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WHERE THE liOSES GREW.
This is where the roses grew,
Fairer bloom or richer hue
O, the glories vanished hence!
O, the sad imperfect tense!
This is where the roses grew
When the garden all day through
Hark! the dead and broken stalks
Eddying down the windy walks!
Never was a desert waste,
Half so dreary and unblest,
Since in this we dimly see
All the bliss that used to be.
Where the roses used to grow!
And the west-wind's wailing words Tell in whispers faint and low
Of the famished humming-birds, —
This is where the roses grew,
And, whenever zephyrs blew,
Now the chill and scentless air,
Sweeps the flower-plats brown and bare.
Hearts have gardens sad as this,
Gardens where no summer bliss
Where the snow melts not away
At the warming kiss of May; —
Gardens where the vernal morns Never shed their sunshine down, —
Where are only stems and thorns, Veiled in dead leaves, curled and brown, —
Gardens where we only see
Where the roses used to be!
Friend, whose smile has come to be
Very precious unto me,
Though I know I drank not first,
Yet I grieve not for the past,
Other souls may find their joy
Give me that which years have
Disciplined and purified, —
There are brows more fair than mine,
Wing away your summer time,
Find a love in every clime,
Roam in liberty and light, —
For I know, when all is past,
You will come to me at last!
Change and flutter as you will,
I shall smile securely still;
Prize your spring till it be past,
Only, only love me last!
ROCK ME TO SLEEP.
Backward, turn backward, O Time, in your flight,
Make me a child again just for tonight!
Mother, come back from the echolcss shore,
Take me again to your heart as ot yore;
Kiss from my forehead the furrows
Smooth the few silver threads out of my hair;
Over my slumbers your loving watch
Rock me to sleep, mother, — rock me to sleep!
Backward, flow backward, O tide of
the years! I am so weary of toil and of tears, — Toil without recompense, tears all in
Take them, and give me my childhood again!
I have grown weary of dust and decay, —
Weary of flinging my soul-wealth away;
Weary of sowing for others to reap; — Rock me to sleep, mother,— rock me to sleep!
Tired of the hollow, the base, the untrue,
Mother, O mother, my heart calls for
Many a summer the grass has grown green,
Blossomed and faded, our faces between:
Yet, with strong yearning and passionate pain,
Long I to-night for your presence again.
Come from the silence so long and so deep;—
Rock me to sleep, mother, — rock me to sleep!
Over my heart in the days that are flown,
No love like mother-love ever has shone;
No other worship abides and endures, —
Faithful, unselfish, and patient like yours:
None like a mother can charm away pain
From the sick soul and the worldweary brain.
Slumber's soft calm o'er my heavy
lids creep; — Rock me to sleep, mother, —rock me
Come, let your brown hair, just
lighted with gold. Fall on your shoulders again as of
Let it drop over my forehead tonight,
Shading my faint eyes away from the light;
For with its sunny-edged shadows
once more Haply will throng the sweet visions
Lovingly, softly, its bright billows
sweep; — Rock me to sleep, mother, — rock me
Mother, dear mother, the years have
been long since I last listened your lullaby song: Sing, then, and unto my soul it shall
Womanhood's years have been only a dream.
Clasped to your heart in a loving embrace,
With your light lashes just sweeping my face,
Never hereafter to wake or to weep; — Rock me to sleep, mother, — rock me to sleep!
Make me no vows of constancy, dear friend,
To love me, though I die, thy whole life long.
And love no other till thy days shall end;
Nay, it were rash and wrong.
If thou canst love another, be it so; I would not reach out of my quiet grave
To bind thy heart, if it should choose to go: — Love should not be a slave.
My placid ghost, I trust, will walk serene
In clearer light than gilds those earthly morns, Above the jealousies and envies keen
Which sow this life with thorns.
Thou wouldst not feel my shadowy caress.
If, after death, my soul should linger here;
Men's hearts crave tangible, close tenderness, Love's presence, warm and near.
It would not make me sleep more peacefully That thou wert wasting all thy life in woe
For my poor sake; what love thou hast for me, Bestow it ere I go!
Can e not upon a stone when I am dead
The praises which remorseful mourners give To women's graves, — a tardy recompense,— But speak them while I live.
Heap not the heavy marble on my head
To shut away the sunshine and the dew;
Let small blooms grow there, and let grasses wave, And raindrops filter through.
Thou wilt meet many fairer and more gay
Than I; but, trust me, thou canst never find One who will love and serve thee night and day With a more single mind.
Forget me when I die! The violets Above my breast will blossom just as blue,
Nor miss thy tears; e'en Nature's self forgets; — But while I live, be true!
O, Trifi.ing tasks so often done.
O, cares which come with every sun, Morn after morn, the long years through!
We shrink beneath their paltry
sway, — The irksome calls of every day.
The restless sense of wasted power,
Are hard to bear, as hour by hour
Who shall evade or who delay
The small demands of every day?
The boulder in the torrent's course
By tide and tempest lashed in vain, Obeys the wave-whirled pebble's force,
And yields its substance grain by
So crumble strongest lives away
Who finds the lion in his lair,
May wound them ere they are aware, Or conquer them in desperate strife;
Yet powerless he to scathe or slay
The steady strain that never stops
The constant fall of water-drops
We feel our noblest powers decay,
In feeble wars with every day.
We rise to meet a heavy blow —
But we endure not always so
We still deplore and still obey
The hard behests of every day.
The heart which boldly faces death Upon the battle-field, and dares
Cannon and bayonet, faints beneath The needle-points of frets and cares;
The stoutest spirits they dismay —
The tiny stings of every day.
And even saints of holy fame,
Who wore amid the cruel flame
The molten crown of martyrdom, Bore not without complaint alway The petty pains of every day.
Ah! more than martyr's aureole,
We need the humble strength of soul,
A Man there came, whence none could tell,
Bearing a touchstone in his hand;
And tested all things in the land
Quick birth of transmutation smote
Nor scorn the dusty coat.
Of heirloom jewels, prized so much, Were many changed to chips and clods,
And even statues of the gods
Then angrily the people cried,
Our goods suffice us as they are;
And since they could not so avail
How real is our jail!"
But, though they slew him with the sword.
And in a fire his touchstone burned, Its doings could not be o'erturned, Its undoings restored.
And when, to stop all future harm, They strewed its ashes on the breeze;
They little guessed each grain of these
Conveyed the perfect charm.
Now Autumn's fire burns slowly along the woods,
And day by day the dead leaves fall and melt,
And night by night the monitory blast
Wails in the keyhole, telling how it passed
O'er empty fields, or upland solitudes,
Or grim, wide wave; and now the power is felt
Of melancholy, tenderer in its moods
Than any joy indulgent Summer dealt.
Dear friends, together in the glimmering eve,
Pensive and glad, with tones that recognize
The soft invisible dew in each one's eyes.
It may be, somewhat thus we shall have leave
To walk with Memory, when distant lies
Poor Earth, where we were wont to live and grieve.
TO ROUSE, THE ARTIST.
As when in watches of the night we see,
Hanging in tremulous beauty o'er the bed,
The face we loved on Earth, now
from us fled; So wan, so sweet, so spiritually
From taint of Earth, thy tender drawings be.
There we may find a friend remembered;
With a new aureole hovering round the head,
Given by Art's peaceful immortality.
How many homes half empty fill the place
Death vacates, with thy gracious substitutes!
Not sensuous with color, which may disgrace
The memory of the body shared with brutes;
But the essential spirit in the face;
As angels see us, best, Affection suits.
TO WILLIAM LLOYD GARRISON, AFTER THE WAR.
Oh! happiest thou, who from the
shining height, Of tablelands serene can look below Where glared the tempest, and the
lightning's glow, And see thy seed made harvest wave
And all the darkened land with
God's smile bright! Leaving with him the issue. Enough
Albeit the sword hath sundered brothers so,
Yet God's vicegerent ever is the Right.
Nor will he leave us bleeding, but
his Time Which healeth all things will our
wounds make whole. While washed and cleansed of our
fraternal crime, Freedom shall count again her starry
All there, and moving with a step sublime
To music God sounds in the human soul.