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When hearts, whose truth was proven,
Like thine, are laid in earth,
And I, who woke each morrow
Who shared thy joy and sorrow,
It should be mine to braid it
Around thy faded brow, But I've in vain essayed it,
And feel I cannot now.
While memory bids me weep thee,
The grief is fixed too deeply
Francis Bret Harte.
TO A SEA-BIRD.
Sauntering hither on listless wings,
Careless vagabond of the sea, Litt le thou heedest the surf that sings, The bar that thunders, the shale that rings,— Give me to keep thy company.
Little thou hast, old friend, that's new;
Storms and wrecks are old things
Sick am I of these changes too;
All of thy wanderings, far and near,
Lazily rocking on ocean's breast, Something in common, old frend, have we;
Thou on the shingle seekest thy nest, 1 to the waters look for rest,— I on the shore, and thou on the sea.
LONE MOUNTAIN CEMETERY.
This is that hill of awe
The mount magnetic;
The wrecks prophetic.
Here come the argosies
To and fro shifting;
Day by day drifting, —
Drifting forever here
Braved wind and weather;
Drawn all together.
This is the end of all:
O poorer Hindbad!
Hindbad and Sindbad.
The skies are blue above my head,
The prairie green below, And flickering o'er the tufted grass
The shifting shadows go, Vague-sailing, where the feathery clouds
Fleck white the tranquil skies, Black javelins darting where aloft The whirling pheasant flies.
A glimmering plain in drowsy trance
The dim horizon bounds, Where all the air is resonant
With sleepy summer sounds, The life that sings among the flowers,
The lisping of the breeze, The hot cicala's sultry cry.
The murmurous dreamy bees.
The butterfly, — a flying flower—
Wheels swift in flashing rings, And flutters round his quiet km,
With brave flame-mottled wings. The wild pinks burst in crimson fire,
The phlox' bright clusters shine, And prairie-cups are swinging free
To spill their airy wine.
And lavishly beneath the sun,
In liberal splendor rolled,
With floods of flowery gold:
A woof of purple dyes Where Autumn's royal feet may tread
When bankrupt Summer flies
In verdurous tumult far away
The prairie-billows gleam,
The noontide's gracious beam, law quivering vapors steaming dim,
The level splendors break Where languid lilies deck the rim
Of some land-circled lake.
Far in the East like low-hung clouds The waving woodlands lie;
Far in the West the glowing plain Melts warmly in the sky.
No accent wounds the reverent air,
Low in the light the prairie lies
IN A GRA VE YARD.
In the dewy depths of the graveyard
I lie in the tangled grass, And watch in the sea of azure,
The white cloud-islands pass.
The birds in the rustling branches
Sing gaily overhead;
Are guarding the silent dead.
The early flowers sleep shaded
The broken light falls shuddering
Without, the world is smiling
But the sunlight fails and falters When it falls on the churchyard sod.
On me the joyous rapture
But it falls on my heart as coldly
Sad is the thought of sunniest days
Of love and rapture perished, And shine through memory's tearful haze
The eyes once fondliest cherished.
But saddest is the thought of joys
Sad is the vague and tender dream
Of dead love's lingering kisses, To crushed hearts haloed by the gleam Of unreturning blisses; Deep mourns the soul in anguished pride
For the pitiless death that won them, —
But the saddest wail is for lips that
With the virgin dew upon them.
ON THE BLUFF.
O Grandly flowing river!
O silver-gliding River!
Thy springing willows shiver
In the sunset as of old; They shiver in the silence Of the willow-whitened islands, While the sun-bars and the sand-bars
Fill air and wave with gold.
O gay, oblivious River!
The eyes and skies so blue
To speak the love they knew?
O stern impassive River!
As the night-winds moan and rave.
Above her hillside grave.
A WOMAN'S LOVE.
A Sentinel angel sitting high in glory
Heard this shrill wail ring out from
Purgatory: "Have mercy, mighty angel, hear my
"I loved, — and, blind with passionate love, I fell.
Love brought me down to death, and death to Hell.
For God is just, and death for sin is well.
"I do not rage against his high decree,
Nor for myself do ask that grace shall be:
But for my love on earth who mourns for me.
"Great Spirit! Let me see my love again
And comfort him one hour, and I
were fain To pay a thousand years of fire and
Then said the pitying angel, "Nay, repent
That wild vow! Look, the dial finger's bent
Down to the last hour of thy punishment!"
But still she wailed, "I pray thee, let me go!
I cannot rise to peace and leave him so.
O, let me soothe him in his bitter woe!"
The brazen gates ground sullenly ajar, And upward, joyous, like a rising star,
She rose and vanished in the ether far.
But soon adown the dying sunset sailing,
And like a wounded bird her pinions trailing,
She fluttered back, with brokenhearted walling.
She sobbed, "I found him by the
summer see reclined, his head upon a maiden's
She curled his hair and kissed him. Woe is me!"
She wept. "Now let my punishment begin!
I have been fond and foolish. Let me in
To expiate my sorrow and my sin."
The angel answered, "Nay, sad soul,
go higher! To be deceived in your true heart's
Was bitterer than a thousand years of fire!"
God send me tears! Mose the fierce band that binds my
tired brain, Give me the melting heart of other
And let me weep again!
Before me pass The shapes of things inexorably true. Gone is the sparkle of transforming dew
From every blade of grass.
In life's high noon Aimless I stand, my promised task undone,
And raise my hot eyes to the angry sun
That will go down too soon.
Turned into gall Are the sweet joys of childhood's
Sunny reign; And memory is a torture, love a
That binds my life in thrall.
And childhood's pain Could to me now the purest rapture yield;
I pray for tears as in his parching field
The husbandman for rain.
We pray in vain! The sullen sky flings down its blaze of brass;
The joys of life all scorched and withering pass; I shall not weep again.
Paul Hamilton Hayne.
A SUMMER MOOD.
Ah me! for evermore, for evermore These human hearts of ours must yearn and sigh, While down the dells and up the murmurous shore Nature renews her immortality.
The heavens of June stretch calm and bland above, June roses blush with tints of orient skies,
But we, by graves of joy, desire, and love,
Mourn in a world which breathes of Paradise!
The sunshine mocks the tears it may not dry,
The breezes — tricksy couriers of the air,—
Child-roisterers winged, and lightly fluttering by — Blow their gay trumpets in the face of care;
And bolder winds, the deep sky's passionate speech, Woven into rhythmic raptures of desire,
Or fugues of mystic victory, sadly reach
Our humbled souls, to rack, not raise them higher!
The field-birds seem to twit us as they pass
With their small blisses, piped so clear and loud; The cricket triumphs o'er us in the grass,
And the lark, glancing beamlike up the cloud,
Sings us to scorn with his keen rhapsodies:
Small things and great unconscious tauntiugs bring To edge our cares, while we, the proud and wise, Envy the insect's joy, the birdling's wing!
And thus for evermore, till time shall cease,
Man's soul and Nature's — each a separate sphere — Revolves, the one in discord, one in peace,
And who shall make the solemn mystery clear?
BY THE AUTUMN SEA.
Fair as the dawn of the fairest day,
amber mist,— There cometh a dream of the past to
On the desert sands, by the autumn sea.
All heaven is wrapped in a mystic veil,
And the face of the ocean is dim and pale,
And there rises a wind from the chill
northwest, That seemeth the wail of a soul's
As the twilight falls, and the vapors flee
Far over the wastes of the autumn sea.
A single ship through the gloaming glides
Upborne on the swell of the seaward
And above the gleam of her topmost spar
Are the virgin eyes of the vesper star That shine with an angel's ruth on me, —
A hopeless wait, by the autumn sea.
The wings of the ghostly beach-birds gleam
Through the shimmering surf, and
the curlew's scream Falls faintly shrill from the darkening
The first weird sigh on the lips of Night
Breathes low through the sedge and the blasted tree,
With a murmur of doom, by the autumn sea.
Oh, sky-enshadowed and yearning main,
Your gloom but deepens this human pain;
Those waves seem big with a nameless care,
That sky is a type of the heart's despair,
As I linger and muse by the sombre lea,
And the night-shades close on the autumn sea.
You woodland, like a human mind. Has many a phase of dark and light;
Now dim with shadows wandering blind,
Now radiant with fair shapes of light;
They softly come, they softly go,
Capricious as the vagrant wind, — Nature's vague thoughts in gloom or glow,
That leave no airiest trace behind.
No trace, no trace; yet wherefore thus
Do shade and beam our spirits stir?
Ah! Nature may be cold to us,
The wild bird's strain, the breezy spray,
Each hour with sure earth-changes rife,