« ПретходнаНастави »
With eddying dust before their time turn
gray, Pining for rain, to me thy dust is
dear; It glorifies the eve of summer day, And when the westering sun half
sunken bnrns, The mote-thick air to deepest orange
turns, The westward horseman rides through
clouds of gold away,
That portion of my life more choice to (Though brief, yet in itself so round and
whole) Than all the imperfect residue can
be; — The Artist saw his statue of the soul Was perfect; so, with one regretful
stroke, The earthen model into fragments
broke, And without her the impoverished seasons
True part of the landscape as sea, land, and THE GROWTH OF THE LEGEND
air; For it grew in good times, ere the fashion
To force these wild births of the woods A LEGEND that grew in the forest's hush
under glass, Slowly as tear-drops gather and gush, And so, if 't is told as it should be told, When a word some poet chanced to say Though 't were sung under Venice's moonAges ago, in his careless way,
light of gold, Brings our youth back to us out of its You would hear the old voice of its mother, shroud
the pine, Clearly as under
Murmur sealike and northern through I see that white sea-gull. It grew and
every line, grew,
And the verses should grow, self-sustained From the pine-trees gathering a sombre
and free, hue,
Round the vibrating stem of the melody, Till it seems a mere murmur out of the Like the lithe moonlit limbs of the parent vast
tree. Norwegian forests of the past; And it grew itself like a true Northern Yes, the pine is the mother of legends; pine,
what food First a little slender line,
For their grim roots is left when the thouLike a mermaid's green eyelash, and then sand-yeared wood,
The dim-aisled cathedral, whose tall arches A stem that a tower might rest upon,
spring Standing spear-straight in the waist-deep Light, sinewy, graceful, firm-set as the moss,
wing Its bony roots clutching around and across, From Michael's white shoulder, is hewn and As if they would tear up earth's heart in
By iconoclast axes in desperate waste, Ere the storm should uproot them or make And its wrecks seek the ocean it prophesied them unclasp;
long, Its cloudy boughs singing, as suiteth the Cassandra-like, crooning its mystical song? pine,
Then the legends go with them, even yet To snow-bearded sea-kings old songs of the
on the sea brine,
A wild virtue is left in the touch of the tree, Till they straightened and let their staves And the sailor's night-watches are thrilled fall to the floor,
to the core Hearing waves moan again on the perilous With the lineal offspring of Odin and Thor.
shore Of Vinland, perhaps, while their prow Yes, wherever the pine-wood has never let
groped its way 'Twixt the frothed gnashing tusks of some Since the day of creation, the light and the ship-crunching bay.
Of manifold life, but has safely conveyed So, pine-like, the legend grew, strong- From the midnight primeval its armful of limbed and tall,
shade, As the Gypsy child grows that eats crusts And has kept the weird Past with its childin the hall;
faith alive It sucked the whole strength of the earth Mid the hum and the stir of To-day's busy and the sky,
hive, Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, all brought There the legend takes root in the ageit supply:
gathered gloom, 'Twas a natural growth, and stood fear- And its murmurous boughs for their saga lessly there,
In those who everything did lack, The poor, the outcast and the black.
Pride held his hand before mine eyes,
The world with flattery stuffed mine ears ; I looked to see a monarch's guise, Nor dreamed thy love would knock for
years, Poor, naked, fettered, full of tears.
Yet, when I sent my love to thee,
Thou with a smile didst take it in, And entertain'dst it royally, Though grimed with earth, with hunger
thin, And leprous with the taint of sin.
Now every day thy love I meet,
As o'er the earth it wanders wide, With weary step and bleeding feet,
Still knocking at the heart of pride And offering grace, though still denied.
Where Aroostook, far-heard, seems to sob
as he goes Groping down to the sea 'neath his moun
tainous snows; Where the lake's frore Sahara of never
tracked white, When the crack shoots across it, complains
to the night With a long, lonely moan, that leagues
northward is lost, As the ice shrinks away from the tread of
the frost; Where the lumberers sit by the log-fires
that throw Their own threatening shadows far round
o'er the snow, When the wolf howls aloof, and the waver
ing glare Flashes out from the blackness the eyes of
the bear, When the wood's huge recesses, half
lighted, supply A canvas where Fancy her mad brush may
try, Blotting in giant Horrors that venture not
down Through the right-angled streets of the
brisk, whitewashed town, But skulk in the depths of the measureless
wood Mid the Dark's creeping whispers that
curdle the blood, When the eye, glanced in dread o'er the
shoulder, may dream, Ere it shrinks to the camp-fire's companion
ing gleam, That it saw the fierce ghost of the Red
Man crouch back To the shroud of the tree-trunk's invincible
black; There the old shapes crowd thick round
the pine-shadowed camp, Which shun the keen gleam of the scholarly
lamp, And the seed of the legend finds true Nor
land ground, While the border-tale's told and the can
teen flits round.
Go! leave me, Priest; my soul would be
Alone with the consoler, Death; Far sadder eyes than thine will see
This crumbling clay yield up its breath; These shrivelled hands have deeper stains
Than holy oil can cleanse away, Hands that have plucked the world's coarse
gains As erst they plucked the flowers of May. Call, if thou canst, to these gray eyes Some faith from youth's traditions
wrung; This fruitless husk which dustward dries
Hath been a heart once, hath been young; On this bowed head the awful Past
Once laid its consecrating bands; The Future in its purpose vast
Paused, waiting my supreme commands.
But look ! whose shadows block the door ?
Who are those two that stand aloof ? See ! on my hands this freshening gore
Writes o'er again its crimson proof ! My looked-for death-bed guests are met; There my dead Youth doth wring its
hands, And there, with eyes that goad me yet,
The ghost of my Ideal stands !
The love thou sentest oft to me,
And still as oft I thrust it back; Thy messengers I could not see
God bends from out the deep and says,
“I gave thee the great gift of life; Wast thou not called in many ways
? Are not my earth and heaven at strife ? I gave
thee of my seed to sow, Bringest thou me my hundred-fold ?” Can I look up with face aglow,
And answer, “ Father, bere is gold ” ?
Mine held them once; I flung away
Those keys that might have open set The golden sluices of the day,
But clutch the keys of darkness yet; I hear the reapers singing go
Into God's harvest; I, that might With them have chosen, here below
Grope shuddering at the gates of night. O glorious Youth, that once wast mine !
O high Ideall all in vain Ye enter at this ruined shrine
Whence worship ne'er shall rise again; The bat and owl inhabit here,
The snake nests in the altar-stone, The sacred vessels moulder near,
The image of the God is gone.
Christ still was wandering o'er the earth
Without a place to lay his head; He found free welcome at my hearth,
He shared my cup and broke my bread: Now, when I hear those steps sublime,
That bring the other world to this, My snake-turned nature, sunk in slime,
Starts sideway with defiant hiss.
Upon the hour when I was born,
God said, “ Another man shall be,”
Out of himself to fashion me;
And Heaven's rich instincts in me grew, As effortless as woodland nooks
Send violets up and paint them blue.
WHAT gnarlëd stretch, what depth of
shade, is his ! There needs no crown to mark the for
est's king; How in his leaves outshines full summer's
bliss ! Sun, storm, rain, dew, to him their trib
ute bring, Which be with such benignant royalty
Accepts, as overpayeth what is lent; All nature seems his vassal proud to be,
And cunning only for his ornament. How towers he, too, amid the billowed
snows, An unqnelled exile from the summer's
throne, Whose plain, uncinctured front more kingly
shows, Now that the obscuring courtier leaves
are flown. His boughs make music of the winter air, Jewelled with sleet, like some cathedral
front Where clinging snow-flakes with quaint art
repair The dints and furrows of time's envious
Yes, I who now, with angry tears,
Am exiled back to brutish clod,
A spark of the eternal God;
The trust for such high uses given ? Heaven's light hath but revealed a track
Whereby to crawl away from heaven.
To see a soul just set adrift
The ominous shadows never lift;
A helpless infant newly born, Whose little hands unconscious hold
The keys of darkness and of morn.
How doth his patient strength the rude
March wind Persuade to seem glad breaths of sum
mer breeze, And win the soil that fain would be unkind,
To swell his revenues with proud in- With diet spare and raiment thin crease !
He shielded himself from the father of sin; He is the gem; and all the landscape wide With bed of iron and scourgings oft,
(So doth his grandeur isolate the sense) His heart to God's hand as wax made soft. Seems but the setting, worthless all beside, An empty socket, were he fallen thence. Through earnest prayer and watchings
long So, from oft converse with life's wintry He sought to know 'tween right and wrong, gales,
Much wrestling with the blessed Word Should man learn how to clasp with To make it yield the sense of the Lord, tougher roots
That he might build a storm-proof creed The inspiring earth; how otherwise avails To fold the flock in at their need. The leaf - creating sap that sunward shoots ?
At last he builded a perfect faith, So every year that falls with noiseless Fenced round about with The Lord thus flake
saith; Should fill old scars up on the storm- To himself be fitted the doorway's size, ward side,
Meted the light to the need of his eyes, And make hoar age revered for age's sake, And knew, by a sure and inward sign,
Not for traditions of youth's leafy pride. That the work of his fingers was divine. So, from the pinched soil of a churlish fate, Then Ambrose said, “ All those shall die True hearts compel the sap of sturdier The eternal death who believe not as I;" growth,
And some were boiled, some burned in fire, So between earth and heaven stand simply Some sawn in twain, that his heart's desire, great,
For the good of men's souls might be satisThat these shall seem but their attend
fied ants both;
By the drawing of all to the righteous side. For nature's forces with obedient zeal
Wait on the rooted faith and oaken will; One day, as Ambrose was seeking the truth As quickly the pretender's cheat they feel, In his lonely walk, he saw a youth And turn mad Pucks to flout and mock Resting himself in the shade of a tree; him still.
It had never been granted him to see
So shining a face, and the good man Lord ! all thy works are lessons; each con
'T were pity he should not believe as he Some emblem of man's all-containing ought.
soul; Shall he make fruitless all thy glorious So he set himself by the young man's side, pains,
And the state of his soul with questions Delving within thy grace an eyeless tried; mole ?
But the heart of the stranger was hardened Make me the least of thy Dodona-grove,
indeed, Cause me some message of thy truth to Nor received the stamp of the one true bring,
creed; Speak but a word through me, nor let thy And the spirit of Ambrose waxed sore to love
find Among my boughs disdain to perch and Such features the porch of so narrow a sing.
“ As each beholds in cloud and fire
NEVER, surely, was holier man