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xiv. The Crew of the Long Serpent
xv. A Little Bird in the Air.
VOICES OF THE NIGHT.
Πότνια, πότνια νυξ,
Dreams that the soul of youth engage PLEASANT it was, when woods were
Ere Fancy has been quellid;
Old legends of the monkish page,
Traditions of the saint and sage,
Tales that have the rime of
age, Where, the long drooping boughs be
And chronicles of Eld. tween,
And, loving still these quaint old themes, Shadows dark and sunlight sheen
Even in the city's throng Alternate come and go;
I feel the freshness of the streams,
That, crossed by shades and sunny Or where the denser grove receives
gleams, No sunlight from above,
Water the green land of dreams, But the dark foliage interweaves
The holy land of song. In one unbroken roof of leaves, Underneath whose sloping eaves Therefore, at Pentecost, which brings The shadows hardly move.
The spring, clothed like a bride, Beneath some patriarchal tree
When nestling buds unfold their wings,
And bishop's-caps have golden rings, I lay upon the ground;
Musing upon many things,
I sought the woodlands wide. Clapped their little hands in glee, The green trees whispered low and mild; With one continuous sound;
It was a sound of joy! A slumberous sound,
-a sound that They were my playmates when a child
And rocked me in their arms so wild ! brings
Still they looked at me and smiled,
As if I were a boy;
“Come, be a child once more !" O'er meadow, lake, and stream. And waved their long arms to and fro,
And beckoned solemnly and slow; And dreams of that which cannot die,
Oh, I could not choose but go
Into the woodlands hoar;
Into the blithe and breathing air,
Into the solemn wood, Like ships upon the sea;
Solemn and silent everywhere! $
All solemn Voices of the Night, That can soothe thee, or affright,
Be these henceforth thy theme.”
Nature with folded hands seemed there, Kneeling at her evening prayer !
Like one in prayer I stood. Before me rose an avenue
Of tall and sombrous pines;
In long and sloping lines.
Like a fast-falling shower,
As once upon the flower.
Ye were so sweet and wild !
Thou art no more a child !
Watered by living springs;
Its clouds are angels' wings. “Learn, that henceforth thy song shall
The bending heavens below.
Of iron branches sounds! A mighty river roars between, And whosoever looks therein, Sees the heavens all black with sin,
Sees not its depths, nor bounds. "Athwart the swinging branches cast,
Soft rays of sunshine pour; Then comes the fearful wintry blast; Our hopes, like withered leaves, fall fast; Pallid lips say, 'It is past!
We can return no more ! “Look, then, into thine heart, and
write! Yes, into Life's deep stream! All forms of sorrow and delight,
HYMN TO THE NIGHT.
'Ασπασίη, τρίλλιστος. I HEARD the trailing garments of the
Night Sweep through her marble halls ! I saw her sable skirts all fringed with
light From the celestial walls ! I felt her presence by its spell of might,
Stoop o'er me from above; The calm, majestic presence of the
Night, As of the one I love. I heard the sounds of sorrow and delight,
The manifold, soft chimes, That fill the haunted chambers of the
Night, Like some old poet's rhymes. From the cool cisterns of the midnight
air My spirit drank repose; The fountain of perpetual peace flows
there,From those deep cisterns flows. O holy Night! from thee I learn to bear
What man has borne before : Thou layst thy finger on the lips of Care,
And they complain no more. Peace! Peace! Orestes-like I breathe
this prayer! Descend with broad-winged flight, The welcome, the thrice-prayed-for, the
most fair, The best-beloved Night!
A PSALM OF LIFE.
WHAT THE HEART OF THE YOUNG
MAN SAID TO THE PSALMIST. Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
“Life is but an empty dream!” For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest!
And earnest thoughts within me rise, And the grave is not its goal;
When I behold afar, "Dust thou art, to dust returnest," Suspended in the evening skies, Was not spoken of the soul.
The shield of that red star. Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
O star of strength! I see thee stand Is our destined end or way;
And smile upon my pain; But to act, that each to-morrow
Thou beckonest with thy mailèd hand, Find us farther than to-day.
And I am strong again., Art is long, and Time is fleeting, Within my breast there is no light, And our hearts, though stout and But the cold light of stars; brave,
give the first watch of the night Still, like muffled drums, are beating To the red planet Mars. Funeral marches to the grave.
The star of the unconquered will, In the world's broad field of battle,
He rises in my breast, In the bivouac of Life,
Serene, and resolute, and still, Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
And calm, and self-possessed. Be a hero in the strife !
And thou, too, whosoe'er thou art, Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant ! That readest this brief psalm,
Let the dead Past bury its dead! As one by one thy hopes depart, Act,-act in the living Present!
Be resolute and calm. Heart within, and God o'erhead !
O fear not in a world like this, Lives of great men all remind us
And thou shalt know ere long,
To suffer and be strong.
THE REAPER AND THE A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
FLOWERS. Seeing, shall take heart again.
THERE is a Reaper, whose name is Let us, then, be up and doing,
Death, With a heart for any fate;
And, with his sickle keen, Still achieving, still pursuing,
He reaps the bearded grain at a breath, Learn to labour and to wait.
And the flowers that grow between. “Shall I have nought that is fair !”
saith he; THE LIGHT OF STARS.
“Have nought but the bearded grain ?
Though the breath of these flowers is The night is come, but not too soon;
sweet to me, And sinking silently,
I will give them all back again."
He gazed at the flowers with tearful
eyes, There is no light in earth or heaven, He kissed their drooping leaves; But the cold light of stars;
It was for the Lord of Paradise And the first watch of night is given
He bound them in his sheaves. To the red planet Mars.
“My Lord has need of these flowerets Is it the tender star of love? The star of love and dreams?
The Reaper said, and smiled; O no! from that blue tent above,
“Dear tokens of the earth are they, A hero's armour gleams.
Where he was once a child.