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But diverse: could we make her as the man,
Not like to like, but like in difference.
Yet in the long years liker must they grow;
He gain in sweetness and in moral height,
Nor lose the wrestling thews that throw the world;
Like perfect music unto noble words;
And so these twain, upon the skirts of Time,
Distinct in individualities,
But like each other ev'n as those who love.
Then comes the statelier Eden back to men;
Then reign the world's great bridals, chaste and calm: Then springs the crowning race of human-kind. May these things be!"
JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER
John Greenleaf Whittier was born near Haverhill, Mass., December 17, 1807, and died at Hampton Falls, N. H., September 7, 1892.
O more the simple flowers belong
To Scottish maid and lover
Sown in the common soil of song,
In smiles and tears, in sun and showers,
The deathless singer and the flowers
Wild heather-bells and Robert Burns!
The gray sky wears again its gold
And manhood's noonday shadows hold
The dews that washed the dust and soil
I call to mind the summer day -
The sky with sun and cloud at play,
I hear the blackbird in the corn,
And, like the fabled hunter's horn,
How oft that day, with fond delay,
with Burns the hours away,
Forgetful of the meadow!
Bees hummed, birds twittered, overhead
I watched him while in sportive mood
The poet's allegory.
Sweet day, sweet songs! The golden hours
Grew brighter for that singing,
From brook and bird and meadow flowers
A dearer welcome bringing.
New light on home-scene nature beamed,
New glory over woman;
And daily life and duty seemed
No longer poor and common.
I woke to find the simple truth
Of fact and feeling better
Than all the dreams that held my youth
A still repining debtor
That nature gives her handmaid, art,
The tender idyls of the heart
In every tongue rehearsing.
Why dream of lands of gold and pearl,
When farmer-boy and barefoot girl,
I saw through all familiar things
The romance underlying
The joys and griefs that plumed the wings Of Fancy skyward flying.
I saw the same blithe day return,
That rose on wooded Craigie-burn,
I matched with Scotland's heathery hills
O'er rank and pomp, as he had seen,
I saw the Man uprising —
Sweet Soul of Song! I own my debt Uncancelled by his failings!