So as I watched the crowded leaves expand,
The bloom break sheath, the summer’s strength uprear,
In earth’s great mother’s heart already planned
The heaped and burgeoned plenty of the year,
Even as she from out her wintry cell
My spirit also sprang to life anew,
And day by day as the spring’s bounty grew,
Its conquering joy possessed me like a spell.
In reverie by day and midnight dream
I sought these upland fields and walked apart,
Musing on Nature, till my thought did seem
To read the very secrets of her heart;
In mooded moments earnest and sublime
I stored the themes of many a future song,
Whose substance should be Nature’s, clear and strong,
Bound in a casket of majestic rhyme.
Brave bud-like plans that never reached the fruit,
Like hers our mother’s who with every hour,
Easily replenished from the sleepless root,
Covers her bosom with fresh bud and flower;
Yet I was happy as young lovers be,
Who in the season of their passion’s birth
Deem that they have their utmost worship’s worth,
If love be near them, just to hear and see.
Grief was my master yesternight;
To-morrow I may grieve again;
But now along the windy plain
The clouds have taken flight.
The sowers in the furrows go;
The lusty river brimmeth on;
The curtains from the hills are gone;
The leaves are out; and lo,
The silvery distance of the day,
The light horizons, and between
The glory of the perfect green,
The tumult of the May.
The bobolinks at noonday sing
More softly than the softest flute,
And lightlier than the lightest lute
Their fairy tambours ring.
The roads far off are towered with dust;
The cherry-blooms are swept and thinned;
In yonder swaying elms the wind
Is charging gust on gust.
But here there is no stir at all;
The ministers of sun and shadow
Horde all the perfumes of the meadow
Behind a grassy wall.
An infant rivulet wind-free
Adown the guarded hollow sets,
Over whose brink the violets
Are nodding peacefully.
From pool to pool it prattles by;
The flashing swallows dip and pass,
Above the tufted marish grass,
And here at rest am I.
I care not for the old distress,
Nor if to-morrow bid me moan;
To-day is mine, and I have known
An hour of blessedness.
LIFE AND NATURE
I passed through the gates of the city,
The streets were strange and still,
Through the doors of the open churches
The organs were moaning shrill.
Through the doors and the great high windows
I heard the murmur of prayer,
And the sound of their solemn singing
Streamed out on the sunlit air;