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You sought the new world in the old,
I found the old world in the new,
All that our human hearts can hold,
The inward world of deathless mould,
The same that Father Adam knew.
He needs no ship to cross the tide,
Who, in the lives about him, sees
Fair window-prospects opening wide
O'er history's fields on every side,
To Ind and Egypt, Rome and Greece,
Whatever moulds of various brain
E’er shaped the world to weal or woe,
Whatever empires wax and wane,
To him that hath not eyes in vain,
Our village microcosm can show.
Come back our ancient walks to tread,
Dear haunts of lost or scattered friends,
Old Harvard's scholar-factories red,
Where song and smoke and laughter sped
The nights to proctor-haunted ends.
Constant are all our former loves,
Unchanged the icehouse-girdled pond,
Its hemlock glooms, its shadowy coves,
Where floats the coot and never moves,
Its slopes of long-tamed green beyond.
Our old familiars are not laid,
Though snapt our wands and sunk our books;
They beckon, not to be gainsaid,
Whére, round broad meads that mowers wade,
The Charles his steel-blue sickle crooks.
Where, as the cloudbergs eastward blow,
From glow to gloom the hillsides shift
Their plumps of orchard-trees arow,
Their lakes of rye that wave and flow,
Their snowy whiteweed's summer drift.
There have we watched the West unfurl
A cloud Byzantium newly born,
With flickering spires and domes of pearl,
And vapoury surfs that crowd and curl
Into the sunset's Golden Horn.
There, as the flaming occident
Burned slowly down to ashes gray,
Night pitched o’erhead her silent tent,
And glimmering gold from Hesper sprent
Upon the darkened river lay.
Where a twin sky but just before
Deepened, and double swallows skimmed,
And, from a visionary shore,
Hung visioned trees, that, more and more
Grew dusk as those above were dimmed.
Then eastward saw we slowly grow
Clear-edged the lines of roof and spire,
While great elm-masses blacken slow,
And linden-ricks their round heads show
Against a flush of widening fire.
Doubtful at first and far away,
The moon-flood creeps more wide and wide ;
Up a ridged beach of cloudy gray,
Curved round the east as round a bay,
It slips and spreads its gradual tide.
Then suddenly, in lurid mood,
The moon looms large o'er town and field
As upon Adam, red like blood,
'Tween him and Eden's happy wood,
Glared the commissioned angel's shield.
Or let us seek the seaside, there
To wander idly as we list,
Whether, on rocky headlands bare,
Sharp cedar-horns, like breakers, tear
The trailing fringes of gray mist,
Or whether, under skies full flown,
The brightening surfs, with foamy din,
Their breeze-caught forelocks backward blown,
Against the beach's yellow zone,
Curl slow, and plunge for ever in.
And, as we watch those canvas towers
That lean along the horizon's rim,
“Sail on," I'll say ; “may sunniest hours
Convoy you from this land of ours,
Since from my side you bear not him !”
For years thrice three, wise Horace said,
A poem rare let silence bind :
And love may ripen in the shade,
Like ours, for nine long seasons laid
In deepest arches of the mind.
Come back ! Not ours the Old World's good,
The Old World's ill, thank God, not ours ;
But here, far better understood,
The days enforce our native mood,
And challenge all our manlier powers.
Kindlier to me the place of birth
That first my tottering footsteps trod :
There may be fairer spots of eartlı,
But all their glories are not worth
The virtue of the native sod.
Thence climbs an influence more benign
Through pulse and nerve, through heart and brain ;
Sacred to me those fibres fine
That first clasped earth. O, ne'er be mine
The alien sun and alien rain !
These nourish not like homelier glows
Or waterings of familiar skies,
And nature fairer blooms bestows
On the heaped hush of wintry snows,
In pastures dear to childhood's eyes,
Than where Italian earth receives
The partial sunshine's ampler boons,
Where vines carve friezes ’neath the eaves,
And, in dark firmaments of leaves,
The orange lifts its golden moons.
What Nature makes in any mood
To me is warranted for good,
Though long before I learned to see
She did not set us moral theses,
And scorned to have her sweet caprices
Straight-waistcoated in you or me.
1, who take root and firmly cling,
Thought fixedness the only thing ;
Why Nature made the butterflies,
(Those dreams of wings that float and hover
At noon the slumberous poppies over,)
Was something hidden from mine eyes,
Till once, upon a rock's brown bosom,
Bright as a thorny cactus-blossom,
I saw a butterfly at rest;
Then first of both I felt the beauty ;
The airy whim, the grim-set duty,
Each from the other took its best.
Clearer it grew than winter sky
That Nature still had reasons why ;
And, shifting sudden as a breeze,
My fancy found no satisfaction,
No antithetic sweet attraction,
So great as in the Nomades.
Scythians, with Nature not at strife,
Light Arabs of our complex life,
They build no houses, plant no mills
To utilize Time's sliding river,
Content that it flow waste for ever,
If they, like it, may have their wills.
An hour they pitch their shifting tents
In thoughts, in feelings, and events;
Beneath the palm-trees, on the grass,
They sing, they dance, make love, and chatter,
Vex the grim temples with their clatter,
And make Truth's fount their looking-glass.
A picnic life; from love to love,
From faith to faith they lightly move,
And yet, hard-eyed philosopher,
The Rightiest maid that ever hovered
To me your thought-webs fine discovered,
No lens to see them through like her.
So witchingly her finger-tips
To Wisdom, as away she trips,
She kisses, waves such sweet farewells
To Duty, as she laughs “To-morrow!"
That both from that mad contrast borrow
A perfectness found nowhere else.
The beach-bird on its pearly verge
Follows and flies the whispering surge,
While, in his tent, the rock-stayed shell
Awaits the flood's star-timed vibrations,
And both, the flutter and the patience,
The sauntering poet loves them well.
Fulfil so much of God's decree
As works its problem out in thee,
Nor dream that in thy breast alone
The conscience of the changeful seasons,
The Will that in the planets reasons
With Space-wide logic, has its throne.
Thy virtue makes not vice of mine,
Unlike, but none the less divine ;
Thy toil adorns, not chides, my play ;
Nature of sameness is so chary,
With such wild whim the freakish fairy
Picks presents for the christening-day.
SELF-STUDY. A PRESENCE both by night and day, That made my life seem just begun, Yet scarce a presence, rather say The warning aureole of one. And yet I felt it everywhere ; Walked I the woodland's aisles along, It seemed to brush me with its hair ; Bathed I, I heard a mermaid's song. How sweet it was ! A buttercup Could hold for me a day's delight, A bird could lift my fancy up, To ether free from cloud or blight. Who was the nymph? Nay, I will see, Methought, and I will know her near; If such, divined, her charm can be, Seen and possessed, how triply dear! So every magic art I tried, And spells as numberless as sand, Until, one evening, by my side I saw her glowing fulness stand. I turned to clasp her, but "Farewell,” Parting she sighed, “. we meet no more ; Not by my hand the curtain fell That leaves you conscious, wise, and poor. “Since you have found me out, I go ; Another lover I must find, Content his happiness to know, Nor strive its secret to unwind."