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AFTER THE BURIAL.
- THE DEAD HOUSE.
AFTER THE BURIAL.
Communion in spirit! Forgive me,
THE DEAD HOUSE.
HERE once my step was quickened,
Here beckoned the opening door, And welcome thrilled from the thresh
old To the foot it had known before.
A glow came forth to meet me
Danced blither with mine for a mate.
Yes, faith is a goodly anchor ; When skies are sweet as a psalm, At the bows it lolls so stalwart, In bluff, broad-shouldered calm. And when over breakers to leeward The tattered surges are hurled, It may keep our head to the tempest, With its grip on the base of the world. But, after the shipwreck, tell me What help in its iron thews, Still true to the broken hawser, Deep down among sea-weed and coze? In the breaking gulfs of sorrow, When the helpless feet stretch out And find in the deeps of darkness No footing so solid as doubt, Then better one spar of Memory, One broken plank of the Past, That our human heart may cling to, Though hopeless of shore at last ! To the spirit its splendid conjectures, To the flesh its sweet despair, Its tears o'er the thin-worn locket With its anguish of deathless hair ! Immortal ? I feel it and know it, Who doubts it of such as she? But that is the pang's very secret, Immortal away from me. There's a narrow ridge in the grave
yard Would scarce stay a child in his race, But to me and my thought it is wider Than the star-sown vague of Space. Your logic, my friend, is perfect, Your morals most drearily true ; But, since the earth clashed on her
coffin, I keep hearing that, and not you. Console if you will, I can bear it; "T is a well-meant alms of breath ; But not all the preaching since Adam Has made Death other than Death. It is pagan ; but wait till you feel it, That jar of our earth, that dull shock When the ploughshare of deeper pas
sion Tears down to our primitive rock.
Unaltered! Alas for the sameness Thou only aspirest the more,
That makes the change but more ! Unregretful the old leaves shedding 'Tis a dead man I see in the mirrors, That fringed thee with music before, 'Tis his tread that chills the tioor ! And deeper thy roots embedding
In the grace and the beauty of yore ; To learn such a simple lesson,
Thou sigh'st not, “ Alas, I am older, Need I go to Paris and Rome, The green of last summer is sear!” That the many make the household, But loftier, hopefuller, bolder, But only one the home ?
Winnest broader horizons each year. 'T was just a womanly presence, To me 't is not cheer thou art singing: An influence unexprest,
There's a sound of the sea, But a rose she had worn, on my grave. O mournful tree, sod
In thy boughs forever clinging, Were more than long life with the rest! And the far-off roar
Of waves on the shore ’T was a smile, 't was a garment's rustle, A shattered vessel flinging.
'T was nothing that I can phrase, But the whole dumb dwelling grew As thou musest still of the ocean conscious,
On which thou must float at last, And put on her looks and ways. And seem'st to foreknow
The shipwreck's woe Were it mine I would close the shutters, And the sailor wrenched from the broken Like lids when the life is tied,
mast, And the funeral fire should wind it,
Do I, in this vague emotion, This corpse of a home that is dead.
This sadness that will not pass,
Though the air throbs with wings, For it died that autumn morning And the field laughs and sings, When she, its soul, was borne
Do I forebode, alas ! To lie all dark on the hillside
The ship-building longer and wearier, That looks over woodland and corn.
The voyage's struggle and strife,
Wreck of a broken life?
I go to the ridge in the forest
Now Biörn, the sun of Heriulf, had ill
limbs, But, while they slept, still hammered
like a Troll, Building all night a bridge of solid
dream Between him and some purpose of his
Or will to find a purpose. With the
THORWALD'S LAY. The sleep-laid timbers, crumbled to soft mist,
So Biörn went comfortless but for his Denied all foothold. But the dream thought, remained,
And by his thought the more discomAnd every night with yellow-bearded forted, kings
Till Eric Thurlson kept his Yule-tide His sleep was haunted, – mighty men feast : of old,
And thither came he, called among the Once young as he, now ancient like the rest, gods,
Silent, lone-minded, a church-door to And safe as stars in all men's memo. mirth : ries.
But, ere deep draughts forbade such Strange sagas read he in their sea-blue eyes
As the grave Skald might chant nor Cold as the sea, grandly compassionless ; after blush, Like life, they made him eager and then Then Eric looked at Thorwald where lie mocked.
sat Nay, broad awake, they would not let Mute as a cloud amid the stormy hall, him be ;
And said: “O Skald, sing now an olden They shaped themselves gigantic in the
Such as our fathers heard who led great They rose far-beckoning in the lamps of
And, as the bravest on a shield is borne They whispered invitation in the winds, along the waving host that shouts him And breath came from them, mightier king, than the wind,
So rode their thrones upon the throng. To strain the lagging sails of his resolve, ing seas !" Till that grew passion which before was Then the old man arose ; white-haired wish,
he stood, And youth seemed all too costly to be White-bearded, and with eyes that staked
looked afar On the soiled cards wherewith men from their still region of perpetual snow, played their game,
Beyond the little smokes and stirs of Letting Time pocket up the larger life, Lost with base gain of raiment, food, His head was bowed with gathered and roof.
flakes of years, “What helpeth lightness of the feet?” As winter bends the sea-forehoding pine, they said,
But something triumphed in his brow "Oblivion runs with swifter foot than they;
Which wloso saw it could not see and Or strength of sinew? New men come
crouch: as strong,
Loud rang the emptied beakers as he And those sleep nameless; or renown in mused, war?
Brooding his eyried thoughts; then, as Sworils grave no name on the long- an eagle memoried rock
Circles smooth-winged above the wind. But moss shall hide it; they alone who vexed woods, wring
So wheeled his soul into the air of song Some secret purpose from the unwilling High o'er the stormy hall; and thus he gods
Sáng : Survive in song for yet a little while "The fletcher for his arrow-shaft picks To vex, like us, the dreams of later out men,
Wood closest - grained, long-seasoned, Ourselves a dream, and dreamlike all we straight as light; did.”
And from a quiver full of such as these
The wary bowman, matched against his That chatter loudest as they mean the
peers, Long doubting, singles yet once more Swift-willed is thrice-willed; late means the best.
nevermore ; Who is it needs such flawless shafts as Impatient is her foot, nor turns again." Fate ?
He ceased ; upon his bosom sank his What archer of his arrows is so choice, beard Or hits the white so surely? They are Sadly, as one who oft had seen her pass men,
Nor stayed her: and forth with the The chosen of her qniver; nor for her frothy tide Will every reed suffice, or cross-grained of interrupted wassail roared along; stick
But Biörn, the son of Heriulf, sat apart At random from life's vulgar fagot Musing, and, with his eyes upon the fire, plucked :
Saw shapes of arrows, lost as soon as sern. Such answer household ends; but she “A ship,” he muttered, “is a winged will have
bridge Souls straight and clear, of toughest That leadeth every way to man's desire, fibre, sound
And ocean the wide gate to mantul Down to the heart of heart; from these she strips
And then with that resolve his heart All needless stuff, all sapwood ; seasons was bent, them ;
Which, like a humming shaft, through From circumstance untoward feathers
many a stripe plucks
Of day and night, across the unpath. Crumpled and cheap; and barbs with wayed seas iron will:
Shot the brave prow that cut on VinThe hour that passes is her quiver-boy: land sands When she draws bow, 't is not across the first rune in the Saga of the West.
the wind, Nor 'gainst the sun her haste-snatched
III. arrow sings, For sun and wind have plighted faith
GUDRIDA'S PROPHECY. to her: Ere men have heard the sinew twang, Four weeks they sailed, a speck in sky.
behold In the butt's heart her trembling mes- Life, where was never life that knew senger!
But tumbled lubber-like in blowing “The song is old and simple that I whales ; sing;
Thought, where the like had never been But old and simple are despised as before cheap,
Since Thought primeval brooded the Thogh hardest to achieve of human abyss; things:
Alone as men were never in the rorli. Good were the days of yore, when men They saw the icy foundlings of the sea, were tried
White cliffs of silence, beautiful by day, By ring of shields, as now by ring of Or looming, sudden-perilous, at night words;
In monstrous hush; or sometimes in the But while the gods are left, and hearts dark
The waves broke ominous with paly And wide-vloored ocean, still the days gleams are good.
Crushed by the prow in sparkles of cold Still o'er the earth hastes Opportunity, fire. Seeking the hardy soul that seeks for Then came green stripes of sea that her.
promised land Be not abroad, nor deaf with household But brought it not, and on the thirtieth
Low in the West were wooded shores
like cloud. They shouted as men shout with sud
den hope; But Biörn was silent, such strange loss
there is Between the dream's fulfilment and the
dream, Such sad abatement in the goal attained. Then Gudrida, that was a prophetess, Kapt with strange influence from At
lantis, salig: Her words: the vision was the dream
Looms there the New Land :
Little it looks there, Slim as a cloud-streak; It shall fold peoples Even as a shepherd Foldeth his flock.
Silent it sleeps now; Great ships shall seek it, Swarming as salmon; Noise of its numbers Two seas shall hear.
Leaving their sons' sons
in fire. Doubt not, my Northmen; Fate loves the fearless ; Fools, when their roof-tree Falls, think it doomsday ; Firm stands the sky. Over the ruin See I the promise; Crisp waves the cornfield, Peace-wallerl, the homestead Waits open-doored. There lies the New Land; Yours to beholıl it, Not to possess it ; Slowly Fate's perfect Fulness shall come.
Man from the Northland,
Dark hair and fair hair, Red blood and blue blood, There shall be mingled; Force of the ferinent Makes the New Man.
Pick of all kindreds,