Out upon the bleak hillside, the bleak hillside, he
Her lips were red, and red the stream that slipped his life away.
Ah, crimson, crimson were her lips, but his were turning gray.
The troubled sky seemed bending low, bending low to
The foam-white face so wild upturned from off the bleak hillside—
White as the beaten foam her face, and she was wond’rous eyed.
The soft, south-wind came creeping up, creeping stealthily
To breathe upon his clay-cold face—but all too cold was he,
Too cold for you to warm, south-wind, since cold at heart was she!
Sweet morning peeped above the hill, above the hill
The shattered, useless, godlike thing the night had left behind—
Wept the sweet morn her crystal tears that love should prove unkind!
How hushed they were in Heaven that night,
How lightly all the angels went,
How dumb the singing spheres beneath
Their many-candled tent!
How silent all the drifting throng
Of earth-freed spirits, strangely torn
By dim and half-remembered pain
And joy but newly born!
The Glory in the Highest flamed
With awful, unremembered ray—
But quiet as the falling dew
Was He who went away.
So swift He went, His passing left
A low, bright door in Heaven ajar—
With God it was a covenant,
To man it seemed a star.
I whispered to the bobolink:
“Sweet singer of the field,
Teach me a song to reach a heart
In maiden armor steeled.”
“If there be such a song,”
“No bird can tell its mystery.”
I bent above the sweetest rose,
A deeper sweet to stir—
“O Rose,” I begged, “what charm will wake
The deep, sweet heart of her?”
“Alas, poor lover,” sighed
“The charm you seek no flower knows.”
I wandered by the midnight lake
Where heaven lay confessed
“Tell me,” I cried, “what draws the stars
To lie upon your breast?”
The silence woke to soft reply
“When Heaven stoops—demand not why!”
“Alas, sweet maid, love’s potent charm
I cannot beg or buy,
I cannot wrest it from the wind
Or steal it from the sky—”
Breathless, I caught her whisper low,
“I love you—why, I do not know!”
Slanting rain and a sky of gray,
Drifting mist and a wind astray,
The leaden end of a leaden day
Light in the west! The sky’s pale dome
Gemmed with a star; a scented gloam
Of bursting buds and rain-wet loam
And you—at home!