Rough Rider and Other Poems
in Newtowne lately a vision of the Spring,—
The glory of New England come back with blade and
First came the sturdy willows, in coats of greenish
They marched beside the river in jubilant array;
And then along the roadsides where whitening orchards
pomp of golden hedges, with bannerings of green;
In deepest garden corners, bringing the wildwood
I saw the mystic trillium and the violet appear.
The far-off woodlands floated a mist of greyish
With here and there the sanguine of maples showing
careless tinge of valor, the tatters of romance,
Inwoven in the habit of sober circumstance.
Through Craigie Street and Brattle the lilacs brushed
Old gables stood transfigured in the miracle of
And where I passed at sundown under the twilight
of those dead people who made us what we are,
From a colonial doorway, brass-knockered, prim
Stepped forth a valiant figure, and in the uncertain
Came down the sanded footpath with free imperious
His classic cloak about him, his good sword at
purpose in every move and line,
And in the clean-bred features a temper proud and
His belted coat was homespun, his hat was steeple-crowned;
He walked and looked about him as one who makes
A touch of old-world breeding both gracious and
and deportment held me as he drew near.
"Good evening, Sir," he greeted the stranger
"It is a pleasant evening." "It is,
indeed," said I.
At once his kindly manner had put me at my ease;
And as he stood there under the arch of lilac trees
at my amazement, I felt a kinship rise
To meet the thoughtful forehead, droll mouth, and
My heart warmed of a sudden with deep ancestral
Here were the very features and fervor of my sires.
He calmly spoke, this Pilgrim, half soldier, half
whose grim demeanor I knew the soul benign.
"So God’s eternal springtime comes back
to earth once more,
His messenger of beauty to each New England door.
Rejoice ye in that message! I long ago but heard
Stern oracles of goodness, high callings of the
"I did not break Charles Stuart, to let the
I did not raise up Cromwell, to tolerate the fool.
And I who fronted Andros the tyrant in Cornhill
And sent him back to cover, am with my people still.
Long, long I fought and suffered the blight of heinous
insolence of priesthoods, the arrogance of kings.
Against uncurbed oppression I drove with pike and
And in the cry for justice I knew my spirit’s
"I did not stop to quibble upon the path
When came the need for freedom, in freedom’s
name I rose,
ideals that save the world to-day.
Through men account me nothing, my strength shall
be their stay.
But while among my people, made strong in peace,
Those things for which I battled, clean life and
I miss the one fine treasure for which the heathen
light of happy faces made luminous with love.
"For I who fought so fiercely in my relentless
For righteousness of conduct, have come to know
Ye cannot free man’s spirit and leave his
Nor leave unused in heaven the joyance of the
forego not, therefore, the magic of the spring,
Nor miss one pang of rapture the pagan year can
But build the fairer wisdom that shall emerge at
Into immortal manhood, whose joy shall be its strength.
"Strive on; still waits perfection; the
good fight is not done,
we have stretched our borders into the setting sun.
Mistake not great possessions nor might of hand
For hostages of gladness; seek first the surer gain,—
The lightsome heart and sweetness that to the spring
The shine on dappled waters that move both deep
round as he pointed to where the river shone,
And when I turned to question him further, he was