Poems of Nature
The Frost Spirit.He comes,—he comes,—the Frost Spirit comes!
You may trace his footsteps now
On the naked woods and the blasted fields and the
brown hill's withered brow.
He has smitten the leaves of the gray old trees
where their pleasant green came forth,
And the winds, which follow wherever he goes,
have shaken them down to earth.
He comes,—he comes,—the Frost Spirit comes!
from the frozen Labrador,
From the icy bridge of the Northern seas, which the white bear wanders o'er,
Where the fisherman's sail is stiff with ice, and the luckless forms below
In the sunless cold of the lingering night into marble statues grow!
He comes,—he comes,—the Frost Spirit comes!
on the rushing Northern blast,
And the dark Norwegian pines have bowed as his fearful breath went past. 
With an unscorched wing he has hurried on,
where the fires of Hecla glow
On the darkly beautiful sky above and the ancient ice below.
He comes,—he comes,—the Frost Spirit comes!
and the quiet lake shall feel
The torpid touch of his glazing breath, and ring to
the skater's heel;
And the streams which danced on the broken
rocks, or sang to the leaning grass,
Shall bow again to their winter chain, and in mournful silence pass.
He comes,—he comes,—the Frost Spirit comes!
Let us meet him as we may,
And turn with the light of the parlor-fire his evil
And gather closer the circle round, when that fire—
light dances high,
And laugh at the shriek of the baffled Fiend as
his sounding wing goes by!
‘The Indians speak of a beautiful river, far to the south, which they call Merrimac.’—--Sieur de Monts, 1604.stream of my fathers! sweetly still
The sunset rays thy valley fill;
Poured slantwise down the long defile,
Wave, wood, and spire beneath them smile. 
I see the winding Powow fold
The green hill in its belt of gold,
And following down its wavy line,
Its sparkling waters blend with thine.
There's not a tree upon thy side,
Nor rock, which thy returning tide
As yet hath left abrupt and stark
Above thy evening water-mark;
No calm cove with its rocky hem,
No isle whose emerald swells begem
Thy broad, smooth current; not a sail
Bowed to the freshening ocean gale;
No small boat with its busy oars,
Nor gray wall sloping to thy shores;
Nor farm-house with its maple shade,
Or rigid poplar colonnade,
But lies distinct and full in sight,
Beneath this gush of sunset light.
Centuries ago, that harbor-bar,
Stretching its length of foam afar,
And Salisbury's beach of shining sand,
And yonder island's wave-smoothed strand,
Saw the adventurer's tiny sail,
Flit, stooping from the eastern gale;1
And o'er these woods and waters broke
The cheer from Britain's hearts of oak,
As brightly on the voyager's eye,
Weary of forest, sea, and sky,
Breaking the dull continuous wood,
The Merrimac rolled down his flood;
Mingling that clear pellucid brook,
Which channels vast Agioochook
When spring-time's sun and shower unlock 
The frozen fountains of the rock,
And more abundant waters given
From that pure lake, ‘The Smile of Heaven,’
Tributes from vale and mountain-side.—
With ocean's dark, eternal tide!
On yonder rocky cape, which braves
The stormy challenge of the waves,
Midst tangled vine and dwarfish wood,
The hardy Anglo-Saxon stood,
Planting upon the topmost crag
The staff of England's battle-flag;
And, while from out its heavy fold
Saint George's crimson cross unrolled,
Midst roll of drum and trumpet blare,
And weapons brandishing in air,
He gave to that lone promontory
The sweetest name in all his story;2
Of her, the flower of Islam's daughters,
Whose harems look on Stamboul's waters,—
Who, when the chance of war had bound
The Moslem chain his limbs around,
Wreathed o'er with silk that iron chain,
Soothed with her smiles his hours of pain,
And fondly to her youthful slave
A dearer gift than freedom gave.
But look! the yellow light no more
Streams down on wave and verdant shore;
And clearly on the calm air swells
The twilight voice of distant bells.
From Ocean's bosom, white and thin,
The mists come slowly rolling in; 
Hills, woods, the river's rocky rim,
Amidst the sea-like vapor swim,
While yonder lonely coast-light, set
Within its wave-washed minaret,
Half quenched, a beamless star and pale,
Shines dimly through its cloudy veil!
Home of my fathers—I have stood
Where Hudson rolled his lordly flood:
Seen sunrise rest and sunset fade
Along his frowning Palisade;
Looked down the Appalachian peak
On Juniata's silver streak;
Have seen along his valley gleam
The Mohawk's softly winding stream;
The level light of sunset shine
Through broad Potomac's hem of pine;
And autumn's rainbow-tinted banner
Hang lightly o'er the Susquehanna;
Yet wheresoe'er his step might be,
Thy wandering child looked back to thee
Heard in his dreams thy river's sound
Of murmuring on its pebbly bound,
The unforgotten swell and roar
Of waves on thy familiar shore;
And saw, amidst the curtained gloom
And quiet of his lonely room,
Thy sunset scenes before him pass;
As, in Agrippa's magic glass,
The loved and lost arose to view,
Remembered groves in greenness grew,
Bathed still in childhood's morning dew,
Along whose bowers of beauty swept 
Whatever Memory's mourners wept,
Sweet faces, which the charnel kept,
Young, gentle eyes, which long had slept;
And while the gazer leaned to trace,
More near, some dear familiar face,
He wept to find the vision flown,—
A phantom and a dream alone!
Hampton Beach.the sunlight glitters keen and bright,
Where, miles away,
Lies stretching to my dazzled sight
A luminous belt, a misty light,
Beyond the dark pine bluffs and wastes of sandy gray.
The tremulous shadow of the Sea!
Against its ground
Of silvery light, rock, hill, and tree,
Still as a picture, clear and free,
With varying outline mark the coast for miles around.
On—on—we tread with loose-flung rein
Our seaward way,
Through dark-green fields and blossoming grain,
Where the wild brier-rose skirts the lane,
And bends above our heads the flowering locust spray.
 Ha! like a kind hand on my brow
Comes this fresh breeze,
Cooling its dull and feverish glow,
While through my being seems to flow
The breath of a new life, the healing of the seas!
Now rest we, where this grassy mound
His feet hath set
In the great waters, which have bound
His granite ankles greenly round
With long and tangled moss, and weeds with cool spray wet.
Good-by to Pain and Care! I take
Mine ease to-day:
Here where these sunny waters break,
And ripples this keen breeze, I shake
All burdens from the heart, all weary thoughts away.
I draw a freer breath, I seem
Like all I see—
Waves in the sun, the white-winged gleam
Of sea-birds in the slanting beam,
And far-off sails which flit before the south-wind free.
So when Time's veil shall fall asunder,
The soul may know
No fearful change, nor sudden wonder,
Nor sink the weight of mystery under,
But with the upward rise, and with the vastness grow.
 And all we shrink from now may seem
No new revealing;
Familiar as our childhood's stream,
Or pleasant memory of a dream
The loved and cherished Past upon the new life stealing.
Serene and mild the untried light
May have its dawning;
And, as in summer's northern night
The evening and the dawn unite,
The sunset hues of Time blend with the soul's new morning.
I sit alone; in foam and spray
Wave after wave
Breaks on the rocks which, stern and gray,
Shoulder the broken tide away,
Or murmurs hoarse and strong through mossy cleft and cave.
What heed I of the dusty land
And noisy town?
I see the mighty deep expand
From its white line of glimmering sand
To where the blue of heaven on bluer waves shuts down!
In listless quietude of mind,
I yield to all
The change of cloud and wave and wind
And passive on the flood reclined,
I wander with the waves, and with them rise and fall.
 But look, thou dreamer! wave and shore
In shadow lie;
The night-wind warns me back once more
To where, my native hill-tops o'er,
Bends like an arch of fire the glowing sunset sky.
So then, beach, bluff, and wave, farewell.
I bear with me
No token stone nor glittering shell,
But long and oft shall Memory tell
Of this brief thoughtful hour of musing by the Sea.
A dream of summer.bland as the morning breath of June
The southwest breezes play;
And, through its haze, the winter noon
Seems warm as summer's day.
The snow-plumed Angel of the North
Has dropped his icy spear;
Again the mossy earth looks forth,
Again the streams gush clear.
The fox his hillside cell forsakes,
The muskrat leaves his nook,
The bluebird in the meadow brakes
Is singing with the brook.
‘Bear up, O Mother Nature!’ cry
Bird, breeze, and streamlet free;
“Our winter voices prophesy
Of summer days to thee!”
 So, in those winters of the soul,
By bitter blasts and drear
O'erswept from Memory's frozen pole,
Will sunny days appear.
Reviving Hope and Faith, they show
The soul its living powers,
And how beneath the winter's snow
Lie germs of summer flowers!
The Night is mother of the Day,
The Winter of the Spring,
And ever upon old Decay
The greenest mosses cling.
Behind the cloud the starlight lurks,
Through showers the sunbeams fall;
For God, who loveth all His works,
Has left His hope with all!
4th 1st month, 1847.
The Lakeside.the shadows round the inland sea
Are deepening into night;
Slow up the slopes of Ossipee
They chase the lessening light.
Tired of the long day's blinding heat,
I rest my languid eye,
Lake of the Hills! where, cool and sweet,
Thy sunset waters lie!
Along the sky, in wavy lines,
O'er isle and reach and bay, 
Green-belted with eternal pines,
The mountains stretch away.
Below, the maple masses sleep
Where shore with water blends,
While midway on the tranquil deep
The evening light descends.
So seemed it when yon hill's red crown,
Of old, the Indian trod,
And, through the sunset air, looked down
Upon the Smile of God.
To him of light and shade the laws
No forest skeptic taught;
Their living and eternal Cause
His truer instinct sought.
He saw these mountains in the light
Which now across them shines;
This lake, in summer sunset bright,
Walled round with sombering pines.
God near him seemed; from earth and skies
His loving voice he heard,
As, face to face, in Paradise,
Man stood before the Lord.
Thanks, O our Father! that, like him,
Thy tender love I see,
In radiant hill and woodland dim,
And tinted sunset sea.
For not in mockery dost Thou fill
Our earth with light and grace;
Thou hid'st no dark and cruel will
Behind Thy smiling face!
Autumn thoughts.gone hath the Spring, with all its flowers,
And gone the Summer's pomp and show,
And Autumn, in his leafless bowers,
Is waiting for the Winter's snow.
I said to Earth, so cold and gray,
‘An emblem of myself thou art.’
‘Not so,’ the Earth did seem to say,
‘For Spring shall warm my frozen heart.’
I soothe my wintry sleep with dreams
Of warmer sun and softer rain,
And wait to hear the sound of streams
And songs of merry birds again.
But thou, from whom the Spring hath gone,
For whom the flowers no longer blow,
Who standest blighted and forlorn,
Like Autumn waiting for the snow;
No hope is thine of sunnier hours,
Thy Winter shall no more depart;
No Spring revive thy wasted flowers,
Nor Summer warm thy frozen heart.
On receiving an eagle's quill from lake Superior.all day the darkness and the cold
Upon my heart have lain,
Like shadows on the winter sky,
Like frost upon the pane;
But now my torpid fancy wakes,
And, on thy Eagle's plume,
Rides forth, like Sindbad on his bird,
Or witch upon her broom!
Below me roar the rocking pines,
Before me spreads the lake
Whose long and solemn-sounding waves
Against the sunset break.
I hear the wild Rice-Eater thresh
The grain he has not sown;
I see, with flashing scythe of fire,
The prairie harvest mown!
I hear the far-off voyager's horn;
I see the Yankee's trail,—
His foot on every mountain-pass,
On every stream his sail.
By forest, lake, and waterfall,
I see his pedler show;
The mighty mingling with the mean,
The lofty with the low.
 He's whittling by St. Mary's Falls,
Upon his loaded wain;
He's measuring o'er the Pictured Rocks,
With eager eyes of gain.
I hear the mattock in the mine,
The axe-stroke in the dell,
The clamor from the Indian lodge,
The Jesuit chapel bell!
I see the swarthy trappers come
From Mississippi's springs;
And war-chiefs with their painted brows,
And crests of eagle wings.
Behind the scared squaw's birch canoe,
The steamer smokes and raves;
And city lots are staked for sale
Above old Indian graves.
I hear the tread of pioneers
Of nations yet to be;
The first low wash of waves, where soon
Shall roll a human sea.
The rudiments of empire here
Are plastic yet and warm;
The chaos of a mighty world
Is rounding into form!
Each rude and jostling fragment soon
Its fitting place shall find,—
The raw material of a State,
Its muscle and its mind!
 And, westering still, the star which leads
The New World in its train
Has tipped with fire the icy spears
Of many a mountain chain.
The snowy cones of Oregon
Are kindling on its way;
And California's golden sands
Gleam brighter in its ray!
Then blessings on thy eagle quill,
As, wandering far and wide,
I thank thee for this twilight dream
And Fancy's airy ride!
Yet, welcomer than regal plumes,
Which Western trappers find,
Thy free and pleasant thoughts, chance sown,
Like feathers on the wind.
Thy symbol be the mountain-bird,
Whose glistening quill I hold;
Thy home the ample air of hope,
And memory's sunset gold!
In thee, let joy with duty join,
And strength unite with love,
The eagle's pinions folding round
The warm heart of the dove!
So, when in darkness sleeps the vale
Where still the blind bird clings, 
The sunshine of the upper sky
Shall glitter on thy wings!
‘The spring comes slowly up this way.’ Christabel.Tis the noon of the spring-time, yet never a bird
In the wind-shaken elm or the maple is heard;
For green meadow-grasses wide levels of snow,
And blowing of drifts where the crocus should blow;
Where wind-flower and violet, amber and white,
On south-sloping brooksides should smile in the light,
O'er the cold winter-beds of their late-waking roots
The frosty flake eddies, the ice-crystal shoots;
And, longing for light, under wind-driven heaps,
Round the boles of the pine-wood the ground-laurel creeps,
Unkissed of the sunshine, unbaptized of showers,
With buds scarcely swelled, which should burst into flowers!
We wait for thy coming, sweet wind of the south!
For the touch of thy light wings, the kiss of thy mouth;
For the yearly evangel thou bearest from God,
Resurrection and life to the graves of the sod!
Up our long river-valley, for days, have not ceased
The wail and the shriek of the bitter northeast,
Raw and chill, as if winnowed through ices and snow,
All the way from the land of the wild Esquimau, 
Like that red hunter's, turn to the sunny southwest.
O soul of the spring-time, its light and its breath,
Bring warmth to this coldness, bring life to this death;
Renew the great miracle; let us behold
The stone from the mouth of the sepulchre rolled,
And Nature, like Lazarus, rise, as of old!
Let our faith, which in darkness and coldness has lain,
Revive with the warmth and the brightness again,
And in blooming of flower and budding of tree
The symbols and types of our destiny see;
The life of the spring-time, the life of the whole,
And, as sun to the sleeping earth, love to the soul!
I.light, warmth, and sprouting greenness, and o'er all
Blue, stainless, steel-bright ether, raining down
Tranquillity upon the deep-hushed town,
The freshening meadows, and the hillsides brown;
Voice of the west-wind from the hills of pine,
And the brimmed river from its distant fall,
Low hum of bees, and joyous interlude
Of bird-songs in the streamlet-skirting wood,—
Heralds and prophecies of sound and sight,
Blessed forerunners of the warmth and light, 
Attendant angels to the house of prayer,
With reverent footsteps keeping pace with mine,—
Once more, through God's great love, with you I share
A morn of resurrection sweet and fair
As that which saw, of old, in Palestine,
Immortal Love uprising in fresh bloom
From the dark night and winter of the tomb!
2d, 5th mo., 1852.
Ii.White with its sun-bleached dust, the pathway winds
Before me; dust is on the shrunken grass,
And on the trees beneath whose boughs I pass;
Frail screen against the Hunter of the sky,
Who, glaring on me with his lidless eye,
While mounting with his dog-star high and higher
Ambushed in light intolerable, unbinds
The burnished quiver of his shafts of fire.
Between me and the hot fields of his South
A tremulous glow, as from a furnace-mouth,
Glimmers and swims before my dazzled sight,
As if the burning arrows of his ire
Broke as they fell, and shattered into light;
Yet on my cheek I feel the western wind,
And hear it telling to the orchard trees,
And to the faint and flower-forsaken bees,
Tales of fair meadows, green with constant
And mountains rising blue and cool behind, 
Where in moist dells the purple orchis gleams,
And starred with white the virgin's bower is
So the o'erwearied pilgrim, as he fares
Along life's summer waste, at times is fanned,
Even at noontide, by the cool, sweet airs
Of a serener and a holier land,
Fresh as the morn, and as the dewfall bland.
Breath of the blessed Heaven for which we pray,
Blow from the eternal hills! make glad our earthly way!
8th mo., 1852.
Summer by the Lakeside.
I. Noon.white clouds, whose shadows haunt the deep,
Light mists, whose soft embraces keep
The sunshine on the hills asleep!
O isles of calm! O dark, still wood!
And stiller skies that overbrood
Your rest with deeper quietude!
O shapes and hues, dim beckoning, through
Yon mountain gaps, my longing view
Beyond the purple and the blue,
To stiller sea and greener land,
And softer lights and airs more bland,
And skies,—the hollow of God's hand!
 Transfused through you, O mountain friends!
With mine your solemn spirit blends,
And life no more hath separate ends.
I read each misty mountain sign,
I know the voice of wave and pine,
And I am yours, and ye are mine.
Life's burdens fall, its discords cease,
I lapse into the glad release
Of Nature's own exceeding peace.
O welcome calm of heart and mind!
As falls yon fir-tree's loosened rind
To leave a tenderer growth behind,
So fall the weary years away;
A child again, my head I lay
Upon the lap of this sweet day.
This western wind hath Lethean powers,
Yon noonday cloud nepenthe showers,
The lake is white with lotus-flowers!
Even Duty's voice is faint and low,
And slumberous Conscience, waking slow,
Forgets her blotted scroll to show.
The Shadow which pursues us all,
Whose ever-nearing steps appall,
Whose voice we hear behind us call,—
 That Shadow blends with mountain gray,
It speaks but what the light waves say,—
Death walks apart from Fear to-day!
Rocked on her breast, these pines and I
Alike on Nature's love rely;
And equal seems to live or die.
Assured that He whose presence fills
With light the spaces of these hills
No evil to His creatures wills,
The simple faith remains, that He
Will do, whatever that may be,
The best alike for man and tree.
What mosses over one shall grow,
What light and life the other know,
Unanxious, leaving Him to show.
Ii. Evening.Yon mountain's side is black with night,
While, broad-orbed, o'er its gleaming crown
The moon, slow-rounding into sight,
On the hushed inland sea looks down.
How start to light the clustering isles,
Each silver-hemmed! How sharply show
The shadows of their rocky piles,
And tree-tops in the wave below!
How far and strange the mountains seem,
Dim-looming through the pale, still light! 
The vague, vast grouping of a dream,
They stretch into the solemn night.
Beneath, lake, wood, and peopled vale,
Hushed by that presence grand and grave,
Are silent, save the cricket's wail,
And low response of leaf and wave.
Fair scenes! whereto the Day and Night
Make rival love, I leave ye soon,
What time before the eastern light
The pale ghost of the setting moon
Shall hide behind yon rocky spines,
And the young archer, Morn, shall break
His arrows on the mountain pines,
And, golden-sandalled, walk the lake!
Farewell! around this smiling bay
Gay-hearted Health, and Life in bloom,
With lighter steps than mine, may stray
In radiant summers yet to come.
But none shall more regretful leave
These waters and these hills than I:
Or, distant, fonder dream how eve
Or dawn is painting wave and sky;
How rising moons shine sad and mild
On wooded isle and silvering bay;
Or setting suns beyond the piled
And purple mountains lead the day;
 Nor laughing girl, nor bearding boy,
Nor full-pulsed manhood, lingering here,
Shall add, to life's abounding joy,
The charmed repose to suffering dear.
Still waits kind Nature to impart
Her choicest gifts to such as gain
An entrance to her loving heart
Through the sharp discipline of pain.
Forever from the Hand that takes
One blessing from us others fall;
And, soon or late, our Father makes
His perfect recompense to all!
Oh, watched by Silence and the Night,
And folded in the strong embrace
Of the great mountains, with the light
Of the sweet heavens upon thy face,
Lake of the Northland! keep thy dower
Of beauty still, and while above
Thy solemn mountains speak of power,
Be thou the mirror of God's love.
The fruit-gift.last night, just as the tints of autumn's sky
Of sunset faded from our hills and streams,
I sat, vague listening, lapped in twilight dreams,
To the leaf's rustle, and the cricket's cry. 
Then, like that basket, flush with summer fruit,
Dropped by the angels at the Prophet's foot,
Came, unannounced, a gift of clustered sweetness,
Full-orbed, and glowing with the prisoned beams
Of summery suns, and rounded to completeness
By kisses of the south-wind and the dew.
Thrilled with a glad surprise, me thought I knew
The pleasure of the homeward-turning Jew,
When Eshcol's clusters on his shoulders lay,
Dropping their sweetness on his desert way.
I said, “This fruit beseems no world of sin.
Its parent vine, rooted in Paradise,
O'ercrept the wall, and never paid the price
Of the great mischief,—an ambrosial tree,
Eden's exotic, somehow smuggled in,
To keep the thorns and thistles company.”
Perchance our frail, sad mother plucked in haste
A single vine-slip as she passed the gate,
Where the dread sword alternate paled and burned,
And the stern angel, pitying her fate,
Forgave the lovely trespasser, and turned
Aside his face of fire; and thus the waste
And fallen world hath yet its annual taste
Of primal good, to prove of sin the cost,
And show by one gleaned ear the mighty harvest lost.
Flowers in winter.
Painted upon a Porte Livre.How strange to greet, this frosty morn,
In graceful counterfeit of flowers,
These children of the meadows, born
Of sunshine and of showers!
How well the conscious wood retains
The pictures of its flower-sown home,
The lights and shades, the purple stains,
And golden hues of bloom!
It was a happy thought to bring
To the dark season's frost and rime
This painted memory of spring,
This dream of summer-time.
Our hearts are lighter for its sake,
Our fancy's age renews its youth,
And dim-remembered fictions take
The guise of present truth.
A wizard of the Merrimac,—
So old ancestral legends say,—
Could call green leaf and blossom back
To frosted stem and spray.
The dry logs of the cottage wall,
Beneath his touch, put out their leaves;
The clay-bound swallow, at his call,
Played round the icy eaves.
 The settler saw his oaken flail
Take bud, and bloom before his eyes;
From frozen pools he saw the pale,
Sweet summer lilies rise.
To their old homes, by man profaned,
Came the sad dryads, exiled long,
And through their leafy tongues complained
Of household use and wrong.
The beechen platter sprouted wild,
The pipkin wore its old-time green
The cradle o'er the sleeping child
Became a leafy screen.
Haply our gentle friend hath met,
While wandering in her sylvan quest,
Haunting his native woodlands yet,
That Druid of the West;
And, while the dew on leaf and flower
Glistened in moonlight clear and still,
Learned the dusk wizard's spell of power,
And caught his trick of skill.
But welcome, be it new or old,
The gift which makes the day more bright,
And paints, upon the ground of cold
And darkness, warmth and light!
Without is neither gold nor green;
Within, for birds, the birch-logs sing;
Yet, summer-like, we sit between
The autumn and the spring.
 The one, with bridal blush of rose,
And sweetest breath of woodland balm,
And one whose matron lips unclose
In smiles of saintly calm.
Fill soft and deep, O winter snow!
The sweet azalea's oaken dells,
And hide the bank where roses blow,
And swing the azure bells!
O'erlay the amber violet's leaves,
The purple aster's brookside home,
Guard all the flowers her pencil gives
A life beyond their bloom.
And she, when spring comes round again,
By greening slope and singing flood
Shall wander, seeking, not in vain,
Her darlings of the wood.
The trailing arbutus, or mayflower, grows abundantly in the vicinity of Plymouth, and was the first flower that greeted the Pilgrims after their fearful winter. The name mayflower was familiar in England, as the application of it to the historic vessel shows, but it was applied by the English, and still is, to the hawthorn. Its use in New England in connection with Epigoea repens dates from a very early day, some claiming that the first Pilgrims so used it, in affectionate memory of the vessel and its English flower association.sad Mayflower! watched by winter stars,
And nursed by winter gales, 
With petals of the sleeted spars,
And leaves of frozen sails!
What had she in those dreary hours,
Within her ice-rimmed bay,
In common with the wild-wood flowers,
The first sweet smiles of May?
Yet, ‘God be praised!’ the Pilgrim said,
Who saw the blossoms peer
Above the brown leaves, dry and dead,
‘Behold our Mayflower here’
“God wills it: here our rest shall be,
Our years of wandering o'er;
For us the Mayflower of the sea
Shall spread her sails no more.”
O sacred flowers of faith and hope,
As sweetly now as then
Ye bloom on many a birchen slope,
In many a pine-dark glen.
Behind the sea-wall's rugged length,
Unchanged, your leaves unfold,
Like love behind the manly strength
Of the brave hearts of old.
So live the fathers in their sons,
Their sturdy faith be ours,
And ours the love that overruns
Its rocky strength with flowers.
 The Pilgrim's wild and wintry day
Its shadow round us draws;
The Mayflower of his stormy bay,
Our Freedom's struggling cause.
But warmer suns erelong shall bring
To life the frozen sod;
And through dead leaves of hope shall spring
Afresh the flowers of God!
The last walk in autumn.
I.O'Er the bare woods, whose outstretched hands
Plead with the leaden heavens in vain,
I see, beyond the valley lands,
The sea's long level dim with rain.
Around me all things, stark and dumb,
Seem praying for the snows to come,
And, for the summer bloom and greenness gone,
With winter's sunset lights and dazzling morn atone.
Ii.Along the river's summer walk,
The withered tufts of asters nod;
And trembles on its arid stalk
The hoar plume of the golden-rod.
And on a ground of sombre fir,
And azure-studded juniper,
The silver birch its buds of purple shows,
And scarlet berries tell where bloomed the sweet wild-rose!
III.With mingled sound of horns and bells,
A far-heard clang, the wild geese fly,
Storm-sent, from Arctic moors and fells,
Like a great arrow through the sky,
Two dusky lines converged in one,
Chasing the southward-flying sun;
While the brave snow-bird and the hardy jay
Call to them from the pines, as if to bid them stay.
Iv.I passed this way a year ago:
The wind blew south; the noon of day
Was warm as June's; and save that snow
Flecked the low mountains far away,
And that the vernal-seeming breeze
Mocked faded grass and leafless trees,
I might have dreamed of summer as I lay,
Watching the fallen leaves with the soft wind at play.
V.Since then, the winter blasts have piled
The white pagodas of the snow
On these rough slopes, and, strong and wild,
Yon river, in its overflow
Of spring-time rain and sun, set free,
Crashed with its ices to the sea;
And over these gray fields, then green and gold,
The summer corn has waved, the thunder's organ rolled.
VI.Rich gift of God! A year of time!
What pomp of rise and shut of day,
What hues wherewith our Northern clime
Makes autumn's dropping woodlands gay,
What airs outblown from ferny dells,
And clover-bloom and sweetbrier smells,
What songs of brooks and birds, what fruits and flowers,
Green woods .and moonlit snows, have in its round been ours!
Vii.I know not how, in other lands,
The changing seasons come and go;
What splendors fall on Syrian sands,
What purple lights on Alpine snow!
Nor how the pomp of sunrise waits
On Venice at her watery gates;
A dream alone to me is Arno's vale,
And the Alhambra's halls are but a traveller's tale.
Viii.Yet, on life's current, he who drifts
Is one with him who rows or sails;
And he who wanders widest lifts
No more of beauty's jealous veils
Than he who from his doorway sees
The miracle of flowers and trees,
Feels the warm Orient in the noonday air,
And from cloud minarets hears the sunset call to prayer!
IX.The eye may well be glad that looks
Where Pharpar's fountains rise and fall;
But he who sees his native brooks
Laugh in the sun, has seen them all.
The marble palaces of Ind
Rise round him in the snow and wind;
From his lone sweetbrier Persian Hafiz smiles,
And Rome's cathedral awe is in his woodland aisles.
X.And thus it is my fancy blends
The near at hand and far and rare;
And while the same horizon bends
Above the silver-sprinkled hair
Which flashed the light of morning skies
On childhood's wonder-lifted eyes,
Within its round of sea and skyand field,
Earth wheels with all her zones, the Kosmos stands revealed.
Xi.And thus the sick man on his bed,
The toiler to his task-work bound,
Behold their prison-walls outspread,
Their clipped horizon widen round!
While freedom-giving fancy waits,
Like Peter's angel at the gates,
The power is theirs to baffle care and pain,
To bring the lost world back, and make it theirs again!
XII.What lack of goodly company,
When masters of the ancient lyre
Obey my call, and trace for me
Their words of mingled tears and fire!
I talk with Bacon, grave and wise,
I read the world with Pascal's eyes;
And priest and sage, with solemn brows austere,
And poets, garland-bound, the Lords of Thought, draw near.
Xiii.Methinks, O friend, I hear thee say,
“In vain the human heart we mock;
Bring living guests who love the day,
Not ghosts who fly at crow of cock!
The herbs we share with flesh and blood
Are better than ambrosial food
With laurelled shades.” I grant it, nothing loath,
But doubly blest is he who can partake of both.
Xiv.He who might Plato's banquet grace,
Have I not seen before me sit,
And watched his puritanic face,
With more than Eastern wisdom lit?
Shrewd mystic! who, upon the back
Of his Poor Richard's Almanac,
Writing the Sufi's song, the Gentoo's dream,
Links Manu's age of thought to Fulton's age of steam!
XV.Here too, of answering love secure,
Have I not welcomed to my hearth
The gentle pilgrim troubadour,
Whose songs have girdled half the earth;
Whose pages, like the magic mat
Whereon the Eastern lover sat,
Have borne me over Rhine-land's purple vines,
And Nubia's tawny sands, and Phrygia's mountain pines!
Xvi.And he, who to the lettered wealth
Of ages adds the lore unpriced,
The wisdom and the moral health,
The ethics of the school of Christ;
The statesman to his holy trust,
As the Athenian archon, just,
Struck down, exiled like him for truth alone,
Has he not graced my home with beauty all his own?
Xvii.What greetings smile, what farewells wave,
What loved ones enter and depart!
The good, the beautiful, the brave,
The Heaven-lent treasures of the heart!
How conscious seems the frozen sod
And beechen slope whereon they trod!
The oak-leaves rustle, and the dry grass bends
Beneath the shadowy feet of lost or absent friends.
XVIII.Then ask not why to these bleak hills
I cling, as clings the tufted moss,
To bear the winter's lingering chills,
The mocking spring's perpetual loss.
I dream of lands where summer smiles,
And soft winds blow from spicy isles,
But scarce would Ceylon's breath of flowers be sweet,
Could I not feel thy soil, New England, at my feet!
Xix.At times I long for gentler skies,
And bathe in dreams of softer air,
But homesick tears would fill the eyes
That saw the Cross without the Bear.
The pine must whisper to the palm,
The north-wind break the tropic calm;
And with the dreamy languor of the Line,
The North's keen virtue blend, and strength to beauty join.
Xx.Better to stem with heart and hand
The roaring tide of life, than lie,
Unmindful, on its flowery strand,
Of God's occasions drifting by!
Better with naked nerve to bear
The needles of this goading air,
Than, in the lap of sensual ease, forego
The godlike power to do, the godlike aim to know.
XXI.Home of my heart! to me more fair
Than gay Versailles or Windsor's halls,
The painted, shingly town-house where
The freeman's vote for Freedom falls!
The simple roof where prayer is made,
Than Gothic groin and colonnade;
The living temple of the heart of man,
Than Rome's sky-mocking vault, or many-spired Milan!
Xxii.More dear thy equal village schools,
Where rich and poor the Bible read,
Than classic halls where Priestcraft rules,
And Learning wears the chains of Creed;
Thy glad Thanksgiving, gathering in
The scattered sheaves of home and kin,
Than the mad license ushering Lenten pains,
Or holidays of slaves who laugh and dance in chains.
Xxvi.And sweet homes nestle in these dales,
And perch along these wooded swells;
And, blest beyond Arcadian vales,
They hear the sound of Sabbath bells!
Here dwells no perfect man sublime,
Nor woman winged before her time,
But with the faults and follies of the race,
Old home-bred virtues hold their not unhonored place.
XXIV.Here manhood struggles for the sake
Of mother, sister, daughter, wife,
The graces and the loves which make
The music of the march of life;
And woman, in her daily round
Of duty, walks on holy ground.
No unpaid menial tills the soil, nor here
Is the bad lesson learned at human rights to sneer.
Xxv.Then let the icy north-wind blow
The trumpets of the coming storm,
To arrowy sleet and blinding snow
Yon slanting lines of rain transform.
Young hearts shall hail the drifted cold,
As gayly as I did of old;
And I, who watch them through the frosty pane,
Unenvious, live in them my boyhood o'er again.
Xxvi.And I will trust that He who heeds
The life that hides in mead and wold,
Who hangs yon alder's crimson beads,
And stains these mosses green and gold,
Will still, as He hath done, incline
His gracious care to me and mine;
Grant what we ask aright, from wrong debar,
And, as the earth grows dark, make brighter every star!
XXVII.I have not seen, I may not see,
My hopes for man take form in fact,
But God will give the victory
In due time; in that faith I act.
And he who sees the future sure,
The baffling present may endure,
And bless, meanwhile, the unseen Hand that leads
The heart's desires beyond the halting step of deeds.
Xxviii.And thou, my song, I send thee forth,
Where harsher songs of mine have flown;
Go, find a place at home and hearth
Where'er thy singer's name is known;
Revive for him the kindly thought
Of friends; and they who love him not,
Touched by some strain of thine, perchance may take
The hand he proffers all, and thank him for thy sake.
The first flowers.for ages on our river borders,
These tassels in their tawny bloom,
And willowy studs of downy silver,
Have prophesied of Spring to come.
 For ages have the unbound waters
Smiled on them from their pebbly hem,
And the clear carol of the robin
And song of bluebird welcomed them.
But never yet from smiling river,
Or song of early bird, have they
Been greeted with a gladder welcome
Than whispers from my heart to-day.
They break the spell of cold and darkness,
The weary watch of sleepless pain;
And from my heart, as from the river,
The ice of winter melts again.
Thanks, Mary! for this wild-wood token
Of Freya's footsteps drawing near;
Almost, as in the rune of Asgard,
The growing of the grass I hear.
It is as if the pine-trees called me
From ceiled room and silent books,
To see the dance of woodland shadows,
And hear the song of April brooks!
As in the old Teutonic ballad
Of Odenwald live bird and tree,
Together live in bloom and music,
I blend in song thy flowers and thee.
Earth's rocky tablets bear forever
The dint of rain and small bird's track:
Who knows but that my idle verses
May leave some trace by Merrimac!
 The bird that trod the mellow layers
Of the young earth is sought in vain;
The cloud is gone that wove the sandstone,
From God's design, with threads of rain!
So, when this fluid age we live in
Shall stiffen round my careless rhyme,
Who made the vagrant tracks may puzzle
The savants of the coming time;
And, following out their dim suggestions,
Some idly-curious hand may draw
My doubtful portraiture, as Cuvier
Drew fish and bird from fin and claw.
And maidens in the far-off twilights,
Singing my words to breeze and stream,
Shall wonder if the old-time Mary
Were real, or the rhymer's dream!
1st 3d mo., 1857.
The old burying-ground.our vales are sweet with fern and rose,
Our hills are maple-crowned;
But not from them our fathers chose
The village burying-ground.
The dreariest spot in all the land
To Death they set apart;
With scanty grace from Nature's hand,
And none from that of Art.
 A winding wall of mossy stone,
Frost-flung and broken, lines
A lonesome acre thinly grown
With grass and wandering vines.
Without the wall a birch-tree shows
Its drooped and tasselled head;
Within, a stag-horned sumach grows,
Fern-leafed, with spikes of red.
There, sheep that graze the neighboring plain
Like white ghosts come and go,
The farm-horse drags his fetlock chain,
The cow-bell tinkles slow.
Low moans the river from its bed,
The distant pines reply;
Like mourners shrinking from the dead,
They stand apart and sigh.
Unshaded smites the summer sun,
Unchecked the winter blast;
The school-girl learns the place to shun,
With glances backward cast.
For thus our fathers testified,
That he might read who ran,
The emptiness of human pride,
The nothingness of man.
They dared not plant the grave with flowers,
Nor dress the funeral sod,
Where, with a love as deep as ours,
They left their dead with God.
 The hard and thorny path they kept
From beauty turned aside;
Nor missed they over those who slept
The grace to life denied.
Yet still the wilding flowers would blow,
The golden leaves would fall,
The seasons come, the seasons go,
And God be good to all.
Above the graves the blackberry hung
In bloom and green its wreath,
And harebells swung as if they rung
The chimes of peace beneath.
The beauty Nature loves to share,
The gifts she hath for all,
The common light, the common air,
O'ercrept the graveyard's wall.
It knew the glow of eventide,
The sunrise and the noon,
And glorified and sanctified
It slept beneath the moon.
With flowers or snow-flakes for its sod,
Around the seasons ran,
And evermore the love of God
Rebuked the fear of man.
We dwell with fears on either hand,
Within a daily strife,
And spectral problems waiting stand
Before the gates of life.
 The doubts we vainly seek to solve,
The truths we know, are one;
The known and nameless stars revolve
Around the Central Sun.
And if we reap as we have sown,
And take the dole we deal,
The law of pain is love alone,
The wounding is to heal.
Unharmed from change to change we glide,
We fall as in our dreams;
The far-off terror at our side
A smiling angel seems.
Secure on God's all-tender heart
Alike rest great and small;
Why fear to lose our little part,
When He is pledged for all?
O fearful heart and troubled brain!
Take hope and strength from this,
That Nature never hints in vain,
Nor prophesies amiss.
Her wild birds sing the same sweet stave,
Her lights and airs are given
Alike to playground and the grave;
And over both is Heaven.
The palm-tree.Is it the palm, the cocoa-palm,
On the Indian Sea, by the isles of balm?
Or is it a ship in the breezeless calm?
A ship whose keel is of palm beneath,
Whose ribs of palm have a palm-bark sheath,
And a rudder of palm it steereth with.
Branches of palm are its spars and rails,
Fibres of palm are its woven sails,
And the rope is of palm that idly trails!
What does the good shipbear so well?
The cocoa-nut with its stony shell,
And the milky sap of its inner cell.
What are its jars, so smooth and fine,
But hollowed nuts, filled with oil and wine,
And the cabbage that ripens under the Line?
Who smokes his nargileh, cool and calm?
The master, whose cunning and skill could charm
Cargo and ship from the bounteous palm.
In the cabin he sits on a palm-mat soft,
From a beaker of palm his drink is quaffed,
And a palm-thatch shields from the sun aloft I
His dress is woven of palmy strands,
And he holds a palm-leaf scroll in his hands,
Traced with the Prophet's wise commands!
 The turban folded about his head
Was daintily wrought of the palm-leaf braid,
And the fan that cools him of palm was made.
Of threads of palm was the carpet spun
Whereon he kneels when the day is done,
And the foreheads of Islam are bowed as one!
To him the palm is a gift divine,
Wherein all uses of man combine,—
House, and raiment, and food, and wine!
And, in the hour of his great release,
His need of the palm shall only cease
With the shroud wherein he lieth in peace.
‘Allah il Allah!’ he sings his psalm,
On the Indian Sea, by the isles of balm;
‘Thanks to Allah who gives the palm!’
The river path.No bird-song floated down the hill,
The tangled bank below was still;
No rustle from the birchen stem,
No ripple from the water's hem.
The dusk of twilight round us grew,
We felt the falling of the dew;
 For, from us, ere the day was done,
The wooded hills shut out the sun.
But on the river's farther side
We saw the hill-tops glorified,—
A tender glow, exceeding fair,
A dream of day without its glare.
With us the damp, the chill, the gloom:
With them the sunset's rosy bloom;
While dark, through willowy vistas seen,
The river rolled in shade between.
From out the darkness where we trod,
We gazed upon those hills of God,
Whose light seemed not of moon or sun.
We spake not, but our thought was one.
We paused, as if from that bright shore
Beckoned our dear ones gone before;
And stilled our beating hearts to hear
The voices lost to mortal ear!
Sudden our pathway turned from night;
The hills swung open to the light;
Through their green gates the sunshine showed,
A long, slant splendor downward flowed.
 Down glade and glen and bank it rolled;
It bridged the shaded stream with gold;
And, borne on piers of mist, allied
The shadowy with the sunlit side!
‘So,’ prayed we, “when our feet draw near
The river dark, with mortal fear,
“And the night cometh chill with dew,
O Father! let Thy light break through!
“So let the hills of doubt divide,
So bridge with faith the sunless tide!
“So let the eyes that fail on earth
On Thy eternal hills look forth;
“And in Thy beckoning angels know
The dear ones whom we loved below!”
I. Franconia from the Pemigewasset.once more, O Mountains of the North, unveil
Your brows, and lay your cloudy mantles by!
And once more, ere the eyes that seek ye fail,
Uplift against the blue walls of the sky
Your mighty shapes, and let the sunshine weave
Its golden net-work in your belting woods,
Smile down in rainbows from your falling floods, 
And on your kingly brows at morn and eve
Set crowns of fire! So shall my soul receive
Haply the secret of your calm and strength,
Your unforgotten beauty interfuse
My common life, your glorious shapes and hues
And sun-dropped splendors at my bidding come,
Loom vast through dreams, and stretch in billowy length
From the sea-level of my lowland home!
They rise before me! Last night's thunder-gust
Roared not in vain: for where its lightnings thrust
Their tongues of fire, the great peaks seem so near,
Burned clean of mist, so starkly bold and clear,
I almost pause the wind in the pines to hear,
The loose rock's fall, the steps of browsing deer.
The clouds that shattered on yon slide-worn walls
And splintered on the rocks their spears of rain
Have set in play a thousand waterfalls,
Making the dusk and silence of the woods
Glad with the laughter of the chasing floods,
And luminous with blown spray and silver gleams,
While, in the vales below, the dry-lipped streams
Sing to the freshened meadow-lands again.
So, let me hope, the battle-storm that beats
The land with hail and fire may pass away
With its spent thunders at the break of day,
Like last night's clouds, and leave, as it retreats,
A greener earth and fairer sky behind,
Blown crystal-clear by Freedom's Northern wind!
II. Monadnock from Wachuset.I would I were a painter, for the sake
Of a sweet picture, and of her who led,
A fitting guide, with reverential tread,
Into that mountain mystery. First a lake
Tinted with sunset; next the wavy lines
Of far receding hills; and yet more far,
Monadnock lifting from his night of pines
His rosy forehead to the evening star.
Beside us, purple-zoned, Wachuset laid
His head against the West, whose warm light made
His aureole; and o'er him, sharp and clear,
Like a shaft of lightning in mid-launching stayed,
A single level cloud-line, shone upon
By the fierce glances of the sunken sun,
Menaced the darkness with its golden spear!
So twilight deepened round us. Still and black
The great woods climbed the mountain at our back;
And on their skirts, where yet the lingering day
On the shorn greenness of the clearing lay,
The brown old farm-house like a bird's-nest hung.
With home-life sounds the desert air was stirred:
The bleat of sheep along the hill we heard,
The bucket plashing in the cool, sweet well,
The pasture-bars that clattered as they fell;
Dogs barked, fowls fluttered, cattle lowed; the gate
Of the barn-yard creaked beneath the merry weight
 Of sun-brown children, listening, while they swung,
The welcome sound of supper-call to hear;
And down the shadowy lane, in tinklings clear,
The pastoral curfew of the cow-bell rung.
Thus soothed and pleased, our backward path we took,
Praising the farmer's home. He only spake,
Looking into the sunset o'er the lake,
Like one to whom the far-off is most near:
“Yes, most folks think it has a pleasant look;
I love it for my good old mother's sake,
Who lived and died here in the peace of God!”
The lesson of his words we pondered o'er,
As silently we turned the eastern flank
Of the mountain, where its shadow deepest sank,
Doubling the night along our rugged road:
We felt that man was more than his abode,
The inward life than Nature's raiment more;
And the warm sky, the sundown-tinted hill,
The forest and the lake, seemed dwarfed and dim
Before the saintly soul, whose human will
Meekly in the Eternal footsteps trod,
Making her homely toil and household ways
An earthly echo of the song of praise
Swelling from angel lips and harps of seraphim.
The Vanishers.sweetest of all childlike dreams
In the simple Indian lore
Still to me the legend seems
Of the shapes who flit before.
Flitting, passing, seen and gone,
Never reached nor found at rest,
Baffling search, but beckoning on
To the Sunset of the Blest.
From the clefts of mountain rocks,
Through the dark of lowland firs,
Flash the eyes and flow the locks
Of the mystic Vanishers!
And the fisher in his skiff,
And the hunter on the moss,
Hear their call from cape and cliff,
See their hands the birch-leaves toss.
Wistful, longing, through the green
Twilight of the clustered pines,
In their faces rarely seen
Beauty more than mortal shines.
Fringed with gold their mantles flow
On the slopes of westering knolls;
In the wind they whisper low
Of the Sunset Land of Souls.
 Doubt who may, O friend of mine!
Thou and I have seen them too;
On before with beck and sign
Still they glide, and we pursue.
More than clouds of purple trail
In the gold of setting day;
More than gleams of wing or sail
Beckon from the sea-mist gray.
Glimpses of immortal youth,
Gleams and glories seen and flown,
Far-heard voices sweet with truth,
Airs from viewless Eden blown;
Beauty that eludes our grasp,
Sweetness that transcends our taste,
Loving hands we may not clasp,
Shining feet that mock our haste;
Gentle eyes we closed below,
Tender voices heard once more,
Smile and call us, as they go
On and onward, still before.
Guided thus, O friend of mine!
Let us walk our little way,
Knowing by each beckoning sign
That we are not quite astray.
Chase we still, with baffled feet,
Smiling eye and waving hand, 
Sought and seeker soon shall meet,
Lost and found, in Sunset Land!
The pageant.A sound as if from bells of silver,
Or elfin cymbals smitten clear,
Through the frost-pictured panes I hear.
A brightness which outshines the morning,
A splendor brooking no delay,
Beckons and tempts my feet away.
I leave the trodden village highway
For virgin snow-paths glimmering through
A jewelled elm-tree avenue;
Where, keen against the walls of sapphire,
The gleaming tree-bolls, ice-embossed,
Hold up their chandeliers of frost.
I tread in Orient halls enchanted,
I dream the Saga's dream of caves
Gem-lit beneath the North Sea waves!
I walk the land of Eldorado,
I touch its mimic garden bowers,
Its silver leaves and diamond flowers!
The flora of the mystic mine-world
Around me lifts on crystal stems
The petals of its clustered gems!
 What miracle of weird transforming
In this wild work of frost and light,
This glimpse of glory infinite!
This foregleam of the Holy City
Like that to him of Patmos given,
The white bride coming down from heaven!
How flash the ranked and mail-clad alders,
Through what sharp-glancing spears of reeds
The brook its muffled water leads!
Yon maple, like the bush of Horeb,
Burns unconsumed: a white, cold fire
Rays out from every grassy spire.
Each slender rush and spike of mullein,
Low laurel shrub and drooping fern,
Transfigured, blaze where'er I turn.
How yonder Ethiopian hemlock
Crowned with his glistening circlet stands!
What jewels light his swarthy hands!
Here, where the forest opens southward,
Between its hospitable pines,
As through a door, the warm sun shines.
The jewels loosen on the branches,
And lightly, as the soft winds blow,
Fall, tinkling, on the ice below.
 And through the clashing of their cymbals
I hear the old familiar fall
Of water down the rocky wall,
Where, from its wintry prison breaking,
In dark and silence hidden long,
The brook repeats its summer song.
One instant flashing in the sunshine,
Keen as a sabre from its sheath,
Then lost again the ice beneath.
I hear the rabbit lightly leaping,
The foolish screaming of the jay,
The chopper's axe-stroke far away;
The clamor of some neighboring barn-yard,
The lazy cock's belated crow,
Or cattle-tramp in crispy snow.
And, as in some enchanted forest
The lost knight hears his comrades sing,
And, near at hand, their bridles ring,—
So welcome I these sounds and voices,
These airs from far-off summer blown,
This life that leaves me not alone.
For the white glory overawes me;
The crystal terror of the seer
Of Chebar's vision blinds me here.
 Rebuke me not, O sapphire heaven!
Thou stainless earth, lay not on me,
Thy keen reproach of purity,
If, in this august presence-chamber,
I sigh for summer's leaf-green gloom
And warm airs thick with odorous bloom!
Let the strange frost-work sink and crumble,
And let the loosened tree-boughs swing,
Till all their bells of silver ring.
Shine warmly down, thou sun of noontime,
On this chill pageant, melt and move
The winter's frozen heart with love.
And, soft and low, thou wind south-blowing,
Breathe through a veil of tenderest haze
Thy prophecy of summer days.
Come with thy green relief of promise,
And to this dead, cold splendor bring
The living jewels of the spring!
The pressed gentian.the time of gifts has come again,
And, on my northern window-pane,
Outlined against the day's brief light,
A Christmas token hangs in sight. 
The wayside travellers, as they pass,
Mark the gray disk of clouded glass;
And the dull blankness seems, perchance,
Folly to their wise ignorance.
They cannot from their outlook see
The perfect grace it hath for me;
For there the flower, whose fringes through
The frosty breath of autumn blew,
Turns from without its face of bloom
To the warm tropic of my room,
As fair as when beside its brook
The hue of bending skies it took.
So from the trodden ways of earth,
Seem some sweet souls who veil their worth,
And offer to the careless glance
The clouding gray of circumstance.
They blossom best where hearth-fires burn,
To loving eyes alone they turn
The flowers of inward grace, that hide
Their beauty from the world outside.
But deeper meanings come to me,
My half-immortal flower, from thee!
Man judges from a partial view,
None ever yet his brother knew;
The Eternal Eye that sees the whole
May better read the darkened soul,
And find, to outward sense denied,
The flower upon its inmost side!
A mystery.the river hemmed with leaning trees
Wound through its meadows green;
A low, blue line of mountains showed
The open pines between.
One sharp, tall peak above them all
Clear into sunlight sprang:
I saw the river of my dreams,
The mountains that I sang!
No clue of memory led me on,
But well the ways I knew;
A feeling of familiar things
With every footstep grew.
Not otherwise above its crag
Could lean the blasted pine;
Not otherwise the maple hold
Aloft its red ensign.
So up the long and shorn foot-hills
The mountain road should creep;
So, green and low, the meadow fold
Its red-haired kine asleep.
The river wound as it should wind;
Their place the mountains took;
The white torn fringes of their clouds
Wore no unwonted look.
 Yet ne'er before that river's rim
Was pressed by feet of mine,
Never before mine eyes had crossed
That broken mountain line.
A presence, strange at once and known,
Walked with me as my guide;
The skirts of some forgotten life
Trailed noiseless at my side.
Was it a dim-remembered dream?
Or glimpse through eons old?
The secret which the mountains kept
The river never told.
But from the vision ere it passed
A tender hope I drew,
And, pleasant as a dawn of spring,
The thought within me grew,
That love would temper every change,
And soften all surprise,
And, misty with the dreams of earth,
The hills of Heaven arise.
A sea dream.we saw the slow tides go and come,
The curving surf-lines lightly drawn,
The gray rocks touched with tender bloom
Beneath the fresh-blown rose of dawn.
 We saw in richer sunsets lost
The sombre pomp of showery noons;
And signalled spectral sails that crossed
The weird, low light of rising moons.
On stormy eves from cliff and head
We saw the white spray tossed and spurned;
While over all, in gold and red,
Its face of fire the lighthouse turned.
The rail-car brought its daily crowds,
Half curious, half indifferent,
Like passing sails or floating clouds,
We saw them as they came and went.
But, one calm morning, as we lay
And watched the mirage-lifted wall
Of coast, across the dreamy bay,
And heard afar the curlew call,
And nearer voices, wild or tame,
Of airy flock and childish throng,
Up from the water's edge there came
Faint snatches of familiar song.
Careless we heard the singer's choice
Of old and common airs; at last
The tender pathos of his voice
In one low chanson held us fast.
A song that mingled joy and pain,
And memories old and sadly sweet; 
While, timing to its minor strain,
The waves in lapsing cadence beat.
The waves are glad in breeze and sun;
The rocks are fringed with foam;
I walk once more a haunted shore,
A stranger, yet at home,
A land of dreams I roam.
Is this the wind, the soft sea-wind
That stirred thy locks of brown?
Are these the rocks whose mosses knew
The trail of thy light gown,
Where boy and girl sat down?
I see the gray fort's broken wall,
The boats that rock below;
And, out at sea, the passing sails
We saw so long ago
Rose-red in morning's glow.
The freshness of the early time
On every breeze is blown;
As glad the sea, as blue the sky,—
The change is ours alone;
The saddest is my own.
A stranger now, a world-worn man,
Is he who bears my name;
But thou, methinks, whose mortal life
Immortal youth became,
Art evermore the same.
 Thou art not here, thou art not there,
Thy place I cannot see;
I only know that where thou art
The blessed angels be,
And heaven is glad for thee.
Forgive me if the evil years
Have left on me their sign;
Wash out, O soul so beautiful,
The many stains of mine
In tears of love divine!
I could not look on thee and live,
If thou wert by my side;
The vision of a shining one,
The white and heavenly bride,
Is well to me denied.
But turn to me thy dear girl-face
Without the angel's crown,
The wedded roses of thy lips,
Thy loose hair rippling down
In waves of golden brown.
Look forth once more through space and time,
And let thy sweet shade fall
In tenderest grace of soul and form
On memory's frescoed wall,
A shadow, and yet all!
Draw near, more near, forever dear!
Where'er I rest or roam,
Or in the city's crowded streets, 
Or by the blown sea foam,
The thought of thee is home!
At breakfast hour the singer read
The city news, with comment wise,
Like one who felt the pulse of trade
Beneath his finger fall and rise.
His look, his air, his curt speech, told
The man of action, not of books,
To whom the corners made in gold
And stocks were more than seaside nooks.
Of life beneath the life confessed
His song had hinted unawares;
Of flowers in traffic's ledgers pressed,
Of human hearts in bulls and bears.
But eyes in vain were turned to watch
That face so hard and shrewd and strong;
And ears in vain grew sharp to catch
The meaning of that morning song.
In vain some sweet-voiced querist sought
To sound him, leaving as she came;
Her baited album only caught
A common, unromantic name.
No word betrayed the mystery fine,
That trembled on the singer's tongue;
He came and went, and left no sign
Behind him save the song he sung.
Hazel blossoms.the summer warmth has left the sky,
The summer songs have died away;
And, withered, in the footpaths lie
The fallen leaves, but yesterday
With ruby and with topaz gay.
The grass is browning on the hills;
No pale, belated flowers recall
The astral fringes of the rills,
And drearily the dead vines fall,
Frost-blackened, from the roadside wall.
Yet through the gray and sombre wood,
Against the dusk of fir and pine,
Last of their floral sisterhood,
The hazel's yellow blossoms shine,
The tawny gold of Afric's mine!
Small beauty hath my unsung flower,
For spring to own or summer hail;
But, in the season's saddest hour,
To skies that weep and winds that wail
Its glad surprisals never fail.
O days grown cold! O life grown old!
No rose of June may bloom again;
But, like the hazel's twisted gold,
Through early frost and latter rain
Shall hints of summer-time remain.
 And as within the hazel's bough
A gift of mystic virtue dwells,
That points to golden ores below,
And in dry desert places tells
Where flow unseen the cool, sweet wells,—
So, in the wise Diviner's hand,
Be mine the hazel's grateful part
To feel, beneath a thirsty land,
The living waters thrill and start,
The beating of the rivulet's heart!
Sufficeth me the gift to light
With latest bloom the dark, cold days;
To call some hidden spring to sight
That, in these dry and dusty ways,
Shall sing its pleasant song of praise.
O Love! the hazel-wand may fail,
But thou canst lend the surer spell,
That, passing over Baca's vale,
Repeats the old-time miracle,
And makes the desert-land a well.
Sunset on the Bearcamp.A gold fringe on the purpling hem
Of hills the river runs,
As down its long, green valley falls
The last of summer's suns. 
Along its tawny gravel-bed
Broad-flowing, swift, and still,
As if its meadow levels felt
The hurry of the hill,
Noiseless between its banks of green
From curve to curve it slips;
The drowsy maple-shadows rest
Like fingers on its lips.
A waif from Carroll's wildest hills,
Unstoried and unknown;
The ursine legend of its name
Prowls on its banks alone.
Yet flowers as fair its slopes adorn
As ever Yarrow knew,
Or, under rainy Irish skies,
By Spenser's Mulla grew;
And through the gaps of leaning trees
Its mountain cradle shows:
The gold against the amethyst,
The green against the rose.
Touched by a light that hath no name,
A glory never sung,
Aloft on sky and mountain wall
Are God's great pictures hung.
How changed the summits vast and old!
No longer granite-browed,
They melt in rosy mist; the rock
Is softer than the cloud;
The valley holds its breath; no leaf
Of all its elms is twirled:
The silence of eternity
Seems falling on the world.
 The pause before the breaking seals
Of mystery is this;
Yon miracle-play of night and day
Makes dumb its witnesses.
What unseen altar crowns the hills
That reach up stair on stair?
What eyes look through, what white wings fan
These purple veils of air?
What Presence from the heavenly heights
To those of earth stoops down?
Not vainly Hellas dreamed of gods
On Ida's snowy crown!
Slow fades the vision of the sky,
The golden water pales,
And over all the valley-land
A gray-winged vapor sails.
I go the common way of all;
The sunset fires will burn,
The flowers will blow, the river flow,
When I no more return.
No whisper from the mountain pine
Nor lapsing stream shall tell
The stranger, treading where I tread,
Of him who loved them well.
But beauty seen is never lost,
God's colors all are fast;
The glory of this sunset heaven
Into my soul has passed,
A sense of gladness unconfined
To mortal date or clime;
As the soul liveth, it shall live
Beyond the years of time. 
Beside the mystic asphodels
Shall bloom the home-born flowers,
And new horizons flush and glow
With sunset hues of ours.
Farewell! these smiling hills must wear
Too soon their wintry frown,
And snow-cold winds from off them shake
The maple's red leaves down.
But I shall see a summer sun
Still setting broad and low;
The mountain slopes shall blush and bloom,
The golden water flow.
A lover's claim is mine on all
I see to have and hold,—
The rose-light of perpetual hills,
And sunsets never cold!
The seeking of the waterfall.they left their home of summer ease
Beneath the lowland's sheltering trees,
To seek, by ways unknown to all,
The promise of the waterfall.
Some vague, faint rumor to the vale
Had crept—perchance a hunter's tale—
Of its wild mirth of waters lost
On the dark woods through which it tossed.
Somewhere it laughed and sang; somewhere
Whirled in mad dance its misty hair; 
But who had raised its veil, or seen
The rainbow skirts of that Undine?
They sought it where the mountain brook
Its swift way to the valley took;
Along the rugged slope they clomb,
Their guide a thread of sound and foam.
Height after height they slowly won;
The fiery javelins of the sun
Smote the bare ledge; the tangled shade
With rock and vine their steps delayed.
But, through leaf-openings, now and then
They saw the cheerful homes of men,
And the great mountains with their wall
Of misty purple girdling all.
The leaves through which the glad winds blew
Shared the wild dance the waters knew;
And where the shadows deepest fell
The wood-thrush rang his silver bell.
Fringing the stream, at every turn
Swung low the waving fronds of fern;
From stony cleft and mossy sod
Pale asters sprang, and golden-rod.
And still the water sang the sweet,
Glad song that stirred its gliding feet,
And found in rock and root the keys
Of its beguiling melodies.
 Beyond, above, its signals flew
Of tossing foam the birch-trees through;
Now seen, now lost, but baffling still.
The weary seekers' slackening will.
Each called to each: “Lo here! Lo there!
Its white scarf flutters in the air!”
They climbed anew; the vision fled,
To beckon higher overhead.
So toiled they up the mountain-slope
With faint and ever fainter hope;
With faint and fainter voice the brook
Still bade them listen, pause, and look.
Meanwhile below the day was done;
Above the tall peaks saw the sun
Sink, beam-shorn, to its misty set
Behind the hills of violet.
‘Here ends our quest!’ the seekers cried,
“The brook and rumor both have lied!
The phantom of a waterfall
Has led us at its beck and call.”
But one, with years grown wiser, said:
“So, always baffled, not misled,
We follow where before us runs
The vision of the shining ones.
Not where they seem their signals fly,
Their voices while we listen die;
We cannot keep, however fleet,
The quick time of their winged feet.
 From youth to age unresting stray
These kindly mockers in our way;
Yet lead they not, the baffling elves,
To something better than themselves?
Here, though unreached the goal we sought,
Its own reward our toil has brought:
The winding water's sounding rush,
The long note of the hermit thrush,
The turquoise lakes, the glimpse of pond
And river track, and, vast, beyond
Broad meadows belted round with pines,
The grand uplift of mountain lines!
What matter though we seek with pain
The garden of the gods in vain,
If lured thereby we climb to greet
Some wayside blossom Eden-sweet?
To seek is better than to gain,
The fond hope dies as we attain;
Life's fairest things are those which seem,
The best is that of which we dream.
Then let us trust our waterfall
Still flashes down its rocky wall,
With rainbow crescent curved across
Its sunlit spray from moss to moss.
And we, forgetful of our pain,
In thought shall seek it oft again;
Shall see this aster-blossomed sod,
This sunshine of the golden-rod,
 And haply gain, through parting boughs,
Grand glimpses of great mountain brows
Cloud-turbaned, and the sharp steel sheen
Of lakes deep set in valleys green.
So failure wins; the consequence
Of loss becomes its recompense;
And evermore the end shall tell
The unreached ideal guided well.
Our sweet illusions only die
Fulfilling love's sure prophecy;
And every wish for better things
An undreamed beauty nearer brings.
For fate is servitor of love;
Desire and hope and longing prove
The secret of immortal youth,
And Nature cheats us into truth.
O kind allurers, wisely sent,
Beguiling with benign intent,
Still move us, through divine unrest,
To seek the loveliest and the best!
Go with us when our souls go free,
And, in the clear, white light to be,
Add unto Heaven's beatitude
The old delight of seeking good! “
The trailing Arbutus.I wandered lonely where the pine-trees made
Against the bitter East their barricade,
And, guided by its sweet
Perfume, I found, within a narrow dell,
The trailing spring flower tinted like a shell
Amid dry leaves and mosses at my feet.
From under dead boughs, for whose loss the pines
Moaned ceaseless overhead, the blossoming vines
Lifted their glad surprise,
While yet the bluebird smoothed in leafless trees
His feathers ruffled by the chill sea-breeze,
And snow-drifts lingered under April skies.
As, pausing, o'er the lonely flower I bent,
I thought of lives thus lowly, clogged and pent,
Which yet find room,
Through care and cumber, coldness and decay,
To lend a sweetness to the ungenial day
And make the sad earth happier for their bloom.
St. Martin's summer.
This name in some parts of Europe is given to the season we call Indian Summer, in honor of the good St. Martin. The title of the poem was suggested by the fact that the day it refers to was the exact date of that set apart to the Saint, the 11th of November.though flowers have perished at the touch
Of Frost, the early comer, 
I hail the season loved so much,
The good St. Martin's summer.
O gracious morn, with rose-red dawn,
And thin moon curving o'er it!
The old year's darling, latest born,
More loved than all before it!
How flamed the sunrise through the pines
How stretched the birchen shadows,
Braiding in long, wind-wavered lines
The westward sloping meadows!
The sweet day, opening as a flower
Unfolds its petals tender,
Renews for us at noontide's hour
The summer's tempered splendor.
The birds are hushed; alone the wind,
That through the woodland searches,
The red-oak's lingering leaves can find,
And yellow plumes of larches.
But still the balsam-breathing pine
Invites no thought of sorrow,
No hint of loss from air like wine
The earth's content can borrow.
The summer and the winter here
Midway a truce are holding,
A soft, consenting atmosphere
Their tents of peace enfolding.
 The silent woods, the lonely hills,
Rise solemn in their gladness;
The quiet that the valley fills
Is scarcely joy or sadness.
How strange! The autumn yesterday
In winter's grasp seemed dying;
On whirling winds from skies of gray
The early snow was flying.
And now, while over Nature's mood
There steals a soft relenting,
I will not mar the present good,
Forecasting or lamenting.
My autumn time and Nature's hold
A dreamy tryst together,
And, both grown old, about us fold
The golden-tissued weather.
I lean my heart against the day
To feel its bland caressing;
I will not let it pass away
Before it leaves its blessing.
God's angels come not as of old
The Syrian shepherds knew them;
In reddening dawns, in sunset gold,
And warm noon lights I view them.
Nor need there is, in times like this
When heaven to earth draws nearer,
Of wing or song as witnesses
To make their presence clearer.
 O stream of life, whose swifter flow
Is of the end forewarning,
Methinks thy sundown afterglow
Seems less of night than morning!
Old cares grow light; aside I lay
The doubts and fears that troubled;
The quiet of the happy day
Within my soul is doubled.
That clouds must veil this fair sunshine
Not less a joy I find it;
Nor less yon warm horizon line
That winter lurks behind it.
The mystery of the untried days
I close my eyes from reading;
His will be done whose darkest ways
To light and life are leading!
Less drear the winter night shall be,
If memory cheer and hearten
Its heavy hours with thoughts of thee,
Sweet summer of St. Martin!
Storm on lake Asquam.A cloud, like that the old-time Hebrew saw
On Carmel prophesying rain, began
To lift itself o'er wooded Cardigan,
Growing and blackening. Suddenly, a flaw
 Of chill wind menaced; then a strong blast beat
Down the long valley's murmuring pines, and woke
The noon-dream of the sleeping lake, and broke
Its smooth steel mirror at the mountains' feet.
Thunderous and vast, a fire-veined darkness swept
Over the rough pine-bearded Asquam range;
A wraith of tempest, wonderful and strange,
From peak to peak the cloudy giant stepped.
One moment, as if challenging the storm,
Chocorua's tall, defiant sentinel
Looked from his watch-tower; then the shadow fell,
And the wild rain-drift blotted out his form.
And over all the still unhidden sun,
Weaving its light through slant-blown veils of rain,
Smiled on the trouble, as hope smiles on pain;
And, when the tumult and the strife were done,
With one foot on the lake and one on land,
Framing within his crescent's tinted streak
A far-off picture of the Melvin peak,
Spent broken clouds the rainbow's angel spanned.
A summer Pilgrimage.To kneel before some saintly shrine,
To breathe the health of airs divine,
Or bathe where sacred rivers flow,
The cowled and turbaned pilgrims go.
I too, a palmer, take, as they
With staff and scallop-shell, my way
To feel, from burdening cares and ills,
The strong uplifting of the hills.
The years are many since, at first,
For dreamed — of wonders all athirst,
I saw on Winnipesaukee fall
The shadow of the mountain wall.
Ah! where are they who sailed with me
The beautiful island-studded sea?
And am I he whose keen surprise
Flashed out from such unclouded eyes?
Still, when the sun of summer burns,
My longing for the hills returns;
And northward, leaving at my back
The warm vale of the Merrimac,
I go to meet the winds of morn,
Blown down the hill-gaps, mountain-born,
Breathe scent of pines, and satisfy
The hunger of a lowland eye.
Again I see the day decline
Along a ridged horizon line;
 Touching the hill-tops, as a nun
Her beaded rosary, sinks the sun.
One lake lies golden, which shall soon
Be silver in the rising moon;
And one, the crimson of the skies
And mountain purple multiplies.
With the untroubled quiet blends
The distance-softened voice of friends;
The girl's light laugh no discord brings
To the low song the pine-tree sings;
And, not unwelcome, comes the hail
Of boyhood from his nearing sail.
The human presence breaks no spell,
And sunset still is miracle!
Calm as the hour, methinks I feel
A sense of worship o'er me steal;
Not that of satyr-charming Pan,
No cult of Nature shaming man,
Not Beauty's self, but that which lives
And shines through all the veils it weaves,—
Soul of the mountain, lake, and wood,
Their witness to the Eternal Good!
And if, by fond illusion, here
The earth to heaven seems drawing near,
And yon outlying range invites
To other and serener heights,
Scarce hid behind its topmost swell,
The shining Mounts Delectable!
A dream may hint of truth no less
Than the sharp light of wakefulness. 
As through her vale of incense smoke
Of old the spell-rapt priestess spoke,
More than her heathen oracle,
May not this trance of sunset tell
That Nature's forms of loveliness
Their heavenly archetypes confess,
Fashioned like Israel's ark alone
From patterns in the Mount made known?
A holier beauty overbroods
These fair and faint similitudes;
Yet not unblest is he who sees
Shadows of God's realities,
And knows beyond this masquerade
Of shape and color, light and shade,
And dawn and set, and wax and wane,
Eternal verities remain.
O gems of sapphire, granite set!
O hills that charmed horizons fret!
I know how fair your morns can break,
In rosy light on isle and lake;
How over wooded slopes can run
The noonday play of cloud and sun,
And evening droop-her oriflamme
Of gold and red in still Asquam.
The summer moons may round again,
And careless feet these hills profane;
These sunsets waste on vacant eyes
The lavish splendor of the skies;
Fashion and folly, misplaced here,
Sigh for their natural atmosphere, 
And travelled pride the outlook scorn
Of lesser heights than Matterhorn:
But let me dream that hill and sky
Of unseen beauty prophesy;
And in these tinted lakes behold
The trailing of the raiment fold
Of that which, still eluding gaze,
Allures to upward-tending ways,
Whose footprints make, wherever found,
Our common earth a holy ground.
Sweet fern.the subtle power in perfume found
Nor priest nor sibyl vainly learned;
On Grecian shrine or Aztec mound
No censer idly burned.
That power the old-time worships knew,
The Corybantes' frenzied dance,
The Pythian priestess swooning through
The wonderland of trance.
And Nature holds, in wood and field,
Her thousand sunlit censers still;
To spells of flower and shrub we yield
Against or with our will.
I climbed a hill path strange and new
With slow feet, pausing at each turn; 
A sudden waft of west wind blew
The breath of the sweet fern.
That fragrance from my vision swept
The alien landscape; in its stead,
Up fairer hills of youth I stepped,
As light of heart as tread.
I saw my boyhood's lakelet shine
Once more through rifts of woodland shade;
I knew my river's winding line
By morning mist betrayed.
With me June's freshness, lapsing brook,
Murmurs of leaf and bee, the call
Of birds, and one in voice and look
In keeping with them all.
A fern beside the way we went
She plucked, and, smiling, held it up,
While from her hand the wild, sweet scent
I drank as from a cup.
O potent witchery of smell!
The dust-dry leaves to life return,
And she who plucked them owns the spell
And lifts her ghostly fern.
Or sense or spirit? Who shall say
What touch the chord of memory thrills?
It passed, and left the August day
Ablaze on lonely hills.
The wood giant.from Alton Bay to Sandwich Dome,
From Mad to Saco river,
For patriarchs of the primal wood
We sought with vain endeavor.
And then we said: “The giants old
Are lost beyond retrieval;
This pygmy growth the axe has spared
Is not the wood primeval.
Look where we will o'er vale and hill,
How idle are our searches
For broad-girthed maples, wide-limbed oaks,
Centennial pines and birches!
Their tortured limbs the axe and saw
Have changed to beams and trestles;
They rest in walls, they float on seas,
They rot in sunken vessels.
This shorn and wasted mountain land
Of underbrush and boulder,—
Who thinks to see its full-grown tree
Must live a century older. “
At last to us a woodland path,
To open sunset leading,
Revealed the Anakim of pines
Our wildest wish exceeding.
 Alone, the level sun before;
Below, the lake's green islands;
Beyond, in misty distance dim,
The rugged Northern Highlands.
Dark Titan on his Sunset Hill
Of time and change defiant!
How dwarfed the common woodland seemed,
Before the old-time giant!
What marvel that, in simpler days
Of the world's early childhood,
Men crowned with garlands, gifts, and praise
Such monarchs of the wild-wood?
That Tyrian maids with flower and song
Danced through the hill grove's spaces,
And hoary-bearded Druids found
In woods their holy places?
With somewhat of that Pagan awe
With Christian reverence blending,
We saw our pine-tree's mighty arms
Above our heads extending.
We heard his needles' mystic rune,
Now rising, and now dying,
As erst Dodona's priestess heard
The oak leaves prophesying.
Was it the half-unconscious moan
Of one apart and mateless,
The weariness of unshared power,
The loneliness of greatness?
 Your beauty and your wonder!
Blithe sparrow, sing thy summer song
His solemn shadow under!
Play lightly on his slender keys,
O wind of summer, waking
For hills like these the sound of seas
On far-off beaches breaking!
And let the eagle and the crow
Find shelter in his branches,
When winds shake down his winter snow
In silver avalanches.
The brave are braver for their cheer,
The strongest need assurance,
The sigh of longing makes not less
The lesson of endurance.
A day.talk not of sad November, when a day
Of warm, glad sunshine fills the sky of noon,
And a wind, borrowed from some morn of June,
Stirs the brown grasses and the leafless spray.
On the unfrosted pool the pillared pines
Lay their long shafts of shadow: the small rill,
Singing a pleasant song of summer still,
A line of silver, down the hill-slope shines.
 Hushed the bird-voices and the hum of bees,
In the thin grass the crickets pipe no more;
But still the squirrel hoards his winter store,
And drops his nut-shells from the shag-bark trees.
Softly the dark green hemlocks whisper: high
Above, the spires of yellowing larches show,
Where the woodpecker and home-loving crow
And jay and nut-hatch winter's threat defy.
O gracious beauty, ever new and old!
O sights and sounds of nature, doubly dear
When the low sunshine warns the closing year
Of snow-blown fields and waves of Arctic cold!
Close to my heart I fold each lovely thing
The sweet day yields; and, not disconsolate,
With the calm patience of the woods I wait
For leaf and blossom when God gives us Spring!
29th, Eleventh Month, 1886.