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- Music and Other Poems - 5/10 -


These are the gifts I ask Of thee, Spirit serene: Strength for the daily task, Courage to face the road, Good cheer to help me bear the traveller's load, And, for the hours of rest that come between, An inward joy in all things heard and seen. These are the sins I fain Would have thee take away: Malice, and cold disdain, Hot anger, sullen hate, Scorn of the lowly, envy of the great, And discontent that casts a shadow gray On all the brightness of the common day.

These are the things I prize And hold of dearest worth: Light of the sapphire skies, Peace of the silent hills, Shelter of forests, comfort of the grass, Music of birds, murmur of little rills, Shadow of clouds that swiftly pass, And, after showers, The smell of flowers And of the good brown earth,-- And best of all, along the way, friendship and mirth.

So let me keep These treasures of the humble heart In true possession, owning them by love; And when at last I can no longer move Among them freely, but must part From the green fields and from the waters clear, Let me not creep Into some darkened room and hide From all that makes the world so bright and dear; But throw the windows wide To welcome in the light; And while I clasp a well-beloved hand, Let me once more have sight Of the deep sky and the far-smiling land,-- Then gently fall on sleep, And breathe my body back to Nature's care, My spirit out to thee, God of the open air.

SONNETS

WORK

Let me but do my work from day to day, In field or forest, at the desk or loom, In roaring market-place or tranquil room; Let me but find it in my heart to say, When vagrant wishes beckon me astray, "This is my work; my blessing, not my doom; "Of all who live, I am the one by whom "This work can best be done in the right way."

Then shall I see it not too great, nor small, To suit my spirit and to prove my powers; Then shall I cheerful greet the labouring hours, And cheerful turn, when the long shadows fall At eventide, to play and love and rest, Because I know for me my work is best.

April, 1902.

LIFE

Let me but live my life from year to year, With forward face and unreluctant soul; Not hurrying to, nor turning from, the goal; Not mourning for the things that disappear In the dim past, nor holding back in fear From what the future veils; but with a whole And happy heart, that pays its toll To Youth and Age, and travels on with cheer.

So let the way wind up the hill or down, O'er rough or smooth, the journey will be joy: Still seeking what I sought when but a boy, New friendship, high adventure, and a crown, My heart will keep the courage of the quest, And hope the road's last turn will be the best.

May, 1902.

LOVE

Let me but love my love without disguise, Nor wear a mask of fashion old or new, Nor wait to speak till I can hear a clue, Nor play a part to shine in others' eyes, Nor bow my knees to what my heart denies; But what I am, to that let me be true, And let me worship where my love is due, And so through love and worship let me rise.

For love is but the heart's immortal thirst To be completely known and all forgiven, Even as sinful souls that enter Heaven: So take me, dear, and understand my worst, And freely pardon it, because confessed, And let me find in loving thee, my best.

May, 1902.

THE CHILD IN THE GARDEN

When to the garden of untroubled thought I came of late, and saw the open door, And wished again to enter, and explore The sweet, wild ways with stainless bloom inwrought, And bowers of innocence with beauty fraught, It seemed some purer voice must speak before I dared to tread that garden loved of yore, That Eden lost unknown and found unsought.

Then just within the gate I saw a child,-- A stranger-child, yet to my heart most dear; He held his hands to me, and softly smiled With eyes that knew no shade of sin or fear: "Come in," he said, "and play awhile with me; "I am the little child you used to be."

January, 1903.

LOVE'S REASON

For that thy face is fair I love thee not; Nor yet because the light of thy brown eyes Hath gleams of wonder and of glad surprise, Like woodland streams that cross a sunlit spot: Nor for thy beauty, born without a blot, Most perfect when it shines through no disguise Pure as the star of Eve in Paradise,-- For all these outward things I love thee not:

But for a something in thy form and face, Thy looks and ways, of primal harmony; A certain soothing charm, a vital grace That breathes of the eternal womanly, And makes me feel the warmth of Nature's breast, When in her arms, and thine, I sink to rest.

February, 1904.

PORTRAIT AND REALITY

If on the closed curtain of my sight My fancy paints thy portrait far away, I see thee still the same, by night or day; Crossing the crowded street, or moving bright 'Mid festal throngs, or reading by the light Of shaded lamp some friendly poet's lay, Or shepherding the children at their play,-- The same sweet self, and my unchanged delight.

But when I see thee near, I recognize In every dear familiar way some strange Perfection, and behold in April guise The magic of thy beauty that doth range Through many moods with infinite surprise,-- Never the same, and sweeter with each change.

May, 1904.

THE WIND OF SORROW

The fire of love was burning, yet so low That in the dark we scarce could see its rays, And in the light of perfect-placid days Nothing but smouldering embers dull and slow. Vainly, for love's delight, we sought to throw New pleasures on the pyre to make it blaze: In life's calm air and tranquil-prosperous ways We missed the radiant heat of long ago.

Then in the night, a night of sad alarms, Bitter with pain and black with fog of fears, That drove us trembling to each other's arms-- Across the gulf of darkness and salt tears, Into life's calm the wind of sorrow came,


Music and Other Poems - 5/10

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