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The morning will soon be here,
For over the purple hill
The daylight is chasing the night away,
With a foot that is noiseless and still.
Oh, the night was so long, so long!
As I sat by the window alone, Watching the moon as it slowly rose
Till above the trees it shone. It looked, as it hung in the sky,
Like a goblet filled to the brim With wine of an amber golden hue;
And now it is white and dim, As if it had been quaffed,
And only the glass remained, With the faintest, palest, shimmering tinge
To show what it then contained. And once, when it fullest seemed
With the sparkling, glittering wine, A single star, like a fleck of fuam
Of the precious juice of the vine,
Went drifting, drifting off,
As we sometimes lose a day
That, when the goblet of life is full
Silently floats away;
But now the daylight is here
And the sad, vague thoughts of night
Have died away, as the sunbeams fall
Like arrows of golden light. Ah, ʼtis quiet hours like these
When we wistfully look above, And see the works of the great, good God,
And think of His tender love,
That help us braver to be
And strengthen us on our way,
Till the night of life is merged at last
In eternity's perfect day.
HENRY AUGUSTIN BEERS.
Thou art my Dismal Swamp, my Everglades,
Thou my Campagna, where the bison wades
Through shallow, steaming pools, and the sick air
Decays. Thou my Serbonian Bog art, where
O’er leagues of mud, black vomit of the Nile,
Crawls in the sun the myriad crocodile.
Or thou my Cambridge or my Lincoln fen
Shalt be, a lonely land where stilted men
Stalking across the surface waters go,
Casting long shadows, and the creaking, slow
Canal-barge, laden with its marshy hay,
Disturbs the stagnant ditches twice a day.
Thou hast thy crocodiles: on rotten logs
Afloat, the turtles swarm and bask; the frogs,
When come the pale, cold twilights of the spring,
Like distant sleighbells through the meadows ring.
The school-boy comes on holidays to take
The musk-rat in its hole, or kill the snake,
Or fish for bull-heads in the pond at night.
The hog-snout's swollen corpse, with belly white,
I find upon the footway through the sedge,
Trodden by tramps along the water's edge.
Not thine the breath of the salt marsh below
Where, when the tide is out, the mowers go,
Shearing the oozy plain that reeks with brine
More tonic than the incense of the pine.
Thou art the sink of all uncleanliness,
A drain for slaughter-pens, a wilderness
Of trenches, pockets, quagmires, bogs where rank
The poison sumach grows, and in the tank
The water standeth ever black and deep,
Greened o'er with scum. Foul pottages, that steep
And brew in that dark broth, at night distill
Malarious fogs, bringing the fever chill.
Yet grislier horrors thy recesses hold:
The murdered peddler's body five days old
Among the yellow lily-pads was found
In yonder pond; the new-born babe lay drowned
And throttled on the bottom of this moat,
Near where the negro hermit keeps his boat,
Whose wigwam stands beside the swamp, whose
It furnishes, fat spouts and mud-spawned eels.
Even so thou hast a kind of beauty, wild,
Unwholesome, thou the suburb's outcast child,
Behind whose grimy skin and matted hair
Warm nature works and makes her creatures fair.
Summer has wrought a blue and silver border
Of iris flags and flowers in triple order
Of the white arrowhead round Beaver Pond,
And o'er the milk-weeds in the swamp beyond
Tangled the dodder's amber-colored threads.
In every fosse the bladderwort's bright heads
R. HENRY AUGUSTIN BEERS was born
in Buffalo, N. Y., 2nd July, 1847. He was raduated at Yale in 1869, was tutor there from 1871 till 1875, and was chosen assistant professor of English in 1875. He spent five months in study abroad, mainly in Heidelberg, and was made full professor in 1880. He has published “Odds and Ends,” a collection of verses (Boston, 1878); A Century of American Literature (New York, 1878); “Life of N. P. Willis ” (Boston, 1885;) “Seclections from Willis's Prose Writings " (New York, 1885); “The Thankless Muse,” a collection of verses (Boston, 1885); “Introduction to Readings from Ruskin" (1885); and “An Outline Sketch of English Literature" (New York, 1886).
Like orange helmets on the surface show.
Richer surprises still thou hast: I know
The ways that to thy penetralia lead,
Where in the black bogs the sundew's sticky bead
Ensnares young insects, and that rosy lass,
Sweet Arethusa, blushes in the grass.
Once on a Sunday, when the bells were still,
Following the path under the sandy hill
Through the old orchard and across the plank
That bridges the dead stream, past many a rank
Of cat-tails, midway in the swamp, I found
A small green mead of dry but spongy ground,
Entrenched about on every side with sluices
Full to the brim of thick lethean juices,
The filterings of the marsh. With line and hook
Two little French boys from the trenches took
Frogs for their Sunday meal, and gathered messes
Of pungent salad from the water-cresses.
A little isle of foreign soil it seemed,
And, listening to their outland talk, I dreamed
That yonder spire above the elm-tops calm
Rose from the village chestnuts of La Balme.
Yes, many a pretty secret hast thou shown
To me, O Beaver Pond, walking alone
On summerafternoons, while yet the swallow
Skimmed o’er each Aaggy plash and gravelly
Or when September turned the swamps to gold
And purple. But the year is growing old.
The golden-rod is rusted, and the red
That streaked October's frosty cheek is dead;
Only the sumach's garnet pompons make
Procession through the melancholy brake.
Lo! even now the autumnal wind blows cool
Over the rippled waters of thy pool,
And red autumnal sunset colors brood
Where I alone and all too late intrude.
A WHALE of great porosity
And small specific gravity Dived down with much velocity
Beneath the sea's concavity. But soon the weight of water
Squeezed in his fat immensity,
Which varied-as it ought to,
Inversely as his density.
It would have moved to pity
An Ogre or a Hessian
To see poor Spermaceti
Thus suffering compression.
The while he lay a-roaring
In agonies gigantic,
The lamp-oil out came pouring
And greased the wide Atlantic. (Would we'd been in the Navy,
And cruising there! Imagine us All in a sea of gravy,
With billow oleaginous!)
At length old million-pounder,
Low on a bed of coral,
Gave his last dying flounder,
Whereto I pen this moral.
O, let this tale dramatic,
Anent this whale Norwegian
And pressures hydrostatic,
Warn.you, my young collegian, That down-compelling forces
Increase as you get deeper; The lower down your course is,
The upward path's the steeper.
The muses ring my bell and run away.
I spy you, rogues, behind the evergreen: You, wanton Thalia, romper in the hay;
And you, Terpsichore, you long-legged quean. When I was young you used to come and stay,
But, now that I grow older, 'tis well seen What tricks ye put upon me. Well-a-day!
How many a summer evening have ye been Sitting about my door-step, fain to sing And tell old tales, while through the fragrant
dark Burned the large planets, throbbed the brooding
Of crickets and the tree-toads' ceaseless ring;
And in the meads the fire-fly lit her spark
Where from my threshold sank the vale profound.
THE SINGER OF ONE SONG.
He sang one song and died-no more but that:
A single song and carelessly complete.
He would not bind and thresh his chance-grown
Nor bring his wild fruit to the common vat,
To store the acid rinsings, thin and fat,
Squeezed from the press or trodden under feet.
A few slow beads, blood-red and honey-sweet, Oozed from the grape, which burst and spilled its fat. But Time, who soonest drops the heaviest things That weight his pack, will carry diamonds long.
So through the poets' orchestra, which weaves One music from a thousand stops and strings, Pierces the note of that immortal song:
“High over all the lonely bugle grieves.”
But if content, my bird,
Awhile to rest
On this true loving breast, Till thou art healed;
Then shalt thou soar to heaven, Thy freedom gladly given.
The birds have felt the sting of Winter's breath
And Auttered off beyond his deadly clutch.
Forsaken nests fit solitary boughs,
And suit the solemn sadness of the scene.
The wind no longer breathes a gentle tune,
Or whispers soothing music 'mong the trees,
But pipes a sad and restless monotone,
And seems to mourn the falling of the leaves.
To hide their sad decay from mocking eyes
It wafts them to their grave, and chants a dirge,
While leafless branches bow their heads in grief,
And settled gloom pervades the lonely place.
The sun sinks back behind the clouds, abashed,
Nor dares intrude upon the funeral scene,
While all the clouds assume their mourning robes
And weave thick darkness for a shelt'ring pall.
O BRAVE, fair flower, my snowdrop sweet,
The spring and winter meet. Thy gleaming wings are blossomed snow, But in the dainty bell below
The springtide's tender green doth glow, O, darling flower of snow and verdure!
I bend my head a little space;
Breathe softly in my face; Thy tender, curving lips unclose; I drink the breath of scented snows,
And in deliciousness repose, O, darling flower of snow and verdure!
Thou art the winter's sweet reply
To our half-glad good-bye; But underneath thy snowy wing We spy a messenger of spring,
With promise of more blossoming, Thou darling flower of snow and verdure!
I clip thy wings, my bird,
In kindly love;
Like as our God above Restraineth us,
When we would soar too high
And, sinking downward, die. Thou art too weak, my bird,
Thy strength to try;
Wounded thou canst not fly, So rest content;
God holds us down to earth
To give new pinions birth.
O, may our lives like thee unfold,
Sweet blossom of the cold!
May we rise bravely to endure,
And be as spotless, fair and pure,
With promise of a springtide sure, Where fairer flowers shall bloom forever.