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"Rest your slippers on me," beamed the


"I brighten at touch of your feet.”

"We know the practised finger,"

Said the books," that seems like brain;" And the shy page rustled the secret It had kept till I came again.

Sang the pillow, "My down once quivered On nightingales' throats that flew Through moonlit gardens of Hafiz

To gather quaint dreams for you."

Ah me, where the Past sowed heart's-ease,
The Present plucks rue for us men!
I come back that scar unhealing

Was not in the churchyard then.

But, I think, the house is unaltered, I will go and beg to look

At the rooms that were once familiar To my life as its bed to a brook.

Unaltered! Alas for the sameness

That makes the change but more! 'Tis a dead man I see in the mirrors, 'Tis his tread that chills the floor!

To learn such a simple lesson,

Need I go to Paris and Rome, That the many make the household, But only one the home?

"T was just a womanly presence, An influence unexprest,

But a rose she had worn, on my gravesod

Were more than long life with the rest!

'Twas a smile, 't was a garment's rustle, 'T was nothing that I can phrase, But the whole dumb dwelling grew conscious,

And put on her looks and ways.

Were it mine I would close the shutters,
Like lids when the life is fled,
And the funeral fire should wind it,
This corpse of a home that is dead.

For it died that autumn morning
When she, its soul, was borne
To lie all dark on the hillside

That looks over woodland and corn.


I Go to the ridge in the forest
I haunted in days gone by,
But thou, O Memory, pourest
No magical drop in mine eye,
Nor the gleam of the secret restorest
That hath faded from earth and sky:
A Presence autumnal and sober
Invests every rock and tree,
And the aureole of October
Lights the maples, but darkens me.

Pine in the distance,

Patient through sun or rain,
Meeting with graceful persistence,
With yielding but rooted resistance,
The northwind's wrench and strain,
No memory of past existence
Brings thee pain;

Right for the zenith heading,
Friendly with heat or cold,
Thine arms to the influence spreading
Of the heavens, just from of old,
Thou only aspirest the more,
Unregretful the old leaves shedding
That fringed thee with music before,
And deeper thy roots embedding
In the grace and the beauty of yore;
Thou sigh'st not, "Alas, I am older,
The green of last summer is sear!"
But loftier, hopefuller, bolder,

Winnest broader horizons each year.

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The voyage's struggle and strife, And then the darker and drearier Wreck of a broken life?


In the letter to Mr. Norton, quoted at the beginning of this section, reference is made to The Voyage to Vinland, which Lowell had some thought of making the title-poem of the volume. In the same letter he says further re"Part of [this poem], you rememgarding it: ber, was written eighteen years ago. I meant to have made it much longer, but maybe it is better as it is. I clapt a beginning upon it, patched it in the middle, and then got to what has always been my favorite part of the plan. This was to be a prophecy by Gudrida, a woman who went with them, of the future America. I have written in an unrhymed alliterated measure, in very short verse and stanzas of five lines each. It does not aim at following the law of the Icelandic alliterated stave, but hints at it and also at the asonante, without being properly either. But it runs well and is melodious, and we think it pretty good here, as does also Howells. Well, after that, of course, I was all for alliteration." The poem had apparently first borne the title of Leif's Voyage, as he writes of that poem to Mr. Briggs in 1850.

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And safe as stars in all men's memories. Strange sagas read he in their sea-blue eyes Cold as the sea, grandly compassionless; Like life, they made him eager and then mocked.

Nay, broad awake, they would not let him be;

They shaped themselves gigantic in the mist,

They rose far-beckoning in the lamps of heaven,

They whispered invitation in the winds, And breath came from them, mightier than the wind,

To strain the lagging sails of his resolve, Till that grew passion which before was wish,

And youth seemed all too costly to be staked

On the soiled cards wherewith men played their game,

Letting Time pocket up the larger life, Lost with base gain of raiment, food, and roof.

"What helpeth lightness of the feet?" they said,

"Oblivion runs with swifter foot than

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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; But old and simple are despised as cheap, Though hardest to achieve of human things: Good were the days of yore, when men were tried

By ring of shields, as now by ring of words; But while the gods are left, and hearts of

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Impatient is her foot, nor turns again."
He ceased; upon his bosom sank his beard
Sadly, as one who oft had seen her pass
Nor stayed her: and forthwith the frothy

Of interrupted wassail roared along.
But Biörn, the son of Heriulf, sat apart
Musing, and, with his eyes upon the fire,
Saw shapes of arrows, lost as soon as seen.
"A ship," he muttered, "is a winged bridge
That leadeth every way to man's desire,
And ocean the wide gate to manful luck."
And then with that resolve his heart was

Which, like a humming shaft, through many a stripe

Of day and night, across the unpathwayed


Shot the brave prow that cut on Vinland


The first rune in the Saga of the West.



Four weeks they sailed, a speck in sky-shut


Life, where was never life that knew itself,
But tumbled lubber-like in blowing whales;
Thought, where the like had never been

Since Thought primeval brooded the abyss;
Alone as men were never in the world.
They saw the icy foundlings of the sea,
White cliffs of silence, beautiful by day,
Or looming, sudden-perilous, at night
In monstrous hush; or sometimes in the dark
The waves broke ominous with paly gleams
Crushed by the prow in sparkles of cold fire.
Then came green stripes of sea that prom-
ised land

But brought it not, and on the thirtieth day Low in the west were wooded shores like cloud.

They shouted as men shout with sudden


But Biörn was silent, such strange loss

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Men from the Northland,
Men from the Southland,
Haste empty-handed;
No more than manhood
Bring they, and hands.

Dark hair and fair hair,
Red blood and blue blood,
There shall be mingled;
Force of the ferment
Makes the New Man.

Pick of all kindreds,
Kings' blood shall theirs be,
Shoots of the eldest
Stock upon Midgard,
Sons of the poor.

Them waits the New Land;
They shall subdue it,
Leaving their sons' sons
Space for the body,
Space for the soul.

Leaving their sons' sons All things save song-craft, Plant long in growing, Thrusting its tap-root Deep in the Gone.

Here men shall grow up Strong from self-helping; Eyes for the present Bring they as eagles', Blind to the Past.

They shall make over Creed, law, and custom; Driving-men, doughty Builders of empire, Builders of men.

Here is no singer;

What should they sing of?
They, the unresting?
Labor is ugly,
Loathsome is change.

These the old gods hate,
Dwellers in dream-land,
Drinking delusion
Out of the empty
Skull of the Past.

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