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For the walrus or the whale,
Till after three days more.
“ The days grew longer and longer,
Till they became as one,
Of the red midnight sun.
6 And then uprose before me,
Upon the water's edge,
Whose form is like a wedge.
“ The sea was rough and stormy,
The tempest howled and wailed, And the sea-fog, like a ghost, Haunted that dreary coast,
But onward still I sailed.
“ Four days I steered to eastward,
Four days without a night:
With red and lurid light.”
Here Alfred, King of the Saxons,
Ceased writing for a while ; And raised his eyes from his book, With a strange and puzzled look,
And an incredulous smile.
But Othere, the old sea-captain,
He neither paused nor stirred, Till the King listened, and then Once more took up his pen,
And wrote down every word.
394 THE DISCOVERER OF THE NORTH CAPO
" And now the land,” said Othere,
“ Bent southward suddenly, And I followed the curving shore And ever southward bore
Into a nameless sea.
" And there we hunted the walrus,
The narwhale, and the seal;
Flew our harpoons of steel.
“ There were six of us all together,
Norsemen of Helgoland;
And dragged them to the strand !”
Here Alfred the Truth-Teller
Suddenly closed his book,
Depicted in their look.
And Othere the old sea-captain
Stared at him wild and weird,
His tawny, quivering beard.
And to the King of the Saxons,
In witness of the truth,
66 Behold this walrus-tooth / "
A WIND came up out of the sea,
It hailed the ships, and cried, “ Sail on, Ye mariners, the night is gone.”
And hurried landward far away,
It said unto the forest, “ Shout!
It touched the wood-bird's folded wing, And said, “O bird, awake and sing."
And o'er the farms, “O chanticleer,
It whispered to the fields of corn, “ Bow down, and hail the coming morn.”
It shouted through the belfry-tower,
It crossed the churchyard with a sigh,
396 THE FIFTIETH BIRTHDAY OF AGASSIZ.
THE FIFTIETH BIRTHDAY OF AGASSIZ
MAY 28, 1857.
It was fifty years ago
In the pleasant month of May,
À child in its cradle lay.
And Nature, the old nurse, took
The child upon her knee,
Thy Father has written for thee.”
“ Come, wander with me," she said,
“ Into regions yet untrod; And read what is still unread
In the manuscripts of God.”
And he wandered away and away
With Nature, the dear old nurse,
The rhymes of the universe.
And whenever the way seemed long,
Or his heart began to fail,
Or tell a more marvellous tale.
So she keeps him still a child,
And will not let him go,
For the beautiful Pays de Vaud ;
Though at times he hears in his dreams
The Ranz des Vaches of old,
From glaciers clear and cold;
And the mother at home says,
is Hark! For his voice I listen and yearn; It is growing late and dark,
And my boy does not return ! "
COME to me, O
children! For I hear you at your play, And the questions that perplexed me
Have vanished quite away.
Ye open the eastern windows,
That look towards the sun,
And the brooks of morning run.
In your hearts are the birds and the sunshine,
In your thoughts the brooklet's flow, But in mine is the wind of Autumn
And the first fall of the snow.
Ah! what would the world be to us
If the children were no more ?
Worse than the dark before.
What the leaves are to the forest,
With light and air for food, Ere their sweet and tender juices
Have been hardened into wood,
That to the world are children
Through them it feels the glow Of a brighter and sunnier climate
Than reaches the trunks below.