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- Rose and Roof-Tree - 2/13 -

Daughter of my nobler hope That dying gave thee birth, Sweet Melancholy! For memory of the dead, In her dear stead, 'Bide thou with me, Sweet Melancholy! As purple shadows to the tree, When the last sun-rays sadly slope Athwart the bare and darkening earth, Art thou to me, Sweet Melancholy!


Glad hours have been when I have seen Life's scope and each dry day's intent United; so that I could stand In silence, covering with my hand The circle of the universe, Balance the blessing and the curse, And trust in deeds without chagrin, Free from to-morrow and yesterday--content.



When the mornings dankly fall With a dim forethought of rain, And the robins richly call To their mates mercurial, And the tree-boughs creak and strain In the wind; When the river's rough with foam, And the new-made clearings smoke, And the clouds that go and come Shine and darken frolicsome, And the frogs at evening croak Undefined Mysteries of monotone, And by melting beds of snow Wind-flowers blossom all alone; Then I know That the bitter winter's dead. Over his head The damp sod breaks so mellow,-- Its mosses tipped with points of yellow,-- I cannot but be glad; Yet this sweet mood will borrow Something of a sweeter sorrow, To touch and turn me sad.


How sweetly sang the bobolink, When thou, my Love, wast nigh! His liquid music from the brink Of some cloud-fountain seemed to sink, Built in the blue-domed sky.

How sadly sings the bobolink! No more my Love is nigh: Yet rise, my spirit, rise, and drink Once more from that cloud-fountain's brink,-- Once more before I die!


A penciled shade the sky doth sweep, And transient glooms creep in to sleep Amid the orchard; Fantastic breezes pull the trees Hither and yon, to vagaries Of aspect tortured.

Then, like the downcast dreamy fringe Of eyelids, when dim gates unhinge That locked their tears, Falls on the hills a mist of rain,-- So faint, it seems to fade again; Yet swiftly nears.

Now sparkles the air, all steely-bright, With drops swept down in arrow-flight, Keen, quivering lines. Ceased in a breath the showery sound; And teasingly, now, as I look around, Sweet sunlight shines!


Lo, all about the lofty blue are blown Light vapors white, like thistle-down, That from their softened silver heaps opaque Scatter delicate flake by flake, Upon the wide loom of the heavens weaving Forms of fancies past believing, And, with fantastic show of mute despair, As for some sweet hope hurt beyond repair, Melt in the silent voids of sunny air.

All day the cooing brooklet runs in tune: Half sunk i' th' blue, the powdery moon Shows whitely. Hark, the bobolink's note! I hear it, Far and faint as a fairy spirit! Yet all these pass, and as some blithe bird, winging, Leaves a heart-ache for his singing, A frustrate passion haunts me evermore For that which closest dwells to beauty's core. O Love, canst thou this heart of hope restore?



O many-toned rain! O myriad sweet voices of the rain! How welcome is its delicate overture At evening, when the glowing-moistur'd west Seals all things with cool promise of night's rest!

At first it would allure The earth to kinder mood, With dainty flattering Of soft, sweet pattering: Faintly now you hear the tramp Of the fine drops falling damp On the dry, sun-seasoned ground And the thirsty leaves around. But anon, imbued With a sudden, bounding access Of passion, it relaxes All timider persuasion, And, with nor pretext nor occasion, Its wooing redoubles; And pounds the ground, and bubbles In sputtering spray, Flinging itself in a fury Of flashing white away; Till the dusty road Flings a perfume dank abroad, And the grass, and the wide-hung trees, The vines, the flowers in their beds, The vivid corn that to the breeze Rustles along the garden-rows, Visibly lift their heads,-- And, as the shower wilder grows, Upleap with answering kisses to the rain.

Then, the slow and pleasant murmur Of its subsiding, As the pulse of the storm beats firmer, And the steady rain Drops into a cadenced chiding. Deep-breathing rain, The sad and ghostly noise Wherewith thou dost complain,-- Thy plaintive, spiritual voice, Heard thus at close of day Through vaults of twilight-gray,-- Doth vex me with sweet pain! And still my soul is fain To know the secret of that yearning Which in thine utterance I hear returning.

Hush, oh hush! Break not the dreamy rush Of the rain: Touch not the marring doubt Words bring, to the certainty Of its soft refrain, But let the flying fringes flout Their gouts against the pane, And the gurgling throat of the water-spout Groan in the eaves amain.

The earth is wedded to the shower. Darkness and awe, gird round the bridal-hour!


O many-tonèd rain! It hath caught the strain Of a wilder tune,

Rose and Roof-Tree - 2/13

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