Diamond Cove by S. B. Beckett

A beauteous Cove, amid the isles
That sprinkle Casco's winding bay,
Where, like an Eden, nature smiles
In all her wild and rich array.
'Tis sheltered from the ocean's roar
By beetling crags and foam-girt rifts,
And mossy trees, that ages hoar
Have braved the sea-gales on its cliffs!
The broad-armed oak, the beech and pine,
And elm, their branches intertwine
Above its tranquil, glassy face,
So that the sun finds scarcely space
At mid-day, for his fervid beam
To shimmer on the limpid stream;
And in its rugged, sparry caves,
Worn by the winter's tempest waves,
Gleams many a crystal wildly bright
Like diamonds, flashing radiant light,
And hence the fairy spot is 'hight.'
The forests far extending round,
Ne'er to the spoiler's axe resound;
Nor is man's toil or traces there;
But resteth all as lone and fair—
The sunny slopes, the rocks and trees,
As desert isles in Indian seas,
That sometimes rise upon the view
Of some far-wandering, wind-bound crew,
Sleeping alone mid ocean's blue.
The lonely ospray rears her brood
Deep in the forest-solitude;
And through the long, bright summer day,
When ocean, calm as mountain lake,
Bears not a breath its hush to break,
The snow-winged sea-gull tilts away
Upon the long, smooth swell, that sweeps,
In curving, wide, unbroken reach,
Into the cove from outer deeps,
Unwinding up the pebbly beach.
Oft blithly ring the wide old woods,
Within their loneliest solitudes,
To youthful shout, and song, and glee,
And viol's merry minstrelsy,
When summer's stirless, sultry air
Pervades the city's thoroughfare,
And drives the throng to seek the shades
Of these green, zephyr-breathing glades!
The dance goes round; the trunks so tall—
Rough columns of the festal hall—
Sustain a broad and lofty roof
Of nature's greenest, loveliest woof!
The maiden weaves, in lieu of wreath,
The bending fern-plumes in her hair,
And the wild flowers with scented breath,
That spring to blossom every where
Around; the forest's dream-like rest
Drives care and sorrow from each breast,
And makes the worn and weary blest!
And when the broad, dim waters blush
Beneath the tints of ebbing day,
When comes the moon out in the hush
Of eve, with mellow, timid ray,
And twilight lingers far away
On the blue waste, the fisher's skiff
Comes dancing in, and 'neath the cliff
Is moored to rest, till morning's train
Beams with fresh beauty o'er the main,
And wakes him to his toil again!
O, lovely there is sunset-hour!
When twilight falls with soothing power
Along the forest-windings dim,
And from the thicket, sweet and low,
The red-breast tunes a farewell hymn
To daylight's latest, lingering glow—
When slope, and rock, and wood around,
In all their dreamy, hushed repose,
Are glassed adown the bright profound—
And passing fair is evening's close!
When from the bright, cerulean dome,
The sea-fowl, that have all the day
Wheeled o'er the far, lone billows' spray,
Come thronging to their eyries home;
When over rock and wave, remote,
From yon dim fort, the bugle's note
Along the listening air doth creep,
Seeming to steal down from the sky,
Or with out-bursting, martial sweep
Rings through the forests, clanging high,
While echo waked bears on the strain,
Till faint, beyond the trackless main,
In realms of space it seems to die.
But lovelier still is night's calm noon!
When like a sea-nymph's fairy bark,
The mirrored crescent of the moon
Swings on the waters weltering dark;
And in her solitary beam,
Upon each bald, storm-beaten height,
The quartz and mica wildly gleam,
Spangling the rocks with magic light;
And when a silvery minstrelsy
Is swelling o'er the dim-lit sea,
As of some wandering fairy throng,
Passing on viewless wing along,
Tuning their spirit-lyres to song;
And when the night's soft breeze comes out,
And for a moment breathes about,
Shaking a burst of fresh perfume
From every honied bell and bloom,
Startling the tall pine from its rest,
And sleeping wood-bird in her nest,
Or kissing the bright water's breast;
Then stealing off into the shade,
As if it were a thing afraid!
The Indian prized this beauteous spot
Of old; beneath the embowering shade
He reared his rude and simple cot;
And round these wild shores where they played
In youth, still—pilgrims from the bourn
Of far Penobscot's sinuous stream,
Aged and bowed, and weary worn—
Lingering they love to stray, and dream
O'er the proud hopes possessed of yore,
When forest, isle and mainland shore,
For many a league, owned but their sway;
When, on the labyrinthine bay,
Now checkered o'er with many a sail,
Alone his lightsome birch canoe
Fast, by the bright, green islets flew,
Nor bark spread canvas to the gale.
Matchless retreat! mayst aye remain
As wild, as natural and free
As now thou art; nor hope of gain,
Nor enterprize a motive be
To lay thy hoary forests low;
Gold ne'er can make thy beauties glow,
Nor enterprize restore thy pride,
When once the monarchs round thy tide,
Have felt the exterminating blow.