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is worthy of a place near Timrod's fine ode on the same subject. "Sapelo" is undoubtedly his greatest and most finished poem, and is a priceless contribution to the national anthology. It is a loving and detailed description of nature on the coast of Georgia, a series of exquisitely soft and lovely marines. In the midst of life's toil and care, the poet gives himself up awhile to dream of the still peace and beauty of this enchanted isle so dear to his memory. "Sapelo" barely misses being a masterpiece of poetic art."

The Counteung


All selections used are from 'Poems,' 1904. Copyright, The State Company, Columbia, South Carolina, and used here by permission.

Behold, I stood in spirit near to Heaven's gate,
A little space apart, that I might see
Who coming thither do find entrance straight,
And who rejected be.

And One stood in the narrow gateway, clothed in white
And holding forth a sword whose fiery levin,
Turning each way and flashing sharp and bright,
Kept well the way of Heaven;

"That naught of sin or wrong, or any evil thing,
Might enter there," he said, "nor any man,
Save such as from the far-off world might bring
Christ's token in his hand."

No need to tarry long, for all the ways were lined
With hurrying pilgrims, bearing each his load;
All with their eager footsteps bent where shined
The city of our God.

And so they came up ever, one by one, and stood
Each in his turn before the closed gate,
And offered there some offering of good;
Nor one had long to wait.

But none did enter in. Long while I stayed,

Waiting in vain for one whose gift should meet Acceptance from the Seraph.

Many laid

Their burdens at his feet;

Differing in kind and in proportion, all,

And some were weary loads enough to bear; But still the strong barred gates closed up the wall, And none found entrance there.

Amid the press I noted one who brought

Clusters of crimson fruit heaped in his arms; Apples of Sodom proved; the fair husks held naught Save bitter dust, and worms.

After a while one with a sheaf, like wheat,

Came up; but this, when he had quick untied,

A little wind did snatch up from his feet
And scatter far and wide.

And one who trusted much unto his dress.
To pass him in, toward the gateway came,
But, seeing far the Angel's gloriousness,
Shrunk off for very shame.

Then at the last there came one through the throng-
I saw them draw their robes aside and toss
Their heads as she passed by-who crept along
Bearing a grievous cross.

Some mocked her for her burden: "Go to, now,
A rare gift thine to lay before the King."
And others yet called after: "Shame that thou
Shouldst touch that holy thing!"

But, even while they mocked her, lo, the gate
Before us to soft music opened wide;
The Angel sheathed his sword as she came straight,
Naught fearing, to his side.

A hundred hands were stretched at once, it seemed, To draw her in; her robe turned strangely white; And round her happy head there sudden gleamed A crown of life and light.

She quickly passed away—and I awoke;
But, even as the transient vision fled,
A still voice, softer than a whisper, spoke
Somewhere near me and said:

""Tis good that thou art here, since it were well For men to know how few and far between Are they who pass the gate. Go now and tell The things that thou hast seen."

And so He faded, as the thin, white mist
Fades in its rising from the wet sea-sands;
But this I saw-a riven side; and this-
Pierceèd white feet and hands!


Far from thy shores, enchanted isle,
Tonight I claim a brief surcease
From toil and pain, to dream awhile
Of thy still peace—

To wander on thy shining strand,
And lose awhile life's troubled flow;
Its tumults die upon thy sand,
Blest Sapelo.

*Sapelo Island is on the ocean front of McIntosh County, Georgia.

The sun is setting in the west;

The last light fades on land and sea; The silence woos all things to restAnd wooeth me.

So here I lie, with half-closed eye,
Careless, without one vexing thought,
While cool uncounted hours drift by
In dreamy sort.

And, ever, sweet thoughts without words,
The shadows of old memories,
Rise up and float away, as birds
Float down the skies.

In dreams I see the live-oak groves;
In dreams I hear the curlews cry,
Or watch the little mourning doves
Speed softly by.

I hear the surf beat on the sands,

And murmurous voices from the sea; The wanton waves toss their white hands, And beckon me.


Once more adrift 'neath sunny skies, Where sunny seas have in their keep The lotus-lands, I see arise

From out the deep

Thy purple woods, uplift in air
Above the misty horizon,

As the king's gardens towered fair
O'er Babylon.

We win into that silent sea;

Our keel glides noiseless to the shore; Sweet eyes and true hearts welcome me

To rest once more.

The peaceful ocean hints not here
The sorrows its deep caves conceal;
A loving Spirit broodeth o'er
Its waters still.

And well, as words are set to song,
My thoughts are set unto its sounds;
Their echoes rise and fall along
Life's weary rounds.

The waves are murmuring on the beach,
A soft wind whispers in the palm;
There is no sound of ruder speech
To mar the calm.

The happy sun comes up once more
Above the woods I know so well;
The rosy heaven, from shore to shore,
Glows like a shell.

I see the great old trees and tall,

Sheeted with tangled vines that sweep From limb to limb-a leafy pall, Where shadows sleep.

The long moss waves in every breeze,
Like tattered banners, old and gray;
And sigh and sigh, the old, old trees
All night, all day.

With flower and fruit at once arrayed, The orange groves are passing fair, As though all seasons loved such shade, And lingered there.

A mocking-bird on quivering wings

Floats up and down the woodland ways, And, glad with me, he soars and sings Our song of praise.

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