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Nature-notes and impressions, in prose and verse / by Madison Cawein. Cawein, Madison Julius, 1865-1914. 400dpi TIFF G4 page images University of Kentucky, Electronic Information Access & Management Center Lexington, Kentucky 2002 b92-199-30751830 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. Nature-notes and impressions, in prose and verse / by Madison Cawein. Cawein, Madison Julius, 1865-1914. E.P. Dutton, New York : c1906. x, 311 p. ; 19 cm. Coleman Partly reprinted from various periodicals. Microfilm. Atlanta, Ga. : SOLINET, 1994. 1 microfilm reel ; 35 mm. (SOLINET/ASERL Cooperative Microfilming Project (NEH PS-20317) ; SOL MN04497.05 KUK) Printing Master B92-199. 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. NATURE-NOTES AND IMPRESSIONS This page in the original text is blank. NATURE-NOTES AN D IMPRESSIONS IN PROSE AND VERSE BY M ADISON CAWEI N NEW YORK E. P. DUTTON AND COMPANY I go6 Copyright, 1906, By MADISON CAWEIN. THF TYNIVERSITY PRESS, CAMBRIDGE, U. S. A. ZC tbe fflemorg OF GEORGE H. ELLWANGER TRUE FRIEND AND LOVER AND INTERPRETER OF NATURE, AS A SLIGHT TOKEN OF ESTEEM AND ADMIRATION Would I could talk as the flowers talk To my soul ! and iMe stars, in their ceaseless wvalk Through Hea-w7en !-and tell to the high and low The things that they say, so all mzirht know The dreams they dream, and have told to me! As Nature Sees would I could see ! Then might I steak with authority/- I stand below and look above, And see her busy with life and love, And can tell the world so little thereof. Oh, for a soul that could feel miuch less! Or, feeling more, could so express The th ings it feels and their tenderness: The very essece. the soul of art, And all the heavens and hells of heart.! Then might I rise to the very teak, The summit of song, which tfoets seek, And speak -with a voice as the masters steak. FORE WOR I) W ITH few if any changes the contents of this volume, both prose and verse, with the exception of the short sketch at the end and one or two of the poems, have been copied almost word for word from my note-books of many years. They are impressions, ideas, fancies, more or less fragmentary, that struck me at the moment; notes, sug- gestions, what you will, jotted down hurriedly,-sometimes taking the form of prose, other times that of verse as the fancy moved me,-while wvander- ing in the woods at all seasons, making a record of days extending over a period of some twenty odd years. All the verses and prose-notes contained in the first part, "I883-IS86," were written while hardly more than a boy, vii Foreword between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one and while attending high school. A number of the verses have ap- peared in the magazines during the past year or two: several fragments, under the title "Reed Notes," in "The Atlantic";"Autumn Etchings" in the "Outlook"; and others in 'Ainslee's," " Success, '"Smart Set," " Lippincott's," " Metropolitan," and " Munsev's." MADISON CAWEIN. LOUISVILLE, KY. viii CON TENTS Nature-Notes and Impressions i8S3-iSS6 . . . . I3S7-I 390. . . . . 1391-900 . . . . . I90 r-1905 . PAG E I . . . . 46 . . . . 79 . . . 135 Poems CATKINS. . . ANN' Ul( F-CEIE.I r. . . . . . . . "WHEN SPRING COMES I)OWN THE WILD- WOOD WAY ' HILDA OF THE HILLSIDE. DAWN IN THE ALLEGHANIES . Music . AUTUAIN ETCHINGS. WOOD-WAYS THE CHARCOAL-BURNEIR'S HUTl. . . IN CLAY. ix 254 258 26o 261 263 265 267 2 7 2 273 276 Contents PAGE GRAY SKIES . . . . . . . . . 2 7 7 SUNSET DREAMS . . . . . . . . 2 7 7 MENDICANTS. . . . . . . . . . 2 79 WVINTER RAIN . . . . . . . . . 23s0 MARINERS. .. . . . . . . . 281 Prose Sketch WVO'MAN OR -WHAT . . . . . . 2 8 7 x NATURE-NOTES and IMPRESSIONS Nature never did betray the heart that loved her. - WORDSWORTH. i883-1886 I HAVE not delved in the ruins of antiquity, nor moralized upon the past, as Byron did, but have kept, or tried to keep, two lines of Keats, txvo lines of Endvymion, for- ever in mind while writing, and striven to the uttermost to make my lines worthy the text. Lead me, thou Bard of Beauty, through those caves Of pale Diana! let me hear the moan Of Ocean, sorrowing with all his waves As once he sorrowed on that Island lone I I Nature-Notes In siren moonlight. Here, where twilight paves The woodland paths, I seem to hear her trail Dim raime:kt; her, that damsel who en- slaves My soul; that Beauty, sad, divinely pale, That haunts thy song, mastering the gamut whole Of dreams and mubic; on whose easeful breast, - As once Endymion's head, soft-dreaming, pressed That Indian maiden's bosom, - rests my soul. 0 let me sing as thou didst, Keats, and die! With soul poured on the circling starry night; When Dian's ltne hangs dewy in the sky, And the wild nightingale with an- guished might Bewails in some dense bramble's spicy dusk Its old heart-sorrow to the wild rose wan; 2 Nature-Notes Or let me, like thyself, drink in the musk Of some (lull draught from Lethe's waters drawn, And sink, as thou didst. into dreamless sleep, WNhere disappointment, heartache, grief and scorn, And humani misery can no longer heap The soul that treads life's path set round with thorn; A,\y! fall asleep, as thou didst fall asleep under the alien skies, of hope forlorn! IIn the forest of music often and often, To the murmuring song of the winds and waters, Have our spirits mingled and mixed In the wildflower dance of the Hours On the mossy carpet under the whispering leaves: Or wandered, hand in shadowy hand, Beneath the song-suggestive stillness of the moon: Or leaned, listening, Over deep glens of echoing green, Carved in the ancient bosoms of the hills 3 Nature-Notes By sonorous and impetuous waters, Bearing upon their foamy crests Crescents and points, starry and still, Of reflected emerald flame, When the heavens bloomed and blazed with a million quivering fires. Dost thou know her name Fairest of the Daughters of Music is she, Loveliest of all the Children of Art. The puff-ball of the autumn ways is Puck's fat fist thrust threateningly out of the half-concealing weeds at the bee to whom the blossom offers her milk-white bosom. When winter nights are cold and shrill, And winds sit rocking wild their arms, Far off, beyond the treeless hill, Sound ghostly faint the owl's alarms. WVail, wail, thou bird of ill omen, Within thy freezing glen! Screech, screech through all the frosty night Where gleams the cold moonlight! 4 Nature-Notes Well with man's mood thy song accords, Thy song that knows but wailing words. Lo, where the oats ill barn are housed, The screech-owl sits and croons and cries, Until the cocks are all aroused And know to-night some pullet dies. Hush, hush, thou staring owl! And leave the roosting fowl! Go, seek the shivering wood, And there. where wild winds brood, Sing to the soul that hope has lost, The soul that still is tempest-tost. When snows drift deep the forest path, Ard sleet bows down the strongest trees, Like Edgar's fear and Lear's crazed wrath, The screech-owl's voice makes wild the breeze. Mourn, mourn, thou feathered witch Above the frozen ditch! Weep, weep, unto the icy gale, Where icicles hang pale, As weeps the heart, ingratitude Makes winter of, the grief pursued. 5 Nature-Notes Like a pearl, dissolving in a goblet of golden wine, is the new moon in the drowning deeps of the sunset. JULY 9 The sea-pink and the tall wild bell- flower divide the honors of July; the one, pearly pink, the other, turquoise- azure, conspicuously placed- in her flower-garland in fragrant frater- nity, each proud of its showy loveli- ness and of the abundant beauty of the month that bore them. Toadstools, large and little, over- run the woods to-day after a day and night of rain: red and yellow and white, green and saffron and gray; upright, sidewise; some with the woodland loam and leaves, upheaved with them, still strewing their tops; graceful and slender, or bloated and distorted they stand; poisonous-look- ing some of them, and of a blue mot- tled color, which, when broken, exude 6 Nature-Notes a thin cobalt-colored watery juice that stains whatever it touches; some of them a burnt-umber l)rown and of enormous size, looking like huge flat hats, rims turned up, swollen with rain, rotting and reeking in the under- woo(ls and filling the air with a fetid fungous odor. Great clumps of the Alayapples, l)caten down and ruined by the rain here and there by the wayside, show the smooth green and ripening yellow of their oval fruit, often too large and heavy for the stalk to support. The elecampane and the black-eyed Susan, with their frank, wide eyes of gold and bronze; the thimlble-wveed, with its terminal greenish white b)los- sorms and stiff thyrsus-like thimbles of green thrust from and over the surrounding briers and weeds; and the lacy white of the wild-carrot together with the bugled scarlet of the trunmpet-vine, make a perfect riot of 7 Nature-Notes color in an angle of an old worm- fence separating a bit of fallow-field from a bit of sown, wherein a bob- white keeps calling; repeatedly tying, as it were, with a thread of three notes, the stillness and the heat: the first two, soft, careful, and prelimi- nary; the last one, whipped out em- phatically, straight as a thread thrust through the eye of a needle, complet- ing and forming the final knot to its own satisfaction and that also of the listening summer day. Across a wooded vista a red-bird suddenly wings. Its flight is as the swift unfurling of a ribbon of living crimson uniting tree to tree, with a bright bowknot of silken song at either end. In the careless shadow of a flower- ing tree she sat - a witch whiter than a windflower. Her song was all of poison, - hemlock, - the squeez- 8 Nature-Notes ing of the dark juice through white fingers. A sound as of owlet wings kept time to her wild singing. At her feet lay a youth with closed eyes, whose lips and forehead she kissed repeatedly, each kiss leaving a mark as of a serpent's fang. He was dead, and yet he seemed to live, his heart and soul, through her kisses, ashes and dust within him. His face was pinched into smiles that were not smiles. She laughed, and be- neath her laugh the monkshood and nightshade covered themselves with poison-dripping blossoms, and the wild-rose was slimed with snails. The spirits of the tempest advance their embattled hosts, thunderous rank on rank, black with their shields of midnight. Beneath the flashings of their terrible helmets and the hiss- ing and rebounding rain of their 9 Nature-Notes arrows, the hills lift tip their writhing arms of trees, and the river, foaming with fear, hurls itself headlong at its banks. Twilight with her dusky locks binds up the beautiful eyes of day, whose head she pillows on flaming flowers, -tulip and poppy and rose. Her voice is plaintive as echo's amid the rocks where sleeping waves in dull green mantles lie beneath the cav- erned cliff; or billows climb, white- shouldered, with long fingers of foam. Here are passion-flowers, purple of heart, bearing the cross, as it were, of some stainless flower-creed; acacias, too, spotless as the angel innocence of a babe, and expressing in fragrance what the poet thinks but cannot say. IO Nature-Notes The roar of winter through the palsied oaks, XWvind-tortured on the withered fields, Is as the sound of giant chariot spokes, And clashing of innumerable shields. I 'ye wooed soft sleep all night, Clothed in her mantle white And dim as rain; I Ive lain all night and wept For death, who past me crept, To still this pain, Heart's pain, but all in vain. Why cam'st thou not. 0 death Why cam'st thou not, 0 sleep Death's brother, calm of breath, For whom I keep Vigil the long night through: At last the day breaks blue And dim the dawn. Would that you yet might hear, And hearing me. draw near Ere nighlt be gone. I I Nature-Notes The night is wild; the bitter blasts sweep by; The shrouded snows with ghostly fingers beat The shuddering casements, and the candle flame Seems fluttered of phantom lips whose kiss is death. Next to children, birds and flowers are the most beautiful gifts of God. A treasure seems concealed here where the moss is damp and deep, and the golden blossoms of the crow- foot and the wood-sorrel are spilled like little yellow coins. As I reached up among the blos- soming clusters of the elder copse, was it a faun concealed in the boscage who blinded me with a storm of white stars showered into my face, or was it merely the wind that passed, low laughing to itself, and whispering of I2 Nature-Notes forgotten things, lost long ago, and living now only in the land of dreams and song-- With its helm of silver and spur of gold A fairy knight is the toad-flax bold, Who takes this form to mortal eves, The form of a flover of golden dyes. By the willow copse near the river shore, Where the white waves hush their splash and roar, With an idle sail and an idle oar I seemed to drift into other streams, Borne on by the sleepy current of dreams. O wilding of the young, young June, That this old rock holds fast. Thy day is done too soon, too soon, Too beautiful to last. Water lily, do the Nisses weave from you their nuptial raiment of white Or does the enamoured '3 Nature-Notes Necken pluck you for his hair to lure some maiden mortal to his arms Or the mermaid dew you with her tears when lamenting that she cannot be redeemed Speak! and with your white, sweet lips now tell me! I know the young Nisses weep because they cannot be saved. Often do I fancy them as seated on your broad green pads, harping and singing sad songs of sad mortality in the light of the setting moon, the vibrant silver of their strings and the hollow gold of their harps sobbing like some wild bird in the silence of the night. And often have you bent your pensive head in helpless meekness, making yourself a bud again, closing the wildness of their music into the imprisoning petals of your beautiful bosom, to give it forth again in perfume. When all the orchards faded lie, When roses drop and lilies die, I4 Nature-Notes WXhen fall's full moon makes deep the sky, Lay me asleep, AWrhere breezes bend the sighing trees, Lay me asleep. \When all the (lusty autumn (lay Is hear(d the locust's roundelay, And, dropping leaves, the tree-tops sway And wvildflowvers there, :Beneath the wildflowers let me rest, The wildflowers there. Let not thy hand disturb the grass To plant an alien flower there; Let those wild infants, free as fair, Above me, sleeping, bloom and pass, Forgotten die, Forgotten as myself, alas! Who 'neath them lie. Gems and crystals lay scattered around him, on marble the color of fire: sea-green chrysoprase and co- palite from Zanzibar; spar the color of amber; alexandrines - green by (lay, by night purple or crimson - I5 Nature-Notes from the Urals; iron, with red streaks of jasper through it; lapis- lazuli and chrysoberyl; fluorspar crystals, white, amethystine, pink and green; cairngorms, dark and clear as an Ethiope's eye; topazes, smoky and blue and wine-colored; and heaped high amid them, like violets smothered under the snows of spring, great sapphires mingled and mixed with the milky fire of many opals. The great stars wax and wane, and the moon rises over gull-haunted crags, honeycombed with caves, in whose dark crevices the yellow mol- lusks cling like ingots of gold, and upon whose floors of green the red coral is strewn like branches of bleed- ing ruby. I cannot help admiring the great gray hawk. How bold, how bright, Nature-Notes how swift he is! Let himi but show his shadow and the shrieking lhens scatter, flying to cover; and the blood-red cock, that braggart of the barn-yard, hides his proud crest in fear. To-clay I found a flower unknown to nie, -a flower white as a pearl and spotted with crimson, as if some wild bird, stabbed with a thorn. had breathed its small life out upon the altar of its loveliness. The moon is a lemon petal, And the west a wild-rose red, And the twilight twines her dusky locks With lily-like stars o'erhead. Deep down, deep down, deep, deep, deep! Follow us! come with us! - See how we leap! Daughters of TEger, veiled white with the spray, Beckoninig, calling you. Oh, come away! 2 I7 Nature-Notes Children of Earth, come hither, where Awe Dwell in Ran's realms of cerulean hue: NVkhere through her caverns of green and of blue Echo our songs, our songs of the sea, Dirging the dead, the sailors who sleep Deep down, deep (down, deep, deep dleep! Come, where the dulse and the nautilus cling! Come away, come away, here where we sing! Where of your eyes we will fashion pale homes, Hollow, for pearls and the glimmering foams. The pale-haired Waves and the white-veiled Billows, daughters of Ran, hurry to meet SFger, King of Ocean, in his helmet of terrifying darkness, amid the roaring reefs and booming breakers. The (lenons of the deep, armored and helmeted with mist, swarm from the caves of the cliffs, howling to the legions of the I8 Nature-Notes storm, driving some vessel, helpless and tattered of sail, toward thlem. Come, kiss me, beautiful Death, And lull me with thy wings; Breathfe on me with thly breathi, And', touch my soul with things Unknown of life. Imbne My hotly with thy dew And hear me far away into a (leeper dawn Than lights life's shadowy lawn, Some fairer break-of-day. Life's sickness, long and old, Cure in me; everything: Life's greed for fame and gold And love and suffering. Yea, I am young and fair! Come, take me by the hair And kiss me on the eves; Then bear me through the deep, As thy brotlher, dream-tossed Sleep, Hatlh borne me loving-wise. I9 Natu re-Notes The new moon is the golden battle- how of a sylph; the evening star is the arrow with which it pierces the sunset. I saw the Spirits of Day and of Darkness meet. Whiter than the bloom of crystal were his cheeks; and hers, a hectic flush that seemed the reflection of some inward fire, like the scarlet of the autumn woods. To grace her drowsy head he wove for her a chaplet of poppied clouds. Cheerily rang the bugle horn, Cheerily through the wood, For the ten-tined buck by the hunt out- worn At bay 'neath the old oak stood. The morn, like some blear-eyed beggar, came trailing her tatters in, streaming with vapor, dark and dis- 20 Nature-Notes mal, her sodden hair blinding lher eyes. The noon was clear; but now, as the sun sinks, the broadening black of one tremendous cloud breaks into peaks, creviced and ravined and rn-- ered with burning gold, cascading an(d circling and cleaving their crags of storm. The thunder seems the sound of its mighty flowing. Nearer and nearer the blue lines of the rain shadow and streak the woods, the hills, and the heavens. Now they plunge, big-dropped, crackling, and resilient, clamoring on the reverber- ating stones; so thin the film of spray of the shattered drops that the white- tufted dandelion loses not one light seed in the shelter of this rock, where. like a host of fairy helmns, the rose bush bristles against the rain a myriad green buds. Again, and vet again, the thunder, breaking, travels ponderously along the clouds, the 21 Nature-Notes gray-steel flash of the lightning like a torch before its rolling chariot. And now yon crystal mount of clouds Silvers with light as 't were of wings, Whose base the thunder's blackness shrouds, While to its summit brightness clings. Along the vest, flashed through the dun, Leaping, the angled lightnings fly, Cleaving the deeps, where thunders run Like mountain torrents down the sky. Out of it rises, partly hid, A cloud, rose-spar, all fair of form, Like some sky-pointed pyramid, Or pillar of light, above the storm. MIAY 23, I885; 6 P. M. The broad Ohio's darkening stream Seems now as still as liquid glass, In which the bridge's pillars dream Unwavering where the still waves pass. 22 Nature-Notes The shattered thunder fragments fly; One cloud alone makes dark the west, Low stooping to the evening sky, A champion with a burning crest: Throtugh whose mailed breast of darkness dim And ragged rents of vapors deep, The sun sweeps lances, long and slim, Of flame that fall on vale and steep. Through stratas torn of windy rack Full flashes now its crimson star, Blazing blood-red through stormy black And bronze of tempest scattered far. MAY 23, 1885; 6.30 P. M. O wind of eve, what spices, steeped In some more aromatic clime, Thou breathest, -as from islands reaped Of Summer, over seas of thyme. Thou bearest odor on thy breath Fresh as the scent of ocean's waves; Cool as if thou hadst lain beneath, All day, in dark and crystal caves. 23 Nature-Notes Night conies, with sparkling fireflies Like jewels tangled in hier hair, And all around her perfumes rise Of rain, as 't were dim spirits there. To-day I am like one drifting, drift- ing, and beholding, as in a dream, never nearer, never farther away. a line of dim shore, cliffed and pined and cascacled, against the sunset's luminous seas. When eve casts on the day's dark bier The rhododendrons of her light, And trims her stars, like tapers clear, At feet and head, how fair is night. To-day I have learned with Keats heart's lighltness from the merri- ment " of late summer, instead of " Alay," and wandered with Shake- sDeare Over hill, over (lale, Thorough bush, thorough brier," 24 Nature-Notes an-d seen many things that the ordi- nary eve would refuse to consider: the Clhickasaw plum, red as the cheek of an Oreaci; the jellied spawn of the frog in a pond, a flaccid white blotched with black like the freckled face of Caliban; mushrooms, low and lean- ing, Puck's own footstools; rocks, green with lichen, carved of the rain and frost and heat into fantastic shapes as of rebeck and of rose, fairer to my eyes than any tepll)led frieze of ol01 Greece, where the Amazons and Ilacchantes still seem to live in marble; lethargic pawpaws, rotund an(l jolly as the bottle-belly of old Silenus; and blackherry-lilies, freaked and streaked with rose and ruby, like the hood of Ariel; mornin(g- glories, azure and crimson and crys- tal, finely fragile, and hung up like the petticoats of the fays, the fairies' own laundry, at the entrance to the wood, that holds in its green heart 25 Nature-Notes many a woodland spring, like a pure thought, framed in with rocks and ferns, - the secret mirrors of glim- mering shapes, the sylvan spirits of the solitude. O my Kentucky, forest old! Where Beauty dwells, the stalwart child Of Love and Life, where I behold The dreams still glow that long beguiled The marble and the bronze of men, WVhose Art made fair the world of ol0(, Yet never held, of classic ken, A form like thine which I would mould. Around me now I turn and gaze: The earth is green; the heaven is clear: Where smile the stars, or bloom the days More absolutely fair than here! Young still is she, and fresh as morn, Standing her sister States among; AhM would I were a poet born, To sing her as she should be sung! 26 Nature-Notes Bidding her keep beneath her heel The Ilust for wsealth, wrong s iron crown; Her pioneer pride, a shield of steel, A buckler that no foe may down. Sister to Hospitality! Mnother of Lincoln and of Clay! Make thyself worthy still to be Mother of men as great as they. Mi'other of loves and hopes that dare; Of dreams and deeds that sing and toil, Whose hands are open as the air, WVhose honor none on earth may soil! Let mightier dreams be thine! arise! Let all the world behold thee set A constellation in the skies Where all thy sister Stars are met! 1s85. The noisome hollow of the wood was fetid with toadstools. The trees where crippled and swollen with wormy o- Cgalls, and twisted like tor- tured things with disease, and dis- 27 Natu re-Notes torted with huge fungous growths. Nearby, surrounded with such trees, a rushless and reedless pool lay stag- nant and sullen in the sun, where toads and newts and water-snakes abounded, breeding in the rankness of its slime and ooze. The horrible hillside, rising from the pool, was smothered with thistle and nettle and burdock and the evil-smelling jimson- weed; one wild-rose bush eked out a sickly existence amid this army of evils, its stems and leaves leprous with the mining larvae, and labyrinthed with the web-white trails of the red spider. By the side of the pool, in the shadow of the rose-bush, like some lean yellow spider, or obscene larva, sat a man, hideous and old, with long, straggly gray beard and bristling eyebrows, through which his small eyes glittered like a snake's. Hatless and perfectly bald he sat, -a mirth- less, a cruel smile, repugnant and un- 28 Nature-Notes changing, wvreathing his ws rinkled face, -vatching a viper dev our a toa(l. A distant river glimpsed through deep- leaved trees. A field of fragment flint, blue, gray, and red. Rocks overgrown with twigs of trailing v ines Thick-hung with clusters of the green wvild-grape. Old clhestnut groves the haunt of drowsy cows, Full-niddered kine chewing a sleepy cud; Or, at the gate, around the dripping trotlgh, Docile and lowing, waiting the milking- time. Lanes ,where the wild-rose blooms, mur- murous with bees, The bunmble-bee tumbling their frowsy heads, Rumnbling and raging in the bell-flower's bells, Drunken with honey, singing himself asleep. 29 Nature-Notes Ol( in romance a shadowy belt of vooo(s. A house, wide-porche(d, before which sweeps a lawn Gray-holed with beeches and where elder bloonis. And on the lawn, whiter of hand than II) ilk, And sweeter of breath than is the elder hi ooni, A wonman with a wild-rose in her hair. I-To) longI she had waited! It seemed ages since that nmorn, blood- shot of eye, arose from the couch of old Tithonos, and she, with kindred eyes of sleepless hours and tears, arose from Mark's hated side. From her casement she sees the castle lake, lilied and fountained, and far bevond the moated walls the for- ested mountains where Tristram, it is whispered, runs naked, a madman amid swvineherds. Now sinks the sadder eve, blood- 30 Nature-Notes slhot of gaze as morn, over the shadowy bier of (lay l)owing lher mel- anIclholy star. And so o'er their (lead past her sorrowing fancy b)ends, lit wvith the light of tearful eves. Tris- tramn naked and lost among vile men aflnd b)arren. hills and savage \voodis. Why could she not die! Yes, she woul(l die! To-morrow should not gaze upon her misery the mutisery of Isoud the Beautiful! hly halacd Godl cursed her w-ith this great. this sinful love Yes, she -woull die. Morn would find her dleadl - morn that she loved, - the fresh and radiant morn ! Ah ! she would miss the oxen's far-off low; the smell of early meadows teclcled andl decl) with hay ; the cock's clear clarion. call; and under the caved cottage thatch, as often she and Tris- train rode afield, the twitterin- of sparrows. And, sighing, from, the windowv slow she turned, and took 31 Nature-Notes her lute; touching its strings, she sang: "No more for me shall gray-robed Dawn look through Heaven's windows of the fog, or rain, or dew, The maiden Dawn with eyes of beautiful blue." I saw sweet Summer go Into a woo(lland green, Unto a sliding stream, A drowsy water; With cheeks of sunset glow Dreaming she seemed to lean, Dreaming a wild-wood dream, The wood's wild daughter. She seemed to smile, then weep, Then lift, then bow her head, Deep with its golden hair, Sad as some maiden XWho loveless falls asleep, Her eyes to sorrow wed, Her cheeks as wild flowers fair With dewdrops laden. 32 Nature-Notes I heard the streanilet moan; I heard the wood-wind wvail; I heard the forest sob: Sumnier is (lying! " WXhiter she lay than stone, And (lown each dell ancl dale I heard the wild heart-throb Of Nature sighing: - Come back! -Oh, art thou (lead, Thou, thou mny sweetest chilid Come back w-ith all thy flowers! But naught she heeded. Lvino with wvild-flowered head In beauty undefiled, WVhile 'round her sad the Hours Bowed down and pleaded. Then throtglh the woo(lland there, With ribbons flying gay, Mocking at Summer's death With laughter hollow, Tossing her gipsy hair, In Romany array, Autumn. all wild of breath, Cried, " Follow ! follow! 3 33 Nature-Notes Is it an iron harp smitten of iron hands or only the winter wind in the palsied and ancient oaks, Lear-like, that toss their hoary arms on the withered hills All day, all night, I hear them, rustling, warrinr, sigh- ing or roaring with the wind, their few last, brown leaves beating their frantic tatters to and fro. The sound of their shriveled sorrow will not let me sleep. An ancient agony seems theirs, older than that which wrings the hearts of mortals. When the jeweled lights of the fireflies gleam In fairy revelry; When the waning moon on the forest stream Looks (own, I love to sit and dream, To dream her again with me. We speak of the past; of the things once said; Of the happiness long gone by; 34 Nature-Notes \NV-lide one blue star burns brighlit over- head:- For sweet it is to talk with the (lead, The (leadl that do not die. \Nitlh the deadl that are never far away, That are even as yonder star, WXhuose light the darkness, ray on ray, Makes visible, viewless all the day Tlhou gh shining still afar. Like a lonely beautiful flo-wer wvild InI the limnitless ian(ls of space, That star is, blossoming undefiled; iMore beautiful for that loneness, mild It shines on my upturned face. 'Mid the fairy lights of the fireflies, In the light of the waning moon, Born of the grief that never (lies, Into my eyes gaze her dark eyes, The eyes death closed last June. And I hear her speak, and I hear her sighl:- For, the (lead - they never forget: Around my heart her white hands lie, And she kisses my face and asks me why .Iy cheeks Nvith. tears are wet. 35 Nature-Notes And as in life I clasp her and hold, And meseems it is no dream - That here we meet, as oft of old, When the lights of the fireflies' lamps gleam gold, In the trysting place by the stream. On autumn eves in the beautiful Indian Summer, sitting wrapt in con- templation of the sunset, the world seems compact of imagination. As the fancy bodies forth, thought gives substance to things, and unrolling the Nubian curtains of night, behold, it is not the sunset that I see, but a sea of gold dotted with islands vermilion as the continents of Mars; their bowers and streams burning rose and pearl, among and beside which, robed in shadowy silver, sylphid shapes wander, - spirits, naked and beau- tiful as stars, flashing flame-like from the caverns of purple-pinnacled peaks, or leaning from the battle- 36 Nature-Notes mented blue of ethereal cities. Changing, ever changing, now, be- hold, it is some mainland of isolated heaven, moving in mirage, forested with trees of ruby and silver, oozing and weeping gold and amber into lakes and rivers of gold, from whose crimson banks bronzed sav- ages launch a crescent canoe. Sleep came to me distilling dews of dreams, within whose diamond spheres an ethereal world lay of thought and scene. Methought that I xvas dead; that I wvas drowned; and, in a cavern vaster and bluer than night, before a shadowy presence of hoary foam and weedy shell, the pres- ence of that Ancient of the Sea, I stood.; the shadow of whose sceptre huge, a rib of cloudy pearl, lay white upon me. Around him circled and sang the mermaids, chanting that song whose mystery fills - old and 37 Nature-Notes unchanging - the mouths of the murmiur-haaunted shells of ocean. And, behold! I heard a mermaid tell in song, standing before that throned and ancient presence, how she had stolen and taken on the beauty and the likeness of a mortal maiden and lured with these the maiden's lover to save her apparently from the sea, dragging him down into its green depths. And at the Ancient's feet she laid a body, -wan-faced with wide and ghastly eyes. I looked upon the face --and, lo! the face was mine. Here follows the synopsis of a poem that was partly completed and afterwards destroyed: The gathering gloom of the sea; the revels of Storm and Tempest; the dancing of the winds with the daugh- ters of AEger, the waves, by the wild 38 Nature-Notes torches of the lightning. In the midst of it all, illuminated by the phosphor- escent o-lowv of mountainous waters, a barque is discovered, torn of sail, dlriving rudderless towards, and crashing thunderously upon opposing cliffs of granite, an island in a white whirl of boomning surf. The vessel, overxvhelned and engulfed, is borne down, down, down into the wild waters by the daughters of iEger, to be plunged among the piled-up wrecks in the treasure caves of the Sea King. Dawn. Near the shore of a trop- ical island a youth lies, awaking slowly from a swoon. His despair on finding himself the sole survivor of the vessel, and cast on a desert island. Wearily, in search of food, he wanders inland. Coming upon what seems to him a beautiful lake, but which is really the crater of an extinct volcano filled with the sea and 39 Nature-Notes connecting with the sea, he seats him- self despondently beside it, lamenting his fate. A mermaid rises. Appar- ently all unconscious of his presence she proceeds to comb her hair, richly auburn as the auburn seaweed, with a comb of pearl, singing a song all the while such as only the shells and the caves of the deep have ever heard before. She sings of the bliss that is in store for all mortals who, weary of life in the world of earth and air, visit the world of waters, and become vassals of the Sea King, deep down in his wonder caves of coral and of crystal. In the ecstasy of the mo- ment, dazed as it were by her chant- ing, the youth extends her his hand. It is seized instantly in a grasp that he cannot resist even if he desired to; and the creature, changing her song from one of love-longing to one of triumph, drags him, still unresist- ing, fathoms deep, into the emerald 40 Natu re-Notes waters, casting him senseless upon the silvery sands of a coral cavern. The green glimmer of the sea-cave, broken here and there with purple blurs and shafts of light, on his awak- ening, shows him-i where, at the far end of the mnighty cavern, on a vast throne of piled-up, wave-welded gold and gemns, treasures of wrecked ships, mningled with the skulls and bones of dro(oned men, looms a shadowy pres- ence, weed-bearded and hoary with shells and pearls, crowned with a crown of ore set round, like gems, with the eves of the drowned; his sceptre, a broken and mighty anchor of iron and gold. Combing their long locks and circling around him, manv mermaids sing. Vast bulks, whales, cuttlefish, and sea-serpents, amorphous monsters of the deep, herds of ocean, pass and repass, driven of mermen from pasture to 41 Nature-Notes pasture of the underworld of waters. Storm and Tempest, chained and manacled with adamantine chains, lie restlessly beneath his throne. Standinc before this terrible pres- ence the youth begs that his love, lost in the wreck of yesterday, be returned to him. The King prom- ises that she will be restored on one condition - that they remain his sub- jects forever beneath the sea. He consents. His love is brought to him by a mermaid. Pale as a pearl she stands before him, her beauty over- shadowing even the beauty of the mermaicls. Gathering gradually, far above, a muttering is heard; a calling, as it were, to the over-deeps. Storm and Tempest rise on their hideous feet, shaking their tremendous chains. Mournful echoes, wave-like and wind- 42 Nature-Notes like, sigh throu-h the glimmering cavern, labyrinthed like a shell: a far, wild sound as of a voice, sono- rous and deep as thunder, calling and summoning Storm and Tempest to rise. They strain at their huge gyves, howling to be set free. Ager snites themn mightily down, again and yet again, with his terrible sceI)tre of gold and iron. The voice above seems multiplied into myriad voices, pleading, insistent, importu- nate. Storm and Tempest rend their chains asunder; the cavern is lashed into furious foam, and the throne is lost in whirling and overwhelming waxters. Storm and Tempest reign supreme 'mid darkness and foam and thunder. The lovers borne on the backs of the billows are cast, clasped in each other's arms, naked and cold in death, on the shores of the desert island. 43 Nature-Notes Thus in the dusk as ghosts they met, Culling the pansy-violet, The violet of sweet regret And memory, dim and dewy wet. These are not bees, my child, but fairies disguised, seeking the souls of little children in the cups of the wild flowers. There it was, closed in the bud of a wild rose, that they found thine. Therefore is it that thou art so fair and sunny and fragrant and pink. See, as this sweet bud closes in all its perfume, so does thy love- liness contain thy innocence. In dimly lighted cloisters of the heart I met with one whose face was like to thine, The ghost-face of the love that once I wronged. All day the world has swooned with heat. Now, shaking back his 44 Nature-Notes raven locks of storm, lit with the lightning of terrific eyes, comes on the storm. Amid the summer fields and flowers, Let us be children for a dJay. Where laughter speeds the joyful hours And drives dull care away. Keep thou my face engraven in thine heart, Now that we part; Forget me not; or if thou (lost forget Hold me to blame, Who leave thee now, without one heart's regret, Forgotten even thy name. One milk-white hand she stretched to me, My heart sobbed, " 0 beware! But both my arms reached out to her Despite my soul's despair. 45 I887-IR9O H ER soul, after a night of tears, is like a butterfly after a night of rain: at- tempting to fly, little bly little, to rise to the blossoms, the joys above it, as the sun, the xvarmth of affection, dries the moisture on its wings. Now, that the dawn is up, is tup, And your vine drips dewy with cup on cup, Lean out, lean out, rare Marguerite, Lean out of your window over the street, W7here Love stands waiting, sweet, for you, Like a rose 'mnid roses wet with dew. Joy, shaking his chubby sides, in a dewdrop of the dawning, laughs at me out of the wild-rose blossoms. 46 Nature-Notes From the tears of Cypris (Aphro- dite), when she wept over dead Adonis, Ts)ran, the purple wvind- flovwer: and from the tears of love miourning over loss spring the fair- est flowers of poesy. Dark wvoodllan(l ways of drowsy rustlings WNlhere, in the road, the clay-red nodules lie; And where the wild grape, green wvith clusters, sNwincgs, Dimmer than rain, the cool noon hours steal by. The thunder boomed from cloudy ridge to ridge, Trailig, the terror of sonorous arms; MakIanig the lightning for his wrath a bridge, Planting his banners on the heights of storms. 47 Nature-Notes Who now hath understood, Whose art may ever reach The velvet blush of the bud, The velvet bloom of the peach High tup she glides, high up, the quartz- white moon, Tipping the mountains with exultant fire, And in her light each pine becomes a lyre, And every wind an Oread-whispered tune. The hope, the hate, the bitterness of love WVere in her eyes that levelly looked at me, While th' rebel blood went storming up her cheek. Devil anal angel was she in a breath, Cursing and kissing me whom she swished dead. Barbaric burgonets, heavy with gems, And armor wrought of wondrous alchemy, The Spirits of the sunset don, and sweep, Vast, cloudy-charioted, along the skies. Some demon, hidden in the arras, shakes its figured folds; I seem to see 48 Nature-Notes his narrow eyes, two slits of cat-like flame, glaring -or is it the sunset raying a rent with gold Thou lhast no thought for one who walks 'mid flowers, Whiling away the humming-bird-like hours, Nay, nay, not thou! Nor think I now of thee who sittest where The vine leaves wreathe thy beautiful brow and hair, Forgotten now. The fragrance of a dead flower fills this dingle of the forest as the fra- grant memory of some beautiful girl, long deac, haunts some old room. WVait a while and we may see its es- sence take form, as a spirit takes form in the twilight of a haunted chamnber. 4 49 Nature-Notes The pink-blossomed wild mint, hot and pungent as the breath of an oriental harem, and the chicory, odor- less blue, paint with patches of oppos- ing color the sparsely treed hillside, whose thin grass, especially around the old and blackened stumps, is hot with the sunlight and the oily-smell- ing pennyroyal. The September heaven is a vast, a fleckless chicory blossom; a deep and cloudless azure. The bronze-tinted, amber-emerald blur of shadowy daylight that strikes upon and shimmers through the tall, tufted grass of the fallow, mingled with the gold-green )uddled masses of the goldenrod, is like the light that shines unearthly through some strange, some wonderful crystal, smoky gold and green, cairngorm and chrysoberyl: a vitreous, lunar light like that, I imagine, which glimmers 50 Nature-Notes eerily over the \World of Faerv, the Land of Gnomes, where forever on the twilighted hills, swiftly and sound- lessly, whirls an-d circles the never- endiii-g d-ance. The gerardia, frailly hrung with its harebell-like blossoms, delicately pink, seems to me too slight a flower for the chill winds of these October days; too slender a life to withstand the icV dews and mists that whiten and drench these October nighlts. It reminds me of some w-omen, who., slight and delicate, yet are able to stand more than those their sisters who are stouiter and seemingly stronger. Thou art to me the whole of heaven, Its sun, its stars. its ololen moon; Thou art to me as music given, As song that holds the world in tune. 5' Nature-Notes Two unshed tears made beautiful her eyes Lighting their liquid turquoise sorrowful; Yet was she false, in spite of all her tears, And with sin pregnant as the seeds of hell. How shall I describe the sunset at which I am now looking The clouds, broken and black, are ragged rocks veined here and there with molten and running ore, pooling golden in glittering crevices and edging with ingot flame their opaque darkness. A gerfalcon, peregrine falcon, and tiercelet were usually borne with jesses or leather thongs about the legs; sometimes with a hood and bell. They were then jessed, hooded, and belled. When feeding the hawks were "at prey." The lure was a bunch of feathers toward which the bird was taught to return. It was the custom to slip over the claws of 52 Nature-Notes the youngl birds a gold or silver ring which could not afterwards be removed. Thou art the wild falcon of my heart. An untamed eyas, unjessed, unhooded, rebellious. Oh, could I but slip the golden ring. coercing. binding, compelling, upon thy hand, then might I tame thee, wild falcon of my heart! The bar-lachii is a loadstone with which, the gypsies say, one miay work charms when one knows how to make use of it. Give a woman a pinch of it, -rate(l, in a glass of water and she will not be able to resist Vou. Now will I make intimates of the gypsies, and with their assistance seek out this loaldstone. Thou shalt yet come to love me as no woman has ever loved before - and I - I will ruin and cast thee aside. Mav God have merc y upon tlhee, for I will have none. 53 Nature-Notes All day I have wandered in the woods seeing but two birds; only two birds. Surely these beech trees, boun- tiful and beautiful granaries of the birds, with arms so full and so abundantly bestowing, should lure myriads into these woods. Is that a fragment of the western glow -or only the orange berries of the bittersweet, whose pods imprison the scarlet of autumnal sunsets Oh, for the gods of the Greeks, The oaks of Dodona! For the wvhite-bosomed gods of the Greeks! The gods whom my fancy seeks 'Mid these woods whence is blown a Murmur of Naiad creeks;- Here where this old oak speaks, To my soul, like a god of the Greeks, An oak of Dodona! Holw often in the old garden, grandmother's garden of oldfash- 54 Nature-Notes ioned flowers, have you come upon a clove-pink, a clump of heliotrope, a verbena or petunia, the pungent per- fume of wIich excited a hunger, as it were, a desire not only to smell lbut to taste -to test its quality of flavor! A langutid land of lazy moons audi stars I wander in. watchinig the ripple bars Rocking the hyacinths and. nentuplhars. The haymakers' sickles Flash wet on the leas; The wild honey trickles From tops of the trees, The noon is a poppy, the winds are its bees. She whom I loved too well, Crowned xwith the pomegranate bell Sits empress 1oW in Hell; And there My soul sits by her, kissing her eyes and hair. 55 Nature-Notes Tell me, (1o you love to lie With the dipping boughs above you, Where blue glimpses of the sky Greet you like the eyes that love you The dim dawn broke with driz- zling rain. The bleached sunflower, weighed heavily with the wet, rot- ting in the autumn gai den, held up by a morning-glory vine, blue with blossoms and hung thick with the dangling aiglets of its seeds, re- minded me of decrepit old age sup- ported by sturdy youth. What gladness of the young, young Earth Conceived the lily and rose What sweetness of her soul's deep thought Into their fragrance flows Maid Marian rose in the morn betime, Looked in her glass and hummed a rhymrie. I saw her walk by the blossoming bean Blusked in a gown of hombazine. 56 Nature-Notes Look at me over your shoulder, lass, As you (often look in your looking-glass, An(1 trill to me that merry rhlvmne That rhyme of love and the glad spring- time, WN7ith a fol-de-rol-de-rey oh! Oh, could I only grieve you, And grieve you more and more! I who no miore believe you, You, falser than before! A1h could I but deceive yoti, You. whom I still adore! Oh! ws-ould I were a bee, my love, And you a wild-rose tree, my love, I 'd sip the sweets I see, my love, And be no longer poor. WRhen apple buds are breaking, And wxin1s with musk o'erflow; When wren and thrush are making Sweet song where'er we go, The kiss I '11 then be taking Is the kiss that still you owe. 57 Nature-Notes You who would not have me Now may not save me; Now you pursue me, I will not wloo) thee: Loeve is grown cold; Love is grown old. Dim gleam and gloom And breezy boom Of wild bees in the mustard bloom Swoon through the windows of my room, As if the young Spring trailed her raiment of perfume Through the old house, rustling from room to room. Along the west a cloud-wrought crimson cloth The curtained sunset draws, to which one star Clings, fluttering silver, like a glimmering moth, Pale and crepuscular. 58 Nature-Notes WN1hat voice is that which wanders in the woo(l Is it tihe Twilight murmuring to the hills Or, wrapped in mystery of the solitude, The far-off whippoorw ills With mny whole soul to the soul of her whose perfection I know that I know not, only knowing that I love her more than I do miy own soul, I strive to attain to a knowledge of what she is-tthe unattainable, the divinely beautiful. What of the sea when the storm clouds thicken What of the soul when its loved hopes sicken Look in iny eves and tell me this - Wrhat of our lives when our hearts are stricken, Given andc taken our love's last kiss 59 Nature-Notes Between the meads of millet The soft wind breathes and blows; Between the meads of millet I kissed her mouth's warm rose, And on her hand I placed the band, Where all my future glows. The Khalif appeared preceded by nearly a hundred eunuchs with drawn swords, and compassed about with a score of damsels, as they were moons about a sun, holding each a lighted flambeau; on each one's head glimmered a crown set with rubies. AMesrour, Afif, and Wesif went before him. Shemsennehar and her damsels rose to receive him. Clapping her hands, slaves with lighted flambeaux and perfumes and essences and instruments of music entered, and Gheram, the sweetest lutanist of them all, smote her lute, singing like a bulbul in the Vale of Cashmere. 6o Nature-Notes A table of juniper inlaid with gems and pearls was set with dishes of silver full of all manner of meats. The table removed, they washed their hands in rose-water, brought l)y waiting women in castingbottles of mother-of-pearl, from which they sp)rinlkled them, perfumiing themn then with aloes and ambergris and other perfumnes from swvinging censers of filigree silver. After which were placed before thenm dishes of graven gold, contain- ing all manner of sherbets, fruits, and confections; and a slave brought a flagon of cornelian full of wine of Shiri'tz. After which they retired to a chamber vaulted on four pillars, as it were the pavilion of Paradise, where ten hlandmaids and ten singing women awaited them, high-bosomed, of an equal age, swith dark and lan- guorous eves, cheeks like blood-red anemones, and skin like the bloom of 6i Nature-Notes fragrant camomile, joined eyebrows, and hands stained with henna; and these, fair as houris, played and sang and recited verses. Shemserinehar, scarved with the luxuriance of her dark hair and dressed in a blue robe and a veil of silk embroidered with gold and jewels, about her waist a girdle set with various kinds of precious stones, lay under a canopy of peacock plumes on a couch strewn with roses of Rock- nabad. IHTer words were more en- scorcelling than Harout and Mlarout (two fallen angels employed to tempt men by teaching them the art of magic). And the play of her glances more misleading than Tahhout (an idol of the Arabs before M-1oham- med). And hearkening her words and gazing into her eyes Haroun reclined near her on a mattress of satin embroidered both sides with gold and quilted with Irak silk; 62 Nature-Notes under his head a pillow stuffed with ostrich down. Eves wdere hers pure as crystal drops, and clear as the topaz-colored pools of October forests. Her eyes were dark with the darkness of hell And sweet with the sweetness of sin, And I was a dream of love, they tell, To her eyes that entered in. Was it Demosthenes who said: "You write; the scroll remains: Think, student, what 's to come Whould that more writers of the pres- ent day would remember this when they set pen to paper,-nmyself, for instance. 63 Nature-Notes Night came, treading the darkness into burning stars, And in my heart waking again old wars. The shadow of the past lay on my mind's sick gloom As on a waste the shadow of a tomb. Here among the autumn fields the stubble, between the tent-like shocks of corn, is strewn with pumpkins, a golden yellow; as if some army, in- conceivably rich, had, before depart- ing, bombarded this particular spot, leaving the ground strewn thick with great balls and shells of gold. All day the great, gaunt cactus, bristling with thorns, blazed its blood- red blossoms; all night the cereus, trailing over the rocks, orbed its pale and fragrant moons; and day and night, like lost souls, we wandered weeping among them. 64 Nature-Notes On the sunset's cloudy tide Triremes of the storm did sit, All their hundred ports flung wide With wild battle lanterns lit. Looking into her eyes he said: The materials of my life, too, for the past few years would make mat- ter for a tragedy, a soul's tragedy, un- speakably sad, sadder even than yours. For what agonizes more than the knowledge that you cannot obtain that which you would obtain That effort avails not That work is not rewarded with success " I often ask myself, 'Will fortune never come with both hands full, But write her fair words still in foulest letters ' "However, let me still go on dreaming; searching for the philos- opher's stone of success: the powder 5 65 Nature-Notes of projection; elixir vitae: attempt- ing still the transmutation of mental metals, thoughts that seemingly have no value, through spiritual alembics, cucurbites and pelicans of language and expression, like Albertus Mag- nus of old." The buckbush now is covered with cranberry-colored berries. The bind- weed with small blue conical blos- soms. From the marshes rise the seal-brown spear-heads of the cat- tails; and the herb-Robert tinges with bluish red the autumn hill- side. Overhead the morning widens, pearly-pink, like some gigantic mus- sel-shell, slowly opening, showing be- tween its luminous valves the sun like a huge red pearl. How correct is the fire of the stars; the crow of a cock; the color and the 66 Nature-Notes shape of a flower. How accurate Nature is. How punctual in timing the appearance of a flower or a star. As regular as the beating of her own great heart. Poetry is the rhythmical expres- sion of the relation of the ideal, which is the beautiful, to the actual. And here in the April woods what poetry addresses me in voices of the wind! What does it say, rushing and roar- ing by tossing and tumbling, until distracted. the heads of the towering trees on the Indiana hilltops within their fibrous hearts the responding timbre of a mighty music. Voices of jubilation, of acclaim -, epic, elemental, shouting their message over the bar- riers of the world, bidding it prepare itself for the advent of Loveliness; to doff its ashen-colored garb of peni- tence and don rejoicing vestments of 67 Nature-Notes azure and gold. Shawms, cymbals and sackbuts unite in the voices to produce one voice, loud, imperious, sonorous as some million-stringed in- strument, to which the forests yield themselves up, rocking to and fro, like wild fanatics filled with the frenzy of some mad god whose rites they celebrate, Coryban'Lic, the sere leaves of last year whirling and swirl- ing around and around them like rent and riven raiment. How much happier are the little things, the lowly things of life, how much more secure from the buffet- ings of fate than are the mighty, the aspiring things! This wildflower, for instance; slight, unassuming, and safe, entirely unaffected, fluttering delicately and tranquilly at the foot of this huge oak that the same wind, which merely bowed the bluet's head, a moment ago crash- ingly overthrew. 68 Nature-Notes I heard the trees in the silence of the spring night whispering, mur- muring among themselves, gossiping of the radiant garments, bud and blossom and leaf, which they were soon to don. And then I heard them quietly laughing, - as old people might, telling quaint stories of their little ones, - and speaking gently, crooningly to the tiny wildflowers nestling at their feet: flowers which the singing of the sap in their old hearts and roots had awakened, ere the rain and wind had called to them and the sunbeam had pointed them a place wherein to rise: blossoms that even now were gazing wonderingly around them, or at the stars thro' their branches, as listening children might at the eyes of their loving parents telling them legends and tales of faery. 69 Nature-Notes Alas! how hearts go groping For that which may not be! Braving the gates where hoping, 'T is written, none shall see! In ways of blind endeavor And darkness of the never The gates are closed once open; The end is misery. Why is it t7hus with me as days go by Oh, why, oh, why Less frequent is the smile, more often now the sigh. Swift as the poplar, with its lordly height, To clothe itself in green when Springtime calls, When forests still are bare, is hope to come Into our lives when love has said " pre- pare." From the hilltop here in Kentucky, under the Aprilian blue of a perfect afternoon, a great blur of glimmer- ing amber, gold tinged with auburn, 70 Nature-Notes ,shows me where the budded but still blossomless black-lhaw stands covered with young leaves; as tenderly tinted as the festal raiment of some sylvan of the wvoods, or haunter of the val- levs: some Dryad or Auloniad, who has come forth, slenderly and deli- cately, from her tree or bower to greet an(l ineet the young-eyed Year. Or is it the Rapunzel Spring her- self, delicate and divine, odorous of fai)le, who has let down her tawny hair, its magnificent inane of abun- dant and beautiful gold, for her lover, the \VTind, to clasp, to overwhelm him- self with: to kiss and climb by into her enchanted tower, there to deliver himself over forever to her love WVild-ginger, under these leafing wahoos, almost covers the April-wet hillside with its low, lush leaves; its I)elled, or chaliced blossom, huddled in the fork of its succulent stem, 7I Nature-Notes divided into three pointed lobes, is the color of the nearby wake-robin, a clear, brown, port-wine red. The silvern and golden flowers of the adder's-tongue star the brier- buried and bushy banks of the creeks. What is more beautiful than a great bed of these dog's-tooth violets with their gracefully bending and curving- petaled blossoms, pearl and topaz colored, fairly illuminating, as with fairy lamps, the sodden and turfless soil of the creek-rivage! These are gems indeed that any one can have for the stooping and gathering. And their spiritual value, if not their ma- terial, is, at least to me, even greater than that of real pearls and topazes. Apple blossoms and bees; pelting petals; honeyed hummings. What glory! what memorable music! what beauty redolent of immortal mem- ories! A mountain of blooms, large 72 Nature-Notes and white, delicately tinged with pink, with occasional clusters of rosy, puck- ered buds, waving in and perfuming the balmy wind of April. How this old tree, with its million blossoms and its murmuring bees, brings back viv- idly the memory of my boyhood passed among the Indiana hills! Every falling petal, every bee mur- mur is fraught with the fragrance of remembered happiness. And now. drowned in its deeps of blossoming and exultant snow, a catbird goes mad with music. - Or is it the voice of my lost dreams singing to me in words that only my soul can under- stand And there where, - whis- pers of pearl, little silvery sighs of happiness breathed by the pure lips of Spring, - the dog's-tooth violets blur gray the creek banks, I seem to see a presence passing, dimly, a bright shadow with windflowers in its hair. The materialized memory of a spring 73 Nature-Notes long gone; a spring of my earliest youth; with cheeks and mouth a brier-rose red, her eyes a pansy-violet azure, singing a song of home. Or there, asway on a carpet of celandine gold and bluebell blue, now with a" wick, wick, wick," of a flicker fiddle; now with a " cheer, cheer, cheer," of a redbird reed, I seem to see and hear her, that long-lost Spring, playing an air to which the chipmunks dance - the little ground- squirrels their blood a-beat with the intoxication of springtime. She is the same as she was when, with whippoorwill words, she lured and led my boyhood into her twilight woods at dewy dusk; her forests filled with faery fancies; to a seques- tered and vine-embowered spot, where the first Mayapples unfolded their miniature moons under the young May moon; and amid whose parasols and blossoms she seated me 74 Nature- Notes in the whippoorwill-haunted hush, and, to the music of the cricket, told mte wonder stories, elfin tales, my heart shall never forget. On a low fern-based rock, - mossy shrine of the wood-god who has this particular Forest under his protec- tion, - before which, like a cande- labrum before an altar, burning with many silken flames of greenish gold, a young hickory lifted tip its hun- dred pointed leaf-sheaths, and a paw- paw shook its sacramental bells of bronze, - I laid an offering of wild flowa ers this last day of April: Maayapples. with their milky moons; trilliums, stainless of star and whiter than alabaster; the belled ivory of the bellwort; the lavender and lilac bonnets of the iris; the hooded green and nmtulberry-purple of the Indian- turnip; the disced amber and gold of the crowfoot and the hawkweed; the Nature-Notes hollow sapphire of the polemonium or Jacob's-ladder; the bugled crim- son of the columbine; the crystal and azure of the wild dwarf larkspur; and the constellated loveliness of a myriad bluets, starflowers, and bird's- foot violets. Let us follow this path, that leads us past wild crabapple trees ,- huge bouquets of shell-pink blooms, - through wild strawberries starring their blossoms under budded black- berry briers, to a heron-haunted creek, a ribbon of silver winding around a woodland where the cuckoo, the chat, and the thrush keep up a continual calling; and at whose en- trance the haw-tree and dogwood, in full flower, stand like white-stoled worshippers before the entrance to a great green temple, - a temple whose floor is marbled with green and mo- saiced with pearl and gold and azure; 76 Nature-Notes oxalis, ranunculus, and houstonia; and lamped with the veined feldspar of the wild geranium and the silken sapphire of the spiderwort. While lone I stood Within the wood I heard the feet of Silence edge And stumble on a rocky ledge - A sound of waters foaming down Between mossed banks of green and brown: And throtglh the trees, that leaned to listen, I caught a momentary glisten Of her white limbs all interwound With white confusion of her gown, That made a dim and glimmering sound. WN'hat a queer bird is the whippoor- will! that has, or seems to have, no sense of concealment, so far as its nest is concerned. Perhaps this is because it usually selects the most unfrequented parts of the forest to 77 Nature- Notes brood in. To-day I startled one from its hover. Soundlessly it flew be- fore me, clothed like the night in russet and sable, a drowsy flutter of wings, trying to lure me away from the two cream-white eggs,- the customary number,-brown-and- blue-spotted, lying where I could not help but see them, v,-ithout the sign of a nest, on the dead oak leaves right before me, partly protected by the dead branch of a tree. A little farther on, in a different part of the forest, at the foot of a huge beech, sat a great, dark browvn owl, a hawk-like owl; round-headed and round-eyed; a day owl. Almost as silently as the wvhippoorwill it arose at my approach, disappearing, downy of flight, dark and swift, into the green and gray of the deep beeches, like some impish evil. 78 I89I-I900 W HERE the spring is sunken in the damp gray rock, mossy with moisture, the wilc( larkspur, petunia, morning- glory and wild potato bloom. And there, at the end of the path, like a terra-cotta-colored torch, the pleu- risv-root flames: the snake-root, with its evil-smelling flowvers, like long white candles, seenis to wvish to li-lit me further on; on to where the but- ternut an(d water-beech embrace one another above the stream, like lovers partled by some petty spite, locking arms above its gossip, in the foliage sanctity of their hearts nesting a cooing dove. The small gray-blue heron, the fly--up-the-creek, frightened from its 79 Nature-Notes fishing, rises gracefully from its pool, winging and fading, shadow-like, a soft and silent flight, far down the creek. In a swirl of butterflies, mottled maroon, pied yellow and gray, and velvety gold and seal, I pass along the creek, where, startled by my foot- steps, the water-siake slides sound- less, like a crooked root, from the shore; and the silvery minnows, as with one impulse, twinkle instantly and swiftly out of sight. The tufted titmouse fusses in the buckeye tree near by; and the shad- ows of the slender willow leaves ap- pear, imaged in the shallow pool, to be the silverless phantoms of a min- now-school. Here the blossoming horsemint and teasel blur with pink the weedy hillside. Along the creek banks and amid the pebbles and rocks of its dry watercourse the black- berry-lilies mass themselves, a mot- 8o Nature-Notes tied ruddy red, reflected here and there in the lazy-running water; lazier than the small white summer clouds that float above, or the bril- liant dragon-flies that haunt its banks. A vagabond foot and a vagabond road, And the love in our hearts our only load. An easy foot in an easy shoe, And who is it cares where the road leads to An old plank gate at a lane's green end, And who is it cares where the lane may wvend A bowl of milk and a bit of bread, Who richer fares or is better fed A crust, a spring and a blackberry, And who is it sups as well as we A hut by the road and a girl to kiss, What man hath greater joy than this 6 Si Nature-Notes The night, the stars, and a pillow of hay, Whose bed is sweeter than this, I say Whose dreams are deeper whose sleep as pure - The heart that 's heavy finds here its cure. FINLEY WOODS, JULY i5th. The cawing of crows reminds me of the carping of critics; whether their voices be raised in praise or blame it is all the same- a lot of noise that leads to nothing. The world jogs along just as usual in spite of what they consider their own im- portance, and in a little while all their fussing is forgotten; the world, like the woods around, has heard but has it heeded. It will judge for itself later on when their cawings have ceased. Art is a virgin whose children are all immaculately conceived and born. 82 Nature-Notes Along the St. John's River soft maples, ruddily tufted, made bright the sombre banks, showing only occa- sionally a pine or palmetto amid the wilderness of cypress trees trailing with moss. Cherokee roses too rarely ran a rambling riot of great white blossoms around the bole of some live-oak. The water, of a sullen blackness, had no more current than a pond or lagoon. The furrow of our little steamer fell away from the stern in a sort of yeasty, smoky-topaz foam. Water-lilies laid long banks of blos- soms along either shore. An alliga- tor, a squamous and sluggish bulk, slowly crossed a lily-paven inlet. Lilies; more lilies; interminat- ingly at times they seemed to spread over the entire river a cloth of gold. Hemlocks, cypresses, and black-gums seemed to welcome us with the waving of funereal banners, long streamers of Spanish moss, as we 83 Nature-Notes entered the Ocklawaha, passing a leaky-looking rowboat with an old negro in it, picturesque among the yellow lilies of a lagoon. Lilies; lilies, holding up everywhere innum- erable fists tight full of gold. The dogwood and jessamine, in full bloom, diversified with white and gold the seemingly impenetrable woods. Here and there on the high-lifted, desolate branches of twisted trees, looking like the huge nests of unknown birds of prey, great clumps and masses of mistletoe were seen. The Ever- glades could hardly look more for- bidding than the forested swamp that stretched out on either side of our boat. One would imagine that the Ock- lawaha was entirely destitute of cur- rent, until, gazing downward, deep into the clear but dark-brown depths, one beheld, at intervals, the long water-grasses, growing on its bottom, 84 Nature-Notes streaming green, - streaks of cop- peras inclosed in crystal. In its placid, mirror-like depths the skies and woods are so exactly reproduced that you are often deceived as to which is the real and which is the reflection. Bittern and heron and egret haunt here; often winging slowly over the ivied and creepered solitudes. And startled by our ap- proach crane and kingfisher swing along its surface, beneath which swim their images amid the green streaks of grass, that reminds one of the streaming hair of kelpies. Hell- divers or didappers rise, flash away, and the teal, with their instant wings, skip the water into ripples. At twi- light the linmpkins begin their wild wailing, plaintive as that of a lost child,; and like a vulture, silent and solitary, on the dead limb of a tree the water-turkey sits, sombre above the uncurling, ghostly spider-lilies, 85 Nature-Notes hanging, long strips of white, among the cypress-knees. In the darkness, before the coining of the moon, we seemed passing be- tween immaterial walls of phantom forest, clothed in the fluttering cere- ments of the dead, the dark wild- trailing moss - or was it the waving of spectral arms, ghostly strouds and mantles of dead Seminoles Enor- mous hands, taloned and crooked of finger, seemed clutching up at us out of the unseen waters, or impended, threateningly, above, eager and wait- ing an opportunity to snatch us away into the phantom forest; nearly al- ways they resolved themselves into the gaunt and twisted limbs of lean- ing trees. The moon is up. A flare of pine- knots is blazing in a huge iron sconce at the top of the pilot-house. The deck-hands are gathered together at the bow of the Okeehumkee with 86 Nature-Notes banjo and guitar. The forest echoes awaken to the strains of negro melodies: " In de mornin' by de bright light "; "Did not old Pharaoh git lost in dat Red Sea "; " WVay tip de Ocklawaha "; "Carve dat pos- sumn," etc., etc.. etc. From an almost sleepless night in my narrow cabin, having been kept awake by the clattering and crashing of branches that raked every now and then the sides of the Okeehumkee in its passage up the stream, I arose to find the morning massed and streaming with mist; the forests seemingly more spectral-looking through the banks and flying shreds of vapor than they were last night. Suddenly the sun rose scattering with level crimson lances, wildly glorious, the routed and ribboned fog. \We had left the Ocklawalha and were steam- ing up Silver Spring Run. Drenched with the mist and dew the moss hung 87 Nature-Notes motionless from the trees, smoky- brown and dripping. The butterflies that had taken shelter upon our decks during the night were too weighed down with the wet to lift their wings. The water of Silver Spring Run is perfectly pellucid; to the depth of some forty odd feet everything is plainly visible. Garfish, bream, black- bass, pickerel, and turtle are dis- cernible swimming slowly or swiftly away from our advancing keel. At Silver Spring itself we gaze down, as we pass over it, upon a mighty ledge of rock, magnified by the refraction of the water probably, forty-eight feet from the surface; it seems to be, with its great rift, the entrance to some vast cavern that disgorges an underground river which fur- nishes the water of this great spring. At the depth of eighty-four feet the bottom is perfectly visible and the ripples of a rowboat, oaring and 88 Nature-Notes breaking the surface, are magnified a hundredfold on the rocks below, irisated into wonderful colors: em- erald green and ultramarine blue, blurring and streaking the bottom; the effect being the same as that of some glimmering submarine scene presented in pantomime on the stage. The clear, round lake, hemmed in as far as the eye can see with forests of cypress, black-gum, live-oak, pine and palmetto, solemn-hung with their gray moss, is a weird setting for its mysterious crystal. Here and there the cypresses and black-gums, swollen by the water, bulge out abruptly, the tree-trunk seemingly supported on a black pedestal. The cypress-knees, extinguisher-shaped (like so many giant clubs thrust knot downward into the water), bristled along the shore; and the forest towering above them, silent and sad, was like some strange woodland turned to stone. 89 Nature-Notes Amid it all, as I sat dreaming alone by the shore, and the sunset built up vast teocallis and temples of copper-colored cloud in the west, I felt as one might feel who, be- yond the condor-haunted Cordilleras, comes suddenly upon some ancient and dead city of Yucatan, Honduras, or Mexico: Mitla, Uxmal, Palenque, or Copan, lost in stupendous and im- penetrable forests of the celba, mi- mosa, and yucca, trailing enormous creepers and huge cacti, and wild and wonderful lianas, cataracts of gor- geous crimson flowers. THE OCKLAWAHA AND SILVER SPRING, FLA., FEB., 1893- I have talked of the curculio, the codling-moth, the rust of the oats and the smut of the corn with the farmers until the better part of the morning is past. At last I am by myself again, on the hilltop among 90 Nature-Notes the creepered trees and rocks. The sunlight strikes athwart the dew and every cedar glitters as if clothed in silver-linked mail. The bob-white calls to his mate through the fresh- ness and the dew of the deep August morning; and where the mist trails its fleecy folds from hilltop to hill- top, the wild hawk, soaring, screams ani(d screams. The birds are out- doilig ea ch other in vocal gymnas- tics; and now the sound of the wind in the leagues of trees is like the breaking of far waters on a shelly shore. The tops of the oaks nod, ruddy in the sun, like Celtic kings giving audi- ence to wild tribes, - the winds, - their -old-red beards and hair quiver- ing with wrath. The tree-toad-'s guttural fluting is like the blowing of bubbles of cloudy crystal through hollow silver; the lonely sound seems 9' Nature-Notes more suitable to the melancholy of the evening than to the mirth of the morning. The day, in spite of its clouds, promises to be fair. As, all distraught, with dark, neglected hair She lifted up her face to mine I saw The mnoon-white glory of her soul, and love Smiled sadly at me from her shadowy eves. Now is the sunset's presence fra- grant and beautiful as the presence of some young Greek: his feet anointed with Megallian oils, his bosom and arms odorous of the es- sence of thyme; his eyebrows and hair sweet with marjoram; his knees and neck with oil of wild ivy: robed in a robe of murex-dye, smelling sweeter than the costly ointment of Peron, he walks the twilight world, 92 Nature-Notes supple and gleaning of limb, sowing the earth with immaterial blossoms, ground-thyme, crocus, hyacinth, heli- chryse and amaracus. In the " Deipnosophists ' Athen- aus sp)eaks thus: " Formerly, to be popular with the vulgar was reck- one(l a certain sign of a want of real skill: on which account Asopodorus, the Phliasian. when some flute-plaver was being much applauded, while he himself was remaining in the hyposcenium (a certain part of the theatre), said, 'What is all this the man has evidently committed somne great blunder.'" How true is this of a great many of our suddenly successful writers, whose works meet with such over- whelming applause from the public, which is the vulgar, and reach such phenomenal sales. I never hear of 93 Nature-Notes a new book that everybody praises and recommends but that I am straightway suspicious of its literary merit and avoid reading it, feeling sure that the author has probably "committed some great blunder." I have read somewhere of the heli- chryse, which some one, is it Athen- aeus says is a flower like the lotus. Also of the amaracus, a purple lily, which is called by some people the sampsychus: I have never seen the helichryse nor the amaracus, but neither, I will venture to say, could compare in splendid beauty with this trumpet-flower, glowing scarlet, and this Turk's-cap lily, streaked with crimson, growing here in our un- classic fields. The Greeks claimed that the most fragrant roses grew in Cyrene; on which account the perfumes said to 94 Nature-Notes have been made there surpassed all others in sweetness; this was said to be true also of the perfumes made fromn violets and other flowers grown there which were most pure and heavenly; and, above all, the fra- grance of the crocus which was said to be indescribably sweet. Now I will venture again to say that no Cvrenian rose could smell sweeter than the brier-rose I have found blooming on our own hills and in our own valleys, by the streamside and the roadside, in AMay and June. And no violet and no crocus of Greece ever attained to such elusive and subtle sublimity of scent as does our wild crabapple blossom. Is not the poets inspiration like that fabulous Fountain of Elusides, spoken of in old chronicles, whose miraculous waters, it is said, rose to 953 Nature-Notes the sound of music, and, the music ceasing, sank again The milkweeds nod their Rip-Van-Winkle heads When Autumn blows; and in the snoring flue The chill wind sleeps. All night it seems to me A goblin gnome, a Lob Lie-by-the-Fire, Sits humped upon the hob whining of cold, Or whistling to the flame to keep him warm. These misty forests of white and black and red and chestnut oak that drop their acorns around me as I go, and fill the air with sad fragrance premonitory of their decay, bring to my mind, I know not why, the As- syrian dwarf-oak that is said to secrete manna, from whose branches it is gathered in quantities. During foggy weather the manna is distilled 96 Nature-Notes on the rocks and even on the sand, as here the acorns, agate-brown and black, are showered over the ways - mast that is manna to many things, birds and beasts and, per- haps, men. The sunrise this nmorning wvas yellow as Aledian marble, the marble of Tabriz which is so transparent, it is said, that it may be cut thin and used instead of wi ldow glass. Grad- ually the heaven above grew blue, blue as IPhcenician lapis lazuli, while l)elow it the horizon deepened into red, crimson as Choaspian agate, fadling , upwards into amethvstine purple and smaragdine green, lordly colors througlh which the sun ad- vanced like a mighty monarch, re- splendent in l)urning mail of gold, paLcing the glittering lines and bar- baric splendors of his court. 97 7 Nature-Notes In the Garden of Skulls and Serpents, By a tower of gold, Stood a woman, fair as fire, Wonderful to behold. Webs of starry flame she wove there, Webs of moony fire, Snares to seize the souls of mortals, Slay them with desire. The pure precision of a star, a flower, The punctuality of their return And order of their coming fill my soul With the astonishment which mortals feel For Bible beauties that no man explains. I have listened long unto the promises, The confidences of the trees; and now, Continuous with the trees, a stream ex- pands, Expounding all the woods' dim mysteries In ripple rhymes sung softly to itself. 98 Nature-Notes I saw the Spring go by, her mouth a thread Of wild-rose red, Plowing a golden oat; And now, a crown of barley on her head, The Summer comes, a poppy at her throat. As Lais obtained ascendencv over the cynical spirit of Diogenes, so does the moonlight, brightly beautiful, overcome the retired and moody darkness of this glade. And, like Phryne, - whose charms exposed be- fore the judges saved her from sen- tence of death, and whose beauty inspired the sculptor Praxiteles when he modelled the Venus of Knidos, also Apelles when he painted Venus rising from the sea, -so does the naked moon fill with wondering awe the bosonms of the hills and streams, mastering and compelling them with her beauty. 99 Nature-Notes An Eldorado of vales and peaks, That the cloudy ore of the sunset streaks, Is the Eldorado my fancy seeks: Where the gold lies thick that they feign to find, - That never in earthly mine wvas mined,- In the airy caves of the damonkind. A rune of glimmer and a scrawl of light, Printing with gold the black-bound page of night, The glow-worm is, making its blackness bright. The deep blue spike of the great lobelia glows Beside the cardinal-flower along the ways Where Summer goes stripping the way- side rose Of all its blooms, and plumping red its hips; Her grasshopper gown of rustling golds and grays Bristling \vith burrs caught from the tre- foil's sprays, And from the thorny marigold's tick-like tips. 100 Nature-Notes Nlow do the katydids, leaf-crickets and weed-insects of the dusk, that stridulate the long night through, celebrate their Erotidia, or festivals of love. Or are they elves disguised, insect-like, in long close coats of green and gray, that, by the light of the harvest-moon, hold wild revelry chanting, as at their banquets the Greeks, a cricket-scholiumn -a song wlhich went the rounds; sung to the lyre by the guests, one after the other, each guest holding a myrtle branch which hie passed on to any one he chose. No lovelier, no wittier women lived than the courtesans of Greece: wit- ness Nexera, Cottina, the celebrated Lacodzemonian courtesan, and the Athenian courtesan by name Mania, whose beauty was as great as that of PIhrvne and whose wit and repartee equalle(l that of Aspasia. They were I0I Nature-Notes women appreciative of the best in art and literature. Therefore it is no wonder that they were sought out by, and became the powerful mistresses of, the greatest philosophers, poets, and statesmen of Greece. Watching the fireflies to-night, flashing hither and thither, up and down the darkness, reminds me of some elfin dance with torches: some Bacchic or Pyrrhic dance of the fairies: a dance like that danced by the worshippers of Bacchus in an- cient Greece, wherein the dancers carried thyrsi and torches, and moved to the most beautiful airs. Perhaps it is really and truly the Pyrrhic dance of Elfland at which I am looking. This, however, is a respectable, not an indecorous dance- who could conceive the fairies engaging in any but a respectable dance No; such I02 . Nature-Notes indecent dances as the Pyrrhic or Codax dances are not for them; this dance is like that, wild and yet re- strained, which the Greeks called the Emmelia. 44 I wonder if the summer insects, such as the leaf-cricket and the green grig and grasshopper, with their stinging music, did not first suggest to some one the thought of inventing a stringed instrument; wxe are all acquainted waith the myth of how the lyre came to be fashioned by Mercury out of the shell of a tortoise, but no one, so far as I am aware, has told us how the other stringed instru- ments used by the ancients came to be invented. Perhaps it was a grasshopper that suggested to the Parthians the making of the sam- buca, a musical instrument of four strings; and the cricket that sug- gested the magadis and pectis, both 103 Nature-Notes played without a plectrum. Terpan- der, although they say he invented the barbitos to correspond to, and answer the pectis in use among the Lydians, may have got his idea from a long-legged grig or leaf-cricket singing merrily in the summer grass by some Arcadian stream. This is the month when the wild- sage silvers green in the shade of elder-brake and trumpet-vine; the wild-parsnip goldens its flowering ulms; and the inoth-mullein discs its pedicels with blossoming yellow or white, tinged delicately with purple or crimson. The aster does not always post- pone until late summer or early fall its time of flowering, for weaving its intricate lacework of blossoming stars: I have found both the pink and I04 Nature-Notes white aster blooming in the middle of June in retired and moist places of brushy underwoods and hollows, lost in a riot of weedy vervain, overwhelming everything with their numberless blue and white terminal tongues of blossoms. Aug. 4, 1894, 7.I5 P. M.; twi- light. The west is a deep orange red above which and within which silvers the crescent moon; against the sky's gamboge the trees are out- lined greenish black; the wooded valleys, of a dusky damson purple, look hazy through a thin veil of blue wood-smoke of burning brush. A bob-white whistles and a vesper-sparrow, plaintively, pen- sively, warbles a moment in a heavily foliaged locust tree; its mate replies in a tree near by; and in the orchard another takes up the song and passes it on to one who responds in the 105 Nature-Notes vineyard; the dusk seems holier for their singing. The green leaf-cricket, the climb- ing-cricket, moves its fragile wings of transparent shell, making a delicate tremolo sound, soothing and dreamily melancholy, like a dim reed, ghostly and golden, blown by a weed-hidden fairy. The west fades into ashen and rose and night comes starry and cool and calm. I gazed upon the wasted lips of Want Within a city haunt Of vice and sin, And thought of the green, the abundant fields beyond The sordid streets, whither Want could not win, The sick and fond; And, where the white-top like dim streaks of steam Wavers its whiteness, lay him down and dream, Lapped in the murmur of a meadowed stream. io6 Nature-Notes As a dead leaf is lifted by no dis- cernibule vwind, but seemingly by its oxvn volition, in the forests of spring, stayed and swayed and suspended for a moment over its silent and withered companions, and then dropped sud- denly, instantly, precipitately upon them and mingled indistinguishably with them: so is the fancy, that yes- terday was alive and green and fair, taken up subconsciously, by no per- ceptiible wind of thoughts and poised an(1 considered for a moment and then dropped silently among the dead (fancies of many dead days of dreaming. Clouds suddenly obscured the sky, spreadling smoke--like through the calmn of heaven as black soil, loose and loamy, dropped from a precipi- tate hand, discolors, extending out- ward from the central disturbance, I07 Nature-Notes a pool of perfectly clear water, cloud- ing it circularly. April is here, smelling spicily as does the young gold green of the gummy velvet sheaths that hold the leaves of the hickory trees; her hair gay with apple blossoms, odorous of rain, she comes, a sunny and showery presence, down the orchard ways. Here she walks under the shadowy cedars, pressing with warm fingers the distending and opening cones, dis- tinctly heard, snap on snap, like the clapping of the great beak of some unknown and invisible bird. I notice that this year (April, i898) the bumble-bees are more numerous among the apple blossoms than are the honey-bees. Query: Do the bumble-bees appear earlier than the honey-bees The bumble-bee is no respecter of io8 Nature- Notes the virgin bud of the apple tree: forcibly he takes possession of her: pushing the tender petals violently aside wvith his fore feet he rudely thrusts his head into the very heart of the nectary, sucking up its inmost sweet. A ravisher of beautv and of innocence, he com- mits many rapes, thousands of them, daily. You can smell the wild rose in the leaf even before the bush is budded: it is a racy, juice-suggestive smell like that of a ripe June-apple. May 6th, X898. Snowing hard; the worst snow storm we have had this year. I cannot help thinking how bland the wind blew -was it only y esterday -and how like a fickle wooman the month has already proven herself: now warm, now cold; now inviting, now repelling but al- I09 Nature-Notes ways sweet of voice even when coldest. "The devil hath not in all his quiver's choice An arrow for the heart like a sweet voice." Green in the circle of contingent trees The water lies wherein the new leaf sees Its twinkling shadow. Through the bos- cage leers The beast-like visage with the satyr smile Of what has followed me this many a mile, Earth's lust, hot-eyed, with horrible mouth and ears. I imagine the Bible of the Fairies to be a book whose pages are the gossamer wings, pale, delicate, trans- parent green, of the climbing leaf- cricket; its binding, of moth wings elaborately tooled and mottled with azure and gray and gold edged with seal-brown or ruby; the letters of its text minute as the tracks of ants. I I0 Nature-Notes High up, in inaccessible reaches of violet and rose, the morning's rever- berated fires dazzle the eyes like the burning points of a myriad sylphide spears. On every side the roses rise In crimson insolence and pride; And near them, steeped in lordly dyes, That to the roses' are allied, Of transitory purple and pearl, The poppies' delicate flowers uncurl. The shadows where no light looked throtighl, Ephemeral sapphire, lay in pools of blue; And there the spendthrift flowers flung Their petaled gold; and many a tongue Of many a wild bird of their beauty sung. \With all my heart I deem it no great folly To be in love with gentle -Melancholy; With her, who, to my thinking, ex- presses all that is most sad, and III Nature-Notes therefore most pensively beautiful, in Nature. The winds and the waters and the leaves, the moon and the stars and the flowers are eloquent of her. Her sad loveliness addresses us in the dewy voice of the hyla, and the crepuscular, the tenebrious tones of the leaf-cricket: like Wordsworth's poet, "She is retired as noontide dew Or fountain in a noonday grove, And you must love her ere to you She wvill seem worthy of your love." The inviolable and unapproachable presence of a spirit seems regarding me fromn the sunset; clothed in stu- pendous colors it towers, addressing in words of violet and rose the earth and the heavens, inaudible harmonies of fire, hushing the universe to sleep. Wordsworth never beheld our little bluet, the hzoustonia cwrulea. I never II2 Nature-Notes see it, among the earliest of our spring wildflowers, with its starry eyes of watchet-blue looking up at me from the forest floor, shyly as if afraid of its own loveliness, that I do not think of those beautiful lines of his: - So fair, so sweet, withal so sensitive: - WNTouldl that the little flowers were born to live Conscious of half the pleasure that they give. That to this mountain daisy's self were known The beauty of its star-shaped shadow thrown On the smooth surface of this niaked stone. WA hat bird is that that sings so long To hear whose Song Each bashful bud opens its rosy ear, Leaning it near. While here, 8 113 Nature-Notes Under the blossoming button-tree, I seem to see A shape, a presence look out at me; And, clothed in raiment of white and gray, Pass on like the Spirit of Easter Day. lNot for things which we know, but for thin-s which we feel should we value life most. The sunset lets its heavy curtains down Of thunder-purple orphreyed deep with gold Around the cloudy-builded couch of Day, Canopied with the star-wrought blue of heaven. These are the cups of Comus,, These tulips pranked with flame, The tulip-burning twilight fills W ith wine of wondrous name. Yea; death behind her, gazing through her hair; Death in her lips and in her body fair; "I4 Nature- Notes Ten hundred deaths to him whose heart is hers, Who kisses her - death, darkness, and despair. Dr. Johnson says: - Women have a perpetual envy of our vices; they are less vicious than we, not from choice, but because we restrict them; they are the slaves of order and fashion; their virtue is of more consequence to us than our own, so far as concerns this world." This lumbering cloud, lazily drift- ing through the literary firmament of the eighteenth century, occasionally shed great truths from its bounteous bulk, rain-like, on the surrounding land, giving new life to its parsi- monious and ungrateful growths, swelling every little river that it touched upon, - such as Boswell, with a portion of its own importance. II5 Nature-Notes The blue wild hyssop, with its dewy mouth, - Cool, moist, and heavenly 'mid the pink- bloomed mint Along the shallow creek, shrunk with the drouth, - Seen suddenly thus, seems, swift, an in- stant's hint Of some dimr being - one, whom, still in vain, I follow where their many delicate ears The purple beard's-tongue and lobelia lean SideNvise to silence, listening for the rain Tiptoeing the trees through which she flees again- The presence that my soul adores yet fears, The Loveliness my eyes have never seen. Here bloomed the black-eyed Su- san and the white wild carrot, with its resinous odor, beneath the Chick- asaw plum tree whose crimson fruit strewed, like blood-red agates, scat- tered by the hand of August, the dry bed of the creek, or glimpsed, like a dryad's lips, a luscious red, through I i6 Nature-Notes the intricate green of the boughs above. There the vervain with its ragged witch-wisps of w-eedy blos- soms nodded at me from the dusty roadside together with the hot yellow eves of the wild sunflowers and daisies. Seated upon a stone I said to myself, -" Love is the wizard's circle which circumscribes life; inside it, all the joys of Earth and Paradise: outside it, and beyond it, death and darkness and hell." Drab-colored seed pods of the autumn hung. Like beggar's tatters, on the red-bud boughs: Around the o0l, old house there was no sound, No song or sound, save on the rotting shed, The dim old shed, a dove made plaintive moan. In rapt clairvoyance gray the shadows lay I I7 Nature-Notes Around it seeing many things unseen Of mortal eves, strange things now dead and gone, Ghosts of the sometime gladness dwelling there, Spectres of age and youth, and sorrows old, Older than all the oldness sleeping there 'Mid clemencies of days forever gone. A poet's soul 's unconscious of its dreams As is the night unconscious of its stars, As is the heaven of all its clouds and winds, And Earth, retentive Earth, of all its flowers. The bright half moon, a boat pearl- white, Floats down the cloud-canals of night. The ghostly blue of the night sky seen through the white wrack-rem- nants of the storm is the blue of bluet blossoms showing their dim patches and streaks through the white petals dropped by the blossoming dogwoods. I I8 Nature-Notes How wonderfully bright the stars are after storm! it is with them too as it is with the flowers, as if they had been washed clean. And, like the flowers, the reserved wildflowers, they seem pregnant vith some mes- sage, some secret which they are yearning to impart, that they would divulge but dare not. When earth forgets one flower that comes with spring, And heaven one star that beautifies the night, Shall I forget that song I heard her sing. An old Spanish saying is that " a kiss without a moustache is like an egg without salt." And what says Boccaccio "Lips for kissing forfeit no favor; Nay, they renew as the moon doth ever." So must the bees and the butter- flies think who are never weary of "I9 Nature-Notes saluting the flowers; and love par- ticularly to kiss, if I am not mis- taken, those that are bearded of lip, such as the larkspur, the snap- dragon, the hairy beard's-tongue, toad-flax, and hyssop, iris, foxglove and catkin, whose mouths are elfin horns of honey, or vats of fairy wine. What pictures on wood, painted by Tuscan artists, taken from the shrines and altars of old churches, predellas and triptychs, or three-folding tab- lets, shaped quaintly in Gothic peaks, gleaming with backgrounds of an- tique gold, could compare in coloring with the illuminated painting of a butterfly's wings. such a butterfly as I beheld to-clay - cobalt and crimson and gold, bronze and purple and black, wing-wide on a corymb of blossoming weed. 120 Nature-Notes All night it rained, Now in the dawn The purple-berried cedars stan(l Weighed (down with wet the suin strikes through. Last night, July the i3th, i897, at 8 :30 o'clock, a phenomenon was presented to my gaze such as it was never my fortune to see before and, I suppose, xvill never be my fortune to see again. A moon-bow, a lunar rainbow, of gigantic proportions, arched its phantom reflection over the not distant wood, stretching dimily awvay to the north and south, outlining its spectral colors against the shoowering clouds of the vest as the moon, broad and bright and full, rose in the unclouded east. This morning I find the forest dotted with bulbous and spongy fungi; strange things, fluted and lobed, ooze from decaying trunks of trees or from old stumps and logs, rusted and rotted red; yellow and 121 Nature-Notes buttery-looking things on which the slug and snail feed. And every- where, everywhere the dotting domes and parasols and cushions of the toadstools, pink-ribbed or white, on thin or squat stems, make bright spots of color - crimson, green, gray, fawn, white, and salmon. To-night perhaps, if I watch and am favored as is the slug that slimes the cobweb stretched across the hollow stump, or the firefly, that flits its lamp search- ingly hither and thither, I, too, may see them heave their white roofs through the ferns like goblin huts, an elfin city. I love to linger o'er the roseless rose When hips are ripe and candle-flames they seem, Orange and red, lit in the Autumn's honor, WVho softly goes, Her ruby crown upon her, Adown the ways where vines like banners stream. I22 Natu re-Notes The auroral scent of morning lilies blows Mixed wvith nocturnal perfumes of the rose Around the Dawn whose state invades the sky Trailing wild rairnent of sidereal dye, Holdin-g her torch of spheric fire high. Its banks clumped with the hot bronze and yellow of the black-eyed Susans and the rocket-like stars of the towering elecampane, not far from where I am sitting, beneath a bower, as it were, of berry-clustered bittersweet, already turning orange. and huge, yellow-white blossom- plumies of the Hercules-club, is a lily-leafed pond, the quivering crystal of which is wrinkled and circled into frantic lines lby the swift, mad move- ments of a swarm of gunmetal-col- ored waterbugs, whose dull-shining backs are boat-shaped. Watching theme curious to learn the reason for their Corybantic antics, I hear the 123 Nature-Notes sudden cat-like squeak of a young frog that has just taken leave of its tadpole part and plunged into the water to rejoice with its fellows, or brag to the great frog, with the big, bass voice, like the twang of a bow- string, of how very soon he will out- sing hint by the light of the August moon. This, probably, it was that drove the waterbugs into such dem- onstrations of delight: - or was it the flashing by of that living shuttle of checkered white and black, that aerial weaver of weird dances, the dragon-fly, whose erratic revolutions inspired them with a reciprocal desire to imitate on the water the lines and curves it wove overhead August ist. Heavy, heaven-purple plumes of the hyssop azure the shad- owy tangles of the briered, sumached and sassafrassed fallows; and where 124 Nature-Notes the sunligilt (dtIsts down glimmering gold, mottling the cool gloom of the wooods, their massed blossoms seem imprisoned patches of sky, vaguely violet, bringing the heart into the mouth with the suddenness of their beatuty, and, - as the spot of day- ligIlt at the far end of a cavern, after hours of darkness, - holding the eye andl lifting, the soul w-ith hope. The last of the ox-eyed daisies are now bloomin, - as clean and white looking as their sisters were that hiailed the adv ent of June, - scat- tered among the black-eyed Susans and the wild coreopsis that spread a cloth of gold for the feet of August, who comies clad in the royal purple of the iron-weed, a starry crown of the rudheckia, - an Ariadne coronal, - upon her auburn hair: within w-hose front the rubied aigret of a cardinial-flowver flanies; in her hand a great plumie of goldenrod, a torch I25 Nature-Notes lighting her way; her gown, embroi- dered with the rosy moons of the marsh-mallow, rustling locust-loud, or rasping grasshopper-like as she goes, an elecampane blossom glowing at her throat. From the inexhaustible fountains of the stars, ancient, unalterable, the night pours out her radiance as of old; and in their light I go the old trodden way of trees as oft I went when, in my boyhood's days, I walked with song and story. The salmon-colored broomsedge seems sunset fire fallen on the au- tumn fields. The puddles left of last night's rain gleam like mirrors of polished steel. Among the awns and beards of the bristling gray grasses the wind hisses angrily, and a soli- tary climbing cricket mournfully moves its wings, making a quavering 126 Nature-Notes and1 reedy music. Trhe sun slopes slowly towards his setting, and there, in a black cloud, suddenly an eve seems to shape itself, oblong, sinister, narrowred to a line of flane, glaring as a fiend might fronm behind dark folds of haunted arras. As I wvent ridling toward the sea, IBy field and hill and flower and tree, The thickets parted and suddenly A satyr's face laughed out at me. Now is the ageraturn, or mist- flower, seen blooming, blue as the late September heavens, every-where, by the wayside, in the woods, and alongI the bankls of autumin waters. It is as if one were walking amid fallen andl scattered strips and streaks and patches of azure heaven. Their blos- SOmlS populate with blue, rank on rank, especially the banks of the I27 .N ature-Notes slowly-sliding streams; crowding each other into the water in order to gaze UpOH their own reflected loveli- ness, leaning far over, careless of drowning, only to get a glimpse of themselves Here and there, scat- terecl anmong them, glow the sturdy stalks of the great lobelia, torches of feldspar fire. I walked lay the golden-tessellated streams oif fall; waters, scattered with the slender leaves of the willow, whose currents slowly carry down to stirless I)ools patens of gold and bronze, arranging them in wonderful mosaics. Here and there along their banks, from a wilderness of blossom- ing goldenrod, the re(ldening su- machs thrust up heavy, brick-red plumes of seeds, frosted and glisten- ing wvith oil; a gipsy carmine, that Autumn employs to stain her cheeks with, here where in the hazy woods i28 Nature-Notes she standls leaning upon a stump whose lower part is ruffed round, like a brown and wrinkled throat, with creami-white fungus. NVlhereso- ever she steps mushrooms and toa(l- stools spring up, and the rotting an(l sod(len roots of decaying trees don fantastic frills, green ani gray and orancge colored, and the air is filled with the a-raric odor of dampness and decay. WNI-ho is it that can define poetry, the indefinable I have tried again an(l agamin to define it, but all my defi- nitions have proven unsatisfactory to me; one definition I remelember, that seemed to arrive nearer to it than all the others, is that poetry is the metrical or rhythmical expression of the emotions occasione(l by the sightt or the knowledge of the beautiful, the melancholy, and the noble in nature an(l in man. I299 9 Nature-Notes The polished berries, oval crim- son, of the spicewood bush brighten through the dark green leaves, - like the wreath that crowns a dryad's hair, - in the woodlands of Septem- ber that lean, in quiet contemplation of thenmelves, over the sluggish wsaters of a creek. The furtive craw- fish darts sidewise-backv'ard, swiftly, claw's advanced, over the brown bot- tom of the creek-bed, taking refuge from my outreached hand under the oozy edge of a rock, on which lies the singularly globed and angled shadow, bubble-like, of the water- strider. The great lobelia's purple and the blue of the mist-flower to- gether with the cardinal-flower's scarlet lend splendid tone to the banks of the running streams or weedy and waterless ditches of the wayside. 130 Nature-Notes Her hair wreathed round Nwith the wild oats' bristling awns Septemrber wvent; and now October follows her, crowned with the black-gum's crim- son leaves pointed here and there wvithl the purple-black of its berries. Amon- the brush by the roadside the hazels Show their long, grayish white buds; and on leafless branches the ripened nuts gloomn in browNTn clusters a(I gold, remninding one of elfin heeads peeping out of scolloped ruffs. Early in October I found the Her- cules-club towering by the dusty way or hang-ing its heavy head of elder- like berries wl.-earily over the waters, (lominating the autumni tangle of su- ImLMCh and green-brier; its puttv-col- ored stalk one bristle of thorny spikes, it certainly looked every bit of its name. The small trees of +he box- elder rustled their maple-like winos, '3 I Nature-Notes or keys, stirring uneasily with every gust. The iron-wood trees, covered with hop-like clusters, whispered something to the October wind that kept tirelessly wandering around them. The creepers, crowning the rail-fence with crimson, gave the tops of the cross-rails the ap- pearance, thrust over the inter- tangling bosks and bushes, of being the feathered and scarlet-fluttering heads of hidden Indians watching where, Clung o'er with cockle-burrs and thorny seeds, Sad Autumn dreamed among her feather- ing weeds. November 4th. The purple and white ray flowers of the wild asters are transformed into round, gray- brown witch-heads of gossamer seeds that nod and beckon fantastically, I32 Nature-Notes shimnmering, a silver gauze, in the afternoon sunlight. The oaks retain their leaves longer than any of the nther trees, loath to disrobe them- selves, an(l reddening with rage and shame that the month demands it of them. Their bough-1s and branches twinkle bronze and ruddy gold with every m-novement of the wind. Stal- wart thev 1old the hills, a host, whose blood-red banners are advanced far above the other trees, and whose lbronze-dark armor glitters as 't were for battle. To-day, Novemiber ioth, I found toe isellow primrose freshly blooming on its tall green stalk,- a fairy moon, it seeme(l. shining by day amid a firmamnent of aster stars. I also found, covering, balloon-like, the sere masses of briers with many feathery pompons, -- their centres showing a '33 Nature-Notes single black point, - the puffball seed-heads of the wild clematis. Near by, the slender stream was clocked with ice, the frozen road was seamed with silver ruts. 134 I90I-I905 INEVER see an old farmhouse with its Ouaker-like front and its (l-fashioned kitclhen gar- den full of flowers and simples and vegetables, but it reminds nme of the goo(d gray\ Quaker poet and certain lines of his, beautiful and true, come to my mind; lines, that, as it were, epitomize his creed: For still in i-utual sufferance lies The secret of true living; Love scarce is lo-e that never knows The sweetness of forgivingr" April ioth, I9oI. WN'hat tip)plers the bees and the flies and even the '35 Nature-Notes ants are! How fond are they of the saccharine in Nature! To-day I came upon a sugar maple which a woodpecker had drilled with several tiny holes, from which, sap-satu- rated, the sweet moisture was exud- ing: around these holes and down the dampened side of the tree trunk the bees, the flies, and the ants swarmed, like drunkards around a free and flowing tap, literally drown- ing themselves in the brew. Around me on every side the spring-beauty, anemone, and blood- root bloomed in multitudes, blurring, innumerable, their white stars here and there in galaxies over the ground, misty and nebulous from a distance. Occasionally I came upon a preco- cious spray of Dutchman's-breeches. or wild bleedingheart, hung frailly with delicately transparent shell-like blossoms. The Virginia cowslip was also putting forth its tufts of heaven- 136 Nature-Notes 1lu)e, -belfried bells, seemingly, that call the fairies to prayer. The leaves, adder-mottled, of the do-s- tooth violet speared the loam here mnd there, - a myriad brown-blotted beaks of green. Not a wood violet did( I see. The spicewood w-ith its yellowx buds and the red-bud Nvith its p)urplish blooms gave or loaned color to the drab background of the yet unleafing brush and trees. A prole- tarian, bent on gathering earlN honey, on fillingT his fairy sack, the bulky bee went booming by. I stopped a mo- ment to see him rumible and tutlmble among the pussv-willows in a little hIolloNw green-spread with a grassy carpet patterned with wildfloxvers, smelling of honeyed musk, like the frag-rant dressing-room of Spring. April 27th, T00I. The e-xpanding .sheaths of the leaves of the lirioden- 137 Nature-Notes dron, or tulip tree, are like pale vel- vety green fingers, umber-tipped, pointing heavenward-or is it to passing April, or approaching MAlay They are covered with an adhering and balsamic gum, giving them a varnished golden appearance. More truly speaking they are of a silvery, fuzzy golden appearance -but what words can describe adequately or im- part perfectly the impression of the colors which Spring emyploys in painting her young leaves and her flowers And there are the cherry trees! '"Vhat wonders, what marvels of whiteness ! Black-heart and white- heart heaping their huge drifts of snowvy blossoms. I never beheld any- thing more beautiful than are these beautiful trees this spring. Their odorous snow intoxicates the air and ravishes the senses; bee, bird, and breeze make their great mounds, like 138 Nature-Notes motionless clouds anchored to earth, murmurous and revelous haunts of nmelody. Near a pond a maple tree stands crimson as if Autumn had touched it with fiery finger, instead of Spring; giving :flame to its numberless dan- (Ylino- double-winged keys or seed pods, out of whose rosy clusters the pearly points of the sprouted leaves project -tips of tiny candles that wsill Son loow with emerald green. The whole tree gixres one the impres- sion of a flaming torch, but burning from the bottom upwards instead of from the top downwards. I catcLh the fragrance of the blos- soms of the plum tree now which is exactly that of new-made wine, a heliotrope and vanilla-like odor. No wonder that the bees and the butter- flies are intoxicated with it and go reeling away in honeyed happiness after revelling in its blossoms a while. I39 Nature-Notes The fragrance of the plum trees vies with that of the cherry trees. Noth- ing that I ever smelled is so delicately, so deliciously intoxicating as is their mingled perfume, borne by that great mixer the wind, from their masses of white bloorn, in which the inebriate bees and breezes make perpetual mur- mur, and the birds drown themselves, their songs rising, like bubbles, from their fragrant deeps. The lush green smell of the young grass, cool and warm at the same time, invites one to rest and dream on its emerald carpet. The black- bird's continual, vibrant, wire-like, metallic note creaks and creaks in the top of a sweet-gum tree like a rusty reed tuned in praise of spring. Here in the damp places of the wood and the shadowy parts of the orchard one comes frequently upon 140 Nature-Notes the succulent cones of the sponge mushroom, the earliest edible fungus of the year. On the hillside, in the woods, the dwarf larkspur, a watery blue and white, hristles with spurry spikes of blossoms. This spot of deadened wvood and stumps is a reg- ular rallying place for them. I stop a moment, seating myself upon a dead tree trunk. How curious are the worm-worn borings under the torn-ofti bark of a fallen and red- rotted tree' hieroglyphic and crooked and erratic as the lines that mark, I imagine, some antique gem of Arabia, the seal of some longy-dead Sultan. "The noon was clouded, vet no shower fell Though in her lids hung the sweet tears of Mlay." AMay is here. The red oak crim- sons into tenderly velvet leaves, and I4' Nature-Notes the white oak clothes itself in vair and mauve and lavender and rose. The indefinable, bittersweet, apple fragrance of the wild-crab blossoms makes every wind swoon with joy. No perfume cultivated by fashion is more refined or subtly haunting than is this wild-apple odor with which the May makes sweet her body. May I5th, i9oi. Came upon an entire hillside of the bird's-foot violet. Their parnsy-purple blossoms, scat- tered like sapphires among the moss and dead leaves under the soft un- folding velvet of the oaks, made a picture too beautiful for words to de- scribe. I carried the memory of it home to the city with me and it has remained with me ever since. HIow curious looking are the curdled mud chimneys that the craw- I42 Nature-Notes fish mason in the wet woods and clayey fields! Lying at the bottom of the hole which their chimney con- tinues and protects, their great clawvs advanced threateningly before themn, they remind mle of some unimagin- able monster of the f airy world some elfinl dla-ton or kraken, liNg in wait for venturesome, lost, or belated fairvkins, ready to seize them. with their formidable talons and instantly dlevour. In the deeps of the marsh- wood, at nighlt, I have heard him- heav ing up his hollow house, the rude xvall of his oozy tower, a wet, vague sound of slime. How the various sounds of 'Nature haunt our memories! To-dav, mid- Mklay, standing listening to the rust- ling of the leaves of these trees, I cannot help thinking how different now is the sound of the movement I43 Nature-Notes of their limbs, clothed in green, from what it was in February when, un- wieldy and weighed down with crush- ing and incasing sleet, blown stiffly by the wind, the crystalline and crack- ling noise of their branches was as the sound of heavily moving silk. In Georgia, May 7th1, 1902. Who was it said - was it Lorenzo the Magnificent or who - "That on every side we find Absence, as men say, estranges; Fancy ranges as the eye ranges; Out of sight is out of mind. "Love departs and is not love; As from sight the eye departs Even so do hearts from hearts; And at other hands we prove "Fancies rove as the eyes rove, Parted pleasures come again." And to me twofold they come here in beautiful May in beautiful I44 Nature-Notes Georgia! Here you might truthfully say the brooks babble silver over bars of pearl and topaz, or drop lucid music into pools basine(1 with crystal, for their very channels are paved with blocks and pebbles of spar. Their banks, covered with ferns as high, and often higher than a man s waist, lean over to admire the reflec- tion of their own adornments,- glories of miountain laurel, with its calico-like clusters of blossoms, aza- leas, sunset-colored, and wild honey- suckle, rose and cream, that mass themselves everywhklere. The cali- canthus and Solomnon's-seal, bird's- foot violet, - great pools, as it were, of purple and azure poured from some huge cornucopia of color, and the wild phlox, streaking the vistas of woods here and there with broad lines of lavender, seemingly bouquet the earth with blossoms in honor of the loveliest month of 145 IO Nature-Notes spring. And over it all the wood- thrush, that liquid-throated lover of the leaves, pipes his mellowest, his most triumphant music, as if he, too, would give her praise -May, and lay his soul in song at her feet, her- alding her presence to every breeze that blows, and to every tree and wild flower that grows. in notes as deep and crystal-cool and clear as her own eves. Visited a whippoorwill's nest to- day, May 3oth; one that I discovered about a week ago. The mother bird rose, fluttering almost from under my feet, and had I not known just where to look for them, I never would have been able to distinguish between the two little, light, red-brown balls of hairy down and the dead oak leaves on which they lay, almost completely concealed by the parent bird, before she quit her nest, under two brown I46 Nature-Notes leaves. Quietly the two little gro- tesques lay, about a day old, with tightly closed eyes. huddled side to side, among the sere leaves. I care- fully recovered them with the two brown leaves, and-- to the relief of their parent, who kept up a continual fluttering among the neighlboring undlerbrush - left themii to become, doubtless in time, like herself, weird voices of the dusk, haunters, too, of the twilight. Circled with trees, in Indiana, I carme upon a water, a forest pool, and sat an hour looking into it. Now and then I saw -was it a turtle -or merely some strange water creature conjured up by my imagination a spraddle-legged, shell-backed shadow ferrying slowly through the cairn- gorm deeps. Then a little waggle- tailed frog - or was it a frog or a fairy philosopher regarding me '47 Nature-Notes through his goggle eye-glasses seated on a lily pad, addressed me in a high, piping voice, like a professor delivering a lecture. Here and there others took up his note, like a lot of mimicking students, bandying it back and forth raucously high or low, ac- cording to their size. Most of them were still very young; in the transi- tional stage - between tadpole and frog- and with their bass or tenor voices reminded me very much of an Apollo Club, in swallow-tailed suits, giving a full-dress, batrachian con- cert, each crouching gnome-like on his lily-leaf platform. When I moved they plunged precipitately into the pond, spattering the lily pads with rolling and glittering rounds of liquid brilliants - diamonds spilled on em- erald mats. Among these green, spectacled haunters of the pool, gnarled gnomes of the water, that meditate magic I48 Nature-Notes each one in his own sorcerous circle of green lily leaf; in a shadowy place, under a trailing trumnpet-vine, - a riot of June, clustered over, as it were, xvitih splashes of tubular scarlet, There was an old frog Sat on a log In the light of the crescent moon, aboon, In the Jight of the pale new moon: And he said to the crescent, " MAy dear, look pleasant! I m going to sing you a tune, real soon; I am going to sing you a tune." The acrid, warm odor of the fields of white-top and wild carrot lay like a spell upon the land. Noon hummed and buzzed, grasshopper-like, at the wood's edge, or drowsily whistled, like a bob-white, from the harvest field, that slept, sultry with sunshine, in the heavy, hot fragrance of the blossoming elder; pelted with petals, 149 Nature-Notes and the downy pearl blossoms of the flowering chestnut tree, that fell in long splashes of white, slenderly curved, as from a pale-towering, never-falling fountain. So let Noon lead me till at last she reaches That spot where Evening tarries brown Beneath the trees, through which the sun- set bleaches; Deep in a wood of ancient oaks and beeches, Where I may lay me down, With all the loveliness that Nature teaches, And watch Night crown her with her starry crown. Violet mists of the rain veiling with vapor the distant hills and val- leys, checkered here and there with great blurs and streaks of interchang- ing sunlight and shadow as the dark blue clouds of wind and rain roll heavily over them. The woods and ways are literally spangled with but- I50 Nature- Notes terflies of all descriptions, colors, sizes, and shapes: small and large; brown and moth-mottled with dimt and dusty blues and blacks; terra- cotta-colored and copper-marked; scarlet and seal and gold, making gay the stalks of withered weeds as with a sudden, a magic burst of strange and tropical blossoms. The catbird says - Sweet you, sweet - you, sweet - you! Very sweet - you, you, You! Sweet, sweet! Nature is full of voices; some heard; some unheard; all of them eloquent of loveliness, happy or mel- ancholy, preaching or singing the gospel of lthe beautiful. Yesterday, walking in the woods of autumn, the wind kept up a con- tinual whispering around me, as if '5I Nature-Notes desirous of communicating some old and awful trouble to my soul. WNNhen it discovered that I could not or would not understand, it cried an- grily in the trees, withering through the sere, red, restless oaks, complain- ing to them of something sadder than life. The witch-faced moon of day looked down upon the faded forest like the ghost of old tragedy weary unto wonder. The smoky, dun, and drab-colored woodlands, that belted the hill, lifted up imploring arms of ashen branches, as if beseeching heaven to spare them; the sunlight of the afternoon piercing them with its chilly gold in broad gray blades of mournful and dusty-looking light. Nemophilist that I am, I also am a lover of the fields, of the meadows; especially after a night of rain when the clean green of the autumn fallows I52 Nature-Notes is dotted with the meadow mush- roomis, holding tp, each one, its white pileus like parasols of the elves, ribbed with delicate pink gills. And when Abov-e the hills the sunset 's rolled One long deep streak of lurid gold, from the nemorous side of a hill, over the waving plumes of goldenrod and aster, I have often fancied I could see, in lamels of refulgent armor, the eidolon of the autumn day beckoning me on to follow, over the glittering meadows, into some wonder world of mystery and magic, towering, shadowy gold and fire, beyond the sunset's clouds and mists of purple and flame. March 17th, I903. For the first time this year, here in Kentucky, to- day I heard the hylodes piping in the I53 Nature-Notes marshy places: those elfin music- makers of March, fairy horn-blowers heralding the approach of Spring. A myriad golden-thighed honey- bees, with one great black bumblebee, -burly and crapulous choragus of the Bacchic chorus, -were zooming and booming among the fluffy, furry catkins of the willows that hung, a green-gold mist, along the borders of a stream; the fragrance and honey of the pussy-willows had made bois- terous Bacchantes of them all. The chortling orchestration of the hylodes; the warbling of the bush- sparrow in tufting cottonwoods; the violet, breaking azure over the sod; the moist spring smell of the fresh new grass, and glimmer of the cat- kins, combined to form a symphony of sounds, aromas, and colors that no man-made music could ever equal. Cobwebs, iridescent in the sunlight, streamed by, the tattered and rent I54 Nature-Notes remnants of the banners of elfdom, caught here and there on the with- ered weeds of last year: or shim- mered in broken arches, the gossamer bridg-es of fairyland; or floated slowly away in torn shreds, shattered rainbows of the fays. The cottonwoods' blooms made the winds haunting and balsam-sweet, smelling like the Balm-of-Gilead, and sonorous with the joy of a thousand busy honey-bees. March I8th, I903. Wildflowers, everywhere, up in profusion. Within a few feet of each other I found anemones, spring-beauties and wood- violets blooming, and the adder's- tongue, or dog's-tooth violet, showing its brown-freckled leaf. The trees were perfect clerestories for the birds, whence the bluebird, the robin, the wren, sap-sucker, spar- I55 Nature-Notes row, catbird and redbird chorused their songs, to which the meadow- lark, like a priest before the altar cel- ebrating the High Mass of Spring, antiphoned responses. Suddenly, in a shadowy opening of the trees, I glimpsed the bluebell, or Virginia cowslip, its porcelain-like, purple-pink heads of clustered buds bowing heavily over the lush green stem of greener leaves - promises of beauty that the month, a week hence, shall behold perfect and blush- ing beneath the million leaf-points of the beeches. A little further on, in a hollow of sodden loam and leaf the bloodroot lifted its virgin chalices of hollow snow, making the moist, musk- haunted aisles of the cathedral-like forest holy with its pale, lamp-like flowers - the spiritual presences, as it were, of many little sangraals. Or here a clumped colony of the twin- I56 Nature-Notes leaf, hardly distinguishable from the bloodroot, immaculate, with sloping, white, half-open blossonIs, tapered through the enfolding leaves like frail candles of souls celebrating the ad- vent of spring. The bloodroot leaves of middle March Lift up their blooms, each one a torch Of creamy crystal in whose xvhite The calyx is a golden light. March 23d, 1903. The toothwort, with its white, four-petaled flowers, variegates, along with the spring- beauty, the floor of the forest under the bourgeoning beeches: amid their delicate enameling, a solitary star, one dog's-tooth violet mosaics its pearl-pallid blossom; a stray from the innumerable host that, like some invasion, pierces and spears the shady hillside with countless bronze- speckled points of leaves. I57 Nature-Notes A storm is rising. The bare boughs roar and tumult with the rushing winds of March. The pha- lanxes of dead leaves panic before it in galloping skeleton thousands, rust- ling wildly in withered flight. Winds, -vaunt couriers of the clouds that roll up in black battalions, -sweep the booming boughs, announcing ter- rific things to the reeling trees, whose tops bow down and, billowing, swirl and swing, doing obeisance to the storm. And now the full force of the tempest is among them; ruin- footed it stalks with enormous strides, crashing and clashing their rumbling trunks together as if they were so many reeds. There is a noise as of hurling and hurry- ing hands, the trampling of gigan- tic feet, the roaring of riven oak, of rended beech, ponderous, pro- testing, in terrified and awful pain, sounding hugely over it all, over 158 Nature-Notes the wild roar and wilder rush of rain. March 26th, 1903. The amiber- green of the sassafras blossom glints in the sunlight, tufting with flame the dark and leafless boughs, and drench- ing the air with subtle and spic7 fra- grance. The wild-bleeding-heart, the harbinger of spring, the anemone, velloxv and blue violets, spring-beauty, b)loodroot, hepatica, and the budded pendants of the bluebells enamel the woood floor with white and gold, pink and azure. Here also the starry eyes of the adder's-tongue, bashful as a little Puritan's, look demurely down. And the celandine-poppy scatters its nuggets of early gold prodigally among the underwoods, or employs its natural alchemy to cover wvith illOts of young yellow the trickling hillside, gleaming here and there amid the dead leaves and mossy rocks like I59 Nature-Notes Croppings out of unmined gold, Of secret wealth no man hath told. Moist, rocky places of the spring, Rich with dark woodland loam, Where hosts of golden poppies cling And breaks the bloodroot's and the twinleaf's foam. The mossy hillside's bulging rocks O'er which the fragile white-heart flocks, Whose penciled leaves and shell-shaped blooms Seem fancies from the fairies' looms. The hairy stems of the hepatica, Beneath the wahoo-bush and leafing haw, Nod delicate as the heads of elfin maids Of fairy tales who haunt the forest glades; And bluets, like a Naiad's eves adream, Assert their azure by the woodland stream; And, where the wind-flower braved the winds of March, The poppy lights its golden torch. i6o Nature-Notes Come dance, come flaunt yourselves, ye wvild little wind-flowers of Mfarch! AnIl. poppies, cune lighit their way with the hollow gold of your torch! Marchl 3rst, 1903. The mole- heax ecdl turf that smnells of sprig,, the gunmnuv gold and -reen and Balm- of-Gilead scented leaf-buds of the cottonwools, - shelling their crisp cusps, blown hither and thither by the wind of late March, - languor the air with indescri.bable essence that s;oftly weih-ls uipon one's evelidcs. soothing them to sleep. I lie beneath a -reat cottonw-ood by the Ohio, gaz- ing at the sky through its 1)ouhlis and breathing the essence of sp)ring dis- tilled from the breC22,e-swung- censers of its blossoms, crimson turning to gold-gray, tasselling the hiuge room of its l)ranches. The curled bronze and l)lack, as if burned, sticky w'itlh aromatic ,gU1m, of the leaf-bud 1; I6 Nature-Notes sheaths scatter the sand and the young grass on which I lie. April 6th, I903. Great white-heart cherry trees drifted with snow of blossoms and pelting the passer-by with flying flakes of petals. The buckeye tree, the great hiorse-chest- nut, is a huge candelabrum of leaf- buds, each bud a point of fragrant bronze infolding pale gold, a com- pact and imprisoned flame, gummy and glistening with spring and sap in the sunlight of early April. The balsam-pungent smell of the leaf- cusps of the cottonwoodls resembles spice blown from the lattices of ori- ental harems. Not " blossom by blossom" does spring begin here, but with a rush, a very tempest of blossoms. Gill-over-the-ground, den- taria, starwort, golden corydalis, mer- tensia, celandine, trillium, wake-robin i62 Nature-Notes and l)luet, reo-iment on regiment, host on hlost, literally storm the bewildered woodland(ls with their blossows. Hi-h among them, like a purple oriflamme, flutter the violet clusters of the ja- cob 's-ladder. April Sth, 1903. The Lepidoptera. - some very large, some very small, - )lack and brown and blue, make the Judas-tree, with its cloud of rosy blossoms, a little world of flutter and of frenzy. By goes a great dragon- fly, the first of the season, like a bolt from a cross-bow. Everywhere is the mirth, the babble and bubble, the gurgle and whisper of wvood- lanld walters, mingled with the jubi- lation of birds and the clapping of leaf-hands, the contented rubbirng together of rustling boughls and branches as if in applause. I calme into a wind-torn wood of oaks, over whose rocky and rooty I63 Nature-Notes floor, sparsely scattered, shone the first wan stars of the bluets, and whiter than blurs of frost, the blos- soms of the white wild-plantain. Oaks, oaks, all around me oaks, don- ning their velvet vestments of pink and purple and gold -the young, unfolding leaves and yet unblossom- ing l)uds, long and silken, of their clustered flowers. Far off, from the valley below, rose a vague chirping, the reedy notes of the hylodes, like an orches- tra of fairy flutes tuned in tine to the swift steps of Spring. Their music, suggestive to me of pale gray, glaucous golden bubbles blown all in the same direction by the wind, now rose, now fell, with every passing breeze. Through the satiny amber and lav- ender and rose mists of the leafing oaks, tasselled with golden-green of blossoms, the occasional dogwoods i64 Nature-Notes showed brownish blurs of buds try- ing to be white. And against a dark back-round of leafless woods the sas- safras, breaking into chrysoprase, gleamed glassy golden. The hillside and the valley seemed streaked and blotted with ochre and unmber, grayish green and violet, dim lilac and amber hues, wxhere Spring had touched the winter-washed l)oughs of the woodlands. And climb- ing the hills and invading the hollows, clothed in the colors of happiness, like attendants in her rosy train, peach orchard and cherry orchard glowed in raiment of pink and pearl. April 27th, 1903. The early, dusty gray-green of the budded birch has been succeeded by a glistening and gliminering emerald-green, amid which the catbird and the bluebird have gone mad with joy, I65 Nature-Notes With the first warm days of April came the large blue and gray dragon- flies, flitting and whirring erratically over the ponds and the pools and creeks. Whence do they come From the South, I suppose; for sud- denly they are here, and no one has seen them come; probably brought hither on the wings of the wind that beat about my roof last night with plaintive rain. The two blossoms that God made alike, the bloodroot and the twinleaf, are now no more. The dogwood dazzles the woods, a steadfast form of snow and light that keeps guard at the gateNway of the Courts of Spring and poses brilliantly for our admiration. The tender pink and delicate mauve of the spotted leaves of the wild-grape, roofing with twi- light the saplinged hillside, -where like lamps of gold the celandine-. poppies are scattered, - build a i66 Nature-Notes green temple within whose sanctuary sunbeams glimmer, like spirits wvor- shipping and offering up flowery sac- rifice to the maiden Spring. At its entrance, like Galahad the pure knight, in armor of dazzling wvhite- ness, stands, the blossomrning dogwaood. Deep in the leaves' concealing green A wood-thrush flutes, The first thrush seen Or heard this spring, and straighlt, me- seems, Its notes take on the attributes Of mythic fancies and of dreams- A faun goes piping o'er the roots And mosses, gliding through dim gleams And gloonms, and while he glides he flutes, T'1hough still unseen, 'Mlid thorny berry and wild-bean. The ripened heads of the rattle- snake plantain nod their touseled tufts i67 Nature-Notes of thistledown at me, -or is it at the little blue butterflies that flutter around them - as if they knew a thing or two about what happens among their stalks in the light of the May moon when the little people are abroad, and the cricket makes dance- music for them. The dewberries are blooming now: The days are long; the nights are short; The (dogwoo(d blossom from its bough Drops snowy petals, heart by heart, Here where she laid 'gainst mine her brow When we did part. Soon where the dewberries' blossoms gleam The berries red will, ripening, glow; And if the dogwood by the stream Did ever bloom, no one will know, And she, too, seem a vanished dream Of long ago. 168 Nature-Notes The yellow star-flower shows its gold Amnoing the trees, half hid in grass; Already do the leaves grow old; Already doth the springtime pass; And last year's leaf hath turned to mould, As love, alas! The crowfoot blossom lifts its eyes Of amber hue from 'round my feet; The bluet apes the Mayday skies With glances blue as they are sweet, Here where last spring we met with sighs, No more to meet. Purple the hills stretch under purple mists, daiamson-frosted purple that persists Even in the valley, darkling there that lies- No bluer black bath night, no darker dyes. The low gray clouds, whose edges are thinned, And spun By the sun And the wind, How they swirl and curl And furl and unfurl Into lawny lengths of snow and pearl! i69 Nature-Notes Now feathering white as the moon-mists do, For the wind and the sun to tempest through, Now closing over, Cloud-cover on cover, Deep azure chasms of fringing blue. The cedars are breaking into gold. Their dark green sprays are flushed with the young gold of May, tufted and spined and edged as with amber- flickering fire. It is like coming upon a bit of the Orient, a dream of Samarcand or Bagdad, to come upon this clump of great crimson- and orange-headed poppies, sultry with slumber and magnificently indolent in the sun- light. Their sullen hearts, - opium- pollened, smooth, deep brown or purple-black, - they hold up and open, languid and beautiful courte- I70 Nature-Notes sans, to every passing bee, inviting them to drug themnselves and dream within their voluptuous bosoms. AIe, too, they have drugged: days shall pass, months, perhaps years, and still shiall the memory of their beauty haunt me -their faces of henna- colored flame; or, raimented in ruby, their bosoms of fire, sullen-centred with hearts of powdery purple. Hark how the honey-throated thrush With notes of limpid harmony Scatters the noonday's liquid hush, Taking the woods with witchery. Hid in the foliage deeps of green He flutes his wildwood notes serene, Like some tree-spirit, lost, unseen. Mlay I 5th, 1903. Deep-hearted peonies, soft-souled as sleep and gor- geous as a dream that comes tricked out in Shakespeare's fancy, now aake sumptuous the garden ways. I7I Nature-Notes Holding up their heavy, dew-jewelled gowns of crumpled crimson or cream, they stand, stately as the Athenian ladies in AMidsummer-Night's Dream smiling at their lovers. The milk-white stars of the water- lilies peep from between the green pads of the pond, at whose edge the sparrow and the thrush are taking their morning bath, preening with wet beaks their backs and wings and breasts. Bubbles of bursting coolness rise between the lily-leaves, marking the way the gold carp goes, a crimson blur, a rosy shadow, a slow, strange streak of chilly flame, moving dimly under the lilies in the smoky crystal of the waters. Giant irises clump and crowd the water's edge. Their beautiful blos- soms, azure and white, are the huge notes of a soundless symphony under whose spell the water seems to sleep. 172 Nature-Notes The ground is strewn with the dead oak- bloom, Brown and withered as autumn broom: And there, in a hollow of the hills, Like a giant pearl in a giant hand. Is a lhite-washed hut where an old man tills A barren acre of barren land. An arid acre, that soon shall blow WTith wild-rose crimson and elder snow. I unlabyrinthed to-day a little worm no larger than a pin's head that had caused a weed's stem to swell, and swell, eating its long, larval wlay tllrough the heart of the weed. That little worm shall become a fly, And sing and sting 'neath the summer sky; Or a gnat, like that which grows in the gall Highl on the oak leaf there -a ball That the elves shall loose and toss over all Merrily under the next new moon;- I73 Nature-Notes When it '11 grow itself wings and a sting and a tune, Stinging and singing its way into June. The cow-spit flecks the ragweed's stem with frothy white, a slimy foam with which a flat green worm seems to deluge itself pumping i. up out of the green of the weed. It reminds me of certain novelists whose impos- sible styles are literally overwhelmed with the froth and fury of their fictions. The red clay of the road is bored and heaved up by some sort of insect, a mining hornet, or spider hiding from a hornet, to which the bug in the weed, drowned in its own spittle, bears some resemblance. Each has its own little world to live in, whether it be a hole in the earth or a hole in a weed. I74 Nature-Notes TMay i6th, 1903. Bells of the blos- soming huckleberries ringing their inauclible white music up and down the MNaytime hills, and a million bluets blooming, among whose blos- soms one gold-thighed bee goes roaming, Invite mn soul to rest awhile And dream beneath their azure smile. The smell of tannin in the ozoned air Undler the oaks when the woods are green, Anid the scent of the soil and moisture wh liere The yoiung leaves dangle and make a screen, Wrhere the hiding wood-nymph comrbs her hair, I-lave breathed me full of the Faun atgain, And malde me kin to the wind and rain. I75 Nature-Notes The stealthy squirrel skips along; The bush-hird lifts its twilight song; The great frog sounds his resonant gong At nightfall. The small wood-gnat, that stings and flies, And drowns itself for rage in your eyes, Sings and whines and thinly cries At nightfall. The hairy spiders, that crotvch outside Their earth-bored lairs, now stealthily glide, Or spin great webs for the moths that hide Till nightfall. May i7th, I903. Three birds have followed and haunted my steps all the afternoon. First, a catbird, singing a paean in praise of the day, filled with a passion of splendid sunlight and warm wind, perched in the top of a cottonwood whose woolly wisps) are blown like fragments of fleece through the air. Second, a song- sparrow, small and sweet, lilting a 176 Nature-Notes pensive little lay, small and sweet as itself, a tinkle, as it wvere, a silvering (lown of dewy notes. Thirdly, a crimson-winged blackbird, repeat- ing monotonously its one stridlent, persistently piercing and importu- nate note, emphasized occasionally by prolonging the expression " swveet" into " s-w-e-e-e-e-t," or is it " sweet- er-ee," or " o-ka-lee " Colorado, June .12th, 1903. TIhe pools of water left by the rain of last night in the rocks of the mountains are the mirrors over which the Oreads braid their hair, heavy with the wet of the mountain mists and twined with the mountain flowers. I can fancy them, white and naked as the stars that haunt the loftiest peaks, leaning like lilies over these pools, by the inoon's cold light, wondering and marvelling at their own wild love- I177 I 2 Nature-Notes liness, their eyes shining through their locks,-dark and dishevelled, - as the mountain dawn breaks, violet-gray, through scud of stream- ing storm. October 28th, 1903. Autumn is with us. She who endears herself to us through her decay. Again the sober brown carpet of the leaves rustles on the forest floors. Once more, here in Kentucky, the long bronze-green blurs and streaks, stealthily serpentine, of the duck- weed marble the sluggish streams and pools with copperas hues, mak- ing of each a huge moss-agate, under the clear lemon and burnt brown of the beeches. Again the huckleberry bushes seem turned into garnet and ruby, their leaves, colored with carmine and vermilion, cover each bush, making it burn like that fromn which God addlressed MAoses. I78 Nature-Notes Again the moss, crisp, dry and gray, starred here and there with plushy green, makes mute the step. Again the acorns sow the wvay, falling con- tinually, and crunching and crack- ling under the feet, along with the burrs of the beech and chestnut now emptied of their nuts. Again the oleander-colored skies of sunset, seen throuoh the columned iron of the oaks, invite the soul to wander and lose itself in the forest of dreams and shadows. The blue-winged wasp and the yellow-winged grasshopper seem aweary of their own singing. The bush-clover, tired of its papil- ionaceous, pink blossoms, is convert- ing them rapidly into links of flat green burrs that loosen and cling to all that touches them. Burr-mari- golds besiege the woodland ways, bristling an army of brown burr- heads, dishevelled spikes of forked thorns. Flame-flecked leaves, or I79 Nature-Notes leaves stained with blood-red fire, flutter and fall around us, heaping the path that leads to the leaf-clogged stream, reflecting all the sorrow and savagery of the year, the cinnabar of the burning-bush, the scarlet of the sumachs, -already half-stripped of their leaves, - and the crimson and gold of the maples. Ni ow and then one catches the pungent, alkali odor, so characteristic of autumn, of burn- ing wood and weeds; and in the twi- light, clotting it like the eyes of somne forest animal, the distant snmoulder or flare of a brush-fire. And then at night - with what a feeling of awe we walk the autumn woods! What xwonders, what whispers walk with us! Death and Melancholy and Decay, mysterious and invisible companions of the rain and the wind, seem never weary of telling us of the sorrow, the sadness of existence, complaining ceaselessly to the sighing and weep- i8o Nature-Notes ing trees and the unhappy and dying flowers. Where the rain that comes at night tip-toes in its whispering gown, the briers are bruised and veined wvith bronze and blood; Each leaf is marked with fire And flame makes fierce each spire. The oaks sullen into swarthly crim- son; or, masses of brown and bronze, they sombre themselves against the ember-smouldering West. Yesterday among the beeches, to-day among thle oaks: Those with their emerald and gold, Their amber golds and grays, These with their blood-dark bronze, Translucent, frosty reds: The gold the Autumn (Ions, The blood her sad heart sheds, As slow she goes her ways; Sheds at each step, that cloaks Each pool that glimmers cold, I8I Nature-Notes Sunk in the woodland mould, 'Mid the oaks, of whose russets and reds Winds make their beds, Bowing their withered heads, That are old, so old, Where the Autumn cons, In her golds and grays, Her Book of Days. The wind is rising and the leaves are blown, Wild, swallow-high, reluctant still to fall, Swarming from hill to hill; and over all The sere, wild-sounding oaks a voice calls lone, As if the wood some ancient word were sighing, Some unintelligible word of beauty dying. The dawn comes in clad all in hodden gray, And, like a tattered cloak its wildness wears, i82 Nature-Notes The ragged rain sweeps stormily this TIhe acorn, like a bullet, strikes the soil And blown from its wild pod the milk- weed's plume, WVan in the ghostly and the gusty gloom, Flares like a lamp hand-hollowed of trembling toil. NOVEMBER 12t1, 1904. HTylas, that pipe the little buds awake; Tile shrill hylodes, how they silng Before the wind-flower and the bloodroot shake Their twvinkling stars frail in the locks of Spring. The rose-bruised blue of the bluebell's buds Will soon make gay the hem of her gown; Green as the green of the young oak w ooCs With changing tints of matuve and brown. 183 Nature-Notes And soon will golden poppies cling In woodland places deep with loam, And we shall glimpse the feet of Spring- White in the twinleaf's flowers of foam. And all the hillside's rugged rocks She '11 shower with shell-shaped white- heart blooms, Shaken from out her radiant locks, As down she comes through greenwood glooms. Spring is late this year. It is now March 12th, and hardly a bud or blossom is to be seen anywhere in field or forest; not a wildflower, neither harbinger-of-spring, spring- beauty, nor anemone. All is still sere and sad in the bare brown of the windy woods. 'Not even a violet to push aside the dead leaves and open its baby eyes to the stormy sunlight. Only Spring's presence, or is it her approach is evidenced by the warm, wet smell of turf and loam and I84 Nature-Notes leaf - the aroma that haunts her gown's green hemn brushing here and there the edoges of the woods; and by the sunlight basking white on the hilltops - the slow silver of her de- laying feet. Still are the forests barren of all buds. An(d all the woods of wildflowers; but, behold! Witlhin a week or less the invading hosts, Aynriad an(d many as the stars of heaven, Shall utterly invade these woodland ways, When every foot of soil shall show and boast Its bud or blossom or balsam-beakld leaf, Bragging of beauty to the passer-by. Beggared and bankrupt of all words to praise. Come, let us forth and homage her, Clothed on xwith warmth and musk and myrrh, The indescribable odor wild that clings Around her like a garment: let us sinlg 185 Nature-Notes Songs to her, glad as grass and all the things Exulting in her presence-greening things And airy that have gotten them new wings: Come, let us forth and give our praise to Spring. The flowers now are holding their public pomps and pageants making gay the worlds of the woods. Warm scents of rain and of sun, of loam and of leaf courier their coming, and the wind is a herald's bugle, bannered with the blue of heaven, sounding before them. Mv mind 's washed clean by the wind that brings The wild warm scent of the woods on its wings, The racy sweets of the bourgeonings Of flower and tree and brier that clings. i86 Nature-Notes My head I bare to the winds that blare, That blow from the purple heart of the cloud, Now low, now loud, From the heart of the cloud, like a giant's hair, Blown everywhere, Blue-black and low, Heavy with railn and the pearly glow Of sunlight gulfing its deeps with snow.- Blow, wincls of spring! 0 blow, blow, blow! Caress my brow like fingers fair, Cool fingers touching my eyes and hair! Blow. spring winds, blow! 0 blow, blow, blow! Blow out of my soul all cark and care! And out of my heart, aye! out of my heart, despair! The wind goes groping among the trees, Telling the bees Where the little buds open that no one sees. 1.87 Nature-Notes At intervals, as softly cool it blows, The wild-plum shows Its bee-swarm'd clusters 'twixt the wood's dark rows. The sluggish snake now basks his uncoiled length Beside the windings of the water-course; With torpid beady eyes he lies and dreams Where warm the sunlight sleeps. Near by him claws Of some strange beast have marked the furrowed sand As with deep talonings of mighty rage Here on the wild road where it fords the stream. Rocked by the winds of March the trees become, Each one a maddened pendulum Swayed every way as if in time To some wild music, roaring rhyme Shouted from storm-tossed hill to hill, Amid the forests that are never still. What dance is wilder than that the dead leaves dance, made frantic by I88 Nature-Notes the winds of 'March hIlat music more welcome than the bucksaw sound of the hylas chorusing a song in praise of spring in. the flooded lottom-lands and marshy pools of the valleys Or what is rosier than the rosy tassels that tag the sugar tree ws hen it lifts itself like a banner unfurled in the very fore- front of the advancing armies of spring Malrch 27th, 1905. I found the hepatica with its twisted hairy stems and three-lobed leaves blooming re- tiredly at the protecting base of an old beech, hidden, or trying to hide, in a rooty angle of lichen and leaves and moss. A peculiarity of these hej)atica blossoms is that they are a delicate pink, almost white, and not blue-the color generally attributed to the liverwort. 189 Nature-Notes Think of the strength of the sprout- ing germ of such a tender and frail thing as a wvildflower! lifting or dis- placing a clod, or even a small stone often with its pointed bud; piercing with its slender green the superim- posed layers of dead leaves as a needle might; and not till they are pierced, unfolding the large beauty of its leaf. Thus to-day I noted many of the leaves of the adder's-tongue, or dog's-tooth violet, collared or ruffed curiously with a collar or ruff of dead leaves, which they had neatly and completely pierced. The spicewood bush is now in bloom. Its yet leafless branches are illuminated with many fuzzy little flowers, lights of pale amber, aro- matic as some oriental pastil. The gold-green blooms of the spicebush burn Lighting the wood at every turn; I90 Nature-Notes Like the starry tufts of the sassafras, Whose fragrance thrills us as we pass. From out their patens of gold they spill A faint aroma that haunts the hill. I-How late joy is in coming! late as is the young hickory to don its rai- ment of green and gold; whereas it should be rathe as the redbud that, a month ago, flaunted a miass of re- joicing rose, making happy the other- wise barren forestside: or as the pawpaw that, days ago, gladdened the woods witlh its bells of deep, dark bronze, belfrying its leafless boughs where the winds hung, like bell- ringers, ringing the month's mar- riage peals. Placid and pure and clean the wvild-phlox blooms Make glad the hillsides and deep-wooded banks I9' Nature-Notes Of wandering creeks. Beneath the old, gray l)eech The Mlayapples, in myriad colonies, Advance-guards of the wildflowers' fol- lowing hosts, Lift up their green-and-umnber tents of leaves, Each unrolled tent tipped with its furled- up flag, Its pea-like bud, a knob of delicate green, Wherein the milk-white, - blazoned deep with gold,- Of its broad bloom, its banner 's packed away. While at the wood's edge, at the turn o' the lane, A clear, a chilly crimson in its keys, Its million blooms, the maple fairly glows, Making a crystal blur of rosy gloom; Wherein the bluebird, like a sapphire closed In an enormous ruby, sits and sings; Upon his back and on his wayward win-gs The lapis-lazuli o' the April sky. APRIL 5th, i9o5. I92 Nature-Notes XVho is it knows How the huckleberry grows, Blooms and blows'- Only the bird that sings and sillgs WVaving its willgS, Saying, " Colme see it where it swings! Ruddy green and amber rose, See, oh , see, In honor of Spring, lUnder this tree, See how they ring Tlheir tiny bells, that cluster out, Silvery red, in a rosy rout." In the poorest soil of the hillside, amid rocks, felled woodl, and mosses, 1 found the bird's-foot violet with its pansy-like l)lossomns, p1urple and blue, scattered and glowing like vari-col- ored sapphires. Andt under the April crimson that the oaks had donned the yell ow puccoon made l)righlt the barren -ways of the waste hillside. On 'May the Tst, I found its tubular gold, like little trumpets of the elves, '3 I93 Nature-Notes held up, as if ready to salute me with golden announcement, by every road- side and in the grassless places of the hills. The bright star-of-Bethlehem, inm- maculate white, fixed its shining eye upon me, -like the bright eyes of adventure, - here and there, looking out of every grassy place I passed as from a green, small firmament all its own. May 5th, I905. The dead-leaf car- pet of the underwoods, - covered white with the dropped petals of the fallen and drifted blossoms of the dog- woods, - is as if it were flaked with snow. Here and there amid their white the tall, spadixed blossoms of the Indian-turnip are seen, green and purple, or bluish white striped with clear gray-green. The wood, this morning, is in- vaded of snails. An elfin army, black, 194 Nature-Notes gray, and brown, thrusting forth their horns, like some strange weapon of defence, their shells looking like so many queer knapsacks, they storm the stumps of the trees, swarm over the roals, an(l scatter their skirmishers amnong the rocks and roots of the forest, investing everything before them, leaf and blossom and funguts. Three I found attacking a single leaf, two thirds of which had already disappeared. At another place a great reddish brown snail was busy devouring what seemed at first to be a caterpillar and which afterwards proved to be a long, fuzzyv, yellow blossomi; the watery red of the snail an(l the golden-white of the blossom producing quite a peculiar color effect. WVhat if curses should fall as thickly as snails come after a rainy night in early May Irresistible as the impulse of spring to leaf and blos- '95 Nature-Notes som and bear and bless us with the beautiful-what if this impulse should suddenly take the opposite course, producing, instead of the beautiful, the terrible and the hor- rible, like this slimy vermin swarm- ing over the woodland ways! Who will tell me why ants are con- tinually and persistently climbing the trees wandering here and there, irresolutely, indefinitely, at a loss as to what they are seeking, over the flat broad surfaces of the leaves; and at length reaching the topmost twig of a branch, or a leaf, or of the tree, turning and retracing their way just as hurriedly downward There are no aphides, no insect kine for them to stroke and milk; no honey-dew, no gummy sweetness perceptible that might attract them. Can it be that the fascination, the curiosity to see i96 Nature-Notes how the earth looks fromi a great heiglit lures and compels them, too, as it often does us mortals May i 8th, I905. The strawberry- bush (running euonymus) is now in full bloom; covered with five-petaled, flat, fleshy, green flowers which shall eventually evolve the crimison-burred po(ls, packed with scarlet seeds, of early autumn. Like a carcanet of living and gr.aiceful emerald, the green snake glides across mny way; silently sinu- ouis, moving swiftly to the upper twigs of the eionymius; under which, lum- I)ering along slowly beneath its mottled and inCasing shell, a land- turtle rustles over and through the leaves -an ungainly bulk, whose rul)ber-colored neck and feet and tail protrude grotesquely from the shell, into which at a movement I97 N atu re-Notes of my foot they are instantly withdrawn. I found the shin-leaf with its rocket-like flowers of white-blue blos- soming in the open woods to-day. On it, like a Japanese design, sat a butterfly, wings outspread, the sumptuous coloring of which defies description. The first heavy-headed stalks of the beard's-tongue, lilac and white, plume with orchid-like blossoms the fields and the forest ways. Here on the slope of the hill, shel- tering under the oaks, fresh as the break of day, and breathing rainy fragrance around, I found the innu- merable wild-rose blooming, each one a round pink yawn of perfume, young and fresh and sweet as the young, sweet, dewy beauty of a baby's mouth. The wild-potato vine, too, I found in full bloom; its large chalices, white cups of opaque crystal, spotting 198 Nature-Notes and dotting the open fields and vistas of the woods. The wild-parsley, with its lacy, gracefully penciled umbels, hedged with tall gold the banks of a creek that slid tinkling from the gloom, from the hillside where, in patches, among the rocks, like outcroppings of gold, shining in the sunlight, yellowed the blossoms of the puccoon. The blossoms of the shin-leaf, hued and shaped like forget-me-nots, on the tops of their stiff, prim-looking stalks, tower gracefully from the low whorl of their large mullein-like leaves. Not far away the goat's-rue, with its papilionaceous flowers, look- ing like many saffron and rose col- ored butterflies, makes glorious the rocky hillside sloping to the little creek singing, like a happy child amid its gathered wildflowers, unseen in the woody hollow. '99 Nature-Notes Snug in its curled-up leaf the spider hides, safe from the searching mud- wasp, whining impatiently, flitting from flownder to leaf. The blue-winged wasp and the yellow-winged grass- hopper seem to be the only insects awake here where in countless num- bers the wild onion blooms. Like the insects, the blossoms too seem asleep; their six-petaled, star-shaped flowers, pale lavender, almost white, dot the distance dimly. Their knob- like seeds on their tall, stiff, succulent stems give a polka-dot effect to the tall grass - white (lottings on a green background. Here in the dense underwoods the wood-dove nests. Far away, mournful in the nooning, I heard her cooing. Here and there in the hollows of the woods stout and stocky toadstools, marble-gray and white, look like so 200 Nature-Notes many tents, or temples, that the imps of the moon and the starlighlt have raised. In the shadows, along the w-ood ways, (lamp and dumpy, fat and lean, white and yellow, terra- cotta and crimson, green and blue, poisonous looking, and, when not bloated, leautiful as strange blos- soms are beautiful of the ranker weeds, pearl- and pink-gilled, slender or thick-stemmed, they orb their cones and discs grotesque as the work of gnomes. The Robin's-plantain lifts its lilac roulnd of ray-flowers, looking down, like a yellow-pupiled eye, upon the snail that clings gnawing on a wild- rose near by, as melancholy clings gnawxing at a heart. Suddenly I hear the Carolina wren singing in the top of a haw tree, " Cheer up, and cheer up, and cheer up! 20I Nature-Notes That trees have an intelligent as well as a sentient life to me is evident and provable. That plants have a sense perception of taste and feeling has been proven. If sense percel)- tion, why not thought perception as well About a month ago, early in May, sitting under this oak on the top of Kenwood Hill, I conceived the idea of stripping the leaves from one of its branches and of seeing what within a month would happen. I carefully cut away every leaf at its base where attached to the twigs, doing no injury to the young acorns that were just forming. Returning to the samte place a month thereafter I find that the bough has put forth new leaves-tenderly slender and palely delicate, invalid-looking leaves -smaller and less sturdy it is true than the ones which I removed, but leaves nevertheless. It is to me as if the tree had become conscious of 202 Nature-Notes the bareness of this one bough1, and the parent stem had corrected its condition, clothing it with green again. Now the question that arises in my mind is - how did the tree know that this particular limb had been strippe(l of its leaves It certainly mUst have known it or it never would have put forth new leaves agfain so early in the season. There Imlust be some manner of intelligent comnmuni- cation between the outmost branches and the roots of the tree, its fibrous heart or brain or nervous centre, whatever you call it, that is capable of receiving information of, and then of remedying, some accidental de- fect, not vital, in its body. In fact I truly believe that trees are capable of thought the same as aninials are, though, of course, in a lesser degree. JUNE 22d, i905. 203 Nature-Notes Clothed in redundancy of bloom and beauty June meets me at every turn of this leafy lane, offering me now a spray of red half-ripe black- berries, now a handful of herbs mixed with the white ulmns of the wild hydrangea, and now a double armful of elder blossoms, redolent of sun and rain and imprisoning within their starry stems a whole sumnler of hot perfume. The liquid note of the thrush -what words can describe it Above me now I hear it, dropping its glob1 harmony, Golden-bubbled, crystalline clear, inde- scribably deep. Questioningly, answeringly its music falls. Notes of antiphonal gold, Full of youth and joy; A tree-spirit, seemingly, Voicing the innocence, the exuberance, the beauty of invisible, Inviolable things; wild myths that popu- late 204 Natu re-Notes The world of the woods and streams. Pensively, hopefully now it pleads. Pleads for the dreams that haunt the hearts of the trees, The soul of the woodland- Dreams that it sees from its leafy height, Its lbreezy eyrie of green, Dreams that it sees and knows. And now for ine its music, too', takes form, Visible, material form: And I seem to see- A presence, young with the youth that never ages. A Faun, a Spirit, slender and naked as Spring, Deep in the forest, approaching and now retreating. Mlowing his flute of flowers. Gleaming, vanislhing far in the verdurous gloomns: A Spirit, happy with all that is happy, Commntinicated joy of all that is beauty. hTe Awild, Wivil beauty it drewv from the breasts of its mother. Its beautiful mother, Nature: A phantom supernal in loveliness, respon- sive and tender, 20C; Nature-Notes Diaphanous, hyaline, translucently green and golden, Golden and green like the sound of a thrush's fluting: A form of light like that which shimmers and shades Under the (day-deep boughs of the myriad beeches; Flitting, xN avering now like a joy that dlances, Silent, alone in the Heart of the forest, Shimmering, glimmering here like the ray that stars the ripples, Sun-speared, flashing and fading on wood- land waters, Falling, calling, foamy-lipped, like a Naiad, Lost in the leaves, the remotest deeps of the forest. Like the rain that tips the point of a poplar leaf, Trembling, a liquid star, to its twinkling f all, There it glances and glints, tinkling with silver the silence; There it hazes like heat that haunts the summer meadows, 206 Nature-Notes To whose kisses the wildflowvers open their wondering and fragrant eyes: A glimmering form it leacls me, musical ever of motion, From xvildlIood place to place, Retreating. advlancing, luring from vista to vista, Far andl far in the forest, the haunted deeps of the forest, To- slav me there, perhaps, at last. At last with some last, lon- and lovelier note, Ringing as gold And( deeper in niagic than the mtiyths of old. The milkwxeed's ball of lilac-col- ored blossomns swings, heavv wvith the wet, by the wayside. In it a striped beetle burrows, drunken with the honeyed perfume that filters fromn its hundred mouths of nectar. Guidons of fairy cavalry, slender gold and emerald and azure, the dragon-flies twinkle hither and thither or rest alert of wing on the wild-flag 207 Nature-Notes blades that rim, as it were with an abatis of green swords, the woodland water, the way to which is literally lost in an(1 overwhelmed with the bugled stalks of the jeweiweed or touch-me-not. A wood-thrush flutes overhead. And again I think -all the sweet words in the world married to melody by the greatest musical genius could not express to me what its few simple but inspired notes express - of ex- pectation, of woodland mystery, dreams, and wonder-visions never to be seen, remote, unattainably beauti- ful. - 0 indescribable song of the thrush!I 0 June! 0 love! 0 youth! of you, of you it speaks to me! and of the lost, the irremediable; the indescribably fair and far and yet to be found, the mysteriously hidden, the undiscoverable, calling me in the voice of all my longings through the cadenced aisles of the forest. 208 Nature-Notes Crystal gleaming, quicksilver- sparkling brilliants, moonbeam jewels for sylvan spirits to braid in their bark-brown tresses, or string in starry carcanets of liquid spar around their throats of wildflower wvhite- ness, are the drops of rounded rain caught and held in the green hollows of the leaves that the rays of the afternoon sull love to linger upon, im- pregnating them with cool white fires. Already are the burning bushes (the running euonymus) covered with little round warty capsules of beryl-green that in September shall astonish this path with color-glow- ing into ruby and rose, making a diminutive sunset of fragmentary scarlet under the dark vault of tangled thorns and limbs of unescapable beeches. 209 '4 Nature-Notes The woodpecker! hear him, the red- capped, Driving home his bill! Driving deliberately home his bill In the top limb of yonder tree. Swiftly, instantly, repeatedly it sounds, Resonant. distinct in the hollow wood.- What a prospect from such an outlook, What a world of limb and leaf, Ever moving, restless in its rest, Must that be from whcre he raps! That tallest giant of them all, That poplar there WVhere so unconcernedly he clings. What exultation of height! What intoxication of cloud and sky! Of wind and rapture in the blowing hair of the tree! Its rocking and nodding head - Oh, that I too had wings! The crawfish in his tower of ooze and clay- What knows he of the day! Like some crabb'd misanthrope, Sans joy, sans hope, 210 Natu re-Notes He sits within his pit Seeing no part of heaven, that azures over it. The lizard streaks itself from view, swiftly - a noise of clutch ing and hurrvin- clawvs, - around the dark- gray trunk of the oak; bark-colored itself, it is hardlv distingtishable from the lichens that scrawl curiously with wandering hieroolyphics the sunless side on wxhich it hides. 1Tag-tapers bow their heads i' the wind Like candles the -itches bear; and, thinned As the moon'lighlt is where a soul has sinned, Their blossoms look; and a flower red Blooms near them, shaped like a viper's head, A blood-blotched flower, like a syrnbol pinned To the breast of a gipsy dagger-dead, A damsel frail as a flower, oh! 2II Nature-Notes June 29th, 1905. Here late in June bloom the black cohosh and the lutterfly-weed: the one holding high its plumes of snowy-white, like some champion of the woods; the other, umbels of flame, splashing as with battle-stains the open vistas of the trees. The blue-black wasp, black-winged, its two orange-bright feathers flying from its head, dashes swiftly by- a fairy courier bearing dispatches from MIab to Oberon: alert, undelay- ing, fearless, his dagger ever ready, he proceeds determinedly upon his way. Some snakes are beautiful, others, hideous; I have met with both kinds, never molesting them if they exhib- ited no signs of a desire to molest me. How fearfully some of them are fashioned; this one, for instance, which I have just crushed with a stone, short, darkly diamonded, that, 2I2 Nature-Notes with its spreading neck and head, gave me such a start a moment ago. Here where the twilight-colored trunks of trees. 'Mottled with lichen, arch the twilight w ay, W\Vhere every crooked bough, swayed by the breeze, Now seems a knotted serpent. viperous graym Becauise of one whose flat and horrible head, Reared in my woodland way, I crushed to-dav, Fanging withl poison its own side instead Of me advancing where unseen it lay. The purple racemes of the blazing star andl the cobalt corymbs of the ironweed are torches in the train of Summer advancing over the hills. The huckleberries are spilling their fullness at her feet; and the black- berries and wild plums heap her path 213 Nature-Notes with ripening abundance. Old Earth, in fact, is trying herself again in flowers and fruit, and the world is a very pleasant place to be in. It is of very little consequence what we have to eat, or whether we have too little or enough or too much, so long as we have many beautiful things to look upon. I don't know any better phil- osophy than this. Silvered wvith sun and rain the hills anrd val es, O'er wh-ich a ragged rim of thunder trails, Show like some lunar landscape, pearl and frost, Crystaled with moon-dust and with star- dr1-ift crossed, listed of silver and in silver lost. Elderberries are now ripe; hang- ing in huge clusters of polished purple by the roadside and along the sumach brake from which the brick-colored 214 Nature-Notes plumes of the sumach are thrust. Where are the snows, the fragrant snowvs, that weighed with odorous white each elder-buslh but yesterday Surely it seems but vester(Iav that I passed this way and stopped a mo- mleit to gather a spray from the masses that banked this lane. Aug ust ioth. The large golden touch-me-not, blunt-spurred and lemion-yellow, and the tall blue bell- flowNer, bluebell blue, make a wvilder- ness of color on the shady hillside, -- changing kaleidoscopic with the seasons, -leading precipitately o er rocks and roots to the creek that, swollen clay-red with last night's rain, and haunted of the kinofisher and the small green heron, flows slowly, sluggishliv alon-g heavy with soil, as a life with sins, between its wveecly and sycamore banks. There 215 Nature-Notes is a warm, damp, green, forest odor of wet earth and leaves and weeds everywhere, and the path along the stream is lost in the dense, high, succulent stalks of the jewelweed hung with its orange-colored, red- freckled horns, brimming with rain -veritable vats of wild-honey for the bees and butterflies to drown themselves in. Cleared of woodland, the hot hill- side here is covered with the blos- soms of the wild-bean; their puckered pink, dotting thickly the thin, pale grass and broom-sedge, gives the hill- side the appearance of being spread with an old-fashioned, single-pat- terned quilt of gigantic proportions. To-day a month ago,- August 14th, - I gathered and enjoyed the first huckleberries of the season. The bushes are still freighted purple 2i6 iNature-Notes with them, purpler and larger and sweeter than those of a month ago. To-day also I gathered luscious handfuls of wild blackberries in the w-ood-ways, along the roadside. It seems rather late for berries such as the huckleberry and the blackberry now that pawpaws are beginning to mellow and the Chickasawv plums to redden and Summer is preparing to bid us good-by. On the hilltop, no possible pool or creek in the vicinity from wvhich they might have strayed to their death, I find the road, for the distance of many yards, strewn with the dead bodies of a number of small frogs - not toads-but small green frogs. Can it be that they fell with this niorning's heavy rain that, as I have often heard but never believed, here has taken place a peculiar, an un- 2I7 Nature-Notes usual phenomenon, which scarcely seems credible Already are the seeds in the green, burred pods of the strawberry-bush orange-colored; each one plumply packed in its own little corner, closely together, snugly awaiting the fogs and frosts of fall that shall split and divide the gnarly capsule, curling and peeling it and laying bare the rounded scarlet of its contents. Seeds that shall glow vermilion with the ap- proach of Autumn, while the pods crimson gradually, rosily as Septetm- ber drowses on towards October. The prim, white spikes of the lady's-tresses, twisted and curled as if blown by the wind, are slender tapers in the wild procession, bannered with gold and purple, of blossom- ing weeds, that crowds and caval- 2I8 Nature-Notes cades the briery banks of the branch that twinkles and pearls under the overhanging roots of a chestnut tree whose green and thorny burrs already begin to strew the gravel and grass at its foot. The haw, too, ruddying its round andi clustered -lobes, against the dark green background of the forest, looks like a huge bunch of holly, emerald (lotted with ruby, that the Forest Folk have placed, in celebration of soMe festivity, at the entrance to the wood. AutguSt 23d. Thrust over a tangle of blackberry and green-brier the spiraled spikes of the false drag- oluhead, or obedient plant, deeply heliotrope, with foxglove-shaped blos- solls, arrest my gaze. Each blossom is a rosy mnouth of honey, -its lower lip and its throat freckled and 2I9 Nature-Notes streaked with purplish pink, - on which the bees kiss themselves to sleep, drowsily rumbling all the while. I don't know of any flower more distinguished looking, more elegantly splendid, ardent with the ardor that burns and beats in the amorous veins of mid-August, and warm with the warmth of her own glowing bosom, than is this flower, the false dragon- head, that in a riot of richly blossom- ing weeds,- goldenrod, blazing-star, and trumpet weed, -the roving eye singles out as one might a plumed and silken prince amid his suite, mag- nificent with velvet and vair, of su- perbly-attired attendants. The flowering spurge, with its masses of myosotis-like calyces, starry-white, makes miniature Milky Wtays here and there in the summer 220 Nature-Notes fields, quivering with the visible heat. Scattered 'mid the larger pink blos- soins of the Bouncing-Bet. a strayed cluster of this euphorbia glints and glimnmers now and then like the nebula in Lyra, lost in a firmament of weeds and flowers. The curious, clay-colored mole- cricket, with its little paw-like claws pushing its stealthy way through the damp creek clay and sand, frequently fools nie with its shrill, high cry, per- sistent, piercing, coming, seemingly, from no (liscoverable where. One would imagine that the earth througih which it tunnels its narrow gallery would smother, or, at least, muffle the sound, but it does not. Shrill and distinct it rises in the summer silence, louder even than the twilight sound of its brother, the climbing cricket, whose wings vibrate pensively, plain- 221 Nature-Notes tively, on the concealing side of a sassafras or green-brier leaf. The oll tree, on which the man was hancged, sighed to itself:- "Alas! why am I made an instrument of -violent death What have I done that I should be so punislhed Made a participant in such a crime I, whose life has evermore been one of peace and love: Whose mind has ever been employed wvith thoughts of mercy: Whose arms have always been stretched forth In kindness and protection, Sheltering the baby blossoms, The shy, the tender, the timid, The wild things of the woods, That love to nestle and lie at my mossy foot: I. whose limbs have unselfishly made, Year after year, A quiet cirque of coolth and comfort for the weary traveler, Hot and dusty from the road, 222 Nature-Notes Refreshing and restoring hirn wvith the soothing whisper, The lullabying lilt of my leaves: My verdurous bosom the home and haunt of unstudied song, - Birds an(l 1)reezes rejoicing in its shelter- ing and maternal amplitude. Ah me! henceforward will Beauty and Love avoid me. Frequent visitors before! An(l Fear an(d Hate tenant in my bou)lghs. The Dryad, who dwelt in my heart, Its beautiful and innocent inhabitant, is fled awav. No more will the loveliness of thiings within me and about me Be as it wvas before. Accursed am I among trees! Accursed wVith the curse of murder! The contact and contamination of crime! Accursed with the stigma of slaughter! And accursed shall I ever remain throu-gh the crime of man, The most cruel, the most destructive, the most ferocious of all animals. Would now that some devastating bolt, 223 Nature-Notes Blindingly launched from yonder ap- proaching cloud, Might fell me, thunderingly, to earth! Making me really that which I feel that I am become- A horrible thing, twisted and gnarled and black, Hideously crippled and scarred, Blasted and branded, as the brow of Cain, With withering, with elemental fire: Laying me prone; or leaving a towering and tortured trunk, A blackened shape, In the shuddering and rejecting forest- A trysting place for Murder, A roost for obscene things, Buzzards, carrion-crows, and owls." August 25th. In the sunny places, among the open fields, and along the dry banks of the weedy creeks, the wild senna, orbed and richly yellow, glows like spilled gold - doubloons scattered or lost by the marauder Month, each piece centred and stained 224 Nature-Notes with red, spotted, as it were, with blood-the blood of wounded and dying Summer. The stalk of the false Solomon's Seal is tipped and bent over by its bunch of currant-colored berries, a polished and glassy crimson. How bright they look held up or leaning from the masses of dark green under- growthl of the forest where there is no other sign of color to relieve the green except the ruddy horns of the touch-me-nots. The woolly w\hite of the b:)oneset, heavy ,with dew; the fuzzy yellow of the goldenrod, drowsy with bees; and the ragged, l)utterfly-haunted purple of the ironweed, encumber the sun- tanned armns of late August as she makes her way slowly through brier and berry and thorn, burr and blos- somn and fungus, to the summer's close, the marigold garden where she shall deliver her burden with a sigh 22' 1 5 Nature-Notes to fruit-stained September and lay her down to sleep. Where like an angry tyrant roars the sea, Pulling his yeasty beard, upon his throne Of iron crags; and where, like storm- lights strewn, The baleful stars reddcn tempestuously, I see him stand, blind Winter, all alone, Wild hair and beard, like snow, about him blown. Wnhat boots it to keep saying That " life 's a hollow farce " That " men are fools " that " praying Helps not, nor (1oth remorse" What boots it to keep dwelling On grief and sin and shame The old, old story telling, " The end for all 's the same" Who says that He, the Power That made us, as a rule Made fools with farce for dower, He only is the fool. 226 Nature-Notes It is not very frequently that we find the Indian-pipe in this locality. But to-day I came upon it while w-alking along an abandoned wood- road and admiring the various col- ored fungi that dotted the wood and exuded from the boles and stumps of trees, such as the Cinnabar Fungus and the Sulphury Polypous, like an enormous yellow ruff. Among the many mushrooms I recognized the poisonous but beautiful Fly Aminita, gracefully poised on its slender stem, its top a lemon-yellow patched here and there with delicate white scales; the edible Chaantarelle, of a uniform yolk-yellow color; the Green Russula and the Masked Tricholoma, pearly gray or brown, both of them snail- eaten and both of them esculents. In fact the chill mists and dews of late summer seemed to have summoned up from the earth all the grotesque forms that fancy dreams of, and scat- 227 Nature-Notes tered them among the drowsy trees. Among them, solitary as a spirit among imps and gnomes, delicate, transparent, as it were of virgin ala- baster, the Ghost-flower lifted up its fragile stem, its flower-head waxen white, bent as if in meditation or grief. It seemed to me the melan- choly phantom of somne sad wild- flower returned to earth to haunt the spot it had once bloomed in and to muse upon its past loveliness and happiness there. The place was full of a pallid, a shadowy beauty; mossy and dark and silent save for the veery's occa- sional note, -remote and elusive as a note blown on a pipe by a young Faun in the green intricacies of the forest, - and the quiet, scarcely audible murmur of a stream, trick- ling thinly, as if afraid of its own sound, down dark rocks, dimly drip- ping, and under a bank brambled and 228 Nature-Notes spired here and there with the tall, pink-flowered stalks of the horsemint where the sunlight faintly filtered through the thickly matted leaves. It: was a place for wildwood ghosts and dreams, both of which I found, hidden from the eyes of men,- sweet, sorrowful ghosts that would not let me go. The cardinal-flower's scarlet flashes and flames through the weeds and bushes, arresting the eye and holding it as a redbird might, suddenly alight- ing before one. Fierce as the frag- ment of some war-banner, bathed in the blood of battle, caught on the thorns and briers as it swept wildly by in onset or retreat, it flutters and flaunts, defiant to the end. What is more divinely fragrant, more elusively fresh and cool and 229 Nature-Notes morning-suggestive in aroma than is this September primrose, golden and moist as a streak of dawn, found blooming by this wooded brook among the jewelweeds and black- berry bushes It reminds me, in its simple and solitary loveliness, with its clean, cool aroma, of a girl, a countrv maiden, primirose-fair, and fresh and sweet-smelling as her own old-fashioned garden dewy with the dewiness of the moon. Out of the arrow-heads, that thrust their broad leaf-blades, like so many halberts or glaives, from the pooled creek-water, the blue heron rises with a sharp, short, inpatient cry, slowly and softly winging away, like some weird bird of our Fairy- story Days, some fairy guardian of a magic and haunted water, an en- chanted damsel who takes the form 230 Nature-Notes of a water-lily at our approach, while the warden elf transforms himself into a bird. Sept. i6th. Happening to glance uj) as I was musing along I saw what seemed to me scattered clusters of large ripe blackberries, glistening jet- like; but in place of the briers of the blackberry, I saw that these berries wvere held up on long, branched, smiooth stems that shot up from broad-leafed lily blades. They were the poclless seeds of the blackberry lily, that resemble so closely, in ap- pearance only, the real blackberry that one unacquainted wvith the flower wvould, until plucked and tasted, mis- take it for the blackberry. Singly or thick-clustered, little, pointed rounds of ruby and polished agate, the berries of the dogwood red- 231 Nature-Notes den, pointing with changeless flame, as flashes of fire might a great smoke, the dense green of its leaves. The roadwav is scattered with their crim- son. Nearby the wahoo's capsules, a rosy cinnabar, have opened, disclos- ing their vermilion seeds-seemingly the imprisoned carmine of the autumn sunset. Not quite so conspicuous as the wahoo, the spice bush too bleeds with berries; their glistening red pun- gently aromatic to taste and smell; it does not permit the dogwood to outdo it in brightness of color. Here and there in the moist, dark places of the beech wood the Indian- pipe, or Ghost-flower, lifts its frail, retiring stalk a few inches above the rotted damp leaves of last year. The stalks, at first ghostly in their white- ness, after a day or so turn a delicate 232 Nature-Notes pink flaked and scaled with diaplha- nous white which is their leaves. Each blossom, which resembles a tightly wrapped rosebud, terminates the bended stalk, pale as a nun's face bowed in meditation or prayer above her rosarv. Under the old beech the clownish clumps of the beechdrops bristle, straggly and stiff, resembling wxild cwisps of coarse cow-colored hair, - tufts torn out and scattered to right and left by the wood-witches at their satanic orgies, celebrating their sab- batic rites when the storm was abroad and the horned owl hooted in the hollow tree and the fox barked near the blackened rock where they found the murdered man. An iridescent, an indefinable blue, glitteringly metallic, was the little 233 Nature-Notes lizard I saw to-day, slender and swift, all alert on the limb of a fallen tree in the deep woods. It reminded me of a jewel, a living gem, won- derful in workmanship, such as, I imagine, the wood-spirits wear in their green hair or at their throats of mushroom whiteness. Goldenrod, lobelia, ageratum, prim- rose and cardinal-flower lead down the bright battalions of their blos- soms to the brookside, swarming its banks, rank upon rank, their glorious array mirrored and reflected in the smooth-flowing waters. Their plumed and bannered hosts startle and aston- ish the fields with a splendid, a mighty invasion-the fields that have not felt a plough for years. NTow a chattering jay flashes above them, garrulous, jubilant, intoxicated with the sea of colors, itself a winged 234 Nature-Notes blossom-i, a great lobelia, blue, freaked with white, endowed with a voice, and hurrahing its happiness to the sky and the trees. The life-everlasting, grayish white, higher than the cardinal flower and lower than the boneset bloom, gives colorless tone to the wild fields thick with the rust-colored corymbs of the ironiveeds, whose purple is almost departed now, so populous and imI- perial a few weeks ago, dlominating the fallows. Its fragrance, quiet and unintrusive, scents with sadness and rest the idle fields, filling the heart with oldtime memories of happy llaces. country attics, ramn-shackle rafters, old, homely lofts of boyhood (lays on the farm, where the wasp and mud-dauber buzzed and built, and where were stored for winter use all the sunlight and warmth of the 235 Nature-Notes summer fields in simples such as this, fragrant life-everlasting, and herbs and dried fruits of the garden; apple- scented places full of rustic peace and plenty where our boyhood passed like a dream. The huge yellow spider, the writ- ing-spider, in hot, weedy places, stri- dent with the stinging music of the weed-bugs; and the corpulent red spider, with its big abdomen; and the angular black spider, ungainly and humped of back, enameled, as it were, with white, a porcelain-backed hor- ror, spin their webs across the open paths of the woods, patiently awaiting the arrival of prey, some wood-fly, gnat, moth, wasp, or grass- hopper, hurrying or lumbering blindly along that entangles itself in their nets. How they remind me of that horrible humanity that lairs in our 236 Nature-Notes large cities and spreads its snares for the destruction of the innocent, the unsuspecting! whose ruined or dead remnants are found lying in the street or in sonme alley-way, unrecog- nizable, by some early riser, as this insect, this burnished beetle is found by me stretched, a mere shell, in a corner of this web. It is remarkable to see how the ox- eyed daisy still holds on. Here it is past the middle of September and I find it blooming, fresh of white and young of -old among the mist-flower, the life-everlasting, the false dragon- head, and the goldenrod - a starry stain in the richly embroidered apron of Fall, a pearly spot that will not out. 237 Nature-Notes Until we meet again Heaven keep thee gay! Neath skies of sun or rain, Or gold or gray, Heaven keep thee gay. Even as the sun-dial does, So let thy days Record no hour that was Not full of rays, Even as the sun-dial does. Where bloomed the rose but yesterday, Lamp upon lamp the hips burn, red; And one by one leaves float away, Red leaves dropped in the wood-stream's bed. And now the spectres of the flowers Stream white across the stubble plains; Ghosts, shaken from their wind-swept bowevrs, Of weeds that tangle all the lanes. The partridge pipes; the blue-jays call; And caws the crow, that ribald bird: The woods turn gold; the acorns fall; And all day long the hunt is heard. 238 Nat u re-Notes A wood of thorns - thorn trees, thorn trees everywhere; low, dense, dwarfed, tall, scrawny trees, thrust- ing at you from every direction their murderous looking, formidable limbs anil trUnks armed with great pronged spikes and spurs. The wood to me seems as wild, forbidding and threat- ening as I imagine was the impene- tralble an(l bristlino, brake of thorns that grew up around the Castle of the Sleeping Beauty. Here and there the suinlight strikes upon a thorn that is a part of this year's growthl, and it stan(ls out conspicuous crimson, transparent ruby; red as if dyed throughI and through with the blood of some gentle, slain thing - some hope, perhaps, that threading the forest, - endeavoring to penetrate its fastnesses to some far dream-i of love, lost, shut in, despairing of dceliver- ance, within its savage and silent deeps, imprisoned and enchanted in 239 Nature-Notes some horror of rock and weed and vine, - in the darkness and the storm had pierced its wild heart and breathed out its young life here. The climbing cricket clings, Mfoving its vibrant wings, To sorme green brier amid the fields turned sere: And to me, dreaming here, Its plaintive music seems An utterance of dreams And it itself lute of the dying Year. My soul is sick of many things, But mainly of the word, The word of hope day never brings; That like some beautiful bird Above me and beyond me wings, Yet nevermore is heard. Ah. not in vain I see again The roses ruined of the rain: 240 Nature-Notes And in the mist The amethyst Of miorning-glories wet and whist: The moonflower bent And torn and rent That yestereve was redolent. Back to my heart They, bring the smart Of thoughts from which I can not part. Analogies Of memories That fall like rain on autumn leas. Sad memories all, Like rain, that fall On joy, a rose wrecked by the wall. I came across a great, pulpy, green mushroom, the Green Russula, to- day anmong many fall fungi, - cupped and parasoled, red, slate-gray, white, an(l brown, - under the low boughs t6 241 Nature-Notes of a beech in the rain-sodden woods. To its fluted underside, near its stem, two small gray snails were clinging, eating away for dear life: and to its top and about its rim, ragged with the gnawing of numerous insects, wood-ants and beetles, a slow slug lay gorging deliberately, like some fat, fairy Caliban. The fungus seemed to me a great, green vegetable confection upon which these small fry of the forest were feasting. -Or was it a great table that the gnomes had wrought of mingled mist, rain, musk, and milk o' the moon, -a materialized fancy of Faery, -and laboriously lifted up from the earth to the monot- onous music of the grig A table which the elfins had spread with a forest feast, whose exhalations had saturated it through and through with fine flavors and savors, spilth of their imp-carousal, that left it a stained 242 Nature-Notes and luscious morsel for the gnat and the ant, the snail, the slug and the beetle to batten upon. How Nature protects her insects, her bugs, her beetles, and her butter- flies! painting their wings and bodies with hues hardly distinguishable from the earth, the rock, or the bark which they frequent or inhabit. This butter- fly, for instance, softly opening and closing its wings on1 the gray trunk of this old oak. When closed, the protective coloring of the underside of its wings so confuses the eve that the insect is riot detachable in color from the bark to which it clings, being dyed a soft, mottled gray, like that of the lichen that overspreads and spots the trunk of the tree. When open - what a revelation of dyes! it is as if the creature had doffed its Lenten habit for one of festival; had 243 Nature-Notes unfolded its sober cloak, astonishing us with the richness of its lining, its under apparel, velvet and vair, reve- lations of ruddy seal and dim ermine: its body and the interior part of its wings furfine and downy, the color of rich old port wine, edged irregu- larlv with a dim, soft gray, a lichen white, sprinkled with minute specks of dull gold and marked at regular intervals with orbs or ovals of a shadowy blue. I have stood for half an hour ab- sorbed upon its beauty; watching it slowly and gracefully opening and closing its wings. - What a wonder- ful piece of workmanship! And to thnink that this was once a wormn! obscene and hideous, crawling and gorging itself upon every green thing in its hairy way! Now how it puts to scorn the beauty wrought of the labored Art of man! What a jewel, winged and living, for the Spirit of 244 Natu re-Notes Auitumni to wvear in her Roimixanv hair or at her gipsy throat as she takes her wvay throlughl the crimnsoning woodlands to tryst with the quiet Spirit of Indian Summiner! XWanderin- along a country rozad to-day, the middle of Octoler, an un- usual thing to see at this time of the year, was an apple tree in bloom. Dotted here and there over its almost entirely leafless branches, onarled and dead in many places, freshened the pinlk and white tufts of the blossoms, - like love knots in the sober raiment of an old wv oman who was once a belle. The old tree must have been dreaming of the spring and tuncon- sciouLsly put forth blossoms, expres- sions of its heart's deep yearnings, responsive and anticipatory, at the time when everything had ceased, or was ceasing, to bloom, and the Spirit 245 Nature-Notes of Death instead of the Spirit of Birth was abroad in the world. A thin fall rain, NV hose spite again Whips wild the drizzled window- pane: Through which I see The blinded bee Beat down and ended utterly: The marigold And zinnia old Bent, wet, and wretched in the cold: And all the bowers Forlorn of flowers As are the hopes which once were ours. Ephemeral gold, Deciduous emerald, And crumbling ruby all the forests old Fling to the shining wind, deep-rolled Like some loud music through them: Majestic music, sad and manifold, 246 Nature-Notes The music of that ancient skald, October called, Who sits wild chanting to them. There is a sense of something un- utterablv sad, irretrievably lost, in the wind that sighs, arid never ceases to sigh, in the fast-fading forests. I seem vwalking with some vast and ancient woe, some gigantic melan- choly, invisible and swiftly moving. whose Clark and mighty cloak sweeps stormily the boughs, shredding the leaves and hurling the acorns down. Oct. 23d. Two ragged, belated ox-eyed daisies, and a last pink plume of the dragonhead hold solitary flower-sway over the sere autumn fields, full of the ghosts of dead flowers; glinting and glimmering gray with the silken seeds and feathery wvisps of the salmon-colored 247 Nature-Notes broom-sedge and dead goldenrod; the wan, frost-nipped stars and tufted heads of the wild aster, and the woolly white tops of the life-ever- lasting. Berries there are in abundance, purple and pink and crimson; orange and ruby and vermilion; cat-brier berries, a frosted damson blue; dog- wood and spicewood berries, like polished carnelian; sumach and Her- cules-club and hellebore berries, brick-dust color and mulberry black; buck-bush berries, cranberry or apple red; bittersweet berries, gold and scarlet glowing; running euonymus, or strawberry-bush, rose and crim- son; and wahoo berries, mingling the cameo and crimson hues of stormy autumn sunsets and dawns. All around me in the wind-tossed woods patter the nuts; heard sud- 248 Nature-Notes (lenly each nut is as startling- as the fall of an unexpected footstep. Chest- nut, acorn, hickory and beech nut, how they rain! shaken each one from its infirm hold by every breeze that sweeps the wood. Mast, with which the agile squirrel stores his winter granary, snug in the top of some old and hollow tree. The birds seeni to be all gone away; at least, if present, they are silent; all except two - the crow and the jay, who are never weary of cawing and screaming, making the woods noisy with their cries, the one trying to outdo the other in ridicule and vituperation. In the underbrush, flitting secretly, silently, searching- apparently for its mate, dead with the summer, I beheld a grosbeak, warnm-looking in its plaid suit of brown and black and red and gray. Soundlessly it vanished, sud- denly disappearing, visible a moment, 249 Nature-Notes then gone in the hush of the autumn woods -was it a bird or only the ghost ol one The scarlet and the gold and bronze, The lemon, rose and gray, The splendors that October dons, Seen from this hilltop far away, Like some wild bugle blast, far blown,- The visible sound of something wild, un- known,- Crimsonly calling, shake my blood that thrills; Commanding me to follow Beyond the farthest hills; Exultantly to follow, Through flaming holt and hollow, Wlereso their music wills; The trumpet-pealing fires Of trees and vines and briers, W'hose leaves like notes are falling, The clarion color calling My heart beyond the hills. What is more startling than the unexpected explosion of a covey of 250 Natu re-Notes quail when one is walking and mus- in- in the winter fields thinking of nothing. or, if of anything, then of the difference between the appear- ance of the landscape now, bleak and bare and forbidding, and that which it Was when these same birds were calling " bol)-white " to one another in the same fields, full of flowers and sunlight and redolent with summer. The thin window-pane-like ice lac- ing and scaling the frozen wood-road ruts and the leaf-cramped streams and pools of the December woods, gli-mmeringly or glitteringly seen, glinting in the chilly winter sunlight, fills me with the fairy fancies of my boyhood, indefinable, almost for- gotten memories of ice-maidens, elves and spirits, who, imy childhood fancied. are busy all the winter night, by the light of the moon and the stars, 251 Nature-Notes with the frost-furred window-panes of the farmhouse and the shallow forest streams and ponds; their noiseless fingers of icy crystal swiftly transforming them into sheets of ferned and floxvered diamond and pearl. All day long tlhe frost hoars the hillside here wvhere the sun never strikes. Here, too, the shallow and sluggish water marbles bluely under the thin, frail ice of the frozen stream- let - changing constantly and slowly its visible form: liquid grotesques, flowing figurings of foam forming and fading away - phantoms of blue rain; shadowy shapes that inhabit the stream; constantly striving to free themselves, seemingly, from their dungeon of crystal; moving, Protean and fantastic in appearance, hither and thither, stealthily silent as if fearful of awaking him who never 252 Nature-Notes sleeps, their hoary gaoler, the im- prisoning, thei unpersuadable Frost. Ochre-colored broom-sedlge Yellowving desolate ways, Fields, the black thorns hedge. Bleached with sodden strays, Strays of leaves and flowers of dead, for- gotten days. In the forest by the rain-wild creeks, WAhere the wet wind fumbles in the bougihs, Rake the leaves away and, lo! the beaks Of a myriad germs, beneath, that house: Fingertips of gold and green and gray, Tongues and fingertips of countless flowers, Pointing us and telling us the way. Path up which the Springtime leads her Hlours: At whose step awake the thousand pipes Of the hylas, ere our eye perceives In hier cheeks the rose that morning stripes, In her hair the gold of all the eves. 253 CATKINS I Misty are the far-off hills And misty are the near; Purple hazes dimly lie Veiling hill and field and sky, AMarshes where the hylas cry, Like a myriad bills Piping, "Spring is here!" II A redbird flits, Then sings and sits And calls to his mate, " She is late! she is late! How long, how long must the woodland wait For its emerald plumes And its jewelled blooms- She is late! she is late! 254 Catkins III Along the stream, A cloudy gleam, The pussy-willows, tufted white, Make of each tree a mighty light; Pearl and silver and glimmering gray They tassel the boughs of the willow way; And as they swing they seem to say, With mouths of bloom And warm perfume: - IV " Awake! awake! For young Spring's sake, O little brown bees in hive and brake! Awake! awake! For sweet Spring's sake, o butterflies whose wild wings ache With colors rare As flowers wear! And hither, hither, Before we wither! Oh, come to us, All amorous With honey for your mouths to buss. 255 Catkins V "Hearken! hearken!- Last night we heard A wondrous word: XWhen dusk did darken The rain and the wind sat in these boughs, As in a great and shadowy house. At first we deemed We only dreamed, And then it seemed We heard them whisper of things to be, The wind and the rain in the willow tree, A sweet, delicious conspiracy, To take the world with witchery: They talked of the fairy brotherhoods Of blooms and blossoms and leaves and buds, That ambushed under the winter mold And under the bark of the forest old: And they took our breath With the shibboleth, The secret word that casts off death, That word of life no man may guess; That wondrous word Which we then heard. 256 Catkins That bids life rise Beneath the skies; Rise up and fill Far wvood and hill Witlh nmyriad hosts of loveliness, Invading beauty that love shall bless. VI " Then in our ears, Our Awoolly ears. Our little ears of willow )loom, Like pwild erfume We seemed to hear dim woodland cheers Of hosts of flowers That soon would rin Throug-h fields and bowers, And to the stin Lift high their banners of blue alnd gold, And storm the ways of the xvoodland old. vII Awake! awake! For you11g Spring s sake. O hylas sleeping in marsh and lake! 1Tune up your pipes ad(l play. play, play! Tune, tune yvour reeds in ooze cnd clay, 17 257 Announcement And pipe and sing Till everything Knows, gladly knows, So-wing the rose, The lily and rose, With her breast blown bare And the wind in her hair, And the birds around her everywhere, The Spring, the Spring, The young witch Spring, With lilt and laugYhter, and rain and ray, Comes swiftly, wildly up this way." AINNOUNCEMENT The night is loud with reeds of rain Rejoicing at my window-pane, And murmuring, " Spring comes again!" I hear tihe wind take utp their song And on the sky's vibrating gong Beat out and roar it all night long. Then waters, where they pour their might In foam, halloo it down the night, From vale to vale and height to height. 258 Announcement And I thank God that dow-n the deep She comes, her ancient tryst to keep With Earth again who wakes from sleep: From death and sleep, that held her fast So long, pale cerements round her cast, Her penetential raiment vast. N'ow. Lazarus-like, within her She stirs, who hears the words The Christ-like words of wvind grave that saxe, and wave. And, hearing, bids her soul prepare The oerms of blossoms in her there To make her hodly sweet and fair; To meet in manifest audience The eyes of Spring, and reverence. With beauty, God in soul and sense. 259 "c The Wildwood Way" "W Rai HEN SPRING COMES DOWN THE WTILDWOOD WAY " When Spring comes down the wildwood way, A crocus in her ear, Sw,,eet in her train, returned with May, The Love of Yester-year WVill follow, carolling his lay, His lyric lay, W;V hose music she will hear. The crowfoot in the grass shall glow, And lamp his way with gold; The snowdrop toss its bells of snow, The bluebell's blue unfold, To glad the path that Love shall go, High-hearted go, As often in the days of old. The way he went when hope was keen, Was high in girl and boy: Before the sad world came between Their young hearts and their joy: Their hearts. that Love has still kept clean, Kept whole and clean, Through all the years' annoy. 260 Hilda of the Hillside How long it seems until the spring! Until his heart shall speak To hers again, and make it sinlg, And with its great joy weak! When on her hand lhe 11 place the ring, The wedding-ring, And kiss her mouth and cheek! HILDA OF THE HILLSIDE I Who is she, like the spring, x;o comes down From the hills to the smoke-huddled town W Vith her peach-petal face And her wildflower grace, Bringing sunshine and gladness to each sorry place- Her cheeks are twin bucls o' the brier, Mixed fervors of snow and of fire; Her lips are the red Of a rose that is wed To dew and aroma when dawn is o'erhead: Her eyes are twin bits o' the skies, Blue glimpses of Paradise; 26I Hilda of the Hillside The strands of her hair Are sunlight and air- Herself is the argument that she is fair, This girl wtvith the dawn in her eyes. II If Herrick had looked on her face His lyrics had learved a new grace: Hier face is a book \Where each laugh and each look, Each smile is a lyric, more sweet than a brook: Her wxfords - they are birds that are heard Singing low where the roses are stirred, - The buds of her lips,- Whence each of them slips \With music as soft as the fragrance that drips From a dew-dreaming bloom;- With their sound and perfume -M aking all my glad heart a love-haaunted room. 262 Dawn in the Alleghanies III But she - she knows nothing of love! She - she wvith the soul of a dov e, -lho dwvells on the hills, Knowing nau-rht of the ills Of the vales, of the hearts that wvith pas- sion she fills: For whom all my soul Is a lharp from which roll The son.-s that she hears not, the voice of my love, This girl who goes singing above. DAW\WN IN THE ALLEGHANIES The waters leap, The waters roar; And oln thle shore One sycamore Stands, towering hoar. The mountains heap Gaunt pines and crags That hoar-frost shags; And, pierced wvith snags, Like horns of stags, 263 Dawn in the Alleghanies The water lags, The water drags, Where trees, like hags, Lean from the steep. The mist begins To swirl; then spins 'Mid outs and ins Of heights; and thins Where the torrent dins; And lost in sweep Of its whiteness deep The valleys sleep. Now morning strikes On wild rampikes Of forest spikes, And, down dimn dykes Of dawn, like sheep, Scatters the mists, And amethysts With light, that twists, And rifts that run Azure with sun, - WTild-whirled and spun,- The foggy dun O' the heavens deep. 264 mu sic Look! how they keep Majestic \vard, Gigantic guard! And gaze, rock-browed, Through1 mist and cloud! Eternal, vast, As ages past! And seem to speak, \Vitli peak on peak, Of God! and see Eternity! MUSIC Oh. let me die in Music's arms, Clasped by some milder melody Than that which thrills with soft alarms The souls of Love and Ecstasy! Until the tired heart in me Is stilled of storms. So let mne die, a slave of slaves, Within her train of Iyric gold: Borne onward through her vasty caves Of harmony, that echo old With all our sad hearts hope and hold, And all life craves. 265 Music Come with the pleasures dear to men In one long Triumph! - what are they Beside the one that sw, eeps us when Her harp she smites and far away She bears us from the cares of day Unto her glen Her hollow glen, where, like a star, That, in deep heaven, thrills and throbs, She sits, her wild harp heard afar, Strung with the gold of grief that sobs, And love that sighs, and, whispering, robs All life of jar. Beneath her all-compelling eye Our souls lie naked: nothing seems That is: but that which is not, by Her magic, lives: and all our dreams Are real, and, clothed in heavenly gleams, Smile, leaning nigh. The soul of love that can not die Breathes on our eyelids starry fire; And sorrow, with sweet lips that sigh, Kisses our lips; and faith, the choir Of all our hopes, its heart a lyre, Goes singing by. 266 Autumn Etchings AUTUMN ETCHINGS I MORNING Her rain-kissed face is fresh as rain, Is cool and fresh as a rain-wet leaf; She glimmers at my window-pane, And all my grief Becomes a feeble rushlight, seen no more When the gold of her gown sweeps in my door. II FORENOON Great blurs of woodland waved with wind; Gray paths, down which October came, That now November's blasts have thinned And flecked with fiercer flame, Are her (lelight. She lo-es to lie Regarding wvith a gray-blue eye The far-off hills that hold the sky: And I - I lie and gaze with her 267 Autumn Etchings Beyond the autumn woods and ways Into the hope of coming (lays, The spring that nothing shall deter, That puts my soul in unison With what 's to do and what is done. III NOON Wild grapes that purple through Leaves that are golden; Brush-fires that pillar blue Woods, that, enfolden Deep in the haze of dreams, In resignation Give themselves up, it seems, T o divination: Woods, that, ablaze with oak, That the crow flew in, Gaze through the brushwood smoke On their own ruin, And on the countenance of Death who stalks Amid their miles, While to himself he talks And smiles: 268 Autumn Etchings WVhere, in their midst, Noon sits and holds Communion wvith their grays and golds, Transforming with her rays their golds ancl grays, And in my heart the miemnories of dead days. IV AFTERNOON WY rouight-iron hules of blood and bronze, -Like some wild dawn's, MNake fierce each leafy spire Of blackberry brier, Where, througlh their thorny fire, She goes, thle Afternoon, from wood to wvOO(d From crest to oak-crowned crest Of the highf hill-lands, where the M\orning stood WVith rosy-ribboned breast. Along the hills she takes thle tangled path Unto the quiet close of day, M\Iusin- on what a lovely (leath she hath The u-nearthlylr golden beryl far away Banding the gradual Nvest, 269 Autumn Etchings Seen through cathedral columns of the pines And minster naves of woodlands arched with vines; The golden couch, spread of the setting sun, For her to lie, and me to gaze, upon. V EVENING The winds awake, And, whispering, shake The aster-flower whose doom is sealed; The sumach-bloom Bows down its plume; And, - blossom-Bayard of the field,- The chicory stout To the winds' wild rout Lifts up its ragged shield. Low in the west the Evening shows A ridge of rose; And, stepping Earthward from the hills, WVhere'er she goes The cricket wakes, and all the silence spills With reed-like music shaken from the w-eeds: 270 Autumn Etchings Slhe takes my hand And leads Softly my soul into the Fairyland, IThe wonrder-worl(l of -old and chlrysoilite, She builds there at the hautnted edge of night. VI NIGHT Autumn -oodls the winds tranmp down Sowin-g acorns left and right, NVhiere, in rainy raiment, Night T iptoes, rustling wild her goN-II Dripping in the moon's pale lihlit, In the moonlighlt wvan that hurries Trailing now a robe of cloud Now of glimrmer, ghostly browed, Through the leaves whose wildness skur- ries, And whose tatters swirl and swarm Round her in her stormy starkness; She who takes my heart that leaps, That exults, and onward sweeps, Like a recl leaf in the darkness And the tumult of the storm. 27I Wood-Ways WOOD-WAFAYS I o roads, 0 paths, 0 ways that lead Through woods where all the oak-trees bleed With autumn! and the frosty reds Of fallen leaves make wrhispering beds For winds to toss and turn upon, - Like restless Care that can not sleep, -- Beneath whose rustling tatters wan The last wildflow'r is buried (ldeep: One way of all I love to wend. That towards the golden sunset goes, A way, o'er which the red leaf blows, With an old gateway at its end, Where Summer, that ry soul o'erflows, My summer of love, blooms like a wild- wood rose. It O winter ways, when spears of ice Arm every bough ! and in a vice Of iron frost the streams are held; When, where the deadened oak was felled 272 The Charcoal-Burner's Hut For firewood, deep the snow and sleet,- Where lone the muffled woodsmen tolC(le A\re trampled down by heavy feet, And network of the frost is spoliled, 0 road I love to take again I- While gray the heaven sleets or Snows,- At wvhose far end. at twilight's close, Gli6mmers an oldtime window-pane, Where spring, that is my heart's repose, MyN spring of loNe, like a great fire glows. TIlE C1HARCOAL-BURNER'S HUT Deep in a valley, green wxith ancient beech, And(I wand(lered through of o-ne small, silent streami, W\hose bear-grassed banks bristled with brush and burr, Tick-trefoil and the thorny marigold, Btush-clo er and the wahoeo, hnuing with po(ls, And mass on 0mass of bugled jewelweed, Hforsemint an(l doddered ra-weed. dense, unkempt,- I came upon a charcoal-burner's hut, is 273 The Charcoal-Burner's Hut Abandoned and forgotten long ago; His hut and weedy pit, where once the wood1 Smouldered both day and night like some wild forge, A wiidwvood forge, glaring as wild-cat eyes. A mossy roof, black, fallen in decay, And rotting logs, exuding sickly mold And livid fungi, and the tottering wreck, Rude remnants, of a chimney, clay and sticks, WNere all that now remained to say that once, In time not so remote, one labored here, Labored and lived, his world bound by these woo(ls: A solitary soul whose life was toil, Toil. grimy and unlovely: sad, recluse, A life, perhaps, that here went out alone, Alone and unlamented. Lost forever, Haply, somewhere, in some far wilder spot, Far in the forest, lone as was his life, A fgrave, an isolated grave, may mark,- 274 The Charcoal-Burner's Hut Tangled with cat-brier and the strawberry- bush,- The place lhe lies in; undistinguishable Fromh the surrounding forest wvhere the lynx Whines in the moonlight and the she-fox whelps. A life as some wood-fungus now for- gotten : The Indian-pipe, or ghost-flower, here that rises And slowly rots away in autumn rains. Or, it may be, a comrade carved a line Of date and death on some old trunk of tree, WX hose letters long ago th' erasing rust Of moss and gradual growth of drowsy years Slowly obliterated: or, may be, The rock, all rudely lettered, like his life, Set up above him by some kindly hand, A tree's great, grasping roots have over- thrown, Where lichens long ago effaced his name. 275 In Clay IN CLAY Here went a horse with heavy laboring stride Along the woodland side; Deep in the clay his iron hoof-marks show, Patient and slow, Where With his human burden yesterday He passed this way. Would that this wind that tramples 'round me here, Among the sad and sere Of winter-weary forests, were a steed,- -Mighty indeed, And tameless as the tempest of its pace,- ULon whom man might place The boundless burden of his mortal cares, Life's griefs, despairs, And ruined dreams that bow the spirit so! And let him go Bearing them far from the sad world, ah me! Leaving it free As in that Age of Gold, of which men tell, When Earth was glad and gods came here to dwell. 276 Gray Skies GRAY SKIES It is not wvell For me to dwell On what upon that day befell, On that dark day of fall befell; When through the landscape, bowed and bent, With Love and Death I slowly wvent, And wild rain swept the firmament. Ah, Love that sighed! Ah, joy that died! And Heart that humbled all its pride; In vain that humnbled all its pride! The roses ruin and rot away Upon your grave where grasses sway, And all is dim, and all is gray. SUNSET DREAMS The moth and beetle wing about The garden fvays of other days; Above the hills, a fiery shout Of gold, the day dies slowly out, 277 Sunset Dreams Like some wild blast a huntsman blows: And o'er the hills my Fancy goes, Following the sunset's golden call Unto a vine-hung garden wall, hVIiere she awaits me in the gloom, Between the lily and the rose, WN'ith arms and lips of warm perfume, The Dream of Love my Fancy knows. Thie glow-worm and the firefly glow Among the ways of bygone days; A golden shaft shot from a bow Of silver, star and moon swing low Above the hills where twilight lies: And o'er the hills my Longing flies, Following the star's far, arrowed gold, Unto a gate where, as of old, She waits amid the rose and rue, With star-bright hair and night-dark eyes, The Dream, to whom my heart is true, SMy Dream of Love that never dies. 278 Mendicants MENDICANTS Bleak, in dark rags of clouds, the day begins, That passed so splendidly but yesterday WN rapped in magnificence of gold and gray. And poppy and rose. INow, burdened as with sins, Their wildness clad in fogs, like coats of skinls, Tattered and streaked w itll rain, gaunt, clogged with clay, The mendicant Hours take their sombre way WVestvard o'er Earth, to Which no sUnray w-illns. Their splashing sandals ooze; their foot- steps drip, Puddle and brim wvith moisture; their sad hair Is tagged with haggard drops, that with their eyes' Slow streams are blent; each sullen finger- tip Rivers; while 'rounl thiem, in the drenchd air, \Wearies the wind of their perpetual sighs. 279 Winter Rain WINTER RAIN Wild clouds roll up, slag-dark and slaty gray, And in the oaks the sere wind sobs and sighs, Weird as a word a man before he dies Mutters beneath his breath yet fears to say: The rain drives down; and by each forest way Each dead leaf drips, and murmurings arise As of fantastic footsteps, -one who flies, Whispering, - the dim eidolon of the day. Now is the wood a place where phantoms house: Around each tree waan ghosts of flowers crowd, And spectres of sweet weeds that once were fair, Rustling; and through the bleakness of bare boughs A voice is heard, now low, now stormy loud, As if the ghosts of all the leaves were there. 280 Mariners MARINERS (Class Poem, Read June, 1886) A beardless crew we launched our little boat; Laughed at its lightness; joyed to see it float, Veer in the wind, and, with the freshen- ing gale, Bend o'er the foaming prow the swollen sail. No fears were ours within that stanch- built barque; No fears were ours 'though all the west was dark, And overhead were unknown stars; the ring Of ocean sailless and no bird a-wing: Yet there was ligtht; radiance that dimmed the stars Dancing like bubbles in Nightfs sapphire jars. We knew not what: only adown the skies A shape that led us, with sidereal eyes, 28i Mariners Brow-bound and shod with elemental fire. Beckoning us onward like the god Desire. Brisk blew the breeze; and through the starry gloam, Flung from our prow, flew white the fur- rowed foam. -- Long, long we sailed; and now have reached our goal. Come, let us rest us here and call the roll. How few we are! Alas, alas, how few! How many perished! Every storm that blew Swept from our deck or from our stag- gering mast Some well-loved comrade in the boiling vast. Wildly we saw them sink beneath our prow, Helpless to aid; pallid of face and brow, Lost in the foam we saw them sink or fade Beneath the tempest's rolling cannonade. They sank; but where they sank, above the wave 282 Mariners A corposant danced, a flame that marked their grave; And o'er the flame, whereon. were fixed our eyes, An albatross, huge in volcanic skies. They died; but not in vain their stubborn strife, The zeal that held them onward, great of life: They too are with us; they, in spite of death, Have reached here first. Upon our brows their breath Breathes softly, vaguely, sweetly as the hreeze Fromn isles of spice in summer-haunted seas. From palaces and pinnacles of mist The sunset builds in heaven's amethyst, Beyond von headland where the billows b)reak, Perhaps they beckon now; the winds that shake These tanmarisks, that never bowed to storm, Haply are but their voices filled with charm Bidding us rest from labor; toil no more; Draw tip our vessel on the happy shore; 283 Mariners And of the lotus of content and peace, Growing far inland, eat, and never cease To dream the dreams that keep the heart still young, Hearing forever how the foam is flung Beneath the cliff; forgetting all life's care; Easing the soul of all its long despair. Let us forget how once within that barque, Like some swift eagle sweeping through the dark, We weighed the sun; we weighed the farthest stars; Traced the dim continents of fiery Mars; Measured the vapory planets whose long run Takes centuries to gird their glimmering sun: Let us forget how oft the crystal moun- tains Of the white moon we searched; and plumbed her fountains, That hale the waters of the aconian deep In ebb and flow, and in her power keep; Let us remember her but as a gem, A mighty pearl, placed in Night's anadem: 284 Mariners Let us forget how once we pierced the flood, Fathomed its groves of coral, red as blood. Branching and blooming underneath our keel, Through which like birds the nautilus and eel, The rainbowed conch and irised fishes swept, And where the sea-snake like a long weed slept. Here let us dream our dreams: let Helen bare Her white breast for us; and let Dido share Her rich feast with us; or let Lalage Laugh in our eyes as once, all lovingly, She latg-hed for Flaccus. We are done with all TPhe lusts of life! its loves are ours. Let fall The Catilines! the Cesars! and in Gaul Their legions perish! And let Phillip's soil In Ammon's desert die; and never a one Lead back to Greece of all his conquering line From gemmed Hydaspes. 285 Mariners Here we set our shrine! Here on this headland templed of God's peaks, WShere Beauty only to our worship speaks Her mighty truths, gazing beyond the shore Into the heart of God: her eyes a door Wherethrough we see the dreams, the mysteries, That grew to form in the Art that once was Greece: Making them live once more for us, the shapes That filled the woods, the mountains, and the capes Of Hellas: Dryad, Oread, and Faun; Naiad and Nereid, and all the hosts of Dawn. 286 WOMAN OR - WHAT cc T is a subject suited to the genius of the poet who wrote ' Bad Dreams,' " remarked the Professor as he abandoned him- self wearily to the luxuriance of his armchair. \Vhat was there to be done Absolutely nothing; and the fabric of the mystery accumiulating around the letter and the lady began to occupy so great a portion of the gray matter of his brain that, instead of viewing the dream merely as a dream, he was almost persuaded to regard it, in connection with these other things, in the light of an actual occurrence, so vividly was it imi- pressed upon his mind. It might have been an hour, or only the fractional part of an hour, 287 Woman or-What that he sat there stolidly staring into vacancy, when with a " What can it mean -Strange! - But this won't do! -I '11 become as fantastic as night if I continue in this manner," he arose and lighting the gas, pro- ceeded to the window. Drawing the heavy oriental curtains that during the daytime made perpetual twilight of the room, he stood looking out upon the deserted square. It was near midnight and late in August. The waning moon shone above the black roofs, subduing and softening all the ugly angles of the buildings into sil- very blurs of shadow, and touching with pearl the tops of a few sickly maples that kept up a withered rust- ling under his window. Abruptly turning away from the serene sad- ness of the night, the Professor moved in the direetion of his writing table, intending to obliterate the persistent sub-consciousness of the dream in a 288 Woman or-What practical appeal to a book and a pilpe. A great student of mental philos- ophy, it was difficult for him to dlelib- erately relegate the analysis of his condition to that puzzling limbo wherein the uninitiated easily discard all visionary impressions. Although an able psycholooist, hle did not at- tain to this conclusion of mental agi- tation at one bound; it was a slow and gradual process assisted by nu- merous soporific puffs of the pipe and concentrated attention on the volume before him. At last he laid them aside, the de-ree of indifference desired hav- in- been attained. He was about to retire, to drown in sleep whatever speculations his fancy might conjure up againa when his eye lighted UI)on a manuscript translation he had been en- gaged upon for the past several days. It was late, but he could not resist taking the writing up and glancing 19 289 Woman or-What over it now that it was completed. He did not care to compare it with the original German scrawl, with its angular and distorted letters in faded ink and its ragged and bewildering blots, that, after infinite application, he had succeeded in deciphering. He was done with that. And now he felt a certain degree of satisfaction in looking upon the finished work as it confronted him with its new face, the familiar English one, which he had given it. His efforts had been re- warded by what appeared to be a dis- connected legend, detached from a rich mass of now scattered, and per- haps lost, German folk-lore, relating to some remote ancestors on his father's side. He had expected some- thing quite different from the final restult of the writing when he under- took its translation. The manuscript had been included among a lot of old papers, faded 290 Woman or -What almost beyond deciphering, of a grand-uincle of his, Herr Hermann, a bachelor and a mnisanthrope, who, recently dying, had left to the Pro- fessor, as sole heir and last scion of the once mighty House of Otto, the decrepit and partially ruined remains of an ancient castle on the Rhine, along with a musty bundle of yellow parchment manuscripts. The knowledge of this hitherto un- known relationship, together with the importance of being sole representa- tive of a powerful line of German pfalzgrafs -who in mediaeval times had ruled the Rhine lands with a hand of iron-was very disturbing to the gentle-minded professor. He immediately busied himself with in- vestigating the authenticity of these new genealogical claims, and con- firming the order of his descent. And so at last was established his right to the coat-of-arms,- which 291 Woman or-What he had always had stamped on his writing paper and envelopes as a mere matter of fashion,-consisting of three spiked bludgeons, argent on a field sable, cresting which, above a wreath of golden thistle, shone out a blood-red gauntlet. He could not say that he was proud of being the de- scendant of so wicked a line of feudal counts and viscounts, or of the legacy of the tottering and tumbling castle, litigation had about stripped to a kreutzer's worth of antique finery and furniture. His coat-of-arms was useful to him; his castle was not. The one was an everyday visual demonstration; the other merely a visionary expectation appertaining more to the past than to the present. Both were curious, likewise interest- ing to him as directly relating to himself and as being identified with his name and blood. Yet he, in this new country, speaking a different lan- 292 Woman or-What guage, living such a different life, seemed so far removed, so remote from all that they suggested and symbolized, that it seemed impos- sible that it should be so, and also preposterous. The translation of the manuscripts left him by Herr Hermann would have been a difficult task for even a native-born German scholar, how much more so for him, written as they were in an ancient, small, crab- bed and aguish hand, hardly decipher- able. As it was, after several days of vexatious vacillation between con- firmations, doubts and guesses, the Professor had only been able to secure the following from the deplorable mass of obscurity: "Pfalzgraf Otto, from whom the Hermanns are descended was a man of ferocious and brutal nature. Not only did he delight in the torture and oppression of his peasantry and 293 Woman or-What people, but it was his boast that he could blaspheme God and His angels with impunity; that if there was a God why did He not protect the weak and innocent - to say nothing of re- senting an insult to Himself No! there was no God; and what the foolish people worshipped was merely a creation of the minds of the igno- rant and licentious monks, of whom the Pope was the great arch-hypo- crite and scoundrel. And as to the Bible- why, that was merely a fab- rication of superstition of the He- brews, identical with the similar mythologies of Greece and Italy. The Old Testament was the record of many myths; the New, of but one - Christ. Indeed, if Otto believed in anything it must have been Satan himself, with whom, it was whis- pered, he had struck up a contract, swearing cheek by jowl, for services received, one tempestuous night in 294 Woman or-What the Harz mountains, to be the Fiend's leal brother-in-armis in this world, and in case there did prove to be another, then forever after for all eternity. The liberty and license of his predatory retainers were limited only l)y his owvn. The goods of the hus- bandman, the wife and the daughtter of the husbandlman, were the ruffian sport of this despot annd his butchers. Murder, fire, and rapine wvere the three croakirg ravens that attended, as black familiars, the blacker l)anner of Graff von Otto when lhe led his bearded and beer-blown bullies, with curse andl song, from thle ponderous gates of the Schloss. " It was by mnight alone that the Pfalzgraf had won three wives. These had all died suddenly when they had ceased to be pleasinsg to the fastidious monster, - in horrible agonies, it was affirlied by eye wvit- 295 WVoman or- What nesses, arid while banqueting in the great hall. Graff von Otto had seen some younger, some more flaxen- haired fratilein who interested him more, pleased him more perhaps, than the present Pfalzgrafinn. His con- fidential servant had received secret orders -but who shall say how the terrible mistake was made of spicing the boiled wine of the last incum- bent with wolf's-bane instead of sweet basil " It was in the year I4- that the Graff determined to take unto hinmself another wife, the fourth it is said, and this time his choice had fallen upon the daughter of the re- spectable burgermeister of MUiil- hofen. He had only to make public his intention of interesting himself in the welfare of any maiden in the community and straightway, behold, all other suitors disappeared; some vanished mysteriously but utterly, 296 Woman or-What while others discreetly retired, gen- erously leaving the field open to his worshipful possession, Awhile the parents meekly and hastily arranged about the dowry. In this case, how- ever, there were murmurs of dis- approval, discontent, and even of resistance. For you must remember the villagers of Mililhofen had the re- cent monstrous deaths of the Graft's former wives before them as an ever- lasting warning as to the probable fate that awaited any future succes- sor. Moreover, this was the daughter of their beloved burgermeister; and a more beautiful and lovable damsel than she was not to be found in the Rheinpfalz. " It came to pass that Otto and his robbers got wind of this disaffection of Mfiihlilhofen, through spies some said, through his sworn friend and boon companion, the Fiend, others said. However it was, one after- 297 Woman or-What noon, with a volley of oaths, armed to the teeth, he and his desperadoes galloped thunderingly over the draw- bridge of the Schloss down the wind- ing road of rock and root, to wreak vengeance upon the unsuspecting burgers of Miihlhofen. " ' Not one rat of them shall es- cape! Fools and sots! I will reduce the place to a desert, roof and cellar, and make an owl's roost of it!' "But in the decrees of destiny this was not to be. For as he rode breakneck, devil-may-care over stock and stone through the forest, that stretched its dark miles between his castle and the village, he happened to startle a wolf, snow-white, as it were a shaft of moonlight. IMiihlhofen, burgers, and burgermeister were all forgotten in the excitement of the chase and the securing of such a quarry. I-le must have the skin of the white wolf to match the whiter 298 Woman or-What skin of his bride. In his eagerness the Pfalzgraf never once noticed that he at first had distanced and then completely lost his retinue of re- tainers. Not a solitary junker fol- lowed him. Blind to everything but the beast before him, onward he spurred', mad with the intoxication of pursuit, the wolf gleaming and bounding through the tangled and deepening vistas of the trees, now vanishing like a long ray of hurrying moonlighlt, now reappearing like a silvery shaft of shadow. "At last the Graff was compelled to abandon his horse; and without even taking the trouble to tie him to some tree, eagerly continued the chase on foot among the wild rocks and matted roots of the forest. At last he came to a tar-black torrent that foamed darkly down savage and bewildering stones through fantastic and hideous foliage. Where the sul- 299 Woman or-What len water emptied itself into a dismal pool, covered with a sulphurous sort of scum and green and yellow duck- weed, he saw what appeared to be the white wolf standing outlined against the sombre crimson of the west, seemingly awaiting him on a rock high above the sinister water. With a ferocious laugh of exultation, stumbling and clutching at the evil and hairy weeds and roots that cov- ered the hillside and the rocks, Graff von Otto hurled himself awkwardly and heavily in his weight of armor, sword in hand, at the creature quietly awaiting him there above the stag- nant pool. "But what had become of the wolf - That was no wolf that con- fronted him with burning gaze! but a woman, white as a star and with eyes of yellow fire, like lucid topazes, and hair as black as a stormy night. She looked at him steadily, and the 300 Woman or What Pfalzgraf felt the very marrow of his bones and his heart's blood freezing, siowvly freezing, beneath that cat-like gaze. Then she spoke; and the sound of her voice was as the sound of distant winds in the moonlit woods, mixed with the music of limpid waters falling over pebbles of spar into basins of crystal, and yet terrible as doom: "'Blasphemer of God! behold in me the hereditary spirit of the HFouse of Otto. I appear only to those who are about to perish vio- lently. Farewell! ' It is said that many days elapsed before they found the body of the Pfalzgraf, bloated and blistered be- yond recognition, tangled in his rusty mail, amnong the slime and oozy spawn and waterweeds of a forest pool." The Professor laid aside the marnu- script. The fact that he was the sole 30I Woman or-What descendant, the only surviving rep- resentative, of such a family was gruesome to him to say the least. Yet, repeliant and attractive at the same time, he brooded over the idea with a fascination that he could not explain. Again the insistent expression of the eves of the lady of his dream oc- cturred to him, and his mind wvould persist in associating that look with a certain passage in the manuscript. He understood it now, yes; but he must sleep and see how all this ratio- cination bore the explanation in the rational light of morning. If he again received a letter, precisely sim- ilar to the two already received on the preceding mornings, and if the lady of his dreams of the two preced- ing nights again visited him to-night Uwith the same peculiar look, then these, the lady and the letters, must be some- thing more than mere coincidences. 302 Woman or-What It was three o'clock before he fell into a. frail, uneasy slumber, wherein Grafif von Otto and his bandit bravos phikyed battledore and shuttlecock with milk-white wolves' heads and the glowing golden eyes ot star-white womien: that finally resolved themi- selves into the eyes of one woman, the wonman of his dIreams, who regarded hinm steadily and fearfully from a gradually decreasing distance. The day was far adv-anced: in- (Iced, the bulhl clock on his mantel had chimied the hour of noon ere lhe arose. l-ie had dreaded it as we dread the inevitable, but wvould have been dis- appointed, after having dreamed that dream a-ain, lad the letter not been there. There it was, however, char- acterized by its foreign-looking en- velope of vivid yellow inclosing a slip of spotless paper, perfectly blank, and nothing more. Not a line. He curi- ously examined the address. It was 303 Woman or-What correct, and written in a fine, angu- lar, female hand. The script was German, but the postmark was Amer- ican - his own city's. Placing it in an inside pocket the Professor left his apartments; they seemed to com- press and stifle his soul that seemed dilating and expanding beyond his comprehension and unto -what He was as one dazed, wandering he knew not whither. Some mysterious influence seemed governing all his movements. He appeared to have no will of his own. Could it be that he was on the verge of some serious sick- ness, and did this persistent dream, always the same, never varying an iota in its strange details, indicate this \Were the letters merely illu- sions At this thought mechanically he felt in his pocket, drew forth the letter that had arrived that morning and stared at it as at some curious and horrible thing, then slowly tore 304 Woman or What it across, shredding it into small bits which he tossed into the street. Now lhe would go into the country. There lhe would forget it all. In a long ramble dissipate this haunting thoughlt, this nightmare which had made horror of three past days and ighlts. The electric lights had commenced to dot the evening glimmer as he re- turned on foot by an unfrequented way. He was in an unknown quarter of the town which had been his resi- dence for twenty years; a quarter dis- tinguished by nothing that he knew; its houses older than any lie had eVer seen in any other part of the city; tlmost of them great, square, colonial-columined buildings sitting far back from the street each one in its grove of old trees. In the course of his saunter, curiosity led him into a quaint old cemetery with queer, gaunt tombstones and cellared vaults. 20 305 Woman or-What Rusty iron railings enclosed little squares of myrtled and mounded si- lence pathetic with tottering or fallen headstones. Here and there flat and lichened tombs covered and hid a sad handful of dust and remembrance. The fireflies were twinkling like elfin lanterns, or will-o'-the-wisps, up and down the plaintive vistas of elm and cedar and weeping willow. A pleas- ant feeling of melancholy, dreamy and undefined, pervaded the soul of the Professor as he strolled among the gray, neglected graves. He had forgotten entirely the disagreeable things that had impelled him away from the city at noon. The letter, the lady, even Herr Hermann and his unholy manuscript wvere conmpletely forgotten. Absorbed upon the sor- rowful beauty of the neglected place in which so strangely he found him- self, he continued to wander amiong the tall weeds and flowers that had 306 Woman or-What overgrown all its walks. He had in- tended going in a quite different direc- tion, but suddenly seemed compelled, by some strange power, in an oppo- site one from that he desired to take; and in a little while he found himself, like the poet in Ulalume, standing in the uncertain twilight before a le- gended tomb," a looming and crum- b)ling vault of mossy stone at the extreme western end of the cemetery. Could he be mistaken No, he wvas not. There under the sorrowful trees, near the ghostly entrance of the tomb, among a wilderness of weeds and roses and ruined headstones, wavered the white of a woman's dress. He had hardly recovered from his sur- prise, and, embarrassed,- for he was a very shy, retired mnan, - was about to turn away, when the wearer of the white dress came hastily and eagerly towards him. Stopping suddenly in front of him she regarded him fixedly 307 Woman or-What from head to foot as if desirous of identifying before addressing him. He, by the fast-fading light of the west, dimly discerned that she was very beautiful and very pale. A large, foreign hat of some fleecy material, white and white-feathered, partially shaded her face, concealing her eyes completely. The grace and elegance of her form would have in- dicated her - from white-shawled shoulders to white-shod feet-a woman of distinction, even had it not been for the costly lace and lawn that hung like draperies of foam about her. One long, white-gloved hand held a white lace fan of wonderful workmanship. Extending the Pro- fessor her disengaged hand she said quietly, as if she had expected him, had known him for a long time, ad- dressing him by name: " You have kept me waiting. Why are you not more prompt with your 308 Woman or- What engagements - Did you not receive mly letters or could you not find the place appointed "- Here she broke into a little musical laugh that seemed familiar to him, but, after a hopeless effort to place it, he helplessly gave it up. For a moment he stood staring at her, unable to answer her fusillade of questions. Then before he could courteously reply, assuring her that she had made a mistake, that it was not he whom she had expected, she quietly took his arm, and leaning lightly upon it, said, " Let us walk in this direction;" indicating a long dark avenue of larch and elm trees, along which the gravestones glim- mered like ghosts, and at whose far end, like a torch at the end of a cav- ern, glittered and hissed the globe of an electric light. After a pause she continued questioningly: " You are glad to see me You do not object to walking with me 309 Woman or-What The Professor could only stammer a breathless reply in the affirmative and the negative to both her ques- tions; but which one he said " yes " to, and which one he said " no " to, he could not for the life of him tell. He was so entirely under the sway of some strange influence that it seemed he had lost complete control of all his faculties, mental and physical, and possessed no preference that did not first defer to this woman's; no impulse that did not emanate from the domin- ating intentions of herself. He won- dered if he had not fallen asleep and if he were not dreaming that strange dream again; dreaming as he had dreamed only last night; that dream which had so absorbed and possessed him for the past three days. Only how different was this woman from the supernatural creature of his dream, the stately, mournful beauty in trailing black! Here was coquet- 310 Woman or What tish loveliness clad in happy white, defiant and yielding, compliant and resistant. He could see that her hair was intensely black, and from the glimpses now and then of the classic purity of her delicate cheek, chin, and throat, he suspicioned mar- vels of loveliness the darkness kept unrevealed. They had almost reached the end of the avenue of trees, and the gate by the sexton's bell-hung, dilapidated, old brick cottage, and were passing under the electric light at the en- trance to the cemetery, when she stopped, turned facing him, and sud- denly looked up as if about to put a direct and abrupt question to him. II- that moment he got a frill view of leer face and eyes -a face white as marble, and eyes, two lucid topazes, a luminous yellow. 311 This page in the original text is blank. The Vale of Tempe By MADISON CAWEIN Price, 1.50 Sent on receipt of price by the publishers E. P. DUTTON CO., New York I N calling attention to THa VALE OF TFM-FR, we do so with the assurance that it is a volume of classic: quality and on a level with some of the highest work of the nineteenth cen- tury. It has been commended in a very high quarter of cultivated taste and judgment, and has been emphasized in the reviews as of more than ordinary interest. We might point to indi- vidual poems of unquestionable beauty, but our purpose will be better served and our readers' confidence perhaps better secured if we quote the ripe critical opinion of the Evening Post, where the discoverable faults are as plainly pointed out as the generally high and exceptional quality of the work is plainly acknowledged. THE VALE OF FEMPE," says the Pst, " is a volume which, along with some crudities and weakness, has both the old glamour of poesy and an individual tang, so to say, that is uncommon in our contemporary verse. Mr. Cawein draws his inspiration in equal draughts frdm the lentucky landscape and from the world of pagan poetry, and in at least two of the aptitudes of the poet he stands pretty much by himself. His turn for vivid, imaginative phrase is of the first orde r, whether he is dealing with lurid grotesque, as its the striking phrase, ' gaunt as huddle terror,' or with the beautiful, as in his fine couplet- Invisible crystals of aerial ring Against the wind I hear the bluebird fling.' His command of the technique of tone color is also exceptional. Ile is a master of tone, whether in the difficult key of 'v ' as in this description of ' Oaks in Spring' (a quotation from the poem), or hi the initiative pedal-tones of this: (a quotation from the poem, 'Wind and Cloud '). In poetry like Mr. Cawein's, for the moost part so limpid and musical in tone, small discords are specially noticeable." Here the critic points to some " minordefects " and proceeds: " All this, however, is by the way. Mr. Cawein is a 'true poet,' both in his art and in his inspiration. The concluding strophes of his fine ode, ' In Solitary Places,'will serve to show his safety in the Siege Ferilous of the poetic hall."