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The Lumbermen.

Wildly round our woodland quarters
     Sad-voiced Autumn grieves;
Thickly down these swelling waters
     Float his fallen leaves.
Through the tall and naked timber,
     Column-like and old,
Gleam the sunsets of November,
     From their skies of gold.

O'er us, to the southland heading,
     Screams the gray wild-goose;
On the night-frost sounds the treading
     Of the brindled moose.
Noiseless creeping, while we're sleeping,
     Frost his task-work plies;
Soon, his icy bridges heaping,
     Shall our log-piles rise.

When, with sounds of smothered thunder,
     On some night of rain,
Lake and river break asunder
     Winter's weakened chain,
Down the wild March flood shall bear them
     To the saw-mill's wheel,
Or where Steam, the slave, shall tear them
     With his teeth of steel.

Be it starlight, be it moonlight,
     In these vales below, [298]
When the earliest beams of sunlight
     Streak the mountain's snow,
Crisps the hoar-frost, keen and early,
     To our hurrying feet,
And the forest echoes clearly
     All our blows repeat.

Where the crystal Ambijejis
     Stretches broad and clear,
And Millnoket's pine-black ridges
     Hide the browsing deer:
Where, through lakes and wide morasses,
     Or through rocky walls,
Swift and strong, Penobscot passes
     White with foamy falls;

Where, through clouds, are glimpses given
     Of Katahdin's sides,—
Rock and forest piled to heaven,
     Torn and ploughed by slides!
Far below, the Indian trapping,
     In the sunshine warm;
Far above, the snow-cloud wrapping
     Half the peak in storm!

Where are mossy carpets better
     Than the Persian weaves,
And than Eastern perfumes sweeter
     Seem the fading leaves;
And a music wild and solemn,
     From the pine-tree's height,
Rolls its vast and sea-like volume
     On the wind of night;

[299] Make we here our camp of winter;
     And, through sleet and snow,
Pitchy knot and beechen splinter
     On our hearth shall glow.
Here, with mirth to lighten duty,
     We shall lack alone
Woman's smile and girlhood's beauty,
     Childhood's lisping tone.

But their hearth is brighter burning
     For our toil to-day;
And the welcome of returning
     Shall our loss repay,
When, like seamen from the waters,
     From the woods we come,
Greeting sisters, wives, and daughters,
     Angels of our home!

Not for us the measured ringing
     From the village spire,
Not for us the Sabbath singing
     Of the sweet-voiced choir:
Ours the old, majestic temple,
     Where God's brightness shines
Down the dome so grand and ample,
     Propped by lofty pines!

Through each branch-enwoven skylight,
     Speaks He in the breeze,
As of old beneath the twilight
     Of lost Eden's trees!
For His ear, the inward feeling
     Needs no outward tongue; [300]
He can see the spirit kneeling
     While the axe is swung.

Heeding truth alone, and turning
     From the false and dim,
Lamp of toil or altar burning
     Are alike to Him.
Strike, then, comrades! Trade is waiting
     On our rugged toil;
Far ships waiting for the freighting
     Of our woodland spoil!

Ships, whose traffic links these highlands,
     Bleak and cold, of ours,
With the citron-planted islands
     Of a clime of flowers;
To our frosts the tribute bringing
     Of eternal heats;
In our lap of winter flinging
     Tropic fruits and sweets.

Cheerly, on the axe of labor,
     Let the sunbeams dance,
Better than the flash of sabre
     Or the gleam of lance!
Strike! With every blow is given
     Freer sun and sky,
And the long-hid earth to heaven
     Looks, with wondering eye!

Loud behind us grow the murmurs
     Of the age to come;
Clang of smiths, and tread of farmers,
     Bearing harvest home! [301]
Here her virgin lap with treasures
     Shall the green earth fill;
Waving wheat and golden maize-ears
     Crown each beechen hill.

Keep who will the city's alleys,
     Take the smooth-shorn plain;
Give to us the cedarn valleys,
     Rocks and hills of Maine!
In our North-land, wild and woody,
     Let us still have part:
Rugged nurse and mother sturdy,
     Hold us to thy heart!

Oh, our free hearts beat the warmer
     For thy breath of snow;
And our tread is all the firmer
     For thy rocks below.
Freedom, hand in hand with labor,
     Walketh strong and brave;
On the forehead of his neighbor
     No man writeth Slave!

Lo, the day breaks! old Katahdin's
     Pine-trees show its fires,
While from these dim forest gardens
     Rise their blackened spires.
Up, my comrades! up and doing!
     Manhood's rugged play
Still renewing, bravely hewing
     Through the world our way!


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