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The gales that round it weave and fleet,

Are life's creative forces.
Here was the bird's primeval nest,

High on a promontory
Star-pharosed, where she takes her rest
To brood new æons 'neath her breast,

The future's unfledged glory.
I know not how, but I was there

All feeling, hearing, seeing ;
It was not wind that stirred my hair
But living breath, the essence rare

Of unembodied being.
And in the nest an egg of gold

Lay sost in self-made lustre ;
Gazing whereon, what depths untold
Within, what marvels manifold,

Seemed silently to muster !
Daily such splendours to confront

Is still to me and you sent ?
It glowed as when Saint Peter's front,
Illumed, forgets its stony wont,

And seems to throb translucent.
One saw therein the life of man,

(Or so the poet found it,)
The yoke and white, conceive who can,
Were the glad earth, that, Aloating, span

In the glad heaven around it.
I knew this as one knows in dream,

Where no effects to causes
Are chained as in our work-day scheme,
And then was wakened by a scream

That seemed to come from Baucis.

“ Bless Zeus !” she cried, “I'm safe below!"

First pale, then red as coral;
And I, still drowsy, pondered slow,
And seemed to find, but hardly know,

Something like this for moral.
Each day the world is born anew

For him who takes it rightly ;
Not fresher that which Adam knew,
Not sweeter that whose moonlit dew

Entranced Arcadia nightly.

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Rightly? That's simply : 'tis to see

Some substance casts those shadows
Which we call Life and History,
That aimless seem to chase and flee

Like wind-gleams over meadows.
Simply? That's nobly : 'tis to know

That God may still be met with,
Nor groweth old, nor doth bestow
These senses fine, this brain aglow,

To grovel and forget with.
Beauty, Herr Doctor, trust in me,

No chemistry will win you ;
Charis still rises from the sea ;
If you can't find her, might it be

Because you seek within you ?


ALIKE I hate to be your debtor,
Or write a mere perfunctory letter ;
For letters, so it seems to ine,
Our careless quintessence should be,
Our real nature's truant play
When Consciousness looks t' other way,
Not drop by drop, with watchful skill,
Gathered in Art's deliberate still,
But life's insensible completeness
Got as the ripe grape gets its sweetness,
As if it had a way to fuse
The golden sunlight into juice.
Hopeless my mental pump I try;
The boxes hiss, the tube is dry;
As those petroleum wells that spout
Awhile like M. C.'s then give out,
My spring, once full as Arethusa,
Is a mere bore as dry's Creusa ;
And yet you ask me why I'm glum,
And why my graver Muse is dumb.
Ah me! I've reasons manifold
Condensed in one, -I'm getting old !
When life, once past its fortieth year,
Wheels up its evening hemisphere,
The mind's own shadow, which the boy
Saw onward point to hope and joy,

Shifts round, irrevocably set Tow'rd morning's loss and vain regret, And, argue with it as we will, The clock is unconverted still. “But count the gains," I hear you say, “Which far the seeming loss outweigh; Friendships built firm 'gainst flood and wind On rock-foundations of the mind; Knowledge instead of scheming hope ; For wild adventure, settled scope ; Talents, from surface-ore profuse, Tempered and edged to tools for use ; Judgment, for passion's headlong whirls ; Old sorrows crystalled into pearls ; Losses by patience turned to gains, Possessions now, that once were pains ; Joy's blossom gone, as go it must, To ripen seeds of faith and trust; Why heed a snow-flake on the roof If fire within keep Age aloof Though blundering north-winds push and strain With palms benumbed against the pane ?" My dear old Friend, you're very wise ; We always are with others' eyes, And see so clear! (our neighbour's deck on) What reef the idiot's sure to wreck on; Folks when they learn how life has quizzed 'em Are fain to make a shift with Wisdom, And, finding she nor breaks nor bends, Give her a letter to their friends. Draw passion's torrent whoso will Through sluices smooth to turn a mill, And, taking solid toll of grist, Forget the rainbow in the mist, The exulting leap, the aimless haste Scattered in iridescent waste ; Prefer who likes the sure esteem To cheated youth's midsummer dream, When every friend was more than Damon, Each quicksand safe to build a fame on ; Believe that prudence snug excels Youth's gross of verdant spectacles, Through which earth's withered stubble seen Looks autumn-proof as painted green,I side with Moses 'gainst the masses, Take you the drudge, give me the glasses !

And, for your talents shaped with practice,
Convince me first that such the fact is ;
Let whoso likes be beat, poor fool,
On life's hard stithy to a tool,
Be whoso will a ploughshare made,
Let me remain a jolly blade !
What's Knowledge, with her stocks and lands,
To gay Conjecture's yellow strands?
What's watching her slow flocks increase
To ventures for the golden fleece ?
What her deep ships, safe under lee,
To youth's light craft, that drinks the sea,
For Flying Islands making sail,
And failing where 'tis gain to fail ?
Ah me! Experience (so we're told),
Time's crucible, turns lead to gold;
Yet what's experience won but dross,
Cloud-gold transmuted to our loss?
What but base coin the best event
To the untried experiment ?
'Twas an old couple, says the poet,
That lodged the gods and did not know it ;
Youth sees and knows them as they were
Before Olympus' top was bare ;
From Swampscot's fats his eye divine
Sees Venus rocking on the brine,
With lucent limbs, that somehow scatter a
Charm that turns Doll to Cleopatra ;
Bacchus (that now is scarce induced
To give Eld's lagging blood a boost),
With cymbals' clang and pards to draw him,
Divine as Ariadne saw him,
Storms through Youth's pulse with all his train
And wins new Indies in his brain;
Apollo (with the old a trope,
A sort of finer Mister Pope),
Apollo-but the Muse forbids;
At his approach cast down thy lids,
And think it joy enough to hear
Far off his arrows singing clear ;
He knows enough who silent knows
The quiver chiming as he goes ;
He tells too much whoe'er betrays
The shining Archer's secret ways.
Dear Friend, you're right and I am wrongs
My quibbles are not worth a song,

And I sophistically tease My fancy sad to tricks like these. I could not cheat you if I would ; You know me and my jesting mood, Mere surface-foam, for pride concealing The purpose of my deeper feeling. I have not spilt one drop of joy Poured in the senses of the boy, Nor Nature fails my walks to bless With all her golden inwardness; And as blind nestlings, unafraid, Stretch up wide-mouthed to every shade By which their downy dream is stirred, Taking it for the mother-bird, So, when God's shadow, which is light, Unheralded, by day or night, My wakening instincts falls across, Silent as sunbeams over moss, In my heart's nest half-conscious things Stir with a helpless sense of wings, Lift themselves up, and tremble long With premonitions sweet of song. Be patient, and perhaps (who knows?) These may be winged one day like those ; If thrushes, close-embowered to sing, Pierced through with June's delicious sting ; If swallows, their half-hour to run Star-breasted in the setting sun. At first they're but the unfledged proem, Or songless schedule of a poem ; When from the shell they're hardly dry If some folks thrust them forth, must Í ? But let me end with a comparison Never yet hit upon by e'er a son Of our American Apollo, (And there's where I shall beat them hollow, If he is not a courtly St. John, But, as West said, a Mohawk Injun.) A poem's like a cruise for whales : Through untried seas the hunter sails. His prow dividing waters known To the blue iceberg's hulk alone ; At last, on farthest edge of day, He marks the smoky puff of spray; Then with bent oars the shallop flies To where the basking quarry lies ;

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