An hour before the sunset meet me


owy oak,


owy oak.

Stirred by a passing breath, had mar

mured it, And, while he paused bewildered, yet

again It murmured “Rhæcus ! ” softer than

a breeze. He started and beheld with dizzy eyes What seemed the substance of a happy

dream Stand there before him, spreading a

warm glow Within the green glooms of the shadIt seemed a woman's shape, yet all too

fair To be a woman, and with eyes too meek For any that were wont to mate with

gods. All naked like a goddess stood she

there, And like a goddess all too beautiful To feel the guilt-born earthliness of

shame. “Rhæcus, I am the Dryad of this tree," Thus she began, dropping her low

toned words Serene, and full, and clear, as drops of

dew, And with it I am doomed to live and The rain and sunshine are my caterers, Nor have I other bliss than simple life; Now ask me what thou wilt, that I can

give, And with a thankful joy it shall be


And straightway there was nothing he

could see But the green glooms beneath the shadAnd not a sound came to his straining But the low trickling rustle of the

leaves, And far away upon an emerald slope The falter of an idle shepherd's pipe. Now, in those days of simpleness and

faith, Men did not think that happy things

were dreams Because they overstepped the narrow

bourne Of likelihood, but reverently deemed Nothing too wondrous or too beauti

ful To be the guerdon of a daring heart. So Rhæcus made no doubt that he was

blest, And all along unto the city's gate, Earth seemed to spring beneath him as

he walked, The clear, broad sky looked bluer than

its wont, And he could scarce believe he had not

wings, Such sunshine seemed to glitter through

his veins Instead of blood, so light he felt and

strange. Young Rhæcus had a faithful heart

enough, But one that in the present dwelt too

much, And, taking with blithe welcome what

soe'er Chance gave of joy, was wholly bouna

in that, Like the contented peasant of a

vale, Deemed it'the world, and never looked

beyond. So, haply meeting in the afternoon Some comrades who were playing at

the dice, He joined them, and forgot all else be


die ;

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Shalt thou hehold me or by day or

night, Me, who would fain have blessed thee

with a love More ripe and bounteous than ever yet Filled up with nectar any mortal heart: But thou didst scorn my humble mes

senger, And sent'st him back to me with

bruised wings. We spirits only show to gentle eyes, We ever ask an undivided love, And he who scorns the least of Nature's

works Is thenceforth exiled and shut out from

rose ?"


Farewell ! for thou canst never see me


more !"

The dice were rattling at the mer

riest, And Rhæcus, who had met but sorry

luck, Just laughed in triumph at a happy

throw, When through the room there hummed

a yellow bee That buzzed about his ear with down.

dropped legs As if to light. And Rhæcus laughed

and said, Feeling how red and flushed he was

with loss, “By Venus ! does he take me for a And brushed him off with rough, in

patient hand. But still the bee came back, and thrice

again Rhæcus did beat him off with growing

wrath. Then through the window flew the

wounded bee, And Rhæcus, tracking him with angry

eyes, Saw a sharp mountain-peak of Thessaly Against the red disk of the setting

sun, And instantly the blood sank from his

heart, As if its very walls had caved away. Without a word he turned, and, rush

ing forth, Ran madly through the city and the

gate, And o'er the plain, which now the

wood's long shade, By the low sun thrown forward broad

and dim, Darkened wellnigh unto the city's wall. Quite spent and out of breath he

reached the tree, And, listening fearfully, he heard once

more The low voice murmur Rhæcus!"

close at hand : Whereat he looked around him, but

could see Naught but the deepening glooms be

neath the oak. Then sighed the voice, “O Rhæcus !


Then Rhæcus beat his breast, and

groaned aloud, And cried, “Be pitiful ! forgive me yet This once, and I shall never need it Alas !” the voice returned, “'t is

thou art blind, Not I unmerciful; I can forgive, But have no skill to heal thy spirit's eyes; Only the soul hath power o'er itself.” With that again there murmured

“Nevermore !” And Rhæcus after heard no other sound, Except the rattling of the oak's crisp

leaves, Like the long surf upon a distant shore, Raking the sea-worn pebbles up and

down. The night had gathered round him :

o'er the plain The city sparkled with its thousand

lights, And sounds of revel fell

upon Harshly and like a curse; above, the sky, With all its bright sublimity of stars, Deepened, and on his forehead smote

the breeze : Beauty was all around him and delight, But from that eve he was alone on earth.

his ear

THE FALCON. I know a falcon swift and peerless

As e'er was cradled in the pine :

Can light in muddiest souls quick seeds

of fire, And strain life's chords to the old

heroic mood.

No bird had ever eye so fearless,

Or wing so strong as this of mine. The winds not better love to pilot

A cloud with molten gold o'errun, Than him, a little burning islet,

A star above the coming sun. For with a lark's heart he doth tower,

By a glorious upward instinct drawn; No bee nestles deeper in the flower

Than he in the bursting rose of dawn. No harmless dove, no bird that singeth,

Shudders to see him overhead ; The rush of his fierce swooping bringeth

To innocent hearts no thrill of dread. Letfraudand wrongand baseness shiver,

For still between them and the sky The falcon Truth hangs poised forever

Andmarks them with his vengeful eye.

II. Yet are there other gifts more fair than

thine, Nor can I count him happiest who has

never Been forced with his own hand his

chains to sever, And for himself find out the way divine ; He never knew the aspirer's glorious

pains, He never earned the struggle's priceless

gains. O, block by block, with sore and sharp

endeavor, Lifelong we build these human natures

up Into a temple fit for freedom's shrine, And Trial ever consecrates the cup Wherefrom we pour her sacrificial winc.


A REQUIEM. Ay, pale and silent maiden,

Cold as thou liest there, Thine was the sunniest nature

That ever drew the air, The wildest and most wayward,

And yet so gently kind, Thou seemedst but to body

A breath of summer wind.

I. WHETHER the idle prisoner through his

grate Watches the waving of the grass-tuft

small, Which, having colonized its rift i' the

wall, Takes its free risk of good or evil fate, And, from the sky's just helmet draws

its lot Daily of shower or sunshine, cold or

hot; Whether the closer captive of a creed, Cooped up from birth to grind out end

less chaff, Sees through his treadmill-bars the

noonday laugh, And feels in vain his crumpled pinions

breed; Whether the Georgian slave look up

and mark, With bellying sails puffed full, the tall

cloud-bark Sink northward slowly, -thou alone

seem'st good, Fair only thou, O Freedom, whose desire

Into the eternal shadow

That girds our life around, Into the infinite silence

Wherewith Death's shore is bound, Thou hast gone forth, beloved !

And I were mean to weep,
That thou has left Life's shallows,

And dost possess the Deep.

Thou liest low and silent,

Thy heart is cold and still, Thine eyes are shut forever,

And Death hath had his will; He loved and would have taken, I loved and would have kept,

We strove, - and he was stronger,

And I have never wept.

Let him possess thy body,

Thy soul is still with me, More sunny and more gladsome

Than it was wont to be : Thy body was a fetter

That bound me to the flesh, Thank God that it is broken,

And now I live afresh !

Now I can see thee clearly ;

The dusky cloud of clay, That hid thy starry spirit,

Is rent and blown away: To earth I give thy body,

Thy spirit to the sky, I saw its bright wings growing,

And knew that thou must fly. Now I can love thee truly,

For nothing comes between The senses and the spirit,

The seen and the unseen ; Lifts the eternal shadow,

The silence bursts apart, And the soul's boundless future

Is present in my heart.

But the tuft of moss before him

Opened while he waited yet, And, from out the rock's hard bosom,

Sprang a tender violet. “God! I thank thee," said the

Prophet; “ Hard of heart and blind was I, Looking to the holy mountain

For the gift of prophecy. “Still thou speakest with thy children

Freely as in eld sublime ; Humbleness, and love, and patience,

Still give empire over time. “Had I trusted in my nature,

And had faith in lowly things, Thou thyself wouldst then have sought

me, And set free my spirit's wings. “But I looked for signs and wonders,

That o'er men should give me sway; Thirsting to be more than mortal,

I was even less than clay.
Ere I entered on my journey,

As I girt my loins to start,
Ran to me my little daughter,

The beloved of my heart; “In her hand she held a flower,

Like to this as like may be, Which, beside my very threshold, She had plucked and brought to me.”


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Worn and footsore was the Prophet,

When he gained the holy hill; “God has left the earth,” he murmured,

“Here his presence lingers still. “God of all the olden prophets,

Wilt thou speak with men no more? Have I not as truly served thee

As thy chosen ones of yore? “Hear me, guider of my fathers,

Lo! a humble heart is mine; By thy mercy I beseech thee

Grant thy servant but a sign !"
Bowing then his head, he listened

For an answer to his prayer;
No loud burst of thunder followed,

Not a murmur stirred the air :

We see but half the causes of our deeds, Seeking them wholly in the outer life, And heedless of the encircling spirit

world, Which, though unseen, is felt, and

sows in us All germs of pure and world-wide pur

poses. From one stage of our being to the next We pass unconscious o'er a slender



The momentary work of unseen hands, Which crumbles down behind us;

looking back, We see the other shore, the gulf be

tween, And, marvelling how we won to where

we stand, Content ourselves to call the builder

Chance, We trace the wisdom to the apple's fall, Not to the birth-throes of a mighty

Truth Which, for long ages in blank Chaos

dumb, Yet yearned to be incarnate, and had

found At last a spirit meet to be the womb From which it might be born to bless

mankind, Not to the soul of Newton, ripe with all The hoarded thoughtfulness of earnest

years, and waiting but one ray of sunlight To blossom fully.

But whence came that ray? We call our sorrows Destiny, but ought Rather to name our high successes so. Only the instincts of greatsoulsare Fate, And have predestined sway: all other

things, Except by leave of us, could never be. For Destiny is but the breath of God Still moving in us, the last fragment left Of our unfallen nature, waking oft Within our thought, to beckon us be

yond The narrow circle of the seen and

known, And always tending to a noble end, As all things must that overrule the And for a space unseat the helmsman,

Will. The fate of England and of freedom Seemed wavering in the heart of one

plain man: One step of his, and the great dial

hand, That marks the destined progress of

the world in the eternal round from wisdom on

To higher wisdom, had been made to

pause A hundred years. That step he did

not take, He knew not why, nor we, but only

God, And lived to make his simple oaken

chair More terrible and grandly beautiful, More full of majesty than any throne, Before or after, of a British king. Upon the pier stood two stern-vis

aged men, Looking to where a little craft lay

moored, Swayed by the lazy current of the

Thames, Which weltered by in muddy listless

ness. Grave men they were, and battlings of

fierce thought Had trampled out all softness from

their brows, And ploughed rough furrows there be

fore their time, For other crop than such as homebred

Peace Sows broadcast in the willing soil of

Youth. Care, not of self, but of the common

weal, Had robbed their eyes of youth, and

left instead A look of patient power and iron will, And something fiercer, too, that gave

broad hint Of the plain weapons girded at their

sides. The younger had an aspect of com

mand, Not such as trickles down, a slender

stream, In the shrunk channel of a great descent, But such as lies entowered in heart and

head, And an arm prompt to do the 'hests of

both. His was a brow where gold were out

of place, And yet it seemed right worthy of a (Though he despised such), were it

only made



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