The Little Book of Modern Verse

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The Little Book of Modern Verse
ed. Jessie B. Rittenhouse

[Note on text: Italicized lines or stanzas are marked by tildes (~).
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The Little Book of Modern Verse
A Selection from the work of contemporaneous American poets

Edited by Jessie B. Rittenhouse
[Selections made in 1913.]


"The Little Book of Modern Verse", as its name implies,
is not a formal anthology. The pageant of American poetry
has been so often presented that no necessity exists
for another exhaustive review of the art. Nearly all anthologies, however,
stop short of the present group of poets, or represent them so inadequately
that only those in close touch with the trend of American literature
know what the poet of to-day is contributing to it.

It is strictly, then, as a reflection of our own period,
to show what is being done by the successors of our earlier poets,
what new interpretation they are giving to life, what new beauty
they have apprehended, what new art they have evolved,
that this little book has taken form. A few of the poets included
have been writing for a quarter of a century, and were, therefore,
among the immediate successors of the New England group,
but many have done their work within the past decade and the volume as a whole
represents the twentieth-century spirit.

From the scheme of the book, that of a small, intimate collection,
representative rather than exhaustive, it has been impossible
to include all of the poets who would naturally be included
in a more ambitious anthology. In certain instances, also,
matters of copyright have deterred me from including those
whom I had originally intended to represent, but with isolated exceptions
the little book covers the work of our later poets and gives a hint
of what they are doing.

I have attempted, as far as possible, to unify the collection by arranging
the poems so that each should set the keynote to the next, or at least
bear some relation to it in mood or theme. While it is impossible,
with so varied a mass of material, that such a sequence should be exact,
and in one or two instances the arrangement has been disturbed
by the late addition or elimination of poems, the idea has been
to differentiate the little volume from the typical anthology
by giving it a unity impossible to a larger collection.

Jessie B. Rittenhouse.


Across the Fields to Anne. [Richard Burton]
After a Dolmetsch Concert. [Arthur Upson]
Agamede's Song. [Arthur Upson]
As I came down from Lebanon. [Clinton Scollard]
As in the Midst of Battle there is Room. [George Santayana]
The Ashes in the Sea. [George Sterling]
At Gibraltar. [George Edward Woodberry]
At the End of the Day. [Richard Hovey]
The Automobile. [Percy MacKaye]
Azrael. [Robert Gilbert Welsh]

Bacchus. [Frank Dempster Sherman]
Bag-Pipes at Sea. [Clinton Scollard]
Ballade of my Lady's Beauty. [Joyce Kilmer]
Be still. The Hanging Gardens were a dream. [Trumbull Stickney]
Black Sheep. [Richard Burton]
The Black Vulture. [George Sterling]
Da Boy from Rome. [Thomas Augustine Daly]
The Buried City. [George Sylvester Viereck]

Calverly's. [Edwin Arlington Robinson]
The Candle and the Flame. [George Sylvester Viereck]
Candlemas. [Alice Brown]
A Caravan from China comes. [Richard Le Gallienne]
Chavez. [Mildred McNeal Sweeney]
The Cloud. [Josephine Preston Peabody]
Comrades. [Richard Hovey]
Comrades. [George Edward Woodberry]

The Daguerreotype. [William Vaughn Moody]
Departure. [Hermann Hagedorn]
The Dreamer. [Nicholas Vachel Lindsay]
The Dust Dethroned. [George Sterling]

The Eagle that is forgotten. [Nicholas Vachel Lindsay]
Euchenor Chorus. [Arthur Upson]
Evensong. [Ridgely Torrence]
Ex Libris. [Arthur Upson]
Exordium. [George Cabot Lodge]

A Faun in Wall Street. [John Myers O'Hara]
Fiat Lux. [Lloyd Mifflin]
The Flight. [Lloyd Mifflin]
Four Winds. [Sara Teasdale]
"Frost To-Night". [Edith M. Thomas]
The Frozen Grail. [Elsa Barker]
The Fugitives. [Florence Wilkinson]

Gloucester Moors. [William Vaughn Moody]
Golden Pulse. [John Myers O'Hara]
"Grandmither, think not I forget". [Willa Sibert Cather]
Grey Rocks, and Greyer Sea. [Charles G. D. Roberts]
Grieve not, Ladies. [Anna Hempstead Branch]

The Happiest Heart. [John Vance Cheney]
Harps hung up in Babylon. [Arthur Colton]
He whom a Dream hath possessed. [Shaemas O Sheel]
The Heart's Country. [Florence Wilkinson]
Here is the Place where Loveliness keeps House. [Madison Cawein]
Hora Christi. [Alice Brown]
The House and the Road. [Josephine Preston Peabody]

I know not why. [Morris Rosenfeld]
I shall not care. [Sara Teasdale]
I would I might forget that I am I. [George Santayana]
The Inverted Torch. [Edith M. Thomas]
The Invisible Bride. [Edwin Markham]
Irish Peasant Song. [Louise Imogen Guiney]

The Joy of the Hills. [Edwin Markham]
Joyous-Gard. [Thomas S. Jones, Jr.]

Kinchinjunga. [Cale Young Rice]
The Kings. [Louise Imogen Guiney]

Da Leetla Boy. [Thomas Augustine Daly]
The Lesser Children. [Ridgely Torrence]
Let me no more a Mendicant. [Arthur Colton]
Life. [John Hall Wheelock]
Lincoln, the Man of the People. [Edwin Markham]
Little Gray Songs from St. Joseph's. [Grace Fallow Norton]
Live blindly. [Trumbull Stickney]
Lord of my Heart's Elation. [Bliss Carman]
Love came back at Fall o' Dew. [Lizette Woodworth Reese]
Love knocks at the Door. [John Hall Wheelock]
Love Triumphant. [Frederic Lawrence Knowles]
Love's Ritual. [Charles Hanson Towne]
Love's Springtide. [Frank Dempster Sherman]

The Man with the Hoe. [Edwin Markham]
Martin. [Joyce Kilmer]
De Massa ob de Sheepfol'. [Sarah Pratt McLean Greene]
The Master. [Edwin Arlington Robinson]
May is building her House. [Richard Le Gallienne]
A Memorial Tablet. [Florence Wilkinson]
Miniver Cheevy. [Edwin Arlington Robinson]
Mockery. [Louis Untermeyer]
Mother. [Theresa Helburn]
The Mystic. [Witter Bynner]
The Mystic. [Cale Young Rice]

The New Life. [Witter Bynner]
The Nightingale unheard. [Josephine Preston Peabody]
Night's Mardi Gras. [Edward J. Wheeler]

An Ode in Time of Hesitation. [William Vaughn Moody]
Of Joan's Youth. [Louise Imogen Guiney]
On a Fly-Leaf of Burns' Songs. [Frederic Lawrence Knowles]
On a Subway Express. [Chester Firkins]
On the Building of Springfield. [Nicholas Vachel Lindsay]
Once. [Trumbull Stickney]
Only of thee and me. [Louis Untermeyer]
The Only Way. [Louis V. Ledoux]
The Outer Gate. [Nora May French]

A Parting Guest. [James Whitcomb Riley]
The Path to the Woods. [Madison Cawein]
The Poet. [Mildred McNeal Sweeney]
The Poet's Town. [John G. Neihardt]
The Prince. [Josephine Dodge Daskam]

The Quiet Singer. [Charles Hanson Towne]

The Recessional. [Charles G. D. Roberts]
Renascence. [Edna St. Vincent Millay]
A Rhyme of Death's Inn. [Lizette Woodworth Reese]
The Ride to the Lady. [Helen Gray Cone]
The Rival. [James Whitcomb Riley]
The Rosary. [Robert Cameron Rogers]

Sappho. [Sara Teasdale]
Scum o' the Earth. [Robert Haven Schauffler]
The Sea Gypsy. [Richard Hovey]
The Sea-Lands. [Orrick Johns]
The Secret. [George Edward Woodberry]
Sentence. [Witter Bynner]
Sic Vita. [William Stanley Braithwaite]
Sometimes. [Thomas S. Jones, Jr.]
Somewhere. [John Vance Cheney]
Song. "For me the jasmine buds unfold". [Florence Earle Coates]
Song. "If love were but a little thing --". [Florence Earle Coates]
Song. [Richard Le Gallienne]
A Song in Spring. [Thomas S. Jones, Jr.]
Song is so old. [Hermann Hagedorn]
The Song of the Unsuccessful. [Richard Burton]
Songs for my Mother. [Anna Hempstead Branch]
Souls. [Fannie Stearns Davis]
Stains. [Theodosia Garrison]

Tears. [Lizette Woodworth Reese]
The Tears of Harlequin. [Theodosia Garrison]
That Day you came. [Lizette Woodworth Reese]
There's Rosemary. [Olive Tilford Dargan]
They went forth to Battle, but they always fell. [Shaemas O Sheel]
The Thought of her. [Richard Hovey]
To a New York Shop-Girl dressed for Sunday. [Anna Hempstead Branch]
To William Sharp. [Clinton Scollard]
To-Day. [Helen Gray Cone]
Trumbull Stickney. [George Cabot Lodge]
Tryste Noel. [Louise Imogen Guiney]

The Unconquered Air. [Florence Earle Coates]
Under Arcturus. [Madison Cawein]
The Unreturning. [Bliss Carman]
Uriel. [Percy MacKaye]

A Vagabond Song. [Bliss Carman]

Wanderers. [George Sylvester Viereck]
Water Fantasy. [Fannie Stearns Davis]
We needs must be divided in the Tomb. [George Santayana]
A West-Country Lover. [Alice Brown]
When I am dead and Sister to the Dust. [Elsa Barker]
When I have gone Weird Ways. [John G. Neihardt]
When the Wind is low. [Cale Young Rice]
Why. [Bliss Carman]
The Wife from Fairyland. [Richard Le Gallienne]
A Winter Ride. [Amy Lowell]
Winter Sleep. [Edith M. Thomas]
Witchery. [Frank Dempster Sherman]

Biographical Notes

Sincere thanks are due to my friend Thomas S. Jones, Jr.,
who, during my absence in Europe, has kindly taken charge of all details
incident to putting "The Little Book of Modern Verse" through the press.

The Little Book of Modern Verse

Lord of my Heart's Elation. [Bliss Carman]

Lord of my heart's elation,
Spirit of things unseen,
Be thou my aspiration
Consuming and serene!

Bear up, bear out, bear onward,
This mortal soul alone,
To selfhood or oblivion,
Incredibly thine own, --

As the foamheads are loosened
And blown along the sea,
Or sink and merge forever
In that which bids them be.

I, too, must climb in wonder,
Uplift at thy command, --
Be one with my frail fellows
Beneath the wind's strong hand,

A fleet and shadowy column
Of dust or mountain rain,
To walk the earth a moment
And be dissolved again.

Be thou my exaltation
Or fortitude of mien,
Lord of the world's elation,
Thou breath of things unseen!

Gloucester Moors. [William Vaughn Moody]

A mile behind is Gloucester town
Where the fishing fleets put in,
A mile ahead the land dips down
And the woods and farms begin.
Here, where the moors stretch free
In the high blue afternoon,
Are the marching sun and talking sea,
And the racing winds that wheel and flee
On the flying heels of June.

Jill-o'er-the-ground is purple blue,
Blue is the quaker-maid,
The wild geranium holds its dew
Long in the boulder's shade.
Wax-red hangs the cup
From the huckleberry boughs,
In barberry bells the grey moths sup
Or where the choke-cherry lifts high up
Sweet bowls for their carouse.

Over the shelf of the sandy cove
Beach-peas blossom late.
By copse and cliff the swallows rove
Each calling to his mate.
Seaward the sea-gulls go,
And the land-birds all are here;
That green-gold flash was a vireo,
And yonder flame where the marsh-flags grow
Was a scarlet tanager.

This earth is not the steadfast place
We landsmen build upon;
From deep to deep she varies pace,
And while she comes is gone.
Beneath my feet I feel
Her smooth bulk heave and dip;
With velvet plunge and soft upreel
She swings and steadies to her keel
Like a gallant, gallant ship.

These summer clouds she sets for sail,
The sun is her masthead light,
She tows the moon like a pinnace frail
Where her phosphor wake churns bright.
Now hid, now looming clear,
On the face of the dangerous blue
The star fleets tack and wheel and veer,
But on, but on does the old earth steer
As if her port she knew.

God, dear God! Does she know her port,
Though she goes so far about?
Or blind astray, does she make her sport
To brazen and chance it out?
I watched when her captains passed:
She were better captainless.
Men in the cabin, before the mast,
But some were reckless and some aghast,
And some sat gorged at mess.

By her battened hatch I leaned and caught
Sounds from the noisome hold, --
Cursing and sighing of souls distraught
And cries too sad to be told.
Then I strove to go down and see;
But they said, "Thou art not of us!"
I turned to those on the deck with me
And cried, "Give help!" But they said, "Let be:
Our ship sails faster thus."

Jill-o'er-the-ground is purple blue,
Blue is the quaker-maid,
The alder-clump where the brook comes through
Breeds cresses in its shade.
To be out of the moiling street
With its swelter and its sin!
Who has given to me this sweet,
And given my brother dust to eat?
And when will his wage come in?

Scattering wide or blown in ranks,
Yellow and white and brown,
Boats and boats from the fishing banks
Come home to Gloucester town.
There is cash to purse and spend,
There are wives to be embraced,
Hearts to borrow and hearts to lend,
And hearts to take and keep to the end, --
O little sails, make haste!

But thou, vast outbound ship of souls,
What harbor town for thee?
What shapes, when thy arriving tolls,
Shall crowd the banks to see?
Shall all the happy shipmates then
Stand singing brotherly?
Or shall a haggard ruthless few
Warp her over and bring her to,
While the many broken souls of men
Fester down in the slaver's pen,
And nothing to say or do?

On a Subway Express. [Chester Firkins]

I, who have lost the stars, the sod,
For chilling pave and cheerless light,
Have made my meeting-place with God
A new and nether Night --

Have found a fane where thunder fills
Loud caverns, tremulous; -- and these
Atone me for my reverend hills
And moonlit silences.

A figment in the crowded dark,
Where men sit muted by the roar,
I ride upon the whirring Spark
Beneath the city's floor.

In this dim firmament, the stars
Whirl by in blazing files and tiers;
Kin meteors graze our flying bars,
Amid the spinning spheres.

Speed! speed! until the quivering rails
Flash silver where the head-light gleams,
As when on lakes the Moon impales
The waves upon its beams.

Life throbs about me, yet I stand
Outgazing on majestic Power;
Death rides with me, on either hand,
In my communion hour.

You that 'neath country skies can pray,
Scoff not at me -- the city clod; --
My only respite of the Day
Is this wild ride -- with God.

The Automobile. [Percy MacKaye]

Fluid the world flowed under us: the hills
Billow on billow of umbrageous green
Heaved us, aghast, to fresh horizons, seen
One rapturous instant, blind with flash of rills
And silver-rising storms and dewy stills
Of dripping boulders, till the dim ravine
Drowned us again in leafage, whose serene
Coverts grew loud with our tumultuous wills.

Then all of Nature's old amazement seemed
Sudden to ask us: "Is this also Man?
This plunging, volant, land-amphibian
What Plato mused and Paracelsus dreamed?
Reply!" And piercing us with ancient scan,
The shrill, primeval hawk gazed down -- and screamed.

The Black Vulture. [George Sterling]

Aloof upon the day's immeasured dome,
He holds unshared the silence of the sky.
Far down his bleak, relentless eyes descry
The eagle's empire and the falcon's home --
Far down, the galleons of sunset roam;
His hazards on the sea of morning lie;
Serene, he hears the broken tempest sigh
Where cold sierras gleam like scattered foam.

And least of all he holds the human swarm --
Unwitting now that envious men prepare
To make their dream and its fulfillment one,
When, poised above the caldrons of the storm,
Their hearts, contemptuous of death, shall dare
His roads between the thunder and the sun.

Chavez. [Mildred McNeal Sweeney]

So hath he fallen, the Endymion of the air,
And so lies down in slumber lapped for aye.
Diana, passing, found his youth too fair,
His soul too fleet and willing to obey.
She swung her golden moon before his eyes --
Dreaming, he rose to follow -- and ran -- and was away.

His foot was winged as the mounting sun.
Earth he disdained -- the dusty ways of men
Not yet had learned. His spirit longed to run
With the bright clouds, his brothers, to answer when
The airs were fleetest and could give him hand
Into the starry fields beyond our plodding ken.

All wittingly that glorious way he chose,
And loved the peril when it was most bright.
He tried anew the long-forbidden snows
And like an eagle topped the dropping height
Of Nagenhorn, and still toward Italy
Past peak and cliff pressed on, in glad, unerring flight.

Oh, when the bird lies low with golden wing
Bruised past healing by some bitter chance,
Still must its tireless spirit mount and sing
Of meadows green with morning, of the dance
On windy trees, the darting flight away,
And of that last, most blue, triumphant downward glance.

So murmuring of the snow: "THE SNOW, AND MORE,
O GOD, MORE SNOW!" on that last field he lay.
Despair and wonder spent their passionate store
In his great heart, through heaven gone astray,
And early lost. Too far the golden moon
Had swung upon that bright, that long, untraversed way.

Now to lie ended on the murmuring plain --
Ah, this for his bold heart was not the loss,
But that those windy fields he ne'er again
Might try, nor fleet and shimmering mountains cross,
Unfollowed, by a path none other knew:
His bitter woe had here its deep and piteous cause.

Dear toils of youth unfinished! And songs unwritten, left
By young and passionate hearts! O melodies
Unheard, whereof we ever stand bereft!
Clear-singing Schubert, boyish Keats -- with these
He roams henceforth, one with the starry band,
Still paying to fairy call and far command
His spirit heed, still winged with golden prophecies.

The Sea Gypsy. [Richard Hovey]

I am fevered with the sunset,
I am fretful with the bay,
For the wander-thirst is on me
And my soul is in Cathay.

There's a schooner in the offing,
With her topsails shot with fire,
And my heart has gone aboard her
For the Islands of Desire.

I must forth again to-morrow!
With the sunset I must be
Hull down on the trail of rapture
In the wonder of the sea.

At Gibraltar. [George Edward Woodberry]


England, I stand on thy imperial ground,
Not all a stranger; as thy bugles blow,
I feel within my blood old battles flow --
The blood whose ancient founts in thee are found
Still surging dark against the Christian bound
Wide Islam presses; well its peoples know
Thy heights that watch them wandering below;
I think how Lucknow heard their gathering sound.
I turn, and meet the cruel, turbaned face.
England, 't is sweet to be so much thy son!
I feel the conqueror in my blood and race;
Last night Trafalgar awed me, and to-day
Gibraltar wakened; hark, thy evening gun
Startles the desert over Africa!


Thou art the rock of empire, set mid-seas
Between the East and West, that God has built;
Advance thy Roman borders where thou wilt,
While run thy armies true with His decrees.
Law, justice, liberty -- great gifts are these;
Watch that they spread where English blood is spilt,
Lest, mixed and sullied with his country's guilt,
The soldier's life-stream flow, and Heaven displease!
Two swords there are: one naked, apt to smite,
Thy blade of war; and, battle-storied, one
Rejoices in the sheath, and hides from light.
American I am; would wars were done!
Now westward, look, my country bids good-night --
Peace to the world from ports without a gun!

Euchenor Chorus. [Arthur Upson]

(From "The City")

Of old it went forth to Euchenor, pronounced of his sire --
Reluctant, impelled by the god's unescapable fire --
To choose for his doom or to perish at home of disease
Or be slain of his foes, among men, where Troy surges down to the seas.

Polyides, the soothsayer, spake it, inflamed by the god.
Of his son whom the fates singled out did he bruit it abroad;
And Euchenor went down to the ships with his armor and men
And straightway, grown dim on the gulf, passed the isles
he passed never again.

Why weep ye, O women of Corinth? The doom ye have heard
Is it strange to your ears that ye make it so mournful a word?
Is he who so fair in your eyes to his manhood upgrew,
Alone in his doom of pale death -- are of mortals the beaten so few?

O weep not, companions and lovers! Turn back to your joys:
The defeat was not his which he chose, nor the victory Troy's.
Him a conqueror, beauteous in youth, o'er the flood his fleet brought,
And the swift spear of Paris that slew completed the conquest he sought.

Not the falling proclaims the defeat, but the place of the fall;
And the fate that decrees and the god that impels through it all
Regard not blind mortals' divisions of slayer and slain,
But invisible glories dispense wide over the war-gleaming plain.

He whom a Dream hath possessed. [Shaemas O Sheel]

He whom a dream hath possessed knoweth no more of doubting,
For mist and the blowing of winds and the mouthing of words he scorns;
Not the sinuous speech of schools he hears, but a knightly shouting,
And never comes darkness down, yet he greeteth a million morns.

He whom a dream hath possessed knoweth no more of roaming;
All roads and the flowing of waves and the speediest flight he knows,
But wherever his feet are set, his soul is forever homing,
And going, he comes, and coming he heareth a call and goes.

He whom a dream hath possessed knoweth no more of sorrow,
At death and the dropping of leaves and the fading of suns he smiles,
For a dream remembers no past and scorns the desire of a morrow,
And a dream in a sea of doom sets surely the ultimate isles.

He whom a dream hath possessed treads the impalpable marches,
From the dust of the day's long road he leaps to a laughing star,
And the ruin of worlds that fall he views from eternal arches,
And rides God's battlefield in a flashing and golden car.

The Kings. [Louise Imogen Guiney]

A man said unto his Angel:
"My spirits are fallen low,
And I cannot carry this battle:
O brother! where might I go?

"The terrible Kings are on me
With spears that are deadly bright;
Against me so from the cradle
Do fate and my fathers fight."

Then said to the man his Angel:
"Thou wavering, witless soul,
Back to the ranks! What matter
To win or to lose the whole,

"As judged by the little judges
Who hearken not well, nor see?
Not thus, by the outer issue,
The Wise shall interpret thee.

"Thy will is the sovereign measure
And only events of things:
The puniest heart, defying,
Were stronger than all these Kings.

"Though out of the past they gather,
Mind's Doubt, and Bodily Pain,
And pallid Thirst of the Spirit
That is kin to the other twain,

"And Grief, in a cloud of banners,
And ringletted Vain Desires,
And Vice, with the spoils upon him
Of thee and thy beaten sires, --

"While Kings of eternal evil
Yet darken the hills about,
Thy part is with broken sabre
To rise on the last redoubt;

"To fear not sensible failure,
Nor covet the game at all,
But fighting, fighting, fighting,
Die, driven against the wall."

Mockery. [Louis Untermeyer]

God, I return to You on April days
When along country roads You walk with me,
And my faith blossoms like the earliest tree
That shames the bleak world with its yellow sprays --
My faith revives, when through a rosy haze
The clover-sprinkled hills smile quietly,
Young winds uplift a bird's clean ecstasy . . .
For this, O God, my joyousness and praise!

But now -- the crowded streets and choking airs,
The squalid people, bruised and tossed about;
These, or the over-brilliant thoroughfares,
The too-loud laughter and the empty shout,
The mirth-mad city, tragic with its cares . . .
For this, O God, my silence -- and my doubt.

An Ode in Time of Hesitation. [William Vaughn Moody]


Before the solemn bronze Saint Gaudens made
To thrill the heedless passer's heart with awe,
And set here in the city's talk and trade
To the good memory of Robert Shaw,
This bright March morn I stand,
And hear the distant spring come up the land;
Knowing that what I hear is not unheard
Of this boy soldier and his Negro band,
For all their gaze is fixed so stern ahead,
For all the fatal rhythm of their tread.
The land they died to save from death and shame
Trembles and waits, hearing the spring's great name,
And by her pangs these resolute ghosts are stirred.


Through street and mall the tides of people go
Heedless; the trees upon the Common show
No hint of green; but to my listening heart
The still earth doth impart
Assurance of her jubilant emprise,
And it is clear to my long-searching eyes
That love at last has might upon the skies.
The ice is runneled on the little pond;
A telltale patter drips from off the trees;
The air is touched with Southland spiceries,
As if but yesterday it tossed the frond
Of pendant mosses where the live-oaks grow
Beyond Virginia and the Carolines,
Or had its will among the fruits and vines
Of aromatic isles asleep beyond
Florida and the Gulf of Mexico.


Soon shall the Cape Ann children shout in glee,
Spying the arbutus, spring's dear recluse;
Hill lads at dawn shall hearken the wild goose
Go honking northward over Tennessee;
West from Oswego to Sault Sainte-Marie,
And on to where the Pictured Rocks are hung,
And yonder where, gigantic, wilful, young,
Chicago sitteth at the northwest gates,
With restless violent hands and casual tongue
Moulding her mighty fates,
The Lakes shall robe them in ethereal sheen;
And like a larger sea, the vital green
Of springing wheat shall vastly be outflung
Over Dakota and the prairie states.
By desert people immemorial
On Arizonan mesas shall be done
Dim rites unto the thunder and the sun;
Nor shall the primal gods lack sacrifice
More splendid, when the white Sierras call
Unto the Rockies straightway to arise
And dance before the unveiled ark of the year
Sounding their windy cedars as for shawms,
Unrolling rivers clear
For flutter of broad phylacteries;
While Shasta signals to Alaskan seas
That watch old sluggish glaciers downward creep
To fling their icebergs thundering from the steep,
And Mariposa through the purple calms
Gazes at far Hawaii crowned with palms
Where East and West are met, --
A rich seal on the ocean's bosom set
To say that East and West are twain,
With different loss and gain:
The Lord hath sundered them; let them be sundered yet.


Alas! what sounds are these that come
Sullenly over the Pacific seas, --
Sounds of ignoble battle, striking dumb
The season's half-awakened ecstasies?
Must I be humble, then,
Now when my heart hath need of pride?
Wild love falls on me from these sculptured men;
By loving much the land for which they died
I would be justified.
My spirit was away on pinions wide
To soothe in praise of her its passionate mood
And ease it of its ache of gratitude.
Too sorely heavy is the debt they lay
On me and the companions of my day.
I would remember now
My country's goodliness, make sweet her name.
Alas! what shade art thou
Of sorrow or of blame
Liftest the lyric leafage from her brow,
And pointest a slow finger at her shame?


Lies! lies! It cannot be! The wars we wage
Are noble, and our battles still are won
By justice for us, ere we lift the gage.
We have not sold our loftiest heritage.
The proud republic hath not stooped to cheat
And scramble in the market-place of war;
Her forehead weareth yet its solemn star.
Here is her witness: this, her perfect son,
This delicate and proud New England soul
Who leads despised men, with just-unshackled feet,
Up the large ways where death and glory meet,
To show all peoples that our shame is done,
That once more we are clean and spirit-whole.


Crouched in the sea-fog on the moaning sand
All night he lay, speaking some simple word
From hour to hour to the slow minds that heard,
Holding each poor life gently in his hand
And breathing on the base rejected clay
Till each dark face shone mystical and grand
Against the breaking day;
And lo, the shard the potter cast away
Was grown a fiery chalice crystal-fine,
Fulfilled of the divine
Great wine of battle wrath by God's ring-finger stirred.
Then upward, where the shadowy bastion loomed
Huge on the mountain in the wet sea light,
Whence now, and now, infernal flowerage bloomed,
Bloomed, burst, and scattered down its deadly seed, --
They swept, and died like freemen on the height,
Like freemen, and like men of noble breed;
And when the battle fell away at night
By hasty and contemptuous hands were thrust
Obscurely in a common grave with him
The fair-haired keeper of their love and trust.
Now limb doth mingle with dissolved limb
In nature's busy old democracy
To flush the mountain laurel when she blows
Sweet by the Southern sea,
And heart with crumbled heart climbs in the rose: --
The untaught hearts with the high heart that knew
This mountain fortress for no earthly hold
Of temporal quarrel, but the bastion old
Of spiritual wrong,
Built by an unjust nation sheer and strong,
Expugnable but by a nation's rue
And bowing down before that equal shrine
By all men held divine,
Whereof his band and he were the most holy sign.


O bitter, bitter shade!
Wilt thou not put the scorn
And instant tragic question from thine eye?
Do thy dark brows yet crave
That swift and angry stave --
Unmeet for this desirous morn --
That I have striven, striven to evade?
Gazing on him, must I not deem they err
Whose careless lips in street and shop aver
As common tidings, deeds to make his cheek
Flush from the bronze, and his dead throat to speak?
Surely some elder singer would arise,
Whose harp hath leave to threaten and to mourn
Above this people when they go astray.
Is Whitman, the strong spirit, overworn?
Has Whittier put his yearning wrath away?
I will not and I dare not yet believe!
Though furtively the sunlight seems to grieve,
And the spring-laden breeze
Out of the gladdening west is sinister
With sounds of nameless battle overseas;
Though when we turn and question in suspense
If these things be indeed after these ways,
And what things are to follow after these,
Our fluent men of place and consequence
Fumble and fill their mouths with hollow phrase,
Or for the end-all of deep arguments
Intone their dull commercial liturgies --
I dare not yet believe! My ears are shut!
I will not hear the thin satiric praise
And muffled laughter of our enemies,
Bidding us never sheathe our valiant sword
Till we have changed our birthright for a gourd
Of wild pulse stolen from a barbarian's hut;
Showing how wise it is to cast away
The symbols of our spiritual sway,
That so our hands with better ease
May wield the driver's whip and grasp the jailer's keys.


Was it for this our fathers kept the law?
This crown shall crown their struggle and their ruth?
Are we the eagle nation Milton saw
Mewing its mighty youth,
Soon to possess the mountain winds of truth,
And be a swift familiar of the sun
Where aye before God's face his trumpets run?
Or have we but the talons and the maw,
And for the abject likeness of our heart
Shall some less lordly bird be set apart?
Some gross-billed wader where the swamps are fat?
Some gorger in the sun? Some prowler with the bat?


Ah, no!
We have not fallen so.
We are our fathers' sons: let those who lead us know!
'T was only yesterday sick Cuba's cry
Came up the tropic wind, "Now help us, for we die!"
Then Alabama heard,
And rising, pale, to Maine and Idaho
Shouted a burning word.
Proud state with proud impassioned state conferred,
And at the lifting of a hand sprang forth,
East, west, and south, and north,
Beautiful armies. Oh, by the sweet blood and young
Shed on the awful hill slope at San Juan,
By the unforgotten names of eager boys
Who might have tasted girl's love and been stung
With the old mystic joys
And starry griefs, now the spring nights come on,
But that the heart of youth is generous, --
We charge you, ye who lead us,
Breathe on their chivalry no hint of stain!
Turn not their new-world victories to gain!
One least leaf plucked for chaffer from the bays
Of their dear praise,
One jot of their pure conquest put to hire,
The implacable republic will require;
With clamor, in the glare and gaze of noon,
Or subtly, coming as a thief at night,
But surely, very surely, slow or soon
That insult deep we deeply will requite.
Tempt not our weakness, our cupidity!
For save we let the island men go free,
Those baffled and dislaureled ghosts
Will curse us from the lamentable coasts
Where walk the frustrate dead.
The cup of trembling shall be drained quite,
Eaten the sour bread of astonishment,
With ashes of the hearth shall be made white
Our hair, and wailing shall be in the tent;
Then on your guiltier head
Shall our intolerable self-disdain
Wreak suddenly its anger and its pain;
For manifest in that disastrous light
We shall discern the right
And do it, tardily. -- O ye who lead,
Take heed!
Blindness we may forgive, but baseness we will smite.

Candlemas. [Alice Brown]

O hearken, all ye little weeds
That lie beneath the snow,
(So low, dear hearts, in poverty so low!)
The sun hath risen for royal deeds,
A valiant wind the vanguard leads;
Now quicken ye, lest unborn seeds
Before ye rise and blow.

O furry living things, adream
On winter's drowsy breast,
(How rest ye there, how softly, safely rest!)
Arise and follow where a gleam
Of wizard gold unbinds the stream,
And all the woodland windings seem
With sweet expectance blest.

My birds, come back! the hollow sky
Is weary for your note.
(Sweet-throat, come back! O liquid, mellow throat!)
Ere May's soft minions hereward fly,
Shame on ye, laggards, to deny
The brooding breast, the sun-bright eye,
The tawny, shining coat!

The Unreturning. [Bliss Carman]

The old eternal spring once more
Comes back the sad eternal way,
With tender rosy light before
The going-out of day.

The great white moon across my door
A shadow in the twilight stirs;
But now forever comes no more
That wondrous look of Hers.

A Song in Spring. [Thomas S. Jones, Jr.]

O little buds all bourgeoning with Spring,
You hold my winter in forgetfulness;
Without my window lilac branches swing,
Within my gate I hear a robin sing --
O little laughing blooms that lift and bless!

So blow the breezes in a soft caress,
Blowing my dreams upon a swallow's wing;
O little merry buds in dappled dress,
You fill my heart with very wantonness --
O little buds all bourgeoning with Spring!

May is building her House. [Richard Le Gallienne]

May is building her house. With apple blooms
She is roofing over the glimmering rooms;
Of the oak and the beech hath she builded its beams,
And, spinning all day at her secret looms,
With arras of leaves each wind-swayed wall
She pictureth over, and peopleth it all
With echoes and dreams,
And singing of streams.

May is building her house. Of petal and blade,
Of the roots of the oak, is the flooring made,
With a carpet of mosses and lichen and clover,
Each small miracle over and over,
And tender, traveling green things strayed.

Her windows, the morning and evening star,
And her rustling doorways, ever ajar
With the coming and going
Of fair things blowing,
The thresholds of the four winds are.

May is building her house. From the dust of things
She is making the songs and the flowers and the wings;
From October's tossed and trodden gold
She is making the young year out of the old;
Yea: out of winter's flying sleet
She is making all the summer sweet,
And the brown leaves spurned of November's feet
She is changing back again to spring's.

Here is the Place where Loveliness keeps House. [Madison Cawein]

Here is the place where Loveliness keeps house,
Between the river and the wooded hills,
Within a valley where the Springtime spills
Her firstling wind-flowers under blossoming boughs:
Where Summer sits braiding her warm, white brows
With bramble-roses; and where Autumn fills
Her lap with asters; and old Winter frills
With crimson haw and hip his snowy blouse.
Here you may meet with Beauty. Here she sits
Gazing upon the moon, or all the day
Tuning a wood-thrush flute, remote, unseen:
Or when the storm is out, 't is she who flits
From rock to rock, a form of flying spray,
Shouting, beneath the leaves' tumultuous green.

Water Fantasy. [Fannie Stearns Davis]

O brown brook, O blithe brook, what will you say to me
If I take off my heavy shoon and wade you childishly?

O take them off, and come to me.
You shall not fall. Step merrily!

But, cool brook, but, quick brook, and what if I should float
White-bodied in your pleasant pool, your bubbles at my throat?

If you are but a mortal maid,
Then I shall make you half afraid.
The water shall be dim and deep,
And silver fish shall lunge and leap
About you, coward mortal thing.
But if you come desiring
To win once more your naiadhood,
How you shall laugh and find me good --
My golden surfaces, my glooms,
My secret grottoes' dripping rooms,
My depths of warm wet emerald,
My mosses floating fold on fold!
And where I take the rocky leap
Like wild white water shall you sweep;
Like wild white water shall you cry,
Trembling and turning to the sky,
While all the thousand-fringed trees
Glimmer and glisten through the breeze.
I bid you come! Too long, too long,
You have forgot my undersong.
And this perchance you never knew:
E'en I, the brook, have need of you.
My naiads faded long ago, --
My little nymphs, that to and fro
Within my waters sunnily
Made small white flames of tinkling glee.
I have been lonesome, lonesome; yea,
E'en I, the brook, until this day.
Cast off your shoon; ah, come to me,
And I will love you lingeringly!

O wild brook, O wise brook, I cannot come, alas!
I am but mortal as the leaves that flicker, float, and pass.
My body is not used to you; my breath is fluttering sore;
You clasp me round too icily. Ah, let me go once more!
Would God I were a naiad-thing whereon Pan's music blew;
But woe is me! you pagan brook, I cannot stay with you!

Bacchus. [Frank Dempster Sherman]

Listen to the tawny thief,
Hid beneath the waxen leaf,
Growling at his fairy host,
Bidding her with angry boast
Fill his cup with wine distilled
From the dew the dawn has spilled:
Stored away in golden casks
Is the precious draught he asks.

Who, -- who makes this mimic din
In this mimic meadow inn,
Sings in such a drowsy note,
Wears a golden-belted coat;
Loiters in the dainty room
Of this tavern of perfume;
Dares to linger at the cup
Till the yellow sun is up?

Bacchus 't is, come back again
To the busy haunts of men;
Garlanded and gaily dressed,
Bands of gold about his breast;
Straying from his paradise,
Having pinions angel-wise, --
'T is the honey-bee, who goes
Reveling within a rose!

Da Leetla Boy. [Thomas Augustine Daly]

Da spreeng ees com'! but oh, da joy
Eet ees too late!
He was so cold, my leetla boy,
He no could wait.

I no can count how manny week,
How manny day, dat he ees seeck;
How manny night I seet an' hold
Da leetla hand dat was so cold.
He was so patience, oh, so sweet!
Eet hurts my throat for theenk of eet;
An' all he evra ask ees w'en
Ees gona com' da spreeng agen.
Wan day, wan brighta sunny day,
He see, across da alleyway,
Da leetla girl dat's livin' dere
Ees raise her window for da air,
An' put outside a leetla pot
Of -- w'at-you-call? -- forgat-me-not.
So smalla flower, so leetla theeng!
But steell eet mak' hees hearta seeng:
"Oh, now, at las', ees com' da spreeng!
Da leetla plant ees glad for know
Da sun ees com' for mak' eet grow.
So, too, I am grow warm and strong."
So lika dat he seeng hees song.
But, Ah! da night com' down an' den
Da weenter ees sneak back agen,
An' een da alley all da night
Ees fall da snow, so cold, so white,
An' cover up da leetla pot
Of -- w'at-you-call? -- forgat-me-not.
All night da leetla hand I hold
Ees grow so cold, so cold, so cold!

Da spreeng ees com'; but oh, da joy
Eet ees too late!
He was so cold, my leetla boy,
He no could wait.

Agamede's Song. [Arthur Upson]

Grow, grow, thou little tree,
His body at the roots of thee;
Since last year's loveliness in death
The living beauty nourisheth.

Bloom, bloom, thou little tree,
Thy roots around the heart of me;
Thou canst not blow too white and fair
From all the sweetness hidden there.

Die, die, thou little tree,
And be as all sweet things must be;
Deep where thy petals drift I, too,
Would rest the changing seasons through.

Why. [Bliss Carman]

For a name unknown,
Whose fame unblown
Sleeps in the hills
For ever and aye;

For her who hears
The stir of the years
Go by on the wind
By night and day;

And heeds no thing
Of the needs of Spring,
Of Autumn's wonder
Or Winter's chill;

For one who sees
The great sun freeze,
As he wanders a-cold
From hill to hill;

And all her heart
Is a woven part
Of the flurry and drift
Of whirling snow;

For the sake of two
Sad eyes and true,
And the old, old love
So long ago.

The Wife from Fairyland. [Richard Le Gallienne]

Her talk was all of woodland things,
Of little lives that pass
Away in one green afternoon,
Deep in the haunted grass;

For she had come from fairyland,
The morning of a day
When the world that still was April
Was turning into May.

Green leaves and silence and two eyes --
'T was so she seemed to me,
A silver shadow of the woods,
Whisper and mystery.

I looked into her woodland eyes,
And all my heart was hers,
And then I led her by the hand
Home up my marble stairs;

And all my granite and my gold
Was hers for her green eyes,
And all my sinful heart was hers
From sunset to sunrise;

I gave her all delight and ease
That God had given to me,
I listened to fulfill her dreams,
Rapt with expectancy.

But all I gave, and all I did,
Brought but a weary smile
Of gratitude upon her face;
As though a little while,

She loitered in magnificence
Of marble and of gold
And waited to be home again
When the dull tale was told.

Sometimes, in the chill galleries,
Unseen, she deemed, unheard,
I found her dancing like a leaf
And singing like a bird.

So lone a thing I never saw
In lonely earth or sky,
So merry and so sad a thing,
One sad, one laughing, eye.

There came a day when on her heart
A wildwood blossom lay,
And the world that still was April
Was turning into May.

In the green eyes I saw a smile
That turned my heart to stone:
My wife that came from fairyland
No longer was alone.

For there had come a little hand
To show the green way home,
Home through the leaves, home through the dew,
Home through the greenwood -- home.

Life. [John Hall Wheelock]

Life burns us up like fire,
And Song goes up in flame:
The radiant body smoulders
To the ashes whence it came.

Out of things it rises
With a mouth that laughs and sings,
Backward it fades and falters
Into the char of things.

Yet soars a voice above it --
Love is holy and strong;
The best of us forever
Escapes in Love and Song.

Song is so old. [Hermann Hagedorn]

Song is so old,
Love is so new --
Let me be still
And kneel to you.

Let me be still
And breathe no word,
Save what my warm blood
Sings unheard.

Let my warm blood
Sing low of you --
Song is so fair,
Love is so new!

That Day you came. [Lizette Woodworth Reese]

Such special sweetness was about
That day God sent you here,
I knew the lavender was out,
And it was mid of year.

Their common way the great winds blew,
The ships sailed out to sea;
Yet ere that day was spent I knew
Mine own had come to me.

As after song some snatch of tune
Lurks still in grass or bough,
So, somewhat of the end o' June
Lurks in each weather now.

The young year sets the buds astir,
The old year strips the trees;
But ever in my lavender
I hear the brawling bees.

Song. "For me the jasmine buds unfold". [Florence Earle Coates]

For me the jasmine buds unfold
And silver daisies star the lea,
The crocus hoards the sunset gold,
And the wild rose breathes for me.
I feel the sap through the bough returning,
I share the skylark's transport fine,
I know the fountain's wayward yearning,
I love, and the world is mine!

I love, and thoughts that sometime grieved,
Still well remembered, grieve not me;
From all that darkened and deceived
Upsoars my spirit free.
For soft the hours repeat one story,
Sings the sea one strain divine;
My clouds arise all flushed with glory --
I love, and the world is mine!

Mother. [Theresa Helburn]

I have praised many loved ones in my song,
And yet I stand
Before her shrine, to whom all things belong,
With empty hand.

Perhaps the ripening future holds a time
For things unsaid;
Not now; men do not celebrate in rhyme
Their daily bread.

Songs for my Mother. [Anna Hempstead Branch]


Her Hands

My mother's hands are cool and fair,
They can do anything.
Delicate mercies hide them there
Like flowers in the spring.

When I was small and could not sleep,
She used to come to me,
And with my cheek upon her hand
How sure my rest would be.

For everything she ever touched
Of beautiful or fine,
Their memories living in her hands
Would warm that sleep of mine.

Her hands remember how they played
One time in meadow streams, --
And all the flickering song and shade
Of water took my dreams.

Swift through her haunted fingers pass
Memories of garden things; --
I dipped my face in flowers and grass
And sounds of hidden wings.

One time she touched the cloud that kissed
Brown pastures bleak and far; --
I leaned my cheek into a mist
And thought I was a star.

All this was very long ago
And I am grown; but yet
The hand that lured my slumber so
I never can forget.

For still when drowsiness comes on
It seems so soft and cool,
Shaped happily beneath my cheek,
Hollow and beautiful.


Her Words

My mother has the prettiest tricks
Of words and words and words.
Her talk comes out as smooth and sleek
As breasts of singing birds.

She shapes her speech all silver fine
Because she loves it so.
And her own eyes begin to shine
To hear her stories grow.

And if she goes to make a call
Or out to take a walk
We leave our work when she returns
And run to hear her talk.

We had not dreamed these things were so
Of sorrow and of mirth.
Her speech is as a thousand eyes
Through which we see the earth.

God wove a web of loveliness,
Of clouds and stars and birds,
But made not any thing at all
So beautiful as words.

They shine around our simple earth
With golden shadowings,
And every common thing they touch
Is exquisite with wings.

There's nothing poor and nothing small
But is made fair with them.
They are the hands of living faith
That touch the garment's hem.

They are as fair as bloom or air,
They shine like any star,
And I am rich who learned from her
How beautiful they are.

The Daguerreotype. [William Vaughn Moody]

This, then, is she,
My mother as she looked at seventeen,
When she first met my father. Young incredibly,
Younger than spring, without the faintest trace
Of disappointment, weariness, or tean
Upon the childlike earnestness and grace
Of the waiting face.
Those close-wound ropes of pearl
(Or common beads made precious by their use)
Seem heavy for so slight a throat to wear;
But the low bodice leaves the shoulders bare
And half the glad swell of the breast, for news
That now the woman stirs within the girl.
And yet,
Even so, the loops and globes
Of beaten gold
And jet
Hung, in the stately way of old,
From the ears' drooping lobes
On festivals and Lord's-day of the week,
Show all too matron-sober for the cheek, --
Which, now I look again, is perfect child,
Or no -- or no -- 't is girlhood's very self,
Moulded by some deep, mischief-ridden elf
So meek, so maiden mild,
But startling the close gazer with the sense
Of passions forest-shy and forest-wild,
And delicate delirious merriments.

As a moth beats sidewise
And up and over, and tries
To skirt the irresistible lure
Of the flame that has him sure,
My spirit, that is none too strong to-day,
Flutters and makes delay, --
Pausing to wonder on the perfect lips,
Lifting to muse upon the low-drawn hair
And each hid radiance there,
But powerless to stem the tide-race bright,
The vehement peace which drifts it toward the light
Where soon -- ah, now, with cries
Of grief and giving-up unto its gain
It shrinks no longer nor denies,
But dips
Hurriedly home to the exquisite heart of pain, --
And all is well, for I have seen them plain,
The unforgettable, the unforgotten eyes!
Across the blinding gush of these good tears
They shine as in the sweet and heavy years
When by her bed and chair
We children gathered jealously to share
The sunlit aura breathing myrrh and thyme,
Where the sore-stricken body made a clime
Gentler than May and pleasanter than rhyme,
Holier and more mystical than prayer.

God, how thy ways are strange!
That this should be, even this,
The patient head
Which suffered years ago the dreary change!
That these so dewy lips should be the same
As those I stooped to kiss
And heard my harrowing half-spoken name,
A little ere the one who bowed above her,
Our father and her very constant lover,
Rose stoical, and we knew that she was dead.
Then I, who could not understand or share
His antique nobleness,
Being unapt to bear
The insults which time flings us for our proof,
Fled from the horrible roof
Into the alien sunshine merciless,
The shrill satiric fields ghastly with day,
Raging to front God in his pride of sway
And hurl across the lifted swords of fate
That ringed Him where He sat
My puny gage of scorn and desolate hate
Which somehow should undo Him, after all!
That this girl face, expectant, virginal,
Which gazes out at me
Boon as a sweetheart, as if nothing loth
(Save for the eyes, with other presage stored)
To pledge me troth,
And in the kingdom where the heart is lord
Take sail on the terrible gladness of the deep
Whose winds the gray Norns keep, --
That this should be indeed
The flesh which caught my soul, a flying seed,
Out of the to and fro
Of scattering hands where the seedsman Mage,
Stooping from star to star and age to age
Sings as he sows!
That underneath this breast
Nine moons I fed
Deep of divine unrest,
While over and over in the dark she said,
"Blessed! but not as happier children blessed" --
That this should be
Even she . . .
God, how with time and change
Thou makest thy footsteps strange!
Ah, now I know
They play upon me, and it is not so.
Why, 't is a girl I never saw before,
A little thing to flatter and make weep,
To tease until her heart is sore,
Then kiss and clear the score;
A gypsy run-the-fields,
A little liberal daughter of the earth,
Good for what hour of truancy and mirth
The careless season yields
Hither-side the flood of the year and yonder of the neap;
Then thank you, thanks again, and twenty light good-byes. --
O shrined above the skies,
Frown not, clear brow,
Darken not, holy eyes!
Thou knowest well I know that it is thou
Only to save me from such memories
As would unman me quite,
Here in this web of strangeness caught
And prey to troubled thought
Do I devise
These foolish shifts and slight;
Only to shield me from the afflicting sense
Of some waste influence
Which from this morning face and lustrous hair
Breathes on me sudden ruin and despair.
In any other guise,
With any but this girlish depth of gaze,
Your coming had not so unsealed and poured
The dusty amphoras where I had stored
The drippings of the winepress of my days.
I think these eyes foresee,
Now in their unawakened virgin time,
Their mother's pride in me,
And dream even now, unconsciously,
Upon each soaring peak and sky-hung lea
You pictured I should climb.
Broken premonitions come,
Shapes, gestures visionary,
Not as once to maiden Mary
The manifest angel with fresh lilies came
Intelligibly calling her by name;
But vanishingly, dumb,
Thwarted and bright and wild,
As heralding a sin-defiled,
Earth-encumbered, blood-begotten, passionate man-child,
Who yet should be a trump of mighty call
Blown in the gates of evil kings
To make them fall;
Who yet should be a sword of flame before
The soul's inviolate door
To beat away the clang of hellish wings;
Who yet should be a lyre
Of high unquenchable desire
In the day of little things. --
Look, where the amphoras,
The yield of many days,
Trod by my hot soul from the pulp of self,
And set upon the shelf
In sullen pride
The Vineyard-master's tasting to abide --
O mother mine!
Are these the bringings-in, the doings fine,
Of him you used to praise?
Emptied and overthrown
The jars lie strown.
These, for their flavor duly nursed,
Drip from the stopples vinegar accursed;
These, I thought honied to the very seal,
Dry, dry, -- a little acid meal,
A pinch of mouldy dust,
Sole leavings of the amber-mantling must;
These, rude to look upon,
But flasking up the liquor dearest won,
Through sacred hours and hard,
With watching and with wrestlings and with grief,
Even of these, of these in chief,
The stale breath sickens reeking from the shard.
Nothing is left. Aye, how much less than naught!
What shall be said or thought
Of the slack hours and waste imaginings,
The cynic rending of the wings,
Known to that froward, that unreckoning heart
Whereof this brewage was the precious part,
Treasured and set away with furtive boast?
O dear and cruel ghost,
Be merciful, be just!
See, I was yours and I am in the dust.
Then look not so, as if all things were well!
Take your eyes from me, leave me to my shame,
Or else, if gaze they must,
Steel them with judgment, darken them with blame;
But by the ways of light ineffable
You bade me go and I have faltered from,
By the low waters moaning out of hell
Whereto my feet have come,
Lay not on me these intolerable
Looks of rejoicing love, of pride, of happy trust!

Nothing dismayed?
By all I say and all I hint not made
O then, stay by me! Let
These eyes afflict me, cleanse me, keep me yet,
Brave eyes and true!
See how the shrivelled heart, that long has lain
Dead to delight and pain,
Stirs, and begins again
To utter pleasant life, as if it knew
The wintry days were through;
As if in its awakening boughs it heard
The quick, sweet-spoken bird.
Strong eyes and brave,
Inexorable to save!

Tears. [Lizette Woodworth Reese]

When I consider Life and its few years --
A wisp of fog betwixt us and the sun;
A call to battle, and the battle done
Ere the last echo dies within our ears;
A rose choked in the grass; an hour of fears;
The gusts that past a darkening shore do beat;
The burst of music down an unlistening street, --
I wonder at the idleness of tears.
Ye old, old dead, and ye of yesternight,
Chieftains, and bards, and keepers of the sheep,
By every cup of sorrow that you had,
Loose me from tears, and make me see aright
How each hath back what once he stayed to weep:
Homer his sight, David his little lad!

The Sea-Lands. [Orrick Johns]

Would I were on the sea-lands,
Where winds know how to sting;
And in the rocks at midnight
The lost long murmurs sing.

Would I were with my first love
To hear the rush and roar
Of spume below the doorstep
And winds upon the door.

My first love was a fair girl
With ways forever new;
And hair a sunlight yellow,
And eyes a morning blue.

The roses, have they tarried
Or are they dun and frayed?
If we had stayed together,
Would love, indeed, have stayed?

Ah, years are filled with learning,
And days are leaves of change!
And I have met so many
I knew . . . and found them strange.

But on the sea-lands tumbled
By winds that sting and blind,
The nights we watched, so silent,
Come back, come back to mind.

I mind about my first love,
And hear the rush and roar
Of spume below the doorstep
And winds upon the door.

Bag-Pipes at Sea. [Clinton Scollard]

Above the shouting of the gale,
The whipping sheet, the dashing spray,
I heard, with notes of joy and wail,
A piper play.

Along the dipping deck he trod,
The dusk about his shadowy form;
He seemed like some strange ancient god
Of song and storm.

He gave his dim-seen pipes a skirl
And war went down the darkling air;
Then came a sudden subtle swirl,
And love was there.

What were the winds that flailed and flayed
The sea to him, the night obscure?
In dreams he strayed some brackened glade,
Some heathery moor.

And if he saw the slanting spars,
And if he watched the shifting track,
He marked, too, the eternal stars
Shine through the wrack.

And so amid the deep sea din,
And so amid the wastes of foam,
Afar his heart was happy in
His highland home!

The Heart's Country. [Florence Wilkinson]

Hill people turn to their hills;
Sea-folk are sick for the sea:
Thou art my land and my country,
And my heart calls out for thee.

The bird beats his wings for the open,
The captive burns to be free;
But I -- I cry at thy window,
For thou art my liberty.

Joyous-Gard. [Thomas S. Jones, Jr.]

Wind-washed and free, full-swept by rain and wave,
By tang of surf and thunder of the gale,
Wild be the ride yet safe the barque will sail
And past the plunging seas her harbor brave;


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