Слике страница

Loud rang the emptied beakers as he mused,
Brooding his eyried thoughts; then, as an eagle
Circles smooth-winged above the wind-vexed woods,
So wheeled his soul into the air of song
High o'er the stormy hall; and thus he sang:

"The fletcher for his arrow-shaft picks out
Wood closest-grained, long-seasoned, straight as light;
And, from a quiver full of such as these,
The wary bow-man, matched against his peers,
Long doubting, singles yet once more the best.
Who is it that can make such shafts as Fate?
What archer of his arrows is so choice,
Or hits the white so surely? They are men,
The chosen of her quiver; nor for her
Will every reed suffice, or cross-grained stick
At random from life's vulgar fagot plucked:
Such answer household ends; but she will have
Souls straight and clear, of toughest fibre, sound
Down to the heart of heart; from these she strips
All needless stuff, all sapwood, hardens them,
From circumstance untoward feathers plucks
Crumpled and cheap, and barbs with iron will:
The hour that passes is her quiver-boy;
When she draws bow, 't is not across the wind,
Nor 'gainst the sun, her haste-snatched arrow sings,
For sun and wind have plighted faith to her:
Ere men have heard the sinew twang, behold,
In the butt's heart her trembling messenger!

"The song is old and simple that I sing:
Good were the days of yore, when men were tried
By ring of shields, as now by ring of gold;
But, while the gods are left, and hearts of men,
And the free ocean, still the days are good;
Through the broad Earth roams Opportunity
And knocks at every door of hut or hall,
Until she finds the brave soul that she wants."

He ceased, and instantly the frothy tide.
Of interrupted wassail roared along;
But Leif, the son of Eric, sate apart
Musing, and, with his eyes upon the fire,
Saw shapes of arrows, lost as soon as seen;

But then with that resolve his heart was bent,
Which, like a humming shaft, through many a strife
Of day and night across the unventured seas,
Shot the brave prow to cut on Vinland sands
The first rune in the Saga of the West.


'T Is good to be abroad in the sun,
His gifts abide when day is done;
Each thing in nature from his cup
Gathers a several virtue up;
The grace within its being's reach
Becomes the nutriment of each,
And the same life imbibed by all
Makes each most individual:
Here the twig-bending peaches seek
The glow that mantles in their cheek-
Hence comes the Indian-summer bloom
That hazes round the basking plum,
And, from the same impartial light,
The grass sucks green,
the lily white.

Like these the soul, for sunshine made,
Grows wan and gracile in the shade,
Her faculties, which God decreed
Various as Summer's dædal breed,
With one sad color are imbued,
Shut from the sun that tints their blood;
The shadow of the poet's roof
Deadens the dyes of warp and woof;
Whate'er of ancient song remains
Has fresh air flowing in its veins,
For Greece and eldest Ind knew well
That out of doors, with world-wide swell
Arches the student's lawful cell.

Away, unfruitful lore of books,
For whose vain idiom we reject
The spirit's mother-dialect,
Aliens among the birds and brooks,
Dull to interpret or believe

What gospels lost the woods retrieve,
Or what the eaves-dropping violet
Reports from God, who walketh yet
His garden in the hush of eve!
Away, ye pedants city-bred,
Unwise of heart, too wise of head,
Who handcuff Art with thus and so,
And in each other's footprints tread,
Like those who walk through drifted snow;

Who, from deep study of brick walls
Conjecture of the water-falls,

By six square feet of smoke-stained sky
Compute those deeps that overlie
The still tarn's heaven-anointed eye,
And, in your earthen crucible,
With chemic tests essay to spell
How nature works in field and dell!
Seek we where Shakspeare buried gold?
Such hands no charmed witch-hazel hold;
To beach and rock repeats the sea
The mystic Open Sesame;
Old Greylock's voices not in vain
Comment on Milton's mountain strain,
And cunningly the various wind
Spenser's locked music can unbind.


In the twilight deep and silent
Comes thy spirit unto mine,
When the moonlight and the starlight
Over cliff and woodland shine,

And the quiver of the river
Seems a thrill of joy benign.

Then I rise and wander slowly
To the headland by the sea,
When the evening star throbs setting
Through the cloudy cedar tree,
And from under, mellow thunder
Of the surf comes fitfully.

Then within my soul I feel thee
Like a gleam of other years,
Visions of my childhood murmur
Their old madness in my ears,
Till the pleasance of thy presence
my heart with blissful tears.

All the wondrous dreams of boyhood —
All youth's fiery thirst of praise-
All the surer hopes of manhood
Blossoming in sadder days—

Joys that bound me, griefs that crowned me
With a better wreath than bays-

[ocr errors]

All the longings after freedom
The vague love of human kind,
Wandering far and near at random
Like a winged seed in the wind-
The dim yearnings and fierce burnings
Of an undirected mind-

All of these, oh best beloved,
Happiest present dreams and past,
In thy love find safe fulfilment,
Ripened into truths at last;
Faith and beauty, hope and duty
To one centre gather fast.

How my nature, like an ocean,
At the breath of thine awakes,
Leaps its shores in mad exulting
And in foamy thunder breaks,
Then downsinking, lieth shrinking
At the tumult that it makes!

Blazing Hesperus hath sunken
Low within the pale-blue west,
And with golden splendor crowneth
The horizon's piny crest;
Thoughtful quiet stills the riot
Of wild longing in my breast.

Home I loiter through the moonlight,
Underneath the quivering trees,
Which, as if a spirit stirred them,

Sway and bend, till by degrees
The far surge's murmur merges
In the rustle of the breeze.


THERE is not in this life of ours
One bliss unmixed with fears,

The hope that wakes our deepest powers

A face of sadness wears,

And the dew that showers our dearest flowers
Is the bitter dew of tears.

Fame waiteth long, and lingereth

Through weary nights and morns-
And evermore the shadow Death
With mocking finger scorns
That underneath the laurel wreath
Should be a wreath of thorns.

The laurel leaves are cool and green,
But the thorns are hot and sharp,
Lean Hunger grins and stares between
The poet and his harp;

Though of Love's sunny sheen his woof have been,
Grim want thrusts in the warp.

[ocr errors]

And if beyond this darksome clime
Some fair star Hope may see,
That keeps unjarred the blissful chime
Of its golden infancy-

Where the harvest-time of faith sublime
Not always is to be-

Yet would the true soul rather choose
Its home where sorrow is,
Than in a sated peace to lose
Its life's supremest bliss-
The rainbow hues that bend profuse
O'er cloudy spheres like this-

[ocr errors]

The want, the sorrow and the pain,
That are Love's right to cure

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« ПретходнаНастави »