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THE NIGHTINGALE IN THE STUDY. — IN THE TWILIGHT. 389 THE NIGHTINGALE IN THE STUDY. | Gay, tragic, rapt, right heart of Spain “Come forth !” my catbird calls to me,
Fed with the sap of old romances. "And hear me sing a cavatina That, in this old familiar tree,
| “I ask no ampler skies than those Shall hang a garden of Alcina.
His magic music rears above me,
No falser friends, no truer foes, — “These buttercups shall brim with wine And does not Doña Clara love me?
Beyond all Lesbian juice or Massic ; May not New England be divine ? “ Cloaked shapes, a twanging of guitars,
My ode to ripening summer classic ? | A rush of feet, and rapiers clashing, “Or, if to me you will not hark,
Then silence deep with breathless stars, By Beaver Brook a thrush is ringing
And overhead a white hand flashing. Till all the alder-coverts dark Seem sunshine-dappled with his sing
“O music of all moods and climes,
Vengeful, forgiving, sensuous, saintly,
| Where still, between the Christian “Come out beneath the unmastered sky,
chimes, With its emancipating spaces,
The moorish cymbal tinkles faintly! And learn to sing as well as I, Without premeditated graces.
“O life borne lightly in the hand,
| For friend or foe with grace Castilian ! “What boot your many-volumed gains, O valley safe in Fancy's land,
Those withered leaves forever turning, Not tramped to mud yet by the mil. To win, at best, for all your pains,
lion ! A nature mummy-wrapt in learning ?
“Bird of to-day, thy songs are stale “The leaves wherein true wisdom lies | To his, my singer of all weathers,
On living trees the sun are drinking ; My Calderon, my nightingale, Those white clouds, drowsing through My Arab soul in Spanish feathers.
the skies, Grew not so beautiful by thinking. “Ah, friend, these singers dead so long,
| And still, God knows, in purgatory, "Come out!' with me the oriole cries, Give its best sweetness to all song,
Escape the demon that pursues you !! To Nature's self her better glory." And, hark, the cuckoo weatherwise, Still hiding farther onward, wooes you."
IN THE TWILIGHT. " Alas, dear friend, that, all my days,
Has poured from that syringa thicket Men say the sullen instrument, The quaintly discontinuous lays
That, from the Master's bow, To which I hold a season-ticket,
With pangs of joy or woe,
Feels music's soul through every fibre “A season-ticket cheaply bought
sent, With a dessert of pilfered berries,
Whispers the ravished strings And who so oft my soul hast caught More than he knew or meant; With morn and evening voluntaries,
Old summers in its memory glow;
The secrets of the wind it sings; “ Deem me not faithless, if all day
It hears the April-loosened springs; Among my dusty books I linger,
And mixes with its mood No pipe, like thee, for June to play
All it dreamed when it stood With fancy-led, half-conscious finger.
In the murmurous pine-wood
Long ago ! “A bird is singing in my brain And bubbling o'er with mingled fan. The magical moonlight then cies,
Steeped every bough and cone;
The roar of the brook in the glen
It mounts athwart the windy hill
Through sallow slopes of upland bare, With delight as it stood,
And Fancy climbs with foot-fall still In the wonderful wood,
Its narrowing curves that end in air. Long ago !
By day, a warmer-hearted blue O my life, have we not had seasons Stoops softly to that topmost swell;
That only said, Live and rejoice? Its thread-like windings seem a clew That asked not for causes and reasons, To gracious climes where all is well.
But made us all feeling and voice ? When we went with the winds in their By night, far yonder, I surmise blowing,
An ampler world than clips my ken, When Nature and we were peers,
Where the great stars of happier skies And we seemed to share in the flowing
| Commingle nobler fates of men. Of the inexhaustible years? Have we not from the earth drawn I look and long, then haste me home, juices
Still master of my secret rare;
But now it leads me everywhere.
Forever to the new it guides,
From former good, old overmuch;
What Nature for her poets hides,
'T is wiser to divine than clutch. Sometimes a breath floats by me,
The bird I list hath never come
Within the scope of mortal ear;
My prying step would make him dumb, Of a life lived somewhere, I know not
And the fair tree, his shelter, sear. In what diviner sphere,
Behind the hill, behind the sky, Of memories that stay not and go not,
Behind my inmost thought, he sings; Like music heard once by an ear
No feet avail; to hear it nigh,
The song itself must lend the wings. it
| Sing on, sweet bird, close hid, and raise To make it a show,
Those angel stairways in my brain,
To spacious sunshines far from pain.
Sing when thou wilt, enchantment fleet,
I leave thy covert haunt untrod,
And envy Science not her feat
To make a twice-told tale of God. And yet, could I live it over,
This life that stirs in my brain, They said the fairies tript no more, Could I be both maiden and lover, And long ago that Pan was dead; Moon and tide, bee and clover,
'T was but that fools preferred to bore As I seem to have been, once again, Earth's rind inch-deep for truth in. Could I but speak it and show it,
stead. This pleasure more sharp than pain,
That baffles and lures me so, | Pan leaps and pipes all summer long, The world should once more have a poet, The fairies dance each full-mooned Such as it had
night, In the ages glad,
Would we but doff our lenses strong, Long ago!
And trust our wiser eyes' delight.
City of Elf-land, just without
Our seeing, marvel ever new, Glimpsed in fair weather, a sweet doubt
Sketched-in, mirage-like, on the blue.
Those fountained courts, those chambers
still, Fronting Time's far East, who shall
I build thee in yon sunset cloud, I know not, and will never pry, Whose edge allures to climb the But trust our human heart for all ; height;
Wonders that from the seeker fly
Hide in thine own soul, and surprise
The password of the unwary elves; Thy gates are shut to hardiest will, Seek it, thou canst not bribe their spies;
Thy countersign of long-lost speech, --| Unsought, they whisper it themselves.
POEMS OF THE WAR.
THE WASHERS OF THE SHROUD. No wrinkled crones were they, as I had
deemed, OCTOBER, 1861.
But fair as yesterday, to-day, to-morrow,
To mourner, lover, poet, ever seemed ; Along a river-side, I know not where, Something too high for joy, too deep for I walked one night in mystery of dream ;
sorrow, A chill creeps curdling yet beneath my
Thrilled in their tones, and from their hair,
faces gleamed. To think what chanced me by the pallid gleam
“Still men and nations reap as they Of a moon-wraith that waned through have strawn," haunted air.
So sang they, working at their task the
while ; Pale fireflies pulsed within the meadow
“The fatal raiment must be cleansed ere
dawn : mist Their halos, wavering thistledowns of
For Austria ? Italy ? the Sea-Queen's
isle ? light; The loon, that seemed to mock some
O'er what quenched grandeur must our goblin tryst,
shroud be drawn? Laughed ; and the echoes, huddling in affright,
" Or is it for a younger, fairer corse, Like Odin's hounds, fled baying down | That gathered States like children round the night.
That tamed the wave to be his postingThen all was silent, till there smote mny fel
te smote iny Feller of forests, linker of the seas, ear A movement in the stream that checked / DI
brod Bridge-builder, hammerer, youngest son
'I of Thor's ? my breath : Was it the slow plash of a wading deer? | “ What make we. murmur'st thou ? and But something said, “This water is of what are we? Death!
When empires must be wound, we bring The Sisters wash a shroud, - ill thing the shroud, to hear!"
The time-old web of the implacable
Three: I, looking then, beheld the ancient Is it too coarse for him, the young and Three
proud ? Known to the Greek's and to the North Earth's mightiest deigned to wear it, man's creed,
why not he? That sit in shadow of the mystic Tree, Still crooning, as they weave their end." Is there no hope ?” I moaned, “ so less brede,
strong, so fair! One song: “Time was, Time is, and Our Fowler whose proud bird would Time shall be."
No rival's swoop in all our western air ! "Rough are the steps, slow-hewn in
Down which they stumble to eternal “Leave me not hopeless, ye unpitying mock : dames !
No chafferer's hand shall long the scepI see, half seeing. Tell me, ye who tre hold, scanned
Who, given a Fate to shape, would sell The stars, Earth's elders, still must no the block.
blest aims Be traced upon oblivious ocean-sands ? " We sing old Sagas, songs of weal and Must Hesper join the wailing ghosts of woe,' names?”
Mystic because too cheaply understood ;
Dark sayings are not ours; men hear “When grass-blades stiffen with red
and know, battle-dew,
See Evil weak, see strength alone in Ye deem we choose the victor and the Good, slain :
Yet hope to stem God's fire with walls of Say, choose we them that shall be leal
tow. and true To the heart's longing, the high faith of Time Was unlocks the riddle of Time brain ?
Is, Yet there the victory lies, if ye but That offers choice of glory or of gloom; knew.
The solver makes Time Shall Be surely
his. “Three roots bear up Dominion :
But hasten, Sisters ! for even now the Knowledge, Will, These twain are strong, but stronger yet
yer | Grates its slow hinge and calls from the the third, Obedience, — 't is the great tap-root that
abyss. still, Knit round the rock of Duty, is not “But not for him," I cried, “ not yet stirred,
for him, Though Heaven-loosed tempests spend Whose large horizon, westering, star by their utmost skill.
Wins from the void to where on Ocean's “Is the doom sealed for Hesper ? 'T is
rim not we
The sunset shuts the world with golden Denounce it, but the Law before all |
Not yet his thews shall fail, his eye grow time : The brave makes danger opportunity ;
dim! The waverer, paltering with the chance sublime,
“ His shall be larger manhood, saved Dwarfs it to peril : which shall Hesper for those be ?
That walk unblenching through the
trial-fires ; “Hath he let vultures climb his eagle's Not suffering, but faint heart, is worst seat
of woes, To make Jove's bolts purveyors of their And he no base-born son of craven sires, maw?
Whose eye need blench confronted with Hath he the Many's plaudits found more! his foes.
sweet Than Wisdom ? held Opinion's wind for “Tears may be ours, but proud, for those Law ?
who win Then let him hearken for the doomster's Death's royal purple in the foeman's feet !