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UNDER THE WILLOWS,

AND

OTHER POEMS.

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The bluebird, shifting his light load of

song From post to post along the cheerless

fence, Was as a rhymer ere the poet come; But now, O rapture ! sunshine winged

and voiced, Pipe blown through by the warm wild

breath of the West Shepherding his soft droves of fleecy

cloud, Gladness of woods, skies, waters, all in

one, The bobolink has come, and, like the

soul Of the sweet season vocal in a bird, Gurgles in ecstasy we know not what Save Fune! Dear June ! Now God

be praised for June. May is a pious fraud of the almanac, A ghastly parody of real Spring Shaped out of snow and breathed with

eastern wind; Or if, o'er-confident, she trust the date, And, with her handful of anemones, Herself as shivery, steal into the sun, The season need but turn his hourglass

round, And Winter suddenly, like crazy Lear, Reels back, and brings the dead May

in his arms, Her budding breasts and wan dislustred

front With frosty streaks and drifts of his

white beard All overblown. Then, warmly walled

with books, While my wood-fire supplies the sun's

defect, Whispering old forest-sagas in its

dreams, I take my May down from the happy

shelf Where perch the world's rare song

birds in a row, Waiting my choice to open with full

breast, And beg an alms of spring-time, ne'er

denied În-doors by vernal Chaucer, whose

fresh woods Throb thick with merle and mavis all

But June is full of invitations sweet, Forth from the chimney's yawn and

thrice-read tomes To leisurely delights and sauntering

thoughts That brook no ceiling narrower than the

blue. The cherry, drest for bridal, at my

pane Brushes, then listens, Will he come?

The bee, All dusty as a miller, takes his toll Of powdery gold, and grumbles. What

a day To sun me and do nothing! Nay, I

think Merely to bask and ripen is sometimes The student's wiser business; the

brain That forages all climes to line its cells, Ranging both worlds on lightest wings

of wish, Will not distil the juices it has sucked To the sweet substance of pellucid

thought, Except for him who hath the secret

learned To mix his blood with sunshine, and to

take The winds into his pulses. Hush!

'Tis he! My oriole, my glance of summer fire, Is come at last, and, ever on the watch, Twitches the pack-thread I had lightly

wound

the year

About the bough to help his housekeep

ing, Twitches and scouts by turns, blessing

his luck, Yet fearing me who laid it in his way, Nor, more than wiser we in our affairs, Divines the providence that hides and

helps. Heave, ho! Heave, ho! he whistles

as the twine Slackens its hold; once more, now !

and a flash Lightens across the sunlight to the

elm Where his mate dangles at her cup

of felt. Nor all his booty is the thread ; he

trails My loosened thought with it along the

air, And I must follow, would I ever find The inward rhyme to all this wealth of

life. I care not how men trace their ances

try, To ape or Adam; let them please their

whim ; But I in June am midway to believe A tree among my far progenitors, Such sympathy is mine with all the

race, Such mutual recognition vaguely sweet There is between us. Surely there are

times When they consent to own me of their

kin, And condescend to me, and call me

cousin, Murmuring faint lullabies of eldest

time, Forgotten, and yet dumbly felt with

thrills Moving the lips, though fruitless of the

words. And I have many a lifelong leafy

friend, Never estranged nor careful of my

soul, That knows I hate the axe, and wel

comes me Within his tent as if I were a bird, Or other free companion of the earth, Yet undegenerate to the shifts of men.

Among them one, an ancient willow,

spreads Eight balanced limbs, springing at once

all round His deep-ridged trunk with upward

slant diverse, In outline like enormous beaker, fit For hand of Jotun, where 'mid snow

and mist He holds unwieldly revel. This tree,

spared, I know not by what grace, – for in the

blood Of our New World subduers lingers yet Hereditary feud with trees, they being (They and the red-man most) our

fathers' foes, Is one of six, a willow Pleiades, The seventh fallen, that lean along the

brink Where the steep upland dips into the

marsh, Their roots, like molten metal cooled

in flowing, Stiffened in coils and runnels down the

bank. The friend of all the winds, wide-armed

he towers And glints his steely aglets in the sun, Or whitens fitfully with sudden bloom Of leaves breeze-lifted, much as when

a shoal

Of devious minnows wheel from where

a pike Lurks balanced 'neath the lily-pads,

and whirl A rood of silver bellies to the day.

Alas! no acorn from the British oak 'Neath which slim fairies tripping

wrought those rings Of greenest emerald, wherewith fireside

life Did with the invisible spirit of Nature

wed, Was ever planted here ! No darnel

fancy Might choke one useful blade in Puri

tan fields; With horn and hoof the good old Devil

came, The witch's broomstick was not contra

band, But all that superstition had of fair,

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