Labour and the Angel

by Duncan Campbell Scott

© Boston: Copeland & Day, 1898.


To My Wife At Les Éboulements
Labour and the Angel The Wolf
The Harvest Rain and The Robin
When Spring Goes By The Dame Regnant
March The Cup
In May The Happy Fatalist
On The Mountain A Group of Songs
The Onondaga Madonna I. When The Ash-Tree Buds and The Maples
Watkwenies II. The World is Spinning For Change
Avis III. The Wind is Wild To-night
The Violet Pressed in a Copy of Shakespeare IV. In The Ruddy Heart of The Sunset
Angelus V. Sorrow is Come Like a Swallow To Nest
Adagio VI. 'Tis Autumn and Down in The Fields
Dirge For A Violet VII. Spring Song
Equation VIII. Summer Song
Afterwards IX. Autumn Song
Stone Breaking X. Winter Song
The Lesson XI. The Canadian's Home-Song
From Shadow XII. Madrigal
The Piper of Arll XII. Words After Music


Link to this volume on Early Canadiana Online




To My Wife


In every heart the heart of spring
Bursts into leaf and bud;
The heart of love in every heart
Leaps with its eager flood.

Then hasten, rosy life, and lead 5
 The pilgrim to the door,
His sandals thonged for ministering,
His forehead bright with lore.

 Oh, happy lovers, learn to serve,
And crown your state with power,
For service is the peasant root,
And love the princely flower.


Labour and the Angel


THE wind plunges - then stops;
And a column of leaves in a whirl,
Like a dervish that spins - drops,
With a delicate rustle,
Falls into a circle that thins;
The leaves creep away one by one,
Hiding in hollows and ruts;
Silence comes down on the lane:
The light wheels slow from the sun,
And glints where the corn stood,
And strays over the plain,
Touching with patches of gold,
The knolls and the hollows,
Crosses the lane,
And slips into the wood;
Then flashes a mile away on the farm,
A moment of brightness fine;
Then the gold glimmers and wanes,
And is swept by a clouding of gray,
For cheek by jowl, arm in arm,
The shadow’s afoot with the shine.
The wind roars out from the elm,
Then leaps tiger-sudden; - the leaves
Shudder up into heaps and are caught
High as the branch where they hung
Over the oriole’s nest.

Down in the sodden field,
A blind man is gathering his roots,
Guided and led by a girl;
Her gold hair blows in the wind,
When it is full to the brim,
He wheels it patiently, slow,
Something oppressive and grim
Clothing his figure, but she
Beautifully light at his side,
 Touches his arm with her hand,
Ready to help or to guide:
Power and comfort at need
In the flex of her figure lurk,
The fire at the heart of the deed
The angel that watches o’er work.

This is her visible form,
Heartening the labor she loves,
Keeping the breath of it warm,
Warm as a nestling of doves.
Humble or high or sublime,

Hers no reward of degrees,
Ditching as precious as rhyme,
If only the spirit be true.
"Effort and effort," she cries,
"This is the heart-beat of life,
Up with the lark and the dew,
Still with the dew and the stars,
Feel it athrob in the earth."
When labor is counselled by love,
You may see her splendid, serene,
Bending and brooding above,
With the justice and power of her mien
Where thought has its passionate birth,
Her smile is the sweetest renown,
For the stroke and the derring-do,
Her crown is the starriest crown.
When tears at the fountain are dry,
Bares she the round of her breast,
Soft to the cicatrized cheek,
Lulls this avatar of rest;
Strength is her arm for the weak;
Courage the wells of her eyes;
What is the power of their deeps,
Only the baffled can guess;
Nothing can daunt the emprise
When she sets hand to the hilt;
Victory is she - not less.
And oh! In the cages and dens
Where women work down to the bone,
Where men never laugh but they curse,
Think you she leaves them alone?
She the twin-sister of Love!
There, where the pressure is worst,
Of this hell-palace built to the skies
Upon hearts too crushed down to burst,
There, she is wiser than wise,
Giving no vistas sublime
Of towers in the murmurous air,
With gardens of pleasaunce and pride
Lulling the fleetness of time,
With doves alight by the side
Of a fountain that veils and drips;
She offers no tantalus-cup
To the shrunken, the desperate lips;
But she calms them with lethe and love,
And deadens the throb and the pain,
And evens the heart-beat wild,
Whispering again and again,
"Work on, work on, work on,
My broken, my agonized child,"
With her tremulous, dew-cool lips,
At the whorl of the tortured ear,
Till the cry is the presage of hope,
The trample of succor near.
And for those whose desperate day
Breeds night with a leaguer of fears,
(Night, that on earth brings the dew,
With stars at the window, and wind
In the maples, and rushes of balm,)
She pours from their limitless stores
Her sacred, ineffable tears.
When a soul too weary of life
Sets to its madness an end,
Then for a moment her eyes
Lighten, and thunder broods dark,
Heavy and strong at her heart;
But for a moment, and then
All her imperious wrath
Breaks in a passion of tears,
With the surge of her grief outpoured.
She sinks on the bosom of Love,
Her sister of infinite years,
And is wrapped, and enclosed, and restored.

So we have come with the breeze,
Up to the height of the hill,
Lost in the valley trees,
The old blind man and the girl;
But deep in the heart is the thrill
Of the image of counselling love;
The shape of the soul in the gloom,
And the power of the figure above,
Stand for the whole world’s need:
For labor is always blind,
Unless as the light of the deed
The angel is smiling behind.

Now on the height of the hill,
The wind is fallen to a breath;
But down in the valley still,
It stalks in the shadowy wood,
And angers the river’s breast;
The fields turn into the dark
That plays on the round of the sphere;
A star leaps sharp in the clear
Line of the sky, clear and cold;
But a cloud in the warmer west
Holds for a little its gold;
Like the wing of a seraph who sinks
Into antres afar from the earth,
Reluctant he flames on the brinks
Of the circles of nebulous stars,
Reluctant he turns to the rest,
From the planet whose ideal is love,
And then as he sweeps to the void
Vivid with tremulous light,
He gives it his translucent wing,
An emblem of pity unfurled,
Then falls to the uttermost ring,
And is lost to the world.


The Harvest


SUN on the mountain,
Shade in the valley,
Ripple and lightness
Leaping along the world,
Sun, like a gold sword
Plucked from the scabbard,
Striking the wheat-fields,
Splendid and lusty,
Close-standing, full-headed,
Toppling with plenty;
Shade, like a buckler
Kindly and ample,
Sweeping and wheat-fields
Darkening and tossing;
There on the world-rim
Winds break and gather
Heaping the mist
For the pyre of the sunset;
And still as a shadow,
In the dim westward,
A cloud sloop of amethyst
Moored to the world
With cables of rain.

Acres of gold wheat
Stir in the sunshine,
Rounding the hill-top,
Crested with plenty,
Filling the valley,
Brimmed with abundance;
Wind in the wheat-field
Eddying and settling,
Swaying it, sweeping it,
Lifting the rich heads,
Tossing them soothingly;
Twinkle and shimmer
The lights and the shadowings,
Nimble as moonlight
Astir in the mere.
Laden with odors
Of peace and of plenty,
Soft comes the wind
From the ranks of the wheat-field,
Bearing a promise
Of harvest and sickle-time,
Opulent threshing-floors
Dusty and dim
With the whirl of the flail,
And wagons of bread,
Down-laden and lumbering
Through the gateways of cities.

When will the reapers
Strike in their sickles,
Bending and grasping,
Shearing and spreading;
When will the gleaners
Searching the stubble
Take the last wheat-heads
Home in their arms?

Ask not the question!-
Something tremendous
Moves to the answer.

Hunger and poverty
Heaped like the ocean
Welters and mutters,
 Hold back the sickles!
Millions of children
Born to their terrible
Ancestral hunger,
Starved in their mothers’ womb,
Starved at the nipple, cry, -
Ours is the harvest!
Millions of women
Learned in the tragical
Secrets of poverty,
Sweated and beaten, cry, -
Hold back the sickles!
Millions of men
With a vestige of manhood,
Wild-eyed and gaunt-throated,
Shout with a leonine
Accent of anger,
Leave us the wheat-fields!

When will the reapers
Strike in their sickles?
Ask not the question;
Something tremendous
Moves to the answer.
Long have they sharpened
Their fiery, impetuous
Sickles of carnage,
Welded them aeons
Ago in the mountains
Of suffering and anguish;
Hearts were their hammers
Blood was their fire,
Sorrow their anvil,
(Trusty the sickles
Tempered with tears;)
Time they had plenty-
Harvests and harvests
Passed them in agony,
Only a half-filled
Ear for their lot;
Man that had taken
God for a master
Made him a law,
Mocked him and cursed him,
Set up this hunger,
Called it necessity,
Put in the blameless mouth
Judas’s language:
The poor ye have with you
Alway, unending.
But up from the impotent
Anguish of children,
Up from the labor
Fruitless, unmeaning,
Of millions of mothers,
Hugely necessitous,
Grew by a just law
Stern and impalacable,
Art born of poverty,
The making of sickles
Meet for the harvest.

And now to the wheat-fields
Come the weird reapers
Armed with their sickles,
Whipping them keenly
In the fresh-air fields,
Wild with the joy of them.
Finding them trusty,
Hilted with teen.
Swarming like ants,
The Idea for captain,
No banners, no bugles,
Only a terrible
Ground-bass of gathering
Tempest and fury,
Only a tossing
Of arms and of garments;
Sexless and featureless,
(Only the children
Different among them,
Crawling between their feet,
Borne on their shoulders;)
Rolling their shaggy heads
Wild with the unheard-of
Drug of the sunshine;
Tears that had eaten
The half of their eyelids
Dry on their cheeks;
Blood in their stiffened hair
Clouted and darkened;
Down in their cavern hearts
Hunger the tiger,
Leaping, exulting;
Sighs that had chocked them
Burst into triumphing;
On they come, Victory!
Up to the wheat-fields,
Dreamed of in visions
Bred by the hunger,
Seen for the first time
Splendid and golden;
On they come fluctuant,
Seething and breaking,
Weltering like fire
In the pit of the earthquake,
Bursting in heaps
With the sudden intractable
Lust of the hunger:
Then when they see them -
The miles of the harvest
White in the sunshine,
Rushing and stumbling,
With the mighty and clamorous
Cry of a people
Starved from creation,
Hurl themselves onward,
Deep in the wheat-fields,
Weeping like children,
After ages and ages,
Back at the breasts
Of their mother the earth.
Night in the valley,
Gloom on the mountain,
Wind in the wheat,
Far to the southward
The flutter of lightening,
The shudder of thunder;
But high at the zenith,
A cluster of stars
Glimmers and throbs
In the grasp of the midnight,
Steady and absolute,
Ancient and sure.  


When Spring Goes By


THE winds that on the uplands softly lie,
Grow keener where the ice is ligering still,
Where the first robin on the sheltered hill
Pipes blithly to the tune, "When Spring goes
Hear him again, "Spring! Spring!" he seems to  
  cry, 5
Haunting the fall of the flute-thraoted rill,
That keeps a gentle, constant, silver thrill,
While he is restless in his ecstasy.

Ah! the soft budding of the virginal woods,
Of the frail fruit trees by the vanishing lakes:
There’s the new moon where the clear sunset  
A trace of dew upon the rose leaf sky;
And hark! What rapture the glad robin wakes -
"When Spring goes by; Spring! Spring! When
  Spring goes by."  




NOW swoops the wind from every coign and crest;
Like filaments of silver, ripped and spun,
The snow reels off the drift-ridge in the sun;
And smoky clouds are torn across the west,
Clouds that would snow if they had time to rest;
The sparrows brangle and the icicles clash;
The grosbeaks search for berries in the ash;
The shore-lark tinkles while he plans his nest.

Now in the steaming woods the maples drip,
And plunging in with the last load of sap,
Beyond the branches through a starry gap,
The driver sees the frail aurora flow,
And round the sinking Pleiads bend and blow;
A rosy banner and a silver ship.


In May


THE clouds that veil the early day
    Are very near and soft and fine,
The heaven peeps between the gray,
    A luminous and pearly line.

The breeze is up, now soft, now full,
    And moulds the vapor light as fleece,
It trembles, then, with drip and lull,
    The rain drifts gently through the trees.

It trails into a silver blur,
    And hangs about the cherry tops
That sprinkle, with the wind astir,
    In little sudden whirls of drops.

The apple orchards, banked with bloom,
    Are drenched and dripping with the wet,
And on the breeze their deep perfume
    Grows and fades by and lingers yet.

In some green covert far remote
    The oven-bird is never still,
And, golden-throat to golden-throat,
    The orioles warble on the hill.

Now over the gem-like woods
    The delicate mist is blown again,
And after dripping interludes
    Lets down the lulling silver rain.


On The Mountain


A STORM from the mountain is coming,
    With lightening and thunder and rain,
The wind is sweeping and humming
    In the butternut trees on the plain.

The cloud is ebon that follows,
    The fore-cloud is livid and pale,
There’s the flash and the tossing of swallows
    In the turn of the eddying gale.

The rain is awake on the mountain,
    ‘T is lashing the forest afar
With fall of a shattering fountain
    And the tramp and tumult of war.

With the drums of the detoning thunder,
    And the clang in the bugles of wind,
With the gonfalons tortured asunder
    By the rush of the host from behind.

The plains are leaping with shadows,
    The highlands go out like a blot,
And over the eddying meadows
    The rain is hurtled like shot.

The darkness is glooming and brightening,
    There is alternate chaos and form,
With the parry and thrust of the lightening
    In the turbulent heart of the storm.


Now the storm is over,

    And the greener plain
Seems to glow and hover
    Through the thinning rain.

Now the wind is gusty
    In the maple tops,
Striking out the lusty
    Storms of gleaming drops.

Now the goldfinch whistles
    In his spattered vest,
Balanced on the thistles,
    Bolder than the best.

And the hermit thrushes
    On the sparkling hills,
Link the dripping hushes
    With their silver thrills.


The Onondaga Madonna


SHE stands full-throated and with careless pose,
This woman of a weird and waning race,
The tragic savage lurking in her face,
Where all her pagan passion burns and glows;
Her blood is mingled with her ancient foes,
And thrills with war and wilderness in her veins;
Her rebel lips are dabbled with the stains
Of feuds and forays and her father’s woes.

And closer in the shawl about her breast,
The latest promise of her nation’s doom,
Paler then she her baby clings and lies,
The primal warrior gleaming from his eyes;
He sulks, and burdened with his infant gloom,
He draws his heavy brows and will not rest.




VENGEANCE was once her nation’s lore and  
When the tired sentry stooped above the rill,
Her long knife flashed, and hissed, and drank its
Dimly below her dripping wrist she saw,
One wild hand, pale as death and weak as straw,
Clutch at the ripple in the pool; while shrill
Sprang through the dreaming hamlet on the hill,
The war-cry of the triumphant Iroquois.
Now clothed with many ancient flap and fold,
And wrinkled like an apple kept till May,
She weighs the interest-money in her palm,
And, when the Agent calls her valiant name,
Hears, like the war-whoops of her perished day,
The lads playing snow-snake in the stinging cold.




WITH a golden rolling sound
Booming came a bell,
From the aery in the tower
Eagles fell;
So with regal wings
Hurled, and gleaming sound and power,
Sprang the fatal spell.

Then a storm of burnished doves
Gleaming from the cote
Flurried by the almonry
O’er the moat,-Fell and soared and fell
With the arc and iris eye
Burning breast and throat.

Avis heard the beaten bell
Break the quiet space,
Gathering softly in the room
Round her face;
And the sound of wings
From the deeps of rosy gloom
Rustled in the place.

Nothing moved along the wall,
Weltered on the floor;
Only in the purple deep,
Streaming o’er,Came the dream of sound
Silent as the dale of sleep,
Where the dreams are four.

(One of love without a word,
Wan to look upon,
One of fear without a cry,
Cowering stone,
And the dower of life,-
Grief without a single sigh,
Pain without a moan.)

"Avis- Avis!" cried a voice;
Then the voice was mute.

"Avis!" soft the echo lay
As the lute.
Where she was she fell,
Drowsy as mandragora,
Tranced to the root.

Then she heard her mother’s voice,
Tender as a dove;
Then her lover plain and sigh,
Like the mavis bird
Calling, calling lonelily
From the eerie grove.

Then she heard within the vast
Closure of the spell,
Rolled and moulded into one
Rounded swell,
All the sounds that ever were
Uttered underneath the sun,
Heard in heaven or hell.

In the arras moved the wind,
And the window cloth
Rippled like a serpent barred,
Gray with wrath;
In the brazier gold
The wan ghost of a rose charred
Fluttered like a moth.

Tranquil lay her darkened eyes
As the pools that keep
Auras dim of fern and frond
Dappled, deep,
Dreamy as the map of Nod;
Moveless was she as a wnad
In the wind of sleep.

Then the birds began to cry
From the crannied wall,

Piping as the morning rose
Gray with whistling rain,
Silver with the light that flows
In the interval.
Pallid poplars cast a shade,
Twinkling gray and dun,
Where the wind and water wove
Into one
All the linnet leaves,
Greening from the mere and grove
In the indern sun.

Night fell with the ferny dusk,
Planets paled and grew,
Up, with lilt and clarid turns
Throbbing through,
Rose the robin’s song,
Heart of home and love that burns
Beating in the dew.

But she neither moved nor heard,
Tranced was her breath;
Lip on charmed lip was laid
(One who saith
"Love- Undone" and falls).
Silent was she as a shade
In the dells of death.  


The Violet Pressed in a Copy of Shakespeare


HERE in the inmost of the master’s heart
    This violet crisp with early dew,
Has come to leave her beauty and to part
    With all her vivid hue.

And while in hollow glades and dells of musk,
    Her fellows will reflower in bands,
Clasping the deeps of shade and emerald dusk,
    With sweet inviolate hands,

She will lie here, a ghost of their delight,
    Their lucent stems all ashen gray,
Their purples fallen into pulvil white,
    Dull as the bluebird’s alula.

But here where human passions pulse in power,
    She will transcend our Shakespeare’s art,From Desdemona to a smothered flower,
    Will leap the tragic heart.

And memory will recall in keener mood
    The precinct fair where passion grew,
The stars within the water in the wood,
    The moonlit grove, the odorous dew.

The voice that throbbed along the summer dark
    Will float and pause and thrill,
In lonely cadence silvern as the lark,
    To fail below the hill.

The reader will grow weary of the play,
    Finding his heart half understood,
And with the young moon in the early dusk will stray
    Beside the starry water in the wood.




A DEEP bell that links the downs
To the drowsy air;
Every loop of sound that swoons,
Finds a circle fair,
Whereon it doth rest and fade;
Every stroke that dins is laid
Like a node,
Spinning out the quivering, fine,
Vibrant tendrils of a vine:
(Bim- bim- bim.)
How they wreathe and run,
Silvern as a filmy light,
Filtered from the sun:
The god of sound is out of sight,
And the bell is like a cloud,
Humming to the outer rim,
Low and loud:
(Bim- bim- bim.)
Throwing down the tempered lull,
Fragile, beautiful:
Married drones and overtones,
How we fancy them to swim,
Spreading into shapes that shine,
With the aura of the metals,
Prisoned in the bell,
Fulvous tinted as a shell,
Dreamy, dim,
Deep in amber hyaline:
(Bim- bim- bim.)




GRAVE maid, surrounded by the austere air
Of this delaying spring, what gentle grief,
What hovering, mystical melancholy
Hath covered thee with the translucent shadow?
The glaucous silver buds upon the tree,
And the light burst of blossom in the bush
Are the new year’s evangel: soon the birch
Will breathe in heaven with her myriad leaves
And hide the birds’ nests from the tuliped lawn;
But thou, with look askance and dreaming eyes,
Brooding on something subtly sad and sweet,
Art passive, and the world may have her way,
Hide the moraine of immemorial days
With bines and blossoms, so thine unvaried hour
Be not perplexed with the change of growth.
Within this sombre circle of the hills,
Thy girlish eyes have seen the winter’s close,
And what may lie beyond, where the sun falls,
Whenthe vale fills with rose, and the first star
Looks liquidly, thy quiet heart knows not.
The permanence of beauty haunts thy dreams,
And only as a land beyond desire,
Where the fixed glow may stain the vivid flower,
Where youth may lose his wings but keep his joy,
Does that far slope in the reluctant light
Lure thee beyond the barrier of the hills.
And often in the morning of the heart,
When memories are like crocus-buds in spring,
Thou hast up-builded in thy crystal soul
Immutable forms of things loved once and lost,
Or loved and never gained.
Now while the wind
From the reflowering bush gushes with perfume,
Thou hast a vision of a precinct fair,
Daled in the lustrous hills, where the mossed dial
Holds the slow shadow narrowed to a line;
Where a parterre of tulips hoards the light,
Changeless and pure in cups of tranquil gold;
Where bee-hives gray against the poplar shade,
Peopled with bees, hum in perpetual drone;
In a pavilion centred in the close,
Four viols build the perfect cube of sound;
A path beside the rosy barberry hedge,
Leads to the cool of water under spray,
Leads to the fountain-echoing ivied wall;
Pedestaled there, flecked with the linden shadows,
A guardian statue carved in purest stone,
Love and Mnemosyne; Mnemosyne
Mothering the Truant to an all-cherishing breast,
The wells of lore deepening her eyes, would
  speak- 50
But Love hath laid his hand upon her lips.  


Dirge For A Violet


HERE was a happy flower,
Born in sun and shower,
In the meadow;
Sorrow was her dower,
And shadow.

Bid the gentle mole
Dig his deepest hole,
For her rest;
Sleep has charmed her soul,
Sleep is best.

 Bid the vervain spire
Light the funeral fire,
And the yarrow
Build a shady choir,
For the sparrow.

Bid him chirp and cry,
"Everything must die,
She is dead,"
Now in exequy,
All is said.




WHEN we grow old, and time looks like a thief,
That was the spendthrift of our dearest days;
When color mingles merged in silvered grays;
When joys are ever memoried to be brief;
When beauty fades; when hope is under feof;
When all our moods are mantled in a haze;
When sprightly pleasure for a penance plays
The part of prudence in the weeds of grief;
It will suffice if unto memory
Visit the voices and the eager grace
Of days that promised never to forget;
If they will flow like rumors of the sea,
Heard under honied lindens in the place,
Where start the maruerite and mignonette.




HER life was touched with early frost,
    About the April of her day,
Her hold on earth was lightly lost,
    And like a leaf she went away.

Her soul was chartered for great deeds,
    For gentle war unwonted here:
Her spirit sought her clearer needs,
    An Empyrean atmosphere.

At hush of eve we hear her still
    Say with her clear, her perfect smile,
And with her silver-throated thrill:
    "A little while- a little while."


Stone Breaking


MARCH wind rough
Clashed the trees,
Flung the snow;
Breaking stones,
In the cold,
Germans slow
Toiled and toiled;
Arrowy sun
Glanced and sprang,
One right blithe
German sang:
Songs of home,
Syenite hard,
Weary lot,
Callous hand,
All forgot:
Hammers pound,
Ringing round;
Rise the heaps,
To his voice,
Bounds and leaps
Toise on toise:
Toil is long,
But dear God
Gives us song,
At the end,
Gives us rest,
Toil is best.


The Lesson


WHEN the great day is done,
That seems so long,
So full of fret and fun,
Our little girl is in her cradle laid:
She takes the soft dark-petaled flower of sleep
Between her fragile hands,
Striving to pluck it:
And as the dream-roots slowly part,
She is not in possession of the lands,
Where flowered her tender heart,
Nor in this turmoil dire of cark and strife,
Which we call life,
The which, husbanding all our art,
We will keep veiled until the latest day,
And from her wrapt away:
Then when the drowsy flower
Has parted from the dreamful mead,
And in her palm lies plucked indeed,
When her dear breathing steadies after sighs,
And the soft lids have clouded the blue eyes,
A tiny hand falls on my cheek-
Lightly and so fragrantly
As if a snow-flake could a rose-leaf be-
And in the dark touches a tear
Which has sprung clear,
From eyes unconscious of their own distress,
At the deep pathos of such tender helplessness.
And then she claims her sleep,
As if she knows my love and trusts it deep.

Dear God! To whom the bravest of us is a child,
When I am weary, when I cannot rest,
I have stretched out my hand into the dark,
And felt the shadow stark,
But no face brooding near,
Nor any tear
Compassionately wept:
I have not slept.

But now I learn my lesson from the sage,
Who burns his lore with acid on the heart;
I will not whimper when I feel the smart,
And for my comfort will look down, not up;
I will give ever from a brimming sky,
Not telling how or why;
I will be answered in this little child,
I will be reconciled.


From Shadow


NOW the November skies,
And the clouds that are thin and gray,
That drop with the wind away;
A flood of sunlight rolls,
In a tide of shallow light,
Gold on the land and white
On the water, dim and warm in the wood;
Then it is gone, and the wan
Clear of the shade
Covers field and barren and glade.
The peace of labor done,
Is wide in the gracious earth;
The harvest is won;
Past are the tears and the mirth;
And we feel in the tenuous air
How far beyond though or prayer
Is the grace of silent things,
That work for the world alway,
Neither for fear nor for pay,
And when labor is over, rest.
The moil of our fretted life
Is borne anew to the soul,
Borne with its cark and strife,
Its burden of care and dread,
Its glories elusive and strange;
And the weight of the weary whole
Presses it down, till we cry:
Where is the fruit of our deeds?
Why should we struggle to build
Towers against death on the plain?
All things possess their lives
Save man, whose task and desire
Transcend his power and his will.

The question is over and still;
Nothing replies: but the earth
Takes on a lovelier hue
From a cloud that neighbored the sun,
That the sun burned down and through,
Till it glowed like a seraph’s wing;
The fields that were gray and dun
Are warm in the flowing light;
Fair in the west the night
Strikes in with a vibrant star.

Something has stirred afar
In the shadow that winter flings;
A message comes up to the soul
From the soul of inanimate things:
A message that widens and grows
Till it touches the deeds of man,
Till we see in the torturous throes
Some dawning glimmer of plan;
Till we feel in the deepening night
The hand of the angel Content,
That stranger of calmness and light,
With his brow over us bent,
Who moves with his eyes on the earth,
Whose robe of lambent green,
A tissue of herb and its sheen,
Tells the mother who gave him birth.
The message plays through his touch,
It grows with the roots of his power,
Till it flames exultant in thought,
As the quince-tree triumphs in flower.

The fruit that is checked and marred
Goes under the sod:
The good lives here in the world;
It persists,- it is God.


The Piper of Arll


THERE was in Arll a little cove
    Where the salt wind came cool and free:
A foamy beach that one would love,
    If he were longing for the sea.

A brook hung sparkling on the hill,
    The hill swept far to ring the bay;
The bay was faithful, wild or still,
    To the heart of the ocean far away.

There were three pines above the comb
    That, when the sun flared and went down,
Grew like three warriors reaving home
    The plunder of a burning town.

A piper lived within the grove,
    Tending the pasture of his sheep;
His heart was swayed with faithful love,
    From the springs of God’s ocean clear and deep.

And there a ship one evening stood,
    Where ship had never stood before;
A pennon bickered red as blood,
    An angel glimmered at the prore.

About the coming on of dew,
    The sails burned rosy, and the spars
Were gold, and all the tackle grew
    Alive with ruby-hearted stars.

The piper heard an outlanded tongue,
    With music in the cadenced fall;
And when the fairy lights were hung,
    The sailors gathered one and all,

And leaning on the gunwales dark,
    Crusted with shells and dashed with foam,
With all the dreaming hills to hark,
    They sang their longing songs of home.

When the sweet airs had fled away,
    The piper, with a gentle breath,
Moulded a tranquil melody
    Of lonely love and longed-for death.

When the fair sound began to lull,
    From out the fireflies and the dew,
A silence held the shadowy hull,
    Until the eerie tune was through.

Then from the dark and dreamy deck
    An alien song began to thrill;
It mingled with the drumming beck,
    And stirred the braird upon the hill.

Beneath the stars each sent to each
    A message tender, till at last
The piper slept upon the beach,
    The sailors slumbered round the mast.

Still as a dream till nearly dawn,
    The ship was bosomed on the tide;
The streamlet murmuring on and on,
    Bore the sweet water to her side.

Then shaking out her lawny sails,
    Forth on the misty sea she crept;
She left the dawning of the dales,
    Yet in his cloak the piper slept.

And when he woke he saw the ship,
    Limned black against the crimson sun;
Then from the disc he saw her slip,
    A wraith of shadow- she was gone.

He threw his mantle on the beach,
    He went apart like one distraught,
His lips were moved- his desperate speech
    Stormed his inviolable thought.

He broke his human-throated reed,
    And threw it in the idle rill;
But when his passion had its mead,
    He found it in the eddy still.

He mended well the patient flue,
    Again he tried its varied stops;
The closures answered right and true,
    And starting out in piercing drops,

A melody began to drip
    That mingled with a ghostly thrill
The vision-spirit of the ship,
    The secret of his broken will.

Beneath the pines he piped and swayed,
    Master of passion and of power;
He was his soul and what he played,
    Immortal for a happy hour.

He, singing into nature’s heart,
    Guiding his will by the world’s will,
With deep, unconscious, child-like art
    Had sung his soul out and was still.

And then at evening came the bark
    That stirred his dreaming heart’s desire;
It burned slow lights along the dark
    That died in glooms of crimson fire.

The sailors launched a sombre boat,
    And bent with music at the oars;
The rhythm throbbing every throat,
    And lapsing round the liquid shores,

Was that true tune the piper sent,
    Unto the wave-worn mariners,
When with the beck and ripple blent
    He heard that outlanded song of theirs.

Silent they rowed him, dip and drip,
    The oars beat out an exequy,
They laid him down within the ship,
    They loosed a rocket to the sky.
It broke in many a crimson sphere
    That grew to gold and floated far,
And left the sudden shore-line clear,
    With one slow-changing, drifting star.

Then out they shook the magic sails,
    That charmed the wind in other seas,
From where the west line pearls and pales,
    They waited for a ruffling breeze.

But in the world there was no stir,
    The cordage slacked with never a creak,
They heard the flame begin to purr
    Within the lantern at the peak.

They could not cry, they could not move,
    They felt the lure from the charmed sea;
They could not think of home or love
    Or any pleasant land to be.

They felt the vessel dip and trim,
    And settle down from list to list;
They saw the sea-plane heave and swim
    As gently as a rising mist.

And down so slowly, down and down,
    Rivet by rivet, plank by plank;
A little flood of ocean flown
    Across the deck, she sank and sank.

From knee to breast the water wore,
    It crept and crept; ere they were ware
Gone was the angel at the prore,
    They felt the water float their hair.

They saw the salt plane spark and shine,
    They threw their faces to the sky;
Beneath a deepening film of brine
    They saw the star-flash blur and die.

She sank and sank by yard and mast,
    Sank down the shimmering gradual dark;
A little drooping pennon last
    Showed like the black fin of a shark.

And down she sank till, keeled in sand,
    She rested safely balanced true,
With all her upward gazing band,
    The piper and the dreaming crew.
And there, unmarked of any chart,
    In unrecorded deeps they lie,
Empearled within the purple heart
    Of the great sea for aye and aye.

Their eyes are ruby in the green
    Long shaft of sun that spreads and rays,
And upward with a wizard sheen
    A fan of sea-light leaps and plays.

Tendrils of or and azure creep,
    And globes of amber light are rolled,
And in the gloaming of the deep
    Their eyes are starry pits of gold.

And sometimes in the liquid night
    The hull is changed, a solid gem,
That glows with a soft stony light,
    The lost prince of diadem.

And at the keel a vine is quick,
    That spreads its bines and works and weaves
O’er all the timbers veining thick
    A plenitude of silver leaves.


At Les Éboulements


A GLAMOUR on the phantom shore
    Of golden pallid green,
Gray purple in the flats before,
    The river streams between.

From hazy hamlets, one by one,
    Beyond the island bars,
The casements in the setting sun
    Flash back in violet stars.

A brig is straining out for sea,
    To Norway or to France she goes,
And all her happy flags are free,
    Her sails are flushed with rose.


The Wolf


WHOO- whoo-
The rain in the hollow
The wan gray sleet will follow,
The shaggy moor
Will lie at the door,
Heavy with mould,
Dead with cold,
Whoo- whoo;- yu-loô- yu-loô.

Whoo- whoo-
The wind in the willow,
The snow heaped up for a pillow,
The shell of ice,
Will crush in a trice,
An iron mould,
The have and to hold,
Whoo- whoo;- yu-loô- yu-loô.

Whoo- whoo-
The forest in the furrow,
Heat takes long to burrow,
The fire on the hearth
Shakes its mirth
At one of God’s poor,
Out side the door,
Whoo- whoo;- yu-loô- yu-loô.

Whoo- whoo-
Weary and worry him,
Gnaw him, tug him, and carry him;
Dig him a pit,
Shallow and fit,
In the colder cold
It will hold or unfold,
Whoo- whoo;- yu-loô- yu-loô.

Whoo- whoo-
The steam from the thatches,
The casements tawny in patches;
Look not yet,
You might never forget
The ghost of breath,
Or the leper Death,
Whoo- whoo;- yu-loô- yu-loô.


Rain and The Robin


A ROBIN in the morning,
In the morning early,
Sang a song of warning,
"There’ll be rain, there’ll be rain.
"Very, very clearly
From the orchard
Came the gentle horning,
"There’ll be rain.
"But the hasty farmer
Cut his hay down,
Did not heed the charmer
From the orchard,
And the mower’s clatter
Ceased at noontide,
For with drip and spatter
Down came the rain.
Then the prophet robin
Hidden in the crab-tree
Railed upon the farmer,
"I told you so, I told you so."
As the rain grew stronger,
And his heart grew prouder,
Notes so full and slow
Coming blither, louder,
"I told you so, I told you so,"
"I told you so."  


The Dame Regnant


AH! Dame Gossip fabulous!
You have worn the quiet smile,
Till your mouth is drawn as trim
As a Quaker’s beaver brim;
And when rumor runs a mile,
You don’t know the soles he wears,
Never heard the rascal’s name;
If the neighbors bring the shoe,
Tug and tug it won’t fit you;
If it does, ah! shifty Dame,
Rumor’s last must be the same!
Hey! this comedy began
When the earth was blithe and young,
When the less fair of the fair
Daughters of the world of men,
Whispered in their errant hair,
How their sisters of the glance,
Clear and deep of star in blue,
Met the eager sons of God,
In the valley, in the dew,
On the myrtle-scented sod:
And the truants from the spheres
Heard like donging of herd-bells,
In the flow of harp and flute,
How those others in eclipse,
Withered up in jealousies,
Crowning malice in the eyes,
Over malice on the lips,
Hissed their word of hate and lies.
Ah! These truants from the spheres
Learnt the human in the note
Of the goddess, and were ware
How of all the torrent gold
Snakes were half and half was hair.

Yet the ages were as one
Heap of burnt and calcined stars,
Ere her popular crown was run
In the mould of human fears,
Ere her sceptre had been cast,
Tempered steel with foolish tears.
Now they view her at the last,
Personed like a regnant queen,
Cold as pole-ice, hard as quartz,
Loathly as the livid, lean
Adder of the triple tongue,

Basilisk eyes that reap and glean,
And a mind alert; elate,
With the splendor of her wit,
Sprining through a smoky fate,
With a gleam of hell-fire lit.
And she wanders from her throne
(So these cringing lieges state)
While her shape still glooms it there;
And but give the wizard crone
Two small juttings in the air,
Spiderlike she weaves her web,
From her ancient ventral store,
Till the whole great house is meshed
With her legends, grim and hoar.
Or she starts a quiet mouse,
Feeding in the native cheese,
And a wolf springs from the rind,
Bloated out to what you please.
What she does not say she thinks;
Crafty, with a few dry winks,
Drops her poison in the eye,
Watching while it works and sinks;
When the eye is diamond clear,
Comes she with a slimy sigh,
Bred to catch the dullard ear,
Opening with the formula,
Stereoed to the devil’s phrase
In the human words, "They say;"
Then the burden of the tale
Crawls in after like a snail.
And if the dear vassal’s wild,
Why, her countenance is blank,
And her eye is dull as dulse;
But the finger dwells awhile
Calming on the plunging pulse,

Just for, say, a nunnery smile,
Till with magic overmuch,
All the story is conveyed,
Through the nerves intensive played,
Innuendo of the touch.
Once afoot the quarry flies,
From the hunter in the mind;
With a prudent, vacant smile,
Dull Saint Virgin drops her eyes,
Gives the word with quiet guile,
Guarding with her sainted wish,
For the error of the tale,
The dear souls from blast and bale.
And the fighter to his trull
Tells his version of the yarn;
With his bull-brain all afire,
Charges down the ruddy rag
Of the world above his ire,
Tramps the tale in slag and mire.
And the comments run from "Pish,"
To the most convenient curse,
In the beggar’s damning purse.
So the story rolls and grows
Crescive as a cloudy head,
Budding silver in the blue,
From black root of thunder bred,
With the lightening splitting through.
Every subject striken blind
With black fearing of the Dame,
Strained of nerve and lean of loin,
Passes on the strangest talk,
Like a counterfeited coin;
And the fear of her is wild,
Works like acid in the blood,
And the man is worse than child,
Saved by innocent hardihood.
How he supplicates and whines,
When he knows his fame is out,
And sees springing into lines
All the fables, shout on shout.
Thinks to run the talk to earth,
Talk that carries rumor’s lease;
Cloudy talk of vapor birth,
Chases on the plains of peace,
Or where tides of trade convulse;
Something mantled like a shape
Grasps at last with pounding pulse-
Mist he holds; while mocking rings
All the riot sprung anew,
With the flap and clap of wings.

Nay, my craven, you who fear
All this cackle of the crew,
Carping at your coward ear!
We who know the Dame so well,
Whence she sprang and how she grew,
Do not crown her deep with hell;
She is but an earthly shape
Springing from the parent ape,
Nothing wild with power or eld,
Nothing older than the race;
And this skull-face that you dread,
Is the image of your head.
Here where Comedy is held
Deep in honor as the star,
Spreading sparkle over sea,
You may see the Dame at will,
Nothing formed for dread or dree,
Contemplate her and be still:
She has worn that quiet smile,
Till her mouth is drawn as trim
As a Quaker’s beaver brim:
Her light eyes seem clear of guile,
And her smile is half demure,
Half malicious. Let her play
One of her protean pranks,
Show her fangs and start her prey.
Now she dares the comic sprite,
Laughter only comes to light;
Ripples outward like a flag
Over towers inviolate,
Sparkles April as a brook,
Breaks where sun and shadow flit;
Laughter silver and secure,
From the crystal wells of wit,
Springing sanely, springing pure.
Mark your Dame of many crowns,
How she hardens into sphinx,
When she hears the airy ring
Of the master that she owns,
How, amorphous bulk, she shrinks,
How she trails and leers and winks,
Just a moment of gray rags,
Ere the wind has pounced and packed
All her baggage and her bags
Into limbo, and the dust
Rises in a smoke, and wracked
Drives the cloud in shreds and shags.
Laughter falling coolly clear,
Widens air and broaches sun,
Comes as healing to a fear
But of self and shadow spun:
Self, a lantern-candle, throws
Hugeous spottings on the wall;
Dance the tragic giant Oes,
Rayed from pin-points punctured small,
In the battered shadow-tin
Fused of deed and circumstance:
Coward in the gaping ring,
Bound without and look within,
Learn where fable flows and whence.
Speech is but the fluid mind,
Reaching outward over life.
Where quick speech is dammed we find
Cactus deserts sharp and dim,
Dead for water, ruin lined,
With a mirage on the rim
Of the sundown. Let speech flow
Like the air, which is the soul
Of the world, from pole to pole;
Shaking in the swamp of death
With the poison bred of heat,
Timing with a tidal breath
The deep swaying of the wheat.
Not till mind is massed as near
Servant of the lucid soul,
Sensitive as ether clear,
Joining planets pole to pole,
Shall we have a dearth of this
Talk that lays the lash on life.
Only when the mind rings true
To the deep-held undertone
Heard where Nature moulds her young,
Will the fancy fail to brew
Noisome liquor for the tongue.
Heighten mind and heighten life,
Heighten comment above lure,
Heighten laughter above strife,
Bred to scorge the fancy pure.
Then will come the days of men,
When the mind will govern power;
When clear speech will spring again,
Flower unto a lovelier flower;
When dear laughter, victor browed,
From her scorning of your Dame,
Will play out a lambent flame
Over life to saneness vowed.

Contrast to the present hour!
As a sage might leave a coast
Where the cities shambles are,
And the people herded flesh,
Climb the uplands into wood
Where the trees are vined in mesh,
Where noon dreams with eyes of eve,
Where the beck is flecked with gold,
And the silver violets fold,
Under leafage cool and lush,
Where the moss is drenched with sleep,
Where the music-memoried thrush
Broods in dingles dusk and deep,
Upward to the brow of hill,
Where the wind soars cool with scent,
And the twilight end in stars,
Where upon the glimmering plain
Fire-flies with the lights are blent
From the huts and haunts of men,
Jewels in the crown content.  


The Cup


HERE is pleasure; drink it down.
Here is sorrow; drain it dry.
Tilt the goblet, don’t ask why.
Here is madness; down it goes.
Here’s a dagger and a kiss,
Don’t ask what the reason is.
Drink your liquor, no one knows;
Drink it bravely like a lord.
Do not roll a coward eye,
Pain and pleasure is one sword
Hacking out your destiny;
Do not say, "It is not just."
That word won’t apply to life;
You must drink because you must;
Tilt the goblet, cease the strife.
Here at last is something good,
Just to warm your flagging blood.
Don’t take breath-
At the bottom of the cup
Here is death:
Drink it up.  


The Happy Fatalist


WE plough the field,
And harrow the clod,
And hurl the seed.
Trust for trust:
The germ yields,
The wheat brairds,
We gather the sheaf,
Deed for deed:
The stubble moulds,
The chaff is cast,
Dust for dust:
The man is worn,
His days are bound,
But his labor returns,
The child learns
Round for round:
The god is astir,
Firm and free,
Weaving his plan,
Swelling the tree,
Bracing the man:
All is for good,
Sweet or acerb,
Laughter or pain,
Freedom or curb:
Follow your bent,
Cry life is joy,
Cry life is woe,
The god is content,
Impartial in power,
Tranquil- and lo!
Like the kernels in quern,
Each in turn,
Comes to his hour,
Nor fast nor slow:
It is well: even so.  


A Group of Songs

I. When The Ash-Tree Buds and The Maples


WHEN the ash-tree buds and the maples,
And the osier wands are red,
And the fairy sunlight dapples
Dales where the leaves are spread,
The pools are full of spring water,
Winter is dead.

When the bloodroot blows in the tangle,
And the lithe brooks run,
And the violets gleam and spangle
The glades in the golden sun,
The showers are bright as the sunlight,
April has won.

When the color is free in the grasses,
And the martins whip the mere,
And the Maryland-yellow-throat passes,
With his whistle quick and clear,
The willow is full of catkins;
May is here.

Then cut a reed by the river,
Make a song beneath the lime,
And blow with your lips a-quiver,
While your sweetheart carols the rhyme;
The glamour of love, the lyric of life,
The springtime- the springtime.


II. The World is Spinning For Change


THE world is spinning for change,
And life has rapid wings;
Of, one needs a steady heart
Not to falter while he sings.

But this is made for my Dear One
When we are far apart;
That she may have wherever she goes
A song of mine in her heart.

A song that will move with a memory
Of something she loves best;
A song that will throb at her waking,
A song that will lull her to rest.

A song that will serve for an anchor,
Compass, and pilot, and chart;
A song that will bid her remember
That love is the crown of art.

A song that will bid her remember
The north nights cool and still,
With the thrushes fluting deep, deep,
Deep on the pine-wood hill,

With a star at her open window,
When the cuckoo wakes with a start:
Oh! Can she ever forget me
With a song of mine in her heart.


III. The Wind is Wild To-night


THE wind is wild to-night,
In the dark he turns and stirs,
Or he falls into dream and quiet,
In the gloomy heart of the firs.

He springs upon the trees,
And he shakes the sleeping nest;
And every little water-pool
Has a troubled breast.

He has come from a weary land,
Where the rivers of memory spring;
Their waters are bitter, are bitter,
And have dampened his wing.

The very flowers are musing
On something they longed to be,
In a land of peace and promise,
In a province of the sea.

The birds cry out and are silent,
They are dreaming once again
Of the tawny-throated hollow,
And the fern in the glen.
And the wind raves out like a spirit,
With his hands hid in his hair,
And my heart is leaping, and leaping,
To follow him- where?


IV. In The Ruddy Heart of The Sunset


IN the ruddy heart of the sunset,
Fading and fading still,
A planet throbs and smoulders,
Over the sapphire hill.

A mist steals up from the marshes,
Spreading tender and bright;
A heron floats from his haunt in the reeds,
Through the ruby light.

The elm-trees towered with shadow
Seem dripping and cool with dew;
There’s a sigh in the cedar covert,
But never a breeze comes through.

A thrush keeps ringing and ringing-
Ringing- now he is still,
There’s a starry light in a window
On the dark, dark hill.

The home that’s far away
Comes stealing back to me,
With the calling of the thrushes
In the bonny birch-tree.

My eyes are full of tears
For to-day and yesterday,
For the yearning and the yearining,
And the heart that’s far away.


V. Sorrow is Come Like a Swallow To Nest


SORROW is come like a swallow to nest,
Winging him up from the wind and the foam;
Mine is the heart that he loves the best,
He dreams of it when he dreams of home.

Strange! In the daylight off he flies,
Swift to the south away to the sea;
But when in the west the ruby dies,
With the growing stars he comes back to me.

With the slat, cool wind in his wing,
And the rush of tears that tingles and start,
With a throb at the throat so he cannot sing,
He nestles him into my lonely heart.

And he tells me of something I cannot name,
Something the sea with the sea-wind sings,
That somehow he and love are the same,
That they float and fly with the same swift wings.

I cherish and cherish my timid guest,
For oh, he has grown so dear to me
That my heart would break if he left his nest,
And dwelt in the strange land down by the sea.


VI. 'Tis Autumn and Down in The Fields


‘TIS autumn and down in the fields
The buckwheat is browning still:
Gather yourself in your cloak,
The winter is over the hill.

There’s a cloud of black in the north,
The aurora is smouldering behind,
There are stars in the parting clouds,
And a touch of frost in the wind.

Down in the icy dew
The crickets are cheering shrill:
"There is time for another song,
Though winter is over the hill."

Out of the great black cloud
The aurora leaps and flies,
Pushing its phosphor spikes
In the deeps of the violet skies.

The moon is wrapped in a film,
She looks wan and chill:
Gather yourself in your cloak,
The winter is over the hill.


VII. Spring Song


SING me a song of the early spring,
Of the yellow lights where the clear air cools,
Of the lithe willows bourgeoning
In the amber pools.

Sing me a song of the spangled dells,
Where hepaticas tremble in starry groups,
Of the adder-tongue swinging its golden bells
As the light wind swoops.

Sing me a song of the shallow lakes,
Of the hollow fall of the nimble rill,
Of the trolling rapture the robin wakes
On the windy hill.

Sing me a song of the gleaming swift,
Of the vivid Maryland-yellow-throat,
Of the vesper sparrow’s silver drift
From the rise remote.

Sing me a song of the crystal cage,
Where the tender plants in the frames are set,
Where kneels my love Armitage,
Planting the pleasant mignonette.

Sing me a song of the glow afar,
Of the misty air and the crocus light,
Of the new moon following a silver star
Through the early night.




VIII. Summer Song


SING me a song of the summer time,
Of the sorrel red and the ruby clover,
Where the garrulous bobolinks lilt and chime
Over and over.

Sing me a song of the strawberry-bent,
Of the black-cap hiding the heap of stones,
Of the milkweed drowsy with sultry scent,
Where the bee drones.

Sing me a song of the spring head still,
Of the dewy fern in the solitude,
Of the hermit-thrush and the whippoorwill,
Haunting the wood.

Sing me a song of the gleaming scythe,
Of the scented hay and the buried wain,
Of the mowers whistling bright and blithe,
In the sunny rain.

Sing me a song of the quince and the gage,
Of the apricot by the orchard wall,
Where bends my love Armitage,
Gathering the fruit of the windfall.

Sing me a song of the rustling, slow
Sway of the wheat as the winds croon,
Of the golden disc and the dreaming glow
Of the harvest moon.


IX. Autumn Song


SING me a song of the autumn clear,
With the mellow days and the ruddy eves;
Sing me a song of the ending year,
With the piled-up sheaves.

Sing me a song of the apple bowers,
Of the great grapes the vine-field yields,
Of the ripe peaches bright as flowers,
And the rich hop-fields.

Sing me a song of the fallen mast,
Of the sharp odor the pomance sheds,
Of the purple beets left last
In the garden beds.

Sing me a song of the toiling bees,
Of the long flight and the honey won,
Of the white hives under the apple-trees,
In the hazy sun.

Sing me a song of the thyme and the sage,
Of the sweet-marjoram in the garden gray,
Where goes my love Armitage
Pulling the summer savory.

Sing me a song of the red deep,
The long glow the sun leaves,
Of the swallows taking a last sleep
In the barn eves.


X. Winter Song


SING me a song of the dead world,
Of the great frost deep and still,
Of the sword of fire the wind hurled
On the iron hill.

Sing me a song of the driving snow,
Of the reeling cloud and the smoky drift,
Where the sheeted wraiths like ghosts go
Through the gloomy rift.

Sing me a song of the ringing blade,
Of the snarl and shatter the light ice makes,
Of the whoop and the swing of the snow-shoe raid
Through the cedar brakes.

Sing me a song of the apple-loft,
Of the corn and the nuts and the mounds of meal,
Of the sweeping whir of the spindle soft,
And the spinning-wheel.

Sing me a song of the open page,
Where the ruddy gleams of the firelight dance,
Where bends my love Armitage,
Reading an old romance.

Sing me a song of the still nights,
Of the large stars steady and high,
The aurora darting its phosper lights
In the purple sky.


XI. The Canadian's Home-Song


THERE is rain upon the window,
There is wind upon the tree;
The rain is slowly sobbing,
The wind is blowing free:
It bears my weary heart
To my own country.

I hear the white-throat calling,
Hid in the hazel ring;
Deep in the misty hollows
I hear the sparrows sing;
I see the bloodroot starting,
All silvered with the spring.

I skirt the buried reed-beds,
In the starry solitude;
My snowshoes creak and whisper,
I have my ready blood.
I hear the lynx-cub yelling
In the gaunt and shaggy wood.

I hear the wolf-tongued rapid
Howl in the rocky break,
Beyond the pines at the portage
I hear the trapper wake
His En roulant ma boulé,
From the clear gloom of the lake.

Oh! take me back to the homestead,
To the great rooms warm and low,
Where the frost creeps on the casement,
When the year comes in with snow.
Give me, give me the old folk
Of the dear long ago.

Oh, land of the dusky balsam,
And the darling maple-tree,
Where the cedar buds and berries,
And the pine grows strong and free!
My heart is weary and weary
For my own country.  


XII. Madrigal


SNOW-DROPS now begin in snows,
Crocuses to flush,
Gentle scilla buds and blows
Nurtured in the slush;
All about, like tinkling bells,
Falls the ice a-melting;
Ring, dilly dilly,- Sing, dilly dilly,-
Spring is here,
And the wolf is out of his den, O;
With a ren, O; and a fen, O;
And a den, den, den, O;
Sing, dilly dilly.

Slender moon is floating down
Through a vat of wine,
Bells knoll from the drowsy town,
Din- din- dine;
All about the red robins
Whistle in the dusk;
Ring, dilly dilly,- Sing, dilly dilly,-
Spring is here,
And the lambs are safe in their pen, O;
With a ren, O; and a fen, O;
And a den, den, den, O:
Sing, dilly dilly.

Comrade virgins clad in green
Quaff the nimble air;
Each one, if her mate’s unseen,Is the fairest fair;
Bran is hidden in the hedge
Breathing on his reeds;
Ring, dilly dilly- Sing, dilly dilly,-
Spring is here,
And maidens beware of the men, O;
With a ren, O; and a fen, O;
And a den, den, den, O;
Sing, dilly dilly.


XII. Words After Music


WHERE go all the melodies fair,
They that flow and fade in air?
Was their beauty all foredone?
(Ah, no- no!)
Pulse and cadence truth did tell,
Vowed to music’s magic spell,
Passionate and ineffable.

Where do all the roses go,
They that die before the snow?
Was their beauty all forsworn?
(Ah, no- no!)
Flush and odor vowed aright,
When they promised rare delight,
Perennial and exquisite.

Fragile flowers and melodies
Claim a dual paradise,
Beauty is not feof to death;
(Ah, no- no!)
Beauty lives in essence free,
In the inner heart we see
Beauty’s immortality.