The dandelions and buttercups
Gild all the lawn; the drowsy bee
Stumbles among the clover-tops,
And summer sweetens all but me:
Away, unfruitful lore of books, 5
For whose vain idiom we reject
The soul’s more native dialect,
Aliens among the birds and brooks,
Dull to interpret or conceive
What gospels lost the woods retrieve! 10
Away, ye critics, city-bred,
Who springes set of thus and so,
And in the first man’s footsteps tread,
Like those who toil through drifted snow!
Away, my poets, whose sweet spell 15
Can make a garden of a cell!
I need ye not, for I to-day
Will make one long sweet verse of play.
[Footnote 32: There is a delightful pair of poems by Wordsworth, Expostulation and Reply, and The Tables Turned, which show how another poet treats books and nature.]
Snap, chord of
manhood’s tenser strain!
To-day I will be a boy again; 20
The mind’s pursuing element,
Like a bow slackened and unbent,
In some dark corner shall be leant.
The robin sings, as of old, from the limb!
The catbird croons in the lilac bush! 25
Through the dim arbor, himself more dim,
Silently hops the hermit-thrush,
The withered leaves keep dumb for him;
The irreverent buccaneering bee
Hath stormed and rifled the nunnery 30
Of the lily, and scattered the sacred floor
With haste-dropt gold from shrine to door;
There, as of yore,
The rich, milk-tingeing buttercup
Its tiny polished urn holds up, 35
Filled with ripe summer to the edge,
The sun in his own wine to pledge;
And our tall elm, this hundredth year
Doge of our leafy Venice here,
Who, with an annual ring, doth wed 40
The blue Adriatic overhead,
Shadows with his palatial mass
The deep canals of flowing grass.
birds and bees!
O face of Nature always true! 45
O never-unsympathizing trees!
O never-rejecting roof of blue,
Whose rash disherison never falls
On us unthinking prodigals,
Yet who convictest all our ill, 50
So grand and unappeasable!
Methinks my heart from each of these
Plucks part of childhood back again,
Long there imprisoned, as the breeze
Doth every hidden odor seize 55