You have found an item located in the Kentuckiana Digital Library.
Kentucky poems / by Madison Cawein ; with an introduction by Edmund Gosse. Cawein, Madison Julius, 1865-1914. 400dpi TIFF G4 page images University of Kentucky, Electronic Information Access & Management Center Lexington, Kentucky 2002 b92-32-26573304 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. Kentucky poems / by Madison Cawein ; with an introduction by Edmund Gosse. Cawein, Madison Julius, 1865-1914. E.P. Dutton, New York : 1903. xxii, 263 p. ; 18 cm. Coleman Microfilm. Atlanta, Ga. : SOLINET, 1992. 1 microfilm reel ; 35 mm. (SOLINET/ASERL Cooperative Microfilming Project (NEH PS-20317) ; SOL MN02005.05 KUK) Printing Master B92-32. 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. KENTUCKY POEMS The Author's thanks are due to Mr. R. H. RUSSELL, of New York, for kind permission to reprint from Shapes and Shadows four of the poems published in this volume. KENTUCKY POEMS BY MADISON CAWEIN WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY EDMUND GOSSE NEW YORK E. P. DUTTON CO. 1903 NOTE THE poems included in this volume have been selected from the following volumes of the author: Moods and Memories, Red Leaves and Roses, Poems of Nature and Love, Intimations of the Beautiful, Days and Dreams, Undertones, Idyllic Monoloues, The Garden of Dreams, Shapes and Shadows, Myth and Romance, and Weeds by the Wall. None of the longer poems have been included in this selection. CONTENTS PROLOGUE FOREST AND FIELD . SUMMER . TO SORROW NIGHT A FALLEN BEECH A TWILIGHT MOTH THE GRASSHOPPER BEFORE THE RAIN AFTER RAIN . THE HAUNTED HOUSE PAGE . . . . I 5 i8 24 28 3' 35 38 4I 43 q 47 V CONTENTS OCTOBER . INDIAN SUMMER ALONG THE OHIO A COIGN OF THE FOREST CREOLE SERENADE WILL 0 THE WISPS TIlE TOLLBIAN'S I)AUGHTEJR THE BOY COLUMBUS SONG OF THE ELF THE (ILI) INN . TIlE: MII,-WATER THlE DREAM U SPRING TWILIGHT A SLEET-STORMI IN MAY UNREQUITED THE HEART 0 SPRING vi PAGE 52 56 58 . 6' 63 67 70 73 76 79 81 84 87 89 92 94 CONTENTS cA BROKEN RAINBOW ON T ORGIE . REVERIE . LETHE DIONYSIA . THE NAIAD THE LIMNAD INTIMATIONS BEFORE THE TEMPLE ANTHEM OF DAWN AT THE LANE'S END THE FARMSTEAD A FLOWER OF THE FIELDS THE FEUD LYNCHERS DEAl) MAN S RUN HE PAGE SKIES OF MAY' 96 99 [01 o6 [109 I19 123 128 130 134 146 155 159 162 64 VI'i CONTENTS AUGUST THE BUSH-SPARROW QUIET MUSIC THE PURPLE VALLEYS A DREAM1 SHAPE THE OLD BARN THE WOOD WITCH AT SUNSET MlAY RAIN TO FA LL, SUNSET IN AUTUMN THE HILLS CONTENT HEART OF MY HEART lAGE x68 172 176 178 i8i t84 :86 :89 192 194 96 198 200 203 206 2039 viii CO NTENTS OCTOBER MYTH AND ROMANCE GENIUS LOCI DISCOVERY THE OLD SPRING T.lE FOREST SPRING TRANSMUTATION DEAD CITIES FROST A NIGHT IN JUNE THE DREAMER. WINTER M1ID-WINTER SPRING . TRANSFORMATION RESPONSE . ix F'AGE 211 . 214 218 222 224 226 228 229 232 234 237 238 240 242 243 245 CONTENTS THE SWASHBUCKLER . SIMULACRA CAVERNS THE BLUE BIRD QUATRAINS . ADVENTURERS EPILOGUE PAGE 247 249 . 251 253 254 258 260 I INTRODUCTION SINCE the disappearance of the latest survivors of that graceful and somewhat academic school of poets who ruled American literature so long from the shores of Massachusetts, serious poetry in the United States seems to have been passing through a crisis of languor. Perhaps there is no country on the civilised globe where, in theory, verse is treated with more respect and, in practice, with a greater lack of grave considera- tion than America. No conjecture as to the reason of this must be attempted here, further than to suggest that the extreme value set upon sharpness, ingenuity and rapid mobility is obvi- ously calculated to depreciate and to condemn xi INTRODUCTION the quiet practice of the most meditative of' the arts. Hence we find that it is what is called ' humorous' verse which is mainly in fashion on the western side of the Atlantic. Those rhymes are most warmly welcomed which play the most preposterous tricks with language, which dazzle by the most mountebank swiftness of turn, and which depend most for their effect upon paradox and the negation of sober thought. It is probable that the diseased craving for what is 'smart,' 'snappy' and wide-awake, .nd the impulse to see everything foreshortened and topsy-turvy, must wear themselves out before cooler and more graceful tastes again prevail in imaginative literature. Whatever be the cause, it is certain that this is not a moment when serious poetry, of any species, is flourishing in the United States. The absence of anything like a common impulse xii INTRODUCTION among young writers, of any definite and intelligible, if excessive, parli pris, is immediately observable if we contrast the American, for instance, with the French poets of the last fifteen years. Where there is no school and no clear trend of executive ambition, the solitary artist, whose talent forces itself up into the light and air, suffers unusual difficulties, and runs a constant danger of being choked in the aimless mediocrity that surrounds him. We occasionally meet with a poet in the history of literature, of whom we are inclined to say, Charming as he is, he would have developed his talent more evenly and conspicuously,-with greater decorum, perhaps,-if he had been accompanied from the first by other young men like-minded, who would have formed for him an atmosphere and cleared for him a space. This is the one regret I feel in contemplating, as I have done for years xiii INTRODUCTION past, the ardent and beautiful talent of Mr. Cawein. I deplore the fact that he seems to stand alone in his generation; I think his poetry would have been even better than it is, and its qualities would certainly have been more clearly perceived, and more intelligently appreciated, if he were less isolated. In his own country, at this particular moment, in this matter of serious nature- painting in lyric verse, Mr. Cawein possesses what Cowley would have called 'a monopoly of wit.' In one of his lyrics Mr. Cawein asks- 'The song-birds, are they flown away, The song-birds of the summer-time, That sang their souls into the day, And set the laughing hours to rhyme No cat-bird scatters through the hush The sparkling crystals of her song; Within the woods no hermit-thrush Trails an enchanted flute along.' To this inquiry, the answer is: the only hermit- xiv INTRODUCTION thrush now audible seems to sing from Louisville, Kentucky. America will, we may be perfectly sure, calm herself into harmony again, and possess once more her school of singers. In those coming days, history may perceive in Mr. Cawein the golden link that bound the music of the past to the music of the future through an interval of comparative tunelessness. The career of Mr. Madison Cawein is repre- sented to me as being most uneventful. He seems to have enjoyed unusual advantages for the cultivation and protection of the poetical temperament. He was born on the 23rd of March 1865, in the metropolis of Kentucky, the vigorous city of Louisville, on the southern side of the Ohio, in the midst of a country celebrated for tobacco and whisky and Indian corn. These are commodities which may be consumed in excess, but in moderation they make glad the b xv INTRODUCTION heart of man. They represent a certain glow of the earth, they indicate the action of a serene and gentle climate upon a rich soil. It was in this delicate and voluptuous state of Kentucky that Mr. Cawein was born, that he was educated, that he became a poet, and that he has lived ever since. His blood is full of the colour and odour of his native landscape. The solemn books of history tell us that Kentucky was discovered in 1769, by Daniel Boone, a hunter. But he first discovers a country who sees it first, and teaches the world to see it; no doubt some day the city of Louisville will erect, in one of its principal squares, a statue to 'Madison C.iwein, who discovered the Beauty of Kentucky.' The genius of this poet is like one of those deep rivers of his native state, which cut paths through the forests of chestnut and hemlock as they hurry towards the south and west, brushing xvi INTRODUCTION with the impulsive fringe of their currents the rhododendrons and calmias and azaleas that bend from the banks to be mirrored in their flushing waters. Mr. Cawein's vocation to poetry was irresist- ible. I do not know that he ever tried to resist it. I have even the idea that a little more resistance would have been salutary for a talent which nothing could have discouraged, and which opposition might have taught the arts of compression and selection. Mr. Cawein suffered at first, I think, from lack of criticism more than from lack of eulogy. From his early writings I seem to gather an impression of a Louisville more ready to praise what was second-rate than what was first-rate, and practically, indeed, without any scale of appreciation whatever. This may be a mistake of mine; at all events, Mr. Cawein has had more to gain from the xvii INTRODUCTION passage of years in self-criticism than in inspiring enthusiasm. The fount was in him from the first; but it bubbled forth before he had digged a definite channel for it. Sometimes, to this very day, he sports with the principles of syntax as Nature played games so long ago with the fantastic caverns of the valley of the Green River or with the coral-reefs of his own Ohio. He has bad rhymes, amazing in so delicate an ear; he has awkwardness of phrase not expected in one so plunged in contemplation of the eternal harmony of Nature. But these grow fewer and less obtrusive as the years pass by. The virgin timber-forests of Kentucky, the woods of honey-locust and buck-eye, of white oak and yellow poplar, with their clearings full of flowers unknown to us by sight or name, from which in the distance are visible the domes of the far-away Cumberland Mountains, this seems to xviii INTRO D U CT ION be the hunting-field of Mr. Cawein's imagination. Here all, it must be confessed, has hitherto been unfamiliar to the Muses. If Persephone ' of our Cumnor cowslips never heard,' how much less can her attention have been arrested by clusters of orchids from the Ocklawaha, or by the song of the Whippoorwill, rung out when 'the west was hot geranium-red' under the boughs of a black-jack on the slopes of Mount Kinnex. ' Not here,' one is inclined to exclaim, ' not here, o Apollo, are haunts meet for thee,' but the art of the poet is displayed by his skill in break- ing down these prejudices of time and place. Mr. Cawein reconciles us to his strange land- scape-the strangeness of which one has to admit is mainly one of nomenclature,-by the exercise of a delightful instinctive pantheism. He brings the ancient gods to Kentucky, and it is marvellous how quickly they learn to be at xix INTRODUCTION home there. Here is Bacchus, with a spicy fragment of calamtus-root in his hand, trampling down the blue-eyed grass, and skipping, with the air of a hunter born, into the hickory thicket, to escape Artemis, whose robes, as she passes swiftly with her dogs through the woods, startle the humming-birds, silence the green tree-frogs, and fill the hot still air with the perfumes of peppermint and penny-royal. It is a queer landscape, but one of new natural beauties frankly and sympathetically discovered, and it forms a mise en scene which, I make bold to say, would have scandalised neither Keats nor Spenser. It was Mr. Howells,-ever as generous in discovering new native talent as he is unflinching in reproof of the effeteness of European taste,-- who first drew attention to the originality aind beauty of Mr. Cawein's poetry. The Kentucky xx INTRODUCTION poet had, at that time, published but one tentative volume, the Blooms of the Berry, of 1887. This was followed, in 1888, by The Trnumph of Music, and since then hardly a year has passed without a slender sheaf of verse from Mr. Cawein's garden. Among these (if a single volume is to be indicated), the quality which distinguishes him from all other poets,-the Kentucky flavour, if we may call it so,-is perhaps to be most agreeably detected in Itiimations of the Beautifli. But it is time that I should leave the American lyrist to make his own appeal to English ears, with but one additional word of explanation, namely, that in this selection Mr. Cawein's narrative poems on medieval themes, and in general his cosmopolitan writings, have been neglected in favour of such lyrics as would present him most vividly in his own native landscape, no visitor in spirit to xxi INTRODUCTION Europe, but at home in that bright and exuberant West- Where, in the hazy morning, runs The stony branch that pools and drips, Where red-haws and the wild-rose hips Are strewn like pebbles; where the sun's Own gold seems captured by the weeds; To see, through scintillating seeds, The hunters steal with glimmering guns. To stand within the dewy ring Where pale death smites the bone-set blooms, And everlasting's flowers, and plumes Of mint, with aromatic wing! And hear the creek,-whose sobbing seems A wild man murmuring in his dreams,- And insect violins that sing! So sweet a voice, so consonant with the music of the singers of past times, heard in a place so fresh and strange, will surely not pass without its welcome from the lovers of genuine poetry. EDMUND GOSSE. XXI I PROLOGUE There is a poetry that speaks Through common things: the grasshopper, That in the hot weeds creaks and creaks, Says all of'summer to my ear: And in the cricket's cry I hear The fireside speak, and feel the frost Work mysteries of'silver near On country casements, while, deep lost In snow, the gatepost seems a sheeted ghost. And other things give rare delight: Those guttural harps the green-frogs tune, Those minstrels of the fidling night, That hail the sickle of'the moon A I1 PROLOGUE From grassy pools that glass her lune: Or,-all of August in its loud Dry cry,-the locust's call at noon, That tells of heat and never a cloud To veil the pitiless sun as with a shroud. The rain,-whose cloud dark-lids the moon, The great white eyeball of the night,- Makes music for me; to its tune I hear the flowers unfolding white, The mushroom growing, and the slight Green sound of grass that dances near; The melon ripening with delight; And in the orchard, soft and clear, The apple redly rounding out its sphere. The gigs make music as of old, To which the fairies whirl and shine 2 PROLOGUE Within the moonlight's prodigal gold, On woodways wild with many a vine: When all the wilderness with wine Of stars is drunk, I hear it say- ' Is God restricted to confine His wonders on4y to the day, That yields the abstract tangible to clay' And to my ear the wind of Morn,- When on her rubric fjrehead fir One star burns big,-lifis a vast horn Of wonder where all murmurs are: In which I hear the waters war, The torrent and the blue abyss, And pines,--that terrace bar on bar The mountain side,-like lovers' kiss, And whisper words where naught but grandeur is. 3 PROLOGUE The jutting crags,-all iron-veined With ore,-the peaks, There eagles scream, That pour their cataracts, rainbow-stained, Like hair, in many a mountain stream, Can lift my soul beyond the dream Of all religions; make me scan No mere external or extreme, But inward pierce the outward plan And learn that rocks have souls as well as man. 4 FOREST AND FIELD FOREST AND FIELD GREEN, watery jets of light let through The rippling foliage drenched with dew; And golden glimmers, warm and dim, That in the vistaed distance swim; Where, 'round the wood-spring's oozy urn, The limp, loose fronds of forest fern Trail like the tresses, green and wet, A wood-nymph binds with violet. O'er rocks that bulge and roots that knot The emerald-amber mosses clot; From matted walls of brier and brush The elder nods its plumes of plush; And, Argus-eyed with many a bloom, The wild-rose breathes its wild perfume; S FOREST AND FIELD May-apples, ripening yellow, lean With oblong fruit, a lemon-green, Near Indian-turnips, long of stem, That bear an acorn-oval gem, As if some woodland Bacchus there,- While braiding locks of hyacinth hair With ivy-tod,-had idly tost His thyrsus down and so had lost: And blood-root, that from scarlet wombs Puts forth, in spring, its milk-white blooms, That then like starry footsteps shine Of April under beech and pine; At which the gnarled eyes of trees Stare, big as Fauns' at Dryades, That bend above a fountain's spar As white and naked as a star. The stagnant stream flows sleepily Thick with its lily-pads; the bee,- 6 FOREST AND FIELD All honey-drunk, a Bassarid,- Booms past the mottled toad, that, hid In calamus-plants and blue-eyed grass, Beside the water's pooling glass, Silenus-like, eyes stolidly The Maenad-glittering dragonfly. And pennyroyal and peppermint Pour dry-hot odours without stint From fields and banks of many streams; And in their scent one almost seems To see Demeter pass, her breath Sweet with her triumph over death.- A haze of floating saffron; sound 'Of shy, crisp creepings o'er the ground; The dip and stir of twig and leaf; Tempestuous gusts of spices brief Borne over bosks of sassafras By winds that foot it on the grass; 7 FOREST AND FIELD Sharp, sudden songs and whisperings, That hint at untold hidden things- Pan and Sylvanus who of old Kept sacred each wild wood and wold. A wily light beneath the trees Quivers and dusks with every breeze- A Hamadryad, haply, who,- Culling her morning meal of dew From frail, accustomed cups of flowers,- Now sees some Satyr in the bowers, Or hears his goat-hoof snapping press Some brittle branch, and in distress Shrinks back; her dark, dishevelled hair Veiling her limbs one instant there. 11 Down precipices of the dawn The rivers of the day are drawn, The soundless torrents, free and far, 8 FOREST AND FIELD Of gold that deluge every star. There is a sound of brooks and wings That fills the woods with carollings; And, dashed on moss and flow'r and fern, And leaves, that quiver, breathe and burn, Rose-radiance smites the solitudes, The dew-drenched hills, the dripping woods, That twitter as with canticles Of shade and light; and wind, that smells Of flowers, and buds, and boisterous bees, Delirious honey, and wet trees.- Through briers that trip them, one by one, With swinging pails, that take the sun, A troop of girls comes-berriers, Whose bare feet glitter where they pass Through dewdrop-trembling tufts of grass. And, oh! their laughter and their cheers Wake Echo 'mid her shrubby rocks Who, answering, from her mountain mocks 9 FOREST AND FIELD With rapid fairy horns; as if Each mossy vale and weedy cliff Had its imperial Oberon, Who, seeking his Titania, hid In coverts caverned from the sun, In kingly wrath had called and chid. Cloud-feathers, oozing orange light, Make rich the Indian locks of night; Her dusky waist with sultry gold Girdled and buckled fold on fold. One star. A sound of bleating flocks. Great shadows stretched along the rocks, Like giant curses overthrown By some Arthurian champion. Soft-swimming sorceries of mist That streak blue glens with amethyst. And, tinkling in the clover dells, The twilight sound of cattle-bells. I0 FOREST AND FIELD And where the marsh in reed and grass Burns, angry as a shattered glass, The flies make golden blurs, that shine Like drops of amber-scattered wine Spun high by reeling Bacchanals, When Bacchus wreathes his curling hair With vine-leaves, and from every lair His worshippers around him calls. They come, they come, a happy throng, The berriers with gibe and song; Their pails brimmed black to tin-bright eaves With luscious fruit, kept cool with leaves Of aromatic sassafras; 'Twixt which some sparkling berry slips, Like laughter, from the purple mass, Wine-swollen as Silenus' lips. I I FOREST AND FIELD III The tanned and tired noon climbs high Up burning reaches of the sky; Below the drowsy belts of pines The rock-ledged river foams and shines; And over rainless hill and dell Is blown the harvest's sultry smell: While, in the fields, one sees and hears The brawny-throated harvesters,- Their red brows beaded with the heat,- By twos and threes among the wheat Flash their hot scythes; behind them press The binders-men and maids that sing Like some mad troop of piping Pan;- While all the hillsides swoon and ring Such sounds of Ariel airiness As haunted freckled Caliban. 12 FOREST AND FIELD 'O ho! 0 ho! 'tis noon I say. The roses blow. Away, away, above the hay, To the tune o' the bees the roses sway; The love-songs that they hum all day, So low! So low! The roses' Minnesingers they.' Up velvet lawns of lilac skies The tawny moon begins to rise Behind low, blue-black hills of trees,- As rises up, in Siren seas, To rock in purple deeps, hip-hid, A virgin-bosomed Oceanid.- Gaunt shadows crouch by tree and scaur, Like shaggy Satyrs waiting for The moonbeam Nymphs, the Dryads white, That take with loveliness the night, And glorify it with their love. 13 FOREST AND FIELD The sweet, far notes I hear, I hear, Beyond dim pines and mellow ways, The song of some fair harvester, The lovely Limnad of the grove, Whose singing charms me while it slays. '0 deep! 0 deep! the earth and air Are sunk in sleep. Adieu to care! Now everywhere Is rest; and by the old oak there The maiden with the nut-brown hair Doth keep, doth keep Tryst with her lover the young and fair.' IV Like Atalanta's spheres of gold, Within the orchard, apples rolled From sudden hands of boughs that lay Their leaves, like palms, against the day; '4 FOREST AND FIELD And near them pears of rusty brown Lay bruised; and peaches, pink with down, And furry as the ears of Pan, Or, like Diana's cheeks, a tan Beneath which burnt a tender fire; Or wan as Psyche's with desire. And down the orchard vistas,-young, A hickory basket by him swung, A straw-hat, 'gainst the sloping sun Drawn brim-broad o'er his face,-he strode; As if he looked to find some one, His eyes far-fixed beyond the road. Before him, like a living burr, Rattled the noisy grasshopper. And where the cows' melodious bells Trailed music up and down the dells, Beside the spring, that o'er the ground Went whimpering like a fretful hound, I5 FOREST AND FIELD He saw her waiting, fair and slim, Her pail forgotten there, for him. Yellow as sunset skies and pale As fairy clouds that stay or sail Through azure vaults of summer, blue As summer heavens, the wildflowers grew; And blossoms on which spurts of light Fell laughing, lMe the lips one might Feign for a Hebe, or a girl Whose mouth is laughter-lit with pearl. Long ferns, in murmuring masses heaped; And mosses moist, in beryl steeped And musk aromas of the wood And silence of the solitude: And everything that near her blew The spring had showered thick with dew.- Across the rambling fence she leaned, Her fresh, round arms all white and bare; I6 FOREST AND FIELD Her artless beauty, bonnet-screened, Rich-coloured with its auburn hair. A wood-thrush gurgled in a vine- Ah! 'tis his step, 'tis he she hears; The wild-rose smelt like some rare wine--- He comes, ah, yes! 'tis he who nears. And her brown eyes and all her face Said welcome. And with rustic grace He leant beside her; and they had Some talk with youthful laughter glad: I know not what; I know but this Its final period was a kiss. I 7 B SUMMER SUMMER I HANG out your loveliest star, 0 Night! 0 Night! Your richest rose, 0 Dawn! To greet sweet Sununer, her, who, clothed in light, Leads Earth's best hours on. Hark! how the wild birds of the woods Throat it within the dewy solitudes! The brook sings low and soft, The trees make song, As, from her heaven aloft Comes blue-eyed Summer like a girl along. I8 SUMMER if And as the Day, her lover, leads her in, How bright his beauty glows! How red his lips, that ever try to win Her mouth's delicious rose! And from the beating of his heart Warm winds arise and sighing thence depart; And from his eyes and hair The light and dew Fall round her everywhere, And Heaven above her is an arch of blue. III Come to the forest, or the treeless meadows Deep with their hay or grain; Come where the hills lift high their thrones of shadows, Where tawny orchards reign. '9 SUMMER Come where the reapers whet the scythe; Where golden sheaves are heaped; where berriers blythe, With willow-basket and with pail, Swarm knoll and plain; Where flowers freckle every vale, And beauty goes with hands of berry-stain. IV Come where the dragon-flies, a brassy blue, Flit round the wildwood streams, And, sucking at some horn of honey-dew, The wild-bee hums and dreams. Come where the butterfly waves wings of sleep, Gold-disked and mottled over blossoms deep; 20 SUMMER Come where beneath the rustic bridge The green frog cries; Or in the shade the rainbowed midge, Above the emerald pools, with murmurings flies. v Come where the cattle browse within the brake, As red as oak and strong; Where far-off bells the echoes faintly wake, And milkmaids sing their song. Come where the vine-trailed rocks, with waters hoary, Tell to the sun some legend or some story; Or, where the sunset to the land Speaks words of gold; Where ripeness walks, a wheaten band Around her hair and blossoms manifold. 21 SUMMER vI Come where the woods lift up their stalwart arms Unto the star-sown skies; Knotted and gnarled, that to the winds and storms Fling mighty rhapsodies: Or to the moon repeat what they have seen, When Night upon their shoulders vast doth lean. Come where the dew's clear syllable Drips from the rose; And where the fire-flies fill The night with golden music of their glows. VII Now while the dingles and the vine-roofed glens Whisper their flowery tale 22 SUMMER Unto the silence; and the lakes and fens Unto the moonlight pale Murmur their rapture, let us seek her out, Her of the honey throat, and peachy pout, Summer! and at her feet, The love of old Lay like a sheaf of wheat, And of our hearts the purest gold of gold. 23 TO SORROW TO SORROW I 0 DARK-EYED goddess of the marble brow, Whose look is silence and whose touch is night, Who walkest lonely through the world, 0 thou, Who sittest lonely with Life's blown-out light; Who in the hollow hours of night's noon Criest like some lost child; Whose anguish-fevered eyeballs seek the moon To cool their pulses wild. Thou who dost bend to kiss Joy's sister cheek, Turning its rose to alabaster; yea, 24 TO SORROW Thou who art terrible and mad and meek, Why in my heart art thou enshrined to-day O Sorrow say, 0 say! 11 Now Spring is here and all the world is white, I will go forth, and where the forest robes Itself in green, and every hill and height Crowns its fair head with blossoms,-spirit globes Of hyacinth and crocus dashed with dew,- I will forget my grief, And thee, 0 Sorrow, gazing on the blue, Beneath a last year's leaf, Of some brief violet the south wind woos, Or bluet, whence the west wind raked the snow; The baby eyes of love, the darling hues Of happiness, that thou canst never know, 0 child of pain and woe. 25 TO SORROW II[ On some hoar upland, sweet with clustered thorns, Hard by a river's windy white of waves, I shall sit down with Spring,-whose eyes are moms Of light; whose cheeks the rose of health enslaves,- And so forget thee braiding in her hair The snowdrop, tipped with green, The cool-eyed primrose and the trillium fair, And moony celandine. Contented so to lie within her arms, Forgetting all the sear and sad and wan, Remembering love alone, who o'er earth's storms, High on the mountains of perpetual dawn, Leads the glad hours on. 26 TO SORROW IV Or in the peace that follows storm, when Even, Within the west, stands dreaming lone and far, Clad on with green and silver, and the Heaven Is brightly brooched with one gold-glittering star. I will lie down beside some mountain lake, 'Round which the tall pines sigh, And breathing musk of rain from boughs that shake Storm balsam from on high, Make friends of Dream and Contemplation high And Music, listening to the mocking-bird,- Who through the hush sends its melodious cry,- And so forget a while that other word, That all loved things must die. 27 NIGHT NIGHT Our of the East, as from an unknown shore, Thou comest with thy children in thine arms,- Slumber and Dream,-whom mortals all adore, Their flowing raiment sculptured to their charms: Soft on thy breast thy lovely children rest, Laid like twin roses in one balmy nest. Silent thou comest, swiftly too and slow. There is no other presence like to thine, When thou approachest with thy babes divine, Thy shadowy face above them bending low, Blowing the ringlets from their brows of snow. 28 NIGHT Oft have I taken Sleep from thy dark arms, And fondled her fair head, with poppies wreathed, Within my bosom's depths, until its storms With her were hushed and I but faintly breathed. And then her sister, Dream, with frolic art Arose from rest, and on my sleeping heart Blew bubbles of dreams where elfin worlds were lost; Worlds where my stranger soul sang songs to me, And talked with spirits by a rainbowed sea, Or smiled, an unfamiliar shape of frost, Floating on gales of breathless melody. Day comes to us in garish glory garbed; But thou, thou bringest to the tired heart Rest and deep silence, in which are absorbed All the vain tumults of the mind and mart. 29 NIGHT Whether thou comest with hands full of stars, Or clothed in storm and clouds, the lightning bars, Rolling the thunder like some mighty dress, God moves with thee; we seem to hear His feet. Wind-like, along the floors of Heaven beat; To see His face, revealed in awfulness, Through thee, 0 Night, to ban us or to bless. 30 A FALLEN BEECH A FALLEN BEECH NEVERMORE at doorways that are barken Shall the madcap wind knock and the moon- light; Nor the circle which thou once didst darken, Shine with footsteps of the neighbouring moonlight, Visitors for whom thou oft didst hearken. Nevermore, gallooned with cloudy laces, Shall the morning, like a fair freebooter, Make thy leaves his richest treasure-places; Nor the sunset, like a royal suitor, Clothe thy limbs with his imperial graces. 3' A FALLEN BEECH And no more, between the savage wonder Of the sunset and the moon's up-coming, Shall the storm, with boisterous hoof-beats, under Thy dark roof dance, Faun-like, to the humming Of the Pan-pipes of the rain and thunder. Oft the Satyr-spirit, beauty-drunken, Of the Spring called; and the music measure Of thy sap made answer; and thy sunken Veins grew vehement with youth, whose pressure Swelled thy gnarly muscles, winter-shrunken. And the germs, deep down in darkness rooted, Bubbled green from all thy million oilets, Where the spirits, rain-and-sunbeam-suited, Of the April made their whispering toilets, Or within thy stately shadow footed. 32 A FALLEN BEECH Oft the hours of blonde Summer tinkled At the windows of thy twigs, and found thee Bird-blithe; or, with shapely bodies, twinkled Lissom feet of naked flowers around thee, Where thy mats of moss lay sunbeam-sprinkled. And the Autumn with his gypsy-coated Troop of days beneath thy branches rested, Swarthy-faced and dark of eye; and throated Songs of roaming; or with red hand tested Every nut-bur that above him floated. Then the Winter, barren-browed, but rich in Shaggy followers of frost and freezing, Made the floor of thy broad boughs his kitchen, Trapper-like, to camp in; grimly easing Limbs snow-furred and auoccasined with lichen. c 33 A FALLEN BEECH Now, alas! no more do these invest thee With the dignity of whilom gladness! They-unto whose hearts thou once confessed thee Of thy dreams-now know thee not! and sadness Sits beside thee where, forgot, dost rest thee. 34 A TWILIGHT MOTH A TWILIGHT MOTH ALL day the primroses have thought of thee, Their golden heads close-haremed from the heat; All day the mystic moonflowers silkenly Veiled snowy faces,-that no bee might greet Or butterfly that, weighed with pollen, passed;- Keeping Sultana-charms for thee, at last, Their lord, who comest to salute each sweet. Cool-throated flowers that avoid the day's Too fervid kisses; every bud that drinks The tipsy dew and to the starlight plays Nocturns of fragrance, thy wing'd shadow links 35 A TWILIGHT MOTH In bonds of secret brotherhood and faith; O bearer of their order's shibboleth, Like some pale symbol fluttering o'er these pinks. What dost thou whisper in the balsam's ear That sets it blushing, or the hollyhock's,-- A syllabled silence that no man may hear,- As dreamily upon its stem it rocks What spell dost bear from listening plant to plant, Like some white witch, some ghostly ministrant, Some spectre of some perished flower of phlox O voyager of that universe which lies Between the four walls of this garden fair,- Whose constellations are the fireflies That wheel their instant courses everywhere,- 36 A TWILIGHT MOTH 'Mid fairy firmaments wherein one sees Mimic Bootes and the Pleiades, Thou steerest like some fairy ship-of-air. Gnome-wrought of moonbeam fluff and gossamer. Silent as scent, perhaps thou chariotest Mab or King Oberon; or, haply, her His queen, Titania, on some midnight quest.- Oh for the herb, the magic euphrasy, That should unmask thee to mine eyes, ah me! And all that world at which my soul hath guessed ! 37 THE GRASSHOPPER THE GRASSHOPPER WHAT jOY YOU take in making hotness hotter, In emphasising dulness with your buzz, Making monotony more monotonous! When Summer comes, and drouth hath dried the water In all the creeks, we hear your ragged rasp Filling the stillness. Or,-as urchins beat A stagnant pond whereon the bubbles gasp,- Your switch-like music whips the midday heat. O bur of sound caught in the Summer's hair, We hear you everywhere! 38 THE GRASSHOPPER We hear you in the vines and berry-brambles, Along the unkempt lanes, among the weeds, Amid the shadeless meadows, gray with seeds, And by the wood 'round which the rail-fence rambles, Sawing the sunlight with your sultry saw.! Or,-like to tomboy truants, at their play With noisy mirth among the barn's deep straw,- You sing away the careless summer-day. o brier-like voice that clings in idleness To Summer's drowsy dress! You tramp of insects, vagrant and unheeding, Improvident, who of the summer make One long green mealtime, and for winter take No care, aye singing or just merely feeding! Happy-go-lucky vagabond,-'though frost 39 THE GRASSHOPPER Shall pierce, ere long, your green coat or your brown, And pinch your body,-let no song be lost, But as you lived into your grave go down- Like some small poet with his little rhyme, Forgotten of all tirne: 40 BEFORE THE RAIN BEFORE THE RAIN BEFORE the rain, low in the obscure east, Weak and morose the moon hung, sickly gray; Around its disc the storm mists, cracked and creased, Wove an enormous web, wherein it lay Like some white spider hungry for its prey. Vindictive looked the scowling firmament, In which each star, that flashed a dagger ray, Seemed filled with malice of some dark intent. The marsh-frog croaked; and underneath the stone The peevish cricket raised a creaking cry. 4' BEFORE THE RAIN Within the world these sounds were heard alone, Save when the ruffian wind swept from the sky, Making each tree like some sad spirit sigh; Or shook the clumsy beetle from its weed, That, in the drowsy darkness, bungling by, Sharded the silence with its feverish speed. Slowly the tempest gathered. Hours passed Before was heard the thunder's sullen drum Rumbling night's hollow; and the Earth at last, Restless with waiting,-like a woman, dumb With doubting of the love that should have clomb Her casement hours ago,-avowed again, 'Mid protestations, joy that he had come. And all night long I heard the Heavens explain. 42 AFTER RAIN AFTER RAIN BEHOLD the blossom-bosomed Day again, With all the star-white Hours in her train, Laughs out of pearl-lights through a golden ray, That, leaning on the woodland wildness, blends A sprinkled amber with the showers that lay Their oblong emeralds on the leafy ends. Behold her bend with maiden-braided brows Above the wildflower, sidewise with its strain Of dewy happiness, to kiss again Each drop to death; or, under rainy boughs, With fingers, fragrant as the woodland rain, Gather the sparkles from the sycamore, To set within each core Of crimson roses girdling her hips, Where each bud dreams and drips. 43 AFTER RAIN Smoothing her blue-black hair,-where many a tusk Of iris flashes,-like the falchions' sheen Of Faery 'round blue banners of its Queen,- Is it a Naiad singing in the dusk, That haunts the spring, where all the moss is musk With footsteps of the flowers on the banks Or just a wild-bird voluble with thanks Balm for each blade of grass: the Hours prepare A festival each weed's invited to. Each bee is drunken with the honied air: And all the air is eloquent with blue. The wet hay glitters, and the harvester Tinkles his scythe,--as twinkling as the dew,- That shall not spare Blossom or brier in its sweeping path; And, ere it cut one swath, Rings them they die, and tells them to prepare. 44 AFTER RAIN What is the spice that haunts each glen and glade A Dryad's lips, who slumbers in the shade A Faun, who lets the heavy ivy-wreath Slip to his thigh as, reaching up, he pulls The chestnut blossoms in whole bosomfuls A sylvan Spirit, whose sweet mouth doth breathe Her viewless presence near us, unafraid Or troops of ghosts of blooms, that whitely wade The brook whose wisdom knows no other song Than that the bird sings where it builds beneath The wild-rose and sits singing all day long. Oh, let me sit with silence for a space, A little while forgetting that fierce part Of man that struggles in the toiling mart; Where God can look into my heart's own heart From unsoiled heights made amiable with grace; And where the sermons that the old oaks keep 45 AFTER RAIN Can steal into me.-And what better then Than, turning to the moss a quiet face, To fall asleep a little while to sleep And dream of wiser worlds and wiser men. 46 THE HAUNTED HOUSE THE HAUNTED HOUSE I THE shadows sit and stand about its door Like uninvited guests and poor; And all the long, hot summer day The grating locust dins its roundelay In one old sycamore. The squirrel leaves upon its rotting roof, In empty hulls, its tracks; And in its clapboard cracks The spider weaves a windy woof; Its cells the mud-wasp packs. The she-fox whelps upon its floor; The owlet roosts above its door; And where the musty mosses run, The freckled snake basks in the sun. 47 THE HAUNTED HOUSE II The children of what fathers sleep Beneath these melancholy pines The slow slugs crawl among their graves where creep The doddered poison-vines. The orchard, near the meadow deep, Lifts up decrepit arms, Gray-lichened in a withering heap. No sap swells up to make it leap As once in calms and storms; No blossom lulls its age asleep; Each breeze brings sad alarms. Big, bell-round pears and apples, russet-red, No maiden gathers now; The worm-bored trunks weep gum, like tears, instead, From each decaying bough. 48 THE HAUNTED HOUSE III The woodlands around it are solitary And fold it like gaunt hands; The sunlight is sad and the moonlight is dreary, And the hum of the country is weary, so weary ! And the bees go by in bands To other lovelier lands. The grasses are rotting in walk and in bower; The lonesomeness,-dank and rank As a chamber where lies for at lonely hour An old-man's corpse with many a flower,- Is hushed and blank. And even the birds have passed it by, To sing their songs to a happier sky, A happier sky and bank. v 49 THE HAUNTED HOUSE IV In its desolate halls are lying, Gold, blood-red and browned, Drifted leaves of summer dying; And the winds, above them sighing, Turn them round and round, Make a ghostly sound As of footsteps falling, flying, Voices through the chambers crying, Of the haunted house. V Gazing down in her white shroud, Shroud of windy cloud, Comes at night the phantom moon; Comes and all the shadows soon, Crowding in the rooms, arouse; Shadows, ghosts, her rays lead on, 50 THE HAUNTED HOUSE Till beneath the cloud Like a ghost she's gone, In her gusty shroud, O'er the haunted house. 5' OCTOBER OCTOBER I oFr have met her slowly wandering Beside a leafy stream, her locks blown wild, Her cheeks a hectic flush, more fair than Spring, As if on her the sumach copse had smiled. Or I have seen her sitting, tall and brown,- Her gentle eyes with foolish weeping dim,- Beneath a twisted oak from whose red leaves She wound great drowsy wreaths and cast them down; The west-wind in her hair, that made it swim Far out behind, deep as the rustling sheaves. Or in the hill-lands I have often seen The marvel of her passage; glimpses faint 52 OCTOBER Of glimmering woods that glanced the hills between, Like Indian faces, fierce with forest paint. Or I have met her 'twixt two beechen hills, Within a dingled valley near a fall, Held in her nut-brown hand one cardinal flower; Or wading dimly where the leaf-dammed rills Went babbling through the wildwood's arrased hall, Where burned the beech and maples glared their power. Or I have met her by some ruined mill, Where trailed the crimson creeper, serpen- tine, On fallen leaves that stirred and rustled chill, And watched her swinging in the wild-grape vine. 53 OCTOBER While Beauty, sad among the vales and moun- tains, More sad than death, or all that death can teach, Dreamed of decay and stretched appealing arms, Where splashed the murmur of the forest's foun- tains; With all her loveliness did she beseech, And all the sorrow of her wildwood charms. Once only in a hollow, girt with trees, A-dream amid wild asters filled with rain, I glimpsed her cheeks red-berried by the breeze, In her dark eyes the night's sidereal stain. And once upon an orchard's tangled path, Where all the golden -rod had turned to brown, 54 OCTOBER Where russets rolled and leaves were sweet of breath, I have beheld her 'mid her aftermath Of blossoms standing, in her gypsy gown, Within her gaze the deeps of life and death. 55 INDIAN SUMMER INDIAN SUMMER THE dawn is a warp of fever, The eve is a woof of fire; And the month is a singing weaver Weaving a red desire. With stars Dawn dices with Even For the rosy gold they heap On the blue of the day's deep heaven, On the black of the night's far deep. It 's-' Reins to the blood!' and ' Marry!'- The season's a prince who burns With the teasing lusts that harry His heart for a wench who spurns. 56 INDIAN SUMMER It 's-' Crown us a beaker with sherry, To drink to the doxy's heels; A tankard of wine o' the berry, To lips like a cloven peel's. ''S death! if a king be saddened, Right so let a fool laugh lies: But wine! when a king is gladdened, And a woman's waist and her eyes.' He hath shattered the loom of the weaver, And left but a leaf that flits, He bath seized heaven's gold, and a fever Of mist and of frost is its. He hath tippled the buxom beauty, And gotten her hug and her kiss- The wide world's royal booty To pile at her feet for this. 57 ALONG THE OHIO ALONG THE OHIO ATHWART a sky of brass long welts of gold; A path of gold the wide Ohio lies; Beneath the sunset, billowing manifold, The dark-blue hilltops rise. And westward dips the crescent of the moon Through great cloud-feathers, flushed with rosy ray, That close around the crystal of her lune The redbird wings of Day. A little skiff slips o'er the burnished stream; A fiery wake, that broadens far behind, Follows in ripples; and the paddles gleam Against the evening wind. 58 ALONG THE OHIO Was it the boat, the solitude and hush, That with dead Indians peopled all the glooms That made each bank, meseemed, and every bush Start into eagle-plumes That made me seem to hear the breaking brush, And as the deer's great antlers swelled in view, To hear the arrow twang from cane and rush, That dipped to the canoe To see the glimmering wigwams by the waves And, wildly clad, around the camp-fires' glow, The Shawnee chieftains with their painted braves, Each grasping his war-bow 59 ALONG THE OHIO But now the vision like the sunset fades, The ribs of golden clouds have oozed their light; And from the west, like sombre sachem shades: Gallop the shades of night. The broad Ohio glitters to the stars; And many murmurs whisper in its woods- Is it the sorrow of dead warriors For their lost solitudes The moon goes down; and like another moon The crescent of the river twinkles there, Unchanged as when the eyes of Daniel Boone Beheld it flowing fair. 6o A COIGN OF THE FOREST A COIGN OF THE FOREST THE hills hang woods around, where green, below Dark, breezy boughs of beech-trees, mats the moss, Crisp with the brittle hulls of last year's nuts; The water hums one bar there; and a glow Of gold lies steady where the trailers toss Red, bugled blossoms and a rock abuts; In spots the wild-phlox and oxalis grow Where beech-roots bulge the loam, protrude across The grass-grown road and roll it into ruts. And where the sumach brakes grow dusk and dense, Among the rocks, great yellow violets, 6i A COIGN OF THE FOREST Blue-bells and wind-flowers bloom; the agaric In dampness crowds; a fungus, thick, intense With gold and crimson and wax-white, that sets The May-apples along the terraced creek At bold defiance. Where the old rail-fence Divides the hollow, there the bee-bird whets His bill, and there the elder hedge is thick. No one can miss it; for two cat-birds nest, Calling all morning, in the trumpet-vine; And there at noon the pewee sits and floats A woodland welcome; and his very best At eve the red-bird sings, as if to sign The record of its loveliness with notes. At night the moon stoops over it to rest, And unreluctant stars. Where waters shine There runs a whisper as of wind-swept oats. 62 CREOLE SERENADE CREOLE SERENADE UNDER mossy oak and pine Whispering falls the fountained stream; In its pool the lilies shine Silvery, each a moonlight gleam. Roses bloom and roses die In the warm rose-scented dark, Where the firefly, like an eye, Winks and glows, a golden spark. Amber-belted through the night Swings the alabaster moon, Like a big magnolia white On the fragrant heart of June. 63 CREOLE SERENADE With a broken syrinx there, With bignonia overgrown, Is it Pan in hoof and hair, Or his image carved from stone See ! her casement's jessamines part, And, with starry blossoms blent, Like the moon she leans-O heart, 'Tis another firmament. SINGS The dim verbena drugs the dusk With lemon-heavy odours where The heliotropes breathe drowsy musk Into the jasmine-dreamy air; The moss-rose bursts its dewy husk And spills its attar there. 64 CREOLE SERENADE The orange at thy casement swings Star-censers oozing rich perfumes; The clematis, long-petalled, clings In clusters of dark purple blooms; With flowers, like moons or sylphide wings, Magnolias light the glooms. Awake, awake from sleep! Thy balmy hair, Down-fallen, deep on deep, Like blossoms there,- That dew and fragrance weep,- Will fill the night with prayer. Awake, awake from sleep! And dreaming here it seems to me A dryad's bosom grows confessed, Bright in the moss of yonder tree, That rustles with the murmurous West- E 6c CREOLE SERENADE Or is it but a bloom I see, Round as thy virgin breast Through fathomless deeps above are rolled A million feverish worlds, that burst, Like gems, from Heaven's caskets old Of darkness-fires that throb and thirst; An aloe, showering buds of gold, The night seems, star-immersed. Unseal, unseal thine eyes! O'er which her rod Sleep sways;-and like the skies, That dream and nod, Their starry majesties Will fill the night with God. Unseal, unseal thine eyes! 66 WILL O' THE WISPS WILL O' THE WISPS BEYOND the barley meads and hay, What was the light that beckoned there That made her sweet lips smile and say- 'Oh, busk me in a gown of May, And knot red poppies in my hair.' Over the meadow and the wood What was the voice that filled her ears That sent into pale cheeks the blood, Until each seemed a wild-brier bud Mown down by mowing harvesters . 67 WILL O' THE WISPS Beyond the orchard, down the hill, The water flows, the water whirls; And there they found her past all ill, A plaintive face but smiling still, The cresses caught among her curls. At twilight in the willow glen What sound is that the silence hears, When all the dusk is hushed again And homeward from the fields strong men And women go, the harvesters One seeks the place where she is laid, Where violets bloom from year to year- '0 sunny head! 0 bird-like maid! The orchard blossoms fall and fade And I am lonely, lonely here.' 68 WILL O' THE WISPS Two stars burn bright above the vale; They seem to him the eyes of Ruth: The low moon rises very pale As if she, too, had heard the tale, All heartbreak, of a maid and youth. 69 THE TOLLMAN'S DAUGHTER THE TOLLMAN'S DAUGHTER SHE stood waist-deep among the briers: Above in twisted lengths were rolled The sunset's tangled whorls of gold, Blown from the west's cloud-pillared fires. And in the hush no sound did mar, You almost heard o'er hill and dell, Deep, bubbling over, star on star, The night's blue cisterns slowly well. A crane, like some dark crescent, crossed The sunset, winging towards the west; While up the east her silver breast Of light the moon brought, white as frost. 70 THE TOLLMAN'S DAUGHTER So have I painted her, you see, The tollman's daughter.-What an arm And throat was hers! and what a form !- Art dreams of such divinity. What braids of night to hold and kiss! There is no pigment anywhere A man might use to picture this- The splendour of her raven hair. A face as beautiful and bright, As rosy fair as twilight skies, Lit with the stars of hazel eyes And eyebrowed black with pencilled night. For her, I know, where'er she trod Each dewdrop raised a looking-glass To flash her beauty from the grass; That wild-flowers bloomed along the sod, And whispered perfume when she smiled; The wood-bird hushed to hear her song, 7' THE TOLLMAN'S DAUGHTER Or, all enamoured, tame, not wild, Before her feet flew fluttering long. The brook went mad with melody, Eddied in laughter when she kissed With naked feet its amethyst- And I-I fell in love; ah me ! 72 THE BOY COLUMBUS THE BOY COLUMBUS AND he had mused on lands each bird,- That winged from realms of Falerina, O'er seas of the Enchanted Sword,- In romance sang him, till he heard Vague foam on Islands of Alcina. For rich Levant and old Castile Let other seamen freight their galleys; With Polo he and Mandeville Through stranger seas a dreamy keel Sailed into wonder-peopled valleys. 73 THE BOY COLUMBUS Far continents of flow'r and fruit, Of everlasting spring; where fountains 'Mid flow'rs, with human faces, shoot; Where races dwell, both man and brute, In cities under golden mountains. Where cataracts their thunders hurl From heights the tempest has at mercy; Vast peaks that touch the moon, and whirl Their torrents down of gold and pearl; And forests strange as those of Circe. Let rapiered Love lute, in the shade Of royal gardens, to the Palace And Court, that haunt the balustrade Of terraces and still parade Their vanity and guile and malice. 74 THE BOY COLUMBUS Him something calls diviner yet Than Love, more mighty than a lover; Heroic Truth that will not let Deed lag; a purpose, westward set, In eyes far-seeing to discover. 75 SONG OF THE ELF SONG OF THE ELF I WHEN the poppies, with their shields, Sentinel Forest and the harvest fields, In the bell Of a blossom, fair to see, There I stall the bumble-bee, My good stud; There I stable him and hold, Harness him with hairy gold; There I ease his burly back Of the honey and its sack Gathered from each bud. 76 SONG OF THE ELF 11 Where the glow-wonn lights its lamp, There I lie; Where, above the grasses damp, Moths go by; Now within the fussy brook, Where the waters wind and crook Round the rocks, I go sailing down the gloom Straddling on a wisp of broom; Or, beneath the owlet moon, Trip it to the cricket's tune Tossing back my locks. III Ere the crowfoot on the lawn Lifts its head, Or the glow-worm's light be gone, Dim and dead, 77 SONG OF THE ELF In a cobweb hammock deep, 'Twixt two ferns I swing and sleep, Hid away; Where the drowsy musk-rose blows And a dreamy runnel flows, In the land of Faery, Where no mortal thing can see, All the elfin day. 78 THE OLD INN THE OLD INN RED-WINDING from the sleepy town, One takes the lone, forgotten lane Straight through the hills. A brush-bird brown Bubbles in thorn-flowers, sweet with rain, Where breezes bend the gleaming grain, And cautious drip of higher leaves The lower dips that drip again.- Above the tangled trees it heaves Its gables and its haunted eaves. One creeper, gnarled and blossomless, O'erforests all its eastern wall; The sighing cedars rake and press Dark boughs along the panes they sprawl; While, where the sun beats, drone and drawl 79 THE OLD INN The mud-wasps; and one bushy bee, Gold-dusty, hurls along the hall To buzz into a crack.-To me The shadows seem too scared to flee. Of ragged chimneys martins make Huge pipes of music; twittering, here They build and roost.-My footfalls wake Strange stealing echoes, till I fear I'll see my pale self drawing near, My phantom face as in a glass; Or one, men murdered, buried-where - Dim in gray stealthy glimmer, pass With lips that seem to moan ' Alas.' 8o THE MILL-WATER THE MILL-WATER THE water-flag and wild cane grow 'Round banks whereon the sunbeams sow Fantastic gold when, on its shores, The wind sighs through the sycamores. In one green angle, just in reach, Between a willow-tree and beech, Moss-grown and leaky lies a boat The thick-grown lilies keep afloat. And through its waters, half awake, Slow swims the spotted water-snake; And near its edge, like some gray streak, Stands gaunt the still fly-up-the-creek. F 8i THE MILL-WATER Between the lily-pads and blooms The water-spirits set their looms, That weave the lace-like light that dims The glimmering leaves of under limbs. Each lily is the hiding-place Of some dim wood-imp's elvish face, That watches you with gold-green eyes Where bubbles of its breathing rise. I fancy, when the waxing moon Leans through the trees and dreams of June, And when the black bat slants its wing, And lonelier the green-frogs sing; I fancy, when the whippoorwill In some old tree sings wild and shrill, With glow-worm eyes that dot the dark,-- Each holding high a firefly spark 82 THE MILL-WATER To torch its way,-the wood-imps come: And some float rocking here; and some Unmoor the lily leaves and oar Around the old boat by the shore. They climb through oozy weeds and moss; They swarm its rotting sides and toss Their firefly torches o'er its edge Or hang them in the tangled sedge. The boat is loosed. The moon is pale. Around the dam they slowly sail. Upon the bow, to pilot it, A jack-o'-lantern gleam doth sit. Yes, I have seen it in my dreams !- Naught is forgotten! naught, it seems !- The strangled face, the tangled hair Of the drown'd woman trailing there. 83 THE DREAM THE DREAM THIS was my dream: It seemed the afternoon Of some deep tropic day; and yet the moon Stood round and bright with golden alchemy High in a heaven bluer than the sea. Long lawny lengths of perishable cloud Hung in a west o'er rolling forests bowed; Clouds raining colours, gold and violet, That, opening, seemed from mystic worlds to let Hints down of Parian beauty and lost charms Of dim immortals, young, with floating forms. And all about me fruited orchards grew, Pear, quince and peach, and plums of dusty blue; 84 THE DREAM Rose-apricots and apples streaked with fire, Kissed into ripeness by the sun's desire And big with juice. And on far, fading hills, Down which it seemed a hundred torrent rills Flashed rushing silver, vines and vines and vines Of purple vintage swollen with cool wines; Pale pleasant wines and fragrant as late June, Their delicate tang drawn from the wine-white moon. And from the clouds o'er this sweet world there dripped An odorous music, strangely feverish-lipped, That swung and swooned and panted in mad sighs; Investing at each throb the air with eyes, And forms of sensuous spirits, limpid white, Clad on with raiment as of starry night; Fair, faint embodiments of melody, From out whose hearts of crystal one could see THE DREAM The music stream like light through delicate hands Hollowing a lamp. And as on sounding sands The ocean murmur haunts the rosy shells, Within whose convolutions beauty dwells, My soul became a vibrant harp of love, Re-echoing all the harmony above. 86 SPRING TWILIGHT SPRING TWILIGHT THE sun set late; and left along the west A belt of furious ruby, o'er which snows Of clouds unrolled; each cloud a mighty breast Blooming with almond-rose. The sun set late; and wafts of wind beat down, And cuffed the blossoms from the blossoming quince; Scattered the pollen from the lily's crown, And made the clover wince. By dusky forests, through whose fretful boughs In flying fragments shot the evening's flame, Adown the tangled lane the quiet cows With dreamy tinklings came. 87 SPRING TWILIGHT The sun set late; but hardly had he gone When o'er the moon's gold-litten crescent there, Clean Phosphor, polished as a precious stone, Burned in fair deeps of air. As from faint stars the glory waned and waned, The crickets made the oldtime garden shrill; And past the luminous pasture-lands complained The first far whippoorwill. 88 A SLEET-STORM IN MAY A SLEET-STORM IN MAY ON southern winds shot through with amber light, Breathing soft balm and clothed in cloudy white, The lily-fingered Spring came o'er the hills, Waking the crocus and the daffodils. O'er the cold Earth she breathed a tender sigh- The maples sang and flung their banners high, Their crimson-tasselled pennons, and the elm Bound his dark brows with a green-crested helm. Beneath the musky rot of Autumn's leaves, Under the forest's myriad naked eaves, Life woke and rose in gold and green and blue, Robed in the starlight of the twinkling dew. 89 A SLEET-STORM IN MAY With timid tread adown the barren wood Spring held her way, when, lo! before her stood White-mantled Winter wagging his white head, Stormy his brow and stormily he said: ' The God of Terror, and the King of Storm, Must I remind thee how my iron arm Raised my red standards 'mid these conquered bowers, Turning their green to crimson -Thou, with flowers, Thou wouldst supplant me! nay! usurp my throne !- Audacious one !'-And at her breast he tossed A bitter javelin of ice and frost; And left her lying on th' unfeeling mould. The fragile blossoms, gathered in the fold Of her warm bosom, fell in desolate rows About her beauty, and, like fragrant snows, 90 A SLEET-STORM IN MAY Covered her lovely hands and beautiful feet, Or on her lips lay like last kisses sweet That died there. Lilacs, musky of the May, And bluer violets and snowdrops lay Entombed in crystal, icy dim and fair, Like teardrops scattered in her heavenly hair. Alas! sad heart, break not beneath the pain! Time changeth all; the Beautiful wakes again.- We should not question such; a higher power Knows best what bud is ripest or what flower, And silently plucks it at the fittest hour. 9I UNREQUITED UNREQUITED PASSION not hers, within whose virgin eyes All Eden lay.-And I remember how I drank the Heaven of her gaze with sighs- She never sighed, nor gave me kiss or vow. So have I seen a clear October pool, Cold, liquid topaz, set within the sear Gold of the woodland, tremorless and cool, Reflecting all the heartbreak of the year. Sweetheart not she whose voice was music sweet; Whose face was sweeter than melodious prayer. Sweetheart I called her.-When did she repeat Sweet to one hope or heart to one despair ; 92 UNREQUITED So have I seen a rose set round with thorn, Sung to and sung to by a bird of spring, And when, breast-pierced, the bird lay all forlorn, The rose bloomed on, fair and unnoticing. 93 THE HEART O' SPRING THE HEART O' SPRING WHITEN, oh whiten, 0 clouds of lawn! Lily-like clouds that whiten above, Now like a dove, and now like a swan, But never, oh never-pass on! pass on! Never so white as the throat of my love. Blue-black night on the mountain peaks Is not so black as the locks o' my love! Stars that shine through the evening streaks Over the torrent that flashes and breaks, Are not so bright as the eyes o' my love! 94 THE HEART O' SPRING Moon in a cloud, a cloud of snow, Mist in the vale where the rivulet sounds, Dropping from ledge to ledge below, Turning to gold in the sunset's glow, Are not so soft as her footstep sounds. Sound o' May winds in the blossoming trees, Is not so sweet as her laugh that rings; Song o' wild birds on the morning breeze, Birds and brooks and murmur o bees, Are harsh to her voice when she laughs or sings. The rose of my heart is she, my dawn! My star o' the east, my moon above! My soul takes ship for the Avalon Of her heart of hearts, and shall sail on Till it anchors safe in its haven of love. 95 A BROKEN RAINBOW 'A BROKEN RAINBOW ON THE SKIES OF MAY' A BROKEN rainbow on the skies of May, Touching the dripping roses and low clouds, And in wet clouds its scattered glories lost:- So in the sorrow of her soul the ghost Of one great love, of iridescent ray, Spanning the roses dim of memory, Against the tumult of life's rushing crowds- A broken rainbow on the skies of May. A flashing humming-bird among the flowers, Deep-coloured blooms; its slender tongue and bill Sucking the syrups and the calyxed myrrhs, Till, being full of sweets, away it whirrs:- 96 A BROKEN RAINBOW Such was his love that won her heart's rich bowers To give to him their all, their honied showers, The bloom from which he drank his body's fill- A flashing humming-bird among the flowers. A moon, moth-white, that through long mists of fleece Moves amber-girt into a bulk of black, And, lost to vision, rims the black with froth:- A love that swept its moon, like some great moth, Across the heaven of her soul's young peace; And, smoothly passing, in the clouds did cease Of time, through which its burning light comes back- A moon, moth-white, that moves through mists of fleece. G 97 A BROKEN RAINBOW A bolt of living thunder downward hurled, Momental blazing from the piled-up storm, That instants out the mountains and the ocean, The towering crag, then blots the sight's com- motion.- Love, love that swiftly coming bared the world, The deeps of life, 'round which fate's clouds are curled, And, ceasing, left all night and black alarm-- A bolt of living thunder downward hurled. 98 ORGIE ORGIE ON nights like this, when bayou and lagoon Dream in the moonlight's mystic radiance, I seem to walk like one deep in a trance With old-world myths born of the mist and moon. Lascivious eyes and mouths of sensual rose Smile into mine; and breasts of luring light, And tresses streaming golden to the night, Persuade me onward where the forest glows. And then it seems along the haunted hills There falls a flutter as of beautiful feet, As if tempestuous troops of Maxnads meet To drain deep bowls and shout and have their wills. 99 ORGIE And then I feel her limbs will be revealed Like some great snow-white moth among the trees; Her vampire beauty, waiting there to seize And dance me downward where my doom is sealed. 109 REVERIE REVERIE WHAT ogive gates from gold of Ophir wrought, What walls of Parian, whiter than a rose, What towers of crystal, for the eyes of thought, Hast builded on far Islands of Repose Thy cloudy columns, vast, Corinthian, Or huge, Ionic, colonnade the heights Of dreamland, looming o'er the soul's deep seas; Built melodies of marble, that no man Has ever reached, except in fancy's flights, Templing the presence of perpetual ease. Oft, where o'er plastic frieze and plinths of spar,- In glimmering solitudes of pillared stone,- I0I REVERIE The twilight blossoms with one violet star, With thee, 0 Reverie, I have stood alone, And there beheld, from out the Mythic Age, The rosy breasts of Cytherea-fair, Full-cestused, and suggestive of what loves Immortal-rise; and heard the lyric rage Of sun-burnt Poesy, whose throat breathes bare O'er leopard skins, fluting among his groves. Oft, where thy castled peaks and templed vales Cloud-like convulsive sunsets-shores that dream, Myrrh-fragrant, over siren seas whose sails Gleam white as lilies on a lilied stream, I02 REVERIE My soul has dreamed. Or by thy sapphire sea, In thy arcaded gardens, in the shade Of breathing sculpture, oft has walked with thought, And bent, in shadowy attitude, its knee Before the shrine of Beauty that must fade And leave no memory of the mind that wrought. Who hath beheld thy caverns where, in heaps, The wines of Lethe and Love's witchery, In sealed Amphora a sibyl keeps, World-old, for ever guarded secretly - No wine of Xeres or of Syracuse! No fine Falernian and no vile Sabine !- The stolen fire of a demigod, Whose bubbled purple goddess feet did bruise In crusted vats of vintage, where the green Flames with wild poppies, on the Samian sod. 103 REVERIE Oh, for the deep enchantment of one draught! The reckless ecstasy of classic earth !- With godlike eyes to laugh as gods have laughed In eyes of mortal brown, a mighty mirth. Of deity delirious with desire! To breathe the dropping roses of the shrines, The splashing wine-libation and the blood, And all the young priest's dreaming! To inspire My eager soul with beauty, 'til it shines An utt'rance of life's loftier brotherhood! So would I slumber in the old-world shades, And Poesy should touch me, as some bold Wild bee a pulpy lily of the glades, Barbaric-covered with the kernelled gold; 104 REVERIE And feel the glory of the Golden Age Less godly than my purpose, strong to dare Death with the pure immortal lips of love: Less lovely than my soul's ideal rage To mate itself with Music and declare Itself part meaning of the stars above. 105 LETHE LETHE I THERE is a scent of roses and spilt wine Between the moonlight and the laurel coppice; The marble idol glimmers on its shrine, White as a star, among a heaven of poppies. Here all my life lies like a spilth of wine. There is a mouth of music like a lute, A nightingale that singeth to one flower; Between the falling flower and the fruit, Where love hath died, the music of an hour. if To sit alone with memory and a rose; To dwell with shadows of whilom romances; To make one hour of a year of woes And walk on starlight, in ethereal trances, xo6 LETHE With love's lost face fair as a moon-white rose. To shape from music and the scent of buds Love's spirit and its presence of sweet fire, Between the heart's wild burning and the blood's, Is part of life and of the soul's desire. III There is a song to silence and the stars, Between the forest and the temple's arches; And down the stream of night, like nenuphars, The tossing fires of the revellers' torches.- Here all my life waits lonely as the stars.- Shall not one hour of all those hours suffice For resignation God hath given as dower Between the summons and the sacrifice One hour of love, th' eternity of an hour I07 LETHE IV The shrine is shattered and the bird is gone; Dark is the house of music and of bridal; The stars are stricken and the storm comes on; Lost in a wreck of roses lies the idol, Sad as the memory of a joy that's gone.- To dream of perished gladness and a kiss, Waking the last chord of love's broken lyre, Between remembering and forgetting, this Is part of life and of the soul's desire. io8 DIONY SIA DIONYSIA THE day is dead; and in the west The slender crescent of the moon- Diana's crystal-kindled crest- Sinks hillward in a silvery swoon. What is the murmur in the dell The stealthy whisper and the drip A Dryad with her leaf-light trip A Naiad o'er her fountain well - Who with white fingers for her comb, Sleeks her blue hair, and from its curls Showers slim minnows and pale pearls, And hollow music of the foam. What is it in the vistaed ways lo9 DIONYSIA That leans and springs, and stoops and sways- The naked limbs of one who flees An Oread who hesitates Before the Satyr form that waits, Crouching to leap, that there she sees Or under boughs, reclining cool, A Hamadryad, like a pool Of moonlight, palely beautiful Or Limnad, with her lilied face, More lovely than the misty lace That haunts a star and gives it grace Or is it some Leimoniad In wildwood flowers dimly clad Oblong blossoms white as froth, Or mottled like the tiger-moth; Or brindled as the brows of death, Wild of hue and wild of breath: Here ethereal flame and milk Blent with velvet and with silk; I110 DIONYSIA Here an iridescent glow Mixed with satin and with snow: Pansy, poppy and the pale Serpolet and galingale; Mandrake and anemone, Honey-reservoirs o' the bee; Cistus and the cyclamen,- Cheeked like blushing Hebe this, And the other white as is Bubbled milk of Venus when Cupid's baby mouth is pressed, Rosy to her rosy breast. And, besides, all flowers that mate With aroma, and in hue Stars and rainbows duplicate Here on earth for me and you. Yea! at last mine eyes can see! 'Tis no shadow of the tree III DIONYSIA Swaying softly there, but she !- Meenad, Bassarid, Bacchant, What you will, who doth enchant Night with sensuous nudity. Lo! again I hear her pant Breasting through the dewy glooms- Through the glow-worm gleams and glowers Of the starlight;-wood-perfumes Swoon around her and frail showers Of the leaflet-tilted rain. Lo! like love, she comes again Through the pale voluptuous dusk, Sweet of limb with breasts of musk. With her lips, like blossoms, breathing Honeyed pungence of her kiss, And her auburn tresses wreathing Like umbrageous helichrys, There she stands, like fire and snow, In the moon's ambrosial glow, I 1 2 DIONYSIA Both her shapely loins low-looped With the balmy blossoms, drooped, Of the deep amaracus. Spiritual, yet sensual, Lo, she ever greets me thus In my vision; white and tall, Her delicious body there,- Raimented with amorous air,- To my mind expresses all The allurements of the world. And once more I seem to feel On my soul, like frenzy, hurled All the passionate past.-I reel, Greek again in ancient Greece, In the Pyrrhic revelries; In the mad and Maenad dance; Onward dragged with violence; Pan and old Silenus and Faunus and a Bacchant band H I1I3 DIONYSIA Round me. Wild my wine-stained hand O'er tumultuous hair is lifted; While the flushed and Phallic orgies Whirl around me; and the marges Of the wood are torn and rifted With lascivious laugh and shout. And barbarian there again,- Shameless with the shameless rout, Bacchus lusting in each vein,- With her pagan lips on mine, Like a god made drunk with wine, On I reel; and in the revels Her loose hair, the dance dishevels, Blows, and 'thwart my vision swims All the splendour of her limbs . . . So it seems. Yet woods are lonely. And when I again awake, I shall find their faces only I 14 DIONYSIA Moonbeams in the boughs that shake; And their revels, but the rush Of night-winds through bough and brush. Yet my dreaming-is it more Than mere dreaming Is a door Opened in my soul a curtain Raised to let me see for certain I have lived that life before I 15 THE NAIAD THE NAIAD SHE sits among the iris stalks Of babbling brooks; and leans for hours Among the river's lily flowers, Or on their whiteness walks: Above dark forest pools, gray rocks Wall in, she leans with dripping locks, And listening to the echo, talks With her own face-lothera. There is no forest of the hills, No valley of the solitude, Nor fern nor moss, that may elude Her searching step that stills: x I6 THE NAIAD She dreams among the wild-rose brakes Of fountains that the ripple shakes, And, dreaming of herself, she fills The silence with I lothera.' And every wind that haunts the ways Of leaf and bough, once having kissed Her virgin nudity, goes whist With wonder and amaze. There blows no breeze which hath not learned Her name's sweet melody, and yearned To kiss her mouth that laughs and says, I lothera, lothera.' No wild thing of the wood, no bird, Or brown or blue, or gold or gray, Beneath the sun's or moonlight's ray, That hath not loved and heard; I 17 THE NAIAD They are her pupils; she can say No new thing but, within a day, They have its music, word for word, Harmonious as lothera. No man who lives and is not wise With love for common flowers and trees, Bee, bird, and beast, and brook, and breeze, And rocks and hills and skies,- Search where he will,-shall ever see One flutter of her drapery, One glimpse of limbs, or hair, or eyes Of beautiful lothera. 1z8 THE LIMNAD THE LIMNAD I THE lake she haunts gleams dreamily 'Twixt sleepy boughs of melody, Set'mid the hills beside the sea, In tangled bush and brier; Where the ghostly sunsets write Wondrous things in golden light; And above the pine-crowned height, Clouds of twilight, rosy white, Build their towers of fire. II 'Mid the rushes there that swing, Flowering flags where voices sing "I9 THE LIMNAD When low winds are murmuring, Murmuring to stars that glitter; Blossom-white, with purple locks, Underneath the stars' still flocks, In the dusky waves she rocks, Rocks, and all the landscape mocks With a song most sweet and bitter. III Soft it sounds, at first, as dreams Filled with tears that fall in streams; Then it soars, until it seems Beauty's very self hath spoken; And the woods grow silent quite, Stars wax faint and flowers turn white; And the nightingales that light Near, or hear her through the night, Die, their hearts with longing broken. 120 THE LIMNAD IV Dark, dim and sad o'er mournful lands, White-throated stars heaped in her hands, Like wildwood buds, the Twilight stands, The Twilight dreaming lingers; Listening where the Limnad sings Witcheries, whose beauty brings A great moon from hidden springs, Pale with amorous quiverings Feet of fire and silvery fingers. V In the vales Auloniads, On the mountains Oreads, On the leas Leimoniads, Naked as the stars that glisten, Pan, the Satyrs, Dryades, Fountain-lovely Naiades, 121 THE LIMNAD Foam-lipped Oceanides, Breathless 'mid their seas and trees, Stay and stop and lean and listen. VI Large-eyed, Siren-like she stands, In the lake or on its sands, And with rapture from the hands Of the Night some stars are shaken; To her song the rushes swing, Lilies nod and ripples ring, Lost in helpless listening- These will wake that hear her sing, But one mortal will not waken. 122 INTIMATIONS INTIMATIONS Is it uneasy moonlight On the restless field, that stirs Or wild white meadow-blossoms The night-wind bends and blurs Is it the dolorous water, That sobs in the woods and sighs Or heart of an ancient oak-tree, That breaks and, sighing, dies The wind is vague with the shadows That wander in No-Man's Land; The water is dark with the voices That weep on the Unknown strand. 123 INTIMATIONS o ghosts of the winds that call me! o ghosts of the whispering waves! As sad as forgotten flowers That die upon nameless graves! What is this thing you tell me In tongues of a twilight race, Of death, with the vanished features, Mantled, of my own face 11 The old enigmas of the deathless dawns And riddles of the all immortal eves,- That still o'er Delphic lawns Speak as the gods spoke through oracular leaves- I read with new-born eyes, Remembering how, a slave; They buried me, a living sacrifice, Once in a dead king's grave. 124 INTIMATIONS Or crowned with hyacinth and heli- chrys, How, towards the altar in the marble gloom,- Hearing the magadis Dirge through the pale amaracine per- fume,- 'Mid chanting priests I trod, With never a sigh or pause, To give my life to pacify a god, And save my country's cause. Again: Cyrenian roses on wild hair, And oil and purple smeared on breasts and cheeks, How, with mad torches there,- Reddening the cedars of Cithaeron's peaks,- I25 INTI MATI ONS With gesture and fierce glance, Lascivious Mwnad bands Once drew and slew me in the Pyrrhic dance, With Bacchanalian hands. III In eons of the senses, My spirit knew of yore, I found the Isle of Circe And felt her magic lore; And still the soul remembers What I was once before. She gave me flowers to smell of That wizard branches bore, Of weird and sorcerous beauty, Whose stems dripped human gore- 126 INTIMATIONS Their scent when I remember I know that world once more. She gave me fruits to eat of That grew upon the shore, Of necromantic ripeness, With human flesh at core- Their taste when I remember I know that life once more. And then, behold! a serpent, That glides my face before, With eyes of tears and fire That glare me o'er and o'er- I look into its eyeballs, And know myself once more. 127 BEFORE THE TEMPLE BEFORE THE TEMPLE I ALL desolate she sate her down Upon the marble of the temple's stair. You would have thought her, with her eyes of brown, Flushed cheeks and hazel hair, A dryad dreaming there. 11 A priest of Bacchus passed, nor stopped To chide her; deeming her-whose chiton hid But half her bosom, and whose girdle dropped- Some grief-drowned Bassarid, The god of wine had chid. 128 BEFORE THE TEMPLE With wreaths of woodland cyclamen For Dian's shrine, a shepherdess drew near, All her young thoughts on vestal beauty, when- She dare not look for fear- Behold the goddess here! IV Fierce lights on shields of bossy brass And helms of gold, next from the hills deploy Tall youths of Argos. And she sees hiim pass, Flushed with heroic joy, On towards the siege of Troy. I29 ANTHEM OF DAWN ANTHEM OF DAWN THEN UP the orient heights to the zenith that balanced the crescent,- Up and far up and over,-the heaven grew erubescent, Vibrant with rose and with ruby from hands of the harpist Dawn, Smiting symphonic fire on the firmament's barbition; And the East was a priest who adored with offer- ings of gold and of gems, And a wonderful carpet unrolled for the inacces- sible hems 130 ANTHEM OF DAWN Of the glittering robes of her limbs; that, lily and amethyst, Swept glorying on and on through temples of cloud and mist. II Then out of the splendour and richness, that burned like a magic stone, The torrent suffusion that deepened and dazzled and broadened and shone, The pomp and the pageant of colour, triumphal procession of glare, The sun, like a king in armour, breathing splendour from feet to hair, Stood forth with majesty girdled, as a hero who towers afar Where the bannered gates are bristling hells and the walls are roaring war: 13' ANTHEM OF DAWN And broad on the back of the world, like a Cherubin's fiery blade, The effulgent gaze of his aspect fell in glittering accolade. Then billowing blue, like an ocean, rolled from the shores of dawn to even: And the stars, like rafts, went down: and the moon, like a ghost-ship driven, A feather of foam, from port to port of the cloud- built isles that dotted, With pearl and cameo, bays of the day, her canvas webbed and rooted, Lay lost in the gulf of heaven: while over her mixed and melted The beautiful children of Morn, whose bodies are opal-belted; 132 ANTHEM OF DAWN The beautiful daughters of Dawn, who, over and under and after The rivered radiance wrestled; and rainbowed heaven with laughter Of halcyon sapphire.-O Dawn! thou visible mirth, Thou hallelujah of heaven! hosanna of Earth! '33 AT THE LANE'S END AT THE LANE'S END I No more to strip the roses from The rose-boughs of her porch's place !- I dreamed last night that I ywas home Beside a rose-her face. I must have smiled in sleep-who knows - The rose aroma filled the lane; I saw her white hand's lifted rose That called me home again. And yet when I awoke-so wan, An old face wet with icy tears !-- Somehow, it seems, sleep had misdrawn A love gone thirty years. 134 AT THE LANE'S END 11 The clouds roll up and the clouds roll down Over the roofs of the little town; Out in the hills where the pike winds by Fields of clover and bottoms of rye, You will hear no sound but the barking cough Of the striped chipmunk where the lane leads off; You will hear no bird but the sapsuckers Far off in the forest,-that seems to purr, As the warm wind fondles its top, grown hot, Like the docile back of an ocelot: You will see no thing but the shine and shade Of briers that climb and of weeds that wade The glittering creeks of the light, that fills The dusty road and the red-keel hills- And all day long in the pennyroy'l The grasshoppers at their anvils toil; '35 AT THE LANE'S END Thick click of their tireless hammers thrum, And the wheezy belts of their bellows hum; Tinkers who solder the silence and heat To make the loneliness more complete. Around old rails where the blackberries Are reddening ripe, and the bumble-bees Are a drowsy rustle of Summer's skirts, And the bob-white's wing is the fan she flirts. Under the hill, through the iron weeds, And ox-eyed daisies and milkweeds, leads The path forgotten of all but one. Where elder bushes are sick with sun, And wild raspberries branch big blue veins O'er the face of the rock, where the old spring rains Its sparkling splinters of molten spar On the gravel bed where the tadpoles are,- You will find the pales of the fallen fence, And the tangled orchard and vineyard, dense 136 AT THE LANE'S END With the weedy neglect of thirty years. The garden there,- where the soft sky clears Like an old sweet face that has dried its tears;- The garden plot where the cabbage grew And the pompous pumpkin; and beans that blew Balloons of white by the melon patch; Maize; and tomatoes that seemed to catch Oblong amber and agate balls Thrown from the sun in the frosty falls: Long rows of currants and gooseberries, And the balsam-gourd with its honey-bees. And here was a nook for the princess-plumes, The snap-dragons and the poppy-blooms, Mother's sweet-williams and pansy flowers, And the morning-glories' bewildered bowers, Tipping their cornucopias up For the humming-birds that came to sup. 137 AT THE LANE'S END And over it all was the Sabbath peace Of the land whose lap was the love of these; And the old log-house where my innocence died, With my boyhood buried side by side. Shall a man with a face as withered and gray As the wasp-nest stowed in a loft away,-- Where the hornets haunt and the mortar drops From the loosened logs of the clap-board tops ;- Whom vice has aged as the rotting rooms The rain where memories haunt the glooms; A hitch in his joints like the rheum that gnars In the rasping hinge of the door that jars; A harsh, cracked throat like the old stone flue Where the swallows build the summer through; Shall a man, I say, with the spider sins That the long years spin in the outs and ins 138 AT THE LANE'S END Of his soul, returning to see once more His boyhood's home, where his life was poor With toil and tears and their fretfulness, But rich with health and the hopes that bless The unsoiled wealth of a vigorous youth; Shall he not take comfort and know the truth In its threadbare raiment of falsehood -Yea! In his crumbled past he shall kneel and pray, Like a pilgrim come to the shrine again Of the homely saints that shall soothe his pain, And arise and depart made clean from stain! III Years of care can not erase Visions of the hills and trees Closing in the dam and race; Not the mile-long memories Of the mill-stream's lovely place. 139 AT THE LANE'S END How the sunsets used to stain Mirror of the water lying Under eaves made dark with rain! Where the red-bird, westward flying, Lit to try one song again. Dingles, hills, and woods, and springs, Where we came in calm and storm, Swinging in the grape-vine swings, Wading where the rocks were warm, With our fishing-nets and strings. Here the road plunged down the hill, Under ash and chinquapin,- Where the grasshoppers would drill Ears of silence with their din,- To the willow-girdled mill. X40 AT THE LANE'S END There the path beyond the ford Takes the woodside, just below Shallows that the lilies sword, Where the scarlet blossoms blow Of the trumpet-vine and gourd. Summer winds, that sink with heat, On the pelted waters winnow Moony petals that repeat Crescents, where the startled minnow Beats a glittering retreat. Summer winds that bear the scent Of the iron-weed and mint, Weary with sweet freight and spent, On the deeper pools imprint Stumbling steps in many a dent. '4' AT THE LANE'S END Summer winds, that split the husk Of the peach and nectarine, Trail along the amber dusk Hazy skirts of gray and green, Spilling balms of dew and musk. Where with balls of bursting juice Summer sees the red wild-plum Strew the gravel; ripened loose, Autumn hears the pawpaw drum Plumpness on the rocks that bruise: There we found the water-beech, One forgotten August noon, With a hornet-nest in reach,- Like a fairyland balloon, Full of bustling fairy speech.- 142 AT THE LANE'S END Some invasion sure it was; For we heard the captains scold; Waspish cavalry a-buzz,- Troopers uniformed in gold, Sable-slashed,-to charge on us. Could I find the sedgy angle, Where the dragon-flies 'would turn Slender fittings into spangle On the sunlight or would burn- Where the berries made a tangle- Sparkling green and brassy blue; Rendezvousing, by the stream, Bands of elf-banditti, who, Brigands of the bloom and beam, Drunken were with honey-dew. 143 AT THE LANE'S END Could I find the pond that lay Where vermilion blossoms showered Fragrance down the daisied way That the sassafras embowered With the spice of early May Could I find it-did I seek- The old mill Its weather-beaten Wheel and gable by the creek With its warping roof; worm-eaten, Dusty rafters worn and weak. Where old shadows haunt old places, Loft and hopper, stair and bin; Ghostly with the dust that laces Webs that usher phantoms in, Wistful with remembered faces. '44 AT THE LANE'S END While the frogs' grave litanies Drowse in far-off antiphone, Supplicating, till the eyes Of dead friendships, long alone In the dusky corners,-rise. Moonrays or the splintered slip Of a star within the darkling Twilight, where the fire-flies dip- As if Night a myriad sparkling Jewels from her hands let slip: While again some farm-boy crosses,- With a corn-sack for the meal,- O'er the creek, through ferns and mosses Sprinkled by the old mill-wheel, Where the water drips and tosses. K 145 THE FARMSTEAD THE FARMSTEAD Yes, I love the homestead. There In the spring the lilacs blew Plenteous perfume everywhere; There in summer gladioles grew Parallels of scarlet glare. And the moon-hued primrose cool, Satin-soft and redolent; Honeysuckles beautiful, Filling all the air with scent; Roses red or white as wool. x46 THE FARMSTEAD Roses, glorious and lush, Rich in tender-tinted dyes, Like the gay tempestuous rush Of unnumbered butterflies, Clustering o'er each bending bush. Here japonica and box, And the wayward violets; Clumps of star-enamelled phlox, And the myriad flowery jets Of the twilight four-o'-clocks. Ah, the beauty of the place! When the June made one great rose, Full of musk and mellow grace, In the garden's humming close, Of her comely mother face! 147 THE FARMSTEAD Bubble-like, the hollyhocks Budded, burst, and flaunted wide Gypsy beauty from their stocks; Morning glories, bubble-dyed, Swung in honey-hearted flocks. Tawny tiger-lilies flung Doublets slashed with crimson on; Graceful slave-girls, fair and young, Like Circassians, in the sun Alabaster lilies swung. Ah, the droning of the bee; In his dusty pantaloons Tumbling in the fleurs-de-lis; In the drowsy afternoons Dreaming in the pink sweet-pea. 148 THE FARMSTEAD Ah, the moaning wildwood-dove! With its throat of amethyst Rippled like a shining cove Which a wind to pearl bath kissed, Moaning, moaning of its love. And the insects' gossip thin- From the summer hotness hid- In lone, leafy deeps of green; Then at eve the katydid With its hard, unvaried din. Often from the whispering hills, Borne from out the golden dusk,- Gold with gold of daffodils,- Thrilled into the garden's musk The wild wail of whippoorwills. 149 THE FARMSTEAD From the purpleltangled trees, Like the white, full heart of night, Solemn with majestic peace, Swam the big moon, veined with light; Like some gorgeous golden-fleece. She was there with me.-And who, In the magic of the hour, Had not sworn that they could view, Beading on each blade and flower Moony blisters of the dew And each fairy of our home,- Firefly,-its taper lit In the honey-scented gloam, Dashing down the dusk with it Like an instant-flaming foam. 150 THE FARMSTEAD And we heard the calling, calling, Of the screech-owl in the brake; Where the trumpet-vine hung, crawling Down the ledge, into the lake Heard the sighing streamlet falling. Then we wandered to the creek Where the water-lilies, growing Thick as stars, lay white and weak; Or against the brooklet's flowing Bent and bathed a bashful cheek. And the moonlight, rippling golden, Fell in virgin aureoles On their bosoms, half unfolden, Where, it seemed, the fairies' souls Dwelt as perfume,-unbeholden;- '5' THE FARMSTEAD Or lay sleeping, pearly-tented, Baby-cribbed within each bud, While the night-wind, piney-scented, Swooning over field and flood, Rocked them on the waters dented. Then the low, melodious bell Of a sleeping heifer tinkled, In some berry-briered dell, As her satin dewlap wrinkled With the cud that made it swell. And, returning home, we heard, In a beech-tree at the gate, Some brown, dream-behaunted bird, Singing of its absent mate, Of the mate that never heard. 152 THE FARMSTEAD And, you see, now I am gray, Why within the old, old place, With such memories, I stay; Fancy out her absent face Long since passed away. She was mine-yes! still is mine: And my frosty memory Reels about her, as with wine Warmed into young eyes that see All of her that was divine. Yes, I loved her, and have growvn Melancholy in that love, Aiid the memory alone Of perfection such whereof She could sanctify each stone. I53 THE FARMSTEAD And where'er the poppies swing-- There we walk,-as if a bee Bent them with its airy wing,- Down her garden shadowy In the hush the evenings bring. ' 54 A FLOWER OF THE FIELDS A FLOWER OF THE FIELDS BEE-BITTEN in the orchard hung The peach; or, fallen in the weeds, Lay rotting, where still sucked and sung The gray bee, boring to its seed's Pink pulp and honey blackly stung. The orchard-path, which led around The garden,-with its heat one twinge Of dinning locusts,-picket-bound And ragged, brought me where one hinge Held up the gate that scraped the ground. ' 55 A FLOWER OF THE FIELDS All seemed the same: the inartin-box- Sun-warped with pigmy balconies- Still stood, with all its twittering flocks, Perched on its pole above the peas And silvery-seeded onion-stocks. The clove-pink and the rose; the clump Of coppery sunflowers, with the heat Sick to the heart: the garden stump, Red with geranium-pots, and sweet With moss and ferns, this side the pump. I rested, with one hesitant hand Upon the gate. The lonesome day, Droning with insects, made the land One dry stagnation. Soaked with hay And scents of weeds the hot wind fanned. I56 A FLOWER OF THE FIELDS I breathed the sultry scents, my eyes Parched as my lips. And yet I felt My limbs were ice.-As one who flies To some wild woe.-How sleepy smelt The hay-sweet heat that soaked the skies! Noon nodded; dreamier, lonesomer For one long, plaintive, forest-side Bird-quaver.-And I knew me near Some heartbreak anguish. . . . She had died. I felt it, and no need to hear! I passed the quince and pear-tree; where, All up the porch, a grape-vine trails- How strange that fruit, whatever air Or earth it grows in, never fails To find its native flavour there! 157 A FLOWER OF THE FIELD)S And she was as a flower, too, That grows its proper bloom and scent No matter what the soil: she, who, Born better than her place, still lent Grace to the lowliness she knew. . .. They met me at the porch, and were Sad-eyed with weeping.-Then the room Shut out the country's heat and purr, And left light stricken into gloom- So love and I might look on her. I58 THE FEUD THE FEUD ROCKS, trees and rocks; and down a mossy stone The murmuring ooze and trickle of a stream Through bushes, where the mountain spring lies lone,- A gleaming cairngorm where the shadows dream,- And one wild road winds like a saffron seam. Here sang the thrush, whose pure, mellifluous note Dropped golden sweetness on the fragrant June; Here cat-and blue-bird and wood-sparrow wrote Their presence on the silence with a tune; And here the fox drank 'neath the mountain moon. '59 THE FEUD Frail ferns and dewy mosses and (lark brush,- Impenetrable briers, deep and dense, And wiry bushes,-brush, that seemed to crush The struggling saplings with its tangle, whence Sprawled out the ramble of an old rail-fence. A wasp buzzed by; and then a butterfly In orange and amber, like a floating flame; And then a man, hard-eyed and very sly, Gaunt-cheeked and haggard and a little lame, With an old rifle, down the mountain came. He listened, drinking from a flask he took Out of the ragged pocket of his coat; Then all around him cast a stealthy look; Lay down; and watched an eagle soar and float, His fingers twitching at his hairy throat. x6o THE FEUD The shades grew longer; and each Cumberland height Loomed, framed in splendours of the dolphin dusk. Around the road a horseman rode in sight; Young, tall, blonde-bearded. Silent, grim, and brusque, He in the thicket aimed-The gun ran husk; And echoes barked among the hills and made Repeated instants of the shot's distress.- Then silence-and the trampled bushes swayed;- Then silence, packed with murder and the press Of distant hoofs that galloped riderless. i6I L LYNCHERS LYNCHERS AT the moon's down-going, let it be On the quarry hill with its one gnarled tree.... The red-rock road of the underbush, Where the woman came through the summer bush. The sumach high and the elder thick, Where we found the stone and the ragged stick The trampled road of the thicket, full Of footprints down to the quarry pool. The rocks that ooze with the hue of lead, Where we found her lying stark and dead. i62 LYNCHERS The scraggy wood; the negro hut, With its doors and windows locked and shut. A secret signal; a foot's rough tramp; A knock at the door; a lifted lamp. An oath; a scuffle; a ring of masks; A voice that answers a voice that asks. A group of shadows; the moon's red fleck; A running noose and a man's bared neck. A word, a curse, and a shape that swings; The lonely night and a bat's black wings.... At the moon's down-going, let it be On the quarry hill with its one gnarled tree. 163 DEAD MAN'S RUN DEAD MAN'S RUN HE rode adown the autumn wood, A man dark-eyed and brown; A mountain girl before him stood Clad in a homespun gown. 'To ride this road is death for you! My father waits you there; My father and my brother, too,- You know the oath they swear.' He holds her by one berry-brown wrist, And by one berry-brown hand; And he hath laughed at her and kissed Her cheek the sun hath tanned. 164 DEAD MAN'S RUN 'The feud is to the death, sweetheart; But forward will I ride.'- 'And if you ride to death, sweetheart, My place is at your side.' Low hath he laughed again and kissed And helped her with his hand; And they have ridd'n into the mist That belts the autumn land. And they had passed by Devil's Den, And come to Dead Man's Run, When in the brush rose up two men, Each with a levelled gun. 'Down! down! my sister!' cries the one;- She gives the reins a twirl.- The other shouts, ' He shot my son! And now he steals my girl !' i65 DEAD MAN'S RUN The rifles crack: she will not wail: He will not cease to ride: But, oh! her face is pale, is pale, And the red blood stains her side. 'Sit fast, sit fast by me, sweetheart! The road is rough to ride !'- The road is rough by gulch and bluff, And her hair blows wild and wide. Sit fast, sit fast by me, sweetheart! The bank is steep to ride !'- The bank is steep for a strong man's leap, And her eyes are staring wide. 'Sit fast, sit fast by me, sweetheart! The Run is swift to ride ! '- The Run is swift with mountain drift, And she sways from side to side. i66 DEAD MAN'S RUN Is it a wash of the yellow moss, Or drift of the autumn's gold, The mountain torrent foams across For the dead pine's roots to hold Is it the bark of the sycamore, Or peel of the white birch-tree, The mountaineer on the other shore Hath followed and still can see No mountain moss or leaves, dear heart! No bark of birchen gray !- Young hair of gold and a face death-cold The wild stream sweeps away. 067 AUGUST AUGUST CLAD on with glowing beauty and the peace, Benign, of calm maturity, she stands Among her meadows and her orchard-lands, And on her mellowing gardens and her trees, Out of the ripe abundance of her hands Bestows increase And fruitfulness, as, wrapped in sunny ease, Blue-eyed and blonde she goes Upon her bosom Summer's richest rose. II And he who follows where her footsteps lead, By hill and rock, by forest-side and stream, Shall glimpse the glory of her visible dream, I68 AUGUST In flower and fruit, in rounded nut and seed: She, in whose path the very shadows gleam; Whose humblest weed Seems lovelier than June's loveliest flower, indeed, And sweeter to the smell Than April's self within a rainy dell. III Hers is a sumptuous simplicity Within the fair Republic of her flowers, Where you may see her standing hours on hours, Breast-deep in gold, soft-holding up a bee To her hushed ear; or sitting under bowers Of greenery, A butterfly a-tilt upon her knee; Or lounging on her hip, Dancing a cricket on her finger-tip. I69 AUGUST IV Ay, let me breathe hot scents that tell of you; The hoary catnip and the meadow-mint, On which the honour of your touch doth print Itself as odour. Let me drink the hue Of iron-weed and mist-flow'r here that hint, With purple and blue, The rapture that your presence doth imbue Their inmost essence with, Immortal though as transient as a myth. V Yea, let me feed on sounds that still assure Me where you hide: the brooks', whose happy din Tells where, the deep retired woods within, 170 AUGUST Disrobed, you bathe; the birds', whose drowsy lure Tells where you slumber, your warm nestling chin Soft on the pure, Pink cushion of your palm.... What better cure For care and memory's ache Than to behold you so, and watch you wake! '7 1 THE BUSH-SPARROW THE BUSH-SPARROW I Eit wild-haws, looming in the glooms, Build bolted drifts of breezy blooms; And in the whistling hollow there The red-bud bends, as brown and bare As buxom Roxy's up-stripped arm; From some gray hickory or larch, Sighed o'er the sodden meads of March, The sad heart thrills and reddens warm To hear you braving the rough storm, Frail courier of green-gathering powers; Rebelling sap in trees and flowers; Love's minister come heralding- O sweet saint-voice among bleak bowers! O brown-red pursuivant of Spring! 172 THE BUSH-SPARROW i1 'Moan' sob the woodland waters still Down bloomless ledges of the hill; And gray, gaunt clouds like harpies hang In harpy heavens, and swoop and clang Sharp beaks and talons of the wind: Black scowl the forests, and unkind The far fields as the near: while song Seems murdered and all beauty wrong. One weak frog only in the thaw Of spawny pools wakes cold and raw, Expires a melancholy bass And stops as if bewildered: then Along the frowning wood again, Flung in the thin wind's vulture face, From woolly tassels of the proud, Red-bannered maples, long and loud, 'The Spring is come! is here! her Grace! her Grace!' 173 THE BUSH-SPARROW III 'Her Grace, the Spring! her Grace! her Grace! Climbs, beautiful and sunny browed, Up, up the kindling hills and wakes Blue berries in the berry brakes: With fragrant flakes, that blow and bleach, Deep-powders smothered quince and peach: Eyes dogwoods with a thousand eyes: Teaches each sod how to be wise With twenty wildflowers to one weed, And kisses germs that they may seed. In purest purple and sweet white Treads up the happier hills of light, Bloom, cloudy-borne, song in her hair And balm and beam of odorous air. Winds, her retainers; and the rains Her yeomen strong that sweep the plains: 174 THE BUSH-SPARROW Her scarlet knights of dawn, and gold Of eve, her panoply unfold: Her herald tabarded behold! Awake to greet! prepare to sing! She comes, the darling Duchess, Spring!' ' 75 QUIET QUIET A LOG-HUT in the solitude, A clapboard roof to rest beneath! This side, the shadow-haunted wood; That side, the sunlight-haunted heath. At daybreak Morn shall come to me In raiment of the white winds spun; Slim in her rosy hand the key That opes the gateway of the sun. Her smile shall help my heart enough With love to labour all the day, And cheer the road, whose rocks are rough, With her smooth footprints, each a ray. 176 QUIET At dusk a voice shall call afar, A lone voice like the whippoorwill's; And, on her shimmering brow one star, Night shall descend the western hills. She at my door till dawn shall stand, With gothic eyes, that, dark and deep, Are mirrors of a mystic land, Fantastic with the towns of sleep. I 77 M mUSiC MUSIC THOU, oh, thou! Thou of the chorded shell and golden plectrum, thou Of the dark eyes and pale pacific brow! Music, who by the plangent waves, Or in the echoing night of labyrinthine caves, Or on God's mountains, lonely as the stars, Touchest reverberant bars Of immemorial sorrow and amaze;- Keeping regret and memory awake, And all the immortal ache Of love that leans upon the past's sweet days In retrospection !-now, oh, now, Interpreter and heart-physician, thou 178 MUsIc Who gazest on the heaven and the hell Of life, and singest each as well, Touch with thy all-mellifluous finger-tips, Or thy melodious lips, This sickness named my soul, Making it whole As is an echo of a chord, Or some symphonic word, Or sweet vibrating sigh, That deep, resurgent still doth rise and die On thy voluminous roll; Part of the beauty and the mystery That axles Earth with music; as a slave, Swinging it round and round on each sonorous pole, 'Mid spheric harmony, And choral majesty, And diapasoning of wind and wave; Speeding it on its far elliptic way ' 79 MUSIC 'Mid vasty anthemings of night and day.- o cosmic cry Of two eternities, wherein we see The phantasms, Death and Life, At endless strife Above the silence of a monster grave. i8o THE PURPLE VALLEYS THE PURPLE VALLEYS FAR in the purple valleys of illusion I see her waiting, like the soul of music, With deep eyes, lovelier than cerulean pansies, Shadow and fire, yet merciless as poison; With red lips sweeter than Arabian storax, Yet bitterer than myrrh. 0 tears and kisses! 0 eyes and lips, that haunt my soul for ever! Again Spring walks transcendent on the moun- tains: The woods are hushed: the vales are blue with shadows: Above the heights, steeped in a thousand splen- dours, I8I THE PURPLE VALLEYS Like some vast canvas of the gods, hangs burning The sunset's wild sciography: and slowly The moon treads heaven's proscenium,- night's stately White queen of love and tragedy and madness. Again I know forgotten dreams and longings; Ideals lost; desires dead and buried Beside the altar sacrifice erected Within the heart's high sanctuary. Strangely Again I know the horror and the rapture, The utterless awe, the joy akin to anguish, The terror and the worship of the spirit. Again I feel her eyes pierce through and through me; Her deep eyes, lovelier than imperial pansies, Velvet and flame, through which her fierce will holds me, i82 THE PURPLE VALLEYS Powerless and tame, and draws me on and on- ward To sad, unsatisfied and animal yearnings, Wild, unrestrained -the brute within the human- To fling me panting on her mouth and bosom. Again I feel her lips like ice and fire, Her red lips, odorous as Arabian storax, Fragrance and fire, within whose kiss destruction Lies serpent-like. Intoxicating languors Resistlessly embrace me, soul and body; And we go drifting, drifting-she is laughing- Outcasts of God, into the deep's abysm. 183 A DREAM SHAPE A DREAM SHAPE WITH moon-white hearts that held a gleam I gathered wild-flowers in a dream, And shaped a woman, whose sweet blood Was odour of the wildwood bud. From dew, the starlight arrowed through, I wrought a woman's eyes of blue; The lids that on her eyeballs lay, Were rose-pale petals of the May. Out of a rosebud's veins I drew The fragrant crimson beating through The languid lips of her, whose kiss Was as a poppy's drowsiness. 184 A DREAM SHAPE Out of the moonlight and the air I wrought the glory of her hair, That o'er her eyes' blue heaven lay Like some gold cloud o'er dawn of day. I took the music of the breeze And water, whispering in the trees, And shaped the soul that breathed below A woman's blossom breasts of snow. A shadow's shadow in the glass Of sleep, my spirit saw her pass: And thinking of it now, meseems We only live within our dreams. For in that time she was to me More real than our reality; More real than Earth, more real than I- The unreal things that pass and die. 185 THE OLD BARN THE OLD BARN Low, swallow-swept and gray, Between the orchard and the spring, All its wide windows overflowing hay, And crannied doors a-swing, The old barn stands to-day. Deep in its hay the Leghorn hides A round white nest; and, humming soft On roof and rafter, or its log-rude sides, Black in the sun-shot loft, The building hornet glides. i86 THE OLD BARN Along its corn-crib, cautiously As thieving fingers, skulks the rat; Or in warped stalls of fragrant timothy, Gnaws at some loosened slat, Or passes shadowy. A dream of drouth made audible Before its door, hot, smooth, and shrill All day the locust sings . . . What other spell Shall hold it, lazier still Than the long day's, now tell:- Dusk and the cricket and the strain Of tree-toad and of frog; and stars That burn above the rich west's ribbed stain; And dropping pasture bars, And cow-bells up the lane. I87 THE OLD BARN Night and the moon and katydid, And leaf-lisp of the wind-touched boughs; And mazy shadows that the fireffies thrid; And sweet breath of the cows, And the lone owl here hid. i 88 THE WOOD WITCH THE WOOD WITCH THERE is a woodland witch who lies With bloom-bright limbs and beam-bright eyes, Among the water-flags that rank The slow brook's heron-haunted bank. The dragon-flies, brass-bright and blue, Are signs she works her sorcery through; Weird, wizard characters she weaves Her spells by under forest leaves,- These wait her word, like imps, upon The gray flag-pods; their wings, of lawn And gauze; their bodies, gleaming green. While o'er the wet sand,-left between The running water and the still,- In pansy hues and daffodil, 189 THE WOOD WITCH The fancies that she doth devise Take on the forms of butterflies, Rich-coloured.-And 'tis she you hear, Whose sleepy rune, hummed in the ear Of silence, bees and beetles purr, And the dry-droning locusts whirr; Till, where the wood is very lone, Vague monotone meets monotone, And slumber is begot and born, A faery child beneath the thorn. There is no mortal who may scorn The witchery she spreads around Her din demesne, wherein is bound The beauty of abandoned time, As some sweet thought 'twixt rhyme and rhyme. And through her spells you shall behold The blue turn gray, the gray turn gold ]90 THE WOOD WITCH Of hollow heaven; and the brown Of twilight vistas twinkled down With fireflies; and in the gloom Feel the cool vowels of perfume Slow-syllabled of weed and bloom. But, in the night, at languid rest,- When like a spirit's naked breast The moon slips from a silver mist,- With star-bound brow, and star-wreathed wrist, If you should see her rise and wave You welcome-ah ! what thing could save You then for evermore her slave! '91 AT SUNSET AT SUNSET. INTO the sunset's turquoise marge The moon dips, like a pearly barge Enchantment sails through magic seas To fairyland Hesperides, Over the hills and away. Into the fields, in ghost-gray gown, The young-eyed Dusk comes slowly down; Her apron filled with stars she stands, And one or two slip from her hands Over the hills and away. Above the wood's black caldron bends The witch-faced Night and, muttering, blends 192 AT SUNSET The dew and heat, whose bubbles make The mist and musk that haunt the brake Over the hills and away. Oh, come with me, and let us go Beyond the sunset lying low, Beyond the twilight and the night Into Love's kingdom of long light Over the hills and away. 193 N MAY MAY THE golden discs of the rattlesnake-weed, That spangle the woods and dance- No gleam of gold that the twilights hold Is strong as their necromance: For, under the oaks where the woodpaths lead, The golden discs of the rattlesnake-weed Are the May's own utterance. The azure stars of the bluet bloom, That sprinkle the woodland's trance- No blink of blue that a cloud lets through Is sweet as their countenance: For, over the knolls that the woods perfume, The azure stars of the bluet bloom Are the light of the May's own glance. '94 MAY With her wondering words and her looks she comes, In a sunbeam of a gown; She needs but think and the blossoms wink, But look, and they shower down. By orchard ways, where the wild bee hums, With her wondering words and her looks she comes Like a little maid to town. '95 RAIN RAIN I AROUND, the stillness deepened; then the grain Went wild with wind; and every briery lane Was swept with dust; and then, tempestuous black, Hillward the tempest heaved a monster back, That on the thunder leaned as on a cane; And on huge shoulders bore a cloudy paLck, That gullied gold from many a lightning- crack: One great drop splashed and wrinkled down the pane, And then field, hill, and wood were lost in rain. I96 RAIN II At last, through clouds,-as from a cavern hewn Into night's heart,-the sun burst, angry roon; And every cedar, with its weight of wet, Against the sunset's fiery splendour set, Frightened to beauty, seemed with rubies strewn: Then in drenched gardens, like sweet phantoms met, Dim odours rose of pink and mignonette; And in the East a confidence, that soon Grew to the calm assurance of the moon. '97 TO FALL TO FALL SAD-HEARTED spirit of the solitudes, Who comest through the ruin-wedded woods! Gray-gowned with fog, gold-girdled with the gloom Of tawny twilights; burdened with perfume Of rain-wet uplands, chilly with the mist; And all the beauty of the fire-kissed Cold forests crimsoning thy indolent way, Odorous of death and drowsy with decay. I think of thee as seated 'mid the showers Of languid leaves that cover up the flowers,- The little flower-sisterhoods, whom June Once gave wild sweetness to, as to a tune zg8 TO FALL A singer gives her soul's wild melody,- Watching the squirrel store his granary. Or, 'mid old orchards I have pictured thee: Thy hair's profusion blown about thy back; One lovely shoulder bathed with gypsy black; Upon thy palm one nestling cheek, and sweet The rosy russets tumbled at thy feet. Was it a voice lamenting for the flowers A heart-sick bird that sang of happier hours A cricket dirging days that soon must die Or did the ghost of Summer wander by '99 SUNSET IN AUTUMN SUNSET IN AUTUMN BLOOD-COLOURED oaks, that stand against a sky of gold and brass; Gaunt slopes, on which the bleak leaves glow of brier and sassafras, And broom-sedge strips of smoky-pink and pearl- gray clumps of grass In which, beneath the ragged sky, the rain pools gleam like glass. From West to East, from wood to wood, along the forest-side, The winds, - the sowers of the Lord, - with thunderous footsteps stride; 200 SUNSET IN AUTUMN Their stormy hands rain acorns down; and mad leaves, wildly dyed, Like tatters of their rushing cloaks, stream round them far and wide. The frail leaf-cricket in the weeds rings a faint fairy bell; And like a torch of phantom ray the milkweed's windy shell Glimmers; while, wrapped in withered dreams, the wet autumnal smell Of loam and leaf, like some sad ghost, steals over field and dell. The oaks, against a copper sky-o'er which, like some black lake Of Dis, bronze clouds, like surges fringed with sullen fire, break- 201 SUNSET IN AUTUMN Loom sombre as Doom's citadel above the vales that make A pathway to a land of mist the moon's pale feet shall take. Now, dyed with burning carbuncle, a limbo-litten pane, Within its walls of storm, the West opens to hill and plain, On which the wild-geese ink themselves, a far triangled train, And then the shuttering clouds close down-and night is here again. 202 THE HILLS THE HILLS THERE is no joy of earth that thrills My bosom like the far-off hills! Th' unchanging hills, that, shadowy, Beckon our mutability To follow and to gaze upon Foundations of the dusk and dawn. Meseems the very heavens are massed Upon their shoulders, vague and vast With all the skyey burden of The winds and clouds and stars above. Lo, how they sit before us, seeing The laws that give all Beauty being! Behold! to them, when dawn is near. The nomads of the air appear, 203 THE HILLS Unfolding crimson camps of day In brilliant bands; then march away; And under burning battlements Of twilight plant their tinted tents. The truth of olden myths, that brood By haunted stream and haunted wood, They see; and feel the happiness Of old at which we only guess: The dreams, the ancients loved and knew, Still as their rocks and trees are true: Not otherwise than presences The tempest and the calm to these: One, shouting on them all the night, Black-limbed and veined with lambent light; The other with the ministry Of all soft things that company With music-an embodied form, Giving to solitude the charm 204 THE HILLS Of leaves and waters and the peace Of bird-begotten melodies- And who at night doth still confer With the mild moon, that telleth her Pale tale of lonely love, until Wan images of passion fill The heights with shapes that glimmer by Clad on with sleep and memory. 205 CONTENT CONTENT WHEN I behold how some pursue Fame, that is Care's embodiment Or fortune, whose false face looks true,- An humble home with sweet content Is all I ask for me and you. An humble home, where pigeons coo, Whose path leads under breezy lines Of frosty-berried cedars to A gate, one mass of trumpet-vines, Is all I ask for me and you. 206 CONTENT A garden, which all summer through, The roses old make redolent, And morning-glories, gay of hue, And tansy, with its homely scent, Is all I ask for me and you. An orchard, that the pippins strew, From whose bruised gold the juices spring; A vineyard, where the grapes hang blue, Wine-big and ripe for vintaging, Is all I ask for me and you. A lane that leads to some far view Of forest or of fallow-land, Bloomed o'er with rose and meadow-rue, Each with a bee in its hot hand, Is all I ask for me and you. 207 CONTENT At morn, a pathway deep with dew, And birds to vary time and tune; At eve, a sunset avenue, And whippoorwills that haunt the moon, Is all I ask for me and you. Dear heart, with wants so small and few, And faith, that's better far than gold, A lowly friend, a child or two, To care for us when we are old, Is all I ask for me and you. zo8 HEART OF MY HEART HEART OF MY HEART HERE where the season turns the land to gold, Among the fields our feet have known of old,- When we were children who would laugh and run, Glad little playmates of the wind and sun,- Before came toil and care and years went ill, And one forgot and one remembered still; Heart of my heart, among the old fields here, Give me your hands and let me draw you near, Heart of my heart. Stars are not truer than your soul is true- What need I more of heaven then than you Flowers are not sweeter than your face is sweet- What need I more to make my world complete 0o 209 HEART OF MY HEART O woman nature, love that still endures, What strength has ours that is not born of yours Heart of my heart, to you, whatever come, To you the lead, whose love hath led me home. Heart of my heart. 210 OCTOBER OCTOBER LONG hosts of sunlight, and the bright wind blows A tourney-trumpet on the listed hill; Past is the splendour of the royal rose And duchess daffodil. Crowned queen of beauty, in the garden's space, Strong daughter of a bitter race and bold, A ragged beggar with a lovely face, Reigns the sad marigold. And I have sought June's butterfly for days, To find it-like a coreopsis bloom- 211 OCTOBER Amber and seal, rain-murdered 'neath the blaze Of this sunflower's plume. Here drones the bee; and there sky-daring wings Voyage blue gulfs of heaven; the last song The red-bird flings me as adieu, still rings Upon yon pear-tree's prong. No angry sunset brims with rubier red The bowl of heaven than the days, indeed, Pour in each blossom of this salvia-bed, Where each leaf seems to bleed. And where the wood-gnats dance, like some slight mist, Above the efforts of the weedy stream, The girl, October, tired of the tryst, Dreams a diviner dream. 212 OCTOBER One foot just dipping the caressing wave, One knee at languid angle; locks that drown Hands nut-stained; hazel-eyed, she lies, and grave, Watching the leaves drift down. 213 MYTH AND ROMANCE MYTH AND ROMANCE I WHEN I go forth to greet the glad-faced Spring, Just at the time of opening apple-buds, When brooks are laughing, winds are whispering, On babbling hillsides or in warbling woods, There is an unseen presence that eludes:- Perhaps a dryad, in whose tresses cling The loamy odours of old solitudes, Who, from her beechen doorway, calls, and leads My soul to follow; now with dimpling words Of leaves; and now with syllables of birds; While here and there-is it her limbs that swing Or restless sunlight on the moss and weeds 214 MYTH AND ROMANCE if Or, haply, 'tis a Naiad now who slips, Like some white lily, from her fountain's glass, While from her dripping hair and breasts and hips The moisture rains cool music on the grass. Her have I heard and followed, yet, alas! Have seen no more than the wet ray that dips The shivered waters, wrinkling where I pass; But in the liquid light where she doth hide, I have beheld the azure of her gaze Smiling; and, where the orbing ripple plays, Among her minnows I have heard her lips, Bubbling, make merry by the waterside. 215 MYTH AND ROMANCE III Or now it is an Oread-whose eyes Are constellated dusk-who stands confessed, As naked as a flow'r; her heart's surprise, Like morning's rose, mantling her brow and breast: She, shrinking from my presence, all dis- tressed Stands for a startled moment ere she flies, 'Her deep hair blowing, up the mountain crest, Wild as a mist that trails along the dawn. And is 't her footfalls lure me or the sound Of airs that stir the crisp leaf on the ground And is 't her body glimmers on yon rise- Or dogwood blossoms snowing on the lawn 2 I6 MYTH AND ROMANCE IV Now 'tis a satyr piping serenades On a slim reed. Now Plan and Faun advance Beneath green-hollowed roofs of forest glades, Their feet gone mad with music: now, per- chance, Sylvanus sleeping, on whose leafy trance The nymphs stand gazing in dim ambuscades Of sun-embodied perfume.-Myth, Romance, Where'er I turn, reach out bewildering arms, Compelling me to follow. Day and night I hear their voices and behold the light Of their divinity that still evades, And still allures me in a thousand forms. 217 GENIUS LOCI GENIUS LOCI WHAT wood-god, on this water's mossy curb, Lost in reflections of earth's loveliness, Did I, just now, unconsciously disturb I who haphazard, wandering at a guess, Came on this spot, wherein with gold and flame Of buds and blooms the season writes its name.- Ah me! could I have seen him ere alarm Of my approach aroused him from his calm! As he, part Hamadryad and, mayhap, Part Faun, lay here; who left the shadow warm As a wood-rose, and filled the air with balm Of his wild breath as with ethereal sap. 2I8 GENIUS LOCI II Does not the moss retain some slight impress, Green-dented down, of where he lay or trod Do not the flow'rs, so reticent, confess With conscious looks the contact of a god Does not the very water garrulously Boast the indulgence of a deity And, hark! in burly beech and sycamore How all the birds proclaim it! and the leaves Rejoice with clappings of their myriad hands! And shall not I believe, too, and adore, With sueh wide proof-Yea, though my soul perceives No evident presence, still it understands. III And for a while it moves me to lie down Here on the spot his god-head sanctified: 219 GENIUS LOCI Mayhap some dream he dreamed may linger, brown And young as joy, around the forest side; Some dream within whose heart lives no disdain For such as I whose love is sweet and sane; That may repeat, so none but I may hear- As one might tell a pearl-strung rosary- Some epic that the leaves have learned to croon, Some lyric whispered in the wild-flow'r's ear, Whose murmurous lines are sung by bird and bee, And all the insects of the night and noon. IV For, all around me, upon field and hill, Enchantment lies as of mysterious flutes; As if the music of a god's goodwill Had taken on material attributes 220 GENIUS LOCI In blooms, like cl ords; and in the water-gleam, That runs its silvery scales on every stream; In sunbeam bars, up which the butterfly, A golden note, vibrates then flutters on- Inaudible tunes, blown on the pipes of Pan, That have assumed a visible entity, And drugged the air with beauty so, a Faun, Behold, I seem, and am no more a man. 221 DISCOVERY DISCOVERY WHAT is it now that I shall seek Where woods dip downward, in the hills; A mossy nook, a ferny creek, And May among the daffodils. Or in the valley's vistaed glow, Past rocks of terraced trumpet-vines, Shall I behold her coming slow, Sweet May, among the columbines With red-bud cheeks and bluet eyes, Big eyes, the homes of happiness, To meet me with the old surprise, Her hoiden hair all bonnetless. 222 DISCOVERY Who waits for me, where, note for note, The birds make glad the forest trees A dogwood blossom at her throat, My May among th' anemones. As sweetheart breezes kiss the blooms, And dewdrops drink the moonlight's gleam, My soul shall kiss her lips' perfumes, And drink the magic of her dreams. 223 THE OLD SPRING THE OLD SPRING I UNDER rocks whereon the rose Like a strip of morning glows; Where the azure-throated newt Drowses on the twisted root; And the brown bees, humming homeward, Stop to suck the honey-dew; Fern and leaf-hid, gleaming gloamward, Drips the wildwood spring I knew, Drips the spring my boyhood knew. 11 Myrrh and music everywhere Haunt its cascades,;-like the hair 224 THE OLD SPRING That a naiad tosses cool, Swimming strangely beautiful, With white fragrance for her bosom, For her mouth a breath of song:- Under leaf and branch and blossom Flows the woodland spring along, Sparkling, singing flows along. III Still the wet wan mornings touch Its gray rocks, perhaps; and such Slender stars as dusk may have Pierce the rose that roofs its wave; Still the thrush may call at noontide And the whippoorwill at night; Nevermore, by sun or moontide, Shall I see it gliding white, Falling, flowing, wild and white. 225 UP THE FOREST SPRING THE FOREST SPRING PUSH back the brambles, berry-blue: The hollowed spring is full in view: Deep-tangled with luxuriant fern Its rock-embedded, crystal urn. Not for the loneliness that keeps The coigne wherein its silence sleeps; Not for wild butterflies that sway Their pansy pinions all the day Above its mirror; nor the bee, Nor dragon-fly, that passing see Themselves reflected in its spar; Not for the one white liquid star, That twinkles in its firmament; Nor moon-shot clouds, so slowly sent 226 THE FOREST SPRING Athwart it when the kindly night Beads all its grasses with the light Small jewels of the dimpled dew; Not for the day's inverted blue Nor the quaint, dimly coloured stones That dance within it where it moans: Not for all these I love to sit In silence and to gaze in it. But, know, a nymph with merry eyes Looks at me from its laughing skies; A graceful glimmering nymph who plays All the long fragrant summer days With instant sights of bees and birds, And speaks with them in water words, And for whose nakedness the air Weaves moony mists, and on whose hair, Unfilleted, the night will set That lone star as a coronet. 227 TRANSMUTATION TRANSMUTATION To me all beauty that I see Is melody made visible: An earth-translated state, may be, Of music heard in Heaven or Hell. Out of some love-impassioned strain Of saints, the rose evolved its bloom; And, dreaming of it here again, Perhaps re-lives it as perfume. Out of some chant that demons sing Of hate and pain, the sunset grew; And, haply, still remembering, Re-lives it here as some wild hue. 228 DEAD CITIES DEAD CITIES OUT of it all but this remains:- I was with one who crossed wide chains Of the Cordilleras, whose peaks Lock in the wilds of Yucatan, Chiapas and Honduras. Weeks- And then a city that no man Had ever seen; so dim and old, No chronicle has ever told The history of men who piled Its temples and huge teocallis Among mimosa-blooming valleys; Or how its altars were defiled With human blood; whose idols there With eyes of stone still stand and stare. 229 DEAD CITIES So old the moon can only know How old, since ancient forests grow On mighty wall and pyramid. Huge ceibas, whose trunks were scarred With ages, and dense yuccas, hid Fanes 'mid the cacti, scarlet-starred. I looked upon its paven ways, And saw it in its kingliest days; When from the lordly palace one, A victim, walked with prince and priest, Who turned brown faces toward the east In worship of the rising sun: At night ten hundred temples' spires On gold burnt everlasting fires. Uxmal Palenque or Copan I know not. Only how no man Had ever seen; and still my soul Believes it vaster than the three. 230 DEAD CITIES Volcanic rock walled in the whole, Lost in the woods as in some sea. I only read its hieroglyphs, Perused its monster monoliths Of death, gigantic heads; and read The pictured codex of its fate, The perished Toltec; while in hate Mad monkeys cursed me, as if dead Priests of its past had taken form To guard its ruined shrines from harm. 231 FROST FROST MAGICIAN he, who, autumn nights, Down from the starry heavens whirls; A harlequin in spangled tights, Whose wand's touch carpets earth with pearls. Through him each pane presents a scene, A Lilliputian landscape, where The world is white instead of green, And trees and houses hang in air. Where Elfins gambol and delight, And haunt the jewelled bells of flowers; Where upside-down we see the night With many moons and starry showers. 232 FROST And surely in his wand or hand Is Midas magic, for, behold, Some morn we wake and find the land, Both field and forest, turned to gold. 233 A NIGHT IN JUNE A NIGHT IN JUNE WHITE as a lily moulded of Earth's milk That eve the moon bloomed in a hyacinth sky; Soft in the gleaming glens the wind went by, Faint as a phantom clothed in unseen silk: Bright as a naiad's leap, from shine to shade The runnel twinkled through the shaken brier; Above the hills one long cloud, pulsed with fire, Flashed like a great enchantment-welded blade. And when the western sky seemed some weird land, And night a witching spell at whose command 234 A NIGHT IN JUNE One sloping star fell green from heav'n; and deep The warm rose opened for the moth to sleep; Then she, consenting, laid her hands in his, And lifted up her lips for their first kiss. If There where they part, the porch's steps are strewn With wind-blown petals of the purple vine; Athwart the porch the shadow of a pine Cleaves the white moonlight; and like some calm rune Heaven says to Earth, shines the majestic moon; And now a meteor draws a lilac line Across the welkin, as if God would sign The perfect poem of this night of June. The wood-wind stirs the flowering chestnut-tree, 235 A NIGHT IN JUNE Whose curving blossoms strew the glimmering grass Like crescents that wind-wrinkled waters glass; And, like a moonstone in a frill of flame, The dewdrop trembles on the peony, As in a lover's heart his sweetheart's name. 236 THE DREAMER THE DREAMER EVEN as a child he loved to thrid the bowers, And mark the loafing sunlight's lazy laugh; Or, on each season, spell the epitaph Of its dead months repeated in their flowers; Or list the music of the strolling showers, Whose vagabond notes strummed through a twinkling staff, Or read the day's delivered monograph Through all the chapters of its deedal hours. Still with the same child-faith and child regard He looks on Nature, hearing at her heart, The Beautiful beat out the time and place, Through which no lesson of this life is hard, No struggle vain of science or of art, That dies with failure written on its face. 237 WINTER WINTER THE flute, whence Summer's dreamy finger- tips Drew music,-ripening the pinched kernels in The burly chestnut and the chinquapin, Red-rounding-out the oval haws and hips,- Now Winter crushes to his stormy lips, And surly songs whistle around his chin; Now the wild days and wilder nights begin When, at the eaves, the crooked icicle drips. Thy songs, 0 Summer, are not lost so soon! Still dwells a memory in thy hollow flute, Which unto Winter's masculine airs doth give 238 WINTER Thy own creative qualities of tune, Through which we see each bough bend white with fruit, Each bush with bloom, in snow commemora- tive. 239 MID-WINTER MID-WINTER ALL day the clouds hung ashen with the cold; And through the snow the muffled waters fell; The day seemed drowned in grief too deep to tell, Like some old hermit whose last bead is told. At eve the wind woke, and the snow clouds rolled Aside to leave the fierce sky visible; Harsh as an iron landscape of wan hell The dark hills hung framed in with gloomy gold. And then, towards night, the wind seemed some one at 240 MID-WINTER My window wailing: now a little child Crying outside my door; and now the long Howl of some starved beast down the flue. I sat And knew 'twas Winter with his madman song Of miseries on which he stared and smiled. 241 Q SPRING SPRING FIRST came the rain, loud, with sonorous lips; A pursuivant who heralded a prince: And dawn put on her livery of tints, And dusk bound gold about her hair and hips: And, all in silver mail, the sunlight came, A knight, who bade the winter let him pass; And freed imprisoned beauty, naked as The Court of Love, in all her wildflower shame. And so she came, in breeze-borne loveliness, Across the hills; and heav'n bent down to bless: Above her head the birds were as a lyre; And at her feet, like some strong worshipper, The shouting water pwan'd praise of her Who, with blue eyes, set the wild world on fire. 242 TRANS F OR MAT ION TRANSFORMATION IT is the time when, by the forest falls, The touch-me-nots hang fairy folly-caps; When ferns and flowers fill the lichened laps Of rocks with colour, rich as orient shawls: And in my heart I hear a voice that calls Me woodward, where the hamadryad wraps Her limbs in bark, and, bubbling in the saps, Sings the sweet Greek of Pan's old madrigals: There is a gleam that lures me up the stream- A Naiad swimming with wet limbs of light 243 TRANSFORMATION Perfume that leads me on from dream to dream- An Oread's footprints fragrant with her flight And, lo! meseems I am a Faun again, Part of the myths that I pursue in vain. 244 RESPONSE RESPONSE THERE is a music of immaculate love, That beats within the virgin veins of Spring,- And trillium blossoms, like the stars that cling To fairies' wands; and, strung on sprays above, White-hearts and mandrake blooms-that look enough Like the elves' washing-white with laundering Of May-moon dews; and all pale-opening Wild-flowers of the woods are born thereof. There is no sod Spring's white foot brushes but 245 RESPONSE Must feel the music that vibrates within, And thrill to the communicated touch Responsive harmonies, that must unshut The heart of Beauty for Song's concrete kin, Emotions-that are flowers-born of such. 246 THE SWASHBUCKLER THE SWASHBUCKLER SQUAT-NOSED and broad, of big and pompous port; A tavern visage, apoplexy haunts, All pimple-puffed: the Falstaff-like resort Of fat debauchery, whose veined cheek flaunts A flabby purple: rusty-spurred he stands In rakehell boots and belt, and hanger that Claps when, with greasy gauntlets on his hands, He swaggers past in cloak and slouch-plumed hat. Aggression marches armies in his words; And in his oaths great deeds ride cap-a-pie; 247 THE SWASHBUCKLER His looks, his gestures breathe the breath of swords; And in his carriage camp all wars to be:- With him of battles there shall be no lack While buxom wenches are and stoops of sack. 248 SIMULACRA SIMULACRA DARK in the west the sunset's sombre wrack Unrolled vast walls the rams of war had split, Along whose battlements the battle lit Tempestuous beacons; and, with gates hurled back, A mighty city, red with ruin and sack, Through burning breaches, crumbling bit by bit, Showed where the God of Slaughter seemed to sit With Conflagration glaring at each crack.- Who knows perhaps as sleep unto us makes 249 SIMULACRA Our dreams as real as our waking seems With recollections time can not destroy, So in the mind of Nature now awakes, Haply, some wilder memory, and she dreams The stormy story of the fall of Troy. 250 CAVERNS CAVERNS WRITTEN OF COLOSSAL CAVE, KENTUCKY AISLES and abysses; leagues no man explores, Of rock that labyrinths and night that drips; Where everlasting silence broods, with lips Of adamant, o'er earthquake-builded floors. Where forms, such as the Demon-World adores, Laborious water carves; whence echo slips Wild-tongued o'er pools where petrifaction strips Her breasts of crystal from which crystal pours.- Here where primordial fear, the Gorgon, sits Staring all life to stone in ghastly mirth, 251 CAVERNS I seem to tread, with awe no tongue can tell,- Beneath vast domes, by torrent-tortured pits, 'Mid wrecks terrific of the ruined Earth,- An ancient causeway of forgotten Hell. 252 THE BLUE BIRD THE BLUE BIRD FROM morn till noon upon the window-pane The tempest tapped with rainy finger-nails, And all the afternoon the blustering gales Beat at the door with furious feet of rain. The rose, near which the lily bloom lay slain, Like some red wound dripped by the garden rails, On which the sullen slug left slimy trails- Meseemed the sun would never shine again. Then in the drench, long, loud and full of cheer,- A skyey herald tabarded in blue,- A bluebird bugled . . . and at once a bow Was bent in heaven, and I seemed to hear God's sapphire spaces crystallising through The strata'd clouds in azure tremolo. 253 QUATRAINS QUATRAINS POETRY WHO hath beheld the goddess face to face, Blind with her beauty, all his days shall go Climbing lone mountains towards her temple's place, Weighed with song's sweet, inexorable woe. THE UNIMAGINATIVE Each form of beauty's but the new disguise Of thoughts more beautiful than forms can be; Sceptics, who search with unanointed eyes, Never the Earth's wild fairy-dance shall see. 254 QUATRAINS MUSIC God-born before the Sons of God, she hurled, With awful symphonies of flood and fire, God's name on rocking Chaos-world by world Flamed as the universe rolled from her lyre. THE THREE ELEMENTS They come as couriers of Heaven: their feet Sonorous-sandalled with majestic awe; In raiment of swift foam and wind and heat, Blowing the trumpets of God's wrath and law. ROME Above the circus of the world she sat, Beautiful and base, a harlot crowned with pride: Fierce nations, upon whom she sneered and spat, Shrieked at her feet and for her pastime died, 255 QUATRAINS ON READING THE LIFE OF HAROUN ER RESHID Down all the lanterned Bagdad of our youth He steals, with golden justice for the poor: Within his palace-you shall know the truth!- A blood-smeared headsman hides behind each door. MNEMOSYNE In classic beauty, cold, immaculate, A voiceful sculpture, stern and still she stands, Upon her brow deep-chiselled love and hate, That sorrow o'er dead roses in her hands. BEAUTY High as a star, yet lowly as a flower, Unknown she takes her unassuming place At Earth's proud masquerade-the appointed hour Strikes, and, behold! the marvel of her face. 256 QUATRAINS THE STARS These-the bright symbols of man's hope and fame, In which he reads his blessing or his curse- Are syllables with which God speaks his name In the vast utterance of the universe. ECHO Dweller in hollow places, hills and rocks, Daughter of Silence and old Solitude, Tip-toe she stands within her cave or wood, Her only life the noises that she mocks. 257 R ADVENTURERS ADVENTURERS SEEMINGLY over the hill-tops, Possibly under the hills, A tireless wing that never drops, And a song that never stills. Epics heard on the stars' lips Lyrics read in the dew - To sing the song at our finger-tips, And live the world anew! Cavaliers of the Cortes kind, Bold and stern and strong,- And, oh, for a fine and muscular mind To sing a new-world's song! 258 ADVENTURERS Sailing seas of the silver morn, Winds of the balm and spice, To put the old-world art to scorn At the price of any price! Danger, death, but the hope high! God's, if the purpose fail! Into the deeds of a vaster sky Sailing a dauntless sail. 259 EPILOGUE EPILOGUE 0 LIFE! 0 Death! 0 God! Have we not striven Have we not known Thee, God As Thy stars know Heaven Have we not held Thee true, True as thy deepest, Sweet and immaculate blue Heaven that feels Thy dew! Have we not known Thee true, O God who keepest. Il O God, our Father, God !- Who gav'st us fire, 260 EPILOGUE To soar beyond the sod, To rise, aspire- What though we strive and strive, And all our soul says 'live' The empty scorn of men Will sneer it down again. And, 0 sun-centred high, Who, too, art Poet, Beneath Thy tender sky Each day new Keatses die, Calling all life a lie; Can this be so-and why - And canst Thou know it [II We know Thee beautiful, We know Thee bitter! Help Thou !-Men's eyes are (lull, O God most beautiful! 26 I EPILOGUE Make thou their souls less full Of things mere glitter. Dost Thou not see our tears Dost Thou not hear the years Treading our hearts to shards, O Lord of all the Lords - Arouse Thee, God of Hosts, There 'mid Thy glorious ghosts, So high and holy! Have mercy on our tears! Have mercy on our years! Our strivings and our fears, O Lord of lordly peers, On us, so lowly! IV On us, so fondly fain To tell what mother-pain Of Nature makes the rain. 262 EPILOGUE On us, so glad to show The sorrow of her snow, And all her winds that blow. Us, who interpret right Her mystic rose of light, Her moony rune of night. Us, who have utterance for Each warm, flame-hearted star That stammers from afar. Who hear the tears and sighs Of every bud that dies While heav'n's dew on it lies. Who see the power that dowers The wildwood bosks and bowers With musk of sap and flowers. 263 EPI LOGUE Who see what no man sees In water, earth, and breeze, And in the hearts of'trees. Turn not away Thy light, o God !-Our strength is slight! Help us who breast the height! Have mercy, Infinite! Have mercy! Printed by T. and A. CONSTABLE, (late) Printers to Her Majesty at the Edinburgh University Press