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How it clatters along the roofs, Like the tramp of hoofs ! How it gushes and struggles out From the throat of the overflowing spout! Across the window-pane It pours and pours; And swift and wide, With a muddy tide, Like a river down the gutter roars The rain, the welcome rain ! The sick man from his chamber Looks at the twisted brooks; He can feel the cool Breath of each little pool; His fevered brain Grows calm again, And he breathes a blessing on the rain. From the neighbouring school Come the boys, With more than their wonted noise And commotion; And dow the wet streets Sail their mimic fleets, Till the treacherous pool Engulfs them in its whirling And turbulent ocean. In the country, on every side, Where far and wide, Like a leopard's tawny and spotted hide, Stretches the plain, To the dry grass and the drier grain How welcome is the rain!
In the furrowed land
The farmer sees
TO THE DRIVING CLOUD.
Gloomy and dark art thou, O chief of the mighty Omawhaws; Gloomy and dark, as the driving cloud, whose name thou hast taken! Wrapt in thy scarlet blanket, I see thee stalk through the city's Narrow and populous streets, as once by the margin of rivers Stalked those birds unknown, that have left us only their footprints. What, in a few short years, will remain of thy race but the
footprints ? How canst thou walk in these streets, who hast trod the green turf
of the prairies ? How canst thou breathe in this, who hast breathed the sweet air
of the mountains ? Ah! 'tis in vain that with lordly looks of disdain thou dost challenge Looks of dislike in return, and question these walls and these
pavements, Claiming the soil for thy hunting-grounds, while down-trodden
millions Starve in the garrets of Europe, and cry from its caverns that
they, too, Have been created heirs of the earth, and claim its division ! Back, then, back to thy woods in the regions west of the Wabash! There as a monarch thou reignest. In autumn the leaves of the
maple Pave the floors of thy palace-halls with gold, and in summer Pine-trees waft through its chambers the odorous breath of their
branches. There thou art strong and great, a hero, a tamer of horses ! There thou chasest the stately stag on the banks of the Elk-horn, Or, by the roar of the Running-Water, or where the Omawhaw Calls thee, and leaps through the wild ravine like a brave of the
Blackfeet! Hark! what murmurs arise from the heart of those mountainous
deserts? Is it the cry of the Foxes and Crows, or the mighty Behemoth, Who, unharmed, on his tasks once caught the bolts of the thunder, And now lurks in his lair to destroy the race of the red man? Far more fatal to thee and thy race than the Crows and the Foxes, Far more fatal to thee and thy race than the tread of Behemoth, Lo! the big thunder-canoe, that steadily breasts the Missouri's Merciless current! and yonder, afar on the prairies, the camp-fires Gleam through the night; and the cloud of dust in the gray of the
daybreak Marks not the buffalo's track, nor the Mandan's dexterous horse
race; It is a caravan, whitening the desert where dwell the Camanches! Ha! how the breath these Saxons and Celts, like the blast of the
east-wind, Drifts evermore to the west the scanty smokes of thy wigwams!
TO A CHILD. DEAR child! how radiant on thy mother's knee, With merry-making eyes and jocund smiles, Thou gazest at the painted tiles, Whose figures grace, With many a grotesque form and face, The ancient chimney of thy nursery! The lady with the gay macaw, The dancing girl, the brave bashaw With bearded lip and chin; And, leaning idly o'er his gate, Beneath the imperial fan of state, The Chinese mandarin. With what a look of proud command Thou shakest in thy little hand The coral rattle with its silver bells, Making a merry tune! Thousands of years in Indian seas That coral grew, by slow degrees, Until some deadly and wild monsoon Dashed it on Coromandel's sand ! Those silver bells Reposed of yore, As shapeless ore, Far down in the deep-sunken wells Of darksome mines, In some obscure and sunless place, Beneath huge Chimborazo's base, Or Potosi's o'erhanging pines ! And thus for thee, O little child, Through many a danger and escape, The tall ships passed the stormy cape; For thee in foreign lands remote, Beneath the burning, tropic skies, The Indian peasant, chasing the wild goat, Himself as swift and wild, In falling, clutched the frail arbute, The fibres of whose shallow root, Uplifted from the soil, betrayed The silver veins beneath it laid, The buried treasures of dead centuries. But, lo! thy door is left ajar! Thou hearest footsteps from afar! And, at the sound, Thou turnest round With quick and questioning eyes, Like one who, in a foreign land,
Beholds on every hand Some source of wonder and surprise! And, restlessly, impatiently, Thou strivest, strugglest, to be free. The four walls of thy nursery Are now like prison-walls to thee. No more thy mother's smiles, No more the painted tiles, Delight thee, nor the playthings on the foor, That won thy little, beating heart before; Thou strugglest for the open door. Through these once solitary halls Thy pattering footstep falls. The sound of thy merry voice Makes the old walls Jubilant, and they rejoice With the joy of thy young heart, O'er the light of whose gladness No shadows of sadness From the sombre background of memory tart. Once, ah, once, within these walls, One whom memory oft recalls, The Father of his Country dwelt. And yonder meadows broad and damp The fires of the besieging camp Encircled with a burning belt. Up and down these echoing stairs, Heavy with the weight of cares, Sounded his majestic tread; Yes, within this very room Sat he in those hours of gloom, Weary both in heart and head. But what are these grave thoughts to thee? Out, out! into the open air! Thy only dream is liberty, Thou carest little how or where. I see thee eager at thy play, Now shouting to the apples on the tree, With cheeks as round and red as they; And now among the yellow stalks, Among the flowering shrubs and plants, As restless as the bee. Along the garden-walks, The tracks of thy small carriage-wheels I trace, And see at every turn how they efface Whole villages of sand-roofed tents, That rise like golden domes Above the cavernous and secret homes