I put my heart to school
In the world where men grow wise:
“Go out,” I said, “and learn the rule;
Come back when you win a prize.”
My heart came back again:
“Now where is the prize?” I cried.—
“The rule was false, and the prize was pain,
And the teacher’s name was Pride.”
I put my heart to school
In the woods where veeries sing
And brooks run clear and cool,
In the fields where wild flowers spring.
“And why do you stay so long
My heart, and where do you roam?”
The answer came with a laugh and a song,—
“I find this school is home.”
A silken curtain veils the skies,
And half conceals from pensive eyes
The bronzing tokens of the fall;
A calmness broods upon the hills,
And summer’s parting dream distils
A charm of silence over all.
The stacks of corn, in brown array,
Stand waiting through the tranquil day,
Like tattered wigwams on the plain;
The tribes that find a shelter there
Are phantom peoples, forms of air,
And ghosts of vanished joy and pain.
At evening when the crimson crest
Of sunset passes down the West,
I hear the whispering host returning;
On far-off fields, by elm and oak,
I see the lights, I smell the smoke,—
The Camp-fires of the Past are burning.
Tertius and Henry van Dyke.
SPRING IN THE NORTH
Ah, who will tell me, in these leaden
Why the sweet Spring delays,
And where she hides,—the dear desire
Of every heart that longs
For bloom, and fragrance, and the ruby fire
Of maple-buds along the misty hills,
And that immortal call which fills
The waiting wood with songs?
The snow-drops came so long ago,
It seemed that Spring was near!
But then returned the snow
With biting winds, and earth grew sere,
And sullen clouds drooped low
To veil the sadness of a hope deferred:
Then rain, rain, rain, incessant rain
Beat on the window-pane,
Through which I watched the solitary bird
That braved the tempest, buffeted and tossed
With rumpled feathers down the wind again.
Oh, were the seeds all lost
When winter laid the wild flowers in their tomb?
I searched the woods in vain
For blue hepaticas, and trilliums white,
And trailing arbutus, the Spring’s delight,
Starring the withered leaves with rosy bloom.
But every night the frost
To all my longing spoke a silent nay,
And told me Spring was far away.
Even the robins were too cold to sing,
Except a broken and discouraged note,—
Only the tuneful sparrow, on whose throat
Music has put her triple finger-print,
Lifted his head and sang my heart a hint,—
“Wait, wait, wait! oh, wait a while for Spring!”