The Students' Ramble

BY LU-TEH

T'sing Dynasty

No longer could the blue-robed students cling
To essay, or angle, or such like thing;
The white-fleeced sky in depths of sapphire blue,
The mother-earth, in Spring's bewitching hue,
Enticed them forth to ponder fresher lore,
And gather strength from nature's boundless store,
So leaving college desk, and book, and file,
They tramp the green-robed country—mile on mile;
But resting oft within some shady nook,
By side of mountain rill or babbling brook.
The voice of streams, the sweet air after showers
On new-mown grass, and earth, and fragrant flowers;
The depths of space, the everlasting hills;
The unseen power that moves, and guides, and stills
All animated nature's varied life
And law reveals where all seemed useless strife—
Their sense enthralled, and coursing with their blood
Through every vein in strong impetuous flood—
Divine and human, on this radiant day,
Seemed nearer kin than even when we pray
In marble temples to the unknown God,
Or wayside fanes, by common people trod.
But homeward now reluctantly they turn,
Yet incense still to nature would they burn;
So as they wind through woods of pine-trees tall,
By willow-bordered streams where catkins fall,
Their pent-up feelings, buried deep and long,
Find voice in classic chants from ancient song.
As chorus sweet, and solo clear and rare,
Are wafted softly on the evening air,
The water-fowl on village ponds and streams
Are gently wakened from their summer dreams;
While mingled with the scholars' choral lay
The songs of peasants speed the closing day;
And bird, or insect,—each its anthem sings,
And little gift of praise to Heaven brings:
Then as the sun is sinking in the west,
And lighting up the regions of the blest,
From nature's altar falls the sacred fire,
And higher aims each student's heart inspire.