Edwardian and Georgian Canadian Poets
Songs and Sonnets







                                                                                                                                          under the


                                                                                                                                          of the



                                                                                                                                          of Toronto



1906 [unnumbered page]


   Entered according to Act of the

Parliament of Canada, in the year

one thousand nine hundred and six,

by WILLIAM BRIGGS, at the Department

of Agriculture.


[unnumbered page]


A. S. R.

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Within my garden, on the southern side,

    Where warm and strong the sun’s battalions fall,

    The lilies grow superbly white and tall,

The mignonette and phlox spread far and wide;

The roses there are my perpetual pride,

    The ivy riots laughing up the wall,

    And all my flower-loves, both great and small,

A daily feast of loveliness provide.

And deep within the garden of my heart,

    Upon that side where thou art wont to shine—

And something of thy sweetness to impart—

    There sprang these little wandering songs of mine;

I know not if they show thee what thou art,

    But any worthiness they have is thine. [unnumbered page]

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    Indian Summer






    Forest Tragedy




    When Orchards Bloom


    Thy Part




    On the Trail


    O Summer Days


    Give Me No Pity


    Voices of the Storm




    Our Common Brotherhood


    I am Content with Canada


    A Thousand Joys Remain








    In the Garden


[unnumbered page]



    Caught up on the Wings






    The Distant Goal


    My Roses


    Love’s Higher Way


    The Seed


    But They Remember Not


    Through the Silence




    Love’s Seasons




    The Guardians of the Place


    To a Bluebell




    The Voices of Our Day




    Since Reading Maeterlinck




    Each Hath His Own


    Not on a Chosen Day


    The Soul Behind




    Crimson Buds are on the Maple


    Prairie Winds        






    When Autumn Comes


[page viii]





    Night Among the Thousand Islands


    Among the Pines






    September Comes Again


    No Grief for Me


    The Open Gate



    More Lovely Grows the Earth


    In October


    Among the Mountains


    At Sunset


    The Prospector


    As Day Begins to Wane


    Question Not




    A Prayer


    Millet’s Angelus


    As One Embarking




    On Silent Battle-fields


    The Reconciler


    The Warden




    The Sense of Mystery


    Winter Wheat


    When Thou Art Distant


[page ix]



    The Temple






    At Parting




    With Passing Years




    Day and Night


    Across the Deep


    Beyond the Violet Rays


    Make Friends with Happiness




    Not by Nature’s Door


    In the Dark


    Though Bound to Earth


    On Such a Night as This


    The Evening Hour




    On Mount Pilatus


    Since Knowing You


    Vanished Years


    The Pelican




    Kings’ Palaces


    As Parsifal of Old        


[page x]


[unnumbered page]

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OF all Earth’s varied, lovely moods,

The loveliest is when she broods

Among her dreaming solitudes

    On Indian Summer days;

When on the hill the aster pales,

And Summer’s stress of passion fails,

And Autumn looks through misty veils

    Along her leafy ways.

How deep the tenderness that yearns

Within the silent wood that turns

From green to gold, and slowly burns

    As by some inward fire!

How dear the sense that all things wild

Have been at last by love beguiled

To join one chorus, reconciled

    In satisfied desire! [page 13]

The changing hillside, wrapped in dreams,

With softest opalescent gleams,

Like some ethereal vison seems,

    Outlined against the sky;

The fields that gave the harvest gold—

Afar before our eyes unrolled

In purple distance, fold on fold—

    Lovely and tranquil lie.

We linger by the crimson vine,

Steeped to the heart with fragrant wine,

And there the rowan-berries shine,

    And gentians lift their blue;

We stay to hear the wind that grieves

Among the oak’s crisp, russet leaves,

And watch the moving light, that weaves

    Quaint patterns, peering through.

The fires that in the maples glow,

The rapture that the beeches know,

The smoke-wraiths drifting to and fro,

    Each season more endears;

Vague longings in the heart arise,

A dimming mist comes to the eyes

That is not sadness, though it lies

    Close to the place of tears. [page 14]

We share the ecstasy profound

That broods in everything around,

And by the wilderness are crowned—

    Its silent worship know.

O when the Indian Summer days

Divide the parting of the ways,

May we, too, linger here in praise

    Awhile before we go! [page 15]


BEHIND their veils of clinging mist,

    Elusive as a dream,

In changing rose and amethyst

    The mountains stood supreme.

Consumed as by some inward fire

    Of brooding mystery,

They held the heart of his desire—

    His love and poetry.

And always, ever, some dear time—

    So ran his hidden hopes—

He meant to leave his task and climb

    Their beckoning emerald slopes,

To scale their precipices bold,

    And watch the rose-wreaths rise,

To see the gates of Heaven unrolled

    Before his longing eyes. [page 16]

But always, always, something pressed

    Between him and his aim;

He kept his dream, but gave the rest

    To meet the common claim.

He ploughed the black and fertile plain,

    And sowed the waiting soil,

And harvested the yellow grain,

    And spent his days in toil;

Nor failed to give a helping hand

    When others stood in need;

But strove to meet each new demand

    With patient word and deed.

So went the seasons. Wrapped in mist

    The mountains, blue and gold,

Behind their veils of amethyst

    Still wait, but—he is old! [page 17]


GREEN banners just unfurled,

    Summer comes apace,

There will be a new world

    At the old home place;

Scarlet wing will flash by,

Meadow-lark will soar high—

O, and that is where I

    Turn my longing face!

Never days like those days,

    Never joy like mine;

All the world a soft haze—

    All the world a shrine!

Overhead, the blue sheen;

Underneath, the new green;

I with beating heart between

    Finding life divine! [page 18]

Ah! and how the birds sang

    Every sunny day,

All the fields and woods rang

   With their ecstasy;

How my wanton pulse thrills,

How my homesick heart fills,

Thinking of those green hills

    Dear and far away! [page 19]


AFLOAT upon the tide one summer night,

Dreamily watching how the moonbeams bright

Made little broken rings of fairy light,

And vaguely lost in that half-conscious mood

That steals upon the sense in solitude,

I drifted near a shadowy island wood

Where all was silent, scarce a leaf was stirred—

So still in the air—when suddenly I heard

The piercing, anguished cry as of a bird

In such distress it made the echoes ring

And set the startled silence quivering—

The wild appeal of some sweet feathered thing [page 20]

In its extremity. And then a sound,

Half-muffled, faint, and all again was drowned

In silence inarticulate, profound.

I went my way; but that despairing cry,

Unheeded and unanswered from on high,

Rang through me like the voice of Destiny.

And in my restless heart the old, deep strain—

The bitter doubt and wild rebellious pain

I thought were laid—came surging up again. [page 21]


THEY hollowed her a little grave

    Within the cool, dark ground,

The woods and winds soft welcome gave

    With many a murmuring sound.

The sighing pines and aspens low

    Joined in her funeral hymn,

But they who brought her did not know—

    Grief made their senses dim.

And though at first they vigil kept

    When in the dark she fared,

They come no more—the fate they wept

    Perchance they since have shared.

But there are other friends who stay

    Beside her constantly,

And bear her in their humble way

    Sweet, steadfast company. [page 22]

The kindly, patient grass hath spread

    A coverlet of green,

And made her little lowly bed

    Pleasant to be seen.

Above her head the sheltering trees

    Have woven canopies,

The nesting birds and droning bees

    Croon her soft lullabies.

The comradeship of field and wood

    Grows stronger year by year,

As she becomes to Nature’s mood

    More intimate and dear. [page 23]


NOW come the days when orchards bloom,

    And lilacs are unfolding,

And Nature from the winters’ tomb

    Fresh loveliness is moulding,

When in the woods there rise anew

Anemone and meadow-rue,

And everywhere the violets blue

    High carnival are holding.

When, touched by changing sun and shower,

    The chestnut buds are filling,

And purple hyacinths each hour

    Fresh fragrance are distilling,

When here and there enchanting notes

Come ringing from impassioned throats,

And flash of blue or scarlet coats

    Sets all one’s pulses thrilling. [page 24]

And what of thee, O sullen heart—

    Still busy with thy grieving?

Hast thou no little leaves to start,

    Thy barrenness retrieving?

Nay, leave thy chamber, come abroad,

See how the apathetic clod

Awakens at the touch of God,

    Spring’s sacrament receiving.

Wilt thou not answer to the call,

    Thy selfish grief forsaking,

And trust the Love behind it all,

    Life’s promises partaking?

The frailest little flower that blows

A higher dream of Heaven knows

Than he who dully grieving goes

    When round him Spring is breaking. [page 25]


TO LOVE and to be loved again

    Was all she ever asked or sought,

To know a mother’s joy and pain

    And be into life’s fabric wrought;

Her simple faith was satisfied

    With what she felt and understood,

To walk in sunny ways she tried,

    Believing, practising the good.

To others’ need and use she brought,

    With constant and unconscious grace,

The best she had, her only thought

    To be of service in her place.

The leisured, laughing, careless throng

    By her unheeded went their way,

But in her eyes a silent song

    Grew ever deeper day by day.

.        .        .        .        .         .        .        .

[page 26]

Hast thou done reverence in thy heart

    To such as she, who serve and wait—

Been mindful in thy place and part

    That self-forgetful souls grow great?

Hast thou her narrower portion made

    By sympathy more large and sweet?

Or ever branch of laurel laid

    At her unconscious, tireless feet?

Hast thou not eaten of her bread

    And hurried forth forgetfully?

Or stood, perchance, with unbared head

    And smiled at her simplicity?

Nay, brother, she who in her soul

    Has kept the altar-fires alight

May all unconscious touch the goal

    And outrank thee in Heaven’s sight. [page 27]


“AT life’s great feast,” they said to me,

    “The gods serve out the good wine first;

Look to thy cups, drink heartily,

    In early hour assuage thy thirst.”

Not so! Though eagerly I quaffed,

    Deeming it then well-spiced, good wine,

To me seems now that early draught

    Of vintage human—this divine! [page 28]


OH, there’s nothing like the prairie

    When the wind is in your face,

And a thunder-storm is brewing,

    And night comes down apace—

’Tis then you feel the wonder

    And immensity of space!

Far in the gathering darkness

    Against the dying day

The ghostly hills are lying,

    The hills that stand for aye—

How in the dusk they glimmer

    And palpitate away!

Behind them still there lingers

    A hint of sunset gold;

The trail before you stretches,

    A long black ribbon unrolled—

Long and black and narrow,

    Where the buffalo trod of old. [page 29]

Though motionless forever,

    The prairies seem to keep

The rolling swell and hollow

    Of some undulating deep,

As to the edge of heaven

    And still beyond they sweep.

Between your knees the bronco

    Goes hotly o’er the plain,

With rhythmic swing and measure

    You feel him give and strain,

And on your cheek come stinging

    The first wild drops of rain.

How vast the world and void!

    No living thing in sight,

As to the lonely prairie

    Comes down the lonely night,

But in your heart what freedom—

    What sense of buoyant flight!

Once more the pulses quicken

    With life’s exultant pride,

With hope and high ambition,

    As on and on you ride,

Till all the old desires

    Come galloping beside! [page 30]

Oh, there’s nothing like the prairie

    When the wind is in your face,

And the boom of distant thunder

    Comes rolling up apace—

’Tis then you feel the wonder

    And immensity of space! [page 31]


O SUMMER Days, how shall we part!

To thee I gave mine inmost heart.

Swift to thy call have been my feet,

I loved thy raptures and thy heat;

Thy sunsets and thy evening star

Have beckoned from their deeps afar.

Thy winds have taught me to forget—

O Summer Days, not yet, not yet!

Thy veery’s oft-repeated note

And oriole’s song I’ve learned by rote,

Thy nights have filled me with content,

Thy dawns were as a sacrament.

The silence of thy forest ways

Has given peace to troubled days,

And all thy lovely, leafy things

Have brought the joy a comrade brings.

Beneath thy dome of tender blue

I’ve learned to measure life anew;

The absent hope, the lost desire

Urge me again to something higher,

And Beauty with her mystic gleam

Has waked again the old-time dream

And charmed away the vain regret—

O Summer Days, not yet, not yet! [page 32]


DESTROY me not, O friend, I pray,

With thy well-meaning sympathy;

Give me no pity, but a place

Where falls the sunlight on my face.

The race is to the swift, I know,

The battle to the strong; but Oh!

Full recompense there is for each

When Heaven itself is in our reach.

The widow’s gift of old was small,

Yet was it counted more than all;

’Tis what he does, not what he can,

That proves the measure of the man. [page 33]

And so, if thou would’st have me strong,

Dwell not on what is sad or wrong;

’Tis not in marking how they fail

That men find courage to prevail.

I ask no more than just the chance

To match my will with circumstance,

With what I am in mind and heart

To take my due and play my part.

God showeth me no special grace,

And why should’st thou? Yield me my place—

The right to strive—and spare me, pray,

Thy well-intentioned sympathy. [page 34]


WHERE sweeps the broad St. Lawrence

    I stood one windy day,

Upon a rocky islet

    That faced the open bay,

And watched the breakers leaping

    In towers of snow-white spray.

Like some invading army

    Upon the rocks they bore,

With clamor and confusion,

    And vast tumultuous roar;

Their mists, like smoke of battle,

    Rolled white along the shore.

Upon my brow in baptism

    Cold, stinging drops were flung,

And in my ears, like music,

    The storm’s wild chant was rung—

The chorus of the waters,

    That know nor speech nor tongue. [page 35]

An elemental passion

    Was in the stress and sweep,

And all at once responsive

    I felt my pulses leap;

There seemed a subtle kinship

    Betwixt me and the deep.

I shared its wild commotion,

    The springs of its unrest,

The secret of its tumult

    Lay hidden in my breast,

And in my heart a nameless

    Wild exultation pressed.

Long past the day! Still often

    Its mood will o’er me fall;

Again I hear those distant

    Storm-voices call and call,

And know this busy getting

    And spending is not all. [page 36]


WHEN one has journeyed far afield

    To see earth’s varied treasure,

And taste the joy fresh pastures yield—

    Perhaps its greatest pleasure

Is when he turns his footsteps back

Along the old, well-beaten track,

    To learn in fuller measure,

Home’s quiet joys and friendly cheer

By absence rendered still more dear.

’Tis well to turn the wearied eyes

    Where foreign suns are glowing,

And gain the stimulus that lies

    Where fresher streams are flowing;

But O, the happy rush of thought

With which the eager hours are fraught

    When we are homeward going!

How good the old accustomed place—

How sweet each dear familiar face! [page 37]


I NEVER saw his face, or knew his name,

But that gay morning as I loitering came

Around the blossoming hillside, all aflame

With lilac spires and apple-blossoms brave,

That to the rifling air the sweetness gave,

I saw where they were making him his grave.

If I had chanced to meet him by the way,

In all the golden sunshine of the day,

No pleasant word I might have found to say;

But since he could no longer come to meet

The world, love-smitten, dreaming at his feet,

Nor feel within his pulse the Spring-tide beat,

Nor love again, I gave for him instead,

And poured upon his low, unconscious head

The sacramental love that shrives the dead. [page 38]

And though I went my way with eyelids wet

For grief of one whom I had never met,

Because his day so soon was ended, yet

I turned my face up Heavenward again,

Believing human love is not in vain;

And, moved and softened by the sudden strain

Of fellowship, I touched the larger mood

Of universal love, and understood

The passion of our common brotherhood. [page 39]


OF countries far and famed have I been told,

    And of the joys that foreign travel brings,

Of wonders, beauties one would fain behold

    To stir the heart with fresh imaginings.

And I myself in storied Switzerland

    Have watched the Alps in their majestic calm,

And been by jasmine-scented breezes fanned

    In tropic isles that bear the stately palm.

And many a fabled castle on the Rhine

    Has winged my fancy as we drifted by;

Beside the oleander and the vine

    I’ve dreamed beneath the soft Italian sky.

But I have never been more deeply stirred

    By any loveliness of land or sea

Than when upon Canadian shores I’ve heard

    The lonely loon or curlew call to me

Across our own unnumbered Northern lakes,

    And over leagues of winding water-ways

Upon whose nameless shores the aspen shakes

    And yellows in the soft autumnal haze. [page 40]

(And O to swing away where all is new,

    And share the haunts of shy and tameless things,

To dip one’s paddle in the liquid blue

    And skim the water lightly as with wings!)

When on the broad St. Lawrence some gray day,

    Among those islands wrought of mist and dreams,

I drift to realms of unreality

    Where all the world a lovely vision seems;

Or when among the Rockies I have caught

    The sudden gleam of peaks above the cloud,

And on the tumult of my quickened thought

    New visions, dreams and aspirations crowd;

Or, thinking of the future and of all

    That generations yet unborn shall see—

The forests that for axe and ploughshare call,

    The wealth of golden harvests yet to be,

I am content with Canada, and ask

    No fairer land than has been given me,

No greater joy, no more inspiring task,

    Than to upbuild and share her destiny. [page 41]


LIFE has a thousand raptures still

    To crowd the common ways,

For Beauty walks with him who will,

    Close comrade of his days.

Each season with its coming brings

    A store of fresh delight,

For joy is at the heart of things

    For him who sees aright.

O eloquent the light that thrills

    Along the morning sky!

O lovely are the dreaming hills

    When silent night draws nigh!

The rhythmic sun and stars reveal

    Our habitation wide,

Cradled in mystery, still we feel

    Secure and satisfied; [page 42]

And we may kindly when we will

    The light in children’s eyes,

And learn by loving to fulfil

    Our joy in sacrifice.

O, he who keeps an open mind

    Wins strength to master pain;

Whatever be denied, he’ll find

    A thousand joys remain! [page 43]


SINCE fate hath given thee no child

    To lie within thine arm,

That by its presence undefiled

    Should keep thy soul from harm,

If thou wert truly mother-born

    Thou would’st have played the part,

And found some little one forlorn

    To fold within thy heart. [page 44]


TO MY garden every day

Little masqueraders gay

Come to while the hours away.

Gauzy, glittering, fragile things,

Jewelled as befitteth kings,

Floating far on purple wings.

Voyagers of earth and air,

Facing life without a care,

Dainty, dashing, debonair.

Gay adventures at ease,

Sleek and happy as you please,

Drifting idly with the breeze.

Warriors clad in polished mail,

Fierce for battle tooth and nail—

Well the stoutest heart may quail! [page 45]

Spurs upon the tiny feet,

Cuirass, helmet, all complete—

Saw you ever aught so neat?

Little brothers in disguise,

Peering forth with curious eyes,

Quaintly humble, quaintly wise;

Plumy pennons half unfurled,

Filmy aigrettes lightly curled—

O, this marvellous, magic world! [page 46]


WITHIN the portals of my heart

There lies a chamber set apart,

    And I to enter there

Must first be purged of every sin—

Be purified without, within,

    And girded with a prayer;

For nothing common or unclean

May ever in that room be seen,

    No taint of sin or woe;

Up from the midst there runs a stair

That leads above, I know not where,

    But angels come and go.

I feel the fanning of their wings,

I hear their low-breathed whisperings—

    They sometimes speak my name!

And all my soul is softened, thrilled,

With holy aspirations filled

    I touch the altar-flame.

.        .        .        .        .        .        .        .

[page 47]

Another chamber lies apart

Within the portals of my heart,

    Whose easy door swings wide;

And when my feet its threshold tread

A tumult in my soul is bred

    That sweeps me like a tide.

And from it, too, there runs a stair

That leads without, I know not where,

    But flitting forms I see,

Who would my spirit fain beguile

With soft beseeching look and smile

    To join their revelry.

And some dark presence hovering near

Constrains me, whispering in my ear—

    Exultant, smooth and bold—

The same alluring, honied word—

The subtle promise Jesus heard

    Upon the Mount of old.

.        .        .        .        .        .        .        .

Some days the portals of my heart

Shall riven be, and fall apart,

    Touched by a power unknown;

And I, a pallid ghost, must flee

Far out into eternity,

    Unshriven and alone. [page 48]

In that dread hour of waste and woe

One door shall open wide, I know,

    But only one, to me;

One stair my hurrying feet must tread,

As I go forth to join the dead—

    O Soul, which shall it be? [page 49]


THE roses blushed a deeper red,

    The lilies looked more saintly,

The sweet-alyssum hung its head,

    And smiled and frowned most quaintly;

The daisies even, at my feet,

Were strangely knowing, strangely sweet;

The hollyhocks against the wall,

    So serious and old-fashioned,

Were all astir, the larkspur tall

    Seemed really quite impassioned.

I pondered, but I could not guess

What made their sudden consciousness.

Where’er I looked, their little eyes

    Were eager, wise and tender,

As if they had some new surprise

    Or sympathy to render—

But, turning round all unaware,

I saw that she was standing there! [page 50]


CAUGHT up on wings am I!

The rapture of the sky

Is mine as in my flight

Through boundless spaces bright—

Delirium of light—

I soar on high—on high—

Till Heaven itself is nigh—

Caught up on wings am I!

In bonds but yesterday

A prisoner I lay,

The song unguessed, unheard,

The hope—the dream unstirred,

As mounts the singing bird

To realms of ecstasy,

I mount upon my way

And speed aloft to-day. [page 51]

My own has come to me

And set my spirit free,

No more enchained I dwell,

The speeding arrow fell—

Wrought was the miracle,

Far realms beyond I see,

The best is yet to be—

My own has come to me! [page 52]


THE long-closed doors have opened wide,

Come in, Beloved, partake, abide,

    Make home with me;

I’ll weave a chaplet for thy brow

Of bitter-sweet and rue, and thou

    Shalt crownèd be.

The grapes hang purpling on the wall,

The flagons brim, the apples fall,

    The hours run fast;

Gray shadows lengthen, toward the west

The sun is turning—be my guest

    While day shall last!

The fire upon the altar burns,

The tide is in, the light returns

    Far out at sea;

The heart that hath so long been dumb

Speaks once again: Beloved, come,

    Make home with me. [page 53]


HAST singed thy pretty wings, poor moth?

Fret not; some moths there be

That wander all the weary night,

Longing in vain to see

The light.

Hast felt the scorching flame, poor heart?

Grieve not; some hearts exist

That know not, grow not to be strong,

And weep not, having missed

The song. [page 54]


I BUILDED me a palace fair,

Untouched of pain, remote from care,

And with my dreams I tarried there.

I tarried there for one brief day,

Then sorrow came and had its way—

My house of hope in ruins lay.

But, girded with a strength unknown

Before its joy was overthrown,

My soul arose and stood alone;

And gazing past life’s sore defeat,

Past earth receding at its feet—

With all the beauty magic-sweet— [page 55]

Beyond the reach of time and chance,

And wrecking tides of circumstance,

It saw as in a lightning glance

The distant goal. O not in vain

These earthly crucibles of pain,

In every loss may still be gain!

And though we know not how or whence,

Denial hath its recompense,

And love its hidden, sure defence. [page 56]


GLOWING, passionate, perfect,

    Crimson fold on fold,

Packed with that exquisite beauty

    Only a rose can hold—

Under the velvet petals

    Hints of hidden gold.

(And oh! the swift enchantment,

    Half pain, half ecstasy,

When Beauty for a moment

    Turns and looks our way—

In her eyes the haunting

    Old, sweet mystery!)

Others saw my roses,

    Thought them lovely too,

Praised their form and fragrance,

    Marvelled at their hue—

Others loved my roses—

    ’Twas only I that knew! [page 57]

’Twas only I that fathomed

    Their innermost hearts of flame,

To me alone their beauty

    A sacrament became—

To me alone they whispered

    The secret of your name! [page 58]


CONSTRAIN me not! Dost thou not know

That if I turn from thee my face

’Tis but to hide the overflow

Of love? We need a little space

And solitude in which to kneel

And thank our God for this high grace

That He hath set His holy seal

Upon our lives. My heart doth burn

With consciousness of all I feel

And own to thee, and if I turn

For one brief moment from thy gaze,

’Tis but that I may better learn

To bear the unaccustomed blaze

Of that white light that like a flame

Thy love has set amidst my days.

For with that clearer light there came

A vision of the far-off sea

We mortals know not how to name, [page 59]

That borders on Infinity.

Since when I am not all my own,

Nor wholly thine—some part of me

Responds to God, and God alone.

For love makes silence in the heart

As well as song, and rolls the stone

From buried selves, and makes us part

Of all that was and is to be—

High-priests of life; and though thou art

Revealer and revealed to me,

And my desire has been fulfilled,

And all my life is crowned in thee,

Yet there remains a chord that, thrilled

To keener sense, doth recognize

The spirit claim, and I am stilled

With deepened reverence that lies

Below all speech. Behold I lay

My heart in thine, O bid me rise

To find with thee Love’s higher way

That leads past self into the wide,

Still reaches of eternal day! [page 60]


SCARCE had my flower bloomed when one

    By one its crimson petals fell;

    Touched by some change inscrutable

Its life and loveliness were done.

And with it something in my heart

    Suddenly passed and was no more,

    As if a hand had closed the door

Where Beauty, dreaming, sat apart.

O life, O loveliness, how brief!

    How soon the costly wine is spilled—

    The casket sealed, the laughter stilled!

But O, how long, how endless, grief!

So musing, mourning, I complained,

    When lo! a seed replaced my flower;

    All that was drawn from sun and shower

In substance still to me remained.

.        .        .        .        .        .        .        .

[page 61]

A voyager, this tiny barque,

    That breasts the sea of change and loss,

    What power fashioned it to cross

The wide abysses of the dark?

Shall not that Power in some sphere

    Beyond our finite reach or ken

    Bring into life and bloom again

The good we sought to fashion here? [page 62]


HIS mother wrought as only mothers can,

And gave the impress to the coming man,

Put all her earlier aims and hopes aside,

Focussed in him her whole desire and pride,

Nor spared herself, but toiling early, late,

Hewed through their poverty a pathway straight

For his young footsteps—gave him all she had,

And sent him forth an honest, whole-souled lad.

His wife, the guardian of his later ways,

The star and inspiration of his days,

Relieved him of those trivial, tyrant cares

That lurk about our feet like hidden snares,

And set him free for higher thought and deed;

Making her heart a home to meet his need

As only women can, she gave surcease

Of grinding stress and fenced him in with peace. [page 63]

And he?—Before him burned the steadfast light

Their hands had held to guide his way aright;

By it he reached the summit of his aim,

The goal of his endeavor, and became

The idol of his day. But they who sound

His fame remember not the lives uncrowned

On which he stands—the narrow, obscure ways

Two women trod to wreathe his name with praise. [page 64]


WHEN o’er my garden falls the night,

Withholding from my ravished sight

The roses red, the lilies white,

Still through the dark am I aware

Of how they stand in beauty there,

Since to the timid, wandering air

Each fragrant bloom its passion flings

And to my sense fresh rapture brings

From all the lovely hidden things.

So is it with my thought of thee;

For through the darkness still I see

That gracious look thou gavest me.

And though our ways lie far apart,

Yet through the distance to my heart

The fragrant sense of what thou art

Brings something delicate and true

That thrills the shining silence through

And wakens all my love anew. [page 65]


I TRIM to the gale, I carry my banner unfurled,

I steer to a chart unseen and unknown of the world.

I challenge the fates, I laugh in the face of defeat,

I look from afar and know not the sign of retreat.

The chosen went forth, I stood with them not on the roll,

I stood in my place uncalled and was valiant of soul.

Denial has been my armor well-tempered and bright,

From pain I have woven banners both crimson and white.

From out of the dark I forged me a trumpet and blew,

From out of the dark came ringing a voice that I knew. [page 66]

The victors returned, I heard them come marching in line.

The victors returned—the conqueror’s triumph was mine!

My vigils are filled with the sound of the trumpeter’s song,

I wait for the dawn content, I have seen and am strong. [page 67]


WHEN first you came, it was perpetual Spring,

Fourfold of rapture flamed in everything,

And all abroad the gods went wandering.

Then followed Summer, full, luxuriant;

We wrought together, and our days were spent

In love’s fulfilment and life’s sacrament.

’Tis Autumn now, and all that went before—

The joy of Spring, the Summer’s golden store—

We harvest in our hearts to fail no more.

To fail no more? When winter storms must sweep

Across the shrines where we were wont to keep

Love’s sacred tryst, and soon—so soon shall sleep?

Yea, Love, whate’er betide, I know the seed

Of what was wrought in faithful love and deed

Shall but lie dormant waiting higher need. [page 68]


FLOW on, flow on, wild hurrying tide,

    There waits for thee

Fulfilment of thy dream, the wide

    Deep-bosomed sea.

And thou, wild heart, press on, nor fear

    But there shall be

In some wide sphere, afar or near,

    A home for thee. [page 69]


ABOUT the old deserted place,

    So long forsaken and forlorn,

There lingers still a touch of grace,

    A fragrance every year new-born.

For lilacs there in Spring unfold

    Beside the long unopened door,

Communion still they seem to hold

    With those who come and go no more.

Against the window-frame they lean,

    Their banners floating to the air,

And spread their arms as if to screen

    The silent shadows lurking there.

Pale spires uplifted to the sun

    Break into bloom as if to fill,

In memory of days long done,

    The empty place with fragrance still. [page 70]

As if with beauty they would hide

    The fallen fortunes of the race,

Still cherishing with love and pride

    The old traditions of the place.

So year by year they closer press,

    And every season slowly spread,

Praising with silent loveliness

    The unknown, long-forgotten dead. [page 71]


I WATCH thy little bells of blue,

So delicate of form and hue,

And when I see them swing and sway

I listen for the chimes to play;

But dull has grown the mortal ear,

And I can never, never hear

The dainty tunes, but only guess

Their music from thy loveliness.

Dost thou announce the day new-born,

And ring the changes of the morn,

And summon for an early mass

The little peoples of the grass,

That they may give fresh meed of praise

For sun and rain and summer days?

Dost thou the moon’s late rising tell,

And sound at eve a curfew bell? [page 72]

When drowsy bees go loitering,

And butterflies are on the wing,

Dost beat the merry music out,

And swell the rhythm of the rout?

Dost ever some faint message sound

For all the wee folk of the ground,

Of those far mysteries that lie

Beyond their ken in earth and sky?

Keep thou thy silence, fairy bell,

Thou art no less a miracle;

No less a rapture thou dost bring

Because we cannot hear thee ring;

For they who give attentive ear

Must catch thy silvery cadence clear,

And know a joy no language tells,

When in the heart there sings and swells

The music of thy magic bells. [page 73]


MY giants are fair days and hours of ease,

    Wherein I seem

    Adrift upon a stream

Of luring, lulling phantasies

    In some enchanted dream.

More to be welcomed were the battle-plain,

    Where drum and fife

    Call to the deadly strife,

For coward self may there be slain,

    The hero brought to life. [page 74]


HOW shall we bring to one clear tone

    The divers voice of our day,

    Or what authority obey

Where tongues arise, confused, unknown?

How shall we in the clamor give

    To each an undivided ear,

    Or through discordant doctrines hear

The still, small voice imperative?

Where devious roadways twist and cross

    How shall we find the narrow way

    That leads afar to endless day,

Past all this fevered fret and loss?

Can doubting spirits ever thrust

    Their roots deep to the heart of life?

    Or bear above its toil and strife

The fruit of steadfast love and trust?

When in the wilderness we roam,

    And from afar strange voices call,

    And night’s uncertain shadows fall,

How shall we know which way leads home? [page 75]


HEPATICAS and violets blue,

    And lilies with the fragrant bell—

Ah! they can speak the love so true

    I have no other way to tell,

And so to one for tribute meet,

I bring my flowers, dewy, sweet.

And there is one I love full well

    Beneath whose tender brooding eyes

Such little songs as in me dwell

    Are gathered into melodies,

And heart to heart doth softly reach

By music’s mystic, yearning speech.

And still is one with whom I share

    Such wisdom as the years have taught

Through sacrament of daily care

    That life’s experience has wrought;

To counsel him, console, uplift,

Keep step with step—this is my gift. [page 76]

And what remains, Beloved, for thee,

To whom I fain all things would be?

Alas, for thee the wounds and pain,

    The piercing thorn, the searing rod,

The stroke that cleft my life in twain,

    The chastisement that was of God—

These are my only offering,

For, O! myself to thee I bring. [page 77]


I USED to think the honey-bee

    A harmless little fellow,

An animated symphony

    Done up in brown and yellow,

But since I read my Maeterlinck

I really don’t know what to think!

Such marvellous sagacity

    And delicate acumen,

Such zeal and pertinacity

    Are really more than human;

Such order, industry and law

Inspire me with the deepest awe.

Republican in principle

    Is laid their constitution,

And every little waxen cell

    Accords with evolution;

Their national life is most complex—

Nor merely to be thought reflex! [page 78]

The queen and all her acolytes

    Are carefully defended,

The drones and all the lesser lights

    Are also well attended;

That they can fashion queen or drone

Most undeniably is shown.

They practise every secret art,

    Nature herself defying,

And to the death each plays his part—

    ’Tis really stupefying;

One questions if great Socrates

Knew half as much as honey-bees!

I almost feel I should forsake—

    It seems such desecration—

The honey that I used to take

    With so much delectation

As if one ate the very flowers—

The hearts of happy summer hours!

If ever country life to you

    Seems dull and overrated,

And you would have a point of view

    Both fresh and elevated,

Read up on Bees, by Maeterlinck,

He’ll show you how to see and think! [page 79]


MY cares this morning when I rose

    Seemed mountainous. I had no joy

In what the long hours might disclose—

    The tasks that should my powers employ.

Within my heart lurked gnawing pain,

    Hard duty stared me in the face—

How much of life we live in vain,

    How dull the round and commonplace!

But in my garden where I stepped

    I saw the flowering grasses fair,

Feathery, delicate, wind-swept,

    Swaying in simple beauty there;

And presently a little child.

    Whose wondering face was like a shrine,

Lifted untroubled eyes and smiled

    With sudden happiness to mine. [page 80]

And wide above me stretched the skies—

    The deep unfathomable blue,

Emblem of greater mysteries,

    Forever old, forever new.

With beauty lavished everywhere,

    With love still ours in priceless store—

And back of all the unseen Care—

    O faithless heart, what would’st thou more? [page 81]


EACH hath his own. To thee the light

    That broods in tender eyes—

To me the darkness and the blight

    Of lonely wasting sighs.

In fields where fruits and flowers press,

    With manna thou wert fed;

In many a thorny wilderness

    My bleeding feet were led.

God’s face shone through the stars for thee,

    And life came tender-wise;

Through sorrow’s mists He looked at me—

    My portion, sacrifice.

For thee there shone in distant gleams

    Illimitable day;

I drank from Marah’s bitter streams,

    And went my lonely way.

I would not change! To each his own;

    The rugged steeps I trod

Familiar to my feet have grown,

    And yet may lead to God. [page 82]


NOT in the lingering caress

    Doth love its purest rapture gain,

Words have no power to express

    Our highest flights of joy or pain.

The soul in quietness alone

    Attains the hidden source of power,

The truth most deeply of us known

    Comes in the solitary hour.

Nor is it on a chosen day

    Shall dawn the gift that satisfies,

But in its own dear time and way

    And with the sweetness of surprise.

’Tis when the heart is least aware

    That Beauty softly steals within,

To call us from our dwarfing care

    And make us to herself akin.

Nor can we ever at our will

    Evoke the higher vision true,

But we can listen and be still

    And let the Infinite shine through. [page 83]


O LOVELY is the human face,

Its curves and color, form and grace

    So tenderly combined;

But O, however fair it be

It is not beautiful to me

Nor full of charm unless I see

    The living soul behind!

And lovely are Earth’s various moods,

Her winter snows, her summer woods,

    Her meadows green and broad;

But O, I find no loveliness

In mountain, sea or sky unless

Their changing forms to me express

    The changelessness of God! [page 84]


ALL day within the mine’s deep grave

    The heat and dust and gloom he bore

Right valiantly, a willing slave,

    To win—a little heap of ore!

His neighbor on the hill-top stood

    To feel the winds blow on his face,

Or roamed within the silent wood,

    Lost in the beauty of the place.

Of Nature’s handicraft a few

    Frail blossoms gathered by the way,

Some grasses and a shell or two

    Were all he had at close of day.

Adjudge, ye wise, which of the twain

    On that sweet summer day won most;

How shall we measure loss or gain—

    On what achievement make our boast?

O, is there not a place for each?

    One wins his soul by sweat of brow,

Another by the inward reach,—

    And God hath need of both, I trow. [page 85]


CRIMSON buds are on the maple,

    Thrilling notes are in the air,

There is green upon the hillside—

    There is beauty everywhere.

In the woods pale starry blossoms

    Rise like spirits frail and fair.

From the fence the flash of blue wings

    Gives the heart a sudden stir,

From the thicket by the wayside

    What sweet melodies occur!

(O, the unseen hands that beckon

    From the heart of days that were!)

All along the dreaming meadows

    There are voices faint but clear,—

Wake, my heart, and listen, listen,

    If perchance thou mayest hear

Wordless messages that carry

    Only to the spirit ear. [page 86]

Life is here in full abundance,

    Overflowing, potent, sweet,

Youth with all his old-time rapture

    Waits for undelaying feet,

Love in old and new disguises

    Makes the loveliness complete. [page 87]


I LOVE all things that God has made

    That show His ordered care and might,

But most, I think, I love the wind

               That blows at night.

It holds so much of mystery,

    Like that in mine own restless heart—

Brother to me, and well-beloved,

               O Wind, thou art!

Across these unresisting plains

    It sweeps at times with force sublime,

And always like the wraith it seems

               Of happier clime.

For in South its home has been,

A sun-kissed, warm and fertile land,

Where Nature pours her treasure from

               Unstinting hand. [page 88]

Through fields of rustling corn it came

    And acres broad of bearded wheat,

Past hillsides clad with evergreen

               And orchards sweet.

It rifled scent from clover fields

    Where harvesters have been at work,

And ruffled little running brooks

               Where mosses lurk.

It bears the note of piping frogs,

    The stir of tender, untried wings—

Of lowing kine, and homely sounds

               Of barnyard things.

O barren Land! what dost thou dream

    Beneath these surging winds that bear

The echoes of a life which thou

               Canst never share?

Dost thou not long to break thy calm—

    To know that living, sweet unrest?

And feel the tread of busy feet

              Upon thy breast? [page 89]

To hear thy children’s laughter voiced

    In myriad tongues, and know that when

Their day is done within thy breast

               They’ll sleep again?

O silent Land! the winds that blow

    Within the men’s hearts and fan the fire

Of hidden hopes and show the soul

               Its own desire,

Have come to me from distant shores

    And borne in broken whisperings

A tale that thrilled me like a tide

              From rising springs.

The full-pressed wine of life my lips

    Have never tasted, yet is known,

My heart, though held in bondage, leaps

               To claim its own.

I know my lawful heritage,

    Although I stand on alien ground;

I know what kinship is, although

               I go uncrowned.

.          .          .          .          .          .          .

[page 90]

At night when inner tempests blow,

    And sleep forsakes my weary eye,

I love to hear the wind without

               Go storming by.

It speaks my own wild native tongue

    And gives me courage to withstand,

As if a comrade came to me

               And took my hand.

I love all things that God has made

    In earth or sea or heavens bright,

But most I love the prairie winds

               That blow at night. [page 91]


O’ER the water faintly gleams

Tender light from silvery beams,

O’er thy face flit shadowy dreams,

        Sleep, my baby, sleep.

Through unmeasured deeps of space

Earth, thy cradle, swings apace,

Safe art thou in thy nesting-place,

        Sleep, my baby, sleep.

At the heart of life art thou,

Thorns and roses even now

Grow to pierce and crown thy brow,

        Sleep, my baby, sleep.

Love for thee was freely spent,

Love and life to thee were sent,

Thou their holiest sacrament,

        Sleep, my baby, sleep.

Laden with their unknown freight

Come the years, the ships of fate,

Thou must waken soon or late,

        Sleep, my baby, sleep. [page 92]


A SUDDEN turn—at last was scaled

    The summit of his aim,

The cheer went up, his name was hailed

    With generous acclaim.

But he for whom they raised the shout

    And wreathed the shining bay

Strove in his soul with new-born doubt,

    And silent turned away.

Before his vision there arose,

    Like spectres of the night,

The nameless company of those

    Who perished in the light;

The host baptized in blood and tears,

    Outstripped upon the way,

To whom the gray monotonous years

    Bring no redeeming day;

The hapless, toiling, tired throng

    Who sow but never reap,

And through their weary lives one long

    Unceasing vigil keep. [page 93]

And as he gazed there rose and burned

    An anguish in his soul,

His earlier dreams forgot, he turned

    Back from the hard-won goal;

Back to the crowded ways to bear

    The common lot again,

To mingle tears with tears, and share

    Life’s heritage of pain.

There, though he bears no meed of praise,

    Yet, rounded with content,

He knows a joy that far outweighs

    The world’s aggrandisement. [page 94]


WHEN Spring first breathes on the russet hill,

    In her own faint, lovely fashion,

One’s pulses stir with a sudden thrill;

But when Autumn comes the heart stands still,

    Moved with a deeper passion.

There’s a wonderful charm in the soft, still days

    When earth to her rest is returning,

When the hills are drowned in a purple haze,

When the wild grape sweetens, and all in a blaze

    Of crimson the maples are turning.

Open thy gates, O heart of mine!

    These are the days we have waited,

Put to thy lips the draught divine,

These are the days that hold the wine

    Of Summer concentrated. [page 95]



WHILE yet ’twas dark mine eyes were formed to see;

In silence ears were shapen unto me.

Ere I traversed the subtle ways of thought

Within the sealèd crypt a brain was wrought.

And delicately fashioned was the hand,

Though all unknown the task it should command.

Yet these are but the parts; what of the whole—

The man compact, complete, a living soul?

Shall that which grew within him year by year—

Knowledge and judgment, mastery of fear,

The dawning dream of kindlier brotherhood,

And that dim hope, so little understood,

Which seems to beckon to some higher end

Than yet he has the power to comprehend—

Shall these prove fallow, and the finished man

Be unrelated to the final plan? [page 96]


CAN man know longing for a thing

    That is not—hath not been?

Dare we distrust desires that spring

    Spontaneous within?

Tongue argueth speech; and power, deed—

    Each is by each implied;

Can there be universal need

    Unmeet, unsatisfied?

The heart attuned to love doth find

    Love waiting at the door,

He who to knowledge turns his mind

    Finds knowledge there before,

And shall the deepest want we know,

    The spirit’s anguished cry

For kinship through the darkness, go

    Unanswered from on high? [page 97]


MYSTERIOUS falls the moon’s transforming light

    On lichen-covered rock and granite wall,

Comes piercing through the hollows of the night

               The loon’s weird, plaintive call.

Like some great regiment upon the shore

    The stalwart pines go trooping up the hill,

And faintly in the distance o’er and o’er

               Echoes the whip-poor-will.

Like silhouettes the dreaming islands keep

    Their silent watches, mirrored in the tide,

While in their labyrinth aisles some deep,

               Still mystery seems to hide.

From out the shadows dim against the sky

    Come stealing shadow-ships not made of men,

Faint phantom-barques that slowly drifting by

               Are swallowed up again. [page 98]

While silently beneath, the river flows,

    Unfathomed, dark, a great resistless tide,

Within its bosom deep the virgin snows

               From many a mountain-side.

And, drifting with the current, how we feel

    The haunting witchery of Beauty’s spell!

The world we left behind seems all unreal,

               Where such enchantments dwell.

The vexing cares that overfill our days

    Slip stealthily away, and we are wooed

Back to the healing, half-forgotten ways

               Of peace and solitude. [page 99]


LIKE Druid priests, dark-vestured, slim,

    Burdened with mysteries,

They wake throughout their green aisles dim

               Weird melodies.

Rhythmic within their swaying limbs

    The prisoned music swells,

Far cadence of cathedral hymns

               And calling bells.

The infinite loneliness of night,

    Bereft of joy or pain,

And passion of long-lost delight

               Ebb in the strain.

The wash of low, monotonous waves

    On shores unvisited,

The grasses whispering on graves

               Where hearts have bled, [page 100]

The travail of a world that lies

    Below our mortal sense

Within their plaintive wandering sighs

               Finds utterance.

The dreaming and unconscious things

    Imprisoned in the clod

Voice through them when the night-wind sings

               Their though of God. [page 101]


HAST thou been driven to the wall?—

Sound once again thy battle-call.

Thou knowest not what store of strength

Determination yields at length;

When all the outer forces fail

Sheer inner courage may prevail.

Art thou from service set aside—

Thy cherished hope and work denied?

The greatest task of all may be

To show steadfast serenity.

Not all is lost while we may make

One comrade stronger for our sake.

Doth age creep over thee apace?

Set smiling to the dark thy face,

And make the flame of thy soul’s light

Burn as a beacon in the night,

That those who follow thee may show

Like fortitude, and fearless go. [page 102]

The dying hero’s courage still

The heart of all a world can thrill,

The martyr’s smile above the pyre

Still kindles in us sacred fire,—

No less thy darkest hour may be

Thy deathless opportunity. [page 103]


I DWELT among you, but ye laid

        No hand in mine,

I sought your kindness, but ye made

        No answering sign.

I called ye, but ye hurried by,

        On pleasure bent,

The smiling lip, the kindling eye

        For others meant.

My rose I plucked with trembling hand

        And brought to you,

But at your feet it withered, and

        Ye never knew.

I hungered, thirsted, at your side,

        Ye gave no heed;

With plenty ye were satisfied,

        Nor felt my need.

.          .          .          .          .          .          .

[page 104]

I have not gone uncomforted,

        Though lonely oft;

The dewy grass has been my bed,

        The starlight soft

Above, around my way she shed,

        And I have been

By cooling stream and fountain led

        In pastures green.

And peace through doubting days and nights

        I have attained—

But O if ye had known, what heights

        I might have gained! [page 105]


AND now September! in whose languid veins

    The wine of summer, slow-distilling, flows;

The light and glory fade—the laughter wanes,

               But earth more lovely grows.

O rare September! has it all been said—

    The wistful hours, the soft, reluctant days,

When Nature seems to pause with arms outspread

               And heart that yearns both ways?

Upon the mellowed harp-strings of the vine

    The fitful winds their soft foreboding urge,

And with the liquid murmurs of the pine

               In plaintive sweetness merge.

The mountains, veiled in gold and amethyst,

    Their once familiar outlines scarcely show;

Across the uplands, faint with purple mist,

               The oaks and maples glow.

Those gathering mists the coming change would hide,

    But in our hearts already sounds the knell.

O, never surges love in such a tide

               As when we say farewell! [page 106]

Yet come, September! All the old desires,

    The old enchantments, at thy touch return—

’Tis in our hearts thy August-kindled fires

               In deepest rapture burn.

And in our hearts the ancient melody

    That Earth has yielded of her joy and pain,

Comes softly stealing, echoed back from thee

               In one surpassing strain.

Still Summer waits, her mood with thine akin,

    As if her love could not release its hold

Until her little hosts were folded in

               Against the coming cold—

Against the cold till March once more unlocks

    The gates of frost and rives the icy chain,

And June returns to lead her little flocks

               Across the fields again—

Across the fields, beyond the shining hill,

    When Pan plays up his pipes o’ love and pain—

But now, O heart of mine, be still, be still,

               September comes again! [page 107]


NO grief for me, or vain regret;

    Remember what was good,

    The things for which I stood;

The rest—forget!

Remember, though the way was long

    And cumbersome the load,

    I tried to take the road

With jest and song.

And though my days were sometimes spent

    In loneliness apart,

    I bore a soldier’s heart,

Fearless, content.

Remember all that made me glad,

    The flowers that used to bloom

    Within the little room,

The joys I had. [page 108]

The blessings manifold and dear

    With which life was inwrought,

    The hidden wells of thought—

The hopes, the cheer.

Remember these, my love, and let

    My memory remain

    Untouched of grief or pain;

The rest—forget! [page 109]


THERE was a little garden set apart

Secluded and inviolate in my heart,

A tender place, where there were wont to grow

The sweetest flowers ever heart can know.

And oft at eventide I wandered there

To plan my days or lift my thoughts in prayer.

But by and by there gathered at the gate

A throng that importuned me early, late:

“O, let us in to see your garden fair,

Its fragrance and its pleasantness to share,

“To walk with you amidst the cooling shade

And count your pretty flowers ere they fade.”

And so at last—perchance with secret pride—

I drew the bolt and flung the portals wide, [page 110]

When in there trooped a careless, motley throng,

With curious glances hurrying along.

Some stayed to question and to criticize,

But scarcely heard or heeded my replies;

Some looked about with cold, contemptuous gaze,

And some were loud and voluble in praise.

And so they came and went, but since that hour

There has not bloomed for me one little flower. [page 111]

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MORE lovely grows the earth as we grow old,

    More tenderness is in the dawning spring,

    More bronze upon the blackbird’s burnished wing,

And richer is the autumn cloth-of-gold;

A deeper meaning, too, the years unfold,

    Until to waiting hearts each living thing

    For very love its bounty seems to bring,

Intreating us with beauty to behold.

Or is it that with years we grow more wise

    And reverent to the mystery profound—

Withheld from careless or indifferent eyes—

    That broods in simple things the world around—

More conscious of the Love that glorifies

    The common ways and makes them holy ground? [page 115]



TOUCHED by October’s changing frost and heat,

    The ivy flames upon the gray old walls,

    Or, whirled by sudden, fitful breezes, falls

In little crimson showers at our feet;

Impetuous Spring and lingering Autumn meet

    On these wide lawns and in the echoing halls,

    For Summer with its golden bounty calls

To hearts that still with youth and promise beat.

These Norman towers uplifted to the sun

    A nation’s hope enshrine, a nation’s pride,

And one can scarcely look unmoved upon

    The nation’s youth now gathering to their side,

So great the future to be lost or won—

    So sweet the siren-songs, so swift the tide! [page 116]


AS FAR as sight could reach the wild peaks rose,

    Tier after tier against the limpid blue,

    Titanic forms that stormed the heavens anew

At every turn, crowned with imperial snows;

And then, as day sank softly to its close,

    Diaphanous, ethereal they grew,

    Mere wraiths of rainbow-mist that from our view,

Dream-laden, lapsed to darkness and repose.

And suddenly I found my vision blurred,

    And knew that deeper chord was touched again

Which once in Hungary, when I had heard

    A passionately wild, appealing strain

Of gypsy music, left me strangely stirred

    With incommunicable joy and pain. [page 117]


FROM green to gold, from gold to amethyst,

    Transmuted by the sun’s last lingering ray,

    The tranquil hills in dreaming silence lay,

Wrought to a beauty eye could not resist;

Till, folded in with veils of purple mist

    That slowly wrapt them from reluctant day,

    They mingled with the dusk and flowed away,

Renewing with the stars their nightly tryst.

And as the soft enchantments round us spread,

    And twilight with its pensive shadows fell—

Loosed from the prison-wards of care and dread,

    Lured from our selfish griefs by beauty’s spell—

Along dim thoroughfares our thoughts were led

    To haunts of peace where love and silence dwell. [page 118]


LURED by the golden glamor of the West,

    He crossed the pathless plains and scaled the bold

    Titanic forms that, rising fold on fold,

Touch heaven’s blue; and, toiling, strove to wrest

From Nature’s rugged and reluctant breast

    The treasure she had hidden there of old—

    The treasure of her hoarded yellow gold—

Seductive hope of many a hapless quest!

For this he left all other hopes behind,

    And gave his manhood’s prime and powers away,

Content to be forgotten of his kind—

    Yet all the while within himself there lay

The unregarded treasure of the mind,

    Deep-buried, priceless, wasting day by day. [page 119]


ENCOMPASSED by a thousand nameless fears,

    I see life’s little day begin to wane,

    And hear the well-loved voices call in vain

Across the narrowing margin of my years;

And as the Valley of the Shadow nears,

    Such yearning tides of tenderness and pain

    Sweep over me that I can scarce restrain

The gathering flood of ineffectual tears.

Yet there are moments when the shadow bring

    No sense of parting or approaching night,

But, rather, all my soul seems broadening

    Before the dawn of unimagined light—

As if within the heart a folded wing

    Were making ready for a wider flight. [page 120]


OH, there are moments when the spirit swings

    Far from restraining hands of earth and time,

    And in some finer, more ethereal clime

Outspreads its quivering, rosy-tinted wings;

There Hope untamed beside it soars and sings,

    And all the liquid bells of Fancy chime,

    And earth’s harsh measures smooth themselves to rhyme,

And Joy with old and new enchantment springs.

Oh, question not such moments, nor dispel

    Their ministry by cold and captious doubt.

We are too worldly-wise and critical—

    Too little used to let our music out.

To earth-bound souls becomes inaudible

    The heavenly music hovering about. [page 121]


UNREALIZED, the dim hours come and go,

    A hooded, listless file of shadows pale;

    Men’s deeds like visions pass, and scarce avail

To stir dull thought or give it ebb or flow;

The hopes that pushed us Heavenward once, aglow

    With passionate desire, now flag and fail;

    The lights have vanished, and the wine grown stale,

The blade is rusted and unstrung the bow.

Oh, better far to climb the toilsome height

    Than linger in the valley’s flowered way,

Far better in a losing cause to fight

    Than feel one’s sinews wasting day by day;

Give me the hemlock draught and dreamless night,

    Before this daily death of apathy! [page 122]


Lord, if thy world of beauty fails to rouse

    My apathetic soul to faith in thee,

    And I in swelling bud and blossom see

No sign of all their loveliness avows;

If, set upon Life’s consecrated brows,

    Thy seal remains invisible to me,

    And I, unmindful of the inner plea,

No other interest then self espouse,

Then stab my soul awake with conscious sin;

    Pierce through my cold complacence, and reveal

The death to which indifference is akin,

    Till, overwhelmed by shame and guilt, I feel

The smooth, self-righteous Pharisee within

    Give place and, humbled, at thy threshold kneel. [page 123]


ENVELOPED by the sunset’s crimson glow,

    That all the dreaming landscape glorifies,

    The peasants wait, while softly swells and dies

Across the furrowed fields the Angelus low;

Earth-stained and worn with toil, how should they know

    What loveliness around and in them lies—

    Seen with the passion of a painter’s eyes,

Who once divided and fixed it long ago?

To me, beholding, comes the quickening thought

    That we so close to earth, bowed with the stress

Of daily toil and hopes that come to naught—

    Our senses dulled with grieving—hardly guess

What meaning from it all might not be wrought

    To beauty by some higher consciousness. [page 124]


AS ONE embarking turns deep-visioned eyes

    Back to his fast-receding native shore,

    Whose crystal tides shall ebb and flow no more

For him, or sound their silver harmonies;

And there beholds how all the landscape lies

    Transfigured with a charm it never wore

    In those indifferent early days before

He faced the loneliness of foreign skies;

So earth becomes, to eyes bedimmed with tears

    Of that impending change whose silent knell

Sounds at the heart of slowly-waning years

    (Even to those who always loved it well),

Transfigured with a charm that more endears,

    And touched with beauty indescribable. [page 125]


AROUND us unaware the solemn night

    Had hung its shadowy mantle, while we sought

    To find each other by the roads of thought;

I felt thy orbit nearing, and a light

Streamed suddenly across my inner sight,

    Effulgent, incommunicable, fraught

    With some constraining tenderness that caught

My quickened spirit to its utmost height.

And lo! I saw as with the eyes of two,

    In that swift moment when thy soul touched mine,

The walls of being widened, and I drew

    Near to the portal of a nameless shrine,

A sudden blinding rapture pierced me through,

    And in that instant earth became divine. [page 126]


UPON the deathless battle-field, where all

    The pulses leap responsive to the beat

    Of martial music, and amidst the heat

Of mortal strife is heard the inner call,

The nation’ need—which ever holds in thrall

    Heroic souls—never to know defeat,

    But go with high, unshrinking heart to meet

The foe—it would not seem so hard to fall.

But on the fields at home when hope is fled

    And only ghosts of former joys remain—

God pity those unknown who daily tread

    The desolate, monotonous ways of pain,

And nightly bivouac with their hosts of dead

    On silent battle-fields where hearts are slain! [page 127]


SHE knew but one desire, one single aim

    Consumed her days and robbed her nights of rest—

    To reconcile the two whom she loved best,

Who, long estranged, yet of one household came;

And while for this she strove, her gentle frame

    And tender heart were often sore distressed,

    For all her longing love and pain repressed

Seemed but as fuel added to the flame.

But on that day of silence when she passed

    By unseen pathways to the distant spheres,

What life had failed to do, death wrought at last,

    For they who through the long, embittered years

Had spoken not, now stood with hands locked fast,

    And looked into each other’s face with tears. [page 128]


O FEVERISH heart, that dost forever strain

    Against forbidding bars that still withhold

    Fulfilment of thy hope—thy dream untold,

Thy longing passion spends itself in vain!

No distant heights there are for thee to gain,

    The azure deeps where white wings may unfold

    In glimmering dawns or flaming sunset-gold

Unknown of thee shall evermore remain.

For by thee in thy prison Something stands—

    Some higher shape of self, mayhap—with face

Compassionate as an angel’s, but whose hands

    Shall never set thee free—nay, yesternight

It stood long, silent, gazing into space,

    Then made more fast the doors that bar thy flight. [page 129]


THE night had brooded long, the air was chill,

    Across the open fields the frost bit deep,

    The restless, formless mists, that seemed to creep

Like ghostly wraiths, had swallowed up the hill;

The sombre pines had ceased their plaint of ill

    But yet uplifted pleading arms, the sheep

    And stiff-kneed kine were huddled half asleep,

And all the forest hung inert and still;

When on the silence fell a tenser hush,

    A film of grayness smote the dark and spread,

And slowly in the east a trembling flush

        Shot upward, till the sullen mists, withdrawn,

    Showed all the vanquished shadows fled,

        And myriad heralds cried, “The Dawn! the Dawn!” [page 130]


I WOULD not lose the sense of mystery

    That broods about our little lives and springs

    Eternal from the unknown heart of things,

Nor miss by rude familiarity

Perception of the finer harmony

    That underlies all dissonance and brings

    The unseen to our consciousness and flings

A glory round our way continually.

For they alone shall win their happiness

    Who still make room for things inscrutable;

And he who sees the greater in the less—

    Who finds in folded leaf or purple bell

The Infinite—doth in himself possess

    Some kinship with the daily miracle. [page 131]


THRILLED by the thought of undelaying Spring,

    The little emerald blades unfold to greet

    Their promised heritage of sun and heat,

With life’s wild rapture eager, hastening;

How should they know that Winter yet must bring

    Its icy chains to bind the tender feet—

    That driving storms of snow and chilling sleet

And javelins of frost shall smite and sting?

Thou, too, O eager heart, that dost aspire

    To bring to harvest thy perfected grain,

And reach thy promised heritage of higher

    Endowment, must be swept by storms of pain—

Must know the anguish of delayed desire

    And feel the biting tooth of cold disdain! [page 132]


WHEN thou art distant, then art thou most near,

    For though in thy dear presences I am fain

    With my great joy forever to remain

Yet when thou art no longer with me here,

The sum of thee, like music fine and clear,

    Steals in upon my being till I gain

    So close a sense of thee that I attain

A new relationship divinely dear.

’Tis in the silent hour we most discern

    The face of our beloved, and realize

The deeps of our own heart; ’tis when we yearn

    With unspent passion that the spirit-eyes

Unclose to Heavenly vision, and we learn

    Those narrow ways that lead to Paradise. [page 133]


HE BUILT a temple in his youth, so fair—

    So lofty in conception and design,

    It seemed like some creation half divine,

A fitting place for penitence and prayer.

With selfless zeal he wrought, his only care

To give his best—his all—and build a shrine

    That should afar for longing pilgrims shine,

Calling their weary souls to worship there.

But long neglected now the temple stands,

    Its crumbling walls with rusted ivy hung,

And he who built it with the eager hands

    And shining hope of youth now sits among

        The money-changers at the market-place

        Suspicious, calculating, cold of face. [page 134]


THROUGHOUT the long, monotonous hours of day,

    With lifeless tread and apathetic eyes,

    The slave, inured to toil and sacrifice,

Bends all his powers to the master’s sway;

But with releasing darkness he can lay

    Aside the mask and be himself, and rise

    To face the deep serenity of skies

That veil the waiting gods, and weep and pray.

So with my soul, that through the daylight hours

    Yields to the world, its master, weary, dumb,

In bondage to the trivial, all its powers,
       And yet behind the surface fret and strife

    In anguish sees, when night and silence come,

        The unattained divinity of life. [page 135]


WHO hath not in the silences of night

    Been humbled by the mystery that lies

    Along the vaulted pathway of the skies?

And in the consciousness that worlds of light

Their steadfast courses keep beyond our sight,

    Heard yet again the voice within that cries

    To every fettered soul, bidding it rise

With arms outstretched towards the Infinite?

Upon the threshold of these large, unknown,

    Unlighted chambers of the night we kneel,

And, emptied of the day, contrite, alone,

        The presence of some sentient Power within

    The magnitudes of space we dimly feel

        To which the finite spirit is akin. [page 136]


KEEP thou amidst the fulness of thy days

    Some little space apart for thoughts of me,

    Where all the best I have and am may be

Familiar and essential to thy ways;

Make thou the hours as shining argosies

    Emblazoned with the love I bear to thee,

    And freighted with my spirit’s hidden plea—

At once thy inspiration and thy praise.

For he who keeps within his heart a shrine

    Where tender dreams may gather, makes defence

Against encroaching tides that undermine

    The soul’s integrity and confidence,

And I would have, in every act of thine,

    Love’s presence conscious to thy deeper sense. [page 137]


I HAVE no speech, the rose I plucked is dead,

    Faintly is borne to me upon the wind

    The dying laughter—I am left behind.

Once I laughed, too, tears now are mine instead!

Gone are the hopes—the dreams on which I fed,

    And memories alone remain to bind

    My broken days and link me to my kind,

Or ease the desolate ways my feet must tread.

And yet, O God, I know not how to fail!

    Within my heart still burns an unquenched fire,

Like Israel of old I must prevail,

    Or failing, still reach on to something higher—

        They counted Him a failure when He trod

        Those slopes of Calvary that led to God! [page 138]


WE grow more reconciled to Nature’s ways,

    And more responsive, with the passing years,

    Finding in them a solace for the fears

Engendered by the thought of lessening days;

There comes a sense of comradeship that stays

    The lonely questioning heart, and more endears

    The deep and changeful beauty that appears

More deep and beautiful with every phase.

The brooding tenderness of earth and sky

    Becomes more palpable and to our need,

As if some friendly consciousness were nigh—

        Some mother element but dimly guessed,

    That, gathering nearer, gently sought to lead

        Weary and wandering children back to rest. [page 139]


WITHIN the shelter of thy calm, O Night,

    I loose the garish vestures of the day,

    With trembling hand unbind and fling away

The cap and bells that made the crowd’s delight;

Screened from the world’s uncomprehending sight,

    Deep in thy healing silences I lay

    The bruised and fettered soul that doth but pray

To be encompassed by the Infinite.

Receive my tears, O Night, and with thy space,

    Thy unimpassioned vastness, cover me;

Make me to find my natural, lowly place—

        Become once more a child, and learn the mood

    Of larger things, until obedient, free,

        I lose myself within thy magnitude. [page 140]


WHEN in the affluent splendor of the day,

    To heaven’s cloudless blue I lift my eyes,

    Thrilled with the beauty that around my lies,

My heart goes up on wings of ecstasy;

But when Orion and the Milky Way

    Reveal the story of the midnight skies,

    And all the starry hosts of space arise—

Mutely I bow in reverence to pray.

And so with life; the daylight of success

    Rounds earth and pleasure to a perfect sphere,

But in the night of trial and distress

    The quickened soul to vaster realms draws near,

And o’er the borders of our consciousness

    Foretokens of the Infinite appear. [page 141]


MY LIFE is like a little island strand

    Surrounded by relentless tides that sweep

    Continually from the unknown deep

That stretches far and wide on every hand;

And day by day I watch the glistening hand;

    Slip down into the reaching waves that keep

    Their hollow moaning as they nearer creep

To swallow up the foothold where I stand.

And yet I seem, between the wash and swell

    Of those dark tides that mark my life’s decline,

To catch the sound as of a distant bell,

    And see the gleam of lights that steadfast shine

Upon a rock-ribbed shore impregnable,

    Where lodge, secure and fearless, souls like mine. [page 142]


BEYOND the violet rays we do not know

    What colors lie, what fields of light abound,

    Or what undreamed effulgence may surround

Our dreaming consciousness above, below;

Nor is it far that finite sense can go

    Along the subtle passages of sound,

    The finer tonal waves are too profound

For mortal ears to catch their ebb and flow.

And there are moments when upon us steal

    Monitions of far wider realms that lie

Beyond our spirit borders, and we feel

        That fine, ethereal joys we cannot name.

    In some vast orbit circling, sweeping by,

        Touch us in passing as with wings of flame. [page 143]


WHY should we not make friends with happiness?

    Life has its grieving moments, it is true,

    And daily cares—but O, its rapture, too!

Why should we gather thorns when flowers press

About our feet and sweet, wild things confess

    Their inner radiance, as if they knew

    There shone for us beyond the steadfast blue

A love that asks no guerdon but to bless?

Foundation for our spiritual home we lay

    In all we do and are, and we must lose

The power of inner vision if we stay

        Among the shadows grieving, nor possess

    Discerning mind and steadfast heart to choose

        Those thoughts that make us friends with happiness. [page 144]


SHE rose to greet her guests with smiling eyes,

    A watch of rich experience in her face,

    Her movements full of that unconscious grace

In which a woman’s highest power lies;

One felt the heart beat true and tenderwise

    Beneath the velvet folds and filmy lace,

    Grim sorrow there had seemed to find no place,

But only peace and love in loveliest guise.

And as with ready wit and kindly mirth

    She led the throng in repartee and jest,

To us she seemed as one from common earth,

        With all its blighting pain, set far apart

    And rounded in with peace—who could have guessed

        A two-edged sword lay buried in her heart! [page 145]


HOW often in some vexed or restless mood

    Have I gone forth to nature, seeking there

    Surcease from wounded pride or petty care,

And thought the flowing stream or shady wood

And large, impartial calms of solitude

    Would be as arms unseen to life me where

    My soul should catch a loftier, purer air—

But O, how little have I understood!

For not by doors of nature or of sense,

    However fair, however dear they be,

Has come that deep desirèd influence

    That most reveals and proves myself to me;

There is a narrower pathway leading hence

    For him who would from tyrant self be free. [page 146]


WHEN on the black abysses of the night

    My little candle throws a trembling beam,

    At first too faint and feeble it would seem

To give security to straining sight;

But presently we see its tiny light

    Across the perilous pathway sends a gleam

    That pierces through the darkness vast, supreme,

And step by step we find our way aright.

So in the vast and limitless unknown,

    That wraps us with its fearful night around,

At first the beam by faith or knowledge thrown

    Seems but to make the darkness more profound,

But presently one step ahead is shown—

    Enough to prove that it is solid ground. [page 147]


THOUGH we are bound to earth by many ties,

    And all along the roads whereby we came

    A thousand tongues to listening hearts proclaim

Our kinship with the world that round us lies;

Though sunlit fields and woods and arching skies,

    And flowers that break in shafts of living flame,

    Constrain with beauty all our quickened frame,

Breathing love’s messages in sweetest guise;

Yet deeper than all rapture earth may bring

    Is that fine sense whereby we are aware

Of something in ourselves that does not spring

    From life without or in its fullness share,

But like a captive bird quivering wing

    Strains ever to its native, purer air. [page 148]


On such a night as this, six years ago,

    I dreamed beneath the moon of alien skies,

    And saw the Southern Cross in splendor rise

O’er groves where orange-scented breezes blow;

    Pale, opalescent waves washed to and fro

        On silver shores with soundless melodies,

        Among the jasmine, vagrant fire-flies

    Pierced the wan night with intermittent glow.

Upon me still the saft enchantment lies,

    And now, as then, I feel the ebb and flow

Of that elusive rapture and surprise

    Which only haunting beauty can bestow—

And now, as then, my baffled spirit tries

    To rend the imponderable veil and know. [page 149]


THERE is unfailing comfort to be found

    In quiet country ways when shadows run

    Athwart green pastures with the setting sun,

And coming harvests everywhere abound;

The singing streams half-hidden in the ground,

    The orchard slopes, the kine that one by one

    Go home for milking now the day is done,

All speak of homes with peace and plenty crowned.

More reconciling thoughts come to the mind

    At such an hour; we feel the recompense

Of honest toil—draw nearer to our kind

    In spiritual sympathy, and in the sense

Of some enfolding Care that dwells behind

    The fixed, dividing walls of circumstance. [page 150]


FROM regions inaccessible to sight

    We catch at times a momentary gleam

    As of celestial mysteries that stream

In distant realms of unimagined light;

Then, rapt as from a restless, fevered night,

    There breaks upon our little finite dream

    The vision of immortal dawn supreme—

The nameless threshold of the Infinite.

Who knows such moments needs no other sign;

    Faith proves itself, and in the soul there wakes

Conviction of a purpose, vast, benign;

        As Spring thrills through the apathetic clod,

    Upon the barren wastes of doubt there breaks

        A sudden boundless consciousness of God! [page 151]


I STOOD on Mount Pilatus, freshly crowned

    In all the splendor of new-fallen snow,

    And heard the bells of myriad flocks below,

Filling the valleys with mysterious sound:

Enchanting cadences, that lingering wound

    Among the dreaming hills, elusive, slow

    And bearing in the liquid ebb and flow

An elemental music, faint, profound.

And I have wondered if the joy and pain,

    The happy laughter and the anguished sighs,

So strangely blended in our lives, attain

    Consistency and sweetness as they rise,

And, woven to one pure, ethereal strain,

    Make harmony beyond the tranquil skies. [page 152]


SINCE knowing you I know myself no more;

    All that I was and am—the wrong denied,

The insincerity, rebellious pride,

And selfishness behind the mask I wore,

The cold indifference I knew before

    You came, the ills I scarcely sought to hide—

    And all the ugly train so long defied,

At last into love’s crucible I pour.

My pain and privilege! for sin confessed

    Is sin repudiated, all its sting

And power made void. This is the final test,

    Love’s sacred task and deepest offering;

Behold, the hope and germ of all my best

    Lies in the very worthlessness I bring! [page 153]


SHE sitteth in the sunshine, old and gray,

    Her faded kerchief crossed upon her breast,

    Her withered form in sober colors dressed,

Her eyes deep-sunken in far memory;

She scarcely sees the children at their play,

    But looks beyond them to the crimsoning west—

    And still beyond, where everlasting rest

Remains so close and crown her little day.

But on her tranquil and unconscious face,

    In lines engraved by joy no less than tears,

The story of her pilgrimage we trace,

        For Youth, quick-flying, left his dearer part,

    And all the fragrance of the vanished years,

        Imperishable, lies within her heart. [page 154]


UPON a Western prairie once I met

    A flock of pelicans—a glorious sight!

    Now in the sun they gleamed a dazzling white,

Now, circling, darkened to a silhouette;

Great-breasted things, with sweeping pinions set

    To rhythmic curves of slow, majestic flight,

    They rose into the measureless blue height,

Undaunted, radiant—I see them yet.

I see them yet! for when I turn my eyes

    Beyond these city walls of my despite,

Behold their buoyant forms still sweep the skies

    Like spirits of the air, incarnate, bright,

And something untamed in me seems to rise

    And with them breast those boundless seas of light! [page 155]


WHEN thou art absent, and the grieving day

    Has lost its wonted radiance, I take

    For solace all thy looks and ways and make

Them rainbow messengers from thee to stay

The lonely, lingering hours; and as I lay

    My gloom amidst thy sunshine there awake

    Sweet memories and hopes that often break

To little songs that bear me company.

And then upon me there will sometimes steal

    Those incommunicable thoughts that start

The rivers of the heart until I feel

    The sudden tremulous rush of all thou art,

And in the fullness of it once more kneel

    In reverence at the threshold of thy heart! [page 156]


I VISITED the palaces of kings,

    And marvelled at the storied treasure brought

    With vast expenditure of time and thought

To play upon the heart’s imaginings;

All cunningly devised and priceless things—

    Fine sculptured forms, rare, costly gems that caught

    The sun, great canvases, and fabrics wrought

With wondrous skill to give the fancy wings.

But, coming forth, there crowded round my way

    Such opulence of nature’s tapestries,

That I reflected how the humblest may

    Inherit all those lavish treasuries

Beside which human art is children’s play,

    And king’s possessions merest travesties. [page 157]


AS PARSIFAL of old stood in the hall,

    And saw with silent awe and wondering

    The Holy Grail uncovered by the king—

Hearing within himself the still voice call;

So I, but newly wakened, rapt by all

    The sweet enchantments that around me spring—

    Beholding daily in each living thing

Love’s miracle—am held in Beauty’s thrall.

As Parsifal of old a knight became

    And gave his powers to a holy quest—

All baser part consumed as by a flame—

    So I am fain, at Love’s divine behest,

To yield both heart and spirit to the claim

    That life makes visible and manifest. [page 158]

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