You have found an item located in the Kentuckiana Digital Library.
Vndertones / by Madison Cawein. Cawein, Madison Julius, 1865-1914. 400dpi TIFF G4 page images University of Kentucky, Electronic Information Access & Management Center Lexington, Kentucky 2002 b92-184-30604844 Electronic reproduction. 2002. (Beyond the shelf, serving historic Kentuckiana through virtual access (IMLS LG-03-02-0012-02) ; These pages may be freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. Vndertones / by Madison Cawein. Cawein, Madison Julius, 1865-1914. Copeland and Day, Boston : 1896. viii, 65 p. ; 16 cm. Coleman Poems. "Five hundred and fifty copies of this book (thirty-five of which are on handmade paper) were printed during March by J. Wilson and son, Cambridge." Microfilm. Atlanta, Ga. : SOLINET, 1994. 1 microfilm reel ; 35 mm. (SOLINET/ASERL Cooperative Microfilming Project (NEH PS-20317) ; SOL MN04378.07 KUK) Printing Master B92-184. IMLS This electronic text file was created by Optical Character Recognition (OCR). No corrections have been made to the OCR-ed text and no editing has been done to the content of the original document. Encoding has been done through an automated process using the recommendations for Level 1 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines. Digital page images are linked to the text file. UNDERTONES By Madison Cawein This page in the original text is blank. OATEN STOP SERIES III This page in the original text is blank. VNDJRTONES BY MADISON CAWEIN BOSTON COPELAND AND DAY M D CCC XCVI COPYRIGHT I896 BY COPELAND AND DAY INSCRIBED TO THE PATHETIC MEMORY OF THE POET HENRY TIMROD Long are the days, and three times long the nights. The weary hours are a heavy chain Upon the fret of all Earth's dear delights, Holding them ever prisoners to pain. What shall beguile me to believe again In hope, that faith 'within her parable 'writes Of life, care reads with eyes 'whose tear-drops stain Shall such assist me to subdue the heights Long is the night, and overlong the day. The burden of all being ! - is it 'worse Or better, lo ! that they 'who toil and pray May win not more than they who toil and curse A little sleep, a little love, ah me! And the slow 'weighl up the soul's Calvary! CONTENTS THE DREAMER QUIET. UNQUALIFIED UNENCOURAGED ASPIRA THE WOOD WOOD NOTES . SUCCESS . . SONG THE OLD SPRING HILLS OF THE WEST FLOWERS SECOND SIGHT DEAD SEA FRUIT THE WOOD WITCH AT SUNSET MAY THE WIND OF SPRING INTERPRETED . . THE WILLOW BOTTOM THE OLD BARN CLEARING. . . REQUIEM AT LAST vii PAGE I 2 3 TION . . . 3 4 5 7 7 8 I10 '3 '4 '7 . . . . .. 7 '9 10 22 2,3 25 . . . z6. 6 CONTENTS A DARK DAY FALL UNDERTONE CONCLUSION MONOCHROMES DAYS AND DAYS DROUTH IN AUTUMN MID-WINTER COLD IN WINTER ON THE FARM PATHS. A SONG IN SEASON APART. FAERY MORRIS THE WORLD'S DESIRE THE UNATTAINA-BLE REMEMBERED . . THE SEA SPIRIT . A DREAM SHAPE. THE VAMPIRE WILL-O' -THE-WISP THE HEADLESS HORSEMi THE WERE-WOLF THE TROGLODYTE THE CITY OF DARKNESS TRANSMUTATION .. viii PAGE 2.7 .. . . z8 29 30 32 34 35 36 37 38 39 41 43 44 45 46 47 5'1 52 53 54 .... ........56 AN. . 57 59 6z 63 .... .........65 UNDERTONES THE DREAMER EVEN as a child he loved to thrid the bowers, And mark the loafing sunlight' s lazy laugh; Or, on each season, spell the epitaph Of its dead months repeated in their flowers; Or list the music of the strolling showers, Whose vagabond notes strummed through a twinkling staff; Or read the day' s delivered monograph Through all the chapters of its dadal hours. Still with the same child-faith and child- regard He looks on Nature, hearing, at her heart, The beautiful beat out the time and place, Whereby no lesson of this life is hard, No struggle vain of science or of art, That dies with failure written on its face. I1 UNDERTONES QUIET A LOG-HUT in the solitude, A clapboard roof to rest beneath! This side, the shadow-haunted wood ; That side, the sunlight-haunted heath. At daybreak Morn shall come to me In raiment of the white winds spun; Slim in her rosy hand the key That opes the gateway of the sun. Her smile shall help my heart enough With love to labor all the day, And cheer the road, whose rocks are rough, With her smooth footprints, each a ray. At dusk a voice shall call afar, A lone voice like the whippoorwill's; And, on her shimmering brow one star, Night shall descend the western hills. She at my door till dawn shall stand, With Gothic eyes, that, dark and deep, Are mirrors of a mystic land, Fantastic with the towns of sleep. 2 UNENCOURAGED ASPIRATION UNQUALIFIED NOT his the part to win the goal, The flaming goal that flies before, Into whose course the apples roll Of self that stay his feet the more. Beyond himself he shall not win Whose flesh is as a driven dust, That his own soul must wander in, Seeing no farther than his lust. UNENCOURAGED ASPIRATION IS mine the part of no companion hand 1Of help, except my shadow's silent self A moonlight traveller in Fancy's land Of leering gnome and hollow-laughing elf; Whose forests deepen and whose moon goes down, When Night's blind shadow shall usurp my own; And, mid the dust and wreck of some old town, The City of Dreams, I grope and fall alone. 3 UNDERTONES THE WOOD W ITCH-HAZEL, dogwood, and the AAT maple here; And there the oak and hickory; Linn, poplar, and the beech-tree, far and near As the eased eye can see. Wild-ginger; wahoo, with its wan balloons; And brakes of briers of a twilight green; And fox-grapes plumed with summer; and strung moons Of mandrake flowers between. Deep gold-green ferns, and mosses red and gray, Mats for what naked myth's white feet - And, cool and calm, a cascade far away With even-falling beat. Old logs, made sweet with death; rough bits of bark; And tangled twig and knotted root; And sunshine splashes and great pools of dark; And many a wild-bird's flute. 4 WOOD NOTES Here let me sit until the Indian, Dusk, With copper-colored feet, comes down; Sowing the wildwood with star-fire and musk, And shadows blue and brown. Then side by side with some magician dream, To take the owlet-haunted lane, Half-roofed with vines; led by a firefly gleam, That brings me home again. WOOD NOTES I. THERE is a flute that follows me From tree to tree: A water flute a spirit sets To silver lips in waterfalls, And through the breath of violets A sparkling music calls: "Hither! halloo! Oh, follow! Down leafy hill and hollow, Where, through clear swirls, 5 UNDERTONES With feet like pearls, Wade up the blue-eyed country girls. Hither! halloo! Oh, follow! II. There is a pipe that plays to me From tree to tree: A bramble pipe an elfin holds To golden lips in berry brakes, And, swinging o'er the elder wolds, A flickering music makes: " Come over! Come over The new-mown clover! Come over the new-mown hay! Where, there by the berries, W0ith cheeks like cherries, And locks with which the warm wind merries, Brown girls are hilling the hay, All day! Come over the fields and away! Come over! Come over!" 6 SONG SUCCESS HOW some succeed who have least need, In that they make no effort for! And pluck, where others pluck a weed, The burning blossom of a star, Grown from no earthly seed. For some shall reap that never sow; And some shall toil and not attain, What boots it in ourselves to know Such labor here is not in vain, When we still see it so! SONG NTO the portal of the House of Song, U Symbols of wrong and emblems of unrest, And mottoes of despair and envious jest, And stony masks of scorn and hate belong. Who enters here shall feel his soul denied All welcome: lo! the chiselled form of Love, That stares in marble on the shrine above The tomb of Beauty, where he dreamed and died! 7 UNDERTONES Who enters here shall know no poppyflowers Of Rest, or harp-tones of serene Content; Only sad ghosts of music and of scent Shall mock the mind with their remembered powers. Here must he wait till striving patience carves His name upon the century-storied floor; His heart's blood staining one dim pane the more In Fame's high casement while he sings and starves. THE OLD SPRING I. U NDER rocks whereon the rose, Like a strip of morning, glows; Where the azure-throated newt Drowses on the twisted root; And the brown bees, humming homeward, Stop to suck the honey-dew; Fern and leaf-hid, gleaming gloamward, Drips the wildwood spring I knew, Drips the spring my boyhood knew. 8 THE OLD SPRING II. Myrrh and music everywhere Haunt its cascades; - like the hair That a naiad tosses cool, Swimming strangely beautiful, With white fragrance for her bosom, For her mouth a breath of song; - Under leaf and branch and blossom Flows the woodland spring along, Sparkling, singing, flows along. III. Still the wet wan morns may touch Its gray rocks, perhaps; and such Slender stars as dusk may have Pierce the rose that roofs its wave; Still the thrush may call at noontide, And the whippoorwill at night; Nevermore, by sun or moontide, Shall I see it gliding white, Falling, flowing, wild and white. 9 UNDERTONES HILLS OF THE WEST HILLS of the west, that gird Forest and farm, Home of the nestling bird, Housing from harm, When on your tops is heard Storm: Hills of the west, that bar Belts of the gloam, Under the twilight star, Where the mists roam, Take ye the wanderer Home. Hills of the west, that dream Under the moon, Making of wind and stream, Late-heard and soon, Parts of your lives that seem Tune. I 0 FLOWERS Hills of the west, that take Slumber to ye, Be it for sorrow's sake Or memory, Part of such slumber make Me. FLOWERS H, why for us the blighted bloom! The blossom that lies withering! The Master of Life's changeless loom Hath wrought for us no changeless thing. Where grows the rose of fadeless Grace Wherethrough the Spirit manifests The fact of an immortal race, The dream on which religion rests. Where buds the lily of our Faith That grows for us in unknown wise, Out of the barren dust of death, The pregnant bloom of Paradise. In Heaven! so near that flowers know! That flowers see how near! - and thus Reflect the knowledge here below Of love and life unknown to us. I I UNDERTONES SECOND SIGHT THEY lean their faces to me through Green windows of the woods; Their white throats sweet with honey-dew Beneath low leafy hoods- No dream they dream but hath been true Here in the solitudes. Star trillium, in the underbrush, In whom Spring bares her face; Sun eglantine, that breathes the blush Of Summer's quiet grace; Moon mallow, in whom lives the hush Of Autumn's tragic pace. For one hath heard the dryad's sighs Behind the covering bark; And one hath felt the satyr's eyes Gleam in the bosky dark; And one hath seen the naiad rise In waters all a-spark. 2 DEAD SEA FRUIT I bend my soul unto them, stilled In worship man hath lost; The old-world myths that science killed Are living things almost To me through these whose forms are filled With Beauty's pagan ghost. And through new eyes I seem to see The world these live within, A shuttered world of mystery, Where unreal forms begin The real of ideality That has no unreal kin. DEAD SEA FRUIT A LL things have power to hold us back. Our very hopes build up a wall Of doubt, whose shadow stretches black O'er all. The dreams, that helped us once, become Dread disappointments, that oppose Dead eyes to ours, and lips made dumb With woes. ' 3 UND ERTONES The thoughts that opened doors before Within the mind's house, hide away; Discouragement hath locked each door For aye. Come, loss, more frequently than gain! And failure than success! until The spirit's struggle to attain Is still! THE WOOD WITCH THERE is a woodland witch who lies With bloom-bright limbs and beam- bright eyes, Among the water-flags, that rank The slow brook's heron-haunted bank: The dragon-flies, in brass and blue, Are signs she works her sorcery through; Weird, wizard characters she weaves Her spells by under forest leaves, - These wait her word, like imps, upon The gray flag-pods; their wings, of lawn And gauze; their bodies gleamy green. While o'er the wet sand, - left between 14 THE WOOD WITCH The running water and the still, In pansy hues and daffodil, The fancies that she meditates Take on most sumptuous shapes, with traits Like butterflies. 'T is she you hear, Whose sleepy rune, hummed in the ear Of silence, bees and beetles purr, And the dry-droning locusts whirr; Till, where the wood is very lone, Vague monotone meets monotone, And slumber is begot and born, A faery child, beneath the thorn. There is no mortal who may scorn The witchery she spreads around Her dim demesne, wherein is bound The beauty of abandoned time, As some sweet thought 'twixt rhyme and rhyme. And by her spell you shall behold The blue turn gray, the gray turn gold Of hollow heaven; and the brown Of twilight vistas twinkled down With fire-flies; and, in the gloom, Feel the cool vowels of perfume Slow-syllabled of weed and bloom. But, in the night, at languid rest, When like a spirit's naked breast I 5 UNDERTONES The moon slips from a silver mist, - With star-bound brow, and star-wreathed wrist, If you should see her rise and wave You welcome, - ah! what thing shall save You then forevermore her slave! AT SUNSET INTO the sunset' s turquoise marge The moon dips, like a pearly barge Enchantment sails through magic seas, To fairyland 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. MAY 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. MAY rHE golden disks of the rattlesnake-weed, T That spangle the woods and dance - No gleam of gold that the twilights hold Is strong as their necromance: For, under the oaks where the wood-paths lead, The golden disks of the rattlesnake-weed Are the May's own utterance. The azure stars of the bluet bloom That sprinkle the woodland's trance- No blink of blue that a cloud lets through Is sweet as their countenance: For, over the knolls that the woods perfume, The azure stars of the bluet bloom Are the light of the May's own glance. I 7 UNDERTONES With her wondering words and her looks she comes, In a sunbeam of a gown; She needs but think and the blossoms wink, But look, and they shower down. By orchard ways, where the wild-bee hums, With her wondering words and her looks she comes, Like a little maid to town. THE WIND OF SPRING r HE wind that breathes of columbines And bleeding-hearts that crowd the rocks ; That shakes the balsam of the pines With music from his flashing locks, Stops at my city door and knocks. He calls me far a-forest; where The twin-leaf and the blood-root bloom; And, circled by the amber air, Life sits with beauty and perfume Weaving the new web of her loom. i8 INTERPRETED He calls me where the waters run Through fronding ferns where haunts the hern; And, sparkling in the equal sun, Song leans beside her brimming urn, And dreams the dreams that love shall learn. The wind has summoned, and I go, To con God' s meaning in each line The flowers write, and, walking slow, God' s purpose, of which song is sign, The wind's great, gusty hand in mine. INTERPRETED V5 THAT magic shall solve us the secret VV Of beauty that's born for an hour That gleams like the flight of an egret, Or burns like the scent of a flower, With death for a dower What leaps in the bosk but a satyr What pipes on the wind but a faun Or laughs in the waters that scatter, But limbs of a nymph who is gone, When we walk in the dawn 19 UNDERTONES What sings on the hills but a fairy Or sighs in the fields but a sprite What breathes through the leaves but the airy Soft spirits of shadow and light, When we walk in the night Behold how the world-heart is eager To draw us and hold us and claim! Through truths of the dreams that beleaguer Her soul she makes ours the same, And death but a name. THE WILLOW BOTTOM L USH green the grass that grows between L The willows of the bottom-land; Verged by the careless water, tall and green, The brown-topped cat-tails stand. The cows come gently here to browse, Slow through the great-leafed sycamores; You hear a dog bark from a low-roofed house With cedars round its doors. 20 THE WILLOW BOTTOM Then all is quiet as the wings Of the high buzzard floating there; Anon a woman's high-pitched voice that sings An old camp-meeting air. A flapping cock that crows; and then- Heard drowsy through the rustling corn A flutter, and the cackling of a hen Within a hay-sweet barn. How still again! no water stirs; No wind is heard ; although the weeds Are waved a little; and from silk-filled burrs Drift by a few soft seeds. So drugged with sleep and dreams, that you Expect to see her gliding by, - Hummed round of bees, through blossoms spilling dew,- The Spirit of July. 221 UNDERTONES THE OLD BARN LOW, swallow-swept and gray, Between the orchard and the spring, All its wide windows overflowing hay, And crannied doors a-swing, The old barn stands to-day. Deep in its hay the Leghorn hides A round white nest; and, humming soft On roof and rafter, or its log-rude sides, Black in the sun-shot loft, The building hornet glides. Along its corn-crib, cautiously As thieving fingers, skulks the rat; Or, in warped stalls of fragrant timothy, Gnaws at some loosened slat, Or passes shadowy. A dream of drouth made audible Before its door, hot, smooth, and shrill All day the locust sings. . . . What other spell Shall hold it, lazier still Than the long day' s, now tell - 2 CLEARING Dusk and the cricket and the strain Of tree-toad and of frog; and stars That burn above the rich west's ribbdd stain; And dropping pasture bars, And cow-bells up the lane. Night and the moon and katydid, And leaf-lisp of the wind-touched boughs; And mazy shadows that the fire-flies thrid; And sweet breath of the cows; And the lone owl here hid. CLEARING BEFORE the wind, with rain-drowned B stocks, The pleated crimson hollyhocks Are bending; And, smouldering in the breaking brown, Above the hills that edge the town, The day is ending. The air is heavy with the damp; And, one by one, each cottage lamp Is lighted ; Infrequent passers of the street Stroll on or stop to talk or greet, Benighted. UNDERTONES I look beyond my city yard, And watch the white moon struggling hard, Cloud-buried; The wind is driving toward the east, A wreck of pearl, all cracked and creased And serried. At times the moon, erupting, streaks Some long cloud ; like Andean peaks That double Horizon-vast volcano chains, The earthquake scars with lava veins That bubble. The wind that blows from out the hills Is like a woman's touch that stills A sorrow: The moon sits high with many a star In the deep calm: and fair and far Abides to-morrow. 24 REQUIEM 1. N O more for him, where hills look down, .. Is Shall Morning crown Her rainy brow with blossom bands! - Whose rosy hands Drop wild flowers of the breaking skies Upon the sod 'neath which he lies.- No more! no more! II. No more for him where waters sleep, Shall Evening heap The long gold of the perfect days! Vhose pale hand lays Great poppies of the afterglow Upon the turf he rests below. - No more! no more! III. No more for him, where woodlands loom, Shall Midnight bloom The star-flow'red acres of the blue! Whose brown hands strew Dead leaves of darkness, hushed and deep, Upon the grave where he doth sleep.- No more! no more! 25 UNDERTONES IV. The hills that Morning's footsteps wake; The waves that take A brightness from the Eve , the woods O'er which Night broods, Their spirits have, whose parts are one With his whose mortal part is done. Whose part is done! AT LAST W5 THAT shall be said to him, ,VvNow he is dead Now that his eyes are dim, Low lies his head What shall be said to him, Now he is dead One word to whisper of Low in his ear i Sweet, but the one word "love" Haply he'll hear. One word to whisper of Low in his ear. z6 A DARK DAY What shall be given him, Now he is dead Now that his eyes are dim, Low lies his head What shall be given him, Now he is dead Hope, that life long denied Here to his heart, Sweet, lay it now beside, Never to part. Hope, that life long denied Here to his heart. A DARK DAY THOUGH Summer walks the world to- day With corn-crowned hours for her guard, Her thoughts have clad themselves in gray, And wait in Autumn's weedy yard. And where the larkspur and the phlox Spread carpets wheresoe'er she pass, She seems to stand with sombre locks Bound bleak with fog-washed zinnias. - 27 UNDERTONES Fall's terra-cotta-colored flowers, Whose disks the trickling wet has tinged With dingy lustre when the bower's Thin, flame-flecked leaves the frost has singed; Or with slow feet, 'mid gaunt gold blooms Of marigolds her fingers twist, She seems to pass with Fall's perfumes, And dreams of sullen rain and mist. FALL SAD-HEARTED spirit of the solitudes, Who comest through the ruin-wedded woods ! Gray-gowned with fog, gold-girdled with the gloom Of tawny twilights ; burdened with perfume Of rain-wet uplands, chilly with the mist; And all the beauty of the fire-kissed Cold forests crimsoning thy indolent way, Odorous of death and drowsy with decay. UNDERTONE I think of thee as seated 'mid the showers Of languid leavesthat cover up the flowers,-_ The little flower-sisterhoods, whom June Once gave wild sweetness to, as to a tune A singer gives her soul's wild melody,- Watching the squirrel store his granary. Or, 'mid old orchards I have pictured thee . Thy hair' s profusion blown about thy back; One lovely shoulder bathed with gipsy black; Upon thy palm one nestling cheek, and sweet The rosy ruissets tumbled at thy feet. Was it a voice lamenting for the flowers A heart-sick bird, that sang of happier hours A cricket dirging days that soon must die Or did the ghost of Summer wander by UNDERTONE A H me! too soon the Autumn comes AAmong these purple-plaintive hills! Too soon among the forest gums Premonitory flame she spills, Bleak, melancholy flame that kills. 29 UNDERTONES Her white fogs veil the morn that rims With wet the moonflow'r'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 fire, Where Sorrow sits with lonely eyes, And hands that wake her ancient lyre, Beside the ghost of dead Desire. CONCLUSION THE songs Love sang to us are dead: 1 Yet shall he sing to us again, When the dull days are wrapped in lead, And the red woodland drips with rain. The lily of our love is gone, That touched our spring with golden scent; Now in the garden low upon The wind-stripped way its stalk is bent. 30 CONCLUSION Our rose of dreams is passed away, That lit our summer with sweet fire; The storm beats bare each thorny spray, And its dead leaves are trod in mire. The songs Love sang to us are dead; Yet shall he sing to us again, When the dull days are wrapped in lead, And the red woodland drips with rain. The marigold of memory Shall fill our autumn then with glow; Haply its bitterness will be Sweeter than love of long ago. The cypress of forgetfulness Shall haunt our winter with its hue, The apathy to us not less Dear than the dreams our summer knew. 3I UNDERTONES MONOCHROMES I. THE last rose falls, wrecked of the wind and rain; Where once it bloomed the thorns alone remain: Dead in the wet the slow rain strews the rose. The day was dim; now eve comes on again, Grave as a life weighed down by many woes, So is the joy dead, and alive the pain. The brown leaf flutters where the green leaf died; Bare are the boughs, and bleak the forest side: The wind is whirling with the last wild leaf. The eve was strange; now dusk comes weird and wide, Gaunt as alife that livesalone with grief, So doth the hope go and despair abide. 32 MONOCHROMES An empty nest hangs where the wood-bird pled; Along the west the dusk dies, stormy red: The frost is subtle as a serpent's breath. The dusk was sad i now night is overhead, Grim as a soul brought face to face with death So life lives on when love, its life, lies dead. II. Go your own ways. Who shall persuade me now To seek with high face for a star of hope Or up endeavor's unsubmissive slope Advance a bosom of desire, and bow A back of patience in a thankless task Alone beside the grave of love I ask, Shalt thou or thou Leave go my hands. Fain would I walk alone The easy ways of silence and of sleep. What though I go with eyes that cannot weep, 33 UNDERTONES And lips contracted with no uttered moan, Through rocks and thorns, where every footprint bleeds, A dead-sea path of desert night that leads To one white stone! Though sands be black and bitter black the sea, Night lie before me and behind me night, And God within far Heaven refuse to light The consolation of the dawn for me, - Between the shadowy bournes of Heaven and Hell, It is enough love leaves my soul to dwell With memory. DAYS AND DAYS THE days that clothed white limbs with heat, And rocked the red rose on their breast, Have passed with amber-sandalled feet Into the ruby-gated west. 34 DROUTH IN AUTUMN 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 gipsy 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. DROUTH IN AUTUMN G NARLED acorn-oaks against a west Of copper, cavernous with fire; A wind of frost that gives no rest To such lean leaves as haunt the brier, And hide the cricket's vibrant wire. 35 UNDERTONES Sear, shivering shocks, and stubble blurred With bramble-blots of dull marooni And creekless hills whereon no herd Finds pasture, and whereo'er the loon Flies, haggard as the rainless moon. MID-WINTER ALL day the clouds hung ashen with the cold i And through the snow the muffled waters fell i The day seemed drowned in grief too deep to tell, Like some old hermit whose last bead is told. At eve the Wind woke, and the snow-clouds roiled Aside to leave the fierce sky visible; Harsh as an iron landscape of wan hell The dark hills hung framed in with gloomy gold. And then, towards night, the wind seemed some one at My window wailing: now a little child Crying outside the door ; and now the long 36 COLD Howl of some starved beast down the flue. I sat And knew 't was Winter with his madman song Of miseries, whereon he stared and smiled. COLD A MIST that froze beneath the moon A and shook Minutest frosty fire in the air. All night the wind was still as lonely Care Who sighs before her shivering ingle-nook. The face of Winter wore a crueler look Than when he shakes the icicles from his hair, And, in the boisterous pauses, lets his stare Freeze through the forest, fettering bough and brook. He is the despot now who sits and dreams Of Desolation and Despair, and smiles At Poverty, who hath no place to rest, Who wanders o'er Life's snow-made path- less miles, 37 UNDERTONES And sees the Home-of-Comfort's window gleams, And hugs her rag-wrapped baby to her breast. IN WINTER I. W5 THEN black frosts pluck the acorns VY down, And in the lane the waters freeze; And 'thwart red skies the wild-fowl flies, And death sits grimly 'mid the trees ; When home-lights glitter in the brown Of dusk like shaggy eyes, - Before the door his feet, sweetheart, And two white arms that greet, sweetheart, And two white arms that greet. II. When ways are drifted with the leaves, And winds make music in the thorns; And lone and lost above the frost The new moon shows its silver horns; 38 ON THE FARM When underneath the lamp-lit eaves The opened door is crossed, -- A happy heart and light, sweetheart, And lips to kiss good-night, sweetheart, And lips to kiss good-night. ON THE FARM I. HE sang a song as he sowed the field, 11 Sowed the field at break of day: "When the pursed-up leaves are as lips that yield Balm and balsam, and Spring, - concealed In the odorous green, - is so revealed, Halloo and oh ! Hallo for the woods and the far away!" II. He trilled a song as he mowed the mead, Mowed the mead as noon begun: " When the hills are gold with the ripened seed, As the sunset stairs that loom and lead 39 UNDERTONES To the sky where Summer knows naught of need, Halloo and oh Hallo for the hills and the harvest sun !' III. He hummed a song as he swung the flail, Swung the flail in the afternoon: "XWhen the idle fields are a wrecker's tale, That the Autumn tells to the twilight pale, As the Year turns seaward a crimson sail, Halloo and oh ! Hallo for the fields and the hunter' s-moon!" IV. He whistled a song as he shouldered his axe, Shouldered his axe in the evening storm: "When the snow of the road shows the rabbit's tracks, And the wind is a whip that the Winter cracks, With a herdsman' s cry, o'er the clouds' black backs, Halloo and oh! Hallo for home and a hearth to warm !' 40 PATHS I. W5 jwHAT words of mine can tell the spell Of garden ways I know so well _ The path that takes me, in the spring, Past quinces where the blue-birds sing, Where peonies are blossoming, Unto a porch, wistaria-hung, Around whose steps May-lilies blow, A fair girl reaches down among, Her arm more white than their sweet snow. IL. What words of mine can tell the spell Of garden ways I know so well Another path that leads me, when The summer-time is here again, Past hollyhocks that shame the west When the red sun has sunk to rest i To roses bowering a nest, A lattice, neath which mignonette And deep geraniums surge and sough, Where, in the twilight, starless yet, A fair girl' s eyes are stars enough. 4' UNDERTONES III. What words of mine can tell the spell Of garden ways I know so well - A path that takes me, when the days Of autumn wrap themselves in haze, Beneath the pippin-pelting tree, 'Mid flitting butterfly and beei Unto a door where, fiery, The creeper climbs; and, garnet-hued, The cock's-comb and the dahlia flare, And in the door, where shades intrude, Gleams out a fair girl' s sunbeam hair. IV. What words of mine can tell the spell Of garden ways I know so well - A path that brings me o' er the frost Of winter, when the moon is tossed In clouds; beneath great cedars, weak With shaggy snow; past shrubs blown bleak With shivering leaves ; to eaves that leak The tattered ice, whereunder is A fire-flickering window-space; And in the light, with lips to kiss, A fair girl' s welcome-giving face. 4z A SONG IN SEASON I. W HEN in the wind the vane turns round, V And round, and round i And in his kennel whines the hound; When all the gable eaves are bound With icicles of ragged gray, A glinting gray; There is little to do, and much to say, And you hug your fire and pass the day With a thought of the springtime, dearie. II. When late at night the owlet hoots, And hoots, and hoots ; And wild winds make of keyholes flutes; When to the door the goodman's boots Stamp through the snow the light stains red, The fire-light's red ; There is nothing to do, and all is said, And you quaff your cider and go to bed With a dream of the summer, dearie. III. When, nearing dawn, the black cock crows, And crows, and crows; And from the barn the milch-cow lows; 43 UNDERTONES And the milkmaid's cheeks have each a rose, And the still skies show a star or two, Or one or two i There is little to say, and much to do, And the heartier done the happier you, With a song of the winter, dearie. APART I. IA, HILE sunset burns and stars are few, V And roses scent the fading light, And like a slim urn, dripping dew, A spirit carries through the night, The pearl-pale moon hangs new, I think of you, of you. II. While waters flow, and soft winds woo The golden-hearted bud with sighs; And, like a flower an angel threw, Out of the momentary skies A star falls burning blue, I dream of you, of you. 44 FAERY MORRIS III. While love believes, and hearts are true, So let me think, so let me dream ; The thought and dream so wedded to Your face, that, far apart, I seem To see each thing you do, And be with you, with you. FAERY MORRIS I. THE winds are whist ; and, hid in mist, The moon hangs o'er the wooded height ; The bushy bee, with unkempt head, Hath made the sunflower's disk his bed, And sleeps half-hid from sight. The owlet makes us melody - Come dance with us in Faery, Come dance with us to-night. II. The dew is damp ; the glow-worm's lamp Blurs in the moss its tawny light; The great gray moth sinks, half-asleep, 45 UNDERTONES Where, in an elfin-laundered heap, The lily-gowns hang white. The crickets make us niinstrelsy- Come dance with us in Faery, Come dance with us to night. III. With scents of heat, dew-chilled and sweet, The new-cut hay smells by the bight; The ghost of some dead pansy bloom, The butterfly dreams in the gloom, Its pied wings folded tight. The world is lost in fantasy, Come dance with us in Faery, Come dance with us to-night. THE WORLD'S DESIRE HE roses of voluptuousness T Wreathe her dark locks and hide her eyes; Her limbs are flower-like nakedness, Wherethrough the fragrant blood doth press, The blossom-blood of Paradise. 46 THE UNATTAINABLE She stands with Lilith finger tips, With Lilith hands ; and gathers up The wild wine of all life ; and sips With Lilith-laughter-lightened lips The soul as from a crystal cup. What though she cast the cup away The empty bowl that flashed with wine Her curled lips' kiss, that stained the clay, Her fingers' touch - shall not these stay, That made its nothingness divine Through one again shall live the glow, Immortalizing, of her touch; And through the other, sweet to know How life swept flame once'neath the snow Of her mooned breasts, -and this is much! THE UNATTAINABLE M /ARK thou ! a shadow crowned with fire of hell. Man holds her in his heart as night doth hold The moonlight memories of day's dead gold; Or as a winter-withered asphodel In its dead loveliness holds scents of old. And looking on her, lo, he thinks 't is well. 47 UNDERTONES Who would not follow her whose glory sits, Imperishably lovely on the air Who, from the arms of Earth' s desire, flits With eyes defiant and rebellious hair Hers is the beauty that no man shall share. He who hath seen, what shall it profit him He who doth love, what shall his passion gain When disappointment at her cup's bright brim Poisons the pleasure with the hemlock pain Hers is the passion that no man shall drain. How long, how long since Life hath touched her eyes, Making their night clairvoyant ! And how long Since Love hath kissed her lips and made them wise, Binding her brow with prophecy and song Hope clad her nakedness in lovely lies, Giving into her hands the right of wrong! 48 THE UNATTAINABLE Lo! in her world she sets pale tents of thought, Unearthly bannered; and her dreams' wild bands Besiege the heavens like a twilight fraught With recollections of lost stars. She stands Radiant as Lilith given from God's hands. The golden rose of patience at her throat Drops fragrant petals -as a pensive tune Drops its surrendered sweetness note by note ;- And from her hands the buds of hope are strewn, Moon-flowers, mothered of the barren moon. So in her flowers man seats him at her feet In star-faced worship, knowing all of this; And now to him to die seems very sweet, Fed with the fire of her look and kiss i While in his heart the blood's tumultuous beat Drowns, in her own, the drowsing serpent' s hiss. 49 UNDERTONES He who hath dreamed but of her world shall give All of his soul unto her restlessly: He who hath seen but her far face shall live No more for things we name reality: Such is the power of her tyranny. He, whom she wins, hath nothing 'neath the sun; Forgetting all that she may not forget He loves her, who still feeds his soul upon Dreams and desires, and doubt and vain regret,- Life's bitter bread his heart's fierce tears make wet. What word of wisdom hast thou, Life, to wake Him now ! or song of magic now to dull The dreams he lives in! or what charm to break The spell that makes her evil beautiful! What charm to show her beauty hides a snake, Whose basilisk eyes burn dark behind a skull. 50 REMEMBERED TERE in the dusk I see her face again As then I knew it, ere she fell asleep; Renunciation glorifying pain Of her soul's inmost deep. I shall not see its like again! the brow Of passive marble, purely aureoled,- As some pale lily in the afterglow, With supernatural gold. As if a rose should speak and, somehow heard By some strange sense, the unembodied sound Grow visible, her mouth was as a word A sweet thought falters 'round. So do I still remember eyes imbued With far reflections -as the stars suggest The silence, purity and solitude Of infinite peace and rest. She was my all. I loved her as men love A high desire, religion, an ideal- The meaning purpose in the loss whereof God shall alone reveal. 51I UNDERTONES THE SEA SPIRIT AH me ! I shall not waken soon From dreams of such divinity! A spirit singing in the moon To me. White sea-spray driven of the storm Were not so wildly white as she! She beckoned with a foam-white arm To me. With eyes dark green, and golden-green Loose locks that sparkled drippingly, Out of the green wave she did lean To me. And sang; till Earth and Heaven were A far, forgotten memory; For more than Heaven seemed hid in her To me:- Sleep, sweeter than love's face or home; Love, more than immortality; And music of the dreamy foam For me. 52 A DREAM SHAPE Pass over her with all thy ships With all thy stormy tides, 0 sea! The memory of immortal lips For me! A DREAM SHAPE Wl rITH moon-white hearts that held a V V gleam, I gathered wild flowers in a dream, And shaped a woman, whose sweet blood Was odor of the wildwood bud. From dew, the starlight arrowed through, I wrought a woman's eyes of blue; The lids, that on her eyeballs lay, Were rose-pale petals of the May. I took the music of the breeze, And water whispering in the trees, And shaped the soul that breathed below A woman's blossom breasts of snow. Out of a rose-bud's veins I drew The fragrant crimson beating through The languid lips of her, whose kiss Was as a poppy's drowsiness. 53 UNDERTONES Out of the moonlight and the air I wrought the glory of her hair, That o'er her eyes' blue heaven lay Like some gold cloud o'er dawn of day. A shadow's shadow in the glass Of sleep, my spirit saw her pass And, thinking of it now, meseems We only live within our dreams. For in that time she was to me More real than our reality; More real than Earth, more real than I The unreal things that pass and die. THE VAMPIRE A LILY in a twilight place A moonflow'r in the lonely night - Strange beauty of a woman's face Of wildflow' r-white ! The rain that hangs a star's green ray Slim on a leaf-point's restlessness, Is not so glimmering green and gray As was her dress. 54 THE VAMPIRE I drew her dark hair from her eyes, And in their deeps beheld a while Such shadowy moonlight as the skies Of Hell may smile. She held her mouth up redly wan, And burning cold, - I bent and kissed Such rosy snow as some wild dawn Makes of a mist. God shall not take from me that f When round my neck her wl clung! When 'neath my lips, like soi flower, Her white throat swung! Or words she murmured while she Witch-words, she holds me softly The spell that binds me to a fiend Until I die. lour, iite arms mne fierce leaned! by, - 55 UNDERTONES WILL-O'--THE-WISP I. THERE in the calamus he stands With frog-webbed feet and bat-winged hands; His glow-worm garb glints goblin-wise; And elfishly, and elfishly, Above the gleam of owlet eyes, A death's-moth cap of downy dyes Nods out at me, nods out at me, II. Now in the reeds his face looks white As witch-down on a witches' night; Now through the dark old haunted mill, So eerily, so eerily, He flits; and with a whippoorwill Mouth calls, and seems to syllable, "Come follow me! come follow me!" III. Now o'er the sluggish stream he wends, A slim light at his finger-ends; 5 6 THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN The spotted spawn, the toad hath clomb, Slips oozily, slips oozily ; His easy footsteps seem to come Like bubble-gaspings of the scum Now near to me, now near to me. IV. There by the stagnant pool he stands, A fox-fire lamp in flickering hands; The weeds are slimy to the tread, And mockingly, and mockingly, With slanted eyes and eldritch head He leans above a face long dead, - The face of me! the face of me! THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN ( N the black road through the wood As I rode, There the Headless Horseman stood; By the wild pool in the wood, As I rode. 57 UNDERTONES From the shadow of an oak, As I rode, Demon steed and rider broke; By the thunder-shattered oak, As I rode. On the waste road through the plain, As I rode, At my back he whirled like rain; On the tempest-blackened plain, As I rode. Four fierce hoofs shod red with fire, As I rode, Woke the wild rocks, dark and dire; Eyes and nostrils streamed with fire, As I rode. On the deep road through the rocks, As I rode, I could reach his horse's locks; Through the echo-hurling rocks, As I rode. 58 THE WERE-WOLF And again I looked behind, As I rode, - Dark as night and swift as wind, Towering, he rode behind, As I rode. On the steep road down the dell, As I rode, In the night I heard a bell, In the village in the dell, As I rode. And my soul called out in prayer, As I rode, - Lo! the demon went in air, Leaving me alone in prayer, As I rode. THE WERE-WOLF SHE. N AY; still amort, my love Why dost thou lag HE. The strix-owl cried. 59 UNDERTONES SHE. Nay! yon wild stream that leaps Hoarse from the black pines of the Hakel steeps, A moon-tipped water, down a glittering crag. - Why so aghast, sweetheart thou stop Why dost HE. The demon-huntsman passed with hooting horn! SHE. Nay! 't was the blind wind sweepingthrough the thorn Around the ruins of the Dumburg's top. HE. My limbs are cold. SHE. Come! warm thee in mine arms. 6o THE WERE-WOLF HE. Mine eyes are weary. SHE. Rest them, love, on mine. HE. I am athirst. SHE. Quench on my lips thy thirst. - 0 dear belovdd, how thy last kiss warms My blood again! HE. Off! . . . How thy eye- balls shine! Thy face! . . . thy form! . . . So do I die accursed ! UNDERTONES THE TROGLODYTE IN ages dead, a troglodyte, At the hollow roots of a monster height, That grew from the heart of the world to light, I dwelt in caverns: over me Were mountains older than the moon; And forests vaster than the sea, And gulfs, that the earthquake's hand had hewn, Hung under me. And late and soon I heard the daemon of change that sighed A cosmic language of mysteryi While life sat silent, primeval-eyed, With the infant spirit of prophecy. Gaunt stars glared down on the Titan peaks; And the gaunter glare of the cratered streaks Of the sunset's ruin heard condor shrieks. The roar of cataracts hurled in air, And the hurricane laying his thunders bare, And rush of battling beasts, -whose lair THE CITY OF DARKNESS Was the antechamber of nadir-gloom,- Were my outworld joys. But who shall tell The awe of the depths that heard the boom Of the iron rivers that fashioned Hell! THE CITY OF DARKNESS NTIDE-walled it stands in heathen lands Beside a mystic sea, With streets strange-trod of many a god, And templed blasphemy. Far in the night, a rose of light It shines beside the sea; But overhead an unknown dread Impends eternally. There is a sound above, around Of music by the sea ; And weird and wide the torches glide Of pagan revelry. There is a noise as of a voice That calls beneath the sea ; And all the deep grows pale with sleep And vague expectancy. 63 UNDERTONES Then slowly up -as from a cup Seethes poison -lifts the sea; Wild mass on mass, as in black glass, The town glows fiery. Red-lit it glowers like Hell's dark towers Set in the iron sea; And monster swarms with awful forms Roll though it cloudily. Still overhead the unknown dread, Whose shadow dyes the sea, At wrath-winged wait behind its gate Till God shall set it free. A taloned flash, an earthquake crash, And, lo! upon the sea, Black wall on wall, a giant pall, Night settles hideously. And where it burned, a rose inurned, Red in the vasty sea, The phantasm of the dread above Sits in immensity. 64 TRANSMUTATION TO me all beauty that I see Is melody made visible: An earth-translated state, may be, Of music heard in Heaven or Hell. Out of some love-impassioned strain Of saints, the rose evolved its bloom; And, dreaming of it here again, Perhaps re-lives it as perfume. Out of some chant that demons sing Of hate and pain, the sunset grew; And, haply, still remembering, Re-lives it here as some wild hue. THE END 65 This page in the original text is blank. FIVE HUNDRED AND FIFTY COPIES OF THIS BOOK (THIRTY-FIVE COPIES OF WHICH ARE ON HANDMADE PAPER) WERE PRINTED DURING MARCH BY JOHN WILSON AND SON CAMBRIDGE