“I love my masters,” continued this young enthusiast, “because they fling all rules aside, and cry out as they choose. It is their very heart’s blood and the lusty wine of life that they give you, not just a scrap of ‘rosemary for remembrance’ and a soothing herb-tea made from the flowers of fancy they have culled from those much travestied, abominable fields of thought.”
“And this from a lover of Wordsworth, who holds the ‘Daffodils’ and ‘Lucy’ as her chief jewels, and quotes the ‘Immortality’ perpetually!” cried Eric. “If any body ever wandered up and down those same fields of thought, by more intricate, labyrinthine passages and byways, I’d like to know of him. Talk about soothing herbs, bless me, it’s hot catnip-tea, good and strong, that he serves up in half of his strings about—”
“O, Eric, hush,” cried Mae, “I am afraid for you with such words on your lips. Think of Ananias.”
“Before you children go wandering off on one of your poet fights,” broke in Albert, “let me take you to task, Mae, for stealing; that lusty wine you talked of just now is in the poem (?) I hold in my hand.”
“Do read it to us,” said Edith, “and let us judge for ourselves.” So Albert began:
ALL ON A SUMMER’S DAY.
“Far away the mountains
rise, purpling and joyous,
Through the half mist of the warm pulsing day, while nigh
At hand gay birds hang swinging and floating
And waving betwixt earth and sky,
Ringing out from ripe throats
A sensuous trickling of notes,
That fall through the trees,
Till caught by the soft-rocking breeze
They are borne to the ears of the maiden.
Her eyes wander after the sound,
And glimpses she catches along
Through green broad-leaved shadows,
Through sunbeams gold-strong,
Of the gorgeous brown reds of the full-throated creatures of song.
One hand on her brown bosom rests,
Rising and falling with every heart-beat
Of the delicate, slow-swelling breasts.
proud, all color of amber and wine,
Waves peerless there, by right divine
Queen o’er the moment and place.
As the wind bends her coaxingly,
Brushes softly the maiden’s white hand—
That falls with an idle grace,
Listlessly closed at her side—
With a rippling touch, such as the tide,
Rising, leaves on a summer day,
On the quiet shore of some peaceful bay.
There she stands in the heavily-bladed
Under the trumpet-vine,
Drinking long, deep, intoxicate draughts
Of Nature’s lusty, live wine.
There he sees her as he approaches;
Then pauses, as full on his ear
There swells, on a sudden, loud and clear,
A wonderful burst of song.
A mad delicious glory; a rainbow
rhythm of life,
Strong and young and free, a burst of the senses all astrife,
Each one fighting to be first,
While above, beyond them all,
Loud a woman’s heart makes call.”