A Hymn of Empire and Other Poems

by Frederick George Scott


 

NATURE'S RECOMPENSE


 

WITH barren heart and weary mind,
    I wander from the haunts of men,
And strive in solitude to find
    The careless joys of youth again.

I seek the long-loved woodland brook,

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    I watch the clouds when day is done,
I climb the mountain top and look,
    All-eager, at the rising sun.

I plunge into the forest glade,
    Untrodden yet by human feet,

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And, loitering through the light and shade,
    I hear the birds their songs repeat.

But all in vain, they will not come—
    Those voices that I knew of old;
Great Nature’s lips to me are dumb,

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    Her heart to me is dead and cold.

In vain I lie upon her breast
    And ask her for the dreams I seek,
She takes no pity on my quest,
    I cannot force her lips to speak.

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Then, haply, in a calm despair
    I give up seeking, and I lie,
All-thoughtless, in the woodland air
    And ’neath the leaf-bespangled sky.

And then it comes, the voice of old,

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    Which soothes the realms of death and birth,
The message through the ages told,
    The cradle song of Mother Earth.

And as it thrills each languid sense
    And lifts me from the world apart,

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Great Nature makes full recompense
    For her past coldness to my heart.