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- Rose and Roof-Tree - 3/13 -


Ere the same night's noon, When dreams and sleep forsake me, And sudden dread doth wake me, To hear the booming drums of heaven beat The long roll to battle; when the knotted cloud, With an echoing loud, Bursts asunder At the sudden resurrection of the thunder; And the fountains of the air, Unsealed again sweep, ruining, everywhere, To wrap the world in a watery winding-sheet.

III.

O myriad sweet voices of the rain! When the airy war doth wane, And the storm to the east hath flown, Cloaked close in the whirling wind, There's a voice still left behind In each heavy-hearted tree, Charged with tearful memory Of the vanished rain: From their leafy lashes wet Drip the dews of fresh regret For the lover that's gone! All else is still. But the stars are listening; And low o'er the wooded hill Hangs, upon listless wing Outspread, a shape of damp, blue cloud, Watching, like a bird of evil That knows no mercy nor reprieval, The slow and silent death of the pallid moon.

IV.

But soon, returning duly, Dawn whitens the wet hill-tops bluely. To her vision pure and cold The night's wild tale is told On the glistening leaf, in the mid-road pool, The garden mold turned dark and cool, And the meadow's trampled acres. But hark, how fresh the song of the winged music-makers! For now the moanings bitter, Left by the rain, make harmony With the swallow's matin-twitter, And the robin's note, like the wind's in a tree: The infant morning breathes sweet breath, And with it is blent The wistful, wild, moist scent Of the grass in the marsh which the sea nourisheth: And behold! The last reluctant drop of the storm, Wrung from the roof, is smitten warm And turned to gold; For in its veins doth run The very blood of the bold, unsullied sun!

THE SONG-SPARROW.

Glimmers gray the leafless thicket Close beside my garden gate, Where, so light, from post to picket Hops the sparrow, blithe, sedate; Who, with meekly folded wing, Comes to sun himself and sing.

It was there, perhaps, last year, That his little house he built; For he seems to perk and peer, And to twitter, too, and tilt The bare branches in between, With a fond, familiar mien.

Once, I know, there was a nest, Held there by the sideward thrust Of those twigs that touch his breast; Though 'tis gone now. Some rude gust Caught it, over-full of snow,-- Bent the bush,--and robbed it so

Thus our highest holds are lost, By the ruthless winter's wind, When, with swift-dismantling frost, The green woods we dwelt in, thinn'd Of their leafage, grow too cold For frail hopes of summer's mold.

But if we, with spring-days mellow, Wake to woeful wrecks of change, And the sparrow's ritornello Scaling still its old sweet range; Can we do a better thing Than, with him, still build and sing?

Oh, my sparrow, thou dost breed Thought in me beyond all telling; Shootest through me sunlight, seed, And fruitful blessing, with that welling Ripple of ecstatic rest, Gurgling ever from thy breast!

And thy breezy carol spurs Vital motion in my blood, Such as in the sapwood stirs, Swells and shapes the pointed bud Of the lilac; and besets The hollows thick with violets.

Yet I know not any charm That can make the fleeting time Of thy sylvan, faint alarm Suit itself to human rhyme: And my yearning rhythmic word, Does thee grievous wrong, dear bird.

So, however thou hast wrought This wild joy on heart and brain, It is better left untaught. Take thou up the song again: There is nothing sad afloat On the tide that swells thy throat!

FAIRHAVEN BAY.

I push on through the shaggy wood, I round the hill: 't is here it stood; And there, beyond the crumbled walls, The shining Concord slowly crawls,

Yet seems to make a passing stay, And gently spreads its lilied bay, Curbed by this green and reedy shore, Up toward the ancient homestead's door.

But dumbly sits the shattered house, And makes no answer: man and mouse Long since forsook it, and decay Chokes its deep heart with ashes gray.

On what was once a garden-ground Dull red-bloomed sorrels now abound; And boldly whistles the shy quail Within the vacant pasture's pale.

Ah, strange and savage, where he shines, The sun seems staring through those pines That once the vanished home could bless With intimate, sweet loneliness.

The ignorant, elastic sod The feet of them that daily trod Its roods hath utterly forgot: The very fire-place knows them not.

For, in the weedy cellar, thick The ruined chimney's mass of brick Lies strown. Wide heaven, with such an ease Dost thou, too, lose the thought of these?

Yet I, although I know not who Lived here, in years that voiceless grew Ere I was born,--and never can,-- Am moved, because I am a man.

Oh glorious gift of brotherhood! Oh sweet elixir in the blood, That makes us live with those long dead, Or hope for those that shall be bred

Hereafter! No regret can rob My heart of this delicious throb; No thought of fortunes haply wrecked, Nor pang for nature's wild neglect.

And, though the hearth be cracked and cold, Though ruin all the place enfold, These ashes that have lost their name Shall warm my life with lasting flame!

CHANT FOR AUTUMN.

Veiled in visionary haze, Behold, the ethereal autumn days Draw near again! In broad array, With a low, laborious hum These ministers of plenty come, That seem to linger, while they steal away.

O strange, sweet charm Of peaceful pain, When yonder mountain's bended arm


Rose and Roof-Tree - 3/13

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