Plod, plod, plod away,
Step by step in mouldering moss;
Thick branches bar the day
Over languid streams that cross
Softly, slowly, with a sound
Like a smothered weeping,
In their aimless creeping
Through enchanted ground.
“Yield, yield, yield thy quest,”
Whispers through the woodland deep;
“Come to me and be at rest;
I am slumber, I am sleep.”
Then the weary feet would fail,
But the never-daunted will
Urges “Forward, forward still!
Press along the trail!”
Breast, breast, breast the slope
See, the path is growing steep.
Hark! a little song of hope
Where the stream begins to leap.
Though the forest, far and wide,
Still shuts out the bending blue,
We shall finally win through,
Cross the long divide.
On, on, on we tramp!
Will the journey never end?
Over yonder lies the camp;
Welcome waits us there, my friend.
Can we reach it ere the night?
Upward, upward, never fear!
Look, the summit must be near;
See the line of light!
Red, red, red the shine
Of the splendour in the west,
Glowing through the ranks of pine,
Clear along the mountain-crest!
Long, long, long the trail
Out of sorrow’s lonely vale;
But at last the traveller sees
Light between the trees!
O wonderful! How liquid clear
The molten gold of that ethereal tone,
Floating and falling through the wood alone,
A hermit-hymn poured out for God to hear!
O holy, holy, holy! Hyaline,
Long light, low light, glory of eventide!
Love far away, far up,—up,—love divine!
Little love, too, for ever, ever near,
Warm love, earth love, tender love of mine,
In the leafy dark where you hide,
You are mine,—mine,—mine!
Ah, my beloved, do you feel with me
The hidden virtue of that melody,
The rapture and the purity of love,
The heavenly joy that can not find the word?
Then, while we wait again to hear the bird,
Come very near to me, and do not move,—
Now, hermit of the woodland, fill anew
The cool, green cup of air with harmony,
And we will drink the wine of love with you.
The tide flows in to the harbour,—
The bold tide, the gold tide, the flood o’ the sunlit sea,—
And the little ships riding at anchor,
Are swinging and slanting their prows to the ocean, panting
To lift their wings to the wide wild air,
And venture a voyage they know not where,—
To fly away and be free!