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- The Home Book of Verse, Volume 3 - 3/88 -


Being too full of sleep to understand How far the unknown transcends the what we know.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow [1807-1882]

"AS AN OLD MERCER"

As an old mercer in some sleepy town Swings wide his windows new day after day, Sets all his wares around in arch array To please the taste of passers up and down, - His hoard of handy things of trite renown, Of sweets and spices and of faint perfumes, Of silks and prints, - and at the last illumes His tiny panes to foil the evening's frown; So Nature spreads her proffered treasures: such As daily dazzle at the morning's rise, - Fair show of isle and ocean merchandise, And airy offerings filmy to the touch; Then, lest we like not these, in Dark's bazaars She nightly tempts us with her store of stars.

Mahlon Leonard Fisher [1874-

GOOD COMPANY

To-day I have grown taller from walking with the trees, The seven sister-poplars who go softly in a line; And I think my heart is whiter for its parley with a star That trembled out at nightfall and hung above the pine. The call-note of a redbird from the cedars in the dusk Woke his happy mate within me to an answer free and fine; And a sudden angel beckoned from a column of blue smoke - Lord, who am I that they should stoop - these holy folk of thine?

Karle Wilson Baker [1878-

"HERE IS THE PLACE WHERE LOVELINESS KEEPS HOUSE"

Here is the place where Loveliness keeps house, Between the river and the wooded hills, Within a valley where the Springtime spills Her firstling wind-flowers under blossoming boughs: Where Summer sits braiding her warm, white brows With bramble-roses; and where Autumn fills Her lap with asters; and old Winter frills With crimson haw and hip his snowy blouse. Here you may meet with Beauty. Here she sits Gazing upon the moon, or all the day Tuning a wood-thrush flute, remote, unseen; Or when the storm is out, 'tis she who flits From rock to rock, a form of flying spray, Shouting, beneath the leaves' tumultuous green.

Madison Cawein [1865-1914]

GOD'S WORLD

O world, I cannot hold thee close enough! Thy winds, thy wide gray skies! Thy mists, that roll and rise! Thy woods, this autumn day, that ache and sag And all but cry with color! That gaunt crag To crush! To lift the lean of that black bluff! World, world, I cannot get thee close enough!

Long have I known a glory in it all But never knew I this. Here such a passion is As stretcheth me apart. Lord, I do fear Thou'st made the world too beautiful this year. My soul is all but out of me - let fall No burning leaf; prithee, let no bird call.

Edna St. Vincent Millay [1892-

WILD HONEY

Where hints of racy sap and gum Out of the old dark forest come; Where birds their beaks like hammers wield, And pith is pierced and bark is peeled; Where the green walnut's outer rind Gives precious bitterness to the wind; There lurks the sweet creative power, As lurks the honey in the flower. In winter's bud that bursts in spring, In nut of autumn's ripening, In acrid bulb beneath the mold, Sleeps the elixir, strong and old, That Rosicrucians sought in vain, - Life that renews itself again! What bottled perfume is so good As fragrance of split tulip-wood? What fabled drink of god or muse Was rich as purple mulberry juice? And what school-polished gem of thought Is like the rune from Nature caught? He is a poet strong and true Who loves wild thyme and honey-dew; And like a brown bee works and sings With morning freshness on his wings, And a golden burden on his thighs, - The pollen-dust of centuries!

Maurice Thompson [1844-1901]

PATMOS

All around him Patmos lies, Who hath spirit-gifted eyes, Who his happy sight can suit To the great and the minute. Doubt not but he holds in view A new earth and heaven new; Doubt not but his ear doth catch Strain nor voice nor reed can match: Many a silver, sphery note Shall within his hearing float. All around him Patmos lies, Who unto God's priestess flies: Thou, O Nature, bid him see, Through all guises worn by thee, A divine apocalypse. Manifold his fellowships: Now the rocks their archives ope; Voiceless creatures tell their hope In a language symbol-wrought; Groves to him sigh out their thought; Musings of the flower and grass Through his quiet spirit pass. 'Twixt new earth and heaven new He hath traced and holds the clue, Number his delights ye may not; Fleets the year but these decay not. Now the freshets of the rain, Bounding on from hill to plain, Show him earthly streams have rise In the bosom of the skies. Now he feels the morning thrill, As upmounts, unseen and still, Dew the wing of evening drops. Now the frost, that meets and stops Summer's feet in tender sward, Greets him, breathing heavenward. Hieroglyphics writes the snow, Through the silence falling slow; Types of star and petaled bloom A white missal-page illume. By these floating symbols fine, Heaven-truth shall be divine.

All around him Patmos lies, Who hath spirit-gifted eyes; He need not afar remove, He need not the times reprove, Who would hold perpetual lease Of an isle in seas of peace.

Edith M. Thomas [1854-1925]

DAWN AND DARK

SONG

Phoebus, arise, And paint the sable skies With azure, white, and red: Rouse Memnon's mother from her Tithon's bed, That she thy career may with roses spread: The nightingales thy coming each where sing, Make an eternal Spring! Give life to this dark world which lieth dead; Spread forth thy golden hair In larger locks than thou wast wont before, And, emperor-like, decore With diadem of pearl thy temples fair: Chase hence the ugly night, Which serves but to make dear thy glorious light.

This is that happy morn, That day, long-wished day, Of all my life so dark, (If cruel stars have not my ruin sworn,


The Home Book of Verse, Volume 3 - 3/88

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