Слике страница


[ocr errors]

Their spirit to our plains, and thou, blue Still there's a charm ungranted, still a sea,

grace, Who on our rocks thy wreaths of freedom Still rosy Hope, the free, the unattained, flingest,

Makes us Possession's languid hand let As on an altar, can it be that ye

fall; Have wasted inspiration on dead ears, ’T is but a fragment of ourselves is gained, Dulled with the too familiar clank of The Future brings us more, but never all.

chains ? The people's heart is like a harp for years And, as the finder of some unknown realm, Hung where some petrifying torrent rains Mounting a summit whence he thinks to Its slow - incrusting spray: the stiffened chords

On either side of him the imprisoning sea, Faint and more faint make answer to the Beholds, above the clouds that overwhelm tears

The valley-land, peak after snowy peak That drip upon them: idle are all words: Stretch out of sight, each like a silver Only a golden plectrum wakes the tone

helm Deep buried 'neath that ever-thickening Beneath its plume of smoke, sublime and stone.


And what he thought an island finds to be We are not free: doth Freedom, then, con- A continent to him first oped, sist

Can from our height of Freedom look along In musing with our faces toward the Past, A boundless future, ours if we be strong; While petty cares and crawling interests Or if we shrink, better remount our ships twist

And, fleeing God's express design, trace Their spider-threads about us, which at last

back Grow strong as iron chains, to cramp and The hero-freighted Mayflower's prophetbind

track In formal narrowness heart, soul, and To Europe entering her blood-red eclipse.

mind ? Freedom is recreated year by year, In hearts wide open on the Godward side, Therefore of Europe now I will not doubt, In souls calm-cadenced as the whirling For the broad foreheads surely win the sphere,

day, In minds that sway the future like a tide. And brains, not crowns or soul-gelt armies, No broadest creeds can hold her, and no

weigh codes;

Iu Fortune's scales: such dust she brushes She chooses men for her august abodes,

out. Building them fair and fronting to the Most gracious are the conquests of the dawn;

Word, Yet, when we seek her, we but find a few Gradual and silent as a flower's increase, Light footprints, leading

ward And the best guide from old to new is through the dew:

Peace Before the day had risen, she was gone. Yet, Freedom, thou canst sanctify the

sword ! And we must follow: swiftly runs she on, And, if our steps should slacken in despair, Bravely to do whate'er the time demands, Half turns her face, half smiles through Whether with pen or sword, and not to golden hair,

flinch, Forever yielding, never wholly won:

This is the task that fits heroic hands; That is not love which pauses in the race So are Truth's boundaries widened inch by Two close-linked names on fleeting sand

inch. to trace;

I do not love the Peace which tyrants Freedom gained yesterday is no more ours;

make; Men gather but dry seeds of last year's The calm she breeds let the sword's lightflowers;

ning break!


[blocks in formation]

There is no broken reed so poor and base, No rush, the bending tilt of swamp-fly

blue, But He therewith the ravening wolf can

chase, And guide his flock to springs and pastures

new; Throngh ways unlooked for, and through

many lands, Far from the rich folds built with human

hands, The gracious footprints of his love I trace.


[blocks in formation]

“Don't you like the poem [Beaver Brook] I sent you last week?_ I was inclined to think pretty well of it, but I have not seen it in print yet. The little mill stands in a val. ley between one of the spurs of Wellington Hill and the main summit, just on the edge of Waltham. It is surely one of the loveliest spots in the world. It is one of my lions, and if you will make me a visit this spring I will take you up to hear it roar, and I will show you

the oaks' - the largest, I fancy, left in the conntry.” Letters I. 149. The poem was sent to Mr. Gay for the Standard. These oaks are now known as the Waverley Oaks, and are to be preserved.

And shake instead thy dry and sapless rod, To scare the sheep out of the wholesome

day? Yea, what art thou, blind, unconverted

Jew, That with thy idol-volume's covers two Wouldst make a jail to coop the living

God ?


Thou hear'st not well the mountain organ

tones By prophet ears from Hor and Sinai caught,

HUSHED with broad sunlight lies the hill,

And, minuting the long day's loss, The cedar's shadow, slow and still,

Creeps o'er its dial of gray moss.

Nor how for every turn are tost

Armfuls of diamond and of pearl. But Summer cleared my happier eyes

With drops of some celestial juice, To see how Beauty underlies

Forevermore each form of use.

Warm noon brims full the valley's cup,

The aspen's leaves are scarce astir;
Only the little mill sends up

Its busy, never-ceasing burr.
Climbing the loose-piled wall that hems

The road along the mill-pond's brink,
From 'neath the arching barberry-stems,

My footstep scares the shy chewink.
Beneath a bony buttonwood

The mill's red door lets forth the din; The whitened miller, dust-imbued,

Flits past the square of dark within. No mountain torrent's strength is here;

Sweet Beaver, child of forest still, Heaps its small pitcher to the ear,

And gently waits the miller's will. Swift slips Undine along the race

Unheard, and then, with flashing bound, Floods the dull wheel with light and grace, And, laughing, hunts the loath drudge


And more; methought I saw that flood,

Which now so dull and darkling steals, Thick, here and there, with human blood,

To turn the world's laborious wheels.

No more than doth the miller there,

Shut in our several cells, do we
Know with what waste of beauty rare

Moves every day's machinery.
Surely the wiser time shall come

When this fine overplus of might,
No longer sullen, slow, and dumb,

Shall leap to music and to light.
In that new childhood of the Earth

Life of itself shall dance and play,
Fresh blood in Time's shrunk veins make

And labor meet delight half-way.

The miller dreams not at what cost

The quivering millstones hum and whirl,

[blocks in formation]


Who says thy day is o'er ? Control,

My heart, that bitter first emotion;

While men shall reverence the steadfast 1848

soul, I DID not praise thee when the crowd,

The heart in silent self-devotion 'Witched with the moment's inspira- Breaking, the mild, heroic mien, tion,

Thou 'lt need no prop of marble, LamarVexed thy still ether with hosannas loud,

tine. And stamped their dusty adoration; I but looked upward with the rest, If France reject thee, 't is not thine, And, when they shouted Greatest, whis- But her own, exile that she utters; pered Best.

Ideal France, the deathless, the divine,

Will be where thy white pennon flutThey raised thee not, but rose to thee,

ters, Their fickle wreaths about thee fling- As once the nobler Athens went ing;

With Aristides into banishment. So on some marble Phæbus the swol'n sea

Might leave his worthless seaweed No fitting metewand hath To-day clinging,

For measuring spirits of thy stature; But pious hands, with reverent care, Only the Future can reach up to lay Make the pure limbs once more sublimely The laurel on that lofty nature, bare.

Bard, who with some diviner art

Hast touched the bard's true lyre, a nation's Now thou 'rt thy plain, grand self again,

heart. Thou art secure from panegyric, Thou who gav'st politics an epic strain, Swept by thy hand, the gladdened chords,

And actedst Freedom's noblest lyric; Crashed now in discords fierce by This side the Blessed Isles, no tree

others, Grows green enough to make a wreath for Gave forth one note beyond all skill of thee.


And chimed together, We are brothers. Nor can blame cling to thee; the snow O poem unsurpassed ! it ran

From swinish footprints takes no stain- All round the world, unlocking man to

ing, But, leaving the gross soils of earth below,

Its spirit mounts, the skies regaining, France is too poor to pay alone And unresentful falls again,

The service of that ample spirit; To beautify the world with dews and rain. Paltry seem low dictatorship and throne,

Weighed with thy self - renouncing The highest duty to mere man vouchsafed

merit; Was laid on thee, - out of wild chaos, They had to thee been rust and loss; When the roused popular ocean foamed Thy aim was higher, - thou hast climbed and chafed

a Cross !
And vulture War from his Imaus
Snuffed blood, to summon homely Peace,
And show that only order is release.

TO JOHN GORHAM PALFREY To carve thy fullest thought, what though Dr. Palfrey, whose name is for students as

Time was not granted ? Aye in his- sociated mainly with his History of New Engtory,

land, was one of the most consistent and firm Like that Dawn's face which baffled Angelo anti-slavery, men of his day. Chosen to ConLeft shapeless, grander for its mystery,

gress as a Whig member, he refused to support

the Whig candidate for the Speakership of the Thy great Design shall stand, and day

House, because he was assured that the candi. Flood its blind front from Orients far

date, Mr. Winthrop, would not use his position away.

to obstruct the extension of the slave power.


This incident called out the fourth of the first series of Biglow Papers.

THERE are who triumph in a losing

cause, Who can put on defeat, as 't were a wreath Unwithering in the adverse popular breath, Safe from the blasting demagogue's ap

plause; 'T is they who stand for Freedom and

God's laws.

And so stands Palfrey now, as Marvell

stood, Loyal to Truth dethroned, nor could be

wooed To trust the playful tiger's velvet paws: And if the second Charles brought in decay

Of ancient virtue, if it well might wring Souls that had broadened 'neath a nobler

day, To see a losel, marketable king Fearfully watering with his realm's best

blood Cromwell's quenched bolts, that erst had

cracked and flamed, Scaring, through all their depths of courtier

mud, Europe's crowned bloodsuckers, — how

more ashamed Ought we to be, who see Corruption's flood Still rise o'er last year's mark, to mine

away Our brazen idol's feet of treacherous


Drop not like ripened fruit about our feet; We climb to them through years of

sweat and pain; Without long struggle, none did e'er at

tain The downward look from Quiet's blissful

seat: Though present loss may be the hero's

part, Yet none can rob him of the victor heart Whereby the broad-realmed future is sub

dued, And Wrong, which now insults from tri

umph's car, Sending her vulture hope to raven far, Is made unwilling tributary of Good. O Mother State, how quenched thy Sinai

fires ! Is there none left of thy stanch May

flower breed ? No spark among the ashes of thy sires, Of Virtue's altar-flame the kindling

seed ? Are these thy great men, these that cringe

and creep, And writhe through slimy ways to place

and power? How long, O Lord, before thy wrath shall

reap Our frail-stemmed summer prosperings

in their flower ? Oh for one hour of that undaunted stock That went with Vane and Sidney to the

block !

[blocks in formation]
« ПретходнаНастави »