“Thou ancient oak! whose myriad
leaves are loud
With sounds of unintelligible speech,
Sounds as of surges on a shingly beach,
Or multitudinous murmurs of a crowd;
With some mysterious gift of tongues endowed
Thou speakest a different dialect to each.
To me a language that no man can teach,
Of a lost race long vanished like a cloud,
For underneath thy shade, in days remote,
Seated like Abraham at eventide,
Beneath the oak of Mamre, the unknown
Apostle of the Indian, Eliot, wrote
His Bible in a language that hath died.
And is forgotten save by thee alone.”—Longfellow.
* * * * *
By Henrietta E. Page.
Yet slept the wearied maestro, and all
around was still,
Though the sunlight danced on tree-top, on valley, and on hill;
The distant city’s busy hum, just faintly heard afar,
Served but to lull to deeper rest Euterpe’s brilliant star.
Wilhelmj slept, for over-night his triumphs
had been grand,
He had praised and feted been by the noblest in the land,
And rich and poor had vied alike to honor Music’s king,
Making the lofty rafters with the wildest plaudits ring.
Now, brain and hand aweary, he had fled
for peace and rest,
And he should be disturbed by none, not e’en a royal guest.
The porter nodded in his chair: I dare not say he slept:
But sprang upright, as through the door a fairy vision crept.
A tiny girl with shining eyes, and wavy
Tip-toed along the corridor, and close up to his chair,
And a bird-like voice sweet questioned, “Wilhelmj, where is he?
I’ve brought a little tribute for the great maestro,—see!”
Her looped-up dress she opened, displaying
to his view
A mass of brilliant woodland flowers, wet with morning dew;
Placing his finger on his lip, he pointed out the door;
She smiled her thanks, and softly went and strewed them on the floor.
Then like a vision of the morn, with eyes
of heaven’s own blue,
She slowly oped the outer door and gently glided through.
Hours after, when Wilhelmj woke he gazed in mute surprise
Upon those buds and blossoms fair, with softened, tender eyes.
They took him back long years agone, when,
as a happy child,
He wandered, too, amid the woods, on summer mornings mild;
Aye, back to his home and mother; back to his old home nest,
To the blessed scenes of childhood; back into peace and rest.
And when he heard the story,—how
the child had come and fled,—
“This is my greatest triumph” (with tears the maestro said),
“For no gift of king or princes, no praise could please me more.
Than this living mat of flowers a child laid at my door.”