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Not heavy neither, they could never draw, Ensign's long bow!" Then laughter loud and long.
So they in their leaf-shadowed microcosm Image the larger world; for wheresoe'er Ten men are gathered, the observant eye Will find mankind in little, as the stars Glide up and set, and all the heavens revolve
In the small welkin of a drop of dew.
I love to enter pleasure by a postern, Not the broad popular gate that gulps the mob;
To find my theatres in roadside nooks, Where men are actors, and suspect it not; Where Nature all unconscious works her will,
And every passion moves with easy gait, Unhampered by the buskin or the train. Hating the crowd, where we gregarious
Lead lonely lives, I love society,
Nor seldom find the best with simple souls Unswerved by culture from their native bent,
The ground we meet on being primal man And nearer the deep bases of our lives.
But oh, half heavenly, earthly half, my soul,
Canst thou from those late ecstasies descend,
Thy lips still wet with the miraculous wine
Canst thou descend to quench a vulgar thirst
With the mere dregs and rinsings of the
Well, if my nature find her pleasure so,
A leafless wilding shivering by the wall; But I have known when winter barberries
I will be grateful while I live, nor question The wisdom that hath made us what we are,
With such large range as from the alehouse bench
Can reach the stars and be with both at home.
They tell us we have fallen on prosy days, Condemned to glean the leavings of earth's feast
Where gods and heroes took delight of old;
But though our lives, moving in one dull round
Of repetition infinite, become
Stale as a newspaper once read, and though History herself, seen in her workshop,
WHEN Persia's sceptre trembled in a hand Wilted with harem-heats, and all the land Was hovered over by those vulture ills That snuff decaying empire from afar, Then, with a nature balanced as a star, Dara arose, a shepherd of the hills.
He who had governed fleecy subjects well Made his own village by the selfsame spell
Secure and quiet as a guarded fold; Then, gathering strength by slow and wise degrees
Under his sway, to neighbor villages Order returned, and faith and justice old.
Now when it fortuned that a king more wise Endued the realm with brain and hands and eyes,
He sought on every side men brave and just;
And having heard our mountain shepherd's praise,
How he refilled the mould of elder days, To Dara gave a satrapy in trust.
So Dara shepherded a province wide, Nor in his viceroy's sceptre took more pride
Than in his crook before; but envy finds More food in cities than on mountains bare;
And the frank sun of natures clear and rare
Breeds poisonous fogs in low and marish minds.
Soon it was hissed into the royal ear, That, though wise Dara's province, year by year,
Like a great sponge, sucked wealth and plenty up,
Yet, when he squeezed it at the king's behest,
Some yellow drops, more rich than all the rest,
Went to the filling of his private cup.
For proof, they said, that, wheresoe'er he
A chest, beneath whose weight the camel bent,
wrote: Print that as if you loved it. Let not a comma be blundered. Especially I fear they will put gleaming' for 'gloaming' in the first line unless you look to it. May you never have the key which shall unlock the whole
meaning of the poem to you!"
THE snow had begun in the gloaming,
Had been heaping field and highway
Every pine and fir and hemlock
Wore ermine too dear for an earl,
From sheds new-roofed with Carrara
I stood and watched by the window
I thought of a mound in sweet Auburn
Up spoke our own little Mabel,
Saying, "Father, who makes it snow ?” And I told of the good All-father
Who cares for us here below.
Again I looked at the snow-fall,
And thought of the leaden sky That arched o'er our first great sorrow, When that mound was heaped so high.
I remembered the gradual patience
That fell from that cloud like snow, Flake by flake, healing and hiding
The scar that renewed our woe.
And again to the child I whispered, "The snow that husheth all, Darling, the merciful Father
Alone can make it fall!"
Then, with eyes that saw not, I kissed her; And she, kissing back, could not know That my kiss was given to her sister, Folded close under deepening snow.
Only there sighed from the pine-tops A music of seas far away.
Only the pattering aspen
Made a sound of growing rain, That fell ever faster and faster, Then faltered to silence again.
"Oh, where shall I find a little foot-page That would win both hose and shoon, And will bring to me the Singing Leaves If they grow under the moon?"
Then lightly turned him Walter the page, By the stirrup as he ran:
"Now pledge you me the truesome word Of a king and gentleman,
"That you will give me the first, first thing
Or mine be a traitor's fate."
The King's head dropt upon his breast A moment, as it might be;
'T will be my dog, he thought, and said, "My faith I plight to thee."
Then Walter took from next his heart
As the King rode in at his castle-gate,
And "Welcome, father!" she laughed and cried
Together, the Princess Anne.
"Lo, here the Singing Leaves," quoth he, "And woe, but they cost me dear!" She took the packet, and the smile
Deepened down beneath the tear.
It deepened down till it reached her heart,
And lighted her tears as the sudden sun
And the first Leaf, when it was opened,
It rested there to bleach or tan,
The rains had soaked, the suns had burned it;
With many a ban the fisherman
Shall I less patience have than Thou, who Might serve some use or other.