PAL: Perspectives in American Literature - A Research and Reference Guide

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Johnson, Thomas H., ed. Complete Poems. Boston: Llittle, Brown, 1960. PS1541 .A1

 

1

Awake ye muses nine, sing me a strain divine,

Unwind the solemn twine, and tie my Valentine!

Oh the Earth was made for lovers, for damsel, and hopeless swain,

For sighing, and gentle whispering, and unity made of twain.

All things do go a courting, in earth, or sea, or air,

God hath made nothing single but thee in His world so fair!

The bride, and then the bridegroom, the two, and then the one,

Adam, and Eve, his consort, the moon, and then the sun;

The life doth prove the precept, who obey shall happy be,

Who will not serve the sovereign, be hanged on fatal tree.

The high do seek the lowly, the great do seek the small,

None cannot find who seeketh, on this terrestrial ball;

The bee doth court the flower, the flower his suit receives,

And they make merry wedding, whose guests are hundred leaves;

The wind doth woo the branches, the branches they are won,

And the father fond demandeth the maiden for his son.

The storm doth walk the seashore humming a mournful tune,

The wave with eye so pensive, looketh to see the moon,

Their spirits meet together, they make their solemn vows,

No more he singeth mournful, her sadness she doth lose.

The worm doth woo the mortal, death claims a living bride,

Night unto day is married, morn unto eventide;

Earth is a merry damsel, and heaven a knight so true,

And Earth is quite coquettish, and beseemeth in vain to sue.

Now to the application, to the reading of the roll,

To bringing thee to justice, and marshalling thy soul:

Thou art a human solo, a being cold, and lone,

Wilt have no kind companion, thou reap’st what thou hast sown.

Hast never silent hours, and minutes all too long,

And a deal of sad reflection, and wailing instead of song?

There’s Sarah, and Eliza, and Emeline so fair,

And Harriet, and Susan, and she with curling hair!

Thine eyes are sadly blinded, but yet thou mayest see

Six true, and comely maidens sitting upon the tree;

Approach that tree with caution, then up it boldly climb,

And seize the one thou lovest, nor care for space, or time!

Then bear her to the greenwood, and build for her a bower,

And give her what she asketh, jewel, or bird, or flower --

And bring the fife, and trumpet, and beat upon the drum --

And bid the world Goodmorrow, and go to glory home!

 

2

There is another sky,

Ever serene and fair,

And there is another sunshine,

Though it be darkness there;

Never mind faded forests, Austin,

Never mind silent fields --

Here is a little forest,

Whose leaf is ever green;

Here is a brighter garden,

Where not a frost has been;

In its unfading flowers

I hear the bright bee hum:

Prithee, my brother,

Into my garden come!

3

"Sic transit gloria mundi,"

"How doth the busy bee,"

"Dum vivimus vivamus,"

I stay mine enemy!

Oh "veni, vidi, vici!"

Oh caput cap-a-pie!

And oh "memento mori"

When I am far from thee!

Hurrah for Peter Parley!

Hurrah for Daniel Boone!

Three cheers, sir, for the gentleman

Who first observed the moon!

Peter, put up the sunshine;

Patti, arrange the stars;

Tell Luna, tea is waiting,

And call your brother Mars!

Put down the apple, Adam,

And come away with me,

So shalt thou have a pippin

From off my father’s tree!

I climb the "Hill of Science,"

I "view the landscape o’er;"

Such transcendental prospect,

I ne’er beheld before!

Unto the Legislature

My country bids me go;

I’ll take my india rubbers,

In case the wind should blow!

During my education,

It was announced to me

That gravitation, stumbling,

Fell from an apple tree!

The earth upon an axis

Was once supposed to turn,

By way of a gymnastic

In honor of the sun!

It was the brave Columbus,

A sailing o’er the tide,

Who notified the nations

Of where I would reside!

Mortality is fatal --

Gentility is fine,

Rascality, heroic,

Insolvency, sublime!

Our Fathers being weary,

Laid down on Bunker Hill;

And tho’ full many a morning,

Yet they are sleeping still, --

The trumpet, sir, shall wake them,

In dreams I see them rise,

Each with a solemn musket

A marching to the skies!

A coward will remain, Sir,

Until the fight is done;

But an immortal hero

Will take his hat, and run!

Good bye, Sir, I am going;

My country calleth me;

Allow me, Sir, at parting,

To wipe my weeping e’e.

In token of our friendship

Accept this "Bonnie Doon,"

And when the hand that plucked it

Hath passed beyond the moon,

The memory of my ashes

Will consolation be;

Then, farewell, Tuscarora,

And farewell, Sir, to thee!

4

On this wondrous sea

Sailing silently,

Ho! Pilot, ho!

Knowest thou the shore

Where no breakers roar --

Where the storm is o’er?

In the peaceful west

Many the sails at rest --

The anchors fast --

Thither I pilot thee --

Land Ho! Eternity!

Ashore at last!

5

I have a Bird in spring

Which for myself doth sing --

The spring decoys.

And as the summer nears --

And as the Rose appears,

Robin is gone.

Yet do I not repine

Knowing that Bird of mine

Though flown --

Learneth beyond the sea

Melody new for me

And will return.

Fast is a safer hand

Held in a truer Land

Are mine --

And though they now depart,

Tell I my doubting heart

They’re thine.

In a serener Bright,

In a more golden light

I see

Each little doubt and fear,

Each little discord here

Removed.

Then will I not repine,

Knowing that Bird of mine

Though flown

Shall in a distant tree

Bright melody for me

Return.

6

Frequently the wood are pink --

Frequently are brown.

Frequently the hills undress

Behind my native town.

Oft a head is crested

I was wont to see --

And as oft a cranny

Where it used to be --

And the Earth -- they tell me --

On its Axis turned!

Wonderful Rotation!

By but twelve performed!

7

The feet of people walking home

With gayer sandals go --

The Crocus -- til she rises

The Vassal of the snow --

The lips at Hallelujah

Long years of practise bore

Til bye and bye these Bargemen

Walked singing on the shore.

Pearls are the Diver’s farthings

Extorted from the Sea --

Pinions -- the Seraph’s wagon

Pedestrian once -- as we --

Night is the morning’s Canvas

Larceny -- legacy --

Death, but our rapt attention

To Immortality.

My figures fail to tell me

How far the Village lies --

Whose peasants are the Angels --

Whose Cantons dot the skies --

My Classics veil their faces --

My faith that Dark adores --

Which from its solemn abbeys

Such ressurection pours.

8

There is a word

Which bears a sword

Can pierce an armed man --

It hurls its barbed syllables

And is mute again --

But where it fell

The saved will tell

On patriotic day,

Some epauletted Brother

Gave his breath away.

Wherever runs the breathless sun --

Wherever roams the day --

There is its noiseless onset --

There is its victory!

Behold the keenest marksman!

The most accomplished shot!

Time’s sublimest target

Is a soul "forgot!"

9

Through lane it lay -- through bramble --

Through clearing and through wood --

Banditti often passed us

Upon the lonely road.

The wolf came peering curious --

The owl looked puzzled down --

The serpent’s satin figure

Glid stealthily along --

The tempests touched our garments --

The lightning’s poinards gleamed --

Fierce from the Crag above us

The hungry Vulture screamed --

The satyr’s fingers beckoned --

The valley murmured "Come" --

These were the mates --

This was the road

Those children fluttered home.

10

My wheel is in the dark!

I cannot see a spoke

Yet know its dripping feet

Go round and round.

My foot is on the Tide!

An unfrequented road --

Yet have all roads

A clearing at the end --

Some have resigned the Loom --

Some in the busy tomb

Find quaint employ --

Some with new -- stately feet --

Pass royal through the gate --

Flinging the problem back

At you and I!

11

I never told the buried gold

Upon the hill -- that lies --

I saw the sun -- his plunder done

Crouch low to guard his prize.

He stood as near

As stood you here --

A pace had been between --

Did but a snake bisect the brake

My life had forfeit been.

That was a wondrous booty --

I hope ‘twas honest gained.

Those were the fairest ingots

That ever kissed the spade!

Whether to keep the secret --

Whether to reveal --

Whether as I ponder

Kidd will sudden sail --

Could a shrewd advise me

We might e’en divide --

Should a shrewd betray me --

Atropos decide!

12

The morns are meeker than they were --

The nuts are getting brown --

The berry’s cheek is plumper --

The Rose is out of town.

The Maple wears a gayer scarf --

The field a scarlet gown --

Lest I should be old fashioned

I’ll put a trinket on.

13

Sleep is supposed to be

By souls of sanity

The shutting of the eye.

Sleep is the station grand

Down which, on either hand

The hosts of witness stand!

Morn is supposed to be

By people of degree

The breaking of the Day.

Morning has not occurred!

That shall Aurora be --

East of Eternity --

One with the banner gay --

One in the red array --

That is the break of Day!

14

One Sister have I in our house,

And one, a hedge away.

There’s only one recorded,

But both belong to me.

One came the road that I came --

And wore my last year’s gown --

The other, as a bird her nest,

Builded our hearts among.

She did not sing as we did --

It was a different tune --

Herself to her a music

As Bumble bee of June.

Today is far from Childhood --

But up and down the hills

I held her hand the tighter --

Which shortened all the miles --

And still her hum

The years among,

Deceives the Butterfly;

Still in her Eye

The Violets lie

Mouldered this many May.

I spilt the dew --

But took the morn --

I chose this single star

From out the wide night’s numbers --

Sue - forevermore!

15

The Guest is gold and crimson --

An Opal guest and gray --

Of Ermine is his doublet --

His Capuchin gay --

He reaches town at nightfall --

He stops at every door --

Who looks for him at morning

I pray him too -- explore

The Lark’s pure territory --

Or the Lapwing’s shore!

16

I would distil a cup,

And bear to all my friends,

Drinking to her no more astir,

By beck, or burn, or moor!

17

Baffled for just a day or two --

Embarrassed -- not afraid --

Encounter in my garden

An unexpected Maid.

She beckons, and the woods start --

She nods, and all begin --

Surely, such a country

I was never in!

18

The Gentian weaves her fringes --

The Maple’s loom is red --

My departing blossoms

Obviate parade.

A brief, but patient illness --

An hour to prepare,

And one below this morning

Is where the angels are --

It was a short procession,

The Bobolink was there --

An aged Bee addressed us --

And then we knelt in prayer --

We trust that she was willing --

We ask that we may be.

Summer -- Sister -- Seraph!

Let us go with thee!

In the name of the Bee --

And of the Butterfly --

And of the Breeze -- Amen!

19

A sepal, petal, and a thorn

Upon a common summer’s morn --

A flask of Dew -- A Bee or two --

A Breeze -- a caper in the trees --

And I’m a Rose!

20

Distrustful of the Gentian --

And just to turn away,

The fluttering of her fringes

Child my perfidy --

Weary for my ----------

I will singing go --

I shall not feel the sleet -- then --

I shall not fear the snow.

Flees so the phantom meadow

Before the breathless Bee --

So bubble brooks in deserts

On Ears that dying lie --

Burn so the Evening Spires

To Eyes that Closing go --

Hangs so distant Heaven --

To a hand below.

21

We lose -- because we win --

Gamblers -- recollecting which

Toss their dice again!

22

All these my banners be.

I sow my pageantry

In May --

It rises train by train --

Then sleeps in state again --

My chancel -- all the plain

Today.

To lose -- if one can find again --

To miss -- if one shall meet --

The Burglar cannot rob -- then --

The Broker cannot cheat.

So build the hillocks gaily

Thou little spade of mine

Leaving nooks for Daisy

And for Columbine --

You and I the secret

Of the Crocus know --

Let us chant it softly --

"There is no more snow!"

To him who keeps an Orchis’ heart --

The swamps are pink with June.

23

I had a guinea golden --

I lost it in the sand --

And tho’ the sum was simple

And pounds were in the land --

Still, had it such a value

Unto my frugal eye --

That when I could not find it --

I sat me down to sigh.

I had a crimson Robin --

Who sang full many a day

But when the woods were painted,

He, too, did fly away --

Time brought me other Robins --

Their ballads were the same --

Still, for my missing Troubador

I kept the "house at hame."

I had a star in heaven --

One "Pleiad" was its name --

And when I was not heeding,

It wandered from the same.

And tho’ the skies are crowded --

And all the night ashine --

I do not care about it --

Since none of them are mine.

My story has a moral --

I have a missing friend --

"Pleiad" its name, and Robin,

And guinea in the sand.

And when this mournful ditty

Accompanied with tear --

Shall meet the eye of traitor

In country far from here --

Grant that repentance solemn

May seize upon his mind --

And he no consolation

Beneath the sun may find.

24

There is a morn by men unseen --

Whose maids upon remoter green

Keep their Seraphic May --

And all day long, with dance and game,

And gambol I may never name --

Employ their holiday.

Here to light measure, move the feet

Which walk no more the village street --

Nor by the wood are found --

Here are the birds that sought the sun

When last year’s distaff idle hung

And summer’s brows were bound.

Ne’er saw I such a wondrous scene --

Ne’er such a ring on such a green --

Nor so serene array --

As if the stars some summer night

Should swing their cups of Chrysolite --

And revel till the day --

Like thee to dance -- like thee to sing --

People upon the mystic green --

I ask, each new May Morn.

I wait thy far, fantastic bells --

Unto the different dawn!

25

She slept beneath a tree --

Remembered but by me.

I touched her Cradle mute --

She recognized the foot --

Put on her carmine suit

And see!

26

It’s all I have to bring today --

This, and my heart beside --

This, and my heart, and all the fields --

And all the meadows wide --

Be sure you count -- should I forget

Some one the sum could tell --

This, and my heart, and all the Bees

Which in the Clover dwell.

27

Morns like these -- we parted --

Noons like these -- she rose --

Fluttering first -- then firmer

To her fair repose.

Never did she lisp it --

It was not for me --

She -- was mute from transport --

I -- from agony --

Till -- the evening nearing

One the curtains drew --

Quick! A Sharper rustling!

And this linnet flew!

28

So has a Daisy vanished

From the fields today --

So tiptoed many a slipper

To Paradise away --

Oozed so in crimson bubbles

Day’s departing tide --

Blooming -- tripping -- flowing

Are ye then with God?

29

If those I loved were lost

The Crier’s voice would tell me --

If those I loved were found

The bells of Ghent would ring --

Did those I loved repose

The Daisy would impel me.

Philip -- when bewildered

Bore his riddle in!

30

Adrift! A little boat adrift!

And night is coming down!

Will no one guide a little boat

Unto the nearest town?

So Sailors say -- on yesterday --

Just as the dusk was brown

One little boat gave up its strife

And gurgled down and down.

So angels say -- on yesterday --

Just as the dawn was red

One little boat -- o’erspent with gales --

Retrimmed its masts -- redecked its sails --

And shot -- exultant on!

31

Summer for thee, grant I may be

When Summer days are flown!

Thy music still, when Whipporwill

And Oriole -- are done!

For thee to bloom, I’ll skip the tomb

And row my blossoms o’er!

Pray gather me --

Anemone --

Thy flower -- forevermore!

32

When Roses cease to bloom, Sir,

And Violets are done --

When Bumblebees in solemn flight

Have passed beyond the Sun --

The hand that paused to gather

Upon this Summer’s day

Will idle lie -- in Auburn --

Then take my flowers -- pray!

33

If recollecting were forgetting,

Then I remember not.

And if forgetting, recollecting,

How near I had forgot.

And if to miss, were merry,

And to mourn, were gay,

How very blithe the fingers

That gathered this, Today!

34

Garland for Queens, may be --

Laurels -- for rare degree

Of soul or sword.

Ah -- but remembering me --

Ah -- but remembering thee --

Nature in chivalry --

Nature in charity --

Nature in equity --

This Rose ordained!

35

Nobody knows this little Rose --

It might a pilgrim be

Did I not take it from the ways

And lift it up to thee.

Only a Bee will miss it --

Only a Butterfly,

Hastening from far journey --

On its breast to lie --

Only a Bird will wonder --

Only a Breeze will sigh --

Ah Little Rose -- how easy

For such as thee to die!

36

Snow flakes.

I counted till they danced so

Their slippers leaped the town,

And then I took a pencil

To note the rebels down.

And then they grew so jolly

I did resign the prig,

And ten of my once stately toes

Are marshalled for a jig!

37

Before the ice is in the pools --

Before the skaters go,

Or any check at nightfall

Is tarnished by the snow --

Before the fields have finished,

Before the Christmas tree,

Wonder upon wonder

Will arrive to me!

What we touch the hems of

On a summer’s day --

What is only walking

Just a bridge away --

That which sings so -- speaks so --

When there’s no one here --

Will the frock I wept in

Answer me to wear?

38

By such and such an offering

To Mr. So and So,

The web of live woven --

So martyrs albums show!

39

It did not surprise me --

So I said -- or thought --

She will stir her pinions

And the nest forgot,

Traverse broader forests --

Build in gayer boughs,

Breathe in Ear more modern

God’s old fashioned vows --

This was but a Birdling --

What and if it be

One within my bosom

Had departed me?

This was but a story --

What and if indeed

There were just such coffin

In the heart instead?

40

When I count the seeds

That are sown beneath,

To bloom so, bye and bye --

When I con the people

Lain so low,

To be received as high --

When I believe the garden

Mortal shall not see --

Pick by faith its blossom

And avoid its Bee,

I can spare this summer, unreluctantly.

41

I robbed the Woods --

The trusting Woods.

The unsuspecting Trees

Brought out their Burs and mosses

My fantasy to please.

I scanned their trinkets curious -- I grasped -- I bore away --

What will the solemn Hemlock --

What will the Oak tree say?

42

A Day! Help! Help! Another Day!

Your prayers, oh Passer by!

From such a common ball as this

Might date a Victory!

From marshallings as simple

The flags of nations swang.

Steady -- my soul: What issues

Upon thine arrow hang!

43

Could live -- did live --

Could die -- did die --

Could smile upon the whole

Through faith in one he met not,

To introduce his soul.

Could go from scene familiar

To an untraversed spot --

Could contemplate the journey

With unpuzzled heart --

Such trust had one among us,

Among us not today --

We who saw the launching

Never sailed the Bay!

44

If she had been the Mistletoe

And I had been the Rose --

How gay upon your table

My velvet life to close --

Since I am of the Druid,

And she is of the dew --

I’ll deck Tradition’s buttonhole --

And send the Rose to you.

45

There’s something quieter than sleep

Within this inner room!

It wears a sprig upon its breast --

And will not tell its name.

Some touch it, and some kiss it --

Some chafe its idle hand --

It has a simple gravity

I do not understand!

I would not weep if I were they --

How rude in one to sob!

Might scare the quiet fairy

Back to her native wood!

While simple-hearted neighbors

Chat of the "Early dead" --

We -- prone to periphrasis

Remark that Birds have fled!

46

I keep my pledge.

I was not called --

Death did not notice me.

I bring my Rose.

I plight again,

By every sainted Bee --

By Daisy called from hillside --

by Bobolink from lane.

Blossom and I --

Her oath, and mine --

Will surely come again.

47

Heart! We will forget him!

You and I -- tonight!

You may forget the warmth he gave --

I will forget the light!

When you have done, pray tell me

That I may straight begin!

Haste! lest while you’re lagging

I remember him!

48

Once more, my now bewildered Dove

Bestirs her puzzled wings

Once more her mistress, on the deep

Her troubled question flings --

Thrice to the floating casement

The Patriarch’s bird returned,

Courage! My brave Columbia!

There may yet be land

49

I never lost as much but twice,

And that was in the sod.

Twice have I stood a beggar

Before the door of God!

Angels -- twice descending

Reimbursed my store --

Burglar! Banker -- Father!

I am poor once more!

50

I haven’t told my garden yet --

Lest that should conquer me.

I haven’t quite the strength now

To break it to the Bee --

I will not name it in the street

For shops would stare at me --

That one so shy -- so ignorant

Should have the face to die.

The hillsides must not know it --

Where I have rambled so --

Nor tell the loving forests

The day that I shall go --

Nor lisp it at the table --

Nor heedless by the way

Hint that within the Riddle

One will walk today --

51

I often passed the village

When going home from school --

And wondered what they did there --

And why it was so still --

I did not know the year then --

In which my call would come --

Earlier, by the Dial,

Than the rest have gone.

It’s stiller than the sundown.

It’s cooler than the dawn --

The Daisies dare to come here --

And birds can flutter down --

So when you are tired --

Or perplexed -- or cold --

Trust the loving promise

Underneath the mould,

Cry "it’s I," "take Dollie,"

And I will enfold!

52

Whether my bark went down at sea --

Whether she met with gales --

Whether to isles enchanted

She bent her docile sails --

By what mystic mooring

She is held today --

This is the errand of the eye

Out upon the Bay.

53

Taken from men -- this morning --

Carried by men today --

Met by the Gods with banners --

Who marshalled her away --

One little maid -- from playmates --

One little mind from school --

There must be guests in Eden --

All the rooms are full --

Far -- as the East from Even --

Dim -- as the border star --

Courtiers quaint, in Kingdoms

Our departed are.

54

If I should die,

And you should live --

And time should gurgle on --

And morn should beam --

And noon should burn --

As it has usual done --

If Birds should build as early

And Bees as bustling go --

One might depart at option

From enterprise below!

‘Tis sweet to know that stocks will stand

When we with Daisies lie --

That Commerce will continue --

And Trades as briskly fly --

It makes the parting tranquil

And keeps the soul serene --

That gentlemen so sprightly

Conduct the pleasing scene!

55

By Chivalries as tiny,

A Blossom, or a Book,

The seeds of smiles are planted --

Which blossom in the dark.

56

If I should cease to bring a Rose

Upon a festal day,

‘Twill be because beyond the Rose

I have been called away --

If I should cease to take the names

My buds commemorate --

‘Twill be because Death’s finger

Claps my murmuring lip!

57

To venerate the simple days

Which lead the seasons by,

Needs but to remember

That from you or I,

They may take the trifle

Termed mortality!

58

Delayed till she had ceased to know --

Delayed till in its vest of snow

Her loving bosom lay --

An hour behind the fleeting breath --

Later by just an hour than Death --

Oh lagging Yesterday!

Could she have guessed that it would be --

Could but a crier of the joy

Have climbed the distant hill --

Had not the bliss so slow a pace

Who knows but this surrendered face

Were undefeated still?

Oh if there may departing be

Any forgot by Victory

In her imperial round --

Show them this meek appareled thing

That could not stop to be a king --

Doubtful if it be crowned!

59

A little East of Jordan,

Evangelists record,

A Gymnast and an Angel

Did wrestle long and hard --

Till morning touching mountain --

And Jacob, waxing strong,

The Angel begged permission

To Breakfast -- to return --

Not so, said cunning Jacob!

"I will not let thee go

Except thou bless me" -- Stranger!

The which acceded to --

Light swung the silver fleeces

"Peniel" Hills beyond,

And the bewildered Gymnast

Found he had worsted God!

60

Like her the Saints retire,

In their Chapeaux of fire,

Martial as she!

Like her the Evenings steal

Purple and Cochineal

After the Day!

"Departed" -- both -- they say!

i.e. gathered away,

Not found,

Argues the Aster still --

Reasons the Daffodil

Profound!

61

Papa above!

Regard a Mouse

O’erpowered by the Cat!

Reserve within thy kingdom

A "Mansion" for the Rat!

Snug in seraphic Cupboards

To nibble all the day

While unsuspecting Cycles

Wheel solemnly away!

62

"Sown in dishonor"!

Ah! Indeed!

May this "dishonor" be?

If I were half so fine myself

I’d notice nobody!

"Sown in corruption"!

Not so fast!

Apostle is askew!

Corinthians 1. 15. narrates

A Circumstance or two!

63

If pain for peace prepares

Lo, what "Augustan" years

Our feet await!

If springs from winter rise,

Can the Anemones

Be reckoned up?

If night stands fast -- then noon

To gird us for the sun,

What gaze!

When from a thousand skies

On our developed eyes

Noons blaze!

64

Some Rainbow -- coming from the Fair!

Some Vision of the World Cashmere --

I confidently see!

Or else a Peacock’s purple Train

Feather by feather -- on the plain

Fritters itself away!

The dreamy Butterflies bestir!

Lethargic pools resume the whir

Of last year’s sundered tune!

From some old Fortress on the sun

Baronial Bees -- march -- one by one --

In murmuring platoon!

The Robins stand as thick today

As flakes of snow stood yesterday --

On fence -- and Roof -- and Twig!

The Orchis binds her feather on

For her old lover - Don the Sun!

Revisiting the Bog!

Without Commander! Countless! Still!

The Regiments of Wood and Hill

In bright detachment stand!

Behold! Whose Multitudes are these?

The children of whose turbaned seas --

Or what Circassian Land?

65

I can’t tell you -- but you feel it --

Nor can you tell me --

Saints, with ravished slate and pencil

Solve our April Day!

Sweeter than a vanished frolic

From a vanished green!

Swifter than the hoofs of Horsemen

Round a Ledge of dream!

Modest, let us walk among it

With our faces veiled --

As they say polite Archangels

Do in meeting God!

Not for me -- to prate about it!

Not for you -- to say

To some fashionable Lady

"Charming April Day"!

Rather -- Heaven’s "Peter Parley"!

By which Children slow

To sublimer Recitation

Are prepared to go!

66

So from the mould

Scarlet and Gold

Many a Bulb will rise --

Hidden away, cunningly, From sagacious eyes.

So from Cocoon

Many a Worm

Leap so Highland gay,

Peasants like me,

Peasants like Thee

Gaze perplexedly!

67

Success is counted sweetest

By those who ne’ev succeed.

To comprehend a nectar

Requires sorest need.

Not one of all the purple Host

Who took the Flag today

Can tell the definition

So clear of Victory

As he defeated -- dying --

On whose forbidden ear

The distant strains of triumph

Burst agonized and clear!

68

Ambition cannot find him.

Affection doesn’t know

How many leagues of nowhere

Lie between them now.

Yesterday, undistinguished!

Eminent Today

For our mutual hone, Immortality!

69

Low at my problem bending,

Another problem comes --

Larger than mine -- Serener --

Involving statelier sums.

I check my busy pencil,

My figures file away.

Wherefore, my baffled fingers

They perplexity?

70

"Arcturus" is his other name --

I’d rather call him "Star."

It’s very mean of Science

To go and interfere!

I slew a worm the other day --

A "Savant" passing by

Murmured "Resurgam" -- "Centipede"!

"Oh Lord -- how frail are we"!

I pull a flower from the woods --

A monster with a glass

Computes the stamens in a breath --

And has her in a "class"!

Whereas I took the Butterfly

Aforetime in my hat --

He sits erect in "Cabinets" --

The Clover bells forgot.

What once was "Heaven"

Is "Zenith" now --

Where I proposed to go

When Time’s brief masquerade was done

Is mapped and charted too.

What if the poles should frisk about

And stand upon their heads!

I hope I’m ready for "the worst" --

Whatever prank betides!

Perhaps the "Kingdom of Heaven’s" changed --

I hope the "Children" there Won’t be "new fashioned" when I

come --

And laugh at me -- and stare --

I hope the Father in the skies

Will lift his little girl --

Old fashioned -- naught -- everything --

Over the stile of "Pearl."

71

A throe upon the features --

A hurry in the breath --

An ecstasy of parting

Denominated "Death" --

An anguish at the mention

Which when to patience grown,

I’ve known permission given

To rejoin its own.

72

Glowing is her Bonnet,

Glowing is her Cheek,

Glowing is her Kirtle,

Yet she cannot speak.

Better as the Daisy

From the Summer hill

Vanish unrecorded

Save by tearful rill --

Save by loving sunrise

Looking for her face.

Save by feet unnumbered

Pausing at the place.

73

Who never lost, are unprepared

A Coronet to find!

Who never thirsted

Flagons, and Cooling Tamarind!

Who never climbed the weary league --

Can such a foot explore

The purple territories

On Pizarro’s shore?

How many Legions overcome --

The Emperor will say?

How many Colors taken

On Revolution Day?

How many Bullets bearest?

Hast Thou the Royal scar?

Angels! Write "Promoted"

On this Soldier’s brow!

74

A Lady red -- amid the Hill

Her annual secret keeps!

A Lady white, within the Field

In placid Lily sleeps!

The tidy Breezes, with their Brooms --

Sweep vale -- and hill -- and tree!

Prithee, My pretty Housewives!

Who may expected be?

The Neighbors do not yet suspect!

The Woods exchange a smile!

Orchard, and Buttercup, and Bird --

In such a little while!

And yet, how still the Landscape stands!

How nonchalant the Hedge!

As if the "Resurrection"

Were nothing very strange!

75

She died at play,

Gambolled away

Her lease of spotted hours,

Then sank as gaily as a Turn

Upon a Couch of flowers.

Her ghost strolled softly o’er the hill

Yesterday, and Today,

Her vestments as the silver fleece --

Her countenance as spray.

76

Exultation is the going

Of an inland soul to sea,

Past the houses -- past the headlands --

Into deep Eternity --

Bred as we, among the mountains,

Can the sailor understand

The divine intoxication

Of the first league out from land?

77

I never hear the word "escape"

Without a quicker blood,

A sudden expectation

A flying attitude!

I never hear of prisons broad

By soldiers battered down,

But I tug childish at my bars

Only to fail again!

78

A poor -- torn heart -- a tattered heart --

That sat it down to rest --

Nor noticed that the Ebbing Day

Flowed silver to the West --

Nor noticed Night did soft descend --

Nor Constellation burn --

Intent upon the vision

Of latitudes unknown.

The angels -- happening that way

This dusty heart espied --

Tenderly took it up from toil

And carried it to God --

There -- sandals for the Barefoot --

There -- gathered from the gales --

Do the blue havens by the hand

Lead the wandering Sails.

79

Going to Heaven!

I don’t know when --

Pray do not ask me how!

Indeed I’m too astonished

To think of answering you!

Going to Heaven!

How dim it sounds!

And yet it will be done

As sure as flocks go home at night

Unto the Shepherd’s arm!

Perhaps you’re going too!

Who knows?

If you should get there first

Save just a little space for me

Close to the two I lost --

The smallest "Robe" will fit me

And just a bit of "Crown" --

For you know we do not mind our dress

When we are going home --

I’m glad I don’t believe it

For it would stop my breath --

And I’d like to look a little more

At such a curious Earth!

I’m glad they did believe it

Whom I have never found

Since the might Autumn afternoon

I left them in the ground.

80

Our lives are Swiss --

So still -- so Cool --

Till some odd afternoon

The Alps neglect their Curtains

And we look farther on!

Italy stands the other side!

While like a guard between --

The solemn Alps --

The siren Alps

Forever intervene!

81

We should not mind so small a flower --

Except it quiet bring

Our little garden that we lost

Back to the Lawn again.

So spicy her Carnations nod --

So drunken, reel her Bees --

So silver steal a hundred flutes

From out a hundred trees --

That whoso sees this little flower

By faith may clear behold

The Bobolinks around the throne

And Dandelions gold.

82

Whose cheek is this?

What rosy face

Has lost a blush today?

I found her -- "pleiad" -- in the woods

And bore her safe away.

Robins, in the tradition

Did cover such with leaves,

But which the cheek --

And which the pall

My scrutiny deceives.

83

Heart, not so heavy as mine

Wending late home --

As it passed my window

Whistled itself a tune --

A careless snatch -- a ballad -- A ditty of the street --

Yet to my irritated Ear

An Anodyne so sweet --

It was as if a Bobolink

Sauntering this way

Carolled, and paused, and carolled --

Then bubbled slow away!

It was as if a chirping brook

Upon a dusty way --

Set bleeding feet to minuets

Without the knowing why!

Tomorrow, night will come again --

Perhaps, weary and sore --

Ah Bugle! By my window

I pray you pass once more.

84

Her breast is fit for pearls,

But I was not a "Diver" --

Her brow is fit for thrones

But I have not a crest.

Her heart is fit for home --

I -- a Sparrow -- build there

Sweet of twigs and twine

My perennial nest.

85

"They have not chosen me," he said,

"But I have chosen them!"

Brave -- Broken hearted statement --

Uttered in Bethlehem!

I could not have told it,

But since Jesus dared --

Sovereign! Know a Daisy

They dishonor shared!

86

South Winds jostle them --

Bumblebees come --

Hover -- hesitate --

Drink, and are gone --

Butterflies pause

On their passage Cashmere --

I -- softly plucking,

Present them here!

87

A darting fear -- a pomp -- a tear --

A waking on a morn

To find that what one waked for,

Inhales the different dawn.

88

As by the dead we love to sit,

Become so wondrous dear --

As for the lost we grapple

Tho’ all the rest are here --

In broken mathematics

We estimate our prize

Vast -- in its fading ration

To our penurious eyes!

89

Some things that fly there be --

Birds -- Hours -- the Bumblebee --

Of these no Elegy.

Some things that stay there be --

Grief -- Hills -- Eternity --

Nor this behooveth me.

There are that resting, rise.

Can I expound the skies?

How still the Riddle lies!

90

Within my reach!

I could have touched!

I might have chanced that way!

Soft sauntered thro’ the village --

Sauntered as soft away!

So unsuspected Violets

Within the meadows go --

Too late for striving fingers

That passed, an hour ago!

91

So bashful when I spied her!

So pretty -- so ashamed!

So hidden in her leaflets

Lest anybody find --

So breathless till I passed here --

So helpless when I turned

And bore her struggling, blushing,

Her simple haunts beyond!

For whom I robbed the Dingle --

For whom I betrayed the Dell --

Many, will doubtless ask me,

But I shall never tell!

92

My friend must be a Bird --

Because it flies!

Mortal, my friend must be,

Because it dies!

Barbs has it, like a Bee!

Ah, curious friend!

Thou puzzlest me!

93

Went up a year this evening!

I recollect it well!

Amid no bells nor bravoes

The bystanders will tell!

Cheerful -- as to the village --

Tranquil -- as to repose --

Chastened -- as to the Chapel

This humble Tourist rose!

Did not talk of returning!

Alluded to no time

When, were the gales propitious --

We might look for him!

Was grateful for the Roses

In life’s diverse bouquet --

Talked softly of new species

To pick another day;

Beguiling thus the wonder

The wondrous nearer drew --

Hands bustled at the moorings --

The crown respectful grew --

Ascended from our vision

To Countenances new!

A Difference -- A Daisy --

Is all the rest I knew!

94

Angels, in the early morning

May be seen the Dews among,

Stooping -- plucking -- smiling -- flying --

Do the Buds to them belong?

Angels, when the sun is hottest

May be seen the sands among,

Stooping -- plucking -- sighing -- flying --

Parched the flowers they bear along.

95

My nosegays are for Captives --

Dim -- expectant eyes,

Fingers denied the plucking,

Patient till Paradise.

To such, if they should whisper

Of morning and the moor,

They bear no other errand,

And I, no other prayer.

96

Sexton! My Master’s sleeping here.

Pray lead me to his bed!

I came to build the Bird’s nest,

And sow the Early seed --

That when the snow creeps slowly

From off his chamber door --

Daisies point the way there --

And the Troubadour.

97

The rainbow never tells me

That gust and storm are by,

Yet is she more convincing

Than Philosophy.

My flowers turn from Forums --

Yet eloquent declare

What Cato couldn’t prove me

Except the birds were here!

98

One dignity delays for all --

One mitred Afternoon --

None can avoid this purple --

None evade this Crown!

Coach, it insures, and footmen --

Chamber, and state, and throng --

Bells, also, in the village

As we ride grand along!

What dignified Attendants!

What service when we pause!

How loyally at parting

Their hundred hats they raise!

Her pomp surpassing ermine

When simple You, and I,

Present our meek escutheon

And claim the rank to die!

99

New feet within my garden go --

New fingers stir the sod --

A Troubadour upon the Elm

Betrays the solitude.

New children play upon the green --

New Weary sleep below --

And still the pensive Spring returns --

And still the punctual snow!

100

A science -- so the Savants say,

"Comparative Anatomy" --

By which a single bone --

Is made a secret to unfold

Of some rare tenant of the mold,

Else perished in the stone --

So to the eye prospective led,

This meekest flower of the mead

Upon a winter’s day,

Stands representative in gold

Of Rose and Lily, manifold,

And countless Butterfly!

 

 

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