The night methinks is dismal, yet I see
Over yon hill one bright and steady star
Divide the darkness with its fiery wedge,
And sprinkle glory on the lap of earth.
Even so, above the still homes of the dead
The benedictions of the living lie.
Gatherers of waifs of beauty are we here,
Building up homes of love for alien hearts
That hate us for our trouble. When we see
The tempest hiding from us the sun’s face,
About our naked souls we build a wall
Of unsubstantial shadows, and sit down
Hugging false peace upon the edge of doom.
From the voluptuous lap of time that is,
Like a sick child from a kind nurse’s arms,
We lean away, and long for the far off.
And when our feet through weariness and toll
Have gained the heights that showed so brightly well,
Our blind and dizzied vision sees too late
The cool broad shadows trailing at the base.
And then our wasted arms let slip the flowers,
And our pained bosoms wrinkle from the fair
And smooth proportions of our primal years,
And so our sun goes down, and wistful death
Withdraws love’s last delusion from our hearts,
And mates us with the darkness. Well, ’tis well!
* * * * *
TWO COUNTRY SONNETS.
But yester e’en the city’s
streets I trod
And breathed laboriously the fervid air;
Panting and weary both with toil and care,
I sighed for cooling breeze and verdant sod.
This morn I rose from slumbers calm and deep,
And through the casement of a rural inn,
I saw the river with its margins green,
All placid and delicious as my sleep.
Like pencilled lines upon a tinted sheet
The city’s spires rose distant on the sky;
Nor sound familiar to the crowded street
Assailed my ear, nor busy scene mine eye;
I saw the hills, the meadows and the river—
I heard cool waters plash and green leaves quiver.
These sights and sounds refreshed me more
My pulses bounded with a reckless play,
My heart exalted like the rising day.
Now—did my lips exclaim—is pleasure mine;
A sweet delight shall fold me in its thrall;
To day, at least, I’ll feel the bliss of life;
Like uncaged bird,—each limb with freedom rife—
I’ll sip a thousand sweets—enjoy them all!
The will thus earnest could not be denied;
I beckoned Pleasure and she gladly came:
O’er hill and vale I roamed at her dear side—
And made the sweet air vocal with her name:
She all the way of weariness beguiled,
And I was happy as a very child!
* * * * *