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O NATURE, take me home, and henceforth keep!
Laugh out at me with all thy mirthful streams,
To break the tenor of dull-hearted dreams ;
From ambush in a waving thicket leap,
And startle with a song as past I creep ;
Or speed me by invisible wild teams
That drive through forests and rough mountain-seams,
And furrow dark the forehead of the deep.
Nay, do thou more for me, great griefless friend !
Hurt to the core, without the gift to weep,
Back from man's world to thine I groping tend;
Now let thy clods unkindled smoothly sweep
This cooling clod - my heart; then do thou bend,
Uplift, and in bright calm my spirit steep.
R. W. GILDER'S « THE NEW DAY."
All books that for Love's sake are ever penned
Live creatures are, and from their being's date
Have their good genii, watchful of their fate,
To speed the heartward errand, and to lend
An affluent touch that doth all art transcend.
Sometimes it falls to readers' rich estate
That they behold these spirits consecrate,
As they upon their chosen cares attend.
Thus saw I these rare leaves, surnamed of Dawn,
Fresh smitten by a rosy eastern beam,
And, midmost in its flushing, something white
With lucent dewy wings enfolding drawn :
Young Eros of the Greek's supernal dream
To guard his own came down in native light !
A SECRET thing is Strength! The strongest wear
No steely harness for the breast or head :
A dress of gossamer, their raiment shred,
Were all as proof to them ; unarmed they dare
Advance where sworded legions would despair.
They ne'er are hunger-bitten, but are fed
On unknown miracles of meat and bread,
And rock-pent sluices issue at their prayer.
A secret thing is Strength, that without sleight
The glooming wrath of Fate they can appease ;
For lo! they are not conscious of their might
More than the winds that blow, or moving seas,
Or planets circling in eternal light;
And all their deeds seem wrought with rhythmic ease.
WE say ye sleep, but light your sleep, meseems ;
undertone Threads all this world's exultance, wrath, and moan, Ye lifeful dead, with whom this sad earth teems! Are these your voices mixed with troubled streams ? Is this your speech, in ancient tongues unknown, Through twilight fields and darkling wood-ways blown? Have
ye the winds of heaven to serve your schemes ? O aye-increasing, far outnumbering host, Crowd not so close our handful breathing clan : This moment ye are distant but a span, Such as Ulysses kept on that stern coast Where round the warm libation, lips all wan, With clamor shrill, came many a thirsting ghost !
Thou movest in their front, serene, serene!
How smilest thou, as one not knowing yet
That he is Death's, — the rose and violet
(Not asphodel) about thy temples seen!
Now with drawn spirit-sword I stand between
Thee and the murmuring shades that so beset :
Be thy lips only with the offering wet;
Then speak ! — where goest thou ? where hast thou
In vain, in vain ! for, wavering through the gloom,
Thou art become stream, forest, hill ...
It is the evening star that masks thy brow.
Gone art thou, gone the rose and violet bloom,
And the unnumbered shades their sway resume:
Shall all the dead speak to me and not thou !
What if in truth the heaven where thou art
Rests its pure sapphire base upon these hills
Where thy late paths a green oblivion fills ?
If from a window where the moist clouds part
Thou dost look forth and watch new beauty start
Beneath the April rain by plashing rills,
Or if above far fields those sun-warm thrills
Are the rich fervor of thy lifted heart?
What though all this be true ? — it can but prove
Thou dost companion Nature as of old :
Then, also Love's, thou wast not far to seek,
A sigh could break thy thought's utmost remove;
Now, ever silent, thou thy way dost hold,
Would I might know that thou desir'st to speak!