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The King's head dropt upon his breast
A moment, as it might be ; 'T will be my dog, he thought, and said,
My faith I plight to thee." Then Walter took from next his heart
A packet small and thin, “Now give you this to the Princess
A maiden to meet him ran, And “Welcome, father!” she laughed
and cried Together, the Princess Anne. “Lo, here the Singing Leaves," quoth
he, “And woe, but they cost me dear!” She took the packet, and the smile
Deepened down beneath the tear. It deepened down till it reached her
heart, And then gushed up again, And lighted her tears as the sudden sun
Transfigures the summer rain.
Then deep in the greenwood rode he,
And asked of every tree, “O, if you have ever a Singing Leaf, I pray you give it me!”
But the trees all kept their counsel,
And never a word said they, Only there sighed from the pine-tops
A music of seas far away.
Only the pattering aspen
Made a sound of growing rain, That fell ever faster and faster,
Then faltered to silence again. “O, where shall I find a little foot-page
That would win both hose and shoon, And will bring to me the Singing Leaves
If they grow under the moon?" Then lightly turned him Walter the
page, By the stirrup as he ran : “Now pledge ye me the truesome word Of a king
and gentleman, “That you will give me the first, first
thing You meet at your castle-gate, And the Princess shall get the Singing
And the first Leaf, when it was opened,
Sang: “I am Walter the page, And the songs I sing 'neath thy window
Are my only heritage." And the second Leaf sang: “But id
the land That is neither on earth or sea, My lute and I are lords of more
Than thrice this kingdom's fee." And the third Leaf sang, “Be mine!
Be mine!” And ever it sang, “Be mine!” Then swed it sang, and ever sweeter,
And said, “I am thine, thine, thine! At the first Leaf she grew pale enough
At the second she turned aside, At the third, 't was as if a lily flushed
With a rose's red heart's tide. “Good counsel gave the bird,” said she,
“I have my hope thrice o'er,
Shall I less patience have than Thou,
who know That Thou revisit'st all who wait for
thee, Nor only fill'st the unsounded deeps
below, But dost refresh with punctual overflow The rifts where unregarded mosses be? The drooping sea-weed hears, in night
abyssed, Far and more far the wave's receding
shocks, Nor doubts, for all the darkness and
the mist, That the pale shepherdess will keep her
tryst, And shoreward lead again her foam
For the same wave that rims the Carib
shore With momentary brede of pearl and
gold, Goes hurrying thence to gladden with
its roar Lorn weeds bound fast on rocks of Lab
rador, By love divine on one sweet errand
So said, so done; the chords he strained,
NEW YEAR'S EVE 1850.
This is the midnight of the century,
hark ! Through aisle and arch of Godminster
Greatly begin! though thou have time
Twelve throbs that tolled the zenith of
the dark, And mornward now the starry hands
move on; "Mornward !” the angelic watchers
say, “ Passed is the sorest trial ; No plot of man can stay The hand upon the dial ; Night is the dark stem of the lily Day." If we, who watched in valleys here be
low, Toward streaks, misdeemed of morn,
our faces turned When volcan glares set all the east
aglow, We are not poorer that we wept and
yearned ; Though earth swing wide from God's
The dandelions and buttercups
FOR AN AUTOGRAPH,
Though old the thought and oft ex
prest, 'Tis his at last who says it best, I'll try my fortune with the rest.
Life is a leaf of paper white
Snap, chord of manhood's tenser
strain ! To-day I will be a boy again ; The mind's pursuing element, Like a bow slackened and unbent, In some dark corner shall be leant. The robin sings, as of old, from the
limb! The cat-bird croons in the lilac-bush ! Through the dim arbor, himself more
“Lo, time and space enough,” we cry, “To write an epic !” so we try Our nibs upon the edge, and die.
Muse not which way the pen to hold, Luck hates the slow and loves the bold, Soon come the darkness and the cold.
The sun in his own wine to pledge;
O unestranged birds and bees! O face of nature always true ! O never-unsympathizing trees ! O never-rejecting roof of blue, Whose rash disherison never falls On us unthinking prodigals, Yet who convictest all our ill, So grand and unappeasable ! Methinks my heart from each of these Plucks part of childhood back again, Long there imprisoned, as the breeze Doth every hidden odor seize Of wood and water, hill and plain. Once more am I admitted peer In the upper house of Nature here, And feel through all my pulses run The royal blood of breeze and sun.
O, might we but of such rare days Build up the spirit's dwelling-place ! A temple of so Parian stone Would brook a marble god alone, The statue of a perfect lite, Far-shrined from earth's bestaining
strife, Alas ! though such felicity In our vext world here may not be, Yet, as sometimes the peasant's hut Shows stones which old religion cut With text inspired, or mystic sign Of the Eternal and Divine, Torn from the consecration deep Of some fallen nunnery's mossy sleep, So, from the ruins of this day Crumbling in golden dust away, The soul one gracious block may draw, Carved with some fragment of the law, Which, set in life's uneven wall, Old benedictions may recall, And lure some nunlike thoughts to take Their dwelling here for memory's sake.
MASACCIO. (IN THE BRANCACCI CHAPEL.)
Upon these elm-arched solitudes No hum of neighbor toil intrudes; The only hammer that I hear Is wielded by the woodpecker, The single noisy calling his In all our leaf-hid Sybaris; The good old time, close-hidden here, Persists, a loyal cavalier, While Roundheads prim, with point of
fox, Probe wainscot-chink and empty box; Here no hoarse-voiced iconoclast Insults thy statues, royal Past; Myself too prone the axe to wield, I touch the silver side of the shield With lance reversed, and challenge
peace, A willing convert of the trees.
How chanced it that so long I tost A cable's length from this rich coast, With foolish anchors hugging close The beckoning, weeds and lazy ooze, Nor had the wit to wreck before On this enchanted island's shore, Whither the current of the sea, With wiser drift, persuaded me?
And who were they," I mused, “ that
wrought Through pathless wilds, with labor long, The highways of our daily thought? Who reared those towers of earliest
song That lift us from the throng to peace Remote in sunny silences ?"