Read by the wayside, read by the brook,
That this is the passion of the year;
Look at the fields, look at the woods,
Look upon me, and—draw near!
Just as these days are, so is my heart;
Lilies are flaming, berries are ripe;
Alders blow sweet, acorns are full—
And the bobolink’s young ones pipe!
Ponder the river, ponder the sky,
Hazy and gray, hazy and blue;
Study the trees wed to the wind—
I promise you I’ll be as true!
Yes, true as August—as the birds’ song,
The sweet fern’s scent, the weedy, blue shore,
The shine of vines, smilax, and grape—
What can you ask for more?
Falling leaves and falling men!
When the snows of winter fall,
And the winds of winter blow,
Will be woven Nature’s pall.
Let us, then, forsake our dead,
For the dead will surely wait,
While we rush upon the foe,
Eager for the hero’s fate.
Leaves will come upon the trees,
Spring will show the happy race;
Mothers will give birth to sons,
Loyal souls to fill our place.
Wherefore should we rest and rust?
Soldiers, we must fight and save
Freedom now, and give our foes
All their country should—a grave!
“The willow boughs are yellow now.”
The willow boughs are yellow now,
For spring has come again;
The peach-tree buds begin to swell,
Dripping with April rain.
The gray-eyed twilight lingers long,
To meet the starry night;
I walk the darkening lanes alone,
And love the sombre light.
The dream of other days returns,
When comes the blossomed spring;
But when the full leaved summer comes
My dream has taken wing;
The twittering swallows in the lane
Were there a year ago;
The old nests in the tangled vines
Their next year’s brood will know.
A little brood of children fair,
Under the mother’s wing,
Is in the dream of other days,
That flies when flies the spring!
“In the still, star-lit night.”
In the still, star-lit night,
By the full fountain and the willow-tree,
I walked, and not alone—
A spirit walked with me!
A shade fell on the grass;
Upon the water fell a deeper shade:
Something the willow stirred,
For to and fro it swayed.
The grass was in a quiver,
The water trembled, and the willow-tree
Sighed softly; I sighed loud—
The spirit taunted me.
All the night long I walked
By the full fountain, dropping icy tears;
I tore the willow leaves,
I tore the long, green spears!