Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Poems by Madison Cawein

Part 3 out of 4

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.3 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

The wild fowl calling as they fly?
Or wild voice of the dying Year?


And still my soul holds phantom tryst,
When chestnuts hiss among the coals,
Upon the Evening of All Souls,
When all the night is moon and mist,
And all the world is mystery;
I kiss dear lips that death hath kissed,
And gaze in eyes no man may see,
Filled with a love long lost to me.

I hear the night-wind's ghostly glove
Flutter the window: then the knob
Of some dark door turn, with a sob
As when love comes to gaze on love
Who lies pale-coffined in a room:
And then the iron gallop of
The storm, who rides outside; his plume
Sweeping the night with dread and gloom.

So fancy takes the mind, and paints
The darkness with eidolon light,
And writes the dead's romance in night
On the dim Evening of All Saints:
Unheard the hissing nuts; the clink
And fall of coals, whose shadow faints
Around the hearts that sit and think,
Borne far beyond the actual's brink.


I heard the wind, before the morn
Stretched gaunt, gray fingers 'thwart my pane,
Drive clouds down, a dark dragon-train;
Its iron visor closed, a horn
Of steel from out the north it wound.--
No morn like yesterday's! whose mouth,
A cool carnation, from the south
Breathed through a golden reed the sound
Of days that drop clear gold upon
Cerulean silver floors of dawn.

And all of yesterday is lost
And swallowed in to-day's wild light--
The birth deformed of day and night,
The illegitimate, who cost
Its mother secret tears and sighs;
Unlovely since unloved; and chilled
With sorrows and the shame that filled
Its parents' love; which was not wise
In passion as the day and night
That married yestermorn with light.


Down through the dark, indignant trees,
On indistinguishable wings
Of storm, the wind of evening swings;
Before its insane anger flees
Distracted leaf and shattered bough:
There is a rushing as when seas
Of thunder beat an iron prow
On reefs of wrath and roaring wreck:
'Mid stormy leaves, a hurrying speck
Of flickering blackness, driven by,
A mad bat whirls along the sky.

Like some sad shadow, in the eve's
Deep melancholy--visible
As by some strange and twilight spell--
A gaunt girl stands among the leaves,
The night-wind in her dolorous dress:
Symbolic of the life that grieves,
Of toil that patience makes not less,
Her load of fagots fallen there.--
A wilder shadow sweeps the air,
And she is gone.... Was it the dumb
Eidolon of the month to come?


The song birds--are they flown away?
The song birds of the summer time,
That sang their souls into the day,
And set the laughing hours to rhyme.
No catbird scatters through the bush
The sparkling crystals of its song;
Within the woods no hermit-thrush
Thridding with vocal gold the hush.

All day the crows fly cawing past:
The acorns drop: the forests scowl:
At night I hear the bitter blast
Hoot with the hooting of the owl.
The wild creeks freeze: the ways are strewn
With leaves that clog: beneath the tree
The bird, that set its toil to tune,
And made a home for melody,
Lies dead beneath the snow-white moon.


Far off a wind blew, and I heard
Wild echoes of the woods reply--
The herald of some royal word,
With bannered trumpet, blown on high,
Meseemed then passed me by:

Who summoned marvels there to meet,
With pomp, upon a cloth of gold;
Where berries of the bittersweet,
That, splitting, showed the coals they hold,
Sowed garnets through the wold:

Where, under tents of maples, seeds
Of smooth carnelian, oval red,
The spice-bush spangled: where, like beads,
The dogwood's rounded rubies--fed
With fire--blazed and bled.

And there I saw amid the rout
Of months, in richness cavalier,
A minnesinger--lips apout;
A gypsy face; straight as a spear;
A rose stuck in his ear:

Eyes, sparkling like old German wine,
All mirth and moonlight; naught to spare
Of slender beard, that lent a line
To his short lip; October there,
With chestnut curling hair.

His brown baretta swept its plume
Red through the leaves; his purple hose,
Puffed at the thighs, made gleam of gloom;
His tawny doublet, slashed with rose,
And laced with crimson bows,

Outshone the wahoo's scarlet pride,
The haw, in rich vermilion dressed:
A dagger dangling at his side,
A slim lute, banded to his breast,
Whereon his hands were pressed.

I saw him come.... And, lo, to hear
The lilt of his approaching lute,
No wonder that the regnant Year
Bent down her beauty, blushing mute,
Her heart beneath his foot.


Down through the woods, along the way
That fords the stream; by rock and tree,
Where in the bramble-bell the bee
Swings; and through twilights green and gray
The redbird flashes suddenly,
My thoughts went wandering to-day.

I found the fields where, row on row,
The blackberries hang dark with fruit;
Where, nesting at the elder's root,
The partridge whistles soft and low;
The fields, that billow to the foot
Of those old hills we used to know.

There lay the pond, all willow-bound,
On whose bright face, when noons were hot,
We marked the bubbles rise; some plot
To lure us in; while all around
Our heads,--like faery fancies,--shot
The dragonflies without a sound.

The pond, above which evening bent
To gaze upon her gypsy face;
Wherein the twinkling night would trace
A vague, inverted firmament;
In which the green frogs tuned their bass,
And firefly sparkles came and went.

The oldtime place we often ranged,
When we were playmates, you and I;
The oldtime fields, with boyhood's sky
Still blue above them!--Naught was changed:
Nothing.--Alas! then, tell me why
Should we be? whom the years estranged.


With eyes hand-arched he looks into
The morning's face; then turns away
With truant feet, all wet with dew,
Out for a holiday.

The hill brook sings; incessant stars,
Foam-fashioned, on its restless breast;
And where he wades its water-bars
Its song is happiest.

A comrade of the chinquapin,
He looks into its knotty eyes
And sees its heart; and, deep within,
Its soul that makes him wise.

The wood-thrush knows and follows him,
Who whistles up the birds and bees;
And round him all the perfumes swim
Of woodland loam and trees.

Where'er he pass the silvery springs'
Foam-people sing the flowers awake;
And sappy lips of bark-clad things
Laugh ripe each berried brake.

His touch is a companionship;
His word an old authority:
He comes, a lyric on his lip,
The woodboy--Poesy.


O heart,--that beat the bird's blithe blood,
The blithe bird's strain, and understood
The song it sang to leaf and bud,--
What dost thou in the wood?

O soul,--that kept the brook's glad flow,
The glad brook's word to sun and moon,--
What dost thou here where song lies low,
And dead the dreams of June?

Where once was heard a voice of song,
The hautboys of the mad winds sing;
Where once a music flowed along,
The rain's wild bugle's ring.

The weedy water frets and ails,
And moans in many a sunless fall;
And, o'er the melancholy, trails
The black crow's eldritch call.

Unhappy brook! O withered wood!
O days, whom Death makes comrades of!
Where are the birds that thrilled the blood
When Life struck hands with Love?

A song, one soared against the blue;
A song, one silvered in the leaves;
A song, one blew where orchards grew
Gold-appled to the eaves.

The birds are flown; the flowers, dead;
And sky and earth are bleak and gray:
Where Joy once went, all light of tread,
Grief haunts the leaf-wild way.


The days that clothed white limbs with heat,
And rocked the red rose on their breast,
Have passed with amber-sandaled feet
Into the ruby-gated west.

These were the days that filled the heart
With overflowing riches of
Life, in whose soul no dream shall start
But hath its origin in love.

Now come the days gray-huddled in
The haze; whose foggy footsteps drip;
Who pin beneath a gypsy chin
The frosty marigold and hip.

The days, whose forms fall shadowy
Athwart the heart: whose misty breath
Shapes saddest sweets of memory
Out of the bitterness of death.


Ah me! too soon the autumn comes
Among these purple-plaintive hills!
Too soon among the forest gums
Premonitory flame she spills,
Bleak, melancholy flame that kills.

Her white fogs veil the morn, that rims
With wet the moonflower's elfin moons;
And, like exhausted starlight, dims
The last slim lily-disk; and swoons
With scents of hazy afternoons.

Her gray mists haunt the sunset skies,
And build the west's cadaverous fires,
Where Sorrow sits with lonely eyes,
And hands that wake an ancient lyre,
Beside the ghost of dead Desire.



Secluded, solitary on some underbough,
Or cradled in a leaf, 'mid glimmering light,
Like Puck thou crouchest: Haply watching how
The slow toadstool comes bulging, moony white,
Through loosening loam; or how, against the night,
The glowworm gathers silver to endow
The darkness with; or how the dew conspires
To hang, at dusk, with lamps of chilly fires
Each blade that shrivels now.


O vague confederate of the whippoorwill,
Of owl and cricket and the katydid!
Thou gatherest up the silence in one shrill
Vibrating note and send'st it where, half hid
In cedars, twilight sleeps--each azure lid
Drooping a line of golden eyeball still.--
Afar, yet near, I hear thy dewy voice
Within the Garden of the Hours apoise
On dusk's deep daffodil.


Minstrel of moisture! silent when high noon
Shows her tanned face among the thirsting clover
And parching meadows, thy tenebrious tune
Wakes with the dew or when the rain is over.
Thou troubadour of wetness and damp lover
Of all cool things! admitted comrade boon
Of twilight's hush, and little intimate
Of eve's first fluttering star and delicate
Round rim of rainy moon!


Art trumpeter of Dwarfland? does thy horn
Inform the gnomes and goblins of the hour
When they may gambol under haw and thorn,
Straddling each winking web and twinkling flower?
Or bell-ringer of Elfland? whose tall tower
The liriodendron is? from whence is borne
The elfin music of thy bell's deep bass,
To summon Faeries to their starlit maze,
To summon them or warn.



He makes a roadway of the crumbling fence,
Or on the fallen tree,--brown as a leaf
Fall stripes with russet,--gambols down the dense
Green twilight of the woods. We see not whence
He comes, nor whither (in a time so brief)
He vanishes--swift carrier of some Fay,
Some pixy steed that haunts our child-belief--
A goblin glimpse upon some wildwood way.


What harlequin mood of nature qualified
Him so with happiness? and limbed him with
Such young activity as winds, that ride
The ripples, have, dancing on every side?
As sunbeams know, that urge the sap and pith
Through hearts of trees? yet made him to delight,
Gnome-like, in darkness,--like a moonlight myth,--
Lairing in labyrinths of the under night.


Here, by a rock, beneath the moss, a hole
Leads to his home, the den wherein he sleeps;
Lulled by near noises of the laboring mole
Tunneling its mine--like some ungainly Troll--
Or by the tireless cricket there that keeps
Picking its rusty and monotonous lute;
Or slower sounds of grass that creeps and creeps,
And trees unrolling mighty root on root.


Such is the music of his sleeping hours.
Day hath another--'tis a melody
He trips to, made by the assembled flowers,
And light and fragrance laughing 'mid the bowers,
And ripeness busy with the acorn-tree.
Such strains, perhaps, as filled with mute amaze
(The silent music of Earth's ecstasy)
The Satyr's soul, the Faun of classic days.


That day we wandered 'mid the hills,--so lone
Clouds are not lonelier, the forest lay
In emerald darkness round us. Many a stone
And gnarly root, gray-mossed, made wild our way:
And many a bird the glimmering light along
Showered the golden bubbles of its song.

Then in the valley, where the brook went by,
Silvering the ledges that it rippled from,--
An isolated slip of fallen sky,
Epitomizing heaven in its sum,--
An iris bloomed--blue, as if, flower-disguised,
The gaze of Spring had there materialized.

I have forgotten many things since then--
Much beauty and much happiness and grief;
And toiled and dreamed among my fellow-men,
Rejoicing in the knowledge life is brief.
"'Tis winter now," so says each barren bough;
And face and hair proclaim 'tis winter now.

I would forget the gladness of that spring!
I would forget that day when she and I,
Between the bird-song and the blossoming,
Went hand in hand beneath the soft May sky!--
Much is forgotten, yea--and yet, and yet,
The things we would we never can forget.

Nor I how May then minted treasuries
Of crowfoot gold; and molded out of light
The sorrel's cups, whose elfin chalices
Of limpid spar were streaked with rosy white:
Nor all the stars of twinkling spiderwort,
And mandrake moons with which her brows were girt.

But most of all, yea, it were well for me,
Me and my heart, that I forget that flower,
The blue wild iris, azure fleur-de-lis,
That she and I together found that hour.
Its recollection can but emphasize
The pain of loss, remindful of her eyes.



The hot sunflowers by the glaring pike
Lift shields of sultry brass; the teasel tops,
Pink-thorned, advance with bristling spike on spike
Against the furious sunlight. Field and copse
Are sick with summer: now, with breathless stops,
The locusts cymbal; now grasshoppers beat
Their castanets: and rolled in dust, a team,--
Like some mean life wrapped in its sorry dream,--
An empty wagon rattles through the heat.


Where now the blue wild iris? flowers whose mouths
Are moist and musky? Where the sweet-breathed mint,
That made the brook-bank herby? Where the South's
Wild morning-glories, rich in hues, that hint
At coming showers that the rainbows tint?
Where all the blossoms that the wildwood knows?
The frail oxalis hidden in its leaves;
The Indian-pipe, pale as a soul that grieves;
The freckled touch-me-not and forest rose.


Dead! dead! all dead beside the drouth-burnt brook,
Shrouded in moss or in the shriveled grass.
Where waved their bells, from which the wild-bee shook
The dewdrop once,--gaunt, in a nightmare mass,
The rank weeds crowd; through which the cattle pass,
Thirsty and lean, seeking some meager spring,
Closed in with thorns, on which stray bits of wool
The panting sheep have left, that sought the cool,
From morn till evening wearily wandering.


No bird is heard; no throat to whistle awake
The sleepy hush; to let its music leak
Fresh, bubble-like, through bloom-roofs of the brake:
Only the green-gray heron, famine-weak,--
Searching the stale pools of the minnowless creek,--
Utters its call; and then the rain-crow, too,
False prophet now, croaks to the stagnant air;
While overhead,--still as if painted there,--
A buzzard hangs, black on the burning blue.


Around, the stillness deepened; then the grain
Went wild with wind; and every briery lane
Was swept with dust; and then, tempestuous black,
Hillward the tempest heaved a monster back,
That on the thunder leaned as on a cane;
And on huge shoulders bore a cloudy pack,
That gullied gold from many a lightning-crack:
One big drop splashed and wrinkled down the pane,
And then field, hill, and wood were lost in rain.

At last, through clouds,--as from a cavern hewn.
Into night's heart,--the sun burst angry roon;
And every cedar, with its weight of wet,
Against the sunset's fiery splendor set,
Frightened to beauty, seemed with rubies strewn:
Then in drenched gardens, like sweet phantoms met,
Dim odors rose of pink and mignonette;
And in the east a confidence, that soon
Grew to the calm assurance of the moon.


Into the sunset's turquoise marge
The moon dips, like a pearly barge
Enchantment sails through magic seas
To faeryland Hesperides,
Over the hills and away.

Into the fields, in ghost-gray gown,
The young-eyed Dusk comes slowly down;
Her apron filled with stars she stands,
And one or two slip from her hands
Over the hills and away.

Above the wood's black caldron bends
The witch-faced Night and, muttering, blends
The dew and heat, whose bubbles make
The mist and musk that haunt the brake
Over the hills and away.

Oh, come with me, and let us go
Beyond the sunset lying low;
Beyond the twilight and the night,
Into Love's kingdom of long light,
Over the hills and away.



Small twilight singer
Of dew and mist: thou ghost-gray, gossamer winger
Of dusk's dim glimmer,
How chill thy note sounds; how thy wings of shimmer
Vibrate, soft-sighing,
Meseems, for Summer that is dead or dying.
I stand and listen,
And at thy song the garden-beds, that glisten
With rose and lily,
Seem touched with sadness; and the tuberose chilly,
Breathing around its cold and colorless breath,
Fills the pale evening with wan hints of death.


I see thee quaintly
Beneath the leaf; thy shell-shaped winglets faintly--
(As thin as spangle
Of cobwebbed rain)--held up at airy angle;
I hear thy tinkle
With faery notes the silvery stillness sprinkle;

Investing wholly
The moonlight with divinest melancholy:
Until, in seeming,
I see the Spirit of Summer sadly dreaming
Amid her ripened orchards, russet-strewn,
Her great, grave eyes fixed on the harvest-moon.


As dewdrops beady;
As mist minute, thy notes ring low and reedy:
The vaguest vapor
Of melody, now near; now, like some taper
Of sound, far-fading--
Thou will-o'-wisp of music aye evading.
Among the bowers,
The fog-washed stalks of Autumn's weeds and flowers,
By hill and hollow,
I hear thy murmur and in vain I follow--
Thou jack-o'-lantern voice, thou pixy cry,
Thou dirge, that tellest Beauty she must die.


And when the frantic
Wild winds of Autumn with the dead leaves antic;
And walnuts scatter
The mire of lanes; and dropping acorns patter
In grove and forest,
Like some frail grief with the rude blast thou warrest,
Sending thy slender
Far cry against the gale, that, rough, untender,
Untouched of sorrow,
Sweeps thee aside, where, haply, I to-morrow
Shall find thee lying--tiny, cold and crushed,
Thy weak wings folded and thy music hushed.


The Winter Wind, the wind of death,
Who knocked upon my door,
Now through the keyhole entereth,
Invisible and hoar:
He breathes around his icy breath
And treads the flickering floor.

I heard him, wandering in the night,
Tap at my windowpane;
With ghostly fingers, snowy white,
I heard him tug in vain,
Until the shuddering candlelight
Did cringe with fear and strain.

The fire, awakened by his voice,
Leapt up with frantic arms,
Like some wild babe that greets with noise
Its father home who storms,
With rosy gestures that rejoice,
And crimson kiss that warms.

Now in the hearth he sits and, drowned
Among the ashes, blows;
Or through the room goes stealing round
On cautious-creeping toes,
Deep-mantled in the drowsy sound
Of night that sleets and snows.

And oft, like some thin faery-thing,
The stormy hush amid,
I hear his captive trebles sing
Beneath the kettle's lid;
Or now a harp of elfland string
In some dark cranny hid.

Again I hear him, implike, whine,
Cramped in the gusty flue;
Or knotted in the resinous pine
Raise goblin cry and hue,
While through the smoke his eyeballs shine,
A sooty red and blue.

At last I hear him, nearing dawn,
Take up his roaring broom,
And sweep wild leaves from wood and lawn,
And from the heavens the gloom,
To show the gaunt world lying wan,
And morn's cold rose a-bloom.



When dusk is drowned in drowsy dreams,
And slow the hues of sunset die;
When firefly and moth go by,
And in still streams the new moon seems
Another moon and sky:
Then from the hills there comes a cry,
The owlet's cry:
A shivering voice that sobs and screams,
With terror screams:--

"Who is it, who is it, who-o-o?
Who rides through the dusk and dew,
With a pair of horns,
As thin as thorns,
And face a bubble-blue?--
Who, who, who!
Who is it, who is it, who-o-o?"


When night has dulled the lily's white,
And opened wide the moonflower's eyes;
When pale mists rise and veil the skies,
And round the height in whispering flight
The night-wind sounds and sighs:
Then in the wood again it cries,
The owlet cries:
A shivering voice that calls in fright,
In maundering fright:--

"Who is it, who is it, who-o-o?
Who walks with a shuffling shoe
'Mid the gusty trees,
With a face none sees,
And a form as ghostly, too?--
Who, who, who!
Who is it, who is it, who-o-o?"


When midnight leans a listening ear
And tinkles on her insect lutes;
When 'mid the roots the cricket flutes,
And marsh and mere, now far, now near,
A jack-o'-lantern foots:
Then o'er the pool again it hoots,
The owlet hoots:
A voice that shivers as with fear,
That cries with fear:--

"Who is it, who is it, who-o-o?
Who creeps with his glowworm crew
Above the mire
With a corpse-light fire,
As only dead men do?--
Who, who, who!
Who is it, who is it, who-o-o?"


From out the hills where twilight stands,
Above the shadowy pasture lands,
With strained and strident cry,
Beneath pale skies that sunset bands,
The bull-bats fly.

A cloud hangs over, strange of shape,
And, colored like the half-ripe grape,
Seems some uneven stain
On heaven's azure; thin as crape,
And blue as rain.

By ways, that sunset's sardonyx
O'erflares, and gates the farm-boy clicks,
Through which the cattle came,
The mullein-stalks seem giant wicks
Of downy flame.

From woods no glimmer enters in,
Above the streams that, wandering, win
To where the wood pool bids,
Those haunters of the dusk begin,--
The katydids.

Adown the dark the firefly marks
Its flight in gold and emerald sparks;
And, loosened from his chain,
The shaggy mastiff bounds and barks,
And barks again.

Each breeze brings scents of hill-heaped hay;
And now an owlet, far away,
Cries twice or thrice, "T-o-o-w-h-o-o";
And cool dim moths of mottled gray
Flit through the dew.

The silence sounds its frog-bassoon,
Where, on the woodland creek's lagoon,--
Pale as a ghostly girl
Lost 'mid the trees,--looks down the moon
With face of pearl.

Within the shed where logs, late hewed,
Smell forest-sweet, and chips of wood
Make blurs of white and brown,
The brood-hen cuddles her warm brood
Of teetering down.

The clattering guineas in the tree
Din for a time; and quietly
The henhouse, near the fence,
Sleeps, save for some brief rivalry
Of cocks and hens.

A cowbell tinkles by the rails,
Where, streaming white in foaming pails,
Milk makes an uddery sound;
While overhead the black bat trails
Around and round.

The night is still. The slow cows chew
A drowsy cud. The bird that flew
And sang is in its nest.
It is the time of falling dew,
Of dreams and rest.

The beehives sleep; and round the walk,
The garden path, from stalk to stalk
The bungling beetle booms,
Where two soft shadows stand and talk
Among the blooms.

The stars are thick: the light is dead
That dyed the west: and Drowsyhead,
Tuning his cricket-pipe,
Nods, and some apple, round and red,
Drops over-ripe.

Now down the road, that shambles by,
A window, shining like an eye
Through climbing rose and gourd,
Shows Age and young Rusticity
Seated at board.


Thou pulse of hotness, who, with reedlike breast,
Makest meridian music, long and loud,
Accentuating summer!--Dost thy best
To make the sunbeams fiercer, and to crowd
With lonesomeness the long, close afternoon--
When Labor leans, swart-faced and beady-browed,
Upon his sultry scythe--thou tangible tune
Of heat, whose waves incessantly arise
Quivering and clear beneath the cloudless skies.

Thou singest, and upon his haggard hills
Drouth yawns and rubs his heavy eyes and wakes;
Brushes the hot hair from his face; and fills
The land with death as sullenly he takes
Downward his dusty way. 'Midst woods and fields
At every pool his burning thirst he slakes:
No grove so deep, no bank so high it shields
A spring from him; no creek evades his eye:
He needs but look and they are withered dry.

Thou singest, and thy song is as a spell
Of somnolence to charm the land with sleep;
A thorn of sound that pierces dale and dell,
Diffusing slumber over vale and steep.
Sleepy the forest, nodding sleepy boughs;
Sleepy the pastures with their sleepy sheep:
Sleepy the creek where sleepily the cows
Stand knee-deep; and the very heaven seems
Sleepy and lost in undetermined dreams.

Art thou a rattle that Monotony,
Summer's dull nurse, old sister of slow Time,
Shakes for Day's peevish pleasure, who in glee
Takes its discordant music for sweet rhyme?
Or oboe that the Summer Noontide plays,
Sitting with Ripeness 'neath the orchard tree,
Trying repeatedly the same shrill phrase,
Until the musky peach with weariness
Drops, and the hum of murmuring bees grows less?


The west builds high a sepulcher
Of cloudy granite and of gold,
Where twilight's priestly hours inter
The Day like some great king of old.

A censer, rimmed with silver fire,
The new moon swings above his tomb;
While, organ-stops of God's own choir,
Star after star throbs in the gloom.

And Night draws near, the sadly sweet--
A nun whose face is calm and fair--
And kneeling at the dead Day's feet
Her soul goes up in mists like prayer.

In prayer, we feel through dewy gleam
And flowery fragrance, and--above
All earth--the ecstasy and dream
That haunt the mystic heart of love.


Wild ridge on ridge the wooded hills arise,
Between whose breezy vistas gulfs of skies
Pilot great clouds like towering argosies,
And hawk and buzzard breast the azure breeze.
With many a foaming fall and glimmering reach
Of placid murmur, under elm and beech,
The creek goes twinkling through long gleams and glooms
Of woodland quiet, summered with perfumes:
The creek, in whose clear shallows minnow-schools
Glitter or dart; and by whose deeper pools
The blue kingfishers and the herons haunt;
That, often startled from the freckled flaunt
Of blackberry-lilies--where they feed or hide--
Trail a lank flight along the forestside
With eery clangor. Here a sycamore
Smooth, wave-uprooted, builds from shore to shore
A headlong bridge; and there, a storm-hurled oak
Lays a long dam, where sand and gravel choke
The water's lazy way. Here mistflower blurs
Its bit of heaven; there the ox-eye stirs
Its gloaming hues of pearl and gold; and here,
A gray, cool stain, like dawn's own atmosphere,
The dim wild carrot lifts its crumpled crest:
And over all, at slender flight or rest,
The dragonflies, like coruscating rays
Of lapis-lazuli and chrysoprase,
Drowsily sparkle through the summer days:
And, dewlap-deep, here from the noontide heat
The bell-hung cattle find a cool retreat;
And through the willows girdling the hill,
Now far, now near, borne as the soft winds will,
Comes the low rushing of the water-mill.

Ah, lovely to me from a little child,
How changed the place! wherein once, undefiled,
The glad communion of the sky and stream
Went with me like a presence and a dream.
Where once the brambled meads and orchardlands,
Poured ripe abundance down with mellow hands
Of summer; and the birds of field and wood
Called to me in a tongue I understood;
And in the tangles of the old rail-fence
Even the insect tumult had some sense,
And every sound a happy eloquence:
And more to me than wisest books can teach
The wind and water said; whose words did reach
My soul, addressing their magnificent speech,--
Raucous and rushing,--from the old mill-wheel,
That made the rolling mill-cogs snore and reel,
Like some old ogre in a faerytale
Nodding above his meat and mug of ale.

How memory takes me back the ways that lead--
As when a boy--through woodland and through mead!
To orchards fruited; or to fields in bloom;
Or briery fallows, like a mighty room,
Through which the winds swing censers of perfume,
And where deep blackberries spread miles of fruit;--
A wildwood feast, that stayed the plowboy's foot
When to the tasseling acres of the corn
He drove his team, fresh in the primrose morn;
And from the liberal banquet, nature lent,
Plucked dewy handfuls as he whistling went.--

A boy once more, I stand with sunburnt feet
And watch the harvester sweep down the wheat;
Or laze with warm limbs in the unstacked straw
Near by the thresher, whose insatiate maw
Devours the sheaves, hot-drawling out its hum--
Like some great sleepy bee, above a bloom,
Made drunk with honey--while, grown big with grain,
The bulging sacks receive the golden rain.
Again I tread the valley, sweet with hay,
And hear the bobwhite calling far away,
Or wood-dove cooing in the elder-brake;
Or see the sassafras bushes madly shake
As swift, a rufous instant, in the glen
The red fox leaps and gallops to his den:
Or, standing in the violet-colored gloam,
Hear roadways sound with holiday riding home
From church or fair, or country barbecue,
Which half the county to some village drew.

How spilled with berries were its summer hills,
And strewn with walnuts all its autumn rills!--
And chestnuts too! burred from the spring's long flowers;
June's, when their tree-tops streamed delirious showers
Of blossoming silver, cool, crepuscular,
And like a nebulous radiance shone afar.--
And maples! how their sappy hearts would pour
Rude troughs of syrup, when the winter hoar
Steamed with the sugar-kettle, day and night,
And, red, the snow was streaked with firelight.
Then it was glorious! the mill-dam's edge
One slope of frosty crystal, laid a ledge
Of pearl across; above which, sleeted trees
Tossed arms of ice, that, clashing in the breeze,
Tinkled the ringing creek with icicles,
Thin as the peal of far-off elfin bells:
A sound that in my city dreams I hear,
That brings before me, under skies that clear,
The old mill in its winter garb of snow,
Its frozen wheel like a hoar beard below,
And its west windows, two deep eyes aglow.

Ah, ancient mill, still do I picture o'er
Thy cobwebbed stairs and loft and grain-strewn floor;
Thy door,--like some brown, honest hand of toil,
And honorable with service of the soil,--
Forever open; to which, on his back
The prosperous farmer bears his bursting sack,
And while the miller measures out his toll,
Again I hear, above the cogs' loud roll,--
That makes stout joist and rafter groan and sway,--
The harmless gossip of the passing day:
Good country talk, that says how so-and-so
Lived, died, or wedded: how curculio
And codling-moth play havoc with the fruit,
Smut ruins the corn and blight the grapes to boot:
Or what is news from town: next county fair:
How well the crops are looking everywhere:--
Now this, now that, on which their interests fix,
Prospects for rain or frost, and politics.
While, all around, the sweet smell of the meal
Filters, warm-pouring from the rolling wheel
Into the bin; beside which, mealy white,
The miller looms, dim in the dusty light.

Again I see the miller's home between
The crinkling creek and hills of beechen green:
Again the miller greets me, gaunt and brown,
Who oft o'erawed my boyhood with his frown
And gray-browed mien: again he tries to reach
My youthful soul with fervid scriptural speech.--
For he, of all the countryside confessed,
The most religious was and goodliest;
A Methodist, who at all meetings led;
Prayed with his family ere they went to bed.
No books except the Bible had he read--
At least so seemed it to my younger head.--
All things of Heaven and Earth he'd prove by this,
Be it a fact or mere hypothesis:
For to his simple wisdom, reverent,
_"The Bible says"_ was all of argument.--
God keep his soul! his bones were long since laid
Among the sunken gravestones in the shade
Of those dark-lichened rocks, that wall around
The family burying-ground with cedars crowned:
Where bristling teasel and the brier combine
With clambering wood-rose and the wildgrape-vine
To hide the stone whereon his name and dates
Neglect, with mossy hand, obliterates.


With argosies of dawn he sails,
And triremes of the dusk,
The Seas of Song, whereon the gales
Are myths that trail wild musk.

He hears the hail of Siren bands
From headlands sunset-kissed;
The Lotus-eaters wave pale hands
Within a land of mist.

For many a league he hears the roar
Of the Symplegades;
And through the far foam of its shore
The Isle of Sappho sees.

All day he looks, with hazy lids,
At gods who cleave the deep;
All night he hears the Nereids
Sing their wild hearts asleep.

When heaven thunders overhead,
And hell upheaves the Vast,
Dim faces of the ocean's dead
Gaze at him from each mast.

He but repeats the oracle
That bade him first set sail;
And cheers his soul with, "All is well!
Go on! I will not fail."

Behold! he sails no earthly bark
And on no earthly sea,
Who down the years into the dark,--
Divine of destiny,--

Holds to his purpose,--ships of Greece,--
Ideal-steered afar,
For whom awaits the Golden Fleece,
The fame that is his star.


From an ode "In Commemoration of the Founding of the
Massachusetts Bay Colony."

The morn that breaks its heart of gold
Above the purple hills;
The eve, that spills
Its nautilus splendor where the sea is rolled;
The night, that leads the vast procession in
Of stars and dreams,--
The beauty that shall never die or pass:--
The winds, that spin
Of rain the misty mantles of the grass,
And thunder raiment of the mountain-streams;
The sunbeams, penciling with gold the dusk
Green cowls of ancient woods;
The shadows, thridding, veiled with musk,
The moon-pathed solitudes,
Call to my Fancy, saying, "Follow! follow!"
Till, following, I see,--
Fair as a cascade in a rainbowed hollow,--
A dream, a shape, take form,
Clad on with every charm,--

The vision of that Ideality,
Which lured the pioneer in wood and hill,
And beckoned him from earth and sky;
The dream that cannot die,
Their children's children did fulfill,
In stone and iron and wood,
Out of the solitude,
And by a stalwart act
Create a mighty fact--
A Nation, now that stands
Clad on with hope and beauty, strength and song,
Eternal, young and strong,
Planting her heel on wrong,
Her starry banner in triumphant hands....

Within her face the rose
Of Alleghany dawns;
Limbed with Alaskan snows,
Floridian starlight in her eyes,--
Eyes stern as steel yet tender as a fawn's,--
And in her hair
The rapture of her rivers; and the dare,
As perishless as truth,
That o'er the crags of her Sierras flies,
Urging the eagle ardor through her veins,
Behold her where,
Around her radiant youth,

The spirits of the cataracts and plains,
The genii of the floods and forests, meet,
In rainbow mists circling her brow and feet:
The forces vast that sit
In session round her; powers paraclete,
That guard her presence; awful forms and fair,
Making secure her place;
Guiding her surely as the worlds through space
Do laws sidereal; edicts, thunder-lit,
Of skyed eternity, in splendor borne
On planetary wings of night and morn.

* * * * *

From her high place she sees
Her long procession of accomplished acts,
Cloud-winged refulgences
Of thoughts in steel and stone, of marble dreams,
Lift up tremendous battlements,
Sun-blinding, built of facts;
While in her soul she seems,
Listening, to hear, as from innumerable tents,
AEonian thunder, wonder, and applause
Of all the heroic ages that are gone;
Feeling secure
That, as her Past, her Future shall endure,
As did her Cause
When redly broke the dawn
Of fierce rebellion, and, beneath its star,
The firmaments of war
Poured down infernal rain,
And North and South lay bleeding mid their slain.
And now, no less, shall her great Cause prevail,
More so in peace than war,
Through the thrilled wire and electric rail,
Carrying her message far:
Shaping her dream
Within the brain of steam,
That, with a myriad hands,
Labors unceasingly, and knits her lands
In firmer union; joining plain and stream
With steel; and binding shore to shore
With bands of iron;--nerves and arteries,
Along whose adamant forever pour
Her concrete thoughts, her tireless energies.



She walks with the wind on the windy height
When the rocks are loud and the waves are white,
And all night long she calls through the night,
"O my children, come home!"
Her bleak gown, torn as a tattered cloud,
Tosses around her like a shroud,
While over the deep her voice rings loud,--
"O my children, come home, come home!
O my children, come home!"


Who is she who wanders alone,
When the wind drives sheer and the rain is blown?
Who walks all night and makes her moan,
"O my children, come home!"
Whose face is raised to the blinding gale;
Whose hair blows black and whose eyes are pale,
While over the world goes by her wail,--
"O my children, come home, come home!
O my children, come home!"


She walks with the wind in the windy wood;
The dark rain drips from her hair and hood,
And her cry sobs by, like a ghost pursued,
"O my children, come home!"
Where the trees loom gaunt and the rocks stretch drear,
The owl and the fox crouch back with fear,
As wild through the wood her voice they hear,--
"O my children, come home, come home!
O my children, come home!"


Who is she who shudders by
When the boughs blow bare and the dead leaves fly?
Who walks all night with her wailing cry,
"O my children, come home!"
Who, strange of look, and wild of tongue,
With wan feet wounded and hands wild-wrung,
Sweeps on and on with her cry, far-flung,--
"O my children, come home, come home!
O my children, come home!"


'Tis the Spirit of Autumn, no man sees,
The mother of Death and of Mysteries,
Who cries on the wind all night to these,
"O my children, come home!"
The Spirit of Autumn, pierced with pain,
Calling her children home again,
Death and Dreams, through ruin and rain,--
"O my children, come home, come home!
O my children, come home!"



No more for him, where hills look down,
Shall Morning crown
Her rainy brow with blossom bands!--
The Morning Hours, whose rosy hands
Drop wildflowers of the breaking skies
Upon the sod 'neath which he lies.--
No more for him! No more! No more!


No more for him, where waters sleep,
Shall Evening heap
The long gold of the perfect days!
The Eventide, whose warm hand lays
Great poppies of the afterglow
Upon the turf he rests below.--
No more for him! No more! no more!


No more for him, where woodlands loom,
Shall Midnight bloom
The star-flowered acres of the blue!
The Midnight Hours, whose dim hands strew
Dead leaves of darkness, hushed and deep,
Upon the grave where he doth sleep.--
No more for him! No more! No more!


The hills, that Morning's footsteps wake:
The waves that take
A brightness from the Eve; the woods
And solitudes, o'er which Night broods,
Their Spirits have, whose parts are one
With him, whose mortal part is done.
Whose part is done.


At the moon's down-going let it be
On the quarry hill with its one gnarled tree.

The red-rock road of the underbrush,
Where the woman came through the summer hush.

The sumac high and the elder thick,
Where we found the stone and the ragged stick.

The trampled road of the thicket, full
Of footprints down to the quarry pool.

The rocks that ooze with the hue of lead,
Where we found her lying stark and dead.

The scraggy wood; the negro hut,
With its doors and windows locked and shut.

A secret signal; a foot's rough tramp;
A knock at the door; a lifted lamp.

An oath; a scuffle; a ring of masks;
A voice that answers a voice that asks.

A group of shadows; the moon's red fleck;
A running noose and a man's bared neck.

A word, a curse, and a shape that swings;
The lonely night and a bat's black wings.

At the moon's down-going let it be
On the quarry hill with its one gnarled tree.


She passed the thorn-trees, whose gaunt branches tossed
Their spider-shadows round her; and the breeze,
Beneath the ashen moon, was full of frost,
And mouthed and mumbled to the sickly trees,
Like some starved hag who sees her children freeze.

Dry-eyed she waited by the sycamore.
Some stars made misty blotches in the sky.
And all the wretched willows on the shore
Looked faded as a jaundiced cheek or eye.
She felt their pity and could only sigh.

And then his skiff ground on the river rocks.
Whistling he came into the shadow made
By that dead tree. He kissed her dark brown locks;
And round her form his eager arms were laid.
Passive she stood, her secret unbetrayed.

And then she spoke, while still his greeting kiss
Ached in her hair. She did not dare to lift
Her eyes to his--her anguished eyes to his,
While tears smote crystal in her throat. One rift
Of weakness humored might set all adrift.

Fields over which a path, overwhelmed with burrs
And ragweeds, noisy with the grasshoppers,
Leads,--lost, irresolute as paths the cows
Wear through the woods,--unto a woodshed; then,
With wrecks of windows, to a huddled house,
Where men have murdered men.

A house, whose tottering chimney, clay and rock,
Is seamed and crannied; whose lame door and lock
Are bullet-bored; around which, there and here,
Are sinister stains.--One dreads to look around.--
The place seems thinking of that time of fear
And dares not breathe a sound.

Within is emptiness: The sunlight falls
On faded journals papering the walls;
On advertisement chromos, torn with time,
Around a hearth where wasps and spiders build.--
The house is dead: meseems that night of crime
It, too, was shot and killed.


We have sent him seeds of the melon's core,
And nailed a warning upon his door:
By the Ku Klux laws we can do no more.

Down in the hollow, 'mid crib and stack,
The roof of his low-porched house looms black;
Not a line of light at the door-sill's crack.

Yet arm and mount! and mask and ride!
The hounds can sense though the fox may hide!
And for a word too much men oft have died.

The clouds blow heavy toward the moon.
The edge of the storm will reach it soon.
The kildee cries and the lonesome loon.

The clouds shall flush with a wilder glare
Than the lightning makes with its angled flare,
When the Ku Klux verdict is given there.

In the pause of the thunder rolling low,
A rifle's answer--who shall know
From the wind's fierce hurl and the rain's black blow?

Only the signature, written grim
At the end of the message brought to him--
A hempen rope and a twisted limb.

So arm and mount! and mask and ride!
The hounds can sense though the fox may hide!--
For a word too much men oft have died.


The white moth-mullein brushed its slim
Cool, faery flowers against his knee;
In places where the way lay dim
The branches, arching suddenly,
Made tomblike mystery for him.

The wild-rose and the elder, drenched
With rain, made pale a misty place,--
From which, as from a ghost, he blenched;
He walking with averted face,
And lips in desolation clenched.

For far within the forest,--where
Weird shadows stood like phantom men,
And where the ground-hog dug its lair,
The she-fox whelped and had her den,--
The thing kept calling, buried there.

One dead trunk, like a ruined tower,
Dark-green with toppling trailers, shoved
Its wild wreck o'er the bush; one bower
Looked like a dead man, capped and gloved,
The one who haunted him each hour.

Now at his side he heard it: thin
As echoes of a thought that speaks
To conscience. Listening with his chin
Upon his palm, against his cheeks
He felt the moon's white finger win.

And now the voice was still: and lo,
With eyes that stared on naught but night,
He saw?--what none on earth shall know!--
Was it the face that far from sight
Had lain here, buried long ago?

But men who found him,--thither led
By the wild fox,--within that place
Read in his stony eyes, 'tis said,
The thing he saw there, face to face,
The thing that left him staring dead.


The woods stretch deep to the mountain side,
And the brush is wild where a man may hide.

They have brought the bloodhounds up again
To the roadside rock where they found the slain.

They have brought the bloodhounds up, and they
Have taken the trail to the mountain way.

Three times they circled the trail and crossed;
And thrice they found it and thrice they lost.

Now straight through the trees and the underbrush
They follow the scent through the forest's hush.

And their deep-mouthed bay is a pulse of fear
In the heart of the wood that the man must hear.

The man who crouches among the trees
From the stern-faced men who follow these.

A huddle of rocks that the ooze has mossed,
And the trail of the hunted again is lost.

An upturned pebble; a bit of ground
A heel has trampled--the trail is found.

And the woods re-echo the bloodhounds' bay
As again they take to the mountain way.

A rock; a ribbon of road; a ledge,
With a pine tree clutching its crumbling edge.

A pine, that the lightning long since clave,
Whose huge roots hollow a ragged cave.

A shout; a curse; and a face aghast;
The human quarry is laired at last.

The human quarry with clay-clogged hair
And eyes of terror who waits them there.

That glares and crouches and rising then
Hurls clods and curses at dogs and men.

Until the blow of a gun-butt lays
Him stunned and bleeding upon his face.

A rope; a prayer; and an oak-tree near,
And a score of hands to swing him clear.

A grim, black thing for the setting sun
And the moon and the stars to gaze upon.


If it so befalls that the midnight hovers
In mist no moonlight breaks,
The leagues of the years my spirit covers,
And my self myself forsakes.

And I live in a land of stars and flowers,
White cliffs by a silvery sea;
And the pearly points of her opal towers
From the mountains beckon me.

And I think that I know that I hear her calling
From a casement bathed with light--
Through music of waters in waters falling
Mid palms from a mountain height.

And I feel that I think my love's awaited
By the romance of her charms;
That her feet are early and mine belated
In a world that chains my arms.

But I break my chains and the rest is easy--
In the shadow of the rose,
Snow-white, that blooms in her garden breezy,
We meet and no one knows.

And we dream sweet dreams and kiss sweet kisses;
The world--it may live or die!
The world that forgets; that never misses
The life that has long gone by.

We speak old vows that have long been spoken;
And weep a long-gone woe:
For you must know our hearts were broken
Hundreds of years ago.


Frail, shrunken face, so pinched and worn,
That life has carved with care and doubt!
So weary waiting, night and morn,
For that which never came about!
Pale lamp, so utterly forlorn,
In which God's light at last is out.

Gray hair, that lies so thin and prim
On either side the sunken brows!
And soldered eyes, so deep and dim,
No word of man could now arouse!
And hollow hands, so virgin slim,
Forever clasped in silent vows!

Poor breasts! that God designed for love,
For baby lips to kiss and press;
That never felt, yet dreamed thereof,
The human touch, the child caress--
That lie like shriveled blooms above
The heart's long-perished happiness.

O withered body, Nature gave
For purposes of death and birth,
That never knew, and could but crave
Those things perhaps that make life worth,--
Rest now, alas! within the grave,
Sad shell that served no end of Earth.


John-A-Dreams and Harum-Scarum
Came a-riding into town:
At the Sign o' the Jug-and-Jorum
There they met with Low-lie-down.

Brave in shoes of Romany leather,
Bodice blue and gypsy gown,
And a cap of fur and feather,
In the inn sat Low-lie-down.

Harum-Scarum kissed her lightly;
Smiled into her eyes of brown:
Clasped her waist and held her tightly,
Laughing, "Love me, Low-lie-down!"

Then with many an oath and swagger,
As a man of great renown,
On the board he clapped his dagger,
Called for sack and sat him down.

So a while they laughed together;
Then he rose and with a frown
Sighed, "While still 'tis pleasant weather,
I must leave thee, Low-lie-down."

So away rode Harum-Scarum;
With a song rode out of town;
At the Sign o' the Jug-and-Jorum
Weeping tarried Low-lie-down.

Then this John-a-dreams, in tatters,
In his pocket ne'er a crown,
Touched her, saying, "Wench, what matters!
Dry your eyes and, come, sit down.

"Here's my hand: we'll roam together,
Far away from thorp and town.
Here's my heart,--for any weather,--
And my dreams, too, Low-lie-down.

"Some men call me dreamer, poet:
Some men call me fool and clown--
What I am but you shall know it,
Only you, sweet Low-lie-down."

For a little while she pondered:
Smiled: then said, "Let care go drown!"
Up and kissed him.... Forth they wandered,
John-a-dreams and Low-lie-down.


Thus have I pictured her:--In Arden old
A white-browed maiden with a falcon eye,
Rose-flushed of face, with locks of wind-blown gold,
Teaching her hawks to fly.

Or, 'mid her boar-hounds, panting with the heat,
In huntsman green, sounding the hunt's wild prize,
Plumed, dagger-belted, while beneath her feet
The spear-pierced monster dies.

Or in Breceliand, on some high tower,
Clad white in samite, last of her lost race,
My soul beholds her, lovelier than a flower,
Gazing with pensive face.

Or, robed in raiment of romantic lore,
Like Oriana, dark of eye and hair,
Riding through realms of legend evermore,
And ever young and fair.

Or now like Bradamant, as brave as just,
In complete steel, her pure face lit with scorn,
At giant castles, dens of demon lust,
Winding her bugle-horn.

Another Una; and in chastity
A second Britomart; in beauty far
O'er her who led King Charles's chivalry
And Paynim lands to war....

Now she, from Avalon's deep-dingled bowers,--
'Mid which white stars and never-waning moons
Make marriage; and dim lips of musk-mouthed flowers
Sigh faint and fragrant tunes,--

Implores me follow; and, in shadowy shapes
Of sunset, shows me,--mile on misty mile
Of purple precipice,--all the haunted capes
Of her enchanted isle.

Where, bowered in bosks and overgrown with vine,
Upon a headland breasting violet seas,
Her castle towers, like a dream divine,
With stairs and galleries.

And at her casement, Circe-beautiful,
Above the surgeless reaches of the deep,
She sits, while, in her gardens, fountains lull
The perfumed wind asleep.

Or, round her brow a diadem of spars,
She leans and hearkens, from her raven height,
The nightingales that, choiring to the stars,
Take with wild song the night.

Or, where the moon is mirrored in the waves,
To mark, deep down, the Sea King's city rolled,
Wrought of huge shells and labyrinthine caves,
Ribbed pale with pearl and gold.

There doth she wait forever; and the kings
Of all the world have wooed her: but she cares
For none but him, the Love, that dreams and sings,
That sings and dreams and dares.


From "Beltenebros at Miraflores"

O sunset, from the springs of stars
Draw down thy cataracts of gold;
And belt their streams with burning bars
Of ruby on which flame is rolled:
Drench dingles with laburnum light;
Drown every vale in violet blaze:
Rain rose-light down; and, poppy-bright,
Die downward o'er the hills of haze,
And bring at last the stars of night!

The stars and moon! that silver world,
Which, like a spirit, faces west,
Her foam-white feet with light empearled,
Bearing white flame within her breast:
Earth's sister sphere of fire and snow,
Who shows to Earth her heart's pale heat,
And bids her mark its pulses glow,
And hear their crystal currents beat
With beauty, lighting all below.

O cricket, with thy elfin pipe,
That tinkles in the grass and grain;
And dove-pale buds, that, dropping, stripe
The glen's blue night, and smell of rain;
O nightingale, that so dost wail
On yonder blossoming branch of snow,
Thrill, fill the wild deer-haunted dale,
Where Oriana, walking slow,
Comes, thro' the moonlight, dreamy pale.

She comes to meet me!--Earth and air
Grow radiant with another light.
In her dark eyes and her dark hair
Are all the stars and all the night:
She comes! I clasp her!--and it is
As if no grief had ever been.--
In all the world for us who kiss
There are no other women or men
But Oriana and Amadis.



The tripod flared with a purple spark,
And the mist hung emerald in the dark:
Now he stooped to the lilac flame
Over the glare of the amber embers,
Thrice to utter no earthly name;
Thrice, like a mind that half remembers;
Bathing his face in the magic mist
Where the brilliance burned like an amethyst.


"Sylph, whose soul was born of mine,
Born of the love that made me thine,
Once more flash on my eyes! Again
Be the loved caresses taken!
Lip to lip let our forms remain!--
Here in the circle sense, awaken!
Ere spirit meet spirit, the flesh laid by,
Let me touch thee, and let me die."


Sunset heavens may burn, but never
Know such splendor! There bloomed an ever
Opaline orb, where the sylphid rose
A shape of luminous white; diviner
White than the essence of light that sows
The moons and suns through space; and finer
Than radiance born of a shooting-star,
Or the wild Aurora that streams afar.


"Look on the face of the soul to whom
Thou givest thy soul like added perfume!
Thou, who heard'st me, who long had prayed,
Waiting alone at morning's portal!--
Thus on thy lips let my lips be laid,
Love, who hast made me all immortal!
Give me thine arms now! Come and rest
Weariness out on my beaming breast!"


Was it her soul? or the sapphire fire
That sang like the note of a seraph's lyre?
Out of her mouth there fell no word--
She spake with her soul, as a flower speaketh.

Fragrant messages none hath heard,
Which the sense divines when the spirit seeketh....
And he seemed alone in a place so dim
That the spirit's face, who was gazing at him,
For its burning eyes he could not see:
Then he knew he had died; that she and he
Were one; and he saw that this was she.


The clouds that tower in storm, that beat
Arterial thunder in their veins;
The wildflowers lifting, shyly sweet,
Their perfect faces from the plains,--
All high, all lowly things of Earth
For no vague end have had their birth.

Low strips of mist that mesh the moon
Above the foaming waterfall;
And mountains, that God's hand hath hewn,
And forests, where the great winds call,--
Within the grasp of such as see
Are parts of a conspiracy;

To seize the soul with beauty; hold
The heart with love: and thus fulfill
Within ourselves the Age of Gold,
That never died, and never will,--
As long as one true nature feels
The wonders that the world reveals.


The gods are dead; but still for me
Lives on in wildwood brook and tree
Each myth, each old divinity.

For me still laughs among the rocks
The Naiad; and the Dryad's locks
Drop perfume on the wildflower flocks.

The Satyr's hoof still prints the loam;
And, whiter than the wind-blown foam,
The Oread haunts her mountain home.

To him, whose mind is fain to dwell
With loveliness no time can quell,
All things are real, imperishable.

To him--whatever facts may say--
Who sees the soul beneath the clay,
Is proof of a diviner day.

The very stars and flowers preach
A gospel old as God, and teach
Philosophy a child may reach;

That cannot die; that shall not cease;
That lives through idealities
Of Beauty, ev'n as Rome and Greece.

That lifts the soul above the clod,
And, working out some period
Of art, is part and proof of God.


Ah me! I shall not waken soon
From dreams of such divinity!
A spirit singing 'neath the moon
To me.

Wild sea-spray driven of the storm
Is not so wildly white as she,
Who beckoned with a foam-white arm
To me.

With eyes dark green, and golden-green
Long locks that rippled drippingly,
Out of the green wave she did lean
To me.

And sang; till Earth and Heaven seemed
A far, forgotten memory,
And more than Heaven in her who gleamed
On me.

Sleep, sweeter than love's face or home;
And death's immutability;
And music of the plangent foam,
For me!

Sweep over her! with all thy ships,
With all thy stormy tides, O sea!--
The memory of immortal lips
For me!


"_Succinctae sacra Dianae_".--OVID

There the ragged sunlight lay
Tawny on thick ferns and gray
On dark waters: dimmer,
Lone and deep, the cypress grove
Bowered mystery and wove
Braided lights, like those that love
On the pearl plumes of a dove
Faint to gleam and glimmer.


There centennial pine and oak
Into stormy cadence broke:
Hollow rocks gloomed, slanting,
Echoing in dim arcade,
Looming with long moss, that made
Twilight streaks in tatters laid:
Where the wild hart, hunt-affrayed,
Plunged the water, panting.


Poppies of a sleepy gold
Mooned the gray-green darkness rolled
Down its vistas, making
Wisp-like blurs of flame. And pale
Stole the dim deer down the vale:
And the haunting nightingale
Throbbed unseen--the olden tale
All its wild heart breaking.


There the hazy serpolet,
Dewy cistus, blooming wet,
Blushed on bank and bowlder;
There the cyclamen, as wan
As first footsteps of the dawn,
Carpeted the spotted lawn:
Where the nude nymph, dripping drawn,
Basked a wildflower shoulder.


In the citrine shadows there
What tall presences and fair,
Godlike, stood!--or, gracious
As the rock-rose there that grew,
Delicate and dim as dew,
Stepped from boles of oaks, and drew
Faunlike forms to follow, who
Filled the forest spacious!--


Guarding that Boeotian
Valley so no foot of man
Soiled its silence holy
With profaning tread--save one,

Book of the day: