February 24-26, 1913.
The heavenly hills of Holland,—
How wondrously they rise
Above the smooth green pastures
Into the azure skies!
With blue and purple hollows,
With peaks of dazzling snow,
Along the far horizon
The clouds are marching slow.
No mortal foot has trodden
The summits of that range,
Nor walked those mystic valleys
Whose colours ever change;
Yet we possess their beauty,
And visit them in dreams,
While ruddy gold of sunset
From cliff and canyon gleams.
In days of cloudless weather
They melt into the light;
When fog and mist surround us
They’re hidden from our sight;
But when returns a season
Clear shining after rain,
While the northwest wind is blowing,
We see the hills again.
The old Dutch painters loved them,
Their pictures show them fair,—
Old Hobbema and Ruysdael,
Van Goyen and Vermeer.
Above the level landscape,
Rich polders, long-armed mills,
Canals and ancient cities,—
Float Holland’s heavenly hills.
The Hague, November, 1916.
The laggard winter ebbed so slow
With freezing rain and melting snow,
It seemed as if the earth would stay
Forever where the tide was low,
In sodden green and watery gray.
But now from depths beyond our sight,
The tide is turning in the night,
And floods of colour long concealed
Come silent rising toward the light,
Through garden bare and empty field.
And first, along the sheltered nooks,
The crocus runs in little brooks
Of joyance, till by light made bold
They show the gladness of their looks
In shining pools of white and gold.
The tiny scilla, sapphire blue,
Is gently seeping in, to strew
The earth with heaven; and sudden rills
Of sunlit yellow, sweeping through,
Spread into lakes of daffodils.
The hyacinths, with fragrant heads,
Have overflowed their sandy beds,
And fill the earth with faint perfume,
The breath that Spring around her sheds.
And now the tulips break in bloom!
A sea, a rainbow-tinted sea,
A splendour and a mystery,
Floods o’er the fields of faded gray:
The roads are full of folks in glee,
For lo,—to-day is Easter Day!
GOD OF THE OPEN AIR