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Title: Low Tide on Grand Pré - A Book of Lyrics
Author: Carman, Bliss
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.

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------------------------------------------------------------------------



                         LOW TIDE ON GRAND PRÉ



                         LOW TIDE ON GRAND PRÉ:
                           A BOOK OF LYRICS:
                                   BY
                              BLISS CARMAN

                          [Illustration: logo]

                     CHARLES L. WEBSTER AND COMPANY
                     PUBLISHERS NEW YORK MDCCCXCIII



                            COPYRIGHT, 1893,
                            BY BLISS CARMAN.
                        (_All rights reserved._)

                                PRESS OF
                           JENKINS & MCCOWAN,
                               NEW YORK.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



    The poems in this volume have been collected with reference to their
similarity of tone. They are variations on a single theme, more or less
aptly suggested by the title, _Low Tide on Grand Pré_. It seemed better
to bring together between the same covers only those pieces of work
which happened to be in the same key, rather than to publish a larger
book of more uncertain aim.

                                                                   B. C.

    _By Grand Pré, September, 1893._



                                CONTENTS


                                                    PAGE

               LOW TIDE ON GRAND PRÉ                  11

               WHY                                    15

               THE UNRETURNING                        18

               A WINDFLOWER                           19

               IN LYRIC SEASON                        21

               THE PENSIONERS                         23

               AT THE VOICE OF A BIRD                 27

               WHEN THE GUELDER ROSES BLOOM           31

               SEVEN THINGS                           44

               A SEA CHILD                            47

               PULVIS ET UMBRA                        48

               THROUGH THE TWILIGHT                   61

               CARNATIONS IN WINTER                   63

               A NORTHERN VIGIL                       65

               THE EAVESDROPPER                       73

               IN APPLE TIME                          77

               WANDERER                               79

               AFOOT                                  89

               WAYFARING                              94

               THE END OF THE TRAIL                  103

               THE VAGABONDS                         111

               WHITHER                               118



                                   TO

                                S. M. C.

           _Spiritus haeres sit patriae quae tristia nescit._



                         LOW TIDE ON GRAND PRÉ


               The sun goes down, and over all
                 These barren reaches by the tide
               Such unelusive glories fall,
                 I almost dream they yet will bide
                 Until the coming of the tide.

               And yet I know that not for us,
                 By any ecstasy of dream,
               He lingers to keep luminous
                 A little while the grievous stream,
                 Which frets, uncomforted of dream—

               A grievous stream, that to and fro
                 Athrough the fields of Acadie
               Goes wandering, as if to know
                 Why one beloved face should be
                 So long from home and Acadie.

               Was it a year or lives ago
                 We took the grasses in our hands,
               And caught the summer flying low
                 Over the waving meadow lands,
                 And held it there between our hands?

               The while the river at our feet—
                 A drowsy inland meadow stream—
               At set of sun the after-heat
                 Made running gold, and in the gleam
                 We freed our birch upon the stream.

               There down along the elms at dusk
                 We lifted dripping blade to drift,
               Through twilight scented fine like musk,
                 Where night and gloom awhile uplift,
                 Nor sunder soul and soul adrift.

               And that we took into our hands
                 Spirit of life or subtler thing—
               Breathed on us there, and loosed the bands
                 Of death, and taught us, whispering,
                 The secret of some wonder-thing.

               Then all your face grew light, and seemed
                 To hold the shadow of the sun;
               The evening faltered, and I deemed
                 That time was ripe, and years had done
                 Their wheeling underneath the sun.

               So all desire and all regret,
                 And fear and memory, were naught;
               One to remember or forget
                 The keen delight our hands had caught;
                 Morrow and yesterday were naught.

               The night has fallen, and the tide....
                 Now and again comes drifting home,
               Across these aching barrens wide,
                 A sigh like driven wind or foam:
                 In grief the flood is bursting home.



                                  WHY


                        For a name unknown,
                        Whose fame unblown
                        Sleeps in the hills
                          For ever and aye;

                        For her who hears
                        The stir of the years
                        Go by on the wind
                          By night and day;

                        And heeds no thing
                        Of the needs of spring,
                        Of autumn's wonder
                          Or winter's chill;

                        For one who sees
                        The great sun freeze,
                        As he wanders a-cold
                          From hill to hill;

                        And all her heart
                        Is a woven part
                        Of the flurry and drift
                          Of whirling snow;

                        For the sake of two
                        Sad eyes and true,
                        And the old, old love
                          So long ago.



                            THE UNRETURNING


                  The old eternal spring once more
                    Comes back the sad eternal way,
                  With tender rosy light before
                    The going-out of day.

                  The great white moon across my door
                    A shadow in the twilight stirs;
                  But now forever comes no more
                    That wondrous look of Hers.



                              A WINDFLOWER


                Between the roadside and the wood,
                  Between the dawning and the dew,
                A tiny flower before the sun,
                  Ephemeral in time, I grew.

                And there upon the trail of spring,
                  Not death nor love nor any name
                Known among men in all their lands
                  Could blur the wild desire with shame.

                But down my dayspan of the year
                  The feet of straying winds came by;
                And all my trembling soul was thrilled
                  To follow one lost mountain cry.

                And then my heart beat once and broke
                  To hear the sweeping rain forebode
                Some ruin in the April world,
                  Between the woodside and the road.

                To-night can bring no healing now;
                  The calm of yesternight is gone;
                Surely the wind is but the wind,
                  And I a broken waif thereon.



                            IN LYRIC SEASON


              The lyric April time is forth
                With lyric mornings, frost and sun;
                From leaguers vast of night undone
              Auroral mild new stars are born.

              And ever at the year's return,
                Along the valleys gray with rime,
                Thou leadest as of old, where time
              Can naught but follow to thy sway.

              The trail is far through leagues of spring,
                And long the quest to the white core
                Of harvest quiet, yet once more
              I gird me to the old unrest.

              I know I shall not ever meet
                Thy still regard across the year,
                And yet I know thou wilt draw near,
              When the last hour of pain and loss

              Drifts out to slumber, and the deeps
                Of nightfall feel God's hand unbar
                His lyric April, star by star,
              And the lost twilight land reveal.



                             THE PENSIONERS


              We are the pensioners of Spring,
                And take the largess of her hand
              When vassal warder winds unbar
                The wintry portals of her land;

              The lonely shadow-girdled winds,
                Her seraph almoners, who keep
              This little life in flesh and bone
                With meagre portions of white sleep.

              Then all year through with starveling care
                We go on some fool's idle quest,
              And eat her bread and wine in thrall
                To a fool's shame with blind unrest.

              Until her April train goes by,
                And then because we are the kin
              Of every hill flower on the hill
                We must arise and walk therein.

              Because her heart as our own heart,
                Knowing the same wild upward stir,
              Beats joyward by eternal laws,
                We must arise and go with her;

              Forget we are not where old joys
                Return when dawns and dreams retire;
              Make grief a phantom of regret,
                And fate the henchman of desire;

              Divorce unreason from delight;
                Learn how despair is uncontrol,
              Failure the shadow of remorse,
                And death a shudder of the soul.

              Yea, must we triumph when she leads.
                A little rain before the sun,
              A breath of wind on the road's dust,
                The sound of trammeled brooks undone,

              Along red glinting willow stems
                The year's white prime, on bank and stream
              The haunting cadence of no song
                And vivid wanderings of dream,

              A range of low blue hills, the far
                First whitethroat's ecstasy unfurled:
              And we are overlords of change,
                In the glad morning of the world,

              Though we should fare as they whose life
                Time takes within his hands to wring
              Between the winter and the sea,
                The weary pensioners of Spring.



                         AT THE VOICE OF A BIRD

                    _Consurgent ad vocem volucris._


                        Call to me, thrush,
                          When night grows dim,
                        When dreams unform
                          And death is far!

                        When hoar dews flush
                          On dawn's rathe brim,
                        Wake me to hear
                          Thy wildwood charm,

                        As a lone rush
                          Astir in the slim
                        White stream where sheer
                          Blue mornings are.

                        Stir the keen hush
                          On twilight's rim
                        When my own star
                          Is white and clear.

                        Fly low to brush
                          Mine eyelids grim,
                        Where sleep and storm
                          Will set their bar;

                        For God shall crush
                          Spring balm for him,
                        Stark on his bier
                          Past fault or harm,

                        Who once, as flush
                          Of day might skim
                        The dusk, afar
                          In sleep shall hear

                        Thy song's cool rush
                          With joy rebrim
                        The world, and calm
                          The deep with cheer.

                        Then, Heartsease, hush!
                          If sense grow dim,
                        Desire shall steer
                          Us home from far.



                      WHEN THE GUELDER ROSES BLOOM


                  When the Guelder roses bloom,
                  Love, the vagrant, wanders home.

                  Love, that died so long ago,
                  As we deemed, in dark and snow,

                  Comes back to the door again,
                  Guendolen, Guendolen.

                  In his hands a few bright flowers,
                  Gathered in the earlier hours,

                  Speedwell-blue, and poppy-red,
                  Withered in the sun and dead,

                  With a history to each,
                  Are more eloquent than speech.

                  In his eyes the welling tears
                  Plead against the lapse of years.

                  And that mouth we knew so well,
                  Hath a pilgrim's tale to tell.

                  Hear his litany again:
                  "Guendolen, Guendolen!"

                  "No, love, no, thou art a ghost!
                  Love long since in night was lost.

                  "Thou art but the shade of him,
                  For thine eyes are sad and dim."

                  "Nay, but they will shine once more,
                  Glad and brighter than before,

                  "If thou bring me but again
                  To my mother Guendolen!

                  "These dark flowers are for thee,
                  Gathered by the lonely sea.

                  "And these singing shells for her
                  Who first called me wanderer,

                  "In whose beauty glad I grew,
                  When this weary life was new."

                  Hear him raving! "It is I.
                  Love once born can never die."

                  "Thou, poor love, thou art gone mad
                  With the hardships thou hast had.

                  "True, it is the spring of year,
                  But thy mother is not here.

                  "True, the Guelder roses bloom
                  As long since about this room,

                  "Where thy blessed self was born
                  In the early golden morn

                  "But the years are dead, good lack!
                  Ah, love, why hast thou come back,

                  "Pleading at the door again,
                  'Guendolen, Guendolen'?"

                  When the Guelder roses bloom,
                  And the vernal stars resume

                  Their old purple sweep and range,
                  I can hear a whisper strange

                  As the wind gone daft again,
                  "Guendolen, Guendolen!"

                  "When the Guelder roses blow,
                  Love that died so long ago,

                  "Why wilt thou return so oft,
                  With that whisper sad and soft

                  "On thy pleading lips again,
                  'Guendolen, Guendolen'!"

                  Still the Guelder roses bloom,
                  And the sunlight fills the room,

                  Where love's shadow at the door
                  Falls upon the dusty floor.

                  And his eyes are sad and grave
                  With the tenderness they crave,

                  Seeing in the broken rhyme
                  The significance of time,

                  Wondrous eyes that know not sin
                  From his brother death, wherein

                  I can see thy look again,
                  Guendolen, Guendolen.

                  And love with no more to say,
                  In this lovely world to-day

                  Where the Guelder roses bloom,
                  Than the record on a tomb,

                  Only moves his lips again,
                  "Guendolen, Guendolen!"

                  Then he passes up the road
                  From this dwelling, where he bode

                  In the by-gone years. And still,
                  As he mounts the sunset hill

                  Where the Guelder roses blow
                  With their drifts of summer snow,

                  I can hear him, like one dazed
                  At a phantom he has raised,

                  Murmur o'er and o'er again,
                  "Guendolen, Guendolen!"

                  And thus every year, I know,
                  When the Guelder roses blow,

                  Love will wander by my door,
                  Till the spring returns no more;

                  Till no more I can withstand,
                  But must rise and take his hand

                  Through the countries of the night,
                  Where he walks by his own sight,

                  To the mountains of a dawn
                  That has never yet come on,

                  Out of this fair land of doom
                  Where the Guelder roses bloom,

                  Till I come to thee again,
                  Guendolen, Guendolen.



                              SEVEN THINGS


                 The fields of earth are sown
                   From the hand of the striding rain,
                 And kernels of joy are strewn
                   Abroad for the harrow of pain.


                                   I.

                   The first song-sparrow brown
                     That wakes the earliest spring,
                   When time and fear sink down,
                     And death is a fabled thing.


                                  II.

                  The stealing of that first dawn
                    Over the rosy brow,
                  When thy soul said, "World, fare on,
                    For Heaven is here and now!"


                                  III.

                  The crimson shield of the sun
                    On the wall of this House of Doom,
                  With the garb of war undone
                    At last in the narrow room.


                                  IV.

                 A heart that abides to the end,
                   As the hills for sureness and peace,
                 And is neither weary to wend
                   Nor reluctant at last of release.


                                   V.

                     Thy mother's cradle croon
                       To haunt thee over the deep,
                     Out of the land of Boon
                       Into the land of Sleep.


                                  VI.

                 The sound of the sea in storm,
                   Hearing its captain cry,
                 When the wild, white riders form,
                   And the Ride to the Dark draws nigh.


                                  VII.

                     But last and best, the urge
                       Of the great world's desire,
                     Whose being from core to verge
                       Only attains to aspire.



                              A SEA CHILD


                The lover of child Marjory
                  Had one white hour of life brim full;
                Now the old nurse, the rocking sea,
                  Hath him to lull.

                The daughter of child Marjory
                  Hath in her veins, to beat and run,
                The glad indomitable sea,
                  The strong white sun.



                            PULVIS ET UMBRA


               There is dust upon my fingers,
                 Pale gray dust of beaten wings,
               Where a great moth came and settled
                 From the night's blown winnowings.

               Harvest with her low red planets
                 Wheeling over Arrochar;
               And the lonely hopeless calling
                 Of the bell-buoy on the bar,

               Where the sea with her old secret
                 Moves in sleep and cannot rest.
               From that dark beyond my doorway,
                 Silent the unbidden guest

               Came and tarried, fearless, gentle,
                 Vagrant of the starlit gloom,
               One frail waif of beauty fronting
                 Immortality and doom;

               Through the chambers of the twilight
                 Roaming from the vast outland,
               Resting for a thousand heart-beats
                 In the hollow of my hand.

               "Did the volley of a thrush-song
                 Lodge among some leaves and dew
               Hillward, then across the gloaming
                 This dark mottled thing was you?

               "Or is my mute guest whose coming
                 So unheralded befell
               From the border wilds of dreamland,
                 Only whimsy Ariel,

               "Gleaning with the wind, in furrows
                 Lonelier than dawn to reap,
               Dust and shadow and forgetting,
                 Frost and reverie and sleep?

               "In the hush when Cleopatra
                 Felt the darkness reel and cease,
               Was thy soul a wan blue lotus
                 Laid upon her lips for peace?

               "And through all the years that wayward
                 Passion in one mortal breath,
               Making thee a thing of silence,
                 Made thee as the lords of death?

               "Or did goblin men contrive thee
                 In the forges of the hills
               Out of thistle-drift and sundown
                 Lost amid their tawny rills,

               "Every atom on their anvil
                 Beaten fine and bolted home,
               Every quiver wrought to cadence
                 From the rapture of a gnome?

               "Then the lonely mountain wood-wind,
                 Straying up from dale to dale,
               Gave thee spirit, free forever,
                 Thou immortal and so frail!

               "Surely thou art not that sun-bright
                 Psyche, hoar with age, and hurled
               On the northern shore of Lethe,
                 To this wan Auroral world!

               "Ghost of Psyche, uncompanioned,
                 Are the yester-years all done?
               Have the oars of Charon ferried
                 All thy playmates from the sun?

               "In thy wings the beat and breathing
                 Of the wind of life abides,
               And the night whose sea-gray cohorts
                 Swing the stars up with the tides.

               "Did they once make sail and wander
                 Through the trembling harvest sky,
               Where the silent Northern streamers
                 Change and rest not till they die?

               "Or from clouds that tent and people
                 The blue firmamental waste,
               Did they learn the noiseless secret
                 Of eternity's unhaste?

               "Where learned they to rove and loiter,
                 By the margin of what sea?
               Was it with outworn Demeter,
                 Searching for Persephone?

               "Or did that girl-queen behold thee
                 In the fields of moveless air?
               Did these wings which break no whisper
                 Brush the poppies in her hair?

               "Is it thence they wear the pulvil—
                 Ash of ruined days and sleep,
               And the two great orbs of splendid
                 Melting sable deep on deep!

               "Pilot of the shadow people,
                 Steering whither by what star
               Hast thou come to hapless port here,
                 Thou gray ghost of Arrochar?"

               For man walks the world with mourning
                 Down to death, and leaves no trace,
               With the dust upon his forehead,
                 And the shadow in his face.

               Pillared dust and fleeing shadow
                 As the roadside wind goes by,
               And the fourscore years that vanish
                 In the twinkling of an eye.

               Beauty, the fine frosty trace-work
                 Of some breath upon the pane;
               Spirit, the keen wintry moonlight
                 Flashed thereon to fade again.

               Beauty, the white clouds a-building
                 When God said and it was done;
               Spirit, the sheer brooding rapture
                 Where no mid-day brooks no sun.

               So. And here, the open casement
                 Where my fellow-mate goes free;
               Eastward, the untrodden star-road
                 And the long wind on the sea.

               What's to hinder but I follow
                 This my gypsy guide afar,
               When the bugle rouses slumber
                 Sounding taps on Arrochar?

               "Where, my brother, wends the by-way,
                 To what bourne beneath what sun,
               Thou and I are set to travel
                 Till the shifting dream be done?

               "Comrade of the dusk, forever
                 I pursue the endless way
               Of the dust and shadew kindred,
                 Thou art perfect for a day.

               "Yet from beauty marred and broken,
                 Joy and memory and tears,
               I shall crush the clearer honey
                 In the harvest of the years.

               "Thou art faultless as a flower
                 Wrought of sun and wind and snow,
               I survive the fault and failure.
                 The wise Fates will have it so.

               "For man walks the world in twilight,
                 But the morn shall wipe all trace
               Of the dust from off his forehead,
                 And the shadow from his face.

               "Cheer thee on, my tidings-bearer!
                 All the valor of the North
               Mounts as soul from flesh escaping
                 Through the night, and bids thee forth.

               "Go, and when thou hast discovered
                 Her whose dark eyes match thy wings,
               Bid that lyric heart beat lighter
                 For the joy thy beauty brings."

               Then I leaned far out and lifted
                 My light guest up, and bade speed
               On the trail where no one tarries
                 That wayfarer few will heed.

               Pale gray dust upon my fingers;
                 And from this my cabined room
               The white soul of eager message
                 Racing seaward in the gloom.

               Far off shore, the sweet low calling
                 Of the bell-buoy on the bar,
               Warning night of dawn and ruin
                 Lonelily on Arrochar.



                          THROUGH THE TWILIGHT


              The red vines bar my window way;
                The Autumn sleeps beside his fire,
              For he has sent this fleet-foot day
              A year's march back to bring to me
                One face whose smile is my desire,
                        Its light my star.

              Surely you will come near and speak,
                This calm of death from the day to sever!
              And so I shall draw down your cheek
              Close to my face—So close!—and know
                God's hand between our hands forever
                        Will set no bar.

              Before the dusk falls—even now
                I know your step along the gravel,
              And catch your quiet poise of brow,
              And wait so long till you turn the latch!
                Is the way so hard you had to travel?
                        Is the land so far?

              The dark has shut your eyes from mine,
                But in this hush of brooding weather
              A gleam on twilight's gathering line
              Has riven the barriers of dream:
                Soul of my soul, we are together
                        As the angels are!



                          CARNATIONS IN WINTER


               Your carmine flakes of bloom to-night
                 The fire of wintry sunsets hold;
               Again in dreams you burn to light
                 A far Canadian garden old.

               The blue north summer over it
                 Is bland with long ethereal days;
               The gleaming martins wheel and flit
                 Where breaks your sun down orient ways.

               There, when the gradual twilight falls,
                 Through quietudes of dusk afar,
               Hermit antiphonal hermit calls
                 From hills below the first pale star.

               Then in your passionate love's foredoom
                 Once more your spirit stirs the air,
               And you are lifted through the gloom
                 To warm the coils of her dark hair.



                            A NORTHERN VIGIL


                  Here by the gray north sea,
                    In the wintry heart of the wild,
                  Comes the old dream of thee,
                    Guendolen, mistress and child.

                  The heart of the forest grieves
                    In the drift against my door;
                  A voice is under the eaves,
                    A footfall on the floor.

                  Threshold, mirror and hall,
                    Vacant and strangely aware,
                  Wait for their soul's recall
                    With the dumb expectant air.

                  Here when the smouldering west
                    Burns down into the sea,
                  I take no heed of rest
                    And keep the watch for thee.

                  I sit by the fire and hear
                    The restless wind go by,
                  On the long dirge and drear,
                    Under the low bleak sky.

                  When day puts out to sea
                    And night makes in for land,
                  There is no lock for thee,
                    Each door awaits thy hand!

                  When night goes over the hill
                    And dawn comes down the dale,
                  It's O for the wild sweet will
                    That shall no more prevail!

                  When the zenith moon is round,
                    And snow-wraiths gather and run,
                  And there is set no bound
                    To love beneath the sun,

                  O wayward will, come near
                    The old mad willful way,
                  The soft mouth at my ear
                    With words too sweet to say!

                  Come, for the night is cold,
                    The ghostly moonlight fills
                  Hollow and rift and fold
                    Of the eerie Ardise hills!

                  The windows of my room
                    Are dark with bitter frost,
                  The stillness aches with doom
                    Of something loved and lost.

                  Outside, the great blue star
                    Burns in the ghostland pale,
                  Where giant Algebar
                    Holds on the endless trail.

                  Come, for the years are long,
                    And silence keeps the door,
                  Where shapes with the shadows throng
                    The firelit chamber floor.

                  Come, for thy kiss was warm,
                    With the red embers' glare
                  Across thy folding arm
                    And dark tumultuous hair!

                  And though thy coming rouse
                    The sleep-cry of no bird,
                  The keepers of the house
                    Shall tremble at thy word.

                  Come, for the soul is free!
                    In all the vast dreamland
                  There is no lock for thee,
                    Each door awaits thy hand.

                  Ah, not in dreams at all,
                    Fleering, perishing, dim,
                  But thy old self, supple and tall,
                    Mistress and child of whim!

                  The proud imperious guise,
                    Impetuous and serene,
                  The sad mysterious eyes,
                    And dignity of mien!

                  Yea, wilt thou not return,
                    When the late hill-winds veer,
                  And the bright hill-flowers burn
                    With the reviving year?

                  When April comes, and the sea
                    Sparkles as if it smiled,
                  Will they restore to me
                    My dark Love, empress and child?

                  The curtains seem to part;
                    A sound is on the stair,
                  As if at the last ... I start;
                    Only the wind is there.

                  Lo, now far on the hills
                    The crimson fumes uncurled,
                  Where the caldron mantles and spills
                    Another dawn on the world!



                            THE EAVESDROPPER


               In a still room at hush of dawn,
                 My Love and I lay side by side
               And heard the roaming forest wind
                 Stir in the paling autumn-tide.

               I watched her earth-brown eyes grow glad
                 Because the round day was so fair;
               While memories of reluctant night
                 Lurked in the blue dusk of her hair.

               Outside, a yellow maple tree,
                 Shifting upon the silvery blue
               With small innumerable sound,
                 Rustled to let the sunlight through.

               The livelong day the elvish leaves
                 Danced with their shadows on the floor;
               And the lost children of the wind
                 Went straying homeward by our door.

               And all the swarthy afternoon
                 We watched the great deliberate sun
               Walk through the crimsoned hazy world,
                 Counting his hilltops one by one.

               Then as the purple twilight came
                 And touched the vines along our eaves,
               Another Shadow stood without
                 And gloomed the dancing of the leaves.

               The silence fell on my Love's lips;
                 Her great brown eyes were veiled and sad
               With pondering some maze of dream,
                 Though all the splendid year was glad.

               Restless and vague as a gray wind
                 Her heart had grown, she knew not why.
               But hurrying to the open door,
                 Against the verge of western sky

               I saw retreating on the hills,
                 Looming and sinister and black,
               The stealthy figure swift and huge
                 Of One who strode and looked not back.



                             IN APPLE TIME


              The apple harvest days are here,
                The boding apple harvest days,
                And down the flaming valley ways,
              The foresters of time draw near.

              Through leagues of bloom I went with Spring,
                To call you on the slopes of morn,
                Where in imperious song is borne
              The wild heart of the golden wing.

              I roamed through alien summer lands,
                I sought your beauty near and far;
                To-day, where russet shadows are,
              I hold your face between my hands.

              On runnels dark by slopes of fern,
                The hazy undern sleeps in sun.
                Remembrance and desire, undone,
              From old regret to dreams return.

              The apple harvest time is here,
                The tender apple harvest time;
                A sheltering calm, unknown at prime,
              Settles upon the brooding year.



                                WANDERER


                                   I


           Wanderer, wanderer, whither away?
             What saith the morning unto thee?
           "Wanderer, wanderer, hither, come hither,
             Into the eld of the East with me!"

           Saith the wide wind of the low red morning,
             Making in from the gray rough sea.
           "Wanderer, come, of the footfall weary,
             And heavy at heart as the sad-heart sea.

           "For long ago, when the world was making,
             I walked through Eden with God for guide;
           And since that time in my heart forever
             His calm and wisdom and peace abide.

           "I am thy spirit and thy familiar,
             Child of the teeming earth's unrest!
           Before God's joy upon gloom begot thee
             I had hungered and searched and ended the quest.

           "I sit by the roadside wells of knowledge;
             I haunt the streams of the springs of thought;
           But because my voice is the voice of silence,
             The heart within thee regardeth not.

           "Yet I await thee, assured, unimpatient,
             Till thy small tumult of striving be past.
           How long, O wanderer, wilt thou a-weary,
             Keep thee afar from my arms at the last?"


                                   II

             Wanderer, wanderer, whither away?
               What saith the high noon unto thee?
             "Wanderer, wanderer, hither, turn hither,
               Far to the burning South with me,"

             Saith the soft wind on the high June headland,
               Sheering up from the summer sea,
             "While the implacable warder, Oblivion,
               Sleeps on the marge of a foamless sea!

             "Come where the urge of desire availeth,
               And no fear follows the children of men;
             For a handful of dust is the only heirloom
               The morrow bequeaths to its morrow again.

             "Touch and feel how the flesh is perfect
               Beyond the compass of dream to be!
             'Bone of my bone,' said God to Adam;
               'Core of my core,' say I to thee.

             "Look and see how the form is goodly
               Beyond the reach of desire and art!
             For he who fashioned the world so easily
               Laughed in his sleeve as he walked apart.

             "Therefore, O wanderer, cease from desiring;
               Take the wide province of seaway and sun!
             Here for the infinite quench of thy craving,
               Infinite yearning and bliss are one."


                                  III

           Wanderer, wanderer, whither away?
             What saith the evening unto thee?
           "Wanderer, wanderer, hither, haste hither,
             Into the glad-heart West with me!"

           Saith the strong wind of the gold-green twilight,
             Gathering out of the autumn hills,
           "I am the word of the world's first dreamer
             Who woke when Freedom walked on the hills.

           "And the secret triumph from daring to doing,
             From musing to marble, I will be,
           Till the last fine fleck of the world is finished,
             And Freedom shall walk alone by the sea.

           "Who is thy heart's lord, who is thy hero?
             Bruce or Cæsar or Charlemagne,
           Hannibal, Olaf, Alaric, Roland?
             Dare as they dared and the deed's done again!

           "Here where they come of the habit immortal,
             By the open road to the land of the Name,
           Splendor and homage and wealth await thee
             Of builded cities and bruited fame.

           "Let loose the conquering toiler within thee;
             Know the large rapture of deeds begun!
           The joy of the hand that hews for beauty
             Is the dearest solace beneath the sun."


                                   IV

          Wanderer, wanderer, whither away?
            What saith the midnight unto thee?
          "Wanderer, wanderer, hither turn home,
            Back to thy North at last to me!"

          Saith the great forest wind and lonely,
            Out of the stars and the wintry hills.
          "Weary, bethink thee of rest, and remember
            Thy waiting auroral Ardise hills!

          "Was it not I, when thy mother bore thee
            In the sweet, solemn April night,
          Took thee safe in my arms to fondle,
            Filled thy dream with the old delight?

          "Told thee tales of more marvelous summers
            Of the far away and the long ago,
          Made thee my own nurse-child forever
            In the tender dear dark land of the snow?

          "Have I not rocked thee, have I not lulled thee,
            Crooned thee in forest, and cradled in foam,
          Then with a smile from the hearthstone of childhood
            Bade thee farewell when thy heart bade thee roam?

          "Ah, my wide-wanderer, thou blessed vagrant,
            Dear will thy footfall be nearing my door.
          How the glad tears will give vent at thy coming,
            Wayward or sad-heart to wander no more!"


                                   V

         Morning and midday I wander, and evening,
           April and harvest and golden fall;
         Seaway or hillward, taut sheet or saddle-bow,
           Only the night wind brings solace at all.

         Then when the tide of all being and beauty
           Ebbs to the utmost before the first dawn,
         Comes the still voice of the morrow revealing
           Inscrutable valorous hope—and is gone.

         Therefore is joy more than sorrow, foreseeing
           The lust of the mind and the lure of the eye
         And the pride of the hand have their hour of triumph,
           But the dream of the heart will endure by-and-by.



                                 AFOOT


                 There's a garden in the South
                   Where the early violets come,
                 Where they strew the floor of April
                   With their purple, bloom by bloom.

                 There the tender peach-trees blow,
                   Pink against the red brick wall,
                 And the hand of twilight hushes
                   The rain-children's least footfall,

                 Till at midnight I can hear
                   The dark Mother croon and lean
                 Close above me. And her whisper
                   Bids the vagabonds convene.

                 Then the glad and wayward heart
                   Dreams a dream it must obey;
                 And the wanderer within me
                   Stirs a foot and will not stay.

                 I would journey far and wide
                   Through the provinces of spring,
                 Where the gorgeous white azaleas
                   Hear the sultry yorlin sing.

                 I would wander all the hills
                   Where my fellow-vagrants wend,
                 Following the trails of shadows
                   To the country where they end.

                 Well I know the gypsy kin,
                   Roving foot and restless hand,
                 And the eyes in dark elusion
                   Dreaming down the summer land.

                 On the frontier of desire
                   I will drink the last regret,
                 And then forth beyond the morrow
                   Where I may but half forget.

                 So another year shall pass,
                   Till some noon the gardener Sun
                 Wanders forth to lay his finger
                   On the peach-buds one by one.

                 And the Mother there once more
                   Will rewhisper her dark word,
                 That my brothers all may wonder,
                   Hearing then as once I heard.

                 There will come the whitethroat's cry,
                   That far lonely silver strain,
                 Piercing, like a sweet desire,
                   The seclusion of the rain.

                 And though I be far away,
                   When the early violets come
                 Smiling at the door with April,
                   Say, "The vagabonds are home!"



                               WAYFARING


              Across the harbor's tangled yards
                We watch the flaring sunset fail;
              Then the forever questing stars
                File down along the vanished trail,

              To no discovered country, where
                They will forgather when the hands
              Of the strong Fates shall take away
                Their burdens and unloose their bands.

              Westward and lone the hill-road gray
                Mounts to the skyline sheer and wan,
              Where many a weary dream puts forth
                To strike the trail where they are gone.

              The sleepless guide to that outland
                Is the great Mother of us all,
              Whose molded dust and dew we are
                With the blown flowers by the wall.

              Girt with the twilight she is grave,
                The strong companion, wise and free;
              She leads beyond the dales of time,
                The earldom of the calling sea—

              Beyond these dull green miles of dike,
                And gleaming breakers on the bar—
              To the white kingdom of her lord,
                The nameless Word, whose breath we are.

              And all the world is but a scheme
                Of busy children in the street,
              A play they follow and forget
                On summer evenings, pale with heat.

              The dusty courtyard flags and walls
                Are like a prison gate of stone,
              To every spirit for whose breath
                The long sweet hill-winds once have blown.

              But waiting in the fields for them
                I see the ancient Mother stand,
              With the old courage of her smile,
                The patience of her sunbrown hand.

              They heed her not, until there comes
                A breath of sleep upon their eyes,
              A drift of dust upon their face;
                Then in the closing dusk they rise,

              And turn them to the empty doors;
                But she within whose hands alone
              The days are gathered up as fruit,
                Doth habit not in brick and stone.

              But where the wild shy things abide,
                Along the woodside and the wheat,
              Is her abiding, deep withdrawn;
                And there, the footing of her feet.

              There is no common fame of her
                Upon the corners, yet some word
              Of her most secret heritage
                Her lovers from her lips have heard.

              Her daisies sprang where Chaucer went;
                Her darkling nightingales with spring
              Possessed the soul of Keats for song;
                And Shelley heard her skylark sing;

              With reverent clear uplifted heart
                Wordsworth beheld her daffodils;
              And he became too great for haste,
                Who watched the warm green Cumner hills.

              She gave the apples of her eyes
                For the delight of him who knew,
              With all the wisdom of a child,
                "A bank whereon the wild thyme grew."

              Still the old secret shifts, and waits
                The last interpreter; it fills
              The autumn song no ear hath heard
                Upon the dreaming Ardise hills.

              The poplars babble over it
                When waking winds of dawn go by;
              It fills her rivers like a voice,
                And leads her wanderers till they die.

              She knows the morning ways whereon
                The windflowers and the wind confer;
              Surely there is not any fear
                Upon the farthest trail with her!

              And yet, what ails the fir-dark slopes,
                That all night long the whippoorwills
              Cry their insatiable cry
                Across the sleeping Ardise hills?

              Is it that no fair mortal thing,
                Blown leaf, nor song, nor friend can stray
              Beyond the bourne and bring one word
                Back the irremeable way?

              The noise is hushed within the street;
                The summer twilight gathers down;
              The elms are still; the moonlit spires
                Track their long shadows through the town.

              With looming willows and gray dusk
                The open hillward road is pale,
              And the great stars are white and few
                Above the lonely Ardise trail.

              And with no haste nor any fear,
                We are as children going home
              Along the marshes where the wind
                Sleeps in the cradle of the foam.



                          THE END OF THE TRAIL


               Once more the hunters of the dusk
                 Are forth to search the moorlands wide,
               Among the autumn-colored hills,
                 And wander by the shifting tide.

               All day along the haze-hung verge
                 They scour upon a fleeing trace,
               Between the red sun and the sea,
                 Where haunts the vision of your face.

               The plane at Martock lies and drinks
                 The long Septembral gaze of blue;
               The royal leisure of the hills
                 Hath wayward reveries of you.

               Far rovers of the ancient dream
                 Have all their will of musing hours:
               Your eyes were gray-deep as the sea,
                 Your hands lay open in the flowers!

               From mining Rawdon to Pereau,
                 For all the gold they delve and share,
               The goblins of the Ardise hills
                 Can horde no treasure like your hair.

               The swirling tide, the lonely gulls,
                 The sweet low wood-winds that rejoice—
               No sound nor echo of the sea
                 But hath tradition of your voice.

               The crimson leaves, the yellow fruit,
                 The basking woodlands mile on mile—
               No gleam in all the russet hills
                 But wears the solace of your smile.

               A thousand cattle rove and feed
                 On the great marshes in the sun,
               And wonder at the restless sea;
                 But I am glad the year is done,

               Because I am a wanderer
                 Upon the roads of endless quest,
               Between the hill-wind and the hills,
                 Along the margin men call rest.

               Because there lies upon my lips
                 A whisper of the wind at morn,
               A murmur of the rolling sea
                 Cradling the land where I was born;

               Because its sleepless tides and storms
                 Are in my heart for memory
               And music, and its gray-green hills
                 Run white to bear me company;

               Because in that sad time of year,
                 With April twilight on the earth
               And journeying rain upon the sea,
                 With the shy windflowers was my birth;

               Because I was a tiny boy
                 Among the thrushes of the wood,
               And all the rivers in the hills
                 Were playmates of my solitude;

               Because the holy winter night
                 Was for my chamber, deep among
               The dark pine forests by the sea,
                 With woven red auroras hung,

               Silent with frost and floored with snow,
                 With what dream folk to people it
               And bring their stories from the hills,
                 When all the splendid stars were lit;

               Therefore I house me not with kin,
                 But journey as the sun goes forth,
               By stream and wood and marsh and sea,
                 Through dying summers of the North;

               Until, some hazy autumn day,
                 With yellow evening in the skies
               And rime upon the tawny hills,
                 The far blue signal smoke shall rise,

               To tell my scouting foresters
                 Have heard the clarions of rest
               Bugling, along the outer sea,
                 The end of failure and of quest.

               Then all the piping Nixie folk,
                 Where lonesome meadow winds are low,
               Through all the valleys in the hills
                 Their river reeds shall blow and blow,

               To lead me like a joy, as when
                 The shining April flowers return,
               Back to a footpath by the sea
                 With scarlet hip and ruined fern.

               For I must gain, ere the long night
                 Bury its travelers deep with snow,
               That trail among the Ardise hills
                 Where first I found you years ago.

               I shall not fail, for I am strong,
                 And Time is very old, they say,
               And somewhere by the quiet sea
                 Makes no refusal to delay.

               There will I get me home, and there
                 Lift up your face in my brown hand,
               With all the rosy rusted hills
                 About the heart of that dear land.



                             THE VAGABONDS

"Such as wake on the night and sleep on the day, and haunt customable
taverns and alehouses and routs about, and no man wot from whence they
came, nor whither they go."—_Old English Statute._


                We are the vagabonds of time,
                  And rove the yellow autumn days,
                When all the roads are gray with rime
                  And all the valleys blue with haze.

                We came unlooked for as the wind
                  Trooping across the April hills,
                When the brown waking earth had dreams
                  Of summer in the Wander Kills.

                How far afield we joyed to fare,
                  With June in every blade and tree!
                Now with the sea-wind in our hair
                  We turn our faces to the sea.

                We go unheeded as the stream
                  That wanders by the hill-wood side,
                Till the great marshes take his hand
                  And lead him to the roving tide.

                The roving tide, the sleeping hills,
                  These are the borders of that zone
                Where they may fare as fancy wills
                  Whom wisdom smiles and calls her own.

                It is a country of the sun,
                  Full of forgotten yesterdays,
                When time takes Summer in his care,
                  And fills the distance of her gaze.

                It stretches from the open sea
                  To the blue mountains and beyond;
                The world is Vagabondia
                  To him who is a vagabond.

                In the beginning God made man
                  Out of the wandering dust, men say;
                And in the end his life shall be
                  A wandering wind and blown away.

                We are the vagabonds of time,
                  Willing to let the world go by,
                With joy supreme, with heart sublime,
                  And valor in the kindling eye.

                We have forgotten where we slept,
                  And guess not where we sleep to-night,
                Whether among the lonely hills
                  In the pale streamers' ghostly light

                We shall lie down and hear the frost
                  Walk in the dead leaves restlessly,
                Or somewhere on the iron coast
                  Learn the oblivion of the sea.

                It matters not. And yet I dream
                  Of dreams fulfilled and rest somewhere
                Before this restless heart is stilled
                  And all its fancies blown to air.

                Had I my will!... The sun burns down
                  And something plucks my garment's hem;
                The robins in their faded brown
                  Would lure me to the south with them.

                'Tis time for vagabonds to make
                  The nearest inn. Far on I hear
                The voices of the Northern hills
                  Gather the vagrants of the year.

                Brave heart, my soul! Let longings be!
                  We have another day to wend.
                For dark or waylay what care we
                  Who have the lords of time to friend?

                And if we tarry or make haste,
                  The wayside sleep can hold no fear.
                Shall fate unpoise, or whim perturb,
                  The calm-begirt in dawn austere?

                There is a tavern, I have heard,
                  Not far, and frugal, kept by One
                Who knows the children of the Word,
                  And welcomes each when day is done.

                Some say the house is lonely set
                  In Northern night, and snowdrifts keep
                The silent door; the hearth is cold,
                  And all my fellows gone to sleep....

                Had I my will! I hear the sea
                  Thunder a welcome on the shore;
                I know where lies the hostelry
                  And who should open me the door.



                                WHITHER


                      What shall we do, dearie,
                        Dreaming such dreams?
                      Will they come true, dearie?
                        Never, it seems.

                      Leave the wise thrush alone;
                        He knows such things.
                      How rich the silences
                        Fall when he sings!

                      When shall we come, dearie,
                        Into that land
                      Once was our home, dearie,
                        Perfect as planned?

                      When the wind calling us,
                        Some summer day,
                      Into the long ago
                        Lures us away.

                      Where shall we go, dearie,
                        Wandering thus?
                      Far to and fro, dearie,
                        Life leads for us.

                      Thou with the morrow's sun
                        Hillward and free,
                      I to the vast and hoar
                        Lone of the sea.

1886-1893.



                           Transcriber's Note

The original spelling and punctuation has been retained.

Variations in hyphenation and compound words have been preserved.

Italicized words and phrases in the text version are presented by
surrounding the text with underscores.





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