Among the Millet

by Archibald Lampman


 

THE FROGS


 

I

Breathers of wisdom won without a quest,
    Quaint uncouth dreamers, voices high and strange,
    Flutists of land where beauty hath no change,
And wintery grief is a forgotten guest,
Sweet murmurers of everlasting rest,                                           5
    For whom glad days have ever yet to run,
    And moments are as śons, and the sun
But ever sunken half-way toward the west.

Often to me who heard you in your day,
    With close wrapt ears, it could not choose but seem            10
That earth, our mother, searching in that way,
    Menís hearts might know her spiritís inmost dream,
        Ever at rest beneath lifeís change and stir,
        Made you her soul, and bade you pipe for her.

II

In those mute days when spring was in her glee,                       15
    And hope was strong, we know not why or how,
    And earthy, the mother, dreamed with brooding brow.
Musing on life, and what the hours might be,
When loves should ripen to maternity,
    Then like high flutes in silvery interchange                              20
    Ye piped with voices still and sweet and strange,
And ever as ye piped, on every tree

The great buds swelled; among the pensive woods
    The spirits of first flowers awoke and flung
From buried faces the close fitting hoods,                                 25
    And listened to your pining till they fell,
    The frail spring-beauty with her perfumed bell,
The wind-flower, and the spotted adder-tongue.

III

All the day long, wherever pools might be
    Among the golden meadows, where the air                           30
    Stood in a dream, as it were moored there
Forever in a noon-tide reverie,
Or where the bird made riot of their glee
    In the still woods, and the hot sun shone down,
    Crossed with warm lucent shadows on the brown                 35
Leaf-paven pools, that bubbled dreamily,

Or far away in whispering river meads
    And watery marshes where the brooding noon,
    Full with the wonder of its own secret boon,
Nestled and slept among the noiseless reeds,                          40
    Ye sat and murmured, motionless as they,
    With eyes that dreamed beyond the night and day.

IV

And when day passed and over heavenís height,
    Thin with the many stars and cool with dew,
    The fingers of the deep hours slowly drew                              45
The wonder of the ever-healing night,
No grief or loneliness or wrapt delight
    Or weight of silence ever brought to you
    Slumber or rest; only your voices grew
More high and solemn; slowly with hushed flight                        50

Ye saw the echoing hours go by, long-drawn,
    Nor ever stirred, watching the fathomless eyes,
    And with your countless clear antiphonies
Filling the earth and heaven, even till dawn,
    Last-risen, found you with its first pale gleam,                       55
    Still with soft throats unaltered in your dream.

V

And slowly as we heard you, day by day,
    The stillness of enchanted reveries
    Bound brain and spirit and half-closed eyes,
In some divine sweet wonder-dream astray;                             60
To us no sorrow or upreared dismay
    Nor any discord came, but evermore
    The voices of mankind, the outer roar,
Grew strange and murmurous, faint and far away.

Morning and noon and midnight exquisitely,                             65
    Wrapt with your voices, this alone we knew,
Cities might change and fall, and men might die,
    Secure were we, content to dream with you,
        That change and pain are shadows faint and fleet,
        And dreams are real, and life is only sweet.                     70