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- The Home Book of Verse, Volume 3 - 5/88 -

A. Mary F. Robinson [1857-

MUSIC OF THE DAWN At Sea, October 23, 1907

In far forests' leafy twilight, now is stealing gray dawn's shy light, And the misty air is tremulous with songs of many a bird; While from mountain steeps descending, every streamlet's voice is blending With the anthems of great pine trees, by the breath of daylight stirred.

But I turn from Fancy's dreaming of the green earth, to the gleaming Of the fluttering wings of morning rushing o'er the jewelled deep; And the ocean's rhythmic pounding, with each lucent wave resounding, Seems the music made when God's own hands His mighty harpstrings sweep.

Virginia Bioren Harrison [1847-


O swift forerunners, rosy with the race! Spirits of dawn, divinely manifest Behind your blushing banners in the sky, Daring invaders of Night's tenting-ground, - How do ye strain on forward-bending foot, Each to be first in heralding of joy! With silence sandalled, so they weave their way, And so they stand, with silence panoplied, Chanting, through mystic symbollings of flame, Their solemn invocation to the light.

O changeless guardians! O ye wizard firs! What strenuous philter feeds your potency, That thus ye rest, in sweet wood-hardiness. Ready to learn of all and utter naught? What breath may move ye, or what breeze invite To odorous hot lendings of the heart? What wind - but all the winds are yet afar, And e'en the little tricksy zephyr sprites, That fleet before them, like their elfin locks, Have lagged in sleep, nor stir nor waken yet To pluck the robe of patient majesty.

Too still for dreaming, too divine for sleep, So range the firs, the constant, fearless ones. Warders of mountain secrets, there they wait, Each with his cloak about him, breathless, calm, And yet expectant, as who knows the dawn, And all night thrills with memory and desire, Searching in what has been for what shall be: The marvel of the ne'er familiar day, Sacred investiture of life renewed, The chrism of dew, the coronal of flame.

Low in the valley lies the conquered rout Of man's poor trivial turmoil, lost and drowned Under the mist, in gleaming rivers rolled, Where oozy marsh contends with frothing main. And rounding all, springs one full, ambient arch, One great good limpid world - so still, so still! For no sound echoes from its crystal curve Save four clear notes, the song of that lone bird Who, brave but trembling, tries his morning hymn, And has no heart to finish, for the awe And wonder of this pearling globe of dawn.

Light, light eternal! veiling-place of stars! Light, the revealer of dread beauty's face! Weaving whereof the hills are lambent clad! Mighty libation to the Unknown God! Cup whereat pine-trees slake their giant thirst And little leaves drink sweet delirium! Being and breath and potion! Living soul And all-informing heart of all that lives! How can we magnify thine awful name Save by its chanting: Light! and light! and light! An exhalation from far sky retreats, It grows in silence, as 'twere self-create, Suffusing all the dusky web of night. But one lone corner it invades not yet, Where low above a black and rimy crag Hangs the old moon, thin as a battered shield, The holy, useless shield of long-past wars, Dinted and frosty, on the crystal dark. But lo! the east, - let none forget the east, Pathway ordained of old where He should tread. Through some sweet magic common in the skies The rosy banners are with saffron tinct: The saffron grows to gold, the gold is fire, And led by silence more majestical Than clash of conquering arms, He comes! He comes! He holds his spear benignant, sceptrewise, And strikes out flame from the adoring hills.

Alice Brown [1857-


If aught of oaten stop, or pastoral song, May hope, chaste Eve, to soothe thy modest ear, Like thy own solemn springs, Thy springs and dying gales;

O Nymph reserved, while now the bright-haired sun Sits in yon western tent, whose cloudy skirts, With brede ethereal wove, O'erhang his wavy bed:

Now air is hushed, save where the weak-eyed bat With short shrill shriek flits by on leathern wing, Or where the beetle winds

His small but sullen horn,

As oft he rises, 'midst the twilight path Against the pilgrim borne in heedless hum: Now teach me, maid composed, To breathe some softened strain,

Whose numbers, stealing through thy darkening vale, May not unseemly with its stillness suit, As, musing slow, I hail Thy genial loved return!

For when thy folding-star arising shows His paly circlet, at his warning lamp The fragrant Hours, and Elves Who slept in buds the day,

And many a Nymph who wreathes her brows with sedge, And sheds the freshening dew, and, lovelier still, The pensive Pleasures sweet, Prepare thy shadowy car:

Then lead, calm votaress, where some sheety lake Cheers the lone heath, or some time-hallowed pile, Or upland fallows gray Reflect its last cool gleam.

Or, if chill blustering winds, or driving rain, Prevent my willing feet, be mine the hut That, from the mountain's side, Views wilds and swelling floods,

And hamlets brown, and dim-discovered spires, And hears their simple bell, and marks o'er all Thy dewy fingers draw The gradual dusky veil.

While Spring shall pour his showers, as of the wont, And bathe thy breathing tresses, meekest Eve! While Summer loves to sport Beneath thy lingering light;

While sallow Autumn fills thy lap with leaves, Or Winter, yelling through the troublous air, Affrights thy shrinking train, And rudely rends thy robes:

So long, regardful of thy quiet rule, Shall Fancy, Friendship, Science, smiling Peace, Thy gentlest influence own, And hymn thy favorite name!

William Collins [1721-1759]


It is a beauteous evening, calm and free; The holy time is quiet as a Nun Breathless with adoration; the broad sun Is sinking down in his tranquility; The gentleness of heaven broods o'er the Sea; Listen! the mighty Being is awake, And doth with his eternal motion make A sound like thunder - everlastingly. Dear Child! dear Girl! that walkest with me here, If thou appear untouched by solemn thought, Thy nature is not therefore less divine: Thou liest in Abraham's bosom all the year, And worship'st at the Temple's inner shrine, God being with thee when we know it not.

William Wordsworth [1770-1850]


Skies to the West are stained with madder; Amber light on the rare blue hills; The sough of the pines is growing sadder; From the meadow-lands sound the whippoorwills. Air is sweet with the breath of clover; Dusk is on, and the day is over.

Skies to the East are streaked with golden;

The Home Book of Verse, Volume 3 - 5/88

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