A fair young mother, pure as fair,
A matron heart and virgin soul!
The flickering light that crowns her hair
Seems like a saintly aureole.
A tender sense upon me falls
That joy unmerited is mine,
And in this pleasant twilight shine
My perfect bliss myself appalls.
Come back! my darling, strayed so far
Into the realm of fantasy,—
Let thy dear face shine like a star
In love-light beaming over me.
My melting soul is jealous, sweet,
Of thy long silence’ drear eclipse,
O kiss me back with living lips
To life, love, lying at thy feet!
In the dewy depths of the graveyard
I lie in the tangled grass,
And watch, in the sea of azure,
The white cloud-islands pass.
The birds in the rustling branches
Sing gayly overhead;
Gray stones like sentinel spectres
Are guarding the silent dead.
The early flowers sleep shaded
In the cool green noonday glooms;
The broken light falls shuddering
On the cold white face of the tombs,
Without, the world is smiling
In the infinite love of God,
But the sunlight fails and falters
When it falls on the churchyard sod.
On me the joyous rapture
Of a heart’s first love is shed,
But it falls on my heart as coldly
As sunlight on the dead.
The skies are blue above my head,
The prairie green below,
And flickering o’er the tufted grass
The shifting shadows go,
Vague-sailing, where the feathery clouds
Fleck white the tranquil skies,
Black javelins darting where aloft
The whirring pheasant flies.
A glimmering plain in drowsy trance
The dim horizon bounds,
Where all the air is resonant
With sleepy summer sounds,
The life that sings among the flowers,
The lisping of the breeze,
The hot cicala’s sultry cry,
The murmurous dream of bees.
The butterfly—a flying flower—
Wheels swift in flashing rings,
And flutters round his quiet kin,
With brave flame-mottled wings.
The wild Pinks burst in crimson fire,
The Phlox’ bright clusters shine,
And Prairie-Cups are swinging free
To spill their airy wine.
And lavishly beneath the sun,
In liberal splendor rolled,
The Fennel fills the dipping plain
With floods of flowery gold;
And widely weaves the Iron-Weed
A woof of purple dyes
Where Autumn’s royal feet may tread
When bankrupt Summer flies.
In verdurous tumult far away
The prairie-billows gleam,
Upon their crests in blessing rests
The noontide’s gracious beam.
Low quivering vapors steaming dim
The level splendors break
Where languid Lilies deck the rim
Of some land-circled lake.