The winding Concord gleamed below,
Pouring as wide a flood
As when my brothers, long ago,
Came with me to the wood.
But they are gone,—the holy ones
Who trod with me this lovely vale;
The strong, star-bright companions
Are silent, low and pale.
My good, my noble, in their prime,
Who made this world the feast it was
Who learned with me the lore of time,
Who loved this dwelling-place!
They took this valley for their toy,
They played with it in every mood;
A cell for prayer, a hall for joy,—
They treated Nature as they would.
They colored the horizon round;
Stars flamed and faded as they bade,
All echoes hearkened for their sound,—
They made the woodlands glad or mad.
I touch this flower of silken leaf,
Which once our childhood knew;
Its soft leaves wound me with a grief
Whose balsam never grew.
Hearken to yon pine-warbler
Singing aloft in the tree!
Hearest thou, O traveller,
What he singeth to me?
Not unless God made sharp thine ear
With sorrow such as mine,
Out of that delicate lay could’st thou
Its heavy tale divine.
‘Go, lonely man,’ it saith;
’They loved thee from their birth;
Their hands were pure, and pure their faith,—
There are no such hearts on earth.
’Ye drew one mother’s milk,
One chamber held ye all;
A very tender history
Did in your childhood fall.
’You cannot unlock your heart,
The key is gone with them;
The silent organ loudest chants
The master’s requiem.’
The South-wind brings
Life, sunshine and desire,
And on every mount and meadow
Breathes aromatic fire;
But over the dead he has no power,
The lost, the lost, he cannot restore;
And, looking over the hills, I mourn
The darling who shall not return.
I see my empty house,
I see my trees repair their boughs;
And he, the wondrous child,
Whose silver warble wild
Outvalued every pulsing sound
Within the air’s cerulean round,—
The hyacinthine boy, for whom
Morn well might break and April bloom,
The gracious boy, who did adorn
The world whereinto he was born,
And by his countenance repay
The favor of the loving Day,—
Has disappeared from the Day’s eye;
Far and wide she cannot find him;
My hopes pursue, they cannot bind him.
Returned this day, the South-wind searches,
And finds young pines and budding birches;
But finds not the budding man;
Nature, who lost, cannot remake him;
Fate let him fall, Fate can’t retake him;
Nature, Fate, men, him seek in vain.