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I, stretched beneath the many-centuried Who utter wisdom from the central deep, sbade

And, listening to the inner flow of things, Of some writhed oak, the wood's Laocoön, Speak to the age out of eternity. Did of my hope a dryad mistress make, Whom I would woo to meet me privily, Ah me! old hermits sought for solitude Or underneath the stars, or when the In caves and desert places of the earth, moon

Where their own heart-beat was the only Flecked all the forest floor with scattered

stir pearls.

Of living thing that comforted the year; O days whose memory tames to fawning But the bald pillar-top of Simeon, down

In midnight's blankest waste, were popuThe surly fell of Ocean's bristled neck !

lous,

Matched with the isolation drear and deep I know not when this bope enthralled me Of him who pines among the swarm of first,

men, But from my boyhood up I loved to hear At once a new thought's king and prisThe tall pine-forests of the Apennine

oner, Murmur their hoary legends of the sea, Feeling the truer life within his life, Which hearing, I in vision clear bebeld The fountain of his spirit's prophecy, The sudden dark of tropic night shut down Sinking away and wasting, drop by drop, O'er the huge whisper of great watery In the ungrateful sands of sceptic ears. wastes,

He in the palace-aisles of untrod woods The while a pair of herons trailingly Doth walk a king; for him the pent-up Flapped inland, where some league-wide

cell river hurled

Widens beyond the circles of the stars, The yellow spoil of unconjectured realms And all thc sceptred spirits of the past Far through a gulf's green silence, never Come thronging in to greet him as their scarred

peer; By any but the North-wind's hurrying But in the market-place's glare and throng keels.

He sits apart, an exile, and his brow And not the pines alone; all sights and Aches with the mocking memory of its

sounds To my world-seeking heart paid fealty, Yet to the spirit select there is no choice; And catered for it as the Cretan bees He cannot say, This will I do, or that, Brought honey to the baby Jupiter,

For the cheap means putting Heaven's Who in his soft hand crushed a violet, Godlike foremusing the rough thunder's And bartering his bleak rocks, the freehold gripe;

stern Then did I entertain the poet's song,

Of destiny's first-born, for smoother fields My great Idea's guest, and, passing o'er That yield no crop of self-denying will; That iron bridge the Tuscan built to hell, A hand is stretched to him from out the I heard Ulysses tell of mountain-chains

dark, Whose adamantine links, his manacles, Which grasping without question, he is led The western main shook growling, and Where there is work that he must do for still gnawed.

God. I brooded on the wise Athenian's tale The trial still is the strength's complement, Of happy Atlantis, and heard Björne's And the uncertain, dizzy path that scales keel

The sheer heights of supremest purposes Crunch the gray pebbles of the Vinland Is steeper to the angel than the child. shore:

Chances have laws as fixed as planets have, I listened, musing, to the prophecy

And disappointment's dry and bitter root, Of Nero's tutor-victim; lo, the birds Envy's harsh berries, and the choking Sing darkling, conscious of the climbing pool dawn.

Of the world's scorn, are the

ght motherAnd I believed the poets; it is they

milk

crown.

ends in pawn,

a

To the tough hearts that pioneer their I have dug out the pith and sinewy heart kind,

Of my aspiring life's fair trunk, be so And break a pathway to those unknown Cast up to warp and blacken in the sun, realms

Just as the opposing wind 'gins whistle off That in the earth's broad shadow lie en- His cheek-swollen pack, and from the leanthralled;

ing mast Endurance is the crowning quality,

Fortune's full sail strains forward ! And patience all the passion of great hearts;

One poor day! These are their stay, and when the leaden Remember whose and not how short it is ! world

It is God's day, it is Columbus's. Sets its hard face against their fateful A lavish day! One day, with life and thought,

heart, And brute strength, like the Gaulish con- Is more than time enough to find a world.

queror, Clangs his huge glaive down in the other scale,

AN INCIDENT OF THE FIRE The inspired soul but flings his patience

AT HAMBURG in, And slowly that outweighs the ponderous The tower of old Saint Nicholas soared upglobe,

ward to the skies, One faith against a whole earth's unbe- Like some huge piece of Nature's make, the lief,

growth of centuries; One soul against the flesh of all mankind. You could not deem its crowding spires a

work of human art, Thus ever seems it when my soul can hear They seemed to struggle lightward from a The voice that errs not; then my triumph sturdy living heart.

gleams, O'er the blank ocean beckoning, and all Not Nature's self more freely speaks in night

crystal or in oak, My heart flies on before me as I sail; Than, through the pious builder's hand, in Far on I see my lifelong enterprise,

that gray pile she spoke; That rose like Ganges mid the freezing And as from acorn springs the oak, so,

freely and alone, Of a world's solitude, sweep broadening Sprang from his heart this hymn to God, down,

sung in obedient stone. And, gathering to itself a thousand streams, Grow sacred ere it mingle with the sea; It seemed a wondrous freak of chance, so I see the ungated wall of chaos old,

perfect, yet so rough, With blocks Cyclopean hewn of solid night, A whim of Nature crystallized slowly in Fade like a wreath of unreturning mist

granite tough; Before the irreversible feet of light;- The thick spires yearned towards the sky And lo, with what clear omen in the east

in quaint harmonious lines, On day's gray threshold stands the eager And in broad sunlight basked and slept, dawn,

like a grove of blasted pines. Like young Leander rosy from the sea Glowing at Hero's lattice !

Never did rock or stream or tree lay claim

with better right

One day more To all the adorning sympathies of shadow These muttering shoalbrains leave the and of light; helm to me:

And, in that forest petrified, as forester God, let me not in their dull ooze be

there dwells stranded;

Stout Herman, the old sacristan, sole lord Let not this one frail rk, to hollow which

of all its bells.

snows

THE SOWER

Surge leaping after surge, the fire roared

onward red as blood, Till half of Hamburg lay engulfed beneath

the eddying flood; For miles away the fiery spray poured

down its deadly rain, And back and forth the billows sucked,

and paused, and burst again.

I saw a Sower walking slow

Across the earth, from east to west; His hair was white as mountain snow,

His head drooped forward on his breast.

With shrivelled bands he flung his seed,

Nor ever turned to look behind; Of sight or sound he took no heed;

It seemed he was both deaf and blind.

His dim face showed no soul beneath,

Yet in my heart I felt a stir, As if I looked upon the sheath,

That once had held Excalibur.

From square to square with tiger leaps

panted the lustful fire, The air to leeward shuddered with the

gasps of its desire; And church and palace, which even now

stood whelmed but to the knee, Lift their black roofs like breakers lone

amid the whirling sea. Up in his tower old Herman sat and

watched with quiet look; His soul had trusted God too long to be at

last forsook; He could not fear, for surely God a path

way would unfold Through this red sea for faithful hearts, as

once He did of old.

I heard, as still the seed he cast,

How, crooning to himself, he sung, “I sow again the holy Past,

The happy days when I was young.

“ Then all was wheat without a tare,

Then all was righteous, fair, and true; And I am he whose thoughtful care

Shall plant the Old World in the New.

“ The fruitful germs I scatter free,

With busy hand, while all men sleep; In Europe now, from sea to sea,

The nations bless me as they reap."

But scarcely can he cross himself, or on his

good saint call, Before the sacrilegious flood o'erleaped the

church-yard wall; And, ere a pater half was said, mid smoke

and crackling glare, His island tower scarce juts its head above

the wide despair. Upon the peril's desperate peak his heart

stood up sublime; His first thought was for God above, his

next was for his chime; “Sing now and make your voices heard in

hymns of praise," cried he, “ As did the Israelites of old, safe walking

through the sea ! “ Through this red sea our God hath made

the pathway safe to shore; Our promised land stands full in sight;

shout now as ne'er before !” And as the tower came crashing down, the

bells, in clear accord, Pealed forth the grand old German hymn,

“All good souls, praise the Lord !"

Then I looked back along his path,

And heard the clash of steel on steel, Where man faced man, in deadly wrath,

While clanged the tocsin's hurrying peal. The sky with burning towns flared red,

Nearer the noise of fighting rolled, And brothers' blood, by brothers shed,

Crept curdling over pavements cold. Then marked I how each germ of truth

Which through the dotard's fingers ran Was mated with a dragon's tooth

Whence there sprang up an armed man.

I shouted, but he could not hear;

Made signs, but these he could not see; And still, without a doubt or fear,

Broadcast he scattered anarchy. Long to my straining ears the blast

Brought faintly back the words he sung:

[blocks in formation]

Fence as you please, this plain poor man, Far up on Katahdin thou towerest,
Whose only fields are in his wit,

Purple-blue with the distance and vast; Who shapes the world, as best he can, Like a cloud o'er the lowlands thou lowerAccording to God's higher plan,

est, Owns you, and fences as is fit.

That bangs poised on a lull in the blast,

To its fall leaning awful.
Though yours the rents, his incomes wax
By right of eminent domain;

In the storm, like a prophet o'ermaddened, From factory tall to woodman's axe,

Thou singest and tossest thy branches; All things on earth must pay their tax, Thy heart with the terror is gladdened, To feed his hungry heart and brain. Thou forebodest the dread avalanches,

When whole mountains swoop valeHe takes you from your easy-chair,

ward. And what he plans that you must do; You sleep in down, eat dainty fare,

In the calm thou o'erstretchest the valleys He mounts his crazy garret-stair

With thine arms, as if blessings implorAnd starves, the landlord over you.

ing,

Like an old king led forth from his palace, Feeding the clods your idlesse drains, When his people to battle are pouring You make more green six feet of soil;

From the city beneath him. His fruitful word, like suns and rains, Partakes the seasons' bounteous pains, To the lumberer asleep 'neath thy gloomAnd toils to lighten human toil.

ing

Thou dost sing of wild billows in motion, Your lands, with force or cunning got, Till he longs to be swung mid their boomShrink to the measure of the grave;

ing But Death himself abridges not

In the tents of the Arabs of ocean, The tenures of almighty thought,

Whose finned isles are their cattle. The titles of the wise and brave.

For the gale snatches thee for his lyre,

With mad hand crashing melody frantic, TO A PINE-TREE

While he pours forth his mighty desire

To leap down on the eager Atlantic, Lowell's friend C. F. Briggs called the poet's Whose arms stretch to his playmate. attention to Coleridge's lines in The Ancient Mariner,

The wild storin makes his lair in thy “ And ice, mast high, came floating by

branches, As green as omerald,”

Swooping thence on the continent under; as perhaps the literary justification of " crags Like a lion, crouched close on his baunches, of green ice " in the penultimate stanza of this There awaiteth his leap the fierce thunpoem, - but maintained nevertheless that the

der, epithet green was not true to nature. In his

Growling low with impatience. reply Lowell wrote: “I did not have Coleridge's lines in my mind when I wrote my verses. Coleridge had a fine, true eye, and I

Spite of winter, thou keep'st thy green would gladly accept him (if I wanted any aid)

glory, in confirmation. I did trust my own eye. Lusty father of Titans past number! When I was a boy, my favorite sport was sail- The spow-flakes alone make thee hoary, ing upon Fresh Pond in summer, and in winter Nestling close to thy branches in slumhelping the hardy reapers to get in their har

ber, vest of ice, and never was a field of wheat in

And thee mantling with silence. July of a more lovely green. You have doubtless seen ice-bugs (as most people entomologically pronounce it), and they may not be green,

Thou alone know'st the splendor of winter, though I think they are described as of all

Mid thy snow-silvered, hushed precipices, colors. But my ice was fresh-water ice, and I Hearing crags of green ice groan and splinam right about it.”

ter,

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