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 Whose axe the wall of forest broke,
And let the waiting sunshine through?
What goodwife sent the earliest smoke
Up the great chimney flue?
Did rustic lovers hither come?
Did maidens, swaying back and forth
In rhythmic grace, at wheel and loom,
Make light their toil with mirth?
Did child feet patter on the stair?
Did boyhood frolic in the snow?
Did gray age, in her elbow chair,
Knit, rocking to and fro?
The murmuring brook, the sighing breeze,
The pine's slow whisper, cannot tell;
Low mounds beneath the hemlock-trees
Keep the home secrets well.
Cease, mother-land, to fondly boast
Of sons far off who strive and thrive,
Forgetful that each swarming host
Must leave an emptier hive!
O wanderers from ancestral soil,
Leave noisome mill and chaffering store:
Gird up your loins for sturdier toil,
And build the home once more!
Come back to bayberry-scented slopes,
And fragrant fern, and ground-nut vine;
Breathe airs blown over holt and copse
Sweet with black birch and pine.
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