Poems of Nature

Page 7 of 13

Brother, where dost thou dwell?
What sun shines for thee now?
Dost thou indeed fare well,
As we wished thee here below?
What season didst thou find?
'Twas winter here.
Are not the Fates more kind
Than they appear?
Is thy brow clear again
As in thy youthful years?{53}
And was that ugly pain
The summit of thy fears?
Yet thou wast cheery still;
They could not quench thy fire;
Thou didst abide their will,
And then retire.
Where chiefly shall I look
To feel thy presence near?
Along the neighboring brook
May I thy voice still hear?
Dost thou still haunt the brink
Of yonder river's tide?
And may I ever think
That thou art by my side?{54}
What bird wilt thou employ
To bring me word of thee?
For it would give them joy—
'Twould give them liberty—
To serve their former lord
With wing and minstrelsy.
A sadder strain mixed with their song,
They've slowlier built their nests;
Since thou art gone
Their lively labor rests.
Where is the finch, the thrush,
I used to hear?
Ah, they could well abide
The dying year.{55}
Now they no more return,
I hear them not;
They have remained to mourn,
Or else forgot.


Nature doth have her dawn each day,
But mine are far between;
Content, I cry, for, sooth to say,
Mine brightest are, I ween.
For when my sun doth deign to rise,
Though it be her noontide,
Her fairest field in shadow lies,
Nor can my light abide.
Sometimes I bask me in her day,
Conversing with my mate,
But if we interchange one ray,
Forthwith her heats abate.{57}
Through his discourse I climb and see
As from some eastern hill,
A brighter morrow rise to me
Than lieth in her skill.
As 'twere two summer days in one,
Two Sundays come together,
Our rays united make one sun,
With fairest summer weather.


Packed in my mind lie all the clothes
Which outward nature wears,
And in its fashion's hourly change
It all things else repairs.
In vain I look for change abroad,
And can no difference find,
Till some new ray of peace uncalled
Illumes my inmost mind.
What is it gilds the trees and clouds,
And paints the heavens so gay,{59}
But yonder fast-abiding light
With its unchanging ray?
Lo, when the sun streams through the wood,
Upon a winter's morn,
Where'er his silent beams intrude
The murky night is gone.
How could the patient pine have known
The morning breeze would come,
Or humble flowers anticipate
The insect's noonday hum,—
Till the new light with morning cheer
From far streamed through the aisles,
And nimbly told the forest trees
For many stretching miles?{60}
I've heard within my inmost soul
Such cheerful morning news,
In the horizon of my mind
Have seen such orient hues,
As in the twilight of the dawn,
When the first birds awake,
Are heard within some silent wood,
Where they the small twigs break,
Or in the eastern skies are seen,
Before the sun appears,
The harbingers of summer heats
Which from afar he bears.


When life contracts into a vulgar span,
And human nature tires to be a man,
I thank the Gods for Greece,
That permanent realm of peace.
For as the rising moon far in the night
Chequers the shade with her forerunning light,
So in my darkest hour my senses seem
To catch from her Acropolis a gleam.
Greece, who am I that should remember thee,
Thy Marathon, and thy Thermopylae?
Is my life vulgar, my fate mean,
Which on such golden memories can lean?


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