MUSIC AND OTHER POEMS


By Henry van Dyke



To my son Tertius this book is dedicated



Transcribed from the book published October, 1904
by Charles Scribner's Sons.






CONTENTS


ODES
MUSIC
I. PRELUDE
V. SLEEP SONG
VI. HUNTING SONG
VII. DANCE-MUSIC
VIII. THE SYMPHONY
IX. IRIS
X. SEA AND SHORE
PEACE
I. IN EXCELSIS
II. DE PROFUNDIS
VICTOR HUGO 1802-1902


GOD OF THE OPEN AIR
I
II
III
IV
V
VI


SONNETS
WORK
LIFE
LOVE
THE CHILD IN THE GARDEN
LOVE'S REASON
PORTRAIT AND REALITY
THE WIND OF SORROW
PATRIA


LEGENDS
A LEGEND OF SERVICE
THE VAIN KING


LYRICS
A MILE WITH ME
SPRING IN THE SOUTH
LOVE'S NEARNESS
TWO SCHOOLS
A PRAYER FOR A MOTHER'S BIRTHDAY
INDIAN SUMMER
ONE WORLD
HIDE AND SEEK
DULCIS MEMORIA
AUTUMN IN THE GARDEN
THE MESSAGE
LIGHT BETWEEN THE TREES
RELIANCE


GREETINGS AND INSCRIPTIONS
KATRINA'S SUN-DIAL
TO JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY
A HEALTH TO MARK TWAIN
A RONDEAU OF COLLEGE RHYMES
THE MOCKING-BIRD
THE EMPTY QUATRAIN
INSCRIPTIONS FOR A FRIEND'S HOUSE
THE STATUE OF SHERMAN BY ST. GAUDENS
THE SUN-DIAL AT WELLS COLLEGE





ODES





MUSIC





I. PRELUDE

        Daughter of Psyche, pledge of that last night
          When, pierced with pain and bitter-sweet delight,
        She knew her Love and saw her Lord depart,
        Then breathed her wonder and her woe forlorn
        Into a single cry, and thou wast born?
        Thou flower of rapture and thou fruit of grief;
        Invisible enchantress of the heart;
          Mistress of charms that bring relief
          To sorrow, and to joy impart
        A heavenly tone that keeps it undefiled,—
            Thou art the child
          Of Amor, and by right divine
            A throne of love is thine,
     Thou flower-folded, golden-girdled, star-crowned Queen,
     Whose bridal beauty mortal eyes have never seen!
                        II

       Thou art the Angel of the pool that sleeps,
       While peace and joy lie hidden in its deeps,
       Waiting thy touch to make the waters roll
       In healing murmurs round the weary soul.
           Ah, when wilt thou draw near,
       Thou messenger of mercy robed in song?
       My lonely heart has listened for thee long;
           And now I seem to hear
       Across the crowded market-place of life,
       Thy measured foot-fall, ringing light and clear
     Above the unmeaning noises and the unruly strife;
           In quiet cadence, sweet and slow,
           Serenely pacing to and fro,
       Thy far-off steps are magical and dear.
       Ah, turn this way, come close and speak to me!
     From this dull bed of languor set my spirit free,
     And bid me rise, and let me walk awhile with thee
                        III

           Where wilt thou lead me first?
            In what still region
              Of thy domain,
           Whose provinces are legion,
       Wilt thou restore me to myself again,
           And quench my heart's long thirst?
     I pray thee lay thy golden girdle down,
           And put away thy starry crown:
            For one dear restful hour
            Assume a state more mild.
     Clad only in thy blossom-broidered gown
     That breathes familiar scent of many a flower,
     Take the low path that leads thro' pastures green;
              And though thou art a Queen,
     Be Rosamund awhile, and in thy bower,
     By tranquil love and simple joy beguiled,
     Sing to my soul, as mother to her child.
                     IV

        O lead me by the hand,
        And let my heart have rest,
     And bring me back to childhood land,
     To find again the long-lost band
        Of playmates blithe and blest.

        Some quaint, old-fashioned air,
        That all the children knew,
     Shall run before us everywhere,
     Like a little maid with flying hair,
        To guide the merry crew.

        Along the garden ways
        We chase the light-foot tune,
     And in and out the flowery maze,
     With eager haste and fond delays,
     In pleasant paths of June.

        For us the fields are new,
        For us the woods are rife
     With fairy secrets, deep and true,
     And heaven is but a tent of blue
        Above the game of life.

        The world is far away:
        The fever and the fret,
     And all that makes the heart grow gray,
     Is out of sight and far away,
     Dear Music, while I hear thee play
     That olden, golden roundelay,
        "Remember and forget!"





V. SLEEP SONG

                   Forget, forget!
           The tide of life is turning;
         The waves of light ebb slowly down the west:
       Along the edge of dark some stars are burning
     To guide thy spirit safely to an isle of rest.
           A little rocking on the tranquil deep
             Of song, to soothe thy yearning,
           A little slumber and a little sleep,
                And so, forget, forget!

                   Forget, forget,—
           The day was long in pleasure;
         Its echoes die away across the hill;
       Now let thy heart beat time to their slow measure
     That swells, and sinks, and faints, and falls, till all is still.
            Then, like a weary child that loves to keep
              Locked in its arms some treasure,
            Thy soul in calm content shall fall asleep,
                And so forget, forget.

                   Forget, forget,—
           And if thou hast been weeping,
         Let go the thoughts that bind thee to thy grief:
       Lie still, and watch the singing angels, reaping
     The golden harvest of thy sorrow, sheaf by sheaf;
            Or count thy joys like flocks of snow-white sheep
              That one by one come creeping
            Into the quiet fold, until thou sleep,
                And so forget, forget!

                   Forget, forget,—
           Thou art a child and knowest
         So little of thy life! But music tells
       One secret of the world thro' which thou goest
     To work with morning song, to rest with evening bells:
            Life is in tune with harmony so deep
              That when the notes are lowest
            Thou still canst lay thee down in peace and sleep,
                For God will not forget.





VI. HUNTING SONG

     Out of the garden of playtime, out of the bower of rest,
     Fain would I follow at daytime, music that calls to a quest.
         Hark, how the galloping measure
         Quickens the pulses of pleasure;
           Gaily saluting the morn
     With the long clear note of the hunting-horn
         Echoing up from the valley,
           Over the mountain side,—
         Rally, you hunters, rally,
           Rally, and ride!

     Drink of the magical potion music has mixed with her wine,
     Full of the madness of motion, joyful, exultant, divine!
         Leave all your troubles behind you,
         Ride where they never can find you,
           Into the gladness of morn,
     With the long, clear note of the hunting-horn,
           Swiftly o'er hillock and hollow,
             Sweeping along with the wind,—
           Follow, you hunters, follow,
             Follow and find!

     What will you reach with your riding?  What is the charm of the chase?
     Just the delight and the striding swing of the jubilant pace.
           Danger is sweet when you front her,—
           In at the death, every hunter!
           Now on the breeze the mort is borne
     In the long, clear note of the hunting-horn,
           Winding merrily, over and over,—
             Come, come, come!
           Home again, Ranger! home again, Rover!
             Turn again, home!





VII. DANCE-MUSIC

     Now let the sleep-tune blend with the play-tune,
     Weaving the mystical spell of the dance;
     Lighten the deep tune, soften the gay tune,
     Mingle a tempo that turns in a trance.
     Half of it sighing, half of it smiling,
     Smoothly it swings, with a triplicate beat;
     Calling, replying, yearning, beguiling,
     Wooing the heart and bewitching the feet.
          Every drop of blood
          Rises with the flood,
      Rocking on the waves of the strain;
          Youth and beauty glide
          Turning with the tide—
        Music making one out of twain,
     Bearing them away, and away, and away,
          Like a tone and its terce—
     Till the chord dissolves, and the dancers stay,
               And reverse.

     Violins leading, take up the measure,
     Turn with the tune again,—clarinets clear
     Answer their pleading,—harps full of pleasure
     Sprinkle their silver like light on the mere.
              Semiquaver notes,
              Merry little motes,
              Tangled in the haze
            Of the lamp's golden rays,
              Quiver everywhere
                In the air,
                Like a spray,—
     Till the fuller stream of the might of the tune,
     Gliding like a dream in the light of the moon,
     Bears them all away, and away, and away,
         Floating in the trance of the dance.

     Then begins a measure stately,
        Languid, slow, serene;
     All the dancers move sedately,
     Stepping leisurely and straitly,
        With a courtly mien;
     Crossing hands and changing places,
        Bowing low between,
     While the minuet inlaces
     Waving arms and woven paces,—
        Glittering damaskeen.
     Where is she whose form is folden
        In its royal sheen?
     From our longing eyes withholden
     By her mystic girdle golden,
        Beauty sought but never seen,
     Music walks the maze, a queen.





VIII. THE SYMPHONY

       Music, they do thee wrong who say thine art
           Is only to enchant the sense.
       For every timid motion of the heart,
           And every passion too intense
       To bear the chain of the imperfect word,
           And every tremulous longing, stirred
       By spirit winds that come we know not whence
              And go we know not where,
              And every inarticulate prayer
       Beating about the depths of pain or bliss,
              Like some bewildered bird
       That seeks its nest but knows not where it is,
       And every dream that haunts, with dim delight,
       The drowsy hour between the day and night,
       The wakeful hour between the night and day,—
              Imprisoned, waits for thee,
              Impatient, yearns for thee,
       The queen who comes to set the captive free
       Thou lendest wings to grief to fly away,
       And wings to joy to reach a heavenly height;
     And every dumb desire that Storms within the breast
     Thou leadest forth to sob or sing itself to rest.

       All these are thine, and therefore love is thine.
              For love is joy and grief,
       And trembling doubt, and certain-sure belief,
       And fear, and hope, and longing unexpressed,
       In pain most human, and in rapture brief
                   Almost divine.
       Love would possess, yet deepens when denied;
       And love would give, yet hungers to receive;
       Love like a prince his triumph would achieve;
     And like a miser in the dark his joys would hide.
                   Love is most bold:
       He leads his dreams like armed men in line;
       Yet when the siege is set, and he must speak,
           Calling the fortress to resign
       Its treasure, valiant love grows weak,
       And hardly dares his purpose to unfold.
       Less with his faltering lips than with his eyes
              He claims the longed-for prize:
     Love fain would tell it all, yet leaves the best untold.

     But thou shalt speak for love.  Yea, thou shalt teach
           The mystery of measured tone,
             The Pentecostal speech
      That every listener heareth as his own.
      For on thy head the cloven tongues of fire,—
      Diminished chords that quiver with desire,
      And major chords that glow with perfect peace,—
             Have fallen from above;
             And thou canst give release
      In music to the burdened heart of love.

       Sound with the 'cellos' pleading, passionate strain
       The yearning theme, and let the flute reply
       In placid melody, while violins complain,
                And sob, and sigh,
                With muted string;
       Then let the oboe half-reluctant sing
       Of bliss that trembles on the verge of pain,
         While 'cellos plead and plead again,
     With throbbing notes delayed, that would impart
     To every urgent tone the beating of the heart.
         So runs the andante, making plain
     The hopes and fears of love without a word.

       Then comes the adagio, with a yielding theme
     Through which the violas flow soft as in a dream,
          While horns and mild bassoons are heard
          In tender tune, that seems to float
            Like an enchanted boat
          Upon the downward-gliding stream,
          Toward the allegro's wide, bright sea
          Of dancing, glittering, blending tone,
         Where every instrument is sounding free,
     And harps like wedding-chimes are rung, and trumpets blown
            Around the barque of love
          That sweeps, with smiling skies above,
          A royal galley, many-oared,
       Into the happy harbour of the perfect chord.





IX. IRIS

     Light to the eye and Music to the ear,—
     These are the builders of the bridge that springs
     From earths's dim shore of half-remembered things
     To reach the spirit's home, the heavenly sphere
     Where nothing silent is and nothing dark.
        So when I see the rainbow's arc
     Spanning the showery sky, far-off I hear
        Music, and every colour sings:
     And while the symphony builds up its round
     Full sweep of architectural harmony
     Above the tide of Time, far, far away I see
     A bow of colour in the bow of sound.

                 Red as the dawn the trumpet rings,
             Imperial purple from the trombone flows,
             The mellow horn melts into evening rose.
                 Blue as the sky, the choir of strings
             Darkens in double-bass to ocean's hue,
             Rises in violins to noon-tide's blue,
       With threads of quivering light shot through and through.
             Green as the mantle that the summer flings
             Around the world, the pastoral reeds in time
             Embroider melodies of May and June.
                   Yellow as gold,
                 Yea, thrice-refined gold,
             And purer than the treasures of the mine,
             Floods of the human voice divine
             Along the arch in choral song are rolled.
                 So bends the bow complete:
                 And radiant rapture flows
             Across the bridge, so full, so strong, so sweet,
             That the uplifted spirit hardly knows
              Whether the Music-Light that glows
       Within the arch of tones and colours seven
     Is sunset-peace of earth, or sunrise-joy of Heaven.





X. SEA AND SHORE

        Music, I yield to thee;
        As swimmer to the sea
     I give my Spirit to the flood of song:
        Bear me upon thy breast
        In rapture and at rest,
     Bathe me in pure delight and make me strong;
        From strife and struggle bring release,
     And draw the waves of passion into tides of peace.

        Remember'd songs, most dear,
        In living songs I hear,
     While blending voices gently swing and sway
        In melodies of love,
        Whose mighty currents move,
     With singing near and singing far away;
        Sweet in the glow of morning light,
     And sweeter still across the starlit gulf of night.

        Music, in thee we float,
        And lose the lonely note
     Of self in thy celestial-ordered strain,
        Until at last we find
        The life to love resigned
     In harmony of joy restored again;
        And songs that cheered our mortal days
     Break on the coast of light in endless hymns of praise.

     December, 1901 - May, 1903.





PEACE





I. IN EXCELSIS

     Two dwellings, Peace, are thine.
          One is the mountain-height,
     Uplifted in the loneliness of light
       Beyond the realm of shadows,—fine,
     And far, and clear,—where advent of the night
     Means only glorious nearness of the stars,
     And dawn, unhindered, breaks above the bars
     That long the lower world in twilight keep.
     Thou sleepest not, and hast no need of sleep,
     For all thy cares and fears have dropped away;
     The night's fatigue, the fever-fret of day,
     Are far below thee; and earth's weary wars,
       In vain expense of passion, pass
     Before thy sight like visions in a glass,
     Or like the wrinkles of the storm that creep
       Across the sea and leave no trace
     Of trouble on that immemorial face,—
     So brief appear the conflicts, and so slight
     The wounds men give, the things for which they fight.

     Here hangs a fortress on the distant steep,—
       A lichen clinging to the rock:
     There sails a fleet upon the deep,—
              A wandering flock
     Of snow-winged gulls: and yonder, in the plain,
       A marble palace shines,—a grain
       Of mica glittering in the rain.
       Beneath thy feet the clouds are rolled
       By voiceless winds: and far between
     The rolling clouds new shores and peaks are seen,
       In shimmering robes of green and gold,
             And faint aerial hue
     That silent fades into the silent blue.
          Thou, from thy mountain-hold,
     All day, in tranquil wisdom, looking down
     On distant scenes of human toil and strife,
     All night, with eyes aware of loftier life,
     Uplooking to the sky, where stars are sown,
     Dost watch the everlasting fields grow white
     Unto the harvest of the sons of light,
     And welcome to thy dwelling-place sublime
     The few strong souls that dare to climb
     The slippery crags and find thee on the height.





II. DE PROFUNDIS

     But in the depth thou hast another home,
         For hearts less daring, or more frail.
     Thou dwellest also in the shadowy vale;
           And pilgrim-souls that roam
         With weary feet o'er hill and dale,
         Bearing the burden and the heat
             Of toilful days,
           Turn from the dusty ways
     To find thee in thy green and still retreat.
         Here is no vision wide outspread
     Before the lonely and exalted seat
     Of all-embracing knowledge.  Here, instead,
     A little garden, and a sheltered nook,
           With outlooks brief and sweet
     Across the meadows, and along the brook,—
         A little stream that little knows
     Of the great sea towards which it gladly flows,—
     A little field that bears a little wheat
     To make a portion of earth's daily bread.
         The vast cloud-armies overhead
         Are marshalled, and the wild wind blows
         Its trumpet, but thou canst not tell
     Whence the storm comes nor where it goes.

     Nor dost thou greatly care, since all is well;
                  Thy daily task is done,
                  And though a lowly one,
                  Thou gavest it of thy best,
                  And art content to rest
     In patience till its slow reward is won.
     Not far thou lookest, but thy sight is clear;
     Not much thou knowest, but thy faith is dear;
     For life is love, and love is always near.
     Here friendship lights the fire, and every heart,
     Sure of itself and sure of all the rest,
     Dares to be true, and gladly takes its part
     In open converse, bringing forth its best:
     Here is Sweet music, melting every chain
                  Of lassitude and pain:
     And here, at last, is sleep, the gift of gifts,
                  The tender nurse, who lifts
     The soul grown weary of the waking world,
     And lays it, with its thoughts all furled,
     Its fears forgotten, and its passions still,
     On the deep bosom of the Eternal Will.

     August, 1901.





VICTOR HUGO 1802-1902

     Heart of France for a hundred years,
         Passionate, sensitive, proud, and strong,
     Quick to throb with her hopes and fears,
       Fierce to flame with her sense of wrong!
       You, who hailed with a morning song
     Dream-light gilding a throne of old:
     You, who turned when the dream grew cold,
     Singing still, to the light that shone
     Pure from Liberty's ancient throne,
         Over the human throng!
     You, who dared in the dark eclipse,—
       When the pygmy heir of a giant name
       Dimmed the face of the land with shame,—
     Speak the truth with indignant lips,
     Call him little whom men called great,
         Scoff at him, scorn him, deny him,
     Point to the blood on his robe of state,
         Fling back his bribes and defy him!

     You, who fronted the waves of fate
       As you faced the sea from your island home,
     Exiled, yet with a soul elate,
       Sending songs o'er the rolling foam,
     Bidding the heart of man to wait
         For the day when all should see
       Floods of wrath from the frowning skies
       Fall on an Empire founded in lies,
         And France again be free!
     You, who came in the Terrible Year
     Swiftly back to your broken land,
     Now to your heart a thousand times more dear,—
       Prayed for her, sung to her, fought for her,
       Patiently, fervently wrought for her,
             Till once again,
       After the storm of fear and pain,
     High in the heavens the star of France stood clear!

       You, who knew that a man must take
     Good and ill with a steadfast soul,
     Holding fast, while the billows roll
       Over his head, to the things that make
     Life worth living for great and small,—
         Honour and pity and truth,
         The heart and the hope of youth,
     And the good God over all!
         You, to whom work was rest,
       Dauntless Toiler of the Sea,
         Following ever the joyful quest
     Of beauty on the shores of old Romance,
     Bard of the poor of France,
       And warrior-priest of world-wide charity!

       You who loved little children best
     Of all the poets that ever sung,
         Great heart, golden heart,
     Old, and yet ever young,
         Minstrel of liberty,
     Lover of all free, winged things,
       Now at last you are free,—
       Your soul has its wings!
     Heart of France for a hundred years,
       Floating far in the light that never fails you,
     Over the turmoil of mortal hopes and fears
       Victor, forever victor, the whole world hails you!

     March, 1902.





GOD OF THE OPEN AIR





I

       Thou who hast made thy dwelling fair
             With flowers beneath, above with starry lights,
       And set thine altars everywhere,—
               On mountain heights,
       In woodlands dim with many a dream,
             In valleys bright with springs,
     And on the curving capes of every stream:
     Thou who hast taken to thyself the wings
             Of morning, to abide
     Upon the secret places of the sea,
       And on far islands, where the tide
     Visits the beauty of untrodden shores,
     Waiting for worshippers to come to thee
             In thy great out-of-doors!
     To thee I turn, to thee I make my prayer,
             God of the open air.





II

       Seeking for thee, the heart of man
             Lonely and longing ran,
       In that first, solitary hour,
             When the mysterious power
     To know and love the wonder of the morn
     Was breathed within him, and his soul was born;
             And thou didst meet thy child,
             Not in some hidden shrine,
     But in the freedom of the garden wild,
             And take his hand in thine,—
     There all day long in Paradise he walked,
     And in the cool of evening with thee talked.





III

       Lost, long ago, that garden bright and pure,
       Lost, that calm day too perfect to endure,
     And lost the childlike love that worshipped and was sure!
       For men have dulled their eyes with sin,
       And dimmed the light of heaven with doubt,
       And built their temple walls to shut thee in,
       And framed their iron creeds to shut thee out.
         But not for thee the closing of the door,
               O Spirit unconfined!
                 Thy ways are free
               As is the wandering wind,
       And thou hast wooed thy children, to restore
               Their fellowship with thee,
       In peace of soul and simpleness of mind.





IV

       Joyful the heart that, when the flood rolled by,
       Leaped up to see the rainbow in the sky;
       And glad the pilgrim, in the lonely night,
       For whom the hills of Haran, tier on tier,
       Built up a secret stairway to the height
       Where stars like angel eyes were shining clear.
       From mountain-peaks, in many a land and age,
         Disciples of the Persian seer
       Have hailed the rising sun and worshipped thee;
       And wayworn followers of the Indian sage
     Have found the peace of God beneath a spreading tree.

         But One, but One,—ah, child most dear,
       And perfect image of the Love Unseen,—
         Walked every day in pastures green,
       And all his life the quiet waters by,
       Reading their beauty with a tranquil eye.

     To him the desert was a place prepared
             For weary hearts to rest;
       The hillside was a temple blest;
       The grassy vale a banquet-room
     Where he could feed and comfort many a guest.
             With him the lily shared
     The vital joy that breathes itself in bloom;
     And every bird that sang beside the nest
     Told of the love that broods o'er every living thing.
         He watched the shepherd bring
     His flock at sundown to the welcome fold,
       The fisherman at daybreak fling
     His net across the waters gray and cold,
     And all day long the patient reaper swing
     His curving sickle through the harvest-gold.
     So through the world the foot-path way he trod,
     Drawing the air of heaven in every breath;
     And in the evening sacrifice of death
     Beneath the open sky he gave his soul to God.
     Him will I trust, and for my Master take;
     Him will I follow; and for his dear sake,
             God of the open air,
             To thee I make my prayer.





V

     From the prison of anxious thought that greed has builded,
     From the fetters that envy has wrought and pride has gilded,
     From the noise of the crowded ways and the fierce confusion,
     From the folly that wastes its days in a world of illusion,
     (Ah, but the life is lost that frets and languishes there!)
     I would escape and be free in the joy of the open air.

     By the breadth of the blue that shines in silence o'er me,
     By the length of the mountain-lines that stretch before me,
     By the height of the cloud that sails, with rest in motion,
     Over the plains and the vales to the measureless ocean,
     (Oh, how the sight of the things that are great enlarges the eyes!)
     Lead me out of the narrow life, to the peace of the hills
          and the skies.

     While the tremulous leafy haze on the woodland is spreading,
     And the bloom on the meadow betrays where May has been treading;
     While the birds on the branches above, and the brooks flowing under,
     Are singing together of love in a world full of wonder,
     (Lo, in the marvel of Springtime, dreams are changed into truth!)
     Quicken my heart, and restore the beautiful hopes of youth.

     By the faith that the flowers show when they bloom unbidden,
     By the calm of the river's flow to a goal that is hidden,
     By the trust of the tree that clings to its deep foundation,
     By the courage of wild birds' wings on the long migration,
     (Wonderful secret of peace that abides in Nature's breast!)
     Teach me how to confide, and live my life, and rest.

     For the comforting warmth of the sun that my body embraces,
     For the cool of the waters that run through the shadowy places,
     For the balm of the breezes that brush my face with their fingers,
     For the vesper-hymn of the thrush when the twilight lingers,
     For the long breath, the deep breath, the breath
         of a heart without care,—
     I will give thanks and adore thee, God of the open air!





VI

             These are the gifts I ask
             Of thee, Spirit serene:
             Strength for the daily task,
             Courage to face the road,
     Good cheer to help me bear the traveller's load,
     And, for the hours of rest that come between,
     An inward joy in all things heard and seen.
             These are the sins I fain
             Would have thee take away:
             Malice, and cold disdain,
             Hot anger, sullen hate,
     Scorn of the lowly, envy of the great,
     And discontent that casts a shadow gray
     On all the brightness of the common day.

             These are the things I prize
             And hold of dearest worth:
             Light of the sapphire skies,
             Peace of the silent hills,
       Shelter of forests, comfort of the grass,
       Music of birds, murmur of little rills,
       Shadow of clouds that swiftly pass,
             And, after showers,
             The smell of flowers
         And of the good brown earth,—
     And best of all, along the way, friendship and mirth.

                So let me keep
         These treasures of the humble heart
       In true possession, owning them by love;
       And when at last I can no longer move
         Among them freely, but must part
       From the green fields and from the waters clear,
                Let me not creep
       Into some darkened room and hide
       From all that makes the world so bright and dear;
                But throw the windows wide
                To welcome in the light;
       And while I clasp a well-beloved hand,
                Let me once more have sight
       Of the deep sky and the far-smiling land,—
                Then gently fall on sleep,
     And breathe my body back to Nature's care,
     My spirit out to thee, God of the open air.





SONNETS





WORK

     Let me but do my work from day to day,
          In field or forest, at the desk or loom,
          In roaring market-place or tranquil room;
     Let me but find it in my heart to say,
     When vagrant wishes beckon me astray,
       "This is my work; my blessing, not my doom;
       "Of all who live, I am the one by whom
     "This work can best be done in the right way."

     Then shall I see it not too great, nor small,
       To suit my spirit and to prove my powers;
       Then shall I cheerful greet the labouring hours,
     And cheerful turn, when the long shadows fall
     At eventide, to play and love and rest,
     Because I know for me my work is best.

     April, 1902.





LIFE

     Let me but live my life from year to year,
         With forward face and unreluctant soul;
         Not hurrying to, nor turning from, the goal;
     Not mourning for the things that disappear
     In the dim past, nor holding back in fear
       From what the future veils; but with a whole
       And happy heart, that pays its toll
     To Youth and Age, and travels on with cheer.

     So let the way wind up the hill or down,
       O'er rough or smooth, the journey will be joy:
       Still seeking what I sought when but a boy,
     New friendship, high adventure, and a crown,
     My heart will keep the courage of the quest,
     And hope the road's last turn will be the best.

     May, 1902.





LOVE

     Let me but love my love without disguise,
         Nor wear a mask of fashion old or new,
         Nor wait to speak till I can hear a clue,
     Nor play a part to shine in others' eyes,
     Nor bow my knees to what my heart denies;
       But what I am, to that let me be true,
       And let me worship where my love is due,
     And so through love and worship let me rise.

     For love is but the heart's immortal thirst
       To be completely known and all forgiven,
       Even as sinful souls that enter Heaven:
     So take me, dear, and understand my worst,
     And freely pardon it, because confessed,
     And let me find in loving thee, my best.

     May, 1902.





THE CHILD IN THE GARDEN

     When to the garden of untroubled thought
         I came of late, and saw the open door,
         And wished again to enter, and explore
     The sweet, wild ways with stainless bloom inwrought,
     And bowers of innocence with beauty fraught,
       It seemed some purer voice must speak before
       I dared to tread that garden loved of yore,
     That Eden lost unknown and found unsought.

     Then just within the gate I saw a child,—
       A stranger-child, yet to my heart most dear;
     He held his hands to me, and softly smiled
       With eyes that knew no shade of sin or fear:
     "Come in," he said, "and play awhile with me;
     "I am the little child you used to be."

     January, 1903.





LOVE'S REASON

     For that thy face is fair I love thee not;
         Nor yet because the light of thy brown eyes
         Hath gleams of wonder and of glad surprise,
     Like woodland streams that cross a sunlit spot:
     Nor for thy beauty, born without a blot,
       Most perfect when it shines through no disguise
       Pure as the star of Eve in Paradise,—
     For all these outward things I love thee not:

     But for a something in thy form and face,
       Thy looks and ways, of primal harmony;
     A certain soothing charm, a vital grace
       That breathes of the eternal womanly,
     And makes me feel the warmth of Nature's breast,
     When in her arms, and thine, I sink to rest.

     February, 1904.





PORTRAIT AND REALITY

     If on the closed curtain of my sight
         My fancy paints thy portrait far away,
         I see thee still the same, by night or day;
     Crossing the crowded street, or moving bright
     'Mid festal throngs, or reading by the light
       Of shaded lamp some friendly poet's lay,
       Or shepherding the children at their play,—
     The same sweet self, and my unchanged delight.

     But when I see thee near, I recognize
       In every dear familiar way some strange
     Perfection, and behold in April guise
       The magic of thy beauty that doth range
     Through many moods with infinite surprise,—
       Never the same, and sweeter with each change.

     May, 1904.





THE WIND OF SORROW

     The fire of love was burning, yet so low
         That in the dark we scarce could see its rays,
         And in the light of perfect-placid days
     Nothing but smouldering embers dull and slow.
     Vainly, for love's delight, we sought to throw
       New pleasures on the pyre to make it blaze:
       In life's calm air and tranquil-prosperous ways
     We missed the radiant heat of long ago.

     Then in the night, a night of sad alarms,
       Bitter with pain and black with fog of fears,
     That drove us trembling to each other's arms—
       Across the gulf of darkness and salt tears,
     Into life's calm the wind of sorrow came,
     And fanned the fire of love to clearest flame.

     March, 1903.





PATRIA

     I would not even ask my heart to say
         If I could love some other land as well
         As thee, my country, had I felt the spell
     Of Italy at birth, or learned to obey
     The charm of France, or England's mighty sway.
       I would not be so much an infidel
       As once to dream, or fashion words to tell,
     What land could hold my love from thee away.

     For like a law of nature in my blood
       I feel thy sweet and secret sovereignty,
         And woven through my soul thy vital sign.
     My life is but a wave, and thou the flood;
       I am a leaf and thou the mother-tree;
         Nor should I be at all, were I not thine.

     June, 1904.





LEGENDS





A LEGEND OF SERVICE

     It pleased the Lord of Angels (praise His name!)
     To hear, one day, report from those who came
     With pitying sorrow, or exultant joy,
     To tell of earthly tasks in His employ:
     For some were sorry when they saw how slow
     The stream of heavenly love on earth must flow;
     And some were glad because their eyes had seen,
     Along its banks, fresh flowers and living green.
     So, at a certain hour, before the throne
     The youngest angel, Asmiel, stood alone;
     Nor glad, nor sad, but full of earnest thought,
     And thus his tidings to the Master brought:
     "Lord, in the city Lupon I have found
     "Three servants of thy holy name, renowned
     "Above their fellows.  One is very wise,
     "With thoughts that ever range above the skies;
     "And one is gifted with the golden speech
     "That makes men glad to hear when he will teach;
     "And one, with no rare gift or grace endued,
     "Has won the people's love by doing good.
     "With three such saints Lupon is trebly blest;
     "But, Lord, I fain would know, which loves Thee best?"

     Then spake the Lord of Angels, to whose look
     The hearts of all are like an open book:
     "In every soul the secret thought I read,
     "And well I know who loves me best indeed.
     "But every life has pages vacant still,
     "Whereon a man may write the thing he will;
     "Therefore I read in silence, day by day,
     "And wait for hearts untaught to learn my way.
     "But thou shalt go to Lupon, to the three
     "Who serve me there, and take this word from me:
     "Tell each of them his Master bids him go
     "Alone to Spiran's huts, across the snow;
     "There he shall find a certain task for me:
     "But what, I do not tell to them nor thee.
     "Give thou the message, make my word the test,
     "And crown for me the one who answers best."
     Silent the angel stood, with folded hands,
     To take the imprint of his Lord's commands;
     Then drew one breath, obedient and elate,
     And passed, the self-same hour, through Lupon's gate.

     First to the Temple door he made his way;
     And there, because it was an holy-day,
     He saw the folk by thousands thronging, stirred
     By ardent thirst to hear the preacher's word.
     Then, while the echoes murmured Bernol's name,
     Through aisles that hushed behind him, Bernol came;
     Strung to the keenest pitch of conscious might,
     With lips prepared and firm, and eyes alight.
     One moment at the pulpit steps he knelt
     In silent prayer, and on his shoulder felt
     The angel's hand:—"The Master bids thee go
     "Alone to Spiran's huts, across the snow,
     "To serve Him there."  Then Bernol's hidden face
     Went white as death, and for about the space
     Of ten slow heart-beats there was no reply;
     Till Bernol looked around and whispered, "WHY?"
     But answer to his question came there none;
     The angel sighed, and with a sigh was gone.

     Within the humble house where Malvin spent
     His studious years, on holy things intent,
     Sweet stillness reigned; and there the angel found
     The saintly sage immersed in thought profound,
     Weaving with patient toil and willing care
     A web of wisdom, wonderful and fair:
     A seamless robe for Truth's great bridal meet,
     And needing but one thread to be complete.
     Then Asmiel touched his hand, and broke the thread
     Of fine-spun thought, and very gently said,
     "The One of whom thou thinkest bids thee go
     "Alone to Spiran's huts, across the snow,
     "To serve Him there."  With sorrow and surprise
     Malvin looked up, reluctance in his eyes.
     The broken thought, the strangeness of the call,
     The perilous passage of the mountain-wall,
     The solitary journey, and the length
     Of ways unknown, too great for his frail strength,
     Appalled him.  With a doubtful brow
     He scanned the doubtful task, and muttered "HOW?"
     But Asmiel answered, as he turned to go,
     With cold, disheartened voice, "I do not know."

     Now as he went, with fading hope, to seek
     The third and last to whom God bade him speak,
     Scarce twenty steps away whom should he meet
     But Fermor, hurrying cheerful down the street,
     With ready heart that faced his work like play,
     And joyed to find it greater every day!
     The angel stopped him with uplifted hand,
     And gave without delay his Lord's command:
     "He whom thou servest here would have thee go
     "Alone to Spiran's huts, across the snow,
     "To serve Him there."  Ere Asmiel breathed again
     The eager answer leaped to meet him, "WHEN?"

     The angel's face with inward joy grew bright,
     And all his figure glowed with heavenly light;
     He took the golden circlet from his brow
     And gave the crown to Fermor, answering, "Now!
     "For thou hast met the Master's bidden test,
     "And I have found the man who loves Him best.
     "Not thine, nor mine, to question or reply
     "When He commands us, asking 'how?' or 'why?'
     "He knows the cause; His ways are wise and just;
     "Who serves the King must serve with perfect trust."

     February, 1902.





THE VAIN KING

     In robes of Tyrian blue the King was drest,
     A jewelled collar shone upon his breast,
     A giant ruby glittered in his crown—
     Lord of rich lands and many a splendid town.
     In him the glories of an ancient line
     Of sober kings, who ruled by right divine,
     Were centred; and to him with loyal awe
     The people looked for leadership and law.
     Ten thousand knights, the safeguard of the land,
     Lay like a single sword within his hand;
     A hundred courts, with power of life and death,
     Proclaimed decrees of justice by his breath;
     And all the sacred growths that men had known
     Of order and of rule upheld his throne.

     Proud was the King: yet not with such a heart
     As fits a man to play a royal part.
     Not his the pride that honours as a trust
     The right to rule, the duty to be just:
     Not his the dignity that bends to bear
     The monarch's yoke, the master's load of care,
     And labours like the peasant at his gate,
     To serve the people and protect the State.
     Another pride was his, and other joys:
     To him the crown and sceptre were but toys,
     With which he played at glory's idle game,
     To please himself and win the wreaths of fame.
     The throne his fathers held from age to age,
     To his ambition, seemed a fitting stage
     Built for King Martin to display at will,
     His mighty strength and universal skill.

     No conscious child, that, spoiled with praising, tries
     At every step to win admiring eyes,—
     No favourite mountebank, whose acting draws
     From gaping crowds loud thunder of applause,
     Was vainer than the King: his only thirst
     Was to be hailed, in every race, the first.
     When tournament was held, in knightly guise
     The King would ride the lists and win the prize;
     When music charmed the court, with golden lyre
     The King would take the stage and lead the choir;
     In hunting, his the lance to slay the boar;
     In hawking, see his falcon highest soar;
     In painting, he would wield the master's brush;
     In high debate,—"the King is speaking! Hush!"
     Thus, with a restless heart, in every field
     He sought renown, and found his subjects yield
     As if he were a demi-god revealed.

     But while he played the petty games of life
     His kingdom fell a prey to inward strife;
     Corruption through the court unheeded crept,
     And on the seat of honour justice slept.
     The strong trod down the weak; the helpless poor
     Groaned under burdens grievous to endure.
     The nation's wealth was spent in vain display,
     And weakness wore the nation's heart away.

     Yet think not Earth is blind to human woes—
     Man has more friends and helpers than he knows;
     And when a patient people are oppressed,
     The land that bore them feels it in her breast.
     Spirits of field and flood, of heath and hill,
     Are grieved and angry at the spreading ill;
     The trees complain together in the night,
     Voices of wrath are heard along the height,
     And secret vows are sworn, by stream and strand,
     To bring the tyrant low and liberate the land.

     But little recked the pampered King of these;
     He heard no voice but such as praise and please.
     Flattered and fooled, victor in every sport,
     One day he wandered idly with his court
     Beside the river, seeking to devise
     New ways to show his skill to wondering eyes.
     There in the stream a patient fisher stood,
     And cast his line across the rippling flood.
     His silver spoil lay near him on the green:
     "Such fish," the courtiers cried, "were never seen!
     "Three salmon longer than a cloth-yard shaft—
     "This man must be the master of his craft!"
     "An easy art!" the jealous King replied:
     "Myself could learn it better, if I tried,
     "And catch a hundred larger fish a week—
     "Wilt thou accept the challenge, fellow? Speak!"
     The fisher turned, came near, and bent his knee:
     "'T is not for kings to strive with such as me;
     "Yet if the King commands it, I obey.
     "But one condition of the strife I pray:
     "The fisherman who brings the least to land
     "Shall do whate'er the other may command."
     Loud laughed the King: "A foolish fisher thou!
     "For I shall win and rule thee then as now."

     So to Prince John, a sober soul, sedate
     And slow, King Martin left the helm of state,
     While to the novel game with eager zest
     He all his time and all his powers addrest.
     Sure such a sight was never seen before!
     For robed and crowned the monarch trod the shore;
     His golden hooks were decked with feathers fine,
     His jewelled reel ran out a silken line.
     With kingly strokes he flogged the crystal stream,
     Far-off the salmon saw his tackle gleam;
     Careless of kings, they eyed with calm disdain
     The gaudy lure, and Martin fished in vain.
     On Friday, when the week was almost spent,
     He scanned his empty creel with discontent,
     Called for a net, and cast it far and wide,
     And drew—a thousand minnows from the tide!
     Then came the fisher to conclude the match,
     And at the monarch's feet spread out his catch—
     A hundred salmon, greater than before—
     "I win!" he cried: "the King must pay the score."
     Then Martin, angry, threw his tackle down:
     "Rather than lose this game I'd lose my crown!"

     Nay, thou hast lost them both," the fisher said;
     And as he spoke a wondrous light was shed
     Around his form; he dropped his garments mean,
     And in his place the River-god was seen.
     "Thy vanity hast brought thee in my power,
     "And thou shalt pay the forfeit at this hour:
     "For thou hast shown thyself a royal fool,
     "Too proud to angle, and too vain to rule.
     "Eager to win in every trivial strife,—
     "Go! Thou shalt fish for minnows all thy life!"
     Wrathful, the King the scornful sentence heard;
     He strove to answer, but he only CHIRR-R-ED:
     His Tyrian robe was changed to wings of blue,
     His crown became a crest,—away he flew!

     And still, along the reaches of the stream,
     The vain King-fisher flits, an azure gleam,—
     You see his ruby crest, you hear his jealous scream.

     April, 1904.




LYRICS





A MILE WITH ME

     O who will walk a mile with me
       Along life's merry way?
     A comrade blithe and full of glee,
     Who dares to laugh out loud and free,
     And let his frolic fancy play,
     Like a happy child, through the flowers gay
     That fill the field and fringe the way
       Where he walks a mile with me.

     And who will walk a mile with me
       Along life's weary way?
     A friend whose heart has eyes to see
     The stars shine out o'er the darkening lea,
     And the quiet rest at the end o' the day,—
     A friend who knows, and dares to say,
     The brave, sweet words that cheer the way
       Where he walks a mile with me.

     With such a comrade, such a friend,
     I fain would walk till journeys end,
     Through summer sunshine, winter rain,
     And then?—Farewell, we shall meet again!

     December, 1902.





SPRING IN THE SOUTH

     Now in the oak the sap of life is welling,
       Tho' to the bough the rusty leafage clings;
     Now on the elm the misty buds are swelling,
       See how the pine-wood grows alive with wings;
     Blue-jays fluttering, yodeling and crying,
       Meadow-larks sailing low above the faded grass,
     Red-birds whistling clear, silent robins flying,—
       Who has waked the birds up?  What has come to pass?

     Last year's cotton-plants, desolately bowing,
       Tremble in the March-wind, ragged and forlorn;
     Red are the hill-sides of the early ploughing,
       Gray are the lowlands, waiting for the corn.
     Earth seems asleep still, but she's only feigning;
       Deep in her bosom thrills a sweet unrest.
     Look where the jasmine lavishly is raining
       Jove's golden shower into Danae's breast!

     Now on the plum the snowy bloom is sifted,
       Now on the peach the glory of the rose,
     Over the hills a tender haze is drifted,
       Full to the brim the yellow river flows.
     Dark cypress boughs with vivid jewels glisten,
       Greener than emeralds shining in the sun.
     Who has wrought the magic?  Listen, sweetheart, listen!
     The mocking-bird is singing Spring has begun.

     Hark, in his song no tremor of misgiving!
       All of his heart he pours into his lay,—
     "Love, love, love, and pure delight of living:
       Winter is forgotten: here's a happy day!"
     Fair in your face I read the flowery presage,
       Snowy on your brow and rosy on your mouth:
     Sweet in your voice I hear the season's message,—
       Love, love, love, and Spring in the South!

     March, 1904.





LOVE'S NEARNESS

     I think of thee, when golden sunbeams shimmer
                   Across the sea;
     And when the waves reflect the moon's pale glimmer,
                   I think of thee.

     I see thy form, when down the distant highway
                   The dust-clouds rise;
     In deepest night, above the mountain by-way,
                   I see thine eyes.

     I hear thee when the ocean-tides returning
                   Loudly rejoice;
     And on the lonely moor, in stillness yearning,
                   I hear thy voice.

     I dwell with thee: though thou art far removed,
                   Yet art thou near.
     The sun goes down, the stars shine out,—
                      Beloved,
                   Ah, wert thou here!

     From Goethe: "Nahe des Geliebten."





TWO SCHOOLS

     I put my heart to school
     In the world, where men grow wise,
     "Go out," I said, "and learn the rule;
     "Come back when you win a prize."

     My heart came back again:
     "Now where is the prize?" I cried.—
     "The rule was false, and the prize was pain,
     "And the teacher's name was Pride."

     I put my heart to school
     In the woods, where veeries sing,
     And brooks run cool and clear;
     In the fields, where wild flowers spring,
     And the blue of heaven bends near.
     "Go out," I said: "you are half a fool,
     "But perhaps they can teach you here."

     "And why do you stay so long,
     "My heart, and where do you roam?"
     The answer came with a laugh and a song,—
     "I find this school is home."

     April, 1901.





A PRAYER FOR A MOTHER'S BIRTHDAY

     Lord Jesus, Thou hast known
       A mother's love and tender care:
     And Thou wilt hear, while for my own
       Mother most dear I make this birthday prayer.

     Protect her life, I pray,
       Who gave the gift of life to me;
     And may she know, from day to day,
       The deepening glow of Life that comes from Thee.

     As once upon her breast
       Fearless and well content I lay,
     So let her heart, on Thee at rest,
       Feel fears depart and troubles fade away.

     Her every wish fulfill;
       And even if Thou must refuse
     In anything, let Thy wise will
       A comfort bring such as kind mothers use.

     Ah, hold her by the hand,
       As once her hand held mine;
     And though she may not understand
       Life's winding way, lead her in peace divine.

     I cannot pay my debt
     For all the love that she has given;
       But Thou, love's Lord, wilt not forget
     Her due reward,—bless her in earth and heaven.

     July, 1903.





INDIAN SUMMER

     A soft veil dims the tender skies,
     And half conceals from pensive eyes
       The bronzing tokens of the fall;
     A calmness broods upon the hills,
     And summer's parting dream distills
       A charm of silence over all.

     The stacks of corn, in brown array,
     Stand waiting through the placid day,
       Like tattered wigwams on the plain;
     The tribes that find a shelter there
     Are phantom peoples, forms of air,
       And ghosts of vanished joy and pain.

     At evening when the crimson crest
     Of sunset passes down the West,
       I hear the whispering host returning;
     On far-off fields, by elm and oak,
     I see the lights, I smell the smoke,—
       The Camp-fires of the Past are burning.

                         Tertius and Henry Van Dyke.

     November, 1903.





ONE WORLD

         "The worlds in which we live are two
          The world 'I am' and the world 'I do.'"

     The worlds in which we live at heart are one,
     The world "I am," the fruit of "I have done";
     And underneath these worlds of flower and fruit,
     The world "I love,"—the only living root.





HIDE AND SEEK

                        I

     All the trees are sleeping, all the winds are still,
     All the flocks of fleecy clouds have wandered past the hill;
     Through the noonday silence, down the woods of June,
     Hark, a little hunter's voice comes running with a tune.
                  "Hide and seek!
                  "When I speak,
                  "You must answer me:
                  "Call again,
                  "Merry men,
             "Coo-ee, coo-ee, coo-ee!"

     Now I hear his footsteps, rustling through the grass:
     Hidden in my leafy nook, shall I let him pass?
     Just a low, soft whistle,—quick the hunter turns,
     Leaps upon me laughing, rolls me in the ferns.
                  "Hold him fast,
                  "Caught at last!
                  "Now you're it, you see.
                  "Hide your eye,
                  "Till I cry,
             "Coo-ee, coo-ee, coo-ee!"
                        II

     Long ago he left me, long and long ago:
     Now I wander through the world and seek him high and low;
     Hidden safe and happy, in some pleasant place,—
     Ah, if I could hear his voice, I soon should find his face.
                  Far away,
                  Many a day,
                  Where can Barney be?
                  Answer, dear,
                  Don't you hear?
              Coo-ee, coo-ee, coo-ee!

     Birds that in the spring-time thrilled his heart with joy,
     Flowers he loved to pick for me, mind me of my boy.
     Surely he is waiting till my steps come nigh;
     Love may hide itself awhile, but love can never die.
                  Heart, be glad,
                  The little lad
                  Will call some day to thee:
                  "Father dear,
                  "Heaven is here,
             "Coo-ee, coo-ee, coo-ee!"

     January, 1900.





DULCIS MEMORIA

     Long, long ago I heard a little song,
       (Ah, was it long ago, or yesterday?)
     So lowly, slowly wound the tune along,
       That far into my heart it found the way:
     A melody consoling and endearing;
       And still, in silent hours, I'm often hearing
     The small, sweet song that does not die away.

     Long, long ago I saw a little flower,—
       (Ah, was it long ago, or yesterday?)
     So fair of face and fragrant for an hour,
       That something dear to me it seemed to say:
     A thought of joy that blossomed into being
       Without a word; and now I'm often seeing
     The friendly flower that does not fade away.

     Long, long ago we had a little child,—
       (Ah, was it long ago, or yesterday?)
     Into his mother's eyes and mine he smiled
       Unconscious love; warm in our arms he lay.
     An angel called! Dear heart, we could not hold him;
       Yet secretly your arms and mine infold him—
     Our little child who does not go away.

     Long, long ago?  Ah, memory, make it clear—
       (It was not long ago, but yesterday,)
     So little and so helpless and so dear
       Let not the song be lost, the flower decay!
     His voice, his waking eyes, his gentle sleeping:
       The smallest things are safest in thy keeping.
     Sweet memory, keep our child with us alway.

     April, 1903.





AUTUMN IN THE GARDEN

     When the frosty kiss of Autumn in the dark
                 Makes its mark
     On the flowers, and the misty morning grieves
                 Over fallen leaves;
     Then my olden garden, where the golden soil
                 Through the toil
     Of a hundred years is mellow, rich, and deep,
                 Whispers in its sleep.

     'Mid the crumpled beds of marigold and phlox,
                 Where the box
     Borders with its glossy green the ancient walks,
                 There's a voice that talks
     Of the human hopes that bloomed and withered here
                 Year by year,—
     Dreams of joy, that brightened all the labouring hours,
                 Fading as the flowers.

     Yet the whispered story does not deepen grief;
                 But relief
     For the loneliness of sorrow seems to flow
                 From the Long-Ago,
     When I think of other lives that learned, like mine,
                 To resign,
     And remember that the sadness of the fall
                 Comes alike to all.

     What regrets, what longings for the lost were theirs!
                 And what prayers
     For the silent strength that nerves us to endure
                 Things we cannot cure!
     Pacing up and down the garden where they paced,
                 I have traced
     All their well-worn paths of patience, till I find
                 Comfort in my mind.

     Faint and far away their ancient griefs appear:
                 Yet how near
     Is the tender voice, the careworn, kindly face,
                 Of the human race!
     Let us walk together in the garden, dearest heart,
                 Not apart!
     They who know the sorrows other lives have known
                 Never walk alone.

     October, 1903.





THE MESSAGE

     Waking from tender sleep,
     My neighbour's little child
     Put out his baby hand to me,
     Looked in my face, and smiled.

     It seemed as if he came
     Home from a happy land,
     To tell me something that my heart
     Would surely understand.

     Somewhere, among bright dreams,
     A child that once was mine
     Had whispered wordless love to him,
     And given him a sign.

     Comfort of kindly speech,
     And counsel of the wise,
     Have helped me less than what I read
     In those deep-smiling eyes.

     Sleep sweetly, little friend,
     And dream again of heaven:
     With double love I kiss your hand,—
     Your message has been given.

     November, 1903.





LIGHT BETWEEN THE TREES

     Long, long, long the trail
       Through the brooding forest-gloom,
     Down the shadowy, lonely vale
       Into silence, like a room
         Where the light of life has fled,
       And the jealous curtains close
       Round the passionless repose
         Of the silent dead.

     Plod, plod, plod away,
       Step by step in mouldering moss;
     Thick branches bar the day
       Over languid streams that cross
         Softly, slowly, with a sound
       In their aimless creeping
       Like a smothered weeping,
         Through the enchanted ground.

     "Yield, yield, yield thy quest,"
       Whispers through the woodland deep;
     "Come to me and be at rest;
       "I am slumber, I am sleep."
         Then the weary feet would fail,
       But the never-daunted will
       Urges "Forward, forward still!
         "Press along the trail!"

     Breast, breast, breast the slope!
       See, the path is growing steep.
     Hark! a little song of hope
       When the stream begins to leap.
         Though the forest, far and wide,
       Still shuts out the bending blue,
       We shall finally win through,
         Cross the long divide.

     On, on, onward tramp!
       Will the journey never end?
     Over yonder lies the camp;
       Welcome waits us there, my friend.
         Can we reach it ere the night?
       Upward, upward, never fear!
       Look, the summit must be near;
         See the line of light!

     Red, red, red the shine
       Of the splendour in the west,
     Glowing through the ranks of pine,
       Clear along the mountain-crest!
         Long, long, long the trail
       Out of sorrow's lonely vale;
       But at last the traveller sees
         Light between the trees!

     March, 1904.





RELIANCE

         Not to the swift, the race:
         Not to the strong, the fight:
     Not to the righteous, perfect grace:
         Not to the wise, the light.

         But often faltering feet
         Come surest to the goal;
     And they who walk in darkness meet
         The sunrise of the soul.

         A thousand times by night
         The Syrian hosts have died;
     A thousand times the vanquished right
         Hath risen, glorified.

         The truth the wise men sought
         Was spoken by a child;
     The alabaster box was brought
         In trembling hands defiled.

         Not from my torch, the gleam,
         But from the stars above:
     Not from my heart, life's crystal stream,
         But from the depths of Love.

     October, 1903.





GREETINGS AND INSCRIPTIONS





KATRINA'S SUN-DIAL

             Hours fly,
             Flowers die:
             New days,
             New ways:
             Pass by!
             Love stays.

                 **

             Time is
     Too Slow for those who Wait,
     Too Swift for those who Fear,
     Too Long for those who Grieve,
     Too Short for those who Rejoice;
         But for those who Love,
             Time is not.





TO JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY

         On his "Book of Joyous Children"

     Yours is a garden of old-fashioned flowers;
       Joyous children delight to play there;
     Weary men find rest in its bowers,
       Watching the lingering light of day there.

     Old-time tunes and young love's laughter
       Ripple and run among the roses;
     Memory's echoes, murmuring after,
       Fill the dusk when the long day closes.

     Simple songs with a cadence olden—
       These you learned in the Forest of Arden:
     Friendly flowers with hearts all golden—
       These you borrowed from Eden's garden.

     This is the reason why all men love you;
       Truth to life is the charm of art:
     Other poets may soar above you—
       You keep close to the human heart.

     December, 1903.





A HEALTH TO MARK TWAIN

               At his Birthday Feast

     With memories old and wishes new
       We crown our cups again,
     And here's to you, and here's to you
       With love that ne'er shall wane!
     And may you keep, at sixty-seven,
     The joy of earth, the hope of heaven,
     And fame well-earned, and friendship true,
       And peace that comforts every pain,
     And faith that fights the battle through,
     And all your heart's unbounded wealth,
     And all your wit, and all your health,—
     Yes, here's a hearty health to you,
     And here's to you, and here's to you,
       Long life to you, Mark Twain.





A RONDEAU OF COLLEGE RHYMES

     Our college rhymes,—how light they seem,
        Like little ghosts of love's young dream
        That led our boyish hearts away
        From lectures and from books, to stray
     By flowery mead and flowing stream!

     There's nothing here, in form or theme,
     Of thought sublime or art supreme:
        We would not have the critic weigh
           Our college rhymes.

     Yet if, perchance, a slender beam
     Of feeling's glow or fancy's gleam
        Still lingers in the lines we lay
        At Alma Mater's feet today,
     The touch of Nature may redeem
           Our college rhymes.

     May, 1904.





THE MOCKING-BIRD

     In mirth he mocks the other birds at noon,
     Catching the lilt of every easy tune;
     But when the day departs he sings of love,—
     His own wild song beneath the listening moon.

     March, 1904.





THE EMPTY QUATRAIN

     A flawless cup: how delicate and fine
       The flowing curve of every jewelled line!
       Look, turn it up or down, 't is perfect still,—
     But holds no drop of life's heart-warming wine.

     April, 1904.





INSCRIPTIONS FOR A FRIEND'S HOUSE

                    THE HOUSE

     The cornerstone in Truth is laid,
     The guardian walls of Honour made,
     The roof of Faith is built above,
     The fire upon the hearth is Love:
     Though rains descend and loud winds call,
     This happy house shall never fall.
                  THE DOORSTEAD

     The lintel low enough to keep out pomp and pride:
     The threshold high enough to turn deceit aside:
     The doorband strong enough from robbers to defend:
     This door will open at a touch to welcome every friend.
                 THE HEARTHSTONE

     When the logs are burning free,
     Then the fire is full of glee:
     When each heart gives out its best,
     Then the talk is full of zest:
     Light your fire and never fear,
     Life was made for love and cheer.
          THE SUN-DIAL

     Time can never take
     What Time did not give;
     When my shadows have all passed,
     You shall live.





THE STATUE OF SHERMAN BY ST. GAUDENS

     This is the soldier brave enough to tell
     The glory-dazzled world that 'war is hell':
     Lover of peace, he looks beyond the strife,
     And rides through hell to save his country's life.

     April, 1904.





THE SUN-DIAL AT WELLS COLLEGE

     The shadow by my finger cast
     Divides the future from the past:
     Before it, sleeps the unborn hour
     In darkness, and beyond thy power:
     Behind its unreturning line,
     The vanished hour, no longer thine:
     One hour alone is in thy hands,—
     The NOW on which the shadow stands.

     March, 1904.