He brought the gentle courtesies,
     The nameless grace of France.

     And she who taught him love not less
     From him she loved in turn
     Caught in her sweet unconsciousness
     What love is quick to learn.

     Each grew to each in pleased accord,
     Nor knew the gazing town
     If she looked upward to her lord
     Or he to her looked down.

     How sweet, when summer's day was o'er,
     His violin's mirth and wail,
     The walk on pleasant Newbury's shore,
     The river's moonlit sail!

     Ah! life is brief, though love be long;
     The altar and the bier,
     The burial hymn and bridal song,
     Were both in one short year!

     Her rest is quiet on the hill,
     Beneath the locust's bloom
     Far off her lover sleeps as still
     Within his scutcheoned tomb.

     The Gascon lord, the village maid,
     In death still clasp their hands;
     The love that levels rank and grade
     Unites their severed lands.

     What matter whose the hillside grave,
     Or whose the blazoned stone?
     Forever to her western wave
     Shall whisper blue Garonne!

     O Love!--so hallowing every soil
     That gives thy sweet flower room,
     Wherever, nursed by ease or toil,
     The human heart takes bloom!--

     Plant of lost Eden, from the sod
     Of sinful earth unriven,
     White blossom of the trees of God
     Dropped down to us from heaven!

     This tangled waste of mound and stone
     Is holy for thy sale;
     A sweetness which is all thy own
     Breathes out from fern and brake.

     And while ancestral pride shall twine
     The Gascon's tomb with flowers,
     Fall sweetly here, O song of mine,
     With summer's bloom and showers!

     And let the lines that severed seem
     Unite again in thee,
     As western wave and Gallic stream
     Are mingled in one sea!

     1863.



AMONG THE HILLS

This poem, when originally published, was dedicated to Annie Fields,
wife of the distinguished publisher, James T. Fields, of Boston, in
grateful acknowledgment of the strength and inspiration I have found in
her friendship and sympathy. The poem in its first form was entitled The
Wife: an Idyl of Bearcamp Water, and appeared in The Atlantic Monthly
for January, 1868. When I published the volume Among the Hills, in
December of the same year, I expanded the Prelude and filled out also
the outlines of the story.


     PRELUDE.

     ALONG the roadside, like the flowers of gold
     That tawny Incas for their gardens wrought,
     Heavy with sunshine droops the golden-rod,
     And the red pennons of the cardinal-flowers
     Hang motionless upon their upright staves.
     The sky is hot and hazy, and the wind,
     Vying-weary with its long flight from the south,
     Unfelt; yet, closely scanned, yon maple leaf
     With faintest motion, as one stirs in dreams,
     Confesses it. The locust by the wall
     Stabs the noon-silence with his sharp alarm.
     A single hay-cart down the dusty road
     Creaks slowly, with its driver fast asleep
     On the load's top. Against the neighboring hill,
     Huddled along the stone wall's shady side,
     The sheep show white, as if a snowdrift still
     Defied the dog-star. Through the open door
     A drowsy smell of flowers-gray heliotrope,
     And white sweet clover, and shy mignonette--
     Comes faintly in, and silent chorus lends
     To the pervading symphony of peace.
     No time is this for hands long over-worn
     To task their strength; and (unto Him be praise
     Who giveth quietness!) the stress and strain
     Of years that did the work of centuries
     Have ceased, and we can draw our breath once more
     Freely and full. So, as yon harvesters
     Make glad their nooning underneath the elms
     With tale and riddle and old snatch of song,
     I lay aside grave themes, and idly turn
     The leaves of memory's sketch-book, dreaming o'er
     Old summer pictures of the quiet hills,
     And human life, as quiet, at their feet.

     And yet not idly all. A farmer's son,
     Proud of field-lore and harvest craft, and feeling
     All their fine possibilities, how rich
     And restful even poverty and toil
     Become when beauty, harmony, and love
     Sit at their humble hearth as angels sat
     At evening in the patriarch's tent, when man
     Makes labor noble, and his farmer's frock
     The symbol of a Christian chivalry
     Tender and just and generous to her
     Who clothes with grace all duty; still, I know
     Too well the picture has another side,--
     How wearily the grind of toil goes on
     Where love is wanting, how the eye and ear
     And heart are starved amidst the plenitude
     Of nature, and how hard and colorless
     Is life without an atmosphere. I look
     Across the lapse of half a century,
     And call to mind old homesteads, where no flower
     Told that the spring had come, but evil weeds,
     Nightshade and rough-leaved burdock in the place
     Of the sweet doorway greeting of the rose
     And honeysuckle, where the house walls seemed
     Blistering in sun, without a tree or vine
     To cast the tremulous shadow of its leaves
     Across the curtainless windows, from whose panes
     Fluttered the signal rags of shiftlessness.
     Within, the cluttered kitchen-floor, unwashed
     (Broom-clean I think they called it); the best room
     Stifling with cellar damp, shut from the air
     In hot midsummer, bookless, pictureless,
     Save the inevitable sampler hung
     Over the fireplace, or a mourning piece,
     A green-haired woman, peony-cheeked, beneath
     Impossible willows; the wide-throated hearth
     Bristling with faded pine-boughs half concealing
     The piled-up rubbish at the chimney's back;
     And, in sad keeping with all things about them,
     Shrill, querulous-women, sour and sullen men,
     Untidy, loveless, old before their time,
     With scarce a human interest save their own
     Monotonous round of small economies,
     Or the poor scandal of the neighborhood;
     Blind to the beauty everywhere revealed,
     Treading the May-flowers with regardless feet;
     For them the song-sparrow and the bobolink
     Sang not, nor winds made music in the leaves;
     For them in vain October's holocaust
     Burned, gold and crimson, over all the hills,
     The sacramental mystery of the woods.
     Church-goers, fearful of the unseen Powers,
     But grumbling over pulpit-tax and pew-rent,
     Saving, as shrewd economists, their souls
     And winter pork with the least possible outlay
     Of salt and sanctity; in daily life
     Showing as little actual comprehension
     Of Christian charity and love and duty,
     As if the Sermon on the Mount had been
     Outdated like a last year's almanac
     Rich in broad woodlands and in half-tilled fields,
     And yet so pinched and bare and comfortless,
     The veriest straggler limping on his rounds,
     The sun and air his sole inheritance,
     Laughed at a poverty that paid its taxes,
     And hugged his rags in self-complacency!

     Not such should be the homesteads of a land
     Where whoso wisely wills and acts may dwell
     As king and lawgiver, in broad-acred state,
     With beauty, art, taste, culture, books, to make
     His hour of leisure richer than a life
     Of fourscore to the barons of old time,
     Our yeoman should be equal to his home
     Set in the fair, green valleys, purple walled,
     A man to match his mountains, not to creep
     Dwarfed and abased below them. I would fain
     In this light way (of which I needs must own
     With the knife-grinder of whom Canning sings,
     "Story, God bless you! I have none to tell you!")
     Invite the eye to see and heart to feel
     The beauty and the joy within their reach,--
     Home, and home loves, and the beatitudes
     Of nature free to all. Haply in years
     That wait to take the places of our own,
     Heard where some breezy balcony looks down
     On happy homes, or where the lake in the moon
     Sleeps dreaming of the mountains, fair as Ruth,
     In the old Hebrew pastoral, at the feet
     Of Boaz, even this simple lay of mine
     May seem the burden of a prophecy,
     Finding its late fulfilment in a change
     Slow as the oak's growth, lifting manhood up
     Through broader culture, finer manners, love,
     And reverence, to the level of the hills.

     O Golden Age, whose light is of the dawn,
     And not of sunset, forward, not behind,
     Flood the new heavens and earth, and with thee bring
     All the old virtues, whatsoever things
     Are pure and honest and of good repute,
     But add thereto whatever bard has sung
     Or seer has told of when in trance and dream
     They saw the Happy Isles of prophecy
     Let Justice hold her scale, and Truth divide
     Between the right and wrong; but give the heart
     The freedom of its fair inheritance;
     Let the poor prisoner, cramped and starved so long,
     At Nature's table feast his ear and eye
     With joy and wonder; let all harmonies
     Of sound, form, color, motion, wait upon
     The princely guest, whether in soft attire
     Of leisure clad, or the coarse frock of toil,
     And, lending life to the dead form of faith,
     Give human nature reverence for the sake
     Of One who bore it, making it divine
     With the ineffable tenderness of God;
     Let common need, the brotherhood of prayer,
     The heirship of an unknown destiny,
     The unsolved mystery round about us, make
     A man more precious than the gold of Ophir.
     Sacred, inviolate, unto whom all things
     Should minister, as outward types and signs
     Of the eternal beauty which fulfils
     The one great purpose of creation, Love,
     The sole necessity of Earth and Heaven!

              . . . . . . . . . . .

     For weeks the clouds had raked the hills
     And vexed the vales with raining,
     And all the woods were sad with mist,
     And all the brooks complaining.

     At last, a sudden night-storm tore
     The mountain veils asunder,
     And swept the valleys clean before
     The besom of the thunder.

     Through Sandwich notch the west-wind sang
     Good morrow to the cotter;
     And once again Chocorua's horn
     Of shadow pierced the water.

     Above his broad lake Ossipee,
     Once more the sunshine wearing,
     Stooped, tracing on that silver shield
     His grim armorial bearing.

     Clear drawn against the hard blue sky,
     The peaks had winter's keenness;
     And, close on autumn's frost, the vales
     Had more than June's fresh greenness.

     Again the sodden forest floors
     With golden lights were checkered,
     Once more rejoicing leaves in wind
     And sunshine danced and flickered.

     It was as if the summer's late
     Atoning for it's sadness
     Had borrowed every season's charm
     To end its days in gladness.

     Rivers of gold-mist flowing down
     From far celestial fountains,--
     The great sun flaming through the rifts
     Beyond the wall of mountains.

     We paused at last where home-bound cows
     Brought down the pasture's treasure,
     And in the barn the rhythmic flails
     Beat out a harvest measure.

     We heard the night-hawk's sullen plunge,
     The crow his tree-mates calling
     The shadows lengthening down the slopes
     About our feet were falling.

     And through them smote the level sun
     In broken lines of splendor,
     Touched the gray rocks and made the green
     Of the shorn grass more tender.

     The maples bending o'er the gate,
     Their arch of leaves just tinted
     With yellow warmth, the golden glow
     Of coming autumn hinted.

     Keen white between the farm-house showed,
     And smiled on porch and trellis,
     The fair democracy of flowers
     That equals cot and palace.

     And weaving garlands for her dog,
     'Twixt chidings and caresses,
     A human flower of childhood shook
     The sunshine from her tresses.

     Clear drawn against the hard blue sky,
     The peaks had winter's keenness;
     And, close on autumn's frost, the vales
     Had more than June's fresh greenness.

     Again the sodden forest floors
     With golden lights were checkered,
     Once more rejoicing leaves in wind
     And sunshine danced and flickered.

     It was as if the summer's late
     Atoning for it's sadness
     Had borrowed every season's charm
     To end its days in gladness.

     I call to mind those banded vales
     Of shadow and of shining,
     Through which, my hostess at my side,
     I drove in day's declining.

     We held our sideling way above
     The river's whitening shallows,
     By homesteads old, with wide-flung barns
     Swept through and through by swallows;

     By maple orchards, belts of pine
     And larches climbing darkly
     The mountain slopes, and, over all,
     The great peaks rising starkly.

     You should have seen that long hill-range
     With gaps of brightness riven,--
     How through each pass and hollow streamed
     The purpling lights of heaven,--

     On either hand we saw the signs
     Of fancy and of shrewdness,
     Where taste had wound its arms of vines
     Round thrift's uncomely rudeness.

     The sun-brown farmer in his frock
     Shook hands, and called to Mary
     Bare-armed, as Juno might, she came,
     White-aproned from her dairy.

     Her air, her smile, her motions, told
     Of womanly completeness;
     A music as of household songs
     Was in her voice of sweetness.

     Not fair alone in curve and line,
     But something more and better,
     The secret charm eluding art,
     Its spirit, not its letter;--

     An inborn grace that nothing lacked
     Of culture or appliance,
     The warmth of genial courtesy,
     The calm of self-reliance.

     Before her queenly womanhood
     How dared our hostess utter
     The paltry errand of her need
     To buy her fresh-churned butter?

     She led the way with housewife pride,
     Her goodly store disclosing,
     Full tenderly the golden balls
     With practised hands disposing.

     Then, while along the western hills
     We watched the changeful glory
     Of sunset, on our homeward way,
     I heard her simple story.

     The early crickets sang; the stream
     Plashed through my friend's narration
     Her rustic patois of the hills
     Lost in my free-translation.

     "More wise," she said, "than those who swarm
     Our hills in middle summer,
     She came, when June's first roses blow,
     To greet the early comer.

     "From school and ball and rout she came,
     The city's fair, pale daughter,
     To drink the wine of mountain air
     Beside the Bearcamp Water.

     "Her step grew firmer on the hills
     That watch our homesteads over;
     On cheek and lip, from summer fields,
     She caught the bloom of clover.

     "For health comes sparkling in the streams
     From cool Chocorua stealing
     There's iron in our Northern winds;
     Our pines are trees of healing.

     "She sat beneath the broad-armed elms
     That skirt the mowing-meadow,
     And watched the gentle west-wind weave
     The grass with shine and shadow.

     "Beside her, from the summer heat
     To share her grateful screening,
     With forehead bared, the farmer stood,
     Upon his pitchfork leaning.

     "Framed in its damp, dark locks, his face
     Had nothing mean or common,--
     Strong, manly, true, the tenderness
     And pride beloved of woman.

     "She looked up, glowing with the health
     The country air had brought her,
     And, laughing, said: 'You lack a wife,
     Your mother lacks a daughter.

     "'To mend your frock and bake your bread
     You do not need a lady
     Be sure among these brown old homes
     Is some one waiting ready,--

     "'Some fair, sweet girl with skilful hand
     And cheerful heart for treasure,
     Who never played with ivory keys,
     Or danced the polka's measure.'

     "He bent his black brows to a frown,
     He set his white teeth tightly.
     ''T is well,' he said, 'for one like you
     To choose for me so lightly.

     "You think, because my life is rude
     I take no note of sweetness
     I tell you love has naught to do
     With meetness or unmeetness.

     "'Itself its best excuse, it asks
     No leave of pride or fashion
     When silken zone or homespun frock
     It stirs with throbs of passion.

     "'You think me deaf and blind: you bring
     Your winning graces hither
     As free as if from cradle-time
     We two had played together.

     "'You tempt me with your laughing eyes,
     Your cheek of sundown's blushes,
     A motion as of waving grain,
     A music as of thrushes.

     "'The plaything of your summer sport,
     The spells you weave around me
     You cannot at your will undo,
     Nor leave me as you found me.

     "'You go as lightly as you came,
     Your life is well without me;
     What care you that these hills will close
     Like prison-walls about me?

     "'No mood is mine to seek a wife,
     Or daughter for my mother
     Who loves you loses in that love
     All power to love another!

     "'I dare your pity or your scorn,
     With pride your own exceeding;
     I fling my heart into your lap
     Without a word of pleading.'

     "She looked up in his face of pain
     So archly, yet so tender
     'And if I lend you mine,' she said,
     'Will you forgive the lender?

     "'Nor frock nor tan can hide the man;
     And see you not, my farmer,
     How weak and fond a woman waits
     Behind this silken armor?

     "'I love you: on that love alone,
     And not my worth, presuming,
     Will you not trust for summer fruit
     The tree in May-day blooming?'

     "Alone the hangbird overhead,
     His hair-swung cradle straining,
     Looked down to see love's miracle,--
     The giving that is gaining.

     "And so the farmer found a wife,
     His mother found a daughter
     There looks no happier home than hers
     On pleasant Bearcamp Water.

     "Flowers spring to blossom where she walks
     The careful ways of duty;
     Our hard, stiff lines of life with her
     Are flowing curves of beauty.

     "Our homes are cheerier for her sake,
     Our door-yards brighter blooming,
     And all about the social air
     Is sweeter for her coming.

     "Unspoken homilies of peace
     Her daily life is preaching;
     The still refreshment of the dew
     Is her unconscious teaching.

     "And never tenderer hand than hers
     Unknits the brow of ailing;
     Her garments to the sick man's ear
     Have music in their trailing.

     "And when, in pleasant harvest moons,
     The youthful huskers gather,
     Or sleigh-drives on the mountain ways
     Defy the winter weather,--

     "In sugar-camps, when south and warm
     The winds of March are blowing,
     And sweetly from its thawing veins
     The maple's blood is flowing,--

     "In summer, where some lilied pond
     Its virgin zone is baring,
     Or where the ruddy autumn fire
     Lights up the apple-paring,--

     "The coarseness of a ruder time
     Her finer mirth displaces,
     A subtler sense of pleasure fills
     Each rustic sport she graces.

     "Her presence lends its warmth and health
     To all who come before it.
     If woman lost us Eden, such
     As she alone restore it.

     "For larger life and wiser aims
     The farmer is her debtor;
     Who holds to his another's heart
     Must needs be worse or better.

     "Through her his civic service shows
     A purer-toned ambition;
     No double consciousness divides
     The man and politician.

     "In party's doubtful ways he trusts
     Her instincts to determine;
     At the loud polls, the thought of her
     Recalls Christ's Mountain Sermon.

     "He owns her logic of the heart,
     And wisdom of unreason,
     Supplying, while he doubts and weighs,
     The needed word in season.

     "He sees with pride her richer thought,
     Her fancy's freer ranges;
     And love thus deepened to respect
     Is proof against all changes.

     "And if she walks at ease in ways
     His feet are slow to travel,
     And if she reads with cultured eyes
     What his may scarce unravel,

     "Still clearer, for her keener sight
     Of beauty and of wonder,
     He learns the meaning of the hills
     He dwelt from childhood under.

     "And higher, warmed with summer lights,
     Or winter-crowned and hoary,
     The ridged horizon lifts for him
     Its inner veils of glory.

     "He has his own free, bookless lore,
     The lessons nature taught him,
     The wisdom which the woods and hills
     And toiling men have brought him:

     "The steady force of will whereby
     Her flexile grace seems sweeter;
     The sturdy counterpoise which makes
     Her woman's life completer.

     "A latent fire of soul which lacks
     No breath of love to fan it;
     And wit, that, like his native brooks,
     Plays over solid granite.

     "How dwarfed against his manliness
     She sees the poor pretension,
     The wants, the aims, the follies, born
     Of fashion and convention.

     "How life behind its accidents
     Stands strong and self-sustaining,
     The human fact transcending all
     The losing and the gaining.

     "And so in grateful interchange
     Of teacher and of hearer,
     Their lives their true distinctness keep
     While daily drawing nearer.

     "And if the husband or the wife
     In home's strong light discovers
     Such slight defaults as failed to meet
     The blinded eyes of lovers,

     "Why need we care to ask?--who dreams
     Without their thorns of roses,
     Or wonders that the truest steel
     The readiest spark discloses?

     "For still in mutual sufferance lies
     The secret of true living;
     Love scarce is love that never knows
     The sweetness of forgiving.

     "We send the Squire to General Court,
     He takes his young wife thither;
     No prouder man election day
     Rides through the sweet June weather.

     "He sees with eyes of manly trust
     All hearts to her inclining;
     Not less for him his household light
     That others share its shining."

     Thus, while my hostess spake, there grew
     Before me, warmer tinted
     And outlined with a tenderer grace,
     The picture that she hinted.

     The sunset smouldered as we drove
     Beneath the deep hill-shadows.
     Below us wreaths of white fog walked
     Like ghosts the haunted meadows.

     Sounding the summer night, the stars
     Dropped down their golden plummets;
     The pale arc of the Northern lights
     Rose o'er the mountain summits,

     Until, at last, beneath its bridge,
     We heard the Bearcamp flowing,
     And saw across the mapled lawn
     The welcome home lights glowing.

     And, musing on the tale I heard,
     'T were well, thought I, if often
     To rugged farm-life came the gift
     To harmonize and soften;

     If more and more we found the troth
     Of fact and fancy plighted,
     And culture's charm and labor's strength
     In rural homes united,--

     The simple life, the homely hearth,
     With beauty's sphere surrounding,
     And blessing toil where toil abounds
     With graces more abounding.

     1868.



THE DOLE OF JARL THORKELL.

     THE land was pale with famine
     And racked with fever-pain;
     The frozen fiords were fishless,
     The earth withheld her grain.

     Men saw the boding Fylgja
     Before them come and go,
     And, through their dreams, the Urdarmoon
     From west to east sailed slow.

     Jarl Thorkell of Thevera
     At Yule-time made his vow;
     On Rykdal's holy Doom-stone
     He slew to Frey his cow.

     To bounteous Frey he slew her;
     To Skuld, the younger Norn,
     Who watches over birth and death,
     He gave her calf unborn.

     And his little gold-haired daughter
     Took up the sprinkling-rod,
     And smeared with blood the temple
     And the wide lips of the god.

     Hoarse below, the winter water
     Ground its ice-blocks o'er and o'er;
     Jets of foam, like ghosts of dead waves,
     Rose and fell along the shore.

     The red torch of the Jokul,
     Aloft in icy space,
     Shone down on the bloody Horg-stones
     And the statue's carven face.

     And closer round and grimmer
     Beneath its baleful light
     The Jotun shapes of mountains
     Came crowding through the night.

     The gray-haired Hersir trembled
     As a flame by wind is blown;
     A weird power moved his white lips,
     And their voice was not his own.

     "The AEsir thirst!" he muttered;
     "The gods must have more blood
     Before the tun shall blossom
     Or fish shall fill the flood.

     "The AEsir thirst and hunger,
     And hence our blight and ban;
     The mouths of the strong gods water
     For the flesh and blood of man!

     "Whom shall we give the strong ones?
     Not warriors, sword on thigh;
     But let the nursling infant
     And bedrid old man die."

     "So be it!" cried the young men,
     "There needs nor doubt nor parle."
     But, knitting hard his red brows,
     In silence stood the Jarl.

     A sound of woman's weeping
     At the temple door was heard,
     But the old men bowed their white heads,
     And answered not a word.

     Then the Dream-wife of Thingvalla,
     A Vala young and fair,
     Sang softly, stirring with her breath
     The veil of her loose hair.

     She sang: "The winds from Alfheim
     Bring never sound of strife;
     The gifts for Frey the meetest
     Are not of death, but life.

     "He loves the grass-green meadows,
     The grazing kine's sweet breath;
     He loathes your bloody Horg-stones,
     Your gifts that smell of death.

     "No wrong by wrong is righted,
     No pain is cured by pain;
     The blood that smokes from Doom-rings
     Falls back in redder rain.

     "The gods are what you make them,
     As earth shall Asgard prove;
     And hate will come of hating,
     And love will come of love.

     "Make dole of skyr and black bread
     That old and young may live;
     And look to Frey for favor
     When first like Frey you give.

     "Even now o'er Njord's sea-meadows
     The summer dawn begins
     The tun shall have its harvest,
     The fiord its glancing fins."

     Then up and swore Jarl Thorkell
     "By Gimli and by Hel,
     O Vala of Thingvalla,
     Thou singest wise and well!

     "Too dear the AEsir's favors
     Bought with our children's lives;
     Better die than shame in living
     Our mothers and our wives.

     "The full shall give his portion
     To him who hath most need;
     Of curdled skyr and black bread,
     Be daily dole decreed."

     He broke from off his neck-chain
     Three links of beaten gold;
     And each man, at his bidding,
     Brought gifts for young and old.

     Then mothers nursed their children,
     And daughters fed their sires,
     And Health sat down with Plenty
     Before the next Yule fires.

     The Horg-stones stand in Rykdal;
     The Doom-ring still remains;
     But the snows of a thousand winters
     Have washed away the stains.

     Christ ruleth now; the Asir
     Have found their twilight dim;
     And, wiser than she dreamed, of old
     The Vala sang of Him

     1868.



THE TWO RABBINS.

     THE Rabbi Nathan two-score years and ten
     Walked blameless through the evil world, and then,
     Just as the almond blossomed in his hair,
     Met a temptation all too strong to bear,
     And miserably sinned. So, adding not
     Falsehood to guilt, he left his seat, and taught
     No more among the elders, but went out
     From the great congregation girt about
     With sackcloth, and with ashes on his head,
     Making his gray locks grayer. Long he prayed,
     Smiting his breast; then, as the Book he laid
     Open before him for the Bath-Col's choice,
     Pausing to hear that Daughter of a Voice,
     Behold the royal preacher's words: "A friend
     Loveth at all times, yea, unto the end;
     And for the evil day thy brother lives."
     Marvelling, he said: "It is the Lord who gives
     Counsel in need. At Ecbatana dwells
     Rabbi Ben Isaac, who all men excels
     In righteousness and wisdom, as the trees
     Of Lebanon the small weeds that the bees
     Bow with their weight. I will arise, and lay
     My sins before him."

                             And he went his way
     Barefooted, fasting long, with many prayers;
     But even as one who, followed unawares,
     Suddenly in the darkness feels a hand
     Thrill with its touch his own, and his cheek fanned
     By odors subtly sweet, and whispers near
     Of words he loathes, yet cannot choose but hear,
     So, while the Rabbi journeyed, chanting low
     The wail of David's penitential woe,
     Before him still the old temptation came,
     And mocked him with the motion and the shame
     Of such desires that, shuddering, he abhorred
     Himself; and, crying mightily to the Lord
     To free his soul and cast the demon out,
     Smote with his staff the blankness round about.

     At length, in the low light of a spent day,
     The towers of Ecbatana far away
     Rose on the desert's rim; and Nathan, faint
     And footsore, pausing where for some dead saint
     The faith of Islam reared a domed tomb,
     Saw some one kneeling in the shadow, whom
     He greeted kindly: "May the Holy One
     Answer thy prayers, O stranger!" Whereupon
     The shape stood up with a loud cry, and then,
     Clasped in each other's arms, the two gray men
     Wept, praising Him whose gracious providence
     Made their paths one. But straightway, as the sense
     Of his transgression smote him, Nathan tore
     Himself away: "O friend beloved, no more
     Worthy am I to touch thee, for I came,
     Foul from my sins, to tell thee all my shame.
     Haply thy prayers, since naught availeth mine,
     May purge my soul, and make it white like thine.
     Pity me, O Ben Isaac, I have sinned!"

     Awestruck Ben Isaac stood. The desert wind
     Blew his long mantle backward, laying bare
     The mournful secret of his shirt of hair.
     "I too, O friend, if not in act," he said,
     "In thought have verily sinned. Hast thou not read,
     'Better the eye should see than that desire
     Should wander?' Burning with a hidden fire
     That tears and prayers quench not, I come to thee
     For pity and for help, as thou to me.
     Pray for me, O my friend!" But Nathan cried,
     "Pray thou for me, Ben Isaac!"

                                     Side by side
     In the low sunshine by the turban stone
     They knelt; each made his brother's woe his own,
     Forgetting, in the agony and stress
     Of pitying love, his claim of selfishness;
     Peace, for his friend besought, his own became;
     His prayers were answered in another's name;
     And, when at last they rose up to embrace,
     Each saw God's pardon in his brother's face!

     Long after, when his headstone gathered moss,
     Traced on the targum-marge of Onkelos
     In Rabbi Nathan's hand these words were read:
     "_Hope not the cure of sin till Self is dead;
     Forget it in love's service, and the debt
     Thou, canst not pay the angels shall forget;
     Heaven's gate is shut to him who comes alone;
     Save thou a soul, and it shall save thy own!_"

     1868.



NOREMBEGA.

Norembega, or Norimbegue, is the name given by early French fishermen
and explorers to a fabulous country south of Cape Breton, first
discovered by Verrazzani in 1524. It was supposed to have a magnificent
city of the same name on a great river, probably the Penobscot. The site
of this barbaric city is laid down on a map published at Antwerp in
1570. In 1604 Champlain sailed in search of the Northern Eldorado,
twenty-two leagues up the Penobscot from the Isle Haute. He supposed the
river to be that of Norembega, but wisely came to the conclusion that
those travellers who told of the great city had never seen it. He saw no
evidences of anything like civilization, but mentions the finding of a
cross, very old and mossy, in the woods.

     THE winding way the serpent takes
     The mystic water took,
     From where, to count its beaded lakes,
     The forest sped its brook.

     A narrow space 'twixt shore and shore,
     For sun or stars to fall,
     While evermore, behind, before,
     Closed in the forest wall.

     The dim wood hiding underneath
     Wan flowers without a name;
     Life tangled with decay and death,
     League after league the same.

     Unbroken over swamp and hill
     The rounding shadow lay,
     Save where the river cut at will
     A pathway to the day.

     Beside that track of air and light,
     Weak as a child unweaned,
     At shut of day a Christian knight
     Upon his henchman leaned.

     The embers of the sunset's fires
     Along the clouds burned down;
     "I see," he said, "the domes and spires
     Of Norembega town."

     "Alack! the domes, O master mine,
     Are golden clouds on high;
     Yon spire is but the branchless pine
     That cuts the evening sky."

     "Oh, hush and hark! What sounds are these
     But chants and holy hymns?"
     "Thou hear'st the breeze that stirs the trees
     Though all their leafy limbs."

     "Is it a chapel bell that fills
     The air with its low tone?"
     "Thou hear'st the tinkle of the rills,
     The insect's vesper drone."

     "The Christ be praised!--He sets for me
     A blessed cross in sight!"
     "Now, nay, 't is but yon blasted tree
     With two gaunt arms outright!"

     "Be it wind so sad or tree so stark,
     It mattereth not, my knave;
     Methinks to funeral hymns I hark,
     The cross is for my grave!

     "My life is sped; I shall not see
     My home-set sails again;
     The sweetest eyes of Normandie
     Shall watch for me in vain.

     "Yet onward still to ear and eye
     The baffling marvel calls;
     I fain would look before I die
     On Norembega's walls.

     "So, haply, it shall be thy part
     At Christian feet to lay
     The mystery of the desert's heart
     My dead hand plucked away.

     "Leave me an hour of rest; go thou
     And look from yonder heights;
     Perchance the valley even now
     Is starred with city lights."

     The henchman climbed the nearest hill,
     He saw nor tower nor town,
     But, through the drear woods, lone and still,
     The river rolling down.

     He heard the stealthy feet of things
     Whose shapes he could not see,
     A flutter as of evil wings,
     The fall of a dead tree.

     The pines stood black against the moon,
     A sword of fire beyond;
     He heard the wolf howl, and the loon
     Laugh from his reedy pond.

     He turned him back: "O master dear,
     We are but men misled;
     And thou hast sought a city here
     To find a grave instead."

     "As God shall will! what matters where
     A true man's cross may stand,
     So Heaven be o'er it here as there
     In pleasant Norman land?

     "These woods, perchance, no secret hide
     Of lordly tower and hall;
     Yon river in its wanderings wide
     Has washed no city wall;

     "Yet mirrored in the sullen stream
     The holy stars are given
     Is Norembega, then, a dream
     Whose waking is in Heaven?

     "No builded wonder of these lands
     My weary eyes shall see;
     A city never made with hands
     Alone awaiteth me--

     "'_Urbs Syon mystica_;' I see
     Its mansions passing fair,
     '_Condita caelo_;' let me be,
     Dear Lord, a dweller there!"

     Above the dying exile hung
     The vision of the bard,
     As faltered on his failing tongue
     The song of good Bernard.

     The henchman dug at dawn a grave
     Beneath the hemlocks brown,
     And to the desert's keeping gave
     The lord of fief and town.

     Years after, when the Sieur Champlain
     Sailed up the unknown stream,
     And Norembega proved again
     A shadow and a dream,

     He found the Norman's nameless grave
     Within the hemlock's shade,
     And, stretching wide its arms to save,
     The sign that God had made,

     The cross-boughed tree that marked the spot
     And made it holy ground
     He needs the earthly city not
     Who hath the heavenly found.

     1869.



MIRIAM.

TO FREDERICK A. P. BARNARD.

     THE years are many since, in youth and hope,
     Under the Charter Oak, our horoscope
     We drew thick-studded with all favoring stars.
     Now, with gray beards, and faces seamed with scars
     From life's hard battle, meeting once again,
     We smile, half sadly, over dreams so vain;
     Knowing, at last, that it is not in man
     Who walketh to direct his steps, or plan
     His permanent house of life. Alike we loved
     The muses' haunts, and all our fancies moved
     To measures of old song. How since that day
     Our feet have parted from the path that lay
     So fair before us! Rich, from lifelong search
     Of truth, within thy Academic porch
     Thou sittest now, lord of a realm of fact,
     Thy servitors the sciences exact;
     Still listening with thy hand on Nature's keys,
     To hear the Samian's spheral harmonies
     And rhythm of law. I called from dream and song,
     Thank God! so early to a strife so long,
     That, ere it closed, the black, abundant hair
     Of boyhood rested silver-sown and spare
     On manhood's temples, now at sunset-chime
     Tread with fond feet the path of morning time.
     And if perchance too late I linger where
     The flowers have ceased to blow, and trees are bare,
     Thou, wiser in thy choice, wilt scarcely blame
     The friend who shields his folly with thy name.
     AMESBURY, 10th mo., 1870.

           . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

     One Sabbath day my friend and I
     After the meeting, quietly
     Passed from the crowded village lanes,
     White with dry dust for lack of rains,
     And climbed the neighboring slope, with feet
     Slackened and heavy from the heat,
     Although the day was wellnigh done,
     And the low angle of the sun
     Along the naked hillside cast
     Our shadows as of giants vast.
     We reached, at length, the topmost swell,
     Whence, either way, the green turf fell
     In terraces of nature down
     To fruit-hung orchards, and the town
     With white, pretenceless houses, tall
     Church-steeples, and, o'ershadowing all,
     Huge mills whose windows had the look
     Of eager eyes that ill could brook
     The Sabbath rest. We traced the track
     Of the sea-seeking river back,
     Glistening for miles above its mouth,
     Through the long valley to the south,
     And, looking eastward, cool to view,
     Stretched the illimitable blue
     Of ocean, from its curved coast-line;
     Sombred and still, the warm sunshine
     Filled with pale gold-dust all the reach
     Of slumberous woods from hill to beach,--
     Slanted on walls of thronged retreats
     From city toil and dusty streets,
     On grassy bluff, and dune of sand,
     And rocky islands miles from land;
     Touched the far-glancing sails, and showed
     White lines of foam where long waves flowed
     Dumb in the distance. In the north,
     Dim through their misty hair, looked forth
     The space-dwarfed mountains to the sea,
     From mystery to mystery!

     So, sitting on that green hill-slope,
     We talked of human life, its hope
     And fear, and unsolved doubts, and what
     It might have been, and yet was not.
     And, when at last the evening air
     Grew sweeter for the bells of prayer
     Ringing in steeples far below,
     We watched the people churchward go,
     Each to his place, as if thereon
     The true shekinah only shone;
     And my friend queried how it came
     To pass that they who owned the same
     Great Master still could not agree
     To worship Him in company.
     Then, broadening in his thought, he ran
     Over the whole vast field of man,--
     The varying forms of faith and creed
     That somehow served the holders' need;
     In which, unquestioned, undenied,
     Uncounted millions lived and died;
     The bibles of the ancient folk,
     Through which the heart of nations spoke;
     The old moralities which lent
     To home its sweetness and content,
     And rendered possible to bear
     The life of peoples everywhere
     And asked if we, who boast of light,
     Claim not a too exclusive right
     To truths which must for all be meant,
     Like rain and sunshine freely sent.
     In bondage to the letter still,
     We give it power to cramp and kill,--
     To tax God's fulness with a scheme
     Narrower than Peter's house-top dream,
     His wisdom and his love with plans
     Poor and inadequate as man's.
     It must be that He witnesses
     Somehow to all men that He is
     That something of His saving grace
     Reaches the lowest of the race,
     Who, through strange creed and rite, may draw
     The hints of a diviner law.
     We walk in clearer light;--but then,
     Is He not God?--are they not men?
     Are His responsibilities
     For us alone and not for these?

     And I made answer: "Truth is one;
     And, in all lands beneath the sun,
     Whoso hath eyes to see may see
     The tokens of its unity.
     No scroll of creed its fulness wraps,
     We trace it not by school-boy maps,
     Free as the sun and air it is
     Of latitudes and boundaries.
     In Vedic verse, in dull Koran,
     Are messages of good to man;
     The angels to our Aryan sires
     Talked by the earliest household fires;
     The prophets of the elder day,
     The slant-eyed sages of Cathay,
     Read not the riddle all amiss
     Of higher life evolved from this.

     "Nor doth it lessen what He taught,
     Or make the gospel Jesus brought
     Less precious, that His lips retold
     Some portion of that truth of old;
     Denying not the proven seers,
     The tested wisdom of the years;
     Confirming with his own impress
     The common law of righteousness.
     We search the world for truth; we cull
     The good, the pure, the beautiful,
     From graven stone and written scroll,
     From all old flower-fields of the soul;
     And, weary seekers of the best,
     We come back laden from our quest,
     To find that all the sages said
     Is in the Book our mothers read,
     And all our treasure of old thought
     In His harmonious fulness wrought
     Who gathers in one sheaf complete
     The scattered blades of God's sown wheat,
     The common growth that maketh good
     His all-embracing Fatherhood.

     "Wherever through the ages rise
     The altars of self-sacrifice,
     Where love its arms has opened wide,
     Or man for man has calmly died,
     I see the same white wings outspread
     That hovered o'er the Master's head!
     Up from undated time they come,
     The martyr souls of heathendom,
     And to His cross and passion bring
     Their fellowship of suffering.
     I trace His presence in the blind
     Pathetic gropings of my kind,--
     In prayers from sin and sorrow wrung,
     In cradle-hymns of life they sung,
     Each, in its measure, but a part
     Of the unmeasured Over-Heart;
     And with a stronger faith confess
     The greater that it owns the less.
     Good cause it is for thankfulness
     That the world-blessing of His life
     With the long past is not at strife;
     That the great marvel of His death
     To the one order witnesseth,
     No doubt of changeless goodness wakes,
     No link of cause and sequence breaks,
     But, one with nature, rooted is
     In the eternal verities;
     Whereby, while differing in degree
     As finite from infinity,
     The pain and loss for others borne,
     Love's crown of suffering meekly worn,
     The life man giveth for his friend
     Become vicarious in the end;
     Their healing place in nature take,
     And make life sweeter for their sake.

     "So welcome I from every source
     The tokens of that primal Force,
     Older than heaven itself, yet new
     As the young heart it reaches to,
     Beneath whose steady impulse rolls
     The tidal wave of human souls;
     Guide, comforter, and inward word,
     The eternal spirit of the Lord
     Nor fear I aught that science brings
     From searching through material things;
     Content to let its glasses prove,
     Not by the letter's oldness move,
     The myriad worlds on worlds that course
     The spaces of the universe;
     Since everywhere the Spirit walks
     The garden of the heart, and talks
     With man, as under Eden's trees,
     In all his varied languages.
     Why mourn above some hopeless flaw
     In the stone tables of the law,
     When scripture every day afresh
     Is traced on tablets of the flesh?
     By inward sense, by outward signs,
     God's presence still the heart divines;
     Through deepest joy of Him we learn,
     In sorest grief to Him we turn,
     And reason stoops its pride to share
     The child-like instinct of a prayer."

     And then, as is my wont, I told
     A story of the days of old,
     Not found in printed books,--in sooth,
     A fancy, with slight hint of truth,
     Showing how differing faiths agree
     In one sweet law of charity.
     Meanwhile the sky had golden grown,
     Our faces in its glory shone;
     But shadows down the valley swept,
     And gray below the ocean slept,
     As time and space I wandered o'er
     To tread the Mogul's marble floor,
     And see a fairer sunset fall
     On Jumna's wave and Agra's wall.

     The good Shah Akbar (peace be his alway!)
     Came forth from the Divan at close of day
     Bowed with the burden of his many cares,
     Worn with the hearing of unnumbered prayers,--
     Wild cries for justice, the importunate
     Appeals of greed and jealousy and hate,
     And all the strife of sect and creed and rite,
     Santon and Gouroo waging holy fight
     For the wise monarch, claiming not to be
     Allah's avenger, left his people free,
     With a faint hope, his Book scarce justified,
     That all the paths of faith, though severed wide,
     O'er which the feet of prayerful reverence passed,
     Met at the gate of Paradise at last.

     He sought an alcove of his cool hareem,
     Where, far beneath, he heard the Jumna's stream
     Lapse soft and low along his palace wall,
     And all about the cool sound of the fall
     Of fountains, and of water circling free
     Through marble ducts along the balcony;
     The voice of women in the distance sweet,
     And, sweeter still, of one who, at his feet,
     Soothed his tired ear with songs of a far land
     Where Tagus shatters on the salt sea-sand
     The mirror of its cork-grown hills of drouth
     And vales of vine, at Lisbon's harbor-mouth.

     The date-palms rustled not; the peepul laid
     Its topmost boughs against the balustrade,
     Motionless as the mimic leaves and vines
     That, light and graceful as the shawl-designs
     Of Delhi or Umritsir, twined in stone;
     And the tired monarch, who aside had thrown
     The day's hard burden, sat from care apart,
     And let the quiet steal into his heart
     From the still hour. Below him Agra slept,
     By the long light of sunset overswept
     The river flowing through a level land,
     By mango-groves and banks of yellow sand,
     Skirted with lime and orange, gay kiosks,
     Fountains at play, tall minarets of mosques,
     Fair pleasure-gardens, with their flowering trees
     Relieved against the mournful cypresses;
     And, air-poised lightly as the blown sea-foam,
     The marble wonder of some holy dome
     Hung a white moonrise over the still wood,
     Glassing its beauty in a stiller flood.

     Silent the monarch gazed, until the night
     Swift-falling hid the city from his sight;
     Then to the woman at his feet he said
     "Tell me, O Miriam, something thou hast read
     In childhood of the Master of thy faith,
     Whom Islam also owns. Our Prophet saith
     'He was a true apostle, yea, a Word
     And Spirit sent before me from the Lord.'
     Thus the Book witnesseth; and well I know
     By what thou art, O dearest, it is so.
     As the lute's tone the maker's hand betrays,
     The sweet disciple speaks her Master's praise."

     Then Miriam, glad of heart, (for in some sort
     She cherished in the Moslem's liberal court
     The sweet traditions of a Christian child;
     And, through her life of sense, the undefiled
     And chaste ideal of the sinless One
     Gazed on her with an eye she might not shun,--
     The sad, reproachful look of pity, born
     Of love that hath no part in wrath or scorn,)
     Began, with low voice and moist eyes, to tell
     Of the all-loving Christ, and what befell
     When the fierce zealots, thirsting for her blood,
     Dragged to his feet a shame of womanhood.
     How, when his searching answer pierced within
     Each heart, and touched the secret of its sin,
     And her accusers fled his face before,
     He bade the poor one go and sin no more.
     And Akbar said, after a moment's thought,
     "Wise is the lesson by thy prophet taught;
     Woe unto him who judges and forgets
     What hidden evil his own heart besets!
     Something of this large charity I find
     In all the sects that sever human kind;
     I would to Allah that their lives agreed
     More nearly with the lesson of their creed!
     Those yellow Lamas who at Meerut pray
     By wind and water power, and love to say
     'He who forgiveth not shall, unforgiven,
     Fail of the rest of Buddha,' and who even
     Spare the black gnat that stings them, vex my ears
     With the poor hates and jealousies and fears
     Nursed in their human hives. That lean, fierce priest
     Of thy own people, (be his heart increased
     By Allah's love!) his black robes smelling yet
     Of Goa's roasted Jews, have I not met
     Meek-faced, barefooted, crying in the street
     The saying of his prophet true and sweet,--
     'He who is merciful shall mercy meet!'"

     But, next day, so it chanced, as night began
     To fall, a murmur through the hareem ran
     That one, recalling in her dusky face
     The full-lipped, mild-eyed beauty of a race
     Known as the blameless Ethiops of Greek song,
     Plotting to do her royal master wrong,
     Watching, reproachful of the lingering light,
     The evening shadows deepen for her flight,
     Love-guided, to her home in a far land,
     Now waited death at the great Shah's command.
     Shapely as that dark princess for whose smile
     A world was bartered, daughter of the Nile
     Herself, and veiling in her large, soft eyes
     The passion and the languor of her skies,
     The Abyssinian knelt low at the feet
     Of her stern lord: "O king, if it be meet,
     And for thy honor's sake," she said, "that I,
     Who am the humblest of thy slaves, should die,
     I will not tax thy mercy to forgive.
     Easier it is to die than to outlive
     All that life gave me,--him whose wrong of thee
     Was but the outcome of his love for me,
     Cherished from childhood, when, beneath the shade
     Of templed Axum, side by side we played.
     Stolen from his arms, my lover followed me
     Through weary seasons over land and sea;
     And two days since, sitting disconsolate
     Within the shadow of the hareem gate,
     Suddenly, as if dropping from the sky,
     Down from the lattice of the balcony
     Fell the sweet song by Tigre's cowherds sung
     In the old music of his native tongue.
     He knew my voice, for love is quick of ear,
     Answering in song.

                          This night he waited near
     To fly with me. The fault was mine alone
     He knew thee not, he did but seek his own;
     Who, in the very shadow of thy throne,
     Sharing thy bounty, knowing all thou art,
     Greatest and best of men, and in her heart
     Grateful to tears for favor undeserved,
     Turned ever homeward, nor one moment swerved
     From her young love. He looked into my eyes,
     He heard my voice, and could not otherwise
     Than he hath done; yet, save one wild embrace
     When first we stood together face to face,
     And all that fate had done since last we met
     Seemed but a dream that left us children yet,
     He hath not wronged thee nor thy royal bed;
     Spare him, O king! and slay me in his stead!"

     But over Akbar's brows the frown hung black,
     And, turning to the eunuch at his back,
     "Take them," he said, "and let the Jumna's waves
     Hide both my shame and these accursed slaves!"
     His loathly length the unsexed bondman bowed
     "On my head be it!"

                           Straightway from a cloud
     Of dainty shawls and veils of woven mist
     The Christian Miriam rose, and, stooping, kissed
     The monarch's hand. Loose down her shoulders bare
     Swept all the rippled darkness of her hair,
     Veiling the bosom that, with high, quick swell
     Of fear and pity, through it rose and fell.

     "Alas!" she cried, "hast thou forgotten quite
     The words of Him we spake of yesternight?
     Or thy own prophet's, 'Whoso doth endure
     And pardon, of eternal life is sure'?
     O great and good! be thy revenge alone
     Felt in thy mercy to the erring shown;
     Let thwarted love and youth their pardon plead,
     Who sinned but in intent, and not in deed!"

     One moment the strong frame of Akbar shook
     With the great storm of passion. Then his look
     Softened to her uplifted face, that still
     Pleaded more strongly than all words, until
     Its pride and anger seemed like overblown,
     Spent clouds of thunder left to tell alone
     Of strife and overcoming. With bowed head,
     And smiting on his bosom: "God," he said,
     "Alone is great, and let His holy name
     Be honored, even to His servant's shame!
     Well spake thy prophet, Miriam,--he alone
     Who hath not sinned is meet to cast a stone
     At such as these, who here their doom await,
     Held like myself in the strong grasp of fate.
     They sinned through love, as I through love forgive;
     Take them beyond my realm, but let them live!"

     And, like a chorus to the words of grace,
     The ancient Fakir, sitting in his place,
     Motionless as an idol and as grim,
     In the pavilion Akbar built for him
     Under the court-yard trees, (for he was wise,
     Knew Menu's laws, and through his close-shut eyes
     Saw things far off, and as an open book
     Into the thoughts of other men could look,)
     Began, half chant, half howling, to rehearse
     The fragment of a holy Vedic verse;
     And thus it ran: "He who all things forgives
     Conquers himself and all things else, and lives
     Above the reach of wrong or hate or fear,
     Calm as the gods, to whom he is most dear."

     Two leagues from Agra still the traveller sees
     The tomb of Akbar through its cypress-trees;
     And, near at hand, the marble walls that hide
     The Christian Begum sleeping at his side.
     And o'er her vault of burial (who shall tell
     If it be chance alone or miracle?)
     The Mission press with tireless hand unrolls
     The words of Jesus on its lettered scrolls,--
     Tells, in all tongues, the tale of mercy o'er,
     And bids the guilty, "Go and sin no more!"

             . . . . . . . . . . .

     It now was dew-fall; very still
     The night lay on the lonely hill,
     Down which our homeward steps we bent,
     And, silent, through great silence went,
     Save that the tireless crickets played
     Their long, monotonous serenade.
     A young moon, at its narrowest,
     Curved sharp against the darkening west;
     And, momently, the beacon's star,
     Slow wheeling o'er its rock afar,
     From out the level darkness shot
     One instant and again was not.
     And then my friend spake quietly
     The thought of both: "Yon crescent see!
     Like Islam's symbol-moon it gives
     Hints of the light whereby it lives
     Somewhat of goodness, something true
     From sun and spirit shining through
     All faiths, all worlds, as through the dark
     Of ocean shines the lighthouse spark,
     Attests the presence everywhere
     Of love and providential care.
     The faith the old Norse heart confessed
     In one dear name,--the hopefulest
     And tenderest heard from mortal lips
     In pangs of birth or death, from ships
     Ice-bitten in the winter sea,
     Or lisped beside a mother's knee,--
     The wiser world hath not outgrown,
     And the All-Father is our own!"



NAUHAUGHT, THE DEACON.

     NAUHAUGHT, the Indian deacon, who of old
     Dwelt, poor but blameless, where his narrowing Cape
     Stretches its shrunk arm out to all the winds
     And the relentless smiting of the waves,
     Awoke one morning from a pleasant dream
     Of a good angel dropping in his hand
     A fair, broad gold-piece, in the name of God.

     He rose and went forth with the early day
     Far inland, where the voices of the waves
     Mellowed and Mingled with the whispering leaves,
     As, through the tangle of the low, thick woods,
     He searched his traps. Therein nor beast nor bird
     He found; though meanwhile in the reedy pools
     The otter plashed, and underneath the pines
     The partridge drummed: and as his thoughts went back
     To the sick wife and little child at home,
     What marvel that the poor man felt his faith
     Too weak to bear its burden,--like a rope
     That, strand by strand uncoiling, breaks above
     The hand that grasps it. "Even now, O Lord!
     Send me," he prayed, "the angel of my dream!
     Nauhaught is very poor; he cannot wait."

     Even as he spake he heard at his bare feet
     A low, metallic clink, and, looking down,
     He saw a dainty purse with disks of gold
     Crowding its silken net. Awhile he held
     The treasure up before his eyes, alone
     With his great need, feeling the wondrous coins
     Slide through his eager fingers, one by one.
     So then the dream was true. The angel brought
     One broad piece only; should he take all these?
     Who would be wiser, in the blind, dumb woods?
     The loser, doubtless rich, would scarcely miss
     This dropped crumb from a table always full.
     Still, while he mused, he seemed to hear the cry
     Of a starved child; the sick face of his wife
     Tempted him. Heart and flesh in fierce revolt
     Urged the wild license of his savage youth
     Against his later scruples. Bitter toil,
     Prayer, fasting, dread of blame, and pitiless eyes
     To watch his halting,--had he lost for these
     The freedom of the woods;--the hunting-grounds
     Of happy spirits for a walled-in heaven
     Of everlasting psalms? One healed the sick
     Very far off thousands of moons ago
     Had he not prayed him night and day to come
     And cure his bed-bound wife? Was there a hell?
     Were all his fathers' people writhing there--
     Like the poor shell-fish set to boil alive--
     Forever, dying never? If he kept
     This gold, so needed, would the dreadful God
     Torment him like a Mohawk's captive stuck
     With slow-consuming splinters? Would the saints
     And the white angels dance and laugh to see him
     Burn like a pitch-pine torch? His Christian garb
     Seemed falling from him; with the fear and shame
     Of Adam naked at the cool of day,
     He gazed around. A black snake lay in coil
     On the hot sand, a crow with sidelong eye
     Watched from a dead bough. All his Indian lore
     Of evil blending with a convert's faith
     In the supernal terrors of the Book,
     He saw the Tempter in the coiling snake
     And ominous, black-winged bird; and all the while
     The low rebuking of the distant waves
     Stole in upon him like the voice of God
     Among the trees of Eden. Girding up
     His soul's loins with a resolute hand, he thrust
     The base thought from him: "Nauhaught, be a man
     Starve, if need be; but, while you live, look out
     From honest eyes on all men, unashamed.
     God help me! I am deacon of the church,
     A baptized, praying Indian! Should I do
     This secret meanness, even the barken knots
     Of the old trees would turn to eyes to see it,
     The birds would tell of it, and all the leaves
     Whisper above me: 'Nauhaught is a thief!'
     The sun would know it, and the stars that hide
     Behind his light would watch me, and at night
     Follow me with their sharp, accusing eyes.
     Yea, thou, God, seest me!" Then Nauhaught drew
     Closer his belt of leather, dulling thus
     The pain of hunger, and walked bravely back
     To the brown fishing-hamlet by the sea;
     And, pausing at the inn-door, cheerily asked
     "Who hath lost aught to-day?"
     "I," said a voice;
     "Ten golden pieces, in a silken purse,
     My daughter's handiwork." He looked, and to
     One stood before him in a coat of frieze,
     And the glazed hat of a seafaring man,
     Shrewd-faced, broad-shouldered, with no trace of wings.
     Marvelling, he dropped within the stranger's hand
     The silken web, and turned to go his way.
     But the man said: "A tithe at least is yours;
     Take it in God's name as an honest man."
     And as the deacon's dusky fingers closed
     Over the golden gift, "Yea, in God's name
     I take it, with a poor man's thanks," he said.
     So down the street that, like a river of sand,
     Ran, white in sunshine, to the summer sea,
     He sought his home singing and praising God;
     And when his neighbors in their careless way
     Spoke of the owner of the silken purse--
     A Wellfleet skipper, known in every port
     That the Cape opens in its sandy wall--
     He answered, with a wise smile, to himself
     "I saw the angel where they see a man."
     1870.



THE SISTERS.

     ANNIE and Rhoda, sisters twain,
     Woke in the night to the sound of rain,

     The rush of wind, the ramp and roar
     Of great waves climbing a rocky shore.

     Annie rose up in her bed-gown white,
     And looked out into the storm and night.

     "Hush, and hearken!" she cried in fear,
     "Hearest thou nothing, sister dear?"

     "I hear the sea, and the plash of rain,
     And roar of the northeast hurricane.

     "Get thee back to the bed so warm,
     No good comes of watching a storm.

     "What is it to thee, I fain would know,
     That waves are roaring and wild winds blow?

     "No lover of thine's afloat to miss
     The harbor-lights on a night like this."

     "But I heard a voice cry out my name,
     Up from the sea on the wind it came.

     "Twice and thrice have I heard it call,
     And the voice is the voice of Estwick Hall!"

     On her pillow the sister tossed her head.
     "Hall of the Heron is safe," she said.

     "In the tautest schooner that ever swam
     He rides at anchor in Anisquam.

     "And, if in peril from swamping sea
     Or lee shore rocks, would he call on thee?"

     But the girl heard only the wind and tide,
     And wringing her small white hands she cried,

     "O sister Rhoda, there's something wrong;
     I hear it again, so loud and long.

     "'Annie! Annie!' I hear it call,
     And the voice is the voice of Estwick Hall!"

     Up sprang the elder, with eyes aflame,
     "Thou liest! He never would call thy name!

     "If he did, I would pray the wind and sea
     To keep him forever from thee and me!"

     Then out of the sea blew a dreadful blast;
     Like the cry of a dying man it passed.

     The young girl hushed on her lips a groan,
     But through her tears a strange light shone,--

     The solemn joy of her heart's release
     To own and cherish its love in peace.

     "Dearest!" she whispered, under breath,
     "Life was a lie, but true is death.

     "The love I hid from myself away
     Shall crown me now in the light of day.

     "My ears shall never to wooer list,
     Never by lover my lips be kissed.

     "Sacred to thee am I henceforth,
     Thou in heaven and I on earth!"

     She came and stood by her sister's bed
     "Hall of the Heron is dead!" she said.

     "The wind and the waves their work have done,
     We shall see him no more beneath the sun.

     "Little will reek that heart of thine,
     It loved him not with a love like mine.

     "I, for his sake, were he but here,
     Could hem and 'broider thy bridal gear,

     "Though hands should tremble and eyes be wet,
     And stitch for stitch in my heart be set.

     "But now my soul with his soul I wed;
     Thine the living, and mine the dead!"

     1871.



MARGUERITE.

MASSACHUSETTS BAY, 1760.

Upwards of one thousand of the Acadian peasants forcibly taken from
their homes on the Gaspereau and Basin of Minas were assigned to the
several towns of the Massachusetts colony, the children being bound by
the authorities to service or labor.

     THE robins sang in the orchard, the buds into
     blossoms grew;
     Little of human sorrow the buds and the robins
     knew!
     Sick, in an alien household, the poor French
     neutral lay;
     Into her lonesome garret fell the light of the April
     day,
     Through the dusty window, curtained by the spider's
     warp and woof,
     On the loose-laid floor of hemlock, on oaken ribs
     of roof,
     The bedquilt's faded patchwork, the teacups on the
     stand,
     The wheel with flaxen tangle, as it dropped from
     her sick hand.

     What to her was the song of the robin, or warm
     morning light,
     As she lay in the trance of the dying, heedless of
     sound or sight?

     Done was the work of her bands, she had eaten her
     bitter bread;
     The world of the alien people lay behind her dim
     and dead.

     But her soul went back to its child-time; she saw
     the sun o'erflow
     With gold the Basin of Minas, and set over
     Gaspereau;

     The low, bare flats at ebb-tide, the rush of the sea
     at flood,
     Through inlet and creek and river, from dike to
     upland wood;

     The gulls in the red of morning, the fish-hawk's
     rise and fall,
     The drift of the fog in moonshine, over the dark
     coast-wall.

     She saw the face of her mother, she heard the song
     she sang;
     And far off, faintly, slowly, the bell for vespers
     rang.

     By her bed the hard-faced mistress sat, smoothing
     the wrinkled sheet,
     Peering into the face, so helpless, and feeling the
     ice-cold feet.

     With a vague remorse atoning for her greed and
     long abuse,
     By care no longer heeded and pity too late for use.

     Up the stairs of the garret softly the son of the
     mistress stepped,
     Leaned over the head-board, covering his face with
     his hands, and wept.

     Outspake the mother, who watched him sharply,
     with brow a-frown
     "What! love you the Papist, the beggar, the
     charge of the town?"

     Be she Papist or beggar who lies here, I know
     and God knows
     I love her, and fain would go with her wherever
     she goes!

     "O mother! that sweet face came pleading, for
     love so athirst.
     You saw but the town-charge; I knew her God's
     angel at first."

     Shaking her gray head, the mistress hushed down
     a bitter cry;
     And awed by the silence and shadow of death
     drawing nigh,

     She murmured a psalm of the Bible; but closer
     the young girl pressed,
     With the last of her life in her fingers, the cross
     to her breast.

     "My son, come away," cried the mother, her voice
     cruel grown.
     "She is joined to her idols, like Ephraim; let her
     alone!"

     But he knelt with his hand on her forehead, his
     lips to her ear,
     And he called back the soul that was passing
     "Marguerite, do you hear?"

     She paused on the threshold of Heaven; love, pity,
     surprise,
     Wistful, tender, lit up for an instant the cloud of
     her eyes.

     With his heart on his lips he kissed her, but never
     her cheek grew red,
     And the words the living long for he spake in the
     ear of the dead.

     And the robins sang in the orchard, where buds to
     blossoms grew;
     Of the folded hands and the still face never the
     robins knew!

     1871.



THE ROBIN.

     MY old Welsh neighbor over the way
     Crept slowly out in the sun of spring,
     Pushed from her ears the locks of gray,
     And listened to hear the robin sing.

     Her grandson, playing at marbles, stopped,
     And, cruel in sport as boys will be,
     Tossed a stone at the bird, who hopped
     From bough to bough in the apple-tree.

     "Nay!" said the grandmother; "have you not heard,
     My poor, bad boy! of the fiery pit,
     And how, drop by drop, this merciful bird
     Carries the water that quenches it?

     "He brings cool dew in his little bill,
     And lets it fall on the souls of sin
     You can see the mark on his red breast still
     Of fires that scorch as he drops it in.

     "My poor Bron rhuddyn! my breast-burned bird,
     Singing so sweetly from limb to limb,
     Very dear to the heart of Our Lord
     Is he who pities the lost like Him!"

     "Amen!" I said to the beautiful myth;
     "Sing, bird of God, in my heart as well:
     Each good thought is a drop wherewith
     To cool and lessen the fires of hell.

     "Prayers of love like rain-drops fall,
     Tears of pity are cooling dew,
     And dear to the heart of Our Lord are all
     Who suffer like Him in the good they do!"

     1871.



THE PENNSYLVANIA PILGRIM.

INTRODUCTORY NOTE.

THE beginning of German emigration to America may be traced to the
personal influence of William Penn, who in 1677 visited the Continent,
and made the acquaintance of an intelligent and highly cultivated circle
of Pietists, or Mystics, who, reviving in the seventeenth century the
spiritual faith and worship of Tauler and the "Friends of God" in the
fourteenth, gathered about the pastor Spener, and the young and
beautiful Eleonora Johanna Von Merlau. In this circle originated the
Frankfort Land Company, which bought of William Penn, the Governor of
Pennsylvania, a tract of land near the new city of Philadelphia. The
company's agent in the New World was a rising young lawyer, Francis
Daniel Pastorius, son of Judge Pastorius, of Windsheim, who, at the age
of seventeen, entered the University of Altorf. He studied law at,
Strasburg, Basle, and Jena, and at Ratisbon, the seat of the Imperial
Government, obtained a practical knowledge of international polity.
Successful in all his examinations and disputations, he received the
degree of Doctor of Law at Nuremberg in 1676. In 1679 he was a
law-lecturer at Frankfort, where he became deeply interested in the
teachings of Dr. Spener. In 1680-81 he travelled in France, England,
Ireland, and Italy with his friend Herr Von Rodeck. "I was," he says,
"glad to enjoy again the company of my Christian friends, rather than be
with Von Rodeck feasting and dancing." In 1683, in company with a small
number of German Friends, he emigrated to America, settling upon the
Frankfort Company's tract between the Schuylkill and the Delaware
rivers. The township was divided into four hamlets, namely, Germantown,
Krisheim, Crefield, and Sommerhausen. Soon after his arrival he united
himself with the Society of Friends, and became one of its most able and
devoted members, as well as the recognized head and lawgiver of the
settlement. He married, two years after his arrival, Anneke (Anna),
daughter of Dr. Klosterman, of Muhlheim. In the year 1688 he drew up a
memorial against slaveholding, which was adopted by the Germantown
Friends and sent up to the Monthly Meeting, and thence to the Yearly
Meeting at Philadelphia. It is noteworthy as the first protest made by
a religious body against Negro Slavery. The original document was
discovered in 1844 by the Philadelphia antiquarian, Nathan Kite, and
published in The Friend (Vol. XVIII. No. 16). It is a bold and direct
appeal to the best instincts of the heart. "Have not," he asks, "these
negroes as much right to fight for their freedom as you have to keep
them slaves?" Under the wise direction of Pastorius, the German-town
settlement grew and prospered. The inhabitants planted orchards and
vineyards, and surrounded themselves with souvenirs of their old home.
A large number of them were linen-weavers, as well as small farmers.
The Quakers were the principal sect, but men of all religions were
tolerated, and lived together in harmony. In 1692 Richard Frame
published, in what he called verse, a Description of Pennsylvania, in
which he alludes to the settlement:--

      "The German town of which I spoke before,
      Which is at least in length one mile or more,
      Where lives High German people and Low Dutch,
      Whose trade in weaving linen cloth is much,
      --There grows the flax, as also you may know
      That from the same they do divide the tow.
      Their trade suits well their habitation,
      We find convenience for their occupation."

Pastorius seems to have been on intimate terms with William Penn, Thomas
Lloyd, Chief Justice Logan, Thomas Story, and other leading men in the
Province belonging to his own religious society, as also with Kelpius,
the learned Mystic of the Wissahickon, with the pastor of the Swedes'
church, and the leaders of the Mennonites. He wrote a description of
Pennsylvania, which was published at Frankfort and Leipsic in 1700 and
1701. His Lives of the Saints, etc., written in German and dedicated to
Professor Schurmberg, his old teacher, was published in 1690. He left
behind him many unpublished manuscripts covering a very wide range of
subjects, most of which are now lost. One huge manuscript folio,
entitled Hive Beestock, Melliotropheum Alucar, or Rusca Apium, still
remains, containing one thousand pages with about one hundred lines to a
page. It is a medley of knowledge and fancy, history, philosophy, and
poetry, written in seven languages. A large portion of his poetry is
devoted to the pleasures of gardening, the description of flowers, and
the care of bees. The following specimen of his punning Latin is
addressed to an orchard-pilferer:--

      "Quisquis in haec furtim reptas viridaria nostra
      Tangere fallaci poma caveto mane,
      Si non obsequeris faxit Deus omne quod opto,
      Cum malis nostris ut mala cuncta feras."

Professor Oswald Seidensticker, to whose papers in Der Deutsche Pioneer
and that able periodical the Penn Monthly, of Philadelphia, I am
indebted for many of the foregoing facts in regard to the German
pilgrims of the New World, thus closes his notice of Pastorius:--
"No tombstone, not even a record of burial, indicates where his remains
have found their last resting-place, and the pardonable desire to
associate the homage due to this distinguished man with some visible
memento can not be gratified. There is no reason to suppose that he was
interred in any other place than the Friends' old burying-ground in
Germantown, though the fact is not attested by any definite source of
information. After all, this obliteration of the last trace of his
earthly existence is but typical of what has overtaken the times which
he represents; that Germantown which he founded, which saw him live and
move, is at present but a quaint idyl of the past, almost a myth, barely
remembered and little cared for by the keener race that has succeeded.
The Pilgrims of Plymouth have not lacked historian and poet. Justice has
been done to their faith, courage, and self-sacrifice, and to the mighty
influence of their endeavors to establish righteousness on the earth.
The Quaker pilgrims of Pennsylvania, seeking the same object by
different means, have not been equally fortunate. The power of their
testimony for truth and holiness, peace and freedom, enforced only by
what Milton calls "the unresistible might of meekness," has been felt
through two centuries in the amelioration of penal severities, the
abolition of slavery, the reform of the erring, the relief of the poor
and suffering,--felt, in brief, in every step of human progress. But of
the men themselves, with the single exception of William Penn, scarcely
anything is known. Contrasted, from the outset, with the stern,
aggressive Puritans of New England, they have come to be regarded as
"a feeble folk," with a personality as doubtful as their unrecorded
graves. They were not soldiers, like Miles Standish; they had no figure
so picturesque as Vane, no leader so rashly brave and haughty as
Endicott. No Cotton Mather wrote their Magnalia; they had no awful drama
of supernaturalism in which Satan and his angels were actors; and the
only witch mentioned in their simple annals was a poor old Swedish
woman, who, on complaint of her countrywomen, was tried and acquitted
of everything but imbecility and folly. Nothing but common-place offices
of civility came to pass between them and the Indians; indeed, their
enemies taunted them with the fact that the savages did not regard them
as Christians, but just such men as themselves. Yet it must be apparent
to every careful observer of the progress of American civilization that
its two principal currents had their sources in the entirely opposite
directions of the Puritan and Quaker colonies. To use the words of a
late writer: (1) "The historical forces, with which no others may be
compared in their influence on the people, have been those of the
Puritan and the Quaker. The strength of the one was in the confession of
an invisible Presence, a righteous, eternal Will, which would establish
righteousness on earth; and thence arose the conviction of a direct
personal responsibility, which could be tempted by no external splendor
and could be shaken by no internal agitation, and could not be evaded or
transferred. The strength of the other was the witness in the human
spirit to an eternal Word, an Inner Voice which spoke to each alone,
while yet it spoke to every man; a Light which each was to follow, and
which yet was the light of the world; and all other voices were silent
before this, and the solitary path whither it led was more sacred than
the worn ways of cathedral-aisles." It will be sufficiently apparent to
the reader that, in the poem which follows, I have attempted nothing
beyond a study of the life and times of the Pennsylvania colonist,--a
simple picture of a noteworthy man and his locality. The colors of my
sketch are all very sober, toned down to the quiet and dreamy atmosphere
through which its subject is visible. Whether, in the glare and tumult
of the present time, such a picture will find favor may well be
questioned. I only know that it has beguiled for me some hours of
weariness, and that, whatever may be its measure of public appreciation,
it has been to me its own reward.
                                               J. G. W.
AMESBURY, 5th mo., 1872.


     HAIL to posterity!
     Hail, future men of Germanopolis!
     Let the young generations yet to be
     Look kindly upon this.
     Think how your fathers left their native land,--
     Dear German-land! O sacred hearths and homes!--

     And, where the wild beast roams,
     In patience planned
     New forest-homes beyond the mighty sea,
     There undisturbed and free
     To live as brothers of one family.
     What pains and cares befell,
     What trials and what fears,
     Remember, and wherein we have done well
     Follow our footsteps, men of coming years!
     Where we have failed to do
     Aright, or wisely live,
     Be warned by us, the better way pursue,
     And, knowing we were human, even as you,
     Pity us and forgive!
     Farewell, Posterity!
     Farewell, dear Germany
     Forevermore farewell!

     (From the Latin of Francis DANIEL PASTORIUS in
     the Germantown Records. 1688.)


     PRELUDE.

     I SING the Pilgrim of a softer clime
     And milder speech than those brave men's who brought
     To the ice and iron of our winter time
     A will as firm, a creed as stern, and wrought
     With one mailed hand, and with the other fought.
     Simply, as fits my theme, in homely rhyme
     I sing the blue-eyed German Spener taught,
     Through whose veiled, mystic faith the Inward Light,
     Steady and still, an easy brightness, shone,
     Transfiguring all things in its radiance white.
     The garland which his meekness never sought
     I bring him; over fields of harvest sown
     With seeds of blessing, now to ripeness grown,
     I bid the sower pass before the reapers' sight.

                   . . . . . . . . . .

     Never in tenderer quiet lapsed the day
     From Pennsylvania's vales of spring away,
     Where, forest-walled, the scattered hamlets lay

     Along the wedded rivers. One long bar
     Of purple cloud, on which the evening star
     Shone like a jewel on a scimitar,

     Held the sky's golden gateway. Through the deep
     Hush of the woods a murmur seemed to creep,
     The Schuylkill whispering in a voice of sleep.

     All else was still. The oxen from their ploughs
     Rested at last, and from their long day's browse
     Came the dun files of Krisheim's home-bound cows.

     And the young city, round whose virgin zone
     The rivers like two mighty arms were thrown,
     Marked by the smoke of evening fires alone,

     Lay in the distance, lovely even then
     With its fair women and its stately men
     Gracing the forest court of William Penn,

     Urban yet sylvan; in its rough-hewn frames
     Of oak and pine the dryads held their claims,
     And lent its streets their pleasant woodland names.

     Anna Pastorius down the leafy lane
     Looked city-ward, then stooped to prune again
     Her vines and simples, with a sigh of pain.

     For fast the streaks of ruddy sunset paled
     In the oak clearing, and, as daylight failed,
     Slow, overhead, the dusky night-birds sailed.

     Again she looked: between green walls of shade,
     With low-bent head as if with sorrow weighed,
     Daniel Pastorius slowly came and said,

     "God's peace be with thee, Anna!" Then he stood
     Silent before her, wrestling with the mood
     Of one who sees the evil and not good.

     "What is it, my Pastorius?" As she spoke,
     A slow, faint smile across his features broke,
     Sadder than tears. "Dear heart," he said, "our folk

     "Are even as others. Yea, our goodliest Friends
     Are frail; our elders have their selfish ends,
     And few dare trust the Lord to make amends

     "For duty's loss. So even our feeble word
     For the dumb slaves the startled meeting heard
     As if a stone its quiet waters stirred;

     "And, as the clerk ceased reading, there began
     A ripple of dissent which downward ran
     In widening circles, as from man to man.

     "Somewhat was said of running before sent,
     Of tender fear that some their guide outwent,
     Troublers of Israel. I was scarce intent

     "On hearing, for behind the reverend row
     Of gallery Friends, in dumb and piteous show,
     I saw, methought, dark faces full of woe.

     "And, in the spirit, I was taken where
     They toiled and suffered; I was made aware
     Of shame and wrath and anguish and despair!

     "And while the meeting smothered our poor plea
     With cautious phrase, a Voice there seemed to be,
     As ye have done to these ye do to me!'

     "So it all passed; and the old tithe went on
     Of anise, mint, and cumin, till the sun
     Set, leaving still the weightier work undone.

     "Help, for the good man faileth! Who is strong,
     If these be weak? Who shall rebuke the wrong,
     If these consent? How long, O Lord! how long!"

     He ceased; and, bound in spirit with the bound,
     With folded arms, and eyes that sought the ground,
     Walked musingly his little garden round.

     About him, beaded with the falling dew,
     Rare plants of power and herbs of healing grew,
     Such as Van Helmont and Agrippa knew.

     For, by the lore of Gorlitz' gentle sage,
     With the mild mystics of his dreamy age
     He read the herbal signs of nature's page,

     As once he heard in sweet Von Merlau's' bowers
     Fair as herself, in boyhood's happy hours,
     The pious Spener read his creed in flowers.

     "The dear Lord give us patience!" said his wife,
     Touching with finger-tip an aloe, rife
     With leaves sharp-pointed like an Aztec knife

     Or Carib spear, a gift to William Penn
     From the rare gardens of John Evelyn,
     Brought from the Spanish Main by merchantmen.

     "See this strange plant its steady purpose hold,
     And, year by year, its patient leaves unfold,
     Till the young eyes that watched it first are old.

     "But some time, thou hast told me, there shall come
     A sudden beauty, brightness, and perfume,
     The century-moulded bud shall burst in bloom.

     "So may the seed which hath been sown to-day
     Grow with the years, and, after long delay,
     Break into bloom, and God's eternal Yea!

     "Answer at last the patient prayers of them
     Who now, by faith alone, behold its stem
     Crowned with the flowers of Freedom's diadem.

     "Meanwhile, to feel and suffer, work and wait,
     Remains for us. The wrong indeed is great,
     But love and patience conquer soon or late."

     "Well hast thou said, my Anna!" Tenderer
     Than youth's caress upon the head of her
     Pastorius laid his hand. "Shall we demur

     "Because the vision tarrieth? In an hour
     We dream not of, the slow-grown bud may flower,
     And what was sown in weakness rise in power!"

     Then through the vine-draped door whose legend read,
     "Procul este profani!" Anna led
     To where their child upon his little bed

     Looked up and smiled. "Dear heart," she said, "if we
     Must bearers of a heavy burden be,
     Our boy, God willing, yet the day shall see

     "When from the gallery to the farthest seat,
     Slave and slave-owner shall no longer meet,
     But all sit equal at the Master's feet."

     On the stone hearth the blazing walnut block
     Set the low walls a-glimmer, showed the cock
     Rebuking Peter on the Van Wyck clock,

     Shone on old tomes of law and physic, side
     By side with Fox and Belimen, played at hide
     And seek with Anna, midst her household pride

     Of flaxen webs, and on the table, bare
     Of costly cloth or silver cup, but where,
     Tasting the fat shads of the Delaware,

     The courtly Penn had praised the goodwife's cheer,
     And quoted Horace o'er her home brewed beer,
     Till even grave Pastorius smiled to hear.

     In such a home, beside the Schuylkill's wave,
     He dwelt in peace with God and man, and gave
     Food to the poor and shelter to the slave.

     For all too soon the New World's scandal shamed
     The righteous code by Penn and Sidney framed,
     And men withheld the human rights they claimed.

     And slowly wealth and station sanction lent,
     And hardened avarice, on its gains intent,
     Stifled the inward whisper of dissent.

     Yet all the while the burden rested sore
     On tender hearts. At last Pastorius bore
     Their warning message to the Church's door

     In God's name; and the leaven of the word
     Wrought ever after in the souls who heard,
     And a dead conscience in its grave-clothes stirred

     To troubled life, and urged the vain excuse
     Of Hebrew custom, patriarchal use,
     Good in itself if evil in abuse.

     Gravely Pastorius listened, not the less
     Discerning through the decent fig-leaf dress
     Of the poor plea its shame of selfishness.

     One Scripture rule, at least, was unforgot;
     He hid the outcast, and betrayed him not;
     And, when his prey the human hunter sought,

     He scrupled not, while Anna's wise delay
     And proffered cheer prolonged the master's stay,
     To speed the black guest safely on his way.

     Yet, who shall guess his bitter grief who lends
     His life to some great cause, and finds his friends
     Shame or betray it for their private ends?

     How felt the Master when his chosen strove
     In childish folly for their seats above;
     And that fond mother, blinded by her love,

     Besought him that her sons, beside his throne,
     Might sit on either hand? Amidst his own
     A stranger oft, companionless and lone,

     God's priest and prophet stands. The martyr's pain
     Is not alone from scourge and cell and chain;
     Sharper the pang when, shouting in his train,

     His weak disciples by their lives deny
     The loud hosannas of their daily cry,
     And make their echo of his truth a lie.

     His forest home no hermit's cell he found,
     Guests, motley-minded, drew his hearth around,
     And held armed truce upon its neutral ground.

     There Indian chiefs with battle-bows unstrung,
     Strong, hero-limbed, like those whom Homer sung,
     Pastorius fancied, when the world was young,

     Came with their tawny women, lithe and tall,
     Like bronzes in his friend Von Rodeck's hall,
     Comely, if black, and not unpleasing all.

     There hungry folk in homespun drab and gray
     Drew round his board on Monthly Meeting day,
     Genial, half merry in their friendly way.

     Or, haply, pilgrims from the Fatherland,
     Weak, timid, homesick, slow to understand
     The New World's promise, sought his helping hand.

     Or painful Kelpius (13) from his hermit den
     By Wissahickon, maddest of good men,
     Dreamed o'er the Chiliast dreams of Petersen.

     Deep in the woods, where the small river slid
     Snake-like in shade, the Helmstadt Mystic hid,
     Weird as a wizard, over arts forbid,

     Reading the books of Daniel and of John,
     And Behmen's Morning-Redness, through the Stone
     Of Wisdom, vouchsafed to his eyes alone,

     Whereby he read what man ne'er read before,
     And saw the visions man shall see no more,
     Till the great angel, striding sea and shore,

     Shall bid all flesh await, on land or ships,
     The warning trump of the Apocalypse,
     Shattering the heavens before the dread eclipse.

     Or meek-eyed Mennonist his bearded chin
     Leaned o'er the gate; or Ranter, pure within,
     Aired his perfection in a world of sin.

     Or, talking of old home scenes, Op der Graaf
     Teased the low back-log with his shodden staff,
     Till the red embers broke into a laugh

     And dance of flame, as if they fain would cheer
     The rugged face, half tender, half austere,
     Touched with the pathos of a homesick tear!

     Or Sluyter, (14) saintly familist, whose word
     As law the Brethren of the Manor heard,
     Announced the speedy terrors of the Lord,

     And turned, like Lot at Sodom, from his race,
     Above a wrecked world with complacent face
     Riding secure upon his plank of grace!

     Haply, from Finland's birchen groves exiled,
     Manly in thought, in simple ways a child,
     His white hair floating round his visage mild,

     The Swedish pastor sought the Quaker's door,
     Pleased from his neighbor's lips to hear once more
     His long-disused and half-forgotten lore.

     For both could baffle Babel's lingual curse,
     And speak in Bion's Doric, and rehearse
     Cleanthes' hymn or Virgil's sounding verse.

     And oft Pastorius and the meek old man
     Argued as Quaker and as Lutheran,
     Ending in Christian love, as they began.

     With lettered Lloyd on pleasant morns he strayed
     Where Sommerhausen over vales of shade
     Looked miles away, by every flower delayed,

     Or song of bird, happy and free with one
     Who loved, like him, to let his memory run
     Over old fields of learning, and to sun

     Himself in Plato's wise philosophies,
     And dream with Philo over mysteries
     Whereof the dreamer never finds the keys;

     To touch all themes of thought, nor weakly stop
     For doubt of truth, but let the buckets drop
     Deep down and bring the hidden waters up (15)

     For there was freedom in that wakening time
     Of tender souls; to differ was not crime;
     The varying bells made up the perfect chime.

     On lips unlike was laid the altar's coal,
     The white, clear light, tradition-colored, stole
     Through the stained oriel of each human soul.

     Gathered from many sects, the Quaker brought
     His old beliefs, adjusting to the thought
     That moved his soul the creed his fathers taught.

     One faith alone, so broad that all mankind
     Within themselves its secret witness find,
     The soul's communion with the Eternal Mind,

     The Spirit's law, the Inward Rule and Guide,
     Scholar and peasant, lord and serf, allied,
     The polished Penn and Cromwell's Ironside.

     As still in Hemskerck's Quaker Meeting, (16) face
     By face in Flemish detail, we may trace
     How loose-mouthed boor and fine ancestral grace

     Sat in close contrast,--the clipt-headed churl,
     Broad market-dame, and simple serving-girl
     By skirt of silk and periwig in curl

     For soul touched soul; the spiritual treasure-trove
     Made all men equal, none could rise above
     Nor sink below that level of God's love.

     So, with his rustic neighbors sitting down,
     The homespun frock beside the scholar's gown,
     Pastorius to the manners of the town

     Added the freedom of the woods, and sought
     The bookless wisdom by experience taught,
     And learned to love his new-found home, while not

     Forgetful of the old; the seasons went
     Their rounds, and somewhat to his spirit lent
     Of their own calm and measureless content.

     Glad even to tears, he heard the robin sing
     His song of welcome to the Western spring,
     And bluebird borrowing from the sky his wing.

     And when the miracle of autumn came,
     And all the woods with many-colored flame
     Of splendor, making summer's greenness tame,

     Burned, unconsumed, a voice without a sound
     Spake to him from each kindled bush around,
     And made the strange, new landscape holy ground

     And when the bitter north-wind, keen and swift,
     Swept the white street and piled the dooryard drift,
     He exercised, as Friends might say, his gift

     Of verse, Dutch, English, Latin, like the hash
     Of corn and beans in Indian succotash;
     Dull, doubtless, but with here and there a flash

     Of wit and fine conceit,--the good man's play
     Of quiet fancies, meet to while away
     The slow hours measuring off an idle day.

     At evening, while his wife put on her look
     Of love's endurance, from its niche he took
     The written pages of his ponderous book.

     And read, in half the languages of man,
     His "Rusca Apium," which with bees began,
     And through the gamut of creation ran.

     Or, now and then, the missive of some friend
     In gray Altorf or storied Nurnberg penned
     Dropped in upon him like a guest to spend

     The night beneath his roof-tree. Mystical
     The fair Von Merlau spake as waters fall
     And voices sound in dreams, and yet withal

     Human and sweet, as if each far, low tone,
     Over the roses of her gardens blown
     Brought the warm sense of beauty all her own.

     Wise Spener questioned what his friend could trace
     Of spiritual influx or of saving grace
     In the wild natures of the Indian race.

     And learned Schurmberg, fain, at times, to look
     From Talmud, Koran, Veds, and Pentateuch,
     Sought out his pupil in his far-off nook,

     To query with him of climatic change,
     Of bird, beast, reptile, in his forest range,
     Of flowers and fruits and simples new and strange.

     And thus the Old and New World reached their hands
     Across the water, and the friendly lands
     Talked with each other from their severed strands.

     Pastorius answered all: while seed and root
     Sent from his new home grew to flower and fruit
     Along the Rhine and at the Spessart's foot;

     And, in return, the flowers his boyhood knew
     Smiled at his door, the same in form and hue,
     And on his vines the Rhenish clusters grew.

     No idler he; whoever else might shirk,
     He set his hand to every honest work,--
     Farmer and teacher, court and meeting clerk.

     Still on the town seal his device is found,
     Grapes, flax, and thread-spool on a trefoil ground,
     With "Vinum, Linum et Textrinum" wound.

     One house sufficed for gospel and for law,
     Where Paul and Grotius, Scripture text and saw,
     Assured the good, and held the rest in awe.

     Whatever legal maze he wandered through,
     He kept the Sermon on the Mount in view,
     And justice always into mercy grew.

     No whipping-post he needed, stocks, nor jail,
     Nor ducking-stool; the orchard-thief grew pale
     At his rebuke, the vixen ceased to rail,

     The usurer's grasp released the forfeit land;
     The slanderer faltered at the witness-stand,
     And all men took his counsel for command.

     Was it caressing air, the brooding love
     Of tenderer skies than German land knew of,
     Green calm below, blue quietness above,

     Still flow of water, deep repose of wood
     That, with a sense of loving Fatherhood
     And childlike trust in the Eternal Good,

     Softened all hearts, and dulled the edge of hate,
     Hushed strife, and taught impatient zeal to wait
     The slow assurance of the better state?

     Who knows what goadings in their sterner way
     O'er jagged ice, relieved by granite gray,
     Blew round the men of Massachusetts Bay?

     What hate of heresy the east-wind woke?
     What hints of pitiless power and terror spoke
     In waves that on their iron coast-line broke?

     Be it as it may: within the Land of Penn
     The sectary yielded to the citizen,
     And peaceful dwelt the many-creeded men.

     Peace brooded over all. No trumpet stung
     The air to madness, and no steeple flung
     Alarums down from bells at midnight rung.

     The land slept well. The Indian from his face
     Washed all his war-paint off, and in the place
     Of battle-marches sped the peaceful chase,

     Or wrought for wages at the white man's side,--
     Giving to kindness what his native pride
     And lazy freedom to all else denied.

     And well the curious scholar loved the old
     Traditions that his swarthy neighbors told
     By wigwam-fires when nights were growing cold,

     Discerned the fact round which their fancy drew
     Its dreams, and held their childish faith more true
     To God and man than half the creeds he knew.

     The desert blossomed round him; wheat-fields rolled
     Beneath the warm wind waves of green and gold;
     The planted ear returned its hundred-fold.

     Great clusters ripened in a warmer sun
     Than that which by the Rhine stream shines upon
     The purpling hillsides with low vines o'errun.

     About each rustic porch the humming-bird
     Tried with light bill, that scarce a petal stirred,
     The Old World flowers to virgin soil transferred;

     And the first-fruits of pear and apple, bending
     The young boughs down, their gold and russet blending,
     Made glad his heart, familiar odors lending

     To the fresh fragrance of the birch and pine,
     Life-everlasting, bay, and eglantine,
     And all the subtle scents the woods combine.

     Fair First-Day mornings, steeped in summer calm,
     Warm, tender, restful, sweet with woodland balm,
     Came to him, like some mother-hallowed psalm

     To the tired grinder at the noisy wheel
     Of labor, winding off from memory's reel
     A golden thread of music. With no peal

     Of bells to call them to the house of praise,
     The scattered settlers through green forest-ways
     Walked meeting-ward. In reverent amaze

     The Indian trapper saw them, from the dim
     Shade of the alders on the rivulet's rim,
     Seek the Great Spirit's house to talk with Him.

     There, through the gathered stillness multiplied
     And made intense by sympathy, outside
     The sparrows sang, and the gold-robin cried,

     A-swing upon his elm. A faint perfume
     Breathed through the open windows of the room
     From locust-trees, heavy with clustered bloom.

     Thither, perchance, sore-tried confessors came,
     Whose fervor jail nor pillory could tame,
     Proud of the cropped ears meant to be their shame,

     Men who had eaten slavery's bitter bread
     In Indian isles; pale women who had bled
     Under the hangman's lash, and bravely said

     God's message through their prison's iron bars;
     And gray old soldier-converts, seamed with scars
     From every stricken field of England's wars.

     Lowly before the Unseen Presence knelt
     Each waiting heart, till haply some one felt
     On his moved lips the seal of silence melt.

     Or, without spoken words, low breathings stole
     Of a diviner life from soul to soul,
     Baptizing in one tender thought the whole.

     When shaken hands announced the meeting o'er,
     The friendly group still lingered at the door,
     Greeting, inquiring, sharing all the store

     Of weekly tidings. Meanwhile youth and maid
     Down the green vistas of the woodland strayed,
     Whispered and smiled and oft their feet delayed.

     Did the boy's whistle answer back the thrushes?
     Did light girl laughter ripple through the bushes,
     As brooks make merry over roots and rushes?

     Unvexed the sweet air seemed. Without a wound
     The ear of silence heard, and every sound
     Its place in nature's fine accordance found.

     And solemn meeting, summer sky and wood,
     Old kindly faces, youth and maidenhood
     Seemed, like God's new creation, very good!

     And, greeting all with quiet smile and word,
     Pastorius went his way. The unscared bird
     Sang at his side; scarcely the squirrel stirred

     At his hushed footstep on the mossy sod;
     And, wheresoe'er the good man looked or trod,
     He felt the peace of nature and of God.

     His social life wore no ascetic form,
     He loved all beauty, without fear of harm,
     And in his veins his Teuton blood ran warm.

     Strict to himself, of other men no spy,
     He made his own no circuit-judge to try
     The freer conscience of his neighbors by.

     With love rebuking, by his life alone,
     Gracious and sweet, the better way was shown,
     The joy of one, who, seeking not his own,

     And faithful to all scruples, finds at last
     The thorns and shards of duty overpast,
     And daily life, beyond his hope's forecast,

     Pleasant and beautiful with sight and sound,
     And flowers upspringing in its narrow round,
     And all his days with quiet gladness crowned.

     He sang not; but, if sometimes tempted strong,
     He hummed what seemed like Altorf's Burschen-song;
     His good wife smiled, and did not count it wrong.

     For well he loved his boyhood's brother band;
     His Memory, while he trod the New World's strand,
     A double-ganger walked the Fatherland

     If, when on frosty Christmas eves the light
     Shone on his quiet hearth, he missed the sight
     Of Yule-log, Tree, and Christ-child all in white;

     And closed his eyes, and listened to the sweet
     Old wait-songs sounding down his native street,
     And watched again the dancers' mingling feet;

     Yet not the less, when once the vision passed,
     He held the plain and sober maxims fast
     Of the dear Friends with whom his lot was cast.

     Still all attuned to nature's melodies,
     He loved the bird's song in his dooryard trees,
     And the low hum of home-returning bees;

     The blossomed flax, the tulip-trees in bloom
     Down the long street, the beauty and perfume
     Of apple-boughs, the mingling light and gloom

     Of Sommerhausen's woodlands, woven through
     With sun--threads; and the music the wind drew,
     Mournful and sweet, from leaves it overblew.

     And evermore, beneath this outward sense,
     And through the common sequence of events,
     He felt the guiding hand of Providence

     Reach out of space. A Voice spake in his ear,
     And to all other voices far and near
     Died at that whisper, full of meanings clear.

     The Light of Life shone round him; one by one
     The wandering lights, that all-misleading run,
     Went out like candles paling in the sun.

     That Light he followed, step by step, where'er
     It led, as in the vision of the seer
     The wheels moved as the spirit in the clear

     And terrible crystal moved, with all their eyes
     Watching the living splendor sink or rise,
     Its will their will, knowing no otherwise.

     Within himself he found the law of right,
     He walked by faith and not the letter's sight,
     And read his Bible by the Inward Light.

     And if sometimes the slaves of form and rule,
     Frozen in their creeds like fish in winter's pool,
     Tried the large tolerance of his liberal school,

     His door was free to men of every name,
     He welcomed all the seeking souls who came,
     And no man's faith he made a cause of blame.

     But best he loved in leisure hours to see
     His own dear Friends sit by him knee to knee,
     In social converse, genial, frank, and free.

     There sometimes silence (it were hard to tell
     Who owned it first) upon the circle fell,
     Hushed Anna's busy wheel, and laid its spell

     On the black boy who grimaced by the hearth,
     To solemnize his shining face of mirth;
     Only the old clock ticked amidst the dearth

     Of sound; nor eye was raised nor hand was stirred
     In that soul-sabbath, till at last some word
     Of tender counsel or low prayer was heard.

     Then guests, who lingered but farewell to say
     And take love's message, went their homeward way;
     So passed in peace the guileless Quaker's day.

     His was the Christian's unsung Age of Gold,
     A truer idyl than the bards have told
     Of Arno's banks or Arcady of old.

     Where still the Friends their place of burial keep,
     And century-rooted mosses o'er it creep,
     The Nurnberg scholar and his helpmeet sleep.

     And Anna's aloe? If it flowered at last
     In Bartram's garden, did John Woolman cast
     A glance upon it as he meekly passed?

     And did a secret sympathy possess
     That tender soul, and for the slave's redress
     Lend hope, strength, patience? It were vain to
     guess.

     Nay, were the plant itself but mythical,
     Set in the fresco of tradition's wall
     Like Jotham's bramble, mattereth not at all.

     Enough to know that, through the winter's frost
     And summer's heat, no seed of truth is lost,
     And every duty pays at last its cost.

     For, ere Pastorius left the sun and air,
     God sent the answer to his life-long prayer;
     The child was born beside the Delaware,

     Who, in the power a holy purpose lends,
     Guided his people unto nobler ends,
     And left them worthier of the name of Friends.

     And to! the fulness of the time has come,
     And over all the exile's Western home,
     From sea to sea the flowers of freedom bloom!

     And joy-bells ring, and silver trumpets blow;
     But not for thee, Pastorius! Even so
     The world forgets, but the wise angels know.



KING VOLMER AND ELSIE.

AFTER THE DANISH OF CHRISTIAN WINTER.

     WHERE, over heathen doom-rings and gray stones
     of the Horg,
     In its little Christian city stands the church of
     Vordingborg,
     In merry mood King Volmer sat, forgetful of his
     power,
     As idle as the Goose of Gold that brooded on his
     tower.

     Out spake the King to Henrik, his young and faithful
     squire
     "Dar'st trust thy little Elsie, the maid of thy
     desire?"
     "Of all the men in Denmark she loveth only me
     As true to me is Elsie as thy Lily is to thee."

     Loud laughed the king: "To-morrow shall bring
     another day, (18)
     When I myself will test her; she will not say me
     nay."
     Thereat the lords and gallants, that round about
     him stood,
     Wagged all their heads in concert and smiled as
     courtiers should.

     The gray lark sings o'er Vordingborg, and on the
     ancient town
     From the tall tower of Valdemar the Golden Goose
     looks down;
     The yellow grain is waving in the pleasant wind of
     morn,
     The wood resounds with cry of hounds and blare
     of hunter's horn.

     In the garden of her father little Elsie sits and
     spins,
     And, singing with the early birds, her daily task,
     begins.
     Gay tulips bloom and sweet mint curls around her
     garden-bower,
     But she is sweeter than the mint and fairer than
     the flower.

     About her form her kirtle blue clings lovingly, and,
     white
     As snow, her loose sleeves only leave her small,
     round wrists in sight;
     Below, the modest petticoat can only half conceal
     The motion of the lightest foot that ever turned a
     wheel.

     The cat sits purring at her side, bees hum in
     sunshine warm;
     But, look! she starts, she lifts her face, she shades
     it with her arm.
     And, hark! a train of horsemen, with sound of
     dog and horn,
     Come leaping o'er the ditches, come trampling
     down the corn!

     Merrily rang the bridle-reins, and scarf and plume
     streamed gay,
     As fast beside her father's gate the riders held
     their way;
     And one was brave in scarlet cloak, with golden
     spur on heel,
     And, as he checked his foaming steed, the maiden
     checked her wheel.

     "All hail among thy roses, the fairest rose to me!
     For weary months in secret my heart has longed for
     thee!"
     What noble knight was this? What words for
     modest maiden's ear?
     She dropped a lowly courtesy of bashfulness and
     fear.

     She lifted up her spinning-wheel; she fain would
     seek the door,
     Trembling in every limb, her cheek with blushes
     crimsoned o'er.
     "Nay, fear me not," the rider said, "I offer heart
     and hand,
     Bear witness these good Danish knights who round
     about me stand.

     "I grant you time to think of this, to answer as
     you may,
     For to-morrow, little Elsie, shall bring another day."
     He spake the old phrase slyly as, glancing round
     his train,
     He saw his merry followers seek to hide their
     smiles in vain.

     "The snow of pearls I'll scatter in your curls of
     golden hair,
     I'll line with furs the velvet of the kirtle that you
     wear;
     All precious gems shall twine your neck; and in
     a chariot gay
     You shall ride, my little Elsie, behind four steeds
     of gray.

     "And harps shall sound, and flutes shall play, and
     brazen lamps shall glow;
     On marble floors your feet shall weave the dances
     to and fro.
     At frosty eventide for us the blazing hearth shall
     shine,
     While, at our ease, we play at draughts, and drink
     the blood-red wine."

     Then Elsie raised her head and met her wooer face
     to face;
     A roguish smile shone in her eye and on her lip
     found place.
     Back from her low white forehead the curls of
     gold she threw,
     And lifted up her eyes to his, steady and clear and
     blue.

     "I am a lowly peasant, and you a gallant knight;
     I will not trust a love that soon may cool and turn
     to slight.
     If you would wed me henceforth be a peasant, not
     a lord;
     I bid you hang upon the wall your tried and trusty
     sword."

     "To please you, Elsie, I will lay keen Dynadel
     away,
     And in its place will swing the scythe and mow
     your father's hay."
     "Nay, but your gallant scarlet cloak my eyes can
     never bear;
     A Vadmal coat, so plain and gray, is all that you
     must wear."

     "Well, Vadmal will I wear for you," the rider
     gayly spoke,
     "And on the Lord's high altar I'll lay my scarlet
     cloak."
     "But mark," she said, "no stately horse my peasant
     love must ride,
     A yoke of steers before the plough is all that he
     must guide."

     The knight looked down upon his steed: "Well,
     let him wander free
     No other man must ride the horse that has been
     backed by me.
     Henceforth I'll tread the furrow and to my oxen
     talk,
     If only little Elsie beside my plough will walk."

     "You must take from out your cellar cask of wine
     and flask and can;
     The homely mead I brew you may serve a peasant.
     man."
     "Most willingly, fair Elsie, I'll drink that mead
     of thine,
     And leave my minstrel's thirsty throat to drain
     my generous wine."

     "Now break your shield asunder, and shatter sign
     and boss,
     Unmeet for peasant-wedded arms, your knightly
     knee across.
     And pull me down your castle from top to basement
     wall,
     And let your plough trace furrows in the ruins of
     your hall!"

     Then smiled he with a lofty pride; right well at
     last he knew
     The maiden of the spinning-wheel was to her troth.
     plight true.
     "Ah, roguish little Elsie! you act your part full
     well
     You know that I must bear my shield and in my
     castle dwell!

     "The lions ramping on that shield between the
     hearts aflame
     Keep watch o'er Denmark's honor, and guard her
     ancient name.

     "For know that I am Volmer; I dwell in yonder
     towers,
     Who ploughs them ploughs up Denmark, this
     goodly home of ours'.

     "I tempt no more, fair Elsie! your heart I know
     is true;
     Would God that all our maidens were good and
     pure as you!
     Well have you pleased your monarch, and he shall
     well repay;
     God's peace! Farewell! To-morrow will bring
     another day!"

     He lifted up his bridle hand, he spurred his good
     steed then,
     And like a whirl-blast swept away with all his
     gallant men.
     The steel hoofs beat the rocky path; again on
     winds of morn
     The wood resounds with cry of hounds and blare
     of hunter's horn.

     "Thou true and ever faithful!" the listening
     Henrik cried;
     And, leaping o'er the green hedge, he stood by
     Elsie's side.
     None saw the fond embracing, save, shining from
     afar,
     The Golden Goose that watched them from the
     tower of Valdemar.

     O darling girls of Denmark! of all the flowers
     that throng
     Her vales of spring the fairest, I sing for you my
     song.
     No praise as yours so bravely rewards the singer's
     skill;
     Thank God! of maids like Elsie the land has
     plenty still!

     1872.



THE THREE BELLS.

     BENEATH the low-hung night cloud
     That raked her splintering mast
     The good ship settled slowly,
     The cruel leak gained fast.

     Over the awful ocean
     Her signal guns pealed out.
     Dear God! was that Thy answer
     From the horror round about?

     A voice came down the wild wind,
     "Ho! ship ahoy!" its cry
     "Our stout Three Bells of Glasgow
     Shall lay till daylight by!"

     Hour after hour crept slowly,
     Yet on the heaving swells
     Tossed up and down the ship-lights,
     The lights of the Three Bells!

     And ship to ship made signals,
     Man answered back to man,
     While oft, to cheer and hearten,
     The Three Bells nearer ran;

     And the captain from her taffrail
     Sent down his hopeful cry
     "Take heart! Hold on!" he shouted;
     "The Three Bells shall lay by!"

     All night across the waters
     The tossing lights shone clear;
     All night from reeling taffrail
     The Three Bells sent her cheer.

     And when the dreary watches
     Of storm and darkness passed,
     Just as the wreck lurched under,
     All souls were saved at last.

     Sail on, Three Bells, forever,
     In grateful memory sail!
     Ring on, Three Bells of rescue,
     Above the wave and gale!

     Type of the Love eternal,
     Repeat the Master's cry,
     As tossing through our darkness
     The lights of God draw nigh!

     1872.



JOHN UNDERHILL.

     A SCORE of years had come and gone
     Since the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth stone,
     When Captain Underhill, bearing scars
     From Indian ambush and Flemish wars,
     Left three-hilled Boston and wandered down,
     East by north, to Cocheco town.

     With Vane the younger, in counsel sweet,
     He had sat at Anna Hutchinson's feet,
     And, when the bolt of banishment fell
     On the head of his saintly oracle,
     He had shared her ill as her good report,
     And braved the wrath of the General Court.

     He shook from his feet as he rode away
     The dust of the Massachusetts Bay.
     The world might bless and the world might ban,
     What did it matter the perfect man,
     To whom the freedom of earth was given,
     Proof against sin, and sure of heaven?

     He cheered his heart as he rode along
     With screed of Scripture and holy song,
     Or thought how he rode with his lances free
     By the Lower Rhine and the Zuyder-Zee,
     Till his wood-path grew to a trodden road,
     And Hilton Point in the distance showed.

     He saw the church with the block-house nigh,
     The two fair rivers, the flakes thereby,
     And, tacking to windward, low and crank,
     The little shallop from Strawberry Bank;
     And he rose in his stirrups and looked abroad
     Over land and water, and praised the Lord.

     Goodly and stately and grave to see,
     Into the clearing's space rode he,
     With the sun on the hilt of his sword in sheath,
     And his silver buckles and spurs beneath,
     And the settlers welcomed him, one and all,
     From swift Quampeagan to Gonic Fall.

     And he said to the elders: "Lo, I come
     As the way seemed open to seek a home.
     Somewhat the Lord hath wrought by my hands
     In the Narragansett and Netherlands,
     And if here ye have work for a Christian man,
     I will tarry, and serve ye as best I can.

     "I boast not of gifts, but fain would own
     The wonderful favor God hath shown,
     The special mercy vouchsafed one day
     On the shore of Narragansett Bay,
     As I sat, with my pipe, from the camp aside,
     And mused like Isaac at eventide.

     "A sudden sweetness of peace I found,
     A garment of gladness wrapped me round;
     I felt from the law of works released,
     The strife of the flesh and spirit ceased,
     My faith to a full assurance grew,
     And all I had hoped for myself I knew.

     "Now, as God appointeth, I keep my way,
     I shall not stumble, I shall not stray;
     He hath taken away my fig-leaf dress,
     I wear the robe of His righteousness;
     And the shafts of Satan no more avail
     Than Pequot arrows on Christian mail."

     "Tarry with us," the settlers cried,
     "Thou man of God, as our ruler and guide."
     And Captain Underhill bowed his head.
     "The will of the Lord be done!" he said.
     And the morrow beheld him sitting down
     In the ruler's seat in Cocheco town.

     And he judged therein as a just man should;
     His words were wise and his rule was good;
     He coveted not his neighbor's land,
     From the holding of bribes he shook his hand;
     And through the camps of the heathen ran
     A wholesome fear of the valiant man.

     But the heart is deceitful, the good Book saith,
     And life hath ever a savor of death.
     Through hymns of triumph the tempter calls,
     And whoso thinketh he standeth falls.
     Alas! ere their round the seasons ran,
     There was grief in the soul of the saintly man.

     The tempter's arrows that rarely fail
     Had found the joints of his spiritual mail;
     And men took note of his gloomy air,
     The shame in his eye, the halt in his prayer,
     The signs of a battle lost within,
     The pain of a soul in the coils of sin.

     Then a whisper of scandal linked his name
     With broken vows and a life of blame;
     And the people looked askance on him
     As he walked among them sullen and grim,
     Ill at ease, and bitter of word,
     And prompt of quarrel with hand or sword.

     None knew how, with prayer and fasting still,
     He strove in the bonds of his evil will;
     But he shook himself like Samson at length,
     And girded anew his loins of strength,
     And bade the crier go up and down
     And call together the wondering town.

     Jeer and murmur and shaking of head
     Ceased as he rose in his place and said
     "Men, brethren, and fathers, well ye know
     How I came among you a year ago,
     Strong in the faith that my soul was freed
     From sin of feeling, or thought, or deed.

     "I have sinned, I own it with grief and shame,
     But not with a lie on my lips I came.
     In my blindness I verily thought my heart
     Swept and garnished in every part.
     He chargeth His angels with folly; He sees
     The heavens unclean. Was I more than these?

     "I urge no plea. At your feet I lay
     The trust you gave me, and go my way.
     Hate me or pity me, as you will,
     The Lord will have mercy on sinners still;
     And I, who am chiefest, say to all,
     Watch and pray, lest ye also fall."

     No voice made answer: a sob so low
     That only his quickened ear could know
     Smote his heart with a bitter pain,
     As into the forest he rode again,
     And the veil of its oaken leaves shut down
     On his latest glimpse of Cocheco town.

     Crystal-clear on the man of sin
     The streams flashed up, and the sky shone in;
     On his cheek of fever the cool wind blew,
     The leaves dropped on him their tears of dew,
     And angels of God, in the pure, sweet guise
     Of flowers, looked on him with sad surprise.

     Was his ear at fault that brook and breeze
     Sang in their saddest of minor keys?
     What was it the mournful wood-thrush said?
     What whispered the pine-trees overhead?
     Did he hear the Voice on his lonely way
     That Adam heard in the cool of day?

     Into the desert alone rode he,
     Alone with the Infinite Purity;
     And, bowing his soul to its tender rebuke,
     As Peter did to the Master's look,
     He measured his path with prayers of pain
     For peace with God and nature again.

     And in after years to Cocheco came
     The bruit of a once familiar name;
     How among the Dutch of New Netherlands,
     From wild Danskamer to Haarlem sands,
     A penitent soldier preached the Word,
     And smote the heathen with Gideon's sword!

     And the heart of Boston was glad to hear
     How he harried the foe on the long frontier,
     And heaped on the land against him barred
     The coals of his generous watch and ward.
     Frailest and bravest! the Bay State still
     Counts with her worthies John Underhill.

     1873.



CONDUCTOR BRADLEY.

A railway conductor who lost his life in an accident on a Connecticut
railway, May 9, 1873.


     CONDUCTOR BRADLEY, (always may his name
     Be said with reverence!) as the swift doom came,
     Smitten to death, a crushed and mangled frame,

     Sank, with the brake he grasped just where he stood
     To do the utmost that a brave man could,
     And die, if needful, as a true man should.

     Men stooped above him; women dropped their tears
     On that poor wreck beyond all hopes or fears,
     Lost in the strength and glory of his years.

     What heard they? Lo! the ghastly lips of pain,
     Dead to all thought save duty's, moved again
     "Put out the signals for the other train!"

     No nobler utterance since the world began
     From lips of saint or martyr ever ran,
     Electric, through the sympathies of man.

     Ah me! how poor and noteless seem to this
     The sick-bed dramas of self-consciousness,
     Our sensual fears of pain and hopes of bliss!

     Oh, grand, supreme endeavor! Not in vain
     That last brave act of failing tongue and brain
     Freighted with life the downward rushing train,

     Following the wrecked one, as wave follows wave,
     Obeyed the warning which the dead lips gave.
     Others he saved, himself he could not save.

     Nay, the lost life was saved. He is not dead
     Who in his record still the earth shall tread
     With God's clear aureole shining round his head.

     We bow as in the dust, with all our pride
     Of virtue dwarfed the noble deed beside.
     God give us grace to live as Bradley died!

     1873.



THE WITCH OF WENHAM.

The house is still standing in Danvers, Mass., where, it is said, a
suspected witch was confined overnight in the attic, which was bolted
fast. In the morning when the constable came to take her to Salem for
trial she was missing, although the door was still bolted. Her escape
was doubtless aided by her friends, but at the time it was attributed
to Satanic interference.


     I.

     ALONG Crane River's sunny slopes
     Blew warm the winds of May,
     And over Naumkeag's ancient oaks
     The green outgrew the gray.

     The grass was green on Rial-side,
     The early birds at will
     Waked up the violet in its dell,
     The wind-flower on its hill.

     "Where go you, in your Sunday coat,
     Son Andrew, tell me, pray."
     For striped perch in Wenham Lake
     I go to fish to-day."

     "Unharmed of thee in Wenham Lake
     The mottled perch shall be
     A blue-eyed witch sits on the bank
     And weaves her net for thee.

     "She weaves her golden hair; she sings
     Her spell-song low and faint;
     The wickedest witch in Salem jail
     Is to that girl a saint."

     "Nay, mother, hold thy cruel tongue;
     God knows," the young man cried,
     "He never made a whiter soul
     Than hers by Wenham side.

     "She tends her mother sick and blind,
     And every want supplies;
     To her above the blessed Book
     She lends her soft blue eyes.

     "Her voice is glad with holy songs,
     Her lips are sweet with prayer;
     Go where you will, in ten miles round
     Is none more good and fair."

     "Son Andrew, for the love of God
     And of thy mother, stay!"
     She clasped her hands, she wept aloud,
     But Andrew rode away.

     "O reverend sir, my Andrew's soul
     The Wenham witch has caught;
     She holds him with the curled gold
     Whereof her snare is wrought.

     "She charms him with her great blue eyes,
     She binds him with her hair;
     Oh, break the spell with holy words,
     Unbind him with a prayer!"

     "Take heart," the painful preacher said,
     "This mischief shall not be;
     The witch shall perish in her sins
     And Andrew shall go free.

     "Our poor Ann Putnam testifies
     She saw her weave a spell,
     Bare-armed, loose-haired, at full of moon,
     Around a dried-up well.

     "'Spring up, O well!' she softly sang
     The Hebrew's old refrain
     (For Satan uses Bible words),
     Till water flowed a-main.

     "And many a goodwife heard her speak
     By Wenham water words
     That made the buttercups take wings
     And turn to yellow birds.

     "They say that swarming wild bees seek
     The hive at her command;
     And fishes swim to take their food
     From out her dainty hand.

     "Meek as she sits in meeting-time,
     The godly minister
     Notes well the spell that doth compel
     The young men's eyes to her.

     "The mole upon her dimpled chin
     Is Satan's seal and sign;
     Her lips are red with evil bread
     And stain of unblest wine.

     "For Tituba, my Indian, saith
     At Quasycung she took
     The Black Man's godless sacrament
     And signed his dreadful book.

     "Last night my sore-afflicted child
     Against the young witch cried.
     To take her Marshal Herrick rides
     Even now to Wenham side."

     The marshal in his saddle sat,
     His daughter at his knee;
     "I go to fetch that arrant witch,
     Thy fair playmate," quoth he.

     "Her spectre walks the parsonage,
     And haunts both hall and stair;
     They know her by the great blue eyes
     And floating gold of hair."

     "They lie, they lie, my father dear!
     No foul old witch is she,
     But sweet and good and crystal-pure
     As Wenham waters be."

     "I tell thee, child, the Lord hath set
     Before us good and ill,
     And woe to all whose carnal loves
     Oppose His righteous will.

     "Between Him and the powers of hell
     Choose thou, my child, to-day
     No sparing hand, no pitying eye,
     When God commands to slay!"

     He went his way; the old wives shook
     With fear as he drew nigh;
     The children in the dooryards held
     Their breath as he passed by.

     Too well they knew the gaunt gray horse
     The grim witch-hunter rode
     The pale Apocalyptic beast
     By grisly Death bestrode.


     II.

     Oh, fair the face of Wenham Lake
     Upon the young girl's shone,
     Her tender mouth, her dreaming eyes,
     Her yellow hair outblown.

     By happy youth and love attuned
     To natural harmonies,
     The singing birds, the whispering wind,
     She sat beneath the trees.

     Sat shaping for her bridal dress
     Her mother's wedding gown,
     When lo! the marshal, writ in hand,
     From Alford hill rode down.

     His face was hard with cruel fear,
     He grasped the maiden's hands
     "Come with me unto Salem town,
     For so the law commands!"

     "Oh, let me to my mother say
     Farewell before I go!"
     He closer tied her little hands
     Unto his saddle bow.

     "Unhand me," cried she piteously,
     "For thy sweet daughter's sake."
     "I'll keep my daughter safe," he said,
     "From the witch of Wenham Lake."

     "Oh, leave me for my mother's sake,
     She needs my eyes to see."
     "Those eyes, young witch, the crows shall peck
     From off the gallows-tree."

     He bore her to a farm-house old,
     And up its stairway long,
     And closed on her the garret-door
     With iron bolted strong.

     The day died out, the night came down
     Her evening prayer she said,
     While, through the dark, strange faces seemed
     To mock her as she prayed.

     The present horror deepened all
     The fears her childhood knew;
     The awe wherewith the air was filled
     With every breath she drew.

     And could it be, she trembling asked,
     Some secret thought or sin
     Had shut good angels from her heart
     And let the bad ones in?

     Had she in some forgotten dream
     Let go her hold on Heaven,
     And sold herself unwittingly
     To spirits unforgiven?

     Oh, weird and still the dark hours passed;
     No human sound she heard,
     But up and down the chimney stack
     The swallows moaned and stirred.

     And o'er her, with a dread surmise
     Of evil sight and sound,
     The blind bats on their leathern wings
     Went wheeling round and round.

     Low hanging in the midnight sky
     Looked in a half-faced moon.
     Was it a dream, or did she hear
     Her lover's whistled tune?

     She forced the oaken scuttle back;
     A whisper reached her ear
     "Slide down the roof to me," it said,
     "So softly none may hear."

     She slid along the sloping roof
     Till from its eaves she hung,
     And felt the loosened shingles yield
     To which her fingers clung.

     Below, her lover stretched his hands
     And touched her feet so small;
     "Drop down to me, dear heart," he said,
     "My arms shall break the fall."

     He set her on his pillion soft,
     Her arms about him twined;
     And, noiseless as if velvet-shod,
     They left the house behind.

     But when they reached the open way,
     Full free the rein he cast;
     Oh, never through the mirk midnight
     Rode man and maid more fast.

     Along the wild wood-paths they sped,
     The bridgeless streams they swam;
     At set of moon they passed the Bass,
     At sunrise Agawam.

     At high noon on the Merrimac
     The ancient ferryman
     Forgot, at times, his idle oars,
     So fair a freight to scan.

     And when from off his grounded boat
     He saw them mount and ride,
     "God keep her from the evil eye,
     And harm of witch!" he cried.

     The maiden laughed, as youth will laugh
     At all its fears gone by;
     "He does not know," she whispered low,
     "A little witch am I."

     All day he urged his weary horse,
     And, in the red sundown,
     Drew rein before a friendly door
     In distant Berwick town.

     A fellow-feeling for the wronged
     The Quaker people felt;
     And safe beside their kindly hearths
     The hunted maiden dwelt,

     Until from off its breast the land
     The haunting horror threw,
     And hatred, born of ghastly dreams,
     To shame and pity grew.

     Sad were the year's spring morns, and sad
     Its golden summer day,
     But blithe and glad its withered fields,
     And skies of ashen gray;

     For spell and charm had power no more,
     The spectres ceased to roam,
     And scattered households knelt again
     Around the hearths of home.

     And when once more by Beaver Dam
     The meadow-lark outsang,
     And once again on all the hills
     The early violets sprang,

     And all the windy pasture slopes
     Lay green within the arms
     Of creeks that bore the salted sea
     To pleasant inland farms,

     The smith filed off the chains he forged,
     The jail-bolts backward fell;
     And youth and hoary age came forth
     Like souls escaped from hell.

     1877



KING SOLOMON AND THE ANTS

     OUT from Jerusalem
     The king rode with his great
     War chiefs and lords of state,
     And Sheba's queen with them;

     Comely, but black withal,
     To whom, perchance, belongs
     That wondrous Song of songs,
     Sensuous and mystical,

     Whereto devout souls turn
     In fond, ecstatic dream,
     And through its earth-born theme
     The Love of loves discern.

     Proud in the Syrian sun,
     In gold and purple sheen,
     The dusky Ethiop queen
     Smiled on King Solomon.

     Wisest of men, he knew
     The languages of all
     The creatures great or small
     That trod the earth or flew.

     Across an ant-hill led
     The king's path, and he heard
     Its small folk, and their word
     He thus interpreted:

     "Here comes the king men greet
     As wise and good and just,
     To crush us in the dust
     Under his heedless feet."

     The great king bowed his head,
     And saw the wide surprise
     Of the Queen of Sheba's eyes
     As he told her what they said.

     "O king!" she whispered sweet,
     "Too happy fate have they
     Who perish in thy way
     Beneath thy gracious feet!

     "Thou of the God-lent crown,
     Shall these vile creatures dare
     Murmur against thee where
     The knees of kings kneel down?"

     "Nay," Solomon replied,
     "The wise and strong should seek
     The welfare of the weak,"
     And turned his horse aside.

     His train, with quick alarm,
     Curved with their leader round
     The ant-hill's peopled mound,
     And left it free from harm.

     The jewelled head bent low;
     "O king!" she said, "henceforth
     The secret of thy worth
     And wisdom well I know.

     "Happy must be the State
     Whose ruler heedeth more
     The murmurs of the poor
     Than flatteries of the great."

     1877.



IN THE "OLD SOUTH."

On the 8th of July, 1677, Margaret Brewster with four other Friends
went into the South Church in time of meeting, "in sack-cloth, with
ashes upon her head, barefoot, and her face blackened," and delivered
"a warning from the great God of Heaven and Earth to the Rulers and
Magistrates of Boston." For the offence she was sentenced to be "whipped
at a cart's tail up and down the Town, with twenty lashes."

     SHE came and stood in the Old South Church,
     A wonder and a sign,
     With a look the old-time sibyls wore,
     Half-crazed and half-divine.

     Save the mournful sackcloth about her wound,
     Unclothed as the primal mother,
     With limbs that trembled and eyes that blazed
     With a fire she dare not smother.

     Loose on her shoulders fell her hair,
     With sprinkled ashes gray;
     She stood in the broad aisle strange and weird
     As a soul at the judgment day.

     And the minister paused in his sermon's midst,
     And the people held their breath,
     For these were the words the maiden spoke
     Through lips as the lips of death:

     "Thus saith the Lord, with equal feet
     All men my courts shall tread,
     And priest and ruler no more shall eat
     My people up like bread!

     "Repent! repent! ere the Lord shall speak
     In thunder and breaking seals
     Let all souls worship Him in the way
     His light within reveals."

     She shook the dust from her naked feet,
     And her sackcloth closer drew,
     And into the porch of the awe-hushed church
     She passed like a ghost from view.

     They whipped her away at the tail o' the cart
     Through half the streets of the town,
     But the words she uttered that day nor fire
     Could burn nor water drown.

     And now the aisles of the ancient church
     By equal feet are trod,
     And the bell that swings in its belfry rings
     Freedom to worship God!

     And now whenever a wrong is done
     It thrills the conscious walls;
     The stone from the basement cries aloud
     And the beam from the timber calls.

     There are steeple-houses on every hand,
     And pulpits that bless and ban,
     And the Lord will not grudge the single church
     That is set apart for man.

     For in two commandments are all the law
     And the prophets under the sun,
     And the first is last and the last is first,
     And the twain are verily one.

     So, long as Boston shall Boston be,
     And her bay-tides rise and fall,
     Shall freedom stand in the Old South Church
     And plead for the rights of all!

     1877.



THE HENCHMAN.

     MY lady walks her morning round,
     My lady's page her fleet greyhound,
     My lady's hair the fond winds stir,
     And all the birds make songs for her.

     Her thrushes sing in Rathburn bowers,
     And Rathburn side is gay with flowers;
     But ne'er like hers, in flower or bird,
     Was beauty seen or music heard.

     The distance of the stars is hers;
     The least of all her worshippers,
     The dust beneath her dainty heel,
     She knows not that I see or feel.

     Oh, proud and calm!--she cannot know
     Where'er she goes with her I go;
     Oh, cold and fair!--she cannot guess
     I kneel to share her hound's caress!

     Gay knights beside her hunt and hawk,
     I rob their ears of her sweet talk;
     Her suitors come from east and west,
     I steal her smiles from every guest.

     Unheard of her, in loving words,
     I greet her with the song of birds;
     I reach her with her green-armed bowers,
     I kiss her with the lips of flowers.

     The hound and I are on her trail,
     The wind and I uplift her veil;
     As if the calm, cold moon she were,
     And I the tide, I follow her.

     As unrebuked as they, I share
     The license of the sun and air,
     And in a common homage hide
     My worship from her scorn and pride.

     World-wide apart, and yet so near,
     I breathe her charmed atmosphere,
     Wherein to her my service brings
     The reverence due to holy things.

     Her maiden pride, her haughty name,
     My dumb devotion shall not shame;
     The love that no return doth crave
     To knightly levels lifts the slave,

     No lance have I, in joust or fight,
     To splinter in my lady's sight
     But, at her feet, how blest were I
     For any need of hers to die!

     1877.



THE DEAD FEAST OF THE KOL-FOLK.

E. B. Tylor in his Primitive Culture, chapter xii., gives an account of
the reverence paid the dead by the Kol tribes of Chota Nagpur, Assam.
"When a Ho or Munda," he says, "has been burned on the funeral pile,
collected morsels of his bones are carried in procession with a solemn,
ghostly, sliding step, keeping time to the deep-sounding drum, and when
the old woman who carries the bones on her bamboo tray lowers it from
time to time, then girls who carry pitchers and brass vessels mournfully
reverse them to show that they are empty; thus the remains are taken to
visit every house in the village, and every dwelling of a friend or
relative for miles, and the inmates come out to mourn and praise the
goodness of the departed; the bones are carried to all the dead man's
favorite haunts, to the fields he cultivated, to the grove he planted,
to the threshing-floor where he worked, to the village dance-room where
he made merry. At last they are taken to the grave, and buried in an
earthen vase upon a store of food, covered with one of those huge stone
slabs which European visitors wonder at in the districts of the
aborigines of India." In the Journal of the Asiatic Society, Bengal,
vol. ix., p. 795, is a Ho dirge.


     WE have opened the door,
     Once, twice, thrice!
     We have swept the floor,
     We have boiled the rice.
     Come hither, come hither!
     Come from the far lands,
     Come from the star lands,
     Come as before!
     We lived long together,
     We loved one another;
     Come back to our life.
     Come father, come mother,
     Come sister and brother,
     Child, husband, and wife,
     For you we are sighing.
     Come take your old places,
     Come look in our faces,
     The dead on the dying,
     Come home!

     We have opened the door,
     Once, twice, thrice!
     We have kindled the coals,
     And we boil the rice
     For the feast of souls.
     Come hither, come hither!
     Think not we fear you,
     Whose hearts are so near you.
     Come tenderly thought on,
     Come all unforgotten,
     Come from the shadow-lands,
     From the dim meadow-lands
     Where the pale grasses bend
     Low to our sighing.
     Come father, come mother,
     Come sister and brother,
     Come husband and friend,
     The dead to the dying,
     Come home!

     We have opened the door
     You entered so oft;
     For the feast of souls
     We have kindled the coals,
     And we boil the rice soft.
     Come you who are dearest
     To us who are nearest,
     Come hither, come hither,
     From out the wild weather;
     The storm clouds are flying,
     The peepul is sighing;
     Come in from the rain.
     Come father, come mother,
     Come sister and brother,
     Come husband and lover,
     Beneath our roof-cover.
     Look on us again,
     The dead on the dying,
     Come home!

     We have opened the door!
     For the feast of souls
     We have kindled the coals
     We may kindle no more!
     Snake, fever, and famine,
     The curse of the Brahmin,
     The sun and the dew,
     They burn us, they bite us,
     They waste us and smite us;
     Our days are but few
     In strange lands far yonder
     To wonder and wander
     We hasten to you.
     List then to our sighing,
     While yet we are here
     Nor seeing nor hearing,
     We wait without fearing,
     To feel you draw near.
     O dead, to the dying
     Come home!

     1879.



THE KHAN'S DEVIL.


     THE Khan came from Bokhara town
     To Hamza, santon of renown.

     "My head is sick, my hands are weak;
     Thy help, O holy man, I seek."

     In silence marking for a space
     The Khan's red eyes and purple face,

     Thick voice, and loose, uncertain tread,
     "Thou hast a devil!" Hamza said.

     "Allah forbid!" exclaimed the Khan.
     Rid me of him at once, O man!"

     "Nay," Hamza said, "no spell of mine
     Can slay that cursed thing of thine.

     "Leave feast and wine, go forth and drink
     Water of healing on the brink

     "Where clear and cold from mountain snows,
     The Nahr el Zeben downward flows.

     "Six moons remain, then come to me;
     May Allah's pity go with thee!"

     Awestruck, from feast and wine the Khan
     Went forth where Nahr el Zeben ran.

     Roots were his food, the desert dust
     His bed, the water quenched his thirst;

     And when the sixth moon's scimetar
     Curved sharp above the evening star,

     He sought again the santon's door,
     Not weak and trembling as before,

     But strong of limb and clear of brain;
     "Behold," he said, "the fiend is slain."

     "Nay," Hamza answered, "starved and drowned,
     The curst one lies in death-like swound.

     "But evil breaks the strongest gyves,
     And jins like him have charmed lives.

     "One beaker of the juice of grape
     May call him up in living shape.

     "When the red wine of Badakshan
     Sparkles for thee, beware, O Khan,

     "With water quench the fire within,
     And drown each day thy devilkin!"

     Thenceforth the great Khan shunned the cup
     As Shitan's own, though offered up,

     With laughing eyes and jewelled hands,
     By Yarkand's maids and Samarcand's.

     And, in the lofty vestibule
     Of the medress of Kaush Kodul,

     The students of the holy law
     A golden-lettered tablet saw,

     With these words, by a cunning hand,
     Graved on it at the Khan's command:

     "In Allah's name, to him who hath
     A devil, Khan el Hamed saith,

     "Wisely our Prophet cursed the vine
     The fiend that loves the breath of wine,

     "No prayer can slay, no marabout
     Nor Meccan dervis can drive out.

     "I, Khan el Hamed, know the charm
     That robs him of his power to harm.

     "Drown him, O Islam's child! the spell
     To save thee lies in tank and well!"

     1879.



THE KING'S MISSIVE.

1661.

This ballad, originally written for The Memorial History of Boston,
describes, with pardonable poetic license, a memorable incident in the
annals of the city. The interview between Shattuck and the Governor took
place, I have since learned, in the residence of the latter, and not
in the Council Chamber. The publication of the ballad led to some
discussion as to the historical truthfulness of the picture, but I have
seen no reason to rub out any of the figures or alter the lines and
colors.


      UNDER the great hill sloping bare
      To cove and meadow and Common lot,
      In his council chamber and oaken chair,
      Sat the worshipful Governor Endicott.
      A grave, strong man, who knew no peer
      In the pilgrim land, where he ruled in fear
      Of God, not man, and for good or ill
      Held his trust with an iron will.

      He had shorn with his sword the cross from out
      The flag, and cloven the May-pole down,
      Harried the heathen round about,
      And whipped the Quakers from town to town.
      Earnest and honest, a man at need
      To burn like a torch for his own harsh creed,
      He kept with the flaming brand of his zeal
      The gate of the holy common weal.

      His brow was clouded, his eye was stern,
      With a look of mingled sorrow and wrath;
      "Woe's me!" he murmured: "at every turn
      The pestilent Quakers are in my path!
      Some we have scourged, and banished some,
      Some hanged, more doomed, and still they come,
      Fast as the tide of yon bay sets in,
      Sowing their heresy's seed of sin.

      "Did we count on this? Did we leave behind
      The graves of our kin, the comfort and ease
      Of our English hearths and homes, to find
      Troublers of Israel such as these?
      Shall I spare? Shall I pity them? God forbid!
      I will do as the prophet to Agag did
      They come to poison the wells of the Word,
      I will hew them in pieces before the Lord!"

      The door swung open, and Rawson the clerk
      Entered, and whispered under breath,
      "There waits below for the hangman's work
      A fellow banished on pain of death--
      Shattuck, of Salem, unhealed of the whip,
      Brought over in Master Goldsmith's ship
      At anchor here in a Christian port,
      With freight of the devil and all his sort!"

      Twice and thrice on the chamber floor
      Striding fiercely from wall to wall,
      "The Lord do so to me and more,"
      The Governor cried, "if I hang not all!
      Bring hither the Quaker." Calm, sedate,
      With the look of a man at ease with fate,
      Into that presence grim and dread
      Came Samuel Shattuck, with hat on head.

      "Off with the knave's hat!" An angry hand
      Smote down the offence; but the wearer said,
      With a quiet smile, "By the king's command
      I bear his message and stand in his stead."
      In the Governor's hand a missive he laid
      With the royal arms on its seal displayed,
      And the proud man spake as he gazed thereat,
      Uncovering, "Give Mr. Shattuck his hat."

      He turned to the Quaker, bowing low,--
      "The king commandeth your friends' release;
      Doubt not he shall be obeyed, although
      To his subjects' sorrow and sin's increase.
      What he here enjoineth, John Endicott,
      His loyal servant, questioneth not.
      You are free! God grant the spirit you own
      May take you from us to parts unknown."

      So the door of the jail was open cast,
      And, like Daniel, out of the lion's den
      Tender youth and girlhood passed,
      With age-bowed women and gray-locked men.
      And the voice of one appointed to die
      Was lifted in praise and thanks on high,
      And the little maid from New Netherlands
      Kissed, in her joy, the doomed man's hands.

      And one, whose call was to minister
      To the souls in prison, beside him went,
      An ancient woman, bearing with her
      The linen shroud for his burial meant.
      For she, not counting her own life dear,
      In the strength of a love that cast out fear,
      Had watched and served where her brethren died,
      Like those who waited the cross beside.

      One moment they paused on their way to look
      On the martyr graves by the Common side,
      And much scourged Wharton of Salem took
      His burden of prophecy up and cried
      "Rest, souls of the valiant! Not in vain
      Have ye borne the Master's cross of pain;
      Ye have fought the fight, ye are victors crowned,
      With a fourfold chain ye have Satan bound!"

      The autumn haze lay soft and still
      On wood and meadow and upland farms;
      On the brow of Snow Hill the great windmill
      Slowly and lazily swung its arms;
      Broad in the sunshine stretched away,
      With its capes and islands, the turquoise bay;
      And over water and dusk of pines
      Blue hills lifted their faint outlines.

      The topaz leaves of the walnut glowed,
      The sumach added its crimson fleck,
      And double in air and water showed
      The tinted maples along the Neck;
      Through frost flower clusters of pale star-mist,
      And gentian fringes of amethyst,
      And royal plumes of golden-rod,
      The grazing cattle on Centry trod.

      But as they who see not, the Quakers saw
      The world about them; they only thought
      With deep thanksgiving and pious awe
      On the great deliverance God had wrought.
      Through lane and alley the gazing town
      Noisily followed them up and down;
      Some with scoffing and brutal jeer,
      Some with pity and words of cheer.

      One brave voice rose above the din.
      Upsall, gray with his length of days,
      Cried from the door of his Red Lion Inn
      "Men of Boston, give God the praise
      No more shall innocent blood call down
      The bolts of wrath on your guilty town.
      The freedom of worship, dear to you,
      Is dear to all, and to all is due.

      "I see the vision of days to come,
      When your beautiful City of the Bay
      Shall be Christian liberty's chosen home,
      And none shall his neighbor's rights gainsay.
      The varying notes of worship shall blend
      And as one great prayer to God ascend,
      And hands of mutual charity raise
      Walls of salvation and gates of praise."

      So passed the Quakers through Boston town,
      Whose painful ministers sighed to see
      The walls of their sheep-fold falling down,
      And wolves of heresy prowling free.
      But the years went on, and brought no wrong;
      With milder counsels the State grew strong,
      As outward Letter and inward Light
      Kept the balance of truth aright.

      The Puritan spirit perishing not,
      To Concord's yeomen the signal sent,
      And spake in the voice of the cannon-shot
      That severed the chains of a continent.
      With its gentler mission of peace and good-will
      The thought of the Quaker is living still,
      And the freedom of soul he prophesied
      Is gospel and law where the martyrs died.

      1880.



VALUATION.

     THE old Squire said, as he stood by his gate,
     And his neighbor, the Deacon, went by,
     "In spite of my bank stock and real estate,
     You are better off, Deacon, than I.

     "We're both growing old, and the end's drawing near,
     You have less of this world to resign,
     But in Heaven's appraisal your assets, I fear,
     Will reckon up greater than mine.

     "They say I am rich, but I'm feeling so poor,
     I wish I could swap with you even
     The pounds I have lived for and laid up in store
     For the shillings and pence you have given."

     "Well, Squire," said the Deacon, with shrewd
     common sense,
     While his eye had a twinkle of fun,
     "Let your pounds take the way of my shillings
     and pence,
     And the thing can be easily done!"

     1880.



RABBI ISHMAEL.

"Rabbi Ishmael Ben Elisha said, Once, I entered into the Holy of Holies
(as High Priest) to burn incense, when I saw Aktriel (the Divine Crown)
Jah, Lord of Hosts, sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, who said
unto me, 'Ishmael, my son, bless me.' I answered, 'May it please Thee to
make Thy compassion prevail over Thine anger; may it be revealed above
Thy other attributes; mayest Thou deal with Thy children according to
it, and not according to the strict measure of judgment.' It seemed to
me that He bowed His head, as though to answer Amen to my blessing."--
Talmud (Beraehoth, I. f. 6. b.)


     THE Rabbi Ishmael, with the woe and sin
     Of the world heavy upon him, entering in
     The Holy of Holies, saw an awful Face
     With terrible splendor filling all the place.
     "O Ishmael Ben Elisha!" said a voice,
     "What seekest thou? What blessing is thy choice?"
     And, knowing that he stood before the Lord,
     Within the shadow of the cherubim,
     Wide-winged between the blinding light and him,
     He bowed himself, and uttered not a word,
     But in the silence of his soul was prayer
     "O Thou Eternal! I am one of all,
     And nothing ask that others may not share.
     Thou art almighty; we are weak and small,
     And yet Thy children: let Thy mercy spare!"
     Trembling, he raised his eyes, and in the place
     Of the insufferable glory, lo! a face
     Of more than mortal tenderness, that bent
     Graciously down in token of assent,
     And, smiling, vanished! With strange joy elate,
     The wondering Rabbi sought the temple's gate.
     Radiant as Moses from the Mount, he stood
     And cried aloud unto the multitude
     "O Israel, hear! The Lord our God is good!
     Mine eyes have seen his glory and his grace;
     Beyond his judgments shall his love endure;
     The mercy of the All Merciful is sure!"

     1881.



THE ROCK-TOMB OF BRADORE.

H. Y. Hind, in Explorations in the Interior of the Labrador Peninsula
(ii. 166) mentions the finding of a rock tomb near the little fishing
port of Bradore, with the inscription upon it which is given in the
poem.

     A DREAR and desolate shore!
     Where no tree unfolds its leaves,
     And never the spring wind weaves
     Green grass for the hunter's tread;
     A land forsaken and dead,
     Where the ghostly icebergs go
     And come with the ebb and flow
     Of the waters of Bradore!

     A wanderer, from a land
     By summer breezes fanned,
     Looked round him, awed, subdued,
     By the dreadful solitude,
     Hearing alone the cry
     Of sea-birds clanging by,
     The crash and grind of the floe,
     Wail of wind and wash of tide.
     "O wretched land!" he cried,
     "Land of all lands the worst,
     God forsaken and curst!
     Thy gates of rock should show
     The words the Tuscan seer
     Read in the Realm of Woe
     Hope entereth not here!"

     Lo! at his feet there stood
     A block of smooth larch wood,
     Waif of some wandering wave,
     Beside a rock-closed cave
     By Nature fashioned for a grave;
     Safe from the ravening bear
     And fierce fowl of the air,
     Wherein to rest was laid
     A twenty summers' maid,
     Whose blood had equal share
     Of the lands of vine and snow,
     Half French, half Eskimo.
     In letters uneffaced,
     Upon the block were traced
     The grief and hope of man,
     And thus the legend ran
     "We loved her!
     Words cannot tell how well!
     We loved her!
     God loved her!
     And called her home to peace and rest.
     We love her."

     The stranger paused and read.
     "O winter land!" he said,
     "Thy right to be I own;
     God leaves thee not alone.
     And if thy fierce winds blow
     Over drear wastes of rock and snow,
     And at thy iron gates
     The ghostly iceberg waits,
     Thy homes and hearts are dear.
     Thy sorrow o'er thy sacred dust
     Is sanctified by hope and trust;
     God's love and man's are here.
     And love where'er it goes
     Makes its own atmosphere;
     Its flowers of Paradise
     Take root in the eternal ice,
     And bloom through Polar snows!"

     1881.



THE BAY OF SEVEN ISLANDS.

The volume in which "The Bay of Seven Islands" was published was
dedicated to the late Edwin Percy Whipple, to whom more than to any
other person I was indebted for public recognition as one worthy of a
place in American literature, at a time when it required a great degree
of courage to urge such a claim for a pro-scribed abolitionist. Although
younger than I, he had gained the reputation of a brilliant essayist,
and was regarded as the highest American authority in criticism. His wit
and wisdom enlivened a small literary circle of young men including
Thomas Starr King, the eloquent preacher, and Daniel N. Haskell of the
Daily Transcript, who gathered about our common friend dames T. Fields
at the Old Corner Bookstore. The poem which gave title to the volume I
inscribed to my friend and neighbor Harriet Prescott Spofford, whose
poems have lent a new interest to our beautiful river-valley.

     FROM the green Amesbury hill which bears the name
     Of that half mythic ancestor of mine
     Who trod its slopes two hundred years ago,
     Down the long valley of the Merrimac,
     Midway between me and the river's mouth,
     I see thy home, set like an eagle's nest
     Among Deer Island's immemorial pines,
     Crowning the crag on which the sunset breaks
     Its last red arrow. Many a tale and song,
     Which thou bast told or sung, I call to mind,
     Softening with silvery mist the woods and hills,
     The out-thrust headlands and inreaching bays
     Of our northeastern coast-line, trending where
     The Gulf, midsummer, feels the chill blockade
     Of icebergs stranded at its northern gate.

     To thee the echoes of the Island Sound
     Answer not vainly, nor in vain the moan
     Of the South Breaker prophesying storm.
     And thou hast listened, like myself, to men
     Sea-periled oft where Anticosti lies
     Like a fell spider in its web of fog,
     Or where the Grand Bank shallows with the wrecks
     Of sunken fishers, and to whom strange isles
     And frost-rimmed bays and trading stations seem
     Familiar as Great Neck and Kettle Cove,
     Nubble and Boon, the common names of home.
     So let me offer thee this lay of mine,
     Simple and homely, lacking much thy play
     Of color and of fancy. If its theme
     And treatment seem to thee befitting youth
     Rather than age, let this be my excuse
     It has beguiled some heavy hours and called
     Some pleasant memories up; and, better still,
     Occasion lent me for a kindly word
     To one who is my neighbor and my friend.

     1883.

                . . . . . . . . . .


     The skipper sailed out of the harbor mouth,
     Leaving the apple-bloom of the South
     For the ice of the Eastern seas,
     In his fishing schooner Breeze.

     Handsome and brave and young was he,
     And the maids of Newbury sighed to see
     His lessening white sail fall
     Under the sea's blue wall.

     Through the Northern Gulf and the misty screen
     Of the isles of Mingan and Madeleine,
     St. Paul's and Blanc Sablon,
     The little Breeze sailed on,

     Backward and forward, along the shore
     Of lorn and desolate Labrador,
     And found at last her way
     To the Seven Islands Bay.

     The little hamlet, nestling below
     Great hills white with lingering snow,
     With its tin-roofed chapel stood
     Half hid in the dwarf spruce wood;

     Green-turfed, flower-sown, the last outpost
     Of summer upon the dreary coast,
     With its gardens small and spare,
     Sad in the frosty air.

     Hard by where the skipper's schooner lay,
     A fisherman's cottage looked away
     Over isle and bay, and behind
     On mountains dim-defined.

     And there twin sisters, fair and young,
     Laughed with their stranger guest, and sung
     In their native tongue the lays
     Of the old Provencal days.

     Alike were they, save the faint outline
     Of a scar on Suzette's forehead fine;
     And both, it so befell,
     Loved the heretic stranger well.

     Both were pleasant to look upon,
     But the heart of the skipper clave to one;
     Though less by his eye than heart
     He knew the twain apart.

     Despite of alien race and creed,
     Well did his wooing of Marguerite speed;
     And the mother's wrath was vain
     As the sister's jealous pain.

     The shrill-tongued mistress her house forbade,
     And solemn warning was sternly said
     By the black-robed priest, whose word
     As law the hamlet heard.

     But half by voice and half by signs
     The skipper said, "A warm sun shines
     On the green-banked Merrimac;
     Wait, watch, till I come back.

     "And when you see, from my mast head,
     The signal fly of a kerchief red,
     My boat on the shore shall wait;
     Come, when the night is late."

     Ah! weighed with childhood's haunts and friends,
     And all that the home sky overbends,
     Did ever young love fail
     To turn the trembling scale?

     Under the night, on the wet sea sands,
     Slowly unclasped their plighted hands
     One to the cottage hearth,
     And one to his sailor's berth.

     What was it the parting lovers heard?
     Nor leaf, nor ripple, nor wing of bird,
     But a listener's stealthy tread
     On the rock-moss, crisp and dead.

     He weighed his anchor, and fished once more
     By the black coast-line of Labrador;
     And by love and the north wind driven,
     Sailed back to the Islands Seven.

     In the sunset's glow the sisters twain
     Saw the Breeze come sailing in again;
     Said Suzette, "Mother dear,
     The heretic's sail is here."

     "Go, Marguerite, to your room, and hide;
     Your door shall be bolted!" the mother cried:
     While Suzette, ill at ease,
     Watched the red sign of the Breeze.

     At midnight, down to the waiting skiff
     She stole in the shadow of the cliff;
     And out of the Bay's mouth ran
     The schooner with maid and man.

     And all night long, on a restless bed,
     Her prayers to the Virgin Marguerite said
     And thought of her lover's pain
     Waiting for her in vain.

     Did he pace the sands? Did he pause to hear
     The sound of her light step drawing near?
     And, as the slow hours passed,
     Would he doubt her faith at last?

     But when she saw through the misty pane,
     The morning break on a sea of rain,
     Could even her love avail
     To follow his vanished sail?

     Meantime the Breeze, with favoring wind,
     Left the rugged Moisic hills behind,
     And heard from an unseen shore
     The falls of Manitou roar.

     On the morrow's morn, in the thick, gray weather
     They sat on the reeling deck together,
     Lover and counterfeit,
     Of hapless Marguerite.

     With a lover's hand, from her forehead fair
     He smoothed away her jet-black hair.
     What was it his fond eyes met?
     The scar of the false Suzette!

     Fiercely he shouted: "Bear away
     East by north for Seven Isles Bay!"
     The maiden wept and prayed,
     But the ship her helm obeyed.

     Once more the Bay of the Isles they found
     They heard the bell of the chapel sound,
     And the chant of the dying sung
     In the harsh, wild Indian tongue.

     A feeling of mystery, change, and awe
     Was in all they heard and all they saw
     Spell-bound the hamlet lay
     In the hush of its lonely bay.

     And when they came to the cottage door,
     The mother rose up from her weeping sore,
     And with angry gestures met
     The scared look of Suzette.

     "Here is your daughter," the skipper said;
     "Give me the one I love instead."
     But the woman sternly spake;
     "Go, see if the dead will wake!"

     He looked. Her sweet face still and white
     And strange in the noonday taper light,
     She lay on her little bed,
     With the cross at her feet and head.

     In a passion of grief the strong man bent
     Down to her face, and, kissing it, went
     Back to the waiting Breeze,
     Back to the mournful seas.

     Never again to the Merrimac
     And Newbury's homes that bark came back.
     Whether her fate she met
     On the shores of Carraquette,

     Miscou, or Tracadie, who can say?
     But even yet at Seven Isles Bay
     Is told the ghostly tale
     Of a weird, unspoken sail,

     In the pale, sad light of the Northern day
     Seen by the blanketed Montagnais,
     Or squaw, in her small kyack,
     Crossing the spectre's track.

     On the deck a maiden wrings her hands;
     Her likeness kneels on the gray coast sands;
     One in her wild despair,
     And one in the trance of prayer.

     She flits before no earthly blast,
     The red sign fluttering from her mast,
     Over the solemn seas,
     The ghost of the schooner Breeze!

     1882.



THE WISHING BRIDGE.

     AMONG the legends sung or said
     Along our rocky shore,
     The Wishing Bridge of Marblehead
     May well be sung once more.

     An hundred years ago (so ran
     The old-time story) all
     Good wishes said above its span
     Would, soon or late, befall.

     If pure and earnest, never failed
     The prayers of man or maid
     For him who on the deep sea sailed,
     For her at home who stayed.

     Once thither came two girls from school,
     And wished in childish glee
     And one would be a queen and rule,
     And one the world would see.

     Time passed; with change of hopes and fears,
     And in the self-same place,
     Two women, gray with middle years,
     Stood, wondering, face to face.

     With wakened memories, as they met,
     They queried what had been
     "A poor man's wife am I, and yet,"
     Said one, "I am a queen.

     "My realm a little homestead is,
     Where, lacking crown and throne,
     I rule by loving services
     And patient toil alone."

     The other said: "The great world lies
     Beyond me as it lay;
     O'er love's and duty's boundaries
     My feet may never stray.

     "I see but common sights of home,
     Its common sounds I hear,
     My widowed mother's sick-bed room
     Sufficeth for my sphere.

     "I read to her some pleasant page
     Of travel far and wide,
     And in a dreamy pilgrimage
     We wander side by side.

     "And when, at last, she falls asleep,
     My book becomes to me
     A magic glass: my watch I keep,
     But all the world I see.

     "A farm-wife queen your place you fill,
     While fancy's privilege
     Is mine to walk the earth at will,
     Thanks to the Wishing Bridge."

     "Nay, leave the legend for the truth,"
     The other cried, "and say
     God gives the wishes of our youth,
     But in His own best way!"

     1882.



HOW THE WOMEN WENT FROM DOVER.

The following is a copy of the warrant issued by Major Waldron, of
Dover, in 1662. The Quakers, as was their wont, prophesied against him,
and saw, as they supposed, the fulfilment of their prophecy when, many
years after, he was killed by the Indians.

 To the constables of Dover, Hampton, Salisbury, Newbury, Rowley,
 Ipswich, Wenham, Lynn, Boston, Roxbury, Dedham, and until these
 vagabond Quakers are carried out of this jurisdiction. You, and
 every one of you, are required, in the King's Majesty's name, to
 take these vagabond Quakers, Anne Colman, Mary Tomkins, and Alice
 Ambrose, and make them fast to the cart's tail, and driving the
 cart through your several towns, to whip them upon their naked
 backs not exceeding ten stripes apiece on each of them, in each
 town; and so to convey them from constable to constable till they
 are out of this jurisdiction, as you will answer it at your peril;
 and this shall be your warrant.
                                    RICHARD WALDRON.
 Dated at Dover, December 22, 1662.

This warrant was executed only in Dover and Hampton. At Salisbury the
constable refused to obey it. He was sustained by the town's people, who
were under the influence of Major Robert Pike, the leading man in the
lower valley of the Merrimac, who stood far in advance of his time, as
an advocate of religious freedom, and an opponent of ecclesiastical
authority. He had the moral courage to address an able and manly letter
to the court at Salem, remonstrating against the witchcraft trials.


     THE tossing spray of Cocheco's fall
     Hardened to ice on its rocky wall,
     As through Dover town in the chill, gray dawn,
     Three women passed, at the cart-tail drawn!

     Bared to the waist, for the north wind's grip
     And keener sting of the constable's whip,
     The blood that followed each hissing blow
     Froze as it sprinkled the winter snow.

     Priest and ruler, boy and maid
     Followed the dismal cavalcade;
     And from door and window, open thrown,
     Looked and wondered gaffer and crone.

     "God is our witness," the victims cried,
     We suffer for Him who for all men died;
     The wrong ye do has been done before,
     We bear the stripes that the Master bore!

     And thou, O Richard Waldron, for whom
     We hear the feet of a coming doom,
     On thy cruel heart and thy hand of wrong
     Vengeance is sure, though it tarry long.

     "In the light of the Lord, a flame we see
     Climb and kindle a proud roof-tree;
     And beneath it an old man lying dead,
     With stains of blood on his hoary head."

     "Smite, Goodman Hate-Evil!--harder still!"
     The magistrate cried, "lay on with a will!
     Drive out of their bodies the Father of Lies,
     Who through them preaches and prophesies!"

     So into the forest they held their way,
     By winding river and frost-rimmed bay,
     Over wind-swept hills that felt the beat
     Of the winter sea at their icy feet.

     The Indian hunter, searching his traps,
     Peered stealthily through the forest gaps;
     And the outlying settler shook his head,--
     "They're witches going to jail," he said.

     At last a meeting-house came in view;
     A blast on his horn the constable blew;
     And the boys of Hampton cried up and down,
     "The Quakers have come!" to the wondering town.

     From barn and woodpile the goodman came;
     The goodwife quitted her quilting frame,
     With her child at her breast; and, hobbling slow,
     The grandam followed to see the show.

     Once more the torturing whip was swung,
     Once more keen lashes the bare flesh stung.
     "Oh, spare! they are bleeding!"' a little maid cried,
     And covered her face the sight to hide.

     A murmur ran round the crowd: "Good folks,"
     Quoth the constable, busy counting the strokes,
     "No pity to wretches like these is due,
     They have beaten the gospel black and blue!"

     Then a pallid woman, in wild-eyed fear,
     With her wooden noggin of milk drew near.
     "Drink, poor hearts!" a rude hand smote
     Her draught away from a parching throat.

     "Take heed," one whispered, "they'll take your cow
     For fines, as they took your horse and plough,
     And the bed from under you." "Even so,"
     She said; "they are cruel as death, I know."

     Then on they passed, in the waning day,
     Through Seabrook woods, a weariful way;
     By great salt meadows and sand-hills bare,
     And glimpses of blue sea here and there.

     By the meeting-house in Salisbury town,
     The sufferers stood, in the red sundown,
     Bare for the lash! O pitying Night,
     Drop swift thy curtain and hide the sight.

     With shame in his eye and wrath on his lip
     The Salisbury constable dropped his whip.
     "This warrant means murder foul and red;
     Cursed is he who serves it," he said.

     "Show me the order, and meanwhile strike
     A blow at your peril!" said Justice Pike.
     Of all the rulers the land possessed,
     Wisest and boldest was he and best.

     He scoffed at witchcraft; the priest he met
     As man meets man; his feet he set
     Beyond his dark age, standing upright,
     Soul-free, with his face to the morning light.

     He read the warrant: "These convey
     From our precincts; at every town on the way
     Give each ten lashes." "God judge the brute!
     I tread his order under my foot!

     "Cut loose these poor ones and let them go;
     Come what will of it, all men shall know
     No warrant is good, though backed by the Crown,
     For whipping women in Salisbury town!"

     The hearts of the villagers, half released
     From creed of terror and rule of priest,
     By a primal instinct owned the right
     Of human pity in law's despite.

     For ruth and chivalry only slept,
     His Saxon manhood the yeoman kept;
     Quicker or slower, the same blood ran
     In the Cavalier and the Puritan.

     The Quakers sank on their knees in praise
     And thanks. A last, low sunset blaze
     Flashed out from under a cloud, and shed
     A golden glory on each bowed head.

     The tale is one of an evil time,
     When souls were fettered and thought was crime,
     And heresy's whisper above its breath
     Meant shameful scourging and bonds and death!

     What marvel, that hunted and sorely tried,
     Even woman rebuked and prophesied,
     And soft words rarely answered back
     The grim persuasion of whip and rack.

     If her cry from the whipping-post and jail
     Pierced sharp as the Kenite's driven nail,
     O woman, at ease in these happier days,
     Forbear to judge of thy sister's ways!

     How much thy beautiful life may owe
     To her faith and courage thou canst not know,
     Nor how from the paths of thy calm retreat
     She smoothed the thorns with her bleeding feet.

     1883.



SAINT GREGORY'S GUEST.

     A TALE for Roman guides to tell
     To careless, sight-worn travellers still,
     Who pause beside the narrow cell
     Of Gregory on the Caelian Hill.

     One day before the monk's door came
     A beggar, stretching empty palms,
     Fainting and fast-sick, in the name
     Of the Most Holy asking alms.

     And the monk answered, "All I have
     In this poor cell of mine I give,
     The silver cup my mother gave;
     In Christ's name take thou it, and live."

     Years passed; and, called at last to bear
     The pastoral crook and keys of Rome,
     The poor monk, in Saint Peter's chair,
     Sat the crowned lord of Christendom.

     "Prepare a feast," Saint Gregory cried,
     "And let twelve beggars sit thereat."
     The beggars came, and one beside,
     An unknown stranger, with them sat.

     "I asked thee not," the Pontiff spake,
     "O stranger; but if need be thine,
     I bid thee welcome, for the sake
     Of Him who is thy Lord and mine."

     A grave, calm face the stranger raised,
     Like His who on Gennesaret trod,
     Or His on whom the Chaldeans gazed,
     Whose form was as the Son of God.

     "Know'st thou," he said, "thy gift of old?"
     And in the hand he lifted up
     The Pontiff marvelled to behold
     Once more his mother's silver cup.

     "Thy prayers and alms have risen, and bloom
     Sweetly among the flowers of heaven.
     I am The Wonderful, through whom
     Whate'er thou askest shall be given."

     He spake and vanished. Gregory fell
     With his twelve guests in mute accord
     Prone on their faces, knowing well
     Their eyes of flesh had seen the Lord.

     The old-time legend is not vain;
     Nor vain thy art, Verona's Paul,
     Telling it o'er and o'er again
     On gray Vicenza's frescoed wall.

     Still wheresoever pity shares
     Its bread with sorrow, want, and sin,
     And love the beggar's feast prepares,
     The uninvited Guest comes in.

     Unheard, because our ears are dull,
     Unseen, because our eyes are dim,
     He walks our earth, The Wonderful,
     And all good deeds are done to Him.

     1883.



BIRCHBROOK MILL.

     A NOTELESS stream, the Birchbrook runs
     Beneath its leaning trees;
     That low, soft ripple is its own,
     That dull roar is the sea's.

     Of human signs it sees alone
     The distant church spire's tip,
     And, ghost-like, on a blank of gray,
     The white sail of a ship.

     No more a toiler at the wheel,
     It wanders at its will;
     Nor dam nor pond is left to tell
     Where once was Birchbrook mill.

     The timbers of that mill have fed
     Long since a farmer's fires;
     His doorsteps are the stones that ground
     The harvest of his sires.

     Man trespassed here; but Nature lost
     No right of her domain;
     She waited, and she brought the old
     Wild beauty back again.

     By day the sunlight through the leaves
     Falls on its moist, green sod,
     And wakes the violet bloom of spring
     And autumn's golden-rod.

     Its birches whisper to the wind,
     The swallow dips her wings
     In the cool spray, and on its banks
     The gray song-sparrow sings.

     But from it, when the dark night falls,
     The school-girl shrinks with dread;
     The farmer, home-bound from his fields,
     Goes by with quickened tread.

     They dare not pause to hear the grind
     Of shadowy stone on stone;
     The plashing of a water-wheel
     Where wheel there now is none.

     Has not a cry of pain been heard
     Above the clattering mill?
     The pawing of an unseen horse,
     Who waits his mistress still?

     Yet never to the listener's eye
     Has sight confirmed the sound;
     A wavering birch line marks alone
     The vacant pasture ground.

     No ghostly arms fling up to heaven
     The agony of prayer;
     No spectral steed impatient shakes
     His white mane on the air.

     The meaning of that common dread
     No tongue has fitly told;
     The secret of the dark surmise
     The brook and birches hold.

     What nameless horror of the past
     Broods here forevermore?
     What ghost his unforgiven sin
     Is grinding o'er and o'er?

     Does, then, immortal memory play
     The actor's tragic part,
     Rehearsals of a mortal life
     And unveiled human heart?

     God's pity spare a guilty soul
     That drama of its ill,
     And let the scenic curtain fall
     On Birchbrook's haunted mill

     1884.



THE TWO ELIZABETHS.

Read at the unveiling of the bust of Elizabeth Fry at the  Friends'
School, Providence, R. I.

A. D. 1209.

     AMIDST Thuringia's wooded hills she dwelt,
     A high-born princess, servant of the poor,
     Sweetening with gracious words the food she dealt
     To starving throngs at Wartburg's blazoned door.

     A blinded zealot held her soul in chains,
     Cramped the sweet nature that he could not kill,
     Scarred her fair body with his penance-pains,
     And gauged her conscience by his narrow will.

     God gave her gifts of beauty and of grace,
     With fast and vigil she denied them all;
     Unquestioning, with sad, pathetic face,
     She followed meekly at her stern guide's call.

     So drooped and died her home-blown rose of bliss
     In the chill rigor of a discipline
     That turned her fond lips from her children's kiss,
     And made her joy of motherhood a sin.

     To their sad level by compassion led,
     One with the low and vile herself she made,
     While thankless misery mocked the hand that fed,
     And laughed to scorn her piteous masquerade.

     But still, with patience that outwearied hate,
     She gave her all while yet she had to give;
     And then her empty hands, importunate,
     In prayer she lifted that the poor might live.

     Sore pressed by grief, and wrongs more hard to bear,
     And dwarfed and stifled by a harsh control,
     She kept life fragrant with good deeds and prayer,
     And fresh and pure the white flower of her soul.

     Death found her busy at her task: one word
     Alone she uttered as she paused to die,
     "Silence!"--then listened even as one who heard
     With song and wing the angels drawing nigh!

     Now Fra Angelico's roses fill her hands,
     And, on Murillo's canvas, Want and Pain
     Kneel at her feet. Her marble image stands
     Worshipped and crowned in Marburg's holy fane.

     Yea, wheresoe'er her Church its cross uprears,
     Wide as the world her story still is told;
     In manhood's reverence, woman's prayers and tears,
     She lives again whose grave is centuries old.

     And still, despite the weakness or the blame
     Of blind submission to the blind, she hath
     A tender place in hearts of every name,
     And more than Rome owns Saint Elizabeth!


     A. D. 1780.

     Slow ages passed: and lo! another came,
     An English matron, in whose simple faith
     Nor priestly rule nor ritual had claim,
     A plain, uncanonized Elizabeth.

     No sackcloth robe, nor ashen-sprinkled hair,
     Nor wasting fast, nor scourge, nor vigil long,
     Marred her calm presence. God had made her fair,
     And she could do His goodly work no wrong.

     Their yoke is easy and their burden light
     Whose sole confessor is the Christ of God;
     Her quiet trust and faith transcending sight
     Smoothed to her feet the difficult paths she trod.

     And there she walked, as duty bade her go,
     Safe and unsullied as a cloistered nun,
     Shamed with her plainness Fashion's gaudy show,
     And overcame the world she did not shun.

     In Earlham's bowers, in Plashet's liberal hall,
     In the great city's restless crowd and din,
     Her ear was open to the Master's call,
     And knew the summons of His voice within.

     Tender as mother, beautiful as wife,
     Amidst the throngs of prisoned crime she stood
     In modest raiment faultless as her life,
     The type of England's worthiest womanhood.

     To melt the hearts that harshness turned to stone
     The sweet persuasion of her lips sufficed,
     And guilt, which only hate and fear had known,
     Saw in her own the pitying love of Christ.

     So wheresoe'er the guiding Spirit went
     She followed, finding every prison cell
     It opened for her sacred as a tent
     Pitched by Gennesaret or by Jacob's well.

     And Pride and Fashion felt her strong appeal,
     And priest and ruler marvelled as they saw
     How hand in hand went wisdom with her zeal,
     And woman's pity kept the bounds of law.

     She rests in God's peace; but her memory stirs
     The air of earth as with an angel's wings,
     And warms and moves the hearts of men like hers,
     The sainted daughter of Hungarian kings.

     United now, the Briton and the Hun,
     Each, in her own time, faithful unto death,
     Live sister souls! in name and spirit one,
     Thuringia's saint and our Elizabeth!

     1885.



REQUITAL.

     As Islam's Prophet, when his last day drew
     Nigh to its close, besought all men to say
     Whom he had wronged, to whom he then should pay
     A debt forgotten, or for pardon sue,
     And, through the silence of his weeping friends,
     A strange voice cried: "Thou owest me a debt,"
     "Allah be praised!" he answered. "Even yet
     He gives me power to make to thee amends.
     O friend! I thank thee for thy timely word."
     So runs the tale. Its lesson all may heed,
     For all have sinned in thought, or word, or deed,
     Or, like the Prophet, through neglect have erred.
     All need forgiveness, all have debts to pay
     Ere the night cometh, while it still is day.

     1885.



THE HOMESTEAD.

     AGAINST the wooded hills it stands,
     Ghost of a dead home, staring through
     Its broken lights on wasted lands
     Where old-time harvests grew.

     Unploughed, unsown, by scythe unshorn,
     The poor, forsaken farm-fields lie,
     Once rich and rife with golden corn
     And pale green breadths of rye.

     Of healthful herb and flower bereft,
     The garden plot no housewife keeps;
     Through weeds and tangle only left,
     The snake, its tenant, creeps.

     A lilac spray, still blossom-clad,
     Sways slow before the empty rooms;
     Beside the roofless porch a sad
     Pathetic red rose blooms.

     His track, in mould and dust of drouth,
     On floor and hearth the squirrel leaves,
     And in the fireless chimney's mouth
     His web the spider weaves.

     The leaning barn, about to fall,
     Resounds no more on husking eves;
     No cattle low in yard or stall,
     No thresher beats his sheaves.

     So sad, so drear! It seems almost
     Some haunting Presence makes its sign;
     That down yon shadowy lane some ghost
     Might drive his spectral kine!

     O home so desolate and lorn!
     Did all thy memories die with thee?
     Were any wed, were any born,
     Beneath this low roof-tree?

     Whose axe the wall of forest broke,
     And let the waiting sunshine through?
     What goodwife sent the earliest smoke
     Up the great chimney flue?

     Did rustic lovers hither come?
     Did maidens, swaying back and forth
     In rhythmic grace, at wheel and loom,
     Make light their toil with mirth?

     Did child feet patter on the stair?
     Did boyhood frolic in the snow?
     Did gray age, in her elbow chair,
     Knit, rocking to and fro?

     The murmuring brook, the sighing breeze,
     The pine's slow whisper, cannot tell;
     Low mounds beneath the hemlock-trees
     Keep the home secrets well.

     Cease, mother-land, to fondly boast
     Of sons far off who strive and thrive,
     Forgetful that each swarming host
     Must leave an emptier hive.

     O wanderers from ancestral soil,
     Leave noisome mill and chaffering store:
     Gird up your loins for sturdier toil,
     And build the home once more!

     Come back to bayberry-scented slopes,
     And fragrant fern, and ground-nut vine;
     Breathe airs blown over holt and copse
     Sweet with black birch and pine.

     What matter if the gains are small
     That life's essential wants supply?
     Your homestead's title gives you all
     That idle wealth can buy.

     All that the many-dollared crave,
     The brick-walled slaves of 'Change and mart,
     Lawns, trees, fresh air, and flowers, you have,
     More dear for lack of art.

     Your own sole masters, freedom-willed,
     With none to bid you go or stay,
     Till the old fields your fathers tilled,
     As manly men as they!

     With skill that spares your toiling hands,
     And chemic aid that science brings,
     Reclaim the waste and outworn lands,
     And reign thereon as kings

     1886.



HOW THE ROBIN CAME.

AN ALGONQUIN LEGEND.

     HAPPY young friends, sit by me,
     Under May's blown apple-tree,
     While these home-birds in and out
     Through the blossoms flit about.
     Hear a story, strange and old,
     By the wild red Indians told,
     How the robin came to be:

     Once a great chief left his son,--
     Well-beloved, his only one,--
     When the boy was well-nigh grown,
     In the trial-lodge alone.
     Left for tortures long and slow
     Youths like him must undergo,
     Who their pride of manhood test,
     Lacking water, food, and rest.

     Seven days the fast he kept,
     Seven nights he never slept.
     Then the young boy, wrung with pain,
     Weak from nature's overstrain,
     Faltering, moaned a low complaint
     "Spare me, father, for I faint!"
     But the chieftain, haughty-eyed,
     Hid his pity in his pride.
     "You shall be a hunter good,
     Knowing never lack of food;
     You shall be a warrior great,
     Wise as fox and strong as bear;
     Many scalps your belt shall wear,
     If with patient heart you wait
     Bravely till your task is done.
     Better you should starving die
     Than that boy and squaw should cry
     Shame upon your father's son!"

     When next morn the sun's first rays
     Glistened on the hemlock sprays,
     Straight that lodge the old chief sought,
     And boiled sainp and moose meat brought.
     "Rise and eat, my son!" he said.
     Lo, he found the poor boy dead!

     As with grief his grave they made,
     And his bow beside him laid,
     Pipe, and knife, and wampum-braid,
     On the lodge-top overhead,
     Preening smooth its breast of red
     And the brown coat that it wore,
     Sat a bird, unknown before.
     And as if with human tongue,
     "Mourn me not," it said, or sung;
     "I, a bird, am still your son,
     Happier than if hunter fleet,
     Or a brave, before your feet
     Laying scalps in battle won.
     Friend of man, my song shall cheer
     Lodge and corn-land; hovering near,
     To each wigwam I shall bring
     Tidings of the corning spring;
     Every child my voice shall know
     In the moon of melting snow,
     When the maple's red bud swells,
     And the wind-flower lifts its bells.
     As their fond companion
     Men shall henceforth own your son,
     And my song shall testify
     That of human kin am I."

     Thus the Indian legend saith
     How, at first, the robin came
     With a sweeter life from death,
     Bird for boy, and still the same.
     If my young friends doubt that this
     Is the robin's genesis,
     Not in vain is still the myth
     If a truth be found therewith
     Unto gentleness belong
     Gifts unknown to pride and wrong;
     Happier far than hate is praise,--
     He who sings than he who slays.



BANISHED FROM MASSACHUSETTS.

1660.

On a painting by E. A. Abbey. The General Court of Massachusetts enacted
Oct. 19, 1658, that "any person or persons of the cursed sect of
Quakers" should, on conviction of the same, be banished, on pain
of death, from the jurisdiction of the common-wealth.


     OVER the threshold of his pleasant home
     Set in green clearings passed the exiled Friend,
     In simple trust, misdoubting not the end.
     "Dear heart of mine!" he said, "the time has come
     To trust the Lord for shelter." One long gaze
     The goodwife turned on each familiar thing,--
     The lowing kine, the orchard blossoming,
     The open door that showed the hearth-fire's blaze,--
     And calmly answered, "Yes, He will provide."
     Silent and slow they crossed the homestead's bound,
     Lingering the longest by their child's grave-mound.
     "Move on, or stay and hang!" the sheriff cried.
     They left behind them more than home or land,
     And set sad faces to an alien strand.

     Safer with winds and waves than human wrath,
     With ravening wolves than those whose zeal for God
     Was cruelty to man, the exiles trod
     Drear leagues of forest without guide or path,
     Or launching frail boats on the uncharted sea,
     Round storm-vexed capes, whose teeth of granite ground
     The waves to foam, their perilous way they wound,
     Enduring all things so their souls were free.
     Oh, true confessors, shaming them who did
     Anew the wrong their Pilgrim Fathers bore
     For you the Mayflower spread her sail once more,
     Freighted with souls, to all that duty bid
     Faithful as they who sought an unknown land,
     O'er wintry seas, from Holland's Hook of Sand!

     So from his lost home to the darkening main,
     Bodeful of storm, stout Macy held his way,
     And, when the green shore blended with the gray,
     His poor wife moaned: "Let us turn back again."
     "Nay, woman, weak of faith, kneel down," said he,
     And say thy prayers: the Lord himself will steer;
     And led by Him, nor man nor devils I fear!
     So the gray Southwicks, from a rainy sea,
     Saw, far and faint, the loom of land, and gave
     With feeble voices thanks for friendly ground
     Whereon to rest their weary feet, and found
     A peaceful death-bed and a quiet grave
     Where, ocean-walled, and wiser than his age,
     The lord of Shelter scorned the bigot's rage.
     Aquidneck's isle, Nantucket's lonely shores,
     And Indian-haunted Narragansett saw
     The way-worn travellers round their camp-fire draw,
     Or heard the plashing of their weary oars.
     And every place whereon they rested grew
     Happier for pure and gracious womanhood,
     And men whose names for stainless honor stood,
     Founders of States and rulers wise and true.
     The Muse of history yet shall make amends
     To those who freedom, peace, and justice taught,
     Beyond their dark age led the van of thought,
     And left unforfeited the name of Friends.
     O mother State, how foiled was thy design
     The gain was theirs, the loss alone was thine.



THE BROWN DWARF OF RUGEN.

The hint of this ballad is found in Arndt's Murchen, Berlin, 1816. The
ballad appeared first in St. Nicholas, whose young readers were advised,
while smiling at the absurd superstition, to remember that bad
companionship and evil habits, desires, and passions are more to be
dreaded now than the Elves and Trolls who frightened the children of
past ages.


     THE pleasant isle of Rugen looks the Baltic water o'er,
     To the silver-sanded beaches of the Pomeranian
     shore;

     And in the town of Rambin a little boy and maid
     Plucked the meadow-flowers together and in the
     sea-surf played.

     Alike were they in beauty if not in their degree
     He was the Amptman's first-born, the miller's
     child was she.

     Now of old the isle of Rugen was full of Dwarfs
     and Trolls,
     The brown-faced little Earth-men, the people without
     souls;

     And for every man and woman in Rugen's island
     found
     Walking in air and sunshine, a Troll was
     underground.

     It chanced the little maiden, one morning, strolled
     away
     Among the haunted Nine Hills, where the elves
     and goblins play.

     That day, in barley-fields below, the harvesters had
     known
     Of evil voices in the air, and heard the small horns
     blown.

     She came not back; the search for her in field and
     wood was vain
     They cried her east, they cried her west, but she
     came not again.

     "She's down among the Brown Dwarfs," said the
     dream-wives wise and old,
     And prayers were made, and masses said, and
     Rambin's church bell tolled.

     Five years her father mourned her; and then John
     Deitrich said
     "I will find my little playmate, be she alive or
     dead."

     He watched among the Nine Hills, he heard the
     Brown Dwarfs sing,
     And saw them dance by moonlight merrily in a
     ring.

     And when their gay-robed leader tossed up his cap
     of red,
     Young Deitrich caught it as it fell, and thrust it
     on his head.

     The Troll came crouching at his feet and wept for
     lack of it.
     "Oh, give me back my magic cap, for your great
     head unfit!"

     "Nay," Deitrich said; "the Dwarf who throws his
     charmed cap away,
     Must serve its finder at his will, and for his folly
     pay.

     "You stole my pretty Lisbeth, and hid her in the
     earth;
     And you shall ope the door of glass and let me
     lead her forth."

     "She will not come; she's one of us; she's
     mine!" the Brown Dwarf said;
     The day is set, the cake is baked, to-morrow we
     shall wed."

     "The fell fiend fetch thee!" Deitrich cried, "and
     keep thy foul tongue still.
     Quick! open, to thy evil world, the glass door of
     the hill!"

     The Dwarf obeyed; and youth and Troll down, the
     long stair-way passed,
     And saw in dim and sunless light a country strange
     and vast.

     Weird, rich, and wonderful, he saw the elfin
     under-land,--
     Its palaces of precious stones, its streets of golden
     sand.

     He came unto a banquet-hall with tables richly
     spread,
     Where a young maiden served to him the red wine
     and the bread.

     How fair she seemed among the Trolls so ugly and
     so wild!
     Yet pale and very sorrowful, like one who never
     smiled!

     Her low, sweet voice, her gold-brown hair, her tender
     blue eyes seemed
     Like something he had seen elsewhere or some.
     thing he had dreamed.

     He looked; he clasped her in his arms; he knew
     the long-lost one;
     "O Lisbeth! See thy playmate--I am the
     Amptman's son!"

     She leaned her fair head on his breast, and through
     her sobs she spoke
     "Oh, take me from this evil place, and from the
     elfin folk,

     "And let me tread the grass-green fields and smell
     the flowers again,
     And feel the soft wind on my cheek and hear the
     dropping rain!

     "And oh, to hear the singing bird, the rustling of
     the tree,
     The lowing cows, the bleat of sheep, the voices of
     the sea;

     "And oh, upon my father's knee to sit beside the
     door,
     And hear the bell of vespers ring in Rambin
     church once more!"

     He kissed her cheek, he kissed her lips; the Brown
     Dwarf groaned to see,
     And tore his tangled hair and ground his long
     teeth angrily.

     But Deitrich said: "For five long years this tender
     Christian maid
     Has served you in your evil world and well must
     she be paid!

     "Haste!--hither bring me precious gems, the
     richest in your store;
     Then when we pass the gate of glass, you'll take
     your cap once more."

     No choice was left the baffled Troll, and, murmuring,
     he obeyed,
     And filled the pockets of the youth and apron of
     the maid.

     They left the dreadful under-land and passed the
     gate of glass;
     They felt the sunshine's warm caress, they trod the
     soft, green grass.

     And when, beneath, they saw the Dwarf stretch up
     to them his brown
     And crooked claw-like fingers, they tossed his red
     cap down.

     Oh, never shone so bright a sun, was never sky so
     blue,
     As hand in hand they homeward walked the pleasant
     meadows through!

     And never sang the birds so sweet in Rambin's
     woods before,
     And never washed the waves so soft along the Baltic
     shore;

     And when beneath his door-yard trees the father
     met his child,
     The bells rung out their merriest peal, the folks
     with joy ran wild.





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