THE COMPLETE POEMS
of FRANCIS SHERMAN


EDITED BY LORNE PIERCE


 

AN ACADIAN EASTER
& other Last Songs




 

AN ACADIAN EASTER1


GOOD FRIDAY, MDCXLV


     “Surely, O Christ, upon this day
     Thou wilt have pity, even on me!
     Hold thou the hands of Charnisay,
     Or bid them clasp, remembering thee.

     “O Christ, thou knowest what it is

5

     To strive with mighty, evil men;
     Lean down from thy high cross, and kiss
     My arms till they grow strong again.

     “(As on that day I drove him back
     Into Port Royal with his dead!
10

     Our cannon made the now drifts black,
     But there, I deem, the waves were red.) [page 133]

     “Yea, keep me, Christ, until La Tour
     (Oh, the old days in old Rochelle!)
     Cometh to end this coward’s war

15

     And send his soul straightway to hell.”

…That night, one looking at the west might say
That just beyond the heights the maples flared
Like scarlet banners,—as they do in autumn,—
The sun went down with such imperial splendor.

20

Near by, the air hung thick with wreathèd smoke,
And not quiet yet had silence touched the hills
That had played all day with thunder of sullen cannon.
But now the veering wind had found the south
And led the following tide up no moon path,

25

Calling the mists—white as the circling gulls—
In from the outer rocks. Heavy with rain
The fog came in, and all her world grew dark,—
Dark as the empty west.
                                       Though one should stand
(Praying the while that God might bless her eyes)

30

Upon the seaward cliff the long night through
On such a night as this (O moaning wind!),
I think that dawn—if dawn should ever break—
Would only come to show how void a thing
Is Earth, that might have been no less than Heaven.

35

    Yea, as it was in France so long ago
Where the least path their feet might follow seemed
The path Love’s feet had trodden but yester hour….

 

EASTER EVEN


     “A little while and I shall see
     His ships returned to fight for me.

40

     He may not dream what bitter woes
     I have to bear; but still he knows
     April and I wait patiently. [page 134]

     “I pray you, sirs, that you will keep
     Good watch tonight, lest they should creep

45

     Close to the landward wall again;
     You might not hear them in this rain.
     And I, because I cannot sleep,

     “Shall guard this other side, till morn
     Show me his sails all gray and torn,

50

     But swift to bring to Charnisay
     Tidings that it is Easter Day
     On earth, and Jesus Christ is born!)

     “Shall he not come? Can he withstand
     The beckoning of April’s hand,

55

     The voices of the little streams
     That break tonight across his dreams
     Of me, alone in a north land?

     “Though yesterday in Boston town
     Fair women wandered up and down

60

     Warm pathways under green-leaved trees,
     Was he not sick with memories
     Of April’s hair and starry gown?

     “Does he not hear spring’s trumpet blow
     Beyond the limits of the snow?

65

     Hark how its silver echo fills
     The hollow places of the hills,
     Proclaiming winter’s overthrow!

     “How glad he was in the old days
     To tread those newly opened ways!

70

     Together we would go—as we
     Shall go tomorrow, joyously—
     And find ten thousand things to praise, [page 135]

     “Things now so sad to think upon.
     And yet he must return ere dawn;

75

     Because he hears at the sea’s rim,
     Calling across the night to him,
     The sundering icebergs of St. John.”

…Now, when dawn broke at last, sullen and gray,
And on the sea there gleamed no distant sail,

80

She quietly said, “It is not Easter Day,
And in my vision I have dreamed strange dreams.”
Still drave the rain in from the east, and still
The ice churned by the bases of the cliffs,
And little noises woke among the firs.

85

“And yet,” she said, “beyond the outer seas,
Far off, in France, among the white, white lilies,
Today they think that Eastertide has come;
And maidens deck their bodies amorously,
And go to sing glad hymns to Christ arisen,

90

Within the little chapel on the hill.
Now shall I fancy it is Easter here,
And think the wasting snow great banks of lilies
And this gray cliff my chapel; and I shall go
And gather seaweed, twining it in my hair,

95

And know God will regard me graciously
Who fashion such sweet carols in his praise.
I must do this alone, because La Tour
Is dallying still in Boston town, where girls
Make beautiful their hair with southern blooms,—

100

Wood violets and odorous mayflower blossoms,
Such as come late into our northern fields.
Was it last Easter—was it years ago—
That he and I went joyously together—
(Having prayed Christ to bless us with his grace)—

105

Between the wasting trunks of the tall pines [page 136]
Wherein one crow called to the hidden rain?
(For here, although it rain at Easter even,
The dawn breaks golden; and a million hours
Seem flown since yesterday.) O golden France,

110

Long lost and nigh forgotten! do they know
Who walk today between your palaces
The gladness that we know when April comes
Into the solitude of this our north,
And the snows vanish as her flying feet

115

Are heard upon the hills? Their organs, now,
Do they sound unto heaven a prouder strain
Than these great pines? Hark how the wind booms through
Their topmost branches, come from the deep sea!
And how old Fundy sends its roaring tides

120

High up against the rocks! Yea, even in France,
I think God sees not more to make him glad
Today,—only the sunshine and the lilies”—
She paused, hearing the chapel matin bell
Clang wearily; and, like to one that finds

125

No welcome in some long-imagined land
Now near at last, back from the hopeless sea,
With agèd face, she turned to help them pray
Whose hearts had lost their heritage of hope….

 

EASTER MORNING


     “O bloom of lilies oversea!

130

     O throng’d and banner’d citadels!
     O clanging of continual bells
     Upon the air triumphantly!
     Let Christ remember not that we
     Await him by these bitter wells. [page 137]

135


     “Make France so very glad and fair
     That Christ, arisen may know today
     That he (O green land, leagues away!)
     Hath come into his kingdom there;
     Let him not dream that otherwhere

140

     Sad men have little heart to pray.

     “For we would have him glad; although,
     For us, joy may no be again.
     Yea, though all day we watch the rain
     Striving to waste the pitiless snow,

145

     We would not have him see or know
     The limits of our grievous pain.

     “And even if he should stoop, perchance,
     (Touching you gently on the stem
     As you brush by his garment’s hem,)

150

     Saying, with lighted countenance,
     ‘Across the sea, in my New France,
     O lilies, how is it with them?’—

     “Lean you up nearer to his face
     (Tenderly sad, supremely wise)

155

     And answer, ‘Uncle fair, blue skies,
     Lord Jesus, in a fruitful place,
     Their souls—the stronger for thy grace—
     Draw nigh unto the sacrifice.’”

…So, striving to arouse their heavy faith,

160

Unto their distant Christ they sang and prayed
Until the gray clouds thinned, and the dull east
Grew half prophetic of the laboring sun.
“See! He hath heard! and all is well!” she cried. [page 138]
But as her voice rang hopefully and clear

165

Down the dim chapel aisle, ere any man
Had caught delight from her fair bravery,
There came upon them sudden gathering sounds
Of strife, of men clamoring, and despair,
Rumor of clashing steel and crumbling walls.

170

Yet not in vain their prayers! O risen Christ,
Was not that fight a glorious thing to see?
Between thine altar and the front o’ the foe
Was not thy hand the hand that lent the strength
Wherewith she drave them backward through the breach,

175

Far from their wounded, calling all the while?
I think that thou wert very glad, O Christ,
Watching these things; and yet, was it not thou
Who hadst made her heart the heart of very woman—
Strong for the battle, and then, when all was over,

180

Weak, and too prone to trust (even as a child
That wonders not at all, having belief)
In any chance-flung flag, white to the wind?...

 

THE SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EASTER


“Hearken! Afar on the hills, at last is it surely spring?
Have the sudden mayflowers awakened to see what the wind can

185
        bring?

There, in the bare high branches, does a robin try to sing?

“O Life, why—now thou art fair and full of the promise of peace—
Oh, why dost thou shudder away, away from me, begging release,
As the dead leaves falter and flutter and fall when the warm winds         cease? [page 139]

“As the dead leaves fall from the trees. O Life, must thou hurry

190
        away?

Behold, it is spring upon earth, and tomorrow the month will be
         May;
And the southmost boughs shall grow green that were barren but
         Yesterday.

“And I, even I, shall grow young once more; and my face shall be
         fair,—
Yea, fair as still waters at even, under the starlight there;
And all of the glory of dawn shall be seen once again in my hair.

195

“And yet, and yet, who will see? Were it true that all things should
         be so,
What joy could we have of it ever? Time bringeth new visions; and
         lo,
One may not remember in April how autumn was kind, long ago!

                       .       .       .       .       .       .      .
 

“O desolate years! are you over at last with your devious ways?
Nay, I should say, ‘Let me go from you gladly, giving you praise

200

For the least of the things I remember of you rand the least of your
         days.’

“Giving thanks for the noises of Earth—little noises—when April is
         born;
For the smell of the roses in June, for the gleam of the yellowing
         corn;
For the sight of the sea at even, the sight of the sea at morn.

“And most—most of all—for the old fighting days! (O La Tour, are

205
         they past?)

For the sound of beleaguering cannon, the sight of the foe fleeing          fast.
Yea, and though at the end we have fallen, even now I am glad at          the last!

                         .       .       .       .       .       .      .   [page 140]
 
“How good it is here in the sun! O strong, sweet sound of the sea,
Do you sorrow that now I must go? Have you pity to waste upon          me
Who may tarry no longer beside you, whom Time is about to set

210
         free?


“Nay, sorrow nor pity at all. See, I am more glad than a queen
For the joy I have had of you living! Had the things that we know
         never been,
You and I then had reason for sorrow, O Sea—had our eyes
         never seen!

“Come close to me now,—past the weed-covered rocks, up the
         gray of the sand;
Here is a path I have made for you, hollowed it out with my hand;

215

Come, I would whisper a word to you, Sea, he may never
         withstand:

“‘Where our garden goes down to the sea’s edge (remember?—
         O France, thou art fair!)
Renewing those old royal days, of all else careless now, unaware,
Among the remembering lilies her soul abides patiently there.’”

1900.



 

THE HOUSE OF FORGIVENESS


Remembering most the old, eternal days,
I cannot curse our life—thy life and mine;
But now, perceiving its complex design,
I go on my intolerable ways,
And, blaming me the more, give thee more praise.

5

—I dared to think that such a love as thine
Were bounded by each little curve and line
My hand might limn!—by my blind yeas and nays! [page 141]
And now I say not where thy paths shall be,
Or who shall go or come at thy least call;

10

Only I know that when thy footsteps fall
Across the silences that cover me,
Both God and I shall deem it best of all
Love liveth yet on earth for such as thee.

1896.



 

AT ADVENT-TIDE


The carvèd stalls; the altar’s drapery;
The stainèd glass; the candlesticks of gold;
The dim far roof; the good priest purple-stoled;
My lady’s throat—all these are fair to see,
And where these sounds are I am glad to be.

5

The simple prayers; Christ’s loving kindness told;
The last note that the organ fain would hold;
A little child’s hymn rising plaintively—
…Yet I remember…it was long ago…
In sermon-time—(I think he spake of hell—

10

I do not know—I was not listening)
—The great west door was open wide, and lo!
I saw the grasses where the sunlight fell,
And heard a throated robin worshipping.

1896.



 

BECAUSE THOU HAST NO DREAMS OF MY DISTRESS

“…making those sad whom God has no made sad,—
 alas! alas! What chance for any of us to find the Hollow Land!”

Because thou hast no dreams of my distress
Shall I cry out to mar thy soft delight?
Nay! though the wrathful gods forget me quite
I shall not chide thee nor account thee less. [page 142]

For though these paths my wounded feet must press

5

Continually, I know they clearer sight
Had found (O! thick the risen mists and white!)
The hollow land beyond the wilderness.

And thou…I think that now thy garments sweep
Across its grasses and young daffodils;

10

Its water-ways are thine; its low winds creep
Through thy gold hair; and where the last light thrills
(Thy sentinels—if, haply, thou shouldst sleep)
Lean over thee its purple-shadowed hills.

1897.



 

A WORD FROM CANADA


Lest it be said,
                One sits at ease
Westward, beyond the outer seas,
Who thanks me not that my decrees
Fall light as love, nor bends her knees

5

                To make one prayer
That peace my latter days may find,—
Lest all these bitter things be said
And we be counted as one dead,
Alone and unaccredited

10

I give this message to the wind:

Secure in thy security,
Though children, not unwise are we;
And filled with unplumbed love for thee,—
Call thou but once, if thou wouldst see!

15

                Where the gray bergs
Come down from Labrador, and where [page 143]
The long Pacific rollers break
Against the pines, for thy word’s sake
Each listeneth,—alive, awake,

20

And with thy strength made strong to dare.

And though our love is strong as Spring,
Sweet is it, too,—as sweet a thing
As when the first swamp-robins sing
Unto the dawn their welcoming.

25

                Yea, and more sweet
Than the clean savor of the reeds
Where yesterday the June floods were,—
Than perfumed piles of new-cut fir
That greet the forest-worshipper

30

Who follows where the wood-road leads.

But unto thee are all unknown
These things by which the worth is shown
Of our deep love; and, near thy throne,
The glory thou hast made thine own

35

                Hath made men blind
To all that lies not to their hand,—
But what thy strength and theirs hath done:
As though they had beheld the sun
When the noon-hour and March are one

40

Wide glare across our white, white land.

For what reck they of Empire,—they,
Whose will two hemispheres obey?
Why shouldst thou not count us but clay
For them to fashion as they may

45

                In London-town?
The dwellers in the wilderness
Rich tribute yield to thee their friend; [page 144]
From the flood unto the world’s end
They London ships ascend, descend,

50

Gleaning—and to thy feet regress.

Yea, thou and they think not at all
Of us, nor note the outer wall
Around thy realm imperial
Our slow hands rear as the years fall,

55

                Which shall withstand
The stress of time and night of doom;
For we who build, build of our love,—
Not as they built, whose empires throve
And died,—for what knew they thereof

60

In old Assyria, Egypt, Rome?

Therefore, in my dumb country’s stead,
I come to thee, unheralded,
Praying that Time’s peace may be shed
Upon thine high, anointed head.

65

               —One with the wheat,
The mountain pine, the prairie trail,
The lakes, the thronging ships thereon,
The valley of the blue Saint John,
New France—her lilies—not alone,

70

                Empress, I bid thee, Hail!

F. H D. from F. S.
Aug., 1897.



 

THE MEETING


After a length of summer miles
I met my old love on the road.
One of her unremembering smiles
Greeted me as I passed and bowed. [page 145]

She had her friend with her; whilst I—

5

I, who was walking, was alone;
Her smile was such, as she drove by,
The wisest friend had never known.

And yet, for all her easy smile,
I knew that shoe would see, instead

10

Of her friend’s face, within a while
(Between the little things she said!)

A field of oats, swayed to-and-fro
With the wind’s kisses, silver-gray,—
This on the hill, while, far below,

15

A great raft slowly went its way,

Where the wide river slept, all blue.
—Because all these were hers to pass,
That she would say this thing, I knew.
“He spoke of this—one day—alas!”

20



 

PROCESSIONAL


Stand aside and let him pass
Over this untrodden grass.
Keep ye to the broken ground.

Let the drums and trumpets sound,
Let the colors be unwound

5

Till they float out on the wind.

Let him all things fairer find
Than all things that lie behind,—
Than he dreamed that they could be.

Let him wonder at the sea

10

Sweeping outward, glad and free,
At the mountains and the skies. [page 146]

Let him know that God is wise
When he sees the sun arise
Where the hills are cleft in two.

15


When a bird from out the blue
Sings its faultless message through,
He shall laugh and understand

That the hollow of God’s hand
Holdeth him and all the land.

20

—Let your trumpets tell his birth

Unto all the waiting earth.
Yea, he cometh, O the worth
Life outholdeth. Let them sound,

Let your pennons be unwound

25

Ye upon the broken ground.
Stand aside and let him pass.



 

TO DOCTOR JOHN DONNE


Those grave old men—and women, too—
Who thronged St. Paul’s in your dear times,
I wonder what they thought of you
When they remembered your strange rhymes.

Did they forgive you for them then

5

(Because you preached so very well)
Putting them by and turn again
To hear your words of heaven and hell?

Or did they pause, seeing you there,
And say, “How can this man have grace?

10

Today, I worship otherwhere!”
And straightway seek some holier place? [page 147]

(For so most men would do today
If from their pulpit you leaned down.
Yea, they would find the quickest way

15

To tell the scandal to the town.

How full it must have been of sin—
Your heart—had it but played with verse.
But you must tell your loves therein—
Alas! could anything be worse?)

20


And yet, among your ancient folk,
I think there must have been a few
Who learned at last to bear Love’s yoke
More patiently because of you.

I sit and see across the years

25

Some maiden kneeling in the aisle,
Contented now; all gone her tears
That you have changed into a smile:

Some lone poor man made rich again:
Some faded woman, with gray hair,

30

Forgetting most of her old pain:
Some grave-eyed poet, surer there.

O dim, hushed aisles of long ago,
Have ye no messages to tell?
We wonder, and are fain to know

35

The secret ye have kept so well.

And though we kneel with open eyes
Among your shadowy ghosts today,
Not one of us grows strong, or wise,
Nor find we comfort when we pray. [page 148]

40


But they! how glad they seem who sit
And hear the voice we cannot hear.
Quietly they remember it—
The unknown thing we hold so dear.

Their faces fade with the low sun….

45

What wonder were they dreaming of?
Surely, it cannot be, John Donne,
They think that you were wise to love?



 

A SONG

 

Between the snowdrifts and the sea,
Seeking, at last shall I find thee?
O friend of half-forgotten days,
Are these indeed the very ways
Thou tookest when thou wentst from me?

5


It must be that I touch thy hands
Today in these most empty lands:
Else how shall I—O Found in dreams—
Have any joy of all these streams
That strive to bust their iron bands?

10


—Unless it chance my wandering
Before the night my tired feet bring
Over the unswept threshold of
Thy hidden house, how may I, Love,
Be glad because of this year’s Spring?

15


And yet, a little thing it is
To bear quite patiently with this;
Seeing that I tonight shall find
Forgetfulness of snow and wind
In the warm tremor of thy kiss.

20


Feb.,’98
. [page 149]



 

IN EXILE


I think you must remember
When days like this come back
That afternoon the little firs
Leaned to our snowshoe track.

O, how the wood was silent!

5

Save when the boughs let fall
Their snow upon the speckled drift;
No other noise at all.

And when we gained the open,
Remember how it seemed

10

The sun had found its ancient strength!—
How white the meadows gleamed!

          .      .       .       .       .       .       .      

Ours was a hill-temple.
The old pines in a ring
Waited around the while we prayed

15

For just this simple thing—

That morning might be April
And we might seek again
The sources of the hidden springs
That tarry for the rain.

20


To our most quiet altar
We came not as they come
Who have some burden to lay down,
Whose frightened lips are dumb;

But like to them whose courage

25

Faints not (although their path
Lead sheer across the pathless drift
Into the pits of wrath), [page 150]

Knowing (each one) that surely
Time’s heartlessness shall cease,

30

And that at last his hands shall touch
The boundaries of peace.

For we are Northern children;
And when our souls have birth
The strength of the North wind comes to them—

35

The whiteness of the Earth;

So that we wend unfearing
On our appointed ways,
With thankfulness in our child-hearts
And lips attuned to praise.

40


Yea, strong enough forever
To bide our separate dooms
Tho’ our bare days and nights be filled
With dreams of Southern blooms.

O wind of the pine forests!

45

Can you blow down to her
Word that her ancient hills await
Their wandered worshipper?

Tell her that April lingers
Behind the low south wall

50

Only until the hills divide
At her accustomed call;

Say that a gray cloud gathers
Between the eastern rifts;
That great brown stones win slowly through

55

The purple-shadowed drifts. [page 151]

And last—a last endeavor
To mar her unconcern—
Whisper, I, too, wait patiently
Her ultimate return,

60

Who hold the old faith ever
The years may not make less—
That her white Northern soul hath still
The pole-star’s steadfastness.

        .      .      .      .      .      .      .

Down in your sultry garden

65

Where red the roses burn
I think you pause a moment now
When days like this return,

And lift your face, and wonder
How deep the drifted snow

70

Lies on the northern hills that watch
The little town below;

And if the old hill altar
Retains its ancient use;
If still the brooding pines abide

75

Their dedicated truce.

I think you pause and hearken—
About this time of year—
For the low sound on hidden plains
Of April’s feet, drawn near;

80


And cry to the opened lilies
That lean unto your hand,—
“Today, one waits on the white hills,
Alone, in a Northern land!”

Feb., ’98. [page 152]



 

IN APRIL


The unforgetful April stars
Above the wood in legions rise;
A little lingering while they drift
Across the quiet middle skies,
Until at last their slow gleam fades

5

Where the low hills wait, brooding-wise.

And I—I call them all by name
(Crying your name to each of them);
Lo, this—I say—marks her white throat;
And this, her golden garment’s hem;

10

And these (I count them—seven) these,
God fashioned for her diadem!

1899.



 

IN THE SOUTH


In any other land, now,
Are there nights like these?
The white moon wanders up
Among the palm-trees;
And hardly any wind falls

5

Upon the purple seas.

More gold than Cortes, even,
Touched in any dream
Sank half-an-hour ago
Deep in the Gulf Stream:

10

Like fine dust of it
The few clouds seem.

And hark! from the Convent
One slow bell:
There’s an old garden there,— [page 153]

15

Ah! if I could tell
Half how sweet the jazmin
And diamela smell.

I think that I am glad, here,
And deem the moment good.

20

And yet—there’s the North Star!...
As if one ever could
Forget the gray ways Night comes in
Now, in the old wood.

Havana,
Christmas, 1899.



 

BECAUSE THY SEPARATE WAYS


Because thy separate ways
Lie past the outmost star,
I fashion in thy praise
This northern calendar
Of memorable days—

5

Lest thou, afar,

Only lest thou forget:
Not to discomfort thee.
Peace, Child! If thou forget, regret,
How shall it go with me

10

Who have no strength—and yet
My time bide patiently?

O close to God’s control!
When the last dawn shall break
Between me and my goal,

15

Because His hand did make
The whiteness of thy soul,
Shall He not reach and take
Mine, too, for thy soul’s sake? [page 154]



 

AT TWILIGHT


Heart of my heart! canst thou hear? canst thou hear?
Awake! it is June; and the violets peer
Where the old acorns lie and the leaves of last year.

Awake! It is I, it is I who have come
To arouse thee, to kiss thee, to guide thy feet home.

5

I call and I hearken: the twilight is dumb.

O, surely thou hearest my far-reaching cry!
O come and be glad of the grass and the sky
And the greenwood we knew long ago, thou and I!

I cry and I hearken; a little wind stirs

10

Through the trees: then again the great silence is hers:
And the new moon drops under the silver-tipped firs:

Only, over the hill, on the hillside, I know
That it pauses to watch for a while, ere it go,
The roof of her House where the young grasses grow.

15



 

THE RETURN


A day ago, as she passed through,
(September, with foreshadowed hair)
The great doors of the year swung to
And little leaves fell here and there.

Behind white, drifted clouds was lost

5

The pageant of the level sun;
We knew the silence tokened frost
And that the old warm eves were done. [page 155]

And so we mourned and slept. But he,
(The Master of the moving hours)

10

Called up the Southern wind: and we
Awoke,—to see, across the flowers,

The gates flung back a morning’s space,
And (while the fields went wild for mirth!)
Above the threshold Summer’s face—

15

Yearning for her old lover, Earth.



 

AT THE YEAR’S TURN


This year, the perfume of her hair
Has fallen about me many times—
Dimly; as when you waken where
One long ago made subtle rhymes
Your vain hands clasp the empty air.

5


When April first came in, and Spring
Called loud from valley unto hill,
Awhile I laughed at each new thing—
Strong as the risen waters: still,
I dreamed upon her wandering.

10


And when the warm, warm days were come,
And roses bloomed in any lane,
My heart, that should have sung, was dumb
As waiting birds before the rain:
The heavy air was burthensome.

15


Today, I paused, at the year’s turn,
Between the sunset and the wood
Where many broad-leaved maples burn;
Until I saw her, where I stood,
Across the tawny seas of fern [page 156]

20


(Red rowan-berries in her hair)—
October—come to me again:
And as I waited for her there,
Softly the Hunter’s Moon made plain
Her curvèd bosom, white and bare.

25



 

A HEARTH-SONG


One more log on the fire!
For we be agèd men
(Whom nothing once could tire—
But it was Summer then!)
With only one desire—

5

That Spring were born again.

Now Earth the deep snows cover,
That—long ago, alas!—
Was garmented with clover
And yellow weeds and grass;

10

The wasted days are over
We deemed could never pass.

Yet why should we go weeping
Because that sudden thief,
The snow, hath in its keeping

15

Each little bud and leaf?—
I think the grasses, sleeping,
Laugh softly at our grief!

For once of old we waited,
Praying that Spring might come

20

And Earth be consecrated;
(Had she discovered some
New resting-place, created
For her eternal home?) [page 157]

But in our slumber-hours

25

Softly she came to us,
With gentle winds and showers,
Wayward and tyrannous;
With promises of flowers
Golden and glorious.

20


So like each little brother
We have beneath the snow,
Unto the mighty Mother.
A-sleeping let us go—
Till we—as they—another

25

Glad resurrection know!



 

SO, AFTER ALL, WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE


So, after all, when all is said and done,
And such is counted loss and such as gain,
For me, these many years, the tropic rain
That threshes thro’ the plumèd palms is one
With the next moment’s certitude of sun.

5

Indolent, without change, insurgent, vain,—
So my days follow; long have the old hopes lain
Like weeds along the road your feet have run.
Now, I know not what thing is good, what bad;
And faith and love have perished for a sign:

10

But, after I am dead, my troubled ghost
Some April morn shall tremble and be glad,
Hearing your child call to a child of mine
Across the Northern wood it dreams of most.

July 2, 1901. [page 158]



 
 

1 From 1641 to 1645 the history of Acadia is largely the history of the strife between the Sieur de La Tour and the Seigneur d’Aulnay Charnisay: the one lieutenant for the king, with headquarters at the mouth of the St. John; the other in command of the forts at Penobscot and Port Royal. In 1643 Charnisay attacked Fort La Tour, but was repulsed. He then blockaded the harbor, but La Tour, but with his wife, Frances Marie Jacqueline, slipped through and escaped to Boston. Returning with five ships he drove the surprised Charnisay back to Port Royal. Early in 1645, Charnisay, hearing that La Tour was again in Boston, once more assailed the fort. Driven back with great loss by Lady La Tour he maintained a strict blockade, and in April returned to the attack, this time from the landward side. For three days the heroic woman held the enemy at bay; and even when a Swiss sentry, bribed by Charnisay, early on the morning of Easter Sunday, threw upon the gates, opposed the assault with such vigor that Charnisay called for truce and offered honorable terms, which, to save the lives of her men, Lady La Tour accepted. Once in possession, he hanged the garrison. Man by man,—their mistress standing by with a rope around her neck. Her death, three weeks later, released her from captivity. [back]

 

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