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And in the silent water gleams,
And trembles as the water floweth,
Many a one the wave upteareth,
Washing ever the roots away,
And far upon its bosom beareth,
To bloom no more in Youth's glad May;
As farther on the river runs,
Flowing more deep and strong,
Only a few pale, scattered ones
Are seen the dreary banks along;
And where those flowers do not grow,
The river floweth dark and chill,
Its voice is sad, and with its flow
Mingles ever a sense of ill;
Then, Poet, thou who gather dost
Of Life's best flowers the brightest,
O, take good heed they be not lost
While with the angry flood thou fightest!
In the cool grottos of the soul, Whence flows thought's crystal river,
Whence songs of joy forever roll
To Him who is the Giver
There store thou them, where fresh and green Their leaves and blossoms may be seen,
A spring of joy that faileth never;
There store thou them, and they shall be
A blessing and a peace to thee,
And in their youth and purity
Thou shalt be young forever!
Then, with their fragrance rich and rare,
Thy living shall be rife,
Strength shall be thine thy cross to bear,
And they shall be a chaplet fair,
Breathing a pure and holy air,
To crown thy holy life.
O Poet! above all men blest,
Take heed that thus thou store them;
Love, Hope, and Faith shall ever rest,
Sweet birds (upon how sweet a nest!)
Watchfully brooding o'er them.
And from those flowers of Paradise
Scatter thou many a blessèd seed,
Wherefrom an offspring may arise
To cheer the hearts and light the eyes
Of after-voyagers in their need.
They shall not fall on stony ground,
But, yielding all their hundred-fold,
Shall shed a peacefulness around,
Whose strengthening joy may not be told,
So shall thy name be blest of all,
And thy remembrance never die;
For of that seed shall surely fall
In the fair garden of Eternity.
Exult then in the nobleness
Of this thy work so holy,
Yet be not thou one jot the less
Humble and meek and lowly,
But let thine exultation be
The reverence of a bended knee;
And by thy life a poem write,
Built strongly day by day-
And on the rock of Truth and Right
Its deep foundations lay.
It is thy DUTY! Guard it well!
For unto thee hath much been given,
And thou canst make this life a Hell,
Or Jacob's-ladder up to Heaven.
Let not thy baptism in Life's wave
Make thee like him whom Homer sings-
A sleeper in a living grave,
Callous and hard to outward things;
But open all thy soul and sense
To every blessed influence
That from the heart of Nature springs:
Then shall thy Life-flowers be to thee,
When thy best years are told,
As much as these have been to me —
Yea, more, a thousand-fold!
Go from the world from East to West,
Search every land beneath the sky,
You cannot find a man so blest,
A king so powerful as I,
Though you should seek eternally.
For I a gentle lover be, Sitting at my loved-one's side; She giveth her whole soul to me Without a wish or thought of pride, And she shall be my cherished bride.
No show of gaudiness hath she,
She doth not flash with jewels rare;
In beautiful simplicity
She weareth leafy garlands fair,
Or modest flowers in her hair.
Sometimes she dons a robe of green, Sometimes a robe of snowy white, But, in whatever garb she's seen, It seems most beautiful and right, And is the loveliest to my sight.
Not I her lover am alone, Yet unto all she doth suffice, None jealous is, and every one Reads love and truth within her eyes, And deemeth her his own dear prize.
And so thou art, Eternal Nature!
Yes, bride of Heaven, so thou art;
Thou wholly lovest every creature,
Giving to each no stinted part,
But filling every peaceful heart.
TO E. W. G.
"DEAR Child! dear happy Girl! if thou appear
Heedless untouched with awe or serious thought,
Thy nature is not therefore less divine:
Thou liest in Abraham's bosom all the year;
And worship'st at the Temple's inner shrine,
God being with thee when we know it not."
As through a strip of sunny light
A white dove flashes swiftly on,
So suddenly before my sight
Thou gleamed'st a moment and wert gone;
And yet I long shall bear in mind
The pleasant thoughts thou left'st behind.
Thou mad'st me happy with thine eyes,
And happy with thine open smile,
And, as I write, sweet memories
Come thronging round me all the while;
Thou mad'st me happy with thine eyes -
And gentle feelings long forgot
Looked up and oped their eyes,
Like violets when they see a spot
Of summer in the skies.
Around thy playful lips did glitter
Heat-lightnings of a girlish scorn;
Harmless they were, for nothing bitter
In thy dear heart was ever born
That merry heart that could not lie
Within its warm nest quietly,
But ever from each full, dark eye
Was looking kindly night and morn.
There was an archness in thine eyes,
Born of the gentlest mockeries,
And thy light laughter rang as clear
As water-drops I loved to hear
In days of boyhood, as they fell
Tinkling far down the dim, still well;
And with its sound come back once more
The feelings of my early years,
And half aloud I murmured o'er-
"Sure I have heard that sound before,
It is so pleasant in mine ears."
Whenever thou didst look on me I thought of merry birds, And something of spring's melody Came to me in thy words; Thy thoughts did dance and bound along Like happy children in their play, Whose hearts run over into song For gladness of the summer's day; And mine grew dizzy with the sight, Still feeling lighter and more light, Till, joining hands, they whirled away, As blithe and merrily as they.
I bound a larch-twig round with flowers, Which thou didst twine among thy hair, And gladsome were the few, short hours When I was with thee there; So now that thou art far away, Safe-nestled in thy warmer clime, In memory of a happier day
I twine this simple wreath of rhyme.
Dost mind how she, whom thou dost love More than in light words may be said, A coronal of amaranth wove
About thy duly-sobered head,
Which kept itself a moment still
That she might have her gentle will?
Thy childlike grace and purity
O keep forevermore,
And as thou art, still strive to be,
That on the farther shore
Of Time's dark waters ye may meet,
And she may twine around thy brow
A wreath of those bright flowers that grow
Where blessed angels set their feet!