Abbildungen der Seite

(From Bitter-Sweet.]


God loves not sin, nor I; but in the throng

Of evils that assail us, there are none That yield their strength to Virtue's

struggling arm With such munificent reward of


As great temptations. We may win by toil

Endurance; saintly fortitude by pain; By sickness, patience; faith and trust by fear;

But the great stimulus that spurs to life,

And crowds to generous development Each chastened power and passion of the soul,

Is the temptation of the soul to sin, Resisted, and reconquered, evermore.

(From Bitter-Sweet.]


Hearts, like apples, are hard and sour,

Till crushed by Pain's resistless power;

And yield their juices rich and bland
To none but Sorrow's heavy hand.
The purest streams of human love

Flow naturally never,
But gush by pressure from above,

With God's hand on the lever. The first are turbidest and meanest; The last are sweetest and serenest.

[From Bitter-Sweet.]


Life evermore is fed by death,

In earth and sea and sky; And, that a rose may breathe its breath,

Something must die.

Earth is a sepulchre of flowers,

Whose vitalizing mould Through boundless transmutation towers,

In green and gold.

The oak-tree, struggling with the blast,

Devours its father-tree, And sheds its leaves and drops its mast,

That more may be.

The falcon preys upon the finch,

The finch upon the fly, And nought will loose the hungerpinch

But death's wild cry.

The milk-haired heifer's life must pass

That it may fill your own, As passed the sweet life of the grass

She fed upon.

The power enslaved by yonder cask

Shall many burdens bear; Shall serve the toiler at his task, The soul at prayer.

From lowly woe springs lordly joy;

From humbler good diviner; The greater life must aye destroy And drink the minor.

From hand to hand life's cup is passed

Up Being's piled gradation, Till men to angels yield at last The rich collation.

[From Bitter-Sweet.]


THUS is it over all the earth!

That which we call the fairest, And prize for its surpassing worth, Is always rarest.

Iron is heaped in mountain piles,

And gluts the laggard forges: But gold-flakes gleam in dim defiles And lonely gorges.

The snowy marble flecks the land

With heaped and rounded ledges, But diamonds hide within the sand Their starry edges.

The finny armies clog the twine

That sweeps the lazy river, But pearls come singly from the brine, With the pale diver.

God gives no value unto men

Unmatched by meed of labor; And Cost, of Worth, has ever been The closest neighbor.

Wide is the gate and broad the way

That opens to perdition,
And countless multitudes are they
Who seek admission.

But strait the gate, the path unkind,

That leads to life immortal,
And few the careful feet that find,
The hidden portal.

All common good has common price;

Exceeding good, exceeding; Christ bought the keys of Paradise By cruel bleeding;

And every soul that wins a place

Upon its hills of pleasure, Must give its all, and beg for grace To fill the measure.

[From Bitter-Sweet.]

Hither, Sleep! a mother wants thee!

Come with velvet arms!
Fold the baby that she grants thee

To thy own soft charms!

Bear him into Dreamland lightly!

Give him sight of flowers! Do not bring him back till brightly

Break the morning hours!

Close his eyes with gentle fingers!

Cross his hands of snow!
Tell the angels where he lingers

They must whisper low!

I will guard thy spell unbroken

If thou hear my call; Come, then, Sleep! I wait the token

Of thy downy thrall.

Now I see his sweet lips moving;

He is in thy keep;
Other milk the babe is proving

At the breast of Sleep!

[From Bitter-Sweet.]

Sleep, babe, the honeyed sleep of

innocence! Sleep like a bud; for soon the sun of


With ardors quick and passionate shall rise.

And with hot kisses, part the fragrant lips —

The folded petals of thy soul! Alas!

What feverish winds shall tease and toss thee, then!

What pride and pain, ambition and despair,

Desire, satiety, and all that fill

With misery, life's fretful enterprise,

Shall wrench and blanch thee, till thou fall at last,

Joy after joy down-fluttering to the earth,

To be apportioned to the elements!
I marvel, baby, whether it were ill
That he who planted thee should

pluck thee now, And save thee from the blight that

comes on all. I marvel whether it would not be well That the frail bud should burst in


On the full throbbing of an angel's heart!

[.From the Marble Prophecy.]


Laocoon! thou great embodiment
Of human life and human history!
Thou record of the past, thou proph-

Of the sad future, thou majestic voice, i'ealing along the ages from old time! Thou wail of agonized humanity! There lives no thought in marble like to thee!

Thou hast no kindred in the Vatican, But standest separate among the dreams

Of old mythologies — alone — alone!
The beautiful Apollo at thy side
Is but a marble dream, and dreams
are all

The gods and goddesses and fauns

and fates That populate these wondrous halls;

but thou,

Standing among them, liftest up thyself

In majesty of meaning, till they sink Far from the sight, no more significant

Than the poor toys of children. For thou art

A voice from out the world's experience,

Speaking of all the generations past
To all the generations yet to come
Of the long struggle, the sublime de-

The wild and weary agony of man!


On the Righi Kulm we stood,

Lovely Floribel and I, While the morning's crimson flood

Streamed along the eastern sky. Beddened every mountain-peak

Into rose from twilight dun;

But the blush upon her cheek
Was not lighted by the sun!

On the Righi Kulm we sat,

Lovely Floribel and I, Plucking bluebells for her hat

From a mound that blossomed nigh.

"We are near to heaven," she sighed, While her raven lashes fell.

"Nearer," softly I replied, "Than the mountain's height may tell."

Down the Righi's side we sped,

Lovely Floribel and I,
But her morning blush had fled

And the bluebells all were dry. Of the height the dream was born;

Of the lower air it died; And the passion of the morn

Flagged and fell at eventide.

From the breast of blue Lucerne,

Lovely Floribel and I
Saw the brand of sunset burn

On the Righi Kulm, and die.
And we wondered, gazing thus.

If our dream would still remain On the height, and wait for us

Till we climb to heaven again!


If life awake and will never cease

On the future's distant shore, And the rose of love and the lily of peace

Shall bloom there forevermore,—

Let the world go round and round,

And the sun sink into the sea; For whether I'm on or under the ground,

Oh, what will it matter to me?

Saxe Holme.


Three, only three, my darling,

Separate, solemn, slow; Not like the swift and joyous ones,

We used to know When we kissed because we loved each other Simply to taste love's sweet, And lavished our kisses as the summer

Lavishes heat; — But as they kiss whose hearts are wrung,

When hope and fear are spent, And nothing is left to give except A sacrament!

First of the three, my darling,

Is sacred unto pain;
We have hurt each other often:

We shall again, When we pine because we miss each other,

And do not understand. How the written words are so much colder

Than eye and hand.
I kiss thee, dear, for all such pain

Which we may give or take;

Buried, forgiven, before it comes,
For our love's sake!

The second kiss, my darling,

Is full of joy's sweet thrill; We have blessed each other always;

We always will. We shall reach till we feel each other,

Past all of time and space; We shall listen till we hear each other

In every place;
The earth is full of messengers

Which love sends to and fro;
I kiss thee, darling, for all joy

Which we shall know!

The last kiss, oh, my darling,

My love — I cannot see
Through my tears, as I remember

What it may be.
We may die and never see each other,

Die with no time to give
Any sign that our hearts are faithful

To die, as live.
Token of what they will not see

Who see our parting breath,
This one last kiss, my darling, seals

The seal of death!

Oliver Wendell Holmes.


We count the broken lyres that rest Where the sweet wailing singers slumber,

But o'er their silent sister's breast The wild-flowers who will stoop to number? A few can touch the magic string, And noisy fame is proud to win them: — Alas for those that never sing, But die with all their music in them!

Nay, grieve not for the dead alone Whose song has told their hearts'

sad story, — Weep for the voiceless, who have


The cross without the crown of glory!

Not where Leucadian breezes sweep O'er Sappho's memory-haunted billow,

But where the glistening night-dews weep

On nameless s churchyard pillow.

O hearts that break and give no sign Save whitening lip and fading tresses,

Till Death pours out his cordial wine Slow-dropped from Misery's crushing presses, —

If singing breath or echoing chord To every hidden pang were given,

What endless melodies were poured, As sad as earth, as sweet as heaven!


Grandmother's mother: her age I guess,

Thirteen summers, or something less;
Girlish bust, but womanly air:
Smooth, square forehead with up-
rolled hair.
Lips that lover has never kissed;
Taper fingers and slender wrist;
Hanging sleeves of stiff brocade;
So they painted the little maid.

On her hand a parrot green
Sits unmoving and broods serene.
Hold up the canvas full in view, —
Look! there's a rent the light shines

Dark with a century's fringe of dust, —

That was a Red-Coat's rapier-thrust! Such is the tale the lady old, Dorothy's daughter's daughter told.

Who the painter was none may tell,—
One whose best was not over well;
Hard and dry, it must be confessed,
Flat as a rose that has long been

Yet in her cheek the hues are bright,
Dainty colors of red and white,
And in her slender shape are seen
Hint and promise of stately mien.

Look not on her with eyes of scorn,—
Dorothy Q. was a lady born!
Ay! since the galloping Normans

England's annals have known her name;

And still to the three-hilled rebel town

Dear is that ancient name's renown, for many a civic wreath they won, The youthful sire and the gray-haired son.

0 Damsel Dorothy! Dorothy Q.! Strange is the gift that I owe to you; Such a gift as never a king

Save to daughter or son might bring,

All my tenure of heart and hand,
All my title to house and land;
Mother and sister and child and wife
And joy and sorrow and death and

What if a hundred years ago
Those close-shut lips had answered

When forth the tremulous question came

That cost the maiden her Norman name,

And under the folds that look so still The bodice swelled with the bosom's thrill?

Should I be I, or would it be

One tenth another to nine-tenths me?

Soft is the breath of a maiden's Yes: Not the light gossamer stirs with less; But never a cable that holds so fast Through all the battles of wave and blast,

And never an echo of speech or song That lives in the babbling air so long! There were tones in the voice that

whispered then You may hear to-day in a hundred


O lady and lover, how faint and far Your images hover, — and here we are,

Solid and stirring in flesh and bone, — Edward's and Dorothy's— all their own,—

A goodly record for time to show
Of a syllable spoken so long ago: —
Shall I bless you, Dorothy, or forgive
For the tender whisper that bade me

1 live?

« ZurückWeiter »