Reveals some clew to spiritual things, And stumbling guess becomes firm

footed art: Flowers are not flowers unto the poet's

eyes, Their beauty thrills him by an inward

sense : He knows that outward seemings are

but lies, Or, at the most, but earthly shadows,

whence The soul that looks within for truth

may guess The presence of some wondrous heav


her ;

That sorrow in our happy world must be Love's deepest spokesman and inter

preter? But, as a mother feels her child first

stir Under her heart, so felt I instantly Deep in my soul another bond to thee Thrill with that life we saw depart from O mother of our angel child ! twice

dear! Death knits as well as parts, and still,

I wis, Her tender radiance shall infold us

here, Even as the light, borne up by inward

bliss, Threads the void glooms of space

without a fear, To print on farthest stars her pitying



and pen,

XXVI. TO J. R. GIDDINGS. GIDDINGS, far rougher names than

thine have grown Smoother than honey on the lips of men; And thou shalt aye be honorably

known, As one who bravely used his tongue As best befits a freeman, - even for

those, To whom our Law's unblushing front

denies A right to plead against the life-long Which are the Negro's glimpse of

Freedom's skies : Fear nothing, and hope all things, as

the Right Alone may do securely ; every hour The thrones of Ignorance and ancient

Night Lose somewhat of their long usurpëd

power, And Freedom's lightest word can make

them shiver With a base dread that clings to them



WHETHER my heart hath wiser grown

or not, In these three years, since I to thee

inscribed, Mine own betrothed, the firstlings of

my muse, Poor windfalls of unripe experience, Young, buds plucked hastily by child

ish hands Not patient to await more full-blown

flowers, At least it hath seen more of life and

men, And pondered more, and grown a shade

more sad ; Yet with no loss of hope or settled

trust In the benignness of that Providence, Which shapes from out our elements

awry The grace and order that we wonder at, The mystic harmony of right and

wrong, Both working out His wisdom and our

good : A trust, Beloved, chiefly learned of thee, Who hast that gift of patient tenderness, The instinctive wisdom of a woman's


XXVII. I THOUGHT our love at full, but I did err, Joy's wreath drooped o'er mine eyes;

I could not see

They tell us that our land was made

for song,

With its huge rivers and sky-piercing

peaks, Its sealike lakes and mighty cataracts, Its forests vast and hoar, and prairies

wide, And mounds that tell of wondrous

tribes extinct. But Poesy springs not from rocks and

woods ; (er won and cradle are the human

heart, And she can find a nobler theme for

song In the most loathsome man that blasts

the sight Than in the broad expanse of sea and

shore Between the frozen deserts of the poles. All nations have their message from on

high, Each the messiah of some central

thought, For the fulfilment and delight of Man: One has to teach that labor is divine ; Another Freedom; and another Mind; And all, that God is open-eyed and

just, The happy centre and calm heart of all.

Subject alone to Order's higher law. What cares the Russian serf or South,

ern slave Though we should speak as man spake

never yet Of gleaming Hudson's broad magnifi

cence, Or green Niagara's never-ending roar? Our country hath a gospel of her own To preach and practise before all the

world, The freedom and divinity of man, The glorious claims of human brother

hood, Which to pay nobly, as a freeman

should, Gains the sole wealth that will not fly

away, — And the soul's fealty to none but God. These are realities, which make the

shows Of outward Nature, be they ne'er so

grand, Seem small, and worthless, and con

temptible. These are the mountain-summits for

our bards, Which stretch far upward into heaven

itself, And give such wide-spread and exultOf hope, and faith, and onward des

tiny, That shrunk Parnassus to a molehill

dwindles. Our new Atlantis, like a morning-star, Silvers the murk face of slow-yielding

Night, The herald of a fuller truth than yet Hath gleamed upon the upraised face

of Man Since the earth glittered in her stainOf a more glorious sunrise than of old Drew wondrous melodies from Mem

non huge, Yea, draws them still, though now he

sits waist-deep In the ingulfing flood of whirling sand, And looks across the wastes of endless

gray, Sole wreck, where once his hundred

gated Thebes Pained with her mighty hum the calm,

blue heaven:

ing view

Are, then, our woods, our mountains,

and our streams, Needful to teach our poets how to

sing? O maiden rare, far other thoughts were

ours, When we have sat by ocean's foaming

marge, And watched the waves leap roaring on

the rocks, Than young Leander and his Hero had, Gazing from Sestos to the other shore. The moon looks down and ocean wor

ships her, Stars rise and set, and seasons come Even as they did in Homer's elder

time, But we behold them not with Grecian

eyes: Then they were types of beauty and of

strength, But now of freedom, unconfined and


less prime,

and go

Shall the dull stone pay grateful ori

sons, And we till noonday bar the splendor

out, Lest it reproach and chide our sluggard

hearts, Warm-nestled in the down of Preju

dice, And be content, though clad with an

gel-wings, Close-clipped, to hop about from perch

to perch, In paltry cages of dead men's dead

thoughts ? O, rather, like the skylark, soar and

sing, And let our gushing songs befit the

dawn And sunrise, and the yet unshaken dew Briniming the chalice of each full-blown

bope, Whose blithe front turns to greet the

growing day! Never had poets such high call before, Never can poets hope for higher one, And, if they be but faithful to their trust, Earth will remember them with love

and joy, And O, far better, God will not forget. For he who settles Freedom's prin

ciples Writes the death-warrant of all ty

ranny ; Who speaks the truth stabs Falsehood

to the heart, And his mere word makes despots tremThan ever Brutus with his dagger

could. Wait for no hints from waterfalls or

woods, Nor dream that tales of red men, brute

and fierce, Repay the finding of this Western

World, Or needed half the globe to give them

birth : Spirit supreme of Freedom! not for

this Did great Columbus tame his eagle soul To jostle with the daws that perch in

courts ; Not for this, friendless, on an unknown


Coping with mad waves and more mu

tinous spirits, Battled he with the dreadful ache at

heart Which tempts, with devilish subtleties

of doubt, The hermit of that loneliest solitude, The silent desert of a great New

Thought; Though loud Niagara were to-day

struck dumb, Yet would this cataract of boiling life Rush plunging on and on to endless

deeps, And utter thunder till the world shall

cease, A thunder worthy of the poet's song, And which alone can fill it with true

life. The high evangel to our country granted Could make apostles, yea, with tongues

of fire, Of hearts half-darkened back again to

clay! 'Tis the soul only that is national, And he who pays true loyalty to that Alone can claim the wreath of patriot


ble more

Beloved ! if I wander far and oft From that which I believe, and feel,

and know, Thou wilt forgive, not with a sorrow

ing heart, But with a strengthened hope of better

things ; Knowing that I, though often blind

and false To those I love, and O, more false than

all Unto myself, have been most true to

thee, And that whoso in one thing hath been

true Can be as true in all. Therefore thy

hope May yet not prove unfruitful, and thy

love Meet, day by day, with less unworthy

thanks, Whether, as now, we journey hand in

hand, Or, parted in the body, yet are one In spirit and the love of huly things.


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Not only around our infancy
Doth heaven with all its splendors lie;
Daily, with souls that cringe and plot,

We Sinais climb and know it not.
Dver our manhood bend the skies;

Against our fallen and traitor lives The great winds utter prophecies ; With our faint hearts the mountain

strives, Its arms outstretched, the druid wood

Waits with its benedicite , And to our age's drowsy blood

Still shouts the inspiring sea. Earth gets its price for what Earth

gives us ; The beggar is taxed for a corner to The priest hath his fee who comes and

shrives us, We bargain for the graves we lie in: At the devil's booth are all things sold, Each ounce of drosy costs its ounce of

gold; For a cap and Lelis our lives we


Bubbles we buy with a whole soul's

tasking : 'Tis heaven alone that is given away. 'T is only God may be had for the ask

ing, No price is set on the lavish summer ; June may be had by the poorest comer. And what is so rare as a day in June ?

Then, if ever, come perfect days; Then Heaven tries the earth if it be in

tune, And over it softly her warm ear lays : Whether we look, or whether we listen, We hear life murmur, or see it glisten; Every clod feels a stir of might, An instinct within it that reaches and

towers, And, groping blindly above it for light,

Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers; The flush of life may well be seen

Thrilling back over hills and valleys ; The cowslip startles in meadows green, The buttercup catches the sun in its

chalice, And there's never a leaf nor a blade

too mean To be some happy creature's palace ; The little bird sits at his door in the sun,

Atiltlike a blossom among the leaves, And lets his illumined being o'errun With the deluge of summer it re

ceives; His mate feels the eggs beneath her

wings, And the heart in her dumb breast flut

ters and sings; He sings to the wide world, and she to

her nest, In the nice ear of Nature which song is

the best? Now is the high-ride of the year,

And whatever of life hath ebbed away

die in,

Like burnt-out craters healed with

snow. What wonder if Sir Launfal now Reinembered the keeping of his vow?



“My golden spurs now bring to me,

And bring to me my richest mail, For to-morrow I go over land and sea

In search of the Holy Grail ; Shall never a bed for me be spread, Nor shall a pillow be under my head, Till I begin my vow to keep; Here on the rushes will I sleep, And perchance there may conie a vision

true Ere day create the world anew. Slowly Sir Launfal's eyes grew dim,

Slumber fell like a cloud on him, And into his soul the vision fiew.


Comes flooding back with a ripply cheer, Into every bare inlet and creek and

bay ; Now the heart is so full that a drop

overfills it, We are happy now because God wills

it ; No matter how barren the past may

have been, 'Tis enough for us now that the leaves

are green ; We sit in the warm shade and feel right

well How the sap creeps up and the blos

soms swell; We may shut our eyes, but we cannot

help knowing That skies are clear and grass is grow

ing; The breeze comes whispering in our ear, That dandelions are blossoming near, That maize has sprouted, that streams

are flowing, That the river is bluer than the sky, That the robin is plastering his house

hard by ; And if the breeze kept the good news

back, For other couriers we should not lack; We could guess it all by yon heifer's

lowing, And hark ! how clear bold chanticleer, Warmed with the new wine of the year,

Tells all in his lusty crowing ! Joy comes, grief goes, we know not how; Everything is happy now,

Everything is upward striving ; 'Tisas easy now for the heart to be true As for grass to be green or skies to be

blue, "T is the natural way of living: Who knows whither the clouds have

fied ? In the unscarred heaven they leave

no wake; And the eyes forget the tears they have

shed, The heart forgets its sorrow and ache; The soul partakes the season's youth, And the sulphurous rifts of passion

and woe Lie deep neath a silence pure and


The crows flapped over by twos and

threes, In the pool drowsed the cattle up to

their knees, The little birds sang as if it were The one day of summer in all the

year, And the very leaves seemed to sing on

the trees : The castle alone in the landscape lay Like an outpost of winter, dull and

gray : 'T was the proudest hall in the North

Countree, And never its gates might opened bo, Save to lord or lady of high degree ; Summer besieged it on every side, But the churlish stone her assaults de

fied ; She could not scale the chilly wali, Though around it for leagues her pa

vilions tall Stretched left and right, Over the hills and out of sight;

Green and broad was every tent,

And out of each a murmur went Till the breeze fell off at night.

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