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So, pine-like, the legend grew, strong-limbed and
tall, As the Gipsy child grows that eats crusts in the
hall; It sucked the whole strength of the earth and the
sky, Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, all brought it sup
ply ; 'Twas a natural growth, and stood fearlessly there, A true art of the landscape as sea, land, and
air; For it grew in good times, ere the fashion it was To force up these wild births of the woods under
glass, And so, if ’tis told as it should be told, Though 'twere sung under Venice's moonlight of
gold, You would hear the old voice of its mother, the
pine, Murmur sealike and northern through every line, And the verses should hang, self-sustained and free, Round the vibrating stem of the melody, Like the lithe sun-steeped limbs of the parent tree. Yes, the pine is the mother of legends; what food For their grim roots is left when the thousand
yeared woodThe dim-aisled cathedral, whose tall arches spring Light, sinewy, graceful, firm-set as the wing From Michael's white shoulder-is hewn and de
faced By iconoclast axes in desperate waste, And its wrecks seek the ocean it prophesied long, Cassandra-like, crooning its mystical song ? Then the legends go with them,—even yet on the
A wild virtue is left in the touch of the tree,
And the sailor's night-watches are thrilled to the
gloom, And its murmurous boughs for their tossing find
Where Aroostook, far-heard, seems to sob as he
goes Groping down to the sea 'neath his mountainous
snows; Where the lake's frore Sahara of never-tracked
white, When the crack shoots across it, complains to the
night With a long, lonely moan, that leagues northward
is lost, As the ice shrinks away from the tread of the frost; Where the lumberers sit by the log-fires which
throw Their own threatening shadows far round o'er the
snow, When the wolf howls aloof, and the wavering glare Flashes out from the blackness the eyes of the bear, When the wood's huge recesses, half-lighted, supply A canvas where Fancy her mad brush may try, Blotting in giant Horrors that venture not down Through the right-angled streets of the brisk, whitemay dream,
But skulk in the depths of the measureless wood 'Mid the Dark's creeping whispers that curdle the
blood, When the eye, glanced in dread o'er the shoulder, Ere it shrinks to the camp-fire's companioning
gleam, That it saw the fierce ghost of the Red Man crouch
back To the shroud of the tree-trunk's invincible
black ;There the old shapes crowd thick round the pine
shadowed camp, Which shun the keen gleam of the scholarly lamp, And the seed of the legend finds true Norland A CONTRAST.
ground, While the border-tale's told and the canteen flits
Thy love thou sentest oft to me,
And still as oft I thrust it back ; Thy messengers I could not see
În those who every thing did lack,
The poor, the outcast, and the black. Pride held his hand before mine eyes,
The world with flattery stuffed mine ears ; I looked to see a monarch's guise,
Nor dreamed thy love would knock for years, Poor, naked, fettered, full of tears.
Yet, when I sent my love to thee,
Thou with a smile didst take it in, And entertain’dst it royally,
Though grimed with earth, with hunger thin, And leprous with the taint of sin.
Now every day thy love I meet,
As o'er the earth it wanders wide,
Still knocking at the heart of pride
grace, though still denied.
Go! leave me, Priest; my soul would be
Alone with the consoler, Death; Far sadder eyes than thine will see
This crumbling clay yield up its breath ; These shrivelled hands have deeper stains
Than holy oil can cleanse away,Hands that have plucked the world's coarse gains
As erst they plucked the flowers of May.
Call, if thou canst, to those gray eyes
Some faith from youth's traditions wrung; This fruitless husk which dustward dries
Has been a heart once, has been young; On this bowed head the awful Past
Once laid its consecrating hands ; The Future in its purpose vast
Paused, waiting my supreme commands.
But look! whose shadows block the door?
Who are those two that stand aloof? See! on my hands this freshening gore
Writes o’er again its crimson proof! My looked-for death-bed guests are met ;
There my dead Youth doth wring its hands, And there, with eyes that goad me yet,
The ghost of my Ideal stands !
I gave thee the great gift of life;
Are not my earth and heaven at strife ?