Page images
PDF
EPUB

And rocking on the cliff was left
The dark pine blasted, bare, and cleft.
The veil of cloud was listed, and below
Glowed the rich valley, and the river's flow
Was darkened by the forest's shade,
Or glistened in the white cascade ;
Where upward, in the mellow blush of day,
The noisy bittern wheeled his spiral way.

I heard the distant waters dash,
I saw the current whirl and flash, —
And richly, by the blue lake's silver beach,
The woods were bending with a silent reach.
Then o'er the vale, with gentle swell,
The music of the village bell
Came sweetly to the echo-giving hills ;
And the wild horn, whose voice the woodland fills,
Was ringing to the merry shout,
That faint and far the glen sent out,

Where, answering to the sudden shot, thin smoke, Through thick-leaved branches, from the dingle

broke.

If thou art worn and hard beset
With sorrows, that thou wouldst forget,
If thou wouldst read a lesson, that will keep
Thy heart from fainting and thy soul from sleep,
Go to the woods and hills!— No tears
Dim the sweet look that Nature wears.

THE SPIRIT OF POETRY.

There is a quiet spirit in these woods,
That dwells where'er the gentle south wind blows;
Where, underneath the white-thorn, in the glade,
The wild flowers bloom, or, kissing the soft air,
The leaves above their sunny palms outspread.
With what a tender and impassioned voice
It fills the nice and delicate ear of thought,
When the fast-ushering star of morning comes
O’er-riding the gray hills with golden scarf;

Or when the cowled and dusky-sandaled Eve,
In mourning weeds, from out the western gate,
Departs with silent pace! That spirit moves
In the green valley, where the silver brook,
From its full laver, pours the white cascade ;
And, babbling low amid the tangled woods,
Slips down through moss-grown stones with endless

laughter.
And frequent, on the everlasting hills,
Its feet go forth, when it doth wrap itself
In all the dark embroidery of the storm,
And shouts the stern, strong wind. And here, amid
The silent majesty of these deep woods,
Its presence shall uplift thy thoughts from earth,
As to the sunshine, and the pure bright air,
Their tops the green trees lift. Hence gifted bards
Have ever loved the calm and quiet shades.
For them there was an eloquent voice in all
The sylvan pomp of woods, the golden sun,

The flowers, the leaves, the river on its way, Blue skies, and silver clouds, and gentle winds, — The swelling upland, where the sidelong sun Aslant the wooded slope, at evening, goes, — Groves, through whose broken roof the sky looks in, Mountain, and shattered cliff, and sunny vale, The distant lake, fountains, — and mighty trees, In many a lazy syllable, repeating Their old poetic legends to the wind.

And this is the sweet spirit, that doth fill The world ; and, in these wayward days of youth, My busy fancy oft embodies it, As a bright image of the light and beauty That dwell in nature, — of the heavenly forms We worship in our dreams, and the soft hues That stain the wild bird's wing, and flush the clouds When the sun sets. Within her eye The heaven of April, with its changing light,

« PreviousContinue »