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each year,

Or piety of native sweet, was doomed. And if there be who nurse unholy faiths, Fearing their god as if he were a wolf That snuffed round every home and

was not seen, There should be some to watch and

keep alive All beautiful beliefs. And such was

that, By solitary shepherd first surmiseci Under Thessalian oaks, loved by some

maid Of royal stirp, that silent came and

vanished, As near her nest the hermit thrush, nor

dared Confess a mortal name, - that faith A Hamadryad to each tree; and I Will hold it true that in this willow

dwells The open-handed spirit, frank and

blithe, Of ancient Hospitality, long since, With ceremonious thrift, bowed out of


As to an oak, and precious more and

more, Without deservingness or help of ours, They grow, and, silent, wider spread, Their unbought ring of shelter or of

shade. Sacred to me the lichens on the bark, Which Nature's milliners would scrape

away; Most dear and sacred every withered

limb! 'Tis good to set them early, for our

faith Pines as we age, and, after wrinkles

come, Few plant, but water dead ones with

vain tears.

which gave

This willow is as old to me as life;
And under it full often have I stretched,
Feeling the warm earth like a thing

alive, And gathering virtue in at every pore Till it possessed me wholly, aud

thought ceased, Or was transfused in something to

which thought Is coarse and dull of sense. Myself

was lost, Gone from me like an ache, and what

remained Became a part of the universal joy. My soul went forth, and, mingling with

the tree, Danced in the leaves; or, floating in

the cloud, Saw its white double in the stream be

low Or else, sublimed to purer ecstasy, Dilated in the broad blue over all. I was the wind that dappled the lush

grass, The tide that crept with coolness to its

roots, The thin-winged swallow skating on the

air; The life that gladdened everything was

mine. Was I then truly all that I beheld? Or is this stream of being but a glass Where the mind sees its visionary self, As, when the kingfisher fits o'er his


In June 't is good to lie beneath a tree While the blithe season cornforts every

sense, Steeps all the brain in rest, and heals

the heart, Brimming it o'er with sweetness una

wares, Fragrant and silent as that rosy snow Wherewith the pitying apple-tree fills up And tenderly lines some last-year rob

in's nest. There muse I of old times, old hopes,

old friends, – Old friends! The writing of those

words has borne My fancy backward to the gracious past, The generous past, when all was pos

sible, For all was then untried; the years be

tween Have taught some sweet, some bitter

lessons, none Wiser than this, - to spend in all things

else, But of old friends to be most miserly. Each year to ancient friendships adds

a ring,


Whose feet are known to all the popu

lous ways,

Across the river's hollow heaven below dis picture flits, — another, yet the

same? But suddenly the sound of human voice Or footfall, like the drop a chemist

pours, Doth in opacous cloud precipitate The consciousness that seemed but now

dissolved Into an essence rarer than its own, And I am narrowed to myself once more. For here not long is solitude secure, Nor Fantasy left vacant to her spell. Here, sometimes, in this paradise of

shade, Rippled with western winds, the dusty

Tramp, Seeing the treeless causey burn beyond, Halts to unroll his bundle of strange

food And munch an unearned meal. I can

not help Liking this creature, lavish Summer's

bedesman, Who from the almshouse steals when

nights grow warm, Himself his large estate and only charge, To be the guest of haystack or of hedge, Nobly superior to the household gear That forfeits us our privilege of nature. I bait him with my match-box and my

pouch, Nor grudge the uncostly sympathy of

smoke, His equal now, divinely unemployed. Some smack of Robin Hood is in the

man, Some secret league with wild wood

wandering things; He is our ragged Duke, our barefoot

Earl, By right of birth exonerate from toil, Who levies rent from us his tenants all, And serves the state by merely being.

Here The Scissors-grinder, pausing, doffs his

hat, And lets the kind breeze, with its deli

cate fan, Winnow the heat from out his dank

And many men and manners he hath

seen, Not without fruit of solitary thought. He, as the habit is of lonely men, Unused to try the temper of their mind In fence with others, — positive and shy, Yet knows to put an edge upon his

speech, Pithily Saxon in unwilling talk. Him I entrap with my ng-su ring

knife, And, while its poor blade hums away in

sparks, Sharpen my wit upon his gritty mind, In motion set obsequious to his wheel, And in its quality not much unlike. Nor wants my tree more punctual vis.

itors. The children, they who are the only rich, Creating for the moment, and possessing Whate'er they choose to feign, — for

still with them Kind Fancy plays the fairy godmother, Strewing their lives with cheap material For wingëd horses and Aladdin's lamps, Pure elfin-gold, by manhood's touch

profane To dead leaves disenchanted, – long

ago Between the branches of the tree fixed

seats, Making an o'erturned box their table.

Oft The shrilling girls sit here between

school hours, And play at What's my thought like?

while the boys, With whom the age chivalric ever bides, Pricked on by knightly spur of female

eyes, Climb high to swing and shout on

perilous boughs, Or, from the willow's armory equipped With musket dumb, green banner,

edgeless sword, Make good the rampart of their tree.

redoubt 'Gainst eager British storming from be

low, And keep alive the tale of Bunker's


gray hair,

A grimy Ulysses, a much-wandered



Here, too, the men that mend our vil

lage ways, Vexing McAdam's ghost with pounded

slate, Their nooning take; much noisy talk

they spend On horses and their ills ; and, as John

Bull Tells of Lord This or That, who was

his friend, So these make boast of intimacies long With famous teams, and add large esti

mates, By competition swelled from mouth to

mouth, Of how much they could draw, till one,

ill pleased To have his legend overbid, retorts: “You take and stretch truck-horses in

a string From here to Long Wharf end, one

thing I know, Not heavy neither, they could never

draw, Ensign's long bow !” Then laughter

loud and long. So they in their leaf-shadowed microImage the larger world; for wheresoe'er Ten men are gathered, the observant

eye Will find mankind in little, as the stars Glide up and set and all the heavens

revolve In the small welkin of a drop of dew.

The ground we meet on being primal And nearer the deep bases of our lives. But O, half heavenly, earthly half, my

soul, Canst thou from those late ecstasies

descend, Thy lips still wet with the miraculous

wine That transubstantiates all thy baser

stuff To such divinity that soul and sense, Once more commingled in their source,

are lost, Canst thou descend to quench a vulgar

thirst With the mere. dregs and rinsings of

the world? Well, if my nature find her pleasure so, I am content, nor need to blush; I take My little gift of being clean from God, Nót haggling for a better, holding it Good as was ever any in the world, My days as good and full of miracle. I pluck my nutriment from any bush, Finding out poison as the first men did By tasting and then suffering, if I must. Sometimes my bush burns, and some

times it is A leafless wilding shivering by the wall; But I have known when winterbarberries Pricked the effeminate palate with sur

prise Of savor whose mere harshness seemed



I love to enter pleasure by a postern, Not the broad popular gate that gulps

the mob; To find my theatres in roadside nooks, Where men are actors, and suspect it

not; Where Nature all unconscious works

her will, And every passion moves with human

gait, Unhampered by the buskin or the train. Hating the crowd, where we gregarious Lead lonely lives, I love society, Nor seldom find the best with simple

souls Unswerved by culture from their native


O, benediction of the higher mood And human-kindness of the lower ! for

both I will be grateful while I live, nor ques

tion The wisdom that hath made us what

we are, With such large range as from the ale

house bench Can reach the stars and be with both at

home. They tell us we have fallen on prosy

days, Condemned to glean the leavings of

earth's feast Where gods and heroes took delight of



Buze though our lives, moving in one

dull round Of repetition infinite, become Stale as a newspaper once read, and

though History herself, seen in her workshop,

Can but exult to feel beneath our feet, That long stretched vainly down the

yielding deeps, The shock and sustenance of solid earth; Inland afar we see what temples gleam Through immemorial stems of sacred

groves, And we conjecture shining shapes

therein ; Yet for a space we love to wonder here Among the shells and sea-weed of the



I lose inyo

To have lost the art that dyed those

glorious panes, Rich with memorial shapes of saint and

sage, That pave with splendor the Past's

dusky aisles, Panes that enchant the light of common

day With colors costly as the blood of kings, Until it edge our thought with hues

ideal, Yet while the world is left, while nature

lasts And man the best of nature, there shall

be Somewhere contentment for these hu

man hearts, Some freshness, some unused material For wonder and for

song. self In other ways where solemn guide

posts say, This way to Knowledge, This way to

Repose, But here, here only, I am ne'er be

trayed, For every by-path leads me to my love. God's passionless reformers, influences, That purify and heal and are not seen, Shall man say whence your virtue is,

or how Ye make medicinal the wayside weed ? I know that sunshine, through what

ever rift How shaped it matters not, upon my

walls Paints discs as perfect-rounded as its

source, And, like its antitype, the ray divine, However finding entrance, perfect still, Repeats the image unimpaired of God. We, who by shipwreck only find the

shores of divine wisdom, can but kneel at


So mused I once within

my willow-tent One brave June morning, when the

bluff northwest, Thrusting aside a dank and snuffling

day That made us bitter at our neighbors'

sins, Brimmed the great cup of heaven with

sparkiing cheer And roared a lusty stave; the sliding

Charles, Blue toward the west, and bluer and

more blue, Living and lustrous as a woman's

eyes Look once and look no more, with

southward curve Ran crinkling sunniness, like Helen's

hair Glimpsed in Elysium, insubstantial

gold; From blossom-clouded orchards, far

away The bobolink tinkled ; the deep mead

ows flowed With multitudinous pulse of light and

shade Against the bases of the southern

hills, While here and there a drowsy island

rick Slept and its shadow slept; the wood

en bridge Thundered, and then was silent ; on

the roofs The sun-warped shingles rippled with

the heat ; Summer on field and hill, in heart and

brain, All life washed clean in this high tide

of June.

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Soon it was hissed into the royal ear, That, though wise Dara's province, year

by year, Like a great sponge, sucked wealth and

plenty up, Yet, when he squeezed it at the king's


To govern men, lo all the spell I had ! My soul in these rude vestments ever

clad Still to the unstained past kept true an,

leal, Still on these plains could breathe her

mountain air, And fortune's heaviest gifts serenely

bear, Which bend men from their truth and

make them reel.

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