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The roar of the brook in the glen
Came dim from the distance blown;
The wind through its glooms sang low,
And it swayed to and fro

With delight as it stood,
In the wonderful wood,

Long ago!
O my life, have we not had seasons

That only said, Live and rejoice?
That asked not for causes and reasons,

But made us all feeling and voice? When we went with the winds in their blowing,

When Nature and we were peers,
And we seemed to share in the flowing

Of the inexhaustible years ?
Have we not from the earth drawn juices
Too fine for earth's sordid uses ?
Have I heard, have I seen

All I feel and I know?
Doth my heart overween?
Or could it have been

Long ago?
Sometimes a breath floats by me,

An odour from Dreamland sent, That makes the ghost seem nigh me

Of a splendour that came and went,
Of a life lived somewhere, I know not

In what diviner sphere,
Of memories that stay not and go not,
Like music heard once by an ear

That cannot forget or reclaim it,
A something so shy, it would shame it

To make it a show,
A something too vague, could I name it,

For others to know,
As if I had lived it or dreamed it,
As if I had acted or schemed it,

Long ago !
And yet, could I live it over,

This life that stirs in my brain,
Could I be both maiden and lover,
Moon and tide, bee and clover,

As I seem to have been, once again,
Could I but speak and show it,
This pleasure more sharp than pain,

That baffles and lures me so,

The world should not lack a poet,

Such as it had
In the ages glad,

Long ago!


It mounts athwart the windy hill

Through sallow slopes of upland bare, And Fancy climbs with foot-fall still

Its narrowing curves that end in air. By day, a warmer-hearted blue

Stoops softly to that topmost swell ; Its thread-like windings seem a clew

To gracious climes where all is well, By night, far yonder, I surmise

An ampler world than clips my ken,
Where the great stars of happier skies

Commingle nobler fates of men.
I look and long, then haste me home,

Still master of my secret rare ;
Once tried, the path would end in Rome,

But now it leads me everywhere. For ever to the new it guides,

From former good, old overmuch ; What Nature for her poets hides,

'Tis wiser to divine than clutch. The bird I list hath never come

Within the scope of mortal ear; My prying step would make him dumb,

And the fair tree, his shelter, sear. Behind the hill, behind the sky,

Behind my inmost thought, he sings; No feet avail ; to hear it nigh,

The song itself must lend the wings. Sing on, sweet bird close hid, and raise

Those angel stairways in my brain, That climb from these low-vaulted days

To spacious sunshines far from pain. Sing when thou wilt, enchantment fleet,

I leave thy covert haunt untrod,

And envy Science not her feat

To make a twice-told tale of God. They said the fairies tript no more,

And long ago that Pan was dead; 'Twas but that fools preferred to bore

Earth's rind inch-deep for truth instead. Pan leaps and pipes all summer long,

The fairies dance each full-mooned night, Would we but doff our lenses strong,

And trust our wiser eyes' delight. City of Elf-land, just without

Our seeing, marvel ever new, Glimpsed in fair weather, a sweet doubt

Sketched-in, mirage-like, on the blue. I build thee in yon sunset cloud,

Whose edge allures to climb the height; I hear thy drowned bells, inly-loud,

From still pulls dusk with dreams night. Thy gates are shut to hardiest will,

Thy countersign of long-lost speech, Those fountained courts, those chambers still,

Fronting Time's far East, who shall reach? I know not and will never pry,

But trust our human heart for all;
Wonders that from the seeker fly

Into an open sense may fall.
Hide in thine own soul, and surprise

The password of the unwary elves;
Seek it, thou canst not bribe their spies;

Unsought, they whisper it themselves.



OCTOBER, 1861. ALONG a river-side, I know not where, I walked one night in mystery of dream; A chill creeps curdling yet beneath my hair, To think what chanced me by the pallid gleam Of a moon-wraith that waned through haunted air. Pale fireflies pulsed within the meadow-mist Their halos, wavering thistledowns of light : The loon, that seemed to mock some goblin tryst, Laughed ; and the echoes, huddling in affright, Like Odin's hounds, fled baying down the night. Then all was silent, till there smote my ear A movement in the stream that checked my breath : Was it the slow plash of a wading deer? But something said, “ This water is of Death ! The Sisters wash a shroud,-ill thing to hear !” I, looking then, beheld the ancient Three Known to the Greek's and to the Northman's creed, That sit in shadow of the Mystic Tree, Still crooning, as they weave their endless brede, One song : "Time was, Time is, and Time shall be.” No wrinkled crones were they, as I had deemed, But fair as yesterday, to-day, to-morrow, To mourner, lover, poet, ever seemed ; Something too high for joy, too deep for sorrow, Thrilled in their tones, and from their faces gleamed. “Still men and nations reap as they have strawn,” So sang they, working at their task the while; “The fatal raiment must be cleansed ere dawn : For Austria ? Italy? the Sea-Queen's isle ? O’er what quenched grandeur must our shroud be drawn?

“ Or is it for a younger, fairer corse,
That gathered States for children round his knees,
That tamed the wave to be his posting horse,
Feller of forests, linker of the seas,
Bridge-builder, hammerer, youngest son of Thor's ?
“What make we, murmur'st thou ? and what are we?
When empires must be wound, we bring the shroud,
The time-old web of the implacable Three :
Is it too coarse for him, the young and proud ?
Earth's mightiest deigned to wear it, --why not he?"
“ Is there no hope?" I moaned, “ so strong, so fair !
Our Fowler whose proud bird would brook erewhile
No rival's swoop in all our western air !
Gather the ravens, then, in funeral file
For him, life's morn yet golden in his hair?
"Leave me not hopeless, ye unpitying dames !
I see, half-seeing. Tell me, ye who scanned
The stars, Earth's elders, still must noblest aims
Be traced upon oblivious ocean-sands?
Must Hesper join the wailing ghosts of names?"
“When grass-blades stiffen with red battle-dew,
Ye deem we choose the victor and the slain :
Say choose we them that shall be leal and true
To the heart's longing, the high faith of brain ?
Yet there the victory lies, if ye but knew.
“Three roots bear up Dominion ; Knowledge, Will,--
These twain are strong, but stronger yet the third,-
Obedience, — 'tis the great tap-root that still,
Knit round the rock of Duty, is not stirred,
Though Heaven-loosed tempests spend their utmost skill.
“Is the doom sealed for Hesper? 'Tis not we
Denounce it, but the Law before all time :
The brave makes danger opportunity ;
The waverer, paltering with the chance sublinie,
Dwarfs it to peril : which shall Hesper be?
“ Hath he let vultures climb his eagle's seat
To make Jove's bolts purveyors of their maw?
Hath he the Many's plaudits found more sweet
Than Wisdom ? held Opinion's wind for Law?
Then let him hearken for the doomster's feet !
“Rough are the steps, slow-hewn in flintiest rock,
States climb to power by ; slippery those with gold

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