And as I walk by the vast calm river,
The awful river so dread to see,
I say, “Thy breadth and thy depth forever
Are bridged by his thoughts that cross to me.”
(A Scholar is musing on his want of success.)
To strive—and fail. Yes, I did strive
I set mine eyes upon a certain night
To find a certain star—and could not hail
With them its deep-set light.
Fool that I was! I will rehearse my fault:
I, wingless, thought myself on high to lift
Among the winged—I set these feet that halt
To run against the swift.
And yet this man, that loved me so, can write—
That loves me, I would say, can let me see;
Or fain would have me think he counts but light
These Honors lost to me.
letter of his friend.)
“What are they? that old house of yours which gave
Such welcome oft to me, the sunbeams fall
Yet, down the squares of blue and white which pave
Its hospitable hall.
“A brave old house! a garden full of bees,
Large dropping poppies, and Queen hollyhocks,
With butterflies for crowns—tree peonies
And pinks and goldilocks.
“Go, when the shadow of your house is long
Upon the garden—when some new-waked bird.
Pecking and fluttering, chirps a sudden song,
And not a leaf is stirred;
“But every one drops dew from either edge
Upon its fellow, while an amber ray
Slants up among the tree-tops like a wedge
Of liquid gold—to play
“Over and under them, and so to fall
Upon that lane of water lying below—
That piece of sky let in, that you do call
A pond, but which I know
“To be a deep and wondrous world; for I
Have seen the trees within it—marvellous things
So thick no bird betwixt their leaves could fly
But she would smite her wings;—
“Go there, I say; stand at the water’s
And shoals of spotted barbel you shall see
Basking between the shadows—look, and think
’This beauty is for me;
“’For me this freshness in the morning
For me the water’s clear tranquillity;
For me the soft descent of chestnut flowers;
The cushat’s cry for me.
“’The lovely laughter of the wind-swayed
The easy slope of yonder pastoral hill;
The sedgy brook whereby the red kine meet
And wade and drink their fill.’
“Then saunter down that terrace whence the sea
All fair with wing-like sails you may discern;
Be glad, and say ’This beauty is for me—
A thing to love and learn.
“’For me the bounding in of tides; for
The laying bare of sands when they retreat;
The purple flush of calms, the sparkling glee
When waves and sunshine meet.’