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Could eighteen years strike down no deeper There I behold a Nation:
The France which lies
Is the least part of France;
Burns through the craftsman's grimy And thou become a fugitive and scoff:
countenance, Slippery the feet that mount by stairs of In the new energy divine gold,
Of Toil's enfranchised glance. And weakest of all fences one of steel; Go and keep school again like him of old,
And if it be a dream, The Syracusan tyrant;- thou mayst feel If the great Future be the little Past Royal amid a birch-swayed commonweal ! 'Neath
a new mask, which drops and
shows at last VI
The same weird, mocking face to balk Not long can he be ruler who allows
and blast, His time to run before him; thou wast Yet, Muse, a gladder measure suits the naught
theme, Soon as the strip of gold about thy brows
And the Tyrtzean harp Was no more emblem of the People's Loves notes more resolute and sharp, thought:
Throbbing, as throbs the bosom, hot and Vain were thy bayonets against the foe
fast: Thou hadst to cope with; thou didst
Such visions are of morning, wage
Theirs is no vague forewarning, War not with Frenchmen merely; — no, The dreams which nations dream come true,
Thy strife was with the Spirit of the Age, And shape the world arew;
If this be a sleep,
Make it long, make it deep, Scattered thy frail endeavor,
O Father,who sendest the harvests men reap! And, like poor last year's leaves, whirled
While Labor so sleepeth,
His sorrow is gone,
No longer he weepeth,
His thoughts in the dawn;
Rain, lark-like, her fancies,
His dreaming hands wander Along its arteries a shrunken flow,
Mid heart's-ease and pansies; And the idle canvas droop around the “'T is a dream ! 'T is a vision !" shore ?
Shrieks Mammon aghast;
“ The day's broad derision
Will chase it at last;
Ye are mad, ye have taken
A slumbering kraken And where each humblest human creature
For firm land of the Past !” Can stand, no more suspicious or afraid,
Ah ! if he awaken, Erect and kingly in his right of nature,
God shield us all then,
Shall cheat him again !
Since first I heard our North-wind blow, Or only lit with bestial loves and Since first I saw Atlantic throw rages,
On our grim rocks his thunderous snow,
I loved thee, Freedom; as a boy
As their gods were, so their laws were;
Thor the strong could reave and
Norseman's eager keel;
and not blameless, as before,
lives and faiths to Thor. And surely never did thine altars glance With
purer fires than now in France; Law is holy: ay, but what law ? Is there While, in their clear white flashes,
nothing more divine Wrong's shadow, backward cast, Than the patched-up broils of Congress, Waves cowering o'er the ashes
venal, full of meat and wine ? Of the dead, blaspheming Past, Is there, say you, nothing higher ? Naught, O’er the shapes of fallen giants,
God save us ! that transcends His own unburied brood,
Laws of cotton texture, wove by vulgar
men for vulgar ends?
to them a plan,
this aspiring heart of man?
swing round to the pole
that makes it be a soul ?
keep the tablets whole 'T is the deep, august foundation, whereon While dash the Law to pieces, shatter it Peace and Justice rest;
in life and soul; On the rock primeval, hidden in the Past Bearing up the Ark is lightsome, golden its bases be,
A pis bid within, Block by block the endeavoring Ages built While we Levites share the offerings, richer it up to what we see.
by the people's sin. But dig down: the Old unbury; thou shalt Give to Cæsar what is Cæsar's ? yes, but find on every stone
tell me, if you can, That each Age hath carved the symbol of Is this superscription Cæsar's here upon what god to them was known,
our brother man ? Ugly shapes and brutish sometimes, but Is not here some other's image, dark and the fairest that they knew;
sullied though it be, If their sight were dim and earthward, yet In this fellow-soul that worships, struggles their hope and aim were true.
Godward even as we ? Surely as the unconscious needle feels the It was not to such a future that the May. far-off loadstar draw,
flower's prow was turned, So strives every gracious nature to at-one Not to such a faith the martyrs clung, exitself with law;
ulting as they burned; And the elder Saints and Sages laid their Not by such laws are men fashioned, earpious framework right
nest, simple, valiant, great By a theocratic instinct covered from the In the household virtues whereon rests the people's sight.
Ah ! there is a higher gospel, overhead the And in palace-chambers lofty and rare God-roof springs,
They lodged him, and served him with And each glad, obedient planet like a kingly fare.
golden shuttle sings Through the web whichTime is weaving Great organs surged through arches dim in his never-resting loom,
Their jubilant floods in praise of him; Weaving seasons many - colored, bringing And in church, and palace, and judgmentprophecy to doom.
He saw his own image high over all. Think you Truth a farthing rushlight, to
be pinched out when you will But still, wherever his steps they led, With your deft official fingers, and your The Lord in sorrow bent down bis head, politicians' skill ?
And from under the heavy foundation, Is your God a wooden fetish, to be hidden
stones, out of sight
The son of Mary heard bitter groans. That his block eyes may not see you do the thing that is not right?
And in church, and palace, and judgment
He marked great fissures that rent the wall,
But the Destinies think not so; to their
Fame's trumpet is not blown;
grant, but then you say
which is stronger, you or they ? Patient are they as the insects that build
islands in the deep; They hurl not the bolted thunder, but their
silent way they keep; Where they have been that we know;
where empires towered that were
not just; Lo! the skulking wild fox scratches in a
little heap of dust.
“O Lord and Master, not ours the guilt,
Then said the chief priests, and rulers, and
kings, “ Behold, now, the Giver of all good things; Go to, let us welcome with pomp and state Him who alone is mighty and great.”
With carpets of gold the ground they
spread Wherever the Son of Man should tread,
And, bright as Noah saw it, yet
For you the arching rainbow glows,
A sight in Paradise denied
INTRODUCTION OF THE COCHITUATE
You seized and sent me o'er the wave, The public system of water works in Boston Ungrateful! in a prison-ship; dates from October 25, 1848, when with much But I forgive, not long a slave, ceremony the water of Lake Cochituate, for
For, soon as summer south-winds blew, merly called Long Pond, was turned into the
Homeward I fled, disguised as dew. reservoir which then occupied the site of the present extension of the State House, and a
For countless services I'm fit, stream was conducted into the Frog Pond on Boston Common, where the pressure gave head
Of use, of pleasure, and of gain, to a fine jet. Besides the Ode, a selection was But lightly from all bonds I fit, gung from the oratorio of Elijah, and addresses Nor lose my mirth, nor feel a stain; were made by the mayor and the chairman of From mill and wash-tub I escape, the water commissioners.
And take in heaven my proper sbape. My name is Water: I have sped
So, free myself, to-day, elate Through strange, dark ways, untried I come from far o'er hill and mead, before,
And here, Cochituate's envoy, wait By pure desire of friendship led,
To be your blithesome Ganymede, Cochituate's ambassador;
And brim your cups with nectar true He sends four royal gifts by me:
That never will make slaves of you. Long life, health, peace, and purity.
They came three thousand miles, and died, But each day brings less summer cheer, To keep the Past upon its throne;
Crimps more our ineffectual spring, Unheard, beyond the ocean tide,
And something earlier every year Their English mother made her moan. Our singing birds take wing. The turf that covers them no thrill
As less the olden glow abides, Sends up to fire the heart and brain;
And less the chillier heart aspires, No stronger purpose nerves the will, With drift-wood beached in past springNo hope renews its youth again:
tides From farm to farm the Concord glides, We light our sullen fires. And trails my fancy with its flow; O'erhead the balanced hen-hawk slides, By the pinched rushlight's starving beam Twinned in the river's heaven below.
We cower and strain our wasted sight,
To stitch youth's shroud up, seam by seam, But go, whose Bay State bosom stirs,
In the long arctic night.
It was not so — we once were young
ing, Or Seth, as ebbed the life away,
Her dew-drops on each grass-blade strung, What earthquake rifts would shoot and run In the red sunrise burning. World-wide from that short April fray ?
We trusted then, aspired, believed What then? With heart and hand they That earth could be remade to-morrow; wrought,
Ah, why be ever undeceived ?
Why give up faith for sorrow ?
Faith, blighted one, is past retrieving; Unsummoned, in the humble sock;
Experience is a dumb, dead thing; Theirs the fifth act; the curtain first
T'he victory 's in believing.
written June 29, Yet to their instincts they were true, 1859, Mr. Lowell refers to English comments And had the genius to be men.
on the Austro-Italian war, then in its early Fine privilege of Freedom's host,
stages, and alludes to a quotation which Mr. Of humblest soldiers for the Right !
Bright had made from his writings. Age after age ye hold your post,
he says, " I fear he thinks me too much of a Your graves send courage forth, and
Quaker. In my Poems there are some verses
on “Freedom' written in '48 or '49. They might.
ended thus as originally written. I left the verses out only because I did not think them
good, - not because I did not like the sentiment. TO
I have strength of mind enough not to change
a word — though I see how much better I WE, too, have autumns, when our leaves might make it.” He then copies the lines
Drop loosely through the dampened air, which below are separated from the poem by When all our good seems bound in sheaves,
a long dash, and adds: “I think it must have And we stand reaped and bare.
been written in 1848, for I remember that, as I first composed it, it had 'Fair Italy' instead
of ‘Humanity.'" Our seasons have no fixed returns,
Without our will they come and go; ARE we, then, wholly fallen ? Can it be At noon our sudden summer burns,
That thou, North wind, that from thy Ere sunset all is snow.