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Have you not made us lead of gold ? | Then tossed poor Partlet on the green, To feed your crucible, not sold
And with a tone, half jest, half spleen, Our temple's sacred chalices ?”
Thus made her housewife's com.
ment: Then o'er my senses came a change ; My book seemed all traditions,
“ The stranger had a queerish face, Old legends of profoundest range,
His smile was hardly pleasant, Diablery, and stories strange
And, though he meant it for a grace, Of goblins, elves, magicians.
Yet this old hen of barnyard race
Was but a stingy present.
“She's quite too old for laying eggs, I thought them safely underground,
Nay, even to make a soup of ; And here they were, all safe and sound. / One only needs to see her legs, – Without a sign of phthisis.
You might as well boil down the pegs
| I made the brood-hen's coop of! Truth was, my outward eyes were closed, Although I did not know it;
"Some eighteen score of such do I Deep into dream-land I had dozed, Raise every year, her sisters ; And so was happily transposed
Go, in the woods your fortunes try, From proser into poet.
All day for one poor earthworm pry,
And scratch your toes to blisters!” So what I read took flesh and blood, And turned to living creatures :
| Philemon found the rede was good, The words were but the dingy bud
And, turning on the poor hen, That bloomed, like Adam, from the mud,
He clapt his hands, and stamped, and To human forms and features.
Hunting the exile tow'rd the wood, I saw how Zeus was lodged once more
To house with snipe and moor-hen. By Baucis and Philemon ; The text said, “Not alone of yore,
A poet saw and cried : “Hold ! hold ! But every day, at every cloor,
What are you doing, madman? Knock's still the masking Demon." Spurn you more wealth than can be
told, DAIMON ’t was printed in the book
The fowl that lays the eggs of gold, And, as I read it slowly,
Because she's plainly clad, man?” The letters stirred and changed, and took
To him Philemon: “I'll not balk Jove's stature, the Olympian look
Thy will with any shackle;
Wilt add a burden to thy walk ?
You 're both but fit to cackle!"
“With coin I cannot pay you; Yet would I fain make some return;
But scarce the poet touched the bird, The gift for cheapness do not spurn.
It swelled to stature regal; Accept this hen, I pray you.
And when her cloud-wide wings she
stirred, “ Plain feathers wears my Hemera,
A whisper as of doom was heard, And has from ages olden ;
'T was Jove's bolt-bearing eagle. She makes her nest in common hay, And yet, of all the birds that lay, | As when from far-off cloud-bergs springs Her eggs alone are golden.”
A crag, and, hurtling under,
From cliff to cliff the rumor flings, He turned, and could no more be seen; So she from flight-foreboding wings Old Baucis stared a moment,
Shook out a murinurous thunder.
She gripped the poet to her breast, Not fresher that which Adam knew, And ever, upward soaring,
Not sweeter that whose moonlit dew Earth seemed a new moon in the west, | Entranced Arcadia nightly. And then one light among the rest Where squadrons lie at mooring. Rightly? That's simply: 't is to see
Some substance casts these shadows How tell to what heaven-hallowed seat
| Which we call Life and History, The eagle bent his courses ?
| That aimless seem to chase and flee The waves that on its bases beat,
Like wind-gleams over meadows. The gales that round it weave and fleet, Are life's creative forces.
Simply? That's nobly : 't is to know Here was the bird's primeval nest,
That God may still be met with, High on a promontory
Nor groweth old, nor doth bestow Star-pharosed, where she takes her rest
| These senses fine, this brain aglow, To brood new æons 'neath her breast,
To grovel and forget with. The future's unfledged glory.
Beauty, Herr Doctor, trust in me, I know not how, but I was there
No chemistry will win you ; All feeling, hearing, seeing;
| Charis still rises from the sea : It was not wind that stirred my hair
| If you can't find her, might it be But living breath, the essence rare
Because you seek within you? Of unembodied being.
And in the nest an egg of gold
A FAMILIAR EPISTLE TO A FRIEND. Lay soft in self-made lustre, Gazing whereon, what depths untold
ALIKE I hate to be your debtor, Within, what marvels manifold,
Or write a mere perfunctory letter ; Seemed silently to inuster !
| For letters, so it seems to me,
Our careless quintessence should be, Daily such splendors to confront Our real nature's truant play Is still to me and you sent?
When Consciousness looks ť other way; It glowed as when Saint Peter's front,
Not drop by drop, with watchful skill, Illumed, forgets its stony wont,
Gathered in Art's deliberate still, And seems to throb translucent. But life's insensible completeness
Got as the ripe grape gets its sweetness, One saw therein the life of man,
As if it had a way to fuse (Or so the poet found it,)
The golden sunlight into juice. The yolk and white, conceive who can,
Hopeless my mental pump I try; Were the glad earth, that, floating, span
The boxes hiss, the tube is dry; In the glad heaven around it.
As those petroleum wells that spout
Awhile like M. C.'s, then give out, I knew this as one knows in dream,
My spring, once full as Arethusa, Where no effects to causes
Is a mere bore as dry's Creusa ; Are chained as in our work-day scheme, And yet you ask me why I 'm glum, And then was wakened by a scream And why my graver Muse is dumb. That seemed to come from Baucis. Ah me! I've reasons manifold
Condensed in one, - I'm getting old! “Bless Zeus !" she cried, “I'm safe below !"
When life, once past its fortieth year, First pale, then red as coral ; | Wheels up its evening hemisphere, And I, still drowsy, pondered slow, The mind's own shadow, which the boy And seemed to find, but hardly know, Saw onward point to hope and joy, Something like this for moral. Shifts round, irrevocably set
Tow'rd morning's loss and vain regret, Fach day the world is born anew And, argue with it as we will,
For him who takes it rightly; 1 The clock is unconverted still.
“But count the gains," I hear you say, What's Knowledge, with her stocks and " Which far the seeming loss outweigh; lands, Friendships built firm 'gainst flood and To gay Conjecture's yellow strands? wind
What's watching her slow flocks inOn rock-foundations of the mind ;
crease Knowledge instead of scheming hope; To ventures for the golden fleece ? For wild adventure, settled scope; What her deep ships, safe under lee, Talents, from surface-ore profuse, To youth's light craft, that drinks the Tempered and edged to tools for use ;
sea, Judgment, for passion's headlong whirls; For Flying Islands making sail, Old sorrows crystalled into pearls ; And failing where 't is gain to fail ? Losses by patience turned to gains, Ah me! Expereince (so we 're told), Possessions now, that once were pains ; Time's crucible, turns lead to gold ; Joy's blossoin gone, as go it must, | Yet what's experience won but dross, To ripen seeds of faith and trust; | Cloud-gold transmuted to our loss? Why heed a snow-fake on the roof | What but base coin the best event If fire within keep Age aloof
To the untried experiment? Though blundering north-winds push and strain
'T was an old couple, says the poet, With palms benumbed against the pane?" That lodged the gods and did not know
it; My dear old Friend, you 're very wise ; Youth' sees and knows them as they We always are with others' eyes, And see so clear ! (our neighbor's deck Before Olympus' top was bare; on)
From Swampscot's Hats his eye divine What reef the idiot 's sure to wreck on; | Sees Venus rocking on the brine, Folks when they learn how life has With lucent limbs, that somehow scatquizzed 'em
ter a Are fain to make a shift with Wisdom, Charm that turns Doll to Cleopatra ; And, finding she nor breaks nor bends, Bacchus (that now is scarce induced Give her a letter to their friends. To give Eld's lagging blood a boost), Draw passion's torrent whoso will With cymbals' clang and pards to draw Through sluices smooth to turn a mill, him, And, taking solid toll of grist,
Divine as Ariadne saw him, Forget the rainbow in the mist,
Storms through Youth's pulse with all The exulting leap, the aimless haste
his train Scattered in iridescent waste;
And wins new Indies in his brain;
Apollo (with the old a trope,
At his approach cast down thy lids,
He tells too much who e'er betrays Looks autumn-proof as painted green, - | The shining Archer's secret ways. I side with Moses 'gainst the masses, Take you the drudge, give me the Dear Friend, you 're right and I am glasses !
wrong; And, for your talents shaped with prac. My quibbles are not worth a song, tice,
And I sophistically tease Convince me first that such the fact is ; My fancy sad to tricks like these. Let whoso likes be beat, poor fool, I could not cheat you if I would ; On life's hard stithy to a tool,
You know me and my jesting mood, Be whoso will a ploughshare made, Mere surface-foam, for pride concealing Let me remain a jolly blade !
The purpose of my deeper feeling.
I have nor spiit one drop of joy | Yes, this is life! And so the bard Poured in tie senses of the boy, | Through briny deserts, never scarred Nor Nature fails my walks to bless Since Noah's keel, a subject seeks, With all her golden inwardness; | And lies upon the watch for weeks ; And as blind nestlings, unafraid,
| That once harpooned and helpless lying, Stretch up wide-mouthed to every shade What follows is but weary trying. By which their downy dream is stirred, Taking it for the mother-bird,
Now I've a notion, if a poet So, when God's shadow, which is light, Beat up for themes, his verse will show Unheralded, by day or night,
| By day or night won't let me be,
Build no new cell till those before
With limpid summer-sweet run o'er; These may be wiuged one day like
Then, if I neither sing nor shine,
Is it the subject's fault, or mine?
AN EMBER PICTURE.
In the wonderful web is set, If some folks thrust them forth, must I?
Set by some mordant of fancy, But let me end with a comparison
And, spite of the wear and tear Never yet hit upon by e'er a son
Of time or distance or trouble, Of our American Apollo,
Insists on its right to be there. (And there's where I shall beat them hollow,
A chance had brought us together ; If he indeed's no courtly St. John,
Our talk was of matters-of-course;
But a short half-hour's resource.
We spoke of French acting and actors, To the blue iceberg's hulk alone ;
And their easy, natural way : At last, on farthest edge of day,
Of the weather, for it was raining He marks the smoky puff of spray;
As we drove home from the play. Then with bent oars the shallop flies
We debated the social nothings To where the basking quarry lies;
We bore ourselves so to discuss; Then the excitement of the strife,
The thunderous rumors of battle The crimsoned waves, – ah, this is life!
Were silent the while for us.
But, the dead plunder once secured
Arrived at her door, we left her
With a drippingly hurried adieu,
As we drove away through the shadow, | The candle she held in the door
From rain-varnished tree-trunk to tree- | A sweeter secret hides behind his fame, trunk
And Love steals shyly through the loud Flashed fainter, and flashed no acclaim more ; —
To murmur a God bless you! and there
ends. Flashed fainter, then wholly faded
Before we had passed the wood; As I muse backward up the checkered But the light of the face behind it
years Went with me and stayed for good. Wherein so much was given, so much
was lost, The vision of scarce a moment,
Blessings in both kinds, such as cheapen And hardly marked at the time,
tears, — It comes unbidden to haunt me,
But hush ! this is not for profaner ears; Like a scrap of ballad-rhyme.
Let them drink molten pearls nor
dream the cost. Had she beauty ? Well, not what they call so;
| Some suck up poison from a sorrow's You may find a thousand as fair;
core, And yet there's her face in my memory. As naught but nightshade grew upon With no special claim to be there.
Love turned all his to heart's-ease, and As I sit sometimes in the twilight,
the more And call back to life in the coals Fate tried his bastions, she but forced a Old faces and hopes and fancies
door Long buried, (good rest to their Leading to sweeter manhood and more souls !)
sound. Her face shines out in the embers; Even as a wind-waved fountain's swayI see her holding the light,
ing shade And hear the crunch of the gravel
Seems of mixed race, a gray wraith And the sweep of the rain that night. shot with sun,
So through his trial faith translucent 'T is a face that can never grow older,
rayed That never can part with its gleam, Till darkness, half disnatured so, be'T is a gracious possession forever,
trayed For is it not all a dream ?
A heart of sunshine that would fain
TO H. W. L.,
Surely if skill in song the shears may ON HIS BIRTHDAY, 27TH FEBRUARY,
And of its purpose cheat the charmed 1867
abyss, I NEED not praise the sweetness of his If our poor life be lengthened by a lay, song,
He shall not go, although his presence Where limpid verse to limpid verse may, succeeds
And the next age in praise shall Smooth as our Charles, when, fearing double this.
lest he wrong The new moon's mirrored skiff, he slides Long days be his, and each as lustyalong,
sweet Full without noise, and whispers in As gracious natures find his song to his reeds.
May Age steal on with softly-cadenced With loving breath of all the winds his feet name
Falling in music, as for him were meet Is blown about the world, but to his Whose choicest verse is harsher-toned friends
than he !