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Title: New York Nocturnes and Other Poems
Author: Roberts, Charles G. D., Sir
Language: English
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  New York Nocturnes

  And Other Poems



_BY THE SAME AUTHOR._


VERSE:

    ORION AND OTHER POEMS. (_Out of Print._) _Lippincott._

    IN DIVERS TONES. _D. Lothrop Co._

    SONGS OF THE COMMON DAY. _Longmans, Green & Co._

    THE BOOK OF THE NATIVE. _Lamson, Wolffe & Co._


PROSE:

    THE CANADIANS OF OLD. From the French of de Gaspé. _D. Appleton &
    Co._

    AROUND THE CAMP FIRE. _T. Y. Crowell & Co._

    EARTH’S ENIGMAS. _Lamson, Wolffe & Co._

    A HISTORY OF CANADA. _Lamson, Wolffe & Co._

    THE FORGE IN THE FOREST. _Lamson, Wolffe & Co._

    A SISTER TO EVANGELINE. A Romance of Old Acadia. (_In Press._)
    _Lamson, Wolffe & Co._



  New York Nocturnes
  _And Other Poems_

  By
  Charles G. D. Roberts

  Lamson, Wolffe and Company
  Boston, New York and London
  MDCCCXCVIII



  Copyright, 1898,
  By Lamson, Wolffe and Company.

  _All rights reserved._



_THE IDEAL_


      _To Her, when life was little worth,
        When hope, a tide run low,
      Between dim shores of emptiness
        Almost forgot to flow,--_

      _Faint with the city’s fume and stress
        I came at night to Her.
      Her cool white fingers on my face--
        How wonderful they were!_

      _More dear they were to fevered lids
        Than lilies cooled in dew.
      They touched my lips with tenderness,
        Till life was born anew._

      _The city’s clamour died in calm;
        And once again I heard
      The moon-white woodland stillnesses
        Enchanted by a bird;_

      _The wash of far, remembered waves;
        The sigh of lapsing streams;
      And one old garden’s lilac leaves
        Conferring in their dreams._

      _A breath from childhood daisy fields
        Came back to me again,
      Here in the city’s weary miles
        Of city-wearied men._



CONTENTS


  NEW YORK NOCTURNES

                                        PAGE

  The Ideal                                5

  In the Crowd                             9

  Night in a Down-town Street             10

  At the Railway Station                  13

  Nocturnes of the Honeysuckle, I         16

  Nocturnes of the Honeysuckle, II        17

  My Garden                               18

  Presence                                21

  Twilight on Sixth Avenue                22

  The Street Lamps                        24

  In Darkness                             25

  In the Solitude of the City             26

  A Nocturne of Exile                     28

  A Street Vigil                          30

  A Nocturne of Trysting                  32

  In a City Room                          34

  A Nocturne of Consecration              36


  OTHER POEMS

  An Evening Communion                    45

  Life and Art                            48

  Beyond the Tops of Time                 49

  Dream-Fellows                           55

  The Atlantic Cable                      61

  When the Clover Blooms Again            63

  At Tide Water                           65

  The Falling Leaves                      67

  Marjory                                 68

  The Solitary Woodsman                   72

  The Stirrup Cup                         77

  Ice                                     78

  The Hermit                              79

  “O Thou who bidd’st”                    82

  Ascription                              83



  New York Nocturnes

  Ὦ Θεοί, τίς ἆρα Κύπρις, ἢ τίς ἵμερος, τοῦδε ξυνήψατο;



New York Nocturnes



In the Crowd


      I walk the city square with thee.
        The night is loud; the pavements roar.
      Their eddying mirth and misery
      Encircle thee and me.

      The street is full of lights and cries.
        The crowd but brings thee close to me.
      I only hear thy low replies;
      I only see thine eyes.



Night in a Down-town Street


      Not in the eyed, expectant gloom,
        Where soaring peaks repose
      And incommunicable space
        Companions with the snows;

      Not in the glimmering dusk that crawls
        Upon the clouded sea,
      Where bourneless wave on bourneless wave
        Complains continually;

      Not in the palpable dark of woods
        Where groping hands clutch fear,
      Does Night her deeps of solitude
        Reveal unveiled as here.

      The street is a grim cañon carved
        In the eternal stone,
      That knows no more the rushing stream
        It anciently has known.

      The emptying tide of life has drained
        The iron channel dry.
      Strange winds from the forgotten day
        Draw down, and dream, and sigh.

      The narrow heaven, the desolate moon
        Made wan with endless years,
      Seem less immeasurably remote
        Than laughter, love, or tears.



At the Railway Station


      Here the night is fierce with light,
        Here the great wheels come and go,
      Here are partings, waitings, meetings,
        Mysteries of joy and woe.

      Here is endless haste and change,
        Here the ache of streaming eyes,
      Radiance of expectant faces,
        Breathless askings, brief replies.

      Here the jarred, tumultuous air
        Throbs and pauses like a bell,
      Gladdens with delight of greeting,
        Sighs and sorrows with farewell.

      Here, ah, here with hungry eyes
        I explore the passing throng.
      Restless I await your coming
        Whose least absence is so long.

      Faces, faces pass me by,
        Meaningless, and blank, and dumb,
      Till my heart grows faint and sickens
        Lest at last you should not come.

      Then--I see you. And the blood
        Surges back to heart and brain.
      Eyes meet mine,--and Heaven opens.
        You are at my side again.



Nocturnes of the Honeysuckle

I


      Forever shed your sweetness on the night,
      Dear honeysuckle, flower of our delight!

      Forever breathe the mystery of that hour
      When her hand touched me, lightlier than a flower,--

      And life became forever strange and sweet,
      A gift to lay with worship at her feet.



Nocturnes of the Honeysuckle

II


      Oh, flower of the honeysuckle,
        Tell me how often the long night through
      She turns in her dream to the open window,
        She turns in her dream to you.

      Oh, flower of the honeysuckle,
        Tell me how tenderly out of the dew
      You breathe her a dream of that night of wonder
        When life was fashioned anew.

      Oh, flower of the honeysuckle,
        Tell me how long ere, the sweet night through,
      She will turn not to you but to me in the darkness,
        And dream and desire come true.



My Garden


      I have a garden in the city’s grime
      Where secretly my heart keeps summer time;

      Where blow such airs of rapture on my eyes
      As those blest dreamers know in Paradise,

      Who after lives of longing come at last
      Where anguish of vain love is overpast.

      When the broad noon lies shadeless on the street,
      And traffic roars, and toilers faint with heat,

      Where men forget that ever woods were green,
      The wonders of my garden are not seen.

      Only at night the magic doors disclose
      Its labyrinths of lavender and rose;

      And honeysuckle, white beneath its moon,
      Whispers me softly thou art coming soon;

      And led by Love’s white hand upon my wrist
      Beside its glimmering fountains I keep tryst.

      O Love, this moving fragrance on my hair,--
      Is it thy breath, or some enchanted air

      From far, uncharted realms of mystery
      Which I have dreamed of but shall never see?

      O Love, this low, wild music in my ears,
      Is it the heart-beat of thy hopes and fears,

      Or the faint cadence of some fairy song
      On winds of boyhood memory blown along?

      O Love, what poignant ecstasy is this
      Upon my lips and eyes? Thy touch,--thy kiss.



Presence


      Dawn like a lily lies upon the land
      Since I have known the whiteness of your hand.
      Dusk is more soft and more mysterious where
      Breathes on my eyes the perfume of your hair.
      Waves at your coming break in livelier blue;
      And solemn woods are glad because of you.
      Brooks of your laughter learn their liquid notes.
      Birds to your voice attune their pleading throats.
      Fields to your feet grow smoother and more green;
      And happy blossoms tell where you have been.



Twilight on Sixth Avenue


      Over the tops of the houses
        Twilight and sunset meet.
      The green, diaphanous dusk
        Sinks to the eager street.

      Astray in the tangle of roofs
        Wanders a wind of June.
      The dial shines in the clock-tower
        Like the face of a strange-scrawled moon.

      The narrowing lines of the houses
        Palely begin to gleam,
      And the hurrying crowds fade softly
        Like an army in a dream.

      Above the vanishing faces
        A phantom train flares on
      With a voice that shakes the shadows,--
        Diminishes, and is gone.

      And I walk with the journeying throng
        In such a solitude
      As where a lonely ocean
        Washes a lonely wood.



The Street Lamps


                  Eyes of the city,
      Keeping your sleepless watch from sun to sun,
                  Is it for pity
      You tremble, seeing innocence undone;
        Or do you laugh, to think men thus should set
        Spies on the folly day would fain forget?



In Darkness


      I have faced life with courage,--but not now!
        O Infinite, in this darkness draw thou near.
      Wisdom alone I asked of thee, but thou
        Hast crushed me with the awful gift of fear.



In the Solitude of the City


      Night; and the sound of voices in the street.
      Night; and the happy laughter where they meet,
        The glad boy lover and the trysting girl.
      But thou--but thou--I cannot find thee, Sweet!

      Night; and far off the lighted pavements roar.
      Night; and the dark of sorrow keeps my door.
        I reach my hand out trembling in the dark.
      Thy hand comes not with comfort any more.

      O Silent, Unresponding! If these fears
      Lie not, nor other wisdom come with years,
        No day shall dawn for me without regret,
      No night go uncompanioned by my tears.



A Nocturne of Exile


      Out of this night of lonely noise,
        The city’s crowded cries,
      Home of my heart, to thee, to thee
        I turn my longing eyes.

      Years, years, how many years I went
        In exile wearily,
      Before I lifted up my face
        And saw my home in thee.

      I had come home to thee at last.
        I saw thy warm lights gleam.
      I entered thine abiding joy,--
        Oh, was it but a dream?

      Ere I could reckon with my heart
        The sum of our delight,
      I was an exile once again
        Here in the hasting night.

      Thy doors were shut; thy lights were gone
        From my remembering eyes.--
      Only the city’s endless throng!
        Only the crowded cries!



A Street Vigil


      Here is the street
      Made holy by the passing of her feet,--
        The little, tender feet, more sweet than myrrh,
        Which I have washed with tears for love of her.

      Here she has gone
      Until the very stones have taken on
        A glory from her passing, and the place
        Is tremulous with memory of her face.

      Here is the room
      That holds the light to lighten all my gloom.
        Beyond that blank white window she is sleeping
        Who hath my hope, my health, my fame, in keeping.

      A little peace
      Here for a little, ere my vigil cease
        And I turn homeward, shaken with the strife
        Of hope that struggles hopeless, sick for life.

      Surely the power
      That lifted me from darkness that one hour
        To a dear heaven whereof no word can tell
        Not wantonly will thrust me back to hell.



A Nocturne of Trysting


      Broods the hid glory in its sheath of gloom
      Till strikes the destined hour, and bursts the bloom,
      A rapture of white passion and perfume.

          So the long day is like a bud
            That aches with coming bliss,
          Till flowers in light the wondrous night
            That brings me to thy kiss.

          Then, with a thousand sorrows forgotten in one hour,
            In thy pure eyes and at thy feet I find at last my goal;
          And life and hope and joy seem but a faint prevision
            Of the flower that is thy body and the flame that is thy
                    soul.



In a City Room


      O city night of noises and alarms,
        Your lights may flare, your cables clang and rush,
      But in the sanctuary of my love’s arms
        Your blinding tumult dies into a hush.

      My doors are surged about with your unrest;
        Your plangent cares assail my realm of peace;
      But when I come unto her quiet breast
        How suddenly your jar and clamor cease!

      Then even remembrance of your strifes and pains
        Diminishes to a ghost of sorrows gone,
      Remoter than a dream of last year’s rains
        Gusty against my window in the dawn.



A Nocturne of Consecration


      I talked about you, Dear, the other night,
      Having myself alone with my delight.
      Alone with dreams and memories of you,
      All the divine-houred summer stillness through
      I talked of life, of love the always new,
      Of tears, and joy,--yet only talked of you.

      To the sweet air
      That breathed upon my face
      The spirit of lilies in a leafy place,
      Your breath’s caress, the lingering of your hair,
      I said--“In all your wandering through the dusk,
      Your waitings on the marriages of flowers
      Through the long, intimate hours
      When soul and sense, desire and love confer,
      You must have known the best that God has made.
      What do you know of Her?”

      Said the sweet air--
      “Since I have touched her lips,
      Bringing the consecration of her kiss,
      Half passion and half prayer,
      And all for you,
      My various lore has suffered an eclipse.
      I have forgot all else of sweet I knew.”

      To the wise earth,
      Kind, and companionable, and dewy cool,
      Fair beyond words to tell, as you are fair,
      And cunning past compare
      To leash all heaven in a windless pool,
      I said--“The mysteries of death and birth
      Are in your care.
      You love, and sleep; you drain life to the lees;
      And wonderful things you know.
      Angels have visited you, and at your knees
      Learned what I learn forever at her eyes,
      The pain that still enhances Paradise.
      You in your breast felt her first pulses stir;
      And you have thrilled to the light touch of her feet,
      Blindingly sweet.
      Now make me wise with some new word of Her.”

      Said the wise earth--
      “She is not all my child.
      But the wild spirit that rules her heart-beats wild
      Is of diviner birth
      And kin to the unknown light beyond my ken.
      All I can give to Her have I not given?
      Strength to be glad, to suffer, and to know;
      The sorcery that subdues the souls of men;
      The beauty that is as the shadow of heaven;
      The hunger of love
      And unspeakable joy thereof.
      And these are dear to Her because of you.
      You need no word of mine to make you wise
      Who worship at her eyes
      And find there life and love forever new!”

      To the white stars,
      Eternal and all-seeing,
      In their wide home beyond the wells of being,
      I said--“There is a little cloud that mars
      The mystical perfection of her kiss.
      Mine, mine, She is,
      As far as lip to lip, and heart to heart;
      And spirit to spirit when lips and hands must part,
      Can make her mine. But there is more than this,--
      More, more of Her to know.
      For still her soul escapes me unaware,
      To dwell in secret where I may not go.
      Take, and uplift me. Make me wholly Hers.”

      Said the white stars, the heavenly ministers,--
      “This life is brief, but it is only one.
      Before to-morrow’s sun
      For one or both of you it may be done.
      This love of yours is only just begun.
      Will all the ecstasy that may be won
      Before this life its little course has run
      At all suffice
      The love that agonizes in your eyes?
      Therefore be wise.
      Content you with the wonder of love that lies
      Between her lips and underneath her eyes.
      If more you should surprise,
      What would be left to hope from Paradise?
      In other worlds expect another joy
      Of Her, which blundering fate shall not annoy,
      Nor time nor change destroy.”

      So, Dear, I talked the long, divine night through,
      And felt you in the chrismal balms of dew.
      The thing then learned
      Has ever since within my bosom burned--
      One life is not enough for love of you.



Other Poems



An Evening Communion


      The large first stars come out
        Above the open hill,
      And in the west the light
        Is lingering still.

      The wide and tranquil air
        Of evening washes cool
      On open hill, and vale,
        And shining pool.

      The calm of endless time
        Is in the spacious hour,
      Whose mystery unfolds
        To perfect flower.

      The silence and my heart
        Expect a voice I know,--
      A voice we have not heard
        Since long ago.

      Since long ago thy face,
        Thy smile, I may not see,
      True comrade, whom the veil
        Divides from me.

      But when earth’s hidden word
        I almost understand,
      I dream that on my lips
        I feel thy hand.

      Thy presence is the light
        Upon the open hill.
      Thou walkest with me here,
        True comrade still.

      My pain and my unrest
        Thou tak’st into thy care.
      The world becomes a dream,
        And life a prayer.



Life and Art


      Said Life to Art--“I love thee best
        Not when I find in thee
      My very face and form, expressed
        With dull fidelity,

      “But when in thee my craving eyes
        Behold continually
      The mystery of my memories
        And all I long to be.”



Beyond the Tops of Time


      How long it was I did not know,
        That I had waited, watched, and feared.
      It seemed a thousand years ago
        The last pale lights had disappeared.
      I knew the place was a narrow room
      Up, up beyond the reach of doom.

      Then came a light more red than flame;--
        No sun-dawn, but the soul laid bare
      Of earth and sky and sea became
        A presence burning everywhere;
      And I was glad my narrow room
      Was high above the reach of doom.

      Windows there were in either wall,
        Deep cleft, and set with radiant glass,
      Wherethrough I watched the mountains fall,
        The ages wither up and pass.
      I knew their doom could never climb
      My tower beyond the tops of Time.

      A sea of faces then I saw,
        Of men who had been, men long dead.
      Figured with dreams of joy and awe
        The heavens unrolled in lambent red;
      While far below the faces cried--
      “Give us the dream for which we died!”

      Ever the woven shapes rolled by
        Above the faces hungering.
      With quiet and incurious eye
        I noted many a wondrous thing,--
      Seas of clear glass, and singing streams,
      In that high pageantry of dreams;

      Cities of sard and chrysoprase
        Where choired Hosannas never cease;
      Valhallas of celestial frays,
        And lotus-pools of endless peace;
      But still the faces gaped and cried--
      “Give us the dream for which we died!”

      At length my quiet heart was stirred,
        Hearing them cry so long in vain.
      But while I listened for a word
        That should translate them from their pain,
      I saw that here and there a face
      Shone, and was lifted from its place,

      And flashed into the moving dome
        An ecstasy of prismed fire.
      And then said I, “A soul has come
        To the deep zenith of desire!”
      But still I wondered if it knew
      The dream for which it died was true.

      I wondered--who shall say how long?
        (One heart-beat?--Thrice ten thousand years?)
      Till suddenly there was no throng
        Of faces to arraign the spheres,--
      No more white faces there to cry
      To those great pageants of the sky.

      Then quietly I grew aware
        Of one who came with eyes of bliss
      And brow of calm and lips of prayer.
        Said I--“How wonderful is this!
      Where are the faces once that cried--
      ‘Give us the dream for which we died’?”

      The answer fell as soft as sleep,--
        “I am of those who, having cried
      So long in that tumultuous deep,
        Have won the dream for which we died.”
      And then said I--“Which dream was true?
      For many were revealed to you!”

      He answered--“To the soul made wise
        All true, all beautiful they seem.
      But the white peace that fills our eyes
        Outdoes desire, outreaches dream.
      For we are come unto the place
      Where always we behold God’s face!”



Dream-Fellows


      Behind the veil that men call sleep
        I came upon a golden land.
      A golden light was in the leaves
        And on the amethystine strand.

      Amber and gold and emerald
        The unimaginable wood.
      And in a joy I could not name
        Beside the emerald stream I stood.

      Down from a violet hill came one
        Running to meet me on the shore.
      I clasped his hand. He seemed to be
        One I had long been waiting for.

      All the sweet sounds I ever heard
        In his low greeting seemed to blend.
      His were the eyes of my true love.
        His was the mouth of my true friend.

      We spoke; and the transfigured words
        Meant more than words had ever meant.
      Our lips at last forgot to speak,
        For silence was so eloquent.

      We floated in the emerald stream;
        We wandered in the wondrous wood.
      His soul to me was clear as light.
        My inmost thought he understood.

      Only to be was to be glad.
        Life, like a rainbow, filled our eyes.
      In comprehending comradeship
        Each moment seemed a Paradise.

      And often, in the after years,
        I and my dream-fellow were one
      For hours together in that land
        Behind the moon, beyond the sun.

      At last, in the tumultuous dream
        That men call life, I chanced to be
      One day amid the city throng
        Where the great piers oppose the sea.

      A giant ship was swinging off
        For other seas and other skies.
      Amid the voyaging companies
        I saw his face, I saw his eyes.

      Oh, passionately through the crowd
        I thrust, and then--our glances met!
      Across the widening gulf we gazed,
        With white set lips, and eyes grown wet.

      And all day long my heart was faint
        With parting pangs and tears unwept;
      Till night brought comfort, for he came
        To meet me, smiling, when I slept.

      Beyond the veil that men call sleep
        We met, within that golden land.
      He said--or I--“We grieved to-day.
        But now, more wise, we understand!

      “Communing in the common world,
        The flesh, for us, would be a bar.
      Strange would be our familiar speech;
        And earth would seem no more a star.

      “We’d know no more the golden leaves
        Beside the amethystine deep;
      We’d see no more each other’s thought
        Behind the veil that men call sleep!”



The Atlantic Cable


      This giant nerve, at whose command
        The world’s great pulses throb or sleep,--
      It threads the undiscerned repose
        Of the dark bases of the deep.

      Around it settle in the calm
        Fine tissues that a breath might mar,
      Nor dream what fiery tidings pass,
        What messages of storm and war.

      Far over it, where filtered gleams
        Faintly illume the mid-sea day,
      Strange, pallid forms of fish or weed
        In the obscure tide softly sway.

      And higher, where the vagrant waves
        Frequent the white, indifferent sun,
      Where ride the smoke-blue hordes of rain
        And the long vapors lift and run,

      Passes perhaps some lonely ship
        With exile hearts that homeward ache,--
      While far beneath is flashed a word
        That soon shall bid them bleed or break.



When the Clover blooms again


      “When the clover blooms again,
      And the rain-birds in the rain
        Make the sad-heart noon seem sweeter
        And the joy of June completer
      I shall see his face again!”

      Of her lover over sea
      So she whispered happily;
        And she prayed, while men were sleeping,
        “Mary, have him in thy keeping
      As he sails the stormy sea!”

      White and silent lay his face
      In a still, green-watered place,
        Where the long, gray weed scarce lifted,
        And the sand was lightly sifted
      O’er his unremembering face.



At Tide Water


      The red and yellow of the Autumn salt-grass,
        The gray flats, and the yellow-gray full tide,
      The lonely stacks, the grave expanse of marshes,--
        O Land wherein my memories abide,
      I have come back that you may make me tranquil,
        Resting a little at your heart of peace,
      Remembering much amid your serious leisure,
        Forgetting more amid your large release.
      For yours the wisdom of the night and morning,
        The word of the inevitable years,
      The open Heaven’s unobscured communion,
        And the dim whisper of the wheeling spheres.

      The great things and the terrible I bring you,
        To be illumined in your spacious breath,--
      Love, and the ashes of desire, and anguish,
        Strange laughter, and the unhealing wound of death.
      These in the world, all these, have come upon me,
        Leaving me mute and shaken with surprise.
      Oh, turn them in your measureless contemplation,
        And in their mastery teach me to be wise.



The Falling Leaves


      Lightly He blows, and at His breath they fall,
        The perishing kindreds of the leaves; they drift,
      Spent flames of scarlet, gold aerial,
        Across the hollow year, noiseless and swift.
      Lightly He blows, and countless as the falling
        Of snow by night upon a solemn sea,
      The ages circle down beyond recalling,
        To strew the hollows of Eternity.
      He sees them drifting through the spaces dim,
        And leaves and ages are as one to Him.



Marjory

(A Backwoods Ballad)


      Spring, summer, autumn, winter,
        Over the wild world rolls the year.
      Comes June to the rose-red tamarack buds,
        But Marjory comes not here.

      The pastures miss her; the house without her
        Grows forgotten, and gray, and old;
      The wind, and the lonely light of the sun,
        Are heavy with tears untold.

      Spring, summer, autumn, winter,
        Morning, evening, over and o’er!
      The swallow returns to the nested rafter,
        But Marjory comes no more.

      The gray barn-doors in the long wind rattle
        Hour by hour of the long white day.
      The horses fret by the well-filled manger
        Since Marjory went away.

      The sheep she fed at the bars await her.
        The milch cows low for her down the lane.
      They long for her light, light hand at the milking,--
        They long for her hand in vain.

      Spring, summer, autumn, winter,
        Morning and evening, over and o’er!
      The bees come back with the willow catkins,
        But Marjory comes no more.

      The voice of the far-off city called to her.
        Was it long years or an hour ago?
      She went away, with dear eyes weeping,
        To a world she did not know.

      The berried pastures they could not keep her,
        The brook, nor the buttercup-golden hill,
      Nor even the long, long love familiar,--
        The strange voice called her still.

      She would not stay for the old home garden;--
        The scarlet poppy, the mignonette,
      The fox-glove bell, and the kind-eyed pansy,
        Their hearts will not forget.

      Oh, that her feet had not forgotten
        The woodland country, the homeward way!
      Oh, to look out of the sad, bright window
        And see her come back, some day!

      Spring, summer, autumn, winter,
        Over the wild world rolls the year.
      Comes joy to the bird on the nested rafter;
        But Marjory comes not here.



The Solitary Woodsman


      When the gray lake-water rushes
      Past the dripping alder bushes,
        And the bodeful autumn wind
      In the fir-tree weeps and hushes,--

      When the air is sharply damp
      Round the solitary camp,
        And the moose-bush in the thicket
      Glimmers like a scarlet lamp,--

      When the birches twinkle yellow,
      And the cornel bunches mellow,
        And the owl across the twilight
      Trumpets to his downy fellow,--

      When the nut-fed chipmunks romp
      Through the maples’ crimson pomp,
        And the slim viburnum flushes
      In the darkness of the swamp,--

      When the blueberries are dead,
      When the rowan clusters red,
        And the shy bear, summer-sleekened,
      In the bracken makes his bed,--

      On a day there comes once more
      To the latched and lonely door,
        Down the wood-road striding silent,
      One who has been here before.

      Green spruce branches for his head,
      Here he makes his simple bed,
        Couching with the sun, and rising
      When the dawn is frosty red.

      All day long he wanders wide
      With the gray moss for his guide,
        And his lonely axe-stroke startles
      The expectant forest-side.

      Toward the quiet close of day
      Back to camp he takes his way,
        And about his sober footsteps
      Unafraid the squirrels play.

      On his roof the red leaf falls,
      At his door the blue-jay calls,
        And he hears the wood-mice hurry
      Up and down his rough log walls;

      Hears the laughter of the loon
      Thrill the dying afternoon,--
        Hears the calling of the moose
      Echo to the early moon.

      And he hears the partridge drumming,
      The belated hornet humming,--
        All the faint, prophetic sounds
      That foretell the winter’s coming.

      And the wind about his eaves
      Through the chilly night-wet grieves,
        And the earth’s dumb patience fills him,
      Fellow to the falling leaves.



The Stirrup Cup


      Life at my stirrup lifted wistful eyes,
        And as she gave the parting cup to me,--
        Death’s pale companion for the silent sea,--
      “I know,” she said, “that land and where it lies.
        A pledge between us now before you go,
        That when you meet me there your soul may know!”



Ice


      When Winter scourged the meadow and the hill
      And in the withered leafage worked his will,
      The water shrank, and shuddered, and stood still,--
      Then built himself a magic house of glass,
      Irised with memories of flowers and grass,
      Wherein to sit and watch the fury pass.



The Hermit


      Above the blindness of content,
        The ignorance of ease,
      Inhabiting within his soul
        A shrine of memories,

      Between the silences of sleep
        Attentively he hears
      The endless crawling sob and strain,
        The spending of the years.

      He sees the lapsing stream go by
        His unperturbed face,
      Out of a dark, into a dark,
        Across a lighted space.

      He calls it Life, this lighted space
        Upon the moving flood.
      He sees the water white with tears,
        He sees it red with blood.

      And many specks upon the tide
        He sees and marks by name,--
      Motes of a day, and fools of Fate,
        And challengers of fame;

      With here a people, there a babe,
        A blossom, or a crown,--
      They whirl a little, gleam, and pass,
        Or in the eddies drown.

      He waits. He waits one day to see
        The lapsing of the stream,
      The eddying forms, the darknesses,
        Dissolve into a dream.



“O Thou who bidd’st”


      O Thou who bidd’st a million germs decay
      That one white bloom may soar into the day,
      Mine eyes unseal to see their souls in death
      Borne back to Thee upon the lily’s breath.



Ascription


      O Thou who hast beneath Thy hand
      The dark foundations of the land,--
      The motion of whose ordered thought
      An instant universe hath wrought,--

      Who hast within Thine equal heed
      The rolling sun, the ripening seed,
      The azure of the speedwell’s eye,
      The vast solemnities of sky,--

      Who hear’st no less the feeble note
      Of one small bird’s awakening throat,
      Than that unnamed, tremendous chord
      Arcturus sounds before his Lord,--

      More sweet to Thee than all acclaim
      Of storm and ocean, stars and flame,
      In favour more before Thy face
      Than pageantry of time and space,

      The worship and the service be
      Of him Thou madest most like Thee,--
      Who in his nostrils hath Thy breath,
      Whose spirit is the lord of death!



    _Set up by J. S. Cushing & Co., and printed by Berwick & Smith, at
    the Norwood Press, for the publishers, Lamson, Wolffe & Co., in the
    year Eighteen Hundred and Ninety-eight._ * * *



Transcriber's Note

  Pg. 17: Added title to poem as indicated in the Table of Contents.

  Obvious typographical errors have been silently corrected.





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