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Ribs of rock that seaward jut,

And on the whole island never a tree Granite shoulders and boulders and snags, Save a score of sumachs, high as your knee, Round which, though the winds in heaven That crouch in hollows where they may, be shut,

(The cellars where once stood a village, The nightmared ocean murmurs and yearns, men say,) Welters, and swashes, and tosses, and turns, Huddling for warmth, and never grew And the dreary black seaweed lolls and Tall enough for a peep at the sea; Wags;

A general dazzle of open blue; Only rock from shore to shore,

A breeze always blowing and playing ratOnly a moan through the bleak clefts

tat blown,

With the bow of the ribbon round your hat; With sobs in the rifts where the coarse kelp A score of sheep that do nothing but stare shifts,

Up or down at you everywhere; Falling and lifting, tossing and drifting, Three or four cattle that chew the cud And under all a deep, dull roar,

Lying about in a listless despair; Dying and swelling, forevermore,

A medrick that makes you look overhead Rock and moan and roar alone,

With short, sharp scream, as he sights his And the dread of some nameless thing un- prey, known,

And, dropping straight and swift as lead, These make Appledore.

Splits the water with sudden thud;

This is Appledore by day.
These make Appledore by night:
Then there are monsters left and right; A common island, you will

say; Every rock is a different monster;

But stay a moment: only climb
All you have read of, fancied, dreamed, Up to the highest rock of the isle,
When you waked at night because you Stand there alone for a little while,
screamed,

And with gentle approaches it grows subThere they lie for half a mile,

lime, Jumbled together in a pile,

Dilating slowly as you win And (though you know they never once A sense from the silence to take it in. stir)

So wide the loneness, so lucid the air, If you look long, they seem to be moving The granite beneath you so savagely bare, Just as plainly as plain can be,

You well might think you were looking Crushing and crowding, wading and shov

down ing

From some sky-silenced mountain's crown, Out into the awful sea,

Whose waist-belt of pines is wont to tear Where you can hear them snort and spout Locks of wool from the topmost cloud. With pauses between, as if they were listen- Only be sure you go alone, ing,

For Grandeur is inaccessibly proud, Then tumult anon when the surf breaks And never yet has backward thrown glistening

Her veil to feed the stare of a crowd; In the blackness where they wallow about. To more than one was never shown

That awful front, nor is it fit

That she, Cothurnus-shod, stand bowed All this you would scarcely comprehend, Until the self-approving pit Should you see the isle on a sunny day ; Enjoy the gust of its own wit Then it is simple enough in its way, In babbling plaudits cheaply loud; Two rocky bulges, one at each end,

She hides her mountains and her sea With a smaller bulge and a hollow between; From the harriers of scenery, Patches of whortleberry and bay;

Who hunt down sunsets, and huddle and Accidents of open green,

bay, Sprinkled with loose slabs square and gray, Mouthing and mumbling the dying day. Like graveyards for ages deserted; a few Unsocial thistles ; an elder or two,

Trust me, 't is something to be cast Foamed over with blossoms white as spray; Face to face with one's Self at last,

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II

To be taken out of the fuss and strife, And like the others does not slip
The endless clatter of plate and knife, Behind the sea's unsteady brink;
The bore of books and the bores of the Though, if a cloud-shade chance to dip
street,

Upon it a moment, 't will suddenly sink, From the singular mess we agree to call Levelled and lost in the darkened main, Life,

Till the sun builds it suddenly up again, Where that is best which the most fools As if with a rub of Aladdin's lamp. vote is,

On the mainland you see a misty camp And planted firm on one's own two feet Of mountains pitched tumultuously: So nigb to the great warm heart of God, That one looming so long and large You almost seem to feel it beat

Is Saddleback, and that point you see Down from the sunshine and up from the Over yon low and rounded marge, sod;

Like the boss of a sleeping giant's targe
To be compelled, as it were, to notice Laid over his breast, is Ossipee;
All the beautiful changes and chances That shadow there may be Kearsarge;
Through which the landscape flits and That must be Great Haystack; I love
glances,

these names,
And to see how the face of common day Wherewith the lonely farmer tames
Is written all over with tender histories, Nature to mute companionship
When you study it that intenser way With his own mind's domestic mood,
In wbich a lover looks at his mistress. And strives the surly world to clip

In the arms of familiar habitude. Till now you dreamed not what could be 'T is well he could not contrive to make done

A Saxon of Agamenticus: With a bit of rock and a ray of sun; He glowers there to the north of us, But look, how fade the lights and shades Wrapt in his blanket of blue haze, Of keen bare edge and crevice deep ! Unconvertibly savage, and scorns to take How doubtfully it fades and fades, The white man's baptism or his ways. And glows again, yon craggy steep,

Him first on shore the coaster divines O’er which, through color's dreamiest Through the early gray, and sees him grades,

shake The musing sunbeams pause and creep ! The morning mist from his scalp-lock of Now pink it blooms, now glimmers gray,

pines; Now shadows to a filmy blue,

Him first the skipper makes out in the Tries one, tries all, and will not stay,

west, But flits from opal hue to hue,

Ere the earliest sunstreak shoots tremuAnd runs through every tenderest range

lous, Of change that seems not to be change, Plashing with orange the palpitant lines So rare the sweep, so nice the art,

Of mutable billow, crest after crest,
That lays no stress on any part,

And murmurs Agamenticus !
But shifts and lingers and persuades; As if it were the name of a saint.
So soft that sun-brush in the west,

But is that a mountain playing cloud,
That asks no costlier pigments' aids, Or a cloud playing mountain, just there,
But mingling knobs, flaws, angles, dints,

so faint ? Indifferent of worst or best,

Look along over the low right shoulder Enchants the cliffs with wraiths and hints Of Agamenticus into that crowd And gracions preludings of tints,

Of brassy thunderheads behind it; Where all seems fixed, yet all evades, Now you have caught it, but, ere you are And indefinably pervades

older Perpetual movement with perpetual rest! By half an hour, you will lose it and find it

A score of times; while you look 't is gone,

And, just as you 've given it up, anon Away northeast is Boone Island light; It is there again, till your weary eyes You might mistake it for a ship,

Fancy they see it waver and rise, Only it stands too plumb upright,

With its brother clouds; it is Agiochook,

III

V

There if you seek not, and gone if you That shorten and shorten out of sight, look,

Yet seem on the selfsame spot to stay, Ninety miles off as the eagle flies.

Receding with a motionless motion,

Fading to dubious films of gray, But mountains make not all the shore Lost, dimly found, then vanished wholly, The mainland shows to Appledore;

Will rise again, the great world under, Eight miles the heaving water spreads First films, then towers, then high-heaped To a long, low coast with beaches and clouds, heads

Whose nearing outlines sharpen slowly That run through unimagined mazes, Into tall ships with cobweb shrouds, As the lights and shades and magical hazes That fill long Mongol eyes with wonder, Put them away or bring them near, Crushing the violet wave to spray Shimmering, sketched out for thirty miles Past some low headland of Cathay; Between two capes that waver like threads, What was that sigh which seemed so near, And sink in the ocean, and reappear, Chilling your fancy to the core ? Crumbled and melted to little isles,

'T is only the sad old sea you hear, With filmy trees, that seem the mere

That seems to seek forevermore
Half-fancies of drowsy atmosphere;

Something it cannot find, and so,
And see the beach there, where it is Sighing, seeks on, and tells its woe
Flat as a threshing-floor, beaten and packed To the pitiless breakers of Appledore.
With the flashing flails of weariless seas,
How it lifts and looms to a precipice,
O’er whose square front, a dream, no How looks Appledore in a storm ?
more,

I have seen it when its crags seemed The steepened sand-stripes seem to pour,

frantic, A murmurless vision of cataract;

Butting against the mad Atlantic, You almost fancy you hear a roar,

When surge on surge would heap enorme, Fitful and faint from the distance wander- Cliffs of emerald topped with snow, ing;

That lifted and lifted, and then let go But 't is only the blind old ocean maunder- A great white avalanche of thunder, ing,

grinding, blinding, deafening ire Raking the shingle to and fro,

Monadnock might have trembled under; Aimlessly clutching and letting go

And the island, whose rock-roots pierce The kelp-haired sedges of Appledore,

below Slipping down with a sleepy forgetting, To where they are warmed with the cenAnd anon his ponderous shoulder setting,

tral fire, With a deep, hoarse pant against Apple- You could feel its granite fibres racked, dore.

As it seemed to plunge with a shudder

and thrill

Right at the breast of the swooping hill, Eastward as far as the eye can see,

And to rise again snorting a cataract Still eastward, eastward, endlessly, Of rage-froth from every cranny and ledge, The sparkle and tremor of purple sea

While the sea drew its breath in hoarse That rises before you, a flickering hill,

and deep, On and on to the shut of the sky,

And the next vast breaker curled its edge, And beyond, you fancy it sloping until Gathering itself for a mightier leap. The same multitudinous throb and thrill That vibrate under your dizzy eye

North, east, and south there are reefs and In ripples of orange and pink are sent

breakers Where the poppied sails doze on the yard, You would never dream of in smooth And the clumsy junk and proa lie

weather, Sunk deep with precious woods and nard, That toss and gore the sea for acres, 'Mid the palmy isles of the Orient.

Bellowing and gnashing and snarling toThose leaning towers of clouded white

gether; On the farthest brink of doubtful ocean, Look northward, where Duck Island lies,

IV

And over its crown you will see arise,
Against a background of slaty skies,
A row of pillars still and white,
That glimmer, and then are gone from

sight, As if the moon should suddenly kiss, While you crossed the gusty desert by

night, The long colonnades of Persepolis; Look southward for White Island light, The lantern stands ninety feet o'er the

tide; There is first a half-mile of tumult and

fight, Of dash and roar and tumble and fright,

And surging bewilderment wild and wide, Where the breakers struggle left and right,

Then a mile or more of rushing sea, And then the lighthouse slim and lone; And whenever the weight of ocean is

thrown Full and fair on White Island head,

A great mist-jotun you will see
Lifting himself up silently
High and huge o'er the lighthouse top,
With hands of wavering spray outspread,

Groping after the little tower,
That seems to shrink and shorten and

cower, Till the monster's arms of a sudden drop,

And silently and fruitlessly
He sinks back into the sea.

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With freaks of shadow and crimson stains;
To see the solid mountain brow
As it notches the disk, and gains and gains,
Until there comes, you scarce know when,
A tremble of fire o'er the parted lips
Of cloud and mountain, which vanishes;

then From the body of day the sun-soul slips And the face of earth darkens; but now the

strips Of western vapor, straight and thin, From which the horizon's swervings win A grace of contrast, take fire and burn Like splinters of touchwood, whose edges a

mould Of ashes o'erfeathers; northward turn For an instant, and let your eye grow

cold On Agamenticus, and when once more You look, 't is as if the land-breeze, grow

ing, From the smouldering brands the film

were blowing, And brightening them down to the very

core; Yet they momently cool and dampen and

deaden, The crimson turns golden, the gold turns

leaden, Hardening into one black bar O'er which, from the hollow heaven afar, Shoots a splinter of light like diamond, Half seen, half fancied; by and by Beyond whatever is most beyond In the uttermost waste of desert sky, Grows a star; And over it, visible spirit of dew, Ah, stir not, speak not, hold your breath, Or surely the miracle vanisheth, The new moon, tranced in unspeakable

blue ! No frail illusion; this were true, Rather, to call it the canoe Hollowed out of a single pearl, That floats us from the Present's whirl Back to those beings which were ours, When wishes were wingëd things like powo

Yon, meanwhile, where drenched you stand,

Awaken once more to the rush and roar, And on the rock-point tighten your hand, As you turn and see a valley deep,

That was not there a moment before, Suck rattling down between you and a heap

Of toppling billow, whose instant fall

Must sink the whole island once for all, Or watch the silenter, stealthier seas

Feeling their way to you more and more; If they once should clutch you high as the

knees, They would whirl you down like a sprig of

kelp, Beyond all reach of hope or help; –

And such in a storm is Appledore.

ers!

VI

'T is the sight of a lifetime to behold
The great shorn sun as you see it now,
Across eight miles of undulant gold
That widens landward, weltered and rolled,

Call it not light, that mystery tender,
Which broods upon the brooding ocean
That flush of ecstasied surrender
To indefinable emotion,
That glory, mellower than a mist
Of pearl dissolved with amethyst,
Which rims Square Rock, like what they

paint

[blocks in formation]

No more a vision, reddened, largened,
The moon dips toward her mountain nest,
And, fringing it with palest argent,
Slow sheathes herself behind the margent
Of that long cloud-bar in the West,
Whose nether edge, erelong, you see
The silvery chrism in turn anoint,
And then the tiniest rosy point
Touched doubtfully and tiinidly
Into the dark blue's chilly strip,
As some mute, wondering thing below,
Awakened by the thrilling glow,
Might, looking up, see Dian dip
One lucent foot's delaying tip
In Latmian fountains long ago.

I TREASURE in secret some long, fine

bair Of tenderest brown, but so inwardly

golden I half used to fancy the sunshine there, So shy, so shifting, so waywardly rare, Was only caught for the moment and

holden While I could say Dearest ! and kiss it,

and then In pity let go to the summer again. I twisted this magic in gossamer strings

Over a wind-harp's Delphian hollow; Then called to the idle breeze that swings All day in the pine-tops, and clings, and

sings 'Mid the musical leaves, and said, “Oh,

follow The will of those tears that deepen my

words, And fly to my window to waken these

chords."

Knew

you what silence was before ? Here is no startle of dreaming bird That sings in his sleep, or strives to sing; Here is no sough of branches stirred, Nor noise of any living thing, Such as one hears by night on shore; Only, now and then, a sigh, With fickle intervals between, Sometimes far, and sometimes nigh, Such as Andromeda might have heard, And fancied the huge sea-beast unseen Turning in sleep; it is the sea That welters and wavers uneasily Round the lonely reefs of Appledore.

So they trembled to life, and, doubtfully
Feeling their way to my sense, sang,

“Say whether
They sit all day by the greenwood tree,
The lover and loved, as it wont to be,
When we —

” But grief conquered, and all together They swelled such weird murmur as haunts

a shore Of some planet dispeopled, - “ Never

more !"

THE WIND-HARP

“Your inspiration is still to you a living mistress — make her immortal in her promptings and her consolations by imaging her truly in art. Mine looks at me with eyes of paler flame and beckons across a gulf. You came into my loneliness like an incarnate aspiration. And it is dreary enough sometimes, for a mountain-peak on whose snow your foot makes the first mortal print is not so lonely as a room full of happy faces from which one is missing forever. This was originally the fifth stanza of The Windharp. O tress! that so oft in my heart hast lain,

Rocked to rest within rest by its thankful beating, Say, which is harder - to bear the pain of laughter and light, or to wait in vain

'Neath the unleaved tree the impossible meeting? If Death's lips be icy, Life gives, iwis, Some kisses more clay-cold and darkening than his ! Forgive me, but you spoke of it first." J.R.L. to W. J. Stillman, December 7, 1854.

Then from deep in the past, as seemed to

me, The strings gathered sorrow and sang

forsaken, “ One lover still waits 'neath the green

wood tree, But 't is dark," and they shuddered,

“ where lieth she Dark and cold ! Forever must one be

taken ?" But I groaned, “O barp of all ruth be

reft, This Scripture is sadder, — the other

left'!”

There murmured, as if one strove to speak, And tears came instead; then the sad

tones wandered And faltered among the uncertain chords

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