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- The White Bees - 10/11 -


"Through many a land your journey ran, And showed the best the world can boast Now tell me, traveller, if you can, The place that pleased you most."

She laid her hands upon my breast, And murmured gently in my ear, "The place I loved and liked the best Was in your arms, my dear!"

SICILY, DECEMBER, 1908

O garden isle, beloved by Sun and Sea,-- Whose bluest billows kiss thy curving bays, Whose amorous light enfolds thee in warm rays That fill with fruit each dark-leaved orange- tree,-- What hidden hatred hath the Earth for thee? Behold, again, in these dark, dreadful days, She trembles with her wrath, and swiftly lays Thy beauty waste in wreck and agony!

Is Nature, then, a strife of jealous powers, And man the plaything of unconscious fate? Not so, my troubled heart! God reigns above And man is greatest in his darkest hours: Walking amid the cities desolate, The Son of God appears in human love.

Tertius and Henry van Dyke, January, 1909.

THE WINDOW

All night long, by a distant bell, The passing hours were notched On the dark, while her breathing rose and fell, And the spark of life I watched In her face was glowing or fading,--who could tell?-- And the open window of the room, With a flare of yellow light, Was peering out into the gloom, Like an eye that searched the night.

Oh, what do you see in the dark, little window, and why do you fear? "I see that the garden is crowded wtth creeping forms of fear: Little white ghosts in the locust-tree, that wave in the night-wind's breath, And low in the leafy laurels the lurking shadow of death."

Sweet, clear notes of a waking bird Told of the passing away Of the dark,--and my darling may have heard; For she smiled in her sleep, while the ray Of the rising dawn spoke joy without a word, Till the splendor born in the east outburned The yellow lamplight, pale and thin, And the open window slowly turned To the eye of the morning, looking in.

Oh, what do you see in the room, little window, that makes you so bright? "I see that a child is asleep on her pillow, soft and white. With the rose of life on her lips, and the breath of life in her breast, And the arms of God around her as she quietly takes her rest."

Neuilly, June, 1909.

TWILIGHT IN THE ALPS

I love the hour that comes, with dusky hair And dewy feet, along the Alpine dells To lead the cattle forth. A thousand bells Go chiming after her across the fair And flowery uplands, while the rosy flare Of sunset on the snowy mountain dwells, And valleys darken, and the drowsy spells Of peace are woven through the purple air.

Dear is the magic of this hour: she seems To walk before the dark by falling rills, And lend a sweeter song to hidden streams; She opens all the doors of night, and fills With moving bells the music of my dreams, That wander far among the sleeping hills.

Gstaad, August, 1909.

JEANNE D'ARC

The land was broken in despair, The princes quarrelled in the dark, When clear and tranquil, through the troubled air Of selfish minds and wills that did not dare, Your star arose, Jeanne d'Arc.

O virgin breast with lilies white, O sun-burned hand that bore the lance, You taught the prayer that helps men to unite, You brought the courage equal to the fight, You gave a heart to France!

Your king was crowned, your country free, At Rheims you had your soul's desire: And then, at Rouen, maid of Domremy, The black-robed judges gave your victory The martyr's crown of fire.

And now again the times are ill, And doubtful leaders miss the mark; The people lack the single faith and will To make them one,--your country needs you still,-- Come back again, Jeanne d'Arc!

O woman-star, arise once more And shine to bid your land advance: The old heroic trust in God restore, Renew the brave, unselfish hopes of yore, And give a heart to France!

Paris, July, 1909.

HUDSON'S LAST VOYAGE

June 22,1611

THE SHALLOP ON HUDSON BAY

One sail in sight upon the lonely sea And only one, God knows! For never ship But mine broke through the icy gates that guard These waters, greater grown than any since We left the shores of England. We were first, My men, to battle in between the bergs And floes to these wide waves. This gulf is mine; I name it! and that flying sail is mine! And there, hull-down below that flying sail, The ship that staggers home is mine, mine, mine! My ship Discoverie! The sullen dogs Of mutineers, the bitches' whelps that snatched Their food and bit the hand that nourished them, Have stolen her. You ingrate Henry Greene, I picked you from the gutter of Houndsditch, And paid your debts, and kept you in my house, And brought you here to make a man of you! You Robert Juet, ancient, crafty man, Toothless and tremulous, how many times Have I employed you as a master's mate To give you bread? And you Abacuck Prickett, You sailor-clerk, you salted puritan, You knew the plot and silently agreed, Salving your conscience with a pious lie! Yes, all of you--hounds, rebels, thieves! Bring back My ship! Too late,--I rave,--they cannot hear My voice: and if they heard, a drunken laugh Would be their answer; for their minds have caught The fatal firmness of the fool's resolve, That looks like courage but is only fear. They'll blunder on, and lose my ship, and drown,-- Or blunder home to England and be hanged. Their skeletons will rattle in the chains Of some tall gibbet on the Channel cliffs, While passing mariners look up and say: "Those are the rotten bones of Hudson's men "Who left their captain in the frozen North!"

O God of justice, why hast Thou ordained Plans of the wise and actions of the brave Dependent on the aid of fools and cowards? Look,--there she goes,--her topsails in the sun Gleam from the ragged ocean edge, and drop Clean out of sight! So let the traitors go Clean out of mind! We'll think of braver things! Come closer in the boat, my friends. John King, You take the tiller, keep her head nor'west. You Philip Staffe, the only one who chose Freely to share our little shallop's fate, Rather than travel in the hell-bound ship,-- Too good an English seaman to desert These crippled comrades,--try to make them rest More easy on the thwarts. And John, my son, My little shipmate, come and lean your head Against your father's knee. Do you recall That April morn in Ethelburga's church, Five years ago, when side by side we kneeled To take the sacrament with all our men, Before the Hopewell left St. Catherine's docks


The White Bees - 10/11

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