Song breathed from all the forest,
The total air was fame;
It seemed the world was all torches
That suddenly caught the flame.
* * *
Is there never a retroscope mirror
In the realms and corners of space
That can give us a glimpse of the battle
And the soldiers face to face?
Sit here on the basalt courses
Where twisted hills betray
The seat of the world-old Forces
Who wrestled here on a day.
* * *
When the purple flame shoots up,
And Love ascends his throne,
I cannot hear your songs, O birds,
For the witchery of my own.
And every human heart
Still keeps that golden day
And rings the bells of jubilee
On its own First of May.
I have trod this path a hundred times
With idle footsteps, crooning rhymes.
I know each nest and web-worm’s tent,
The fox-hole which the woodchucks rent,
Maple and oak, the old Divan
Self-planted twice, like the banian.
I know not why I came again
Unless to learn it ten times ten.
To read the sense the woods impart
You must bring the throbbing heart.
Love is aye the counterforce,—
Terror and Hope and wild Remorse,
Newest knowledge, fiery thought,
Or Duty to grand purpose wrought.
Wandering yester morn the brake,
I reached this heath beside the lake,
And oh, the wonder of the power,
The deeper secret of the hour!
Nature, the supplement of man,
His hidden sense interpret can;—
What friend to friend cannot convey
Shall the dumb bird instructed say.
Passing yonder oak, I heard
Sharp accents of my woodland bird;
I watched the singer with delight,—
But mark what changed my joy to fright,—
When that bird sang, I gave the theme;
That wood-bird sang my last night’s dream,
A brown wren was the Daniel
That pierced my trance its drift to tell,
Knew my quarrel, how and why,
Published it to lake and sky,
Told every word and syllable
In his flippant chirping babble,
All my wrath and all my shames,
Nay, God is witness, gave the names.
A patch of meadow upland
Reached by a mile of road,
Soothed by the voice of waters,
With birds and flowers bestowed.
Hither I come for strength
Which well it can supply,
For Love draws might from terrene force
And potencies of sky.
The tremulous battery Earth
Responds to the touch of man;
It thrills to the antipodes,
From Boston to Japan.
The planets’ child the planet knows
And to his joy replies;
To the lark’s trill unfolds the rose,
Clouds flush their gayest dyes.
When Ali prayed and loved
Where Syrian waters roll,
Upward the ninth heaven thrilled and moved;
At the tread of the jubilant soul.