Brief Introduction: Ralph Waldo Emerson

  The Complete Poems

    Contents

    Poems of Youth and Early Manhood

      The Bell

      Thought

      Prayer

      Cambridge, 1827.

      To-day

      Fame

      The Summons

      The River

      Good Hope

      Lines to Ellen

      Security

      A Mountain Grave

      A Letter

      Chardon St., Boston, 1831.

      Hymn

      Self-reliance

      Written in Naples

      Written at Rome

      Webster

      From the Phi Beta Kappa Poem

    Poems, 1847

      Good-bye

      Each and All

      The Problem

      To Rhea

      The Visit

      Uriel

      The World-soul

      The Sphinx

      Alphonso of Castile

      Mithridates

      To J.W.

      Destiny

      Guy

      Hamatreya

      Earth-song

      The Rhodora: on Being Asked, Whence is the Flower?

      The Humble-bee

      Berrying

      The Snow-storm

      Woodnotes I

      Woodnotes II

      Monadnoc

      Fable

      Ode Inscribed to W.H. Channing

      Astraea

      Étienne De La Boéce

      Compensation

      Forbearance

      The Park

      Forerunners

      Sursum Corda

      Ode to Beauty

      Give All to Love

      To Ellen at the South

      To Ellen

      To Eva

      Lines written by Ellen Louisa Tucker shortly before her marriage to Mr. Emerson

      The Violet

      The Amulet

      Thine Eyes Still Shined

      Eros

      Hermione

      Initial, Daemonic and Celestial Love

      The Apology

      Merlin I

      Merlin II

      Bacchus

      Merops

      The House

      Saadi

      Holidays

      Xenophanes

      The Day’s Ration

      Blight

      Musketaquid

      Dirge

      Threnody

      Concord Hymn

    May-Day and Other Pieces

      May-day

      The Adirondacs

      Brahma

      Nemesis

      Fate

      Freedom

      Ode Sung in the Town Hall, Concord, July 4, 1857

      Boston Hymn Read in Music Hall, January 1, 1863

      Voluntaries

      Love and Thought

      Una

      Boston

      Letters

      Rubies

      Merlin’s Song

      The Test

      Solution

      Hymn Sung at the Second Church, at the Ordination of Rev. Chandler Robbins

      Nature I

      Nature II

      The Romany Girl

      Days

      My Garden

      The Chartist’s Complaint

      The Titmouse

      The Harp

      Seashore

      Song of Nature

      Two Rivers

      Waldeinsamkeit

      Terminus

      The Nun’s Aspiration

      April

      Maiden Speech of the Aeolian Harp

      Cupido

      The Past

      The Last Farewell

      In Memoriam E. B. E.

    Elements and Mottoes

      Experience

      Compensation

      Politics

      Heroism

      Character

      Culture

      Friendship

      Spiritual Laws

      Beauty

      Manners

      Art

      Unity

      Worship

      Prudence

      Nature

      The Informing Spirit

      Circles

      Intellect

      Gifts

      Promise

      Caritas

      Power

      Wealth

      Illusions

    Quatrains

      A.H.

      Hush!

      Orator

      Artist

      Poet

      Poet

      Botanist

      Gardener

      Forester

      Northman

      From Alcuin

      Excelsior

      S.H.

      Borrowing From the French

      Nature

      Fate

      Horoscope

      Power

      Climacteric

      Heri, Cras, Hodie

      Memory

      Love

      Sacrifice

      Pericles

      Casella

      Shakspeare

      Hafiz

      Nature in Leasts

    Fragments

      The Poet

      Fragments on the Poet and the Poetic Gift

      Fragments on Nature and Life

      The Earth

      The Heavens

      Transition

      The Garden

      Birds

      Water

      Nahant

      Sunrise

      Night in June

      Maia

      Life

      Rex

      Suum Cuique

      The Bohemian Hymn

      Grace

      Insight

      Pan

      Monadnoc From Afar

      September

      Eros

      October

      Peter’s Field

      Music

      The Walk

      Cosmos

      The Miracle

      The Waterfall

      Walden

      The Enchanter

      Written in a Volume of Goethe

      Riches

      Philosopher

      Intellect

      Limits

      Inscription for a Well in Memory of the Martyrs of the War

      The Exile (After Taliessin)

    Uncollected Poems

      Silence

      Fame

      I Am Owner of the Sphere

      William Rufus and the Jew

      Grace

      The Three Dimensions

      Motto to “The Poet.”

      Motto to “Gifts.”

      Mottoes to “History.”

      Motto to “Nature.”

      Motto to “Circles.”

      Motto to “Nominalist and Realist.”

      My Thoughts

      Motto to “Prudence.”

      Motto to “Intellect.”

      Motto to “Nature.”

      Motto to “Considerations by the Way.”

      Motto to “New England Reformers.”

      Motto to “Fate.”

      Motto to “Power.”

      Motto to “Illusions.”

      The Cup of Life is Not So Shallow

      Where is Skrymir? Giant Skrymir?

      South Wind

      There Are Beggars in Iran and Araby

      Quoth Saadi, When I Stood Before

    Translations

      Dante’s Vita Nuova

      Sonnet of Michel Angelo Buonarotti

      The Exile From the Persian of Kermani

      From Hafiz

      Epitaph

      Friendship

      From Omar Khayyam

      From Ali Ben Abu Taleb

      From Ibn Jemin

      The Flute From Hilali

      To the Shah From Hafiz

      To the Shah From Enweri

      To the Shah From Enweri

      Song of Seyd Nimetollah of Kuhistan

      The Principle of All Things; Entrails Made

      The Secret That Should Not Be Blown

      On Earth’s Wide Thoroughfares Below

      Sunshine Was He

      Go Boldly Forth, and Feast on Being’s Banquet

      Color, Taste, and Smell, Smaragdus, Sugar, and Musk

      Loose the Knots of the Heart; Never Think on Thy Fate

      There Resides in the Grieving

      I Will Be Drunk and Down With Wine

      To Be Wise the Dull Brain So Earnestly Throbs

      The Builder of Heaven

      I Batter the Wheel of Heaven

      Tis Writ on Paradise’s Gate

      The World is a Bride Superbly Dressed

      I Am: What I Am

      What Lovelier Forms Things Wear

      Take My Heart in Thy Hand, O Beautiful Boy of Schiraz!

      Out of the East, and Out of the West, No Man Understands Me

      Fit for the Pleiads’ Azure Chord

      I Have No Hoarded Treasure

      High Heart, O Hafiz! Though Not Thine

      O Hafiz! Speak Not of Thy Need

      Oft Have I Said, I Say It Once More

      The Phoenix

      By Breath of Beds of Roses Drawn

      All Day the Rain

      O’er the Garden Water Goes the Wind Alone

      Whilst I Disdain the Populace

      A Friend is He, Who, Hunted as a Foe

      The Chemist of Love

      And Since Round Lines Are Drawn

      Ah, Could I Hide Me in My Song

      Fair Fall Thy Soft Heart

      They Strew in the Path of Kings and Czars

      I Know This Perilous Love-lane

      Plunge in Yon Angry’ Waves

      While Roses Bloomed Along the Plain

      Body and Soul

      I Read on the Porch of a Palace Bold

      The Eternal Watcher, Who Doth Wake

      Poem From “Bird Conversations.”

      Tis Heavy Odds

      At the Last Day, Men Shall Wear

      Fooled Thou Must Be, Though Wisest of the Wise

      Alms

      No. 13 Hymn Written in Concord Sept. 1814

      On the Death of Mr. John Haskins

      Lines on the Death of Miss. M. B. Farnham

      Poem on Eloquence by R. W. Emerson

      Original— “Apropos.”

      William Does Thy Frigid Soul

      Song: Shout for Those Whose Course is Done

      Perhaps Thy Lot in Life is Higher

      Valedictory Poem

      From Frodmer’s Drama “The Friends.”

      Dedication

      Idealism

      I Spread My Gorgeous Sail

      A Shout to the Shepherds

      I Wear No Badge; No Tinsel Star

      I Rake No Coffined Clay, Nor Publish Wide

      O What Have I to Do

      Have Ye Seen the Caterpillar

      The Panoply of Paradise is Mine

      No Fate, Save by the Victim’s Fault, is Low

      When Success Exalts Thy Lot

      The Spirits of the Wise, Sit on the Clouds

      Let Not Conceited Sages Laugh Aloud

      My Days Roll by Me Like a Train of Dreams

      One Hand Washes the Other

      Whoso Alas is Young

      When Thy Soul

      The Blackbird’s Song the Blackbird’s Song

      I Am an Exile From My Home; Heavily

      St. Augustine

      Awed I Behold Once More

      An Ancient Lady Who Dwelt in Rome

      Be of Good Cheer, Brave Spirit; Steadfastly

      The Winds Are Cold, the Days Are Dark

      Written in Sickness

      Oil & Wine

      All That Thy Virgin Soul Can Ask Be Thine

      That Wandering Fire to Me Appears

      Though Her Eye Seek Other Forms

      Dear Ellen, Many a Golden Year

      I Call Her Beautiful; — She Says

      I’ve Found the Dainty Malice Out

      And Do I Waste My Time

      And Though He Dearly Prized the Bards of Fame

      And Ellen, When the Greybeard Years

      The Brave Empedocles Defying Fools

      Dear Brother, Would You Know the Life

      Dost Thou Not Hear Me Ellen

      Teach Me I Am Forgotten by the Dead

      Why Should I Live

      Shall the Muse Sing for Thousands & Not Sing

      What From This Barren Being Do We Reap

      Dust Unto Dust! And Shall No More Be Said

      The Days Pass Over Me

      Why Fear to Die

      I Am Alone. Sad is My Solitude

      On Thee Has God Conferred

      All the Great & Good

      Seemed to Me — Never Maid

      Where Art Thou

      I Live Among Ideal Men

      What Avails It Me

      She Never Comes to Me

      Leave Me, Fear! Thy Throbs Are Base

      If Thou Canst Bear

      A Dull Uncertain Brain

      There is in All the Sons of Men

      I Will Not Live Out of Me

      Hard is it to persuade the public mind of its plain duty & true interest

      Always Day & Night

      Hearst Thou, Sweet Spirit, Thou Hast Heard Before

      None Spares Another Yet It Pleases Me

      Written in Naples, March, 1833

      What is It to Sail

      Alone in Rome! Why Rome is Lonely Too

      At Sea, September 1833

      I Will Not Hesitate to Speak the Word

      The Sun is the Sole Inconsumable Fire

      Poem, Spoken Before the Society, August, 1834

      O What is Heaven but the Fellowship

      Ah Strange Strange Strange

      See Yonder Leafless Trees Against the Sky

      Do That Which You Can Do

      Few Are Free

      Van Buren

      The Future

      Rex

      Written in a Volume of Goethe

      I Left My Dreamy Page & Sallied Forth

      S. R.

      Philosophers Are Lined With Eyes Within

      The Simple People Each With Basket or Tool

      On Bravely Through the Sunshine & the Showers

      Let Me Go Where E’er I Will

      And When I Am Entombed in My Place

      Bard or Dunce is Blest, but Hard

      It Takes Philosopher or Fool

      Tell Men What They Knew Before

      I Use the Knife

      There is No Evil but Can Speak

      The Sea Reflects the Rosy Sky

      In This Sour World, O Summerwind

      Look Danger in the Eye It Vanishes

      As I Walked in the Wood

      I Sat Upon the Ground

      Good Charles the Springs Adorer

      Around the Man Who Seeks a Noble End

      In the Deep Heart of Man a Poet Dwells

      O What Are Heroes Prophets Men

      Yet Sometime to the Sorrow Stricken

      When Thou Sittest Moping

      Woods

      I Have Supped With the Gods Tonight

      Once the Priest

      Natures Web Star Broidered

      For That a Man is a Mark

      The Bohemian Hymn

      Kind & Holy Were the Words

      Bluebeard. Let the Gentle Wife Prepare

      Divine Inviters! I Accept

      Go if Thou Wilt Ambrosial Flower

      In Walden Wood the Chickadee

      Star Seer Copernicus

      At Last the Poet Spoke

      The Discontented Poet: a Masque

      Love

      Hold of the Maker, Not the Made

      He Walked the Streets of Great New York

      The Archangel Hope

      Atom From Atom Yawns as Far

      I Grieve That Better Souls Than Mine

      Nantasket

      Water

      Where the Fungus Broad & Red

      The Skeptic

      When Jane Was Absent Edgar’s Eye

      I Have Found a Nobler Love

      Fine Presentiments Controlled Him

      We Sauntered Amidst Miracles

      This World is Tedious

      What Are All the Flowers

      A Pair of Crystal Eyes Will Lead Me

      Knows He Who Tills This Lonely Field

      Far Seen the River Glides Below

      From the Stores of Eldest Matter

      And the Best Gift of God

      Stout Sparta Shrined the God of Laughter

      Brother, No Decrepitude

      Who Knows This or That

      Saadi Loved the New & Old

      But if Thou Do Thy Best

      An Ancient Drop of Feudal Blood

      These Trees Like Tho’ts That to Visions Congeal

      Vain Against Him Were Hostile Blows

      Like Vaulters in the Circus Round

      If He Go Apart

      Nature Will Not Lose

      The Crowning Hour When Bodies Vie With Souls

      And as the Light Divided the Dark

      When Devils Bite

      Comfort With a Purring Cat

      I Cannot Find a Place So Lonely

      He Whom God Had Thus Preferred

      Bended to Fops Who Bent to Him

      On That Night the Poet Went

      Ye Have Grace

      The Dervish Whined to Said

      Life is Great

      The Husband Has the Nearest Acres

      From a Far Mountain Creeping Down

      In Dreamy Woods, What Forms Abound

      But O to See His Solar Eyes

      Who Saw the Hid Beginnings

      What Never Was Not, & Still Will Be

      Enough is Done Highminded Friend Go Sleep

      Thou Shalt Make Thy House

      The Gods Walk in the Breath of the Woods

      Would You Know What Joy is Hid

      Tell Me Maiden Dost Thou Use

      I Have No Brothers & No Peers

      Solar Insect on the Wing

      And Man of Wit & Mark

      I Know the Appointed Hour

      You Shall Not Love Me for What Daily Spends

      Nor When in Fair Saloons We Chance to Meet

      Elizabeth Hoar

      Each Day a Solid Good; Never Mistook

      Proteus

      To Every Creature

      Cloud Upon Cloud

      Since the Devil Hopping on

      Samson Stark at Dagon’s Knee

      Pour the Wine! Pour the Wine!

      Heartily Heartily

      Poets Are Colorpots

      Thanks to Those Who Go & Come

      Is Jove Immortal

      Heartily Heartily Sing

      Thank the Gods Thy Governors

      If Thy Body Pine

      Scholar is a Ball Thats Spent

      Ask Not Treasures From His Store

      King. If Farmers Make My Land Secure

      Intellect

      Chladni Strewed on Glass the Sand

      I Must Not Borrow Light

      Go Into the Garden

      But as This Fugitive Sunlight

      Comrade of the Snow & Wind

      God Only Knew How Saadi Dined

      Friends to Me Are Frozen Wine

      That Each Should in His House Abide

      New England Capitalist

      On a Raisin Stone

      Go Out Into Nature and Plant Trees

      But God Will Keep His Promise Yet

      Poet of Poets

      See the Spheres Rushing

      The Patient Pan

      To Transmute Crime to Wisdom, & to Stem

      Pale Genius Roves Alone

      Burn Your Literary Verses

      Intellect

      What All the Books of Ages Paint, I Have

      The Civil World Will Much Forgive

      Mask Thy Wisdom With Delight

      Roomy Eternity

      Dark Flower of Cheshire Garden

      Terminus

      I to My Garden Went

      More Sweet Than My Refrain

      Wisp & Meteor Nightly Falling

      God the Lord Save Massachusetts

      A Poet is at Home

      O Boston City Lecture-hearing

      A Patch of Meadow & Upland

      And He Like Me is Not Too Proud

      Parks & Ponds Are Good by Day

      Cloud Upon Cloud

      For Lyra Yet Shall Be the Pole

      A Score of Airy Miles Will Smooth

      All Things Rehearse

      Webster

      The Atom Displaces All Atoms Beside

      I Have an Arrow That Can Find Its Mark

      From High to Higher Forces

      All Day the Waves Assailed the Rock

      Honor Bright O Muse

      Such Another Peerless Queen

      See How Romance Adheres

      With the Key of the Secret He Marches Faster

      For What Need I of Book or Priest

      And Rival Coxcombs With Enamored Stare

      For Joy & Beauty Planted It

      Papas Blondine

      The Asmodaean Feat Be Mine

      A Puff of Air or Dry or Damp

      Coin the Daydawn Into Lines

      He Loved to Watch & Wake

      She Walked in Flowers Around My Field

      The Bird Was Gone the Ghastly Trees

      Pedants All

      If Bright the Sun, He Tarries

      Teach Me Your Mood, O Patient Stars!

      O Sun! Take Off Thy Hood of Clouds

      As the Drop Feeds Its Fated Flower

      I Leave the Book, I Leave the Wine

      Gentle Spring Has Charmed the Earth

      The Coral Worm Beneath the Sea

      Easy to Match What Others Do

      If Wishes Would Carry Me Over the Land

      Maia

      Seyd Planted Where the Deluge Ploughed

      For Every God

      For Genius Made His Cabin Wide

      He Lives Not Who Can Refuse Me

      Forbore the Ant Hill, Shunned to Tread

      By Art, by Music, Overthrilled

      Borrow Urania’s Subtile Wings

      The Comrade or the Book is Good

      Is the Pace of Nature Slow?

      Why Honor the New Men

      I Never Knew but One

      Think Not the Gods Receive Thy Prayer

      Turtle in Swamp

      Inspired We Must Forget Our Books

      She Had Wealth of Mornings in Her Year

      When Wrath & Terror Changed Jove’s Regal Port

      Softens the Air So Cold & Rude

      Spices in the Plants That Run

      She Paints With White & Red the Moors

      The Earth

      The Sun Athwart the Cloud Thought It No Sin

      October Woods, Wherein

      How Drearily in College Hall

      If Curses Be the Wage of Love

      The Land Was All Electric

      For Nature True & Like in Every Place

      History & Prophecy Are Alike

      The Coil of Space the Cones of Light

      The Heavy Blue Chain

      This Shining Hour is an Edifice

      He Could Condense Cerulean Ether

      The Sparrow is Rich in Her Nest

      James Russell Lowell

      From Paques to Noel

      Ever the Rock of Ages Melts

      But Never Yet the Man Was Found

      From Nature’s Beginning

      A Queen Rejoices in Her Peers

      By Kinds I Keep My Kinds in Check

      But Nature Whistled With All Her Winds

      Dear Are the Pleasant Memories

      The Genial Spark the Poet Felt

      One Night He Dreamed of a Palace Fair

      The Low December Vault in June Be Up-lifted High

      At Plymouth in the Friendly Crowd

      Old Age

      To the Clock

      Nature Says

      Shun Passion, Fold the Hands of Thrift

      To the Mizen, the Main, & the Fore

      The Rules to Men Made Evident

      Too Late the Anxious Fire Came

      His Instant Thought the Poet Spoke

      Try the Might the Muse Affords

      Saadi Held the Muse in Awe

      No Song So Tuneful, Quoth the Fox

      Life

      Song of Taliesin

      Seemed, Tho’ the Soft Sheen All Enchants

      Nature Saith

      Illusions Like the Tints of Pearl

      Inscription on a Well in Memory

      Letters

      May

      The Miracle

      A Dangerous Gift & Grace is Mine

      And Hungry Debt Beseiged My Door

      Use Will in Man New Grace Reveal

      Put in, Drive Home the Sightless Wedges

      What Flowing Central Forces, Say

      The Best of Life is Presence of a Muse

      The Pilgrims

      I Care Not Whither I May Go

      I Am Not Black in My Mind

      Trimountain

      The Rocky Nook With Hilltops Three

      For Lucifer, That Old Athlete

      Traitors Tho’ Plumed & Steel Equipped

      The Muse

      In My Garden Three Ways Meet

      Thermometer

      Nature

      Seashore

      Things Oft Miscalling, as the Hen

      On the Chamber, on the Stairs

      Ah! Not to Me These Dreams Belong

      For Deathless Powers to Verse Belong

      Upon a Rock Yet Uncreate

      Alas, Alas, That I Am Betrayed

      Wo is Me Woe’s Me When I Think

      Sweet, Sweet, is Sleep, — Ah! Sweeter, to Be Stone

      The Power of a Beautiful Face Lifts Me to Heaven

      Boy Bring the Bowl Full of Wine

      Who Royally Bedded

      Desire No Bread, Forsake the Guest Hall of the Earth

      The Red Rose Blooms

      Many Our Needs, Yet We Spare Prayers

      Early After the Night Long Revel

      Thou Who With Thy Long Hair

      Art Thou Wise, Four Things Resign

      Knowst Thou the Luck the Friends Face to See

      Untruth is Become the Mode

      Novice, Hear Me What I Say

      Lament Not, O Hafiz, the Distribution

      Hafiz Thou Art From Eternity

      Hafiz Since on the World

      I Said to the East Wind

      We Wish Like the Glass

      When in Eternity the Light

      Secretly to Love & to Drink, What is It? Tis a Dissolute

      This Effervescing Gentleman Who Despises a Secret

      Stand Up, That We May Sacrifice the Soul

      O Friend Blame Not Hafiz

      The Way of Love is Unlimited

      His Learning Truly Lifted Hafiz to Heaven

      Thousand Dangers of Ruin Has the Street of Love

      Bring Wine Release Me

      Blame Me Not Thou Hoarse Preacher

      I Never Went Out of My Country

      For His Constant Dwelling Place Has Hafiz

      Our Shah’s Counsel is the Efflux

      If Thy Darling Favor Thee

      No Physician Has a Balsam for My Wo

      Spare Thou Neither Time Nor Blood for Thy Friend

      It is Certain That Who His Mind

      Who Dedicates Himself to the Glass

      Wine Resembles the Lord Jesus

      Drink Till the Turbans Are All Unbound

      So Long as There’s a Trace

      To Whom a Glass Full of Red Wine

      In Bounding Youth the Night & Rain

      The Ninefold Table of Heaven

      Should I Shed My Tears

      Prince the Ball of Heaven Should

      Since You Set No Worth on the Heart

      Now Tells the Flower

      Good is What Goes on the Road of Nature

      Reach Me Wine No Counsel Weakens the Conclusion of

      Has Thine Enemy Slandered Thy House

      Yet All Comes Out of This, That One Door

      Hear What the Glass Will Tell Thee

      Free Thyself From Wo

      And Had Hafiz

      Thy Songs O Hafiz

      Who Compares a Poem

      Thy Poems Hafiz Shame the Rose Leaves

      In the Kingdom of Poesy Hafiz Waves Like a Banner

      Where O Where is the Message Which Today

      Come Let Us Strew Roses

      Who Gave Thy Cheek the Mixed Tint

      Drink, Hear My Counsel, My Son, That the World Fret Thee

      Ruler After Word & Thought

      O Follow the Sonnet’s Flight

      O Hafiz, Give Me Thought

      In Thy Holiday of Life

      The Roguish Wind and I

      The Treacherous Wind Pipes a Lewd Song

      We Would Do Nought but Good

      Lo! Where From Heaven’s High Roof

      Drink Wine, and the Heaven

      A Stately Bride is the Shining World

      Who Ever Suffered as I From Separation?

      I Shall Go From My Sickbed to Heaven

      See & Hear the Fraud, the Malice of the Change of Fortune

      Who Loves His Friend With His Heart of Hearts

      Had I the World for My Enemy

      Salve Senescentem

      The Pain of Love’s a Better Fate

      In Senahar, My First Born Sleeps

      Unbar the Door, Since Thou the Opener Art

      For Two Rewards, & Nought Beside

      Shah Sandschar, Whose Lowest Slave

      Wilt Thou Life’s Best Elixir Drain?

      The Soul

      Teach Your Child to Earn His Meal

      Only Three Things Lengthen Life

      For Pearls, Plunge in the Sea

      Arabian Ballad

      Fortune and Hope! I’ve Made My Port

    List of Poems in Chronological Order

      Poems of Youth and Early Manhood

      Poems, 1847

      May-Day and Other Pieces

      Elements and Mottoes

      Quatrains

      Fragments

      Uncollected Poems

      Translations

    List of Poems in Alphabetical Order

      A-D

      E-H

      I-L

      M-O

      P-S

      T-V

      W-Z

Brief Introduction: Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on May 25, 1803 and he was the son of Ruth Haskins and the Rev. William Emerson, a Unitarian minister. He was the second of five sons who survived into adulthood and his father died from stomach cancer on May 12, 1811, less than two weeks before the poet’s eighth birthday. Raised by his mother, with the help of several other women in the family, Emerson was particularly inspired by his aunt Mary Moody Emerson, who lived with the family off and on, maintaining a constant correspondence with Emerson until her death in 1863. He later referred to his Aunt Mary as his “earliest and best teacher,” and a “spirited and original genius in her own right”.

Emerson’s formal schooling began at the Boston Latin School in 1812 when he was nine and in October 1817, aged 14, Emerson went to Harvard College and was appointed freshman messenger for the president — a position that meant he had to fetch misbehaving students and send messages to faculty. Midway through his junior year, Emerson began keeping a list of books he had read and started a journal in a series of notebooks that would be later called Wide World. During this uncertain time, he took various outside jobs to cover his school expenses, including working as a waiter for the Junior Commons and as an occasional teacher with his uncle Samuel in Waltham, Massachusetts. Serving as Class Poet, he presented an original poem on Harvard’s Class Day, a month before his official graduation on August 29, 1821, when he was 18 years old. Emerson was not conspicuous as a student and graduated in the exact middle of his class of 59 peers.

In 1826, suffering from poor health, Emerson decided to seek out warmer climates. He travelled to St. Augustine, Florida, where he took long walks on the beach and began writing poetry in earnest for the first time. While in St. Augustine, he made the acquaintance of Prince Achille Murat, who was the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte. Only two years Emerson’s senior, they became close friends and enjoyed sharing one another’s company, engaging in enlightening discussions on religion, society, philosophy, and government; Emerson considered Murat an important influence in his intellectual education.

After completing his education at Harvard, Emerson assisted his brother William in a school for young women that was established in their mother’s house, after he had successfully created his own school in Chelmsford, Massachusetts. When William went to Göttingen to study divinity, Emerson took charge of the school all by himself. Over the next several years, he made his living as a schoolmaster, before deciding to study at Harvard Divinity School.

Emerson met his first wife, Ellen Louisa Tucker, in Concord, New Hampshire on Christmas Day, 1827, and married her when she was 18. The couple moved to Boston, with Emerson’s mother Ruth moving with them to help take care of Ellen, who was already sick with tuberculosis. Less than two years later, she died at the age of 20 on February 8, 1831, after uttering her last words: “I have not forgotten the peace and joy.” Emerson was heavily affected by her loss, visiting her grave in Roxbury daily. In a journal entry dated March 29, 1832, he wrote, “I visited Ellen’s tomb & opened the coffin.”

Having completed his divinity studies, Emerson was invited by Boston’s Second Church to serve as junior pastor and he was ordained on January 11, 1829. His initial salary was $1,200 a year, increasing to $1,400 in July, but with his church role he took on other responsibilities, including the role of chaplain to the Massachusetts legislature and being a member of the Boston school committee. During this period, following the death of his wife, he began to doubt his beliefs, disagreeing with the church’s methods. Writing in his journal in June 1832, he records: “I have sometimes thought that, in order to be a good minister, it was necessary to leave the ministry. The profession is antiquated. In an altered age, we worship in the dead forms of our forefathers.” His disagreements with church officials over the administration of the Communion service and misgivings about public prayer eventually led to his resignation in 1832. As he wrote, “This mode of commemorating Christ is not suitable to me. That is reason enough why I should abandon it.”

Emerson toured Europe in 1833 and later wrote of his travels in the 1856 book English Traits. He left aboard the brig Jasper on Christmas Day, 1832, sailing first to Malta. During his European trip, he spent several months in Italy, visiting Rome, Florence and Venice, among other cities. When in Rome, he met with John Stuart Mill, who gave him a letter of recommendation to meet Thomas Carlyle. He went to Switzerland, and had to be dragged by fellow passengers to visit Voltaire’s home in Ferney. Moving north to England, Emerson met William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Thomas Carlyle. The latter in particular was a strong influence on Emerson, who would later serve as an unofficial literary agent in the United States for Carlyle and in March 1835, Emerson tried to convince Carlyle to come to America to lecture. The two writers would maintain a close correspondence until Carlyle’s death in 1881.

Emerson returned to the United States on October 9, 1833, and lived with his mother in Newton, Massachusetts, until October, 1834, when he moved to Concord, Massachusetts, to live with his step-grandfather Dr. Ezra Ripley at what was later named The Old Manse. At this time he closely monitored the budding Lyceum movement, which provided lectures on many topics. The lyceums, mechanics’ institutes, and agriculture organisations flourished in the United States before and after the Civil War. They were important in the development of adult education in America. During this period hundreds of informal associations were established for the purpose of improving the social, intellectual, and moral fabric of society. The lyceum movement — with its lectures, dramatic performances, class instructions, and debates — contributed significantly to the education of the adult American in the 19th century. Noted lecturers, entertainers and readers would travel the “lyceum circuit,” going from town to town or state to state to entertain, speak, or debate at a variety of locations. Emerson saw for himself a possible career as a lecturer and on November 5, 1833, he made the first of what would eventually be approximately 1,500 lectures, discussing The Uses of Natural History in Boston. This was an expanded account of his experience in Paris. In this lecture, he set out some of his important beliefs and the ideas he would later develop in his first published essay Nature, which is now regarded as a founding Transcendentalist text.

At this time Emerson had met Lydia Jackson, a devout Christian, who was a gifted debater that shared his Transcendentalist beliefs. On January 24, 1835, Emerson wrote a letter to Lydia proposing marriage and she accepted. In July 1835, he bought a house on the Cambridge and Concord Turnpike in Concord, Massachusetts that he named “Bush”; which is now open to the public as the Ralph Waldo Emerson House. Emerson quickly became one of the leading citizens in the town, where he gave a lecture to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the town of Concord on September 12, 1835. Two days later, he married Lydia Jackson in her home town of Plymouth, Massachusetts and moved to the new home in Concord together with Emerson’s mother on September 15.

On September 8, 1836, the day before the publication of his groundbreaking work Nature, Emerson met with Frederic Henry Hedge, George Putnam and George Ripley to plan periodic gatherings of other like-minded intellectuals. This was the beginning of the Transcendental Club, which served as a centre for the movement. Its first official meeting was held on September 19, 1836 and on September 1, 1837, women attended a meeting of the Transcendental Club for the first time. Emerson invited Margaret Fuller, Elizabeth Hoar and Sarah Ripley for dinner at his home before the meeting to ensure that they would be present for the evening get-together. Fuller would later prove to be an important figure in Transcendentalism.

In 1837, Emerson befriended Henry David Thoreau and encouraged the young writer to begin keeping a journal, which Emerson himself religiously adhered to throughout his life. In March 1837, Emerson gave a series of lectures on The Philosophy of History at Boston’s Masonic Temple, which was the first time he managed a lecture series on his own, marking the beginning of a dedicated career as a lecturer. The profits from this series of lectures were much larger than when he was paid by an organisation to talk and Emerson continued to manage his own lectures often throughout his lifetime. He would eventually give as many as eighty lectures a year, travelling across the northern part of the United States, and as far as St. Louis, Des Moines, Minneapolis and California.

It was in 1841 that Emerson published Essays, his second book, which included the famous essay, “Self-Reliance”, receiving favourable reviews in London and Paris. This book laid the foundations for Emerson’s international fame. From 1847 to 1848, the author toured England, Scotland, and Ireland, and he also found time to visit Paris between the February Revolution and the bloody June Days. When he arrived, he saw the stumps where trees had been cut down to form barricades in the February riots. On May 21 he stood on the Champ de Mars in the midst of mass celebrations for concord, peace and labour. He wrote in his journal: “At the end of the year we shall take account, & see if the Revolution was worth the trees.” The trip left an important imprint on Emerson’s later work. Emerson later came to see the American Civil War as a ‘revolution’ that shared common ground with the European revolutions of 1848.

Emerson was staunchly anti-slavery and gave a number of lectures during the pre-Civil War years, beginning as early as November, 1837. From 1844 he took a more active role in opposing slavery, giving a number of speeches and lectures, and he notably welcomed John Brown to his home during Brown’s visits to Concord. Once the American Civil War broke out, Emerson made it clear that he advocated the immediate emancipation of the slaves.

Emerson visited Washington, D.C, at the end of January 1862, where he gave a public lecture at the Smithsonian on January 31, 1862. In this lecture he famously declared: “The South calls slavery an institution... I call it destitution... Emancipation is the demand of civilization”. The next day, Emerson’s friend Charles Sumner took him to meet Lincoln at the White House. The President was familiar with the author’s work, having previously seen him lecture. In 1865, Emerson spoke at a memorial service held for Lincoln in Concord: “Old as history is, and manifold as are its tragedies, I doubt if any death has caused so much pain as this has caused, or will have caused, on its announcement.”

On May 6, 1862, Emerson’s protégé Henry David Thoreau died of tuberculosis at the age of 44 and Emerson delivered his eulogy. For the rest of his life, Emerson often referred to Thoreau as his best friend, in spite of a falling out that began in 1849 after Thoreau published A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers.

In 1867, Emerson’s health was declining, as demonstrated by his writing less in his journals, and he also started having memory problems, suffering from aphasia. By the end of the decade, he forgot his own name at times and, when anyone asked how he felt, he responded, “Quite well; I have lost my mental faculties, but am perfectly well”.

The author’s Concord home caught fire on July 24, 1872 and Emerson called for help from his neighbours. The flames were too dangerous to tackle and they had to give up putting the fire out, concentrating instead on saving as many objects as possible. Donations were collected by friends to help the Emersons rebuild, including $5,000 gathered by Francis Cabot Lowell, another $10,000 collected by LeBaron Russell Briggs, and a personal donation of $1,000 from George Bancroft. Support for shelter was offered as well; though the Emersons ended up staying with family at the Old Manse, invitations came from Anne Lynch Botta, James Elliot Cabot, James Thomas Fields and Annie Adams Fields. The fire marked an end to Emerson’s serious lecturing career; from then on, he would lecture only on special occasions and only in front of familiar audiences.

While the house was being rebuilt, Emerson embarked on a final trip abroad, visiting England, continental Europe and, of all places, Egypt. He left on October 23, 1872, along with his daughter Ellen while his wife spent time at the Old Manse and with friends. Emerson and his daughter Ellen returned to the United States on the ship Olympus along with their good friend Charles Eliot Norton on April 15, 1873. Their return to Concord was celebrated by the town and school was cancelled for that day.

Sadly, the problems with his memory had become embarrassing to Emerson and he ceased his public appearances by 1879. In April 1882, he was found to be suffering from pneumonia and Emerson passed away on April 27, 1882.

As a lecturer and orator, Emerson gradually became the leading voice of intellectual culture in the United States, establishing himself as one of the pioneers of the lecturing system. He was well-respected by his fellow writers and lecturers, who easily acknowledged his ability to influence and inspire others. Emerson’s poetry and other writings not only influenced his contemporaries, such as Walt Whitman and Henry David Thoreau, but would continue to influence thinkers and writers in the United States and around the world down to the present. Notable thinkers who recognise Emerson’s influence include Nietzsche and William James, Emerson’s godson.


The Complete Poems

Contents


Poems of Youth and Early Manhood

The Bell

I love thy music, mellow bell,
I love thine iron chime,
To life or death, to heaven or hell,
Which calls the sons of Time.

Thy voice upon the deep
The home-bound sea-boy hails,
It charms his cares to sleep,
It cheers him as he sails.

To house of God and heavenly joys
Thy summons called our sires,
And good men thought thy sacred voice
Disarmed the thunder’s fires.

And soon thy music, sad death-bell,
Shall lift its notes once more,
And mix my requiem with the wind
That sweeps my native shore.

1823.

Thought

I am not poor, but I am proud,
Of one inalienable right,
Above the envy of the crowd, —
Thought’s holy light.

Better it is than gems or gold,
And oh! it cannot die,
But thought will glow when the sun grows cold,
And mix with Deity.

BOSTON, 1823.

Prayer

When success exalts thy lot,
God for thy virtue lays a plot:
And all thy life is for thy own,
Then for mankind’s instruction shown;
And though thy knees were never bent,
To Heaven thy hourly prayers are sent,
And whether formed for good or ill,
Are registered and answered still.

1826 [?].

I bear in youth the sad infirmities
That use to undo the limb and sense of age;
It hath pleased Heaven to break the dream of bliss
Which lit my onward way with bright presage,
And my unserviceable limbs forego.
The sweet delight I found in fields and farms,
On windy hills, whose tops with morning glow,
And lakes, smooth mirrors of Aurora’s charms.
Yet I think on them in the silent night,
Still breaks that morn, though dim, to Memory’s eye,
And the firm soul does the pale train defy
Of grim Disease, that would her peace affright.
Please God, I’ll wrap me in mine innocence,
And bid each awful Muse drive the damned harpies hence.

Cambridge, 1827.

Be of good cheer, brave spirit; steadfastly
Serve that low whisper thou hast served; for know,
God hath a select family of sons
Now scattered wide thro’ earth, and each alone,
Who are thy spiritual kindred, and each one
By constant service to, that inward law,
Is weaving the sublime proportions
Of a true monarch’s soul. Beauty and strength,
The riches of a spotless memory,
The eloquence of truth, the wisdom got
By searching of a clear and loving eye
That seeth as God seeth. These are their gifts,
And Time, who keeps God’s word, brings on the day
To seal the marriage of these minds with thine,
Thine everlasting lovers. Ye shall be
The salt of all the elements, world of the world.

To-day

I rake no coffined clay, nor publish wide
The resurrection of departed pride.
Safe in their ancient crannies, dark and deep,
Let kings and conquerors, saints and soldiers sleep —
Late in the world, — too late perchance for fame,
Just late enough to reap abundant blame, —
I choose a novel theme, a bold abuse
Of critic charters, an unlaurelled Muse.

Old mouldy men and books and names and lands
Disgust my reason and defile my hands.
I had as lief respect an ancient shoe,
As love old things for age, and hate the new.
I spurn the Past, my mind disdains its nod,
Nor kneels in homage to so mean a God.
I laugh at those who, while they gape and gaze,
The bald antiquity of China praise.
Youth is (whatever cynic tubs pretend)
The fault that boys and nations soonest mend.

1824.

Fame

Ah Fate, cannot a man
Be wise without a beard?
East, West, from Beer to Dan,
Say, was it never heard
That wisdom might in youth be gotten,
Or wit be ripe before ‘t was rotten?

He pays too high a price
For knowledge and for fame
Who sells his sinews to be wise,
His teeth and bones to buy a name,
And crawls through life a paralytic
To earn the praise of bard and critic.

Were it not better done,
To dine and sleep through forty years;
Be loved by few; be feared by none;
Laugh life away; have wine for tears;
And take the mortal leap undaunted,
Content that all we asked was granted?

But Fate will not permit
The seed of gods to die,
Nor suffer sense to win from wit
Its guerdon in the sky,
Nor let us hide, whate’er our pleasure,
The world’s light underneath a measure.

Go then, sad youth, and shine;
Go, sacrifice to Fame;
Put youth, joy, health upon the shrine,
And life to fan the flame;
Being for Seeming bravely barter
And die to Fame a happy martyr.

1824.

The Summons

A sterner errand to the silken troop
Has quenched the uneasy blush that warmed my cheek;
I am commissioned in my day of joy
To leave my woods and streams and the sweet sloth
Of prayer and song that were my dear delight,
To leave the rudeness of my woodland life,
Sweet twilight walks and midnight solitude
And kind acquaintance with the morning stars
And the glad hey-day of my household hours,
The innocent mirth which sweetens daily bread,
Railing in love to those who rail again,
By mind’s industry sharpening the love of life —
Books, Muses, Study, fireside, friends and love,
I loved ye with true love, so fare ye well!

I was a boy; boyhood slid gayly by
And the impatient years that trod on it
Taught me new lessons in the lore of life.
I’ve learned the sum of that sad history
All woman-born do know, that hoped-for days,
Days that come dancing on fraught with delights,
Dash our blown hopes as they limp heavily by.
But I, the bantling of a country Muse,
Abandon all those toys with speed to obey
The King whose meek ambassador I go.

1826.

The River

And I behold once more
My old familiar haunts; here the blue river,
The same blue wonder that my infant eye
Admired, sage doubting whence the traveller came, —
Whence brought his sunny bubbles ere he washed
The fragrant flag-roots in my father’s fields,
And where thereafter in the world he went.
Look, here he is, unaltered, save that now
He hath broke his banks and flooded all the vales
With his redundant waves.
Here is the rock where, yet a simple child,
I caught with bended pin my earliest fish,
Much triumphing, — and these the fields
Over whose flowers I chased the butterfly
A blooming hunter of a fairy fine.
And hark! where overhead the ancient crows
Hold their sour conversation in the sky: —
These are the same, but I am not the same,
But wiser than I was, and wise enough
Not to regret the changes, tho’ they cost
Me many a sigh. Oh, call not Nature dumb;
These trees and stones are audible to me,
These idle flowers, that tremble in the wind,
I understand their faery syllables,
And all their sad significance. The wind,
That rustles down the well-known forest road —
It hath a sound more eloquent than speech.
The stream, the trees, the grass, the sighing wind,
All of them utter sounds of ‘monishment
And grave parental love.
They are not of our race, they seem to say,
And yet have knowledge of our moral race,
And somewhat of majestic sympathy,
Something of pity for the puny clay,
That holds and boasts the immeasurable mind.
I feel as I were welcome to these trees
After long months of weary wandering,
Acknowledged by their hospitable boughs;
They know me as their son, for side by side,
They were coeval with my ancestors,
Adorned with them my country’s primitive times,
And soon may give my dust their funeral shade.

CONCORD, June, 1827.

Good Hope

The cup of life is not so shallow
That we have drained the best,
That all the wine at once we swallow
And lees make all the rest.

Maids of as soft a bloom shall marry
As Hymen yet hath blessed,
And fairer forms are in the quarry
Than Phidias released.

1827.

Lines to Ellen

Tell me, maiden, dost thou use
Thyself thro’ Nature to diffuse?
All the angles of the coast
Were tenanted by thy sweet ghost,
Bore thy colors every flower,
Thine each leaf and berry bore;
All wore thy badges and thy favors
In their scent or in their savors,
Every moth with painted wing,
Every bird in carolling,
The wood-boughs with thy manners waved,
The rocks uphold thy name engraved,
The sod throbbed friendly to my feet,
And the sweet air with thee was sweet.
The saffron cloud that floated warm
Studied thy motion, took thy form,
And in his airy road benign
Recalled thy skill in bold design,
Or seemed to use his privilege
To gaze o’er the horizon’s edge,
To search where now thy beauty glowed,
Or made what other purlieus proud.

1829.

Security

Though her eye seek other forms
And a glad delight below,
Yet the love the world that warms
Bids for me her bosom glow.

She must love me till she find
Another heart as large and true.
Her soul is frank as the ocean wind,
And the world has only two.

If Nature hold another heart
That knows a purer flame than me,
I too therein could challenge part
And learn of love a new degree.

1829.

A dull uncertain brain,
But gifted yet to know
That God has cherubim who go
Singing an immortal strain,
Immortal here below.
I know the mighty bards,
I listen when they sing,
And now I know
The secret store
Which these explore
When they with torch of genius pierce
The tenfold clouds that cover
The riches of the universe
From God’s adoring lover.
And if to me it is not given
To fetch one ingot thence
Of the unfading gold of Heaven
His merchants may dispense,
Yet well I know the royal mine,
And know the sparkle of its ore,
Know Heaven’s truth from lies that shine —
Explored they teach us to explore.

1831.

A Mountain Grave

Why fear to die
And let thy body lie
Under the flowers of June,
Thy body food
For the ground-worms’ brood
And thy grave smiled on by the visiting moon.

Amid great Nature’s halls
Girt in by mountain walls
And washed with waterfalls
It would please me to die,
Where every wind that swept my tomb
Goes loaded with a free perfume
Dealt out with a God’s charity.

I should like to die in sweets,
A hill’s leaves for winding-sheets,
And the searching sun to see
That I am laid with decency.
And the commissioned wind to sing
His mighty psalm from fall to spring
And annual tunes commemorate
Of Nature’s child the common fate.

WILLIAMSTOWN, VERMONT, 1 June, 1831.

A Letter

Dear brother, would you know the life,
Please God, that I would lead?
On the first wheels that quit this weary town
Over yon western bridges I would ride
And with a cheerful benison forsake
Each street and spire and roof, incontinent.
Then would I seek where God might guide my steps,
Deep in a woodland tract, a sunny farm,
Amid the mountain counties, Hants, Franklin, Berks,
Where down the rock ravine a river roars,
Even from a brook, and where old woods
Not tamed and cleared cumber the ground
With their centennial wrecks.
Find me a slope where I can feel the sun
And mark the rising of the early stars.
There will I bring my books, — my household gods,
The reliquaries of my dead saint, and dwell
In the sweet odor of her memory.
Then in the uncouth solitude unlock
My stock of art, plant dials in the grass,
Hang in the air a bright thermometer
And aim a telescope at the inviolate sun.

Chardon St., Boston, 1831.

Day by day returns
The everlasting sun,
Replenishing material urns
With God’s unspared donation;
But the day of day,
The orb within the mind,
Creating fair and good alway,
Shines not as once it shined.

* * *

Vast the realm of Being is,
In the waste one nook is his;
Whatsoever hap befalls
In his vision’s narrow walls
He is here to testify.

1831.

Hymn

There is in all the sons of men
A love that in the spirit dwells,
That panteth after things unseen,
And tidings of the future tells.

And God hath built his altar here
To keep this fire of faith alive,
And sent his priests in holy fear
To speak the truth — for truth to strive.

And hither come the pensive train
Of rich and poor, of young and old,
Of ardent youth untouched by pain,
Of thoughtful maids and manhood bold.

They seek a friend to speak the word
Already trembling on their tongue,
To touch with prophet’s hand the chord
Which God in human hearts hath strung.

To speak the plain reproof of sin
That sounded in the soul before,
And bid you let the angels in
That knock at meek contrition’s door.

A friend to lift the curtain up
That hides from man the mortal goal,
And with glad thoughts of faith and hope
Surprise the exulting soul.

Sole source of light and hope assured,
O touch thy servant’s lips with power,
So shall he speak to us the word
Thyself dost give forever more.

June, 1831.

Self-reliance

Henceforth, please God, forever I forego
The yoke of men’s opinions. I will be
Light-hearted as a bird, and live with God.
I find him in the bottom of my heart,
I hear continually his voice therein.

* * *

The little needle always knows the North,
The little bird remembereth his note,
And this wise Seer within me never errs.
I never taught it what it teaches me;
I only follow, when I act aright.

October 9, 1832.

And when I am entombed in my place,
Be it remembered of a single man,
He never, though he dearly loved his race,
For fear of human eyes swerved from his plan.

Oh what is Heaven but the fellowship
Of minds that each can stand against the world
By its own meek and incorruptible will?

The days pass over me
And I am still the same;
The aroma of my life is gone
With the flower with which it came.

1833.

Written in Naples

We are what we are made; each following day
Is the Creator of our human mould
Not less than was the first; the all-wise God
Gilds a few points in every several life,
And as each flower upon the fresh hillside,
And every colored petal of each flower,
Is sketched and dyed, each with a new design,
Its spot of purple, and its streak of brown,
So each man’s life shall have its proper lights,
And a few joys, a few peculiar charms,
For him round in the melancholy hours
And reconcile him to the common days.
Not many men see beauty in the fogs
Of close low pine-woods in a river town;
Yet unto me not morn’s magnificence,
Nor the red rainbow of a summer eve,
Nor Rome, nor joyful Paris, nor the halls
Of rich men blazing hospitable light,
Nor wit, nor eloquence, — no, nor even the song
Of any woman that is now alive, —
Hath such a soul, such divine influence,
Such resurrection of the happy past,
As is to me when I behold the morn
Ope in such law moist roadside, and beneath
Peep the blue violets out of the black loam,
Pathetic silent poets that sing to me
Thine elegy, sweet singer, sainted wife.

March, 1833.

Written at Rome

Alone in Rome. Why, Rome is lonely too; —
Besides, you need not be alone; the soul
Shall have society of its own rank.
Be great, be true, and all the Scipios,
The Catos, the wise patriots of Rome,
Shall flock to you and tarry by your side,
And comfort you with their high company.
Virtue alone is sweet society,
It keeps the key to all heroic hearts,
And opens you a welcome in them all.
You must be like them if you desire them,
Scorn trifles and embrace a better aim
Than wine or sleep or praise;
Hunt knowledge as the lover wooes a maid,
And ever in the strife of your own thoughts
Obey the nobler impulse; that is Rome:
That shall command a senate to your side;
For there is no might in the universe
That can contend with love. It reigns forever.
Wait then, sad friend, wait in majestic peace
The hour of heaven. Generously trust
Thy fortune’s web to the beneficent hand
That until now has put his world in fee
To thee. He watches for thee still. His love
Broods over thee, and as God lives in heaven,
However long thou walkest solitary,
The hour of heaven shall come, the man appear.

1833.

Webster

1831

Let Webster’s lofty face
Ever on thousands shine,
A beacon set that Freedom’s race
Might gather omens from that radiant sign.

From the Phi Beta Kappa Poem

1834

Ill fits the abstemious Muse a crown to weave
For living brows; ill fits them to receive:
And yet, if virtue abrogate the law,
One portrait — fact or fancy — we may draw;
A form which Nature cast in the heroic mould
Of them who rescued liberty of old;
He, when the rising storm of party roared,
Brought his great forehead to the council board,
There, while hot heads perplexed with fears the state,
Calm as the morn the manly patriot sate;
Seemed, when at last his clarion accents broke,
As if the conscience of the country spoke.
Not on its base Monadnoc surer stood,
Than he to common sense and common good:
No mimic; from his breast his counsel drew,
Believed the eloquent was aye the true;
He bridged the gulf from th’ alway good and wise
To that within the vision of small eyes.
Self-centred; when he launched the genuine word
It shook or captivated all who heard,
Ran from his mouth to mountains and the sea,
And burned in noble hearts proverb and prophecy.

1854

Why did all manly gifts in Webster fail?
He wrote on Nature’s grandest brow, For Sale.

* * * * *

Poems, 1847


Good-bye

Good-bye, proud world! I’m going home:
Thou art not my friend, and I’m not thine.
Long through thy weary crowds I roam;
A river-ark on the ocean brine,
Long I’ve been tossed like the driven foam:
But now, proud world! I’m going home.

Good-bye to Flattery’s fawning face;
To Grandeur with his wise grimace;
To upstart Wealth’s averted eye;
To supple Office, low and high;
To crowded halls, to court and street;
To frozen hearts and hasting feet;
To those who go, and those who come;
Good-bye, proud world! I’m going home.

I am going to my own hearth-stone,
Bosomed in yon green hills alone, —
secret nook in a pleasant land,
Whose groves the frolic fairies planned;
Where arches green, the livelong day,
Echo the blackbird’s roundelay,
And vulgar feet have never trod
A spot that is sacred to thought and God.

O, when I am safe in my sylvan home,
I tread on the pride of Greece and Rome;
And when I am stretched beneath the pines,
Where the evening star so holy shines,
I laugh at the lore and the pride of man,
At the sophist schools and the learned clan;
For what are they all, in their high conceit,
When man in the bush with God may meet?

Each and All

Little thinks, in the field, yon red-cloaked clown
Of thee from the hill-top looking down;
The heifer that lows in the upland farm,
Far-heard, lows not thine ear to charm;
The sexton, tolling his bell at noon,
Deems not that great Napoleon
Stops his horse, and lists with delight,
Whilst his files sweep round yon Alpine height;
Nor knowest thou what argument
Thy life to thy neighbor’s creed has lent.
All are needed by each one;
Nothing is fair or good alone.
I thought the sparrow’s note from heaven,
Singing at dawn on the alder bough;
I brought him home, in his nest, at even;
He sings the song, but it cheers not now,
For I did not bring home the river and sky; —
He sang to my ear, — they sang to my eye.
The delicate shells lay on the shore;
The bubbles of the latest wave
Fresh pearls to their enamel gave,
And the bellowing of the savage sea
Greeted their safe escape to me.
I wiped away the weeds and foam,
I fetched my sea-born treasures home;
But the poor, unsightly, noisome things
Had left their beauty on the shore
With the sun and the sand and the wild uproar.
The lover watched his graceful maid,
As ‘mid the virgin train she strayed,
Nor knew her beauty’s best attire
Was woven still by the snow-white choir.
At last she came to his hermitage,
Like the bird from the woodlands to the cage; —
The gay enchantment was undone,
A gentle wife, but fairy none.
Then I said, ‘I covet truth;
Beauty is unripe childhood’s cheat;
I leave it behind with the games of youth:’ —
As I spoke, beneath my feet
The ground-pine curled its pretty wreath,
Running over the club-moss burrs;
I inhaled the violet’s breath;
Around me stood the oaks and firs;
Pine-cones and acorns lay on the ground;
Over me soared the eternal sky.
Full of light and of deity;
Again I saw, again I heard,
The rolling river, the morning bird; —
Beauty through my senses stole;
I yielded myself to the perfect whole.

The Problem

I like a church; I like a cowl;
I love a prophet of the soul;
And on my heart monastic aisles
Fall like sweet strains, or pensive smiles
Yet not for all his faith can see
Would I that cowlèd churchman be.

Why should the vest on him allure,
Which I could not on me endure?

Not from a vain or shallow thought
His awful Jove young Phidias brought;
Never from lips of cunning fell
The thrilling Delphic oracle;
Out from the heart of nature rolled
The burdens of the Bible old;
The litanies of nations came,
Like the volcano’s tongue of flame,
Up from the burning core below, —
The canticles of love and woe:
The hand that rounded Peter’s dome
And groined the aisles of Christian Rome
Wrought in a sad sincerity;
Himself from God he could not free;
He builded better than he knew; —
The conscious stone to beauty grew.

Know’st thou what wove yon woodbird’s nest
Of leaves, and feathers from her breast?
Or how the fish outbuilt her shell,
Painting with morn each annual cell?
Or how the sacred pine-tree adds
To her old leaves new myriads?
Such and so grew these holy piles,
Whilst love and terror laid the tiles.
Earth proudly wears the Parthenon,
As the best gem upon her zone,
And Morning opes with haste her lids
To gaze upon the Pyramids;
O’er England’s abbeys bends the sky,
As on its friends, with kindred eye;
For out of Thought’s interior sphere
These wonders rose to upper air;
And Nature gladly gave them place,
Adopted them into her race,
And granted them an equal date
With Andes and with Ararat.

These temples grew as grows the grass;
Art might obey, but not surpass.
The passive Master lent his hand
To the vast soul that o’er him planned;
And the same power that reared the shrine
Bestrode the tribes that knelt within.
Ever the fiery Pentecost
Girds with one flame the countless host,
Trances the heart through chanting choirs,
And through the priest the mind inspires.
The word unto the prophet spoken
Was writ on tables yet unbroken;
The word by seers or sibyls told,
In groves of oak, or fanes of gold,
Still floats upon the morning wind,
Still whispers to the willing mind.
One accent of the Holy Ghost
The heedless world hath never lost.
I know what say the fathers wise, —
The Book itself before me lies,
Old Chrysostom, best Augustine,
And he who blent both in his line,
The younger Golden Lips or mines,
Taylor, the Shakspeare of divines.
His words are music in my ear,
I see his cowlèd portrait dear;
And yet, for all his faith could see,
I would not the good bishop be.

To Rhea

Thee, dear friend, a brother soothes,
Not with flatteries, but truths,
Which tarnish not, but purify
To light which dims the morning’s eye.
I have come from the spring-woods,
From the fragrant solitudes; —
Listen what the poplar-tree
And murmuring waters counselled me.

If with love thy heart has burned;
If thy love is unreturned;
Hide thy grief within thy breast,
Though it tear thee unexpressed;
For when love has once departed
From the eyes of the false-hearted,
And one by one has torn off quite
The bandages of purple light;
Though thou wert the loveliest
Form the soul had ever dressed,
Thou shalt seem, in each reply,
A vixen to his altered eye;
Thy softest pleadings seem too bold,
Thy praying lute will seem to scold;
Though thou kept the straightest road,
Yet thou errest far and broad.

But thou shalt do as do the gods
In their cloudless periods;
For of this lore be thou sure, —
Though thou forget, the gods, secure,
Forget never their command,
But make the statute of this land.
As they lead, so follow all,
Ever have done, ever shall.
Warning to the blind and deaf,
‘T is written on the iron leaf,
Who drinks of Cupid’s nectar cup
Loveth downward, and not up;
He who loves, of gods or men,
Shall not by the same be loved again;
His sweetheart’s idolatry
Falls, in turn, a new degree.
When a god is once beguiled
By beauty of a mortal child
And by her radiant youth delighted,
He is not fooled, but warily knoweth
His love shall never be requited.
And thus the wise Immortal doeth, —
‘T is his study and delight
To bless that creature day and night;
From all evils to defend her;
In her lap to pour all splendor;
To ransack earth for riches rare,
And fetch her stars to deck her hair:
He mixes music with her thoughts,
And saddens her with heavenly doubts:
All grace, all good his great heart knows,
Profuse in love, the king bestows,
Saying, ‘Hearken! Earth, Sea, Air!
This monument of my despair
Build I to the All-Good, All-Fair.
Not for a private good,
But I, from my beatitude,
Albeit scorned as none was scorned,
Adorn her as was none adorned.
I make this maiden an ensample
To Nature, through her kingdoms ample,
Whereby to model newer races,
Statelier forms and fairer faces;
To carry man to new degrees
Of power and of comeliness.
These presents be the hostages
Which I pawn for my release.
See to thyself, O Universe!
Thou art better, and not worse.’ —
And the god, having given all,
Is freed forever from his thrall.

The Visit

Askest, ‘How long thou shalt stay?’
Devastator of the day!
Know, each substance and relation,
Thorough nature’s operation,
Hath its unit, bound and metre;
And every new compound
Is some product and repeater, —
Product of the earlier found.
But the unit of the visit,
The encounter of the wise, —
Say, what other metre is it
Than the meeting of the eyes?
Nature poureth into nature
Through the channels of that feature,
Riding on the ray of sight,
Fleeter far than whirlwinds go,
Or for service, or delight,
Hearts to hearts their meaning show,
Sum their long experience,
And import intelligence.
Single look has drained the breast;
Single moment years confessed.
The duration of a glance
Is the term of convenance,
And, though thy rede be church or state,
Frugal multiples of that.
Speeding Saturn cannot halt;
Linger, — thou shalt rue the fault:
If Love his moment overstay,
Hatred’s swift repulsions play.

Uriel

It fell in the ancient periods
Which the brooding soul surveys,
Or ever the wild Time coined itself
Into calendar months and days.

This was the lapse of Uriel,
Which in Paradise befell.
Once, among the Pleiads walking,
Seyd overheard the young gods talking;
And the treason, too long pent,
To his ears was evident.
The young deities discussed
Laws of form, and metre just,
Orb, quintessence, and sunbeams,
What subsisteth, and what seems.
One, with low tones that decide,
And doubt and reverend use defied,
With a look that solved the sphere,
And stirred the devils everywhere,
Gave his sentiment divine
Against the being of a line.
‘Line in nature is not found;
Unit and universe are round;
In vain produced, all rays return;
Evil will bless, and ice will burn.’
As Uriel spoke with piercing eye,
A shudder ran around the sky;
The stern old war-gods shook their heads,
The seraphs frowned from myrtle-beds;
Seemed to the holy festival
The rash word boded ill to all;
The balance-beam of Fate was bent;
The bounds of good and ill were rent;
Strong Hades could not keep his own,
But all slid to confusion.

A sad self-knowledge, withering, fell
On the beauty of Uriel;
In heaven once eminent, the god
Withdrew, that hour, into his cloud;
Whether doomed to long gyration
In the sea of generation,
Or by knowledge grown too bright
To hit the nerve of feebler sight.
Straightway, a forgetting wind
Stole over the celestial kind,
And their lips the secret kept,
If in ashes the fire-seed slept.
But now and then, truth-speaking things
Shamed the angels’ veiling wings;
And, shrilling from the solar course,
Or from fruit of chemic force,
Procession of a soul in matter,
Or the speeding change of water,
Or out of the good of evil born,
Came Uriel’s voice of cherub scorn,
And a blush tinged the upper sky,
And the gods shook, they knew not why.

The World-soul

Thanks to the morning light,
Thanks to the foaming sea,
To the uplands of New Hampshire,
To the green-haired forest free;
Thanks to each man of courage,
To the maids of holy mind,
To the boy with his games undaunted
Who never looks behind.

Cities of proud hotels,
Houses of rich and great,
Vice nestles in your chambers,
Beneath your roofs of slate.
It cannot conquer folly, —
Time-and-space-conquering steam, —
And the light-outspeeding telegraph
Bears nothing on its beam.

The politics are base;
The letters do not cheer;
And ’tis far in the deeps of history,
The voice that speaketh clear.
Trade and the streets ensnare us,
Our bodies are weak and worn;
We plot and corrupt each other,
And we despoil the unborn.

Yet there in the parlor sits
Some figure of noble guise, —
Our angel, in a stranger’s form,
Or woman’s pleading eyes;
Or only a flashing sunbeam
In at the window-pane;
Or Music pours on mortals
Its beautiful disdain.

The inevitable morning
Finds them who in cellars be;
And be sure the all-loving Nature
Will smile in a factory.
Yon ridge of purple landscape,
Yon sky between the walls,
Hold all the hidden wonders
In scanty intervals.

Alas! the Sprite that haunts us
Deceives our rash desire;
It whispers of the glorious gods,
And leaves us in the mire.
We cannot learn the cipher
That’s writ upon our cell;
Stars taunt us by a mystery
Which we could never spell.

If but one hero knew it,
The world would blush in flame;
The sage, till he hit the secret,
Would hang his head for shame.
Our brothers have not read it,
Not one has found the key;
And henceforth we are comforted, —
We are but such as they.

Still, still the secret presses;
The nearing clouds draw down;
The crimson morning flames into
The fopperies of the town.
Within, without the idle earth,
Stars weave eternal rings;
The sun himself shines heartily,
And shares the joy he brings.

And what if Trade sow cities
Like shells along the shore,
And thatch with towns the prairie broad
With railways ironed o’er? —
They are but sailing foam-bells
Along Thought’s causing stream,
And take their shape and sun-color
From him that sends the dream.

For Destiny never swerves
Nor yields to men the helm;
He shoots his thought, by hidden nerves,
Throughout the solid realm.
The patient Daemon sits,
With roses and a shroud;
He has his way, and deals his gifts, —
But ours is not allowed.

He is no churl nor trifler,
And his viceroy is none, —
Love-without-weakness, —
Of Genius sire and son.
And his will is not thwarted;
The seeds of land and sea
Are the atoms of his body bright,
And his behest obey.

He serveth the servant,
The brave he loves amain;
He kills the cripple and the sick,
And straight begins again;
For gods delight in gods,
And thrust the weak aside;
To him who scorns their charities
Their arms fly open wide.

When the old world is sterile
And the ages are effete,
He will from wrecks and sediment
The fairer world complete.
He forbids to despair;
His cheeks mantle with mirth;
And the unimagined good of men
Is yeaning at the birth.

Spring still makes spring in the mind
When sixty years are told;
Love wakes anew this throbbing heart,
And we are never old;
Over the winter glaciers
I see the summer glow,
And through the wild-piled snow-drift
The warm rosebuds below.

The Sphinx

The Sphinx is drowsy,
Her wings are furled:
Her ear is heavy,
She broods on the world.
“Who’ll tell me my secret,
The ages have kept? —
I awaited the seer
While they slumbered and slept: —

“The fate of the man-child,
The meaning of man;
Known fruit of the unknown;
Daedalian plan;
Out of sleeping a waking,
Out of waking a sleep;
Life death overtaking;
Deep underneath deep?

“Erect as a sunbeam,
Upspringeth the palm;
The elephant browses,
Undaunted and calm;
In beautiful motion
The thrush plies his wings;
Kind leaves of his covert,
Your silence he sings.

“The waves, unashamèd,
In difference sweet,
Play glad with the breezes,
Old playfellows meet;
The journeying atoms,
Primordial wholes,
Firmly draw, firmly drive,
By their animate poles.

“Sea, earth, air, sound, silence.
Plant, quadruped, bird,
By one music enchanted,
One deity stirred, —
Each the other adorning,
Accompany still;
Night veileth the morning,
The vapor the hill.

“The babe by its mother
Lies bathèd in joy;
Glide its hours uncounted, —
The sun is its toy;
Shines the peace of all being,
Without cloud, in its eyes;
And the sum of the world
In soft miniature lies.

“But man crouches and blushes,
Absconds and conceals;
He creepeth and peepeth,
He palters and steals;
Infirm, melancholy,
Jealous glancing around,
An oaf, an accomplice,
He poisons the ground.

“Out spoke the great mother,
Beholding his fear; —
At the sound of her accents
Cold shuddered the sphere: —
‘Who has drugged my boy’s cup?
Who has mixed my boy’s bread?
Who, with sadness and madness,
Has turned my child’s head?’”

I heard a poet answer
Aloud and cheerfully,
‘Say on, sweet Sphinx! thy dirges
Are pleasant songs to me.
Deep love lieth under
These pictures of time;
They fade in the light of
Their meaning sublime.

“The fiend that man harries
Is love of the Best;
Yawns the pit of the Dragon,
Lit by rays from the Blest.
The Lethe of Nature
Can’t trance him again,
Whose soul sees the perfect,
Which his eyes seek in vain.

“To vision profounder,
Man’s spirit must dive;
His aye-rolling orb
At no goal will arrive;
The heavens that now draw him
With sweetness untold,
Once found, — for new heavens
He spurneth the old.

“Pride ruined the angels,
Their shame them restores;
Lurks the joy that is sweetest
In stings of remorse.
Have I a lover
Who is noble and free? —
I would he were nobler
Than to love me.

“Eterne alternation
Now follows, now flies;
And under pain, pleasure, —
Under pleasure, pain lies.
Love works at the centre,
Heart-heaving alway;
Forth speed the strong pulses
To the borders of day.

“Dull Sphinx, Jove keep thy five wits;
Thy sight is growing blear;
Rue, myrrh and cummin for the Sphinx,
Her muddy eyes to clear!”
The old Sphinx bit her thick lip, —
Said, “Who taught thee me to name?
I am thy spirit, yoke-fellow;
Of thine eye I am eyebeam.

“Thou art the unanswered question;
Couldst see thy proper eye,
Alway it asketh, asketh;
And each answer is a lie.
So take thy quest through nature,
It through thousand natures ply;
Ask on, thou clothed eternity;
Time is the false reply.”

Uprose the merry Sphinx,
And crouched no more in stone;
She melted into purple cloud,
She silvered in the moon;
She spired into a yellow flame;
She flowered in blossoms red;
She flowed into a foaming wave:
She stood Monadnoc’s head.

Thorough a thousand voices
Spoke the universal dame;
“Who telleth one of my meanings
Is master of all I am.”

Alphonso of Castile

I, Alphonso, live and learn,
Seeing Nature go astern.
Things deteriorate in kind;
Lemons run to leaves and rind;
Meagre crop of figs and limes;
Shorter days and harder times.
Flowering April cools and dies
In the insufficient skies.
Imps, at high midsummer, blot
Half the sun’s disk with a spot;
‘Twill not now avail to tan
Orange cheek or skin of man.
Roses bleach, the goats are dry,
Lisbon quakes, the people cry.
Yon pale, scrawny fisher fools,
Gaunt as bitterns in the pools,
Are no brothers of my blood; —
They discredit Adamhood.
Eyes of gods! ye must have seen,
O’er your ramparts as ye lean,
The general debility;
Of genius the sterility;
Mighty projects countermanded;
Rash ambition, brokenhanded;
Puny man and scentless rose
Tormenting Pan to double the dose.
Rebuild or ruin: either fill
Of vital force the wasted rill,
Or tumble all again in heap
To weltering Chaos and to sleep.

Say, Seigniors, are the old Niles dry,
Which fed the veins of earth and sky,
That mortals miss the loyal heats,
Which drove them erst to social feats;
Now, to a savage selfness grown,
Think nature barely serves for one;
With science poorly mask their hurt;
And vex the gods with question pert,
Immensely curious whether you
Still are rulers, or Mildew?

Masters, I’m in pain with you;
Masters, I’ll be plain with you;
In my palace of Castile,
I, a king, for kings can feel.
There my thoughts the matter roll,
And solve and oft resolve the whole.
And, for I’m styled Alphonse the Wise,
Ye shall not fail for sound advice.
Before ye want a drop of rain,
Hear the sentiment of Spain.

You have tried famine: no more try it;
Ply us now with a full diet;
Teach your pupils now with plenty,
For one sun supply us twenty.
I have thought it thoroughly over, —
State of hermit, state of lover;
We must have society,
We cannot spare variety.
Hear you, then, celestial fellows!
Fits not to be overzealous;
Steads not to work on the clean jump,
Nor wine nor brains perpetual pump.
Men and gods are too extense;
Could you slacken and condense?
Your rank overgrowths reduce
Till your kinds abound with juice?
Earth, crowded, cries, ‘Too many men!’
My counsel is, kill nine in ten,
And bestow the shares of all
On the remnant decimal.
Add their nine lives to this cat;
Stuff their nine brains in one hat;
Make his frame and forces square
With the labors he must dare;
Thatch his flesh, and even his years
With the marble which he rears.
There, growing slowly old at ease
No faster than his planted trees,
He may, by warrant of his age,
In schemes of broader scope engage.
So shall ye have a man of the sphere
Fit to grace the solar year.

Mithridates

I cannot spare water or wine,
Tobacco-leaf, or poppy, or rose;
From the earth-poles to the Line,
All between that works or grows,
Every thing is kin of mine.

Give me agates for my meat;
Give me cantharids to eat;
From air and ocean bring me foods,
From all zones and altitudes; —

From all natures, sharp and slimy,
Salt and basalt, wild and tame:
Tree and lichen, ape, sea-lion,
Bird, and reptile, be my game.

Ivy for my fillet band;
Blinding dog-wood in my hand;
Hemlock for my sherbet cull me,
And the prussic juice to lull me;
Swing me in the upas boughs,
Vampyre-fanned, when I carouse.

Too long shut in strait and few,
Thinly dieted on dew,
I will use the world, and sift it,
To a thousand humors shift it,
As you spin a cherry.
O doleful ghosts, and goblins merry!
O all you virtues, methods, mights,
Means, appliances, delights,
Reputed wrongs and braggart rights,
Smug routine, and things allowed,
Minorities, things under cloud!
Hither! take me, use me, fill me,
Vein and artery, though ye kill me!

To J.W.

Set not thy foot on graves;
Hear what wine and roses say;
The mountain chase, the summer waves,
The crowded town, thy feet may well delay.

Set not thy foot on graves;
Nor seek to unwind the shroud
Which charitable Time
And Nature have allowed
To wrap the errors of a sage sublime.

Set not thy foot on graves;
Care not to strip the dead
Of his sad ornament,
His myrrh, and wine, and rings,

His sheet of lead,
And trophies buried:
Go, get them where he earned them when alive;
As resolutely dig or dive.

Life is too short to waste
In critic peep or cynic bark,
Quarrel or reprimand:
‘T will soon be dark;
Up! mind thine own aim, and
God speed the mark!

Destiny

That you are fair or wise is vain,
Or strong, or rich, or generous;
You must add the untaught strain
That sheds beauty on the rose.
There’s a melody born of melody,
Which melts the world into a sea.
Toil could never compass it;
Art its height could never hit;
It came never out of wit;
But a music music-born
Well may Jove and Juno scorn.
Thy beauty, if it lack the fire
Which drives me mad with sweet desire,
What boots it? What the soldier’s mail,
Unless he conquer and prevail?
What all the goods thy pride which lift,
If thou pine for another’s gift?
Alas! that one is born in blight,
Victim of perpetual slight:
When thou lookest on his face,
Thy heart saith, ‘Brother, go thy ways!
None shall ask thee what thou doest,
Or care a rush for what thou knowest,
Or listen when thou repliest,
Or remember where thou liest,
Or how thy supper is sodden;’
And another is born
To make the sun forgotten.
Surely he carries a talisman
Under his tongue;
Broad his shoulders are and strong;
And his eye is scornful,
Threatening and young.
I hold it of little matter
Whether your jewel be of pure water,
A rose diamond or a white,
But whether it dazzle me with light.
I care not how you are dressed,
In coarsest weeds or in the best;
Nor whether your name is base or brave:
Nor for the fashion of your behavior;
But whether you charm me,
Bid my bread feed and my fire warm me
And dress up Nature in your favor.
One thing is forever good;
That one thing is Success, —
Dear to the Eumenides,
And to all the heavenly brood.
Who bides at home, nor looks abroad,
Carries the eagles, and masters the sword.

Guy

Mortal mixed of middle clay,
Attempered to the night and day,
Interchangeable with things,
Needs no amulets nor rings.
Guy possessed the talisman
That all things from him began;
And as, of old, Polycrates
Chained the sunshine and the breeze,
So did Guy betimes discover
Fortune was his guard and lover;
In strange junctures, felt, with awe,
His own symmetry with law;
That no mixture could withstand
The virtue of his lucky hand.
He gold or jewel could not lose,
Nor not receive his ample dues.
Fearless Guy had never foes,
He did their weapons decompose.
Aimed at him, the blushing blade
Healed as fast the wounds it made.
If on the foeman fell his gaze,
Him it would straightway blind or craze,
In the street, if he turned round,
His eye the eye ‘t was seeking found.

It seemed his Genius discreet
Worked on the Maker’s own receipt,
And made each tide and element
Stewards of stipend and of rent;
So that the common waters fell
As costly wine into his well.
He had so sped his wise affairs
That he caught Nature in his snares.
Early or late, the falling rain
Arrived in time to swell his grain;
Stream could not so perversely wind
But corn of Guy’s was there to grind:
The siroc found it on its way,
To speed his sails, to dry his hay;
And the world’s sun seemed to rise
To drudge all day for Guy the wise.
In his rich nurseries, timely skill
Strong crab with nobler blood did fill;
The zephyr in his garden rolled
From plum-trees vegetable gold;
And all the hours of the year
With their own harvest honored were.
There was no frost but welcome came,
Nor freshet, nor midsummer flame.
Belonged to wind and world the toil
And venture, and to Guy the oil.

Hamatreya

Bulkeley, Hunt, Willard, Hosmer, Meriam, Flint,
Possessed the land which rendered to their toil
Hay, corn, roots, hemp, flax, apples, wool and wood.
Each of these landlords walked amidst his farm,
Saying, ‘’Tis mine, my children’s and my name’s.
How sweet the west wind sounds in my own trees!
How graceful climb those shadows on my hill!
I fancy these pure waters and the flags
Know me, as does my dog: we sympathize;
And, I affirm, my actions smack of the soil.’

Where are these men? Asleep beneath their grounds:
And strangers, fond as they, their furrows plough.
Earth laughs in flowers, to see her boastful boys
Earth-proud, proud of the earth which is not theirs;
Who steer the plough, but cannot steer their feet
Clear of the grave.
They added ridge to valley, brook to pond,
And sighed for all that bounded their domain;
‘This suits me for a pasture; that’s my park;
We must have clay, lime, gravel, granite-ledge,
And misty lowland, where to go for peat.
The land is well, — lies fairly to the south.
’Tis good, when you have crossed the sea and back,
To find the sitfast acres where you left them.’
Ah! the hot owner sees not Death, who adds
Him to his land, a lump of mould the more.
Hear what the Earth says: —

Earth-song

‘Mine and yours;
Mine, not yours.
Earth endures;
Stars abide —
Shine down in the old sea;
Old are the shores;
But where are old men?
I who have seen much,
Such have I never seen.

‘The lawyer’s deed
Ran sure,
In tail,
To them, and to their heirs
Who shall succeed,
Without fail,
Forevermore.

‘Here is the land,
Shaggy with wood,
With its old valley,
Mound and flood.
But the heritors? —

Fled like the flood’s foam.
The lawyer, and the laws,
And the kingdom,
Clean swept herefrom.

‘They called me theirs,
Who so controlled me;
Yet every one
Wished to stay, and is gone,
How am I theirs,
If they cannot hold me,
But I hold them?’

When I heard the Earth-song
I was no longer brave;
My avarice cooled
Like lust in the chill of the grave.

The Rhodora: on Being Asked, Whence is the Flower?

In May, when sea-winds pierced our solitudes,
I found the fresh Rhodora in the woods,
Spreading its leafless blooms in a damp nook,
To please the desert and the sluggish brook.
The purple petals, fallen in the pool,
Made the black water with their beauty gay;
Here might the red-bird come his plumes to cool.
And court the flower that cheapens his array.
Rhodora! if the sages ask thee why
This charm is wasted on the earth and sky,
Tell them, dear, that if eyes were made for seeing,
Then Beauty is its own excuse for being:
Why thou wert there, O rival of the rose!
I never thought to ask, I never knew:
But, in my simple ignorance, suppose
The self-same Power that brought me there brought you.

The Humble-bee

Burly, dozing humble-bee,
Where thou art is clime for me.
Let them sail for Porto Rique,
Far-off heats through seas to seek;
I will follow thee alone,
Thou animated torrid-zone!
Zigzag steerer, desert cheerer,
Let me chase thy waving lines;
Keep me nearer, me thy hearer,
Singing over shrubs and vines.

Insect lover of the sun,
Joy of thy dominion!
Sailor of the atmosphere;
Swimmer through the waves of air;
Voyager of light and noon;
Epicurean of June;
Wait, I prithee, till I come
Within earshot of thy hum, —
All without is martyrdom.

When the south wind, in May days,
With a net of shining haze
Silvers the horizon wall,
And with softness touching all,
Tints the human countenance
With a color of romance,
And infusing subtle heats,
Turns the sod to violets,
Thou, in sunny solitudes,
Rover of the underwoods,
The green silence dost displace
With thy mellow, breezy bass.

Hot midsummer’s petted crone,
Sweet to me thy drowsy tone
Tells of countless sunny hours,
Long days, and solid banks of flowers;
Of gulfs of sweetness without bound
In Indian wildernesses found;
Of Syrian peace, immortal leisure,
Firmest cheer, and bird-like pleasure.

Aught unsavory or unclean
Hath my insect never seen;
But violets and bilberry bells,
Maple-sap and daffodels,
Grass with green flag half-mast high,
Succory to match the sky,
Columbine with horn of honey,
Scented fern, and agrimony,
Clover, catchfly, adder’s-tongue
And brier-roses, dwelt among;
All beside was unknown waste,
All was picture as he passed.

Wiser far than human seer,
Yellow-breeched philosopher!
Seeing only what is fair,
Sipping only what is sweet,
Thou dost mock at fate and care,
Leave the chaff, and take the wheat.
When the fierce northwestern blast
Cools sea and land so far and fast,
Thou already slumberest deep;
Woe and want thou canst outsleep;
Want and woe, which torture us,
Thy sleep makes ridiculous.

Berrying

‘May be true what I had heard, —
Earth’s a howling wilderness,
Truculent with fraud and force,’
Said I, strolling through the pastures,
And along the river-side.
Caught among the blackberry vines,
Feeding on the Ethiops sweet,
Pleasant fancies overtook me.
I said, ‘What influence me preferred,
Elect, to dreams thus beautiful?’
The vines replied, ‘And didst thou deem
No wisdom from our berries went?’

The Snow-storm

Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow, and, driving o’er the fields,
Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air
Hides hills and woods, the river, and the heaven,
And veils the farm-house at the garden’s end.
The sled and traveller stopped, the courier’s feet
Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed
In a tumultuous privacy of storm.

Come see the north wind’s masonry.
Out of an unseen quarry
Furnished with tile, the fierce artificer
Curves his white bastions with projected roof
Round every windward stake, or tree, or door.
Speeding, the myriad-handed, his wild work
So fanciful, so savage, nought cares he
For number or proportion. Mockingly,
On coop or kennel he hangs Parian wreaths;
A swan-like form invests the hidden thorn;
Fills up the farmer’s lane from wall to wall,
Maugre the farmer’s sighs; and at the gate
A tapering turret overtops the work.
And when his hours are numbered, and the world
Is all his own, retiring, as he were not,
Leaves, when the sun appears, astonished Art
To mimic in slow structures, stone by stone,
Built in an age, the mad wind’s night-work,
The frolic architecture of the snow.

Woodnotes I

1

When the pine tosses its cones
To the song of its waterfall tones,
Who speeds to the woodland walks?
To birds and trees who talks?
Caesar of his leafy Rome,
There the poet is at home.
He goes to the river-side, —
Not hook nor line hath he;
He stands in the meadows wide, —
Nor gun nor scythe to see.
Sure some god his eye enchants:
What he knows nobody wants.
In the wood he travels glad,
Without better fortune had,
Melancholy without bad.
Knowledge this man prizes best
Seems fantastic to the rest:
Pondering shadows, colors, clouds,
Grass-buds and caterpillar-shrouds,
Boughs on which the wild bees settle,
Tints that spot the violet’s petal,
Why Nature loves the number five,
And why the star-form she repeats:
Lover of all things alive,
Wonderer at all he meets,
Wonderer chiefly at himself,
Who can tell him what he is?
Or how meet in human elf
Coming and past eternities?

2

And such I knew, a forest seer,
A minstrel of the natural year,
Foreteller of the vernal ides,
Wise harbinger of spheres and tides,
A lover true, who knew by heart
Each joy the mountain dales impart;
It seemed that Nature could not raise
A plant in any secret place,
In quaking bog, on snowy hill,
Beneath the grass that shades the rill,
Under the snow, between the rocks,
In damp fields known to bird and fox.
But he would come in the very hour
It opened in its virgin bower,
As if a sunbeam showed the place,
And tell its long-descended race.
It seemed as if the breezes brought him,
It seemed as if the sparrows taught him;
As if by secret sight he knew
Where, in far fields, the orchis grew.
Many haps fall in the field
Seldom seen by wishful eyes,
But all her shows did Nature yield,
To please and win this pilgrim wise.
He saw the partridge drum in the woods;
He heard the woodcock’s evening hymn;
He found the tawny thrushes’ broods;
And the shy hawk did wait for him;
What others did at distance hear,
And guessed within the thicket’s gloom,
Was shown to this philosopher,
And at his bidding seemed to come.

3

In unploughed Maine he sought the lumberers’ gang
Where from a hundred lakes young rivers sprang;
He trode the unplanted forest floor, whereon
The all-seeing sun for ages hath not shone;
Where feeds the moose, and walks the surly bear,
And up the tall mast runs the woodpecker.
He saw beneath dim aisles, in odorous beds,
The slight Linnaea hang its twin-born heads,
And blessed the monument of the man of flowers,
Which breathes his sweet fame through the northern bowers.
He heard, when in the grove, at intervals,
With sudden roar the aged pine-tree falls, —
One crash, the death-hymn of the perfect tree,
Declares the close of its green century.
Low lies the plant to whose creation went
Sweet influence from every element;
Whose living towers the years conspired to build,
Whose giddy top the morning loved to gild.
Through these green tents, by eldest Nature dressed,
He roamed, content alike with man and beast.
Where darkness found him he lay glad at night;
There the red morning touched him with its light.
Three moons his great heart him a hermit made,
So long he roved at will the boundless shade.
The timid it concerns to ask their way,
And fear what foe in caves and swamps can stray,
To make no step until the event is known,
And ills to come as evils past bemoan.
Not so the wise; no coward watch he keeps
To spy what danger on his pathway creeps;
Go where he will, the wise man is at home,
His hearth the earth, — his hall the azure dome;
Where his clear spirit leads him, there’s his road
By God’s own light illumined and foreshowed.

4

‘T was one of the charmèd days
When the genius of God doth flow;
The wind may alter twenty ways,
A tempest cannot blow;
It may blow north, it still is warm;
Or south, it still is clear;
Or east, it smells like a clover-farm;
Or west, no thunder fear.
The musing peasant, lowly great,
Beside the forest water sate;
The rope-like pine-roots crosswise grown
Composed the network of his throne;
The wide lake, edged with sand and grass,
Was burnished to a floor of glass,
Painted with shadows green and proud
Of the tree and of the cloud.
He was the heart of all the scene;
On him the sun looked more serene;
To hill and cloud his face was known, —
It seemed the likeness of their own;
They knew by secret sympathy
The public child of earth and sky.
‘You ask,’ he said, ‘what guide
Me through trackless thickets led,
Through thick-stemmed woodlands rough and wide.
I found the water’s bed.
The watercourses were my guide;
I travelled grateful by their side,
Or through their channel dry;
They led me through the thicket damp,
Through brake and fern, the beavers’ camp,
Through beds of granite cut my road,
And their resistless friendship showed.
The falling waters led me,
The foodful waters fed me,
And brought me to the lowest land,
Unerring to the ocean sand.
The moss upon the forest bark
Was pole-star when the night was dark;
The purple berries in the wood
Supplied me necessary food;
For Nature ever faithful is
To such as trust her faithfulness.
When the forest shall mislead me,
When the night and morning lie,
When sea and land refuse to feed me,
‘T will be time enough to die;
Then will yet my mother yield
A pillow in her greenest field,
Nor the June flowers scorn to cover
The clay of their departed lover.’

Woodnotes II

As sunbeams stream through liberal space And nothing jostle or displace, So waved the pine-tree through my thought And fanned the dreams it never brought.

‘Whether is better, the gift or the donor?
Come to me,’
Quoth the pine-tree,
‘I am the giver of honor.
My garden is the cloven rock,
And my manure the snow;
And drifting sand-heaps feed my stock,
In summer’s scorching glow.
He is great who can live by me:
The rough and bearded forester
Is better than the lord;
God fills the script and canister,
Sin piles the loaded board.
The lord is the peasant that was,
The peasant the lord that shall be;
The lord is hay, the peasant grass,
One dry, and one the living tree.
Who liveth by the ragged pine
Foundeth a heroic line;
Who liveth in the palace hall
Waneth fast and spendeth all.
He goes to my savage haunts,
With his chariot and his care;
My twilight realm he disenchants,
And finds his prison there.

‘What prizes the town and the tower?
Only what the pine-tree yields;
Sinew that subdued the fields;
The wild-eyed boy, who in the woods
Chants his hymn to hills and floods,
Whom the city’s poisoning spleen
Made not pale, or fat, or lean;
Whom the rain and the wind purgeth,
Whom the dawn and the day-star urgeth,
In whose cheek the rose-leaf blusheth,
In whose feet the lion rusheth,
Iron arms, and iron mould,
That know not fear, fatigue, or cold.
I give my rafters to his boat,
My billets to his boiler’s throat,
And I will swim the ancient sea
To float my child to victory,
And grant to dwellers with the pine
Dominion o’er the palm and vine.
Who leaves the pine-tree, leaves his friend,
Unnerves his strength, invites his end.
Cut a bough from my parent stem,
And dip it in thy porcelain vase;
A little while each russet gem
Will swell and rise with wonted grace;
But when it seeks enlarged supplies,
The orphan of the forest dies.
Whoso walks in solitude
And inhabiteth the wood,
Choosing light, wave, rock and bird,
Before the money-loving herd,
Into that forester shall pass,
From these companions, power and grace.
Clean shall he be, without, within,
From the old adhering sin,
All ill dissolving in the light
Of his triumphant piercing sight:
Not vain, sour, nor frivolous;
Not mad, athirst, nor garrulous;
Grave, chaste, contented, though retired,
And of all other men desired.
On him the light of star and moon
Shall fall with purer radiance down;
All constellations of the sky
Shed their virtue through his eye.
Him Nature giveth for defence
His formidable innocence;
The mounting sap, the shells, the sea,
All spheres, all stones, his helpers be;
He shall meet the speeding year,
Without wailing, without fear;
He shall be happy in his love,
Like to like shall joyful prove;
He shall be happy whilst he wooes,
Muse-born, a daughter of the Muse.
But if with gold she bind her hair,
And deck her breast with diamond,
Take off thine eyes, thy heart forbear,
Though thou lie alone on the ground.

‘Heed the old oracles,
Ponder my spells;
Song wakes in my pinnacles
When the wind swells.
Soundeth the prophetic wind,
The shadows shake on the rock behind,
And the countless leaves of the pine are strings
Tuned to the lay the wood-god sings.
Hearken! Hearken!
If thou wouldst know the mystic song
Chanted when the sphere was young.
Aloft, abroad, the paean swells;
O wise man! hear’st thou half it tells?
O wise man! hear’st thou the least part?
’Tis the chronicle of art.
To the open ear it sings
Sweet the genesis of things,
Of tendency through endless ages,
Of star-dust, and star-pilgrimages,
Of rounded worlds, of space and time,
Of the old flood’s subsiding slime,
Of chemic matter, force and form,
Of poles and powers, cold, wet, and warm:
The rushing metamorphosis
Dissolving all that fixture is,
Melts things that be to things that seem,
And solid nature to a dream.
O, listen to the undersong,
The ever old, the ever young;
And, far within those cadent pauses,
The chorus of the ancient Causes!
Delights the dreadful Destiny
To fling his voice into the tree,
And shock thy weak ear with a note
Breathed from the everlasting throat.
In music he repeats the pang
Whence the fair flock of Nature sprang.
O mortal! thy ears are stones;
These echoes are laden with tones
Which only the pure can hear;
Thou canst not catch what they recite
Of Fate and Will, of Want and Right,
Of man to come, of human life,
Of Death and Fortune, Growth and Strife.’

Once again the pine-tree sung: —
‘Speak not thy speech my boughs among:
Put off thy years, wash in the breeze;
My hours are peaceful centuries.
Talk no more with feeble tongue;
No more the fool of space and time,
Come weave with mine a nobler rhyme.
Only thy Americans
Can read thy line, can meet thy glance,
But the runes that I rehearse
Understands the universe;
The least breath my boughs which tossed
Brings again the Pentecost;
To every soul resounding clear
In a voice of solemn cheer, —
“Am I not thine? Are not these thine?”
And they reply, “Forever mine!”
My branches speak Italian,
English, German, Basque, Castilian,
Mountain speech to Highlanders,
Ocean tongues to islanders,
To Fin and Lap and swart Malay,
To each his bosom-secret say.

‘Come learn with me the fatal song
Which knits the world in music strong,
Come lift thine eyes to lofty rhymes,
Of things with things, of times with times,
Primal chimes of sun and shade,
Of sound and echo, man and maid,
The land reflected in the flood,
Body with shadow still pursued.
For Nature beats in perfect tune,
And rounds with rhyme her every rune,
Whether she work in land or sea,
Or hide underground her alchemy.
Thou canst not wave thy staff in air,
Or dip thy paddle in the lake,
But it carves the bow of beauty there,
And the ripples in rhymes the oar forsake.
The wood is wiser far than thou;
The wood and wave each other know
Not unrelated, unaffied,
But to each thought and thing allied,
Is perfect Nature’s every part,
Rooted in the mighty Heart,
But thou, poor child! unbound, unrhymed,
Whence camest thou, misplaced, mistimed,
Whence, O thou orphan and defrauded?
Is thy land peeled, thy realm marauded?
Who thee divorced, deceived and left?
Thee of thy faith who hath bereft,
And torn the ensigns from thy brow,
And sunk the immortal eye so low?
Thy cheek too white, thy form too slender,
Thy gait too slow, thy habits tender
For royal man; — they thee confess
An exile from the wilderness, —
The hills where health with health agrees,
And the wise soul expels disease.
Hark! in thy ear I will tell the sign
By which thy hurt thou may’st divine.
When thou shalt climb the mountain cliff,
Or see the wide shore from thy skiff,
To thee the horizon shall express
But emptiness on emptiness;
There lives no man of Nature’s worth
In the circle of the earth;
And to thine eye the vast skies fall,
Dire and satirical,
On clucking hens and prating fools,
On thieves, on drudges and on dolls.
And thou shalt say to the Most High,
“Godhead! all this astronomy,
And fate and practice and invention,
Strong art and beautiful pretension,
This radiant pomp of sun and star,
Throes that were, and worlds that are,
Behold! were in vain and in vain; —
It cannot be, — I will look again.
Surely now will the curtain rise,
And earth’s fit tenant me surprise; —
But the curtain doth not rise,
And Nature has miscarried wholly
Into failure, into folly.”

‘Alas! thine is the bankruptcy,
Blessed Nature so to see.
Come, lay thee in my soothing shade,
And heal the hurts which sin has made.
I see thee in the crowd alone;
I will be thy companion.
Quit thy friends as the dead in doom,
And build to them a final tomb;
Let the starred shade that nightly falls
Still celebrate their funerals,
And the bell of beetle and of bee
Knell their melodious memory.
Behind thee leave thy merchandise,
Thy churches and thy charities;
And leave thy peacock wit behind;
Enough for thee the primal mind
That flows in streams, that breathes in wind:
Leave all thy pedant lore apart;
God hid the whole world in thy heart.
Love shuns the sage, the child it crowns,
Gives all to them who all renounce.
The rain comes when the wind calls;
The river knows the way to the sea;
Without a pilot it runs and falls,
Blessing all lands with its charity;
The sea tosses and foams to find
Its way up to the cloud and wind;
The shadow sits close to the flying ball;
The date fails not on the palm-tree tall;
And thou, — go burn thy wormy pages, —
Shalt outsee seers, and outwit sages.
Oft didst thou thread the woods in vain
To find what bird had piped the strain: —
Seek not, and the little eremite
Flies gayly forth and sings in sight.

‘Hearken once more!
I will tell thee the mundane lore.
Older am I than thy numbers wot,
Change I may, but I pass not.
Hitherto all things fast abide,
And anchored in the tempest ride.
Trenchant time behoves to hurry
All to yean and all to bury:
All the forms are fugitive,
But the substances survive.
Ever fresh the broad creation,
A divine improvisation,
From the heart of God proceeds,
A single will, a million deeds.
Once slept the world an egg of stone,
And pulse, and sound, and light was none;
And God said, “Throb!” and there was motion
And the vast mass became vast ocean.
Onward and on, the eternal Pan,
Who layeth the world’s incessant plan,
Halteth never in one shape,
But forever doth escape,
Like wave or flame, into new forms
Of gem, and air, of plants, and worms.
I, that to-day am a pine,
Yesterday was a bundle of grass.
He is free and libertine,
Pouring of his power the wine
To every age, to every race;
Unto every race and age
He emptieth the beverage;
Unto each, and unto all,
Maker and original.
The world is the ring of his spells,
And the play of his miracles.
As he giveth to all to drink,
Thus or thus they are and think.
With one drop sheds form and feature;
With the next a special nature;
The third adds heat’s indulgent spark;
The fourth gives light which eats the dark;
Into the fifth himself he flings,
And conscious Law is King of kings.
As the bee through the garden ranges,
From world to world the godhead changes;
As the sheep go feeding in the waste,
From form to form He maketh haste;
This vault which glows immense with light
Is the inn where he lodges for a night.
What recks such Traveller if the bowers
Which bloom and fade like meadow flowers
A bunch of fragrant lilies be,
Or the stars of eternity?
Alike to him the better, the worse, —
The glowing angel, the outcast corse.
Thou metest him by centuries,
And lo! he passes like the breeze;
Thou seek’st in globe and galaxy,
He hides in pure transparency;
Thou askest in fountains and in fires,
He is the essence that inquires.
He is the axis of the star;
He is the sparkle of the spar;
He is the heart of every creature;
He is the meaning of each feature;
And his mind is the sky.
Than all it holds more deep, more high.’

Monadnoc

Thousand minstrels woke within me,
‘Our music’s in the hills;’ —
Gayest pictures rose to win me,
Leopard-colored rills.
‘Up! — If thou knew’st who calls
To twilight parks of beech and pine,
High over the river intervals,
Above the ploughman’s highest line,
Over the owner’s farthest walls!
Up! where the airy citadel
O’erlooks the surging landscape’s swell!
Let not unto the stones the Day
Her lily and rose, her sea and land display.
Read the celestial sign!
Lo! the south answers to the north;
Bookworm, break this sloth urbane;
A greater spirit bids thee forth
Than the gray dreams which thee detain.
Mark how the climbing Oreads
Beckon thee to their arcades;
Youth, for a moment free as they,
Teach thy feet to feel the ground,
Ere yet arrives the wintry day
When Time thy feet has bound.
Take the bounty of thy birth,
Taste the lordship of the earth.’

I heard, and I obeyed, —
Assured that he who made the claim,
Well known, but loving not a name,
Was not to be gainsaid.
Ere yet the summoning voice was still,
I turned to Cheshire’s haughty hill.
From the fixed cone the cloud-rack flowed
Like ample banner flung abroad
To all the dwellers in the plains
Round about, a hundred miles,
With salutation to the sea and to the bordering isles.
In his own loom’s garment dressed,
By his proper bounty blessed,
Fast abides this constant giver,
Pouring many a cheerful river;
To far eyes, an aerial isle
Unploughed, which finer spirits pile,
Which morn and crimson evening paint
For bard, for lover and for saint;
An eyemark and the country’s core,
Inspirer, prophet evermore;
Pillar which God aloft had set
So that men might it not forget;
It should be their life’s ornament,
And mix itself with each event;
Gauge and calendar and dial,
Weatherglass and chemic phial,
Garden of berries, perch of birds,
Pasture of pool-haunting herds,
Graced by each change of sum untold,
Earth-baking heat, stone-cleaving cold.

The Titan heeds his sky-affairs,
Rich rents and wide alliance shares;
Mysteries of color daily laid
By morn and eve in light and shade;
And sweet varieties of chance,
And the mystic seasons’ dance;
And thief-like step of liberal hours
Thawing snow-drift into flowers.
O, wondrous craft of plant and stone
By eldest science wrought and shown!

‘Happy,’ I said, ‘whose home is here!
Fair fortunes to the mountaineer!
Boon Nature to his poorest shed
Has royal pleasure-grounds outspread.’
Intent, I searched the region round,
And in low hut the dweller found:
Woe is me for my hope’s downfall!
Is yonder squalid peasant all
That this proud nursery could breed
For God’s vicegerency and stead?
Time out of mind, this forge of ores;
Quarry of spars in mountain pores;
Old cradle, hunting-ground and bier
Of wolf and otter, bear and deer;
Well-built abode of many a race;
Tower of observance searching space;
Factory of river and of rain;
Link in the Alps’ globe-girding chain;
By million changes skilled to tell
What in the Eternal standeth well,
And what obedient Nature can; —
Is this colossal talisman
Kindly to plant and blood and kind,
But speechless to the master’s mind?
I thought to find the patriots
In whom the stock of freedom roots;
To myself I oft recount
Tales of many a famous mount, —
Wales, Scotland, Uri, Hungary’s dells:
Bards, Roys, Scanderbegs and Tells;
And think how Nature in these towers
Uplifted shall condense her powers,
And lifting man to the blue deep
Where stars their perfect courses keep,
Like wise preceptor, lure his eye
To sound the science of the sky,
And carry learning to its height
Of untried power and sane delight:
The Indian cheer, the frosty skies,
Rear purer wits, inventive eyes, —
Eyes that frame cities where none be,
And hands that stablish what these see:
And by the moral of his place
Hint summits of heroic grace;
Man in these crags a fastness find
To fight pollution of the mind;
In the wide thaw and ooze of wrong,
Adhere like this foundation strong,
The insanity of towns to stem
With simpleness for stratagem.
But if the brave old mould is broke,
And end in churls the mountain folk
In tavern cheer and tavern joke,
Sink, O mountain, in the swamp!
Hide in thy skies, O sovereign lamp!
Perish like leaves, the highland breed
No sire survive, no son succeed!

Soft! let not the offended muse
Toil’s hard hap with scorn accuse.
Many hamlets sought I then,
Many farms of mountain men.
Rallying round a parish steeple
Nestle warm the highland people,
Coarse and boisterous, yet mild,
Strong as giant, slow as child.
Sweat and season are their arts,
Their talismans are ploughs and carts;
And well the youngest can command
Honey from the frozen land;
With cloverheads the swamp adorn,
Change the running sand to corn;
For wolf and fox, bring lowing herds,
And for cold mosses, cream and curds:
Weave wood to canisters and mats;
Drain sweet maple juice in vats.
No bird is safe that cuts the air
From their rifle or their snare;
No fish, in river or in lake,
But their long hands it thence will take;
Whilst the country’s flinty face,
Like wax, their fashioning skill betrays,
To fill the hollows, sink the hills,
Bridge gulfs, drain swamps, build dams and mills,
And fit the bleak and howling waste
For homes of virtue, sense and taste.
The World-soul knows his own affair,
Forelooking, when he would prepare
For the next ages, men of mould
Well embodied, well ensouled,
He cools the present’s fiery glow,
Sets the life-pulse strong but slow:
Bitter winds and fasts austere
His quarantines and grottoes, where
He slowly cures decrepit flesh,
And brings it infantile and fresh.
Toil and tempest are the toys
And games to breathe his stalwart boys:
They bide their time, and well can prove,
If need were, their line from Jove;
Of the same stuff, and so allayed,
As that whereof the sun is made,
And of the fibre, quick and strong,
Whose throbs are love, whose thrills are song.

Now in sordid weeds they sleep,
In dulness now their secret keep;
Yet, will you learn our ancient speech,
These the masters who can teach.
Fourscore or a hundred words
All their vocal muse affords;
But they turn them in a fashion
Past clerks’ or statesmen’s art or passion.
I can spare the college bell,
And the learned lecture, well;
Spare the clergy and libraries,
Institutes and dictionaries,
For that hardy English root
Thrives here, unvalued, underfoot.
Rude poets of the tavern hearth,
Squandering your unquoted mirth,
Which keeps the ground and never soars,
While Jake retorts and Reuben roars;
Scoff of yeoman strong and stark,
Goes like bullet to its mark;
While the solid curse and jeer
Never balk the waiting ear.

On the summit as I stood,
O’er the floor of plain and flood
Seemed to me, the towering hill
Was not altogether still,
But a quiet sense conveyed:
If I err not, thus it said: —

‘Many feet in summer seek,
Oft, my far-appearing peak;
In the dreaded winter time,
None save dappling shadows climb,
Under clouds, my lonely head,
Old as the sun, old almost as the shade;
And comest thou
To see strange forests and new snow,
And tread uplifted land?
And leavest thou thy lowland race,
Here amid clouds to stand?
And wouldst be my companion
Where I gaze, and still shall gaze,
Through tempering nights and flashing days,
When forests fall, and man is gone,
Over tribes and over times,
At the burning Lyre,
Nearing me,
With its stars of northern fire,
In many a thousand years?

‘Gentle pilgrim, if thou know
The gamut old of Pan,
And how the hills began,
The frank blessings of the hill
Fall on thee, as fall they will.

‘Let him heed who can and will;
Enchantment fixed me here
To stand the hurts of time, until
In mightier chant I disappear.
If thou trowest
How the chemic eddies play,
Pole to pole, and what they say;
And that these gray crags
Not on crags are hung,
But beads are of a rosary
On prayer and music strung;
And, credulous, through the granite seeming,
Seest the smile of Reason beaming; —
Can thy style-discerning eye
The hidden-working Builder spy,
Who builds, yet makes no chips, no din,
With hammer soft as snowflake’s flight; —
Knowest thou this?
O pilgrim, wandering not amiss!
Already my rocks lie light,
And soon my cone will spin.

‘For the world was built in order,
And the atoms march in tune;
Rhyme the pipe, and Time the warder,
The sun obeys them and the moon.
Orb and atom forth they prance,
When they hear from far the rune;
None so backward in the troop,
When the music and the dance
Reach his place and circumstance,
But knows the sun-creating sound,
And, though a pyramid, will bound.

‘Monadnoc is a mountain strong,
Tall and good my kind among;
But well I know, no mountain can,
Zion or Meru, measure with man.
For it is on zodiacs writ,
Adamant is soft to wit:
And when the greater comes again
With my secret in his brain,
I shall pass, as glides my shadow
Daily over hill and meadow.

‘Through all time, in light, in gloom
Well I hear the approaching feet
On the flinty pathway beat
Of him that cometh, and shall come;
Of him who shall as lightly bear
My daily load of woods and streams,
As doth this round sky-cleaving boat
Which never strains its rocky beams;
Whose timbers, as they silent float,
Alps and Caucasus uprear,
And the long Alleghanies here,
And all town-sprinkled lands that be,
Sailing through stars with all their history.

‘Every morn I lift my head,
See New England underspread,
South from Saint Lawrence to the Sound,
From Katskill east to the sea-bound.
Anchored fast for many an age,
I await the bard and sage,
Who, in large thoughts, like fair pearl-seed,
Shall string Monadnoc like a bead.
Comes that cheerful troubadour,
This mound shall throb his face before,
As when, with inward fires and pain,
It rose a bubble from the plain.
When he cometh, I shall shed,
From this wellspring in my head,
Fountain-drop of spicier worth
Than all vintage of the earth.
There’s fruit upon my barren soil
Costlier far than wine or oil.
There’s a berry blue and gold, —
Autumn-ripe, its juices hold
Sparta’s stoutness, Bethlehem’s heart,
Asia’s rancor, Athens’ art,
Slowsure Britain’s secular might,
And the German’s inward sight.
I will give my son to eat
Best of Pan’s immortal meat,
Bread to eat, and juice to drain;
So the coinage of his brain
Shall not be forms of stars, but stars,
Nor pictures pale, but Jove and Mars,
He comes, but not of that race bred
Who daily climb my specular head.
Oft as morning wreathes my scarf,
Fled the last plumule of the Dark,
Pants up hither the spruce clerk
From South Cove and City Wharf.
I take him up my rugged sides,
Half-repentant, scant of breath, —
Bead-eyes my granite chaos show,
And my midsummer snow:
Open the daunting map beneath, —
All his county, sea and land,
Dwarfed to measure of his hand;
His day’s ride is a furlong space,
His city-tops a glimmering haze.
I plant his eyes on the sky-hoop bounding;
“See there the grim gray rounding
Of the bullet of the earth
Whereon ye sail,
Tumbling steep
In the uncontinented deep.”
He looks on that, and he turns pale.
‘T is even so, this treacherous kite,
Farm-furrowed, town-incrusted sphere,
Thoughtless of its anxious freight,
Plunges eyeless on forever;
And he, poor parasite,
Cooped in a ship he cannot steer, —
Who is the captain he knows not,
Port or pilot trows not, —
Risk or ruin he must share.
I scowl on him with my cloud,
With my north wind chill his blood;
I lame him, clattering down the rocks;
And to live he is in fear.
Then, at last, I let him down
Once more into his dapper town,
To chatter, frightened, to his clan
And forget me if he can.’

As in the old poetic fame
The gods are blind and lame,
And the simular despite
Betrays the more abounding might,
So call not waste that barren cone
Above the floral zone,
Where forests starve:
It is pure use; —
What sheaves like those which here we glean and bind
Of a celestial Ceres and the Muse?

Ages are thy days,
Thou grand affirmer of the present tense,
And type of permanence!
Firm ensign of the fatal Being,
Amid these coward shapes of joy and grief,
That will not bide the seeing!

Hither we bring
Our insect miseries to thy rocks;
And the whole flight, with folded wing,
Vanish, and end their murmuring, —
Vanish beside these dedicated blocks,
Which who can tell what mason laid?
Spoils of a front none need restore,
Replacing frieze and architrave; —
Where flowers each stone rosette and metope brave;
Still is the haughty pile erect
Of the old building Intellect.

Complement of human kind,
Holding us at vantage still,
Our sumptuous indigence,
O barren mound, thy plenties fill!
We fool and prate;
Thou art silent and sedate.
To myriad kinds and times one sense
The constant mountain doth dispense;
Shedding on all its snows and leaves,
One joy it joys, one grief it grieves.
Thou seest, O watchman tall,
Our towns and races grow and fall,
And imagest the stable good
For which we all our lifetime grope,
In shifting form the formless mind,
And though the substance us elude,
We in thee the shadow find.
Thou, in our astronomy
An opaker star,
Seen haply from afar,
Above the horizon’s hoop,
A moment, by the railway troop,
As o’er some bolder height they speed, —
By circumspect ambition,
By errant gain,
By feasters and the frivolous, —
Recallest us,
And makest sane.
Mute orator! well skilled to plead,
And send conviction without phrase,
Thou dost succor and remede
The shortness of our days,
And promise, on thy Founder’s truth,
Long morrow to this mortal youth.

Fable

The mountain and the squirrel
Had a quarrel,
And the former called the latter ‘Little Prig;
Bun replied,
‘You are doubtless very big;
But all sorts of things and weather
Must be taken in together,
To make up a year
And a sphere.
And I think it no disgrace
To occupy my place.
If I’m not so large as you,
You are not so small as I,
And not half so spry.
I’ll not deny you make
A very pretty squirrel track;
Talents differ; all is well and wisely put;
If I cannot carry forests on my back,
Neither can you crack a nut.’

Ode Inscribed to W.H. Channing

Though loath to grieve
The evil time’s sole patriot,
I cannot leave
My honied thought
For the priest’s cant,
Or statesman’s rant.

If I refuse
My study for their politique,
Which at the best is trick,
The angry Muse
Puts confusion in my brain.

But who is he that prates
Of the culture of mankind,
Of better arts and life?
Go, blindworm, go,
Behold the famous States
Harrying Mexico
With rifle and with knife!

Or who, with accent bolder,
Dare praise the freedom-loving mountaineer?
I found by thee, O rushing Contoocook!
And in thy valleys, Agiochook!
The jackals of the negro-holder.

The God who made New Hampshire
Taunted the lofty land
With little men; —
Small bat and wren
House in the oak: —
If earth-fire cleave
The upheaved land, and bury the folk,
The southern crocodile would grieve.
Virtue palters; Right is hence;
Freedom praised, but hid;
Funeral eloquence
Rattles the coffin-lid.

What boots thy zeal,
O glowing friend,
That would indignant rend
The northland from the south?
Wherefore? to what good end?
Boston Bay and Bunker Hill
Would serve things still; —
Things are of the snake.

The horseman serves the horse,
The neatherd serves the neat,
The merchant serves the purse,
The eater serves his meat;
‘T is the day of the chattel,
Web to weave, and corn to grind;
Things are in the saddle,
And ride mankind.

There are two laws discrete,
Not reconciled, —
Law for man, and law for thing;
The last builds town and fleet,
But it runs wild,
And doth the man unking.

‘T is fit the forest fall,
The steep be graded,
The mountain tunnelled,
The sand shaded,
The orchard planted,
The glebe tilled,
The prairie granted,
The steamer built.

Let man serve law for man;
Live for friendship, live for love,
For truth’s and harmony’s behoof;
The state may follow how it can,
As Olympus follows Jove.

Yet do not I implore
The wrinkled shopman to my sounding woods,
Nor bid the unwilling senator
Ask votes of thrushes in the solitudes.
Every one to his chosen work; —
Foolish hands may mix and mar;
Wise and sure the issues are.
Round they roll till dark is light,
Sex to sex, and even to odd; —
The over-god
Who marries Right to Might,
Who peoples, unpeoples, —
He who exterminates
Races by stronger races,
Black by white faces, —
Knows to bring honey
Out of the lion;
Grafts gentlest scion
On pirate and Turk.

The Cossack eats Poland,
Like stolen fruit;
Her last noble is ruined,
Her last poet mute:
Straight, into double band
The victors divide;
Half for freedom strike and stand; —
The astonished Muse finds thousands at her side.

Astraea

Each the herald is who wrote
His rank, and quartered his own coat.
There is no king nor sovereign state
That can fix a hero’s rate;
Each to all is venerable,
Cap-a-pie invulnerable,
Until he write, where all eyes rest,
Slave or master on his breast.
I saw men go up and down,
In the country and the town,
With this tablet on their neck,
‘Judgment and a judge we seek.’
Not to monarchs they repair,
Nor to learned jurist’s chair;
But they hurry to their peers,
To their kinsfolk and their dears;
Louder than with speech they pray, —
‘What am I? companion, say.’
And the friend not hesitates
To assign just place and mates;
Answers not in word or letter,
Yet is understood the better;
Each to each a looking-glass,
Reflects his figure that doth pass.
Every wayfarer he meets
What himself declared repeats,
What himself confessed records,
Sentences him in his words;
The form is his own corporal form,
And his thought the penal worm.
Yet shine forever virgin minds,
Loved by stars and purest winds,
Which, o’er passion throned sedate,
Have not hazarded their state;
Disconcert the searching spy,
Rendering to a curious eye
The durance of a granite ledge.
To those who gaze from the sea’s edge
It is there for benefit;
It is there for purging light;
There for purifying storms;
And its depths reflect all forms;
It cannot parley with the mean, —
Pure by impure is not seen.
For there’s no sequestered grot,
Lone mountain tarn, or isle forgot,
But Justice, journeying in the sphere,
Daily stoops to harbor there.

Étienne De La Boéce

I serve you not, if you I follow,
Shadowlike, o’er hill and hollow;
And bend my fancy to your leading,
All too nimble for my treading.
When the pilgrimage is done,
And we’ve the landscape overrun,
I am bitter, vacant, thwarted,
And your heart is unsupported.
Vainly valiant, you have missed
The manhood that should yours resist, —
Its complement; but if I could,
In severe or cordial mood,
Lead you rightly to my altar,
Where the wisest Muses falter,
And worship that world-warming spark
Which dazzles me in midnight dark,
Equalizing small and large,
While the soul it doth surcharge,
Till the poor is wealthy grown,
And the hermit never alone, —
The traveller and the road seem one
With the errand to be done, —
That were a man’s and lover’s part,
That were Freedom’s whitest chart.

Compensation

Why should I keep holiday
When other men have none?
Why but because, when these are gay,
I sit and mourn alone?

And why, when mirth unseals all tongues,
Should mine alone be dumb?
Ah! late I spoke to silent throngs,
And now their hour is come.

Forbearance

Hast thou named all the birds without a gun?
Loved the wood-rose, and left it on its stalk?
At rich men’s tables eaten bread and pulse?
Unarmed, faced danger with a heart of trust?
And loved so well a high behavior,
In man or maid, that thou from speech refrained,
Nobility more nobly to repay?
O, be my friend, and teach me to be thine!

The Park

The prosperous and beautiful
To me seem not to wear
The yoke of conscience masterful,
Which galls me everywhere.

I cannot shake off the god;
On my neck he makes his seat;
I look at my face in the glass, —
My eyes his eyeballs meet.

Enchanters! Enchantresses!
Your gold makes you seem wise;
The morning mist within your grounds
More proudly rolls, more softly lies.

Yet spake yon purple mountain,
Yet said yon ancient wood,
That Night or Day, that Love or Crime,
Leads all souls to the Good.

Forerunners

Long I followed happy guides,
I could never reach their sides;
Their step is forth, and, ere the day
Breaks up their leaguer, and away.
Keen my sense, my heart was young,
Right good-will my sinews strung,
But no speed of mine avails
To hunt upon their shining trails.
On and away, their hasting feet
Make the morning proud and sweet;
Flowers they strew, — I catch the scent;
Or tone of silver instrument
Leaves on the wind melodious trace;
Yet I could never see their face.
On eastern hills I see their smokes,
Mixed with mist by distant lochs.
I met many travellers
Who the road had surely kept;
They saw not my fine revellers, —
These had crossed them while they slept.
Some had heard their fair report,
In the country or the court.
Fleetest couriers alive
Never yet could once arrive,
As they went or they returned,
At the house where these sojourned.
Sometimes their strong speed they slacken,
Though they are not overtaken;
In sleep their jubilant troop is near, —
I tuneful voices overhear;
It may be in wood or waste, —
At unawares ‘t is come and past.
Their near camp my spirit knows
By signs gracious as rainbows.
I thenceforward and long after
Listen for their harp-like laughter,
And carry in my heart, for days,
Peace that hallows rudest ways.

Sursum Corda

Seek not the spirit, if it hide
Inexorable to thy zeal:
Trembler, do not whine and chide:
Art thou not also real?
Stoop not then to poor excuse;
Turn on the accuser roundly; say,
‘Here am I, here will I abide
Forever to myself soothfast;
Go thou, sweet Heaven, or at thy pleasure stay!’
Already Heaven with thee its lot has cast,
For only it can absolutely deal.

Ode to Beauty

Who gave thee, O Beauty,
The keys of this breast, —
Too credulous lover
Of blest and unblest?
Say, when in lapsed ages
Thee knew I of old?
Or what was the service
For which I was sold?
When first my eyes saw thee,
I found me thy thrall,
By magical drawings,
Sweet tyrant of all!
I drank at thy fountain
False waters of thirst;
Thou intimate stranger,
Thou latest and first!
Thy dangerous glances
Make women of men;
New-born, we are melting
Into nature again.

Lavish, lavish promiser,
Nigh persuading gods to err!
Guest of million painted forms,
Which in turn thy glory warms!
The frailest leaf, the mossy bark,
The acorn’s cup, the raindrop’s arc,
The swinging spider’s silver line,
The ruby of the drop of wine,
The shining pebble of the pond,
Thou inscribest with a bond,
In thy momentary play,
Would bankrupt nature to repay.

Ah, what avails it
To hide or to shun
Whom the Infinite One
Hath granted his throne?
The heaven high over
Is the deep’s lover;
The sun and sea,
Informed by thee,
Before me run
And draw me on,
Yet fly me still,
As Fate refuses
To me the heart Fate for me chooses.
Is it that my opulent soul
Was mingled from the generous whole;
Sea-valleys and the deep of skies
Furnished several supplies;
And the sands whereof I’m made
Draw me to them, self-betrayed?

I turn the proud portfolio
Which holds the grand designs
Of Salvator, of Guercino,
And Piranesi’s lines.
I hear the lofty paeans
Of the masters of the shell,
Who heard the starry music
And recount the numbers well;
Olympian bards who sung
Divine Ideas below,
Which always find us young
And always keep us so.
Oft, in streets or humblest places,
I detect far-wandered graces,
Which, from Eden wide astray,
In lowly homes have lost their way.

Thee gliding through the sea of form,
Like the lightning through the storm,
Somewhat not to be possessed,
Somewhat not to be caressed,
No feet so fleet could ever find,
No perfect form could ever bind.
Thou eternal fugitive,
Hovering over all that live,
Quick and skilful to inspire
Sweet, extravagant desire,
Starry space and lily-bell
Filling with thy roseate smell,
Wilt not give the lips to taste
Of the nectar which thou hast.

All that’s good and great with thee
Works in close conspiracy;
Thou hast bribed the dark and lonely
To report thy features only,
And the cold and purple morning
Itself with thoughts of thee adorning;
The leafy dell, the city mart,
Equal trophies of thine art;
E’en the flowing azure air
Thou hast touched for my despair;
And, if I languish into dreams,
Again I meet the ardent beams.
Queen of things! I dare not die
In Being’s deeps past ear and eye;
Lest there I find the same deceiver
And be the sport of Fate forever.
Dread Power, but dear! if God thou be,
Unmake me quite, or give thyself to me!

Give All to Love

Give all to love;
Obey thy heart;
Friends, kindred, days,
Estate, good-fame,
Plans, credit and the Muse, —
Nothing refuse.

‘T is a brave master;
Let it have scope:
Follow it utterly,
Hope beyond hope:
High and more high
It dives into noon,
With wing unspent,
Untold intent;
But it is a god,
Knows its own path
And the outlets of the sky.

It was never for the mean;
It requireth courage stout.
Souls above doubt,
Valor unbending,
It will reward, —
They shall return
More than they were,
And ever ascending.

Leave all for love;
Yet, hear me, yet,
One word more thy heart behoved,
One pulse more of firm endeavor, —
Keep thee to-day,
To-morrow, forever,
Free as an Arab
Of thy beloved.

Cling with life to the maid;
But when the surprise,
First vague shadow of surmise
Flits across her bosom young,
Of a joy apart from thee,
Free be she, fancy-free;
Nor thou detain her vesture’s hem,
Nor the palest rose she flung
From her summer diadem.

Though thou loved her as thyself,
As a self of purer clay,
Though her parting dims the day,
Stealing grace from all alive;
Heartily know,
When half-gods go.
The gods arrive.

To Ellen at the South

The green grass is bowing,
The morning wind is in it;
‘T is a tune worth thy knowing,
Though it change every minute.

‘T is a tune of the Spring;
Every year plays it over
To the robin on the wing,
And to the pausing lover.

O’er ten thousand, thousand acres,
Goes light the nimble zephyr;
The Flowers — tiny sect of Shakers —
Worship him ever.

Hark to the winning sound!
They summon thee, dearest, —
Saying, ‘We have dressed for thee the ground,
Nor yet thou appearest.

‘O hasten;’ ‘t is our time,
Ere yet the red Summer
Scorch our delicate prime,
Loved of bee, — the tawny hummer.

‘O pride of thy race!
Sad, in sooth, it were to ours,
If our brief tribe miss thy face,
We poor New England flowers.

‘Fairest, choose the fairest members
Of our lithe society;
June’s glories and September’s
Show our love and piety.

‘Thou shalt command us all, —
April’s cowslip, summer’s clover,
To the gentian in the fall,
Blue-eyed pet of blue-eyed lover.

‘O come, then, quickly come!
We are budding, we are blowing;
And the wind that we perfume
Sings a tune that’s worth the knowing.’

To Ellen

And Ellen, when the graybeard years
Have brought us to life’s evening hour,
And all the crowded Past appears
A tiny scene of sun and shower,

Then, if I read the page aright
Where Hope, the soothsayer, reads our lot,
Thyself shalt own the page was bright,
Well that we loved, woe had we not,

When Mirth is dumb and Flattery’s fled,
And mute thy music’s dearest tone,
When all but Love itself is dead
And all but deathless Reason gone.

To Eva

O fair and stately maid, whose eyes
Were kindled in the upper skies
At the same torch that lighted mine;
For so I must interpret still
Thy sweet dominion o’er my will,
A sympathy divine.

Ah! let me blameless gaze upon
Features that seem at heart my own;
Nor fear those watchful sentinels,
Who charm the more their glance forbids,
Chaste-glowing, underneath their lids,
With fire that draws while it repels.

Lines written by Ellen Louisa Tucker shortly before her marriage to Mr. Emerson

Love scatters oil
On Life’s dark sea,
Sweetens its toil —
Our helmsman he.

Around him hover
Odorous clouds;
Under this cover
His arrows he shrouds.

The cloud was around me,
I knew not why
Such sweetness crowned me.
While Time shot by.

No pain was within,
But calm delight,
Like a world without sin,
Or a day without night.

The shafts of the god
Were tipped with down,
For they drew no blood,
And they knit no frown.

I knew of them not
Until Cupid laughed loud,
And saying “You’re caught!”
Flew off in the cloud.

O then I awoke,
And I lived but to sigh,
Till a clear voice spoke, —
And my tears are dry.

The Violet

BY ELLEN LOUISA TUCKER

Why lingerest thou, pale violet, to see the dying year;
Are Autumn’s blasts fit music for thee, fragile one, to hear;
Will thy clear blue eye, upward bent, still keep its chastened glow,
Still tearless lift its slender form above the wintry snow?

Why wilt thou live when none around reflects thy pensive ray?
Thou bloomest here a lonely thing in the clear autumn day.
The tall green trees, that shelter thee, their last gay dress put on;
There will be nought to shelter thee when their sweet leaves are gone.

O Violet, like thee, how blest could I lie down and die,
When summer light is fading, and autumn breezes sigh;
When Winter reigned I’d close my eye, but wake with bursting Spring,
And live with living nature, a pure rejoicing thing.

I had a sister once who seemed just like a violet;
Her morning sun shone bright and calmly purely set;
When the violets were in their shrouds, and Summer in its pride,
She laid her hopes at rest, and in the year’s rich beauty died.

The Amulet

Your picture smiles as first it smiled;
The ring you gave is still the same;
Your letter tells, O changing child!
No tidings since it came.

Give me an amulet
That keeps intelligence with you, —
Red when you love, and rosier red,
And when you love not, pale and blue.

Alas! that neither bonds nor vows
Can certify possession;
Torments me still the fear that love
Died in its last expression.

Thine Eyes Still Shined

Thine eyes still shined for me, though far
I lonely roved the land or sea:
As I behold yon evening star,
Which yet beholds not me.

This morn I climbed the misty hill
And roamed the pastures through;
How danced thy form before my path
Amidst the deep-eyed dew!

When the redbird spread his sable wing,
And showed his side of flame;
When the rosebud ripened to the rose,
In both I read thy name.

Eros

The sense of the world is short, —
Long and various the report, —
To love and be beloved;
Men and gods have not outlearned it;
And, how oft soe’er they’ve turned it,
Not to be improved.

Hermione

On a mound an Arab lay,
And sung his sweet regrets
And told his amulets:
The summer bird
His sorrow heard,
And, when he heaved a sigh profound,
The sympathetic swallow swept the ground.

‘If it be, as they said, she was not fair,
Beauty’s not beautiful to me,
But sceptred genius, aye inorbed,
Culminating in her sphere.
This Hermione absorbed
The lustre of the land and ocean,
Hills and islands, cloud and tree,
In her form and motion.

‘I ask no bauble miniature,
Nor ringlets dead
Shorn from her comely head,
Now that morning not disdains
Mountains and the misty plains
Her colossal portraiture;
They her heralds be,
Steeped in her quality,
And singers of her fame
Who is their Muse and dame.

‘Higher, dear swallows! mind not what I say.
Ah! heedless how the weak are strong,
Say, was it just,
In thee to frame, in me to trust,
Thou to the Syrian couldst belong?

‘I am of a lineage
That each for each doth fast engage;
In old Bassora’s schools, I seemed
Hermit vowed to books and gloom, —
Ill-bestead for gay bridegroom.
I was by thy touch redeemed;
When thy meteor glances came,
We talked at large of worldly fate,
And drew truly every trait.

‘Once I dwelt apart,
Now I live with all;
As shepherd’s lamp on far hill-side
Seems, by the traveller espied,
A door into the mountain heart,
So didst thou quarry and unlock
Highways for me through the rock.

‘Now, deceived, thou wanderest
In strange lands unblest;
And my kindred come to soothe me.
Southwind is my next of blood;
He is come through fragrant wood,
Drugged with spice from climates warm,
And in every twinkling glade,
And twilight nook,
Unveils thy form.
Out of the forest way
Forth paced it yesterday;
And when I sat by the watercourse,
Watching the daylight fade,
It throbbed up from the brook.

‘River and rose and crag and bird,
Frost and sun and eldest night,
To me their aid preferred,
To me their comfort plight; —
“Courage! we are thine allies,
And with this hint be wise, —
The chains of kind
The distant bind;
Deed thou doest she must do,
Above her will, be true;
And, in her strict resort
To winds and waterfalls
And autumn’s sunlit festivals,
To music, and to music’s thought,
Inextricably bound,
She shall find thee, and be found.
Follow not her flying feet;
Come to us herself to meet.”’

Initial, Daemonic and Celestial Love

I. THE INITIAL LOVE

Venus, when her son was lost,
Cried him up and down the coast,
In hamlets, palaces and parks,
And told the truant by his marks, —
Golden curls, and quiver and bow.
This befell how long ago!
Time and tide are strangely changed,
Men and manners much deranged:
None will now find Cupid latent
By this foolish antique patent.
He came late along the waste,
Shod like a traveller for haste;
With malice dared me to proclaim him,
That the maids and boys might name him.

Boy no more, he wears all coats,
Frocks and blouses, capes, capotes;
He bears no bow, or quiver, or wand,
Nor chaplet on his head or hand.
Leave his weeds and heed his eyes, —
All the rest he can disguise.
In the pit of his eye’s a spark
Would bring back day if it were dark;
And, if I tell you all my thought,
Though I comprehend it not,
In those unfathomable orbs
Every function he absorbs;
Doth eat, and drink, and fish, and shoot,
And write, and reason, and compute,
And ride, and run, and have, and hold,
And whine, and flatter, and regret,
And kiss, and couple, and beget,
By those roving eyeballs bold.

Undaunted are their courages,
Right Cossacks in their forages;
Fleeter they than any creature, —
They are his steeds, and not his feature;
Inquisitive, and fierce, and fasting,
Restless, predatory, hasting;
And they pounce on other eyes
As lions on their prey;
And round their circles is writ,
Plainer than the day,
Underneath, within, above, —
Love — love — love — love.
He lives in his eyes;
There doth digest, and work, and spin,
And buy, and sell, and lose, and win;
He rolls them with delighted motion,
Joy-tides swell their mimic ocean.
Yet holds he them with tautest rein,
That they may seize and entertain
The glance that to their glance opposes,
Like fiery honey sucked from roses.
He palmistry can understand,
Imbibing virtue by his hand
As if it were a living root;
The pulse of hands will make him mute;
With all his force he gathers balms
Into those wise, thrilling palms.

Cupid is a casuist,
A mystic and a cabalist, —
Can your lurking thought surprise,
And interpret your device.
He is versed in occult science,
In magic and in clairvoyance,
Oft he keeps his fine ear strained,
And Reason on her tiptoe pained
For aëry intelligence,
And for strange coincidence.
But it touches his quick heart
When Fate by omens takes his part,
And chance-dropped hints from Nature’s sphere
Deeply soothe his anxious ear.

Heralds high before him run;
He has ushers many a one;
He spreads his welcome where he goes,
And touches all things with his rose.
All things wait for and divine him, —
How shall I dare to malign him,
Or accuse the god of sport?
I must end my true report,
Painting him from head to foot,
In as far as I took note,
Trusting well the matchless power
Of this young-eyed emperor
Will clear his fame from every cloud
With the bards and with the crowd.

He is wilful, mutable,
Shy, untamed, inscrutable,
Swifter-fashioned than the fairies.
Substance mixed of pure contraries;
His vice some elder virtue’s token,
And his good is evil-spoken.
Failing sometimes of his own,
He is headstrong and alone;
He affects the wood and wild,
Like a flower-hunting child;
Buries himself in summer waves,
In trees, with beasts, in mines and caves,
Loves nature like a hornèd cow,
Bird, or deer, or caribou.

Shun him, nymphs, on the fleet horses!
He has a total world of wit;
O how wise are his discourses!
But he is the arch-hypocrite,
And, through all science and all art,
Seeks alone his counterpart.
He is a Pundit of the East,
He is an augur and a priest,
And his soul will melt in prayer,
But word and wisdom is a snare;
Corrupted by the present toy
He follows joy, and only joy.
There is no mask but he will wear;
He invented oaths to swear;
He paints, he carves, he chants, he prays,
And holds all stars in his embrace.
He takes a sovran privilege
Not allowed to any liege;
For Cupid goes behind all law,
And right into himself does draw;
For he is sovereignly allied, —
Heaven’s oldest blood flows in his side, —
And interchangeably at one
With every king on every throne,
That no god dare say him nay,
Or see the fault, or seen betray;
He has the Muses by the heart,
And the stern Parcae on his part.

His many signs cannot be told;
He has not one mode, but manifold,
Many fashions and addresses,
Piques, reproaches, hurts, caresses.
He will preach like a friar,
And jump like Harlequin;
He will read like a crier,
And fight like a Paladin.
Boundless is his memory;
Plans immense his term prolong;
He is not of counted age,
Meaning always to be young.
And his wish is intimacy,
Intimater intimacy,
And a stricter privacy;
The impossible shall yet be done,
And, being two, shall still be one.
As the wave breaks to foam on shelves,
Then runs into a wave again,
So lovers melt their sundered selves,
Yet melted would be twain.

II. THE DAEMONIC LOVE

Man was made of social earth,
Child and brother from his birth,
Tethered by a liquid cord
Of blood through veins of kindred poured.
Next his heart the fireside band
Of mother, father, sister, stand;
Names from awful childhood heard
Throbs of a wild religion stirred; —
Virtue, to love, to hate them, vice;
Till dangerous Beauty came, at last,
Till Beauty came to snap all ties;
The maid, abolishing the past,
With lotus wine obliterates
Dear memory’s stone-incarved traits,
And, by herself, supplants alone
Friends year by year more inly known.
When her calm eyes opened bright,
All else grew foreign in their light.
It was ever the self-same tale,
The first experience will not fail;
Only two in the garden walked,
And with snake and seraph talked.

Close, close to men,
Like undulating layer of air,
Right above their heads,
The potent plain of Daemons spreads.
Stands to each human soul its own,
For watch and ward and furtherance,
In the snares of Nature’s dance;
And the lustre and the grace
To fascinate each youthful heart,
Beaming from its counterpart,
Translucent through the mortal covers,
Is the Daemon’s form and face.
To and fro the Genius hies, —
A gleam which plays and hovers
Over the maiden’s head,
And dips sometimes as low as to her eyes.
Unknown, albeit lying near,
To men, the path to the Daemon sphere;
And they that swiftly come and go
Leave no track on the heavenly snow.
Sometimes the airy synod bends,
And the mighty choir descends,
And the brains of men thenceforth,
In crowded and in still resorts,
Teem with unwonted thoughts:
As, when a shower of meteors
Cross the orbit of the earth,
And, lit by fringent air,
Blaze near and far,
Mortals deem the planets bright
Have slipped their sacred bars,
And the lone seaman all the night
Sails, astonished, amid stars.

Beauty of a richer vein,
Graces of a subtler strain,
Unto men these moonmen lend,
And our shrinking sky extend.
So is man’s narrow path
By strength and terror skirted;
Also (from the song the wrath
Of the Genii be averted!
The Muse the truth uncolored speaking)
The Daemons are self-seeking:
Their fierce and limitary will
Draws men to their likeness still.
The erring painter made Love blind, —
Highest Love who shines on all;
Him, radiant, sharpest-sighted god,
None can bewilder;
Whose eyes pierce
The universe,
Path-finder, road-builder,
Mediator, royal giver;
Rightly seeing, rightly seen,
Of joyful and transparent mien.
‘T is a sparkle passing
From each to each, from thee to me,
To and fro perpetually;
Sharing all, daring all,
Levelling, displacing
Each obstruction, it unites
Equals remote, and seeming opposites.
And ever and forever Love
Delights to build a road:
Unheeded Danger near him strides,
Love laughs, and on a lion rides.
But Cupid wears another face,
Born into Daemons less divine:
His roses bleach apace,
His nectar smacks of wine.
The Daemon ever builds a wall,
Himself encloses and includes,
Solitude in solitudes:
In like sort his love doth fall.
He doth elect
The beautiful and fortunate,
And the sons of intellect,
And the souls of ample fate,
Who the Future’s gates unbar, —
Minions of the Morning Star.
In his prowess he exults,
And the multitude insults.
His impatient looks devour
Oft the humble and the poor;
And, seeing his eye glare,
They drop their few pale flowers,
Gathered with hope to please,
Along the mountain towers, —
Lose courage, and despair.
He will never be gainsaid, —
Pitiless, will not be stayed;
His hot tyranny
Burns up every other tie.
Therefore comes an hour from Jove
Which his ruthless will defies,
And the dogs of Fate unties.
Shiver the palaces of glass;
Shrivel the rainbow-colored walls,
Where in bright Art each god and sibyl dwelt
Secure as in the zodiac’s belt;
And the galleries and halls,
Wherein every siren sung,
Like a meteor pass.
For this fortune wanted root
In the core of God’s abysm, —
Was a weed of self and schism;
And ever the Daemonic Love
Is the ancestor of wars
And the parent of remorse.

III. THE CELESTIAL LOVE

But God said,
‘I will have a purer gift;
There is smoke in the flame;
New flowerets bring, new prayers uplift,
And love without a name.
Fond children, ye desire
To please each other well;
Another round, a higher,
Ye shall climb on the heavenly stair,
And selfish preference forbear;
And in right deserving,
And without a swerving
Each from your proper state,
Weave roses for your mate.

‘Deep, deep are loving eyes,
Flowed with naphtha fiery sweet;
And the point is paradise,
Where their glances meet:
Their reach shall yet be more profound,
And a vision without bound:
The axis of those eyes sun-clear
Be the axis of the sphere:
So shall the lights ye pour amain
Go, without check or intervals,
Through from the empyrean walls
Unto the same again.’

Higher far into the pure realm,
Over sun and star,
Over the flickering Daemon film,
Thou must mount for love;
Into vision where all form
In one only form dissolves;
In a region where the wheel
On which all beings ride
Visibly revolves;
Where the starred, eternal worm
Girds the world with bound and term;
Where unlike things are like;
Where good and ill,
And joy and moan,
Melt into one.

There Past, Present, Future, shoot
Triple blossoms from one root;
Substances at base divided,
In their summits are united;
There the holy essence rolls,
One through separated souls;
And the sunny Aeon sleeps
Folding Nature in its deeps,
And every fair and every good,
Known in part, or known impure,
To men below,
In their archetypes endure.
The race of gods,
Or those we erring own,
Are shadows flitting up and down
In the still abodes.
The circles of that sea are laws
Which publish and which hide the cause.

Pray for a beam
Out of that sphere,
Thee to guide and to redeem.
O, what a load
Of care and toil,
By lying use bestowed,
From his shoulders falls who sees
The true astronomy,
The period of peace.
Counsel which the ages kept
Shall the well-born soul accept.
As the overhanging trees
Fill the lake with images, —
As garment draws the garment’s hem,
Men their fortunes bring with them.
By right or wrong,
Lands and goods go to the strong.
Property will brutely draw
Still to the proprietor;
Silver to silver creep and wind,
And kind to kind.

Nor less the eternal poles
Of tendency distribute souls.
There need no vows to bind
Whom not each other seek, but find.
They give and take no pledge or oath, —
Nature is the bond of both:
No prayer persuades, no flattery fawns, —
Their noble meanings are their pawns.
Plain and cold is their address,
Power have they for tenderness;
And, so thoroughly is known
Each other’s counsel by his own,
They can parley without meeting;
Need is none of forms of greeting;
They can well communicate
In their innermost estate;
When each the other shall avoid,
Shall each by each be most enjoyed.

Not with scarfs or perfumed gloves
Do these celebrate their loves:
Not by jewels, feasts and savors,
Not by ribbons or by favors,
But by the sun-spark on the sea,
And the cloud-shadow on the lea,
The soothing lapse of morn to mirk,
And the cheerful round of work.
Their cords of love so public are,
They intertwine the farthest star:
The throbbing sea, the quaking earth,
Yield sympathy and signs of mirth;
Is none so high, so mean is none,
But feels and seals this union;
Even the fell Furies are appeased,
The good applaud, the lost are eased.

Love’s hearts are faithful, but not fond,
Bound for the just, but not beyond;
Not glad, as the low-loving herd,
Of self in other still preferred,
But they have heartily designed
The benefit of broad mankind.
And they serve men austerely,
After their own genius, clearly,
Without a false humility;
For this is Love’s nobility, —
Not to scatter bread and gold,
Goods and raiment bought and sold;
But to hold fast his simple sense,
And speak the speech of innocence,
And with hand and body and blood,
To make his bosom-counsel good.
He that feeds men serveth few;
He serves all who dares be true.

The Apology

Think me not unkind and rude
That I walk alone in grove and glen;
I go to the god of the wood
To fetch his word to men.

Tax not my sloth that I
Fold my arms beside the brook;
Each cloud that floated in the sky
Writes a letter in my book.

Chide me not, laborious band,
For the idle flowers I brought;
Every aster in my hand
Goes home loaded with a thought.

There was never mystery
But ’tis figured in the flowers;
Was never secret history
But birds tell it in the bowers.

One harvest from thy field
Homeward brought the oxen strong;
A second crop thine acres yield,
Which I gather in a song.

Merlin I

Thy trivial harp will never please
Or fill my craving ear;
Its chords should ring as blows the breeze,
Free, peremptory, clear.
No jingling serenader’s art,
Nor tinkle of piano strings,
Can make the wild blood start
In its mystic springs.
The kingly bard
Must smite the chords rudely and hard,
As with hammer or with mace;
That they may render back
Artful thunder, which conveys
Secrets of the solar track,
Sparks of the supersolar blaze.
Merlin’s blows are strokes of fate,
Chiming with the forest tone,
When boughs buffet boughs in the wood;
Chiming with the gasp and moan
Of the ice-imprisoned flood;
With the pulse of manly hearts;
With the voice of orators;
With the din of city arts;
With the cannonade of wars;
With the marches of the brave;
And prayers of might from martyrs’ cave.

Great is the art,
Great be the manners, of the bard.
He shall not his brain encumber
With the coil of rhythm and number;
But, leaving rule and pale forethought,
He shall aye climb
For his rhyme.
‘Pass in, pass in,’ the angels say,
‘In to the upper doors,
Nor count compartments of the floors,
But mount to paradise
By the stairway of surprise.’

Blameless master of the games,
King of sport that never shames,
He shall daily joy dispense
Hid in song’s sweet influence.
Forms more cheerly live and go,
What time the subtle mind
Sings aloud the tune whereto
Their pulses beat,
And march their feet,
And their members are combined.

By Sybarites beguiled,
He shall no task decline;
Merlin’s mighty line
Extremes of nature reconciled, —
Bereaved a tyrant of his will,
And made the lion mild.
Songs can the tempest still,
Scattered on the stormy air,
Mould the year to fair increase,
And bring in poetic peace.

He shall not seek to weave,
In weak, unhappy times,
Efficacious rhymes;
Wait his returning strength.
Bird that from the nadir’s floor
To the zenith’s top can soar, —
The soaring orbit of the muse exceeds that journey’s length.
Nor profane affect to hit
Or compass that, by meddling wit,
Which only the propitious mind
Publishes when ‘t is inclined.
There are open hours
When the God’s will sallies free,
And the dull idiot might see
The flowing fortunes of a thousand years; —
Sudden, at unawares,
Self-moved, fly-to the doors.
Nor sword of angels could reveal
What they conceal.

Merlin II

The rhyme of the poet
Modulates the king’s affairs;
Balance-loving Nature
Made all things in pairs.
To every foot its antipode;
Each color with its counter glowed;
To every tone beat answering tones,
Higher or graver;
Flavor gladly blends with flavor;
Leaf answers leaf upon the bough;
And match the paired cotyledons.
Hands to hands, and feet to feet,
In one body grooms and brides;
Eldest rite, two married sides
In every mortal meet.
Light’s far furnace shines,
Smelting balls and bars,
Forging double stars,
Glittering twins and trines.
The animals are sick with love,
Lovesick with rhyme;
Each with all propitious Time
Into chorus wove.

Like the dancers’ ordered band,
Thoughts come also hand in hand;
In equal couples mated,
Or else alternated;
Adding by their mutual gage,
One to other, health and age.
Solitary fancies go
Short-lived wandering to and fro,
Most like to bachelors,
Or an ungiven maid,
Not ancestors,
With no posterity to make the lie afraid,
Or keep truth undecayed.
Perfect-paired as eagle’s wings,
Justice is the rhyme of things;
Trade and counting use
The self-same tuneful muse;
And Nemesis,
Who with even matches odd,
Who athwart space redresses
The partial wrong,
Fills the just period,
And finishes the song.

Subtle rhymes, with ruin rife,
Murmur in the house of life,
Sung by the Sisters as they spin;
In perfect time and measure they
Build and unbuild our echoing clay.
As the two twilights of the day
Fold us music-drunken in.

Bacchus

Bring me wine, but wine which never grew
In the belly of the grape,
Or grew on vine whose tap-roots, reaching through,
Under the Andes to the Cape,
Suffer no savor of the earth to scape.

Let its grapes the morn salute
From a nocturnal root,
Which feels the acrid juice
Of Styx and Erebus;
And turns the woe of Night,
By its own craft, to a more rich delight.

We buy ashes for bread;
We buy diluted wine;
Give me of the true, —
Whose ample leaves and tendrils curled
Among the silver hills of heaven
Draw everlasting dew;
Wine of wine,
Blood of the world,
Form of forms, and mould of statures,
That I intoxicated,
And by the draught assimilated,
May float at pleasure through all natures;
The bird-language rightly spell,
And that which roses say so well.

Wine that is shed
Like the torrents of the sun
Up the horizon walls,
Or like the Atlantic streams, which run
When the South Sea calls.

Water and bread,
Food which needs no transmuting,
Rainbow-flowering, wisdom-fruiting,
Wine which is already man,
Food which teach and reason can.

Wine which Music is, —
Music and wine are one, —
That I, drinking this,
Shall hear far Chaos talk with me;
Kings unborn shall walk with me;
And the poor grass shall plot and plan
What it will do when it is man.
Quickened so, will I unlock
Every crypt of every rock.

I thank the joyful juice
For all I know; —
Winds of remembering
Of the ancient being blow,
And seeming-solid walls of use
Open and flow.

Pour, Bacchus! the remembering wine;
Retrieve the loss of me and mine!
Vine for vine be antidote,
And the grape requite the lote!
Haste to cure the old despair, —
Reason in Nature’s lotus drenched,
The memory of ages quenched;
Give them again to shine;
Let wine repair what this undid;
And where the infection slid,
A dazzling memory revive;
Refresh the faded tints,
Recut the aged prints,
And write my old adventures with the pen
Which on the first day drew,
Upon the tablets blue,
The dancing Pleiads and eternal men.

Merops

What care I, so they stand the same, —
Things of the heavenly mind, —
How long the power to give them name
Tarries yet behind?

Thus far to-day your favors reach,
O fair, appeasing presences!
Ye taught my lips a single speech,
And a thousand silences.

Space grants beyond his fated road
No inch to the god of day;
And copious language still bestowed
One word, no more, to say.

The House

There is no architect
Can build as the Muse can;
She is skilful to select
Materials for her plan;

Slow and warily to choose
Rafters of immortal pine,
Or cedar incorruptible,
Worthy her design,

She threads dark Alpine forests
Or valleys by the sea,
In many lands, with painful steps,
Ere she can find a tree.

She ransacks mines and ledges
And quarries every rock,
To hew the famous adamant
For each eternal block —

She lays her beams in music,
In music every one,
To the cadence of the whirling world
Which dances round the sun —

That so they shall not be displaced
By lapses or by wars,
But for the love of happy souls
Outlive the newest stars.

Saadi

Trees in groves,
Kine in droves,
In ocean sport the scaly herds,
Wedge-like cleave the air the birds,
To northern lakes fly wind-borne ducks,
Browse the mountain sheep in flocks,
Men consort in camp and town,
But the poet dwells alone.

God, who gave to him the lyre,
Of all mortals the desire,
For all breathing men’s behoof,
Straitly charged him, ‘Sit aloof;’
Annexed a warning, poets say,
To the bright premium, —
Ever, when twain together play,
Shall the harp be dumb.

Many may come,
But one shall sing;
Two touch the string,
The harp is dumb.
Though there come a million,
Wise Saadi dwells alone.

Yet Saadi loved the race of men, —
No churl, immured in cave or den;
In bower and hall
He wants them all,
Nor can dispense
With Persia for his audience;
They must give ear,
Grow red with joy and white with fear;
But he has no companion;
Come ten, or come a million,
Good Saadi dwells alone.

Be thou ware where Saadi dwells;
Wisdom of the gods is he, —
Entertain it reverently.
Gladly round that golden lamp
Sylvan deities encamp,
And simple maids and noble youth
Are welcome to the man of truth.
Most welcome they who need him most,
They feed the spring which they exhaust;
For greater need
Draws better deed:
But, critic, spare thy vanity,
Nor show thy pompous parts,
To vex with odious subtlety
The cheerer of men’s hearts.

Sad-eyed Fakirs swiftly say
Endless dirges to decay,
Never in the blaze of light
Lose the shudder of midnight;
Pale at overflowing noon
Hear wolves barking at the moon;
In the bower of dalliance sweet
Hear the far Avenger’s feet:
And shake before those awful Powers,
Who in their pride forgive not ours.
Thus the sad-eyed Fakirs preach:
‘Bard, when thee would Allah teach,
And lift thee to his holy mount,
He sends thee from his bitter fount
Wormwood, — saying, “Go thy ways;
Drink not the Malaga of praise,
But do the deed thy fellows hate,
And compromise thy peaceful state;
Smite the white breasts which thee fed.
Stuff sharp thorns beneath the head
Of them thou shouldst have comforted;
For out of woe and out of crime
Draws the heart a lore sublime.”’
And yet it seemeth not to me
That the high gods love tragedy;
For Saadi sat in the sun,
And thanks was his contrition;
For haircloth and for bloody whips,
Had active hands and smiling lips;
And yet his runes he rightly read,
And to his folk his message sped.
Sunshine in his heart transferred
Lighted each transparent word,
And well could honoring Persia learn
What Saadi wished to say;
For Saadi’s nightly stars did burn
Brighter than Jami’s day.

Whispered the Muse in Saadi’s cot:
‘O gentle Saadi, listen not,
Tempted by thy praise of wit,
Or by thirst and appetite
For the talents not thine own,
To sons of contradiction.
Never, son of eastern morning,
Follow falsehood, follow scorning.
Denounce who will, who will deny,
And pile the hills to scale the sky;
Let theist, atheist, pantheist,
Define and wrangle how they list,
Fierce conserver, fierce destroyer, —
But thou, joy-giver and enjoyer,
Unknowing war, unknowing crime,
Gentle Saadi, mind thy rhyme;
Heed not what the brawlers say,
Heed thou only Saadi’s lay.

‘Let the great world bustle on
With war and trade, with camp and town;
A thousand men shall dig and eat;
At forge and furnace thousands sweat;
And thousands sail the purple sea,
And give or take the stroke of war,
Or crowd the market and bazaar;
Oft shall war end, and peace return,
And cities rise where cities burn,
Ere one man my hill shall climb,
Who can turn the golden rhyme.
Let them manage how they may,
Heed thou only Saadi’s lay.
Seek the living among the dead, —
Man in man is imprisonèd;
Barefooted Dervish is not poor,
If fate unlock his bosom’s door,
So that what his eye hath seen
His tongue can paint as bright, as keen;
And what his tender heart hath felt
With equal fire thy heart shalt melt.
For, whom the Muses smile upon,
And touch with soft persuasion,
His words like a storm-wind can bring
Terror and beauty on their wing;
In his every syllable
Lurketh Nature veritable;
And though he speak in midnight dark, —
In heaven no star, on earth no spark, —
Yet before the listener’s eye
Swims the world in ecstasy,
The forest waves, the morning breaks,
The pastures sleep, ripple the lakes,
Leaves twinkle, flowers like persons be,
And life pulsates in rock or tree.
Saadi, so far thy words shall reach:
Suns rise and set in Saadi’s speech!’

And thus to Saadi said the Muse:
‘Eat thou the bread which men refuse;
Flee from the goods which from thee flee;
Seek nothing, — Fortune seeketh thee.
Nor mount, nor dive; all good things keep
The midway of the eternal deep.
Wish not to fill the isles with eyes
To fetch thee birds of paradise:
On thine orchard’s edge belong
All the brags of plume and song;
Wise Ali’s sunbright sayings pass
For proverbs in the market-place:
Through mountains bored by regal art,
Toil whistles as he drives his cart.
Nor scour the seas, nor sift mankind,
A poet or a friend to find:
Behold, he watches at the door!
Behold his shadow on the floor!
Open innumerable doors
The heaven where unveiled Allah pours
The flood of truth, the flood of good,
The Seraph’s and the Cherub’s food.
Those doors are men: the Pariah hind
Admits thee to the perfect Mind.
Seek not beyond thy cottage wall
Redeemers that can yield thee all:
While thou sittest at thy door
On the desert’s yellow floor,
Listening to the gray-haired crones,
Foolish gossips, ancient drones,
Saadi, see! they rise in stature
To the height of mighty Nature,
And the secret stands revealed
Fraudulent Time in vain concealed, —
That blessed gods in servile masks
Plied for thee thy household tasks.’

Holidays

From fall to spring, the russet acorn,
Fruit beloved of maid and boy,
Lent itself beneath the forest,
To be the children’s toy.

Pluck it now! In vain, — thou canst not;
Its root has pierced yon shady mound;
Toy no longer — it has duties;
It is anchored in the ground.

Year by year the rose-lipped maiden,
Playfellow of young and old,
Was frolic sunshine, dear to all men,
More dear to one than mines of gold.

Whither went the lovely hoyden?
Disappeared in blessed wife;
Servant to a wooden cradle,
Living in a baby’s life.

Still thou playest; — short vacation
Fate grants each to stand aside;
Now must thou be man and artist, —
‘T is the turning of the tide.

Xenophanes

By fate, not option, frugal Nature gave
One scent to hyson and to wall-flower,
One sound to pine-groves and to waterfalls,
One aspect to the desert and the lake.
It was her stern necessity: all things
Are of one pattern made; bird, beast and flower,
Song, picture, form, space, thought and character
Deceive us, seeming to be many things,
And are but one. Beheld far off, they part
As God and devil; bring them to the mind,
They dull its edge with their monotony.
To know one element, explore another,
And in the second reappears the first.
The specious panorama of a year
But multiplies the image of a day, —
A belt of mirrors round a taper’s flame;
And universal Nature, through her vast
And crowded whole, an infinite paroquet,
Repeats one note.

The Day’s Ration

When I was born,
From all the seas of strength Fate filled a chalice,
Saying, ‘This be thy portion, child; this chalice,
Less than a lily’s, thou shalt daily draw
From my great arteries, — nor less, nor more.’
All substances the cunning chemist Time
Melts down into that liquor of my life, —
Friends, foes, joys, fortunes, beauty and disgust.
And whether I am angry or content,
Indebted or insulted, loved or hurt,
All he distils into sidereal wine
And brims my little cup; heedless, alas!
Of all he sheds how little it will hold,
How much runs over on the desert sands.
If a new Muse draw me with splendid ray,
And I uplift myself into its heaven,
The needs of the first sight absorb my blood,
And all the following hours of the day
Drag a ridiculous age.
To-day, when friends approach, and every hour
Brings book, or starbright scroll of genius,
The little cup will hold not a bead more,
And all the costly liquor runs to waste;
Nor gives the jealous lord one diamond drop
So to be husbanded for poorer days.
Why need I volumes, if one word suffice?
Why need I galleries, when a pupil’s draught
After the master’s sketch fills and o’erfills
My apprehension? Why seek Italy,
Who cannot circumnavigate the sea
Of thoughts and things at home, but still adjourn
The nearest matters for a thousand days?

Blight

Give me truths;
For I am weary of the surfaces,
And die of inanition. If I knew
Only the herbs and simples of the wood,
Rue, cinquefoil, gill, vervain and agrimony,
Blue-vetch and trillium, hawkweed, sassafras,
Milkweeds and murky brakes, quaint pipes and sundew,
And rare and virtuous roots, which in these woods
Draw untold juices from the common earth,
Untold, unknown, and I could surely spell
Their fragrance, and their chemistry apply
By sweet affinities to human flesh,
Driving the foe and stablishing the friend, —
O, that were much, and I could be a part
Of the round day, related to the sun
And planted world, and full executor
Of their imperfect functions.
But these young scholars, who invade our hills,
Bold as the engineer who fells the wood,
And travelling often in the cut he makes,
Love not the flower they pluck, and know it not,
And all their botany is Latin names.
The old men studied magic in the flowers,
And human fortunes in astronomy,
And an omnipotence in chemistry,
Preferring things to names, for these were men,
Were unitarians of the united world,
And, wheresoever their clear eye-beams fell,
They caught the footsteps of the SAME. Our eyes
Are armed, but we are strangers to the stars,
And strangers to the mystic beast and bird,
And strangers to the plant and to the mine.
The injured elements say, ‘Not in us;’
And night and day, ocean and continent,
Fire, plant and mineral say, ‘Not in us;’
And haughtily return us stare for stare.
For we invade them impiously for gain;
We devastate them unreligiously,
And coldly ask their pottage, not their love.
Therefore they shove us from them, yield to us
Only what to our griping toil is due;
But the sweet affluence of love and song,
The rich results of the divine consents
Of man and earth, of world beloved and lover,
The nectar and ambrosia, are withheld;
And in the midst of spoils and slaves, we thieves
And pirates of the universe, shut out
Daily to a more thin and outward rind,
Turn pale and starve. Therefore, to our sick eyes,
The stunted trees look sick, the summer short,
Clouds shade the sun, which will not tan our hay,
And nothing thrives to reach its natural term;
And life, shorn of its venerable length,
Even at its greatest space is a defeat,
And dies in anger that it was a dupe;
And, in its highest noon and wantonness,
Is early frugal, like a beggar’s child;
Even in the hot pursuit of the best aims
And prizes of ambition, checks its hand,
Like Alpine cataracts frozen as they leaped,
Chilled with a miserly comparison
Of the toy’s purchase with the length of life.

Musketaquid

Because I was content with these poor fields,
Low, open meads, slender and sluggish streams,
And found a home in haunts which others scorned,
The partial wood-gods overpaid my love,
And granted me the freedom of their state,
And in their secret senate have prevailed
With the dear, dangerous lords that rule our life,
Made moon and planets parties to their bond,
And through my rock-like, solitary wont
Shot million rays of thought and tenderness.
For me, in showers, in sweeping showers, the Spring
Visits the valley; — break away the clouds, —
I bathe in the morn’s soft and silvered air,
And loiter willing by yon loitering stream.
Sparrows far off, and nearer, April’s bird,
Blue-coated, — flying before from tree to tree,
Courageous sing a delicate overture
To lead the tardy concert of the year.
Onward and nearer rides the sun of May;
And wide around, the marriage of the plants
Is sweetly solemnized. Then flows amain
The surge of summer’s beauty; dell and crag,
Hollow and lake, hillside and pine arcade,
Are touched with genius. Yonder ragged cliff
Has thousand faces in a thousand hours.

Beneath low hills, in the broad interval
Through which at will our Indian rivulet
Winds mindful still of sannup and of squaw,
Whose pipe and arrow oft the plough unburies,
Here in pine houses built of new-fallen trees,
Supplanters of the tribe, the farmers dwell.
Traveller, to thee, perchance, a tedious road,
Or, it may be, a picture; to these men,
The landscape is an armory of powers,
Which, one by one, they know to draw and use.
They harness beast, bird, insect, to their work;
They prove the virtues of each bed of rock,
And, like the chemist ‘mid his loaded jars,
Draw from each stratum its adapted use
To drug their crops or weapon their arts withal.
They turn the frost upon their chemic heap,
They set the wind to winnow pulse and grain,
They thank the spring-flood for its fertile slime,
And, on cheap summit-levels of the snow,
Slide with the sledge to inaccessible woods
O’er meadows bottomless. So, year by year,
They fight the elements with elements
(That one would say, meadow and forest walked,
Transmuted in these men to rule their like),
And by the order in the field disclose
The order regnant in the yeoman’s brain.

What these strong masters wrote at large in miles,
I followed in small copy in my acre;
For there’s no rood has not a star above it;
The cordial quality of pear or plum
Ascends as gladly in a single tree
As in broad orchards resonant with bees;
And every atom poises for itself,
And for the whole. The gentle deities
Showed me the lore of colors and of sounds,
The innumerable tenements of beauty.
The miracle of generative force,
Far-reaching concords of astronomy
Felt in the plants and in the punctual birds;
Better, the linked purpose of the whole,
And, chiefest prize, found I true liberty
In the glad home plain-dealing Nature gave.
The polite found me impolite; the great
Would mortify me, but in vain; for still
I am a willow of the wilderness,
Loving the wind that bent me. All my hurts
My garden spade can heal. A woodland walk,
A quest of river-grapes, a mocking thrush,
A wild-rose, or rock-loving columbine,
Salve my worst wounds.
For thus the wood-gods murmured in my ear:
‘Dost love our manners? Canst thou silent lie?
Canst thou, thy pride forgot, like Nature pass
Into the winter night’s extinguished mood?
Canst thou shine now, then darkle,
And being latent, feel thyself no less?
As, when the all-worshipped moon attracts the eye,
The river, hill, stems, foliage are obscure,
Yet envies none, none are unenviable.’

Dirge

CONCORD, 1838

I reached the middle of the mount
Up which the incarnate soul must climb,
And paused for them, and looked around,
With me who walked through space and time.

Five rosy boys with morning light
Had leaped from one fair mother’s arms,
Fronted the sun with hope as bright,
And greeted God with childhood’s psalms.

Knows he who tills this lonely field
To reap its scanty corn,
What mystic fruit his acres yield
At midnight and at morn?

In the long sunny afternoon
The plain was full of ghosts;
I wandered up, I wandered down,
Beset by pensive hosts.

The winding Concord gleamed below,
Pouring as wide a flood
As when my brothers, long ago,
Came with me to the wood.

But they are gone, — the holy ones
Who trod with me this lovely vale;
The strong, star-bright companions
Are silent, low and pale.

My good, my noble, in their prime,
Who made this world the feast it was
Who learned with me the lore of time,
Who loved this dwelling-place!

They took this valley for their toy,
They played with it in every mood;
A cell for prayer, a hall for joy, —
They treated Nature as they would.

They colored the horizon round;
Stars flamed and faded as they bade,
All echoes hearkened for their sound, —
They made the woodlands glad or mad.

I touch this flower of silken leaf,
Which once our childhood knew;
Its soft leaves wound me with a grief
Whose balsam never grew.

Hearken to yon pine-warbler
Singing aloft in the tree!
Hearest thou, O traveller,
What he singeth to me?

Not unless God made sharp thine ear
With sorrow such as mine,
Out of that delicate lay could’st thou
Its heavy tale divine.

‘Go, lonely man,’ it saith;
‘They loved thee from their birth;
Their hands were pure, and pure their faith, —
There are no such hearts on earth.

‘Ye drew one mother’s milk,
One chamber held ye all;
A very tender history
Did in your childhood fall.

‘You cannot unlock your heart,
The key is gone with them;
The silent organ loudest chants
The master’s requiem.’

Threnody

The South-wind brings
Life, sunshine and desire,
And on every mount and meadow
Breathes aromatic fire;
But over the dead he has no power,
The lost, the lost, he cannot restore;
And, looking over the hills, I mourn
The darling who shall not return.

I see my empty house,
I see my trees repair their boughs;
And he, the wondrous child,
Whose silver warble wild
Outvalued every pulsing sound
Within the air’s cerulean round, —
The hyacinthine boy, for whom
Morn well might break and April bloom,
The gracious boy, who did adorn
The world whereinto he was born,
And by his countenance repay
The favor of the loving Day, —
Has disappeared from the Day’s eye;
Far and wide she cannot find him;
My hopes pursue, they cannot bind him.
Returned this day, the South-wind searches,
And finds young pines and budding birches;
But finds not the budding man;
Nature, who lost, cannot remake him;
Fate let him fall, Fate can’t retake him;
Nature, Fate, men, him seek in vain.

And whither now, my truant wise and sweet,
O, whither tend thy feet?
I had the right, few days ago,
Thy steps to watch, thy place to know:
How have I forfeited the right?
Hast thou forgot me in a new delight?
I hearken for thy household cheer,
O eloquent child!
Whose voice, an equal messenger,
Conveyed thy meaning mild.
What though the pains and joys
Whereof it spoke were toys
Fitting his age and ken,
Yet fairest dames and bearded men,
Who heard the sweet request,
So gentle, wise and grave,
Bended with joy to his behest
And let the world’s affairs go by,
A while to share his cordial game,
Or mend his wicker wagon-frame,
Still plotting how their hungry fear
That winsome voice again might hear;
For his lips could well pronounce
Words that were persuasions.

Gentlest guardians marked serene
His early hope, his liberal mien;
Took counsel from his guiding eyes
To make this wisdom earthly wise.
Ah, vainly do these eyes recall
The school-march, each day’s festival,
When every morn my bosom glowed
To watch the convoy on the road;
The babe in willow wagon closed,
With rolling eyes and face composed;
With children forward and behind,
Like Cupids studiously inclined;
And he the chieftain paced beside,
The centre of the troop allied,
With sunny face of sweet repose,
To guard the babe from fancied foes.
The little captain innocent
Took the eye with him as he went;
Each village senior paused to scan
And speak the lovely caravan.
From the window I look out
To mark thy beautiful parade,
Stately marching in cap and coat
To some tune by fairies played; —
A music heard by thee alone
To works as noble led thee on.

Now Love and Pride, alas! in vain,
Up and down their glances strain.
The painted sled stands where it stood;
The kennel by the corded wood;
His gathered sticks to stanch the wall
Of the snow-tower, when snow should fall;
The ominous hole he dug in the sand,
And childhood’s castles built or planned;
His daily haunts I well discern, —
The poultry-yard, the shed, the barn, —
And every inch of garden ground
Paced by the blessed feet around,
From the roadside to the brook
Whereinto he loved to look.
Step the meek fowls where erst they ranged;
The wintry garden lies unchanged;
The brook into the stream runs on;
But the deep-eyed boy is gone.

On that shaded day,
Dark with more clouds than tempests are,
When thou didst yield thy innocent breath
In birdlike heavings unto death,
Night came, and Nature had not thee;
I said, ‘We are mates in misery.’
The morrow dawned with needless glow;
Each snowbird chirped, each fowl must crow;
Each tramper started; but the feet
Of the most beautiful and sweet
Of human youth had left the hill
And garden, — they were bound and still.
There’s not a sparrow or a wren,
There’s not a blade of autumn grain,
Which the four seasons do not tend
And tides of life and increase lend;
And every chick of every bird,
And weed and rock-moss is preferred.
O ostrich-like forgetfulness!
O loss of larger in the less!
Was there no star that could be sent,
No watcher in the firmament,
No angel from the countless host
That loiters round the crystal coast,
Could stoop to heal that only child,
Nature’s sweet marvel undefiled,
And keep the blossom of the earth,
Which all her harvests were not worth?
Not mine, — I never called thee mine,
But Nature’s heir, — if I repine,
And seeing rashly torn and moved
Not what I made, but what I loved,
Grow early old with grief that thou
Must to the wastes of Nature go, —
‘T is because a general hope
Was quenched, and all must doubt and grope.
For flattering planets seemed to say
This child should ills of ages stay,
By wondrous tongue, and guided pen,
Bring the flown Muses back to men.
Perchance not he but Nature ailed,
The world and not the infant failed.
It was not ripe yet to sustain
A genius of so fine a strain,
Who gazed upon the sun and moon
As if he came unto his own,
And, pregnant with his grander thought,
Brought the old order into doubt.
His beauty once their beauty tried;
They could not feed him, and he died,
And wandered backward as in scorn,
To wait an aeon to be born.
Ill day which made this beauty waste,
Plight broken, this high face defaced!
Some went and came about the dead;
And some in books of solace read;
Some to their friends the tidings say;
Some went to write, some went to pray;
One tarried here, there hurried one;
But their heart abode with none.
Covetous death bereaved us all,
To aggrandize one funeral.
The eager fate which carried thee
Took the largest part of me:
For this losing is true dying;
This is lordly man’s down-lying,
This his slow but sure reclining,
Star by star his world resigning.

O child of paradise,
Boy who made dear his father’s home,
In whose deep eyes
Men read the welfare of the times to come,
I am too much bereft.
The world dishonored thou hast left.
O truth’s and nature’s costly lie!
O trusted broken prophecy!
O richest fortune sourly crossed!
Born for the future, to the future lost!

The deep Heart answered, ‘Weepest thou?
Worthier cause for passion wild
If I had not taken the child.
And deemest thou as those who pore,
With aged eyes, short way before, —
Think’st Beauty vanished from the coast
Of matter, and thy darling lost?
Taught he not thee — the man of eld,
Whose eyes within his eyes beheld
Heaven’s numerous hierarchy span
The mystic gulf from God to man?
To be alone wilt thou begin
When worlds of lovers hem thee in?
To-morrow, when the masks shall fall
That dizen Nature’s carnival,
The pure shall see by their own will,
Which overflowing Love shall fill,
‘T is not within the force of fate
The fate-conjoined to separate.
But thou, my votary, weepest thou?
I gave thee sight — where is it now?
I taught thy heart beyond the reach
Of ritual, bible, or of speech;
Wrote in thy mind’s transparent table,
As far as the incommunicable;
Taught thee each private sign to raise
Lit by the supersolar blaze.
Past utterance, and past belief,
And past the blasphemy of grief,
The mysteries of Nature’s heart;
And though no Muse can these impart,
Throb thine with Nature’s throbbing breast,
And all is clear from east to west.

‘I came to thee as to a friend;
Dearest, to thee I did not send
Tutors, but a joyful eye,
Innocence that matched the sky,
Lovely locks, a form of wonder,
Laughter rich as woodland thunder,
That thou might’st entertain apart
The richest flowering of all art:
And, as the great all-loving Day
Through smallest chambers takes its way,
That thou might’st break thy daily bread
With prophet, savior and head;
That thou might’st cherish for thine own
The riches of sweet Mary’s Son,
Boy-Rabbi, Israel’s paragon.
And thoughtest thou such guest
Would in thy hall take up his rest?
Would rushing life forget her laws,
Fate’s glowing revolution pause?
High omens ask diviner guess;
Not to be conned to tediousness
And know my higher gifts unbind
The zone that girds the incarnate mind.
When the scanty shores are full
With Thought’s perilous, whirling pool;
When frail Nature can no more,
Then the Spirit strikes the hour:
My servant Death, with solving rite,
Pours finite into infinite.
Wilt thou freeze love’s tidal flow,
Whose streams through Nature circling go?
Nail the wild star to its track
On the half-climbed zodiac?
Light is light which radiates,
Blood is blood which circulates,
Life is life which generates,
And many-seeming life is one, —
Wilt thou transfix and make it none?
Its onward force too starkly pent
In figure, bone and lineament?
Wilt thou, uncalled, interrogate,
Talker! the unreplying Fate?
Nor see the genius of the whole
Ascendant in the private soul,
Beckon it when to go and come,
Self-announced its hour of doom?
Fair the soul’s recess and shrine,
Magic-built to last a season;
Masterpiece of love benign,
Fairer that expansive reason
Whose omen ’tis, and sign.
Wilt thou not ope thy heart to know
What rainbows teach, and sunsets show?
Verdict which accumulates
From lengthening scroll of human fates,
Voice of earth to earth returned,
Prayers of saints that inly burned, —
Saying, What is excellent,
As God lives, is permanent;
Hearts are dust, hearts’ loves remain;
Heart’s love will meet thee again.
Revere the Maker; fetch thine eye
Up to his style, and manners of the sky.
Not of adamant and gold
Built he heaven stark and cold;
No, but a nest of bending reeds,
Flowering grass and scented weeds;
Or like a traveller’s fleeing tent,
Or bow above the tempest bent;
Built of tears and sacred flames,
And virtue reaching to its aims;
Built of furtherance and pursuing,
Not of spent deeds, but of doing.
Silent rushes the swift Lord
Through ruined systems still restored,
Broadsowing, bleak and void to bless,
Plants with worlds the wilderness;
Waters with tears of ancient sorrow
Apples of Eden ripe to-morrow.
House and tenant go to ground,
Lost in God, in Godhead found.’

Concord Hymn

SUNG AT THE COMPLETION OF THE BATTLE MONUMENT, JULY 4, 1837

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set to-day a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

Spirit, that made those heroes dare
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.

* * * * *

May-Day and Other Pieces


May-day

Daughter of Heaven and Earth, coy Spring,
With sudden passion languishing,
Teaching Barren moors to smile,
Painting pictures mile on mile,
Holds a cup with cowslip-wreaths,
Whence a smokeless incense breathes.
The air is full of whistlings bland;
What was that I heard
Out of the hazy land?
Harp of the wind, or song of bird,
Or vagrant booming of the air,
Voice of a meteor lost in day?
Such tidings of the starry sphere
Can this elastic air convey.
Or haply ’twas the cannonade
Of the pent and darkened lake,
Cooled by the pendent mountain’s shade,
Whose deeps, till beams of noonday break,
Afflicted moan, and latest hold
Even into May the iceberg cold.
Was it a squirrel’s pettish bark,
Or clarionet of jay? or hark
Where yon wedged line the Nestor leads,
Steering north with raucous cry
Through tracts and provinces of sky,
Every night alighting down
In new landscapes of romance,
Where darkling feed the clamorous clans
By lonely lakes to men unknown.
Come the tumult whence it will,
Voice of sport, or rush of wings,
It is a sound, it is a token
That the marble sleep is broken,
And a change has passed on things.

When late I walked, in earlier days,
All was stiff and stark;
Knee-deep snows choked all the ways,
In the sky no spark;
Firm-braced I sought my ancient woods,
Struggling through the drifted roads;
The whited desert knew me not,
Snow-ridges masked each darling spot;
The summer dells, by genius haunted,
One arctic moon had disenchanted.
All the sweet secrets therein hid
By Fancy, ghastly spells undid.
Eldest mason, Frost, had piled
Swift cathedrals in the wild;
The piny hosts were sheeted ghosts
In the star-lit minster aisled.
I found no joy: the icy wind
Might rule the forest to his mind.
Who would freeze on frozen lakes?
Back to books and sheltered home,
And wood-fire flickering on the walls,
To hear, when, ‘mid our talk and games,
Without the baffled North-wind calls.
But soft! a sultry morning breaks;
The ground-pines wash their rusty green,
The maple-tops their crimson tint,
On the soft path each track is seen,
The girl’s foot leaves its neater print.
The pebble loosened from the frost
Asks of the urchin to be tost.
In flint and marble beats a heart,
The kind Earth takes her children’s part,
The green lane is the school-boy’s friend,
Low leaves his quarrel apprehend,
The fresh ground loves his top and ball,
The air rings jocund to his call,
The brimming brook invites a leap,
He dives the hollow, climbs the steep.
The youth sees omens where he goes,
And speaks all languages the rose,
The wood-fly mocks with tiny voice
The far halloo of human voice;
The perfumed berry on the spray
Smacks of faint memories far away.
A subtle chain of countless rings
The next into the farthest brings,
And, striving to be man, the worm
Mounts through all the spires of form.

The caged linnet in the Spring
Hearkens for the choral glee,
When his fellows on the wing
Migrate from the Southern Sea;
When trellised grapes their flowers unmask,
And the new-born tendrils twine,
The old wine darkling in the cask
Feels the bloom on the living vine,
And bursts the hoops at hint of Spring:
And so, perchance, in Adam’s race,
Of Eden’s bower some dream-like trace
Survived the Flight and swam the Flood,
And wakes the wish in youngest blood
To tread the forfeit Paradise,
And feed once more the exile’s eyes;
And ever when the happy child
In May beholds the blooming wild,
And hears in heaven the bluebird sing,
‘Onward,’ he cries, ‘your baskets bring, —
In the next field is air more mild,
And o’er yon hazy crest is Eden’s balmier spring.’

Not for a regiment’s parade,
Nor evil laws or rulers made,
Blue Walden rolls its cannonade,
But for a lofty sign
Which the Zodiac threw,
That the bondage-days are told.
And waters free as winds shall flow.
Lo! how all the tribes combine
To rout the flying foe.
See, every patriot oak-leaf throws
His elfin length upon the snows,
Not idle, since the leaf all day
Draws to the spot the solar ray,
Ere sunset quarrying inches down,
And halfway to the mosses brown;
While the grass beneath the rime
Has hints of the propitious time,
And upward pries and perforates
Through the cold slab a thousand gates,
Till green lances peering through
Bend happy in the welkin blue.

As we thaw frozen flesh with snow,
So Spring will not her time forerun,
Mix polar night with tropic glow,
Nor cloy us with unshaded sun,
Nor wanton skip with bacchic dance,
But she has the temperance
Of the gods, whereof she is one, —
Masks her treasury of heat
Under east winds crossed with sleet.
Plants and birds and humble creatures
Well accept her rule austere;
Titan-born, to hardy natures
Cold is genial and dear.
As Southern wrath to Northern right
Is but straw to anthracite;
As in the day of sacrifice,
When heroes piled the pyre,
The dismal Massachusetts ice
Burned more than others’ fire,
So Spring guards with surface cold
The garnered heat of ages old.
Hers to sow the seed of bread,
That man and all the kinds be fed;
And, when the sunlight fills the hours,
Dissolves the crust, displays the flowers.

Beneath the calm, within the light,
A hid unruly appetite
Of swifter life, a surer hope,
Strains every sense to larger scope,
Impatient to anticipate
The halting steps of aged Fate.
Slow grows the palm, too slow the pearl:
When Nature falters, fain would zeal
Grasp the felloes of her wheel,
And grasping give the orbs another whirl.
Turn swiftlier round, O tardy ball!
And sun this frozen side.
Bring hither back the robin’s call,
Bring back the tulip’s pride.

Why chidest thou the tardy Spring?
The hardy bunting does not chide;
The blackbirds make the maples ring
With social cheer and jubilee;
The redwing flutes his o-ka-lee,
The robins know the melting snow;
The sparrow meek, prophetic-eyed,
Her nest beside the snow-drift weaves,
Secure the osier yet will hide
Her callow brood in mantling leaves, —
And thou, by science all undone,
Why only must thy reason fail
To see the southing of the sun?

The world rolls round, — mistrust it not, —
Befalls again what once befell;
All things return, both sphere and mote,
And I shall hear my bluebird’s note,
And dream the dream of Auburn dell.

April cold with dropping rain
Willows and lilacs brings again,
The whistle of returning birds,
And trumpet-lowing of the herds.
The scarlet maple-keys betray
What potent blood hath modest May,
What fiery force the earth renews,
The wealth of forms, the flush of hues;
What joy in rosy waves outpoured
Flows from the heart of Love, the Lord.

Hither rolls the storm of heat;
I feel its finer billows beat
Like a sea which me infolds;
Heat with viewless fingers moulds,
Swells, and mellows, and matures,
Paints, and flavors, and allures,
Bird and brier inly warms,
Still enriches and transforms,
Gives the reed and lily length,
Adds to oak and oxen strength,
Transforming what it doth infold,
Life out of death, new out of old,
Painting fawns’ and leopards’ fells,
Seethes the gulf-encrimsoning shells,
Fires gardens with a joyful blaze
Of tulips, in the morning’s rays.
The dead log touched bursts into leaf,
The wheat-blade whispers of the sheaf.
What god is this imperial Heat,
Earth’s prime secret, sculpture’s seat?
Doth it bear hidden in its heart
Water-line patterns of all art?
Is it Daedalus? is it Love?
Or walks in mask almighty Jove,
And drops from Power’s redundant horn
All seeds of beauty to be born?

Where shall we keep the holiday,
And duly greet the entering May?
Too strait and low our cottage doors,
And all unmeet our carpet floors;
Nor spacious court, nor monarch’s hall,
Suffice to hold the festival.
Up and away! where haughty woods
Front the liberated floods:
We will climb the broad-backed hills,
Hear the uproar of their joy;
We will mark the leaps and gleams
Of the new-delivered streams,
And the murmuring rivers of sap
Mount in the pipes of the trees,
Giddy with day, to the topmost spire,
Which for a spike of tender green
Bartered its powdery cap;
And the colors of joy in the bird,
And the love in its carol heard,
Frog and lizard in holiday coats,
And turtle brave in his golden spots;
While cheerful cries of crag and plain
Reply to the thunder of river and main.

As poured the flood of the ancient sea
Spilling over mountain chains,
Bending forests as bends the sedge,
Faster flowing o’er the plains, —
A world-wide wave with a foaming edge
That rims the running silver sheet, —
So pours the deluge of the heat
Broad northward o’er the land,
Painting artless paradises,
Drugging herbs with Syrian spices,
Fanning secret fires which glow
In columbine and clover-blow,
Climbing the northern zones,
Where a thousand pallid towns
Lie like cockles by the main,
Or tented armies on a plain.
The million-handed sculptor moulds
Quaintest bud and blossom folds,
The million-handed painter pours
Opal hues and purple dye;
Azaleas flush the island floors,
And the tints of heaven reply.

Wreaths for the May! for happy Spring
To-day shall all her dowry bring,
The love of kind, the joy, the grace,
Hymen of element and race,
Knowing well to celebrate
With song and hue and star and state,
With tender light and youthful cheer,
The spousals of the new-born year.

Spring is strong and virtuous,
Broad-sowing, cheerful, plenteous,
Quickening underneath the mould
Grains beyond the price of gold.
So deep and large her bounties are,
That one broad, long midsummer day
Shall to the planet overpay
The ravage of a year of war.

Drug the cup, thou butler sweet,
And send the nectar round;
The feet that slid so long on sleet
Are glad to feel the ground.
Fill and saturate each kind
With good according to its mind,
Fill each kind and saturate
With good agreeing with its fate,
And soft perfection of its plan —
Willow and violet, maiden and man.

The bitter-sweet, the haunting air
Creepeth, bloweth everywhere;
It preys on all, all prey on it.
Blooms in beauty, thinks in wit,
Stings the strong with enterprise,
Makes travellers long for Indian skies,
And where it comes this courier fleet
Fans in all hearts expectance sweet,
As if to-morrow should redeem
The vanished rose of evening’s dream.
By houses lies a fresher green,
On men and maids a ruddier mien,
As if Time brought a new relay
Of shining virgins every May,
And Summer came to ripen maids
To a beauty that not fades.

I saw the bud-crowned Spring go forth,
Stepping daily onward north
To greet staid ancient cavaliers
Filing single in stately train.
And who, and who are the travellers?
They were Night and Day, and Day and Night,
Pilgrims wight with step forthright.
I saw the Days deformed and low,
Short and bent by cold and snow;
The merry Spring threw wreaths on them,
Flower-wreaths gay with bud and bell;
Many a flower and many a gem,
They were refreshed by the smell,
They shook the snow from hats and shoon,
They put their April raiment on;
And those eternal forms,
Unhurt by a thousand storms,
Shot up to the height of the sky again,
And danced as merrily as young men.
I saw them mask their awful glance
Sidewise meek in gossamer lids;
And to speak my thought if none forbids
It was as if the eternal gods,
Tired of their starry periods,
Hid their majesty in cloth
Woven of tulips and painted moth.
On carpets green the maskers march
Below May’s well-appointed arch,
Each star, each god; each grace amain,
Every joy and virtue speed,
Marching duly in her train,
And fainting Nature at her need
Is made whole again.

’Twas the vintage-day of field and wood,
When magic wine for bards is brewed;
Every tree and stem and chink
Gushed with syrup to the brink.
The air stole into the streets of towns,
Refreshed the wise, reformed the clowns,
And betrayed the fund of joy
To the high-school and medalled boy:
On from hall to chamber ran,
From youth to maid, from boy to man,
To babes, and to old eyes as well.
‘Once more,’ the old man cried, ‘ye clouds,
Airy turrets purple-piled,
Which once my infancy beguiled,
Beguile me with the wonted spell.
I know ye skilful to convoy
The total freight of hope and joy
Into rude and homely nooks,
Shed mocking lustres on shelf of books,
On farmer’s byre, on pasture rude,
And stony pathway to the wood.
I care not if the pomps you show
Be what they soothfast appear,
Or if yon realms in sunset glow
Be bubbles of the atmosphere.
And if it be to you allowed
To fool me with a shining cloud,
So only new griefs are consoled
By new delights, as old by old,
Frankly I will be your guest,
Count your change and cheer the best.
The world hath overmuch of pain, —
If Nature give me joy again,
Of such deceit I’ll not complain.’

Ah! well I mind the calendar,
Faithful through a thousand years,
Of the painted race of flowers,
Exact to days, exact to hours,
Counted on the spacious dial
Yon broidered zodiac girds.
I know the trusty almanac
Of the punctual coming-back,
On their due days, of the birds.
I marked them yestermorn,
A flock of finches darting
Beneath the crystal arch,
Piping, as they flew, a march, —
Belike the one they used in parting
Last year from yon oak or larch;
Dusky sparrows in a crowd,
Diving, darting northward free,
Suddenly betook them all,
Every one to his hole in the wall,
Or to his niche in the apple-tree.
I greet with joy the choral trains
Fresh from palms and Cuba’s canes.
Best gems of Nature’s cabinet,
With dews of tropic morning wet,
Beloved of children, bards and Spring,
O birds, your perfect virtues bring,
Your song, your forms, your rhythmic flight,
Your manners for the heart’s delight,
Nestle in hedge, or barn, or roof,
Here weave your chamber weather-proof,
Forgive our harms, and condescend
To man, as to a lubber friend,
And, generous, teach his awkward race
Courage and probity and grace!

Poets praise that hidden wine
Hid in milk we drew
At the barrier of Time,
When our life was new.
We had eaten fairy fruit,
We were quick from head to foot,
All the forms we looked on shone
As with diamond dews thereon.
What cared we for costly joys,
The Museum’s far-fetched toys?
Gleam of sunshine on the wall
Poured a deeper cheer than all
The revels of the Carnival.
We a pine-grove did prefer
To a marble theatre,
Could with gods on mallows dine,
Nor cared for spices or for wine.
Wreaths of mist and rainbow spanned.
Arch on arch, the grimmest land;
Whittle of a woodland bird
Made the pulses dance,
Note of horn in valleys heard
Filled the region with romance.

None can tell how sweet,
How virtuous, the morning air;
Every accent vibrates well;
Not alone the wood-bird’s call,
Or shouting boys that chase their ball,
Pass the height of minstrel skill,
But the ploughman’s thoughtless cry,
Lowing oxen, sheep that bleat,
And the joiner’s hammer-beat,
Softened are above their will,
Take tones from groves they wandered through
Or flutes which passing angels blew.
All grating discords melt,
No dissonant note is dealt,
And though thy voice be shrill
Like rasping file on steel,
Such is the temper of the air,
Echo waits with art and care,
And will the faults of song repair.

So by remote Superior Lake,
And by resounding Mackinac,
When northern storms the forest shake,
And billows on the long beach break,
The artful Air will separate
Note by note all sounds that grate,
Smothering in her ample breast
All but godlike words,
Reporting to the happy ear
Only purified accords.
Strangely wrought from barking waves,
Soft music daunts the Indian braves, —
Convent-chanting which the child
Hears pealing from the panther’s cave
And the impenetrable wild.

Soft on the South-wind sleeps the haze:
So on thy broad mystic van
Lie the opal-colored days,
And waft the miracle to man.
Soothsayer of the eldest gods,
Repairer of what harms betide,
Revealer of the inmost powers
Prometheus proffered, Jove denied;
Disclosing treasures more than true,
Or in what far to-morrow due;
Speaking by the tongues of flowers,
By the ten-tongued laurel speaking,
Singing by the oriole songs,
Heart of bird the man’s heart seeking;
Whispering hints of treasure hid
Under Morn’s unlifted lid,
Islands looming just beyond
The dim horizon’s utmost bound; —
Who can, like thee, our rags upbraid,
Or taunt us with our hope decayed?
Or who like thee persuade,
Making the splendor of the air,
The morn and sparkling dew, a snare?
Or who resent
Thy genius, wiles and blandishment?

There is no orator prevails
To beckon or persuade
Like thee the youth or maid:
Thy birds, thy songs, thy brooks, thy gales,
Thy blooms, thy kinds,
Thy echoes in the wilderness,
Soothe pain, and age, and love’s distress,
Fire fainting will, and build heroic minds.

For thou, O Spring! canst renovate
All that high God did first create.
Be still his arm and architect,
Rebuild the ruin, mend defect;
Chemist to vamp old worlds with new,
Coat sea and sky with heavenlier blue,
New tint the plumage of the birds,
And slough decay from grazing herds,
Sweep ruins from the scarped mountain,
Cleanse the torrent at the fountain,
Purge alpine air by towns defiled,
Bring to fair mother fairer child,
Not less renew the heart and brain,
Scatter the sloth, wash out the stain,
Make the aged eye sun-clear,
To parting soul bring grandeur near.
Under gentle types, my Spring
Masks the might of Nature’s king,
An energy that searches thorough
From Chaos to the dawning morrow;
Into all our human plight,
The soul’s pilgrimage and flight;
In city or in solitude,
Step by step, lifts bad to good,
Without halting, without rest,
Lifting Better up to Best;
Planting seeds of knowledge pure,
Through earth to ripen, through heaven endure.

The Adirondacs

A JOURNAL

DEDICATED TO MY FELLOW TRAVELLERS IN AUGUST, 1858

Wise and polite, — and if I drew
Their several portraits, you would own
Chaucer had no such worthy crew,
Nor Boccace in Decameron.

We crossed Champlain to Keeseville with our friends,
Thence, in strong country carts, rode up the forks
Of the Ausable stream, intent to reach
The Adirondac lakes. At Martin’s Beach
We chose our boats; each man a boat and guide, —
Ten men, ten guides, our company all told.

Next morn, we swept with oars the Saranac,
With skies of benediction, to Round Lake,
Where all the sacred mountains drew around us,
Taháwus, Seaward, MacIntyre, Baldhead,
And other Titans without muse or name.
Pleased with these grand companions, we glide on,
Instead of flowers, crowned with a wreath of hills.
We made our distance wider, boat from boat,
As each would hear the oracle alone.
By the bright morn the gay flotilla slid
Through files of flags that gleamed like bayonets,
Through gold-moth-haunted beds of pickerel-flower,
Through scented banks of lilies white and gold,
Where the deer feeds at night, the teal by day,
On through the Upper Saranac, and up
Père Raquette stream, to a small tortuous pass
Winding through grassy shallows in and out,
Two creeping miles of rushes, pads and sponge,
To Follansbee Water and the Lake of Loons.

Northward the length of Follansbee we rowed,
Under low mountains, whose unbroken ridge
Ponderous with beechen forest sloped the shore.
A pause and council: then, where near the head
Due east a bay makes inward to the land
Between two rocky arms, we climb the bank,
And in the twilight of the forest noon
Wield the first axe these echoes ever heard.
We cut young trees to make our poles and thwarts,
Barked the white spruce to weatherfend the roof,
Then struck a light and kindled the camp-fire.

The wood was sovran with centennial trees, —
Oak, cedar, maple, poplar, beech and fir,
Linden and spruce. In strict society
Three conifers, white, pitch and Norway pine,
Five-leaved, three-leaved and two-leaved, grew thereby,
Our patron pine was fifteen feet in girth,
The maple eight, beneath its shapely tower.

‘Welcome!’ the wood-god murmured through the leaves, —
‘Welcome, though late, unknowing, yet known to me.’
Evening drew on; stars peeped through maple-boughs,
Which o’erhung, like a cloud, our camping fire.
Decayed millennial trunks, like moonlight flecks,
Lit with phosphoric crumbs the forest floor.

Ten scholars, wonted to lie warm and soft
In well-hung chambers daintily bestowed,
Lie here on hemlock-boughs, like Sacs and Sioux,
And greet unanimous the joyful change.
So fast will Nature acclimate her sons,
Though late returning to her pristine ways.
Off soundings, seamen do not suffer cold;
And, in the forest, delicate clerks, unbrowned,
Sleep on the fragrant brush, as on down-beds.
Up with the dawn, they fancied the light air
That circled freshly in their forest dress
Made them to boys again. Happier that they
Slipped off their pack of duties, leagues behind,
At the first mounting of the giant stairs.
No placard on these rocks warned to the polls,
No door-bell heralded a visitor,
No courier waits, no letter came or went,
Nothing was ploughed, or reaped, or bought, or sold;
The frost might glitter, it would blight no crop,
The falling rain will spoil no holiday.
We were made freemen of the forest laws,
All dressed, like Nature, fit for her own ends,
Essaying nothing she cannot perform.

In Adirondac lakes
At morn or noon, the guide rows bareheaded:
Shoes, flannel shirt, and kersey trousers make
His brief toilette: at night, or in the rain,
He dons a surcoat which he doffs at morn:
A paddle in the right hand, or an oar,
And in the left, a gun, his needful arms.
By turns we praised the stature of our guides,
Their rival strength and suppleness, their skill
To row, to swim, to shoot, to build a camp,
To climb a lofty stem, clean without boughs
Full fifty feet, and bring the eaglet down:
Temper to face wolf, bear, or catamount,
And wit to trap or take him in his lair.
Sound, ruddy men, frolic and innocent,
In winter, lumberers; in summer, guides;
Their sinewy arms pull at the oar untired
Three times ten thousand strokes, from morn to eve.

Look to yourselves, ye polished gentlemen!
No city airs or arts pass current here.
Your rank is all reversed; let men or cloth
Bow to the stalwart churls in overalls:
They are the doctors of the wilderness,
And we the low-prized laymen.
In sooth, red flannel is a saucy test
Which few can put on with impunity.
What make you, master, fumbling at the oar?
Will you catch crabs? Truth tries pretension here.
The sallow knows the basket-maker’s thumb;
The oar, the guide’s. Dare you accept the tasks
He shall impose, to find a spring, trap foxes,
Tell the sun’s time, determine the true north,
Or stumbling on through vast self-similar woods
To thread by night the nearest way to camp?

Ask you, how went the hours?
All day we swept the lake, searched every cove,
North from Camp Maple, south to Osprey Bay,
Watching when the loud dogs should drive in deer,
Or whipping its rough surface for a trout;
Or, bathers, diving from the rock at noon;
Challenging Echo by our guns and cries;
Or listening to the laughter of the loon;
Or, in the evening twilight’s latest red,
Beholding the procession of the pines;
Or, later yet, beneath a lighted jack,
In the boat’s bows, a silent night-hunter
Stealing with paddle to the feeding-grounds
Of the red deer, to aim at a square mist.
Hark to that muffled roar! a tree in the woods
Is fallen: but hush! it has not scared the buck
Who stands astonished at the meteor light,
Then turns to bound away, — is it too late?

Our heroes tried their rifles at a mark,
Six rods, sixteen, twenty, or forty-five;
Sometimes their wits at sally and retort,
With laughter sudden as the crack of rifle;
Or parties scaled the near acclivities
Competing seekers of a rumored lake,
Whose unauthenticated waves we named
Lake Probability, — our carbuncle,
Long sought, not found.

Two Doctors in the camp
Dissected the slain deer, weighed the trout’s brain,
Captured the lizard, salamander, shrew,
Crab, mice, snail, dragon-fly, minnow and moth;
Insatiate skill in water or in air
Waved the scoop-net, and nothing came amiss;
The while, one leaden got of alcohol
Gave an impartial tomb to all the kinds.
Not less the ambitious botanist sought plants,
Orchis and gentian, fern and long whip-scirpus,
Rosy polygonum, lake-margin’s pride,
Hypnum and hydnum, mushroom, sponge and moss,
Or harebell nodding in the gorge of falls.
Above, the eagle flew, the osprey screamed,
The raven croaked, owls hooted, the woodpecker
Loud hammered, and the heron rose in the swamp.
As water poured through hollows of the hills
To feed this wealth of lakes and rivulets,
So Nature shed all beauty lavishly
From her redundant horn.

Lords of this realm,
Bounded by dawn and sunset, and the day
Rounded by hours where each outdid the last
In miracles of pomp, we must be proud,
As if associates of the sylvan gods.
We seemed the dwellers of the zodiac,
So pure the Alpine element we breathed,
So light, so lofty pictures came and went.
We trode on air, contemned the distant town,
Its timorous ways, big trifles, and we planned
That we should build, hard-by, a spacious lodge
And how we should come hither with our sons,
Hereafter, — willing they, and more adroit.

Hard fare, hard bed and comic misery, —
The midge, the blue-fly and the mosquito
Painted our necks, hands, ankles, with red bands:
But, on the second day, we heed them not,
Nay, we saluted them Auxiliaries,
Whom earlier we had chid with spiteful names.
For who defends our leafy tabernacle
From bold intrusion of the travelling crowd, —
Who but the midge, mosquito and the fly,
Which past endurance sting the tender cit,
But which we learn to scatter with a smudge,
Or baffle by a veil, or slight by scorn?

Our foaming ale we drank from hunters’ pans,
Ale, and a sup of wine. Our steward gave
Venison and trout, potatoes, beans, wheat-bread;
All ate like abbots, and, if any missed
Their wonted convenance, cheerly hid the loss
With hunters’ appetite and peals of mirth.
And Stillman, our guides’ guide, and Commodore,
Crusoe, Crusader, Pius Aeneas, said aloud,
“Chronic dyspepsia never came from eating
Food indigestible”: — then murmured some,
Others applauded him who spoke the truth.

Nor doubt but visitings of graver thought
Checked in these souls the turbulent heyday
‘Mid all the hints and glories of the home.
For who can tell what sudden privacies
Were sought and found, amid the hue and cry
Of scholars furloughed from their tasks and let
Into this Oreads’ fended Paradise,
As chapels in the city’s thoroughfares,
Whither gaunt Labor slips to wipe his brow
And meditate a moment on Heaven’s rest.
Judge with what sweet surprises Nature spoke
To each apart, lifting her lovely shows
To spiritual lessons pointed home,
And as through dreams in watches of the night,
So through all creatures in their form and ways
Some mystic hint accosts the vigilant,
Not clearly voiced, but waking a new sense
Inviting to new knowledge, one with old.
Hark to that petulant chirp! what ails the warbler?
Mark his capricious ways to draw the eye.
Now soar again. What wilt thou, restless bird,
Seeking in that chaste blue a bluer light,
Thirsting in that pure for a purer sky?

And presently the sky is changed; O world!
What pictures and what harmonies are thine!
The clouds are rich and dark, the air serene,
So like the soul of me, what if ‘t were me?
A melancholy better than all mirth.
Comes the sweet sadness at the retrospect,
Or at the foresight of obscurer years?
Like yon slow-sailing cloudy promontory
Whereon the purple iris dwells in beauty
Superior to all its gaudy skirts.
And, that no day of life may lack romance,
The spiritual stars rise nightly, shedding down
A private beam into each several heart.
Daily the bending skies solicit man,
The seasons chariot him from this exile,
The rainbow hours bedeck his glowing chair,
The storm-winds urge the heavy weeks along,
Suns haste to set, that so remoter lights
Beckon the wanderer to his vaster home.

With a vermilion pencil mark the day
When of our little fleet three cruising skiffs
Entering Big Tupper, bound for the foaming Falls
Of loud Bog River, suddenly confront
Two of our mates returning with swift oars.
One held a printed journal waving high
Caught from a late-arriving traveller,
Big with great news, and shouted the report
For which the world had waited, now firm fact,
Of the wire-cable laid beneath the sea,
And landed on our coast, and pulsating
With ductile fire. Loud, exulting cries
From boat to boat, and to the echoes round,
Greet the glad miracle. Thought’s new-found path
Shall supplement henceforth all trodden ways,
Match God’s equator with a zone of art,
And lift man’s public action to a height
Worthy the enormous cloud of witnesses,
When linkèd hemispheres attest his deed.
We have few moments in the longest life
Of such delight and wonder as there grew, —
Nor yet unsuited to that solitude:
A burst of joy, as if we told the fact
To ears intelligent; as if gray rock
And cedar grove and cliff and lake should know
This feat of wit, this triumph of mankind;
As if we men were talking in a vein
Of sympathy so large, that ours was theirs,
And a prime end of the most subtle element
Were fairly reached at last. Wake, echoing caves!
Bend nearer, faint day-moon! Yon thundertops,
Let them hear well! ’tis theirs as much as ours.

A spasm throbbing through the pedestals
Of Alp and Andes, isle and continent,
Urging astonished Chaos with a thrill
To be a brain, or serve the brain of man.
The lightning has run masterless too long;
He must to school and learn his verb and noun
And teach his nimbleness to earn his wage,
Spelling with guided tongue man’s messages
Shot through the weltering pit of the salt sea.
And yet I marked, even in the manly joy
Of our great-hearted Doctor in his boat
(Perchance I erred), a shade of discontent;
Or was it for mankind a generous shame,
As of a luck not quite legitimate,
Since fortune snatched from wit the lion’s part?
Was it a college pique of town and gown,
As one within whose memory it burned
That not academicians, but some lout,
Found ten years since the Californian gold?
And now, again, a hungry company
Of traders, led by corporate sons of trade,
Perversely borrowing from the shop the tools
Of science, not from the philosophers,
Had won the brightest laurel of all time.
’Twas always thus, and will be; hand and head
Are ever rivals: but, though this be swift,
The other slow, — this the Prometheus,
And that the Jove, — yet, howsoever hid,
It was from Jove the other stole his fire,
And, without Jove, the good had never been.
It is not Iroquois or cannibals,
But ever the free race with front sublime,
And these instructed by their wisest too,
Who do the feat, and lift humanity.
Let not him mourn who best entitled was,
Nay, mourn not one: let him exult,
Yea, plant the tree that bears best apples, plant,
And water it with wine, nor watch askance
Whether thy sons or strangers eat the fruit:
Enough that mankind eat and are refreshed.

We flee away from cities, but we bring
The best of cities with us, these learned classifiers,
Men knowing what they seek, armed eyes of experts.
We praise the guide, we praise the forest life:
But will we sacrifice our dear-bought lore
Of books and arts and trained experiment,
Or count the Sioux a match for Agassiz?
O no, not we! Witness the shout that shook
Wild Tupper Lake; witness the mute all-hail
The joyful traveller gives, when on the verge
Of craggy Indian wilderness he hears
From a log cabin stream Beethoven’s notes
On the piano, played with master’s hand.
‘Well done!’ he cries; ‘the bear is kept at bay,
The lynx, the rattlesnake, the flood, the fire;
All the fierce enemies, ague, hunger, cold,
This thin spruce roof, this clayed log-wall,
This wild plantation will suffice to chase.
Now speed the gay celerities of art,
What in the desert was impossible
Within four walls is possible again, —
Culture and libraries, mysteries of skill,
Traditioned fame of masters, eager strife
Of keen competing youths, joined or alone
To outdo each other and extort applause.
Mind wakes a new-born giant from her sleep.
Twirl the old wheels! Time takes fresh start again,
On for a thousand years of genius more.’

The holidays were fruitful, but must end;
One August evening had a cooler breath;
Into each mind intruding duties crept;
Under the cinders burned the fires of home;
Nay, letters found us in our paradise:
So in the gladness of the new event
We struck our camp and left the happy hills.
The fortunate star that rose on us sank not;
The prodigal sunshine rested on the land,
The rivers gambolled onward to the sea,
And Nature, the inscrutable and mute,
Permitted on her infinite repose
Almost a smile to steal to cheer her sons,
As if one riddle of the Sphinx were guessed.

Brahma

If the red slayer think he slays,
Or if the slain think he is slain,
They know not well the subtle ways
I keep, and pass, and turn again.

Far or forgot to me is near;
Shadow and sunlight are the same;
The vanished gods to me appear;
And one to me are shame and fame.

They reckon ill who leave me out;
When me they fly, I am the wings;
I am the doubter and the doubt,
And I the hymn the Brahmin sings.

The strong gods pine for my abode,
And pine in vain the sacred Seven;
But thou, meek lover of the good!
Find me, and turn thy back on heaven.

Nemesis

Already blushes on thy cheek
The bosom thought which thou must speak;
The bird, how far it haply roam
By cloud or isle, is flying home;
The maiden fears, and fearing runs
Into the charmed snare she shuns;
And every man, in love or pride,
Of his fate is never wide.

Will a woman’s fan the ocean smooth?
Or prayers the stony Parcae soothe,
Or coax the thunder from its mark?
Or tapers light the chaos dark?
In spite of Virtue and the Muse,
Nemesis will have her dues,
And all our struggles and our toils
Tighter wind the giant coils.

Fate

Deep in the man sits fast his fate
To mould his fortunes, mean or great:
Unknown to Cromwell as to me
Was Cromwell’s measure or degree;
Unknown to him as to his horse,
If he than his groom be better or worse.
He works, plots, fights, in rude affairs,
With squires, lords, kings, his craft compares,
Till late he learned, through doubt and fear,
Broad England harbored not his peer:
Obeying time, the last to own
The Genius from its cloudy throne.
For the prevision is allied
Unto the thing so signified;
Or say, the foresight that awaits
Is the same Genius that creates.

Freedom

Once I wished I might rehearse
Freedom’s paean in my verse,
That the slave who caught the strain
Should throb until he snapped his chain,
But the Spirit said, ‘Not so;
Speak it not, or speak it low;
Name not lightly to be said,
Gift too precious to be prayed,
Passion not to be expressed
But by heaving of the breast:
Yet, — wouldst thou the mountain find
Where this deity is shrined,
Who gives to seas and sunset skies
Their unspent beauty of surprise,
And, when it lists him, waken can
Brute or savage into man;
Or, if in thy heart he shine,
Blends the starry fates with thine,
Draws angels nigh to dwell with thee,
And makes thy thoughts archangels be;
Freedom’s secret wilt thou know? —
Counsel not with flesh and blood;
Loiter not for cloak or food;
Right thou feelest, rush to do.’

Ode Sung in the Town Hall, Concord, July 4, 1857

O tenderly the haughty day
Fills his blue urn with fire;
One morn is in the mighty heaven,
And one in our desire.

The cannon booms from town to town,
Our pulses beat not less,
The joy-bells chime their tidings down,
Which children’s voices bless.

For He that flung the broad blue fold
O’er-mantling land and sea,
One third part of the sky unrolled
For the banner of the free.

The men are ripe of Saxon kind
To build an equal state, —
To take the statute from the mind
And make of duty fate.

United States! the ages plead, —
Present and Past in under-song, —
Go put your creed into your deed,
Nor speak with double tongue.

For sea and land don’t understand,
Nor skies without a frown
See rights for which the one hand fights
By the other cloven down.

Be just at home; then write your scroll
Of honor o’er the sea,
And bid the broad Atlantic roll,
A ferry of the free.

And henceforth there shall be no chain,
Save underneath the sea
The wires shall murmur through the main
Sweet songs of liberty.

The conscious stars accord above,
The waters wild below,
And under, through the cable wove,
Her fiery errands go.

For He that worketh high and wise.
Nor pauses in his plan,
Will take the sun out of the skies
Ere freedom out of man.

Boston Hymn Read in Music Hall, January 1, 1863

The word of the Lord by night
To the watching Pilgrims came,
As they sat by the seaside,
And filled their hearts with flame.

God said, I am tired of kings,
I suffer them no more;
Up to my ear the morning brings
The outrage of the poor.

Think ye I made this ball
A field of havoc and war,
Where tyrants great and tyrants small
Might harry the weak and poor?

My angel, — his name is Freedom, —
Choose him to be your king;
He shall cut pathways east and west
And fend you with his wing.

Lo! I uncover the land
Which I hid of old time in the West,
As the sculptor uncovers the statue
When he has wrought his best;

I show Columbia, of the rocks
Which dip their foot in the seas
And soar to the air-borne flocks
Of clouds and the boreal fleece.

I will divide my goods;
Call in the wretch and slave:
None shall rule but the humble.
And none but Toil shall have.

I will have never a noble,
No lineage counted great;
Fishers and choppers and ploughmen
Shall constitute a state.

Go, cut down trees in the forest
And trim the straightest boughs;
Cut down trees in the forest
And build me a wooden house.

Call the people together,
The young men and the sires,
The digger in the harvest-field,
Hireling and him that hires;

And here in a pine state-house
They shall choose men to rule
In every needful faculty,
In church and state and school.

Lo, now! if these poor men
Can govern the land and sea
And make just laws below the sun,
As planets faithful be.

And ye shall succor men;
’Tis nobleness to serve;
Help them who cannot help again:
Beware from right to swerve.

I break your bonds and masterships,
And I unchain the slave:
Free be his heart and hand henceforth
As wind and wandering wave.

I cause from every creature
His proper good to flow:
As much as he is and doeth,
So much he shall bestow.

But, laying hands on another
To coin his labor and sweat,
He goes in pawn to his victim
For eternal years in debt.

To-day unbind the captive,
So only are ye unbound;
Lift up a people from the dust,
Trump of their rescue, sound!

Pay ransom to the owner
And fill the bag to the brim.
Who is the owner? The slave is owner,
And ever was. Pay him.

O North! give him beauty for rags,
And honor, O South! for his shame;
Nevada! coin thy golden crags
With Freedom’s image and name.

Up! and the dusky race
That sat in darkness long, —
Be swift their feet as antelopes.
And as behemoth strong.

Come, East and West and North,
By races, as snow-flakes,
And carry my purpose forth,
Which neither halts nor shakes.

My will fulfilled shall be,
For, in daylight or in dark,
My thunderbolt has eyes to see
His way home to the mark.

Voluntaries

I

Low and mournful be the strain,
Haughty thought be far from me;
Tones of penitence and pain,
Meanings of the tropic sea;
Low and tender in the cell
Where a captive sits in chains.
Crooning ditties treasured well
From his Afric’s torrid plains.
Sole estate his sire bequeathed, —
Hapless sire to hapless son, —
Was the wailing song he breathed,
And his chain when life was done.

What his fault, or what his crime?
Or what ill planet crossed his prime?
Heart too soft and will too weak
To front the fate that crouches near, —
Dove beneath the vulture’s beak; —
Will song dissuade the thirsty spear?
Dragged from his mother’s arms and breast,
Displaced, disfurnished here,
His wistful toil to do his best
Chilled by a ribald jeer.
Great men in the Senate sate,
Sage and hero, side by side,
Building for their sons the State,
Which they shall rule with pride.
They forbore to break the chain
Which bound the dusky tribe,
Checked by the owners’ fierce disdain,
Lured by ‘Union’ as the bribe.
Destiny sat by, and said,
‘Pang for pang your seed shall pay,
Hide in false peace your coward head,
I bring round the harvest day.’

II

Freedom all winged expands,
Nor perches in a narrow place;
Her broad van seeks unplanted lands;
She loves a poor and virtuous race.
Clinging to a colder zone
Whose dark sky sheds the snowflake down,
The snowflake is her banner’s star,
Her stripes the boreal streamers are.
Long she loved the Northman well;
Now the iron age is done,
She will not refuse to dwell
With the offspring of the Sun;
Foundling of the desert far,
Where palms plume, siroccos blaze,
He roves unhurt the burning ways
In climates of the summer star.
He has avenues to God
Hid from men of Northern brain,
Far beholding, without cloud,
What these with slowest steps attain.
If once the generous chief arrive
To lead him willing to be led,
For freedom he will strike and strive,
And drain his heart till he be dead.

III

In an age of fops and toys,
Wanting wisdom, void of right,
Who shall nerve heroic boys
To hazard all in Freedom’s fight, —
Break sharply off their jolly games,
Forsake their comrades gay
And quit proud homes and youthful dames
For famine, toil and fray?
Yet on the nimble air benign
Speed nimbler messages,
That waft the breath of grace divine
To hearts in sloth and ease.
So nigh is grandeur to our dust,
So near is God to man,
When Duty whispers low, Thou must,
The youth replies, I can.

IV

O, well for the fortunate soul
Which Music’s wings infold,
Stealing away the memory
Of sorrows new and old!
Yet happier he whose inward sight,
Stayed on his subtile thought,
Shuts his sense on toys of time,
To vacant bosoms brought.
But best befriended of the God
He who, in evil times,
Warned by an inward voice,
Heeds not the darkness and the dread,
Biding by his rule and choice,
Feeling only the fiery thread
Leading over heroic ground,
Walled with mortal terror round,
To the aim which him allures,
And the sweet heaven his deed secures.
Peril around, all else appalling,
Cannon in front and leaden rain
Him duty through the clarion calling
To the van called not in vain.

Stainless soldier on the walls,
Knowing this, — and knows no more, —
Whoever fights, whoever falls,
Justice conquers evermore,
Justice after as before, —
And he who battles on her side,
God, though he were ten times slain,
Crowns him victor glorified,
Victor over death and pain.

V

Blooms the laurel which belongs
To the valiant chief who fights;
I see the wreath, I hear the songs
Lauding the Eternal Rights,
Victors over daily wrongs:
Awful victors, they misguide
Whom they will destroy,
And their coming triumph hide
In our downfall, or our joy:
They reach no term, they never sleep,
In equal strength through space abide;
Though, feigning dwarfs, they crouch and creep,
The strong they slay, the swift outstride:
Fate’s grass grows rank in valley clods,
And rankly on the castled steep, —
Speak it firmly, these are gods,
All are ghosts beside.

Love and Thought

Two well-assorted travellers use
The highway, Eros and the Muse.
From the twins is nothing hidden,
To the pair is nought forbidden;
Hand in hand the comrades go
Every nook of Nature through:
Each for other they were born,
Each can other best adorn;
They know one only mortal grief
Past all balsam or relief;
When, by false companions crossed,
The pilgrims have each other lost.

Una

Roving, roving, as it seems,
Una lights my clouded dreams;
Still for journeys she is dressed;
We wander far by east and west.

In the homestead, homely thought,
At my work I ramble not;
If from home chance draw me wide,
Half-seen Una sits beside.

In my house and garden-plot,
Though beloved, I miss her not;
But one I seek in foreign places,
One face explore in foreign faces.

At home a deeper thought may light
The inward sky with chrysolite,
And I greet from far the ray,
Aurora of a dearer day.

But if upon the seas I sail,
Or trundle on the glowing rail,
I am but a thought of hers,
Loveliest of travellers.

So the gentle poet’s name
To foreign parts is blown by fame,
Seek him in his native town,
He is hidden and unknown.

Boston

Sicut patribus, sit Deus nobis.

The rocky nook with hilltops three
Looked eastward from the farms,
And twice each day the flowing sea
Took Boston in its arms;
The men of yore were stout and poor,
And sailed for bread to every shore.

And where they went on trade intent
They did what freemen can,
Their dauntless ways did all men praise,
The merchant was a man.
The world was made for honest trade, —
To plant and eat be none afraid.

The waves that rocked them on the deep
To them their secret told;
Said the winds that sung the lads to sleep,
‘Like us be free and bold!’
The honest waves refused to slaves
The empire of the ocean caves.

Old Europe groans with palaces,
Has lords enough and more; —
We plant and build by foaming seas
A city of the poor; —
For day by day could Boston Bay
Their honest labor overpay.

We grant no dukedoms to the few,
We hold like rights, and shall; —
Equal on Sunday in the pew,
On Monday in the mall,
For what avail the plough or sail,
Or land or life, if freedom fail?

The noble craftsman we promote,
Disown the knave and fool;
Each honest man shall have his vote,
Each child shall have his school.
A union then of honest men,
Or union never more again.

The wild rose and the barberry thorn
Hung out their summer pride,
Where now on heated pavements worn
The feet of millions stride.

Fair rose the planted hills behind
The good town on the bay,
And where the western hills declined
The prairie stretched away.

What care though rival cities soar
Along the stormy coast,
Penn’s town, New York and Baltimore,
If Boston knew the most!

They laughed to know the world so wide;
The mountains said, ‘Good-day!
We greet you well, you Saxon men,
Up with your towns and stay!’
The world was made for honest trade, —
To plant and eat be none afraid.

‘For you,’ they said, ‘no barriers be,
For you no sluggard rest;
Each street leads downward to the sea,
Or landward to the west.’

O happy town beside the sea,
Whose roads lead everywhere to all;
Than thine no deeper moat can be,
No stouter fence, no steeper wall!

Bad news from George on the English throne;
‘You are thriving well,’ said he;
‘Now by these presents be it known
You shall pay us a tax on tea;
’Tis very small, — no load at all, —
Honor enough that we send the call.

‘Not so,’ said Boston, ‘good my lord,
We pay your governors here
Abundant for their bed and board,
Six thousand pounds a year.
(Your Highness knows our homely word)
Millions for self-government,
But for tribute never a cent.’

The cargo came! and who could blame
If Indians seized the tea,
And, chest by chest, let down the same,
Into the laughing sea?
For what avail the plough or sail,
Or land or life, if freedom fail?

The townsmen braved the English king,
Found friendship in the French,
And honor joined the patriot ring
Low on their wooden bench.

O bounteous seas that never fail!
O day remembered yet!
O happy port that spied the sail
Which wafted Lafayette!
Pole-star of light in Europe’s night,
That never faltered from the right.

Kings shook with fear, old empires crave
The secret force to find
Which fired the little State to save
The rights of all mankind.

But right is might through all the world;
Province to province faithful clung,
Through good and ill the war-bolt hurled,
Till Freedom cheered and joy-bells rung.

The sea returning day by day
Restores the world-wide mart;
So let each dweller on the Bay
Fold Boston in his heart,
Till these echoes be choked with snows,
Or over the town blue ocean flows.

Let the blood of her hundred thousands
Throb in each manly vein;
And the wits of all her wisest,
Make sunshine in her brain.
For you can teach the lightning speech,
And round the globe your voices reach.

And each shall care for other,
And each to each shall bend,
To the poor a noble brother,
To the good an equal friend.

A blessing through the ages thus
Shield all thy roofs and towers!
GOD WITH THE FATHERS, SO WITH US,
Thou darling town of ours!

Letters

Every day brings a ship,
Every ship brings a word;
Well for those who have no fear.
Looking seaward, well assured
That the word the vessel brings
Is the word they wish to hear.

Rubies

They brought me rubies from the mine,
And held them to the sun;
I said, they are drops of frozen wine
From Eden’s vats that run.

I looked again, — I thought them hearts
Of friends to friends unknown;
Tides that should warm each neighboring life
Are locked in sparkling stone.

But fire to thaw that ruddy snow,
To break enchanted ice,
And give love’s scarlet tides to flow, —
When shall that sun arise?

Merlin’s Song

I

Of Merlin wise I learned a song, —
Sing it low or sing it loud,
It is mightier than the strong,
And punishes the proud.
I sing it to the surging crowd, —
Good men it will calm and cheer,
Bad men it will chain and cage —
In the heart of the music peals a strain
Which only angels hear;
Whether it waken joy or rage
Hushed myriads hark in vain,
Yet they who hear it shed their age,
And take their youth again.

II

Hear what British Merlin sung,
Of keenest eye and truest tongue.
Say not, the chiefs who first arrive
Usurp the seats for which all strive;
The forefathers this land who found
Failed to plant the vantage-ground;
Ever from one who comes to-morrow
Men wait their good and truth to borrow.
But wilt thou measure all thy road,
See thou lift the lightest load.
Who has little, to him who has less, can spare,
And thou, Cyndyllan’s son! beware
Ponderous gold and stuffs to bear,
To falter ere thou thy task fulfil, —
Only the light-armed climb the hill.
The richest of all lords is Use,
And ruddy Health the loftiest Muse.
Live in the sunshine, swim the sea,
Drink the wild air’s salubrity:
When the star Canope shines in May,
Shepherds are thankful and nations gay.
The music that can deepest reach,
And cure all ill, is cordial speech:
Mask thy wisdom with delight,
Toy with the bow, yet hit the white.
Of all wit’s uses, the main one
Is to live well with who has none.

The Test

(Musa loquitur.)

I hung my verses in the wind,
Time and tide their faults may find.
All were winnowed through and through,
Five lines lasted sound and true;
Five were smelted in a pot
Than the South more fierce and hot;
These the siroc could not melt,
Fire their fiercer flaming felt,
And the meaning was more white
Than July’s meridian light.
Sunshine cannot bleach the snow,
Nor time unmake what poets know.
Have you eyes to find the five
Which five hundred did survive?

Solution

I am the Muse who sung alway
By Jove, at dawn of the first day.
Star-crowned, sole-sitting, long I wrought
To fire the stagnant earth with thought:
On spawning slime my song prevails,
Wolves shed their fangs, and dragons scales;
Flushed in the sky the sweet May-morn,
Earth smiled with flowers, and man was born.
Then Asia yeaned her shepherd race,
And Nile substructs her granite base, —
Tented Tartary, columned Nile, —
And, under vines, on rocky isle,
Or on wind-blown sea-marge bleak,
Forward stepped the perfect Greek:
That wit and joy might find a tongue,
And earth grow civil, HOMER sung.

Flown to Italy from Greece,
I brooded long and held my peace,
For I am wont to sing uncalled,
And in days of evil plight
Unlock doors of new delight;
And sometimes mankind I appalled
With a bitter horoscope,
With spasms of terror for balm of hope.
Then by better thought I lead
Bards to speak what nations need;
So I folded me in fears,
And DANTE searched the triple spheres,
Moulding Nature at his will,
So shaped, so colored, swift or still,
And, sculptor-like, his large design
Etched on Alp and Apennine.

Seethed in mists of Penmanmaur,
Taught by Plinlimmon’s Druid power,
England’s genius filled all measure
Of heart and soul, of strength and pleasure,
Gave to the mind its emperor,
And life was larger than before:
Nor sequent centuries could hit
Orbit and sum of SHAKSPEARE’S wit.
The men who lived with him became
Poets, for the air was fame.

Far in the North, where polar night
Holds in check the frolic light,
In trance upborne past mortal goal
The Swede EMANUEL leads the soul.
Through snows above, mines underground,
The inks of Erebus he found;
Rehearsed to men the damned wails
On which the seraph music sails.
In spirit-worlds he trod alone,
But walked the earth unmarked, unknown,
The near bystander caught no sound, —
Yet they who listened far aloof
Heard rendings of the skyey roof,
And felt, beneath, the quaking ground;
And his air-sown, unheeded words,
In the next age, are flaming swords.

In newer days of war and trade,
Romance forgot, and faith decayed,
When Science armed and guided war,
And clerks the Janus-gates unbar,
When France, where poet never grew,
Halved and dealt the globe anew,
GOETHE, raised o’er joy and strife,
Drew the firm lines of Fate and Life
And brought Olympian wisdom down
To court and mart, to gown and town.
Stooping, his finger wrote in clay
The open secret of to-day.

So bloom the unfading petals five,
And verses that all verse outlive.

Hymn Sung at the Second Church, at the Ordination of Rev. Chandler Robbins

We love the venerable house
Our fathers built to God; —
In heaven are kept their grateful vows,
Their dust endears the sod.

Here holy thoughts a light have shed
From many a radiant face,
And prayers of humble virtue made
The perfume of the place.

And anxious hearts have pondered here
The mystery of life,
And prayed the eternal Light to clear
Their doubts, and aid their strife.

From humble tenements around
Came up the pensive train,
And in the church a blessing found
That filled their homes again;

For faith and peace and mighty love
That from the Godhead flow,
Showed them the life of Heaven above
Springs from the life below.

They live with God; their homes are dust;
Yet here their children pray,
And in this fleeting lifetime trust
To find the narrow way.

On him who by the altar stands,
On him thy blessing fall,
Speak through his lips thy pure commands,
Thou heart that lovest all.

Nature I

Winters know
Easily to shed the snow,
And the untaught Spring is wise
In cowslips and anemonies.
Nature, hating art and pains,
Baulks and baffles plotting brains;
Casualty and Surprise
Are the apples of her eyes;
But she dearly loves the poor,
And, by marvel of her own,
Strikes the loud pretender down.
For Nature listens in the rose
And hearkens in the berry’s bell
To help her friends, to plague her foes,
And like wise God she judges well.
Yet doth much her love excel
To the souls that never fell,
To swains that live in happiness
And do well because they please,
Who walk in ways that are unfamed,
And feats achieve before they’re named.

Nature II

She is gamesome and good,
But of mutable mood, —
No dreary repeater now and again,
She will be all things to all men.
She who is old, but nowise feeble,
Pours her power into the people,
Merry and manifold without bar,
Makes and moulds them what they are,
And what they call their city way
Is not their way, but hers,
And what they say they made to-day,
They learned of the oaks and firs.
She spawneth men as mallows fresh,
Hero and maiden, flesh of her flesh;
She drugs her water and her wheat
With the flavors she finds meet,
And gives them what to drink and eat;
And having thus their bread and growth,
They do her bidding, nothing loath.
What’s most theirs is not their own,
But borrowed in atoms from iron and stone,
And in their vaunted works of Art
The master-stroke is still her part.

The Romany Girl

The sun goes down, and with him takes
The coarseness of my poor attire;
The fair moon mounts, and aye the flame
Of Gypsy beauty blazes higher.

Pale Northern girls! you scorn our race;
You captives of your air-tight halls,
Wear out indoors your sickly days,
But leave us the horizon walls.

And if I take you, dames, to task,
And say it frankly without guile,
Then you are Gypsies in a mask,
And I the lady all the while.

If on the heath, below the moon,
I court and play with paler blood,
Me false to mine dare whisper none, —
One sallow horseman knows me good.

Go, keep your cheek’s rose from the rain,
For teeth and hair with shopmen deal;
My swarthy tint is in the grain,
The rocks and forest know it real.

The wild air bloweth in our lungs,
The keen stars twinkle in our eyes,
The birds gave us our wily tongues,
The panther in our dances flies.

You doubt we read the stars on high,
Nathless we read your fortunes true;
The stars may hide in the upper sky,
But without glass we fathom you.

Days

Daughters of Time, the hypocritic Days,
Muffled and dumb like barefoot dervishes,
And marching single in an endless file,
Bring diadems and fagots in their hands.
To each they offer gifts after his will,
Bread, kingdoms, stars, and sky that holds them all.
I, in my pleached garden, watched the pomp,
Forgot my morning wishes, hastily
Took a few herbs and apples, and the Day
Turned and departed silent. I, too late,
Under her solemn fillet saw the scorn.

My Garden

If I could put my woods in song
And tell what’s there enjoyed,
All men would to my gardens throng,
And leave the cities void.

In my plot no tulips blow, —
Snow-loving pines and oaks instead;
And rank the savage maples grow
From Spring’s faint flush to Autumn red.

My garden is a forest ledge
Which older forests bound;
The banks slope down to the blue lake-edge,
Then plunge to depths profound.

Here once the Deluge ploughed,
Laid the terraces, one by one;
Ebbing later whence it flowed,
They bleach and dry in the sun.

The sowers made haste to depart, —
The wind and the birds which sowed it;
Not for fame, nor by rules of art,
Planted these, and tempests flowed it.

Waters that wash my garden-side
Play not in Nature’s lawful web,
They heed not moon or solar tide, —
Five years elapse from flood to ebb.

Hither hasted, in old time, Jove,
And every god, — none did refuse;
And be sure at last came Love,
And after Love, the Muse.

Keen ears can catch a syllable,
As if one spake to another,
In the hemlocks tall, untamable,
And what the whispering grasses smother.

Aeolian harps in the pine
Ring with the song of the Fates;
Infant Bacchus in the vine, —
Far distant yet his chorus waits.

Canst thou copy in verse one chime
Of the wood-bell’s peal and cry,
Write in a book the morning’s prime,
Or match with words that tender sky?

Wonderful verse of the gods,
Of one import, of varied tone;
They chant the bliss of their abodes
To man imprisoned in his own.

Ever the words of the gods resound;
But the porches of man’s ear
Seldom in this low life’s round
Are unsealed that he may hear.

Wandering voices in the air
And murmurs in the wold
Speak what I cannot declare,
Yet cannot all withhold.

When the shadow fell on the lake,
The whirlwind in ripples wrote
Air-bells of fortune that shine and break,
And omens above thought.

But the meanings cleave to the lake,
Cannot be carried in book or urn;
Go thy ways now, come later back,
On waves and hedges still they burn.

These the fates of men forecast,
Of better men than live to-day;
If who can read them comes at last
He will spell in the sculpture, ‘Stay.’

The Chartist’s Complaint

Day! hast thou two faces,
Making one place two places?
One, by humble farmer seen,
Chill and wet, unlighted, mean,
Useful only, triste and damp,
Serving for a laborer’s lamp?
Have the same mists another side,
To be the appanage of pride,
Gracing the rich man’s wood and lake,
His park where amber mornings break,
And treacherously bright to show
His planted isle where roses glow?
O Day! and is your mightiness
A sycophant to smug success?
Will the sweet sky and ocean broad
Be fine accomplices to fraud?
O Sun! I curse thy cruel ray:
Back, back to chaos, harlot Day!

The Titmouse

You shall not be overbold
When you deal with arctic cold,
As late I found my lukewarm blood
Chilled wading in the snow-choked wood.
How should I fight? my foeman fine
Has million arms to one of mine:
East, west, for aid I looked in vain,
East, west, north, south, are his domain.
Miles off, three dangerous miles, is home;
Must borrow his winds who there would come.
Up and away for life! be fleet! —
The frost-king ties my fumbling feet,
Sings in my ears, my hands are stones,
Curdles the blood to the marble bones,
Tugs at the heart-strings, numbs the sense,
And hems in life with narrowing fence.
Well, in this broad bed lie and sleep, —
The punctual stars will vigil keep, —
Embalmed by purifying cold;
The winds shall sing their dead-march old,
The snow is no ignoble shroud,
The moon thy mourner, and the cloud.

Softly, — but this way fate was pointing,
‘T was coming fast to such anointing,
When piped a tiny voice hard by,
Gay and polite, a cheerful cry,
Chic-chic-a-dee-de! saucy note
Out of sound heart and merry throat,
As if it said, ‘Good day, good sir!
Fine afternoon, old passenger!
Happy to meet you in these places,
Where January brings few faces.’

This poet, though he live apart,
Moved by his hospitable heart,
Sped, when I passed his sylvan fort,
To do the honors of his court,
As fits a feathered lord of land;
Flew near, with soft wing grazed my hand,
Hopped on the bough, then, darting low,
Prints his small impress on the snow,
Shows feats of his gymnastic play,
Head downward, clinging to the spray.

Here was this atom in full breath,
Hurling defiance at vast death;
This scrap of valor just for play
Fronts the north-wind in waistcoat gray,
As if to shame my weak behavior;
I greeted loud my little savior,
‘You pet! what dost here? and what for?
In these woods, thy small Labrador,
At this pinch, wee San Salvador!
What fire burns in that little chest
So frolic, stout and self-possest?
Henceforth I wear no stripe but thine;
Ashes and jet all hues outshine.
Why are not diamonds black and gray,
To ape thy dare-devil array?
And I affirm, the spacious North
Exists to draw thy virtue forth.
I think no virtue goes with size;
The reason of all cowardice
Is, that men are overgrown,
And, to be valiant, must come down
To the titmouse dimension.’

‘T is good will makes intelligence,
And I began to catch the sense
Of my bird’s song: ‘Live out of doors
In the great woods, on prairie floors.
I dine in the sun; when he sinks in the sea,
I too have a hole in a hollow tree;
And I like less when Summer beats
With stifling beams on these retreats,
Than noontide twilights which snow makes
With tempest of the blinding flakes.
For well the soul, if stout within,
Can arm impregnably the skin;
And polar frost my frame defied,
Made of the air that blows outside.’

With glad remembrance of my debt,
I homeward turn; farewell, my pet!
When here again thy pilgrim comes,
He shall bring store of seeds and crumbs.
Doubt not, so long as earth has bread,
Thou first and foremost shalt be fed;
The Providence that is most large
Takes hearts like thine in special charge,
Helps who for their own need are strong,
And the sky doats on cheerful song.
Henceforth I prize thy wiry chant
O’er all that mass and minster vaunt;
For men mis-hear thy call in Spring,
As ‘t would accost some frivolous wing,
Crying out of the hazel copse, Phe-be!
And, in winter, Chic-a-dee-dee!
I think old Caesar must have heard
In northern Gaul my dauntless bird,
And, echoed in some frosty wold,
Borrowed thy battle-numbers bold.
And I will write our annals new,
And thank thee for a better clew,
I, who dreamed not when I came here
To find the antidote of fear,
Now hear thee say in Roman key,
Paean! Veni, vidi, vici.

The Harp

One musician is sure,
His wisdom will not fail,
He has not tasted wine impure,
Nor bent to passion frail.
Age cannot cloud his memory,
Nor grief untune his voice,
Ranging down the ruled scale
From tone of joy to inward wail,
Tempering the pitch of all
In his windy cave.
He all the fables knows,
And in their causes tells, —
Knows Nature’s rarest moods,
Ever on her secret broods.
The Muse of men is coy,
Oft courted will not come;
In palaces and market squares
Entreated, she is dumb;
But my minstrel knows and tells
The counsel of the gods,
Knows of Holy Book the spells,
Knows the law of Night and Day,
And the heart of girl and boy,
The tragic and the gay,
And what is writ on Table Round
Of Arthur and his peers;
What sea and land discoursing say
In sidereal years.
He renders all his lore
In numbers wild as dreams,
Modulating all extremes, —
What the spangled meadow saith
To the children who have faith;
Only to children children sing,
Only to youth will spring be spring.

Who is the Bard thus magnified?
When did he sing? and where abide?

Chief of song where poets feast
Is the wind-harp which thou seest
In the casement at my side.

Aeolian harp,
How strangely wise thy strain!
Gay for youth, gay for youth,
(Sweet is art, but sweeter truth,)
In the hall at summer eve
Fate and Beauty skilled to weave.
From the eager opening strings
Rung loud and bold the song.
Who but loved the wind-harp’s note?
How should not the poet doat
On its mystic tongue,
With its primeval memory,
Reporting what old minstrels told
Of Merlin locked the harp within, —
Merlin paying the pain of sin,
Pent in a dungeon made of air, —
And some attain his voice to hear,
Words of pain and cries of fear,
But pillowed all on melody,
As fits the griefs of bards to be.
And what if that all-echoing shell,
Which thus the buried Past can tell,
Should rive the Future, and reveal
What his dread folds would fain conceal?
It shares the secret of the earth,
And of the kinds that owe her birth.
Speaks not of self that mystic tone,
But of the Overgods alone:
It trembles to the cosmic breath, —
As it heareth, so it saith;
Obeying meek the primal Cause,
It is the tongue of mundane laws.
And this, at least, I dare affirm,
Since genius too has bound and term,
There is no bard in all the choir,
Not Homer’s self, the poet sire,
Wise Milton’s odes of pensive pleasure,
Or Shakspeare, whom no mind can measure,
Nor Collins’ verse of tender pain,
Nor Byron’s clarion of disdain,
Scott, the delight of generous boys,
Or Wordsworth, Pan’s recording voice, —
Not one of all can put in verse,
Or to this presence could rehearse
The sights and voices ravishing
The boy knew on the hills in spring,
When pacing through the oaks he heard
Sharp queries of the sentry-bird,
The heavy grouse’s sudden whir,
The rattle of the kingfisher;
Saw bonfires of the harlot flies
In the lowland, when day dies;
Or marked, benighted and forlorn,
The first far signal-fire of morn.
These syllables that Nature spoke,
And the thoughts that in him woke,
Can adequately utter none
Save to his ear the wind-harp lone.
Therein I hear the Parcae reel
The threads of man at their humming wheel,
The threads of life and power and pain,
So sweet and mournful falls the strain.
And best can teach its Delphian chord
How Nature to the soul is moored,
If once again that silent string,
As erst it wont, would thrill and ring.

Not long ago at eventide,
It seemed, so listening, at my side
A window rose, and, to say sooth,
I looked forth on the fields of youth:
I saw fair boys bestriding steeds,
I knew their forms in fancy weeds,
Long, long concealed by sundering fates,
Mates of my youth, — yet not my mates,
Stronger and bolder far than I,
With grace, with genius, well attired,
And then as now from far admired,
Followed with love
They knew not of,
With passion cold and shy.
O joy, for what recoveries rare!
Renewed, I breathe Elysian air,
See youth’s glad mates in earliest bloom, —
Break not my dream, obtrusive tomb!
Or teach thou, Spring! the grand recoil
Of life resurgent from the soil
Wherein was dropped the mortal spoil.

Seashore

I heard or seemed to hear the chiding Sea
Say, Pilgrim, why so late and slow to come?
Am I not always here, thy summer home?
Is not my voice thy music, morn and eve?
My breath thy healthful climate in the heats,
My touch thy antidote, my bay thy bath?
Was ever building like my terraces?
Was ever couch magnificent as mine?
Lie on the warm rock-ledges, and there learn
A little hut suffices like a town.
I make your sculptured architecture vain,
Vain beside mine. I drive my wedges home,
And carve the coastwise mountain into caves.
Lo! here is Rome and Nineveh and Thebes,
Karnak and Pyramid and Giant’s Stairs
Half piled or prostrate; and my newest slab
Older than all thy race.

Behold the Sea,
The opaline, the plentiful and strong,
Yet beautiful as is the rose in June,
Fresh as the trickling rainbow of July;
Sea full of food, the nourisher of kinds,
Purger of earth, and medicine of men;
Creating a sweet climate by my breath,
Washing out harms and griefs from memory,
And, in my mathematic ebb and flow,
Giving a hint of that which changes not.
Rich are the sea-gods: — who gives gifts but they?
They grope the sea for pearls, but more than pearls:
They pluck Force thence, and give it to the wise.
For every wave is wealth to Daedalus,
Wealth to the cunning artist who can work
This matchless strength. Where shall he find, O waves!
A load your Atlas shoulders cannot lift?

I with my hammer pounding evermore
The rocky coast, smite Andes into dust,
Strewing my bed, and, in another age,
Rebuild a continent of better men.
Then I unbar the doors: my paths lead out
The exodus of nations: I disperse
Men to all shores that front the hoary main.

I too have arts and sorceries;
Illusion dwells forever with the wave.
I know what spells are laid. Leave me to deal
With credulous and imaginative man;
For, though he scoop my water in his palm,
A few rods off he deems it gems and clouds.
Planting strange fruits and sunshine on the shore,
I make some coast alluring, some lone isle,
To distant men, who must go there, or die.

Song of Nature

Mine are the night and morning,
The pits of air, the gulf of space,
The sportive sun, the gibbous moon,
The innumerable days.

I hide in the solar glory,
I am dumb in the pealing song,
I rest on the pitch of the torrent,
In slumber I am strong.

No numbers have counted my tallies,
No tribes my house can fill,
I sit by the shining Fount of Life
And pour the deluge still;

And ever by delicate powers
Gathering along the centuries
From race on race the rarest flowers,
My wreath shall nothing miss.

And many a thousand summers
My gardens ripened well,
And light from meliorating stars
With firmer glory fell.

I wrote the past in characters
Of rock and fire the scroll,
The building in the coral sea,
The planting of the coal.

And thefts from satellites and rings
And broken stars I drew,
And out of spent and aged things
I formed the world anew;

What time the gods kept carnival,
Tricked out in star and flower,
And in cramp elf and saurian forms
They swathed their too much power.

Time and Thought were my surveyors,
They laid their courses well,
They boiled the sea, and piled the layers
Of granite, marl and shell.

But he, the man-child glorious, —
Where tarries he the while?
The rainbow shines his harbinger,
The sunset gleams his smile.

My boreal lights leap upward,
Forthright my planets roll,
And still the man-child is not born,
The summit of the whole.

Must time and tide forever run?
Will never my winds go sleep in the west?
Will never my wheels which whirl the sun
And satellites have rest?

Too much of donning and doffing,
Too slow the rainbow fades,
I weary of my robe of snow,
My leaves and my cascades;

I tire of globes and races,
Too long the game is played;
What without him is summer’s pomp,
Or winter’s frozen shade?

I travail in pain for him,
My creatures travail and wait;
His couriers come by squadrons,
He comes not to the gate.

Twice I have moulded an image,
And thrice outstretched my hand,
Made one of day and one of night
And one of the salt sea-sand.

One in a Judaean manger,
And one by Avon stream,
One over against the mouths of Nile,
And one in the Academe.

I moulded kings and saviors,
And bards o’er kings to rule; —
But fell the starry influence short,
The cup was never full.

Yet whirl the glowing wheels once more,
And mix the bowl again;
Seethe, Fate! the ancient elements,
Heat, cold, wet, dry, and peace, and pain.

Let war and trade and creeds and song
Blend, ripen race on race,
The sunburnt world a man shall breed
Of all the zones and countless days.

No ray is dimmed, no atom worn,
My oldest force is good as new,
And the fresh rose on yonder thorn
Gives back the bending heavens in dew.

Two Rivers

Thy summer voice, Musketaquit,
Repeats the music of the rain;
But sweeter rivers pulsing flit
Through thee, as thou through Concord Plain.

Thou in thy narrow banks art pent:
The stream I love unbounded goes
Through flood and sea and firmament;
Through light, through life, it forward flows.

I see the inundation sweet,
I hear the spending of the stream
Through years, through men, through Nature fleet,
Through love and thought, through power and dream.

Musketaquit, a goblin strong,
Of shard and flint makes jewels gay;
They lose their grief who hear his song,
And where he winds is the day of day.

So forth and brighter fares my stream, —
Who drink it shall not thirst again;
No darkness stains its equal gleam.
And ages drop in it like rain.

Waldeinsamkeit

I do not count the hours I spend
In wandering by the sea;
The forest is my loyal friend,
Like God it useth me.

In plains that room for shadows make
Of skirting hills to lie,
Bound in by streams which give and take
Their colors from the sky;

Or on the mountain-crest sublime,
Or down the oaken glade,
O what have I to do with time?
For this the day was made.

Cities of mortals woe-begone
Fantastic care derides,
But in the serious landscape lone
Stern benefit abides.

Sheen will tarnish, honey cloy,
And merry is only a mask of sad,
But, sober on a fund of joy,
The woods at heart are glad.

There the great Planter plants
Of fruitful worlds the grain,
And with a million spells enchants
The souls that walk in pain.

Still on the seeds of all he made
The rose of beauty burns;
Through times that wear and forms that fade,
Immortal youth returns.

The black ducks mounting from the lake,
The pigeon in the pines,
The bittern’s boom, a desert make
Which no false art refines.

Down in yon watery nook,
Where bearded mists divide,
The gray old gods whom Chaos knew,
The sires of Nature, hide.

Aloft, in secret veins of air,
Blows the sweet breath of song,
O, few to scale those uplands dare,
Though they to all belong!

See thou bring not to field or stone
The fancies found in books;
Leave authors’ eyes, and fetch your own,
To brave the landscape’s looks.

Oblivion here thy wisdom is,
Thy thrift, the sleep of cares;
For a proud idleness like this
Crowns all thy mean affairs.

Terminus

It is time to be old,
To take in sail: —
The god of bounds,
Who sets to seas a shore,
Came to me in his fatal rounds,
And said: ‘No more!
No farther shoot
Thy broad ambitious branches, and thy root.
Fancy departs: no more invent;
Contract thy firmament
To compass of a tent.
There’s not enough for this and that,
Make thy option which of two;
Economize the failing river,
Not the less revere the Giver,
Leave the many and hold the few.
Timely wise accept the terms,
Soften the fall with wary foot;
A little while
Still plan and smile,
And, — fault of novel germs, —
Mature the unfallen fruit.
Curse, if thou wilt, thy sires,
Bad husbands of their fires,
Who, when they gave thee breath,
Failed to bequeath
The needful sinew stark as once,
The Baresark marrow to thy bones,
But left a legacy of ebbing veins,
Inconstant heat and nerveless reins, —
Amid the Muses, left thee deaf and dumb,
Amid the gladiators, halt and numb.’

As the bird trims her to the gale,
I trim myself to the storm of time,
I man the rudder, reef the sail,
Obey the voice at eve obeyed at prime:
‘Lowly faithful, banish fear,
Right onward drive unharmed;
The port, well worth the cruise, is near,
And every wave is charmed.’

The Nun’s Aspiration

The yesterday doth never smile,
The day goes drudging through the while,
Yet, in the name of Godhead, I
The morrow front, and can defy;
Though I am weak, yet God, when prayed,
Cannot withhold his conquering aid.
Ah me! it was my childhood’s thought,
If He should make my web a blot
On life’s fair picture of delight,
My heart’s content would find it right.
But O, these waves and leaves, —
When happy stoic Nature grieves,
No human speech so beautiful
As their murmurs mine to lull.
On this altar God hath built
I lay my vanity and guilt;
Nor me can Hope or Passion urge
Hearing as now the lofty dirge
Which blasts of Northern mountains hymn,
Nature’s funeral high and dim, —
Sable pageantry of clouds,
Mourning summer laid in shrouds.
Many a day shall dawn and die,
Many an angel wander by,
And passing, light my sunken turf
Moist perhaps by ocean surf,
Forgotten amid splendid tombs,
Yet wreathed and hid by summer blooms.
On earth I dream; — I die to be:
Time, shake not thy bald head at me.
I challenge thee to hurry past
Or for my turn to fly too fast.
Think me not numbed or halt with age,
Or cares that earth to earth engage,
Caught with love’s cord of twisted beams,
Or mired by climate’s gross extremes.
I tire of shams, I rush to be:
I pass with yonder comet free, —
Pass with the comet into space
Which mocks thy aeons to embrace;
Aeons which tardily unfold
Realm beyond realm, — extent untold;
No early morn, no evening late, —
Realms self-upheld, disdaining Fate,
Whose shining sons, too great for fame,
Never heard thy weary name;
Nor lives the tragic bard to say
How drear the part I held in one,
How lame the other limped away.

April

The April winds are magical
And thrill our tuneful frames;
The garden walks are passional
To bachelors and dames.
The hedge is gemmed with diamonds,
The air with Cupids full,
The cobweb clues of Rosamond
Guide lovers to the pool.
Each dimple in the water,
Each leaf that shades the rock
Can cozen, pique and flatter,
Can parley and provoke.
Goodfellow, Puck and goblins,
Know more than any book.
Down with your doleful problems,
And court the sunny brook.
The south-winds are quick-witted,
The schools are sad and slow,
The masters quite omitted
The lore we care to know.

Maiden Speech of the Aeolian Harp

Soft and softlier hold me, friends!
Thanks if your genial care
Unbind and give me to the air.
Keep your lips or finger-tips
For flute or spinet’s dancing chips;
I await a tenderer touch,
I ask more or not so much:
Give me to the atmosphere, —
Where is the wind, my brother, — where?
Lift the sash, lay me within,
Lend me your ears, and I begin.
For gentle harp to gentle hearts
The secret of the world imparts;
And not to-day and not to-morrow
Can drain its wealth of hope and sorrow;
But day by day, to loving ear
Unlocks new sense and loftier cheer.
I’ve come to live with you, sweet friends,
This home my minstrel-journeyings ends.
Many and subtle are my lays,
The latest better than the first,
For I can mend the happiest days
And charm the anguish of the worst.

Cupido

The solid, solid universe
Is pervious to Love;
With bandaged eyes he never errs,
Around, below, above.
His blinding light
He flingeth white
On God’s and Satan’s brood,
And reconciles
By mystic wiles
The evil and the good.

The Past

The debt is paid,
The verdict said,
The Furies laid,
The plague is stayed.
All fortunes made;
Turn the key and bolt the door,
Sweet is death forevermore.
Nor haughty hope, nor swart chagrin,
Nor murdering hate, can enter in.
All is now secure and fast;
Not the gods can shake the Past;
Flies-to the adamantine door
Bolted down forevermore.
None can reënter there, —
No thief so politic,
No Satan with a royal trick
Steal in by window, chink, or hole,
To bind or unbind, add what lacked,
Insert a leaf, or forge a name,
New-face or finish what is packed,
Alter or mend eternal Fact.

The Last Farewell

LINES WRITTEN BY THE AUTHOR’S BROTHER, EDWARD BLISS EMERSON, WHILST SAILING OUT OF BOSTON HARBOR, BOUND FOR THE ISLAND OF PORTO RICO, IN 1832

Farewell, ye lofty spires
That cheered the holy light!
Farewell, domestic fires
That broke the gloom of night!
Too soon those spires are lost,
Too fast we leave the bay,
Too soon by ocean tost
From hearth and home away,
Far away, far away.

Farewell the busy town,
The wealthy and the wise,
Kind smile and honest frown
From bright, familiar eyes.
All these are fading now;
Our brig hastes on her way,
Her unremembering prow
Is leaping o’er the sea,
Far away, far away.

Farewell, my mother fond,
Too kind, too good to me;
Nor pearl nor diamond
Would pay my debt to thee.
But even thy kiss denies
Upon my cheek to stay;
The winged vessel flies,
And billows round her play,
Far away, far away.

Farewell, my brothers true,
My betters, yet my peers;
How desert without you
My few and evil years!
But though aye one in heart,
Together sad or gay,
Rude ocean doth us part;
We separate to-day,
Far away, far away.

Farewell, thou fairest one,
Unplighted yet to me,
Uncertain of thine own
I gave my heart to thee.
That untold early love
I leave untold to-day,
My lips in whisper move
Farewell to …!
Far away, far away.

Farewell I breathe again
To dim New England’s shore,
My heart shall beat not when
I pant for thee no more.
In yon green palmy isle,
Beneath the tropic ray,
I murmur never while
For thee and thine I pray;
Far away, far away.

In Memoriam E. B. E.

I mourn upon this battle-field,
But not for those who perished here.
Behold the river-bank
Whither the angry farmers came,
In sloven dress and broken rank,
Nor thought of fame.
Their deed of blood
All mankind praise;
Even the serene Reason says,
It was well done.
The wise and simple have one glance
To greet yon stern head-stone,
Which more of pride than pity gave
To mark the Briton’s friendless grave.
Yet it is a stately tomb;
The grand return
Of eve and morn,
The year’s fresh bloom,
The silver cloud,
Might grace the dust that is most proud.

Yet not of these I muse
In this ancestral place,
But of a kindred face
That never joy or hope shall here diffuse.

Ah, brother of the brief but blazing star!
What hast thou to do with these
Haunting this bank’s historic trees?
Thou born for noblest life,
For action’s field, for victor’s car,
Thou living champion of the right?
To these their penalty belonged:
I grudge not these their bed of death,
But thine to thee, who never wronged
The poorest that drew breath.

All inborn power that could
Consist with homage to the good
Flamed from his martial eye;
He who seemed a soldier born,
He should have the helmet worn,
All friends to fend, all foes defy,
Fronting foes of God and man,
Frowning down the evil-doer,
Battling for the weak and poor.
His from youth the leader’s look
Gave the law which others took,
And never poor beseeching glance
Shamed that sculptured countenance.

There is no record left on earth,
Save in tablets of the heart,
Of the rich inherent worth,
Of the grace that on him shone,
Of eloquent lips, of joyful wit:
He could not frame a word unfit,
An act unworthy to be done;
Honor prompted every glance,
Honor came and sat beside him,
In lowly cot or painful road,
And evermore the cruel god
Cried “Onward!” and the palm-crown showed,
Born for success he seemed,
With grace to win, with heart to hold,
With shining gifts that took all eyes,
With budding power in college-halls,
As pledged in coming days to forge
Weapons to guard the State, or scourge
Tyrants despite their guards or walls.
On his young promise Beauty smiled,
Drew his free homage unbeguiled,
And prosperous Age held out his hand,
And richly his large future planned,
And troops of friends enjoyed the tide, —
All, all was given, and only health denied.

I see him with superior smile
Hunted by Sorrow’s grisly train
In lands remote, in toil and pain,
With angel patience labor on,
With the high port he wore erewhile,
When, foremost of the youthful band,
The prizes in all lists he won;
Nor bate one jot of heart or hope,
And, least of all, the loyal tie
Which holds to home ‘neath every sky,
The joy and pride the pilgrim feels
In hearts which round the hearth at home
Keep pulse for pulse with those who roam.

What generous beliefs console
The brave whom Fate denies the goal!
If others reach it, is content;
To Heaven’s high will his will is bent.
Firm on his heart relied,
What lot soe’er betide,
Work of his hand
He nor repents nor grieves,
Pleads for itself the fact,
As unrepenting Nature leaves
Her every act.

Fell the bolt on the branching oak;
The rainbow of his hope was broke;
No craven cry, no secret tear, —
He told no pang, he knew no fear;
Its peace sublime his aspect kept,
His purpose woke, his features slept;
And yet between the spasms of pain
His genius beamed with joy again.

O’er thy rich dust the endless smile
Of Nature in thy Spanish isle
Hints never loss or cruel break
And sacrifice for love’s dear sake,
Nor mourn the unalterable Days
That Genius goes and Folly stays.
What matters how, or from what ground,
The freed soul its Creator found?
Alike thy memory embalms
That orange-grove, that isle of palms,
And these loved banks, whose oak-bough bold
Root in the blood of heroes old.

* * * * *

Elements and Mottoes


Experience

The lords of life, the lords of life, —
I saw them pass
In their own guise,
Like and unlike,
Portly and grim, —
Use and Surprise,
Surface and Dream,
Succession swift and spectral Wrong,
Temperament without a tongue,
And the inventor of the game
Omnipresent without name; —
Some to see, some to be guessed,
They marched from east to west:
Little man, least of all,
Among the legs of his guardians tall,
Walked about with puzzled look.
Him by the hand dear Nature took,
Dearest Nature, strong and kind,
Whispered, ‘Darling, never mind!
To-morrow they will wear another face,
The founder thou; these are thy race!’

Compensation

The wings of Time are black and white,
Pied with morning and with night.
Mountain tall and ocean deep
Trembling balance duly keep.
In changing moon and tidal wave
Glows the feud of Want and Have.
Gauge of more and less through space,
Electric star or pencil plays,
The lonely Earth amid the balls
That hurry through the eternal halls,
A makeweight flying to the void,
Supplemental asteroid,
Or compensatory spark,
Shoots across the neutral Dark.

Man’s the elm, and Wealth the vine;
Stanch and strong the tendrils twine:
Though the frail ringlets thee deceive,
None from its stock that vine can reave.
Fear not, then, thou child infirm,
There’s no god dare wrong a worm;
Laurel crowns cleave to deserts,
And power to him who power exerts.
Hast not thy share? On winged feet,
Lo it rushes thee to meet;
And all that Nature made thy own,
Floating in air or pent in stone,
Will rive the hills and swim the sea,
And, like thy shadow, follow thee.

Politics

Gold and iron are good
To buy iron and gold;
All earth’s fleece and food
For their like are sold.
Boded Merlin wise,
Proved Napoleon great,
Nor kind nor coinage buys
Aught above its rate.
Fear, Craft and Avarice
Cannot rear a State.
Out of dust to build
What is more than dust,
Walls Amphion piled
Phoebus stablish must.
When the Muses nine
With the Virtues meet,
Find to their design
An Atlantic seat,
By green orchard boughs
Fended from the heat,
here the statesman ploughs
Furrow for the wheat, —
When the Church is social worth,
When the state-house is the hearth,
Then the perfect State is come,
The republican at home.

Heroism

Ruby wine is drunk by knaves,
Sugar spends to fatten slaves,
Rose and vine-leaf deck buffoons;
Thunder-clouds are Jove’s festoons,
Drooping oft in wreaths of dread,
Lightning-knotted round his head;
The hero is not fed on sweets,
Daily his own heart he eats;
Chambers of the great are jails,
And head-winds right for royal sails.

Character

The sun set, but set not his hope:
Stars rose; his faith was earlier up:
Fixed on the enormous galaxy,
Deeper and older seemed his eye;
And matched his sufferance sublime
The taciturnity of time.
He spoke, and words more soft than rain
Brought the Age of Gold again:
His action won such reverence sweet
As hid all measure of the feat.

Culture

Can rules or tutors educate
The semigod whom we await?
He must be musical,
Tremulous, impressional,
Alive to gentle influence
Of landscape and of sky,
And tender to the spirit-touch
Of man’s or maiden’s eye:
But, to his native centre fast,
Shall into Future fuse the Past,
And the world’s flowing fates in his own mould recast.

Friendship

A ruddy drop of manly blood
The surging sea outweighs,
The world uncertain comes and goes;
The lover rooted stays.
I fancied he was fled, —
And, after many a year,
Glowed unexhausted kindliness,
Like daily sunrise there.
My careful heart was free again,
O friend, my bosom said,
Through thee alone the sky is arched,
Through thee the rose is red;
All things through thee take nobler form,
And look beyond the earth,
The mill-round of our fate appears
A sun-path in thy worth.
Me too thy nobleness has taught
To master my despair;
The fountains of my hidden life
Are through thy friendship fair.

Spiritual Laws

The living Heaven thy prayers respect,
House at once and architect,
Quarrying man’s rejected hours,
Builds therewith eternal towers;
Sole and self-commanded works,
Fears not undermining days,
Grows by decays,
And, by the famous might that lurks
In reaction and recoil,
Makes flame to freeze and ice to boil;
Forging, through swart arms of Offence,
The silver seat of Innocence.

Beauty

Was never form and never face
So sweet to SEYD as only grace
Which did not slumber like a stone,
But hovered gleaming and was gone.
Beauty chased he everywhere,
In flame, in storm, in clouds of air.
He smote the lake to feed his eye
With the beryl beam of the broken wave;
He flung in pebbles well to hear
The moment’s music which they gave.
Oft pealed for him a lofty tone
From nodding pole and belting zone.
He heard a voice none else could hear
From centred and from errant sphere.
The quaking earth did quake in rhyme,
Seas ebbed and flowed in epic chime.
In dens of passion, and pits of woe,
He saw strong Eros struggling through,
To sun the dark and solve the curse,
And beam to the bounds of the universe.
While thus to love he gave his days
In loyal worship, scorning praise,
How spread their lures for him in vain
Thieving Ambition and paltering Gain!
He thought it happier to be dead,
To die for Beauty, than live for bread.

Manners

Grace, Beauty and Caprice
Build this golden portal;
Graceful women, chosen men,
Dazzle every mortal.
Their sweet and lofty countenance
His enchanted food;
He need not go to them, their forms
Beset his solitude.
He looketh seldom in their face,
His eyes explore the ground, —
The green grass is a looking-glass
Whereon their traits are found.
Little and less he says to them,
So dances his heart in his breast;
Their tranquil mien bereaveth him
Of wit, of words, of rest.
Too weak to win, too fond to shun
The tyrants of his doom,
The much deceived Endymion
Slips behind a tomb.

Art

Give to barrows, trays and pans
Grace and glimmer of romance;
Bring the moonlight into noon
Hid in gleaming piles of stone;
On the city’s paved street
Plant gardens lined with lilacs sweet;
Let spouting fountains cool the air,
Singing in the sun-baked square;
Let statue, picture, park and hall,
Ballad, flag and festival,
The past restore, the day adorn,
And make to-morrow a new morn.
So shall the drudge in dusty frock
Spy behind the city clock
Retinues of airy kings,
Skirts of angels, starry wings,
His fathers shining in bright fables,
His children fed at heavenly tables.
‘T is the privilege of Art
Thus to play its cheerful part,
Man on earth to acclimate
And bend the exile to his fate,
And, moulded of one element
With the days and firmament,
Teach him on these as stairs to climb,
And live on even terms with Time;
Whilst upper life the slender rill
Of human sense doth overfill.

Unity

Space is ample, east and west,
But two cannot go abreast,
Cannot travel in it two:
Yonder masterful cuckoo
Crowds every egg out of the nest,
Quick or dead, except its own;
A spell is laid on sod and stone,
Night and Day were tampered with,
Every quality and pith
Surcharged and sultry with a power
That works its will on age and hour.

Worship

This is he, who, felled by foes,
Sprung harmless up, refreshed by blows:
He to captivity was sold,
But him no prison-bars would hold:
Though they sealed him in a rock,
Mountain chains he can unlock:
Thrown to lions for their meat,
The crouching lion kissed his feet;
Bound to the stake, no flames appalled,
But arched o’er him an honoring vault.
This is he men miscall Fate,
Threading dark ways, arriving late,
But ever coming in time to crown
The truth, and hurl wrong-doers down.
He is the oldest, and best known,
More near than aught thou call’st thy own,
Yet, greeted in another’s eyes,
Disconcerts with glad surprise.
This is Jove, who, deaf to prayers,
Floods with blessings unawares.
Draw, if thou canst, the mystic line
Severing rightly his from thine,
Which is human, which divine.

Prudence

Theme no poet gladly sung,
Fair to old and foul to young;
Scorn not thou the love of parts,
And the articles of arts.
Grandeur of the perfect sphere
Thanks the atoms that cohere.

Nature

I

A subtle chain of countless rings
The next unto the farthest brings;
The eye reads omens where it goes,
And speaks all languages the rose;
And, striving to be man, the worm
Mounts through all the spires of form.

II

The rounded world is fair to see,
Nine times folded in mystery:
Though baffled seers cannot impart
The secret of its laboring heart,
Throb thine with Nature’s throbbing breast,
And all is clear from east to west.
Spirit that lurks each form within
Beckons to spirit of its kin;
Self-kindled every atom glows
And hints the future which it owes.

The Informing Spirit

I

There is no great and no small
To the Soul that maketh all:
And where it cometh, all things are;
And it cometh everywhere.

II

I am owner of the sphere,
Of the seven stars and the solar year,
Of Caesar’s hand, and Plato’s brain,
Of Lord Christ’s heart, and Shakspeare’s strain.

Circles

Nature centres into balls,
And her proud ephemerals,
Fast to surface and outside,
Scan the profile of the sphere;
Knew they what that signified,
A new genesis were here.

Intellect

Go, speed the stars of Thought
On to their shining goals; —
The sower scatters broad his seed;
The wheat thou strew’st be souls.

Gifts

Gifts of one who loved me, —
‘T was high time they came;
When he ceased to love me,
Time they stopped for shame.

Promise

In countless upward-striving waves
The moon-drawn tide-wave strives;
In thousand far-transplanted grafts
The parent fruit survives;
So, in the new-born millions,
The perfect Adam lives.
Not less are summer mornings dear
To every child they wake,
And each with novel life his sphere
Fills for his proper sake.

Caritas

In the suburb, in the town,
On the railway, in the square,
Came a beam of goodness down
Doubling daylight everywhere:
Peace now each for malice takes,
Beauty for his sinful weeds,
For the angel Hope aye makes
Him an angel whom she leads.

Power

His tongue was framed to music,
And his hand was armed with skill;
His face was the mould of beauty,
And his heart the throne of will.

Wealth

Who shall tell what did befall,
Far away in time, when once,
Over the lifeless ball,
Hung idle stars and suns?
What god the element obeyed?
Wings of what wind the lichen bore,
Wafting the puny seeds of power,
Which, lodged in rock, the rock abrade?
And well the primal pioneer
Knew the strong task to it assigned,
Patient through Heaven’s enormous year
To build in matter home for mind.
From air the creeping centuries drew
The matted thicket low and wide,
This must the leaves of ages strew
The granite slab to clothe and hide,
Ere wheat can wave its golden pride.
What smiths, and in what furnace, rolled
(In dizzy aeons dim and mute
The reeling brain can ill compute)
Copper and iron, lead and gold?
What oldest star the fame can save
Of races perishing to pave
The planet with a floor of lime?
Dust is their pyramid and mole:
Who saw what ferns and palms were pressed
Under the tumbling mountain’s breast,
In the safe herbal of the coal?
But when the quarried means were piled,
All is waste and worthless, till
Arrives the wise selecting will,
And, out of slime and chaos, Wit
Draws the threads of fair and fit.
Then temples rose, and towns, and marts,
The shop of toil, the hall of arts;
Then flew the sail across the seas
To feed the North from tropic trees;
The storm-wind wove, the torrent span,
Where they were bid, the rivers ran;
New slaves fulfilled the poet’s dream,
Galvanic wire, strong-shouldered steam.
Then docks were built, and crops were stored,
And ingots added to the hoard.
But though light-headed man forget,
Remembering Matter pays her debt:
Still, through her motes and masses, draw
Electric thrills and ties of law,
Which bind the strengths of Nature wild
To the conscience of a child.

Illusions

Flow, flow the waves hated,
Accursed, adored,
The waves of mutation;
No anchorage is.
Sleep is not, death is not;
Who seem to die live.
House you were born in,
Friends of your spring-time,
Old man and young maid,
Day’s toil and its guerdon,
They are all vanishing,
Fleeing to fables,
Cannot be moored.
See the stars through them,
Through treacherous marbles.
Know the stars yonder,
The stars everlasting,
Are fugitive also,
And emulate, vaulted,
The lambent heat lightning
And fire-fly’s flight.

When thou dost return
On the wave’s circulation,
Behold the shimmer,
The wild dissipation,
And, out of endeavor
To change and to flow,
The gas become solid,
And phantoms and nothings
Return to be things,
And endless imbroglio
Is law and the world, —
Then first shalt thou know,
That in the wild turmoil,
Horsed on the Proteus,
Thou ridest to power,
And to endurance.


Quatrains

A.H.

High was her heart, and yet was well inclined,
Her manners made of bounty well refined;
Far capitals and marble courts, her eye still seemed to see,
Minstrels and kings and high-born dames, and of the best that be.

Hush!

Every thought is public,
Every nook is wide;
Thy gossips spread each whisper,
And the gods from side to side.

Orator

He who has no hands
Perforce must use his tongue;
Foxes are so cunning
Because they are not strong.

Artist

Quit the hut, frequent the palace,
Reck not what the people say;
For still, where’er the trees grow biggest,
Huntsmen find the easiest way.

Poet

Ever the Poet from the land
Steers his bark and trims his sail;
Right out to sea his courses stand,
New worlds to find in pinnace frail.

Poet

To clothe the fiery thought
In simple words succeeds,
For still the craft of genius is
To mask a king in weeds.

Botanist

Go thou to thy learned task,
I stay with the flowers of Spring:
Do thou of the Ages ask
What me the Hours will bring.

Gardener

True Brahmin, in the morning meadows wet,
Expound the Vedas of the violet,
Or, hid in vines, peeping through many a loop,
See the plum redden, and the beurré stoop.

Forester

He took the color of his vest
From rabbit’s coat or grouse’s breast;
For, as the wood-kinds lurk and hide,
So walks the woodman, unespied.

Northman

The gale that wrecked you on the sand,
It helped my rowers to row;
The storm is my best galley hand
And drives me where I go.

From Alcuin

The sea is the road of the bold,
Frontier of the wheat-sown plains,
The pit wherein the streams are rolled
And fountain of the rains.

Excelsior

Over his head were the maple buds,
And over the tree was the moon,
And over the moon were the starry studs
That drop from the angels’ shoon.

S.H.

With beams December planets dart
His cold eye truth and conduct scanned,
July was in his sunny heart,
October in his liberal hand.

Borrowing From the French

Some of your hurts you have cured,
And the sharpest you still have survived,
But what torments of grief you endured
From evils which never arrived!

Nature

Boon Nature yields each day a brag which we now first behold,
And trains us on to slight the new, as if it were the old:
But blest is he, who, playing deep, yet haply asks not why,
Too busied with the crowded hour to fear to live or die.

Fate

Her planted eye to-day controls,
Is in the morrow most at home,
And sternly calls to being souls
That curse her when they come.

Horoscope

Ere he was born, the stars of fate
Plotted to make him rich and great:
When from the womb the babe was loosed,
The gate of gifts behind him closed.

Power

Cast the bantling on the rocks,
Suckle him with the she-wolf’s teat,
Wintered with the hawk and fox,
Power and speed be hands and feet.

Climacteric

I am not wiser for my age,
Nor skilful by my grief;
Life loiters at the book’s first page, —
Ah! could we turn the leaf.

Heri, Cras, Hodie

Shines the last age, the next with hope is seen,
To-day slinks poorly off unmarked between:
Future or Past no richer secret folds,
O friendless Present! than thy bosom holds.

Memory

Night-dreams trace on Memory’s wall
Shadows of the thoughts of day,
And thy fortunes, as they fall,
The bias of the will betray.

Love

Love on his errand bound to go
Can swim the flood and wade through snow,
Where way is none, ‘t will creep and wind
And eat through Alps its home to find.

Sacrifice

Though love repine, and reason chafe,
There came a voice without reply, —
‘‘T is man’s perdition to be safe,
When for the truth he ought to die.’

Pericles

Well and wisely said the Greek,
Be thou faithful, but not fond;
To the altar’s foot thy fellow seek, —
The Furies wait beyond.

Casella

Test of the poet is knowledge of love,
For Eros is older than Saturn or Jove;
Never was poet, of late or of yore,
Who was not tremulous with love-lore.

Shakspeare

I see all human wits
Are measured but a few;
Unmeasured still my Shakspeare sits,
Lone as the blessed Jew.

Hafiz

Her passions the shy violet
From Hafiz never hides;
Love-longings of the raptured bird
The bird to him confides.

Nature in Leasts

As sings the pine-tree in the wind,
So sings in the wind a sprig of the pine;
Her strength and soul has laughing France
Shed in each drop of wine.

[Greek: ADAKRYN NEMONTAI AIONA]

‘A New commandment,’ said the smiling Muse,
‘I give my darling son, Thou shalt not preach’; —
Luther, Fox, Behmen, Swedenborg, grew pale,
And, on the instant, rosier clouds upbore
Hafiz and Shakspeare with their shining choirs.

Fragments


The Poet

I

Right upward on the road of fame
With sounding steps the poet came;
Born and nourished in miracles,
His feet were shod with golden bells,
Or where he stepped the soil did peal
As if the dust were glass and steel.
The gallant child where’er he came
Threw to each fact a tuneful name.
The things whereon he cast his eyes
Could not the nations rebaptize,
Nor Time’s snows hide the names he set,
Nor last posterity forget.
Yet every scroll whereon he wrote
In latent fire his secret thought,
Fell unregarded to the ground,
Unseen by such as stood around.
The pious wind took it away,
The reverent darkness hid the lay.
Methought like water-haunting birds
Divers or dippers were his words,
And idle clowns beside the mere
At the new vision gape and jeer.
But when the noisy scorn was past,
Emerge the wingèd words in haste.
New-bathed, new-trimmed, on healthy wing,
Right to the heaven they steer and sing.

A Brother of the world, his song
Sounded like a tempest strong
Which tore from oaks their branches broad,
And stars from the ecliptic road.
Times wore he as his clothing-weeds,
He sowed the sun and moon for seeds.
As melts the iceberg in the seas,
As clouds give rain to the eastern breeze,
As snow-banks thaw in April’s beam,
The solid kingdoms like a dream
Resist in vain his motive strain,
They totter now and float amain.
For the Muse gave special charge
His learning should be deep and large,
And his training should not scant
The deepest lore of wealth or want:
His flesh should feel, his eyes should read
Every maxim of dreadful Need;
In its fulness he should taste
Life’s honeycomb, but not too fast;
Full fed, but not intoxicated;
He should be loved; he should be hated;
A blooming child to children dear,
His heart should palpitate with fear.

And well he loved to quit his home
And, Calmuck, in his wagon roam
To read new landscapes and old skies; —
But oh, to see his solar eyes
Like meteors which chose their way
And rived the dark like a new day!
Not lazy grazing on all they saw,
Each chimney-pot and cottage door,
Farm-gear and village picket-fence,
But, feeding on magnificence,
They bounded to the horizon’s edge
And searched with the sun’s privilege.
Landward they reached the mountains old
Where pastoral tribes their flocks infold,
Saw rivers run seaward by cities high
And the seas wash the low-hung sky;
Saw the endless rack of the firmament
And the sailing moon where the cloud was rent,
And through man and woman and sea and star
Saw the dance of Nature forward and far,
Through worlds and races and terms and times
Saw musical order and pairing rhymes.

II

The gods talk in the breath of the woods,
They talk in the shaken pine,
And fill the long reach of the old seashore
With dialogue divine;
And the poet who overhears
Some random word they say
Is the fated man of men
Whom the ages must obey:
One who having nectar drank
Into blissful orgies sank;
He takes no mark of night or day,
He cannot go, he cannot stay,
He would, yet would not, counsel keep,
But, like a walker in his sleep
With staring eye that seeth none,
Ridiculously up and down
Seeks how he may fitly tell
The heart-o’erlading miracle.

Not yet, not yet,
Impatient friend, —
A little while attend;
Not yet I sing: but I must wait,
My hand upon the silent string,
Fully until the end.
I see the coming light,
I see the scattered gleams,
Aloft, beneath, on left and right
The stars’ own ether beams;
These are but seeds of days,
Not yet a steadfast morn,
An intermittent blaze,
An embryo god unborn.

How all things sparkle,
The dust is alive,
To the birth they arrive:
I snuff the breath of my morning afar,
I see the pale lustres condense to a star:
The fading colors fix,
The vanishing are seen,
And the world that shall be
Twins the world that has been.
I know the appointed hour,
I greet my office well,
Never faster, never slower
Revolves the fatal wheel!
The Fairest enchants me,
The Mighty commands me,
Saying, ‘Stand in thy place;
Up and eastward turn thy face;
As mountains for the morning wait,
Coming early, coming late,
So thou attend the enriching Fate
Which none can stay, and none accelerate.
I am neither faint nor weary,
Fill thy will, O faultless heart!
Here from youth to age I tarry, —
Count it flight of bird or dart.
My heart at the heart of things
Heeds no longer lapse of time,
Rushing ages moult their wings,
Bathing in thy day sublime.

The sun set, but set not his hope: —
Stars rose, his faith was earlier up:
Fixed on the enormous galaxy,
Deeper and older seemed his eye,
And matched his sufferance sublime
The taciturnity of Time.

Beside his hut and shading oak,
Thus to himself the poet spoke,
‘I have supped to-night with gods,
I will not go under a wooden roof:
As I walked among the hills
In the love which Nature fills,
The great stars did not shine aloof,
They hurried down from their deep abodes
And hemmed me in their glittering troop.

‘Divine Inviters! I accept
The courtesy ye have shown and kept
From ancient ages for the bard,
To modulate
With finer fate
A fortune harsh and hard.
With aim like yours
I watch your course,
Who never break your lawful dance
By error or intemperance.
O birds of ether without wings!
O heavenly ships without a sail!
O fire of fire! O best of things!
O mariners who never fail!
Sail swiftly through your amber vault,
An animated law, a presence to exalt.’

Ah, happy if a sun or star
Could chain the wheel of Fortune’s car,
And give to hold an even state,
Neither dejected nor elate,
That haply man upraised might keep
The height of Fancy’s far-eyed steep.
In vain: the stars are glowing wheels,
Giddy with motion Nature reels,
Sun, moon, man, undulate and stream,
The mountains flow, the solids seem,
Change acts, reacts; back, forward hurled,
And pause were palsy to the world. —
The morn is come: the starry crowds
Are hid behind the thrice-piled clouds;
The new day lowers, and equal odds
Have changed not less the guest of gods;
Discrowned and timid, thoughtless, worn,
The child of genius sits forlorn:
Between two sleeps a short day’s stealth,
‘Mid many ails a brittle health,
A cripple of God, half true, half formed,
And by great sparks Promethean warmed,
Constrained by impotence to adjourn
To infinite time his eager turn,
His lot of action at the urn.
He by false usage pinned about
No breath therein, no passage out,
Cast wishful glances at the stars
And wishful saw the Ocean stream: —
‘Merge me in the brute universe,
Or lift to a diviner dream!’

Beside him sat enduring love,
Upon him noble eyes did rest,
Which, for the Genius that there strove.
The follies bore that it invest.
They spoke not, for their earnest sense
Outran the craft of eloquence.

He whom God had thus preferred, —
To whom sweet angels ministered,
Saluted him each morn as brother,
And bragged his virtues to each other, —
Alas! how were they so beguiled,
And they so pure? He, foolish child,
A facile, reckless, wandering will,
Eager for good, not hating ill,
Thanked Nature for each stroke she dealt;
On his tense chords all strokes were felt,
The good, the bad with equal zeal,
He asked, he only asked, to feel.
Timid, self-pleasing, sensitive,
With Gods, with fools, content to live;
Bended to fops who bent to him;
Surface with surfaces did swim.

‘Sorrow, sorrow!’ the angels cried,
‘Is this dear Nature’s manly pride?
Call hither thy mortal enemy,
Make him glad thy fall to see!
Yon waterflag, yon sighing osier,
A drop can shake, a breath can fan;
Maidens laugh and weep; Composure
Is the pudency of man,’

Again by night the poet went
From the lighted halls
Beneath the darkling firmament
To the seashore, to the old seawalls,
Out shone a star beneath the cloud,
The constellation glittered soon, —
You have no lapse; so have ye glowed
But once in your dominion.
And yet, dear stars, I know ye shine
Only by needs and loves of mine;
Light-loving, light-asking life in me
Feeds those eternal lamps I see.
And I to whom your light has spoken,
I, pining to be one of you,
I fall, my faith is broken,
Ye scorn me from your deeps of blue.
Or if perchance, ye orbs of Fate,
Your ne’er averted glance
Beams with a will compassionate
On sons of time and chance,
Then clothe these hands with power
In just proportion,
Nor plant immense designs
Where equal means are none.’

CHORUS OF SPIRITS

Means, dear brother, ask them not;
Soul’s desire is means enow,
Pure content is angel’s lot,
Thine own theatre art thou.

Gentler far than falls the snow
In the woodwalks still and low
Fell the lesson on his heart
And woke the fear lest angels part.

POET

I see your forms with deep content,
I know that ye are excellent,
But will ye stay?
I hear the rustle of wings,
Ye meditate what to say
Ere ye go to quit me for ever and aye.

SPIRITS

Brother, we are no phantom band;
Brother, accept this fatal hand.
Aches thine unbelieving heart
With the fear that we must part?
See, all we are rooted here
By one thought to one same sphere;
From thyself thou canst not flee, —
From thyself no more can we.

POET

Suns and stars their courses keep,
But not angels of the deep:
Day and night their turn observe,
But the day of day may swerve.
Is there warrant that the waves
Of thought in their mysterious caves
Will heap in me their highest tide,
In me therewith beatified?
Unsure the ebb and flood of thought,
The moon comes back, — the Spirit not.

SPIRITS

Brother, sweeter is the Law
Than all the grace Love ever saw;
We are its suppliants. By it, we
Draw the breath of Eternity;
Serve thou it not for daily bread, —
Serve it for pain and fear and need.
Love it, though it hide its light;
By love behold the sun at night.
If the Law should thee forget,
More enamoured serve it yet;
Though it hate thee, suffer long;
Put the Spirit in the wrong;
Brother, no decrepitude
Chills the limbs of Time;
As fleet his feet, his hands as good,
His vision as sublime:
On Nature’s wheels there is no rust;
Nor less on man’s enchanted dust
Beauty and Force alight.

Fragments on the Poet and the Poetic Gift

I

There are beggars in Iran and Araby,
SAID was hungrier than all;
Hafiz said he was a fly
That came to every festival.
He came a pilgrim to the Mosque
On trail of camel and caravan,
Knew every temple and kiosk
Out from Mecca to Ispahan;
Northward he went to the snowy hills,
At court he sat in the grave Divan.
His music was the south-wind’s sigh,
His lamp, the maiden’s downcast eye,
And ever the spell of beauty came
And turned the drowsy world to flame.
By lake and stream and gleaming hall
And modest copse and the forest tall,
Where’er he went, the magic guide
Kept its place by the poet’s side.
Said melted the days like cups of pearl,
Served high and low, the lord and the churl,
Loved harebells nodding on a rock,
A cabin hung with curling smoke,
Ring of axe or hum of wheel
Or gleam which use can paint on steel,
And huts and tents; nor loved he less
Stately lords in palaces,
Princely women hard to please,
Fenced by form and ceremony,
Decked by courtly rites and dress
And etiquette of gentilesse.
But when the mate of the snow and wind,
He left each civil scale behind:
Him wood-gods fed with honey wild
And of his memory beguiled.
He loved to watch and wake
When the wing of the south-wind whipt the lake
And the glassy surface in ripples brake
And fled in pretty frowns away
Like the flitting boreal lights,
Rippling roses in northern nights,
Or like the thrill of Aeolian strings
In which the sudden wind-god rings.
In caves and hollow trees he crept
And near the wolf and panther slept.
He came to the green ocean’s brim
And saw the wheeling sea-birds skim,
Summer and winter, o’er the wave,
Like creatures of a skiey mould,
Impassible to heat or cold.
He stood before the tumbling main
With joy too tense for sober brain;
He shared the life of the element,
The tie of blood and home was rent:
As if in him the welkin walked,
The winds took flesh, the mountains talked,
And he the bard, a crystal soul
Sphered and concentric with the whole.

II

The Dervish whined to Said,
“Thou didst not tarry while I prayed.
Beware the fire that Eblis burned,”
But Saadi coldly thus returned,
“Once with manlike love and fear
I gave thee for an hour my ear,
I kept the sun and stars at bay,
And love, for words thy tongue could say.
I cannot sell my heaven again
For all that rattles in thy brain.”

III

Said Saadi, “When I stood before
Hassan the camel-driver’s door,
I scorned the fame of Timour brave;
Timour, to Hassan, was a slave.
In every glance of Hassan’s eye
I read great years of victory,
And I, who cower mean and small
In the frequent interval
When wisdom not with me resides,
Worship Toil’s wisdom that abides.
I shunned his eyes, that faithful man’s,
I shunned the toiling Hassan’s glance.”

IV

The civil world will much forgive
To bards who from its maxims live,
But if, grown bold, the poet dare
Bend his practice to his prayer
And following his mighty heart
Shame the times and live apart, —
Vae solis! I found this,
That of goods I could not miss
If I fell within the line,
Once a member, all was mine,
Houses, banquets, gardens, fountains,
Fortune’s delectable mountains;
But if I would walk alone,
Was neither cloak nor crumb my own.
And thus the high Muse treated me,
Directly never greeted me,
But when she spread her dearest spells,
Feigned to speak to some one else.
I was free to overhear,
Or I might at will forbear;
Yet mark me well, that idle word
Thus at random overheard
Was the symphony of spheres,
And proverb of a thousand years,
The light wherewith all planets shone,
The livery all events put on,
It fell in rain, it grew in grain,
It put on flesh in friendly form,
Frowned in my foe and growled in storm,
It spoke in Tullius Cicero,
In Milton and in Angelo:
I travelled and found it at Rome;
Eastward it filled all Heathendom
And it lay on my hearth when I came home.

V

Mask thy wisdom with delight,
Toy with the bow, yet hit the white,
As Jelaleddin old and gray;
He seemed to bask, to dream and play
Without remoter hope or fear
Than still to entertain his ear
And pass the burning summer-time
In the palm-grove with a rhyme;
Heedless that each cunning word
Tribes and ages overheard:
Those idle catches told the laws
Holding Nature to her cause.

God only knew how Saadi dined;
Roses he ate, and drank the wind;
He freelier breathed beside the pine,
In cities he was low and mean;
The mountain waters washed him clean
And by the sea-waves he was strong;
He heard their medicinal song,
Asked no physician but the wave,
No palace but his sea-beat cave.

Saadi held the Muse in awe,
She was his mistress and his law;
A twelvemonth he could silence hold,
Nor ran to speak till she him told;
He felt the flame, the fanning wings,
Nor offered words till they were things,
Glad when the solid mountain swims
In music and uplifting hymns.

Charmed from fagot and from steel,
Harvests grew upon his tongue,
Past and future must reveal
All their heart when Saadi sung;
Sun and moon must fall amain
Like sower’s seeds into his brain,
There quickened to be born again.

The free winds told him what they knew,
Discoursed of fortune as they blew;
Omens and signs that filled the air
To him authentic witness bare;
The birds brought auguries on their wings,
And carolled undeceiving things
Him to beckon, him to warn;
Well might then the poet scorn
To learn of scribe or courier
Things writ in vaster character;
And on his mind at dawn of day
Soft shadows of the evening lay.

* * *

Pale genius roves alone,
No scout can track his way,
None credits him till he have shown
His diamonds to the day.

Not his the feaster’s wine,
Nor land, nor gold, nor power,
By want and pain God screeneth him
Till his elected hour.

Go, speed the stars of Thought
On to their shining goals: —
The sower scatters broad his seed,
The wheat thou strew’st be souls.

I grieve that better souls than mine
Docile read my measured line:
High destined youths and holy maids
Hallow these my orchard shades;
Environ me and me baptize
With light that streams from gracious eyes.
I dare not be beloved and known,
I ungrateful, I alone.

Ever find me dim regards,
Love of ladies, love of bards,
Marked forbearance, compliments,
Tokens of benevolence.
What then, can I love myself?
Fame is profitless as pelf,
A good in Nature not allowed
They love me, as I love a cloud
Sailing falsely in the sphere,
Hated mist if it come near.

For thought, and not praise;
Thought is the wages
For which I sell days,
Will gladly sell ages
And willing grow old
Deaf, and dumb, and blind, and cold,
Melting matter into dreams,
Panoramas which I saw
And whatever glows or seems
Into substance, into Law.

For Fancy’s gift
Can mountains lift;
The Muse can knit
What is past, what is done,
With the web that’s just begun;
Making free with time and size,
Dwindles here, there magnifies,
Swells a rain-drop to a tun;
So to repeat
No word or feat
Crowds in a day the sum of ages,
And blushing Love outwits the sages.

Try the might the Muse affords
And the balm of thoughtful words;
Bring music to the desolate;
Hang roses on the stony fate.

But over all his crowning grace,
Wherefor thanks God his daily praise,
Is the purging of his eye
To see the people of the sky:
From blue mount and headland dim
Friendly hands stretch forth to him,
Him they beckon, him advise
Of heavenlier prosperities
And a more excelling grace
And a truer bosom-glow
Than the wine-fed feasters know.
They turn his heart from lovely maids,
And make the darlings of the earth
Swainish, coarse and nothing worth:
Teach him gladly to postpone
Pleasures to another stage
Beyond the scope of human age,
Freely as task at eve undone
Waits unblamed to-morrow’s sun.

By thoughts I lead
Bards to say what nations need;
What imports, what irks and what behooves,
Framed afar as Fates and Loves.

And as the light divides the dark
Through with living swords,
So shall thou pierce the distant age
With adamantine words.

I framed his tongue to music,
I armed his hand with skill,
I moulded his face to beauty
And his heart the throne of Will.

For every God
Obeys the hymn, obeys the ode.

For art, for music over-thrilled,
The wine-cup shakes, the wine is spilled.

Hold of the Maker, not the Made;
Sit with the Cause, or grim or glad.

That book is good
Which puts me in a working mood.
Unless to Thought is added Will,
Apollo is an imbecile.
What parts, what gems, what colors shine, —
Ah, but I miss the grand design.

Like vaulters in a circus round
Who leap from horse to horse, but never touch the ground.

For Genius made his cabin wide,
And Love led Gods therein to bide.

The atom displaces all atoms beside,
And Genius unspheres all souls that abide.

To transmute crime to wisdom, so to stem
The vice of Japhet by the thought of Shem.

He could condense cerulean ether
Into the very best sole-leather.

Forbore the ant-hill, shunned to tread,
In mercy, on one little head.

I have no brothers and no peers,
And the dearest interferes:
When I would spend a lonely day,
Sun and moon are in my way.

The brook sings on, but sings in vain
Wanting the echo in my brain.

He planted where the deluge ploughed.
His hired hands were wind and cloud;
His eyes detect the Gods concealed
In the hummock of the field.

For what need I of book or priest,
Or sibyl from the mummied East,
When every star is Bethlehem star?
I count as many as there are
Cinquefoils or violets in the grass,
So many saints and saviors,
So many high behaviors
Salute the bard who is alive
And only sees what he doth give.

Coin the day-dawn into lines
In which its proper splendor shines;
Coin the moonlight into verse
Which all its marvel shall rehearse,
Chasing with words fast-flowing things; nor try
To plant thy shrivelled pedantry
On the shoulders of the sky.

Ah, not to me those dreams belong!
A better voice peals through my song.

The Muse’s hill by Fear is guarded,
A bolder foot is still rewarded.

His instant thought a poet spoke,
And filled the age his fame;
An inch of ground the lightning strook
But lit the sky with flame.

If bright the sun, he tarries,
All day his song is heard;
And when he goes he carries
No more baggage than a bird.

The Asmodean feat is mine,
To spin my sand-heap into twine.

Slighted Minerva’s learnèd tongue,
But leaped with joy when on the wind
The shell of Clio rung.

Fragments on Nature and Life

NATURE

The patient Pan,
Drunken with nectar,
Sleeps or feigns slumber,
Drowsily humming
Music to the march of time.
This poor tooting, creaking cricket,
Pan, half asleep, rolling over
His great body in the grass,
Tooting, creaking,
Feigns to sleep, sleeping never;
‘T is his manner,
Well he knows his own affair,
Piling mountain chains of phlegm
On the nervous brain of man,
As he holds down central fires
Under Alps and Andes cold;
Haply else we could not live,
Life would be too wild an ode.

Come search the wood for flowers, —
Wild tea and wild pea,
Grapevine and succory,
Coreopsis
And liatris,
Flaunting in their bowers;
Grass with green flag half-mast high,
Succory to match the sky,
Columbine with horn of honey,
Scented fern and agrimony;
Forest full of essences
Fit for fairy presences,
Peppermint and sassafras,
Sweet fern, mint and vernal grass,
Panax, black birch, sugar maple,
Sweet and scent for Dian’s table,
Elder-blow, sarsaparilla,
Wild rose, lily, dry vanilla, —
Spices in the plants that run
To bring their first fruits to the sun.
Earliest heats that follow frore
Nervèd leaf of hellebore,
Sweet willow, checkerberry red,
With its savory leaf for bread.
Silver birch and black
With the selfsame spice
Found in polygala root and rind,
Sassafras, fern, benzöine,
Mouse-ear, cowslip, wintergreen,
Which by aroma may compel
The frost to spare, what scents so well.

Where the fungus broad and red
Lifts its head,
Like poisoned loaf of elfin bread,
Where the aster grew
With the social goldenrod,
In a chapel, which the dew
Made beautiful for God: —
O what would Nature say?
She spared no speech to-day:
The fungus and the bulrush spoke,
Answered the pine-tree and the oak,
The wizard South blew down the glen,
Filled the straits and filled the wide,
Each maple leaf turned up its silver side.
All things shine in his smoky ray,
And all we see are pictures high;
Many a high hillside,
While oaks of pride
Climb to their tops,
And boys run out upon their leafy ropes.
The maple street
In the houseless wood,
Voices followed after,
Every shrub and grape leaf
Rang with fairy laughter.
I have heard them fall
Like the strain of all
King Oberon’s minstrelsy.
Would hear the everlasting
And know the only strong?
You must worship fasting,
You must listen long.
Words of the air
Which birds of the air
Carry aloft, below, around,
To the isles of the deep,
To the snow-capped steep,
To the thundercloud.

For Nature, true and like in every place,
Will hint her secret in a garden patch,
Or in lone corners of a doleful heath,
As in the Andes watched by fleets at sea,
Or the sky-piercing horns of Himmaleh;
And, when I would recall the scenes I dreamed
On Adirondac steeps, I know
Small need have I of Turner or Daguerre,
Assured to find the token once again
In silver lakes that unexhausted gleam
And peaceful woods beside my cottage door.

What all the books of ages paint, I have.
What prayers and dreams of youthful genius feign,
I daily dwell in, and am not so blind
But I can see the elastic tent of day
Belike has wider hospitality
Than my few needs exhaust, and bids me read
The quaint devices on its mornings gay.
Yet Nature will not be in full possessed,
And they who truliest love her, heralds are
And harbingers of a majestic race,
Who, having more absorbed, more largely yield,
And walk on earth as the sun walks in the sphere.

But never yet the man was found
Who could the mystery expound,
Though Adam, born when oaks were young,
Endured, the Bible says, as long;
But when at last the patriarch died
The Gordian noose was still untied.
He left, though goodly centuries old,
Meek Nature’s secret still untold.

Atom from atom yawns as far
As moon from earth, or star from star.

When all their blooms the meadows flaunt
To deck the morning of the year,
Why tinge thy lustres jubilant
With forecast or with fear?

Teach me your mood, O patient stars!
Who climb each night the ancient sky,
Leaving on space no shade, no scars,
No trace of age, no fear to die.

The sun athwart the cloud thought it no sin
To use my land to put his rainbows in.

For joy and beauty planted it,
With faerie gardens cheered,
And boding Fancy haunted it
With men and women weird.

What central flowing forces, say,
Make up thy splendor, matchless day?

Day by day for her darlings to her much she added more;
In her hundred-gated Thebes every chamber was a door,
A door to something grander, — loftier walls, and vaster floor.

She paints with white and red the moors
To draw the nations out of doors.

A score of airy miles will smooth
Rough Monadnoc to a gem.

The Earth

Our eyeless bark sails free
Though with boom and spar
Andes, Alp or Himmalee,
Strikes never moon or star.

The Heavens

Wisp and meteor nightly falling,
But the Stars of God remain.

Transition

See yonder leafless trees against the sky,
How they diffuse themselves into the air,
And, ever subdividing, separate
Limbs into branches, branches into twigs.
As if they loved the element, and hasted
To dissipate their being into it.

Parks and ponds are good by day;
I do not delight
In black acres of the night,
Nor my unseasoned step disturbs
The sleeps of trees or dreams of herbs.

In Walden wood the chickadee
Runs round the pine and maple tree
Intent on insect slaughter:
O tufted entomologist!
Devour as many as you list,
Then drink in Walden water.

The low December vault in June be lifted high,
And largest clouds be flakes of down in that enormous sky.

The Garden

Many things the garden shows,
And pleased I stray
From tree to tree
Watching the white pear-bloom,
Bee-infested quince or plum.
I could walk days, years, away
Till the slow ripening, secular tree
Had reached its fruiting-time,
Nor think it long.

Solar insect on the wing
In the garden murmuring,
Soothing with thy summer horn
Swains by winter pinched and worn.

Birds

Darlings of children and of bard,
Perfect kinds by vice unmarred,
All of worth and beauty set
Gems in Nature’s cabinet;
These the fables she esteems
Reality most like to dreams.
Welcome back, you little nations,
Far-travelled in the south plantations;
Bring your music and rhythmic flight,
Your colors for our eyes’ delight:
Freely nestle in our roof,
Weave your chamber weatherproof;
And your enchanting manners bring
And your autumnal gathering.
Exchange in conclave general
Greetings kind to each and all,
Conscious each of duty done
And unstainèd as the sun.

Water

The water understands
Civilization well;
It wets my foot, but prettily
It chills my life, but wittily,
It is not disconcerted,
It is not broken-hearted:
Well used, it decketh joy,
Adorneth, doubleth joy:
Ill used, it will destroy,
In perfect time and measure
With a face of golden pleasure
Elegantly destroy.

Nahant

All day the waves assailed the rock,
I heard no church-bell chime,
The sea-beat scorns the minster clock
And breaks the glass of Time.

Sunrise

Would you know what joy is hid
In our green Musketaquid,
And for travelled eyes what charms
Draw us to these meadow farms,
Come and I will show you all
Makes each day a festival.
Stand upon this pasture hill,
Face the eastern star until
The slow eye of heaven shall show
The world above, the world below.

Behold the miracle!
Thou saw’st but now the twilight sad
And stood beneath the firmament,
A watchman in a dark gray tent,
Waiting till God create the earth, —
Behold the new majestic birth!
The mottled clouds, like scraps of wool,
Steeped in the light are beautiful.
What majestic stillness broods
Over these colored solitudes.
Sleeps the vast East in pleasèd peace,
Up the far mountain walls the streams increase
Inundating the heaven
With spouting streams and waves of light
Which round the floating isles unite: —
See the world below
Baptized with the pure element,
A clear and glorious firmament
Touched with life by every beam.
I share the good with every flower,
I drink the nectar of the hour: —
This is not the ancient earth
Whereof old chronicles relate
The tragic tales of crime and fate;
But rather, like its beads of dew
And dew-bent violets, fresh and new,
An exhalation of the time.

* * *

Night in June

I left my dreary page and sallied forth,
Received the fair inscriptions of the night;
The moon was making amber of the world,
Glittered with silver every cottage pane,
The trees were rich, yet ominous with gloom.
The meadows broad
From ferns and grapes and from the folded flowers
Sent a nocturnal fragrance; harlot flies
Flashed their small fires in air, or held their court
In fairy groves of herds-grass.

He lives not who can refuse me;
All my force saith, Come and use me:
A gleam of sun, a summer rain,
And all the zone is green again.

Seems, though the soft sheen all enchants,
Cheers the rough crag and mournful dell,
As if on such stern forms and haunts
A wintry storm more fitly fell.

Put in, drive home the sightless wedges
And split to flakes the crystal ledges.

Maia

Illusion works impenetrable,
Weaving webs innumerable,
Her gay pictures never fail,
Crowds each on other, veil on veil,
Charmer who will be believed
By man who thirsts to be deceived.

Illusions like the tints of pearl,
Or changing colors of the sky,
Or ribbons of a dancing girl
That mend her beauty to the eye.

The cold gray down upon the quinces lieth
And the poor spinners weave their webs thereon
To share the sunshine that so spicy is.

Samson stark, at Dagon’s knee,
Gropes for columns strong as he;
When his ringlets grew and curled,
Groped for axle of the world.

But Nature whistled with all her winds,
Did as she pleased and went her way.

Life

A train of gay and clouded days
Dappled with joy and grief and praise,
Beauty to fire us, saints to save,
Escort us to a little grave.

No fate, save by the victim’s fault, is low,
For God hath writ all dooms magnificent,
So guilt not traverses his tender will.

Around the man who seeks a noble end,
Not angels but divinities attend.

From high to higher forces
The scale of power uprears,
The heroes on their horses,
The gods upon their spheres.

This shining moment is an edifice
Which the Omnipotent cannot rebuild.

Roomy Eternity
Casts her schemes rarely,
And an aeon allows
For each quality and part
Of the multitudinous
And many-chambered heart.

The beggar begs by God’s command,
And gifts awake when givers sleep,
Swords cannot cut the giving hand
Nor stab the love that orphans keep.

In the chamber, on the stairs,
Lurking dumb,
Go and come
Lemurs and Lars.

Such another peerless queen
Only could her mirror show.

Easy to match what others do,
Perform the feat as well as they;
Hard to out-do the brave, the true,
And find a loftier way:
The school decays, the learning spoils
Because of the sons of wine;
How snatch the stripling from their toils? —
Yet can one ray of truth divine
The blaze of revellers’ feasts outshine.

Of all wit’s uses the main one
Is to live well with who has none.

The tongue is prone to lose the way,
Not so the pen, for in a letter
We have not better things to say,
But surely say them better.

She walked in flowers around my field
As June herself around the sphere.

Friends to me are frozen wine;
I wait the sun on them should shine.

You shall not love me for what daily spends;
You shall not know me in the noisy street,
Where I, as others, follow petty ends;
Nor when in fair saloons we chance to meet;
Nor when I’m jaded, sick, anxious or mean.
But love me then and only, when you know
Me for the channel of the rivers of God
From deep ideal fontal heavens that flow.

To and fro the Genius flies,
A light which plays and hovers
Over the maiden’s head
And dips sometimes as low as to her eyes.
Of her faults I take no note,
Fault and folly are not mine;
Comes the Genius, — all’s forgot,
Replunged again into that upper sphere
He scatters wide and wild its lustres here.

Love
Asks nought his brother cannot give;
Asks nothing, but does all receive.
Love calls not to his aid events;
He to his wants can well suffice:
Asks not of others soft consents,
Nor kind occasion without eyes;
Nor plots to ope or bolt a gate,
Nor heeds Condition’s iron walls, —
Where he goes, goes before him Fate;
Whom he uniteth, God installs;
Instant and perfect his access
To the dear object of his thought,
Though foes and land and seas between
Himself and his love intervene.

The brave Empedocles, defying fools,
Pronounced the word that mortals hate to hear —
“I am divine, I am not mortal made;
I am superior to my human weeds.”
Not Sense but Reason is the Judge of truth;
Reason’s twofold, part human, part divine;
That human part may be described and taught,
The other portion language cannot speak.

Tell men what they knew before;
Paint the prospect from their door.

Him strong Genius urged to roam,
Stronger Custom brought him home.

That each should in his house abide.
Therefore was the world so wide.

Thou shalt make thy house
The temple of a nation’s vows.
Spirits of a higher strain
Who sought thee once shall seek again.
I detected many a god
Forth already on the road,
Ancestors of beauty come
In thy breast to make a home.

The archangel Hope
Looks to the azure cope,
Waits through dark ages for the morn,
Defeated day by day, but unto victory born.

As the drop feeds its fated flower,
As finds its Alp the snowy shower,
Child of the omnific Need,
Hurled into life to do a deed,
Man drinks the water, drinks the light.

Ever the Rock of Ages melts
Into the mineral air,
To be the quarry whence to build
Thought and its mansions fair.

Go if thou wilt, ambrosial flower,
Go match thee with thy seeming peers;
I will wait Heaven’s perfect hour
Through the innumerable years.

Yes, sometimes to the sorrow-stricken
Shall his own sorrow seem impertinent,
A thing that takes no more root in the world
Than doth the traveller’s shadow on the rock.

But if thou do thy best,
Without remission, without rest,
And invite the sunbeam,
And abhor to feign or seem
Even to those who thee should love
And thy behavior approve;
If thou go in thine own likeness,
Be it health, or be it sickness;
If thou go as thy father’s son,
If thou wear no mask or lie,
Dealing purely and nakedly, —

* * *

Ascending thorough just degrees
To a consummate holiness,
As angel blind to trespass done,
And bleaching all souls like the sun.

From the stores of eldest matter,
The deep-eyed flame, obedient water,
Transparent air, all-feeding earth,
He took the flower of all their worth,
And, best with best in sweet consent,
Combined a new temperament.

Rex

The bard and mystic held me for their own,
I filled the dream of sad, poetic maids,
I took the friendly noble by the hand,
I was the trustee of the hand-cart man,
The brother of the fisher, porter, swain,
And these from the crowd’s edge well pleased beheld
The service done to me as done to them.

With the key of the secret he marches faster,
From strength to strength, and for night brings day;
While classes or tribes, too weak to master
The flowing conditions of life, give way.

Suum Cuique

Wilt thou seal up the avenues of ill?
Pay every debt as if God wrote the bill.

If curses be the wage of love,
Hide in thy skies, thou fruitless Jove,
Not to be named:
It is clear
Why the gods will not appear;
They are ashamed.

When wrath and terror changed Jove’s regal port,
And the rash-leaping thunderbolt fell short.

Shun passion, fold the hands of thrift,
Sit still and Truth is near:
Suddenly it will uplift
Your eyelids to the sphere:
Wait a little, you shall see
The portraiture of things to be.

The rules to men made evident
By Him who built the day,
The columns of the firmament
Not firmer based than they.

On bravely through the sunshine and the showers!
Time hath his work to do and we have ours.

The Bohemian Hymn

In many forms we try
To utter God’s infinity,
But the boundless hath no form,
And the Universal Friend
Doth as far transcend
An angel as a worm.

The great Idea baffles wit,
Language falters under it,
It leaves the learned in the lurch;
Nor art, nor power, nor toil can find
The measure of the eternal Mind,
Nor hymn, nor prayer, nor church.

Grace

How much, preventing God, how much I owe
To the defences thou hast round me set;
Example, custom, fear, occasion slow, —
These scorned bondmen were my parapet.
I dare not peep over this parapet
To gauge with glance the roaring gulf below,
The depths of sin to which I had descended,
Had not these me against myself defended.

Insight

Power that by obedience grows,
Knowledge which its source not knows,
Wave which severs whom it bears
From the things which he compares,
Adding wings through things to range,
To his own blood harsh and strange.

Pan

O what are heroes, prophets, men,
But pipes through which the breath of Pan doth blow
A momentary music. Being’s tide
Swells hitherward, and myriads of forms
Live, robed with beauty, painted by the sun;
Their dust, pervaded by the nerves of God,
Throbs with an overmastering energy
Knowing and doing. Ebbs the tide, they lie
White hollow shells upon the desert shore,
But not the less the eternal wave rolls on
To animate new millions, and exhale
Races and planets, its enchanted foam.

Monadnoc From Afar

Dark flower of Cheshire garden,
Red evening duly dyes
Thy sombre head with rosy hues
To fix far-gazing eyes.
Well the Planter knew how strongly
Works thy form on human thought;
I muse what secret purpose had he
To draw all fancies to this spot.

September

In the turbulent beauty
Of a gusty Autumn day,
Poet on a sunny headland
Sighed his soul away.

Farms the sunny landscape dappled,
Swandown clouds dappled the farms,
Cattle lowed in mellow distance
Where far oaks outstretched their arms.

Sudden gusts came full of meaning,
All too much to him they said,
Oh, south winds have long memories,
Of that be none afraid.

I cannot tell rude listeners
Half the tell-tale South-wind said, —
‘T would bring the blushes of yon maples
To a man and to a maid.

Eros

They put their finger on their lip,
The Powers above:
The seas their islands clip,
The moons in ocean dip,
They love, but name not love.

October

October woods wherein
The boy’s dream comes to pass,
And Nature squanders on the boy her pomp,
And crowns him with a more than royal crown,
And unimagined splendor waits his steps.
The gazing urchin walks through tents of gold,
Through crimson chambers, porphyry and pearl,
Pavilion on pavilion, garlanded,
Incensed and starred with lights and airs and shapes,
Color and sound, music to eye and ear,
Beyond the best conceit of pomp or power.

Peter’s Field

[Knows he who tills this lonely field
To reap its scanty corn,
What mystic fruit his acres yield
At midnight and at morn?]

That field by spirits bad and good,
By Hell and Heaven is haunted,
And every rood in the hemlock wood
I know is ground enchanted.

[In the long sunny afternoon
The plain was full of ghosts:
I wandered up, I wandered down,
Beset by pensive hosts.]

For in those lonely grounds the sun
Shines not as on the town,
In nearer arcs his journeys run,
And nearer stoops the moon.

There in a moment I have seen
The buried Past arise;
The fields of Thessaly grew green,
Old gods forsook the skies.

I cannot publish in my rhyme
What pranks the greenwood played;
It was the Carnival of time,
And Ages went or stayed.

To me that spectral nook appeared
The mustering Day of Doom,
And round me swarmed in shadowy troop
Things past and things to come.

The darkness haunteth me elsewhere;
There I am full of light;
In every whispering leaf I hear
More sense than sages write.

Underwoods were full of pleasance,
All to each in kindness bend,
And every flower made obeisance
As a man unto his friend.

Far seen, the river glides below,
Tossing one sparkle to the eyes:
I catch thy meaning, wizard wave;
The River of my Life replies.

Music

Let me go where’er I will,
I hear a sky-born music still:
It sounds from all things old,
It sounds from all things young,
From all that’s fair, from all that’s foul,
Peals out a cheerful song.

It is not only in the rose,
It is not only in the bird,
Not only where the rainbow glows,
Nor in the song of woman heard,
But in the darkest, meanest things
There alway, alway something sings.

‘T is not in the high stars alone,
Nor in the cup of budding flowers,
Nor in the redbreast’s mellow tone,
Nor in the bow that smiles in showers,
But in the mud and scum of things
There alway, alway something sings.

The Walk

A Queen rejoices in her peers,
And wary Nature knows her own
By court and city, dale and down,
And like a lover volunteers,
And to her son will treasures more
And more to purpose freely pour
In one wood walk, than learned men
Can find with glass in ten times ten.

Cosmos

Who saw the hid beginnings
When Chaos and Order strove,
Or who can date the morning.
The purple flaming of love?

I saw the hid beginnings
When Chaos and Order strove,
And I can date the morning prime
And purple flame of love.

Song breathed from all the forest,
The total air was fame;
It seemed the world was all torches
That suddenly caught the flame.

* * *

Is there never a retroscope mirror
In the realms and corners of space
That can give us a glimpse of the battle
And the soldiers face to face?

Sit here on the basalt courses
Where twisted hills betray
The seat of the world-old Forces
Who wrestled here on a day.

* * *

When the purple flame shoots up,
And Love ascends his throne,
I cannot hear your songs, O birds,
For the witchery of my own.

And every human heart
Still keeps that golden day
And rings the bells of jubilee
On its own First of May.

The Miracle

I have trod this path a hundred times
With idle footsteps, crooning rhymes.
I know each nest and web-worm’s tent,
The fox-hole which the woodchucks rent,
Maple and oak, the old Divan
Self-planted twice, like the banian.
I know not why I came again
Unless to learn it ten times ten.
To read the sense the woods impart
You must bring the throbbing heart.
Love is aye the counterforce, —
Terror and Hope and wild Remorse,
Newest knowledge, fiery thought,
Or Duty to grand purpose wrought.
Wandering yester morn the brake,
I reached this heath beside the lake,
And oh, the wonder of the power,
The deeper secret of the hour!
Nature, the supplement of man,
His hidden sense interpret can; —
What friend to friend cannot convey
Shall the dumb bird instructed say.
Passing yonder oak, I heard
Sharp accents of my woodland bird;
I watched the singer with delight, —
But mark what changed my joy to fright, —
When that bird sang, I gave the theme;
That wood-bird sang my last night’s dream,
A brown wren was the Daniel
That pierced my trance its drift to tell,
Knew my quarrel, how and why,
Published it to lake and sky,
Told every word and syllable
In his flippant chirping babble,
All my wrath and all my shames,
Nay, God is witness, gave the names.

The Waterfall

A patch of meadow upland
Reached by a mile of road,
Soothed by the voice of waters,
With birds and flowers bestowed.

Hither I come for strength
Which well it can supply,
For Love draws might from terrene force
And potencies of sky.

The tremulous battery Earth
Responds to the touch of man;
It thrills to the antipodes,
From Boston to Japan.

The planets’ child the planet knows
And to his joy replies;
To the lark’s trill unfolds the rose,
Clouds flush their gayest dyes.

When Ali prayed and loved
Where Syrian waters roll,
Upward the ninth heaven thrilled and moved;
At the tread of the jubilant soul.

Walden

In my garden three ways meet,
Thrice the spot is blest;
Hermit-thrush comes there to build,
Carrier-doves to nest.

There broad-armed oaks, the copses’ maze,
The cold sea-wind detain;
Here sultry Summer overstays
When Autumn chills the plain.

Self-sown my stately garden grows;
The winds and wind-blown seed,
Cold April rain and colder snows
My hedges plant and feed.

From mountains far and valleys near
The harvests sown to-day
Thrive in all weathers without fear, —
Wild planters, plant away!

In cities high the careful crowds
Of woe-worn mortals darkling go,
But in these sunny solitudes
My quiet roses blow.

Methought the sky looked scornful down
On all was base in man,
And airy tongues did taunt the town,
‘Achieve our peace who can!’

What need I holier dew
Than Walden’s haunted wave,
Distilled from heaven’s alembic blue,
Steeped in each forest cave?

[If Thought unlock her mysteries,
If Friendship on me smile,
I walk in marble galleries,
I talk with kings the while.]

How drearily in College hall
The Doctor stretched the hours,
But in each pause we heard the call
Of robins out of doors.

The air is wise, the wind thinks well,
And all through which it blows,
If plants or brain, if egg or shell,
Or bird or biped knows;

And oft at home ‘mid tasks I heed,
I heed how wears the day;
We must not halt while fiercely speed
The spans of life away.

What boots it here of Thebes or Rome
Or lands of Eastern day?
In forests I am still at home
And there I cannot stray.

The Enchanter

In the deep heart of man a poet dwells
Who all the day of life his summer story tells;
Scatters on every eye dust of his spells,
Scent, form and color; to the flowers and shells
Wins the believing child with wondrous tales;
Touches a cheek with colors of romance,
And crowds a history into a glance;
Gives beauty to the lake and fountain,
Spies oversea the fires of the mountain;
When thrushes ope their throat, ‘t is he that sings,
And he that paints the oriole’s fiery wings.
The little Shakspeare in the maiden’s heart
Makes Romeo of a plough-boy on his cart;
Opens the eye to Virtue’s starlike meed
And gives persuasion to a gentle deed.

Written in a Volume of Goethe

Six thankful weeks, — and let it be
A meter of prosperity, —
In my coat I bore this book,
And seldom therein could I look,
For I had too much to think,
Heaven and earth to eat and drink.
Is he hapless who can spare
In his plenty things so rare?

Riches

Have ye seen the caterpillar
Foully warking in his nest?
‘T is the poor man getting siller,
Without cleanness, without rest.

Have ye seen the butterfly
In braw claithing drest?
‘T is the poor man gotten rich,
In rings and painted vest.

The poor man crawls in web of rags
And sore bested with woes.
But when he flees on riches’ wings,
He laugheth at his foes.

Philosopher

Philosophers are lined with eyes within,
And, being so, the sage unmakes the man.
In love, he cannot therefore cease his trade;
Scarce the first blush has overspread his cheek,
He feels it, introverts his learned eye
To catch the unconscious heart in the very act.

His mother died, — the only friend he had, —
Some tears escaped, but his philosophy
Couched like a cat sat watching close behind
And throttled all his passion. Is’t not like
That devil-spider that devours her mate
Scarce freed from her embraces?

Intellect

Gravely it broods apart on joy,
And, truth to tell, amused by pain.

Limits

Who knows this or that?
Hark in the wall to the rat:
Since the world was, he has gnawed;
Of his wisdom, of his fraud
What dost thou know?
In the wretched little beast
Is life and heart,
Child and parent,
Not without relation
To fruitful field and sun and moon.
What art thou? His wicked eye
Is cruel to thy cruelty.

Inscription for a Well in Memory of the Martyrs of the War

Fall, stream, from Heaven to bless; return as well;
So did our sons; Heaven met them as they fell.

The Exile (After Taliessin)

The heavy blue chain
Of the boundless main
Didst thou, just man, endure.

I have an arrow that will find its mark,
A mastiff that will bite without a hark.

Uncollected Poems


Silence

They put their finger on their lip, —
The Powers above;
The seas their islands clip,
The moons in Ocean dip, —
They love but name not love.

Fame

Ah Fate! cannot a man
Be wise without a beard?
From East to West, from Beersheba to Dan,
Say, was it never heard,
That wisdom might in youth be gotten,
Or wit be ripe before’t was rotten?

He pays too high a price
For knowledge and for fame,
Who gives his sinews, to be wise,
His teeth and bones, to buy a name,
And crawls through life a paralytic,
To earn the praise of bard and critic.

Is it not better done,
To dine and sleep through forty years,
Be loved by few, be feared by none,
Laugh life away, have wine for tears,
And take the mortal leap undaunted,
Content that all we asked was granted?

But Fate will not permit
The seed of gods to die,
Nor suffer Sense to win from Wit
Its guerdon in the sky,
Nor let us hide, whate’er our pleasure,
The world’s light underneath a measure.

Go then, sad youth, and shine!
Go, sacrifice to fame;
Put love, joy, health, upon the shrine,
And life to fan the flame!
Thy hapless self for praises barter,
And die to Fame an honored martyr.

I Am Owner of the Sphere

I am owner of the sphere,
Of the seven stars and the solar year,
Of Cæsar’s hand, and Plato’s brain,
Of Lord Christ’s heart, and Shakspeare’s strain.

William Rufus and the Jew

“May it please my lord the king, — there’s a Jew at the door.”
— “Let him in,” said the king, “what’s he waiting there for?”
— “I wot, Sir, you come from Abraham’s loins,
Love not Christ, eat no pork, do no good with your coins.”
“My lord the king! I do as Moses bids;
Eschewing all evil, I shut my coffer lids;
From the law of my fathers, God forbid I should swerve;
The uncircumcised Nazarite, my race must not serve;
But Isaac my son to the Gentiles hath gone over,
And no means can I find my first-born to recover.
I would give fifty marks, and my gabardine to boot,
To the Rabbi that would bring him from the Christian faith about;
But phylacteried Rabbins live far over sea,
I cannot go to them, and they will not come to me.
Will it please my lord the king, from the house of Magog,
To bring my son back to his own synagogue.”
— “Why I ‘ll be the Rabbi, — where’s a fitter Pharisee?
Count me out the fifty marks, and go send your son to me.”
The king filled his mouth with arguments and jibes,
To win the boy back to the faith of the tribes,
But Isaac the Jew was so hard and stiff-necked,
That by no means could the king come to any effect;
So he paid the Jew back twenty marks of his gains;
Quoth he, “I think I ‘ll keep the thirty for the payment of my pains.”

Grace

How much, Preventing God! how much I owe
To the defences thou hast round me set:
Example, custom, fear, occasion slow, —
These scorned bondmen were my parapet.
I dare not peep over this parapet
To guage with glance the roaring gulf below.
The depths of sin to which I had descended,
Had not these me against myself defended.

The Three Dimensions

“Room for the spheres!” — then first they shined,
And dived into the ample sky;
“Room! room!” cried the new mankind,
And took the oath of liberty.
Room! room! willed the opening mind,
And found it in Variety.

Motto to “The Poet.”

A moody child and wildly wise
Pursued the game with joyful eyes,
Which chose, like meteors, their way,
And rived the dark with private ray:
They overleapt the horizon’s edge,
Searched with Apollo’s privilege;
Through man, and woman, and sea, and star,
Saw the dance of nature forward far;
Through worlds, and races, and terms, and times,
Saw musical order, and pairing rhymes.

Motto to “Gifts.”

Gifts of one who loved me, —
‘T was high time they came;
When he ceased to love me,
Time they stopped for shame.

Mottoes to “History.”

There is no great and no small
To the Soul that maketh all:
And where it cometh, all things are;
And it cometh everywhere.

Motto to “Nature.”

The rounded world is fair to see,
Nine times folded in mystery:
Though baffled seers cannot impart
The secret of its laboring heart,
Throb thine with Nature’s throbbing breast,
And all is clear from east to west.
Spirit that lurks each form within
Beckons to spirit of its kin;
Self-kindled every atom glows,
And hints the future which it owes.

Motto to “Circles.”

Nature centres into balls,
And her proud ephemerals,
Fast to surface and outside,
Scan the profile of the sphere;
Knew they what that signified,
A new genesis were here.

Motto to “Nominalist and Realist.”

In countless upward-striving waves
The moon-drawn tide-wave strives;
In thousand far-transplanted grafts
The parent fruit survives;
So, in the new-born millions,
The perfect Adam lives.
Not less are summer-mornings dear
To every child they wake,
And each with novel life his sphere
Fills for his proper sake.

My Thoughts

Many are the thoughts that come to me
In my lonely musing;
And they drift so strange and swift,
There’s no time for choosing
Which to follow, for to leave
Any, seems a losing.

When they come, they come in flocks,
As on glancing feather,
Startled birds rise one by one
In autumnal weather,
Waking one another up
From the sheltering heather.

Some so merry that I laugh,
Some are grave and serious,
Some so trite, their least approach
Is enough to weary us: —
Others flit like midnight ghosts,
Shrouded and mysterious.

There are thoughts that o’er me steal,
Like the day when dawning;
Great thoughts winged with melody
Common utterance scorning,
Moving in an inward tune,
And an inward morning.

Some have dark and drooping wings,
Children all of sorrow;
Some are as gay, as if today
Could see no cloudy morrow, —
And yet, like light and shade, they each
Must from the other borrow.

One by one they come to me
On their destined mission;
One by one I see them fade
With no hopeless vision;
For they’ve led me on a step
To their home Elysian.

Motto to “Prudence.”

Theme no poet gladly sung,
Fair to old and foul to young,
Scorn not thou the love of parts,
And the articles of arts.
Grandeur of the perfect sphere
Thanks the atoms that cohere.

Motto to “Intellect.”

Go, speed the stars of Thought
On to their shining goals; —
The sower scatters broad his seed,
The wheat thou strew’st be souls.

Motto to “Nature.”

A subtle chain of countless rings
The next unto the farthest brings;
The eye reads omens where it goes,
And speaks all languages the rose;
And, striving to be man, the worm
Mounts through all the spires of form.

Motto to “Considerations by the Way.”

Hear what British Merlin sung,
Of keenest eye and truest tongue.
Say not, the chiefs who first arrive
Usurp the seats for which all strive;
The forefathers this land who found
Failed to plant the vantage-ground;
Ever from one who comes to-morrow
Men wait their good and truth to borrow.
But wilt thou measure all thy road,
See thou lift the lightest load.
Who has little, to him who has less, can spare,
And thou, Cyndyllan’s son! beware
Ponderous gold and stuffs to bear,
To falter ere thou thy task fulfil, —
Only the light-armed climb the hill.
The richest of all lords is Use,
And ruddy Health the loftiest Muse.
Live in the sunshine, swim the sea,
Drink the wild air’s salubrity:
Where the star Canope shines in May,
Shepherds are thankful, and nations gay.
The music that can deepest reach,
And cure all ill, is cordial speech:
Mask thy wisdom with delight,
Toy with the bow, yet hit the white.
Of all wit’s uses, the main one
Is to live well with who has none.
Cleave to thine acre; the round year
Will fetch all fruits and virtues here:
Fool and foe may harmless roam,
Loved and lovers bide at home.
A day for toil, an hour for sport,
But for a friend is life too short.

Motto to “New England Reformers.”

In the suburb, in the town,
On the railway, in the square,
Came a beam of goodness down
Doubling daylight everywhere:
Peace now each for malice takes,
Beauty for his sinful weeds,
For the angel Hope aye makes
Him an angel whom she leads.

Motto to “Fate.”

Delicate omens traced in air
To the lone bard true witness bare;
Birds with auguries on their wings
Chanted undeceiving things
Him to beckon, him to warn;
Well might then the poet scorn
To learn of scribe or courier
Hints writ in vaster character;
And on his mind, at dawn of day,
Soft shadows of the evening lay.
For the prevision is allied
Unto the thing so signified;
Or say, the foresight that awaits
Is the same Genius that creates.

Motto to “Power.”

His tongue was framed to music,
And his hand was armed with skill,
His face was the mould of beauty,
And his heart the throne of will.

Motto to “Illusions.”

Flow, flow the waves hated,
Accursed, adored,
The waves of mutation:
No anchorage is.
Sleep is not, death is not;
Who seem to die live.
Flouse you were born in,
Friends of your spring-time,
Old man and young maid,
Day’s toil and its guerdon,
They are all vanishing,
Fleeing to fables,
Cannot be moored.
See the stars through them,
Through treacherous marbles.
Know, the stars yonder,
The stars everlasting,
Are fugitive also,
And emulate, vaulted,
The lambent heat-lightning,
And fire-fly’s flight.

When thou dost return
On the wave’s circulation,
Beholding the shimmer,
The wild dissipation,
And, out of endeavor
To change and to flow,
The gas become solid,
And phantoms and nothings
Return to be things,
And endless imbroglio
Is law and the world, —
Then first shalt thou know,
That in the wild turmoil,
Horsed on the Proteus,
Thou ridest to power,
And to endurance.

The Cup of Life is Not So Shallow

The cup of life is not so shallow
That we have drained the best,
That all the wine at once we swallow,
And lees make all the rest.

Maids of as soft a bloom shall marry
As Hymen yet hath blessed,
And fairer forms are in the quarry
Than Angelo released.

Where is Skrymir? Giant Skrymir?

Where is Skrymir? Giant Skrymir?
Come transplant the woods for me!
Scoop up yonder aged ash,
Centennial pine, mahogany beech,
Oaks that grew in the dark ages
Heedful, bring them, set them straight,
In sifted soil, before my porch;
Now turn the river on their roots,
So the new top shall not droop
His tall erected plume, nor a leaf wilt.

South Wind

In the turbulent beauty
Of a gusty autumn day,
Poet in a wood-crowned headland
Sighed his soul away.
Farms the sunny landscape dappled,
Swan-down clouds dappled the farms,
Catde lowed in hazy distance
Where far oaks outstretched their arms.
Sudden gusts came full of meaning,
All too much to him they said; —
Southwinds have long memories,
Of that be none afraid.
I cannot tell rude listeners
Half the telltale South wind said,
T’would bring the blushes of yon maples
To a man and to a maid.

There Are Beggars in Iran and Araby

There are beggars in Iran and Araby,
Said was hungrier than all;
Men said he was a fly
That came to every festival,
Also he came to the mosque
In trail of camel and caravan,
Out from Mecca to Isphaban; —
Northward he went to the snowy hills, —
At court he sat in the grave divan.
His music was the south wind’s sigh,
His lamp the maiden’s downcast eye,
And ever the spell of beauty came
And turned the drowsy world to flame.
By lake and stream and gleaming hall,
And modest copse, and the forest tall,
Where’er he went the magic guide
Kept its place by the poet’s side.
Tell me the world is a talisman,
To read it must be the art of man;
Said melted the days in cups like pearl,
Served high and low, the lord and the churl;
Loved harebells nodding on a rock,
A cabin hung with curling smoke,
And huts and tents, nor loved he less
Stately lords in palaces,
Fenced by form and ceremony.

Quoth Saadi, When I Stood Before

Quoth Saadi, when I stood before
Hassan the camel-driver’s door,
I scorned the fame of Timour brave, —
Timour to Hassan was a slave.
In every glance of Hassan’s eye
I read great years of victory;
And I, who cower mean and small
In the frequent interval
When Wisdom not with me resides,
Worship toil’s wisdom that abides;
I shunned his eye, — the faithful man’s,
I shunned the toiling Hassan’s glance.

Translations


Dante’s Vita Nuova

THE NEW LIFE OF DANTE ALIGHIERI

I

In that part of the book of my memory before which little could be read, is found this title, The New Life begins. Under which rubric, I find written the words which it is my purpose to copy in this book, and if not all, at least their sense.

II

Nine times already after my birth was the heaven of light returned to the same point in its proper gyration, when to my eyes first appeared the gracious lady of my mind, who was called Beatrice by many who did not know her name. She had then been so long in this life that in her time the starry heaven had moved towards the East one of the twelve parts of a degree, so that she appeared to me as at the beginning of her ninth year, & I saw her about the end of mine and she appeared to me clothed in a very noble lowly colour and becoming red, girt & adorned in the mode which belonged to her tender youth. At that moment, I say verily the spirit of life which dwells in the secretest chamber of the heart did so quake that it appeared violently in my least pulses, and trembling said,

Ecce deus fortior me; veniens dominabitur mihi.
Behold a god stronger than I who cometh to rule me.

At that moment, the animal spirit which dwells in the chamber into which all the sensuous spirits carry their perceptions, began to marvel much, &, speaking specially to the spirits of sight, said,

Now hath appeared our Supreme Good.
Apparuit jam Beatitudo nostra.

At that moment, the natural spirit which dwells in that part where our nourishment is supplied, began to weep & weeping said,

Heu miser, quia frequenter impeditus ero deinceps.
Wo is me I am henceforth to have my way no longer.

From that hour forth, I say, that, Love ruled my soul, which was so much disposed by him & he began to take over me so much lordship & governance, through the strength which my imagination gave to him, that it behoved me to do all his pleasure to the utmost, & he commanded me many times that I should seek to see this youngest angel; wherefore I in my boyhood many times went seeking her, & I saw her with such new & such praiseworthy manners that certainly those words of the Poet Homer might be spoken of her,

“She seemed not the daughter of a mortal, but of a god.”

And it was so that her image which continually abode with me, (was it the presumption of Love to subdue me) was always of so noble virtue that it never suffered Love to rule me without the faithful counsel of reason in matters wherein such counsel were good to hear. But since the controuling the passions & manners of so much youth may seem to some fabulous, I will quit these, & passing over many things which might be taken from the book where these lie hidden, I will come to those words which are written in my memory under longer paragraphs.

III

When so many days were past that nine years were exactly completed after the forewritten appearance of this most gentle maid, — in the last of these days, it happened, that this wonderful lady appeared to me clothed in the purest white, in the middle between two gentlewomen who were of maturer age; & passing through a road turned her eyes towards that part where I was, very fearful, and by her ineffable courtesy which is today requited in the other world, saluted me virtuously, so that it appeared to me then that I saw all the limits of happiness. The hour when her sweetest salute arrived at me, was precisely the ninth of that day, and inasmuch as it was the first time that her words turned to arrive at my ears, I took so much sweetness, that, like one intoxicated, I departed from the company & withdrew to a solitary place of my chamber, & set myself to think on this most courteous one. And thinking of her, there came to me a sweet sleep in which appeared to me a marvellous vision, wherein I seemed to see in my chamber a cloud of the colour of fire, within which I discerned a figure of a signor of aspect fearful to the beholder.
And he appeared to have so much joy in himself, that it was wonderful, and he said many things, which I did not understand, except a few, among which I heard these words; I am thy lord.

In his arms appeared to me to sleep a person naked save that she was lightly infolded in a blood-red cloth, whom I beholding very attentively knew that she was the lady of peace, who had the day before deigned to salute me, & in one of his hands it appeared that he held something which burned wholly, & it seemed to me that he said to me these words;

Vide cor tuum.

And when he had remained some time it appeared to me that he waked her who slept, and so prevailed by his genius that he made her eat that thing which burned in her hand which she eat doubtfully. After a little while his joy turned into bitterest lamentation, and thus complaining he took again this lady in his arms, and with her he seemed to me to go towards heaven. Whence I suffered so great anguish that my weak sleep could not bear, so it broke, & I awaked. And immediately I began to reflect, & found that the hour in which this dream had appeared to me was the fourth of the night, so that it appeared plainly that it was the first hour of the nine last hours of the night. I thinking of this which had appeared to me proposed to make it known to many who were the famous poets (trovatori) in that time. And because I had already seen by myself the art of saying words in rhyme, I proposed to make a sonnet, in which I should salute all the faithful of love, & praying them that they would judge my vision, I should write them what I had seen in my dream, & I then begun this sonnet.

To each taken soul & gentle heart,
To whose sight comes the present word,
To the end that they may write again their thought
Greeting in the name of their lord, that is, Love.
Already was it the third hour
Of the time when every star is most bright,
When Love appeared to me suddenly
Whose substance seen made me tremble.
Glad seemed Love, holding
My heart in his hand, & in his arms had
My lady asleep rolled in a garment;
Then he waked her, and with that burning heart
Fed he her lowly trembling;
Then bewailing it, he seemed to go away.

This sonnet was answered by many & with different meanings; among which respondents was he whom I call first among my friends (Guido Cavalcanti). And he wrote this sonnet.

You have seen, in my judgment, every valour,
And every game, & every good which man feels,
As if you were in proof of a mighty lord
Who ruled the world of honour.
Then live in places where grief dies,
And hold reason in your pious mind
Yes go gently in dreams to the race
Who carry their heart without pain.
Seeing her carry the heart of you,
Death demands your lady,
Feeds on the living heart of her timid.
When it appeared to you that she went away grieving
It was the sweet dream which was completed
That its contrary came conquering it.

And this was the beginning of the friendship between me & him, when he knew that it was I that had sent this to him. The true meaning of the said sonnet was not seen then by any one, but now is manifest to the most simple.

IV

And after this vision my natural spirit began to be impeded in its operation because the soul was all given up to thinking of this most gentle one, whence I became in a little time after, of so frail & weak a condition, that many friends grieved at my face, and many full of envy persisted to know of me that which I wished to conceal altogether, from others, and I becoming sensible of the evil demand which they made me, through the will of love which commanded me according to the counsel of reason, answered them, that love was that which had governed me thus. I spoke of love because I carried in my face so many of his ensigns which could not be covered & when they asked on whose account this love had thus destroyed me I smiling looked at them & said nothing to them.

V

One day it happened that this most gentle one sat in a place where were heard words of the Queen of Glory, & I was in a place from whence I could see my chief joy, and in the midst between her & me in a right line sat a gentlewoman of very pleasant aspect who beheld many times with wonder my glances which appeared to terminate on her, whence many were informed of her looking. And so much was this regarded, that, on leaving that place I heard some one say near me, See how such a lady destroys the person of this man. And naming her, I heard that they spoke of her who was placed midway in the right line which begun from the most gentle Beatrice & terminated in my eyes. Then I comforted myself much, assuring myself that my secret was not communicated to others that day by my face, & immediately I thought of making of this gentlewoman a screen of the truth, and I carried this so well in a little time that my secret was believed to be known by many persons who spoke to me of it. Through this gentlewoman I concealed myself some years & months & to make it more credible to others, I made for her certain little pieces in rhyme, which it is not my purpose to write here, except insofar as they concern the most gentle Beatrice; and therefore I will leave them all, only I shall write one which appears to be in praise of her.

VI

I say that in the time when this gentlewoman was the screen of so much love, there arose on my part a wish to record the name of the most gentle, and to accompany it with many names of ladies, & specially with the name of this gentlewoman, and having taken the names of sixty the fairest women of the city, where my lady was placed by the most High Lord, I composed an epistle under the form of service, which I will not copy, & should not have mentioned except to say this, that composing it, it strangely happened that in no other number would the name of my lady stand, except in the ninth, among the names of these ladies.

VII

The gentlewoman through whom I had for some time concealed my inclination, happened to quit the abovementioned city & went into a distant country; I as it were frightened from my fine defence, greatly discomforted myself more than I should have believed beforehand, & thinking that if I should not speak somewhat dolorously of her departure, people would very soon become aware of my secret, I proposed to make a lament, in a sonnet which I will copy, because my lady was the immediate cause of certain words which are in the sonnet as appears to whoso understands it; and then I wrote this sonnet;

O ye who pass by the way of Love,
Attend & behold,
If any sorrow be great as mine.
And I pray only that you will hear me
And then imagine
If I am the lodging & the key of every grief.
Love, not truly by my small goodness
But by his own nobility
Placed me in a life so sweet & gentle
That I heard myself say secretly many times
Ah! by what worth
Does the heart so lightly possess this treasure?
Now have I lost all my presumption
Which arose out of the amorous treasure
Wherefore I remain poor
In a fashion, which to speak, breeds doubt.
So that wishing to do as those
Who through shame conceal their want,
I outwardly show a gladness
And within from the heart I pine & bewail.

VIII

After the departure of this gentlewoman, it was the pleasure of the Lord of the Angels to call to his glory a lady of very gentle countenance who was a great favourite in this city, whose body I saw lie without life in the midst of many ladies who lamented her. I also lamenting, proposed to myself to say some words of her death in guerdon of this, that I had once seen her with my lady; &, on that, I touched in the last part of the words which I wrote of her, as appears plainly to whoso understands it; and I said then these two sonnets; of which the first begins;

Lament lovers, since Love laments,
Seeing what cause he had to weep.
Love hears with pity ladies cry
Showing bitter grief in their eyes,
Because rough Death in gentle heart
Hath wrought his cruel work,
Spoiling that which the world praises
In a gentle dame, out of honour.
Hear how much horror Love felt,
Since I saw him lament in true form
Over the beautiful dead image;
And I looked toward the Heaven often
Where the gentle soul was already placed,
Who was a lady of so gay an aspect.
and the second;
Rough Death, enemy of pity,
Ancient mother of grief,
Indisputable heavy judgment
Thou hast given matter of grief to the heart;
Wherefore I go sad.
The tongue wearies of blaming thee
And if thou wouldst make request for grace
It behoves that I tell
Your offence with every cruel injury;
Not because it is hidden from people
But to make angry at it
Whoso nourishes himself with Love henceforth.
From the world thou hast divided courtesy,
And that which in a lady is virtue to prize.
In gay youth
Thou hast destroyed amorous beauty
I will no more discover what dame she is
Except by her known virtues.
Whoso does not merit salvation
Let her never hope to have her company.

IX

Some days after the death of this lady, something occurred which required me to leave the city abovementioned, & to go towards those parts where was the gentlewoman who had been my defence. It chanced that my journey did not reach so far as to where she was, and although I was in the company of many according to the appearance, the going displeased me so that my sighs could not exhale the anguish which the heart felt, because I was departing from my felicity. And yet my sweetest lord who ruled me through the virtue of the most gentle lady, in my imagination appeared like a pilgrim lightly clad, & with coarse clothes, He seemed to me astonished & looked on the ground, except that sometimes his eyes turned to a beautiful running river, very clear, which ran along the road in which I walked. It seemed to me that Love called me, & said to me these words; “I come from that lady who has long been thy defence, & I know that her return will not be.

And therefore this heart which I made thee to have from her, I have with me & I carry it to a lady who shall be thy defence as this one was, (and he named her to me so that I knew her well) but notwithstanding if of these words I have spoken to thee, thou speakest anything, tell it in a fashion that by them may not be discerned the feigned love which thou hast shown to this one, & which it will behove thee to show to others.” And having said these words, this my imagination disappeared very suddenly through the large part which it appeared to me that Love had given me of himself. And, as if changed in countenance, I rode that day very thoughtful, &, attended by many sighs, on the next day I began thus this sonnet.

Riding the other day through a road
Sad at going where it displeased me
I found Love in the midst of the way
In the light dress of a pilgrim.
His semblance appeared mean
As if he had lost his lordship,
And sighing thoughtful came
So as not to see the people, his head down;
When he saw me, he called me by name,
And said, I come from the distant place
Where was your heart by my will,
And I bring it back to serve a new pleasure.
Then I took of him so great part
That he disappeared & I knew not how.

X

After my return I set myself to seek this lady whom my lord had named to me in the road of sighs &, that my story may be short, I say, that in a little time I made her my defence so much, that too many people spoke of her, beyond all the limits of courtesy, whereat I often was sorely grieved. And for this cause, that is, of this excessive fame, which appeared as if I had viciously defamed myself, that most gentle one who was the destroyer of all vices, & queen of the virtues, passing in some place, denied to me her sweetest salute, in which consisted all my peace. And digressing somewhat from the present argument, I wish to explain what her salutation operated virtuously in me.

XI

I say that when she appeared from any part, through the hope of her wonderful sweetness no enemy remained to me; also there was added to me a flame of charity, which made me pardon whoever had offended me. And if any one had demanded aught of me, my answer would have been only Love, with a face clothed in humility; and when she was at hand ready to salute, a spirit of Love destroying all the other sensuous spirits, advanced forth the weak spirits of sight and said to them, Go to honour your lady, & he remained in the place of them; and whoso had wished to know Love, could do so, beholding the tremor of my eyes. And when this gendest lady saluted me, not that Love was such a medium that he could shade from me the intolerable clearness, but he, as by excess of sweetness became such that my body, which now was all under his regiment, often moved itself as something heavily inanimate, so that it plainly appeared that in her salute dwelt my peace, which many times filled & overran my capacity.

XII

Now returning to the argument, I say, that when this joy was denied me, there came to me so much grief, that withdrawing from all company, I went into a lonely place to bathe the ground with bitterest tears. And, after some time, this weeping being stopped, I went into my chamber, where I could lament without being heard, and there calling pity from the Lady of all courtesy, & saying, O Love, aid thy faithful servant, — I slept like a beaten child worn out with crying. It happened in the midst of my sleep, that I seemed to see in my chamber beside me a youth clothed in whitest vestments & thinking much how much he looked at me there where I lay,
& when he had looked at me some time, it seemed to me, that, sighing he called me; & he said to me these words.

Fili mi, tempus est ut pretermictantur simulacra nostra.

Then it appeared to me that I knew him who called me thus, as many times in my sighs he had called me and considering him I thought that he wept piteously & he seemed to expect some word from me, whence taking courage began to speak thus with him. Lord of nobleness, why weepest thou? and he said to me these words; “I am, as it were, the centre of the circle, to whom all the parts of the circumference are alike. But not so, thou.”

Then thinking on his words, it seemed to me that he had spoken very obscurely, so that I forced myself to speak, & said these words to him, “What is that, my Lord, which you say with so much obscurity?” And he replied to me in the vulgar speech. “Do not ask more than is useful to you.” And yet I begun to speak with him of the salute which had been denied me. And asking the cause, it was answered in this manner. “This our Beatrice heard from certain persons that the lady whom I named to thee in the road of sighs received some displeasure from you. And therefore this most gentle one who is the contrary of all annoys, did not deign to salute your person, fearing lest it should be hurtful. Wherefore to the end that she may truly know something of the secret you have kept through so long a consuetude, I wish that you should say certain words, first, in which you comprise the power which I hold over you through her, & how you were hers, so early, from her infancy & of this call as witness him who knows it and pray him that he tell her it, & I who know this, willingly will converse with her of it, & by this she shall know your will, knowing which, she will understand the words of those deceived persons. Make these words as a means, so that thou shalt not speak to her immediately, which is not fit nor send them into any place without me where they can be heard by her, but adorn diem with sweet harmony in which I will be in all parts where it behoves;” and, having said these words, he disappeared, & my dream was broken.

Wherefore recollecting myself I found that this vision had appeared to me in the ninth hour of the day. And before I went out of the chamber, I proposed to make a ballad in which that was done which my lord had imposed on me, and
I made this Ballad;

Ballad, I wish that you should find Love
And with him go before my lady
So that my excuse which thou shalt sing
My lord may reason with her,
Thou ballad goest so courteously
That without company
Thou shouldest have courage in all parts;
But if thou wouldst go securely,
Find Love again first,
Who perhaps it is not good sense to leave
Because she who ought to hear thee
If she is, as I believe, in truth angry with me
If thou by him be not attended
Easily may do you a dishonour.
With sweet sound, when thou art with him,
Begin these words;
After thou hast sought pity,
Lady, he who sent me to you
If it please you
If there be excuse would that you should hear it of me
Love is here who through your beauty
Makes him, as he will, change face,
Then because he made him look at another
Think you not that his heart is changed.
Tell her; lady his heart is set
With such firm faith
That to serve you he has every thought ready;
Early was yours & he never swerved.
If she do not believe you
Tell her to ask Love whether it be true;
And at last make to her a humble prayer
(To pardon it if it were a trouble to her)
That she would command me by messenger that I should die.
And she shall see her good servant obey.
And say to her who is the key of all pity
Before I become free
That I shall know how to tell my good reason
Through the grace of my sweet notes;
Remain thou here with her
And tell of thy servant what you will.
And if she by thy prayer pardon him,
Cause that she announce to him a fair seeming peace.
My gentle ballad, when it pleases thee
Move in such form that you have honor.
Should any man confront me & say that he knew not to what purpose was this speaking in the second person, since the ballad is nothing else than these words which I speak, then I say, that this doubt I intend to solve & clear up in this little book, in part even more doubtful, and then he may here understand who doubts more than one who should confront me in the manner proposed.

XIII

After the abovementioned vision, having already spoken the words which Love had charged me to say, many & diverse thoughts began to combat & to try me, each, as it were, irresistible; among which thoughts, four hindered most the repose of life. One of them was this. Good is the lordship of Love since it draws the mind of the faithful from all vile matters. Another was this. The lordship of love is not good, since by how much faith the faithful yields, by so much the more sharp & grievous crises it requires him to pass. Another was this; The name of love is so sweet to hear, that it appears to me impossible that its proper operation should be in most things other than sweet, because names follow the things named, as it is written, Names are the consequences of things Nomina sunt consequentta rerurn. The fourth was this; The lady through whom Love binds thee thus, is not like other ladies, that she may lightly be removed from the heart. — And each assaulted me so long, that it made me stand like one who knows not by what way he shall take his road, who wishes to go & knows not his path. And if I thought of wishing to seek a common passage for them, that is, one in which they should all agree, this was very unpleasing to me, that is, to cry out & to throw myself into the arms of pity. And remaining in this state, there came to me a willingness to write rhymes and, I then said this sonnet;

All my thoughts speak of Love
And have in them so great variety,
That one makes me wish his power,
Another foolish talks of his valour,
Another hopeful brings me grief,
Another makes me complain often,
And they agree only in asking pity.
Trembling with fear which is in the heart.
Therefore I know not what theme to take.
And I would speak; and I know not what to say;
Thus I find myself in amorous errour
And if with all I would make agreement
It would need that I should call my enemy
My lady Pity who defends me

XIV

After the battle of these different thoughts it happened that this most gentle one was in a place where many gentle ladies were assembled, to which place I was conducted by a friendly person thinking to do me a great pleasure, inasmuch as he led me where so many ladies displayed their beauties, wherefore I, not knowing whither I was led, & confiding in the person who was one that had led his friend to the end of life, said to him, Why are we come to these ladies? Then he said, that he did thus that they should be worthily served. It is true that here they were gathered to the company of a gentlewoman who was that day married, and, therefore, according to the custom in that city, it behoved that they should give her their company in the first sitting down at table in the house of her bridegroom. So that I, believing that I did this friend a pleasure, made myself ready to stand at the sendee of these ladies in his company; and in the end of my making ready, it appeared to me that I felt a strange tremor begin on the left side of my breast, & extend itself suddenly through all parts of my body. Then I say that I turned my person feignedly to a picture which surrounded this house, & fearing lest others should be aware of my trembling, I lifted my eyes, & beholding the ladies, I saw among them the most gentle Beatrice.

Then were my spirits destroyed through the force with which Love took me, seeing himself in such nearness to the most gentle lady, that there did not remain in life any but the spirits of sight, & even these remained outside of their organs, because Love wished to stand in their most noble place to see the wonder of this lady. And as soon as I was other than at first, I was much grieved for these little spirits (spiritelli) who lamented aloud, & said, If this one had not dazzled us out of our places, we could have remained to see the marvel of this dame, as our peers also remain. I say that many of these ladies becoming aware of my transfiguration, began to wonder, &, discoursing, bantered concerning me and that most gentle one. Therefore the friend of good faith took me by the hand & leading me out of the sight of these ladies, asked me what ailed me? Then I answered somewhat, & rallied my dead-like spirits, & these fugitives being returned to their seats, I said to my friend these words,— “I have had my feet in that part of the life beyond, from which there is no more power in the understanding to return.” And having parted with him, I returned to my chamber of tears, where, weeping & ashamed, I said to myself, If this lady knew my condition, I do not believe that she would so mistake my person; rather would she surely have much pity on me. And remaining in this grief, I proposed to speak some words, in which, addressing her, I might signify to her the cause of my transfiguration; & I would say that I know well that she knows me not, & that if she knew me, I believe that pity of it would come to others, & I proposed to tell her them (the words or verses) desiring that they would come by chance into her audience, & then I said this sonnet;

With the other dames you deride my sight
And do not know the lady who moves me
That I assumed to you a strange face
When I beheld your beauty.
If you knew it, your compassion could not
Hold out longer against me the accustomed trial
That when Love found me so near to you
He took courage & so much security
That haughtily among my tremulous spirits,
Some he slew, & some he drove out,
So that he alone remained to see you.
Wherefore I change myself into the form of another
But not so that I do not well taste now
The woes of the tormented fugitives.

XV

After the new transfiguration, there came to me a strong thought, which rarely left me, nay which was always with me; since you came to so ridiculous appearance, when you were near this lady, why then do you seek to see her? If you were asked anything by her, what wouldst thou have to answer?

Granting that thou shouldest have each of thy powers liberated, in as much as thou shouldest answer her. And to this replied another humble thought, & said, I would tell her that so soon as I imagine her wonderful beauty, so soon have I the desire to behold her, which is of so much force that it kills & destroys in my memory all which can rise against it, & therefore these past sufferings do not restrain me from seeking the view of her. Therefore, I, moved by such thoughts, proposed to say certain words in which excusing myself to her with such passion, I described also how it was with me in her presence; & I said then this sonnet;

Whatever in the mind hinders dies
When I come to behold you, o beautiful joy,
And when I am near you, I hear Love
Who says, Fly, if you are loath to die.
The face shows the colour of the heart
Fainting where it leans;
And through the drunkenness of great fear
The stones seem to cry, Die, die;
It were a sin in whom should then see me
If he should not comfort the astonished soul
Only showing that he grieved for me
For pity which shall kill your contempt
Which cries in the sad expression
Of the eyes which desire their own death

XVI

After that which I had said in this sonnet I had an inclination to say also words in which I might say the four things also abovementioned concerning my state, which it did not seem to me I had yet made known. The first of which is, that, often I grieved when my memory moved the fancy to imagine what Love had made me become. The second is, that, Love often suddenly assailed me so strongly that there remained no other life in me except the thought which spoke of this lady.

The third; that, when this battle of love so assaulted me, I moved myself, as it were, all discoloured, to see this lady, believing that the sight of her would defend me from this array, forgetting all which had befallen me through approaching so much gentleness. The fourth is, how such a sight not only did not defend me, but finally discomfited the little life I had; and therefore I said this sonnet;

Often comes to mind
The dark quality Love gives me
And such pity rises, that often
I say, Ah! Happened it so to another?
For suddenly Love assaults me
So that life almost leaves me
A living spirit only remains
(And this remains, because he speaks of you)
Then I force myself to seek aid
And thus dead-like & without strength
I come to see you trusting to be healed
And if I lift my eyes to look at you
In the heart begins a quaking
Which drives the soul from the pulses.

XVII

After I had said these three sonnets in which I addressed this lady, because they were, as it were, reporters of all my condition, believing that I should be silent & say no more, since I seemed to me to have expressed myself sufficiently. Since then I refrained from speaking to her. It behoved me to take new & nobler argument than the past, &, because the occasion of my new subject is delightful to hear, I will relate it as briefly as I can.

XVIII

Whereas many persons by my countenance had become acquainted with my secret, certain ladies who were met for their mutual entertainment, knew well my heart, because each of them had been present at my many discomfitures, & I passing near them as led by my chance, was called by one of these gentlewomen and she who spoke to me was a lady of very graceful speech, so that when I joined them, & saw well that my most gentle lady was not there, recollecting myself, I saluted them, & inquired their pleasure. The ladies were many, among whom were some who laughed among themselves: others of them looked at me, awaiting what I should say: others of them spoke apart, of whom one turning her eyes towards me, & calling me by name, said these words; “To what end lovest thou this lady of thine, since thou canst not sustain her presence? Tell us what is the end of such a love, which should be a thing wholly new.” And when she had spoken these words, not only she but all the others began to listen for my reply. Then I said these words; Ladies, the end of my love was truly the salute (saluto) of this lady, of whom perhaps you have heard, and therein abides the happiness of the end of all my desires; but since it pleases her to deny it to me, my lord Love (I thank him for it) has placed all my firmness in that which cannot be taken away. Then these ladies began to speak among themselves, & if sometimes we see fall water mixed with beautiful snow, so seemed it to me to hear their words come forth mingled with sighs; and after they had spoken awhile apart, again said to me that lady who had first spoken, these words; “We pray thee that thou wouldest tell us where is thy felicity?” And I, answering her, said thus much; “In those words which praise my lady.” Then answered me this one who spoke before, “If thou toldest me truly, those words which thou saidest describing thy condition, thou wouldst have turned with another intention.”

Whereupon, I thinking on these words, as one ashamed, departed from them, & came away speaking to myself; ‘Since there is so much felicity in those words which praise my lady, why have I used others,’ and therefore I proposed to take for the argument of my speaking evermore this which should be the praise of this most gentle one, & thinking much on that point it seemed to me that I had undertaken too high argument for me. So that I dared not begin, & so waited several days, with desire to speak & with fear to commence.

XIX

It then chanced that passing through a road along which ran a very clear brook, I felt such willingness to speak that I began to think of the manner I used and I thought that to speak of her, was not fit; but that I ought to speak to ladies in the second person, and not to every lady, but only to those who are gentle, & who are not merely women. Then I say, that my tongue spoke as if moved by itself, & I said then “Ladies who apprehend love.” These words I laid up in my mind with great joy thinking to take them for my beginning; therefore being afterwards returned to the abovenamed City, & thinking for some days, I began the regular ode in the usual manner, as follows.

Ladies, who have heard of Love,
I wish to speak with you of my Lady,
Not because I think I can perfect her praise
But to discourse that I may relieve my mind;
I say, that thinking on her worth
Love so gently taught me to feel
That if I then did not lose my fire
I would put all men in love by my speech.
And I do not wish to speak so proudly
That I might become vile through fear,
But I will treat of her gentle estate
For her sake lightly,
Ladies & amorous maidens with you,
Since it is not fit to speak to others of her.
An Angel calls in the divine intellect,
And says, Sire, in the world is seen
A living wonder, which issues
From a soul which even up hither shines.
Heaven which has no other defect
Than wanting her, asks her of the Lord.
And each saint asks Mercy
Only pity pleads on our part.
That the Lord says who understands it of my lady;
Dear children now suffer me in peace;
Pleases me that your hope is so great,
There is one who expects to lose her
And who will say in Hell to the Ill-born,
I have seen the hope of the Blessed.
My Lady is desired in highest heaven.
Now I proceed to make you know her virtue:
I say, that whoso would seem a gentle lady,
Go with her; since when she goes in the road
Love casts in evil hearts a frost
So that every thought of theirs freezes,
And whatever can stand there to see,
Must become a noble thing, or die.
And when any one finds that he is worthy
To see her, he proves his virtue,
For that happens to him that imparts health
And so humbles him that he forgets all sin.
Yet has God, through greater grace, given,
That he cannot end ill, who has spoken to her.
Love said of her; A mortal thing —
How can it be so adorned, & so pure?
Then he beheld her & swore by himself
That God did not mean to make a new thing.
Color of pearl in her form, as
It befits a lady to have, not out of measure,
She has as much goodness as nature can;
By her pattern beauty is tried;
From her eyes, as she moves them,
Proceed spirits of love inflamed,
Which enkindle the eyes of whoso watches her,
And pass through, so that each finds the heart.
You see Love painted in the face
So that none can behold her steadily.
Canzone! I know that you will go speaking
To many dames, when I shall send you forth.
Now I warn you, since I have trained you up
For the daughter of Love, young & smooth,
That where you go, you say praying,
‘Direct me to go, since I am sent
To her for whose praise I am adorned’;
And if you will not go as a vain one,
Nor remain where are mean people,
Endeavour if you can to be made known
Alone to a lady, or to a courteous man,
Who shall swiftly deserve thee.
Thou wilt find Love; with him, her;
Commend me to him as you ought.

XX

After this sonnet had got abroad a little, because a friend had heard it, his desire moved him to pray me that I would tell him what is Love, having, perhaps, through the words he had heard, a hope of me beyond what was due. Then I thinking that after such a piece, it would be fine to discourse somewhat, of love, & thinking that my friend should be served, I proposed to speak words in which I should treat of love, & then I said this sonnet.

Love & the gentle heart are one thing;
As the Sage in his precept has it;
And you may dare be one without the other,
As well as a rational soul without reason.
Nature, when it is amorous, makes
Love the Sire, the heart for his abode
Within which sleeping he reposes
As little and as long as he will.
Beauty then appears in wise woman,
Which pleases the eyes, so that within the heart
Is born desire of the pleasant object,
And so abides in it,
That it causes the spirit of Love to awake.
And the like does a valiant man, in a woman.

XXI

After I had treated of Love in the rhyme aforesaid, there came to me the wish to speak words also in praise of this most gentle one, by which I might show how, through her, this love awoke, & how not only it awoke where it had slept, but where it is not in energy & there working wonderfully, made it appear; and then I said;

In her eyes my Lady carries Love,
Because she makes that noble which she looks upon.
Where she passes, every man turns to see her,
And whom she salutes, his heart quakes,
So that looking down, his whole countenance is changed,
And on every fault of his sighs.
Flees before her, all anger, & pride.
Aid me, Ladies, to do her honour,
Every sweetness, every lowly thought
Is born in the heart of him who hears her speak,
Therefore is he blessed who first sees her.
How she looks when she smiles a little,
Cannot be told, nor held in the mind,
So new & so gentle a miracle is it.

XXII

Not many days after this, it pleased that glorious Lord who refused not himself to die, that he who was the father of so great a marvel as this most noble Beatrice, departing out of this life should ascend to the eternal glory. Therefore, because such departure is woeful to those who remain, and were his friends, and there is no friendship so close as that of a good father with a good child, and this lady was at the summit of goodness, and her father, as many believed, and as was true, was good in a high degree, it is manifest that this lady was bitterly full of grief, & when, according to the custom of the city, ladies with ladies & men with men assembled there, where this Beatrice piteously lamented, — I seeing so many ladies return from her, heard them speak their words of this most gentle one, how she lamented, among which words I heard them say, “Indeed she wept so that whoever saw her might die with pity.” Then these ladies passed by, & I remained in so great sadness that some tears then bathed my face; which I concealed, covering my eyes often with my hands; and if I had not expected to hear again of her, since I was in place where most of those ladies passed who came from her, I should have concealed myself immediately when my tears came, & yet tarrying longer in the same place, ladies also passed near me conversing together in these words, “Which of us can ever be glad, who have heard this lady speak so piteously?” After these came others, saying, “This one weeps neither more nor less than if he had seen her as we saw her.” Others then said of me, “You shall see this one so changed that he does not appear to be himself.” And thus these ladies passing, I heard their words of her & of me (in this manner I have set down), thinking whereupon, I proposed to say such words as I might worthily find occasion, in which words I comprised all which I had heard from these ladies, and, since I should willingly have questioned them, if it had not been blameable, I took occasion to speak as if I had, & as if they had answered me, and I made two sonnets; and in the first I ask whatever I had to ask, & in the other I report their answer, taking that which I heard from them as they would have said to me in reply; & I began the first;

Ye who wear a lowly semblance
With downcast eyes showing grief,
Whence come you that your colour
Appears like that of stone?
Saw ye our gentle Lady,
Her face bathed in the pity of Love?
Tell me, ladies, what the heart says
Since I see you go with honest action,
And if ye come from so great piety,
Please you to stay here with me a little,
And hide nothing of her from me.
I see tears in your eyes,
And I see you come so disfigured
That my heart quakes to see you so.

The second;

Art thou he who has discoursed with us often
Of our lady, alone speaking to us?
Thy voice resembles him well
But thy sad form appears of quite another.
Ah! why weepest thou so cordially,
That you compel others to pity thee?
Hast thou seen her weep, that thou canst not
Conceal at all thy woful mind?
Leave us to weep, & to go disconsolate,
(And it were sin, if we should not,)
Who in her sorrow have heard her speak.
She has in her face sorrow so wise
That who would have beheld her
Would fall dead before her.

XXIII

After this, in a few days, it chanced that in (some) part of my body there fell on me a grievous infirmity, from which I suffered for many days the bitterest pain, which brought me to such debility, that I was forced to remain like those who cannot move themselves. In the ninth day, feeling my pain as it were intolerable, there came to me a thought of my lady. And when I had thought a little of her, & I returned to think of my debilitated life, and seeing how frail was its duration, even if I were well, I began to bewail myself of so much misery, and, deeply sighing, I said to myself, Of necessity, it must be that the most gentle Beatrice will some time die; and then
I felt such an amazement of fear that I closed my eyes, and began to work like a raving person, & to imagine in this manner. In the commencement of the wandering which my fancy made, appeared to me certain faces of ladies dishevelled, who said to me, “Thou too shalt die;” and after these ladies appeared certain different faces horrible to see, who said to me, “Thou art dead.” Thus my fancy beginning to wander, I came to that pass, that I knew not where I was, & I seemed to see ladies go dishevelled, weeping in a manner wonderfully sad, & it appeared to me that I saw the sun darkened, so that the stars showed themselves in such a colour that I thought they also wept, & very great earthquakes, & I, admiring in such a fancy, & greatly afraid, imagined that some friend came & said to me, “Now knowest thou not thy wonderful lady is departed from this world?” Then began I to weep very piteously, & not only wept in fancy, but I wept with my eyes, bathing them with real tears. I imagined that I looked towards the heaven & I seemed to see a multitude of angels who returned upward, & had before them a very white little cloud, & I thought these angels sang gloriously, and the words of their song I seemed to hear were these, Osanna in excelsis. And others heard I none. Then it seemed to me that the heart, where so much love was, said to me, True it is that our lady lies dead; and through this I seemed to go to see the body in which that most noble soul had been, & so strong was the erroneous fancy that it showed me this lady lying dead, & I thought that ladies dressed her, her head, namely, with a white veil; And I thought her face had such an aspect of humility, that it seemed to me that it said, “I am to see the beginning of peace.” In this imagination I felt such humility from beholding her, that I called Death, & said, “Sweetest Death, come to me, and be not rough with me, since thou oughtest to be gentle, seeing where thou hast been. Now come to me who desire thee much. Thou seest that I already wear thy complexion. And when I had seen fulfilled all the doleful mysteries which are used towards the bodies of the dead, I thought I returned to my chamber, & here I looked towards Heaven, & so strong was my fancy, that weeping I began to say with true voice, “Oh beautiful soul, how happy is he who sees thee!” And I saying these words with dolorous sobs, and calling death that he should come to me, a young & gentle lady who was by my bedside believing that my weeping & my words were only for the pain of my infirmity, began to lament with fear, and other ladies who were near the chamber, having compassion of me who wept, & of the lamentation which they saw this lady make, causing her to depart from me, (she who was my nearest blood-relation,) they came towards me to wake me, believing that I was dreaming, & they bade me sleep no more, & not to disorder myself, & on their thus speaking to me the strong fantasy ceased at the moment when I would say, “O Beatrice! blessed mayest thou be!”, and I had already said, “O Beatrice!” And recovering myself, I opened my eyes & saw that I was deceived, and as soon as I had called this name, my voice was so broken with the sob of grief, that these ladies could not understand me, (as I believe.) Add, that I waked, and was much ashamed, although through some admonition of love I turned myself from them, and when they saw me, they began to say, He appears as dead, & to say apart, Let us devise how to comfort him. Then they said many things to comfort me, & sometimes they inquired whereof I had had fear; Then I being somewhat reassured, and the imaginary disaster understood by me, I answered them, I will tell you what I have suffered.
Then I began from the beginning, & told them unto the end what I had seen, suppressing the name of this most gentle one. Then afterwards, being healed of this infirmity, I proposed to speak words of this which had befallen me, since it seemed to me an amorous thing to hear, & so I said it in this canzone.

A gentle dame & young
Well adorned with human gentleness
Who was there where I often invoked death
Seeing my eyes full of sorrow
And hearing my vain words
Was moved with fear to tears.
And other ladies who were apprised by me
For what she lamented with me
Made her depart
And approached to make me hear
One said Do not sleep
And one said Why do you grieve
Then I left my new fancy
Invoking the name of my lady
My voice was so mournful
So broken with anguish & tears
That I alone heard the name in my heart
And with looks of shame
That overspread my face
Love made me turn towards them
And such was my colour
As the speaking of the death of others brings.
Ah let us comfort this one
Said one to the other softly
And they said often
What seest thou that thou faintest
And when I was a little recovered
I said, Ladies I will tell it you.
While I thought on my frail life
And saw how short its term is,
Love pitied me in the heart where he dwells,
Because my soul was so sad
That sighing I said in my thought
It will befall that my lady will die.
Thence I took such dismay
That my eyes closed, being weighed down
And my spirits were so discouraged
That they went wandering each his way
Then given up to imagination
Out of knowledge, out of truth,
Faces of afflicted ladies appeared to me
Who said to me, Thou wilt die, thou wilt die,
Then I saw many vague forms
In the vain imagination in which I was
And I seemed to be I know not where
And to see ladies go dishevelled
Weeping & lamenting
Who shot up flames of sadness
Then methought gradually
The sun was darkened & the moon appeared
And they wept, he and she.
The birds fell flying thro the air
And the earth quaked
And a man appeared to me pale & faint
Saying What dost thou knowest thou not
Thy lady is dead who was so fair?
I lifted my eyes bathed in tears
And saw what seemed a shower of manna
Angels who returned up into heaven
And they bore a little cloud before them
After which they cried Hosanna
And if they had said more I would tell you
Then said Love I hide it from you no more
Come & see thy lady who lies dead.
The fallacious imagination
Led me to see my dead lady
And when I had seen her
Methought ladies covered her with a veil
And she bore in her looks true lowliness
Which seemed to say I am in peace.
I became in grief so humble
Seeing in her such finished humility
That I said Death I hold thee very gentle
Thou shouldst ever be a delicate thing
Since thou dwellest in my lady
And thou oughtest to have pity & not disdain.
See I come to thee with such desire
To be of thine that I resemble thee in faith
Come since the heart seeks thee
Then I departed every grief being fulfilled
And when I was alone
I said looking towards the other kingdom
Blessed, o beautiful soul, is whoever sees thee.
Ladies, you called me then, I thank you.

XXIV

After this vain imagination, it happened one day that I sitting thoughtful in some place, felt a quaking commence in my heart as if I had been in the presence of this lady, then I say that there came to me an imagination of Love, who appeared to come from that place where my lady stood, & I thought that he said in my heart, “See thou bless the day when I took thee, since thou oughtest to do it,” and certainly my heart seemed so glad that it did not appear to me to be my heart, through its new condition; and a little after, these words which my heart said to me with the tongue of love, I saw come towards me a gentle lady who was of famous beauty, and was long since the wife of my first friend (Guido Cavalcanti). The name of this lady was Giovanna, save that through her beauty, as some believe, the name of Primavera (The Spring) was bestowed on her, & so was she called.

And looking near her, I saw come the wonderful Beatrice. These ladies came near me, one after the other, and I thought that Love spoke in my heart & said, “This first one is named Primavera, only for this coming of today, since I moved the bestower of her name to call her also Primavera, because prima verra (she shall first see) the day when Beatrice shall show herself according to the imagination of her faithful servant; and if I also wish to consider her name to signify that she is what (the Spring) Primavera is.” And then I thought that I said other words to myself, that “whoever wishes to consider subtilly this Beatrice, would call her Love, through the strong resemblance which she has to me,” whereupon I afterwards musing, proposed to write in rhyme to my first friend, suppressing certain words which it seemed fit to omit, I thinking that also his heart would admire the beauty of that gentle primavera (spring), and I said this sonnet;

I felt awaken within my heart
An amorous spirit which slept,
Then saw! Love come from far
So cheerful that hardly I knew him
Saying, Bethink thee to do me honour;
And at each word, he smiled;
And my lord remaining with me a little while,
I looking in that quarter whence he came,
Saw Mona Vanna and Mona Bice
Come towards that place where I was,
The one marvel after the other;
It is as if my mind said to me again,
Love said to me, This is Primavera,
And this is called Love, who so resembles me.

XXV

Could any person capable of clearing up these things, here doubt of that which I say of Love, as if it were a thing by itself, & not only an intelligent substance, but as if it were a corporeal substance, which in reality is false, since Love is not by itself as a substance but is an accident in a substance, and as I may say of it, as if he were a body, nay, as if he were a man, appears from three things which I say of him. I say that I saw him come; and to come imports locomotion, and, according to the philosopher, body alone can be locomotive. If it appear that I rank Love as a body, I say also of it, that he laughs, & that he speaks, which things seem to be proper to man, especially laughter, & therefore it seems I make him a man. To clear this matter, as far as the present necessity requires, we must first understand, that anciently there were no speakers of Love in the vernacular tongue, on the contrary, the speakers of love were certain poets in the Latin tongue, (among us, I say) that happened which happened in other nations, and still happens, that as in Greece not vernacular but lettered poets handled these things, and not many years have passed since those vernacular poets appeared who speak rhyme in the vernacular; so much is to be said of verses in Latin (if with any adequateness & mark) that there is too little time; and if we wish to regard the Occitan dialect (Langue d’Oc) or the Northern French (Langue d’Oui) we do not find these things before the present time, for five hundred years.
And the reason why some conspicuous persons had the fame of knowledge & poetry is that they were the first (writers) in the Northern French (Langue d’Oui). And the first who began to speak as a vernacular poet, did so, because he wished to make his mistress understand his words, to whom latin verses were not intelligible. And this is against those who rhyme on other than amatory subjects, because that mode of speaking was first used to speak of Love. Therefore, since to poets may be conceded a greater license of speech than to prose speakers, and these speakers in rhyme are nothing else than vernacular poets, it is fit & reasonable that they should be indulged in a greater liberty of speech than other vernacular speakers. Therefore if any figure or rhetorical trope is conceded to poets, it is conceded to the rhymers. If then we find that the poets have addressed inanimate things as if they had sense or reason, & have made them speak together & not only things true, but things not true, that is, have spoken of things which cannot speak, & have said that many accidents speak, as if they were substances & men, it is fit that the speaker in rhyme should do the like, not indeed without reason, but with reason, which might be expressed in prose. That the poets have spoken in this manner appears by Virgil, who says that Juno, that is, a goddess unfriendly to the Trojans, spoke to Æolus, lord of the winds, as in the first of the Æneid; Æole namque tibi, &c and that this lord replied;

Tuus, o regina, quid optes
Explorare labor; mihi jussa capessere fas est

In the same poet, an inanimate thing speaks to animated things, in the Second of the Æneid;

Dardanidae duri In Lucan, an animated thing speaks to an inanimate;
Multum Roma tamen debes civilibus armis.

In Horace, a man speaks to his own knowledge as to another person, and not only are the words those of Horace, but he speaks them as out of the midst of Homer in his Ars Pôetica;

Dic mihi Musa virum.

In Ovid, Love speaks as if it were a human person, in the beginning of the book called The Remedy of Love;

Bella mihi video, bella parantur, ait.

And hence it is manifest to whosoever hesitates at any part of this my little book, & provided that some coarse person do not take a license from it, I say that neither the poets speak thus without reason, nor ought the rhymers to speak thus not having some reason in them of that which they say. Since great shame would accrue to him who should rhyme things under the guise of a trope or rhetorical figure, &, being interrogated, should not know how to strip his words of such a garment in a guise that they should have a true meaning. And this my first friend & I knew very well those persons who rhymed so absurdly.

XXVI

That most gentle lady of whom we have discoursed in the preceding words, came into so great grace of the people, that when she passed through the street persons ran to see her, whence a miserable joy came to me, and when she was near any one, so much honour came into that person’s heart, that he dared not lift up his eyes nor reply to her salute. And of this, many as witnesses could testify to what was incredible.

She, crowned & clothed in humility, went showing no glorying in that which she saw or heard. Many said, when she had passed, “This is not a woman, but is like one of the most beautiful angels of heaven.” Others said; “This is a wonder, & blessed be the Lord who knows how to work so wonderfully.” I say that she showed herself so gentle & so full of charms, that those who saw her felt in themselves an excellent beauty and so sweet that they did not know how to express nor was there any one who could look at her who at first without sighs. These & more wonderful things proceeded from her well & virtuously. Wherefore I thinking thus wishing to take up again the pen in her praise, proposed to speak words in which I should give to understand her wonderful & excellent works to the end that not only such as could see her with eyes, but also others might know of her what I could make known by words & then I said this sonnet.

So gentle & so gracious appears
My Lady when she salutes others,
That every tongue trembling becomes mute,
And the eyes dare not behold her.
She goes on hearing herself praised
Benignly clothed with humility
And it seems that she is something descended
From heaven to show a miracle in earth.
She shows herself pleasing to whoso beholds her
That she sends through his eyes a sweetness to the heart
Which none can apprehend who does not taste it;
And it seems that from her lips proceeds
A soft spirit, full of Love,
Which goes to the soul, saying, Sigh.

I say that this my lady came into such grace that not only was she honoured & praised, but through her were many honoured & praised. And I seeing that, & wishing to make it known to such as saw it not, proposed also to speak words in which this should be signified, & then I said this sonnet.

He sees perfectly all wellbeing
Who sees my lady among ladies
Those who go with her are holden
To render thanks to God for her beautiful grace.
And her beauty is of such virtue
That no envy proceeds from it to others
Rather it makes them go with her clothed
With the gentleness of love & of faith
The sight of her makes everything humble
And does not make her alone pleasing
But each through her receives honour
And in her acts she is so gentle
That no one can recall her to mind
Without sighing in the sweetness of Love.

XXVII

After this I begun to think one day on what I had said of my lady in the two preceding sonnets, & considering that I had not spoken of that which in the present dme wrought in me it seemed to me that I had spoken the truth defectively, & therefore I proposed to add words in which I should say how her virtue wrought in me & not thinking that this could be told in the shortness of a sonnet I begun this canzone.

So long has Love held me
And trained me to his lordship
That as it was strong in me at first
So now it remains sweet at my heart,
Therefore when his courage so seizes me,
That it seems the spirits flee away,
Then my frail soul feels
Such sweetness that my face grows pale.
Then Love in me takes so much virtue
That he makes my spirits go speaking
And they issue forth calling
My lady to give me more favor;
This happens wherever she sees me,
And so humble is she that you would not believe it.

XXVIII

How is the populous city become solitary and she is a widow who was queen of nations. I was still in the preparation of this canzone & had completed this stanza abovewritten when the Lord of justice called this most gentle one to glorify, under the sign of the Queen, the Blessed Mary, Himself, whose name was always in the utmost reverence in the words of this Beatrice. And although it might be grateful here to say somewhat of her departure from us, it is not my design to treat it here for three reasons; first, that such is not the present argument if we will respect the proem which precedes this book. Secondly that even if it were within our present design yet my tongue would not be sufficient to treat that as it ought to be treated; Thirdly, that supposing both the first & the second, it is not fit that I should treat of that which being treated would require that I should be a praiser of myself, which thing is entirely blameable in whatsoever person.

And therefore I leave such a discourse to another commentator. Nevertheless since several times the number nine has occurred in the foregoing words, whence it seems that it was not without reason & in her departure that number seems to have had much reason, it may behove us here to say something as far as belongs to the subject. Wherefore I will say first how it had place in her departure & then will assign some reason why this number was so friendly to her.

XXIX

I say that her soul departed, (according to the time-measure of Italy) in the first hour of the ninth day of the month: and according to the measure of Syria she departed in the ninth month of the year since the first month there is Tismin which with us is October, & according to our measure, she departed in that year of our era (that is, in that year of the Lord,) in which the perfect number was completed nine times in that century of the world in which she was placed, and she was of the thirteenth century of Christians. And this may be one reason of it. Since according to Ptolemy, & according to the Christian truth there be nine heavens which revolve, and according to the faith of Astrology these heavens are operative here below according to their united habitude, this number was friendly to her, to give to understand that in her nativity all the nine moveable heavens went perfectly together; this is one reason of that. But more subtilly thinking, according to the ineffable truth, this number was herself, I speak by similitude, & that I mean thus.

The number three is the root of nine since, without any number, multiplied by itself it makes nine as we see plainly that three times three make nine. Then if three by itself is the factor of nine, and the (factor or) maker of miracles is three, that is, Father, Son, & Holy Spirit which are three & one. This lady was accompanied by this number of nine, to give to understand, that she was a nine, that is a miracle, whose root that is of the miracle, is only that wonderful Trinity. Perhaps also by a more subtle person this would appear in more subtle reason; but this is what I see, & what pleases me more.

XXX

After this most gentle lady had departed from this world this city remained as it were a widow & despoiled of all dignity. Wherefor I also lamenting in this desolate city wrote to the princes of the land somewhat of her estate. And if any one should blame me that I do not here set down the words which follow what I here quote, I excuse myself because my design was not from the beginning to write otherwise than for the people. Therefore since the words which follow those which are quoted, are all latin, it would be out of my design, if I wrote them and the like intention I know that this my first friend had, to whom I write, this is, since I wrote to him only in the vernacular.

XXXI

After my eyes had for some time wept & were so wearied that I could not relieve my sadness I thought of relieving it by some sad words & then I proposed to make a canzone in which lamenting I conversed of her, my grief for whom was made the destroyer of my life, & I begun

Eyes grieving for pity at heart
Have suffered the pain of tears
So that they remain vanquished
Now if I wish to relieve the woe
Which little by little leads me to death
It behoves me to speak
And because I remember that I spoke
Of my lady whilst she lived
Gentle ladies willingly with you
I will not speak to others
Than to a gentle heart which is a lady
And I will then say of her weeping
That suddenly she has gone to heaven
And has left Love grieving with me.
Beatrice is gone into high heaven
Into realms where the angels have peace
And stands with them & you ladies has she left
Not there has the quality of cold rapt her
Nor that of heat, as it has rapt others,
But it was her great benignity
Which shining from her humility
Passed the heavens with so much virtue
That it made the Eternal Sire wonder
So that sweet desire
Came to him to summon so much health
And made her come to him from here below,
Because he saw that this troublesome life
Was not worthy of so gentle a being.
Parted from her beautiful person
Full of grace the gentle soul
And mounted glorious into worthy place.
Who weeps her not when he speaks of her
Has heart of stone, so wicked & base
That a benign spirit could not enter there.
There is not in a bad heart so high genius
That can imagine anything of her,
And therefore such will not weep for her.
But sadness & sobs of grief
And a death of sorrow
And a life despoiled of all solace
Comes to such as at any time saw in thought
What she was, and how she is taken.
My sighs give me deep anguish
When thought in the deep mind
Brings to me that which has cut my heart.
And often thinking on death
Comes to me a desire of it so sweet
That it changes the color of my face
When the thought of her becomes fixed
Pain attacks me from every side
That I recover myself through the pain I feel
And I become such
That shame drives me from the company.
Then weeping alone in my sorrow
I call Beatrice & I say Art thou too dead
And whilst I call her I am consoled
With weeping & with sighing
My heart pines away wherever I am,
So that it wearies whoever sees it
And what has been my life since
My lady went into the new world
No tongue can tell
And yet, o my Ladies, though I should desire it,
I should not know how to tell you what I am
Bitter life has so afflicted me
And it is so injured
That every man seems to say to me, I abandon you
Seeing my fainting
But be it as it may, my lady sees it,
And I hope yet a reward from her
My pious canzone now go lamenting
And find the dames & the damsels
Unto whom thy sisters
Were wont to carry joy
And thou who art a daughter of sorrow
Go disconsolate & stand with them
Sad that Beatrice more beautiful than all
Is gone to the feet of the Lord
And has left Love with me lamenting.

XXXII

After this canzone was said, one came to me who in the degrees of friendship is friendly to me, next to the first, and this one was so near in blood to that beautiful person that none was more near than he. And when he conversed with me he prayed me that I would say to him some thing for a lady who was dead and he feigned his words so that it appeared that he spoke of another who was certainly dead, therefore I becoming sensible that this one spoke only of that blessed soul, said that I would do that which he had entreated of me. Therefore then thinking I proposed to make a sonnet in which I bewailed myself & to give it to this friend so that it appeared that I had made it for him, and thus it was;

O gentle hearts, whom pity desires,
Come to hear my sighs,
Which disconsolate go their way;
And but for them I should die with grief,
Because my eyes would be worse than I could bear,
Weary of weeping so much for my lady,
That they would choak the heart by lamenting.
You shall hear them often call
My gentle lady who is gone away
To the world worthy of her virtue,
And despise now this life
In the person of the mourning soul
Abandoned by her welfare.

XXXIII

After I had spoken this sonnet thinking that this was for him who designed to ask it, as if it were made by him I saw that this service appeared to me poor & naked for a person so near to this beloved one. And therefore before I gave him the abovewritten sonnet, I said two stanzas of a canzone, the one indeed for him, & the other for me. And though to one who should not read attentively it might seem that both of them were spoken by one person, yet whoever looks at them attentively will see that different persons, that one does not call his lady and the other does as plainly appears. This canzone & the abovewritten sonnet I gave to him, saying to him that I had made it for him alone. The canzone begins

How often alas, I remember.

In the first stanza, this my friend and near kinsman of hers, laments himself. In the second, I lament; that is, in the other stanza, which begins,

There is heard in my sighs,

And thus it appears that in this canzone two persons deplore, one complaining as a brother the other as a lover.

How often alas I remember
That I may never more
Behold the Lady, therefore I go sorrowing thus;
My woeworn mind
Concentrates so much grief within the heart
That I say, My Soul, why dost thou not depart
Since the torments which thou shalt carry
In the world which is already so troublesome to you
Make me pensive with much fear
Wherefore, I call on Death
As gentle, & my sweet repose
And I say, Come to me, with such love,
That I am envious of such as die.

There is heard in my sighs
An undertone of pity
Which calls on Death continually
To it turn all my desires
Since my Lady
Was reached by his cruelty.
Because the pleasure of her beauty
Withdrawing itself from our view
Becomes spiritual beauty & grand
Which through the heaven expands,
The light of Love, which greets the Angels;
And makes their high & subtle intellect
Wonder, so gentle it is.

XXXIV

On that day on which the year was completed in which this lady was made one of the citizens of the Eternal Life I sat in a place, where, recollecting myself, I drew an angel on certain tablets, and while I was drawing, I turned my eyes and saw beside me men to whom it behoved that I should do reverence and they saw what I did and according to what was then told me, they had been there for some while, before I had been aware of them. When I saw them, I rose, & saluting them I said, “I was just now in another place, & I was thinking of that.” Then these departing and I returning to my work, that is, of drawing, whilst I wrought, the thought came to me of saying words in rhyme as for an Anniversary piece to her, and to write it to them who came to me; & I said then this sonnet which has two beginnings; one is;

Into my thought had come
The gentle Lady who for virtue
Was by the most high Lord
Placed in the heaven of humility, where is Mary,
&c &c

The second is;

Into my thought had come
That gentle lady whom Love mourns
To that degree that her virtue
Would draw you to see what I do.
Love who in the mind feels her,
Was waked in the dissolved heart,
And said to my sighs, Go forth
For each may go lamenting.
Forth issued they from my breast
With a voice which often leads
Sad tears to my sad eyes
But those which go not forth, with greater pain
Come saying, O noble mind!
Today the year is complete, since thou didst mount to heaven.

XXXV

Then for some time although I was in a place in which I remembered the time past, I remained very thoughtful, & with painful thoughts so that they made me appear abroad a spectacle of fright. Therefore I becoming sensible of my state, lifted my eyes to see if others saw me. Then I saw that a gentle lady from a window looked at me so piteously that all pity appeared collected in her. Therefore because when the wretched see in others pity for them so much the more they lament as having pity of themselves, I then perceived my eyes begin to wish to weep & yet fearing to exhibit my vile life I withdrew myself from the eyes of that gentle person & said to myself “It cannot be that with this pious lady there should not be very noble love” then I proposed to say a sonnet in which I should speak to her, & I comprised in it all which is narrated in this account, and I began.

My eyes beheld how much compassion
Appeared in your figure
When you saw the deeds & the form
Which from grief I many times showed
Then was I aware that you contemplated
The quality of my dark life
So that the fear entered my heart
Of showing my vileness in your eyes
And I took myself from before you, feeling
That the tears started from my heart
Which were moved by sight of you
Then I said in my sad soul
Blessed is in that lady the love
Which makes me weep thus.

XXXVI

It afterwards happened that whenever this lady saw me she made a piteous face & of a pale colour, as it were, like that of love. Therefore I often was reminded of my most noble lady who always showed a similar colour, & truly many times not being able to weep nor to relieve my sadness I went to see this compassionate lady, who seemed to have drawn tears out of my eyes by the sight of her, & then there came to me the will to say words also, speaking to her, & I said this sonnet.

Colour of Love and semblances of pity
Have never taken so wonderfully
The face of the lady

XXXVII

I came so far through the sight of this lady that my eyes begun to delight too much to see her, wherefore often I tormented myself in my heart & held myself for very vile, & many times I blasphemed the vanity of my eyes & said to them in my thought; Now I have accustomed you to cause to weep whosoever saw your sad condition, & now it appears that you wish to belie it for this lady who looked at you but who would not have looked at you, had not the thought so much weighed on her of the glorious lady whom you were wont to lament. But inasmuch as you can, cause that I remind you of her, O evil eyes! that never until after death your tears shall be restrained. And when I had thus spoken, myself to my eyes, & the largest sighs assailed me, and painfullest, — to the end that this battle which I had with myself should not remain only by the wretch who felt it I proposed to make a sonnet, & to comprise in it this horrible condition, & I said thus;

The bitter tears which ye shed
O mine eyes for so long time
Made others wonder
With pity as ye see
Now methinks ye would forget it
If I, on my part, were such a felon
That I did not disturb you with every reason
Reminding you of her whom ye lamented
Your vanity makes me think
And alarms me so that I vehemently fear
The sight of the lady who beholds you;
Ye should never until death
Forget our lady who is dead;
So says my heart, & then sigheth.

XXXVIII

I recovered then the sight of this lady in so new condition that many times I thought of her as of a person who pleased me too much & I thought of her thus; This is a gentle fair young & wise lady, who has appeared perhaps through the will of love in order that my life might repose & many times I thought more amorously, so that the heart consented in it that is, in its reasoning & when I had consented so, I reconsidered it as moved by reason, & I said to myself; Ah! what thought is this, that in so vile mode would console me, & not let me think otherwise? Then arose another thought & I said to myself — Now thou hast been in so much tribulation, why wilt thou not withdraw thyself from so much bitterness? Thou seest that this is one breathing which may bring the desires of love forward & is moved by so gentle a party as that of the eyes of this lady who has shown herself so pitying. Wherefore I having often thus contended with my self yet would not say any words, & because the battle of thoughts conquered those who spoke for her, methought it behoved me to speak to her & I said this sonnet, which begins;

Gentle thought which speaks of you
Comes often to stay with me
And talks of love so softly
That it makes the heart consent to him
The soul says to the Heart, Who is this
Who comes to console our mind?
And is its virtue so strong
That it will suffer no other thought to abide?
He answered her; O thoughtful soul
This is a new little-spirit of love
Which brings its desires forth to me
And its life & all its strength
Is moved by the eyes of this pitying one
Who so concerned herself in our sufferings.

And I call that gentle, inasmuch as it speaks of a gentle lady, which, on other grounds, was most vile. I make in this sonnet parties of myself, according as my thoughts were divided in two; the one party I call Heart, that is, appetite; the other I call Soul, that is, reason; and I speak as one speaks to the other. And that it is fit to call the appetite Heart, & the reason, Soul, is very manifest to those to whom I am pleased that this should appear. It is true that in the preceding sonnet I make the party of the Heart counter to that of the Eyes and this appears contrary to that which I say in the present and therefore I say that there also I design the Heart for the appetite since I had a greater desire to remember that most gentle
Lady of mine than to behold this one. Though I had some appetite for this yet it appeared to me slight. Thus it appears that one saying is not contrary to the other.

XXXIX

Against this adversary of the reason arose, one day, as it were in the ninth hour a strong imagination in me that I thought I saw this only Beatrice in those bloodred garments in which she first appeared to my eyes and she seemed youthfill, of the same age as when I first beheld her. Then I began to think of her & recollecting her in the order of the past time my heart began to repent itself bitterly of the desire to which it had been so basely abandoned for some days, contrary to the constancy of reason. And this mischievous desire being driven out my thoughts turned themselves all to their most gentle Beatrice & I say, that, from that hour forward I began to think so, with all my heart ashamed, that the spirits manifested this many times because as it were all said in their outgoing that which was thought in the heart, namely, the honour of this most gentle one & how she had parted from us. And it often happened that some thought had in it so much grief that I forgot it and there where I was by this rekindling of sighs my intermitted weeping was renewed in a manner that my eyes appeared to be two things which desired only to weep & it often happened that through the long continuing of the weeping a purple colour came out around them which was wont to appear for some witness to others, whence it seemed that they were fitly punished for their vanity. So that thenceforward they could not look at any person who looked at them in a manner to draw them to an understanding. Wherefore I willing that such wicked desire & vain temptation should appear destroyed, so that the rhymed words which I had before said could not breed any doubt proposed to make a sonnet, in which I should comprise the sense of this state of mind & I said

Alas, through the force of many sighs
Which proceed from the thoughts which are in the heart
The eyes are conquered & have no strength
To look at the person who looks at them.
And they are come to that, that they seem two desires
Of weeping & of showing grief.
And often they so lament, that Love
Encircles them with a crown of martyrs.
These thoughts & the sighs which I cast out
Become within the heart so bitter
That Love there faints and so suffers
Because they have in these dolorous (eyes)
Written the sweet name of My Lady,
And many words, of her death.
I said, Alas! so much was I ashamed that my eyes had been thus frivolous.

XL

After this tribulation it happened at that time that many people came to see that Blessed image which Jesus Christ left to us, for the example of his most beautiful figure, my Lady gloriously beholds, that some pilgrims passed by a road which is as it were the midst of the city where was born, lived, & died the most gentle Lady, and they went (as it appeared to me) very thoughtful. Then I, thinking on them, said to myself, These pilgrims appear to me to come from distant parts, & — I do not believe that they have even heard speak of this lady, & they know nothing of her; rather their thoughts are of other things, than of those here; they perhaps are thinking of their distant friends, whom we do not know. Then I said to myself I know that if they were of the neighboring country, they would appear in some sort disturbed passing through the midst of this painful city. Then I said to myself, If I could detain them a little I would make them weep before they go forth of this city, because I would speak words which should cause to weep whoever heard them. Then these having passed out of my sight, I proposed to make a sonnet in which I should signify that which I had said to myself & to the end that it should appear more piteous I proposed to speak as if I had addressed them, & I said this sonnet;

Ah Pilgrims who go thoughtful
On things perhaps which are not here present,
Come ye from so distant a tribe
As ye show in your aspect
That ye do not weep as ye pass
Through the midst of the mourning city,
As those persons who seem
To know nothing of its woe.
If you will stay & hear it
Verily my heart with sighs tells me
That ye shall go forth of it with tears
It has lost its Beatrice;
And the words which man can say of her
Have power to make others weep.

I said Pilgrims, in the large sense of the word as pilgrims may be understood in two senses in a liberal & a strict one, in the one, inasmuch as whosoever goes out of his country is a pilgrim; in the other, one is not a pilgrim unless he goes towards the house of St James, or returns. There are moreover three modes in which those people are properly distinguished who travel in the service of the Most High. They are called
Palmers who go beyond sea, whence they often fetch home palms. They are called Pilgrims as many as go to the house of Galizia because the sepulchre of St James was farther from his country than of any other apostle. They are called Romans (Romei) as many as go to Rome, thither, where these whom I call Pilgrims were going.

XLI

Then two gentle ladies sent to me praying me that I would send them some of these my rhymed words; and I considering their nobility, proposed to send them these, and to make something new which I might send them with these, so that I might more honorably fulfil their requests; and I then said a sonnet which tells of my state, & sent it to them in company with the preceding, & with another which begins, Come to hear See. The sonnet which I then made, is;

Beyond the hope which goes largest
Passes the sigh which comes from my heart,
New tidings, that Love weeping placed in it, then draws up again;
When he is come there where he would be,
He sees a lady who receives honour,
And shines so that by her splendour
The pilgrim soul beholds her;
Sees her such that when he tells me,
I understand him not; so subtilly he speaks
To the mourning heart that he makes it speak.
I know that he speaks of that gentle one,
Because often he mentions Beatrice,
So that I understand him well, o Ladies dear!

XLII

After this sonnet, appeared to me a wonderful vision, in which I saw things which made me determine to say no more of this Blessed one, until I could more worthily discourse of her; and to come at that, I study to the utmost, as she verily knows. So that, if it shall be the pleasure of Him to whom all things live, that my life should continue for some years, I hope to say of her that which was never said of any one; and then may it please him who is the Lord of courtesy, that my soul, if it be possible, may go to see the glory of Him who is blessed through all ages.

The End of Dante’s New Life.

Sonnet of Michel Angelo Buonarotti

Never did sculptor’s dream unfold
A form which marble doth not hold
In its white block; yet it therein shall find
Only the hand secure and bold
Which still obeys the mind.
So hide in thee, thou heavenly dame,
The ill I shun, the good I claim;
I alas! not well alive,
Miss the aim whereto I strive.
Not love, nor beauty’s pride,
Nor Fortune, nor thy coldness, can I chide,
If, whilst within thy heart abide
Both death and pity, my unequal skill
Fails of the life, but draws the death and ill.

The Exile From the Persian of Kermani

In Farsistan the violet spreads
Its leaves to the rival sky;
I ask how far is the Tigris flood,
And the vine that grows thereby?

Except the amber morning wind,
Not one salutes me here;
There is no lover in all Bagdat
To offer the exile cheer.

I know that thou, O morning wind!
O’er Kernan’s meadow blowest,
And thou, heart-warming nightingale!
My father’s orchard knowest.

The merchant hath stuffs of price,
And gems from the sea-washed strand,
And princes offer me grace
To stay in the Syrian land;

But what is gold for, but for gifts?
And dark, without love, is the day;
And all that I see in Bagdat
Is the Tigris to float me away.

From Hafiz

I said to heaven that glowed above,
O hide yon sun-filled zone,
Hide all the stars you boast;
For, in the world of love
And estimation true,
The heaped-up harvest of the moon
Is worth one barley-corn at most,
The Pleiads’ sheaf but two.

If my darling should depart,
And search the skies for prouder friends,
God forbid my angry heart
In other love should seek amends.

When the blue horizon’s hoop
Me a little pinches here,
Instant to my grave I stoop,
And go find thee in the sphere.

Epitaph

Bethink, poor heart, what bitter kind of jest
Mad Destiny this tender stripling played;
For a warm breast of maiden to his breast,
She laid a slab of marble on his head.

They say, through patience, chalk
Becomes a ruby stone;
Ah, yes! but by the true heart’s blood
The chalk is crimson grown.

Friendship

Thou foolish Hafiz! Say, do churls
Know the worth of Oman’s pearls?
Give the gem which dims the moon
To the noblest, or to none.

Dearest, where thy shadow falls,
Beauty sits and Music calls;
Where thy form and favor come,
All good creatures have their home.

On prince or bride no diamond stone
Half so gracious ever shone,
As the light of enterprise
Beaming from a young man’s eyes.

From Omar Khayyam

Each spot where tulips prank their state
Has drunk the life-blood of the great;
The violets yon field which stain
Are moles of beauties Time hath slain.

Unbar the door, since thou the Opener art,
Show me the forward way, since thou art guide,
I put no faith in pilot or in chart,
Since they are transient, and thou dost abide.

From Ali Ben Abu Taleb

He who has a thousand friends has not a friend to spare,
And he who has one enemy will meet him everywhere.

On two days it steads not to run from thy grave,
The appointed, and the unappointed day;
On the first, neither balm nor physician can save,
Nor thee, on the second, the Universe slay.

From Ibn Jemin

Two things thou shalt not long for, if thou love a mind serene; —
A woman to thy wife, though she were a crowned queen;
And the second, borrowed money, — though the smiling lender say
That he will not demand the debt until the Judgment Day.

The Flute From Hilali

Hark, what, now loud, now low, the pining flute complains,
Without tongue, yellow-cheeked, full of winds that wail and sigh;
Saying, Sweetheart! the old mystery remains, —
If I am I; thou, thou; or thou art I?

To the Shah From Hafiz

Thy foes to hunt, thy enviers to strike down,
Poises Arcturus aloft morning and evening his spear.

To the Shah From Enweri

Not in their houses stand the stars,
But o’er the pinnacles of thine!

To the Shah From Enweri

From thy worth and weight the stars gravitate,
And the equipoise of heaven is thy house’s equipoise.

Song of Seyd Nimetollah of Kuhistan

[Among the religious customs of the dervishes is an astronomical dance, in which the dervish imitates the movements of the heavenly bodies, by spinning on his own axis, whilst at the same time he revolves round the Sheikh in the centre, representing the sun; and, as he spins, he sings the Song of Seyd Nimetollah of Kuhistan.]

Spin the ball! I reel, I burn,
Nor head from foot can I discern,
Nor my heart from love of mine,
Nor the wine-cup from the wine.
All my doing, all my leaving,
Reaches not to my perceiving;
Lost in whirling spheres I rove,
And know only that I love.

I am seeker of the stone,
Living gem of Solomon;
From the shore of souls arrived,
In the sea of sense I dived;
But what is land, or what is wave,
To me who only jewels crave?
Love is the air-fed fire intense,
And my heart the frankincense;
As the rich aloes flames, I glow,
Yet the censer cannot know.
I’m all-knowing, yet unknowing;
Stand not, pause not, in my going.

Ask not me, as Muftis can,
To recite the Alcoran;
Well I love the meaning sweet, —
I tread the book beneath my feet.

Lo! the God’s love blazes higher,
Till all difference expire.
What are Moslems? what are Giaours?
All are Love’s, and all are ours.
I embrace the true believers,
But I reck not of deceivers.
Firm to Heaven my bosom clings,
Heedless of inferior things;
Down on earth there, underfoot,
What men chatter know I not.

The Principle of All Things; Entrails Made

The principle of all things; entrails made
Of smallest entrails; bone, of smallest bone;
Blood, of small sanguine drops reduced to one;
Gold, of small grains; earth, of small sands compacted;
Small drops to water, sparks to fire contracted:

Lucretius

The Secret That Should Not Be Blown

The secret that should not be blown
Not one of thy nation must know;
You may padlock the gate of a town,
But never the mouth of a foe.

(Persian)

On Earth’s Wide Thoroughfares Below

On earth’s wide thoroughfares below
Two only men contented go:
Who knows what’s right and what’s forbid,
And he from whom is knowledge hid.

Omar Khayyam

Sunshine Was He

Sunshine was he
In the winter day;
And in the midsummer
Coolness and shade.

(Arabian)

Go Boldly Forth, and Feast on Being’s Banquet

Go boldly forth, and feast on being’s banquet;
Thou art the called, — the rest admitted with thee.

(Arabian)

Color, Taste, and Smell, Smaragdus, Sugar, and Musk

Color, taste, and smell, smaragdus, sugar, and musk, —
Amber for the tongue, for the eye a picture rare, —
If you cut the fruit in slices, every slice a crescent fair, —
If you leave it whole, the full harvest-moon is there.

Adsched of Meru

Loose the Knots of the Heart; Never Think on Thy Fate

Loose the knots of the heart; never think on thy fate:
No Euclid has yet disentangled that snarl.

Hafiz

There Resides in the Grieving

There resides in the grieving
A poison to kill;
Beware to go near them
’Tis pestilent still.

Hafiz

I Will Be Drunk and Down With Wine

I will be drunk and down with wine;
Treasures we find in a ruined house.

Hafiz

To Be Wise the Dull Brain So Earnestly Throbs

To be wise the dull brain so earnestly throbs,
Bring bands of wine for the stupid head.

Hafiz

The Builder of Heaven

The Builder of heaven
Hath sundered the earth,
So that no footway
Leads out of it forth.

On turnpikes of wonder
Wine leads the mind forth,
Straight, sidewise, and upward,
West, southward, and north.

Stands the vault adamantine
Until the Doomsday;
The wine-cup shall ferry
Thee o’er it away.

Hafiz

I Batter the Wheel of Heaven

I batter the wheel of heaven
When it rolls not rightly by;
I am not one of the snivellers
Who fall thereon and die.

Hafiz

Tis Writ on Paradise’s Gate

’Tis writ on Paradise’s gate,
“Wo to the dupe that yields to Fate!”

Hafiz

The World is a Bride Superbly Dressed

The world is a bride superbly dressed; —
Who weds her for dowry must pay his soul.

Hafiz

I Am: What I Am

I am: what I am
My dust will be again.

Hafiz

What Lovelier Forms Things Wear

What lovelier forms things wear,
Now that the Shah comes back!

Hafiz

Take My Heart in Thy Hand, O Beautiful Boy of Schiraz!

Take my heart in thy hand, O beautiful boy of Schiraz!
I would give for the mole on thy cheek Samarcand and
Buchara!

Hafiz

Out of the East, and Out of the West, No Man Understands Me

Out of the East, and out of the West, no man understands me;
Oh, the happier I, who confide to none but the wind!
This morning heard I how the lyre of the stars resounded,
“Sweeter tones have we heard from Hafiz!”

Hafiz

Fit for the Pleiads’ Azure Chord

Fit for the Pleiads’ azure chord
The songs I sung, the pearls I bored.

Hafiz

I Have No Hoarded Treasure

I have no hoarded treasure,
Yet have I rich content;
The first from Allah to the Shah,
The last to Hafiz went.

High Heart, O Hafiz! Though Not Thine

High heart, O Hafiz! though not thine
Fine gold and silver ore;
More worth to thee the gift of song,
And the clear insight more.

Hafiz

O Hafiz! Speak Not of Thy Need

O Hafiz! speak not of thy need;
Are not these verses thine?
Then all the poets are agreed,
No man can less repine.

Hafiz

Oft Have I Said, I Say It Once More

Oft have I said, I say it once more,
I, a wanderer, do not stray from myself.
I am a kind of parrot; the mirror is holden to me;
What the Eternal says, I stammering say again.
Give me what you will; I eat thistles as roses,
And according to my food I grow and I give.
Scorn me not, but know I have the pearl,
And am only seeking one to receive it.

Hafiz

The Phoenix

My phoenix long ago secured
His nest in the sky-vault’s cope;
In the body’s cage immured,
He is weary of life’s hope.

Round and round this heap of ashes
Now flies the bird amain,
But in that odorous niche of heaven
Nestles the bird again.

Once flies he upward, he will perch
On Tuba’s golden bough;
His home is on that fruited arch
Which cools the blest below.

If over this world of ours
His wings my phoenix spread,
How gracious falls on land and sea
The soul-refreshing shade!

Either world inhabits he,
Sees oft below him planets roll;
His body is all of air compact,
Of Allah’s love his soul.

Come! — the palace of heaven rests on aëry pillars, —
Come, and bring me wine; our days are wind.
I declare myself the slave of that masculine soul
Which ties and alliance on earth once forever renounces.
Told I thee yester-morn how the Iris of heaven
Brought to me in my cup a gospel of joy?
O high-flying falcon! the Tree of Life is thy perch;
This nook of grief fits thee ill for a nest.
Hearken! they call to thee down from the ramparts of heaven;
I cannot divine what holds thee here in a net.
I, too, have a counsel for thee; oh, mark it and keep it,
Since I received the same from the Master above:
Seek not for faith or for truth in a world of light-minded girls;
A thousand suitors reckons this dangerous bride.
This jest of the world, which tickles me, leave to my vagabond self.
Accept whatever befalls; uncover thy brow from thy locks;
Neither to me nor to thee was option imparted;
Neither endurance nor truth belongs to the laugh of the rose.
The loving nightingale mourns; — cause enow for mourning; —
Why envies the bird the streaming verses of Hafiz?
Know that a god bestowed on him eloquent speech.

By Breath of Beds of Roses Drawn

By breath of beds of roses drawn,
I found the grove in the morning pure,
In the concert of the nightingales
My drunken brain to cure.

With unrelated glance
I looked the rose in the eye;
The rose in the hour of gloaming
Flamed like a lamp hard-by.

She was of her beauty proud,
And prouder of her youth,
The while unto her flaming heart
The bulbul gave his truth.

The sweet narcissus closed
Its eye, with passion pressed;
The tulips out of envy burned
Moles in their scarlet breast.

The lilies white prolonged
Their sworded tongue to the smell;
The clustering anemones
Their pretty secrets tell.

Hafiz

All Day the Rain

All day the rain
Bathed the dark hyacinths in vain,
The flood may pour from morn till night
Nor wash the pretty Indians white.

Hafiz

O’er the Garden Water Goes the Wind Alone

O’er the garden water goes the wind alone
To rasp and to polish the cheek of the wave;
The fire is quenched on the dear hearth-stone,
But it burns again on the tulips brave.

Enweri

Whilst I Disdain the Populace

Whilst I disdain the populace,
I find no peer in higher place.
Friend is a word of royal tone,
Friend is a poem all alone.
Wisdom is like the elephant,
Lofty and rare inhabitant:
He dwells in deserts or in courts;
With hucksters he has no resorts.

Ibn Jemin

A Friend is He, Who, Hunted as a Foe

A friend is he, who, hunted as a foe,
So much the kindlier shows him than before;
Throw stones at him, or ruder javelins throw,
He builds with stone and steel a firmer floor.

Dschami

The Chemist of Love

The chemist of love
Will this perishing mould,
Were it made out of mire,
Transmute into gold

Hafiz

And Since Round Lines Are Drawn

And since round lines are drawn
My darling’s lips about,
The very Moon looks puzzled on,
And hesitates in doubt
If the sweet curve that rounds thy mouth
Be not her true way to the South.

Hafiz

Ah, Could I Hide Me in My Song

Ah, could I hide me in my song,
To kiss thy lips from which it flows!

Hafiz

Fair Fall Thy Soft Heart

Fair fall thy soft heart!
A good work wilt thou do?
Oh, pray for the dead
Whom thine eyelashes slew!

Hafiz

They Strew in the Path of Kings and Czars

They strew in the path of kings and czars
Jewels and gems of price;
But for thy head I will pluck down stars,
And pave thy way with eyes.

I have sought for thee a costlier dome
Than Mahmoud’s palace high,
And thou, returning, find thy home
In the apple of Love’s eye.

Hafiz

I Know This Perilous Love-lane

I know this perilous love-lane
No whither the traveller leads,
Yet my fancy the sweet scent of
Thy tangled tresses feeds.

In the midnight of thy locks,
I renounce the day;
In the ring of thy rose-lips,
My heart forgets to pray.

Hafiz

Plunge in Yon Angry’ Waves

Plunge in yon angry’ waves,
Renouncing doubt and care;
The flowing of the seven broad seas
Shall never wet thy hair.

Is Allah’s face on thee
Bending with love benign,
And thou not less on Allah’s eye
O fairest! turnest thine.

Hafiz

While Roses Bloomed Along the Plain

While roses bloomed along the plain,
The nightingale to the falcon said,
“Why, of all birds, must thou be dumb?
With closed mouth thou utterest,
Though dying, no last word to man.
Yet sitt’st thou on the hand of princes,
And feedest on the grouse’s breast,
Whilst I, who hundred thousand jewels
Squander in a single tone,
Lo! I feed myself with worms,
And my dwelling is the thorn.” —
The falcon answered, “Be all ear:
I, experienced in affairs,
See fifty things, say never one;
But thee the people prizes not,
Who, doing nothing, say’st a thousand.
To me, appointed to the chase,
The king’s hand gives the grouse’s breast;
Whilst a chatterer like thee
Must gnaw worms in the thorn. Farewell!”

Nisami

Body and Soul

A painter in China once painted a hall; —
Such a web never hung on an emperor’s wall; —
One half from his brush with rich colors did run,
The other he touched with a beam of the sun;
So that all which delighted the eye in one side,
The same, point for point, in the other replied.

In thee, friend, that Tyrian chamber is found;
Thine the star-pointing roof, and the base on the ground:
Is one half depicted with colors less bright?
Beware that the counterpart blazes with light!

Enweri

I Read on the Porch of a Palace Bold

I read on the porch of a palace bold
In a purple tablet letters cast, —
“A house, though a million winters old,
A house of earth comes down at last;
Then quarry thy stones from the crystal All,
And build the dome that shall not fall.”

Ibn Jemin

The Eternal Watcher, Who Doth Wake

The eternal Watcher, who doth wake
All night in the body’s earthen chest,
Will of thine arms a pillow make,
And a bolster of thy breast.

Feisi

Poem From “Bird Conversations.”

The bird-soul was ashamed;
Their body was quite annihilated;
They had cleaned themselves from the dust,
And were by the light ensouled.
What was, and was not, — the Past, —
Was wiped out from their breast.
The sun from near-by beamed
Clearest light into their soul;
The resplendence of the Simorg beamed
As one back from all three.
They knew not, amazed, if they
Were either this or that.
They saw themselves all as Simorg,
Themselves in the eternal Simorg.
When to the Simorg up they looked,
They beheld him among themselves;
And when they looked on each other,
They saw themselves in the Simorg.
A single look grouped the two parties,
The Simorg emerged, the Simorg vanished,
This in that, and that in this,
As the world has never heard.
So remained they, sunk in wonder,
Thoughtless in deepest thinking,
And quite unconscious of themselves.
Speechless prayed they to the Highest
To open this secret,
And to unlock Thou and We.
There came an answer without tongue. —
“The Highest is a sun-mirror;
Who comes to Him sees himself therein,
Sees body and soul, and soul and body:
When you came to the Simorg,
Three therein appeared to you,
And, had fifty of you come,
So had you seen yourselves as many.
Him has none of us yet seen.
Ants see not the Pleiades.
Can the gnat grasp with his teeth
The body of the elephant?
What you see is He not;
What you hear is He not.
The valleys which you traverse,
The actions which you perform,
They lie under our treatment
And among our properties.
You as three birds are amazed,
Impatient, heartless, confused:
Far over you am I raised,
Since I am in act Simorg.
Ye blot out my highest being,
That ye may find yourselves on my throne;
Forever ye blot out yourselves,
As shadows in the sun. Farewell!”

Ferideddin Attar

Tis Heavy Odds

’Tis heavy odds
Against the gods,
When they will match with myrmidons.
We spawning, spawning myrmidons,
Our turn to-day! we take command,
Jove gives the globe into the hand
Of myrmidons, of myrmidons.

Pierre Jean de Béranger

At the Last Day, Men Shall Wear

At the last day, men shall wear
On their heads the dust,
As ensign and as ornament
Of their lowly trust.

Hafiz

Fooled Thou Must Be, Though Wisest of the Wise

Fooled thou must be, though wisest of the wise:
Then be the fool of virtue, not of vice.

(Persian)

Alms

The beggar begs by God’s command,
And gifts awake when givers sleep.
Swords cannot cut the giving hand,
Nor stab the love that orphans keep.

Hafiz

No. 13 Hymn Written in Concord Sept. 1814

Come heavenly Muse my voice inspire
Teach me to tune the poet’s lyre
In feeble notes that I may sing
And let Religion guide the string.
The works of God demand a song
From spirits and the angelic throng
O then let mortals also raise
In humbler strains their songs of praise
My soul O look around and see
How many things are made for thee
For thee the fields are cover’d o’er,
For thee the harvest yields its store,
Speech, reason, sight, and every sense
Is given thee by Providence
God’s praise is sung by every rill
O then let not my tongue be still
Let morn, and noon, and shady night
Hear praise to him who made the light
And to his Son who willing came
To save mankind from death and shame.

On the Death of Mr. John Haskins

See the calm exit of the aged Saint,
Without a murmur, and without complaint,
Whil’st round him gathered his dear children stand
And some one holds his withered pallid hand.
He bids them trust in God, nor mourn nor weep;
He breathes Religion, and then falls asleep.
Then on angelic wings he flies to God,
Rejoiced to leave this earthly mortal clod.
His head is covered with a crown of gold.
A golden harp his hands immortal hold.

Lines on the Death of Miss. M. B. Farnham

Come heavenly Muse a suppliant asks thine aid,
No common theme his feeble pen pursues,
Where the blue grave-stone marks the silent dead,
There would he go and there in silence muse.

Here let unhallowed feet ne’er bend their way,
Here where decaying, youth & Beauty sleeps,
Here where cold Death holds his imperious sway,
And fond affection clad in mourning weeps.

Lowly beneath this green and nameless sod,
Rests the frail body of departed worth;
Her happy soul has mounted to her god,
And gone forever from this narrow Earth.

Her’s was the brightness of the noonday Sun
Her fancy brilliant as his golden rays,
Judgement & Reason, mounted on the throne,
And pure Religion shone in all her ways.

Long as the life blood flows within the veins,
Long as the throbbing heart persists to move,
So long shall thought of Mary lessen pains,
And bring to Memory all her cares, and love.

Her brilliant taste, and manners well refined,
Shone with bright splendor on this lower earth,
Her graceful form, and modesty combined,
Proclaimed her value, excellence, and worth.

Farewel thou dear departed! ah farewel,
Peace to thine ashes in their clay cold bed,
Till the last trump shalt burst thy narrow cell,
And bid thee leave the mansions of the dead.

Poem on Eloquence by R. W. Emerson

When oer the world the son of genius rose
And woke mankind from indolent repose
When Science first diffused her genial rays
And Learning fair enlightened elder days
Then Eloquence descending from above
Left the high palace of Olympian Jove
To earth’s fair field she bent her airy way
Guided by Hermes from the realms of day
Thrice happy Greece her lighting footsteps bore
When first the Goddess on earthly shore
In thy fair realm Polymnia fix’d her throne
And raised her sacred fane, — nor there alone —
Where to bright knowledge Ignorance gave way
Where Superstition fled the dawn of day
There in the temple of the Muses shone
Polymnia star by radiant lustre known.
First mid the band that sought her courts for fame
Stood cloth’d in light the great Athenian name
Hail great Demosthenes! thine ardent soul
Could nature’s arts and nature’s self controul
Thy speech inspired with accents clear and loud
Flash’d like the lightning from the thunder cloud
As the fierce flame that rends the rumbling ground
With sudden blaze throws dire destruction round
From Etna’s top with mad resistless force
In liquid fire precipitates its course
Nor shepherd’s hut nor prince’s stately tower
Can save the tenant from the torrents power
Thus from thy lips the fire of Hermes flow’d
And from a mortal almost made a God
Gave thee the power the hearts of men to bind
The magic springs to know that actuate the mind
The strong in war thy strength resist in vain
The great and brave obey thy guiding vein
Twas with that power endued each sep’rate clause
Drew from the listening crowds the loud applause.
When Freedom from thy lips in thunder spoke
And all her spirit flash’d in every look.
When Phillip vainly tried each subtle art
To tempt with venal gold each patriot’s heart
Rous’d by their “last great man” they tried the field
But not those Greeks unknowing how to yield —
One mercy more oh! had the Gods bestow’d
Courage on him whose lips with ardour glow’d
Then had led their armies to the plain
And falling Greece had conquered once again
The dubious field of battle’s strife been won
And set majestic had their falling sun
But time forbids that more the muse should name
Of Grecian orators well known to fame
Farewell to Greece of liberal arts the nurse
Turn now Oh Muse to Rome direct thy course
See where with awful majesty arise
Her mighty leaders eloquent & wise
See great Hortentius to a greater yield
And stript of laurels quit the long-fought field

Original— “Apropos.”

Night slowly stretches o’er the changing skies
And killing darkness shrouds the rolling Earth
Up to her well-known rock the night-owl hies
And wizard hags begin their cursed mirth.

A misty cloud bedims the rising moon
Few are the stars that cheer the evening sky
And dark and gloomy is the night; and soon
The light that issues from those stars will die.

This night, I deem, the moon is in her spell
And fiends have mutter’d incantations dire
This night in revelry, the hags of hell
Dance in deep cave, around th’infernal fire

Ah! bleakly blows the Ocean’s stormy blast
Grim Water-Sprites bestride the foaming wave,
Woe to the hapless bark, the towering mast
The careworn sailor finds tonight his Grave!

On Ballans lonely moor what sounds were heard!
When the chill night brought on the darkness drear
And in thy lofty towers lone Villagird!
What startling noise came sudden on the ear.

I passed at eve the foot of Ben-lide’s hill
I heard a voice as the sad breeze blew by
Starting I listened — all again was still
Nought through the mist could mortal sight descry.

William Does Thy Frigid Soul

William does thy frigid soul,
The charms of poetry deny,
And think thy heart beyond controul,
Of each Parnassian Deity?

This I suspect from that cold look,
Quenching like ice Apollo’s fire,
With which each vagrant verse you took,
When offer’d from my humble lyre.

Not that in truth I mean to say,
I ever had a lyre — not I —
Rhymers you know have got a way,
To Tell a bumper, alias lie. —

— I love quotations — Dr Gibbs —
Or some one else perhaps — has said,
— Poets have leave to publish fibs,
And t’is a portion of their trade —

But to return — ti’s wrong to say,
That I should not have leave to write,
My maxim is — write while it’s day, —
For soon, forsooth it will be night,

That is — poor Ralph must versify,
Through College like a thousand drums
But when well through then then oh my
The dark dull night of Business comes

While this my letter you peruse,
Frown no long-faced apostrophe,
Dare not to blame the wayward muse,
Nor scowl the scroflous brow at me —

Song: Shout for Those Whose Course is Done

Tune “Scots wha hue wi’ Wallace bled.”

Shout for those whose course is done, —
Bow you to their setting sun,
— Souls of patriots who won
Noble Liberty.

Fell Brittania’s tyrant power
Quailed in combats fearful hour;
Lowly did the Lion cower
To their victory.

Stars of Freedom’s spangled banner!
Burst ye forth in loud hosanne,
While the morning breezes fan her
Passing cheerfully.

Celebrate with song today,
Feats of eras far away
Ruin to the British sway
O’er Columbia

Perhaps Thy Lot in Life is Higher

Perhaps thy lot in life is higher
Than the fates assign to me
While they fulfil thy large desire
And bid my hopes as visions flee
But grant me still in joy or sorrow
In grief or hope to claim thy heart
And I will then defy the morrow
Whilst I fulfil a loyal part.

Valedictory Poem

Gambol and song and jubilee are done,
Life’s motley pilgrimage must be begun; —
Another scene is crowding on the last, —
Perhaps a darkened picture of the past;
And we, who leave Youth’s fairy vales behind,
Where Joy hath hailed us on the summer wind,
Would fain, with fond delay, prolong the hour,
Which sternly strikes at Friendship’s golden power.
Then chide us not, though idly we may strew
Some blooming chaplets in the way we view.
We cannot weep — while Hope is dancing nigh, —
We may not smile at Sorrow’s withering eye.
On Youth’s last threshold, while we doubtful stand,
What crowded scenes of various hues expand, —
A thousand fears the fields of Time deform,
Hope’s gilded rainbows resting on the storm.

Oh long ago, while Freedom yet was young,
Her wreaths ungathered, and her praise unsung,
While Europe languished in barbaric night,
And young Columbus kindled life and light, —
Fate’s finger pointed to the brooding cloud
Which wrapped a new world in its ponderous shroud.

On three full ages has the seal been set
Since, o’er this land, Fate’s awful Angels met; —
This land, — the scene of glory unrevealed,
Pregnant with powers her Genius woke to wield.
Here stood those Angels, on our mountain strand,
And looked through Time, and waved their charmed wand.
Hailed the full hour when God proclaims its birth,
A new and blissful paradise on earth.
Thrice oer the clime they flapped their dusky wings,
To lodge rich virtues in its secret springs,
And ere its gale and mortal banner furled,
Charm bound its shores, the asylum of the World.
Then bade the breezes waft Columbus on,
To crown the triumph which the hero won.
Columbus comes; — far land bedims the sky,
And rapture kindled in his eagle eye.
With awe struck soul, the trembling sailor feels
What man dishonoured, & what God reveals;
Found the first Eden’s pomp of hills and woods,
Lost in vast Ocean’s watery solitudes.
Like that rare bird the enamoured Ethiop praised
Whose peerless beauty all unworshipped blazed,
Gift of the Sun, his golden plumage shone,
In Afric’s boundless solitudes, — alone.

Back to the crowded multitudes of men,
Swelled with glad tidings, came the sail again;
Europe’s loud welcome bade the wanderers hail,
Delighted Wonder listened to their tale.
The eyes of men were fastened on the scene,
Whose distant beauty charmed with light serene.
Adventurous hosts, from Europe’s tower-crowned shore,
Claimed boundless realms unvisited before;
But ‘mid the shouts of rushing nations, — came,
And louder than the trumpet voice of fame,
Prophetic sounds, in solemn murmur heard,
The oracles of Fate breathed out the thrilling word.

— ‘When dying Europe mourns her lost renown,
‘Her wasted honour, and her broken crown;
‘When Vice and Ruin rend the earth with sin,
‘And pour the deluge of destruction in,
‘Corruption scorches with his tainted breath,
‘And hundred-handed Havoc rides on death; —
‘Be thou — fair land! their refuge, and their stay,
‘The pillared gate to Glory’s narrow way.
The sound had ceased, the unearthly host retired
Dark in the North, — and men, with awe, admired.

Time rolls away, but Nature stands the same;
Her starry host, her mountain wrapped in flame,
Earth, air, and heaven, which smiled benignant then
On those far travellers from the haunts of men,
With equal lustre now look calmly on
This youthful band, — this goal which they have won;
Perhaps bear with them, in their counsels high,
The near fulfilment of old prophecy;
And we, perchance, may claim with joy to be
The Ministers of Fate, the priests of Destiny.

Here, in the halls of Fate, we proudly stand,
Youth’s holy fires by Hope’s broad pinion fanned;
And while we wait what Destiny betides,
Gaze on the forms which fairy Fancy guides;
Bright apparitions floating on the air,
Which soft approaching claim a guardian care.
Shall I see FORTUNE wave her silken robe,
Or strong AMBITION comprehend the globe?
Shall warbling MUSES steal the soul away
To the rich stores of legendary lay?
Shall HONOUR trace the heraldry of Fame,
Or BEAUTY come, as Cleopatra came? —
— Not to dull sense shall forms like these appear,
But conscious feeling finds them hovering near.
These are the living principles, which weave

Lifes treacherous web, to flatter and deceive;
Through every age, they lead the lot of life,
And grasp the Urn with human fortunes rife
The early minstrel, when his kindling eye
Marked the bright stars illuminate the sky,
Saw these wild phantoms, in those planets, roll
The tides of fortune to their fearful goal.
There, robed in light, the Genii of the stars
Launch, in refulgent space, their diamond cars;
Or, in pavilions of celestial pride,
Serene above all influence beside,
Vent the bold joy, which swells the glorious soul,
Rich with the rapture of secure controul.
They read the silent mysteries of fate,
The slow revealings of the future state;
Trace the colossal shades of coming time,
Pregnant with unknown prodigies of crime,
While passing on, to ill-omened birth,
Low in the hapless atmosphere of earth.
— These were proud visions, and though part were feigned,
Enough of Truth’s sweet union remained.

We may not stoop dull folly’s round to creep,
And we must climb Ambitions rugged steep;
What though the toil should vex the soul with pain, —
Beyond its woes, there is a crown to gain.
We look for days of joy, and groves of peace,
Where all the turmoils of ambition cease;
We love that garland, which the scholar wears,
Who wreaths new blossoms with successive years,
Crouched in his cot, amid romantic bowers,
Domestic visions wing the happy hours,
When mellow eve shall paint the saffron sky,
And light the star of Hesperus on high,
Hush the wild warble of the lonely grove,
And charm the hamlet with the tales of love,
Then, the glad sire shall gather round his door,
His ruddy boys, to list his fairy lore;
By every soothing spell to Nature known
She courts him willing to her sylvan throne;

While, oer his sense, her bright enchantment steals,
Enamoured Memory all her stores reveals;
The star oft seen in youth’s rejoicing prime
Rolls back his soul along the tides of time;
Recalls the spring-time of his health and pride,
His gay companions bounding at his side;
The reckless shout which shook the college hall, —
The classic lesson potent to appal, —
The gorgeous dreams which ardent fancy wove
To gild the blushing morning of his love; —
All these shall rise for Memory’s brilliant theme,
And float in beauty, like an angel’s dream.
The old man’s fearless gaze salutes the sky,
Ere savage death hath shut his glazing eye.
When the grave closed oer Athens’ laurelled son,
The fair-haired Muses wept in Helicon;
Be our’s that tear, — fair Nature’s holiest gem,
That song, for aye, shall be our requiem.

But let not eager fancy roam so far,
Whose tale should now remind us what we are.
In this bright age, with seeds of glory sown,
The hand of fate hath placed us, — not our own.
When the old world is crumbling with decay,
And empires unregarded, pass away,
When the world’s days of infancy are told,
And Nature’s crowded destinies unfold,
Perhaps tis our’s — when strength and grandeur fail,
And pride and power confess that man is frail,
When vanquished Virtue’s reign is fully past,
And stern Corruption climbs the throne at last,
And men kneel down beneath that wasting sway, —
Perhaps tis our’s to rend the veil away;
To bid men see their honour, and their bliss,
The proud connection of that world and this;
To shew the triumphs of a loftier scene,
Than on this humble ball hath ever been,
Ourselves, heavens honoured instruments prepared,
Whose little band even savage Death has spared.

Let not the censure of presumption blot
The venial boldness of aspiring thought;
For proudest deeds, the lowliest means are made,
Where the dark schemes of Providence are laid,
So when, of old, to strike a lawless sway,
The arm of Nemesis was shrined in clay,
When the black host of earthborn giants strove
To rend Olympus from the might of Jove,
When Terror reddened on the Almighty’s cheek,
And even Jove’s thunders whispered they were weak,
Then was the might, which blessed high heaven with peace,
Found in the arm of youthful Hercules;
So heaven may bid this young unhonoured land
Lead the long changes which mankind demand.

I seek no pardon if my wayward lays
Flow too profusely with my country’s praise;
Shall a vain taunt proscribe my love of home,
Bid the heart sicken, sacred feeling roam?
Shall paltry ridicule assail the name,
Which twines its honours with Columbia’s fame?
The man whose soul, with patriot ardor thrills
To scorn the proud world from his native hills?

But what be these but idle dreams of hope
Which soon shall fade, and leave the blind to grope?
Ah! what be these, amid the night of life,
The certain, near, inevitable strife?
We stand on slippery paths; the Ocean’s roar
Is loud around us, — and the world, before; —
Thousands have crossed the gulf, — but few can tell
Of all that countless multitude — how well.
No glorious lustre gathers round their name,
Or gives their virtues to the trump of Fame.
As if men bless them with a brief renown,
Oh think how sadly purchased was that crown,
How malice blights the name it would destroy,
— Think on Columbus chained, — canst thou be crowned with joy?

When mighty thoughts come crowding on the soul,
And Fancy’s dreams in sparkling lustre roll,
Let not the dreamer heed her baneful charms,
Perfidious smiles and Folly’s winning arms;
Fancy and Hope in chill Despair shall end,
He clasps a viper whom he thought a friend,
And when he finds the rapture of renown,
— That crown of glory is a thorny crown.

We meet to part; then haste, no more delay
To bid farewell, and stretch our sail away;
And if a kindred sympathy shall rise
Here in the hearts, and friendships, which we prize,
Our heartfelt wish shall gratefully respond,
And God will sanction this fraternal bond.
And we shall cherish long this parting day,
When Beauty smiled to cheer us on our way.
Think not that heart, and feeling’s vital glow
Part from the little pageant which we show, —
No; brightly shrined in Memory’s hallowed cell,
All that we leave, and weep to leave, shall dwell.
One debt of gratitude remains unpaid
To those who led us through Minerva’s shade;
The thanks we offer, not by words expressed,
Let future years of grateful toil attest;
Be this our pride and boast to offer here
A freewill homage, grateful & sincere.

There is no joy to tear ourselves away
From scenes endeared by life’s young holiday.
When many days have dimmed the eye with tears,
And darkening round, the sky of life appears,
How will our hearts rejoice to look behind
On these old halls, and call the past to mind.
Spots, where while studies, friends, & pleasures bless,
We dreamed the dreams of youthful happiness;
Or learned to venerate the guardian care
Enthroned in Learning’s consecrated Chair;
Where ancient Science, with a frown severe,
Appalled the trifler, as he ventured near;

Here where we learned to wield the gun and quill,
Recite in sections, and in sections drill:
Here where we learned, still studious to excel
In arts and arms, to cheer, and to rebel;
Recall the pleasant faces which we knew,
Which oft put on a sombre colouring too;
The strange vicissitudes of life, which speak
In anxious paleness, on the sufferer’s cheek,
Who, while cold terror shakes his frame throughout,
Asks, with a ghastly smile, ‘Are the parts out?’

And many a one, whose sorrow, & whose fears,
Like Arethusa, melt himself to tears,
Short youth; disaster trembles in his eye,
An inch too short to join “the Company.”
In whom both art & nature joined to strive
To reach the lofty limit,— “five feet, five”;
Perchance, in Commons Hall too sparely fed,
His hopes, alas! proved higher than his head.

Enough; — Affection may not linger here,
Repeating fond farewells, and vows sincere;
Impatient Time doth knit his sullen brow,
Gird up your loins for fates dread mandate now!
May Glory wait you on your proudest ways,
The wise applaud you, while the world obeys,
May Joy attend the journey which we fear,
And may God speed our perilous career!

From Frodmer’s Drama “The Friends.”

Malcolm, I love thee more than women love
And pure and warm and equal is the feeling
Which binds us and our destinies forever
But there are seasons in the change of times
When strong excitement kindles up the light
Of ancient memories

Dedication

Quem fugis? Aut quis te nostris complexibus arcet?
Haec memorans, cinerem et sopitos suscitât ignes.
Virgilian lot.

This song to one whose unimproved talents and unattained friendship have interested the writer in his character & fate.
By the unacknowledged tie
Which binds us to each other
By the pride of feeling high
Which friendship’s name can smother

By the cold encountering eyes
Whose language deeply thrilling
Rebelled against the prompt surmise
Which told the heart was willing;

By all which you have felt and feel
My eager gaze returning
I offer to this silent zeal
On youthful altars burning,

All the classic hours which fill
This little urn of honour;
Minerva guide & pay the pen
Your hand conferred upon her.

Idealism

Deep in the soul a strong delusion dwells,
A curious round of fairly fashioned dreams;
Yet quietly, the pleasant vision swells
Its gay proportions far around; the streams
Of the wide universe their wealth supply,
Their everlasting sources furnish forth
The fabled splendours, whose immortal dye
Colours the scene with hues which mock the summer sky
And oh how sweetly, in youth’s seraph soul,
That vision, like the light of heaven, doth rest
Its name is Life; its Hours their circle roll
Like angels in the robes of morning drest;
And every phantom of the train is blest
Who shakes his plumes upon the odorous air,
Or lights a star upon his azure crest
And while the lovely beam reposes there
Joy in the guileless heart his welcome will prepare

I Spread My Gorgeous Sail

I spread my gorgeous sail
Upon a starless sea
And oer the deep with a chilly gale
My painted bark sailed fast & free —

Old Ocean shook his waves
Beneath the roaring wind,
But the little keel of the mariner braves
The foaming abyss, & the midnight blind.

The firmament darkened overhead,
Below, the surges swelled, —
My bark ran low in the watery bed,
As the tempest breath its course compelled.

I took my silver lyre,
And waked its voice on high; —
The wild blasts were hushed to admire,
And the stars looked out from the charmed sky.

Bear me then, ye wild waters,
To Apollo’s Delphian isle,
My name is Music, in Castalie known,
Where bowers of joy the Nine beguile. —

A Shout to the Shepherds

Freshly, gaily, the rivulet flows
Beside its emerald bank
Each silver bubble in beauty goes
Adown the stream & briefly glows
Till it reach the broad flags & the alders dank.
Shepherds, who love the lay
Of untaught bards in oaken shades
Brighteyed Apollos of the forest glades
Hither, hither, turn your way.
Come to the grassy border of the brook
Here where the ragged hawthorn dips
His prickly buds of perfume in the wave
And thence again a costly fragrance sips
Drinking with each balmy floweret’s lips
Pure from the Naiad’s welling urn
While overhead the embowering elms
Bow their broad branches & keep out the day.
Hither, hither, turn your way.
Good bye.

I Wear No Badge; No Tinsel Star

I wear no badge; no tinsel star
Glitters upon my breast;
Nor jewelled crown nor victor’s car
Rob me of rest.

I am not poor, but I am proud
Of one inalienable right,
Above the envy of the crowd —
Thought’s holy light.

Better it is than gems or gold,
And oh! it cannot die,
But thought will glow when the Sun grows cold,
And mix with Deity.

I love thy music, mellow bell,
I love thine iron chime,
To life or death, to heaven or hell,
Which calls the Sons of Time.

Thy voice upon the deep
The homebound sea-boy hails,
It charms his cares to sleep,
It cheers him as he sails.

To house of God & heavenly joys
Thy summons called our sires,
And good men thought thy sacred voice
Disarmed the thunder’s fires.

And soon thy music, sad death-bell!
Shall lift its notes once more,
And mix my requiem with the wind
That sweeps my native shore.

I Rake No Coffined Clay, Nor Publish Wide

I rake no coffined clay, nor publish wide
The resurrection of departed pride
Safe in their ancient crannies dark & deep
Let kings & conquerors saints & soldiers sleep.
Late in the world too late perchance for fame
Just late enough to reap abundant blame
I choose a novel theme, a bold abuse
Of critic charters, an unlaurelled muse.

Old mouldy men & books & names & lands
Disgust my reason & defile my hands
I had as lief respect an ancient shoe
As love Old things for age, & hate the new.
I spurn the Past, my mind disdains its nod
Nor kneels in homage to so mean a god.
I laugh at those who while they — & gaze
The bald antiquity of China praise.
Youth is (whatever Cynic tubs pretend)
The fault that boys & nations soonest mend.

O What Have I to Do

O What have I to do
With merriment & jollities
Youths golden hair & sparkling eyes?
And deafening games that children prize

I am not made to tune a lute
Nor amble in a soft saloon
Nor mine the grace of kind salute
To mien of pride & heart of stone

My pulse is slow my blood is cold
My stammering tongue is rudely tuned

I care not who shall kiss the cup
That Fashion holds to Beauty up
Nor who shall slip thro’ the smiling throng
With honied lyes upon his tongue
The swift hours that go singing by
Tell not the triflers they must die

Man to his work the merry to their wine
Friend to his friend folly to festivals
All hopes & humors to their several ends
Sages to schools, young Passion to its love
Ambition to its task and me to mine.
I am not charged with dallying messages
That thus I mingle in this glittering crowd
Seeing with strange eyes their buffooneries

I am not tangled in the cobweb net
That wanton Beauty weaves for youth so knit
To some fair maid he follows with his eye
A sterner errand to the silken troop
Has quenched the uneasy blush that warmed my cheek
I am commissioned in my day of joy
To leave my woods & streams & the sweet sloth
Of prayer & song that were my dear delight
To leave the rudeness of my woodland life
Sweet twilight walks and midnight solitude
And kind acquaintance with the morning stars
& the smooth passage of my household hours
The innocent mirth which sweetens daily bread
Railing in love at those who rail again by mind’s industry sharpening the love of life
Books, Muses, study, fireside, friends, & love,
I loved ye with true love, so fare ye well.

I was a boy; boyhood slid gaily by
And the impatient years that trod on it
Taught me new lessons in the lore of life.

I’ve learned the burthen of that sad history
All woman born do know, that hoped for days
Days that come dancing on fraught with delights
Dash our blown hopes as they limp heavily by
But I — the banding of a country Muse
Abandon all those toys with speed to obey
The King whose meek ambassador I go.

Have Ye Seen the Caterpillar

Have ye seen the caterpillar
Foully warking in his nest?
Tis the poor man getting siller,
Without cleanness, without rest.
Have you seen the butterfly
In braw claithing drest?
Tis the poor man gotten rich,
In rings & painted vest.
The poor man crawls in web of rags,
And sore bested with woes,
But when he flees on riches’ wings,
He laugheth at his foes.

The Panoply of Paradise is Mine

The panoply of Paradise is mine
No armourer wrought it on Eteian forge
No dear luxurious maiden brought the gift
By lying bards profanely deemed divine
I am clad in mail of celestial proof
I brandish Michael’s sword of flame
And I come to quell the pride of the world
But avaunt these toys of poesy Why wrap
The fiery truths in riddles dark
Truth treads on the pride of Plato
Truth treads on lovesick rhymes
The fashion of riddling priests
The trick of Delphos & Dodona
The cunning of Homer & Hesiod
Mischievous polytheists who deceived mankind
These delusions are overpast.
The altar of the Capitoline god is crushed
The spindle of ancient Fate is broken
The sisters do not spin the eternal thread
There is no fire glowing on Persic mountains
Where the sun was greeted with fragrant spikenard
The Nile breeds crocodiles in his slime
And the pyramids are by great Alcairo
But the swarthy votary will not adore the reptile
And the dead oppressor is not entombed in the piles
The immortal Gods are deceased
Go let your fabled muses chant their obituary.
Do you see how the world slides away
How its huge pomps dwindle to unsubstantial things
Tho’ they were dear to the heart & solid to the eye
There is a sentence on the lip of Tully
That Truth shall last tho’ the fabrics of imagination decay.
Many incidents up & down in the world shall verify
The simple oracle.
The proud hieroglyphic shall be the child’s bauble alphabet
The spectral tale that blanched the forefather’s cheek
Makes merriment for vermillion maids.
Fools judge by outside show, for while
The champion vanquishes in vain
And armed kings are met unprofitably
(Great things that have no harvest home)
The unconscious wit scratches his paper in a corner
And the words that are writ
Burn like pains in ten thousand memories
And are chanted in thunder to the four winds.
And the pillars of social fabrics are shaken at the sound like bulrushes.

No Fate, Save by the Victim’s Fault, is Low

No fate, save by the victim’s fault, is low,
For God hath writ all dooms magnificent,
So guilt not traverses his tender will.

When Success Exalts Thy Lot

When success exalts thy lot
God for thy virtue lays a plot;
And all thy life is for thy own
Then for mankind’s instruction shewn;
And, tho’ thy knees were never bent,
To heaven thy hourly prayers are sent,
And whether formed for good or ill,
Are registered & answered still.

The Spirits of the Wise, Sit on the Clouds

The spirits of the wise, sit on the clouds
And mock the ambition of man
For his breath is vapour; his beauty the colour of a cloud
And his body & soul are parted by a sun, a storm
Or the feeble fork of a poor worm
And who shall tell his household
Whither the soul of the dead man is gone.
Is it gone to live in torture
Enduring a dread resurrection into pain
And perceive mortal plagues in an immortal body
Sighing to the heavy centuries, that bring
No light no hope in their immeasurable train?
Is it gone to farther regions of unequal lot
To a land where the colours of love & disgust
Are blended anew in the texture of the web
And the web is stained with black & bloody clouds.
Is it gone to harmonies of joy
To the ardour of virtue & the wealth of truth
Is it gone to blank oblivion
The mockery of hope & virtue & the death of God.
Alas! Alas! Alas!
Wo is me! for the sad survivor
Tho’ Fortune threw good not evil in his way
Showering the roses of pleasure & the laurel of Fame
Whilst his brother breasted the driving snows
Alas for the sad survivor.
He walks the long streets of his native City
But the peopled street is like the desolate sea.
Men study his face and its lofty lines
And love the graceful tones of pride & power
Rolled with rich thunder of eloquent words.
In the bosom of his own land.
They love him and they honour him
And they think his heart leaps at the voice of their praise.
But their thoughts are dark & their eyes are dim
And they cannot see that a noble nature
Must pine or be matched with noble things.
It is ill with the living, it is well with the dead.
It is better with the dead who live
Than it is with the living who die daily.
Oh Life, thou art a house wherein Fears inhabit
And when Man, poor pilgrim, enters the doors
They flock unto him with icy hands
They lead him in their shivering company
And if he come to a shining room
They tell him it leads to a dungeon tower.

Let Not Conceited Sages Laugh Aloud

Let not conceited sages laugh aloud
Because another ventures from the crowd
And all unblushing in the sun assumes
The bard’s derided bays — ridiculous to grooms.
I know a rabble of misguided men
Have seized with untaught hand the poet’s pen
And alien born to morals & to mind
Usurped the laureate pomp & mocked mankind.
I know the Muses kept their shells unstrung
And hid their starcrowned heads while Dulness sung
Men of vain hearts but uninstructed souls
Talk out the madness of their midnight bowls

My Days Roll by Me Like a Train of Dreams

My days roll by me like a train of dreams
A host of joyless undistinguished forms
Cloud after cloud my firmament deforms
While the sweet Eye of Heaven his purple gleams
Pour in rich rivers of Promethean beams
On all his ample family beside
On me on me the day forgets to dawn
Encountering darkness clasps me like a bride
Tombs rise around and from each cell forlorn
Starts with an ominous cry some ghastly child
Of death & darkness, summoning me to mourn
Companion of the clod brother of worms —
The future has no hope and memory mild
Gives not the blessed light that once my woes beguiled.

One Hand Washes the Other

One hand washes the other.
I’ll not pilfer a victory.
I’ll not be a moth of peace
I’ll turn my plumed helm into a skillet.

Whoso Alas is Young

Whoso alas is young
And being young is wise
And deaf to saws of gray advice
Hath listened when the Muses sung
And heard with joy when on the wind the shell of Clio rung

In tender youth if he was proud
Nor would his gentle soul profane
And loathed the arts of gain
Assorted with the rabble crowd
But shared his soul with few, or sauntered lone & proud

When Thy Soul

When thy soul
Is filled with a just image fear not thou
Lest halting rhymes or unharmonious verse
Cripple the fair Conception Leave the heart
Alone to find its language. In all tongues
It hath a sovereign instinct that doth teach
An eloquence which rules can never give.
In the high hour when Destiny ordains
That thou bear testimony to its dooms
That hour a guiding spirit shall impart
The fervid utterance art could never find
Wait then, stern friend, wait in majestic peace.

The Blackbird’s Song the Blackbird’s Song

The blackbird’s song the blackbird’s song
Still still it warbles in my ear
Tho’ I have travelled many a mile
From the sweet woods where the bird is found.

The sound rings shrilly in my ear
It vibrates strong on every nerve
Impels the blood in a swifter tide
And riots thro’ all the house of life.

It hurries me back my sense my eye
My ear, my heart, to the dusky lake
Whose silent margin I trod alone
When the morn sent me on my way.

The sun was veiled in summer clouds
Nor spared one beam to welcome me
The wind in the chambers of the mount
Lay couched nor breathed his gay good morrow.

But where the chestnut & the oak
Fringed the smooth lake with leaves
And on the slender boughs of the birch
And amid the berries of the cedar tree

There tilting & shaking down the dew
Sang his good song the merry blackbird
Quoth he, I hope you like music young man —
For I’m determined to be heard.

And straightway as he sang, the sound
Woke every bird in the silent woods
On a thousand sprays, above around
They poured their notes to the sylvan gods.

Then the shy ducks that were swimming there
Skirred along the lake to a distant cove
And the pelican started from the reeds
And poised his broad wings on the morning air.

And I am here
On the green earth contemplating the moon
Much marvelling what may betide tomorrow
I love my life

I Am an Exile From My Home; Heavily

I am an exile from my home; heavily
And all alone I walk the long sea shore
And find no joy. The trees the bushes talk to me
And the small fly that whispers in my ear.
Ah me I do not love the look
Of foreign men
And we is me that I forsook
My little home my lamp my book
To find across the foaming seas
This cheerless fen.

He must have
Droll fancies sometimes cross his quiet thoughts,
Who in my vagrant verse shall look to find
A holiday from study or from toil,
And consolation to his mortal care.
Such idler will not be a man of name,
But must be, & therein resembles me,
A little liable to ridicule,
Because he cares a particle too much
For the opinion of the fickle world;
And notes how Merit does not swim to place
In th’ tides of this world, — & feels the scandal oft
Of low salute to men of meaner mould;
And yet has felt, albeit with scorn the while,
A kind of justice in the Seneschal,
The uncivil fate, that made his fortunes vile.
I am frank, my friend, your eye has found
A gipsy muse that reads your lineaments
To tell the faithful fortunes of your life.
Go to, I’ll feed my humour to the full,
And still expand the pleasant commentary.
Who loves my verse is one whose roving eye
Detects more beauty than his tongue will own
In art & nature. Nay his traitor tongue
Sometimes consenting to the coxcomb’s jest,
Derides the beauty which delights his soul.
He is a man, who, though he told it not,
Mourned in the hour of manhood whilst he saw
The rich imagination which had tinged
Each earthly thing with hues from paradise
Forsake forever his instructed eye,
Bewailed its loss & felt how dearly bought
Is wisdom at the price of happiness.
Ah me, sometimes in
And sometimes when the dainty southwind blew
Its soft luxurious airs, & called the clouds
Mustering their hosts from all the sunny bays, —
Then when the piping wind & sounding sea
And tossing boughs combined their cadences,
The sweet & solemn melody they made
Enticed him oft in heady wantonness
To scoff at knowledge, mock the forms of life,
Cast off his years & be a boy again.
Then has he left his books, & vulgar cares,
And sallied forth across the freshened fields
With all the heart of highborn cavalier
In quest of forest glades hid from the sun,
And dim enchantments that therein abide.

I had rather follow him than talk to him;
Fast fast he leaves the villages behind,
As one who loathed them, yet he loathes them not,
And snuffs the scents which on the dallying gale
The woods send out as gentle harbingers
Bro’t from their inmost glens to lure the step
Of the pleased pilgrim to their alleys green.
I know the pleasures of this humour well
And, please you, reader, I’ll remember them.
First the glad sense of solitude, the sure
The absolute deliverance from the yoke
Of social forms, that are as tedious
Oft to a fretful & romantic man
As a musquito’s song at summer eve.
In the wood he is alone, & for the hollow chat
Of men that do not love, & will not think,
He has the unpretending company
Of birds & squirrels & the fine race of flowers.
He forms his friendships with the flowers
Whose habits or whose hue may please him best,
Goes by the red & yellow populace
That with their vulgar beauty spot the plain
To find the honoured orchis — seldom seen,
The low pyrola with a lilac’s smell,
Or the small cinque-foil, the wild strawberry’s friend.
He speculates with love on Natures forms
Admires a calyx much as Winkelmann
The architecture of a Doric Pile
Not more he doated on the [ ]Of frieze or triglyph or on architrave,
Than doth this dreamer, on the slender shaft
With awns & stipules graced, that lifts in air
The lily or the loosestrife, tapestried with leaves.
And close below
The faithful capsule to transmit its race
Like from its like to another year of flowers,
Once more to be the food of tuneful bird
Low stooping on swift wing, or busy bee,
Or the small nameless eaters that can find
A country in a leaf. —

St. Augustine

For fifteen winter days
I sailed upon the deep, & turned my back
Upon the Northern lights, & burning Bear,
On the twin Bears fast tethered to the Pole
And the cold orbs that hang by them in heaven,
Till star by star they sank into the sea.
Full swelled the sail before the driving wind,
Till the stout pilot turned his prow to land,
Where peered, mid orange groves & citron boughs,
The little city of Saint Augustine.

Slow slid the vessel to the fragrant shore,
Loitering along Matanzas’ sunny waves,
And under Anastasia’s verdant isle.
I saw Saint Mark’s grim bastions, piles of stone
Planting their deep foundations in the sea,
And speaking to the eye a thousand things
Of Spain, a thousand heavy histories.
Under these bleached walls of old renown
Our ship was moored.

— An hour of busy noise,
And I was made a quiet citizen,
Pacing my chamber in a Spanish street.
An exile’s bread is salt, his heart is sad, —
Happy, he saith, the eye that never saw
The smoke ascending from a stranger’s fire!

Yet much is here
Than can beguile the months of banishment
To the pale travellers whom Disease hath sent
Hither for genial air from Northern homes.
Oh many a tragic story can be read, —
Dim vestiges of a romantic past,
Within the small peninsula of sand.
Here is the old land of America
And in this sea-girt nook, the infant steps
First foot-prints of that Genius giant-grown
That daunts the nations with his power today.

Inquisitive of such, I walk alone
Along the narrow streets, unpaved & old,
Among few dwellers, and the jealous doors
And windows barred upon the public way.

I explored
The castle & the ruined monastery
Unpeopled town, ruins of streets of stone,
Pillars upon the margin of the sea,
With worn inscriptions oft explored in vain,
Then with a keener scrutiny, I marked
The motley population. Hither come
The forest families, timid & tame
Not now as once with stained tomahawk
The restless red man left his council fire,
Or when, with Mexique art, he painted haughtily
On canvas woven in his boundless woods
His simple symbols for his foes to read.
Not such an one is yon poor vagabond
Who in unclean & sloven apathy
Brings venison from the forest, — silly trade.
Alas! red men are few, red men are feeble,
They are few & feeble, & must pass away. —
— And here,
The dark Minorcan, sad & separate,
Wrapt in his cloak, strolls with unsocial eye:
By day, basks idle in the sun, then seeks his food
All night upon the waters, stilly plying
His hook & line in all the moonlit bays.
Here steals the sick man with uncertain gait
Looks with a feeble spirit at things around
As if he sighing said, “What is’t to me?
“I dwell afar; — far from this cheerless fen
“My wife, my children strain their eyes to me
“And oh! in vain. Wo, we is me! I feel
“In spite of hope, these wishful eyes no more
“Shall see New England’s wood-crowned hills again.”
X X X X X
(Here is a chasm very much to be regretted in the original manuscript.)
X X X X X X
There liest thou, little city of the deep,
And alway hearest the unceasing sound
By day & night in summer & in frost,
The roar of waters on thy coral shore.
But softening southward in thy gentle clime
Even the rude sea relents to clemency,
Feels the kind ray of that benignant sun
And pours warm billows up the beach of shells.
Farewell; & fair befall thee, gentle town!
The prayer of those who thank thee for their life,
The benison of those thy fragrant airs,
And simple hospitality hath blest,
Be to thee ever as the rich perfume
Of a good name, & pleasant memory!

Awed I Behold Once More

Awed I behold once more
My old familiar haunts; here the blue river
The same blue wonder that my infant eye
Admired, sage doubting whence the traveller came, —
Whence brought his sunny bubbles ere he washed
The fragrant flag roots in my father’s fields,
And where thereafter in the world he went.

Look, here he is unaltered, save that now
He hath broke his banks & flooded all the vales
With his redundant waves.

Here is the rock where yet a simple child
I caught with bended pin my earliest fish,
Much triumphing, — And these the fields
Over whose flowers I chased the butterfly,
A blooming hunter of a fairy fine.
And hark! where overhead the ancient crows
Hold their sour conversation in the sky.
These are the same, but I am not the same
But wiser than I was, & wise enough
Not to regret the changes, tho’ they cost
Me many a sigh. Oh call not Nature dumb;
These trees & stones are audible to me,
These idle flowers, that tremble in the wind,
I understand their faery syllables,
And all their sad significance. This wind,
That rustles down the well-known forest road —
It hath a sound more eloquent than speech.
The stream, the trees, the grass, the sighing wind,
All of them utter sounds of admonishment
And grave parental love.

They are not of our race, they seem to say,
And yet have knowledge of our moral race,
And somewhat of majestic sympathy,
Something of pity for the puny clay,
That holds & boasts the immeasureable mind.

I feel as if I were welcome to these trees
After long months of weary wandering,
Acknowledged by their hospitable boughs;
They know me as their son, for side by side,
They were coeval with my ancestors,
Adorned with them my country’s primitive times,
And soon may give my dust their funeral shade.

An Ancient Lady Who Dwelt in Rome

An ancient lady who dwelt in Rome
Bro’t Tarquin the King her Album from home
Nine ponderous volumes conveyed in a cart
And mentioned that this was only a part
And requested the monarch to buy the nine tomes
At a price he thought might buy nine Romes.
The unmannerly king refused to buy
A lady’s Album appraised so high,
And she, to show her honest ire,
Threw the three first volumes into the fire,
And offered the king the rest of her lore
At the price she had fixed for the nine before.
The king was amazed at the lady’s story,
But the argument now was an a fortiori,
And he flatly refused to redeem the volumes,
Whatever might be or might not in their columns.
The lady departed, & straightway burned
Three more of the six, & then returned

Be of Good Cheer, Brave Spirit; Steadfastly

Be of good cheer, brave spirit; steadfastly
Serve that low whisper thou hast served; for know,
God hath a select family of Sons
Now scattered wide thro’ earth, & each alone,
Who are thy spiritual kindred, & each one
By constant service to that inward law,
Is rearing the sublime proportions
Of a true monarch’s soul. Beauty & Strength

The riches of a spotless memory,
The eloquence of truth, the wisdom got
By searching of a clear & loving eye
That seeth as God seeth These are their gifts
And Time who keeps God’s word brings on the day
To seal the marriage of these minds with thine
Thine everlasting lovers. Ye shall be
The salt of all the elements, world of the world

The Winds Are Cold, the Days Are Dark

The winds are cold, the days are dark,
In this unlovely land
The East wind rises with the tide
To chill the populous strand

Above me shines no Syrian moon
With warm luxurious glow,
Nor golden orange groves at noon
Perfume the world below.

Yet more I prize this frozen land,
This iron soil of ours,
Than fields by Indian breezes fanned
And crimsoned oer with flowers

Written in Sickness

I bear in youth the sad infirmities
That use to undo the limb & sense of age:
It hath pleased Heaven to break the dream of bliss
Which lit my onward way with bright presage,
And my unserviceable limbs forego
The sweet delight I found in fields & farms,
On windy hills, whose tops with morning glow,
And lakes, smooth mirrors of Aurora’s charms.
Yet I think on them in the silent night,
Still breaks that morn, though dim, to Memory’s eye
And the firm soul does the pale train defy
Of grim Disease, that would her peace affright.
Please God, I’ll wrap me in mine innocence
And bid each awful Muse drive the damned harpies hence.

Oil & Wine

Oil & Wine,
Sparkling gems, & rich attire,
House & lands that men desire,
— Ye may seek at Plutus’ shrine.

High renown,
Plaudits from desiring throngs,
Echoed far by poets songs
Are dowry to the Victors crown.

Royal state,
Diamond star, & cap of gold,
Bedizened throne, how hard to hold!
— Are got by force, or fraud, or fate.

Man must learn — .
In haunts of care, in fields of strife,
Are bought the glittering goods of life,
These to ashes turn.

But go thou home,
Home to the mansion of the mind,
If solid good thy search would find,
In the bright bower of Joy, & Thought’s immortal dome.

All That Thy Virgin Soul Can Ask Be Thine

All that thy virgin soul can ask be thine
Beautiful Ellen Let this prayer be mine
The first devotion that my soul has paid
To mortal grace it pays to thee fair maid
I am enamoured of thy loveliness
Lovesick with thy sweet beauty which shall bless
With its glad light my path of life around
Which now is joyless where thou art not found
Now am I stricken with the sympathy
That binds the whole world in electric tie
I hail love’s birth within my hermit breast
And welcome the bright ordinance to be blest
I was a hermit whom the lone Muse cheers,
I sped apart my solitary years,
I found no joy in woman’s meaning eye
When Fashion’s merry mob were dancing by;
Yet had I read the law all laws above,
— Great Nature hath ordained the heart to love —
Yet had I heard that in this mortal state
To every mind exists its natural mate,
That God at first did marry soul to soul
Tho’ lands divide & seas between them roll.
Then eagerly I searched each circle round
I panted for my mate, but no mate found
I saw bright eyes, fair forms, complexions fine,
But not a single soul that spoke to mine.
At last the star broke thro’ the hiding cloud,
At last I found thee in the silken crowd
I found thee, Ellen, born to love & shine,
And I who found am blessed to call thee mine.

That Wandering Fire to Me Appears

That wandering fire to me appears
Albeit a tiny spark
Older than the oldest spheres
That glow in the heavens dark

Though Her Eye Seek Other Forms

Though her eye seek other forms
And a glad delight below
Yet the love the world that warms
Bids for me her bosom glow

She must love me till she find
Another heart as large & true
Her soul like mine is unconfined
And the world has only two

If Nature hold another heart
That knows a purer flame than we
I too therein would challenge part
And learn of love a new degree

Dear Ellen, Many a Golden Year

Dear Ellen, many a golden year
May ripe, then dim, thy beauty’s bloom
But never shall the hour appear
In sunny joy, in sorrow’s gloom,
When aught shall hinder me from telling
My ardent love, all loves excelling.

The spot is not in the rounded earth,
In cities vast, in islands lone,
Where I will not proclaim thy worth,
And glory that thou art mine own;
Will you, nill you, I’ll say I love thee,
Be the moon of June or of March above thee.

And when this porcelain clay of thine
Is laid beneath the cold earth’s flowers,
And close beside reposes mine,
Prey to the sun & air & showers,
I’ll find thy soul in the upper sphere,
And say I love thee in Paradise here.

I Call Her Beautiful; — She Says

I call her beautiful; — she says
Go to; your words are idle;
My lips began to speak her praise,
My lips she tried to bridle.
But, Ellen, I must tell you this,
Your prohibition wasted is,
Unless among your things you find
A little jail to hold the mind;
If you should dazzle out mine eyes,
As dimmer suns sometimes have done,
My sleepless ears, those judges wise,
Would say, Tis the voice of the Peerless one.
And if your witchery decree
That my five senses closed should be,
The little image in my soul
Is Ellen out of Ellen’s controul,
And whilst I live in the Universe
I will say tis my beauty, for better, for worse.

I’ve Found the Dainty Malice Out

I’ve found the dainty malice out
Of Ellen’s hypocritic eye
She’s wound her gipsy nets about

I thought it was no harm to watch
The features of an artless maid

And Do I Waste My Time

And do I waste my time
Scribbling of love to my beautiful queen
And is it idle to talk in prose & rhyme
Of one who at midnight & morning’s prime
In daylight is fancied, in visions seen?
And do I forget the burning crown
That Glory should weave of light for me

And Though He Dearly Prized the Bards of Fame

And though he dearly prized the bards of fame
His sweetest poem was one maiden’s name

And Ellen, When the Greybeard Years

And Ellen, when the greybeard years
Have brought us to life’s Evening hour
And all the crowded Past appears
A tiny scene of sun & shower. —

Then, if I read the page aright
Where Hope the soothsayer reads our lot,
Thyself shalt own the page was bright
Well that we loved we had we not.

When Mirth is dumb & Flattery’s fled
And thy mute music’s dearest tone
When all but Love itself is dead,
And all but deathless Reason gone

The Brave Empedocles Defying Fools

The brave Empedocles defying fools
Pronounced the word that mortals hate to hear
“I am divine I am not mortal made
I am superior to my human weeds.”
Not sense but Reason is the Judge of truth
Reason’s twofold; part human part divine
That human part may be described & taught
The other portion language cannot speak

Dear Brother, Would You Know the Life

Dear brother, would you know the life
Please God, that I would lead?
On the first wheels that quit this weary town
Over yon western bridges I would ride
And with a cheerful benison forsake
Each street & spire & roof incontinent.
Then would I seek where God might guide my steps,
Deep in a woodland tract, a sunny farm,
Amid the mountain counties, Hants Franklin Berks,
Where down the rock ravine a river roars,
Even from a brook, & where old woods
Not tamed & cleared, cumber the ample ground
With their centennial wrecks.
Find me a slope where I can feel the sun
And mark the rising of the early stars.
There will I bring my books, my household gods,
The reliquaires of my dead saint, & dwell
In the sweet odor of her memory.
There, in the uncouth solitude, unlock
My stock of art, plant dials, in the grass,
Hang in the air a bright thermometer,
And aim a telescope at the inviolate Sun.

Dost Thou Not Hear Me Ellen

Dost thou not hear me Ellen
Is thy ear deaf to me
Is thy radiant eye
Dark that it cannot see

In yonder ground thy limbs are laid
Under the snow
And earth has no spot so dear above
As that below

And there I know the heart is still
And the eye is shut & the ear is dull

But the spirit that dwelt in mine
The spirit wherein mine dwelt
The soul of Ellen the thought divine
From God, that came — for all that felt

Does it not know me now
Does it not share my thought
Is it prisoned from Waldo’s prayer
Is its glowing love forgot

Teach Me I Am Forgotten by the Dead

Teach me I am forgotten by the dead
And that the dead is by herself forgot
And I no longer would keep terms with me.
I would not murder, steal, or fornicate,
Nor with ambition break the peace of towns
But I would bury my ambition
The hope & action of my sovereign soul
In miserable ruin. Not a hope
Should ever make a holiday for me
I would not be the fool of accident
I would not have a project seek an end
That needed aught
Beyond the handful of my present means
The sun of Duty drop from his firmament
To be a rushlight for each petty end
I would not harm my fellow men
On this low argument, ’twould harm myself

Why Should I Live

Why should I live
The future will repeat the past
Yet cannot give
Again the Vision beautiful too beautiful to last
And o perhaps the welcome stroke
That severs forever this fleshly yoke
Shall restore the vision to the soul
In the great Vision of the Whole.

Shall the Muse Sing for Thousands & Not Sing

Shall the Muse sing for thousands & not sing
For thee a Muse thyself of sweetest lay
I would forget my
What is life for & what is Memory
If it wants room for thee Is it a curse
Can it contain all painful circumstance
Each dull degrading fact & make life stale
With its street calendar its tavern roll
And can it not sanctify itself with thee
Yea fill the soul with odoriferous thought
By limning there thy lineaments in the serene
& Spiritual beauty God drest thee withal
And write the story of an angel’s life
And all thy ministry to thine & mine
And me

Shalt thou go to thy grave unsung
Shall no flower be plucked for thee
Shall no rites be paid no death bell rung
When the desire of all eyes is gone

’Tis well for we
Are on the outside of that world
Wherein thou enterest fair & free
And all the rites we pay
Are symbols bodily
Gropings in the dark
Around the door

Thou art gone in to God
Thou walkest in heaven’s day
Thou talkest with the seraphim
The select sons of truth
Thou addest a verse to their hymn
And curious speculation occupies
Thy radiant eyes
Every thought fresh wonders brings
On his planetary wings
And every thought is a chapel where
Thou perfumest heaven with prayer
And the eldest born of Godhead say
What star beams new on us today
And yet thou hast a bond on earth
Which thou wilt keep in heaven
The nearer to the throne thou goest
The more place it will have in thy holy breast.

For I know that the Universe cannot blot
From a holy soul its true record
And so on a cherub’s wings I fly
To the Holy of Holies of the Lord

If the heart is raised by heavenly choirs
That which here made heaven is not lost
And so I rise on her risen desires
Amid the pure martyrs’ host.

If there is joy when a sinner comes
There’s sympathy when
The dust lies on thy head
In the dark sepulchre
Thou hast gone alone to thy bed
Peace calm peace to her,
But oh what funeral is thine
My holy wife
Sad thoughts in every kindred breast
That knew thou hadst passed from life
And in the breast you loved

In the Soul that was dear to you
Dark hopeless visions roved
And a perpetual yew

And every day renews
The unrepaired regret

What From This Barren Being Do We Reap

What from this barren being do we reap
And what shall hinder the wise
From lying down to sleep in the earth
The innocent child is dead
The blushing cheek of youth is cold
Genius hath untimely fled
Nor hath the world a face
To fill thy vacant place
O radiant daughter of light & love
Too rich in the graces that dwell above
To be lent long to the sinful earth
God had garnished with thy birth.
Thou wert pure as they are not
Who dwell upon this murky spot
And every thing that’s fair below.

Dust Unto Dust! And Shall No More Be Said

Dust unto dust! and shall no more be said
Ellen for thee, and shall a common fate
Blend thy last hour with the last hours of all?
Of thee my wife, my undefiled, my dear?
The muse thy living beauty could inspire
Shall spare one verse to strew thy urn
Or be forever silent. Ellen is dead
She who outshone all beauty yet knew not
That she was beautiful, she who was fair

After another mould than flesh & blood.
Her beauty was of God — The maker’s hand
Yet rested on his work,
And cast an atmosphere of sanctity
Around her steps that pleased old age & youth.
Yea that not won the eye, but did persuade
The soul by realizing human hopes,
Teaching that faith & love were not a dream,
Teaching that purity had yet a shrine,
And that the innocent & affectionate thoughts
That harbour in the bosom of a child
Might live embodied in a riper form,
And dwell with wisdom never bought by sin.
Blessed, sweet singer, were the ears that heard
To her, the eye that saw, bare witness.
The holy light of her eye did prophesy
The impatient heaven that called her hence.

The Days Pass Over Me

The days pass over me,
And I am still the same;
The aroma of my life is gone
With the flower with which it came.

Why Fear to Die

Why fear to die
And let thy body lie
Under the flowers of June
Thy body food
For the groundworm’s brood
And thy grave smiled on by the visiting moon

Amid great Nature’s halls,
Girt in by mountain walls,
And washed with waterfalls,

It would please me to die,
Where every wind that sweeps my tomb
Goes loaded with a free perfume,
Dealt out with a God’s charity.

I should like to lie in sweets,
A hill’s leaves for winding sheets,
And the searching sun to see
That I’m laid with decency
And the commissioned wind to sing
His mighty Psalm from fall to spring
And annual tunes commemorate
Of nature’s child the common fate.

I Am Alone. Sad is My Solitude

I am alone. Sad is my solitude.
O thou sweet daughter of God, my angel wife,
Why dost thou leave me thus in the great stranger world
Without one sign or token, one remembrancer
Sent o’er the weary lands that sunder us
To say I greet thee with a beating heart.
Does thy heart beat with mine? does thy blue eye
Ever look northward with desire, O do thy prayers
Remember me when thou hallowest thy maker’s name,
Remember him
Who never failed to grace his orison
With thy dear name, believes it acceptable
And prays, that he may pray for thee —

On Thee Has God Conferred

On thee has God conferred
A bodily presence mean as Paul’s
Yet made thee bearer of a word
That sleepy nations as with trumpet calls

O noble heart accept
With equal thanks the talent & disgrace
The splendid town unwept
Nourish thy power in a private place.

Think not that unattended
By heavenly Powers thou steal’st to solitude
Nor even on earth all unbefriended
Tho no sweet rabble shouts on thee intrude

Let Webster’s lofty face
Ever on thousands shine
A beacon set that Freedoms race
Might gather omens from that radiant sign.

All the Great & Good

All the great & good,
And all the fair,
As if in a disdainful mood,
Forsake the world, & to the grave repair.

Is there a sage
Needed to curb the unruly times; —
He hastes to quit the stage,
And blushing leaves his country to its crimes.

Is there an angel drest
In weeds of mortal beauty, whom high Heaven
With all sweet perfections doth invest; —
It hastes to take what it hath given.

And, as the delicate snow
Which latest fell, the thieving wind first takes
So thou, dear wife, must go,
As frail, as spotless, as those new fallen flakes.

Let me not fear to die,
But let me live so well,
As to win this mark of death from on high,
That I with God, & thee, dear heart, may dwell.

Seemed to Me — Never Maid

Seemed to me — never maid
Wore the poor weeds of hapless womanhood
With such a brave sustained purity.
She felt no shame that she was mortal

Where Art Thou

Where art thou
Thou beautiful dream
Whom every grace & every joy
Clothed in sunbeams dearest, best
Whom every fleeting hour in new graces drest
And every wondering eye that saw thee blest

Where art thou now
Sad I miss thy beaming brow
I miss thy radiant eye
The joyful noon of my life is past
My sun is set my moon is gone
Each star of hope sunk one by one
And in this cold, damp, silent eve of life
I walk alone oh Ellen, oh my wife.

One by one those graces come
Day by day to memory’s eye
Which thou worest as a robe
And I live over thy history
Thy thots were wove in beauty
Wisdom drest in dewbright flowers;
And sad & sportive hours
Had swelled alike the potent melody

I Live Among Ideal Men

I live among ideal men
I know graces
I cannot find in human faces
And I would gladly know
Where I got my vision,
If the earth does not hold its archetype

With open eye & ear
I move thro all this world of men
And well their various gifts discern
What I cannot do, they do
If I do not covet their powers
Not less do I mark & prize them

Yet still from all its journeys wide
The eye comes back unsatisfied
No living man can yet pretend
To earn the sacred name of Friend.

And that wherein alike all fail
Is the easiest part of virtue
To wit, simplicity & truth
The native ornaments of human youth.

What Avails It Me

What avails it me
That I have many friends
If when my walking ends
I come back to a lonely house

What boots it that I dwell
In a city free and rich and old
If the long streets never hold
The only form I love

What avails it I have bread
Raiment and books and leisure
Access to wisdom and to pleasure
If Ellen still is dead

In my chamber she is not
From my parlour joy is gone
Round the house I roam and groan
The glory of my house is fled

What avails it me
That I have many thoughts
That the nimble brain can run
Through all lands that see the sun
Hath a record of each race
That have had a dwelling place

If only I have right of seeing
In this wilderness of being
And from the vision glorious
Must come back to my lonely house.

She Never Comes to Me

She never comes to me
She promised me a thousand times
That she would dearly dearly love me
That in sickness & in health
Others present others absent
Whilst air was round & heaven above me
She would be present as my life
My holy gentle tender wife

She promised in my secret ear
When none but God & I could hear
That she would cleave to me forever

There was one will between us
There was one heart within us
And God upon his children smiled
As we the hours with love beguiled

And now I am alone
Unheard I moan
She never comes to me
Sits never by my side
I never hear her voice
She comes not even to my dreams
O Ellen

And comes she not
Ask thy heart, Waldo.
Doth she break her word
Doth not her love embrace thee yet
Even from the Spirits’ land?

Leave Me, Fear! Thy Throbs Are Base

Leave me, Fear! thy throbs are base,
Trembling for the body’s sake.
Come, Love! who dost the spirit raise,
Because for others thou dost wake.
O it is beautiful in death
To hide the shame of human nature’s end
In sweet & wary serving of a friend.
Love is true Glory’s field, where the last breath
Expires in troops of honorable cares.
The wound of Fate the hero cannot feel
Smit with the heavenlier smart of social zeal.
It draws immortal day
In soot & ashes of our clay.
It is the virtue that enchants it.
It is the face of God that haunts it.

If Thou Canst Bear

If thou canst bear
Strong meat of simple truth
If thou durst my words compare
With what thou thinkest in the soul’s free youth

Then take this fact unto thy soul —
God dwells in thee. —
It is no metaphor nor parable
It is unknown to thousands & to thee
Yet there is God.

He is in thy world
But thy world knows him not
He is the mighty Heart
From which life’s varied pulses part

Clouded & shrouded there doth sit
The Infinite
Embosomed in a man
And thou art stranger to thy guest
And know’st not what thou dost invest.
The clouds that veil his light within
Are thy thick woven webs of sin
Which his glory struggling through
Darkens to thine evil hue

Then bear thyself, o man!
Up to the scale & compass of thy guest
Soul of thy soul.
Be great as doth beseem
The ambassador who bears
The royal presence where he goes.
Give up to thy soul —
Let it have its way —
It is, I tell thee, God himself,
The selfsame One that rules the Whole
Tho’ he speaks thro’ thee with a stifled voice
And looks thro’ thee shorn of his beams

But if thou listen to his voice
If thou obey the royal thought
It will grow clearer to thine ear
More glorious to thine eye
The clouds will burst that veil him now
And thou shalt see the Lord.

Therefore be great
Not proud, too great to be proud
Let not thine eyes rove
Peep not in corners; let thine eyes
Look straight before thee as befits
The simplicity of Power.
And in thy closet carry state
Filled with light walk therein
And as a King
Would do no treason to his own empire
So do not thou to thine.

This is the reason why thou dost recognize
Things now first revealed
Because in thee resides
The Spirit that lives in all
And thou canst learn the laws of Nature
Because its author is latent in thy breast.
And in the Word
A wise man, Daniel, is the man
In whom the Spirit of the mighty gods abides
His goodness doth permit the deity within
To appear in his own light

Therefore o happy youth
Happy if thou dost know & love this truth
Thou art unto thyself a law
And since the Soul of things is in thee
Thou needest nothing out of thee.
The law, the gospel, & the Providence,
Heaven, Hell, the Judgment, & the stores
Immeasurable of Truth & Good
All these thou must find

Within thy single mind
Or never find.
Thou art the law.;
The gospel has no revelation
Of peace or hope until there is response
From the deep chambers of thy mind thereto
The rest is straw
It can reveal no truth unknown before.
The Providence
Thou art thyself that doth dispense
Wealth to thy work Want to thy sloth
Glory to goodness to Neglect the Moth
Thou sow’st the wind, the whirlwind reapest
Thou payest the wages
Of thy own work, through all ages.
The almighty energy within
Crowneth Virtue curseth Sin
Virtue sees by its own light
Stumbleth Sin in selfmade night.

Who approves thee doing right?
God in thee
Who condemns thee doing wrong?
God in thee
Who punishes thine evil deed?
God in thee
What is thine evil meed?
Thy worse mind, with error blind
And more prone to evil
That is, the greater hiding of the God within
The loss of peace
The terrible displeasure of this inmate
And next the consequence
More faintly as more distant wrought
Upon our outward fortunes
Which decay with vice
With virtue rise.

The selfsame God
By the same law

Makes the souls of angels glad
And the souls of devils sad

There is nothing else but God
Where e’er I look
All things hasten back to him
Light is but his shadow dim.

Shall I ask wealth or power of God who gave
An image of himself to be my Soul
As well might swilling Ocean ask a wave
Or the starred firmament a dying coal
For that which is in me lives in the whole

A Dull Uncertain Brain

A dull uncertain brain
But gifted yet to know
That God has Seraphim who go
Singing an immortal strain
Immortal here below
I know the mighty bards
I listen when they sing
And more I know
The Secret store
Which these explore
When they with torch of genius pierce
The tenfold clouds that cover
The riches of the Universe
From God’s adoring lover.
And if to me it is not given
To bring one ingot thence
Of that unfading gold of heaven
His merchants may dispense
Yet well I know the royal mine
And know the sparkle of its ore
Celestial truths from lies that shine
Explored they teach us to explore.

There is in All the Sons of Men

There is in all the sons of men
A love that in the spirit dwells
That panteth after things unseen
And tidings of the Future tells

And God hath built his altar here
To keep this fire of faith alive
And set his priests in holy fear
To speak the truth — for truth to survive.

And hither come the pensive train
Of rich & poor of young & old,
Of ardent youths untouched by pain
Of thoughtful maids & manhood bold

They seek a friend to speak the word
Already trembling on their tongue
To touch with prophet’s hand the Chord
Which God in human hearts hath strung

To speak the plain reproof of sin
That sounded in the soul before
And bid them let the angels in
That knock at humble Sorrow’s door.

They come to hear of faith & hope
That fill the exulting soul
They come to lift the curtain up
That hides the mortal goal

O thou sole source of hope assured
O give thy servant power
So shall he speak to us the word
Thyself dost give forevermore

I Will Not Live Out of Me

I will not live out of me
I will not see with others’ eyes
My good is good, my evil ill
I would be free — I cannot be
While I take things as others please to rate them
I dare attempt to lay out my own road
That which myself delights in shall be Good
That which I do not want, — indifferent,
That which I hate is Bad. That’s flat
Henceforth, please God, forever I forego
The yoke of men’s opinions. I will be
Lighthearted as a bird & live with God.
I find him in the bottom of my heart
I hear continually his Voice therein
And books, & priests, & worlds, I less esteem
Who says the heart’s a blind guide? It is not.
My heart did never counsel me to sin
I wonder where it got its wisdom
For in the darkest maze amid the sweetest baits
Or amid horrid dangers never once
Did that gentle Angel fail of his oracle
The little needle always knows the north
The little bird remembereth his note
And this wise Seer never errs
I never taught it what it teaches me
I only follow when I act aright.
Whence then did this Omniscient Spirit come?
From God it came. It is the Deity.

Hard is it to persuade the public mind of its plain duty & true interest

Hard is it to persuade the public mind of its plain duty & true interest
And hard to find a straight road to renown
And hard for young men to get honest gold
And hard to find a perfect wife
And mid the armies of imperfect men
To find a friend hardest of all
All good is hard to come by
Yet all these are easilier done
Than to live well one day — to be a Man.
Who speaks the truth outspeaks our Everett
Who acts his thought takes place of Washington
And who prefers music of his Reason
Above the thunder of all men’s example
Embraces the beatitude of God.
Alas! that evermore the worldly hands
Hang back behind the charitable Will.

Always Day & Night

Always day & night
Day before me
Night behind me

This I penned
Sitting on two stakes
Under the apple tree
Down in the swamp
To guard a friend

Hearst Thou, Sweet Spirit, Thou Hast Heard Before

Hearst thou, sweet spirit, thou hast heard before —
In heaven perchance
The heavy tidings had a golden sound
Thy dear sister, sharer of thy thots
While yet, dear Ellen, thou didst linger here,
Meekly receives the death blows, one by one,
And as thou, blessed wife, didst wither once in February’s cold eye,
From month to month,
Passing from earth an angel into heaven
So, in her turn, she hastes upon thy steps,
And leaves two mourners following presently.

None Spares Another Yet It Pleases Me

None spares another yet it pleases me
That none to any is indifferent
No heart in all this world is separate
But all are cisterns of one central sea
All are mouthpieces of the Eternal Word

Written in Naples, March, 1833

We are what we are made; each following day
Is the Creator of our human mould
Not less than was the first; the all wise God
Gilds a few points in every several life
And as each flower upon the fresh hill-side,
And every coloured petal of each flower,
Is sketched and dyed each with a new design,
Its spot of purple, & its streak of brown,
So each man’s life shall have its proper lights,
And a few joys, a few peculiar charms,
For him round in the melancholy hours,
And reconcile him to the common days.
Not many men see beauty in the fogs
Of close low pine-woods in a river town:
Yet unto me not morn’s magnificence,
Nor the red rainbow of a summer eve,
Nor Rome, nor joyful Paris, nor the halls
Of rich men blazing hospitable light,
Nor wit, nor eloquence, no, nor even the song
Of any woman that is now alive,
Hath such a soul, such divine influence,
Such resurrection of the happy past,
As is to me when I behold the morn
Ope in such low moist road-side, & beneath
Peep the blue violets out of the black loam,
Pathetic silent poets that sing to me
Thine elegy, sweet singer, sainted wife!

What is It to Sail

What is it to sail
Upon the calm blue sea
To ride as a cloud
Over the purple floor
With golden mists for company?

And Day & Night are drest
Ever in their jocund vest,
And the water is warm to the hands,
And far below you see motes of light
By day, & streams of fire by night.

What is it to sail
Upon the stormy sea,
To drive with naked spars
Before the roaring gale,
Hemmed round with ragged clouds,
Foaming & hissing & thumping waves
The reeling cabin is cold & wet,
The masts are strained, & the sail is torn,
The gale blows fiercer as the night sets in
Scarce can the seaman aloft master his struggling reef,
Even the stout captain in his coat of storms
Sighs as he glances astern at the white, white combs

And the passenger sits unsocial
And puts his book aside
And leans upon his hand.
Yet is the difference less
Between this gray sea & that golden one
Than twixt the moods of the man that sails upon it
Today & yesterday.

Alone in Rome! Why Rome is Lonely Too

Alone in Rome! Why Rome is lonely too,
Virtue alone is sweet society.
It keeps the key to all heroic hearts,
And opens you a welcome when you dare.
You must be like them, if you challenge them,
Scorn trifles, & embrace a better aim
Than wine, or sleep, or praise,
Hunt knowledge, as the lover woos a maid,
And ever, in the strife of your own tho’ts,
Obey the nobler impulse. That is Rome.
That shall command a senate to your side
For there is no force in the universe
That can contend with love.
Wait then, sad friend, wait in majestic peace
The hour of Heaven

At Sea, September 1833

Oft as I paced the deck,
My thought recurred on the uncertain sea
To what is faster than the solid land.
My Country! can the heart clasp realm so vast
As the broad oceans that wash thee inclose?
Is not the charity ambitious
That meets its arms about a continent?
And yet the sages praise the preference
Of my own cabin to a baron’s hall.
Chide it not then, but count it honesty
The insidious love & hate that curl the lip
Of the frank Yankee in the tenements
Of ducal & of royal rank abroad;
His supercilious ignorance
Of lordship, heraldry, & ceremony;
Nor less, his too tenacious memory,
Amid the particolored treasuries
That deck the Louvre & the Pitti House,
Of the brave steamboats puffing by New York,
Boston’s half-island, & the Hadley Farms
Washed by Connecticut’s psalm-loving stream.
Yea, if the ruddy Englishman speak true,
In Rome’s basilica, and underneath
The frescoed sky of its audacious dome,
Dauntless Kentucky chews, & counts the cost,
And builds the shrine with dollars in his head.
Arrived in Italy, his first demand, —
‘Has the star-bearing squadron left Leghorn?’

I Will Not Hesitate to Speak the Word

I will not hesitate to speak the word
Committed to me. It is not of men
It is not of myself — no vain discourse
Empty oration, tinkling soulless talk
My heart lies open to the Universe
I read only what there is writ I speak
The sincere word that’s whispered in my ear
I am an organ in the mouth of God
My prophecy the music of his lips.
Tho’ harsh in evil ears ’tis harmony
To patient wise & faithful hearts whose love
Cooperates with his
Concord of heaven & earth. Author divine
Of what I am & what I say, vouchsafe
To cleanse me that my folly may not hide
Thy truth nor my infirmity disguise
The Omnipotence that animates my clay.
Thou Lord dost clothe thy attributes with flesh
And named it man a morning spectacle
Unto the universe exhibiting
A manifold & mystic lesson

The Sun is the Sole Inconsumable Fire

The Sun is the sole inconsumable fire
And God is the sole inexhaustible Giver.

Poem, Spoken Before the Society, August, 1834

Is not this house a harp whose living chords,
Touched by a Poet with electric words,
Would vibrate with a harmony more true
Than Handel’s married thunders ever knew?
But I, — mere lover of the Bards’ sweet speech,
A simple seeker of the truth they teach,
Having no skill to play, must touch a string
That even to fumbling hands may music bring.
For who can love AMERICA, but seems
Clothed with some favor from its woods and streams?

His hand who hung in space this sun-burnt ball
Made Man the Heart in harmony with all
And each man to his native country tied
With the twin ligaments of love & pride.
And shall it be by antique men alone
In petty states can patriot zeal be shown
They vaunt their pastures at a kingdom’s worth
And we be dumb, whose lands balance the earth.

What purpose to man friendly hid so long
Columbia from the subtle & the strong,
Almost from pole to pole its green extent
Yet measured — only by the firmament.
Along the enormous tract in every belt
Of latitude, a several climate felt:
Under the arctic morn, red snow and moss,
Flora’s cold elements, the rocks emboss.
Southward, the rose, the apple, and the corn,
Thank the sweet influence of night and morn;
The palm-tree shakes its feathers on the Line,
And round the cane and plantain, curls the vine.

Thou shalt not covet; leave those lands alone,
Content to speculate within thine own.
As the stars shine in heaven, so genial shine
Thy stars, my country, to all lands a sign!
The little traveller from Britain’s isle
Lost in these far-spread states, may chirp and smile
At unbred men; because his dinner cools,
The country’s naught, — the countrymen are fools.
For him an ill-served soup hath disenchanted
The mighty hemisphere his fathers planted;
He sees not, by the famous pilgrims won,
A hundred Englands opening to the sun.

These northern fields, once the bear’s range and den
Bread, iron, oak, and coal, they yield to men.
Richer than purple hills of oil & wine,
Our barren mountains give their son, the Pine;
Borne on whose planks, the hardy fishers float
Round earth, wherever waves will bear a boat.

Angels might lean to see man going forth
With axe & plough to tame the savage earth;
The builder’s saw and hammer never rest;
A village climbs each hill with whitening crest;
Lowell, Bangor, & Rochester express
To pleased God the redeemed wilderness:
See the green line of culture westward run

Oer hill, swamp, prairie, to the setting sun:
Yon wagon, disappearing in the woods,
Transplants the Saxon germ to lovelier solitudes,
Bearing the wife, the babes, — basket & store —
To greet with English tongue Pacific’s shore.
What’s Italy? What’s England; Flanders France
That may compare with this inheritance
Prisons of cooped up millions born too late
Whose loss were gain to the oerburdened state
Here shall a man be rated at his worth
And nature’s freshest roses hail his birth.

Best name that Time can in his annals find
Columbia styled the Asylum of mankind
Blest office! to the exile to dispense
With open hand a God’s munificence
Say to him there is room for us and him
In the deep woods & by the Ocean’s brim;
Yes greet sad Europe’s exile to your shores
Let love unbar to him the mountain doors
Bid homeless Poland prove this side the main
The freedom she hath perilled all to gain
Give Erin’s starving outcast, wholesome meat;
And England’s haggard weaver slumber sweet.

Ah thou poor orphan! did the pitiless bed
Of feudal earth that bare thee grudge thee bread?
Was man so cheap in yon preserves of game
That thou must bend thy body as in shame
At being man; in Want, did life begin;
Thy only happiness the joys of sin;
Was it thine added crime some shame to feel,
To be for life the treadle of a wheel?
Come, clear thy brow; the hospitable Hours
Shall weave thy future web with healing flowers.
Welcome! in this continent thou shalt see
God’s blessing broad enough to cover thee.
Come, teach thy lip to smile; that hopeless brow
I’ll fits the firmament that shades thee now.
Go climb the Allegany’s strait defiles;

Speed up Missouri twice a thousand miles,
Traverse the unplanted forest floor, whereon
The allseeing sun for ages hath not shone;
Build where thou wilt thy home in Freedoms soil,
And bare thy strong arms to a freeman’s toil;
Plenty shall fill for thee her laughing horn,
And fields be jocund when thy son is born;
Go rear, — for truth the British gibe prevents, —
A race of captains, judges, presidents.

Small praise I deem it that this continent
Provides the beggar bread, clothing, content;
But greater praise no lands have claimed or can
Than this, — we make the vagabond a man.
Him for whom Thought & Freedom were but words
Whose substance was monopolized by lords
Open in him that inward eye whose view
Doth re-create the Universe anew
Is the rose fair? behold it glows for him;
For him the sea shells blush; the dolphins swim;
The perfumed morning sheds her diamond dews;
All sights and sounds in him their spirit infuse;
The keen October’s air, when trees are gay
With rainbow plumage, deepening day by day;
The midnights pomp when yonder horned moon
Rivals days golden with a silver moon;
But more than all, he was for Virtue born,
Though thrown neglected on his country’s scorn
And every gift benignant heaven let fall
On Man, the exile here is heir of all.

Yes, ope the hospitable forest wide
Unto poor men from all the realms of pride
So shall the New World pay the old its debt
For the great pair, — Columbus, — Lafayette;
From yon serene heaven leaning they shall see
The land which one would find, and one would free.

Alas for France! her truest heart is fled:
Her long-descended noble lieth dead
— The best of heroes in the worst of times
His spotless life relieves his country’s crimes
Permit the vagrant muse to grace her verse
Borrowing a garland from his recent hearse

Ten years are flown since this great heir of fame
Stood here among us — to his children came
In his clear atmosphere of honor stood
And warmed us with the glory of the good
You know Who knows it not in any clime
The jubilee & triumph of that time
The nation followed him with eyes of love
As if he were some Genius from above
Uprose the farmer by his apple-tree
Tarried the sailor ere he put to sea.
The story of his life through all mouths ran
And swelling crowds hemmed in the heroic man
They pored insatiate on his seamed face
As if to search therein the spirit’s grace
In calm simplicity the old man stood
As one on sights of joy unused to brood
Seemed his great heart more easily would brave
A martyr for man’s liberty — the grave
He wore no badge — no mark the eye could see
Adorned only with his history.

So seemed to us; but envious Carlists prate
He was a good man but was never great;
His simple figure in the rich saloons
And halting foot displeased the court buffoons
He had a fixed smile, a farmers face,
Nor looked like marquis of the ancient race.
Ah! could these worshippers of ribbons read
In mortal features an immortal meed!
That smile has braved Bourbon’s & Orleans’ frown,
That farmer’s face outfaced Napoleon.
That patient worshipper of right was known
Where gayer lineaments might not be shown

In war’s red lines, & in the popular shock
When foaming thousands bellowed, ‘To the block!’
A tower immovable in Factions sea,
The patriarch, ‘mid the nations, of the free.
Smile did he? twas for Freedoms livelong hope
When all but he quailed at her horoscope;
Write on his tomb— ‘He never failed to smile
Gainst death, for freedom & for man the while.’
But when a man to noble place pretends
Take the old touchstone Judge him by his friends
There were two men in this our latter age
Might challenge greatness on a Roman page
One had a patriot’s, one a monarch’s heart, —
Both soldiers — Washington and Bonaparte.
On Lafayette in arms leaned Washington,
— When saw the world such pair? — father and son.
Napoleon, when all Europe knelt around him,
Sought Lafayette, — fain with his love had bound him,
And he whom Europe served, proud of its chain,
Sued to the great republican in vain.

Rich is the living map the eagle sees
Sailing oer Auburn in the harvest breeze;
Bright streams, white towns, & man sustaining farms,
And Boston folded in the Ocean’s arms;
— O’er town & suburb broods her public dome,
And speaks to coundess eyes of Law & Home. —
And farther than that wind-borne eagle flies
Beyond the Southern Horn, or northern ice,
The errands of the pleasant land are done,
As shod with winds oer seas her envoys run.
Fair heritage! only by Virtue strong,
Be thou the tower of right, abolisher of wrong.
What charms the man that views from hill or tower
These gathered symbols of a people’s power.
Is it that round him six score thousand men
Feed fat each day to sleep out night again.
If there to grudge, to rob, to mob, they dwell,
The wolf, the wild cat might be there as well.

If ancient Virtue’s fire is gone & spent,
Perish these piles of Art & ornament!
Burn church & schoolhouse, which our license mock,
And let the gallant vessel rot in the dock.
The world-encircling merchant sink his goods
And with his babes pick berries in the woods:
Nay let the rotten land suck in the seas,
And the whales pasture mid our college trees!

But if the children of New England feel
With their high lifted fate an even zeal
If to be native of this law-ruled earth
Shall be in the world synonimous with worth;
Who eats his bread by Massachusett’ streams
Shall steadfast aim to be the thing he seems
Shall love the country that him bore & bred
Revere the memory of her worthy dead
Feel his heart beat with throbs no sneer withstands
At Concord, Bunker’s height, and Plymouth sands
And, his debt owned to God & to good men,
Cannot lay down his dust in dust again
Till he, by studious thought, or deed of love,
Have sealed his kindred with the blest above;
— Enamoured of such worthiness shall Fate
Concede the commonwealth a longer date.
And when remotest times together view
Acts of the elder England & the New
One self same genius shall shine through them all
From ancient Runnimede to Faneuil Hall.

That genius is the Saxon love of Law
And Freedom, whence our daily peace we draw.
For see how Heaven preserves us; when, of late,
Ill omened birds screamed shipwreck to the state,
Then, to redeem the law from the law’s foes,
An unexpected strength at once arose;
Thundered from lips long silent, voices wise,
And patriot anger flamed in quiet eyes.

Ill fits the abstemious muse a crown to weave
For living brows; — ill fits them to receive:
And yet, if Virtue abrogate the law,
One portrait, — fact or fancy — we may draw:
A form which nature cast in the heroic mould
Of them who rescued liberty of old;
He, when the rising storm of party roared,
Brought his great forehead to the council board:
There, when hot heads perplexed with fears the state,
Calm as the morn, the manly patriot sate;
Seemed, when at last his clarion accents broke,
As if the conscience of the country spoke.
Not on its base Monadnoc surer stood
Than he to common sense and common good
No mimic; — from his breast his counsel drew
Believed the eloquent was aye the true;
He bridged the gulf from the alway good & wise,
To that within the vision of small eyes.
Self centred; when he launched the genuine word
It shook or captivated all who heard;
Ran from his mouth to mountains & the sea,
And burned in noble hearts proverb & prophecy.
Not old but wise, — for justice born to strive, —
God keep New England’s WEBSTER long alive!

Yet even this day of hope may be o’ercast
And future months resemble months now past
O countrymen! though every cheek may burn
With crimson shame from time this lesson learn
The towers that generations did combine
To build & grace, a rat may undermine.

I speak unto the generous & the good
Unto New England’s choicest brotherhood
Trust not the guarding sea, the fertile land
Nor fleets, nor hosts, nor law’s unsure command;
Build in the soul your citadel apart, —
The true New England is the patriots heart.
The day of elder states may come to us
When public faith shall be ridiculous.

When times are changed, and the old cement gone,
Nor longer laws can yield protection;
Even then, when justice is put up to sale,
Shall one resource redress the unequal scale
For, the true man, as long as earth shall stand,
Is to himself a state, a law, a land;
In his own breast shall read the righteous laws,
His own heart argue injured Virtues cause,
With cheerful brow undauntedly shall face
Or frowning kings, or roaring populace;
And, spending in man’s cause his latest breath,
Shall greet with joy sublime the Angel Death.

O What is Heaven but the Fellowship

O what is Heaven but the fellowship
Of minds that each can stand against the world,
By its own meek but incorruptible will?

Ah Strange Strange Strange

Ah strange strange strange
The Dualism of man
That he can enlist
But half his being in his act

See Yonder Leafless Trees Against the Sky

See yonder leafless trees against the sky,
How they diffuse themselves into the air,
And ever subdividing separate,
Limbs into branches, branches into twigs,
As if they loved the element, & hasted
To dissipate their being into it.

Do That Which You Can Do

Do that which you can do
The world will feel its need of you.

Few Are Free

Few are free
All might be
Tis the height
Of the soul’s flight

Van Buren

The towers that generations did combine
To build & grace, a rat may undermine.

The Future

How many big events to shake the earth,
Lie packed in silence waiting for their birth.

Rex

The bard & mystic held me for their own
I filled the dream of sad poetic maids
I took the friendly noble by the hand
I was the trustee of the handcartman
The brother of the fisher, porter, swain, —
And these from the crowd’s edge well pleased beheld
The honor done to me as done to them.

Written in a Volume of Goethe

Six thankful weeks, — & let it be
A metre of prosperity, —
In my coat I bore this book,
And seldom therein could I look,
Each morning brought too much to think,
Heaven & earth to eat & drink.
Is he hapless, who can spare
In his plenty things so rare?

I Left My Dreamy Page & Sallied Forth

I left my dreamy page & sallied forth
Received the fair inscriptions of the night
The moon was making amber of the world
Glittered with silver every cottage pane
The trees were rich yet ominous with gloom the meadows broad
From ferns & grasses & from folded flowers
Sent a nocturnal fragrance the harlot flies
Flashed their small fires in air or held their court
In fairy groves of herds grass

S. R.

Demure apothecary
Whose early reverend genius my young eye
With wonder followed, & undoubting joy,
Believing in that cold & modest form

Brooded alway the everlasting mind.
And that thou faithful didst obey the soul,
So should the splendid favour of the God
From thine observed lips shower words of fire,
Pictures that cast before the common eye,

I know for mine, & all men know for theirs.
How is the fine gold dim! the lofty low!
And thou, reputed speaker for the soul,
Forgoest the matchless benefit, & now,
Sleek deacon of the New Jerusalem,

Thou hast defied the offering world to be
A blind man’s blind man.
Was it not worth ambition
To be the bard of nature to these times
With words like things,

An universal speech that did present
All natural creatures, and the eye beheld
A lake, a rose tree, when he named their names?

And better was it to cower before the phantoms
One self deceiving mystic drew in swarms
Wherever rolled his visionary eye,
The Swedish Pluto of a world of ghosts,
Eyes without light, men without character,
Nature a cave of theologions? —

And lo! the young men of the land
Decline the strife of virtue, fail to be
The bringers of glad thought, preferring Ease
Ease & irresolution & the wine
Of placid rich men, they consent to be
Danglers & dolls. With these, not thou, not thou,
O noblest youth, not thou wilt there remain!
Up! for thy life, & for thy people’s life!
And be the sun’s light & the rainbow’s glow,
And by the power of picture, to the eye
Show wherefore it was made. Unlock
The world of sound to the astonished ear,
And thus by thee shall man be twice a man.
Were it not better than to boast thyself
Father of fifty sons, flesh of thy flesh,
Rather to live earth’s better bachelor
Planting ethereal seed in souls,

Spreading abroad thy being in the being
Of men whom thou dost foster & inform,
Fill with new hopes, & shake with grand desire?

Philosophers Are Lined With Eyes Within

Philosophers are lined with eyes within
And being so the sage unmakes the man
He is in love he cannot therefore cease his trade
Scarce the first blush has overspread his cheek
He feels it, introverts his learned eye
To catch the unconscious heart in the very act
His mother died, the only friend he had
Some tears escaped but his philosophy
Couched like a cat sat watching close behind
And throttled all his passion. Is’t not like
That devil-spider that devours her mate
Scarce freed from her embraces

The Simple People Each With Basket or Tool

The simple people each with basket or tool
Had left the young & resolute to rule
But strange disorder in the councils crept
Whilst they in farm & orchard toiled & slept
The farmer & the merchant missed their mart
And no reward attends the craftsman’s art
Awaking from their lethargy they hear
Rude words which neither land nor sea will bear
A great concourse surrounds a single man
And waits obsequious
Watches his words, & predicates his will
Uprose the farmer by his apple tree
Tarried the sailor ere he put to sea
And who is he & who are ye he said
And what care I if ye are tail or head
Shall I who know not of the trade of state
Who know not, care not for the statesmans fate
Scarce hold the name of parties & of banks
Measures or leaders, officers or ranks
Shall I descend so low to ask or hear
What one man does or says with hope or fear
Follow the chance direction of his eye
Find his smile Fortune his frown poverty
God made these eyes: fear’s watch they cannot keep
God made this frame erect, it cannot creep.

On Bravely Through the Sunshine & the Showers

On bravely through the sunshine & the showers
Time hath his work to do & we have Ours.

Let Me Go Where E’er I Will

Let me go where e’er I will
I hear a skyborn music still
It sounds from all things old
It sounds from all things young
From all that’s fair from all that’s foul
Peals out a cheerful song
It is not only in the Rose
It is not only in the bird
Not only where the Rainbow glows
Nor in the song of woman heard
But in the darkest meanest things
Theres alway alway something sings.

Tis not in the high stars alone
Nor in the cups of budding flowers
Nor in the redbreast’s mellow tone
Nor in the bow that smiles in showers
But in the mud & scum of things
Theres alway alway something sings.

And When I Am Entombed in My Place

And when I am entombed in my place,
Be it remembered of a single man,
He never, though he dearly loved his race,
For fear of human eyes, swerved from his plan.

Bard or Dunce is Blest, but Hard

Bard or dunce is blest, but hard
Is it to be half a bard.

It Takes Philosopher or Fool

It takes philosopher or fool
To build a fire or keep a school.

Tell Men What They Knew Before

Tell men what they knew before
Paint the prospect from their door.

I Use the Knife

I use the knife
To save the life.

There is No Evil but Can Speak

There is no evil but can speak,
If the wheel want oil t’will creak.

The Sea Reflects the Rosy Sky

The sea reflects the rosy sky,
The sky doth marry the blue main.

In This Sour World, O Summerwind

In this sour world, o summerwind
Who taught thee sweet to blow
Who should not love me, summerwind,
If thou canst flatter so

Look Danger in the Eye It Vanishes

Look danger in the eye it vanishes
Anatomize that roaring populace
Big dire & overwhelming as they seem
Piecemeal t’is nothing. Some of them scream
Fearing the others some are lookers on
One of them hectic day by day consumes
And one will die tomorrow of the flux
One of them has already changed his mind
And falls out with the ringleader and one
Has seen his creditor amidst the crowd
And flees. And there are heavy eyes
That miss their sleep & meditate retreat.
A few malignant heads keep up the din
The rest are idle boys.

As I Walked in the Wood

As I walked in the wood
The silence into music broke
Sang the thrush in the dark oak
I unwilling to intrude
Slink into nigh solitude
Till warned by a scout of a jay
That flying courier so gay
That he sees me if I see not him
His eyes are bright if mine are dim

I Sat Upon the Ground

I sat upon the ground
I leaned against an ancient pine
The pleasant breeze
Shook the forest tops like waves of ocean
I felt of the trunk the gentle motion

Good Charles the Springs Adorer

Good Charles the springs adorer
True worshipper of Flora
Knows’t thou the gay Rhodora
That blossoms in the May
It blooms in dark nooks
By the wood loving brooks
And makes their twilight gay

Around the Man Who Seeks a Noble End

Around the man who seeks a noble end
Not angels but divinities attend.

In the Deep Heart of Man a Poet Dwells

In the deep heart of man a poet dwells
Who all the day of life his summer story tells
Scatters on every eye dust of his spells
Scent form & color to the flowers & shells
Wins the believing child with wondrous tales
Touches a cheek with colors of romance
And crowds a history into a glance
Gives beauty to the lake & fountain
Spies over sea the fires of the mountain
When thrushes ope their throat, tis he that sings
And he that paints the oriole’s fiery wings
The little Shakspeare in the maidens heart
Makes Romeo of a ploughboy on his cart
Opens the eye to Virtues starlike meed
And gives persuasion to a gentle deed.

O What Are Heroes Prophets Men

O what are heroes prophets men
But pipes through which the breath of Pan doth blow
A momentary music. Being’s tide
Swells hitherward & myriads of forms
Live, robed with beauty, painted by the Sun:
Their dust pervaded by the nerves of God
Throbs with an overmastering energy
Knowing & doing. Ebbs the tide, they lie
White hollow shells upon the desart shore.
But not the less the eternal wave rolls on
To animate new millions, & exhale
Races & planets its enchanted foam.

Yet Sometime to the Sorrow Stricken

Yet sometime to the sorrow stricken
Shall his own sorrow seem impertinent
A thing that takes no more root in the world
Than doth the traveller’s shadow on the rock

When Thou Sittest Moping

When thou sittest moping
Nor seeing nor hoping
Thy thought is none
But being freed
By action & deed
Thy thoughts come in bands
Sisters hand in hand
Them thou canst not dispart
From the worlds that be
They reach to the stars
From the bed of the sea.

Woods

A Prose Sonnet

Wise are ye, O ancient woods! wiser than man. Whoso goeth in your paths or into your thickets where no paths are, read-eth the same cheerful lesson whether he be a young child or a hundred years old. Comes he in good fortune or bad, ye say the same things, & from age to age. Ever the needles of the pine grow & fall, the acorns on the oak, the maples redden in autumn, & at all times of the year the ground pine & the pyrola bud & root under foot. What is called fortune & what is called Time by men — ye know them not. Men have not language to describe one moment of your eternal life. This I would ask of you, o sacred Woods, when ye shall next give me somewhat to say, give me also the tune wherein to say it.
Give me a tune of your own like your winds or rains or brooks or birds; for the songs of men grow old when they have been often repeated, but yours, though a man have heard them for seventy years, are never the same, but always
new, like time itself, or like love.

I Have Supped With the Gods Tonight

I have supped with the gods tonight
Shall I come under wooden roofs?
As I walked on the hills
The great stars did not shine aloof
But they hurried down from their deep abodes
And hemmed me in their glittering troop

Once the Priest

Once the priest
Lived in an age
Of narrow & strait experience
Narrow & strait it cut his cowl
Narrow & strait it pinched his soul
The times are changed, the ball is known
The lands are found, the forest shown,
The woods are felled, the cities rise,
Swift fly the ships, the letter flies,
The train along the railroad skates
It leaves the land behind like ages past
The foreland flows to it in river fast
Missouri is the merchant’s mart
Iowa learns the Saxon Art
What should the old priest in a world like this
The new time will have a new priest I wis
He must know the house where he belongs
His ear must catch its many tongues
On the Bourse in Louvre walk
In Lloyd’s in Wall Street talk
His fine ear judge in the theater
In Caucus know the ballots go
And what the Barroom gossips so
What books the people write & read
What Reforms the restless breed
What the loghut thinks of the White House

He should know all things, all things see
And present at their secret be

Natures Web Star Broidered

Natures web star broidered
Of animated fibre woven

For That a Man is a Mark

For that a man is a mark
Shows not that he has done
What he is charged withal;
But that some flaw
The censurer knows not what
Has cracked his crystal vase

The Bohemian Hymn

In many forms we try
To utter God’s infinity
But the boundless hath no form
And the Universal Friend
Doth as far transcend
An angel as a worm.

The great Idea baffles wit
Language falters under it
It leaves the learned in the lurch
Nor art nor power nor toil can find
The measure of the eternal Mind
Nor hymn nor prayer nor church.

Kind & Holy Were the Words

Kind & holy were the words —
O how trustingly they fell!
Music wants such sweet accords —
Sister, this thy perfect spell.
All the woman now was dropt,
All the friend came forth to me,
The beauty I had pictured oft
Was vanished utterly
Before the dearer emanation
Of undefiled affection,
Of earnest, wistful, ancient love,
With clear & liquid eye,
Older than the gods above,
Fountain of their deity.
Yet thou showed me no love
For the sake of love,
That for meaner souls was made
To whom passion is their bread.
Thou didst wrap thy love in thought
It to me in wisdom taught
In the rapid utterance
Of thy noble aim & hope
In the clear deliverance
Of the will’s & wisdoms scope.
Now pleasant fall the blinding snows,
And gay to me the darkest night,
A merry catch the cold wind blows,
And Pain can yield its own delight,
Whilst thou to me & I to thee belong
By the high kin of thought, O Sister of my song!

Bluebeard. Let the Gentle Wife Prepare

Bluebeard. Let the gentle wife prepare
With housewife’s pride her utmost feast
I know with granite glance
And one or two bitter words
How to spoil her relish for it.

Divine Inviters! I Accept

Divine Inviters! I accept
The courtesy ye have shown & kept
From ancient ages for the bard,
To modulate
With finer fate
A fortune harsh & hard.
With aim like yours
I watch your course,
Who never break your lawful dance
By error or intemperance.
O birds of ether without wings!
O heavenly ships without a sail!
O fire of fire! o best of things!
O mariners who never fail!
Sail swiftly through your amber vault
An animated law, a presence to exalt

Go if Thou Wilt Ambrosial Flower

Go if thou wilt ambrosial Flower
Go match thee with thy seeming peers
I will wait Heaven’s perfect hour
Through the innumerable years

In Walden Wood the Chickadee

In Walden wood the chickadee
Runs round the pine & maple tree,
Intent on insect slaughter:
O tufted entomologist!
Devour as many as you list,
Then drink in Walden Water.

Star Seer Copernicus

Star seer Copernicus
Only could earn a curse
A slip of a fellow to show men the stars
What a scandalous slip of a fellow was he
Presuming to show what men wished not to see
Misunderstood — Misunderstood
How dared the old graybeard be misunderstood

At Last the Poet Spoke

At last the poet spoke
The richest gifts are vain
As lightning in yon dark clouds grain
A poison in the worlds veins creeps
A devil in celestial deeps

The Discontented Poet: a Masque

Lonely he sat, the men were strange
The women all forbidden
Too closely pent in narrow range
Between two sleeps a short day’s stealth
Mid many ails a brittle health
Counts his scant stock of native wealth
By conscience sorely chidden

His loves were sharp sharp pains
Outlets to his thoughts were none
A wandering fire within his veins
His soul was smouldered & undone
A cripple of God, half true, half formed,
And by great sparks Promethean warmed

Constrained by impotence to adjourn
To infinite time his eager turn,
His lot of action from the Urn.

He by false usage pinned about
No breath therein, no passage out,
Cast wishful glances at the stars
And wishful hailed the Ocean stream,
“Merge me in the brute Universe
Or lift to some diviner dream.”

Beside him sat enduring love:
Upon him noble eyes did rest,
Which for the genius that there strove
The follies bore that it invest:
They spoke not: for their earnest sense
Outran the craft of eloquence:

The holy lovers peaceful sate
Through extacy inanimate
As marble statues in a hall,
Yet was their silence musical;
The only plaints, the sole replies,
Were those long looks of liquid eyes.

Chorus Yon waterflags, yon sighing osier,
A drop can shake, a breath can fan
Maidens laugh & weep: Composure
Is the pudency of man.

Chorus Means, — dear brother, ask them not;
Soul’s desire is means enow;
Pure content is angels lot;
Thine own theatre art thou.

Poet I see your forms with deep content
I know that ye are excellent;
But will ye stay?
I hear the rustle of wings
Ye meditate what to say
When ye go to quit me forever & aye.

Chorus Brother, we are no phantom band,
Brother accept this fatal hand
Aches thy unbelieving heart
With the fear that we must part?
See all we are rooted here
By one thought to one same sphere;
From thyself thou canst not flee,
From thyself no more can we.

Poet Suns & stars their courses keep,
But not angels of the deep;
Day & night their turn observe,
But the day of day may swerve.
Is there warrant that the waves
Of thought from their mysterious caves
Will heap in me their highest tide
In me therewith beatified?
Unsure the ebb & flow of thought, —
The moon comes back, the spirit not.

Chorus Brother, sweeter is the Law
Than all the grace Love ever saw
We are its suppliants. By it we
Draw the breath of eternity:
Serve thou it not for daily bread
Serve it for pain & fear & dread.
Love it, though it hide its light;
By love behold the Sun at night;
If the Law should thee forget,
More enamoured serve it yet:
Though it hate thee, — suffer long, —
Put the Spirit in the wrong, —
That were a deed to sing in Eden,
By the waters of life to Seraphs heeding.

Love

Asks nought his brother cannot give
Asks nothing but does all receive
Love calls not to his aid events
He to his wants can well suffice
Asks not of others soft consents
Nor kind Occasion without eyes
Nor plots to ope or bolt a gate
Nor heeds Condition’s iron walls
Where he goes, goes before him Fate;
Whom he uniteth God instals;
Instant & perfect his access
To the dear object of his thought,
Though foes & lands & seas between
Himself & his love intervene.

Hold of the Maker, Not the Made

Hold of the Maker, not the made,
Sit with the Cause, or grim or glad.

He Walked the Streets of Great New York

He walked the streets of great New York
Full of men, the men were full of blood
Signs of power, signs of worth,
Yet all seemed trivial
As the ceaseless cry
Of the newsboys in the street
Now men do not listen after
The voice in the breast
Which makes the thunder mean
But the Great God hath departed
And they listen after Scott & Byron
I met no gods — I harboured none,
As I walked by noon & night alone
The crowded ways
And yet I found in the heart of the town
A few children of God nestling in his bosom
Not detached as all the crowd appeared
each one a sutlers boat
Cruising for private gain
But these seemed undetached united
Lovers of Love, of Truth,
And as among Indians they say
The One the One is known
So under the eaves of Wall Street
Brokers had met the Eternal
In the city of surfaces
Where I a swain became a surface
I found & worshipped Him.
Always thus neighbored well
The two contemporaries dwell
The World which by the world is known
And Wisdom seeking still its own
I walked with men
Who seemed as if they were chairs or stools
Tables or shopwindows or champagne baskets
For these they loved & were if truly seen
I walked with others of their wisdom gave me proof
Who brought the starry heaven
As near as the house roof

The Archangel Hope

The Archangel Hope
Looks to the azure cope
Waits through dark ages for the morn
Defeated day by day but unto victory born

Atom From Atom Yawns as Far

Atom from atom yawns as far
As moon from earth, or star from star.

I Grieve That Better Souls Than Mine

I grieve that better souls than mine
Docile read my measured line
High destined youths & holy maids
Hallow these my orchard shades
Environ me & me baptize
With light that streams from gracious eyes,
I dare not be beloved or known,
I ungrateful, I alone.

Nantasket

Lobster-car, boat, or fishbasket,
Peeps, noddies, oldsquaws, or quail,
To Musketaquid what from Nantasket,
What token of greeting & hail?

Can we tie up & send you our thunder, —
Pulse-beat of the sea on the shore?
Or our Rainbow, the daughter of Wonder,
Our rock Massasoit’s palace-door.

White pebbles from Nantasket beach,
Whereon to write the maiden’s name;
Shells, sea-eggs, sea flowers, could they teach
Thee the fair haunts from whence they came!

Water

The Water understands
Civilization well —
It wets my foot, but prettily,
It chills my life, but wittily,
It is not disconcerted,
It is not broken-hearted,
Well used, it decketh joy,
Adorneth, doubleth joy;
Ill-used it will destroy
In perfect time and measure,
With a face of golden pleasure,
Elegantly destroy.

Where the Fungus Broad & Red

Where the fungus broad & red
Lifts its head
Like poisoned loaf of elfin bread
Where the aster grew
With the social goldenrod
In a chapel which the dew
Made beautiful for God
The maple street
In the houseless wood
O what would nature say
She spared no speech today
The fungus & the bulrush spoke
Answered the pinetree & the oak
The wizard South blew down the glen
Filled the straits & filled the wide,
Each maple leaf turned up its silver side.
All things shine in his damp ray
And all we see are pictures high
Many a high hill side
Which oaks of pride
Climb to their tops
And boys run out upon their leafy ropes

In the houseless wood
Voices followed after
Every shrub & grapeleaf
Rang with fairy laughter
I have heard them fall
Like the strain of all
King Oberons minstrelsy
Would hear the everlasting
And know the only strong
You must worship fasting
You must listen long
Words of the air
Which birds of the air
Carry aloft below around
To the isles of the deep
To the snow capped steep
To the thundercloud
To the loud bazaar
To the haram of Caliph & Kremlin of Czar
Is the verse original
Let its numbers rise & fall
As the winds do when they call
One to another

Come search the wood for flowers
Wild tea & wild pea
Grape vine & succory
Coreopsis
And liatris
Flaunting in their bowers
Grass with greenflag halfmast high
Succory to match the sky
Columbine with horn of honey
Scented fern & agrimony
Forest full of essences

Fit for fairy presences,
Peppermint & sassafras
Sweet fern, mint, & vernal grass,
Panax, black birch, sugar maple,
Sweet & scent for Dian’s table,
Elder-blow, sarsaparilla,
Wild-rose, lily, dry vanilla.

The Skeptic

Madness, madness,
Madness from the gods!
To every brain a several vein
Of madness from the gods!
Their heads they toss each one aloft
They toss their heads with pride,
Though to break free they struggle oft
And shoulder each aside
What boots it, though their arms stretch out,
And wings behind their shoulders sprout,
If as at first, also at last,
Their planted feet like trees are fast,
Rooted in the slime of Fate,
Sepulchre predestinate:
As if their feet were flint, & soon
All the trunk will grow to stone.
Not one has surmounted
The Destiny yet:
Not one has accounted
To Conscience his debt.
Many in the dark have groped,
Many for the dawn have hoped,
And some more brave, or else more blind,
The freedom all desire, pretend to find.
Of all past men
Not one has snapped the chain
All enter life, each one the dupe
Of the arch-deceiver Hope:
Each hears the Siren whisper; ‘he,
Though first of men, shall yet be free;’
That one of their own stem,
Man of Ur, or Bethlehem,
Jove or Alcides,
Mahmoud or Moses,
From their eye shall pluck the beam
And their heart from death redeem.
But Destiny sat still,
And had her will.
Know thou surely
That there is yet no prophet’s ken,
No seer in the sons of men,
Those in whom thou dost confide,
Whom thy love has deified,
With a superabundant trust, —
Their words are wind, their forms are dust.
O thousand blossomed but barren tree!
Much-pretending, helped they thee?
Merchant & statesman
Poet & craftsman
Prophet & judge
Pirate & drudge
One fortune levels
Human angels human devils
For ever when a human brain
Its perfect purpose will attain
Then suddenly the pitiless
Performance-hating Nemesis
Withdraws the prize like a painted slide
And a new bauble is supplied
He that threatens is threatened
Who terrifieth is afraid

When Jane Was Absent Edgar’s Eye

When Jane was absent Edgar’s eye
Roved to the door incessantly
But when she came he went away
For the poor youth could nothing say
Yet hated to appear unwise
Before those beatific eyes

I Have Found a Nobler Love

I have found a nobler love
Than the sordid world doth know
Above its envy or belief
My flames of passion glow

Fine Presentiments Controlled Him

Fine presentiments controlled him,
As one who knew a day was great,
And freighted with a friendly fate,
Ere whispered news or couriers told him;
When first at morn he read the face
Of Nature from his resting place
He the coming day inspired
Was with its rare genius fired,
And, in his bearing & his gait,
Calm expectancy did wait

We Sauntered Amidst Miracles

We sauntered amidst miracles
We were the fairies in the bells
The summer was our quaint bouquet
The winter eve our Milky Way
We played in turn with all the slides
In Natures lamp of suns & tides
We pierced all books with criticism
We plied with doubts the Catechism
The Christian Fold
The Bible Old

This World is Tedious

This world is tedious
Shingled with lies
Reform’s as bad as vice
Reformer as complier
And I as much a coward
As any he I blame

What Are All the Flowers

What are all the flowers
And all the rainbows of the skies
To the lights that rain from Eva’s eyes
She turned on me those azure orbs
And steeped me in their lavish light
All thot, all things, that joy absorbs.
Yet had no hint of vain delight
Yet the I spend my days in love
I never have known aught good thereof

A Pair of Crystal Eyes Will Lead Me

A pair of crystal eyes will lead me
All about the rounded globe
Averted oft, if once they heed me
I will follow follow follow
To kiss the hem of her robe

Knows He Who Tills This Lonely Field

Knows he who tills this lonely field
To reap its scanty corn
What mystic fruit his acres yield
At midnight & at morn

That field by spirits bad & good
By Hell & Heaven is haunted
And every rood in the hemlock wood
I know is ground enchanted

In the long sunny afternoon
The plain was full of ghosts
I wandered up I wandered down
Beset by pensive hosts

For in those lonely grounds the sun
Shines not as on the town
In nearer arcs his journeys run
And nearer stoops the moon

There in a moment I have seen
The buried Past arise
The fields of Thessaly grew green
Old gods forsook the skies

I cannot publish in my rhyme
What pranks the greenwood played
It was the Carnival of time
And Ages went or stayed

To me that spectral nook appeared
The mustering Day of doom
And round me swarmed in shadowy troop
Things past & things to come

The darkness haunteth me elsewhere
There I am full of light
In every whispering leaf I hear
More sense than sages write

There is no mystery
But tis figured in the flowers
There is no history
But tis calendared in the bowers

Underwoods were full of pleasance
All to each in kindness bend
And every flower made obeisance
As a man unto his friend.

Far Seen the River Glides Below

Far seen the river glides below
Tossing one sparkle to the eyes
I catch thy meaning wizard wave
The River of my Life replies

From the Stores of Eldest Matter

From the stores of eldest Matter
The deepeyed flame obedient water
Transparent air allfeeding earth
He took the flower of all their worth
And best with best in sweet consent
Combined a new temperament

And the Best Gift of God

And the best gift of God
Is the love of superior souls

Stout Sparta Shrined the God of Laughter

Stout Sparta shrined the god of Laughter
In a niche below the rafter,
Visible from every seat
Where the young men carve their meat.

Brother, No Decrepitude

Brother, no decrepitude
Cramps the limbs of Time;
As fleet his feet, his hands as good,
His vision as sublime.
As when at first Jehovah hurled
The Sun & each revolving world.

Who Knows This or That

Who knows this or that
Hark in the wall to the rat
Since the world was, he has gnawed;
Of his wisdom of his fraud
What dost thou know
In the wretched little beast
Is life & heart
Child & parent
Not without relation
To fruitful field & sun & moon
What art thou? his wicked eye
Is cruel to thy cruelty

Saadi Loved the New & Old

Saadi loved the new & old
The near & far the town & wold
Him when Genius urged to roam
Stronger Custom brot him home

But if Thou Do Thy Best

But if thou do thy best
Without remission without rest
And invite the sunbeam
And abhor to feign or seem
Even to those who thee shd love
And thy behavior approve
If thou go in thine own likeness
Be it health or be it sickness
If thou go as thy fathers son
If thou wear no mask or lie
Dealing purely & nakedly

An Ancient Drop of Feudal Blood

An ancient drop of feudal blood
From the high line of Bulkeley-Mere
Mixed with the democratic flood
Of sires to Yankee freedom dear.

These Trees Like Tho’ts That to Visions Congeal

These trees like tho’ts that to visions congeal
Gleamed out on my sight like the gleaming of steel
These woodlands how grand & how sacred they seem
And the air of my house but a pestilent steam
My eyes were bewitched O Nature but thou
Hast with woodland perfumes disenchanted them now

Vain Against Him Were Hostile Blows

Vain against him were hostile blows
He did their weapons decompose
Aimed at him the blushing blade
Healed as fast the wounds it made
On whomsoever fell his gaze
Power it had to blind & craze

Like Vaulters in the Circus Round

Like vaulters in the circus round
Who step from horse to horse but never touch the ground

If He Go Apart

If he go apart
And tear the foible from his heart
And with himself content
Live in the deed & not the event
He shall thus himself erect
Into a tower of intellect
Farseen farseeing circumspect
Star specular high & clear
And to thyself more justly dear
Than if thy heart with soft alarms
Did palpitate within his arms

Nature Will Not Lose

Nature will not lose
In any ends she doth propose
But if thou thy debt decline
Will mulct thee with a fine
If thou refuse to bring forth men

The Crowning Hour When Bodies Vie With Souls

The crowning hour when bodies vie with souls
And bifold essence rushes to its poles

And as the Light Divided the Dark

And as the light divided the dark
Thorough with living swords
So shalt thou pierce the distant age
With adamantine words.

When Devils Bite

When devils bite
A damned parasite
Strikes at their throat & stings them home

Comfort With a Purring Cat

Comfort with a purring cat
Prosperity in a white hat

I Cannot Find a Place So Lonely

I cannot find a place so lonely
To harbour thee & me only
I cannot find a nook so deep
So sheltered may suffice to keep
The ever glowing festival
When thou & I to each are all

He Whom God Had Thus Preferred

He whom God had thus preferred
To whom sweet angels ministered
Wrapped him in love as in a cloud
Their gifts bestowed, their love avowed,
Saluted him each morn as Brother to each other

Bended to Fops Who Bent to Him

Bended to fops who bent to him
Surface with surfaces did swim
And in the fashionable crowd
None more obsequious heartless bowed
“Sorrow! Sorrow!” the Angels cried
“Is this dear nature’s manly pride!
Call hither thy mortal enemy
Make him glad thy fall to see.”

On That Night the Poet Went

On that night the poet went
From the lighted halls
Beneath the darkling firmament
To the sea shore to the old sea walls
Dark was night upon the seas
Darker was the poet’s mind
For his shallow suppleness
Black abyss of penitence
The wind blew keen, the poet threw
His cloak apart to feel the cold
The wind he said is free & true
But I am mean and sold.
Out shone a star between the clouds
The constellation glittered soon,
“You have no lapse! so have ye glowed
But once in your dominion.
And I to whom your light has spoke
I pining to be one of you
I fall, my faith is broken
Ye scorn me from your deeps of Blue
And yet dear stars I know ye shine
Only by needs & loves of mine
Light loving light asking Life in me
Feeds those eternal lamps I see

Ye Have Grace

Ye have Grace
With swiftness to abolish space
Alike your tiny arrows work
On Schiraz Cairo & New York

The Dervish Whined to Said

The Dervish whined to Said,
“Thou didst not tarry while I prayed.”
Beware the fires which Eblis burned.
But Saadi coldly thus returned,
“Once, with manlike love & fear,
I gave thee for an hour my ear,
I kept the sun & stars at bay,
And love, for words thy tongue could say;
I cannot sell my heaven again
For all that rattles in thy brain.

Life is Great

Life is great
Men are small
Were it not for the Power
To which each testifies
We could not suppress a titter.
The Soul is in eternity.
As a man stands in the landscape
He is very small,
But he is apprised that the other is large
And being so apprized
Partakes of its scope.
When once he has believed
And become doubly alive
Threescore & ten orbits of the sun
To him short term appears
And he finds it not unworthy
To live long only for a few lessons
Assured he shall pass through a million forms
And in each acquire the appropriate facts
So that one day he will emerge
Armed at all points a god,
A demigod, a chrystal soul
Sphered & concentred to the whole.

The Husband Has the Nearest Acres

The husband has the nearest acres
The poet has the far

From a Far Mountain Creeping Down

From a far mountain creeping down
Music floats up from the town
As we nearer come
We hear only noise & hum

In Dreamy Woods, What Forms Abound

In dreamy woods, what forms abound
That elsewhere never poet found!
Here voices ring, & pictures burn,
And grace on grace, wheree’er I turn.

But O to See His Solar Eyes

But O to see his solar eyes
Like meteors which chose their way
And rived the dark like a new day
Not lazy gazing on all they saw
Each chimney pot & cottage door
Farmgear & every picket fence
But feeding on magnificence
They bounded to the horizon’s edge
And searched with the sun’s privilege
Landward they reached the mountains old
Where pastoral tribes the flocks infold
Saw rivers run seaward from forest high
And the seas wash the low hung sky
Saw the endless rack of the firmament
And the sailing moon where the cloud was rent
And thro’ man & woman & sea & star
Saw the dance of nature go
Thro’ worlds & races & terms & times
Saw musical order & pairing rhymes.

Who Saw the Hid Beginnings

Who saw the hid beginnings
When Chaos & Order strove?
Or who can date the morning prime
And purple flame of love?

I saw the hid beginnings
When Chaos & Order strove,
And I can date the morning prime
And purple flame of Love.

Song breather from all the forest,
The total air was fame;
It seemed the world was all torches
That suddenly caught the flame.

Is there never a retroscope mirror
In the realms & corners of space,
That can give us a glimpse of the battle
And the soldiers face to face?

Sit here on the basalt ranges,
Where twisted hills betray
The feet of the world-old Forces
Who wrestled here on a day.

When the purple flame shoots up,
And Love ascends his throne,
I cannot hear your songs, o birds,
For the witchery of my own.

And every human heart
Still keeps that golden day,
And rings the bells of jubilee
On its own First of May.

What Never Was Not, & Still Will Be

What never was not, & still will be,
Weighs in sand, grows in tree
Burns in fire primaeval Force
Lodged they say in Chaos once
Shooting thence it runs its course
Filling Space with moons & suns
Now it binds, & now it rives,
Feigns to perish yet revives
To bud & breed, to cling & hold,
Never wanes by waxing old,
The decaying of the fruit
Feeding fat the younger root
Nor less in souls
The subtle potentate controls
Pours thro mans tyrannic will
Fatal streams of empire still

Enough is Done Highminded Friend Go Sleep

Enough is done highminded friend go sleep
And leave me here to weep
With joy & envy at thy vestibule
And kneel to be admitted of thy school
Go sleep serene, for now thy deeds will wake
And other slumberers will rudely shake
Sleep, for thy deed will answer for thee loud
And crown thee absent to the wishful crowd
Actions are sons & daughters. O who need
In action sweat who’s father to a deed?
Who longer pines or hoards, that once hath won
Engine or art a frigate or a town?
Thy genius which still drave thee as a ghost
Comes forth in actions that are uppermost
And that which rent thee with unkindly throes
Born is more sweet than apple or the rose
Henceforth our easy faith will grant thee all
Undone as done will thee the Master call
In thee the arts revive; the spritely seer
That looked thro Phidias has found a peer
We shall not fear the loss of arts again
Forgive us bards of Judah & of Greece
If we seem heedless of your memories
He has reinstated man on his own heart
And we shall rightly read the hint you gave
And henceforth leave your graveclothes in the grave

Cheered us with plenty
For now we see the niggard cowardice
Ended so quick the inventory of arts
And six or seven branches could comprize
All the fine arts all the humanities

On a few plants & stones our commerce waits
Corn cotton cane vine iron opium wheat
Hemp flax as these grow or fade
The wealth of states is stablished or unmade
There’s not a weed waves in the wind
But is the girdle that will empires bind
As many arts & circles radiant
Of handmaid crafts & callings adjutant
With all their pensioners & appanage
As are the stuffs our chemistry engage

Thou Shalt Make Thy House

Thou shalt make thy house
The temple of a nation’s vows
Spirits of a higher strain
Who sought thee once shall seek again
I detected many a god
Forth already on the road
Ancestors of beauty come
In thy breast to make a home

The Gods Walk in the Breath of the Woods

The gods walk in the breath of the woods
They walk by the sounding pine,
And fill the long reach of the old seashore
With colloquy divine
And the poet who overhears
Each random word they say
Is the prophet without peers
Whom kings & lords obey.

Would You Know What Joy is Hid

Would you know what joy is hid
In our green Musketaquid
And for travelled eyes what charms
Draw us to these meadow farms
Come & I will show you all
Makes each day a festival
Stand upon this pasture hill
Face the eastern star until
The slow eye of heaven shall show
The world above the world below
The mottled clouds like scraps of wool
Steeped in the light are beautiful
And what majestic stillness broods
Over those colored solitudes
Sleeps the vast East in pleased peace
Whilst up behind yon mountain walls
The silent river flows

Tell Me Maiden Dost Thou Use

Tell me maiden dost thou use
Thyself thro nature to diffuse
All the angles of the coast
Were tenanted by thy sweet ghost
Bore thy colours every flower
Thine each leaf & berry bore
All wore thy badges & thy favours
In their scent or in their savours
Every moth with painted wing
Every bird in caroling
The woodboughs with thy manners waved
The rocks uphold thy name engraved
The sod throbbed friendly to my feet
And the sweet air with thee was sweet
The saffron cloud that floated warm
Studied thy motion, took thy form,
And in his airy road benign
Recalled thy skill in bold design
Or seemed to use his privilege
To gaze over the horizon’s edge
To search where now thy beauty glowed
Or made what other purlieus proud?

I Have No Brothers & No Peers

I have no brothers & no peers
And the dearest interferes
When I would spend a lonely day
Sun & moon are in my way

Solar Insect on the Wing

Solar insect on the wing
In the garden murmuring
Soothing with thy summer horn
Swains by winter pinched & worn

And Man of Wit & Mark

And man of wit & mark
Repair to men of wit
It cannot be society
In one saloon to sit.

I Know the Appointed Hour

I know the appointed hour,
I greet my office well,
Never faster, never slower
Revolves the fatal wheel.

I am neither faint nor weary, —
Fill thy will, O faultless Heart!
Here from youth to age I tarry,
Count it flight of bird or dart.

My heart at the heart of things
Heeds no longer lapse of time,
Ages vainly fan their wings,
Me shall keep thy love sublime.

You Shall Not Love Me for What Daily Spends

You shall not love me for what daily spends,
You shall not know me in the noisy street
Where I as others follow petty ends,

Nor When in Fair Saloons We Chance to Meet

Nor when in fair saloons we chance to meet,
Nor when I’m jaded, sick, perplexed, or mean:
But love me then & only when you know
Me for the channel of the rivers of God,
From deep, ideal, fontal heavens that flow,
Making the shores, making their beauty broad,
Which birds & cattle drink, drink too the roots of the grove,
And animating all it feeds with love.

Elizabeth Hoar

Almost I am tempted to essay
For sympathetic eyes the portraiture
Of the good angels that environ me.
My sister is a Greek in mind & face
And well embodies to these latest years
The truth of those high sculptors old who drew
In marble or in bronze, on vase or frieze
The perfect forms of Pallas or the Muse;
Forms in simplicity complete
And beauty of the soul disdaining art.
So bright, so positive, so much itself,
Yet so adapted to the work it wrought
It drew true love, but was complete alone.
She seemed to commune with herself, & say,
I cannot stoop to custom & the crowd,
For either I will marry with a star,
Or I will pick threads in a factory.
So perfect in her action, one would say,
She condescended if she added speech.
Her look was sympathy, & though she spoke
Better than all the rest, she did not speak
Worthy of her. She read in many books,
And loved the Greek as t’were her mother tongue
She knew the value of the passing day
Thought it no mark of virtue to be scornful
Or cry for better company, but held

Each Day a Solid Good; Never Mistook

Each day a solid good; never mistook
The fashionable judgment for her own.
So keen perception that no judge or scribe
Could vie with her unerring estimate.
When through much silence & delay she spoke,
It was the Mind’s own oracle, through joy
And love of truth or beauty so perceived:
Never a poor return on self.

Proteus

Poet bred in Saadi’s school
Can wind the world off any spool,
Knows the lore of more & less.
Brahma stooped from the sky
& made the sun of the slime.
He made, of a toad, an archangel,
Of bats & bugs, a god as well,
If he should wash your eyes with rue,
You would remember
How hated were the forms you clasp,
And that once you adored the mummies,
Trust nothing that you see
It changes while you look
Do not think him a dunce
Who wore bells & foolscap once
He is the teacher of ages
For there is no wise man
Men are vascular only,
Constructive men only,
Pipes or channels, clay or crystal
Thro’ them rolls the stream today
To roll tomorrow otherwheres
And leave these dry & mean
As high as thy perception goes,
Thou canst not overpraise the great
Yet grander heroes shine beyond.
We tread the ladder’s lowest round
And before the Deity
Thy gods are pismires

Flow flow the waves hated
Accursed adored!
The waves of mutation;
No anchorage is.
Sleep is not, death is not,
Who seem to die, live.
House you were born in
Friends of your youth
Old man & young maid
Early toil & its gains
They are all vanishing
Fleeing to fables
Cannot be moored
See the stars through them,
The treacherous marbles
Know, the stars yonder
The stars everlasting
Are fugitive also
And emulate, vaulted,
The passing heat-lightning
or fireflys flight

When thou dost return
On the wave’s circulation
Beholding the shimmer
The wild dissipation,
And out of endeavor
To change & to flow,
The gas become solid
And phantasms & nothings
Return to be things
And endless imbroglio
Is law & the world,
Then first shalt thou know
That in the wild turmoil
Horsed on the Proteus
Only canst thou ride to power.
And to Endurance.

Much thou must suffer
Be shocked & derided
Lose faith to gain faith,
Ah worse! must I say it?
Lose thy virtue, lose thy soul,
To gain the incorruptible.
The scale in this world
Of greatness & height
Is reversed in the other.
Crown of power, is fashioned
Of dust of abasement.

To Every Creature

To every creature
Adam gave its name
Let each to all unmask its feature
And cognizance
Moth or bug or worm or snail
Mite or fly or atomy
Nor each nor any fail
Its lineage to proclaim
Not a plant obscure
But some bright morn its flowers unfold
And tell the Universe
Its family & fame.
No fly or aphis bites the leaf
But comes a chance
When egg or fretted path betray
The petty thief,
And his small malfaisance.
Many things the garden shows
And pleased I stray
From tree to tree
Watching the white pear bloom
Bee infested quince or plum.
I could walk days, years, away
Till the slow ripening secular tree
Had reached its fruiting time
Nor think it long

Cloud Upon Cloud

Cloud upon cloud
The world is a seeming,
Feigns dying, but dies not,
Corpses rise ruddy,
Follow their funerals.
Seest thou not brother
Drops hate detachment,
And atoms disorder,
How they run into plants,
And grow into beauties.
The darkness will glow,
The solitude sing

Since the Devil Hopping on

Since the devil hopping on
From bush to vine from man to dame
Marshals temptations
A million deep
And ever new beauties rise
And with what faults soever
The stock of illusion
Is inexhaustible
I meantime depreciate
Every hour in the market
But the wares I would buy
Are enhanced every hour
I see no other way
Than to run violently from the market

Samson Stark at Dagon’s Knee

Samson stark at Dagon’s knee
Gropes for column strong as he
When his ringlets grew & curled
Groped for axle of the world

Pour the Wine! Pour the Wine!

Pour the wine! pour the wine!
As it changes to foam,
So flashes the day-god
Rushing abroad,
Ever new & unlooked for,
In furthest & smallest
Comes royally home.
In spider wise
Will again geometrize,
Will in bee & gnat keep time
With the annual solar chime;
Aphides like emperors
Sprawl & play their pair of hours

For Fancys gift
Can mountains lift;
The Muse can knit
What is past & what is done
With the web that’s just begun,
Making free with time & size,
Dwindles here, there magnifies
Swells a rain-drop to a tun;
So to repeat
No word or feat,
Crowds in a day the sum of ages,
And blushing Love outwits the sages.

Heartily Heartily

Heartily heartily
Nothing be false
Men ocular jocular
Work with the fingertips
Speak no deeper than the lips
Blow, good northwind, I grow nervous
Good wind, blow away all trace
Of the spectral populace.

Poets Are Colorpots

Poets are colorpots
Dovesnecks & opaline
Exquisite daintiness
Vapors of wine
Delicate gloom
Barrel of opium
Blowing simoom
Cloud-collecting, dissipating
Brain relaxing enervating
Put your body on your word
Man & sonnet at accord
Set your foot upon the scales
My foot weighs just a pound
Said the cruel Yankee captain
Trucking for his precious bales
Of ermine skin & silver fur
With the painted islander.

Thanks to Those Who Go & Come

Thanks to those who go & come
Bringing Hellas, Thebes, & Rome,
As near to me as is my home:
Careful husbands of the mind
Who keep decaying history good,
And do not suffer Tyre or Troy
To know decrepitude.

Is Jove Immortal

Is Jove immortal
So is Cerberus at his portal
Nothing but lying is mean
Never let thy banner down
Rat & worm & wolverine
Have the old dazzle of God’s crown
And in the Zodiack are seen
Health & Power become the wise
Fill the gaps with charities
Scatter this vetch everywhere
It will take root in the air
But he the dreaded Fates will please
Who has no eye or time for pease
God having shaped him like a wedge
And driven him to his forepledge
Forth as from a gun.

Heartily Heartily Sing

Heartily heartily sing
Ever be true in town or grove
Bears & men must have their swing
Of berries, & honey, & love.
There’s no ideot like the wise
And most virtue’s cowardice
What each is born to let him do
Let the devil himself be true
And he has an open track
And all planets at his back
Bare good meaning is an ass
Virtue brings its will to pass
He is wise who marries his end
Makes heaven & earth & hell his friend
Rushes to his deed
Will crack nature or succeed
Values in the issue had
Tis all one
What feat is done
Alike to build an iron way
From Montreal to Boston Bay
Or make a shanty glad.

Thank the Gods Thy Governors

Thank the gods thy governors
Many painful ancestors
Wore away successive lives
To sun & mellow a stock
Which neither Rome nor Antioch
China nor Egypt could forestal
Ripe in thee now last of all.

If Thy Body Pine

If thy body pine,
Tis the Genius’s retreat
To the chambers from the street,
Magnifying the coming vaunt
Of his flowering aloe plant
Starves the florets due today

Scholar is a Ball Thats Spent

Scholar is a ball thats spent,
Or the barrel that it sent,
Twas fired ere he came into hall,
Here is neither charge nor ball.

Ask Not Treasures From His Store

Ask not treasures from his store, —
For he lies in wait for more;
Nor what dawneth in his brain, —
That to whisper were profane.

King. If Farmers Make My Land Secure

King. If farmers make my land secure,
If pedlers use their craft for me,
How can I other than endure
Once in a year their company

Intellect

Rule which by obeying grows
Knowledge not its fountain knows
Wave removing whom it bears
From the shores which he compares
Adding wings thro things to range
Makes him to his own blood strange

Chladni Strewed on Glass the Sand

Chladni strewed on glass the sand
Then struck the glass its music sweet
The sand flew into symmetry
Then with altered hand
drew discords, & the sand scattered formless,
We cannot find a foreign land
Into new laws we never come
Tho we run along the diameter
Of sidereal space.
Sing, & the rock will crystallize
Sing, & the plant will grow.

Obey one law above, below,
light, heat, & sound, each a liquid wave
And Beauty for the guide I gave
To lead where you should go.

The motes of the stream shall prate
Of the current that floats them on.

I Must Not Borrow Light

I must not borrow light
From history trite
But from friends whom God gave
And the destiny I have

Go Into the Garden

Go into the garden,
Feed thine eyes & ears,
And every sense;
But do not touch a weed,
nor cut off a twig
Be not tempted.
If thou wilt not be a garden tool

But as This Fugitive Sunlight

But as this fugitive sunlight
Arrested & fixed
And with the primal atoms mixed
Is plant & man & rock
So a fleeing thought
Taken up in act & wrought
Makes the air & the sun
And hurls new systems out to run

Comrade of the Snow & Wind

Comrade of the snow & wind
He left each civil scale behind
Him woodgods fed with honey wild
And of his memory beguiled
In caves & hollow trees he crept
And near the wolf & panther slept
He came to the green ocean’s rim
And saw the sea birds skim
Summer & winter oer the wave
Like creatures made of skiey mould
Impassible to heat or cold.
He stood beside the main
Beautiful but insane
He felt himself as if the sky walked
Or the son of the wind
There was no man near
To mete himself withal

God Only Knew How Saadi Dined

God only knew how Saadi dined
Roses he ate, & drank the wind

Friends to Me Are Frozen Wine

Friends to me are frozen wine
I wait the sun shall on them shine

That Each Should in His House Abide

That each should in his house abide,
Therefore was the world so wide

New England Capitalist

What are his machines
Of steel, brass, leather, oak, & ivory,
But manikins & miniatures,
Dwarfs of one faculty, measured from him,
As nimbly he applies his bending self
Unto the changing world, thus making that
Another weapon of his conquering will?
He built the mills, & by his polities, made
The arms of millions turn them.

Stalwart New Hampshire, mother of men,
Sea-dented Maine, reluctant Carolina,
Must drag his coach, & by arts of peace
He, in the plenitude of love & honor,
Eats up the poor, — poor citizen poor state.
Much has he done,
Has made his telegraph,
Propeller, car, postoffice, phototype,
His coast survey, vote by majority,
His life assurance, & star registry,
Preludes & hints of what he meditates; —
Now let him make a harp!

On a Raisin Stone

On a raisin stone
The wheels of nature turn,
Out of it the fury comes
Wherewith the spondyls burn.
And, because the seed of the vine
Is creation’s heart,
Wash with wine those eyes of thine
To know the hidden part.
Wine is translated wit,
Wine is the day of day,
Wine from the veiled secret
Tears the veil away.

Go Out Into Nature and Plant Trees

Go out into Nature and plant trees
That when the southwind blows
You shall not be warm in your own limbs
but in ten thousand limbs & ten million leaves
Of your blossoming trees of orchard & forest

But God Will Keep His Promise Yet

But God will keep his promise yet
Trees & clouds are prophets sure
And new & finer forms of life
Day by day approach the pure.

Poet of Poets

Poet of poets
Is Time, the distiller,
Chemist, refiner:
Time hath a vitriol
Which can dissolve
Towns into melody,
Rubbish to gold.
Burn up the libraries!
Down with the colleges!
Raze the foundations!
Drive out the doctors!
Rout the philosophers!
Exile the critics!
Men of particulars,
Narrowing niggardly
Something to nothing.
All their ten thousand ways
End in the Néant.

All through the countryside
Rush locomotives:
Prosperous grocers
Poring on newspapers
Over their shop fires
Settle the State.
But, for the Poet, —
Seldom in centuries
Comes the well-tempered
Musical man.
He is the waited-for,
He is the complement,
One man of all men.
The random wayfarer
Counts him of his kin.
This is he that should come
The tongue of the secret,
The key of the casket,
Of Past & of Future.
Sudden the lustre
That hovered round cities,
Round bureaus of Power,
Or Chambers of Commerce,
Round banks, or round beauties,
Or state-rending factions,
Has quit them, & perches
Well pleased on his form.
True bard never cared
To flatter the princes
Costs time to live with them.
Ill genius affords it,
Preengaged to the skies.
Foremost of all men
The Poet inherits
Badge of nobility,
Charter of Earth;
Free of the city,
Free of the meadows,
Knight of each order,
Sworn of each guild,
Fellow of monarchs,
And, what is better,
Mate of all men.

Pan’s paths are wonderful.
Subtile his counsel.
Wisdom needs circumstance,
Many concomitants,

Goes not in purple,
Steals along secretly,
Shunning the eye;
Has the dominion
Of men & the planet,
On this sole condition, —
She shall not assume it.
When the crown first incloses
The brows of her son,
The Muse him deposes
From kingdom & throne.

See the Spheres Rushing

See the spheres rushing, —
Poet that tracks them
With emulous eye,
What lovest thou?
Planet, or orbit?
Whether the pipe,
Or the lay, it discourses?
In heaven, up yonder,
All the astronomy,
Sun-dance & star blaze,
Is Emblem of love.

Nought is of worth
In earth or in sky
But Love & Thought only.
Fast perish the mankind,
Firm bideth the thought,
Clothes it with Adam-kind,
Puts on a new suit
Of earth & of stars.
He will come one day
Who can articulate
That which unspoken
Vaults itself over us,
Globes itself under us,
Looks out of lovers’ eyes,
Dies, & is born again; —
He who can speak well;
Men hearing delighted
Shall say, ‘that is ours
Trees hearing shall blossom,
Rocks hearing shall tremble,
And range themselves dreamlike
In new compositions,
Architecture of thought.
Then will appear
What the old centuries,
Aeons were groping for,
Times of discomfiture,
Bankrupt millenniums.

The Patient Pan

The patient Pan,
Drunken with nectar
Sleeps or feigns slumber
Drowsily humming
Music to the march of Time.
This poor tooting creaking cricket,
Pan half asleep, rolling over
His great body in the grass,
Tooting, creaking,
Feigns to sleep, sleeping never:
Tis his manner,
Well he knows his own affair,
Piling mountain-chains of phlegm
On the nervous brain of man,
As he holds down central fires
Under Alps & Andes cold.
Haply else we could not live
Life would be too wild an ode
Sun & planet would explode
Ah! the poor Adamkind
Fault of supplies
From the fire fountains
We busybodies
Ever experiment
See what will come of it
Prove the quaint substances
Prove our bodies, prove our essence
Fortunes, genius, elements,
Try a foot, try a hand,
Then plunge the body in
Then our wits characters
And our gods if we can
Analysing analysing
As the chemist his new stone
Puts to azote, puts to chlorine,
Puts to vegetable blues.
Ah my poor apothecaries,
Can ye never wiselier sit,
Meddle less & more accept,
With dignity not overstepped
Skies have their etiquette

We are faithful to time
Time measured in moments
Only so many
Share of Methusalem
Share of the babe
Hundredhanded, hundredeyed,
Fussy & anxious
We would so gladly
Serve an apprenticeship
Day by day faithfully
Learn the use of Adam’s tools
Fire & water, azote, carbon,
Gravity levity
Hatred attraction
Animals chemistry
Botany land
Have a right to our flesh
Know the honest earth by heart

Do the feat of Archimedes
If the earth reject her sons
Till theyve learned her alphabeta
None but Hooke & Newton dare
Cross the threshold when it thunders.
Life is all too short for farming
All too short for architecture
All too short to learn the tongues
And for philosophy
Life’s done ere weve begun to think.
Solid farming haw & geeing
Drive uphill the loaded team
Bud the pear & dig potatoes
What time Lyra’s in the Zenith
That is wholesome as it makes
Man as massive as the glebe
Pricks dropsical pretension
Tames the infinite romance
Underpins the falcon turrets
High as fly falcons, fancy builds

To Transmute Crime to Wisdom, & to Stem

To transmute crime to wisdom, & to stem
The vice of Japhet by the thought of Shem.

Pale Genius Roves Alone

Pale Genius roves alone,
No scout can track his way,
None credits him till he have shown
His diamonds to the day.

Not his the feaster’s wine,
Nor land, nor gold, nor power,
By want & pain God screeneth him
Till his elected hour.

Go, speed the stars of Thought
On to their shining goals; —
The sower scatters broad his seed,
The wheat thou strew’st be souls.

Burn Your Literary Verses

Burn your literary verses
Give us rather the glib curses
Of the truckmen in the street
Songs of the forecastle
To the caboose

Intellect

Intellect
Gravely broods apart on joy,
And truth to tell, amused by pain

What All the Books of Ages Paint, I Have

What all the books of ages paint, I have.
What prayers & dreams of youthful genius feign,
I daily dwell in, & am not so blind
But I can see the elastic tent of day
Belike has wider hospitality
Than my few needs exhaust, & bids me read
The quaint devices on its mornings gay.
Yet nature will not be in full possessed,
And they who trueliest love her, heralds are
And harbingers of a majestic race,
Who, having more absorbed, more largely yield,
And walk on earth as the sun walks in the sphere.

The Civil World Will Much Forgive

The civil world will much forgive
To bards who from its maxims live
But if, grown bold, the poet dare
Bend his practice to his prayer,
And, following his mighty heart
Shame the time, & live apart,
Vae solis!
I found this, —
That of goods I could not miss
If I fell within the line,
Once a member, all was mine,
Houses, banquets, gardens, fountains,
Fortune’s delectable mountains;
But if I would walk alone,
Was neither cloak nor crumb my own

Mask Thy Wisdom With Delight

Mask thy wisdom with delight,
Toy with the bow, yet hit the white.
The lesson which the Muses say
Was sweet to hear & to obey.
He loved to round a verse, & play,
Without remoter hope, or fear,
Or purpose, than to please his ear.
And all the golden summer-time
Rung out the hours with happy rhyme.
Meantime every cunning word
Tribes & ages overheard:
Those idle catches told the laws
Holding nature to her Cause.

Roomy Eternity

Roomy Eternity
Casts her schemes rarely,
And an aeon allows
For each quality and part
In the multitudinous
And many-chambered heart.

Dark Flower of Cheshire Garden

Dark Flower of Cheshire garden
Red Evening duly dyes
Thy sombre head with rosy hues
To fix fargazing eyes.
Well the planter knew how strongly
Works thy form on human thought:
I muse what secret purpose had he
To draw all fancies to this spot.

Terminus

For thought & not praise;
Thought is the wages
For which I sell days,
Will gladly sell ages,
And willing grow old,
Deaf, & dumb, & blind, & cold,
Melting matter into dreams,
Panoramas which I saw
And whatever glows or seems
Into substance into Law

I to My Garden Went

I to my garden went
To the unplanted woods

More Sweet Than My Refrain

More sweet than my refrain
Was the first drop of April rain

Wisp & Meteor Nightly Falling

Wisp & meteor nightly falling
But the stars of God remain.

God the Lord Save Massachusetts

God The Lord save Massachusetts
Without chivalry or slave
We are ignorant of stealing
Quite too stupid to be knave
And to perjure and to poison
Not our way our souls to save

A Poet is at Home

A poet is at home
He does not follow the old & dead
Ruins & mummies
But cities & heroes come to him
One [ ] will serve
As well as another
For he fills them
From his own winepress
In the village he can find.

O Boston City Lecture-hearing

O Boston city lecture-hearing,
O Unitarian God-fearing,
But more, I fear, bad men-revering;
Too civil by half, thine evil guest
Makes thee his byword & his jest,
And scorns the men that honeyed the pest,
Piso & Atticus, with the rest.
Thy fault is much civility,
Thy bane, respectability.
And thou hadst been as wise, & wiser,
Lacking the Daily Advertiser.
Ah, gentlemen, — for you are gentle, —
And mental maids, not sentimental.

A Patch of Meadow & Upland

A patch of meadow & upland
Reached by a mile of road,
Soothed by the voice of waters,
With birds & flowers bestowed.

This is my book of Chronicles,
Code, Psalter, lexicon,
My Genesis & calendar
I read it as I run.

It is my consolation
In mild or poignant grief,
My park & my gymnasium,
My out-of-door relief.

I come to it for strength,
Which it can well supply,
For Love draws might from terrene force
And potences of sky.

The tremulous battery, earth,
Responds to touch of man,
It thrills to the antipodes,
From Boston to Japan.

The planets’ child the planet knows
And to his joy replies;
To the lark’s trill unfolds the rose,
Clouds flush their gayest dyes.

When Ali prayed & loved
Where Syrian waters roll,
Upward the ninth heaven thrilled & moved
At the tread of the jubilant soul.

And He Like Me is Not Too Proud

And he like me is not too proud
To be the poet of the crowd

Parks & Ponds Are Good by Day

Parks & ponds are good by day,
But where’s the husband doth delight
In black acres of the night?
Not my unseasoned step disturbs
The sleeps of trees or dreams of herbs

Cloud Upon Cloud

Cloud upon cloud.
Clouds after rain
Value standeth in success,
But the same value
Hideth in failure,
In poverty, mourning,
In solitude, crime;
The value adhesive
Sticks to them all
Refuses to sunder
From man, from man.
Differ servitude & rank
As chains that clank not, chains that clank

The last shall be first
The first be postponed
The latest promoted
At the end of the day
It first will appear
Who never surrendered
Who combated stoutly,
Where God was the while
We strutted we coxcombs
So condescendingly
Bowing & giving
Affecting to give
Virtue is a cockney grown

For Lyra Yet Shall Be the Pole

For Lyra yet shall be the pole
And grass grow in the Capitol

A Score of Airy Miles Will Smooth

A score of airy miles will smooth
Rough Monadnock to a gem.

All Things Rehearse

All things rehearse
The meaning of the universe

Webster

Why did all manly gifts in Webster fail?
He wrote on Nature’s grandest brow, For Sale.

The Atom Displaces All Atoms Beside

The atom displaces all atoms beside
And Genius unspheres all souls that abide

I Have an Arrow That Can Find Its Mark

I have an arrow that can find its mark,
A mastiff that will bite without a bark.

From High to Higher Forces

From high to higher forces
The scale of power uprears,
The heroes on their horses,
The gods upon the spheres.

All Day the Waves Assailed the Rock

All day the waves assailed the rock,
I heard no church-bell chime;
The sea-beat scorns the minster clock,
And breaks the glass of Time.

Honor Bright O Muse

Honor bright o muse
Muses keep your faith with me
Give me some audacious hours
Draw to a just close
The poem ye begun

Such Another Peerless Queen

Such another peerless queen
Only could her mirror show

See How Romance Adheres

See how Romance adheres
To the deer, the lion,
and every bird,
Because they are free
And have no master but Law
On the wild ice in depths of sea
On Alp or Andes side
In the vast abyss of air
The bird, the flying cloud,
The fire the wind the element
These have not manners coarse or cowed
And no borrowed will
But graceful as cloud & flame
All eyes with pleasure fill

With the Key of the Secret He Marches Faster

With the key of the secret he marches faster
From strength to strength, and for night brings day,
While classes or tribes too weak to master
The flowing conditions of life give way.

For What Need I of Book or Priest

For what need I of book or priest
Or Sibyls from the mummied East
When every star is Bethlehem’s star
I count as many as there are
Cinquefoils or violets in the grass;
So many saints & saviors,
So many high behaviors,
Salute the boy of years thrice five
Who only sees what he doth give

And Rival Coxcombs With Enamored Stare

And rival Coxcombs with enamored stare
Perused the mysteries of her coiled hair

For Joy & Beauty Planted It

For joy & beauty planted it
With faerie lustres cheered,
And boding Fancy haunted it,
With men & women weird.

Papas Blondine

Papas Blondine
Grew tall & wise
Eschewing vanities
And loved the truth
Can Truth suffice?
The years shall show:
Truth is put upon its trial
Her judgment will not brook denial
In her large memory
Is never fact forgotten
And she will know
If Truth’s as true as she
In action & in word
If the false world can afford
That any sterling be

And if it prove that things are rotten
She will frankly call them so
She who is real,
She who cannot aught conceal,
She that hypocrisy disdains,
Never palters, never feigns,
But well believes
That she may dare
Confess her faith in any air
That honest meaning will not fail
Over falsehood to prevail
She will launch her thought nor fear it
Speak the truth to who will hear it.
But still as now
With pure good will

And Bounty sculptured on thy brow
Give the downhearted world
Hints of Eternal cheer.

Brave maid obey thy heart
Accept what rule it shall impart
Nor heed one word of all the voices gay
Which in their manifolded quire
Stoop to Fashion & stoop to please
Flatter worthless ease

In every house a welcome guest
For her good heart & searching eye
Though she bring this sunlike test
In lieu of a polished lie.
She can weave & embroider
Can write & draw
And like a mirror report
Orderly beautiful all she sees
But when she signs her name
With plain verity content
Never prefixed a compliment
And in whatever circle came
Never stooped to utter one
Who if polite society
Did not exist, would it invent,
By her practice show its laws,
Grace without compliment.
Grace that grows from pure intent
Grace that fascinates & draws
Advance life as now
Bearer of good news
Or if disaster come
Evil news were not allowed
To dim her eye, her aspect cloud
Or choke her cheerful voice
Tell ill news as thou tellest good
Nor mar thy quiet in the broil
Adorn thy self with hardihood
With ice bath fortify the blood,
arctic winds blew round her bed
Hard fare & charitable toil

The Asmodaean Feat Be Mine

The Asmodaean feat be mine
To spin my sand heaps into twine.

A Puff of Air or Dry or Damp

A puff of air or dry or damp
Shall burn the town or quench the lamp
As the babe to the mothers breast
We are tied to the element
By hands no Will can circumvent
Through the world east & west
Pupils & children of the wind
Since our forefather Adam sinned
And as sinks or mounts the song
We are impotent or strong
A whiff of air will make the odds
Between the victim & the gods
As blows from divers points the gale
The man shall prosper or shall fail

Coin the Daydawn Into Lines

Coin the daydawn into lines
In which its proper splendor shines;
Coin the moonlight into verse
Which all its marvels shall rehearse

He Loved to Watch & Wake

He loved to watch & wake
When the wing of the southwind whipt the lake
And the glassy surface in ripples brake
And fled in pretty darkness away
Like the flitting boreal lights
Rippling roses in northern nights
Or like the thrill of Aeolian strings
On which the sudden wind-god rings

She Walked in Flowers Around My Field

She walked in flowers around my field
As June herself around the sphere

The Bird Was Gone the Ghastly Trees

The bird was gone the ghastly trees
Heard the wind sing with in the breeze
Was this her funeral that I see
Did that asking eye ask me?

Pedants All

Pedants all
They would be original
The mute pebble shames their wit
The echo is ironical
And wiser silence swallows speech

If Bright the Sun, He Tarries

If bright the sun, he tarries;
All day his song is heard;
And when he goes, he carries
No more baggage than a bird.

Teach Me Your Mood, O Patient Stars!

Teach me your mood, O patient stars!
Who climb each night the ancient sky,
Leaving on space no shade, no scars,
No trace of age, no fear to die.

O Sun! Take Off Thy Hood of Clouds

O sun! take off thy hood of clouds,
O land! take off thy chain,
And fill the world with happy mood
And love from main to main.

Ye shall not on this charter day
Disloyally withhold
Their household rights from captive men
By pirates bought & sold.

Ah little knew the innocent
In throes of birth forlorn,
That wolves & foxes waited for
Their victim to be born.

As the Drop Feeds Its Fated Flower

As the drop feeds its fated flower,
As finds its Alp the snowy shower,
Child of the omnific Need
Hurled into life to do a deed,
Man drinks the water, drinks the light

I Leave the Book, I Leave the Wine

I leave the book, I leave the wine,
I breathe freer by the pine:
In houses, I am low & mean,
Mountain waters wash me clean,
And by the seawaves I am strong,
I hear their medicinal song,
No balsam but the breeze I crave,
And no physician but the wave.

Gentle Spring Has Charmed the Earth

Gentle Spring has charmed the earth
Where an April sunbeam fell,
Let no glacier from the north
Floating by undo the spell.

The Coral Worm Beneath the Sea

The coral worm beneath the sea
Mason planter spreads
Its rock vegetable threads
Foundation of the isles to be
His colossal flowers
Home of imperial powers
And nobler life

Easy to Match What Others Do

Easy to match what others do,
Perform the feat as well as they;
Hard to outdo the wise, the true,
And find a loftier way.
The school decays, the learning spoils,
Because of the sons of wine: —
How snatch the stripling from their toils?
Yet can one ray of truth divine
The banquet’s blaze outshine.

If Wishes Would Carry Me Over the Land

If wishes would carry me over the land,
I would ride with free bridle today,
I would greet every tree with a grasp of my hand,
I would drink of each river, & swim in each bay.

Maia

Illusion works impenetrable,
Weaving webs innumerable,
Her gay pictures never fail,
Crowds each on other, veil on veil,
Charmer who will be believed
By Man who thirsts to be deceived.

Seyd Planted Where the Deluge Ploughed

Seyd planted where the deluge ploughed,
His hired hands were wind & cloud
His eyes could spy the gods concealed
In each hummock of the field

For Every God

For every god
Obeys the hymn, obeys the ode,
Obeys the holy ode.

For Genius Made His Cabin Wide

For Genius made his cabin wide
And Love brought gods therein to bide
Better he thought no god could bring
And basked in friendship all the days of Spring.
And though he found his friendships meet
His quarrels too had somewhat sweet.

He Lives Not Who Can Refuse Me

He lives not who can refuse me,
All my force saith, ‘Come & use me.’
A little sun, a little rain,
And all the zone is green again

Forbore the Ant Hill, Shunned to Tread

Forbore the ant hill, shunned to tread,
In mercy, on one little head

By Art, by Music, Overthrilled

By art, by music, overthrilled
The wine cup shakes, the wine is spilled

Borrow Urania’s Subtile Wings

Borrow Urania’s subtile wings
Chasing with words fast-flowing things:
Cling to the sacred fact, nor try
To plant thy shrivelled pedantry
On the shoulders of the sky.

The Comrade or the Book is Good

The comrade or the book is good
That puts me in a working mood:
Unless to thought be added will,
Apollo is an imbecile.
What parts, what truth, what fancies shine!
— Ah! but I miss the just design.

Is the Pace of Nature Slow?

Is the pace of nature slow?
Why not from strength to strength
From miracle to miracle
And not as now with retardation
As with sprained foot

Why Honor the New Men

Why honor the new men
Who never understood the old

I Never Knew but One

I never knew but one
Could do what thou hast done
Give me back the song of birds
Into plainest English words
Or articulate
The sough of the wind as I sate

Think Not the Gods Receive Thy Prayer

Think not the gods receive thy prayer
In ear & heart, but find it there.

Turtle in Swamp

Turtle in swamp
wader on beaches
camel in sand
goat on mountain
fish in sea
eyes in light
Every Zone its flora & fauna
animals hybernate, or wake when dinner is ready
food, parasite, enemy, census,
Same fitness between a man & his time & event
Man comes when world is ready for him.
And things ripen, new men
Hercules comes first, & St John afterwards.
& Shakspeare at last.

Inspired We Must Forget Our Books

Inspired we must forget our books,
To see the landscape’s royal looks.

She Had Wealth of Mornings in Her Year

She had wealth of mornings in her year
And planets in her sky,
She chose the best thy heart to cheer
Thy beauty to supply. —
Now younger lovers find the stream
The willow & the vine
But aye to me the happiest seem
To draw the dregs of wine

When Wrath & Terror Changed Jove’s Regal Port

When wrath & terror changed Jove’s regal port,
And the rashleaping thunderbolt fell short.

Softens the Air So Cold & Rude

Softens the air so cold & rude
What can the heart do less?
If Earth puts off her savage mood,
We should learn gentleness.

Spices in the Plants That Run

Spices in the plants that run
To bring their firstfruits to the sun
Earliest heats that follow frore
Nerved leaf of hellebore
Sweet willow, checkerberry red,
With its savory leaf for bread
Silver birch & black
With the selfsame spice
Found in polygala root & rind
Sassafras & fern
Benzoin
Mouse ear cowsli