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Thee, by nature wild and wavery,
Palpitating, evanescent
As the shade of Dian's crescent,
Life, motion, gladness, everywhere!

III

And stairs to Sin and Famine known

Sing with the welcome of their feet; The den they enter grows a shrine,

The grimy sash an oriel burns, Their cup of water warms like wine,

Their speech is filled from heavenly urns. About their brows to me appears

An aureole traced in tenderest light, The rainbow-gleam of smiles through tears

In dying eyes, by them made bright, Of souls that shivered on the edge

Of that chill ford repassed no more, And in their mercy felt the pledge

And sweetness of the farther shore.

Fathom deep men bury thee
In the furnace dark and still,
There, with dreariest mockery,
Making thee eat, against thy will,
Blackest Pennsylvanian stone;
But thou dost avenge thy doom,
For, from out thy catacomb,
Day and night thy wrath is blown
In a withering simoom,
And, adown that cavern drear,
Thy black pitfall in the floor,
Staggers the lusty antique cheer,
Despairing, and is seen no more!

A WINTER-EVENING HYMN TO

MY FIRE

I

IV

BEAUTY on my hearth-stone blazing!
To-night the triple Zoroaster
Shall my prophet be and master:
To-night will I pure Magian be,
Hymns to thy sole honor raising,
While thou leapest fast and faster,
Wild with self-delighted glee,
Or sink'st low and glowest faintly
As an aureole still and saintly,
Keeping cadence to my praising
Thee ! still thee! and only thee !

Elfish I may rightly name thee;
We enslave, but cannot tame thee;
With fierce snatches, now and then,
Thou pluckest at thy right again,
And thy down-trod instincts savage
To stealthy insurrection creep
While thy wittol masters sleep,
And burst in undiscerning ravage:
Then how thou shak'st thy bacchant locks!
While brazen pulses, far and near,
Throb thick and thicker, wild with fear
And dread conjecture, till the drear
Disordered clangor every steeple rocks !

II

V

Elfish daughter of Apollo !
Thee, from thy father stolen and bound
To serve in Vulcan's clangorous smithy,
Prometheus (primal Yankee) found,
And, when he had tampered with thee,
(Too confiding little maid !)
In a reed's precarious hollow
To our frozen earth conveyed:
For he swore I know not what;
Endless ease should be thy lot,
Pleasure that should never falter,
Lifelong play, and not a duty
Save to hover o'er the altar,
Vision of celestial beauty,
Fed with precious woods and spices;
Then, perfidious ! having got
Thee in the net of his devices,
Sold thee into endless slavery,
Made thee a drudge to boil the pot,
Thee, Helios' daughter, who dost bear
His likeness in thy golden hair;

But when we make a friend of thee,
And admit thee to the hall
On our nights of festival,
Then, Cinderella, who could see
In thee the kitchen's stunted thrall ?
Once more a Princess lithe and tall,
Thou dancest with a whispering tread,
While the bright marvel of thy head
In crinkling gold floats all abroad,
And gloriously dost vindicate
The legend of thy lineage great,
Earth-exiled daughter of the Pythian god !
Now in the ample chimney-place,
To honor thy acknowledged race,
We crown thee high with laurel good,
Thy shining father's sacred wood,
Which, guessing thy ancestral right,
Sparkles and snaps its dumb delight,
And, at thy touch, poor outcast one,

Feels through its gladdened fibres go The tingle and thrill and vassal glow Of instincts loyal to the sun.

VI

And, as her incense floats and curls
In airy spires and wayward whirls,
Or poises on its tremulous stalk
A flower of frailest revery,
So winds and loiters, idly free,
The current of unguided talk,
Now laughter-rippled, and now caught
In smooth, dark pools of deeper thought.
Meanwhile thou mellowest every word,
A sweetly unobtrusive third;
For thou hast magic beyond wine,
To unlock natures each to each;
The unspoken thought thou canst divine;
Thou fill'st the pauses of the speech
With whispers that to dream-land reach
And frozen fancy-springs unchain
In Arctic outskirts of the brain :
Sun of all inmost confidences,
To thy rays doth the heart unclose
Its formal calyx of pretences,
That close against rude day's offences,
And open its shy midnight rose !

O thou of home the guardian Lar,
And, when our earth hath wandered far
Into the cold, and deep snow covers
The walks of our New England lovers,
Their sweet secluded evening-star !
'T was with thy rays the English Muse
Ripened her mild domestic hues;
'T was by thy flicker that she conned
The fireside wisdom that enrings
With light from heaven familiar things;
By thee she found the homely faith
In whose mild eyes thy comfort stay'th,
When Death, extinguishing his torch,
Gropes for the latch-string

in the porch ;
The love that wanders not beyond
His earliest nest, but sits and sings
While children smooth his patient wings;
Therefore with thee I love to read
Our brave old poets: at thy touch how

stirs Life in the withered words ! how swift

recede Time's shadows ! and how glows again Through its dead mass the incandescent

verse,
As when upon the anvils of the brain
It glittering lay, cyclopically wrought
By the fast - throbbing hammers of the

poet's thought!
Thou murmurest, too, divinely stirred,
The aspirations unattained,
The rhythms so rathe and delicate,
They bent and strained
And broke, beneath the sombre weight
Of any airiest mortal word.

VIII

Thou holdest not the master key
With which thy Sire sets free the mystic

gates
Of Past and Future: not for common fates
Do they wide open fling,
And, with a far-heard ring,
Swing back their willing valves melodi-

ously; Only to ceremonial days, And great processions of imperial song That set the world at gaze, Doth such high privilege belong: But thou a postern-door canst ope To humbler chambers of the selfsame

palace Where Memory lodges, and her sister

Hope, Whose being is but as a crystal chalice Which, with her various mood, the elder

fills Of joy or sorrow, So coloring as she wills With hues of yesterday the unconscious

VII

morrow.

What warm protection dost thou bend
Round curtained talk of friend with friend,
While the gray snow-storm, held aloof,
To softest outline rounds the roof,
Or the rude North with baffled strain
Shoulders the frost-starred window-pane !
Now the kind nymph to Bacchus born
By Morpheus' daughter, she that seems
Gifted upon her natal morn
By him with fire, by her with dreams,
Nicotia, dearer to the Muse
Than all the grape's bewildering juice,
We worship, unforbid of thee;

IX

Thou sinkest, and my fancy sinks with

thee:
For thee I took the idle shell,
And struck the unused chords again,
But they are gone who listened well;

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His precious flanks with stars besprent,
Worthy to swim in Castaly !

ODE TO HAPPINESS
The friend by whom such gifts are sent,
For him shall bumpers full be spent, SPIRIT, that rarely comest now
His health ! be Luck his fast ally! And only to contrast my gloom,

Like rainbow-feathered birds that bloom I see him trace the wayward brook

A moment on some autumn bough Amid the forest mysteries,

That, with the spurn of their farewell, Where at their shades shy aspens look, Sbeds its last leaves, - thou once didst Or where, with many a gurgling crook,

dwell It croons its woodland histories.

With me year-long, and make intense

To boyhood's wisely vacant days
I see leaf-shade and sun-fleck lend

Their fleet but all-sufficing grace
Their tremulous, sweet vicissitude Of trustful inexperience,
To smooth, dark pool, to crinkling bend,

Wbile soul could still transfigure sense, (Oh, stew him, Ann, as 't were your friend, And thrill, as with love's first caress, With amorous solicitude !)

At life's mere unexpectedness.

Days when my blood would leap and run I see him step with caution due,

Ås full of sunshine as a breeze, Soft as if shod with moccasins,

Or spray tossed up by Summer seas Grave as in church, for who plies you,

That doubts if it be sea or sun! Sweet craft, is safe as in a pew

Days that flew swiftly like the band From all our common stock o'sins. That played in Grecian games at strife,

And passed from eager hand to hand
The unerring fly I see him cast,

The onward-dancing torch of life!
That as a rose-leaf falls as soft,
A flash ! a whirl ! be has him fast!

Wing-footed! thou abid'st with him
We tyros, how that struggle last

Who asks it not; but he who hath Čonfuses and appalls us oft.

Watched o'er the waves thy waning path,

Shall nevermore behold returning Unfluttered he : calm as the sky

Thy high-heaped canvas shoreward yearnLooks on our tragi-comedies,

ing! This way and that be lets him fily,

Thou first reveal'st to us thy face A sunbeam-shuttle, then to die

Turned o'er the shoulder's parting grace, Lands him, with cool aplomb, at ease. A moment glimpsed, then seen

more, The friend who gave our board such gust, Thou whose swift footsteps we can trace

Life's care may he o'erstep it half, Away from every mortal door.
And, when Death hooks him, as he must,
He 'll do it handsomely, I trust,

Nymph of the unreturning feet,
And John Hwrite his epitaph! How may I win thee back? But no,

I do thee wrong to call thee so; Oh, born beneath the Fishes' sign,

'T is I am changed, not thou art fleet: Of constellations happiest,

The man thy presence feels again, May he somewhere with Walton dine, Not in the blood, but in the brain, May Horace send him Massic wine, Spirit, that lov'st the upper air

And Burns Scotch drink, the nappi- Serene and passionless and rare, est!

Such as on mountain heights we find

And wide-viewed uplands of the mind; And when they come his deeds to weigh, Or such as scorns to coil and sing

And how he used the talents his, Round any but the eagle's wing One trout-scale in the scales he 'll lay

Of souls that with long upward beat (If trout had scales), and 't will out- Have won an nndisturbed retreat sway

Where, poised like wingëd victories, The wrong side of the balances. They mirror in relentless eyes

no

The life broad - basking 'neath their

feet, Man ever with his Now at strife,

Pained with first gasps of earthly air,

Then praying Death the last to spare, Still fearful of the ampler life.

With deepened eyes and bated breath,

Like one that somewhere hath met Death: But “No," she answers, “I am she Whom the gods love, Tranquillity;

That other whom you seek forlorn

Half earthly was; but I am born Of the immortals, and our race Wears still some sadness on its face:

He wins me late, but keeps me long, Who, dowered with every gift of passion, In that fierce flame can forge and fashion

Of sin and self the anchor strong;
Can thence compel the driving force
Of daily life's mechanic course,
Nor less the nobler energies
Of needful toil and culture wise;
Whose soul is worth the tempter's lure
Who can renounce, and yet endure,
To him I come, not lightly wooed,
But won by silent fortitude."

VILLA FRANCA

1859

Not unto them dost thou consent

Who, passionless, can lead at ease
A life of unalloyed content

A life like that of land-locked seas,
Who feel no elemental gush
Of tidal forces, no fierce rush

Of storm deep-grasping scarcely spent

'Twixt continent and continent. Such quiet souls have never known

Thy truer inspiration, thou

Who lov'st to feel upon thy brow Spray from the plunging vessel thrown

Grazing the tusked lee shore, the cliff That o'er the abrupt gorge holds its breath,

Where the frail hair-breadth of an if Is all that sunders life and death: These, too, are cared for, and round these Bends her mild crook thy sister Peace;

These in unvexed dependence lie, Each ’neath his strip of household sky; O'er these clouds wander, and the blue Hangs motionless the whole day through; Stars rise for them, and moons grow

large And lessen in such tranquil wise As joys and sorrows do that rise

Within their nature's sheltered marge; Their hours into each other flit

Like the leaf-shadows of the vine And fig-tree under which they sit,

And their still lives to heaven incline With an unconscious habitude,

Unhistoried as smokes that rise From happy hearths and sight elude

In kindred blue of morning skies. Wayward! when once we feel thy lack, 'T is worse than vain to woo thee back!

Yet there is one who seems to be
Thine elder sister, in whose eyes
A faint far northern light will rise

Sometimes, and bring a dream of thee; She is not that for which youth hoped,

But she hath blessings all her own,
Thoughts pure as lilies newly oped,

And faith to sorrow given alone:
Almost I deem that it is thou
Come back with graver matron brow,

Wait a little: do we not wait ?
Louis Napoleon is not Fate,
Francis Joseph is not Time;
There's One hath swifter feet than Crime;
Cannon-parliaments settle naught;
Venice is Austria's, — whose is Thought ?
Minié is good, but, spite of change,
Gutenberg's gun has the longest range.

Spin, spin, Clotho, spin !
Lachesis, twist! and, Atropos, sever!
In the shadow, year out, year in,
The silent headsman waits forever.

Wait, we say: our years are long;
Men are weak, but Man is strong;
Since the stars first curved their rings,
We have looked on many things;
Great wars come and great wars go,
Wolf-tracks light on polar snow;
We shall see him come and gone,
This second-hand Napoleon.

Spin, spin, Clotho, spin!
Lachesis, twist! and, Atropos, sever!
In the shadow, year out, year in,
The silent headsman waits forever.

We saw the elder Corsican,
And Clotho muttered as she span,
While crowned lackeys bore the train,

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