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- Music and Other Poems - 4/10 -


When the pygmy heir of a giant name Dimmed the face of the land with shame,-- Speak the truth with indignant lips, Call him little whom men called great, Scoff at him, scorn him, deny him, Point to the blood on his robe of state, Fling back his bribes and defy him!

You, who fronted the waves of fate As you faced the sea from your island home, Exiled, yet with a soul elate, Sending songs o'er the rolling foam, Bidding the heart of man to wait For the day when all should see Floods of wrath from the frowning skies Fall on an Empire founded in lies, And France again be free! You, who came in the Terrible Year Swiftly back to your broken land, Now to your heart a thousand times more dear,-- Prayed for her, sung to her, fought for her, Patiently, fervently wrought for her, Till once again, After the storm of fear and pain, High in the heavens the star of France stood clear!

You, who knew that a man must take Good and ill with a steadfast soul, Holding fast, while the billows roll Over his head, to the things that make Life worth living for great and small,-- Honour and pity and truth, The heart and the hope of youth, And the good God over all! You, to whom work was rest, Dauntless Toiler of the Sea, Following ever the joyful quest Of beauty on the shores of old Romance, Bard of the poor of France, And warrior-priest of world-wide charity!

You who loved little children best Of all the poets that ever sung, Great heart, golden heart, Old, and yet ever young, Minstrel of liberty, Lover of all free, winged things, Now at last you are free,-- Your soul has its wings! Heart of France for a hundred years, Floating far in the light that never fails you, Over the turmoil of mortal hopes and fears Victor, forever victor, the whole world hails you!

March, 1902.

GOD OF THE OPEN AIR

I

Thou who hast made thy dwelling fair With flowers beneath, above with starry lights, And set thine altars everywhere,-- On mountain heights, In woodlands dim with many a dream, In valleys bright with springs, And on the curving capes of every stream: Thou who hast taken to thyself the wings Of morning, to abide Upon the secret places of the sea, And on far islands, where the tide Visits the beauty of untrodden shores, Waiting for worshippers to come to thee In thy great out-of-doors! To thee I turn, to thee I make my prayer, God of the open air.

II

Seeking for thee, the heart of man Lonely and longing ran, In that first, solitary hour, When the mysterious power To know and love the wonder of the morn Was breathed within him, and his soul was born; And thou didst meet thy child, Not in some hidden shrine, But in the freedom of the garden wild, And take his hand in thine,-- There all day long in Paradise he walked, And in the cool of evening with thee talked.

III

Lost, long ago, that garden bright and pure, Lost, that calm day too perfect to endure, And lost the childlike love that worshipped and was sure! For men have dulled their eyes with sin, And dimmed the light of heaven with doubt, And built their temple walls to shut thee in, And framed their iron creeds to shut thee out. But not for thee the closing of the door, O Spirit unconfined! Thy ways are free As is the wandering wind, And thou hast wooed thy children, to restore Their fellowship with thee, In peace of soul and simpleness of mind.

IV

Joyful the heart that, when the flood rolled by, Leaped up to see the rainbow in the sky; And glad the pilgrim, in the lonely night, For whom the hills of Haran, tier on tier, Built up a secret stairway to the height Where stars like angel eyes were shining clear. From mountain-peaks, in many a land and age, Disciples of the Persian seer Have hailed the rising sun and worshipped thee; And wayworn followers of the Indian sage Have found the peace of God beneath a spreading tree.

But One, but One,--ah, child most dear, And perfect image of the Love Unseen,-- Walked every day in pastures green, And all his life the quiet waters by, Reading their beauty with a tranquil eye.

To him the desert was a place prepared For weary hearts to rest; The hillside was a temple blest; The grassy vale a banquet-room Where he could feed and comfort many a guest. With him the lily shared The vital joy that breathes itself in bloom; And every bird that sang beside the nest Told of the love that broods o'er every living thing. He watched the shepherd bring His flock at sundown to the welcome fold, The fisherman at daybreak fling His net across the waters gray and cold, And all day long the patient reaper swing His curving sickle through the harvest-gold. So through the world the foot-path way he trod, Drawing the air of heaven in every breath; And in the evening sacrifice of death Beneath the open sky he gave his soul to God. Him will I trust, and for my Master take; Him will I follow; and for his dear sake, God of the open air, To thee I make my prayer.

V

>From the prison of anxious thought that greed has builded, >From the fetters that envy has wrought and pride has gilded, >From the noise of the crowded ways and the fierce confusion, >From the folly that wastes its days in a world of illusion, (Ah, but the life is lost that frets and languishes there!) I would escape and be free in the joy of the open air.

By the breadth of the blue that shines in silence o'er me, By the length of the mountain-lines that stretch before me, By the height of the cloud that sails, with rest in motion, Over the plains and the vales to the measureless ocean, (Oh, how the sight of the things that are great enlarges the eyes!) Lead me out of the narrow life, to the peace of the hills and the skies.

While the tremulous leafy haze on the woodland is spreading, And the bloom on the meadow betrays where May has been treading; While the birds on the branches above, and the brooks flowing under, Are singing together of love in a world full of wonder, (Lo, in the marvel of Springtime, dreams are changed into truth!) Quicken my heart, and restore the beautiful hopes of youth.

By the faith that the flowers show when they bloom unbidden, By the calm of the river's flow to a goal that is hidden, By the trust of the tree that clings to its deep foundation, By the courage of wild birds' wings on the long migration, (Wonderful secret of peace that abides in Nature's breast!) Teach me how to confide, and live my life, and rest.

For the comforting warmth of the sun that my body embraces, For the cool of the waters that run through the shadowy places, For the balm of the breezes that brush my face with their fingers, For the vesper-hymn of the thrush when the twilight lingers, For the long breath, the deep breath, the breath of a heart without care,-- I will give thanks and adore thee, God of the open air!

VI


Music and Other Poems - 4/10

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