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The Complete Poetical Works of James Russell Lowell by James Lowell

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THE COMPLETE POETICAL
WORKS OF
JAMES RUSSELL
LOWELL

Cabinet Edition

BOSTON AND NEW YORK
HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY
THE RIVERSIDE PRESS, CAMBRIDGE

M DCCCC II

PUBLISHERS' NOTE

Mr. Lowell, the year before he died, edited a definitive edition of his
works, known as the Riverside edition. Subsequently, his literary
executor, Mr. C.B. Norton, issued a final posthumous collection, and the
Cambridge edition followed, including all the poems in the Riverside
edition, and the poems edited by Mr. Norton. The present Cabinet edition
contains all the poems in the Cambridge edition. It is made from new
plates, and for the convenience of the student the longer poems have
their lines numbered, and indexes of titles and first lines are added.

_Autumn, 1899_.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

EARLIER POEMS.

THRENODIA
THE SIRENS
IRENE
SERENADE
WITH A PRESSED FLOWER
THE BEGGAR
MY LOVE
SUMMER STORM
LOVE
TO PERDITA, SINGING
THE MOON
REMEMBERED MUSIC
SONG. TO M.L.
ALLEGRA
THE FOUNTAIN
ODE
THE FATHERLAND
THE FORLORN
MIDNIGHT
A PRAYER
THE HERITAGE
THE ROSE: A BALLAD
SONG, 'VIOLET! SWEET VIOLET!'
ROSALINE
A REQUIEM
A PARABLE
SONG, 'O MOONLIGHT DEEP AND TENDER'

SONNETS.
I. TO A.C.L.
II. 'WHAT WERE I, LOVE, IF I WERE STRIPPED OF THEE?'
III. 'I WOULD NOT HAVE THIS PERFECT LOVE OF OURS'
IV. 'FOR THIS TRUE NOBLENESS I SEEK IN VAIN'
V. TO THE SPIRIT OF KEATS
VI. 'GREAT TRUTHS ARE PORTIONS OF THE SOUL OF MAN'
VII. 'I ASK NOT FOR THOSE THOUGHTS, THAT SUDDEN LEAP'
VIII. TO M.W., ON HER BIRTHDAY
IX. 'MY LOVE, I HAVE NO FEAR THAT THOU SHOULDST DIE'
X. 'I CANNOT THINK THAT THOU SHOULDST PASS AWAY'
XI. 'THERE NEVER YET WAS FLOWER FAIR IN VAIN'
XII. SUB PONDERE CRESCIT
XIII. 'BELOVED, IN THE NOISY CITY HERE'
XIV. ON READING WORDSWORTH'S SONNETS IN DEFENCE OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
XV. THE SAME CONTINUED.
XVI. THE SAME CONTINUED.
XVII. THE SAME CONTINUED.
XVIII. THE SAME CONTINUED.
XIX. THE SAME CONCLUDED.
XX. TO M.O.S.
XXI. 'OUR LOVE IS NOT A FADING, EARTHLY FLOWER'
XXII. IN ABSENCE
XXIII. WENDELL PHILLIPS
XXIV. THE STREET
XXV. 'I GRIEVE NOT THAT RIPE KNOWLEDGE TAKES AWAY'
XXVI. TO J.R. GIDDINGS
XXVII. 'I THOUGHT OUR LOVE AT FULL, BUT I DID ERR'
L'ENVOI

MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.

A LEGEND OF BRITTANY
PROMETHEUS
THE SHEPHERD OF KING ADMETUS
THE TOKEN
AN INCIDENT IN A RAILROAD CAR
RHOECUS
THE FALCON
TRIAL
A GLANCE BEHIMD THE CURTAIN
A CHIPPEWA LEGEND
STANZAS ON FREEDOM
COLUMBUS
AN INCIDENT OF THE FIRE AT HAMBURG
THE SOWER
HUNGER AND COLD
THE LANDLORD
TO A PINE-TREE
SI DESCENDERO IN INFERNUM, ADES
TO THE PAST
TO THE FUTURE
HEBE
THE SEARCH
THE PRESENT CRISIS
AN INDIAN-SUMMER REVERIE
THE GROWTH OF THE LEGEND
A CONTRAST
EXTREME UNCTION
THE OAK
AMBROSE
ABOVE AND BELOW
THE CAPTIVE
THE BIRCH-TREE
AN INTERVIEW WITH MILES STANDISH
ON THE CAPTURE OF FUGITIVE SLAVES NEAR WASHINGTON
TO THE DANDELION
THE GHOST-SEER
STUDIES FOR TWO HEADS
ON A PORTRAIT OF DANTE BY GIOTTO
ON THE DEATH OF A FRIEND'S CHILD
EURYDICE
SHE CAME AND WENT
THE CHANGELING
THE PIONEER
LONGING
ODE TO FRANCE. February, 1848
ANTI-APIS
A PARABLE
ODE WRITTEN FOR THE CELEBRATION OF THE INTRODUCTION OF THE COCHITUATE
WATER INTO THE CITY OF BOSTON
LINES SUGGESTED BY THE GRAVES OF TWO ENGLISH SOLDIERS ON CONCORD
BATTLE-GROUND
TO----
FREEDOM
BIBLIOLATRES
BEAVER BROOK

MEMORIAL VERSES.

KOSSUTH
TO LAMARTINE. 1848
TO JOHN GORHAM PALFREY
TO W.L. GARRISON
ON THE DEATH OF CHARLES TURNER TORREY
ELEGY ON THE DEATH OF DR. CHANNING
TO THE MEMORY OF HOOD

THE VISION OF SIR LAUNFAL
LETTER FROM BOSTON. December, 1846
A FABLE FOR CRITICS
THE UNHAPPY LOT OF MR. KNOTT
FRAGMENTS OF AN UNFINISHED POEM
AN ORIENTAL APOLOGUE
THE BIGLOW PAPERS.

FIRST SERIES.

NOTICES OF AN INDEPENDENT PRESS
NOTE TO TITLE-PAGE
INTRODUCTION
NO. I. A LETTER FROM MR. EZEKIEL BIGLOW OF JAALAM TO THE HON.
JOSEPH T. BUCKINGHAM
NO. II. A LETTER FROM MR. HOSEA BIGLOW TO THE HON. J.T.
BUCKINGHAM
NO. III. WHAT MR. ROBINSON THINKS
NO. IV. REMARKS OF INCREASE D. O'PHACE, ESQ.
NO. V. THE DEBATE IN THE SENNIT
NO. VI. THE PIOUS EDITOR'S CREED
NO. VII. A LETTER FROM A CANDIDATE IN THE PRESIDENCY IN ANSWER
TO SUTTIN QUESTIONS PROPOSED BY Mr. HOSEA BIGLOW
NO. VIII. A SECOND LETTER FROM B. SAWIN, ESQ.
NO. IX. A THIRD LETTER FROM B. SAWIN, ESQ.

SECOND SERIES.

THE COURTIN'
NO. I. BIRDOFREDUM SAWIN ESQ., TO MR. HOSEA BIGLOW
NO. II. MASON AND SLIDELL: A YANKEE IDYLL
JONATHAN TO JOHN
NO. III. BIRDOFREDUM SAWIN, ESQ., TO MR. HOSEA BIGLOW
NO. IV. A MESSAGE OF JEFF DAVIS IN SECRET SESSION
NO. V. SPEECH OF HONOURABLE PRESERVED DOE IN SECRET CAUCUS
NO. VI. SUNTHIN' IN THE PASTORAL LINE
NO. VII. LATEST VIEWS OF MR. BIGLOW
NO. VIII. KETTELOPOTOMACHIA
NO. IX. SOME MEMORIALS OF THE LATE REVEREND H. WILBUR
NO. X. MR. HOSEA BIGLOW TO THE EDITOR OF THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY
NO. XI. MR. HOSEA BIGLOW'S SPEECH IN MARCH MEETING

UNDER THE WILLOWS AND OTHER POEMS.

TO CHARLES ELIOT NORTON
UNDER THE WILLOWS
DARA
THE FIRST SNOW-FALL
THE SINGING LEAVES
SEAWEED
THE FINDING OF THE LYRE
NEW-YEAR'S EVE, 1850
FOR AN AUTOGRAPH
AL FRESCO
MASACCIO
WITHOUT AND WITHIN
GODMINSTER CHIMES
THE PARTING OF THE WAYS
ALADDIN
AN INVITATION. TO JOHN FRANCIS HEATH
THE NOMADES
SELF-STUDY
PICTURES FROM APPLEDORE
THE WIND-HARP
AUF WIEDERSEHEN
PALINODE
AFTER THE BURIAL
THE DEAD HOUSE
A MOOD
THE VOYAGE TO VINLAND
MAHMOOD THE IMAGE-BREAKER
INVITA MINERVA
THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH
YUSSOUF
THE DARKENED MIND
WHAT RABBI JEHOSHA SAID
ALL-SAINTS
A WINTER-EVENING HYMN TO MY FIRE
FANCY'S CASUISTRY
TO MR. JOHN BARTLETT
ODE TO HAPPINESS
VILLA FRANCA. 1859
THE MINER
GOLD EGG: A DREAM-FANTASY
A FAMILIAR EPISTLE TO A FRIEND
AN EMBER PICTURE
TO H.W.L.
THE NIGHTINGALE IN THE STUDY
IN THE TWILIGHT
THE FOOT-PATH

POEMS OF THE WAR.

THE WASHERS OF THE SHROUD
TWO SCENES FROM THE LIFE OF BLONDEL
MEMORIAE POSITUM
ON BOARD THE '76
ODE RECITED AT THE HARVARD COMMEMORATION
L'ENVOI: TO THE MUSE
THE CATHEDRAL
THREE MEMORIAL POEMS.
ONE READ AT THE ONE HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE FIGHT AT
CONCORD BRIDGE
UNDER THE OLD ELM
AN ODE FOR THE FOURTH OF JULY, 1876

HEARTSEASE AND RUE.

I. FRIENDSHIP.

AGASSIZ
TO HOLMES, ON HIS SEVENTY-FIFTH BIRTHDAY
IN A COPY OF OMAR KHAYYAM
ON RECEIVING A COPY OF MR. AUSTIN DOBSON'S 'OLD WORLD IDYLLS'
TO C.F. BRADFORD
BANKSIDE
JOSEPH WINLOCK
SONNET, TO FANNY ALEXANDER
JEFFRIES WYMAN
TO A FRIEND
WITH AN ARMCHAIR
E.G. DE R.
BON VOYAGE
TO WHITTIER, ON HIS SEVENTY-FIFTH BIRTHDAY
ON AN AUTUMN SKETCH OF H.G. WILD
TO MISS D.T.
WITH A COPY OF AUCASSIN AND NICOLETTE
ON PLANTING A TREE AT INVERARAY
AN EPISTLE TO GEORGE WILLIAM CURTIS

II. SENTIMENT.

ENDYMION
THE BLACK PREACHER
ARCADIA REDIVIVA
THE NEST
A YOUTHFUL EXPERIMENT IN ENGLISH HEXAMETERS
BIRTHDAY VERSES
ESTRANGEMENT
PHOEBE
DAS EWIG-WEIBLICHE
THE RECALL
ABSENCE
MONNA LISA
THE OPTIMIST
ON BURNING SOME OLD LETTERS
THE PROTEST
THE PETITION
FACT OR FANCY?
AGRO-DOLCE
THE BROKEN TRYST
CASA SIN ALMA
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
MY PORTRAIT GALLERY
PAOLO TO FRANCESCA
SONNET, SCOTTISH BORDER
SONNET, ON BEING ASKED FOR AN AUTOGRAPH IN VENICE
THE DANCING BEAR
THE MAPLE
NIGHTWATCHES
DEATH OF QUEEN MERCEDES
PRISON OF CERVANTES
TO A LADY PLAYING ON THE CITHERN
THE EYE'S TREASURY
PESSIMOPTIMISM
THE BRAKES
A FOREBODING

III. FANCY

UNDER THE OCTOBER MAPLES
LOVE'S CLOCK
ELEANOR MAKES MACAROONS
TELEPATHY
SCHERZO
'FRANCISCUS DE VERULAMIO SIC COGITAVIT'
AUSPEX
THE PREGNANT COMMENT
THE LESSON
SCIENCE AND POETRY
A NEW YEAR'S GREETING
THE DISCOVERY
WITH A SEASHELL
THE SECRET

IV. HUMOR AND SATIRE.

FITZ ADAM'S STORY
THE ORIGIN OF DIDACTIC POETRY
THE FLYING DUTCHMAN
CREDIDIMUS JOVEM REGNARE
TEMPORA MUTANTUR
IN THE HALF-WAY HOUSE
AT THE BURNS CENTENNIAL
IN AN ALBUM
AT THE COMMENCEMENT DINNER, 1866
A PARABLE

V. EPIGRAMS.

SAYINGS
INSCRIPTIONS
A MISCONCEPTION
THE BOSS
SUN-WORSHIP
CHANGED PERSPECTIVE
WITH A PAIR OF GLOVES LOST IN A WAGER
SIXTY-EIGHTH BIRTHDAY
INTERNATIONAL COPYRIGHT

LAST POEMS.

HOW I CONSULTED THE ORACLE OF THE GOLDFISHES
TURNER'S OLD TEMERAIRE
ST. MICHAEL THE WEIGHER
A VALENTINE
AN APRIL BIRTHDAY--AT SEA
LOVE AND THOUGHT
THE NOBLER LOVER
ON HEARING A SONATA OF BEETHOVEN'S PLAYED IN THE NEXT ROOM
VERSES, INTENDED TO GO WITH A POSSET DISH
ON A BUST OF GENERAL GRANT

APPENDIX.

I. INTRODUCTION TO THE SECOND SERIES OF BIGLOW PAPERS
II. GLOSSARY TO THE BIGLOW PAPERS
III. INDEX TO BIGLOW PAPERS

INDEX OF FIRST LINES

INDEX OF TITLES

EARLIER POEMS

THRENODIA

Gone, gone from us! and shall we see
Those sibyl-leaves of destiny,
Those calm eyes, nevermore?
Those deep, dark eyes so warm and bright,
Wherein the fortunes of the man
Lay slumbering in prophetic light,
In characters a child might scan?
So bright, and gone forth utterly!
Oh stern word--Nevermore!

The stars of those two gentle eyes 10
Will shine no more on earth;
Quenched are the hopes that had their birth,
As we watched them slowly rise,
Stars of a mother's fate;
And she would read them o'er and o'er,
Pondering, as she sate,
Over their dear astrology,
Which she had conned and conned before,
Deeming she needs must read aright 19
What was writ so passing bright.
And yet, alas! she knew not why.
Her voice would falter in its song,
And tears would slide from out her eye,
Silent, as they were doing wrong.
Oh stern word--Nevermore!

The tongue that scarce had learned to claim
An entrance to a mother's heart
By that dear talisman, a mother's name,
Sleeps all forgetful of its art!
I loved to see the infant soul 30
(How mighty in the weakness
Of its untutored meekness!)
Peep timidly from out its nest,
His lips, the while,
Fluttering with half-fledged words,
Or hushing to a smile
That more than words expressed,
When his glad mother on him stole
And snatched him to her breast!
Oh, thoughts were brooding in those eyes, 40
That would have soared like strong-winged birds
Far, far into the skies,
Gladding the earth with song,
And gushing harmonies,
Had he but tarried with us long!
Oh stern word--Nevermore!

How peacefully they rest,
Crossfolded there
Upon his little breast,
Those small, white hands that ne'er were still before, 50
But ever sported with his mother's hair,
Or the plain cross that on her breast she wore!
Her heart no more will beat
To feel the touch of that soft palm,
That ever seemed a new surprise
Sending glad thoughts up to her eyes
To bless him with their holy calm,--
Sweet thoughts! they made her eyes as sweet.
How quiet are the hands
That wove those pleasant bands!
But that they do not rise and sink 61
With his calm breathing, I should think
That he were dropped asleep.
Alas! too deep, too deep
Is this his slumber!
Time scarce can number
The years ere he shall wake again.
Oh, may we see his eyelids open then!
Oh stern word--Nevermore!

As the airy gossamere, 70
Floating in the sunlight clear,
Where'er it toucheth clingeth tightly,
Bound glossy leal or stump unsightly,
So from his spirit wandered out
Tendrils spreading all about,
Knitting all things to its thrall
With a perfect love of all:
Oh stern word--Nevermore!

He did but float a little way
Adown the stream of time, 80
With dreamy eyes watching the ripples play,
Or hearkening their fairy chime;
His slender sail
Ne'er felt the gale;
He did but float a little way,
And, putting to the shore
While yet 't was early day,
Went calmly on his way,
To dwell with us no more!
No jarring did he feel, 90
No grating on his shallop's keel;
A strip of silver sand
Mingled the waters with the land
Where he was seen no more:
Oh stern word--Nevermore!

Full short his journey was; no dust
Of earth unto his sandals clave;
The weary weight that old men must,
He bore not to the grave.
He seemed a cherub who had lost his way 100
And wandered hither, so his stay
With us was short, and 't was most meet
That he should be no delver in earth's clod,
Nor need to pause and cleanse his feet
To stand before his God:
Oh blest word--Evermore!

THE SIRENS

The sea is lonely, the sea is dreary,
The sea is restless and uneasy;
Thou seekest quiet, thou art weary,
Wandering thou knowest not whither;--
Our little isle is green and breezy,
Come and rest thee! Oh come hither,
Come to this peaceful home of ours,
Where evermore
The low west-wind creeps panting up the shore 9
To be at rest among the flowers;
Full of rest, the green moss lifts,
As the dark waves of the sea
Draw in and out of rocky rifts,
Calling solemnly to thee
With voices deep and hollow,--
'To the shore
Follow! Oh, follow!
To be at rest forevermore!
Forevermore!'

Look how the gray old Ocean 20
From the depth of his heart rejoices,
Heaving with a gentle motion,
When he hears our restful voices;
List how he sings in an undertone,
Chiming with our melody;
And all sweet sounds of earth and air
Melt into one low voice alone,
That murmurs over the weary sea,
And seems to sing from everywhere,--
'Here mayst thou harbor peacefully, 30
Here mayst thou rest from the aching oar;
Turn thy curved prow ashore,
And in our green isle rest forevermore!
Forevermore!'
And Echo half wakes in the wooded hill,
And, to her heart so calm and deep,
Murmurs over in her sleep,
Doubtfully pausing and murmuring still,
'Evermore!'
Thus, on Life's weary sea, 40
Heareth the marinere
Voices sweet, from far and near,
Ever singing low and clear,
Ever singing longingly.

Is it not better here to be,
Than to be toiling late and soon?
In the dreary night to see
Nothing but the blood-red moon
Go up and down into the sea;
Or, in the loneliness of day, 50
To see the still seals only
Solemnly lift their faces gray,
Making it yet more lonely?
Is it not better than to hear
Only the sliding of the wave
Beneath the plank, and feel so near
A cold and lonely grave,
A restless grave, where thou shalt lie
Even in death unquietly?
Look down beneath thy wave-worn bark, 60
Lean over the side and see
The leaden eye of the sidelong shark
Upturned patiently,
Ever waiting there for thee:
Look down and see those shapeless forms,
Which ever keep their dreamless sleep
Far down within the gloomy deep,
And only stir themselves in storms,
Rising like islands from beneath,
And snorting through the angry spray, 70
As the frail vessel perisheth
In the whirls of their unwieldy play;
Look down! Look down!
Upon the seaweed, slimy and dark,
That waves its arms so lank and brown,
Beckoning for thee!
Look down beneath thy wave-worn bark
Into the cold depth of the sea!
Look down! Look down!
Thus, on Life's lonely sea, 80
Heareth the marinere
Voices sad, from far and near,
Ever singing full of fear,
Ever singing drearfully.

Here all is pleasant as a dream;
The wind scarce shaketh down the dew,
The green grass floweth like a stream
Into the ocean's blue;
Listen! Oh, listen!
Here is a gush of many streams,
A song of many birds, 91
And every wish and longing seems
Lulled to a numbered flow of words,--
Listen! Oh, listen!
Here ever hum the golden bees
Underneath full-blossomed trees,
At once with glowing fruit and flowers crowned;--
So smooth the sand, the yellow sand,
That thy keel will not grate as it touches the land;
All around with a slumberous sound, 100
The singing waves slide up the strand,
And there, where the smooth, wet pebbles be,
The waters gurgle longingly,
As If they fain would seek the shore,
To be at rest from the ceaseless roar,
To be at rest forevermore,--
Forevermore.
Thus, on Life's gloomy sea,
Heareth the marinere
Voices sweet, from far and near, 110
Ever singing in his ear,
'Here is rest and peace for thee!'

IRENE

Hers is a spirit deep, and crystal-clear;
Calmly beneath her earnest face it lies,
Free without boldness, meek without a fear,
Quicker to look than speak its sympathies;
Far down into her large and patient eyes
I gaze, deep-drinking of the infinite,
As, in the mid-watch of a clear, still night,
I look into the fathomless blue skies.

So circled lives she with Love's holy light,
That from the shade of self she walketh free; 10
The garden of her soul still keepeth she
An Eden where the snake did never enter;
She hath a natural, wise sincerity,
A simple truthfulness, and these have lent her
A dignity as moveless as the centre;
So that no influence of our earth can stir
Her steadfast courage, nor can take away
The holy peacefulness, which night and day,
Unto her queenly soul doth minister.

Most gentle is she; her large charity 20
(An all unwitting, childlike gift in her)
Not freer is to give than meek to bear;
And, though herself not unacquaint with care,
Hath in her heart wide room for all that be,--
Her heart that hath no secrets of its own,
But open is as eglantine full blown.
Cloudless forever is her brow serene,
Speaking calm hope and trust within her, whence
Welleth a noiseless spring of patience,
That keepeth all her life so fresh, so green 30
And full of holiness, that every look,
The greatness of her woman's soul revealing,
Unto me bringeth blessing, and a feeling
As when I read in God's own holy book.

A graciousness in giving that doth make
The small'st gift greatest, and a sense most meek
Of worthiness, that doth not fear to take
From others, but which always fears to speak
Its thanks in utterance, for the giver's sake;--
The deep religion of a thankful heart, 40
Which rests instinctively in Heaven's clear law
With a full peace, that never can depart
From its own steadfastness;--a holy awe
For holy things,--not those which men call holy,
But such as are revealed to the eyes
Of a true woman's soul bent down and lowly
Before the face of daily mysteries;--
A love that blossoms soon, but ripens slowly
To the full goldenness of fruitful prime,
Enduring with a firmness that defies 50
All shallow tricks of circumstance and time,
By a sure insight knowing where to cling,
And where it clingeth never withering;--
These are Irene's dowry, which no fate
Can shake from their serene, deep-builded state.

In-seeing sympathy is hers, which chasteneth
No less than loveth, scorning to be bound
With fear of blame, and yet which ever hasteneth
To pour the balm of kind looks on the wound,
If they be wounds which such sweet teaching makes, 60
Giving itself a pang for others' sakes;
No want of faith, that chills with sidelong eye,
Hath she; no jealousy, no Levite pride
That passeth by upon the other side;
For in her soul there never dwelt a lie.
Right from the hand of God her spirit came
Unstained, and she hath ne'er forgotten whence
It came, nor wandered far from thence,
But laboreth to keep her still the same,
Near to her place of birth, that she may not 70
Soil her white raiment with an earthly spot.

Yet sets she not her soul so steadily
Above, that she forgets her ties to earth,
But her whole thought would almost seem to be
How to make glad one lowly human hearth;
For with a gentle courage she doth strive
In thought and word and feeling so to live
As to make earth next heaven; and her heart
Herein doth show its most exceeding worth,
That, bearing in our frailty her just part, 80
She hath not shrunk from evils of this life,
But hath gone calmly forth into the strife,
And all its sins and sorrows hath withstood
With lofty strength of patient womanhood:
For this I love her great soul more than all,
That, being bound, like us, with earthly thrall,
She walks so bright and heaven-like therein,--
Too wise, too meek, too womanly, to sin.

Like a lone star through riven storm-clouds seen
By sailors, tempest-tost upon the sea, 90
Telling of rest and peaceful heavens nigh,
Unto my soul her star-like soul hath been,
Her sight as full of hope and calm to me;--
For she unto herself hath builded high
A home serene, wherein to lay her head,
Earth's noblest thing, a Woman perfected.

SERENADE

From the close-shut windows gleams no spark,
The night is chilly, the night is dark,
The poplars shiver, the pine-trees moan,
My hair by the autumn breeze is blown,
Under thy window I sing alone,
Alone, alone, ah woe! alone!

The darkness is pressing coldly around,
The windows shake with a lonely sound,
The stars are hid and the night is drear,
The heart of silence throbs in thine ear,
In thy chamber thou sittest alone,
Alone, alone, ah woe! alone!

The world is happy, the world is wide.
Kind hearts are beating on every side;
Ah, why should we lie so coldly curled
Alone in the shell of this great world?
Why should we any more be alone?
Alone, alone, ah woe! alone!

Oh, 'tis a bitter and dreary word,
The saddest by man's ear ever heard!
We each are young, we each have a heart,
Why stand we ever coldly apart?
Must we forever, then, be alone?
Alone, alone, ah woe! alone!

WITH A PRESSED FLOWER

This little blossom from afar
Hath come from other lands to thine;
For, once, its white and drooping star
Could see its shadow in the Rhine.

Perchance some fair-haired German maid
Hath plucked one from the selfsame stalk,
And numbered over, half afraid,
Its petals in her evening walk.

'He loves me, loves me not,' she cries;
'He loves me more than earth or heaven!'
And then glad tears have filled her eyes
To find the number was uneven.

And thou must count its petals well,
Because it is a gift from me;
And the last one of all shall tell
Something I've often told to thee.

But here at home, where we were born,
Thou wilt find blossoms just as true,
Down-bending every summer morn,
With freshness of New England dew.

For Nature, ever kind to love,
Hath granted them the same sweet tongue,
Whether with German skies above,
Or here our granite rocks among.

THE BEGGAR

A beggar through the world am I,
From place to place I wander by.
Fill up my pilgrim's scrip for me,
For Christ's sweet sake and charity!

A little of thy steadfastness,
Bounded with leafy gracefulness,
Old oak, give me,
That the world's blasts may round me blow,
And I yield gently to and fro,
While my stout-hearted trunk below
And firm-set roots unshaken be.

Some of thy stern, unyielding might,
Enduring still through day and night
Rude tempest-shock and withering blight,
That I may keep at bay
The changeful April sky of chance
And the strong tide of circumstance,--
Give me, old granite gray.

Some of thy pensiveness serene,
Some of thy never-dying green,
Put in this scrip of mine,
That griefs may fall like snowflakes light,
And deck me in a robe of white,
Ready to be an angel bright,
O sweetly mournful pine.

A little of thy merriment,
Of thy sparkling, light content,
Give me, my cheerful brook,
That I may still be full of glee
And gladsomeness, where'er I be,
Though fickle fate hath prisoned me
In some neglected nook.

Ye have been very kind and good
To me, since I've been in the wood;
Ye have gone nigh to fill my heart;
But good-by, kind friends, every one,
I've far to go ere set of sun;
Of all good things I would have part,
The day was high ere I could start,
And so my journey's scarce begun.

Heaven help me! how could I forget
To beg of thee, dear violet!
Some of thy modesty,
That blossoms here as well, unseen,
As if before the world thou'dst been,
Oh, give, to strengthen me.

MY LOVE

Not as all other women are
Is she that to my soul is dear;
Her glorious fancies come from far,
Beneath the silver evening-star,
And yet her heart is ever near.

Great feelings hath she of her own,
Which lesser souls may never know;
God giveth them to her alone,
And sweet they are as any tone
Wherewith the wind may choose to blow.

Yet in herself she dwelleth not.
Although no home were half so fair;
No simplest duty is forgot,
Life hath no dim and lowly spot
That doth not in her sunshine share.

She doeth little kindnesses,
Which most leave undone, or despise:
For naught that sets one heart at ease,
And giveth happiness or peace,
Is low-esteemed in her eyes.

She hath no scorn of common things,
And, though she seem of other birth,
Round us her heart intwines and clings,
And patiently she folds her wings
To tread the humble paths of earth.

Blessing she is: God made her so,
And deeds of week-day holiness
Fall from her noiseless as the snow,
Nor hath she ever chanced to know
That aught were easier than to bless.

She is most fair, and thereunto
Her life doth rightly harmonize;
Feeling or thought that was not true
Ne'er made less beautiful the blue
Unclouded heaven of her eyes.

She is a woman: one in whom
The spring-time of her childish years
Hath never lost its fresh perfume,
Though knowing well that life hath room
For many blights and many tears.

I love her with a love as still
As a broad river's peaceful might,
Which, by high tower and lowly mill,
Seems following its own wayward will,
And yet doth ever flow aright.

And, on its full, deep breast serene,
Like quiet isles my duties lie;
It flows around them and between,
And makes them fresh and fair and green,
Sweet homes wherein to live and die.

SUMMER STORM

Untremulous in the river clear,
Toward the sky's image, hangs the imaged bridge;
So still the air that I can hear
The slender clarion of the unseen midge;
Out of the stillness, with a gathering creep,
Like rising wind in leaves, which now decreases,
Now lulls, now swells, and all the while increases,
The huddling trample of a drove of sheep
Tilts the loose planks, and then as gradually ceases
In dust on the other side; life's emblem deep, 10
A confused noise between two silences,
Finding at last in dust precarious peace.
On the wide marsh the purple-blossomed grasses
Soak up the sunshine; sleeps the brimming tide,
Save when the wedge-shaped wake in silence passes
Of some slow water-rat, whose sinuous glide
Wavers the sedge's emerald shade from side to side;

But up the west, like a rock-shivered surge,
Climbs a great cloud edged with sun-whitened spray;
Huge whirls of foam boil toppling o'er its verge, 20
And falling still it seems, and yet it climbs alway.

Suddenly all the sky is hid
As with the shutting of a lid,
One by one great drops are falling
Doubtful and slow,
Down the pane they are crookedly crawling,
And the wind breathes low;
Slowly the circles widen on the river,
Widen and mingle, one and all;
Here and there the slenderer flowers shiver, 30
Struck by an icy rain-drop's fall.

Now on the hills I hear the thunder mutter,
The wind is gathering in the west;
The upturned leaves first whiten and flutter,
Then droop to a fitful rest;
Up from the stream with sluggish flap
Struggles the gull and floats away;
Nearer and nearer rolls the thunder-clap,--
We shall not see the sun go down to-day:
Now leaps the wind on the sleepy marsh, 40
And tramples the grass with terrified feet,
The startled river turns leaden and harsh,
You can hear the quick heart of the tempest beat.

Look! look! that livid flash!
And instantly follows the rattling thunder,
As if some cloud-crag, split asunder,
Fell, splintering with a ruinous crash,
On the Earth, which crouches in silence under;
And now a solid gray wall of rain
Shuts off the landscape, mile by mile; 50
For a breath's space I see the blue wood again,
And ere the next heart-beat, the wind-hurled pile,
That seemed but now a league aloof,
Bursts crackling o'er the sun-parched roof;
Against the windows the storm comes dashing,
Through tattered foliage the hail tears crashing,
The blue lightning flashes,
The rapid hail clashes,
The white waves are tumbling,
And, in one baffled roar, 60
Like the toothless sea mumbling
A rock-bristled shore,
The thunder is rumbling
And crashing and crumbling,--
Will silence return nevermore?

Hush! Still as death,
The tempest holds his breath
As from a sudden will;
The rain stops short, but from the eaves
You see it drop, and hear it from the leaves, 70
All is so bodingly still;
Again, now, now, again
Plashes the rain in heavy gouts,
The crinkled lightning
Seems ever brightening,
And loud and long
Again the thunder shouts
His battle-song,--
One quivering flash,
One wildering crash, 80
Followed by silence dead and dull,

As if the cloud, let go,
Leapt bodily below
To whelm the earth in one mad overthrow.
And then a total lull.

Gone, gone, so soon!
No more my half-dazed fancy there,
Can shape a giant In the air,
No more I see his streaming hair,
The writhing portent of his form;-- 90
The pale and quiet moon
Makes her calm forehead bare,
And the last fragments of the storm,
Like shattered rigging from a fight at sea,
Silent and few, are drifting over me.

LOVE

True Love is but a humble, low-born thing,
And hath its food served up in earthen ware;
It is a thing to walk with, hand in hand,
Through the everydayness of this workday world,
Baring its tender feet to every flint,
Yet letting not one heart-beat go astray
From Beauty's law of plainness and content;
A simple, fireside thing, whose quiet smile
Can warm earth's poorest hovel to a home;
Which, when our autumn cometh, as it must,
And life in the chill wind shivers bare and leafless,
Shall still be blest with Indian-summer youth
In bleak November, and, with thankful heart,
Smile on its ample stores of garnered fruit,
As full of sunshine to our aged eyes
As when it nursed the blossoms of our spring.
Such is true Love, which steals into the heart
With feet as silent as the lightsome dawn
That kisses smooth the rough brows of the dark,
And hath its will through blissful gentleness,
Not like a rocket, which, with passionate glare,
Whirs suddenly up, then bursts, and leaves the night
Painfully quivering on the dazed eyes;
A love that gives and takes, that seeth faults,
Not with flaw-seeking eyes like needle points,
But loving-kindly ever looks them down
With the o'ercoming faith that still forgives;
A love that shall be new and fresh each hour,
As is the sunset's golden mystery,
Or the sweet coming of the evening-star,
Alike, and yet most unlike, every day,
And seeming ever best and fairest _now_;
A love that doth not kneel for what it seeks,
But faces Truth and Beauty as their peer,
Showing its worthiness of noble thoughts
By a clear sense of inward nobleness;
A love that in its object findeth not
All grace and beauty, and enough to sate
Its thirst of blessing, but, in all of good
Found there, sees but the Heaven-implanted types
Of good and beauty in the soul of man,
And traces, in the simplest heart that beats,
A family-likeness to its chosen one,
That claims of it the rights of brotherhood.
For love is blind but with the fleshly eye,
That so its inner sight may be more clear;
And outward shows of beauty only so
Are needful at the first, as is a hand
To guide and to uphold an infant's steps:
Fine natures need them not: their earnest look
Pierces the body's mask of thin disguise,
And beauty ever is to them revealed,
Behind the unshapeliest, meanest lump of clay,
With arms outstretched and eager face ablaze,
Yearning to be but understood and loved.

TO PERDITA, SINGING

Thy voice is like a fountain,
Leaping up in clear moonshine;
Silver, silver, ever mounting,
Ever sinking,
Without thinking,
To that brimful heart of thine.
Every sad and happy feeling,
Thou hast had in bygone years,
Through thy lips comes stealing, stealing,
Clear and low; 10
All thy smiles and all thy tears
In thy voice awaken,
And sweetness, wove of joy and woe,
From their teaching it hath taken:
Feeling and music move together,
Like a swan and shadow ever
Floating on a sky-blue river
In a day of cloudless weather.

It hath caught a touch of sadness,
Yet it is not sad; 20
It hath tones of clearest gladness,
Yet it is not glad;
A dim, sweet twilight voice it is
Where to-day's accustomed blue
Is over-grayed with memories,
With starry feelings quivered through.

Thy voice is like a fountain
Leaping up in sunshine bright,
And I never weary counting
Its clear droppings, lone and single, 30
Or when in one full gush they mingle,
Shooting in melodious light.

Thine is music such as yields
Feelings of old brooks and fields,
And, around this pent-up room,
Sheds a woodland, free perfume;
Oh, thus forever sing to me!
Oh, thus forever!
The green, bright grass of childhood bring to me, 39
Flowing like an emerald river,
And the bright blue skies above!
Oh, sing them back, as fresh as ever,
Into the bosom of my love,--
The sunshine and the merriment,
The unsought, evergreen content,
Of that never cold time,
The joy, that, like a clear breeze, went
Through and through the old time!
Peace sits within thine eyes,
With white hands crossed in joyful rest, 50
While, through thy lips and face, arise
The melodies from out thy breast;
She sits and sings,
With folded wings
And white arms crost,
'Weep not for bygone things,
They are not lost:
The beauty which the summer time
O'er thine opening spirit shed,
The forest oracles sublime 60
That filled thy soul with joyous dread,
The scent of every smallest flower
That made thy heart sweet for an hour,
Yea, every holy influence,
Flowing to thee, thou knewest not whence,
In thine eyes to-day is seen,
Fresh as it hath ever been;
Promptings of Nature, beckonings sweet,
Whatever led thy childish feet,
Still will linger unawares 70
The guiders of thy silver hairs;
Every look and every word
Which thou givest forth to-day,
Tell of the singing of the bird
Whose music stilled thy boyish play.'

Thy voice is like a fountain,
Twinkling up in sharp starlight,
When the moon behind the mountain
Dims the low East with faintest white,
Ever darkling, 80
Ever sparkling,
We know not if 'tis dark or bright;
But, when the great moon hath rolled round,
And, sudden-slow, its solemn power
Grows from behind its black, clear-edged bound,
No spot of dark the fountain keepeth,
But, swift as opening eyelids, leapeth
Into a waving silver flower.

THE MOON

My soul was like the sea.
Before the moon was made,
Moaning in vague immensity,
Of its own strength afraid,
Unresful and unstaid.
Through every rift it foamed in vain,
About its earthly prison,
Seeking some unknown thing in pain,
And sinking restless back again,
For yet no moon had risen:
Its only voice a vast dumb moan,
Of utterless anguish speaking,
It lay unhopefully alone,
And lived but in an aimless seeking.

So was my soul; but when 'twas full
Of unrest to o'erloading,
A voice of something beautiful
Whispered a dim foreboding,
And yet so soft, so sweet, so low,
It had not more of joy than woe;

And, as the sea doth oft lie still,
Making its waters meet,
As if by an unconscious will,
For the moon's silver feet,
So lay my soul within mine eyes
When thou, its guardian moon, didst rise.

And now, howe'er its waves above
May toss and seem uneaseful,
One strong, eternal law of Love,
With guidance sure and peaceful,
As calm and natural as breath,
Moves its great deeps through life and death.

REMEMBERED MUSIC

A FRAGMENT

Thick-rushing, like an ocean vast
Of bisons the far prairie shaking,
The notes crowd heavily and fast
As surfs, one plunging while the last
Draws seaward from its foamy breaking.

Or in low murmurs they began,
Rising and rising momently,
As o'er a harp AEolian
A fitful breeze, until they ran
Up to a sudden ecstasy.

And then, like minute-drops of rain
Ringing in water silvery,
They lingering dropped and dropped again,
Till it was almost like a pain
To listen when the next would be.

SONG

TO M.L.

A lily thou wast when I saw thee first,
A lily-bud not opened quite,
That hourly grew more pure and white,
By morning, and noontide, and evening nursed:
In all of nature thou hadst thy share;
Thou wast waited on
By the wind and sun;
The rain and the dew for thee took care;
It seemed thou never couldst be more fair.

A lily thou wast when I saw thee first,
A lily-bud; but oh, how strange,
How full of wonder was the change,
When, ripe with all sweetness, thy full bloom burst!
How did the tears to my glad eyes start,
When the woman-flower
Reached its blossoming hour,
And I saw the warm deeps of thy golden heart!

Glad death may pluck thee, but never before
The gold dust of thy bloom divine
Hath dropped from thy heart into mine,
To quicken its faint germs of heavenly lore;
For no breeze comes nigh thee but carries away
Some impulses bright
Of fragrance and light,
Which fall upon souls that are lone and astray,
To plant fruitful hopes of the flower of day.

ALLEGRA

I would more natures were like thine,
That never casts a glance before,
Thou Hebe, who thy heart's bright wine
So lavishly to all dost pour,
That we who drink forget to pine,
And can but dream of bliss in store.

Thou canst not see a shade in life;
With sunward instinct thou dost rise,
And, leaving clouds below at strife,
Gazest undazzled at the skies,
With all their blazing splendors rife,
A songful lark with eagle's eyes.

Thou wast some foundling whom the Hours
Nursed, laughing, with the milk of Mirth;
Some influence more gay than ours
Hath ruled thy nature from its birth,
As if thy natal stars were flowers
That shook their seeds round thee on earth.

And thou, to lull thine infant rest,
Wast cradled like an Indian child;
All pleasant winds from south and west
With lullabies thine ears beguiled,
Rocking thee in thine oriole's nest,
Till Nature looked at thee and smiled.

Thine every fancy seems to borrow
A sunlight from thy childish years,
Making a golden cloud of sorrow,
A hope-lit rainbow out of tears,--
Thy heart is certain of to-morrow,
Though 'yond to-day it never peers.

I would more natures were like thine,
So innocently wild and free,
Whose sad thoughts, even, leap and shine,
Like sunny wavelets in the sea,
Making us mindless of the brine,
In gazing on the brilliancy.

THE FOUNTAIN

Into the sunshine,
Full of the light,
Leaping and flashing
From morn till night;

Into the moonlight,
Whiter than snow,
Waving so flower-like
When the winds blow;

Into the starlight
Rushing in spray,
Happy at midnight,
Happy by day;

Ever in motion,
Blithesome and cheery,
Still climbing heavenward,
Never aweary;

Glad of all weathers,
Still seeming best,
Upward or downward.
Motion thy rest;

Full of a nature
Nothing can tame,
Changed every moment,
Ever the same;

Ceaseless aspiring,
Ceaseless content,
Darkness or sunshine
Thy element;

Glorious fountain.
Let my heart be
Fresh, changeful, constant,
Upward, like thee!

ODE

I

In the old days of awe and keen-eyed wonder,
The Poet's song with blood-warm truth was rife;
He saw the mysteries which circle under
The outward shell and skin of daily life.
Nothing to him were fleeting time and fashion,
His soul was led by the eternal law;
There was in him no hope of fame, no passion,
But with calm, godlike eyes he only saw.
He did not sigh o'er heroes dead and buried,
Chief-mourner at the Golden Age's hearse, 10
Nor deem that souls whom Charon grim had ferried
Alone were fitting themes of epic verse:
He could believe the promise of to-morrow,
And feel the wondrous meaning of to-day;
He had a deeper faith in holy sorrow
Than the world's seeming loss could take away.
To know the heart of all things was his duty,
All things did sing to him to make him wise,
And, with a sorrowful and conquering beauty,
The soul of all looked grandly from his eyes. 20
He gazed on all within him and without him,
He watched the flowing of Time's steady tide,
And shapes of glory floated all about him
And whispered to him, and he prophesied.
Than all men he more fearless was and freer,
And all his brethren cried with one accord,--
'Behold the holy man! Behold the Seer!
Him who hath spoken with the unseen Lord!'
He to his heart with large embrace had taken
The universal sorrow of mankind, 30
And, from that root, a shelter never shaken,
The tree of wisdom grew with sturdy rind.
He could interpret well the wondrous voices
Which to the calm and silent spirit come;
He knew that the One Soul no more rejoices
In the star's anthem than the insect's hum.
He in his heart was ever meek and humble.
And yet with kingly pomp his numbers ran,
As he foresaw how all things false should crumble
Before the free, uplifted soul of man; 40
And, when he was made full to overflowing
With all the loveliness of heaven and earth,
Out rushed his song, like molten iron glowing,
To show God sitting by the humblest hearth.
With calmest courage he was ever ready
To teach that action was the truth of thought,
And, with strong arm and purpose firm and steady,
An anchor for the drifting world he wrought.
So did he make the meanest man partaker
Of all his brother-gods unto him gave; 50
All souls did reverence him and name him Maker,
And when he died heaped temples on his grave.
And still his deathless words of light are swimming
Serene throughout the great deep infinite
Of human soul, unwaning and undimming,
To cheer and guide the mariner at night.

II

But now the Poet is an empty rhymer
Who lies with idle elbow on the grass,
And fits his singing, like a cunning timer,
To all men's prides and fancies as they pass. 60
Not his the song, which, in its metre holy,
Chimes with the music of the eternal stars,
Humbling the tyrant, lifting up the lowly,
And sending sun through the soul's prison-bars.
Maker no more,--oh no! unmaker rather,
For he unmakes who doth not all put forth
The power given freely by our loving Father
To show the body's dross, the spirit's worth.
Awake! great spirit of the ages olden!
Shiver the mists that hide thy starry lyre, 70
And let man's soul be yet again beholden
To thee for wings to soar to her desire.
Oh, prophesy no more to-morrow's splendor,
Be no more shamefaced to speak out for Truth,
Lay on her altar all the gushings tender,
The hope, the fire, the loving faith of youth!
Oh, prophesy no more the Maker's coming,
Say not his onward footsteps thou canst hear
In the dim void, like to the awful humming
Of the great wings of some new-lighted sphere! 80
Oh, prophesy no more, but be the Poet!
This longing was but granted unto thee
That, when all beauty thou couldst feel and know it,
That beauty in its highest thou shouldst be.
O thou who moanest tost with sealike longings,
Who dimly hearest voices call on thee,
Whose soul is overfilled with mighty throngings
Of love, and fear, and glorious agony.
Thou of the toil-strung hands and iron sinews
And soul by Mother Earth with freedom fed, 90
In whom the hero-spirit yet continues,
The old free nature is not chained or dead,
Arouse! let thy soul break in music-thunder,
Let loose the ocean that is in thee pent,
Pour forth thy hope, thy fear, thy love, thy wonder,
And tell the age what all its signs have meant.
Where'er thy wildered crowd of brethren jostles,
Where'er there lingers but a shadow of wrong,
There still is need of martyrs and apostles,
There still are texts for never-dying song: 100
From age to age man's still aspiring spirit
Finds wider scope and sees with clearer eyes,
And thou in larger measure dost inherit
What made thy great forerunners free and wise.
Sit thou enthroned where the Poet's mountain
Above the thunder lifts its silent peak,
And roll thy songs down like a gathering fountain,
They all may drink and find the rest they seek.
Sing! there shall silence grow in earth and heaven,
A silence of deep awe and wondering; 110
For, listening gladly, bend the angels, even,
To hear a mortal like an angel sing.

III

Among the toil-worn poor my soul is seeking
For who shall bring the Maker's name to light,
To be the voice of that almighty speaking
Which every age demands to do it right.
Proprieties our silken bards environ;
He who would be the tongue of this wide land
Must string his harp with chords of sturdy iron
And strike it with a toil-imbrowned hand; 120
One who hath dwelt with Nature well attended,
Who hath learnt wisdom from her mystic books,
Whose soul with all her countless lives hath blended,
So that all beauty awes us in his looks:
Who not with body's waste his soul hath pampered,
Who as the clear northwestern wind is free,
Who walks with Form's observances unhampered,
And follows the One Will obediently;
Whose eyes, like windows on a breezy summit,
Control a lovely prospect every way; 130
Who doth not sound God's sea with earthly plummet,
And find a bottom still of worthless clay;
Who heeds not how the lower gusts are working,
Knowing that one sure wind blows on above,
And sees, beneath the foulest faces lurking,
One God-built shrine of reverence and love;
Who sees all stars that wheel their shining marches
Around the centre fixed of Destiny,
Where the encircling soul serene o'erarches
The moving globe of being like a sky; 140
Who feels that God and Heaven's great deeps are nearer
Him to whose heart his fellow-man is nigh,
Who doth not hold his soul's own freedom dearer
Than that of all his brethren, low or high;
Who to the Right can feel himself the truer
For being gently patient with the wrong,
Who sees a brother in the evildoer,
And finds in Love the heart's-blood of his song;--
This, this is he for whom the world is waiting
To sing the beatings of its mighty heart, 150
Too long hath it been patient with the grating
Of scrannel-pipes, and heard it misnamed Art.
To him the smiling soul of man shall listen,
Laying awhile its crown of thorns aside,
And once again in every eye shall glisten
The glory of a nature satisfied.
His verse shall have a great commanding motion,
Heaving and swelling with a melody
Learnt of the sky, the river, and the ocean,
And all the pure, majestic things that be. 160
Awake, then, thou! we pine for thy great presence
To make us feel the soul once more sublime,
We are of far too infinite an essence
To rest contented with the lies of Time.
Speak out! and lo! a hush of deepest wonder
Shall sink o'er all this many-voiced scene,
As when a sudden burst of rattling thunder
Shatters the blueness of a sky serene.

THE FATHERLAND

Where is the true man's fatherland?
Is it where he by chance is born?
Doth not the yearning spirit scorn
In such scant borders to be spanned?
Oh yes! his fatherland must be
As the blue heaven wide and free!

Is it alone where freedom is,
Where God is God and man is man?
Doth he not claim a broader span
For the soul's love of home than this?
Oh yes! his fatherland must be
As the blue heaven wide and free!

Where'er a human heart doth wear
Joy's myrtle-wreath or sorrow's gyves,
Where'er a human spirit strives
After a life more true and fair,
There is the true man's birthplace grand,
His is a world-wide fatherland!

Where'er a single slave doth pine,
Where'er one man may help another,--
Thank God for such a birthright, brother,--
That spot of earth is thine and mine!
There is the true man's birthplace grand,
His is a world-wide fatherland!

THE FORLORN

The night is dark, the stinging sleet,
Swept by the bitter gusts of air,
Drives whistling down the lonely street,
And glazes on the pavement bare.

The street-lamps flare and struggle dim
Through the gray sleet-clouds as they pass,
Or, governed by a boisterous whim,
Drop down and rustle on the glass.

One poor, heart-broken, outcast girl
Faces the east-wind's searching flaws,
And, as about her heart they whirl,
Her tattered cloak more tightly draws.

The flat brick walls look cold and bleak,
Her bare feet to the sidewalk freeze;
Yet dares she not a shelter seek,
Though faint with hunger and disease.

The sharp storm cuts her forehead bare,
And, piercing through her garments thin,
Beats on her shrunken breast, and there
Makes colder the cold heart within.

She lingers where a ruddy glow
Streams outward through an open shutter,
Adding more bitterness to woe,
More loneliness to desertion utter.

One half the cold she had not felt
Until she saw this gush of light
Spread warmly forth, and seem to melt
Its slow way through the deadening night.

She hears a woman's voice within,
Singing sweet words her childhood knew,
And years of misery and sin
Furl off, and leave her heaven blue.

Her freezing heart, like one who sinks
Outwearied in the drifting snow.
Drowses to deadly sleep and thinks
No longer of its hopeless woe;

Old fields, and clear blue summer days,
Old meadows, green with grass, and trees
That shimmer through the trembling haze
And whiten in the western breeze.

Old faces, all the friendly past
Rises within her heart again,
And sunshine from her childhood cast
Makes summer of the icy rain.

Enhaloed by a mild, warm glow,
From man's humanity apart,
She hears old footsteps wandering slow
Through the lone chambers of the heart.

Outside the porch before the door,
Her cheek upon the cold, hard stone,
She lies, no longer foul and poor,
No longer dreary and alone.

Next morning something heavily
Against the opening door did weigh,
And there, from sin and sorrow free,
A woman on the threshold lay.

A smile upon the wan lips told
That she had found a calm release,
And that, from out the want and cold,
The song had borne her soul in peace.

For, whom the heart of man shuts out,
Sometimes the heart of God takes in,
And fences them all round about
With silence mid the world's loud din;

And one of his great charities
Is Music, and it doth not scorn
To close the lids upon the eyes
Of the polluted and forlorn;

Far was she from her childhood's home,
Farther in guilt had wandered thence,
Yet thither it had bid her come
To die in maiden innocence.

MIDNIGHT

The moon shines white and silent
On the mist, which, like a tide
Of some enchanted ocean,
O'er the wide marsh doth glide,
Spreading its ghost-like billows
Silently far and wide.

A vague and starry magic
Makes all things mysteries,
And lures the earth's dumb spirit
Up to the longing skies:
I seem to hear dim whispers,
And tremulous replies.

The fireflies o'er the meadow
In pulses come and go;
The elm-trees' heavy shadow
Weighs on the grass below;
And faintly from the distance
The dreaming cock doth crow.

All things look strange and mystic,
The very bushes swell
And take wild shapes and motions,
As if beneath a spell;
They seem not the same lilacs
From childhood known so well.

The snow of deepest silence
O'er everything doth fall,
So beautiful and quiet,
And yet so like a pall;
As if all life were ended,
And rest were come to all.

O wild and wondrous midnight,
There is a might in thee
To make the charmed body
Almost like spirit be,
And give it some faint glimpses
Of immortality!

A PRAYER

God! do not let my loved one die,
But rather wait until the time
That I am grown in purity
Enough to enter thy pure clime,
Then take me, I will gladly go,
So that my love remain below!

Oh, let her stay! She is by birth
What I through death must learn to be;
We need her more on our poor earth
Than thou canst need in heaven with thee:
She hath her wings already, I
Must burst this earth-shell ere I fly.

Then, God, take me! We shall be near,
More near than ever, each to each:
Her angel ears will find more clear
My heavenly than my earthly speech;
And still, as I draw nigh to thee,
Her soul and mine shall closer be.

THE HERITAGE

The rich man's son inherits lands,
And piles of brick and stone, and gold,
And he inherits soft white hands,
And tender flesh that fears the cold,
Nor dares to wear a garment old;
A heritage, it seems to me,
One scarce would wish to hold in fee.

The rich man's son inherits cares;
The bank may break, the factory burn,
A breath may burst his bubble shares,
And soft white hands could hardly earn
A living that would serve his turn;
A heritage, it seems to me,
One scarce would wish to hold in fee.

The rich man's son inherits wants,
His stomach craves for dainty fare;
With sated heart, he hears the pants
Of toiling hinds with brown arms bare,
And wearies in his easy-chair;
A heritage, it seems to me,
One scarce would wish to hold in fee.

What doth the poor man's son inherit?
Stout muscles and a sinewy heart,
A hardy frame, a hardier spirit;
King of two hands, he does his part
In every useful toil and art;
A heritage, it seems to me,
A king might wish to hold in fee.

What doth the poor man's son inherit?
Wishes o'erjoyed with humble things,
A rank adjudged by toil-won merit,
Content that from employment springs,
A heart that in his labor sings;
A heritage, it seems to me,
A king might wish to hold in fee.

What doth the poor man's son inherit?
A patience learned of being poor,
Courage, if sorrow come, to bear it,
A fellow-feeling that is sure
To make the outcast bless his door;
A heritage, it seems to me,
A king might wish to hold in fee.

O rich man's son! there is a toil
That with all others level stands:
Large charity doth never soil,
But only whiten, soft white hands:
This is the best crop from thy lands,
A heritage, it seems to me,
Worth being rich to hold in fee.

O poor man's son! scorn not thy state;
There is worse weariness than thine,
In merely being rich and great;
Toil only gives the soul to shine,
And make rest fragrant and benign;
A heritage, it seems to me,
Worth being poor to hold in fee.

Both, heirs to some six feet of sod,
Are equal in the earth at last;
Both, children of the same dear God,
Prove title to your heirship vast
By record of a well-filled past;
A heritage, it seems to me,
Well worth a life to hold in fee.

THE ROSE: A BALLAD

I

In his tower sat the poet
Gazing on the roaring sea,
'Take this rose,' he sighed, 'and throw it
Where there's none that loveth me.
On the rock the billow bursteth
And sinks back into the seas,
But in vain my spirit thirsteth
So to burst and be at ease.
Take, O sea! the tender blossom
That hath lain against my breast;
On thy black and angry bosom
It will find a surer rest.
Life is vain, and love is hollow,
Ugly death stands there behind,
Hate and scorn and hunger follow
Him that toileth for his kind.'
Forth into the night he hurled it,
And with bitter smile did mark
How the surly tempest whirled it
Swift into the hungry dark.
Foam and spray drive back to leeward,
And the gale, with dreary moan,
Drifts the helpless blossom seaward,
Through the breakers all alone.

II

Stands a maiden, on the morrow,
Musing by the wave-beat strand,
Half in hope and half in sorrow,
Tracing words upon the sand:
'Shall I ever then behold him
Who hath been my life so long,
Ever to this sick heart told him,
Be the spirit of his song?
Touch not, sea, the blessed letters
I have traced upon thy shore,
Spare his name whose spirit fetters
Mine with love forevermore!'
Swells the tide and overflows it,
But, with omen pure and meet,
Brings a little rose, and throws it
Humbly at the maiden's feet.
Full of bliss she takes the token,
And, upon her snowy breast,
Soothes the ruffled petals broken
With the ocean's fierce unrest.
'Love is thine, O heart! and surely
Peace shall also be thine own,
For the heart that trusteth purely
Never long can pine alone.'

III

In his tower sits the poet,
Blisses new and strange to him
Fill his heart and overflow it
With a wonder sweet and dim.
Up the beach the ocean slideth
With a whisper of delight,
And the moon in silence glideth
Through the peaceful blue of night.
Rippling o'er the poet's shoulder
Flows a maiden's golden hair,
Maiden lips, with love grown bolder,
Kiss his moon-lit forehead bare.
'Life is joy, and love is power,
Death all fetters doth unbind,
Strength and wisdom only flower
When we toil for all our kind.
Hope is truth,--the future giveth
More than present takes away,
And the soul forever liveth
Nearer God from day to day.'
Not a word the maiden uttered,
Fullest hearts are slow to speak,
But a withered rose-leaf fluttered
Down upon the poet's cheek.

SONG

Violet! sweet violet!
Thine eyes are full of tears;
Are they wet
Even yet
With the thought of other years?
Or with gladness are they full,
For the night so beautiful,
And longing for those far-off spheres?

Loved one of my youth thou wast,
Of my merry youth,
And I see,
Tearfully,
All the fair and sunny past,
All its openness and truth,
Ever fresh and green in thee
As the moss is in the sea.

Thy little heart, that hath with love
Grown colored like the sky above,
On which thou lookest ever,--
Can it know
All the woe
Of hope for what returneth never,
All the sorrow and the longing
To these hearts of ours belonging?

Out on it! no foolish pining
For the sky
Dims thine eye,
Or for the stars so calmly shining;
Like thee let this soul of mine
Take hue from that wherefor I long,
Self-stayed and high, serene and strong,
Not satisfied with hoping--but divine.

Violet! dear violet!
Thy blue eyes are only wet
With joy and love of Him who sent thee,
And for the fulfilling sense
Of that glad obedience
Which made thee all that Nature meant thee!

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