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“ And so, in grateful interchange 450
Of teacher and of hearer,
While daily drawing nearer.
“ And if the husband or the wife
In home's strong light discovers 455 Such slight defaults as failed to meet
The blinded eyes of lovers,
Why need we care to ask ? — who dreams
Without their thorns of roses,
Or wonders that the truest steel 460 The readiest spark discloses?
“ For still in mutual sufferance lies
The secret of true living :
The sweetness of forgiving.
“ We send the Squire to General Court,
He takes his young wife thither;
Rides through the sweet June weather.
“ He sees with eyes of manly trust
All hearts to her inclining;
That others share its shining."
Thus, while my hostess spake, there grew
Before me, warmer tinted 475 And outlined with a tenderer grace,
The picture that she hinted.
The sunset smouldered as we drove
Beneath the deep hill-shadows.
Like ghosts the haunted meadows.
Sounding the summer night, the stars
Dropped down their golden plummets ; The pale arc of the Northern lights
Rose o'er the mountain summits,
485 Until, at last, beneath its bridge,
We heard the Bearcamp flowing,
The welcome home-lights glowing;
And, musing on the tale I heard, 490 ’T were well, thought I, if often
To rugged farm-life came the gift
To harmonize and soften;
If more and more we found the troth
Of fact and fancy plighted, 495 And culture's charm and labor's strength
In rural homes united,
The simple life, the homely hearth,
With beauty's sphere surrounding,
And blessing toil where toil abounds 500 With graces more abounding.
[This poem was published in 1875, but it had already appeared in an earlier version in 1860 under the title of The Witch's Daughter, in Home Ballads and other Poems. Mabel Martin is in the same measure as The Witch's Daughter, and many of the verses are the same, but the poet has taken the first draft as a sketch, filled it out, adding verses here and there, altering lines and making an introduction, so that the new version is a third longer than the old. The reader will find it interesting to compare the two poems. The scene is laid on the Merrimack, as Deer Island and Hawkswood near Newburyport intimate. A fruitful comparison might be drawn between the treatment of such sub jects by Whittier and by Hawthorne.]
THE RIVER VALLEY.
Across the level tableland,
A grassy, rarely trodden way,
And stunted growth of cedar, leads
To where you see the dull plain fall
The seasons' rainfalls. On its brink
The over-leaning harebells swing;
10 And, through the shadow looking west,
You see the wavering river flow
Holds to the sun, the sheltering hills,
And glimmering water-line between,
And fruit-bent orchards grouped around
The low brown roofs and pairted eaves,
No warmer valley hides behind
Yon wind-scourged sand-dunes, cold and bleak
The wave-sung welcome of the sea,
Or mark the northmost border line
25 Here, ground-fast in their native fields,
Untempted by the city's gain,
Who bear the pleasant name of Friends,
And keep their fathers' gentle ways 30 And simple speech of Bible days;
In whose neat homesteads woman holds
With modest ease her equal place,