WHEN Letty had scarce pass'd her third glad year,
And her young artless words began to flow,
One day we gave the child a colour'd sphere
Of the wide earth, that she might mark and know,
By tint and outline, all its sea and land.
She patted all the world; old empires peep'd
Between her baby fingers; her soft hand
Was welcome at all frontiers. How she leap'd,
And laugh'd and prattled in her world-wide bliss;
But when we turn'd her sweet unlearned eye
On our own isle, she raised a joyous cry--
'Oh! yes, I see it, Letty's home is there!'
And while she hid all England with a kiss,
Bright over Europe fell her golden hair.
--Charles Tennyson Turner. 1808-1879
And thou, O river of to-morrow, flowing
Between thy narrow adamantine walls,
But beautiful, and white with waterfalls
And wreaths of mist, like hands the pathway showing;
I hear the trumpets of the morning blowing.
It is the mystery of the unknown
That fascinates us; we are children still,
Wayward and wistful; with one hand we cling
To the familiar things we call our own,
And with the other, resolute of will,
Grope in the dark for what the day will bring.
by Henry W. Longfellow
A DAY OF SUNSHINE
O gift of God! O perfect day:
Whereon shall no man work, but play;
Whereon it is enough for me,
Not to be doing, but to be!
Through every fibre of my brain,
Through every nerve, through every vein,
I feel the electric thrill, the touch
Of life, that seems almost too much.
I hear the wind among the trees
Playing celestial symphonies;
I see the branches downward bent,
Like keys of some great instrument.
And over me unrolls on high
The splendid scenery of the sky,
Where though a sapphire sea the sun
Sails like a golden galleon,
Towards yonder cloud-land in the West,
Towards yonder Islands of the Blest,
Whose steep sierra far uplifts
Its craggy summits white with drifts.
Blow, winds! and waft through all the rooms
The snow-flakes of the cherry-blooms!
Blow, winds! and bend within my reach
The fiery blossoms of the peach!
O Life and Love! O happy throng
Of thoughts, whose only speech is song!
O heart of man! canst thou not be
Blithe as the air is, and as free?
by Henry W. Longfellow
A PSALM OF LIFE.
WHAT THE HEART OF THE YOUNG MAN SAID TO THE PSALMIST.
Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.
Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.
In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!
Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,--act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o'erhead!
Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;--
Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.
by Henry W. Longfellow
The Spell of the Yukon
I wanted the gold, and I sought it,
I scrabbled and mucked like a slave.
Was it famine or scurvy -- I fought it;
I hurled my youth into a grave.
I wanted the gold, and I got it --
Came out with a fortune last fall, --
Yet somehow life's not what I thought it,
And somehow the gold isn't all.
No! There's the land. (Have you seen it?)
It's the cussedest land that I know,
From the big, dizzy mountains that screen it
To the deep, deathlike valleys below.
Some say God was tired when He made it;
Some say it's a fine land to shun;
Maybe; but there's some as would trade it
For no land on earth -- and I'm one.
You come to get rich (damned good reason);
You feel like an exile at first;
You hate it like hell for a season,
And then you are worse than the worst.
It grips you like some kinds of sinning;
It twists you from foe to a friend;
It seems it's been since the beginning;
It seems it will be to the end.
I've stood in some mighty-mouthed hollow
That's plumb-full of hush to the brim;
I've watched the big, husky sun wallow
In crimson and gold, and grow dim,
Till the moon set the pearly peaks gleaming,
And the stars tumbled out, neck and crop;
And I've thought that I surely was dreaming,
With the peace o' the world piled on top.
The summer -- no sweeter was ever;
The sunshiny woods all athrill;
The grayling aleap in the river,
The bighorn asleep on the hill.
The strong life that never knows harness;
The wilds where the caribou call;
The freshness, the freedom, the farness --
O God! how I'm stuck on it all.
The winter! the brightness that blinds you,
The white land locked tight as a drum,
The cold fear that follows and finds you,
The silence that bludgeons you dumb.
The snows that are older than history,
The woods where the weird shadows slant;
The stillness, the moonlight, the mystery,
I've bade 'em good-by -- but I can't.
There's a land where the mountains are nameless,
And the rivers all run God knows where;
There are lives that are erring and aimless,
And deaths that just hang by a hair;
There are hardships that nobody reckons;
There are valleys unpeopled and still;
There's a land -- oh, it beckons and beckons,
And I want to go back -- and I will.
They're making my money diminish;
I'm sick of the taste of champagne.
Thank God! when I'm skinned to a finish
I'll pike to the Yukon again.
I'll fight -- and you bet it's no sham-fight;
It's hell! -- but I've been there before;
And it's better than this by a damsite --
So me for the Yukon once more.
There's gold, and it's haunting and haunting;
It's luring me on as of old;
Yet it isn't the gold that I'm wanting
So much as just finding the gold.
It's the great, big, broad land 'way up yonder,
It's the forests where silence has lease;
It's the beauty that thrills me with wonder,
It's the stillness that fills me with peace.
by Robert W. Service
I love to rove amidst the starry height,
To leave the little scenes of Earth behind,
And let Imagination wing her flight
On eagle pinions swifter than the wind.
I love the planets in their course to trace;
To mark the comets speeding to the sun,
Then launch into immeasurable space,
Where, lost to human sight, remote they run.
I love to view the moon, when high she rides
Amidst the heav'ns, in borrowed lustre bright;
To fathom how she rules the subject tides,
And how she borrows from the sun her light.
O! these are wonders of th' Almighty hand,
Whose wisdom first the circling orbits planned.
by T. RODD from Many Thoughts of Many Minds
Under the cooling shadow of a stately elm,
Close sat I by a goodly river's side.
Where gliding streams the rocks did overwhelm;
A lonely place, with pleasures dignified.
I, that once loved the shady woods so well.
Now thought the rivers did the trees excel,
And if the sun would ever shine, there would I dwell.
--Anne Bradstreet, Contemplations
Some time now past in the Autumnal Tide
When Phoebus wanted but one hour to bed
The trees all richly clad, yet void of pride
Where gilded o're by his rich golden head.
Their leaves and fruits seemed painted but was true
Of green, of red, of yellow mixed hew,
Rapt were my sences at this delectable view.
I wist not what to wish, yet sure thought I,
If so much excellence abide below;
How excellent is he that dwells on high?
Whose power and beauty by his works we know.
Sure he is goodness, wisdome, glory, light,
That hath this under world so richly dight;
More Heaven than Earth was here, no winter & no night.
Then on a stately oak I cast mine Eye,
Whose ruffling top the Clouds seemed to aspire;
How long since thou wast in thine Infancy?
Thy strength and stature, more thy years admire.
Hath hundred winters past since thou wast born?
Or thousand since thou brakest thy shell of horn,
If so, all these as nought, Eternity doth scorn.
Then higher on the glistening Sun I gazed,
Whose beams was shaded by the leavie Tree,
The more I looked, the more I grew amazed,
And softly said, what glory's like to thee?
Soul of this world, this Universes Eye
Had I not, better known, (alas) the same had I.
Thou as a bridegroom from thy Chamber rushes
And as a strong man, joyes to run a race,
The morn doth usher thee with smiles and blushes
The Earth reflects her glances in thy face.
Birds, insects, Animals with Vegetive,
Thy heart from death and dulness doth revive:
And in the darksome womb of fruitful nature dive.
Thy swift Annual and diurnal Course,
Thy daily streight and yearly oblique path.
Thy pleasing fervor and thy scorching force,
All mortals here the feeling knowledg hath.
Thy presence makes it day thy absence night,
Quaternal Seasons caused by thy might;
Hail Creature full of sweetness, beauty and delight.
Art them so full of glory, that no Eye
Hath strength, thy shining Rayes once to behold?
And is thy splendid throne erect so high?
As to approach it can no earthly mould.
How full of glory then must thy Creator be?
Who gave this bright light luster unto thee,
Admir'd, ador'd for ever, be that Majesty.
Silent alone, where none or saw or heard,
In pathless paths I lead my wandering feet;
My humble eyes to lofty Skyes I rear'd,
To sing some song my mazed Muse thought meet.
My great Creator I would magnifie,
That nature had thus decked liberally;
But Ah, and Ah, again my imbecility.
--Anne Bradstreet, Contemplations
Let Beauty Awake,
by R. L. Stevenson in Songs of Travel
LET Beauty awake in the morn from beautiful dreams,
Beauty awake from rest!
Let Beauty awake
For Beauty's sake
In the hour when the birds awake in the brake
And the stars are bright in the west!
Let Beauty awake in the eve from the slumber of day,
Awake in the crimson eve!
In the day's dusk end
When the shades ascend,
Let her wake to the kiss of a tender friend
To render again and receive!
If You're Ever Going To Love Me,
If you're ever going to love me love me now, while I can know
All the sweet and tender feelings which from real affection flow.
Love me now, while I am living; do not wait till I am gone
And then chisel in the marble-warm love words on ice-cold stone.
If you've dear, sweet thoughts about me, why not whisper them to me?
Don't you know 'twould make me happy and as glad as glad can be?
If you wait till I am sleeping, ne'er to waken here again,
There'll be walls of earth between us and I couldn't hear you then.
If you knew someone was thirsting for a drop of water sweet
Would you be so slow to bring it? Would you step with laggard feet?
There are tender hearts all around us who are thirsting for our love;
Why withhold from them what nature makes them crave all else above?
I won't need your kind caresses when the grass grows o'er my face;
I won't crave your love or kisses in my last low resting place.
So, then, if you love me any, if it's but a little bit,
Let me know it while I'm living; I can own and treasure it.
My mind has thunderstorms,
That brood for heavy hours:
Until they rain me words,
My thoughts are drooping flowers
And sulking, silent birds.
Yet come, dark thunderstorms,
And brood your heavy hours;
For when you rain me words,
My thoughts are dancing flowers
And joyful singing birds.
-William Henry Davies
My Mind to Me a Kingdom Is
My mind to me a kingdom is;
Such present joys therein I find,
That it excels all other bliss
That earth affords or grows by kind:
Though much I want that most would have,
Yet still my mind forbids to crave.
No princely pomp, no wealthy store,
No force to win the victory,
No wily wit to salve a sore,
No shape to feed a loving eye;
To none of these I yield as thrall;
For why? my mind doth serve for all.
I see how plenty surfeits oft,
And hasty climbers soon do fall;
I see that those which are aloft
Mishap doth threaten most of all:
They get with toil, they keep with fear:
Such cares my mind could never bear.
Content I live, this is my stay;
I seek no more than may suffice;
I press to bear no haughty sway;
Look, what I lack my mind supplies.
Lo, thus I triumph like a king,
Content with that my mind doth bring.
Some have too much, yet still do crave;
I little have, and seek no more.
They are but poor, though much they have,
And I am rich with little store;
They poor, I rich; they beg, I give;
They lack, I leave; they pine, I live.
I laugh not at another’s loss,
I grudge not at another’s gain;
No worldly waves my mind can toss;
My state at one doth still remain:
I fear no foe, I fawn no friend;
I loathe not life, nor dread my end.
Some weigh their pleasure by their lust,
Their wisdom by their rage of will;
Their treasure is their only trust,
A cloaked craft their store of skill;
But all the pleasure that I find
Is to maintain a quiet mind.
My wealth is health and perfect ease,
My conscience clear my chief defense;
I neither seek by bribes to please,
Nor by deceit to breed offence:
Thus do I live; thus will I die;
Would all did so as well as I!
--Sir Edward Dyer
Ode on Solitude
Happy the man, whose wish and care
A few paternal acres bound,
Content to breathe his native air,
In his own ground.
Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,
Whose flocks supply him with attire,
Whose trees in summer yield him shade,
In winter fire.
Blest, who can unconcern'dly find
Hours, days, and years slide soft away,
In health of body, peace of mind,
Quiet by day.
Sound sleep by night; study and ease,
Together mix'd; sweet recreation;
And innocence, which most does please
Thus let me live, unseen, unknown,
Thus unlamented let me die,
Steal from the world, and not a stone
Tell where I lie.
There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry--
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll--
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul.
Why, who makes much of a miracle?
As to me I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water,
Or stand under trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with any one I love, or sleep in the bed at night
with any one I love,
Or sit at table at dinner with the rest,
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,
Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive of a summer forenoon,
Or animals feeding in the fields,
Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or of stars shining so quiet
Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring;
These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place.
To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same,
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same.
To me the sea is a continual miracle,
The fishes that swim--the rocks--the motion of the waves--the
ships with men in them,
What stranger miracles are there?
A TRAGIC STORY
There lived a sage in days of yore,
And he a handsome pigtail wore;
But wondered much and sorrowed more
Because it hung behind him.
He mused upon this curious case,
And swore he'd change the pigtail's place,
And have it hanging at his face,
Not dangling there behind him.
Said he, "The mystery I've found,--
I'll turn me round."--
He turned him round;
But still it hung behind him.
Then round and round, and out and in,
All day the puzzled sage did spin;
In vain--it mattered not a pin--
The pigtail hung behind him.
And right, and left, and round about,
And up, and down, and in, and out
He turned; but still the pigtail stout
Hung steadily behind him.
And though his efforts never slack,
And though he twist, and twirl, and tack,
Alas! still faithful to his back
The pigtail hangs behind him.
--William Makepeace Thackeray
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must--but don't you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns.
As everyone of us sometimes learns.
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up, though the pace seems slow--
You might succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor's cup;
And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out--
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit--
It's when things seem worst that you mustn't quit.
--Edgar A. Guest
Who Slammed Doors For Fun And Perished Miserably
A trick that everyone abhors
In little girls is slamming doors.
A wealthy banker's little daughter
Who lived in Palace Green, Bayswater
(By name Rebecca Offendort),
Was given to this furious sport.
She would deliberately go
And slam the door like billy-o!
To make her uncle Jacob start.
She was not really bad at heart,
But only rather rude and wild;
She was an aggravating child...
It happened that a marble bust
Of Abraham was standing just
Above the door this little lamb
Had carefully prepared to slam,
And down it came! It knocked her flat!
It laid her out! She looked like that.
Her funeral sermon (which was long
And followed by a sacred song)
Mentioned her virtues, it is true,
But dwelt upon her vices too,
And showed the deadful end of one
Who goes and slams the door for fun.
The children who were brought to hear
The awful tale from far and near
Were much impressed, and inly swore
They never more would slam the door,
-- As often they had done before.
When weary with the long day's care,
And earthly change from pain to pain,
And lost, and ready to despair,
Thy kind voice calls me back again:
Oh, my true friend! I am not lone,
While then canst speak with such a tone!
So hopeless is the world without;
The world within I doubly prize;
Thy world, where guile, and hate, and doubt,
And cold suspicion never rise;
Where thou, and I, and Liberty,
Have undisputed sovereignty.
What matters it, that all around
Danger, and guilt, and darkness lie,
If but within our bosom's bound
We hold a bright, untroubled sky,
Warm with ten thousand mingled rays
Of suns that know no winter days?
Reason, indeed, may oft complain
For Nature's sad reality,
And tell the suffering heart how vain
Its cherished dreams must always be;
And Truth may rudely trample down
The flowers of Fancy, newly-blown:
But thou art ever there, to bring
The hovering vision back, and breathe
New glories o'er the blighted spring,
And call a lovelier Life from Death.
And whisper, with a voice divine,
Of real worlds, as bright as thine.
I trust not to thy phantom bliss,
Yet, still, in evening's quiet hour,
With never-failing thankfulness,
I welcome thee, Benignant Power;
Sure solacer of human cares,
And sweeter hope, when hope despairs!
by Emily Bronte
LINES COMPOSED IN A WOOD ON A WINDY DAY.
My soul is awakened, my spirit is soaring
And carried aloft on the wings of the breeze;
For above and around me the wild wind is roaring,
Arousing to rapture the earth and the seas.
The long withered grass in the sunshine is glancing,
The bare trees are tossing their branches on high;
The dead leaves beneath them are merrily dancing,
The white clouds are scudding across the blue sky
I wish I could see how the ocean is lashing
The foam of its billows to whirlwinds of spray;
I wish I could see how its proud waves are dashing,
And hear the wild roar of their thunder to-day!
by Anne Bronte
To struggle when hope is banished!
To live when life's salt is gone!
To dwell in a dream that's vanished!
To endure, and go calmly on!
The brave man is not he who feels no fear,
For that were stupid and irrational;
But he, whose noble soul its fear subdues,
And bravely dares the danger nature shrinks from.
'THEY DESIRE A BETTER COUNTRY'
I would not if I could undo my past,
Tho' for its sake my future is a blank;
My past, for which I have myself to thank,
For all its faults and follies first and last.
I would not cast anew the lot once cast,
Or launch a second ship for one that sank,
Or drug with sweets the bitterness I drank,
Or break by feasting my perpetual fast.
I would not if I could: for much more dear
Is one remembrance than a hundred joys,
More than a thousand hopes in jubilee;
Dearer the music of one tearful voice
That unforgotten calls and calls to me,
'Follow me here, rise up, and follow here.'
by Christina Rossetti
Swiftly out from the friendly lilt of the band,
The crowd's good laughter, the loved eyes of men,
I am drawn nightward; I must turn again
Where, down beyond the low untrodden strand,
There curves and glimmers outward to the unknown
The old unquiet ocean. All the shade
Is rife with magic and movement. I stray alone
Here on the edge of silence, half afraid,
Waiting a sign. In the deep heart of me
The sullen waters swell towards the moon,
And all my tides set seaward.
Leaps a gay fragment of some mocking tune,
That tinkles and laughs and fades along the sand,
And dies between the seawall and the sea.
by Rupert Brooke
A PASSAGE IN THE LIFE OF SAINT AUGUSTINE.
Long pored Saint Austin o'er the sacred page,
And doubt and darkness overspread his mind;
On God's mysterious being thought the Sage,
The Triple Person in one Godhead joined.
The more he thought, the harder did he find
To solve the various doubts which fast arose;
And as a ship, caught by imperious wind,
Tosses where chance its shattered body throws,
So tossed his troubled soul, and nowhere found repose.
Heated and feverish, then he closed his tome,
And went to wander by the ocean-side,
Where the cool breeze at evening loved to come,
Murmuring responsive to the murmuring tide;
And as Augustine o'er its margent wide
Strayed, deeply pondering the puzzling theme,
A little child before him he espied:
In earnest labor did the urchin seem,
Working with heart intent close by the sounding stream.
He looked, and saw the child a hole had scooped,
Shallow and narrow in the shining sand,
O'er which at work the laboring infant stooped,
Still pouring water in with busy hand.
The saint addressed the child in accents bland:
"Fair boy," quoth he, "I pray what toil is thine?
Let me its end and purpose understand."
The boy replied: "An easy task is mine,
To sweep into this hole all the wide ocean's brine."
"O foolish boy!" the saint exclaimed, "to hope
That the broad ocean in that hole should lie!"
"O foolish saint!" exclaimed the boy; "thy scope
Is still more hopeless than the toil I ply,
Who think'st to comprehend God's nature high
In the small compass of thine human wit!
Sooner, Augustine, sooner far, shall I
Confine the ocean in this tiny pit,
Than finite minds conceive God's nature infinite!"
Ah! who can speak that country whence I fled?
None but a lover may its beauty know,
None but a poet can its rapture sing;
And e'en his muse, upborne on Fancy's wing,
Will grieve o'er beauties still unnoticed,
O'er raptures language is too poor to show.
Fore'er remains the land where children dwell,
Earth's fairest mem'ry and its Palestine;
Tho' years have passed since on my forehead there
Were graven lines of weariness and care,
Still on the silver string of memory oft I tell
The golden beads of joy that once were mine.
Dear distant Land of Childhood! God doth know
That I have longed to dwell in thee again,
As when by care unvexed, by doubt undriven,
With eyes as blue, and heart as pure, as Heaven.
Sweet are the days of childhood, glad the flow
Of unhurt joyous life in every vein.
It may not be, those sunny hours are flown,
And loud "The Fortune" knocks at every gate;
Still move we on the path where none returns,
Where wait afar, or near, our funeral urns,
That mystic path, whose ways are all unknown,
For only life's surprises make us great.
Yet still I dream, as o'er the swelling deep,
I gaze upon the far enchanted shore,
Through whose retreats the memory-brooding sea
Rolls in deep monotone continually.
Waves of soft melody, which fall asleep
In rosy glens that I may see no more.
O holy music of the flowing sea,
Heard never but at eve, when shifts and gleams
On waves afar the light of joy still ours,
Because remembered still, thy voice o'erpowers
My soul with pensiveness, sweet reverie
And memory of half-forgotten dreams.
Twas early, Sea of Life, I loved thee well,
And mused betimes upon thy strand, till rolled
Ashore from Daylight's wreck her gilded spars,
And Night, in thee, a chandelier of stars
Had hung, to light the grots where mermen dwell,
The deep-sea grots of amethyst and gold.
Beyond thee, when thou wert of gentle mood,
And held with all the weary winds a truce,
Upon the other shore I could descry
Where, faintly outlined in the western sky,
A mystic rainbow-girdled Headland stood,
Whose silver sandals thou dost rise to loose.
Far on the verge, where sky and waters meet,
The Headland's hazy outline I could trace;
High in the blue of Heaven its summit lay;
There sleeps the twilight, till the crystal Day,
Waked by the song of birds from slumber sweet,
Beams on the Headland fair with lovelit face.
For I have ne'er believed the Headland's brow
Is bathed forever in the noon-day glare;
Dearer to me the quiet hour of eve,
And when at last this passion world I leave,
May I, sometimes, behold the stars, as now,--
In the sweet gloaming--tho' "no night is there."
One early morn, ere earth had waked from sleep,
From the calm shadow of my tent I stole;
I could not rest, and as I sought the shore,
To tell my longings to the ocean o'er,
A warning Voice, uprising from the deep,
Murmured in plaintive rhythm to my soul.
by Thomas S. Chard
When men were all asleep the snow came flying,
In large white flakes falling on the city brown,
Stealthily and perpetually settling and loosely lying,
Hushing the latest traffic of the drowsy town;
Deadening, muffling, stifling its murmurs failing;
Lazily and incessantly floating down and down:
Silently sifting and veiling road, roof and railing;
Hiding difference, making unevenness even,
Into angles and crevices softly drifting and sailing.
All night it fell, and when full inches seven
It lay in the depth of its uncompacted lightness,
The clouds blew off from a high and frosty heaven;
And all woke earlier for the unaccustomed brightness
Of the winter dawning, the strange unheavenly glare:
The eye marvelled--marvelled at the dazzling whiteness;
The ear hearkened to the stillness of the solemn air;
No sound of wheel rumbling nor of foot falling,
And the busy morning cries came thin and spare.
Then boys I heard, as they went to school, calling,
They gathered up the crystal manna to freeze
Their tongues with tasting, their hands with snow-balling;
Or rioted in a drift, plunging up to the knees;
Or peering up from under the white-mossed wonder,
"O look at the trees!" they cried, "O look at the trees!"
With lessened load a few carts creak and blunder,
Following along the white deserted way,
A country company long dispersed asunder:
When now already the sun, in pale display
Standing by Paul's high dome, spread forth below
His sparkling beams, and awoke the stir of the day.
For now doors open, and war is waged with the snow;
And trains of sombre men, past tale of number,
Tread long brown paths, as toward their toil they go;
But even for them awhile no cares encumber
Their minds diverted; the daily word is unspoken,
The daily thoughts of labour and sorrow slumber
At the sight of the beauty that greets them, for the
charm they have broken.
by Robert Bridges
The cock is crowing,
The stream is flowing,
The small birds twitter,
The lake doth glitter,
The green field sleeps in the sun;
The oldest and youngest
Are at work with the strongest;
The cattle are grazing,
Their heads never raising;
There are forty feeding like one.
Like an army defeated
The snow hath retreated,
And now doth fare ill
On the top of the bare hill;
The ploughboy is whooping—anon—anon!
There's joy on the mountains;
There's life in the fountains;
Small clouds are sailing,
Blue sky prevailing;
The rain is over and gone.
by William Wordsworth
Peace, peace, thou over-anxious, foolish heart,
Rest, ever-seeking soul, calm, mad desires,
Quiet, wild dreams—this is the time of sleep.
Hold her more close than life itself. Forget
All the excitements of the day, forget
All problems and discomforts. Let the night
Take you unto herself, her blessed self.
Peace, peace, thou over-anxious, foolish heart,
Rest, ever-seeking soul, calm, mad desires,
Quiet, wild dreams—this is the time of sleep.
Leolyn Louise Everett.
The Three Voices
The waves have a story to tell me,
As I lie on the lonely beach;
Chanting aloft in the pine-tops,
The wind has a lesson to teach;
But the stars sing an anthem of glory
I cannot put into speech.
The waves tell of ocean spaces,
Of hearts that are wild and brave,
Of populous city places,
Of desolate shores they lave,
Of men who sally in quest of gold
To sink in an ocean grave.
The wind is a mighty roamer;
He bids me keep me free,
Clean from the taint of the gold-lust,
Hardy and pure as he;
Cling with my love to nature,
As a child to the mother-knee.
But the stars throng out in their glory,
And they sing of the God in man;
They sing of the Mighty Master,
Of the loom his fingers span,
Where a star or a soul is a part of the whole,
And weft in the wondrous plan.
Here by the camp-fire's flicker,
Deep in my blanket curled,
I long for the peace of the pine-gloom,
When the scroll of the Lord is unfurled,
And the wind and the wave are silent,
And world is singing to world.
by Robert W. Service
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream--and not make dreams your master;
If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them; "Hold on!"
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings--nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!
by Rudyard Kipling
Let Me Live Out My Years
LET me live out my years in heat of blood!
Let me die drunken with the dreamer's wine!
Let me not see this soul-house built of mud
Go toppling to the dusk—a vacant shrine.
Let me go quickly, like a candle light
Snuffed out just at the heyday of its glow.
Give me high noon—and let it then be night!
Thus would I go.
And grant that when I face the grisly Thing,
My song may trumpet down the gray Perhaps.
Let me be as a tune-swept fiddlestring
That feels the Master Melody—and snaps!
by John G. Neihardt
I love the hour that comes, with dusky hair
And dewy feet, along the Alpine dells,
To lead the cattle forth. A thousand bells
Go chiming after her across the fair
And flowery uplands, while the rosy flare
Of sunset on the snowy mountain dwells,
And valleys darken, and the drowsy spells
Of peace are woven through the purple air.
Dear is the magic of this hour: she seems
To walk before the dark by falling rills,
And lend a sweeter song to hidden streams;
She opens all the doors of night, and fills
With moving bells the music of my dreams,
That wander far among the sleeping hills.
by Henry Van Dyke, Gstaad, August, 1909.
When Day Is Done
When day is done and the night slips down,
And I've turned my back on the busy town,
And come once more to the welcome gate
Where the roses nod and the children wait,
I tell myself as I see them smile
That life is good and its tasks worth while.
When day is done and I've come once more
To my quiet street and the friendly door,
Where the Mother reigns and the children play
And the kettle sings in the old-time way,
I throw my coat on a near-by chair
And say farewell to my pack of care.
When day is done, all the hurt and strife
And the selfishness and the greed of life,
Are left behind in the busy town;
I've ceased to worry about renown
Or gold or fame, and I'm just a dad,
Content to be with his girl and lad.
Whatever the day has brought of care,
Here love and laughter are mine to share,
Here I can claim what the rich desire--
Rest and peace by a ruddy fire,
The welcome words which the loved ones speak
And the soft caress of a baby's cheek.
When day is done and I reach my gate,
I come to a realm where there is no hate,
For here, whatever my worth may be,
Are those who cling to their faith in me;
And with love on guard at my humble door,
I have all that the world has struggled for.
by Edgar Guest
What We Need
We were settin' there an' smokin' of our pipes, discussin' things,
Like licker, votes for wimmin, an' the totterin'thrones o' kings,
When he ups an' strokes his whiskers with his hand an' says t'me:
"Changin' laws an' legislatures ain't, as fur as I can see,
Goin' to make this world much better, unless somehow we can
Find a way to make a better an' a finer sort o' man.
"The trouble ain't with statutes or with systems--not at all;
It's with humans jest like we air an' their petty ways an' small.
We could stop our writin' law-books an' our regulatin' rules
If a better sort of manhood was the product of our schools.
For the things that we air needin' ain't no writin' from a pen
Or bigger guns to shoot with, but a bigger typeof men.
"I reckon all these problems air jest ornery like the weeds.
They grow in soil that oughta nourish only decent deeds,
An' they waste our time an' fret us when, if we were thinkin' straight
An' livin' right, they wouldn't be so terrible an' great.
A good horse needs no snaffle, an' a good man, I opine,
Doesn't need a law to check him or to force him into line.
"If we ever start in teachin' to our children, year by year,
How to live with one another, there'll be less o' trouble here.
If we'd teach 'em how to neighbor an' to walk in honor's ways,
We could settle every problem which the mind o' man can raise.
What we're needin' isn't systems or some regulatin' plan,
But a bigger an' a finer an' a truer type o' man."
by Edgar Guest
YOU are beautiful and faded
Like an old opera tune
Played upon a harpsichord;
Or like the sun-flooded silks
Of an eighteenth-century boudoir.
In your eyes
Smoulder the fallen roses of out-lived minutes,
And the perfume of your soul
Is vague and suffusing,
With the pungence of sealed spice-jars.
Your half-tones delight me,
And I grow mad with gazing
At your blent colours.
My vigour is a new-minted penny,
Which I cast at your feet.
Gather it up from the dust,
That its sparkle may amuse you.
by Amy Lowell (1874–1925)