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Balloons from the thistles
Tell summer's disasters,
The butterflies yellow,
As caught in an eddy
Of air's silent ocean,
Sink, waver, and steady
O'er goat's-beard and asters,
Like souls of dead flowers,
With aimless emotion
Still lingering unready
To leave their old bowers;
And the fount is no dumber,
But still gleams and flashes,
And gurgles and plashes,
To the measure of summer ;
The butterflies hear it,
And spell-bound are holden,
Still balancing near it
O’er the goats’-beard so golden.


'Tis a woodland enchanted !
A vast silver willow,
I know not how planted,
(This wood is enchanted,
And full of surprises,)
Stands stemming a billow,
A motionless billow
Of ankle-deep mosses ;
Two great roots it crosses
To make a round basin,
And there the Fount rises ;
Ah, too pure a mirror
For one sick of error
To see his sad face in !
No dew-drop is stiller
In its lupin-leaf setting
Than this water moss-bounded ;
But a tiny sand-pillar
From the bottom keeps jetting,
And mermaid ne'er sounded
Through the wreaths of a shell,
Down amid crimson dulses
In some dell of ocean,
A melody sweeter
Than the delicate pulses,
The soft, noiseless metre

The pause and the swell
Of that musical motion :
I recall it, not see it ;
Could vision be clearer ?
Half I'm fain to draw nearer,
Half tempted to flee it ;
The sleeping Past wake not,
One forward step take not,
Ah ! break not
That quietude rare !
By my step unaffrighted
A thrush hops before it,
And o'er it
A birch hangs delighted,
Dipping, dipping, dipping its tremulous hair ;
Pure as the fountain, once
I came to the place,
(How dare I draw nearer ?)
I bent o'er its mirror,
And saw a child's face
'Mid locks of bright gold in it;
Yes, pure as this fountain once. -
Since, how much error !
Too holy a mirror
For the man to behold in it
His harsh, bearded countenance !


'Tis a woodland enchanted !
Ah, fly unreturning !
Yet stay ;-
'Tis a woodland enchanted,
Where wonderful chances
Have sway;
Luck flees from the cold one
But leaps to the bold one
Why should I be daunted ?
Still the smooth mirror glances,
Still the amber sand dances,
One look,—then away!
O magical glass!
Canst keep in thy bosom
Shades of leaf and of blossom
When summer days pass,
So that when thy wave hardens

It shapes as it pleases,
Unharmed by the breezes,
Its fine hanging gardens ?
Hast those in thy keeping,
And canst not uncover
Enchantedly sleeping,
The old shade of thy lover?
It is there! I have found it !
He wakes, the long sleeper !
The pool is grown deeper,
The sand dance is ending,
The white floor sinks, blending
With skies that below me
Are deepening and bending,
And a child's face alone
That seems not to know me,
With hair that fades golden
In the heaven-glow round it,
Looks up at my own ;,
Ah, glimpse through the portal
That leads to the throne,

the child's olden
Regions Elysian !
Ah, too holy vision
For thy skirts to be holden
By soiled hand of mortal!
It wavers, it scatters,
'Tis gone past recalling!
A tear's sudden falling
The magic cup shatters,
Breaks the spell of the waters,
And the sand cone once more,
With a ceaseless renewing,
Its dance is pursuing
On the silvery floor,
O’er and o'er,
With a noiseless and ceaseless renewing.

'Tis a woodland enchanted !
If you ask me, Where is it?
I only can answer,
'Tis past my disclosing ;
Not to choice is it granted
By sure paths to visit
The still pool enclosing
Its blithe little dancer;

But in some day, the rarest
Of many Septembers,
When the pulses of air rest,
And all things lie dreaming
In drowsy haze steaming
From the wood's glowing embers,
Then, sometimes, unheeding,
And asking not whither,
By a sweet inward leading
My feet are drawn thither,
And, looking with awe in the magical mirror,
I see through my tears,
Half doubtful of seeing,
The face unperverted,
The warm golden being
Of a child of five years ;
And spite of the mists and the error,
And the days overcast,
Can feel that I walk undeserted,
But for ever attended
By the glad heavens that bended
O'er the innocent past;
Toward fancy or truth
Doth the sweet vision win me?
Dare I think that I cast
In the fountain of youth
The fleeting reflection
Of some bygone perfection
T'hat still lingers in me?


A STRANGER came one night to Yussouf's tent,
Saying, “Behold one outcast and in dread,
Against whose life the bow of power is bent,
Who flies, and hath not where to lay his head ;
I come to thee for shelter and for food,
To Yussouf, called through all our tribes “ The Good."

“This tent is mine,” said Yussouf, “but no more
Than it is God's ; come in, and be at peace ;
Freely shalt thou partake of all my store
As I of His who buildeth over these
Our tents his glorious roof of night and day,
And at whose door none ever yet heard Nay."

So Yussouf entertained his guest that night,
And, waking him ere day, said : “Here is gold,
My swiftest horse is saddled for thy flight,
Depart before the prying day grow bold.
As one lamp lights another, nor grows less,
So nobleness enkindleth nobleness.
That inward light the stranger's face made grand,
Which shines from all self-conquest ; kneeling low,
He bowed his forehead upon Yussouf's hand,
Sobbing : “O Sheik, I cannot leave thee so;
I will repay thee; all this thou hast done
Unto that Ibrahim who slew thy son!”
"Take thrice the gold,” said Yussouf, “for with thee
Into the desert, never to return,
My one black thought shall ride away from me ;
First-born, for whom by day and night I yearn,
Balanced and just are all of God's decrees;
Thou art avenged, my first-born, sleep in peace ! ”


The fire is burning clear and blithely,
Pleasantly whistles the winter wind;
We are about thee, thy friends and kindred,
On us all Aickers the firelight kind ;
There thou sittest in thy wonted corner
Lone and awful in thy darkened mind.
There thou sittest; now and then thou moanest;
Thou dost talk with what we cannot see,
Lookest at us with an eye so doubtful,
It doth put us very far from thee;
There thou sittest; we would fain be nigh thee,
But we know that it can never be.
We can touch thee, still we are no nearer ;
Gather round thee, still thou art alone ;
The wide chasm of reason is between us;
Thou confutest kindness with a moan;
We can speak to thee, and thou canst answer,
Like two prisoners through a wall of stone.
Hardest heart would call it very awful
When thou look'st at us and seest- what?
If we move away thou sittest gazing
With those vague eyes at the selfsame spot,

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