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- Rose and Roof-Tree - 4/13 -


Seems wafting o'er the harvest-plain A message to the heart that grieves, And round us, here, a sad-hued rain Of leaves that loosen without number Showering falls in yellow, umber, Red, or russet, 'thwart the stream! Now pale Sorrow shall encumber All too soon these lands, I deem; Yet who at heart believes The autumn, a false friend, Can bring us fatal harm? Ah, mist-hung avenues in dream Not more uncertainly extend Than the season that receives A summer's latest gleam!

But the days of death advance: They tarry not, nor turn! I will gather the ashes of summer In my heart, as an urn.

Oh draw thou nearer, Thou Spirit of the distant height, Whither now that slender flight Of swallows, winging, guides my sight! The hill cloth seem to me A fading memory Of long delight, And in its distant blue Half hideth from my view This shrinking season that must now retire; And so shall hold it, hopeful, a desire And knowledge old as night and always new. Draw nigher! And, with bended brow, I will be thy reverer Through the long winter's term!

So, when the snows hold firm, And the brook is dumb; When sharp winds come To flay the hill-tops bleak, And whistle down the creek; While the unhappy worm Crawls deeper down into the ground, To 'scape Frost's jailer on his round; Thy form to me shall speak From the wide valley's bound, Recall the waving of the last bird's wing, And help me hope for spring.

BEFORE THE SNOW.

Autumn is gone: through the blue woodlands bare Shatters the windy rain. A thousand leaves, Like birds that fly the mournful Northern air, Flutter away from the old forest's eaves.

Autumn is gone: as yonder silent rill, Slow eddying o'er thick leaf-heaps lately shed, My spirit, as I walk, moves awed and still, By thronging fancies wild and wistful led.

Autumn is gone: alas, how long ago The grapes were plucked, and garnered was the grain! How soon death settles on us, and the snow Wraps with its white alike our graves, our gain!

Yea, autumn's gone! Yet it robs not my mood Of that which makes moods dear,--some shoot of spring Still sweet within me; or thoughts of yonder wood We walked in,--memory's rare environing.

And, though they die, the seasons only take A ruined substance. All that's best remains In the essential vision that can make One light for life, love, death, their joys, their pains.

THE GHOSTS OF GROWTH.

Last night it snowed; and Nature fell asleep. Forest and field lie tranced in gracious dreams Of growth, for ghosts of leaves long dead, me-seems, Hover about the boughs; and wild winds sweep O'er whitened fields full many a hoary heap From the storm-harvest mown by ice-bound streams! With beauty of crushed clouds the cold earth teems, And winter a tranquil-seeming truce would keep.

But such ethereal slumber may not bide The ascending sun's bright scorn--not long, I fear; And all its visions on the golden tide Of mid-noon gliding off, must disappear. Fair dreams, farewell! So in life's stir and pride You fade, and leave the treasure of a tear!

THE LILY-POND.

Some fairy spirit with his wand, I think, has hovered o'er the dell, And spread this film upon the pond, And touched it with this drowsy spell.

For here the musing soul is merged In moods no other scene can bring, And sweeter seems the air when scourged With wandering wild-bees' murmuring.

One ripple streaks the little lake, Sharp purple-blue; the birches, thin And silvery, crowd the edge, yet break To let a straying sunbeam in.

How came we through the yielding wood, That day, to this sweet-rustling shore? Oh, there together while we stood, A butterfly was wafted o'er,

In sleepy light; and even now His glimmering beauty doth return Upon me, when the soft winds blow, And lilies toward the sunlight yearn.

The yielding wood? And yet 't was both To yield unto our happy march; Doubtful it seemed, at times, if both Could pass its green, elastic arch.

Yet there, at last, upon the marge We found ourselves, and there, behold, In hosts the lilies, white and large, Lay close, with hearts of downy gold!

Deep in the weedy waters spread The rootlets of the placid bloom: So sprung my love's flower, that was bred In deep, still waters of heart's-gloom.

So sprung; and so that morn was nursed To live in light, and on the pool Wherein its roots were deep immersed Burst into beauty broad and cool.

Few words were said; a moment passed; I know not how it came--that awe And ardor of a glance that cast Our love in universal law!

But all at once a bird sang loud, From dead twigs of the gleamy beech; His notes dropped dewy, as out of a cloud, A blessing on our married speech.

Ah, Love! how fresh and rare, even now, That moment and that mood return Upon me, when the soft winds blow, And lilies toward the sunlight yearn!

PART SECOND.

FIRST GLANCE.

A budding mouth and warm blue eyes; A laughing face;--and laughing hair, So ruddy does it rise From off that forehead fair;

Frank fervor in whate'er she said, And a shy grace when she was still; A bright, elastic tread; Enthusiastic will;

These wrought the magic of a maid As sweet and sad as the sun in spring, Joyous, yet half-afraid Her joyousness to sing.

What weighs the unworthiness of earth When beauty such as this finds birth? Rare maid, to look on thee Gives all things harmony!

"THE SUNSHINE OF THINE EYES."

The sunshine of thine eyes, (Oh still, celestial beam!) Whatever it touches it fills With the life of its lambent gleam.


Rose and Roof-Tree - 4/13

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