« PreviousContinue »
Well, in this broad bed lie and sleep,-
The punctual stars will vigil keep,-
Embalmed by purifying cold;
The winds shall sing their dead-march old,
The snow is no ignoble shroud,
The moon thy mourner, and the cloud.
Softly,—but this way fate was pointing,
’T was coming fast to such anointing,
When piped a tiny voice hard by,
Gay and polite, a cheerful cry,
Chic-chicadeedee! saucy note
Out of sound heart and merry throat,
As if it said, “Good day, good sir!
Fine afternoon, old passenger!
Happy to meet you in these places,
Where January brings few faces."
This poet, though he lived apart,
Moved by his hospitable heart,
Sped, when I passed his sylvan fort,
To do the honours of his court,
As fits a feathered lord of land;
Flew near, with soft wing grazed my hand,
Hopped on the bough, then, darting low,
Prints his small impress on the snow,
Shows feats of his gymnastic play,
Head downward, clinging to the spray.
Here was this atom in full breath,
Hurling defiance at vast death;
This scrap of valour just for play
Fronts the north-wind in waistcoat gray,
As if to shame my weak behaviour;
I greeted loud my little saviour,
You pet! what dost here? and what for?
In these woods, thy small Labrador,
At this pinch, wee San Salvador!
What fire burns in that little chest
So frolic, stout and self-possest?
Henceforth I wear no stripe but thine;
Ashes and jet all hues outshine.
Why are not diamonds black and gray,
To ape thy dare-devil array?
And I affirm, the spacious North
Exists to draw thy virtue forth.
I think no virtue goes with size;
The reason of all cowardice
Is, that men are overgrown,
And, to be valiant, must come down
To the titmouse dimension."
'T is good-will makes intelligence,
And I began to catch the sense
“Live out of doors
In the great woods, on prairie floors.
I dine in the sun; when he sinks in the sea,
I too have a hole in a hollow tree;
And I like less when Sunimer beats
With stifling beams on these retreats,
Than noontide twilights which snow makes
With tempest of blinding flakes.
For well the soul, if stout within,
Can arm impregnably the skin;
And polar frost my frame defied,
Made of the air that blows outside."
With glad remembrance of my debt,
I homeward turn; farewell, my pet.
When here again thy pilgrim comes,
He shall bring store of seeds and crumbs.
Doubt not, so long as earth has bread,
Thou first and foremost shalt be fed ;
The Providence that is most large
Takes hearts like thine in special charge,
Helps who for their own need are strong,
And the sky doats on cheerful song.
Henceforth I prize thy wiry chant
O'er all that mass and minster vaunt;
For men mis-hear thy call in Spring,
As 't would accost some frivolous wing,
Crying out of hazel copse, Phe-be!
And, in winter, Chic-a-dee-dee!
I think old Cæsar must have heard
In northern Gaul my dauntless bird,
And, echoed in some frosty wold,
Borrowed thy battle-numbers bold.
And I will write our annals new,
And thank thee for a better clew,
I, who dreamed not when I came here
To find the antidote of fear,
Now hear thee say in Roman key,
Paan! Veni, vidi, vici.
Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Blows the wind to-day, and the sun and the
rain are flyingBlows the wind on the moors to-day and now, Where about the graves of martyrs the whaups
are crying, My heart remembers how!
Gray, recumbent tombs of the dead in desert
places, Standing stones on the vacant, red-wine moor, Hills of sheep, and the homes of the silent
vanished races, And winds, austere and pure!
Be it granted me to behold you again in dying,
Hills of home! and I hear again the callHear about the graves of the martyrs the pee
wees crying, And hear no more at all. 1895.
Robert Louis Stevenson.
ACROSS the narrow beach we fit,
One little sandpiper and I;
And fast I gather, bit by bit,
The scattered driftwood bleached and dry.
The wild waves reach their hands for it,
The wild wind raves, the tide runs high,
As up and down the beach we flit,-
One little sandpiper and I.
Above our heads the sullen clouds
Scud black and swift across the sky: Like silent ghosts in misty shrouds
Stand out the white light-houses high. Almost as far as eye can reach
I see the close-reefed vessels fly, As fast we flit along the beach,
One little sandpiper and I.
I watch him as he skims along,
Uttering his sweet and mournful cry. He starts not at my fitful song,
Or flash of fluttering drapery ;
He has no thought of any wrong;
He scans me with a fearless eye:
Stanch friends are we, well tried and strong,
The little sandpiper and I.
Comrade, where wilt thou be to-night
When the loosed storm breaks furiously? My driftwood fire will burn so bright!
To what warm shelter canst thou fly? I do not fear for thee, though wroth
The tempest rushes through the sky: For are we not God's children both,
Thou, little sandpiper, and I? 1872.