Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

THE EARTH-SPIRIT.

I HAVE Woven shrouds of air
In a loom of hurrying light
For the trees which blossoms bear,

And gilded them with sheets of bright.
upon the grass like love's first kiss,

I fall

I make the golden flies and their fine bliss,

I paint the hedge-rows in the lane,

And clover white and red the footways bear;

I laugh aloud in sudden gusts of rain,

To see the ocean lash himself in air;

I throw smooth shells and weeds along the beach,
And pour the curling waves far o'er the glassy reach;
Swing bird-nests in the elms, and shake cool moss
Along the aged beams, and hide their loss.
The very broad rough stones I gladden too,
Some willing seeds I drop along their sides,
Nourish the generous plant with freshening dew,
Till there, where all was waste, true joy abides.
The peaks of aged mountains, with my care,
Smile in the red of glowing morn elate;

I braid the caverns of the sea with hair
Glossy, and long, and rich as king's estate.
I polish the green ice, and gleam the wall
With the white frost, and leave the brown trees tall.

PRAYER.

MOTHER dear! wilt pardon one
Who loved not the generous Sun,
Nor thy seasons loved to hear
Singing to the busy year :-
Thee neglected, shut his heart,
In thy being, had no part.

Mother dear! I list thy song
In the autumn eve along :
Now thy chill airs round the day,
And leave me my time to pray.
Mother dear! the day must come
When thy child shall make his home,
His long last home, amid the grass,
Over which thy warm hands pass.
I know my prayers will reach thine ear,
Thou art with me while I ask,
Nor a child refuse to hear,
Who would learn his little task.
Let me take my part with thee,
In the gray clouds or thy light,
Laugh with thee upon the sea,
And idle on the land by night;
In the trees I live with thee,
In the flowers, like any bee.

AFTER-LIFE.

THEY tell me the grave is cold,

The bed underneath all the living day;

They speak of the worms that crawl in the mould,

And the rats that in the coffin play;

Up above the daisies spring,

Eyeing the wrens that over them sing:

I shall hear them not in my house of clay.

It is not so; I shall live in the veins

Of the life which painted the daisies' dim eye,
I shall kiss their lips when I fall in rains,
With the wrens and bees shall over them fly,—
In the trill of the sweet birds float

The music of every note,

A-lifting times veil,-is that called to die?

[ocr errors]

AUTUMN LEAVES.

WOE, woe for the withering leaves!
Flimsy and lank and falling fast,
Hither and thither, twirling and whirling
In the freshening wind, in the bright blue sky;
Glistening and clear and keen is the sky,
But it has no mercy, none,

For the pitiful pelted driven leaves.

I saw ye, leaves! in your cradle lying
On that day far back, O where is it now?
In your varied velvety hues of green,
That softer and softer grew to the eye,

As the loving sunlight went glancing by.
Out of the dark hard tree,
Wonderful things, ye came;
A summer hour has passed,
Sultry, and red, and still,

As life were pressed down by a mighty force;

A summer rain has fallen,

A liquid light and sound,

And dripped the drops from your shivering edge,
But they'll drip no more. Your hour has come;
Remaineth the tree, but passeth the leaf
Into the damp ground silently sinking,
Sinking and matted in mud and in snow.
Leaves never more: ye colored and veined,

Ye pointed and notched and streaked round about,

Ye circled and curved and lateral-lined,

Protean shapes of the Spirit of form!

With the Sun for a nurse, feeding with light
Out of his bosom, and moon with the dew
Filched from the air under secret of night.
Tenderly nurtured and royally served,
A company regal, innumerable,
Crowning the hill-top, and shading the vale,
Clustering archly the country-home,

[ocr errors]

And filling the eye of the passer by,
The wanderer's eye with tremulous tears,
At the thought of its hidden blessedness,
Its fount of life-gladness welling within,
Shaded and covered from scorching outside,
By greenness and coolness and deep repose.
Leaves, the delicate setting of flowers,
Tempering the ruby round the queen-blossom
Modestly crowding, never self-seeking,

:

Giving the beauty they seem but to follow;
Living meekly as leaves, only as leaves;
Yet were they reft from wayside and bower,
From weed and from tree, the gaudy flowers,
Shameless and bold and tarnished all o'er,
Would weary the eye like a shadowless wall,-
A glaring day that casteth no night,

An eye without lashes, a mind with no thought
Deep hid in its cell, a heart with no love,
Never uttered, a home with no curtained room.
But ye are perishing, perishing fast,

So lovely, so soft, so graceful, so good,
So many, so varied, why were ye here?

Out of night ye sprung, tender and juicy,
Unto night ye return, withered and scorned.

Birds sung at your birth, and youth leaped to see;

But none to the burial gather; not one.

Woe, woe to the spent and withering leaves !

I too am a leaf, one of a forest

[ocr errors]

Seek I to be, and not part of the whole?

The wide Forest laughs, and crushes me carelessly
As it sways to the wind of Eternity.

Circlets and curves and veinlets and stems

Must bow to the sweep of the merciless hour.
The Eternal remains, and out of its depths
Shall issue the sap, exhaustless and free,
In forests as mighty and multitudinous.

ENTERTAINMENTS OF THE PAST WINTER.

WHAT Would the Puritan fathers say, if they could see our bill of fare here in Boston for the winter? The concerts, the opera dancing, which have taken place of their hundred-headed sermons, how would they endure? How the endless disquisitions wherever a few can be gathered together, on every branch of human learning, every folly of human speculation? Yet, perhaps, they have elsewhere already learnt what these changes are calculated to teach; that their action, noble as it was, exhibited but one side of nature, and was but a reaction. That the desire for amusement, no less than instruction, is irrepressible in the human breast; that the love of the beautiful, for its own. sake simply, is no more to be stifled than the propensity of the earth to put forth flowers in spring; and that the Power, which, in its life and love, lavishes such loveliness around us, meant that all beings able to receive and feel should, with recreative energy, keep up the pulse of life and sing the joy it is to be, to grow.

Their fulness of faith and uncompromising spirit show but faint sparks among us now, yet the prejudices with which these were connected from the circumstances of the time, still cast their shadows over us. The poetical side of existence, (and here I do not speak of poetry in its import or ethical significance, but in its essential being, as a recreative spirit that sings to sing, and models for the sake of drawing from the clay the elements of beauty,) the poetical side of existence is tolerated rather than revered, and the lovers of beauty are regarded rather as frivolous voluptuaries than the consecrated servants of the divine Urania. Such is the tendency of the general mind. There is indeed, an under current more and more powerful every day; but the aesthetic side has not yet found an advocate of sufficiently commanding eloquence to give it due place in the councils of the people. But, as this feeling ripens, it will form to itself an appropriate language.

We have been tempted to regret that the better part of the community should have been induced to look so coldly on theatrical exhibitions. No doubt these have been made the instrument of pollution and injury, as has been repre

« AnteriorContinua »