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- Embers, Volume 3. - 3/7 -


But a little brown sparrow came tripping Across the green grass at my feet; And a kingfisher poised, and was peering Where current and calm water meet;

And Alice, sweet Alice, my neighbour, Stands musing beneath the pine tree; And her look says--"I have a lover Who sails on the turbulent sea:

Does he dream as I dream night and daytime Of a face that is tender and true; Will he come to me e'en as he left me?" Yes, Alice, sweet Alice, for you,

Is the sunlight, and not the drear shadow, The gentle and fortunate peace: But he who thus revels in rhyming Has shadows that never shall cease.

JUNIPER COVE TWENTY YEARS AFTER

The bay gleams softly in the sun, The morning widens o'er the world: The bluebird's song is just begun, And down the skies white clouds are furled.

The boat lies idly by the shore, The shed I built with happy care Is fallen; and I see no more The white tents in the eager air.

The goldenrod holds up its plumes In the long stretch of meadow grass, The briarrose shakes its sweet perfumes, In coverts where the sparrows pass.

Far off, above, the sapphire gleams, Far off, below, the sapphire flows, And this, my place of morning dreams, The bank where my vain visions rose!

Sweet Alice, he came back again, Across the waste of summer sea, What time the fields were full of grain, But not to thee; but not to thee.

She comes no more when evening falls, To watch the stars wheel up the sky; Then love and light were over all; Alas! that light and love should die.

I feel her hand upon my arm, I see her eyes shine through the mist; Her life was passionate and warm As the red jewels at her wrist.

Hearts do not break, the world has said, Though love lie stark and light be flown; But still it counts its lost and dead, And in the solitudes makes moan.

We school our lips to make our hearts Seem other than in truth they are; Before the lights we play our part, And paint the flesh to hide the scar.

Masquers and mummers all, and yet The slaves of some dead passion's fires, Of hopes the soul can ne'er forget Still sobbing in life's trembling wires.

Fate puts our dear desires in pawn, Youth passes, unredeemed they lie; The leaves drop from our rose of dawn, And storms fall from the mocking sky.

I shall come back no more; my ship Waits for me by the sundering sea; A prayer for her is on my lip-- And the old life is dead to me.

LISTENING

I have lain beneath the pine trees just to hear the thrush's calling, I have waited for the throstle where the harvest fields were brown, I have caught the lark's sweet trilling from the depths of cloud-land falling And the piping of the linnet through the willow branches blown.

But you have some singing graces, you who sing because you love it, That are higher than the throstle, or the linnet, or the lark; And, however far my soul may reach, your song is far above it; And I falter while I follow as a child does in the dark.

In elder days, when all the world was silent save the beating Of the tempest-gathered ocean 'gainst the grey volcanic walls, When the light had met the darkness and the mountains sent their greeting To each other in sharp flashes as the vivid lightning falls,

Then the high gods said, "In token that we love the earth we fashioned, We will set the white stars singing, and teach man the art of song": And there rose up from the valleys sounds of love and life impassioned, Till men cried, with arms uplifted, "Now from henceforth we are strong!"

Adown the ages there have come the sounds of that first singing, Lifting up the weary-hearted in the fever of the time; And I, who wait and wander far, felt all my soul upspringing, To but touch those ancient forces and the energies sublime,

When I heard you who had heard it--that first song--perhaps in dreaming, Till it filled you with fine fervour and the hopes of its refrain; And I knew that God was gracious and had led me in the gleaming Of a song-shine that is holy and that quiets all my pain.

Though the birds sing in the meadows and fill all the air with sweetness, They sing only in the present, and they sing because they must; They are wanton in their pureness, and in all their fine completeness, They trill out their lives forgotten to the silence of the dust.

But if you should pass to-morrow where your songs could never reach us, There would still be throbbing through us all the music of your voice; And your spirit would speak through the chords, as though it would beseech us To remember that the noblest ends have ever noblest choice.

NEVERTHELESS

In your onward march, O men, White of face, in promise whiter, You unsheathe the sword, and then Blame the wronged as the fighter.

Time, ah, Time, rolls onward o'er All these foetid fields of evil, While hard at the nation's core Eat the burning rust and weevil!

Nathless, out beyond the stars Reigns the Wiser and the Stronger, Seeing in all strifes and wars Who the wronged, who the wronger.

ISHMAEL

"No man cared for my soul."

Blind, Lord, so blind! I wander far From Thee among the haunts of men, Most like some lone, faint, flickering star Gone from its place, nor knoweth when The sun shall give it shining dole Lord! no man careth for my soul.

Blind, Lord, so blind! In loneliness By crowded mart or busy street, I fold my hands and feel how less Am I to any one I meet, Than to Thee one lost billow's roll: Lord! no man careth for my soul.

Blind, Lord, so blind! And I have knelt 'Mong myriads in Thy house of prayer; And still sad desolation felt, Though heavy freighted was the air With litanies of love: one ghoul Cried, "No man careth for thy soul!"

Blind, Lord, so blind! The world is blind; It feeds me, fainting, with a stone: I cry for bread. Before, behind, Are hurrying feet; yet all alone I walk, and no one points the goal Lord! no man careth for my soul.

Blind, Lord, Oh very blind am I! If sin of mine sets up the wall Between my poor sight and Thy sky, O Friend of man, Who cares for all, Send sweet peace ere the last bell toll--


Embers, Volume 3. - 3/7

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