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The leper no longer crouched at his side,
But stood before him glorified,
Shining and tall and fair and straight
As the pillar that stood by the Beautiful Gate,-
Himself the Gate whereby men can
Enter the temple of God in Man.
His words were shed softer than leaves from the pine,
And they fell on Sir Launfal as snows on the brine,
Which mingle their softness and quiet in one
With the shaggy unrest they float down upon
And the voice that was calmer than silence said,
*Lo it is I, be not afraid !
In many climes, without avail,
Thou hast spent thy life for the Holy Grail ;
Behold it is here,-this cup which thou
Didst fill at the streamlet for me but now;
This crust is my body broken for thee,
This water His blood that died on the tree;
The Holy Supper is kept, indeed,
In whatso we share with another's need;
Not what we give, but what we share,–
For the gift without the giver is bare ;
Who gives himself with his alms feeds three,-
Himself, his hungering neighbour, and me.'
Sir Launfal awoke as from a swound :
The Grail in my castle here is found !
Hang my idle armour up on the wall,
Let it be the spider's banquet hall;
He must be fenced with stronger mail
Who would seek and find the Holy Grail.'
The castle gate stands open now,
And the wanderer is welcome to the hall
As the hangbird is to the elm-tree bough;
No longer scowl the turrecs tall,
The Summer's long siege at last is o'er;
When the first poor outcast went in at the door,
She entered with him in disguise,
And mastered the fortress by surprise ;
There is no spot she loves so well on ground,
She lingers and smiles there the whole year round.
The meanest serf on Sir Launfal's land
Has hall and bower at his command ;
And there's no poor man in the North Countree
But is lord of the earldom as much as he.
The wind is roistering out of doors,
My windows shake and my chimney roars ;
My Elmwood chimneys seem crooning to me,
As of old, in their moody, minor key.
And out of the past the hoarse wind blows,
As I sit in my arm-chair, and toast my toes.
“Ho ! ho! nine-and-forty,” they seem to sing,
“We saw you a little toddling thing.
We knew you child and youth and man,
A wonderful fellow to dream and plan,
With a great thing always to come, -who knows?
Well, well ! 'tis some comfort to toast one's toes.
“How many times have you sat at gaze
Till the mouldering fire forgot to blaze,
Shaping among the whimsical coals
Fancies and figures and shining goals !
What matters the ashes that cover those ?
While hickory lasts you can toast your toes.
“O dream-ship-builder! where are they all,
Your grand three-deckers, deep-chested and tall,
That should crush the waves under canvas piles,
And anchor at last by the Fortunate Isles ?
gray in your beard, the years turn foes, While you muse in your arm-chair and toast your toes."
I sit and dream that I hear, as of yore,
My Elmwood chimneys' deep-throated roar ;
If inuch be gone, there is much remains ;
By the embers of loss I count my gains,
You and yours with the best, till the hope glows
In the fanciful flame, as I toast my toes.
Instead of a fleet of broad-browed ships,
To send a child's armada of chips !
Instead of the great guns, tier on tier,
A freight of pebbles and grass-blades sere !
, maybe more love with the less gift goes," I growl, as, half moody, I toast my toes.
FRANK-HEARTED hostess of the field and wood,
Gypsy, whose roof is every spreading tree,
June is the pearl of our New England year.
Still a surprisal, though expected long,
Her coming startles. Long she lies in wait,
Makes many a feint, peeps forth, draws ccyly back,
Then, from some southern ambush in the sky,
With one great gush of blossom storms the world.
A week ago the sparrow was divine ;
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 June! 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 dislustered front
With frosty streaks and drists of his white beard
All overblown. Then, warmly walled with books,
While my wood-fire supplies the sun's delect,
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 leg an alms of spring-time, ne'er denied
In-doors by vernal Chaucer, whose fresh woods
Throb thick with merle and mavis all the year.
July breathes hot, sallows the crispy fields,
Curls up the wan leaves of the lilac-hedge,
And every eve cheats us with show of clouds
That braze the horizon's western rim, or hang
Motionless, with heaped canvas drooping idly,
Like a dim fleet by starving men besieged,
Conjectured half, and half descried afar,
Ilelpless of wind, and seeming to slip back
Adown the smooth curve of the oily sea.
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
About the bough to help his housekeeping, ---,
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,