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I, too, can weave; the warp I set
Through which the sun his shuttle throws, And, bright as Noah saw it, yet
For you the arching rainbow glows,
A sight in Paradise denied
To unfallen Adam and his bride.
When Winter held me in his grip,
You seized and sent me o'er the wave,
Ungrateful! in a prison-ship;
But I forgive, not long a slave,
For, soon as summer south-winds blew,
Homeward I fled, disguised as dew.
For countless services I'm fit,
Of use, of pleasure, and of gain,
But lightly from all bonds I flit,
Nor lose my mirth, nor feel a stain ;
From mill and wash-tub I escape,
And take in heaven my proper shape.
So, free myself, to-day, elate
I come from far o'er hill and mead, And here, Cochituate's envoy, wait
To be your blithesome Ganymede, And brim your cups with nectar true That never will make slaves of you.
SUGGESTED BY THE GRAVES OF TWO ENGLISH SOL
DIERS ON CONCORD BATTLE-GROUND.
The same good blood that now refills
The dotard Orient's shrunken veins,
The same whose vigor westward thrills,
Bursting Nevada's silver chains,
Poured here upon the April grass,
Freckled with red the herbage new;
On reeled the battle's trampling mass,
Back to the ash the bluebird few.
Poured here in vain ;-that sturdy blood
Was meant to make the earth more green,
But in a higher, gentler mood
Than broke this April noon serene;
Two graves are here; to mark the place,
At head and foot, an unhewn stone,
O’er which the herald lichens trace
The blazon of Oblivion.
These men were brave enough, and true
To the hired soldier's bull-dog creed;
What brought them here they never knew,
They fought as suits the English breed;
They came three thousand miles, and died,
To keep the Past upon its throne;
Unheard, beyond the ocean tide,
Their English mother made her moan.
The turf that covers them no thrill
Sends up to fire the heart and brain ;
No stronger purpose nerves the will,
No hope renews its youth again :
From farm to farm the Concord glides,
And trails my fancy with its flow;
O’erhead the balanced henhawk slides,
Twinned in the river's heaven below.
But go, whose Bay State bosom stirs,
Proud of thy birth and neighbor's right,
Where sleep the heroic villagers
Borne red and stiff from Concord fight;
Thought Reuben, snatching down his gun,
Or Seth, as ebbed the life away,
What earthquake rifts would shoot and run
World-wide from that short April fray ?
What then ? With heart and hand they wrought,
According to their village light;
'Twas for the Future that they fought,
Their rustic faith in what was right.
Upon earth's tragic stage they burst
Unsummoned, in the humble sock;
Theirs the fifth act; the curtain first
Rose long ago on Charles's block.
Their graves have voices; if they threw
Dice charged with fates beyond their ken,
Yet to their instincts they were true,
And had the genius to be men.
Fine privilege of Freedom's host,
Of even foot-soldiers for the Right !-
For centuries dead, ye are not lost,
Your graves send courage forth, and might.
WE, too, have autumns, when our leaves
Drop loosely through the dampened air, When all our good seems bound in sheaves,
And we stand reaped and bare.
Our seasons have no fixed returns,
Without our will they come and go; At noon our sudden summer burns,
Ere sunset all is snow.
But each day brings less summer cheer,
Crimps more our ineffectual spring, And something earlier every year
Our singing birds take wing. As less the olden glow abides,
And less the chillier heart aspires,
With drift-wood beached in past spring-tides
We light our sullen fires.
By the pinched rushlight's starving beam
We cower and strain our wasted sight,
To stitch youth's shroud up, seam by seam,
In the long arctic night.
It was not so—we once were young
When Spring, to womanly Summer turning, Her dew-drops on each grass-blade strung,
In the red sunrise burning.
We trusted then, aspired, believed
That earth could be remade to-morrow ;Ah, why be ever undeceived ?
Why give up faith for sorrow ?
O thou, whose days are yet all spring,
Faith, blighted once, is past retrieving ; Experience is a dumb, dead thing;
The victory's in believing.