I LOVE the stony pasture
That no one else will have.
The old gray rocks so friendly seem,
So durable and brave.

In tranquil contemplation
It watches through the year,
Seeing the frosty stars arise,
The slender moons appear.

Its music is the rain-wind,
Its choristers the birds,
And there are secrets in its heart
Too wonderful for words.

It keeps the bright-eyed creatures
That play about its walls,
Though long ago its milking herds
Were banished from their stalls.

Only the children come there,
For buttercups in May,
Or nuts in autumn, where it lies
Dreaming the hours away.

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Long since its strength was given
To making good increase,
And now its soul is turned again
To beauty and to peace.

There in the early springtime
The violets are blue,
The adder-tongues in coats of gold
Are garmented anew.

There bayberry and aster
Are crowded on its floors,
When marching summer halts to praise
The Lord of Out-of-doors.

And there October passes
In gorgeous livery
In purple ash, and crimson oak,
And golden tulip tree.

And when the winds of winter
Their bugle blasts begin,
I watch the white battalions come
To pitch their tents therein.



WE lay among the rifle-pits, above our low heads streaming Bullets, like sleet, with now and then, near by, the vicious

screaming Of shells that made us hold our breath, till each had burst

and blasted Its ghastly circle, hid in smoke --- here, there -- and while

it lasted, That murderous fume and fusillade, our hearts were in our

throats; For hell let loose about us raged, and in those muddy moats The rain that fell was shot and shell, the plash it made was

red, And all about the long redoubt was garrisoned with dead.

Upon my right a veteran in rasping whispers swore;
Upon my left an Irish lad breathed Ave Marys o'er.
And I? -- Well, well, I won't aver my lips no murmur

made; A prayer, long silent, half forgot, stirred them; but some

thing stayed The sacred words; I locked my lips. "No, no, ah no!" I

thought; Not now! I'll wait, nor sue for what, unharmed, I left un

sought! Not so I'll pray, let come what may!" I held my heart and

lips, And, nerved afresh, I gripped my rifle-stock - when

something clips

Smartly my temple (that long lock conceals the bullet's

mark), And, sharply stinging, with ears loud-ringing, I dropped

into the dark.

When I awoke, the sultry smoke was gone, and over me,
Faint as a cloud against the air, a sweet face tenderly,
A mother-woman's face, was bending, in the evening

beam That touched her good gray hair to gold — with eyes that

made me seem, 'Mid all the fever's burning, wholly safe — since they were

there. Well, — oddly, sir, — in that dim peace, I let my lips

breathe prayer.

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