Low Tide on Grand Pré: A Book of Lyrics

by Bliss Carman


 

WANDERER


 

I

WANDERER, wanderer, whither away?
     What saith the morning unto thee?
"Wanderer, wanderer, hither, come hither,
     Into the eld of the East with me!"

Saith the wide wind of the low red morning,
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     Making in from the gray rough sea.
"Wanderer, come, of the footfall weary,
     And heavy at heart as the sad-heart sea.

"For long ago, when the world was making,
     I walked through Eden with God for guide;
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And since that time in my heart forever
     His calm and wisdom and peace abide.


"I am thy spirit and thy familiar,
     Child of the teeming earth’s unrest!
Before God’s joy upon gloom begot thee,
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     I had hungered and searched and ended the quest.

"I sit by the roadside wells of knowledge;
     I haunt the streams of the springs of thought;
But because my voice is the voice of silence,
     The heart within thee regardeth not.
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"Yet I await thee, assured, unimpatient,
     Till thy small tumult of striving be past.
How long, O wanderer, with thou a-weary,
     Keep thee afar from my arms at the last?"
 

II

Wanderer, wanderer, whither away?
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     What saith the high noon unto thee?
"Wanderer, wanderer, hither, turn hither
     Far to the burning South with me,"

Saith the soft wind on the high June headland,
     Sheering up from the summer sea,
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"While the implacable warder, Oblivion,
     Sleeps on the marge of a foamless sea!

"Come where the urge of desire availeth,
     And no fear follows the children of men;
For a handful of dust is the only heirloom
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     The morrow bequeaths to its morrow again.

"Touch and feel how the flesh is perfect
     Beyond the compass of dream to be!
‘Bone of my bone,’ said God to Adam;
     ‘Core of my core,’ say I to thee.
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"Look and see how the form is goodly
     Beyond the reach of desire and art!
For he who fashioned the world so easily
     Laughed in his sleeve as he walked apart.

"Therefore, O wanderer, cease from desiring;
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     Take the wide province of seaway and sun!
Here for the infinite quench of thy craving,
     Infinite yearning and bliss are one."
 

III

Wanderer, wanderer, whither away?
     What saith the evening unto thee?
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"Wanderer, wanderer, hither, haste hither,
     Into the glad-heart West with me!"

Saith the strong wind of the gold-green twilight,
     Gathering out of the autumn hills,
"I am the word of the world’s first dreamer
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     Who woke when Freedom walked on the hills.

"And the secret triumph from daring to doing,
     From musing to marble, I will be,
Till the last fine fleck of the world is finished,
     And Freedom shall walk alone by the sea.
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"Who is thy heart’s lord, who is thy hero?
     Bruce or Cæsar or Charlemagne,
Hannibal, Olaf, Alaric, Roland?
     Dare as they dared and the deed’s done again!

"Here where they come of the habit immortal,
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     By the open road to the land of the Name,
Splendor and homage and wealth await thee
     Of builded cities and bruited fame.

"Let loose the conquering toiler within thee;
     Know the large rapture of deeds begun!
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The joy of the hand that hews for beauty
     Is the dearest solace beneath the sun."
 

IV

Wanderer, wanderer, whither away?
     What saith the midnight unto thee?
"Wanderer, wanderer, hither turn home,
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     Back to thy North at last to me!"

Saith the great forest wind and lonely,
     Out of the stars and the wintry hills.
"Weary, bethink thee of rest, and remember
     Thy waiting auroral Ardise hills!
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"Was it not I, when thy mother bore thee
     In the sweet, solemn April night,
Took thee safe in my arms to fondle,
     Filled thy dream with the old delight?

"Told thee tales of more marvelous summers
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     Of the far away and the long ago,
Made thee my own nurse-child forever
     In the tender dear dark land of the snow?

"Have I not rocked thee, have I not lulled thee,
     Crooned thee in forest, and cradled in foam,
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Then with a smile from the hearthstone of childhood
     Bade thee farewell when thy heart bade thee roam?

"Ah, my wide-wanderer, thou blessed vagrant,
     Dear will thy footfall be nearing my door.
How the glad tears will give vent at thy coming,
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     Wayward or sad-heart to wander no more!"
 

V

Morning and midday I wander, and evening,
     April and harvest and golden fall;
Seaway and hillward, taut sheet or saddle-bow,
     Only the night wind brings solace at all.
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Then when the tide of all being and beauty
     Ebbs to the utmost before the first dawn,
Comes the still voice of the morrow revealing
     Inscrutable valorous hope—and is gone.

Therefore is joy more than sorrow, foreseeing
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     The lust of the mind and the lure of the eye
And the pride of the hand have their hour of triumph,
     But the dream of the heart will endure by-and-by.