Have ye seen the caterpillar
Foully warking in his nest?
’T is the poor man getting siller,
Without cleanness, without rest.
Have ye seen the butterfly
In braw claithing drest?
’T is the poor man gotten rich,
In rings and painted vest.
The poor man crawls in web of rags
And sore bested with woes.
But when he flees on riches’ wings,
He laugheth at his foes.
Philosophers are lined with eyes within,
And, being so, the sage unmakes the man.
In love, he cannot therefore cease his trade;
Scarce the first blush has overspread his cheek,
He feels it, introverts his learned eye
To catch the unconscious heart in the very act.
His mother died,—the only friend he had,—
Some tears escaped, but his philosophy
Couched like a cat sat watching close behind
And throttled all his passion. Is’t not like
That devil-spider that devours her mate
Scarce freed from her embraces?
Gravely it broods apart on joy,
And, truth to tell, amused by pain.
Who knows this or that?
Hark in the wall to the rat:
Since the world was, he has gnawed;
Of his wisdom, of his fraud
What dost thou know?
In the wretched little beast
Is life and heart,
Child and parent,
Not without relation
To fruitful field and sun and moon.
What art thou? His wicked eye
Is cruel to thy cruelty.
Fall, stream, from Heaven to bless; return as well;
So did our sons; Heaven met them as they fell.
The heavy blue chain
Of the boundless main
Didst thou, just man, endure.
I have an arrow that will find its mark,
A mastiff that will bite without a hark.
* * * * *
POEMS OF YOUTH AND EARLY MANHOOD
* * * * *
I love thy music, mellow bell,
I love thine iron chime,
To life or death, to heaven or hell,
Which calls the sons of Time.
Thy voice upon the deep
The home-bound sea-boy hails,
It charms his cares to sleep,
It cheers him as he sails.
To house of God and heavenly joys
Thy summons called our sires,
And good men thought thy sacred voice
Disarmed the thunder’s fires.