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“ 'Tis work, work, work," he muttered,
" And for rest a snuffle of psalms !” He smote on his leathern apron
With his brown and waxen palms.
“O for the purple harvests.
Of the days when I was young!
And the pleasant songs they sung !
“O for the breath of vineyards,
Of apples and nuts and wine !
Down the grand old river Rhine!”
A tear in his blue eye glistened
And dropped on his beard so gray. “Old, old am I,” said Keezar,
66 And the Rhine flows far away!'
But a cunning man was the cobbler ;
He could call the birds from the trees, Charm the black snake out of the ledges,
And bring back the swarming bees.
All the virtues of herbs and metals,
All the lore of the woods, he knew, And the arts of the Old World mingled
With the marvels of the New.
Well he knew the tricks of magic,
And the lapstone on his knee
Or the stone of Doctor Dee.
For the mighty master Agrippa
Wrought it with spell and rhyme From a fragment of mystic moonstone
In the tower of Nettesheim.
To a cobbler Minnesinger
The marvellous stone gave he, And he gave it, in turn, to Keezar,
Who brought it over the sea.
He held up that mystic lapstone,
He held it up like a lens, And he counted the long years coming
By twenties and by tens.
“One hundred years," quoth Keezar,
“ And fifty have I told : Now open the new before me,
And shut me out the old !”
Like a cloud of mist, the blackness
Rolled from the magic stone, And a marvellous picture mingled
The unknown and the known.
Still ran the stream to the river,
And river and ocean joined ; And there were the bluffs and the blue sea-line,
And cold north hills behind.
But the mighty forest was broken
By many a steepled town,
And many a garner brown.
Turning a score of mill-wheels,
The stream no more ran free ; White sails on the winding river,
White sails on the far-off sea.
Below in the noisy village
The flags were floating gay,
And shone on a thousand faces
The light of a holiday.
Swiftly the rival ploughmen
Turned the brown earth from their shares ; Here were the farmer's treasures,
There were the craftsman's wares.
Golden the good-wife's butter,
Ruby her currant-wine;
Fat were the beeves and swine.
Yellow and red were the apples,
And the ripe pears russet-brown, And the peaches had stolen blushes
From the girls who shook them down.
And with blooms of hill and wild-wood,
That shame the toil of art, Mingled the gorgeous blossoms
Of the garden's tropic heart.