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'Neath which slim fairies tripping wrought

those rings Of greenest emerald, wherewith fireside life Did with the invisible spirit of Nature

wed, Was ever planted here! No darnel fancy Might choke one useful blade in Puritan

fields; With horn and hoof the good old Devil

came, The witch's broomstick was not contra

band, But all that superstition had of fair, Or piety of vative sweet, was doomed. And if there be who nurse unholy faiths, Fearing their god as if he were a wolf That snuffed round every home and was There should be some to watch and keep

alive All beautiful beliefs. And such was that, By solitary shepherd first surmised Under Thessalian oaks, loved by some maid Of royal stirp, that silent came and van

ished, As near her nest the hermit thrush, nor

dared Confess a mortal name, that faith which

gave A Hamadryad to each tree; and I Will hold it true that in this willow dwells The open-handed spirit, frank and blithe, Of ancient Hospitality, long since, With ceremonious thrift, bowed out of


Wiser than this, - to spend in all things

else, But of old friends to be most miserly. Each year to ancient friendships adds a

ring, As to an oak, and precious more and more, Without deservingness or help of ours, They grow, and, silent, wider spread, each

year, Their unbought ring of shelter or of shade. Sacred to me the lichens on the bark, Which Nature's milliners would scrape

away; Most dear and sacred every withered limb! 'T is good to set them early, for our faith Pines as we age, and, after wrinkles come, Few plant, but water dead ones with vain


not seen,

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In June 't is good to lie beneath a tree While the blithe season comforts every

sense, Steeps all the brain in rest, and heals the

heart, Brimming it o'er with sweetness unawares, Fragrant

and silent as that rosy snow Wherewith the pitying apple-tree fills up And tenderly lines some last-year robin's

nest. There muse I of old times, old hopes, old

friends, – Old friends! The writing of those words

has borne My fancy backward to the gracious past, The generous past, when all was possible, For all was then untried; the years between Have taught some sweet, some bitter lessons,

This willow is as old to me as life;
And under it full often have I stretched,
Feeling the warm earth like a thing alive,
And gathering virtue in at every pore
Till it possessed me wholly, and thought

ceased, Or was transfused in something to which

thought Is coarse and dull of sense. Myself was

lost, Gone from me like an ache, and what re

mained Become a part of the universal joy. My soul went forth, and, mingling with the

tree, Danced in the leaves; or, floating in the

cloud, Saw its white double in the stream below; Or else, sublimed to purer ecstasy, Dilated in the broad blue over all. I was the wind that dappled the lush

grass, The tide that crept with coolness to its

roots, The thin-winged swallow skating on the

air; The life that gladdened everything was

mine. Was I then truly all that I beheld ? Or is this stream of being but a glass Where the mind sees its visionary self, As, when the kingfisher flits o'er bis bay, Across the river's hollow heaven below His picture flits, - another, yet the same ? But suddenly the sound of human voice Or footfall, like the drop a chemist pours,


Doth in opacous cloud precipitate

Sharpen my wit upon his gritty mind, The consciousness that seemed but now In motion set obsequious to his wheel, dissolved

And in its quality not much unlike. Into an essence rarer than its own, And I am narrowed to myself once more. Nor wants my tree more punctual visitors.

The children, they who are the only rich, For here not long is solitude secure, Creating for the moment, and possessing Nor Fantasy left vacant to her spell. Whate'er they choose to feign, for still Here, sometimes, in this paradise of shade,

with them Rippled with western winds, the dusty Kind Fancy plays the fairy godmother, Tramp,

Strewing their lives with cheap material Seeing the treeless causey burn beyond, For wingëd horses and Aladdin's lamps, Halts to unroll his bundle of strange food Pure elfin-gold, by manhood's touch proAnd munch an unearned meal. I cannot

fane help

To dead leaves disenchanted, - long ago Liking this creature, lavish Summer's Between the branches of the tree fixed bedesman,

seats, Who from the almshouse steals when nights Making an o'erturned box their table. Oft grow warm,

The shrilling girls sit here between school Himself his large estate and only charge,

hours, To be the guest of haystack or of hedge, And play at What's my thought like ? while Nobly superior to the household gear

the boys, That forfeits us our privilege of nature. With whom the age chivalric ever bides, I bait him with my match-box and my Pricked on by knightly spur of female eyes, pouch,

Climb high to swing and shout on perilous Nor grudge the uncostly sympathy of boughs, smoke,

Or, from the willow's armory equipped His equal now, divinely unemployed. With musket dumb, green banner, edgeSome smack of Robin Hood is in the man,

less sword, Some secret league with wild wood-wander- Make good the rampart of their treeing things;

redoubt He is our ragged Duke, our barefoot Earl, 'Gainst eager British storming from below, By right of birth exonerate from toil, And keep alive the tale of Bunker's Hill. Who levies rent from us his tenants all, And serves the state by merely being. Here, too, the men that mend our village Here

ways, The Scissors-grinder, pausing, doffs his hat, Vexing Macadam's ghost with pounded And lets the kind breeze, with its delicate slate, fan,

Their nooning take ; much noisy talk they Winnow the heat from out his dank gray

spend hair,

On horses and their ills; and, as John Bull A grimy Ulysses, a much-wandered man, Tells of Lord This or That, who was his Whose feet are known to all the populous

friend, ways,

So these make boast of intimacies long And many men and manners he bath seen, With famous teams, and add large estiNot without fruit of solitary thought.

mates, He, as the habit is of lonely men,

By competition swelled from mouth to Unused to try the temper of their mind

mouth, In fence with others, — positive and shy, Of how much they could draw, till one, ill Yet knows to put an edge upon his speech, pleased Pithily Saxon in unwilling talk.

To bave his legend overbid, retorts : Him 'I entrap with my long-suffering “ You take and stretch truck-horses in a knife,

string And, while its poor blade hums away in From here to Long Wharf end, one thing sparks,

I know,



Not heavy neither, they could never draw,- Pricked the effeminate palate with surEnsign's long bow !” Then laughter loud prise and long

Of savor whose mere harshness seemed So they in their leaf-shadowed microcosm

divine. Image the larger world; for wheresoe'er Ten men are gathered, the observant eye Oh, benediction of the higher mood Will find mankind in little, as the stars And human - kindness of the lower ! for Glide up and set, and all the heavens re

both volve

I will be grateful while I live, nor question In the small welkin of a drop of dew. The wisdom that hath made us what we

are, I love to enter pleasure by a postern, With such large range as from the aleNot the broad popular gate that gulps the

house bench mob;

Can reach the stars and be with both at To find my theatres in roadside nooks,

home. Where men are actors, and suspect it not; They tell us we have fallen on prosy days, Where Nature all unconscious works her Condemned to glean the leavings of earth's will,

feast And every passion moves with easy gait, Where gods and heroes took delight of Unhampered by the buskin or the train.

old; Hating the crowd, where we gregarious But though our lives, moving in one dull

round Lead lonely lives, I love society,

Of repetition infinite, become Nor seldom find the best with simple souls Stale as a newspaper once read, and though Unswerved by culture from their native History herself, seen in her workshop,

bent, The ground we meet on being primal man To have lost the art that dyed those gloriAnd nearer the deep bases of our lives.

ous panes,

Rich with memorial shapes of saint and But oh, half heavenly, earthly half, my

sage, soul,

That pave with splendor the Past's dusky Canst thou from those late ecstasies de

aisles, scend,

Panes that enchant the light of conimon day Thy lips still wet with the miraculous wine With colors costly as the blood of kings, That transubstantiates all thy baser stuff Till with ideal hues it edge our thought, To such divinity that soul and sense, Yet while the world is left, while nature Once more commingled in their source, are

lasts, lost,

And man the best of nature, there shall be Canst thou descend to quench a vulgar Somewhere contentment for these human thirst

hearts, With the mere dregs and rinsings of the Some freshness, some unused material world ?

For wonder and for song. I lose myself Well, if my nature find her pleasure so, In other ways where solemn guide-posts I am content, nor need to blush; I take

say, My little gift of being clean from God, This way to Knowledge, This way to Repose, Not haggling for a better, holding it But here, here only, I am ne'er betrayed, Good as was ever any in the world,

For every by-path leads me to my love. My days as good and full of miracle. I pluck my nutriment from any bush, God's passionless reformers, influences, Finding ont poison as the first men did That purify and heal and are not seen, By tasting and then suffering, if I must. Shall man say whence your virtue is, or Sometimes my bush burns, and sometimes

how it is

Ye make medicinal the wayside weed ? A leafless wilding shivering by the wall; I know that sunshine, through whatever But I have known when winter barberries




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How shaped it matters not, upon my walls
Paints discs as perfect - rounded as its

And, like its antitype, the ray divine,
However finding entrance, perfect still,
Repeats the image unimpaired of God.
We, who by shipwreck only find the shores
Of divine wisdom, can but kneel at first;
Can but exult to feel beneath our feet,
That long stretched vainly down the yield-

ing deeps,
The shock and sustenance of solid earth;
Inland afar we see what temples gleam
Through immemorial stems of sacred

And we conjecture shining shapes there-

WHEN Persia's sceptre trembled in a hand
Wilted with barem-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

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.

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Yet for a space we love to wander here
Among the shells and seaweed of the


Now when it fortuned that a king more wise
Endued the realm with brain and hands

and eyes,



So mused I once within


willow-tent He sought on every side men brave and One brave June morning, when the bluff just; northwest,

And having heard our mountain shepherd's Thrusting aside a dank and snuffling day

praise, That made us bitter at our neighbors' sins, How he refilled the mould of elder days, Brimmed the great cup of heaven with To Dara gave a satrapy in trust.

sparkling cheer And roared a lusty stave ; the sliding So Dara shepherded a province wide, Charles,

Nor in his viceroy's sceptre took more Blue toward the west, and bluer and more

pride blue,

Than in his crook before ; but envy finds Living and lustrous as a woman's eyes

More food in cities than on mountains Look once and look no more, with south

bare ; ward curve

And the frank sun of natures clear and Ran crinkling sunniness, like Helen's hair Glimpsed in Elysium, insubstantial gold; Breeds poisonous fogs in low and marish From blossom-clouded orchards, far away

minds. The bobolink tinkled; the deep meadows flowed

Soon it was hissed into the royal ear, With multitudinous pulse of light and That, though wise Dara's province, year shade

by year, Against the bases of the southern hills, Like a great sponge, sucked wealth and While here and there a drowsy island rick

plenty up, Slept and its shadow slept; the wooden Yet, when he squeezed it at the king's bebridge

hest, Thundered, and then was silent; on the Some yellow drops, more rich than all the roofs

rest, The sun-warped shingles rippled with the Went to the filling of his private cup.

heat; Summer on field and hill, in heart and For proof, they said, that, wheresoe'er he brain,

went, All life washed clean in this high tide of A chest, beneath whose weight the camel June.




Went with him ; and no mortal eye had wrote: Print that as if you loved it. Let not

a comma be blundered. Especially I fear they What was therein, save only Dara's own; will put gleaming' for 'gloaming' in the first But, when 't was opened, all his tent was

line unless you look to it. May you never known

have the key which shall unlock the whole

! To glow and lighten with heaped jewels' meaning of the poem to you!” sheen.

The snow had begun in the gloaming,

And busily all the night
The King set forth for Dara's province Had been heaping field and highway

With a silence deep and white.
There, as was fit, outside the city's gate,
The viceroy met him with a stately train, Every pine and fir and hemlock
And there, with archers circled, close at Wore ermine too dear for an earl,

And the poorest twig on the elm-tree
A camel with the chest was seen to stand: Was ridged inch deep with pearl.
The King's brow reddened, for the guilt
was plain.

From sheds new-roofed with Carrara

Came Chanticleer's muffled crow, “Open me here,” he cried, “this treasure- The stiff rails softened to swan's-down, chest!

And still fluttered down the snow. "T was done ; and only a worn shepherd's vest

I stood and watched by the window Was found therein. Some blushed and The noiseless work of the sky, hung the head;

And the sudden flurries of snow-birds, Not Dara ; open as the sky's blue roof Like brown leaves whirling by. He stood, and “O my lord, behold the proof

I thought of a mound in sweet Auburn That I was faithful to my trust,” he said. Where a little headstone stood;

How the flakes were folding it gently, To govern men, lo all the spell I had ! As did robins the babes in the wood. My soul in these rude vestments ever clad Still to the unstained past kept true and leal, Up spoke our own little Mabel, Still on these plains could breathe her Saying, “ Father, who makes it snow ?mountain air,

And I told of the good All-father
And fortune's heaviest gifts serenely bear, Who cares for us here below.
Which bend men from their truth and
make them reel.

Again I looked at the snow-fall,

And thought of the leaden sky “ For ruling wisely I should have small

That arched o'er our first great sorrow, skill,

When that mound was heaped so high. Were I not lord of simple Dara still; That sceptre kept, I could not lose my

I remembered the gradual patience way.”

That fell from that cloud like snow, Strange dew in royal eyes grew round and Flake by flake, healing and hiding bright,

The scar that renewed our woe. And strained the throbbing lids; before 't was night

And again to the child I whispered, Two added provinces blest Dara's sway. “ The snow that husheth all,

Darling, the merciful Father

Alone can make it fall !”

Then, with eyes that saw not, I kissed her;
One of the “ earlier verses sent to the Anti- And she, kissing back, could not know
Slavery Standard. In a letter to Mr. Gay, That my kiss was given to her sister,
dated Elmwood, December 22, 1849, Loweli Folded close under deepening snow.


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