ON THE SHORE.
The punctual tide draws up the bay,
With ripple of wave and hiss of spray,
And the great red flower of the light-house tower
Blooms on the headland far away.
Petal by petal its fiery rose
Out of the darkness buds and grows;
A dazzling shape on the dim, far cape,
A beckoning shape as it comes and goes.
A moment of bloom, and then it dies
On the windy cliff ’twixt the sea and skies.
The fog laughs low to see it go,
And the white waves watch it with cruel eyes.
Then suddenly out of the mist-cloud dun,
As touched and wooed by unseen sun,
Again into sight bursts the rose of light
And opens its petals one by one.
Ah, the storm may be wild and the sea
And man is weak and the darkness long,
But while blossoms the flower on the light-house tower
There still is place for a smile and a song.
AMONG THE LILIES.
She stood among the lilies
In sunset’s brightest ray,
Among the tall June lilies,
As stately fair as they;
And I, a boyish lover then,
Looked once, and, lingering, looked again,
And life began that day.
She sat among the lilies,
My sweet, all lily-pale;
The summer lilies listened,
I whispered low my tale.
O golden anthers, breathing balm,
O hush of peace, O twilight calm,
Did you or I prevail?
She lies among the lily-snows,
Beneath the wintry sky;
All round her and about her
The buried lilies lie.
They will awake at touch of Spring,
And she, my fair and flower-like thing,
In spring-time—by and by.
Dry leaves upon the
Which flap like rustling wings and seek escape,
A single frosted cluster on the grape
Still hangs—and that is all.
It hangs forgotten quite,—
Forgotten in the purple vintage-day,
Left for the sharp and cruel frosts to slay,
The daggers of the night.
It knew the thrill of
It had its blossom-time, its perfumed noons;
Its pale-green spheres were rounded to soft runes
Of summer’s whispering.
Through balmy morns
Through fragrances of June and bright July,
And August, hot and still, it hung on high
And purpled day by day.
Of fair and mantling
No braver, fairer cluster on the tree;
And what then is this thing has come to thee
Among the other grapes,
Thou lonely tenant of
the leafless vine,
Granted the right to grow thy mates beside,
To ripen thy sweet juices, but denied
Thy place among the wine?
Ah! we are dull and
The riddle is too hard for us to guess
The why of joy or of unhappiness,
Chosen or left behind.