Page images
[blocks in formation]

Through forest ways with rustling leaves o'er

spread The pine-boughs whispered low of bodings

One only answer is; there truth belongs;

Lo, I am life, life's PRINCE! Lo, thou mayst see
Life's source and power personified in ME.



And all the air a mystery seemed to fill.

But in the shadows of enfolding night,
From out the bosom of the frosty air,

Where sloped the hillside from the upper glade, Fell a baptismal robe of beauty rare;

I sought cool rest within a maple shade;
And when, at kiss of dawn, awoke the earth, In pictured beauty there before me lay
Each leaf and pine-bough, clad in vesture white The varying landscape on that summer day.
Told of the peaceful hour of Winter's birth. Just at my right, swift plunged a noisy rill

In mimic torrent from the rugged hill,

Till, winding down, it coursed through meadows ROBERT BURNS.


In laughing ripples and in glittering sheen.
JANUARY 25, 1885.

Nature's own music in melodious treat
Born unto toil and framed in rustic mold,

Filled all my senses with their voices sweet. There stirred within him, masterful and strong, From the far pasture of the woody dell

The impulse of a heaven-sent gift of song. Came soft vibrations of the tinkling bell; In strains now blithe, now sad, his verses told And from the meadows, and the flowery leas, The simple rugged nature, grandly bold

With the chirp of insects and the hum of bees, In honest manhood's cause to battle wrong; Came the sweet discord of unmeasured notes The joys that unto homely lives belong;

From feathered songsters, with uplifted throats. Though oft his days were dark and skies were cold, 1 From the soft rustle of the swaying trees, What heed we of the wintry winds to-night ! And their leaves' Autter in the gentle breeze,

When hearts within are warm with friendly cheer? There came co-mingling and falling round

We sing his songs, and dwell in scenes more fair, The ceaseless cadence of symphonious sound. Where summer's treasures deck the meadows While thus entranced with all this wordless psalm, bright,

My nature softened in its mellow balm; Where daisies bloom, and glittering waves are There soon came stealing o'er my grateful sense clear,

(My soul beguiling with its recompense) By banks o' bonnie Doon and brigs of Ayr. Half conscious sleep; then did the music seem

Vague as the vision of a forgotten dream.

The song of bird, and bee, and babbling rill,

The leaves' soft murmur, and the tinkling bell,

By strange transition in the passive mind, ORN near New London, Conn. Mr. Darrow

Changed then to music of another kind. has lived in Buffalo

many years. He pub- Out of old years with their memories fraught, lished a small volume of poems for private circula- Again came visions and unbidden thought. tion in 1888, entitled “Iphigenia, a Legend of the

I sat in a classic hall amid the throng Iliad and Other Poems."

Editor Who came to worship at the shrine of song.

There standing forth, the “Prima Donna" made

Her voice ring grandly through the great arcade, A SONNET OF LIFE.

Then sweet and low, borne faintly through the air,

The notes came softly to the people there, Thou mystery of life! O, faltering thought,

Until to all did that grand song impart That, seeking, fain would find the secret dower

The strange enchantment of her wondrous art. Of thy eternal, unborn source and power, Thy mystic vital essence, ne'er forthwrought, Again I sat where somber shadow falls Though by all science's tireless searching sought. Through Gothic arches in sacred temple walls; Who hid thy secret in the acorn's cell,

While from the organ, in its swelling sound, The seed of flower and the bird's egg-shell ? To the soul came speaking in notes profound, Whenceforth by subtle energy are brought

The song of angels, while by human tongue Strength, beauty and glad-voiced trill of songs. The words were vocal, as the song was sung. Vain finite mind of scientist or sage,

'Twas “Gloria in Excelsis" to the Lord of grace, Vain strife of human thought in every age,

Who gave salvation to our ruined race.




[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[graphic][merged small][merged small][graphic]



Again I stood within the tented camp
Where armies, marshaled with their heavy tramp,
Gathered for war, for the bloody strife,
Where foemen meet and stake life against life.
I heard the loud clang of the bugle call;
I saw the brave men in red carnage fall;
I heard the shout, andeheard the groan,
The swelling sigh and the dying moan;
The battle was won, but in darkness o'er all
Mantled the smoke, like a funeral pall;
Then I heard the low music of muffled drums,
And I heard the sad wail from ruined homes.

The Dancing Faun.
Thou dancer of two-thousand years,

Thou dancer of to-day,
What silent music fills thine ears,

What Bacchic lay,
That thou shouldst dance the centuries

Down their forgotten way?
What mystic strain of pagan mirth

Has charmed eternally
Those lithe, strong limbs that spurn the earth ?

What melody
Unheard of men has Father Pan

Left lingering with thee?
And where is now the wanton throng

That round thee used to meet?
On dead lips died the drinking song,

But, wild and sweet,
That silent music urged thee on

To its unuttered beat.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

And, when at last Time's weary will

Brought thee again to sight,
Forth camest thou dancing, dancing still,

Into the light,
Unwearied from the murk and dusk

Of centuries of night.
Alas for thee, alas again,

The early faith is gone!
The gods no more are seen of men;

All, all are gone!
The shady forests no more shield

The satyr and the faun.
On Attic slopes the bee still hums,

On many an Elian hill
The wild grape swells, but never comes

The distant trill
Of reedy Autes, for Pan is dead;

Broken his pipes and still.

When was unwrapped the ashen winding sheet
That swathed Pompeii, the city of the dead,
And once again the southern azure shed
Its light through ruined court and empty street,
Lo! from the darkness where no human tread
Had echoed for a score of centuries,
Appeared a multitude of gracious shapes,
A pageant of the long lost deities,
Hermes and Pan, and Bacchus crowned with

grapes, And all the pleasant demi-gods and fauns Who thronged the woods and kept the fountains

pure. They could not die; no fear of time had they, For they were born of art and must endure While art should live. The stricken city lay About them, yet they took nor note nor care Of unseen evenings and of darkened dawns; In passing years they had no place, no part, Until at last the soft Italian day Peered in upon them, standing silent there, Divine in the divinity of art. And one there was, a faun, among the throng, With limbs for ever leaping into dance, With head thrown back, as though he heard, per

chance, The far off echo of some lost Greek song.

Broken his pipes, his sweet notes dead,

Save those that charm thine ear,
And thine alone; his train is fled;

His groves are drear;
I speak to heedless ears-ah, well,

I would not have thee hear!

Ah, gracious art, whose creatures do not die,

We too have heard the far-off magic song,

We too have caught the spirit of the long, Soft southern days and sheen of sapphire sky;

And so we listen, like the dancing faun, We in our snow-bound new-world haunts, and hear Thy music nearer coming-near, more near

And feel the promise of thy brightening dawn.

« PreviousContinue »