T H E  P O E M S  O F

W I L F R E D
C A M P B E L L



 


Nature Verse
 

 



Nature


NATURE, the dream that wraps us round,
     One comforting and saving whole;
And as the clothes to the body of man,
     The mantle of the soul.

Nature, the door that opens wide

5

     From this close, fetid house of ill;
That lifts from curse of street to vast
     Receding hill on hill.

Nature, the mood, now sweet of night,
     Now grand and splendid, large of day;

10

From vast skyline and cloudy towers,
     To stars in heaven that stray.

Nature, the hope, the truth, the gleam,
     Beyond this bitter cark and dole;
Whose walls the infinite weft of dream,

15

     Whose gift is to console.

 



The Home of Song


HERE in northern solitudes,
Sounding shorelands, glooming woods,

Where the pines their dreams rehearse,
Is the home of haunting verse.  [Page 93]

Dreams of beauty here inspire

5

All the summer’s radiant fire,

In the gleam of leaf and bird,
Ere the Autumn’s voice is heard,

Fluting, soft, her woodland tune
Down the golden afternoon.

10


Where the seaward ships go down,
By some ancient Norman town;

Where the northern marshes lie,
Golden under azure sky;

Where the northern woodland glooms,

15

Luminous in leafy rooms,

With its ancient, sunlit wine,
Under smoke of dusky pine:

Here the soul of silence broods,
Under haunted solitudes;

20


Here that spirit rare and pure,
Of the muses who endure,

Dreams with Wisdom’s quiet eye,
While the phantom years go by.

Where far sunlands shine and drowse,

25

And great leafy, golden boughs,

Swaying, pendulous, within
A sleep, diaphanous and thin,  [Page 94]

Answer to the drowsy mind,
And loiterings of the thoughtful wind:

30


Here in seasons lone and long,
The spirit rare of northern song

Keeps in dreams, remote, apart,
The cadences of her own heart.

 



Higher Kinship


THERE is a time at middle summer when,
In weariness of all this saddening world,
The simple nature aspects seem to me
As a close kindred, sweet and kind and true,
Giving me peace and comfort, and a joy

5

Not of the senses, but of the inward soul.
The restful day, the sunny leaf and wind,
The patch of blue like windows shining down,
Do give to life a beauty and a calm
And a sweet sadness, that this mighty world

10

And all its myriad triumphs cannot give.

O let me live with Nature at her door,
And taste her home-brewed pleasures, simple, glad;
The beauty of day, the splendor of the night;
Not in great palace halls, great cloister domes,

15

The smoke of cities and the thronging din;
But out with air and woodlands, shining sun;
These my companions, this my roof, my home!  [Page 95]

 



Wind


I AM Wind, the deathless dreamer
     Of the summer world;
Tranced in snows of shade and shimmer,
     On a cloud scarp curled.

Fluting through the argent shadow

5

     And the molten shine
Of the golden, lonesome summer
     And its dreams divine.

All unseen, I walk the meadows,
     Or I wake the wheat,

10

Speeding o’er the tawny billows
     With my phantom feet.

All the world’s face, hushed and sober,
     Wrinkles where I run;
Turning sunshine into shadow,

15

     Shadow into sun.

Stirring soft the breast of waters
     With my winnowing wings,
Waking the grey ancient wood
     From hushed imaginings.

20


Where the blossoms drowse in languors,
     Or a vagrant sips,
Lifting nodding blade or petal
     To my cooling lips;

Far from gloom of shadowed mountain,

25

     Surge of sounding sea,  [Page 96]
Bud and blossom, leaf and tendril,
     All are glad of me.

Loosed in sunny deeps of heaven,
     Like a dream, I go,

30

Guiding light my genie-driven
     Flocks, in herds of snow;—

Ere I moor them o’er the thirsting
     Woods and fields beneath,
Dumbly yearning, from their burning

35

     Dream of parchèd death.

Not a sorrow do I borrow
     From the golden day,
Not a shadow holds the meadow
     Where my footsteps stray;

40


Light and cool, my kiss is welcome
     Under sun and moon,
To the weary vagrant wending
     Under parchèd noon;

To the languid, nodding blossom

45

     In its moonlit dell,
All earth’s children sad and yearning
     Know and love me well.

Without passion, without sorrow,
     Driven in my dream,

50

Through the season’s trance of sleeping
     Cloud and field and stream;—

Haunting woodlands, lakes and forests,
     Seas and clouds impearled,
I am Wind, the deathless dreamer

55

     Of the summer world.  [Page 97]

 



Earth


MYSTICAL ash of all being,
Tomb and womb of all time,
Healing, destroying, upbuilding,
Receiving, riving apart;
Cool and warm for rest,

5

Or hot for burgeoning life;
Clod; yet pulsate with being;
Infinite, ever recurring,
Dark, sad house of all joy.

Night that dawns in the bud

10

Whose perfect day is the flower;
Earth, red mantle of ruin,
Beautiful shroud of decay,
Marriage bed of the cosmos,
Love that gives and receives,

15

Nubian nurse of all beauty,
Swart, ultimate fondler of joy;
Out of thy bosom all come,
Back to thy bosom return,
Where, in thy mystical chambers,

20

Purified, sifted, restored,
All life, dismantled, out-worn,
Obeys the inevitable law.

Red Egypt rose from thy dust;
Greece, thine ineffable bloom,

25

Child of thy magical beauty,
Woke like a lotus at dawn.  [Page 98]

All the mad might of the ages,
Their sad fated beauty, their joy,
Their passionate hopes and despairs,

30

Arose from thy bosom, and back
To thy yearning bosom return.

And thou, Swart Mother, O Wise!
Thou to thy children wert kind.
Thou smoothedst the saddest of brows,

35

Held to thy breast all lovers,
Folded their beauty of limb,
As thou dost fold to thy rest
Thy rarest and fairest of bloom.

And never undaunted spirit

40

Trod like a god thy rime,
But thou gavest him splendid rest,
Where in thy sepulchered chambers,
Thy great imperishable sleep,
Those kings of thy heart’s best joy.

45

 



Snow


DOWN out of heaven,
     Frost-kissed
And wind-driven,
     Flake upon flake,
     Over forest and lake,

5

Cometh the snow.

Folding the forest,
     Folding the farms,
In a mantle of white;
     And the river’s great arms,  [Page 99]

10

Kissed by the chill night
     From clamor to rest,
Lie all white and shrouded
     Upon the world’s breast.

Falling so slowly

15

     Down from above,
So white, hushed, and holy,
     Folding the city
Like the great pity
     Of God in His love;

20

Sent down out of heaven
     On its sorrow and crime,
Blotting them, folding them
     Under its rime.

Fluttering, rustling,

25

     Soft as a breath,
The whisper of leaves,
     The low pinions of death,
Or the voice of the dawning,
     When day has its birth,

30

Is the music of silence
     It makes to the earth.

Thus down out of heaven,
     Frost-kissed
And wind-driven,

35

     Flake upon flake,
     Over forest and lake,
Cometh the snow.  [Page 100]

 



Snowfall


DOWN drops the snow, the fleecy hooding snow,
     On town and wood and haggard, wind-blown space,
And hushes the storms, and all weird winds that blow
     Upon the world’s dead face.

Like the great rest that cometh after pain,

5

     The calm that follows storm, the great surcease,
This folding slumber comforts wood and plain
     In one white mantling peace.

So when His winter comes, His folding dream,
     His calm for tempest-tost and Autumn-lorn;

10

’Twill gently fall, as falls by wood and stream
     His snows this winter morn.

 



The Dryad’s House


THIS cool and glooming summer wood
Is wise and silent in its mood,

Forever moving in its dream
Of breathing leaf and sunny gleam.

Whatever voice within is heard,

5

Of stir of leaf or whir of bird;  [Page 101]

Without, its trance is ever one
Of breathing sleeping shade and sun.

The gleaming gold of summer fields
Dreams through its green of leafy shields,

10


And windows of the shining wind,
With grey trunks looming dim behind,

Grotesque and ancient; all their peace
The dreams of gods of olden Greece;—

As though in ages long ago,

15

Before their dreams began to grow,

Some startled, fleeing dryad hid
Within this leafy coverlid,

Enmeshed her silvern reveries here,
And filled its shadows with her fear,

20


And all the woodland mind inwrought
With golden filagree of thought

And maiden fancies, pensive spun,
From purpled skeinings of the sun,

Woven on sunbeam-shuttled looms,

25

Dim, luminous, of these leafy rooms.  [Page 102]

 



August


A SPIRIT of one rare mood, of one high dream,
     She stands with finger on lip in this great hush
Of distant hill and wood and field and stream,
     As one who harkens to the hermit thrush
By some grave gateway, large, of evening dream;

5


And harkening, lingers, hearing in the sound
     The beauty and grief of all the great dead years;
So hushed and rapt is all the world around
     In that sweet sadness too remote for tears,
But felt in all this beauty of summer swound.

10


Far out, earth’s mighty waters, down the day
     Are strung to mystic cadence; dim, removed
The wind’s low litanies; and far away
     The softest sounds of summer, mute, reproved
By this rare silence of the enraptured day.

15


Only the inward breathings of the leaves
     In woodlands; sigh of subtlest summer sleep;
That magic charm which earth’s high dream achieves,
     As those great eyes in mystic trance drink deep,
And that great breast alternate joys and grieves.

20

 



Cape Eternity

(A Giant Promontory on the Saguenay River, Quebec)


ABOUT thy head where dawning wakes and dies,
Sublimity, betwixt thine awful rifts,—
’Mid mists and gloom and shattered light, uplifts
Hiding in height the measure of the skies.  [Page 103]

Here pallid Awe forever lifts her eyes,

5

Through veiling haze across thy rugged clefts,
Where far and faint the sombre sunlight sifts,
’Mid loneliness and doom and dread surmise.

Here nature to this ancient silence froze,
When from the deeps thy mighty shoulders rose,

10

And hid the sun and moon and starry light;—
Where based in shadow of thy sunless floods,
And iron bastions, vast, forever broods,
Winter, eternal stillness, death and night.

 



The Mystery


WHAT is this glory nature makes us feel,
And riots so sweet within us?  Can it be
That there with man is kindred mystery
Of being, old heredity
Of bud and leaf, of pulsing plant and tree,

5

And earth and air; that in some olden speech,—
Ere words had being—doth our spirits reach:
Some essence akin to music, subtle, deep,
That plumbs our souls as dreams melt through our sleep?

Yea, it must be: for often unto me

10

A fallen leaf hath greater power to stir
Than mighty volumes of earth’s history,
Or all the tragedy of life’s great blur.
What is it? that so little; plant or flower,
A sunset or a sunrise, gives us wings,

15

Or opens doors of glory every hour,
To godlike thoughts—and life’s imaginings.  [Page 104]

Yea, ’tis a greatness that about us lies;
Within our touch—pervading air and sod,
That bounds our being—hidden from our eyes—

20

But inward, subtle,—guiding men to God.

 



Spring


SEASON of life’s renewal, love’s rebirth,
And all hope’s young espousals, in your dream
I feel once more the ancient stirrings of earth!

Now in your moods benign of sun and wind,
The worn and aged, winter-wrinkled earth,

5

Forgetting sorrow, sleep and icèd snows,
Turns joyful to the glad sun bland and kind,
And in his kiss forgets her ancient woes.

Men scorn thy name in song in these late days,
When life is sordid, crude, material, grim,

10

And love a laughter unto brutish minds,
Song a weariness or an idle whim,
The scoff of herds of this world’s soulless hinds,
Deaf to the melody of your brooks and winds,
Blind to the beauty of your splendid dream.

15


Because earth’s hounds and jackals bay the moon,
Must then poor Philomel forbear to sing,
Or that life’s barnfowl croak in dismal tune,
Love’s lark in heaven fail to lift her wing?

And even I, who feel thine ancient dreams,

20

Do hail thee, wondrous Spring;
Love’s rare magician of this waking world,  [Page 105]
Who turnest to melody all earth’s harshest themes,
And buildest beauty out of each bleak thing
In being, where thy roseate dreams are furled.

25


In thee old age once more renews his youth,
And turns him kindling to his memoried past,
Reviving golden moments now no more,
By blossoming wood and wide sun-winnowed shore;
While youth by some supreme, divine intent,

30

Some spirit beneath all moods that breathe and move,
Builds o’er all earth a luminous, tremulous tent
In which to dream and love.

All elements and spirits stir and wake
From haunts of dream and death.

35

Loosened, the waters from their icèd chains
Go roaring by loud ways, from fen and lake;
While all the world is filled with voice of rains,
And tender droppings toward the unborn flowers,
And rosy shoots in sunward blossoming bowers.

40


Loosened, the snows of winter, cerements
From off the corpse of Autumn, waste and flee;
Loosened the gyves of slumber; plain and stream,
And all the spirits of life who build and dream,
Enfranchised, glad and free!

45


Far out around the world by woods and meres,
Rises, like morn from night, a magic haze,
Filled with dim pearly hints of unborn days,
Of April’s smiles and tears.

Far in the misty woodlands, myriad buds,

50

Shut leaves and petals, peeping one by one,
As in a night, leafy infinitudes,  [Page 106]
By some kind inward magic of the sun;
Where yestereve the sad-voiced, lonesome wind
Wailed a wild melody of mad winter’s mind,

55

Now clothed with tremulous glories of the spring.

Or in low meadows where some chattering brook
But last eve silent, or in slumbrous tune
Whispering sad melodies to the wan-faced moon,
Like life slow ebbing; now with all life’s dowers,

60

Goes loudly shouting down the joyous hours.

Wan weeds and clovers, tiny spires of green,
Rising from myriad meadows and far fields,
Drinking within the warm rains sweet and clear,
Put on the infinite glory of the year.

65


After long months of waiting, months of woe,
Months of withered age and sleep and death,
Months of bleak cerements of icèd snow,
After dim shrunken days and long-drawn nights
Of pallid storm and haunted northern lights;

70

Wakens the song, the bud, the brook, the thrill,
The glory of being and the petalled breath,
The newer wakening of a magic will,
Of life restirring to its infinite deeps,
By wave and shore and hooded mere and hill;—

75

And I, too, blind and dumb, and filled with fear,
Life-gyved and frozen, like a prisoned thing,
Feel all this glory of the waking year,
And my heart, fluttering like a young bird’s wing,
Doth tune itself in joyful guise to sing

80

The splendor and hope of all the splendid year,
The magic dream of spring.  [Page 107]

 



In the Spring Fields


THERE dwells a spirit in the budding year—
As motherhood doth beautify the face—
That even lends these barren glebes a grace,
And fills grey hours with beauty that were drear
And bleak when the loud, storming March was here:

5

A glamor that the thrilled heart dimly traces
In swelling boughs and soft, wet, windy spaces,
And sunlands where the chattering birds make cheer.

I thread the uplands where the wind’s footfalls
Stir leaves in gusty hollows, autumn’s urns.

10

Seaward the river’s shining breast expands,
High in the windy pines a lone crow calls,
And far below some patient ploughman turns
His great black furrow over steaming lands.

 



Renewal


ONCE more the sweet glad springtime
     Comes over the lonely land,
And hearts long worn and sorrow-frayed
     Are glad for the breezes bland.

Once more the warm sun smites the earth

5

     With kindly touch and smile,
And the budding loves are filling the woods
     For many a gladdening mile.

Age and death and sorrow
     Go when the torch warms in,

10

And youth and joy and love and hope
     The lone worn spaces win.  [Page 108]

And man, the tired wayfarer,
     Turns from his grief and toil,
To greet the tender buds, and sweet,

15

     That peep from the burgeoning soil.

Forgot are the ills that smite us,
     In hours both lone and lorn,
For the joys of earth have seized the world
     In the moods of love reborn.

20


How long, O mighty Mother,
     With thy returning power,
How oft with magic of thy dream
     Wilt thou bring back the hour,

Before the great sleep claims us,

25

     Surcease from memory’s ill,
When the joy no more with the crocus-bud
     And Spring, flames over the hill?

 



The Dryad


HER soul was sown with the seed of the tree
     Of old when the earth was young;
And glad with the light of its majesty
     The light of her beautiful being upgrew.
And the winds that swept over land and sea,

5

     And like a harper the great boughs strung,
     Whispered her all things new.

The tree reached forth to the sun and the wind
     And towered to heaven above.
But she was the soul that under its rind

10

     Whispered its joy through the whole wood’s span,  [Page 109]
Sweet and glad and tender and kind;
     For her love for the tree was a holier love
     Than the love of woman for man.

The seasons came and the seasons went

15

     And the woodland music rang;
And under her wide umbrageous tent,
     Hidden forever from mortal eye,
She sang earth’s beauty and wonderment.
     But men never knew the spirit that sang

20

     This music too wondrous to die.

Only nature, forever young,
     And her children forever true,
Knew the beauty of her who sung
     And her tender, glad love for the tree;

25

Till on her music the wild hawk hung
     From his eyrie high in the blue
     To drink her melody free.

And the creatures of earth would creep from their haunts
     To stare with their wilding eyes,

30

To hearken those rhythms of earth’s romance,
     That never the ear of mortal hath heard;
Till the elfin squirrels would caper and dance,
     And the hedgehog’s sleepy and shy surprise
     Would grow to the thought of a bird.

35


And the pale wood-flowers from their cradles of dew
     Where they rocked them the whole night long,
While the dark wheeled round and the stars looked through
     Into the great wood’s slumbrous breast,  [Page 110]
Till the grey of the night like a mist outblew;

40

     Hearkened the piercing joy of her song
     That sank like a star in their rest.

But all things come to an end at last
     When the wings of being are furled.
And there blew one night a maddening blast

45

     From those wastes where ships dismantle and drown,
That ravaged the forest and thundered past,
     And in the wreck of that ruined world
     The dryad’s tree went down.

When the pale stars dimmed their tapers of gold,

50

     And over the night’s round rim
The day rose sullen and ragged and cold,
     Over that wind-swept, desolate wild,
Where the huge trunks lay like giants of old,
     Prone, slain on some battlefield, silent and grim,

55

     The wood-creatures, curious, mild,

Searching their solitudes, found her there
     Like a snowdrift out in the morn;
One lily arm round the beech-trunk bare,
     One curved, cold, under her elfin head,

60

With the beechen shine in her nut-brown hair,
     And the pallor of dawn on her face, love-lorn,
     Beautiful, passionless, dead.  [Page 111]

 



A Northern River


WHERE northern forests, dusk and dim,
     Loom dark the arctic skies along;
’Mid well-heads of the world abrim,
     My swift tides sparkle into song.

By craggy waste, by haunted verge,

5

     With woodland high on woodland piled,
Wherein rude autumn’s iron surge
     Thundered afar, and smote the wild.

By regions where the night-wind grieves,
     Down sunsets red and ruinous,

10

’Neath crocus dawns and purpling eves,
     And midnights lorn and luminous:—

My winding waters swell their tides,
     Rocked ’mid the forest’s rude unrest,
Where brooks down gleaming mountain sides

15

     Sing, bird-like, brimming to my breast.

By craggy scarp and sheering rock
     My shining music curves and cools,
Then leaps with lightning roar and shock
     Into a hundred thunder pools.

20


By cabins in some wood’s recess,
     By farmlands where the fields slope down;
By busy gleaming villages,
     To far-off breath and smoke of town:—  [Page 112]

To furnace blast of city’s roar,

25

     Where life goes madd’ning to and fro,
In ceaseless murmurs evermore;—
     My swift tides eddy in their flow.

Betwixt the lily and the rose
     Of dewy night and petalled morn,

30

When life’s dim wonder-gates unclose,
     New glories on my breast are born.

In quiet borders where I sweep,
     Housed in their roofs of bloom and sod,
My music singing round their sleep,

35

     The dead lie looking up to God;

In those low homes of love’s release,
     Where all are foolish, all are wise,
The daisies blooming round their peace,
     The dust of sleep upon their eyes.

40


By dreaming banks my voice grows dumb
     In shades of summer sanctity;
And often here glad lovers come
     On summer nights, and know with me,—

The under-dreams that throng and bless,

45

     The unspoken, swift imaginings;
The sweetness tongue cannot express,
     The happiness at heart of things.

And often little children race
     With sunny laughter where I pass,

50

And kneel and mirror in my face
     Their innocence, as in a glass.  [Page 113]

Curved, sunny-breasted, where I dream,
     Here in and out, then far away,
By snowy surge and amber gleam,

55

     My waters silver into spray.

By lowlands when the noons are still,
     And all the world enmeshed in sleep;
Now by a bridge, a ruined mill,
     I wake with murmurs, ere I leap

60


In thunders o’er a craggy ledge,
     To churn in surge, then sparkle, free,
In gold, across the world’s dim edge,
     With wimpling music to the sea.

 



The Humming Bee


GLAD music of the summer’s heart,
     Jargoning from flower to flower,
     A part of each unconscious hour
Until the happy days depart!

Thou dream-like toiler of the fields!

5

     Each honeyed spot thou knowest well
Where Nature’s heart her sweetness yields,
     Some ruined trunk thy citadel;
There buildest a home for Winter’s hour
     In some lone, sunlight-haunted place,

10

When all the year is at its power,
And June’s high-tide on bank and bower
     Mirrors in blossoms Nature’s face.  [Page 114]

At early morn by breathing wood,
     Or in some dewy clover dell,

15

Tuning the young day’s solitude,—
     Or down the slumbrous afternoon
Rich-freighted, wingest thy tuneful way,
     Self-musing, murmurous, musical,
Amid the whole world’s dreamy swoon;

20

     Sole voice of all the drowsèd day,
Until the gradual shadows fall:—
     Then, by some lonely pasture-fell
At ruddy eve when homeward come
Past deepening shade or fading ray

25

The weary children of the day,
     I hear thy joyous, drowsy hum,
Till stars peep out and woods breathe low,
     And sounds of human toil grow dumb,
And Night, the blessed, comes apace,

30

Bending to Earth’s her cooling face,
     While airs across the dark outblow:
Then rocked on some glad blossom’s breast,
     Thou dreamest to rest.

When Summer wanes to Autumn’s age,

35

And come the days of fate and rage,
      O happy Humming Bee!
Then wilt thou sink to wintry sleep,
When storms are hoarse along the deep,
     In hushed tranquillity.

40

No more wilt wind thy subtle horn
By dreamy eve or misty morn,
When trees are leafless, pastures shorn.
     Ah me! ah me!
Could we, like thee, go down the days

45

Of summer hush to autumn haze,  [Page 115]
Housing, with what we built before,
The gold of all our memory’s store
And garnered thought;
So when the bleak December’s hate

50

Beat round the bastions of our fate,
We, wrapt in wealth of honeyed dreams
Of kindlier visions, far-off streams,
     Might heed it not.

 



A Wood Lyric


INTO the stilly woods I go,
Where the shades are deep and the wind-flowers blow,
And the hours are dreamy and lone and long,
And the power of silence is greater than song.
Into the stilly woods I go,

5

Where the leaves are cool and the wind-flowers blow.

When I go into the stilly woods,
And know all the flowers in their sweet, shy hoods,
The tender leaves in their shimmer and sheen
Of darkling shadow, diaphanous green,

10

In those haunted halls where my footstep falls,
Like one who enters cathedral walls,
A spirit of beauty floods over me,
As over a swimmer the waves of the sea,
That strengthens and glories, refreshens and fills,

15

Till all mine inner heart wakens and thrills
With a new and a glad and a sweet delight,
And a sense of the infinite out of sight,
Of the great unknown that we may not know,
But only feel with an inward glow

20

When into the great, glad woods we go.  [Page 116]

O life-worn brothers, come with me
Into the wood’s hushed sanctity,
Where the great, cool branches are heavy with June,
And the voices of summer are strung in tune;

25

Come with me, O heart out-worn,
Or spirit whom life’s brute-struggles have torn,
Come, tired and broken and wounded feet,
Where the walls are greening, the floors are sweet,
The roofs are breathing and heaven’s airs meet.

30

 



An August Reverie


THERE is an autumn sense subdues the air,
     Though it is August and the season still
A part of summer, and the woodlands fair.
     I hear it in the humming of the mill,
I feel it in the rustling of the trees,

5

That scarcely shiver in the passing breeze.

’Tis but a touch of Winter ere his time,
     A presaging of sleep and icy death,
When skies are rich and fields are in their prime,
     And heaven and earth commingle in a breath:—

10

When hazy airs are stirred with gossamer wings,
And in shorn fields the shrill cicada sings.

So comes the slow revolving of the year,
     The glory of nature ripening to decay,
When in those paths, by which, through loves austere,

15

     All men and beasts and blossoms find their way,
By steady easings of the Spirit’s dream,
From sunlight past the pallid starlight’s beam.  [Page 117]

Nor should the spirit sorrow as it passes,
     Declining slowly by the heights it came;

20

We are but brothers to the birds and grasses,
     In our brief coming and our end the same:
And though we glory, godlike in our day,
Perchance some kindred law their lives obey.

There are a thousand beauties gathered round:

25

     The sound of waters falling over-night,
The morning scents that steam from the fresh ground,
     The hair-like streaming of the morning light
Through early mists and dim, wet woods where brooks
Chatter, half-seen, down under mossy nooks.

30


The ragged daisy starring all the fields,
     The buttercup abrim with pallid gold,
The thistle and burr-flowers hedged with prickly shields,
     All common weeds the draggled pastures hold,
With shriveled pods and leaves, are kin to me,

35

Like-heirs of earth and her maturity.

They speak a silent speech that is their own,
     These wise and gentle teachers of the grass;
And when their brief and common days are flown,
     A certain beauty from the year doth pass:—

40

A beauty of whose light no eye can tell,
Save that it went; and my heart knew it well.

I may not know each plant as some men know them,
     As children gather beasts and birds to tame;
But I went ’mid them as the winds that blow them,  [Page 118]

45

     From childhood’s hour, and loved without a name.
There is more beauty in a field of weeds
Than in all blooms the hothouse garden breeds.

For they are nature’s children; in their faces
     I see that sweet obedience to the sky

50

That marks these dwellers of the wilding places,
     Who with the season’s being live and die;
Knowing no love but of the wind and sun,
Who still are nature’s when their life is done.

They are a part of all the haze-filled hours,

55

     The happy, happy world all drenched with light,
The far-off, chiming click-clack of the mowers,
     And yon blue hills whose mists elude my sight;
And they to me will ever bring in dreams
Far mist-clad heights and brimming rain-fed streams.

60


In this dream August air, whose ripened leaf,
     Pausing before it puts death’s glories on,
Deepens its green, and the half-garnered sheaf
     Gladdens the haze-filled sunlight, love hath gone
Beyond the material, trembling like a star,

65

To those sure heights where all thought’s glories are.

And Thought, that is the greatness of this earth,
     And man’s most inmost being, soars and soars,
Beyond the eye’s horizon’s outmost girth,
     Garners all beauty, on all mystery pores:—

70

Like some ethereal fountain in its flow,
Finds heavens where the senses may not go.  [Page 119]

 



To the Ottawa


OUT of the northern wastes, lands of winter and death,
     Regions of ruin and age, spaces of solitude lost;
     You wash and thunder and sweep,
          And dream and sparkle and creep,
                    Turbulent, luminous, large,

5

                    Scion of thunder and frost.

Down past woodland and waste, lone as the haunting of even,
     Of shriveled and wind-moaning night when Winter hath                         wizened the world;
          Down past hamlet and town,
          By marshes, by forests that frown,

10

                    Brimming their desolate banks,
                    Your tides to the ocean are hurled.

 



Glory of the Dying Day


O GLORY of the dying day!
That into darkness fades away.
O violet splendor! melting down
By river bend o’er tower and town;
O glory of the dying day!

5

That into darkness fades away.

O majesty of dying light!
O splendor of the gates of night!  [Page 120]
That all a molten glory glows,
Till purple-crimson fades to rose,

10

And dying, melting, outward goes
In ashes on the even’s rim
When all the world grows faint and dim.

O silvern sound of far-off bells!
     Ringing, ringing miles away,

15

Over river fields and fells,
     Round the crimson and the grey:
Pealing softly evening out
     As the dewy dusk comes down,
And the great night folds about

20

     River, woodlands, hills, and town.

O glory of the fading hills,
     Splendor of the river’s breast,
O silence that the whole world fills,
     Sanctity of peaceful rest!

25

Alien from the care of day,
     Now a petalled star peeps in,
     Now night’s choruses begin,
Musical and far away.

O glory of the dying day,

30

When my life’s evening fades away,
May it in splendid peace go down
Like yours o’er river-bend and town;
Not into silence blind and stark,
Not into wintry muffled dark,

35

     But heralded by stars divine,
May my life’s latest evening ray
     Melt into such a night as thine.  [Page 121]

 



Walls of Green


WALLS of green where the wind and the sunlight stir,
Rippling windows of light where the sun looks through,
And spaces of day that widen and blur beyond,
Out to the haze-rimmed, purpled edge of the world.

Aisles whose pavements are etched with ghosts of moving

5

Leaves and phantom branches raftered above;
Wind-swayed arches rocking under the blue,
Breathing under the dim, stirred peace of the world.

Walls of green skirting the high-built heaven,
Dusky pines, poplars clapping their hands,

10

Arching elms holding the spaces aloft,
Under the wind-swept, argosied dome of sky.

Walls of green.  Under their luminous glooms,
Dim and sweet, the fancies of summer lie,
Sylvan murmurs of sun and leafy shadow,

15

Music of bird and swaying of tenuous bough.

Under here the haunted heart of summer
Hides in its pensive veilings of tremulous green,
Where the sky peers through and the ruddy eye of the sun,
Letting the world, remote, and its roar go by.

20


Here is the realm of fancy, the poet’s land,
This house of breathing leaves and summer and sun;
Where the eye is keen for beauty, the ear intuned,
And the hushed heart glad for silence and slumber and dreams. 
[Page 122]

And here, chance now and anon when the world is stilled,

25

And life is afar, and earth of her care swept clean,
Do the gods come back as of old in the gold of the world,
And the elfin creatures dance in their sunbeam dreams:

And the high thoughts wake, and the great ones tread as of yore,
In olden majesty under these lofty aisles,

30

Where the woodshade glooms, or the gossamer sunlight smiles,
In the strength of the trees or the wide, blue lift of the sky.

Yea, here they come to the children of earth as of yore,
Bringing their god-gifts, vision and beauty and lore,
Brimming the world with the old-time effort and joy,

35

And Titan moods of the old world’s golden desire.

 



Ode to Silence


THINE are the inaudible harmonies that keep
     The brooding breathings of the night’s glad lute,
When in those pauses ’twixt her sleep and sleep
     All holy tunes be mute.

All beauteous seasons thou dost guard and bless,

5

     The tremulous dawn, hushed noon and cooling night,
Earth, air and ocean thy dim palaces
     Filled with divine delight.

The fathomless wells of heaven’s deeps are thine,
     Thou watchest over night’s infinitudes,  [Page 123]

10

The starry vast, within whose chant divine
     No dissonant chord intrudes.

Thine are those oceans, dim, untenanted,
     The unprescient homes of pregnancies to be,
Filling the lonely realms of mighty dread

15

     With formless majesty.

Thou keepest the dewy caverns of the night
     About majestic risings of the moon,
When over the breathing woods her phosphor light
     Rises to silvern noon.

20


Thou lovest those lonely avenues of light
     In the sun-kindled woods at early morn,
Upon the rosy rim of fading night
     And cloudy meadows shorn;

Filling the joyous airs with summer fraught,

25

     And morning’s slopes with dewy odors bland;
Here with glad Fancy and slow-wingèd Thought
     Thou wanderest hand in hand.

Thou holdest those intervals of peace that dwell
     About the caverned shores of ocean furled,

30

When the long midnight hush or noonday swell
     Slumbers about the world.

But dearest of all thou lovest that pensive hour,
     That holy hour about the fringe of eve,
When sunset dreams in lonely woods have power

35

     Imaginings to weave;—

When all the sunset world seems ages old
     In sad romance and achings of dead wrong.
And all the beauty of life is poignant gold
     In the hermit thrush’s song.  [Page 124]

40


Then down the long, dim memories of old woods
     Facing forever the far-westering sun,
I’d dream for aye through hallowed solitudes
     Where magic echoes run;—

Seeking the majesty of peace wherein thou hidest,

45

     Those golden rivers of being without alloy;
Knowing the infinite of dream is where thou bidest,
     Thou and that calm joy.

 



Ode to Thunder Cape
*


STORM-BEATEN cliff, thou mighty cape of thunder;
Rock-Titan of the north, whose feet the waves beat under;
Cloud-reared, mist-veiled, to all the world a wonder,
Shut out in thy wild solitude asunder,
     O Thunder Cape, thou mighty Cape of Storms!

5


About thy base, like woe that naught assuages,
Throughout the years the wild lake raves and rages;
One after one, time closes up weird pages;
But firm thou standest, unchanged, through the ages,
     O Thunder Cape, thou awful Cape of Storms!

10


Upon thy ragged front the storm’s black anger
Like eagle clings, amid the elements’ clangor:
About thee feels the lake’s soft sensuous languor;
But dead alike to loving and to anger,
     Thou towerest bleak, O mighty Cape of Storms!

15


Year in, year out, the summer rain’s soft beating,
Thy front hath known, the winter’s snow and sleeting; [Page 125]
But unto each thou givest contemptuous greeting.
These hurt thee not through seasons fast and fleeting;
     O proud, imperious, rock-ribbed Cape of Storms!

20


In August nights, when on thine under beaches
The lake to caverns time-weird legend teaches,
And moon-pearled waves to shadowed shores send speeches;
Far into heaven thine awful darkness reaches,
     O’ershadowing night; thou ghostly Cape of Storms!

25


In wild October, when the lake is booming
Its madness at thee, and the north is dooming
The season to fiercest hate, still unconsuming,
Over the strife, thine awful front is looming;
     Like death in life, thou awful Cape of Storms!

30


Across thy rest the wild bee’s noonday humming,
And sound of martial hosts to battle drumming,
Are one to thee—no date knows thine incoming;
The earliest years belong to thy life’s summing,
     O ancient rock, thou agèd Cape of Storms!

35


O thou so old, within thy sage discerning,
What sorrows, hates, what dead past loves still-burning,
Couldst thou relate, thine ancient pages turning;
O thou, who seemest ever new lores learning,
     O unforgetting, wondrous Cape of Storms?

40


O tell me what wild past lies here enchanted:
What borders thou dost guard, what regions haunted?
What type of man a little era flaunted,
Then passed and slept? O tell me thou undaunted,
     Thou aged as eld, O mighty Cape of Storms!

45


O speak, if thou canst speak, what cities sleeping?
What busy streets? what laughing and what weeping? [Page 126]
What vanished deeds and hopes like dust upheaping,
Hast thou long held within thy silent keeping?
     O wise old cape, thou rugged Cape of Storms!

50


These all have passed, as all that’s living passes;
Our thoughts they wither as the centuries’ grasses,
That bloom and rot in bleak, wild lake morasses:
But still thou loomest where Superior glasses
     Himself in surge and sleep, O Cape of Storms!

55


And thou wilt stay when we and all our dreaming
Lie low in dust.  The age’s last moon-beaming
Will shed on thy wild front its final gleaming;
For last of all that’s real and all that’s seeming,
     Thou still wilt linger, mighty Cape of Storms!

60


* Thunder Cape, an immense cliff of basaltic rock, thirteen hundred feet high, guards the entrance to Thunder Bay, Lake Superior. [back]

 



To the Rideau River


ACROSS the peace of all the night’s great healing,
     Beneath the silence of the dark’s hushed deep,
A phosphorescent, ghostly spirit stealing,
     You softly slide, a sleep within a sleep.

You slip and shine by boughs that bend to kiss you,

5

     You dream by curvèd banks of shimmering green;
And where you swerve the alien meadows miss you,
     But happy are the banks you glide between.

You drift, a solace to the great woods under,
     Wimpling wide in many a watery moon;

10

And when you sing, the hours, in soft-eyed wonder,
     Lean, finger on lip, entrancèd by your tune.

Out by dim, hazy shores, in reedy shallows,
     The drowsy cattle sun them in the heat;  [Page 127]
And, far from woody slopes and ragged fallows,

15

     A lazy wind goes loitering in the wheat.

You fill the summer with your magic, chanting
     Your sleepy music out by field and fell;
And spirits elusive in your bosom haunting
     Sleep like the genie in the Arabian well.

20


In low green capes, by country ways descending,
     Where your tides wind by many a braided shore,
The great cool elms, the heaven and water blending,
     Mirror their ghosts within thy shimmering floor.

By pebbly shoals whereon your tides are driven

25

     In silvery surge and far-heard slumbrous song,
Your sleeping shores and the white hosts of heaven
     Hearken your tender droppings all night long.

Where out along the dusk, all white-mist laden,
     You cradle deep in wells of azure light,—

30

Like to the virgin dreams of some sweet maiden,—
     In your glad breast the million stars of night.

Across your silver bars whereby you glisten,
     Oblivious of the throes of earth’s wild mart,
You leap and sing, and then you lie and listen,

35

     As if to hear the throbbing of your heart.

Unfettered child of nature’s mirth and gladness,
     Sing, sing and drift by field and country way;
Fill earth and men with thy divine, sweet madness,
     With glad contentment gird both night and day:

40


Till care and pain one troublous dream dissolving,
     Across the splendor of thy misty bars;
We only know the glorious day revolving,
     Night’s majesty, and her eternal stars.  [Page 128]

 



The Wind Dancer


WHEN ripened Summer dreams and sleeps,
     And her hushed silence teems
With golden gleam of mystic drowse
     And silvern trance of dreams;

And all the woods are held in moods

5

     Of slumber sunbeam spun,
There is an elfin dancer, light,
     Who dances in the sun.

And stands and claps his shining hands
     And bids the mirth move on

10

Of some invisible, mystic rout
     The slumbrous day upon.

And  they, the revellers, dim, unseen,
     Who chase his phantom mood;
Perchance the naiads of the stream,

15

     The dryads of the wood.

For when a wind-breath wakes the world
     And stirs each drowsèd tree,
Like magic silver works his bow
     In fiddlings merrily.

20


And all his elfin revellers dance
     By glint of wood and stream,
Till all the drowsèd day about
     Goes dancing in his dream.

And when in shrouded moonlight glooms

25

     The woodland sighs and frets,  [Page 129]
Along the snowy dream he shakes
     His silvern castanets.

Till phantom creatures of the night,
     Shy satyrs, gnomes and fauns

30

Foot to his music mad and sweet
     Along the mossy lawns.

He is the master of the mirth
     Of field and stream and tree;
And of the dreamers of the wood,

35

     The lord of revels, he.

Till Summer and her dream depart
     And leaf and gleam be done,
He holds the whole world’s laughing heart,
     This dancer in the sun.

40

 



Winter


OVER these wastes, these endless wastes of white,
     Rounding about far, lonely regions of sky,
Winter the wild-tongued cometh with clamorous might;
     Deep-sounding and surgent, his armies of storm sweep by,
     Wracking the skeleton woods and opens that lie

5

Far to the seaward reaches that thunder and moan,
Where barrens and mists and beaches forever are lone.

Morning shrinks closer to night, and nebulous noon
     Hangs, a dull lanthorn, over the windings of snows;
And like a pale beech-leaf fluttering upward, the moon

10

     Out of the short day wakens and blossoms and grows,
          [Page 130]
     And builds her wan beauty like to the ghost of a rose
Over the soundless silences, shrunken, that dream
Their prisoned deathliness under the gold of her beam.

Wide is the arch of the night, blue spangled with fire,

15

     From wizened edge to edge of the shriveled-up earth,
Where the chords of the dark are as tense as the strings of a lyre
     Strung by the fingers of silence ere sound had birth,
     With far-off, alien echoes of morning and mirth;
That reach the tuned ear of the spirit, beaten upon

20

By the soundless tides of the wonder and glory of dawn.

The stars have faded and blurred in the spaces of night,
     And over the snow-fringed edges wakens the morn,
Pallid and heatless, lifting its lustreless light
     Over the skeleton woodlands and stretches forlorn;

25

     Touching with pallor the forests, storm-haggard and torn:
Till out of the earth’s edge the winter-god rises acold,
And strikes on the iron of the month with finger of gold.

Then down the whole harp of the morning a vibration rings,
     Thrilling the heart of the dull earth with throbbings and dreams

30

Of far-blown odors and music of long-vanished Springs;
     Till the lean, stalled cattle low for the lapping of streams,
     And the clamorous cock, to the south, where his dung-hill                     steams,
Looks the sun in the eye, and prophesies, hopeful and clear,
The stir in the breast of the wrinkled, bleak rime of the year. 
[Page 131]

 



The Spring Spirit


I, POOR Satyr in the glade,
Saw a wonder, half afraid,
When the year at leafy time
Held all essences at prime;
Knew a miracle of dream

5

By wide sward and azure gleam,
Soft upon a breathing day,
When all earth, expectant, lay,
Worn of Winter, answering
To the vast awakening,

10

Where the woodland yearned afar
To a dream of drifting star.

When the lonely days were done,
And those magic ones had spun
All the woodland in a lace

15

Over coy earth’s hidden face;
Knew a presence like a wind,
Soft at Summer, or a kind
Dream of dawning round the sky,
Rosy over hillroofs high.

20


Saw a vision, half a mist,
Pearl and glowing, cloudland kissed,
Saw a vision, heard a voice,
Bidding all earth’s kin rejoice,
Like as leaves are lightly stirred

25

By a passing wind or bird.

Held a vision of a face
Peering out of purple lace,  [Page 132]
Subtle weft of morns and eves,
Fair as Summer when she grieves

30

O’er her tender deaths of love,
Bending burgeoning earth above;
Lips of beauty, eyes of dream,
In whose opalescent gleam
All the hopes of earth and sky

35

And visions sweet of life did lie.
In this wonder-joy I grew
Swift to mood of bird and blue,
Sweet, this dream of life to scan,
Love, immortal—baptized, man.

40

 



In the Strength of the Trees


LORN, hooded woodlands, wintry, bare,
     Against the wild November sky;
With what hushed patience, in your care,
     You let the biting blast go by.

It roars like madness round the world,

5

     And strikes you like a shoreward sea,
Soon far its pinions rude are hurled,
     And you, erect and free.

Beneath the comfort of your sere,
     Bleak dream of loud November woe,

10

The frail, fair children of the year
     Are cradled in your heart’s warm glow.

There sheltered ’neath your iron might,
     That fronts the icy wolfhound’s breath,
The hopes of all the year lie light,

15

     In frosty dream of death.  [Page 133]

I, too, have felt the wintry rage
     And tooth of rude, unkindly fate;
Would that I might its blasts engage,
     Like you, possess my soul and wait:—

20


Like you, in patience, meet the storms
     Of life’s November’s surge and stress;
Strong ’gainst its ill of iron alarms,
     Tender toward its great helplessness.

So build my life like yours above

25

     Earth’s dream of frail futurity,
In all that godlike strength that love
     Ordained that it should be.

 



Autumn


     SEASON of languorous gold and hazy drouth,
          Of nature’s beauty ripened to the core,
     When over fens far-calling birds wing south,
          Filling the air with lonesome dreams of yore,
          And memories that haunt but come no more;

5

     Maiden of veilèd eyes and sunny mouth,
Dreaming between hushed heat and frosted lands;
With fire-mists in thine eyes, and red leaves in thy hands.

     Spirit of Autumn, siren of all the year,
          Who dost my soul with glamouries entwine;

10

     As some old trunk, deep in the forest drear,
          Is gloried by some crimson, clinging vine;
          So thou dost fill my heart with haunted wine,
     When in the still, glad days by uplands sere,  [Page 134]
With slow-drawn pace, I seek thy slumbrous moods,

15

In thy hushed, dreamy haunts of fields and skies and woods.

     How often in the still, rich frosted days,
          Down the slow hours of some tranced afternoon,
     Have my feet wandered in a mad, sweet maze,
          Hunting the wind that, like some haunting tune,

20

          Peopled with memories all the great, gold swoon
     Of rustling woodlands, streams and leafy ways,
Ever eluding, fluting, sweet, before
Fading to rest at last in gold-green leafy core.

     Far out beside some great, hill-cradled stream,

25

          Winding along in sinuous blue for miles,
     By tented elms, in fields that sleep and dream,
          Low marsh-lands where the warm sun slopes and smiles,
          Where through the haze the harsh grasshopper files
     His rasping note, the pallid asters gleam,

30

And golden-rod flames in the smoky light,
While far, blue fading hills in mists elude my sight.

     Or out in maple woods where companies
          Of sombre trunks lift the soft light between,
     And little sunbeams steal with ruddy eyes,

35

          Sifting adown the canopies of green;
          Spirit of sadness, here you move unseen
     Down tented avenues where the long light lies
From morn till even, through the silent hours,
Where over all the day frets through in sunny showers.

40


     On silent nights, grey mists creep near the ground,
          And airs are keen and stars grow sharp and clear, 
                    [Page 135]
     And phantom frosts steal in and make no sound
          Down the long, haunted river, bleak and drear,
          Biting with death the sedges dank and sere,

45

     And ever the wan moon rises large and round
Over the woodlands, flooding with icèd dream
The far-hushed, ghostly face of wood and field and stream.

     On frosty mornings in the crimsoning woods;
          Or where the long, low grassy meadows shine,

50

     Wimpling and steaming out through hazy moods
          Of dewy glories to the far sky-line;
          And pearly brooks, a company divine,
     Go, softly chattering, under smoky hoods;
I love to walk abroad and con with you

55

Dream thoughts that are most sad and beautiful and true.

 



The Journey


THE wind of the day blows downward
     From the moor and the far lone height;
And sinks to rest on the brooding breast
     Of the hushed and mothering night.

The river sweeps from the mountain

5

     To find its peace in the sea;
But O, my heart, thou must yearn on
     To all eternity.

Restless, unsatisfied, longing,
     Evermore doomed to roam;

10

For thou hast gone on a journey long
     To those hills of the soul’s far home.  [Page 136]

 



The Message of Night


I STAND beneath the night’s wide vast,
     The awful curtains, dim, out-rolled;
And know time but a tempest blast,
     And life a thing the hand may hold—

A thing the Nubian, Dark, may shut

5

     In his closed palm-grasp, black and rude,
Like dust in a kernel of a nut
     ’Mid vasts of night’s infinitude.

And Reason whispers: Why debate
     A moment’s thought, why breathe this breath?

10

For all are gone, the low, the great;
     And mighty lord of all is Death.

Yea, Egypt built her ruined dream,
     And Greece knew beauty’s perfect bliss,
Then Science fanned her taper gleam—

15

     And all for this, and all for this:

That when the fires of time burned out,
     The earth a barren ball should roll,
With wrinkled winter wrapt about,
     And night eterne from pole to pole.

20


And all the dreams of seers and kings,
     The pomps and pageants of the past,
The loves and vain imaginings,
     Ground into glacial dust at last.  [Page 137]

Ah! no such creed, my soul, for thee,

25

     As, underneath the night’s wide bars,
They speak with love’s infinity—
     God’s wondrous angels of the stars.

And something in my heart—some light,
     Some splendor, science cannot weigh—

30

Beats round the shores of this dim night
     The surges of a mightier day.

Though all the loves of those who loved
     Be vanished into empty air,
Though all the dreams of ages proved

35

     But wrecks of beautiful despair,

Though all the dust of those who fought
     Be scattered to the midnight’s main,
No noble life was lived for naught;
     No martyr death was died in vain.

40

 



The Dream Divine


WHO hath no moods for beauty doth not know
The inward greatness of this moving world.
My heart was troubled with the care of life
And mine own driven nature, when I came
Out to a place where ’mid the roofs of trees,

5

A single gleam, the evening sky shone through
In simple beauty, and it seemed as though
Once more as in the child-like olden days
When earth’s folk dreamed God’s windows opened wide
And let in heaven.  Thus it seemed to me,  [Page 138]

10

For on my soul a sweetness and a calm
Fell like a mantle; and the joy of one
Who hearkens to inward music; all the world
Seemed in an instant changed: the garish streets
Were no more common; even the woes of men

15

Assumed a greatness, and mine own dread care
Grew dim, remote, a part of yesterday.
It is a marvel how this magic works,
That nature hath such influence over men,
To raise them from the common, and redeem

20

The soul from sordid evils, lift to beauty,
Build o’er our life a splendid weft of dream,
By one small rift of dawn or night divine.

 



Titan


TITAN—he loves a breezy hill
     Away above us in the clouds,
Where sun and wind are never still,
     And fold it round with misty shrouds.

He loves the great world stretching out

5

     Into dim sky; he loves the flowers
And trees, the brooks that laugh and shout;
     And often he will sit for hours

And gaze into the distant rim
     Of all things made of earth and air,

10

That rounds the horizon vague and dim,
     Until his great, deep eyes do wear

A look of awe, in thoughts of One,
     Invisible, Eternal, Great,  [Page 139]
Who built from out the burning sun

15

     This glorious world with all its state.

And through the clouds, that like a crown
     Of snow encircle his hill’s great head,
Sometimes the sun in peering down
     Will find him sleeping on his bed

20


Of clover lawn, with blossoms that strew
     Themselves like love, and round him wave;
And all the night the winds blow through
     His dreams as through a cave.

Brawny, huge-limbed, in frame and mind

25

     True type of man, in heart a boy,
Who loves the music of the wind,
     Who yet is innocent in joy.

Whose heart is not a cavern of doubt
     And dark foul hates, with passions rife;

30

His dreams are all of flowers about,
     His life is part of nature’s life.

Though great in strength of manly form,
     His heart is truest tenderness;
Strong as the spirit of the storm,

35

     Soft as the rain-drops when they press

With cooling lips the parchèd flowers
     That peer like young birds from their nest,
Mouths gaping for the much-loved showers,
     That cool and nourish Nature’s breast.  [Page 140]

40


And there I know he sits at dawn,
     Fresh from his cave of sleep, with eyes
Clear as the sky above, the lawn
     Resplendent with a thousand dyes.

A line of red that lights the east

45

     And widens over sky and sea
In purple and gold, and snowy fleeced,
     Where mountain peaks loom high and free.

And when pale May with tears the earth
     Has watered, and the rosier June

50

To balm and bloom has given birth,
     And strung the world to rarest tune,

Then I shall hie to Titan’s hill
     Where far above among the clouds
The sun and wind are never still,

55

     But fold it round with misty shrouds.

And there ’mid lawns and grassy nooks,
     The great world stretching far below,
Here, far from men and care and books,
     Where only streams of nature flow.

60


And he shall teach me, he who drinks
     Where nature’s fountains brimming run,
Who forged in thought the burning links
     That bind the great zones of the sun.

Whose nightly torches are the stars

65

     That look with ever-trusting eyes
Across the midnight’s gloomy bars,
     And he will make me strong and wise.  [Page 141]

 



Morning


WHEN I behold how out of ruined night
Filled with all weirds of haunted ancientness,
And dreams and phantasies of pale distress,
Is builded, beam by beam, the splendid light,
The opalescent glory, gem bedight,

5

Of dew-emblazoned morning; when I know
Such wondrous hopes, such luminous beauties grow
From out earth’s shades of sadness and affright;

O, then, my heart, amid thy questioning fear,
Dost thou not whisper: He who buildeth thus

10

From wrecks of dark such wonders at his will,
Can re-create from out death’s night for us
The marvels of a morning gladder still
Than ever trembled into beauty here?

 



The Earth-Spirit


DOWN these golden uplands, I
Move with sunny winds and sky,
Where the ghosts of waters are,
To the gates of dusk and star.

And I know that as I go,

5

She whose bosom is the snow
Of the birch and aspen tree,
Dreams these sunny dreams with me.

She whose glance and gleam of hair
Are the ruddy spinning, rare,  [Page 142]

10

Of the gold glint of the sun
In the wood when day is done;

She whose inner speech is heard
In the hush of wind and bird,
And whose soul is as a star

15

Cradled where the hill-lakes are.

 



Rododactulos


THE night blows outward in a mist,
And all the world the sun has kissed.

Along the golden rim of sky,
A thousand snow-piled vapors lie.

And by the wood and mist-clad stream,

5

The Maiden Morn stands still to dream.

 



The End of the Furrow


WHEN we come to the end of the furrow,
     When our last day’s work is done,
We will drink of the long red shaft of light
     That slants from the westering sun.

We will turn from the field of our labor,

5

     From the warm earth glad and brown,
And wend our feet up that village street,
     And with our folk lie down.

Yea, after the long toil, surcease,
     Rest to the hearts that roam,

10

When we join in the mystic silence of eve
     The glad procession home.  [Page 143]

 



The Pageantry of Death


ONCE more, once more, with fateful sombre tread,
     The wheeling year brings splendid Autumn in,
Hushed with sad dreams of memory and the dead,
     And icy touch of Winter sere and thin:
Slowly with thoughtful pace the hours go round

5

While, leaf by leaf, the year slips faltering to the ground.

With what a glory lifts the morning light
     O’er mists and dreams beyond the dripping woods,
Where ambering brooks steal under wakening night,
     Mirroring in mists the year’s bright moods

10

Of morning, peace and life and leafy glow;
Soon, soon, too sadly soon, ghost-wound in ghostly snow.

Down past the rich, ripe splendors of the year,
     The glad days pale and sadden to the Fall,
Loosening, as memory lets go tear by tear,

15

     The sweet old thoughts, the dreams beyond recall;
The splendid hopes, the joys, the golden gleam,
That now fade out in mists beyond the hills of dream.

And now when nights grow old and days decline,
     And veiled September glories all the world

20

With those glad lights of Autumn’s hues divine,
     By hill and stream in azure vapors furled,
Over the earth a solemn rapture flows
Of death’s sad doomful march where all that’s mortal goes.

To him who, wandering o’er the upland fields,

25

     Or by some noonday shrunken slumbering stream, [Page 144]
Where reverie her sweetest visions yields
     In realms of inward thought and reverent dream,
There comes a sense of sadness undefined,
That speaks in each dead leaf, or whispers down the wind.

30


All day far out across the azure hills,
     The splendid ruined woods all wrecked with rains,
Or river reaches, where the distance fills,
     With wine of softness, all the haze-lit plains;
And lonely uplands where some garrulous jay

35

Reverberates his note along the lonesome day;

Here ’mid these austere glories of the year,
     The spirit of lofty sadness dwells alone;
Where, hushed, the lorn heart grieves without a tear,
     In this high house where winds like ocean moan;

40

Or wild-blown sunsets, where bleak woodlands sway
About the dying borders of the splendid desolate day.

So fades September.  Down each country lane,
     Where withered the summer in the late August days,
And weeds, once radiant, drenched of wind and rain,

45

     Now bronzed and ragged, linger along the ways;
Here aster and gentian lift their fringèd blue,
Like some sweet second summer, the haze-filled sunlight through.

Near and afar by wood and field and stream,
     There sleeps an eerie mantle of misty light,

50

Transforming all, building this mid-day dream,
     Like some ghost-phantom of the pale moonlight;
Where all the distance islanded in a breath,
Seems some illusion built from out the fogs of death.  [Page 145]

Soon, soon, too soon, this pageantry will pass;

55

     And all the gaudy garments the world puts on,
Of crimsoning leaf, and mists and bronzèd grass,
     Like some magician’s dream, be vanished and gone;
Leaving the year a hollow iron urn,
Wherein no more love’s fires do glimmer and leap and burn.

60


Nor should we sorrow more than sadness ought,
     Nor grieve to tread this abbey of life’s years;
Is there not splendid beauty in the thought
     That we have such great endings of our tears;—
That very Nature puts her glories on,

65

In these sad haunted days, for all her bright ones gone.

Even as we dream, in maddening rage doth rouse
     Old lorn October, storm bloused, Autumn blown;
Roaring like ocean upon this ruined house,
     Shaking in thunders its desolate splendors down;

70

Till not one leaf goes shuddering in its flight,
Where build in icy caverns the windy fires of night.

 



An October Evening


THE woods are haggard and lonely,
     The skies are hooded for snow,
The moon is cold in heaven,
     And the grasses are sere below.

The bearded swamps are breathing

5

     A mist from meres afar,
And grimly the Great Bear circles
     Under the pale Pole Star.  [Page 146]

There is never a voice in heaven,
     Nor ever a sound on earth,

10

Where the spectres of winter are rising
     Over the night’s wan girth.

There is slumber and death in the silence,
     There is hate in the winds so keen;
And the flash of the north’s great sword-blade

15

     Circles its cruel sheen.

The world grows agèd and wintry,
     Love’s face peakèd and white;
And death is kind to the tired ones
     Who sleep in the north to-night.

20

 



To the Blackberry


I FIND thee by the country-side,
     With angry mailèd thorn;
When first with dreamy woods and skies
     The summer time is born.

By every fence and woodland path

5

     Thy milk-white blossom blows;
In lonely haunts of mist and dream,
     The summer airs enclose.

And when the freighted August days
     Far into autumn lean,

10

Sweet, luscious, on the laden branch,
     Thy ripened fruit is seen.  [Page 147]

Dark gypsy of the glowing year,
     Child of the sun and rain,
While dreaming by thy tangled path

15

     There comes to me again

The memory of a happy boy,
     Barefooted, freed from school,
Who plucked your rich lip-staining fruit
     By road-ways green and cool,

20


And tossed in glee his ragged cap,
     With laughter to the sky;
Oblivious in the glow of youth
     How the mad world went by;

Nor cared in realms of summer time,

25

     By haunts of bough and vine,
If Nicholas lost the Volga,
     Or Bismarck held the Rhine.

O time when shade with sun was blent,
     So like an April shower,

30

Life has its flower and thorn and fruit,
     But thou wert all its flower.

When every day Nepenthe lent,
     To drown its deepest sorrow,
And evening skies but prophesied

35

     A glorious skied to-morrow.

O, long gone days of sunlit youth,
     I’d live through years of pain,
Once more life’s fate of thorn and fruit
     To dream your flower again.  [Page 148]

40

 



Before the Dawn


ONE hour before the flush of dawn
     That all the rosy daylight weaves,
Here in my bed, far overhead
     I hear the swallows in the eaves.

I cannot see, but well I know

5

     That out around the dusky grey,
Across dark lakes and voicèd streams,
     The blind, dumb vapors feel their way.

And here and there a star looks down
     Out of the fog that holds the sea

10

In its embrace, while up the lands
     Some cock makes music lustily.

And out within the dreamy woods,
     Or in some clover blossomed lawn,
The blinking robin pipes his mate

15

     To wake the music of the dawn.

 



A Winter’s Night


     SHADOWY white,
Over the fields are the sleeping fences,
     Silent and still in the fading light,
As the wintry night commences.

     The forest lies

5

On the edge of the heavens, bearded and brown;
     He pulls still closer his cloak, and sighs,
As the evening winds come down.  [Page 149]

     The snows are wound
As a winding sheet on the river’s breast,

10

     And the shivering blast goes wailing round,
As a spirit that cannot rest.

     Calm sleeping night!
Whose jewelled couch reflects the million stars
     That murmur silent music in their flight—

15

O, naught thy fair sleep mars.

     And all a dream—
Thy spangled forest in its frosty sleep,
     Thy pallid moon that sheds its misty beam
O’er waters dead and deep.

20

 



Dawn in the June Woods


WHEN over the edge of night
     The stars pale one by one,
And out of his streams of light
     Rising, the great red sun

Lifteth his splendors up

5

     Over the hush of the world,
And draining night’s ebon cup,
     Leaveth some stars impearled,

Still on its crystal rim,
     Fading like bubbles away,

10

As out of their cloud-meadows dim,
     The dawn winds blow in this way:  [Page 150]

Then bathed in cool dewy wells,
     Old longings of life renew,
Till here in these morning dells

15

     The dreamings of earth come true:

As up each sun-jewelled slope,
     Over the night-hallowed land,
Wonder and Beauty and Hope
     Walk silently hand in hand.

20

 



September in the Laurentian Hills


ALREADY Winter in his sombre round,
     Before his time, hath touched these hills austere
With lonely flame. Last night, without a sound,
     The ghostly frost walked out by wood and mere.
And now the sumach curls his frond of fire,

5

     The aspen-tree reluctant drops his gold,
And down the gullies the North’s wild vibrant lyre
     Rouses the bitter armies of the cold.

O’er this short afternoon the night draws down,
     With ominous chill, across these regions bleak;

10

Wind-beaten gold, the sunset fades around
     The purple loneliness of crag and peak,
Leaving the world an iron house wherein
Nor love nor life nor hope hath ever been.  [Page 151]

 



Indian Summer


ALONG the line of smoky hills
     The crimson forest stands,
And all the day the blue-jay calls
     Throughout the autumn lands.

Now by the brook the maple leans

5

     With all his glory spread,
And all the sumachs on the hills
     Have turned their green to red.

Now by great marshes wrapt in mist,
     Or past some river’s mouth,

10

Throughout the long, still autumn day
     Wild birds are flying south.

 



Song


WHEN the morning lifts in light
     Over misty wood and stream,
And from heaven’s azure height
     Falls the silence like a dream;—
Then the joy-bird on his tree

5

Pipes of love and hope to me:
          (Wake up rose of morning.)

When the noonday lies in light
     Over woodland hill and deep,
Fleecy cloudlands furled in flight,

10

     Over fields enmeshed in sleep:—  [Page 152]
Then the sad-bird pipes to me
Songs of days that used to be:
          (Red my rose of dreaming.)

When the evening dies in light

15

     Down the purple miles of dream,
Lost in jewelled shoals of night,
     Where a myriad glories gleam:—
Then the death-bird pipes to me
From the shadow of his tree:—

20

          (Fold my flower for sleeping.)

 



Autumn Leaves


BRIGHT gloried children of the year’s late splendors,
     By the wild night-wind strewn;—
Not like mere hues of some poor painter’s colors
     Upon a palette thrown:—

But something fairer, gladder, greater, fashioned

5

     By that dread, unseen hand
Of Him who loosens His storms, unfolds His blossoms;—
     The might of sea and land.

On this grey autumn morn of haunted sadness,
     All wrecked of wind and rain;

10

You give to me a glad ecstatic vision,
     A high exquisite pain.

Glad leaves, all ruddy, russet, green and golden,
     Across my pathway hurled,
You bring a dream of nature’s rarest beauty

15

     Into this barren world.  [Page 153]

And through my heart there glows a sense of greatness,
     Of visions,—splendid, vast;
Given by you, glad children of the woodland,
     Upon my spirit cast.

20


Winnowed by winds of night, far-blown and shaken,
     Storm-lashed, where great boughs swayed;—
As I walk here, you seem a magic pavement
     By the wild midnight laid.

And with an inward sense of mystic beauty

25

     That stirs and thrills my blood,
You lift me to a higher, truer kinship,
     Bright brothers of the wood.  [Page 154]

 

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