A Group of Musings
Aurora gazed from out her shell-pink bower,
And down the aisles of light sent a fair Hour
With roses in her dainty hands, and hark!
A lark's sweet trill disarms the twilight dark.
The tranquil waters slept 'neath Nature's smile,
Watched by the sunlit skies, as, free from guile,
The tender infant sleeps, while o'er its bed
The mother, yearning dreamer, bends her head.
The crescent moon with silver sheen aglow,
Was set in the far skies, a chiseled bow;
And in the western courts, what riot rare
Of magic hues and tints beyond compare!
Vistas between the shadowy pines were bright
With scintillating stars, and all the night
Was claimed by Reverie; rapt 'neath her spell,
Thoughts come to us whose charm no tongue can
On a Nook Called Fairyland
Is't here the fairies haunt the place,
And o'er the green with witching grace
Trip to the merry roundelay?
Is't here the shepherd pipes his note
Where fair the water lilies float,
And plaintively the pine trees sway?
This is a value of dreams: anigh,
In dreamy cadence flutt'ring by,
Soft woodland murmurs grow apace.
The clouds so pure, drift there on high,
Repose seems gazing from the sky
With wistful beauty in her face.
Yes, this is fairyland! but where
May be the sportive elves who share
This sylvan solitude? To-day
No footstep lingers on the green,
The quiet song of waves, I ween,
Echoes no more the roundelay.
Life is not spent in Fairyland;
The Spirit that this beauty planned,
Gave each a duty to fulfill.
We may, light-hearted, like the fay,
Sing gladsome songs from day to day,
If we fail not to do His will.
On the Concord River
Under the hemlocks Fancy came
And took me in her tender arms;
She sang her sweetest, calmest lays,
And wrapped my spirit soft in balms.
Her chaste aerial form was clad
In shining vestments, and her tread
Was still as snowflake music; e'en
The lily did not bow her head.
Her eyes with misty splendor gleamed,
Shining like fountains in the sun;
She comes,--breath of music sweet,
To tune my life to unison.
Beneath the hemlocks folded close
In Fancy's tender arms, I lie,
And drifting, dream enchanted dreams,
While soft the river murmurs by.
I floated on a cloud one day,
An amber cloud, whose rhythmic sway
Held all my senses in a dream.
I saw the trembling vesper stars
Clinging and peeping through the bars
Of purple-gold and pearly gleam.
'Mid silver spaces caught in air,
Floating upon the cloudlets fair,
While swinging were the rhythmic cars,
Soft rapture did my senses greet,
A music tremulously sweet,--
The harmony beyond the stars.
Suspended in the ether there,
My spirit uttered voiceless prayer
To the great Being of the Light.
As darkness came star-vistas oped,
My soul that erst in shadows groped,
Rose tranquilly from height to height.
Invocation to the Muse
Take it not back! the priceless gift!
The joy that all my heart would thrill,--
Creation's ecstasy in forms
Which a mysterious soul did fill.
Has Fancy drained her silver rills,
And hushed her tuneful birds the while?
Imagination stayed her flight,
Poised on near hills to wait the smile,
That bids her, with the arrow's speed,
Dart past the clouds in ether far,
Nor pause, till faint with ecstasy,
She chants, lured by some chanting star?
Where is the strange, celestial lyre
O'er which my willing soul would play?
Give back once more, the golden lyre,
I would be thine alone to-day!
Comes not the incense from the fire
Upon thine altar lit, O Muse?
There lies the votive offering,
Wilt thou the sacrifice refuse?
I bring this morn the liquid dew,
Caught from Aurora, as she flung
Her benison of dainty light
O'er skies where shad'wy curtains hung.
I bring the music caught from hearts--
Strange minor chords, sad yet so sweet,
Which pain has seared with ceaseless clasp,
And gladness with a clasp so fleet.
I bring the music caught from souls
A flame with hope and deepest love,
And kissed by Life with throbbing lips
Into the peace of calmest dove.
Is not the offering complete,
With complement of joy and pain?
Transformed into a stream of light,
It floats,--harmony again.
I raise my eyes imploringly,
Come, holy Rapture, as before!
I kneel in supplication mute,
Oh! be the gift but mine, once more!
'Tis mine! 'tis mine! the altar glows!
The lyre quivers, touched by thee,
O Muse benignant! Low I bow,
Wrapped in a veil of mystery.
Before thy fane on sacred hills,
My daily orison I'll pour;
I have thy promise, gracious Muse,
Mine is the gift forevermore!
The Vision of Eve
When from the gates of Paradise fair Eve
Turned her reluctant steps with saddest mien,
A sense prophetic stayed her blinding tears,
And thus she yearning cried, her sobs between:
"Could I but see adown the coming days!
Yet, though I may not win that boon, alas!
One question haunts me with resistless charm,
What will my daughters be when æons pass?"
She bowed her head, then as with rev'rence spoke:
"A hope has seized my spirit, e'en though late
It cometh. Ay! and will my fault be less
By what they may achieve of good or great?
Are all my cherished longings to be vain?
I cannot know what grander purpose lies
Beyond the misty verge that bounds my view."
She ceased, with supplication in her eyes.
Again we see the Mother of mankind,
Yet not discrowned and mournful as of yore;
From amethystine battlements she leans,
Wide-eyed with wonder and admiring awe.
Far past the planets, past the swinging stars,
Past worlds on worlds that spin in ether there,
Her glances wander to the circling earth,
Lying below swathed by the purpling air.
Lo! what is it she sees? Forms like to hers,
When erst she paced fair Eden's flow'ry courts;
But on each brow there sits a something new,
A something mystical. Is it the thoughts'
Deep impress which the centuries have left?
The seal of alternating joy and woe,
Of care and grief, anon of hope and love,
Marked by the ages as they come and go?
And ever on and on the glances rove
Of our first mother. Now the marble yields
In Eve-like contours 'neath the skillful touch
Of one; another well the sceptre wields;
And one self-poised, regnant in dignity,
In philosophic councils holds the sway.
Upon the battlefield, one kneels to stanch
The crimson life-blood as it ebbs away.
And thus the dreamer spoke: "Are these my kin,
And has the world so grown since those sweet days
In glorious Paradise when Time was young?
Are these my daughters who with sweeping gaze,
Can scan the sheeny Heavens for a sign
Of God's deep wisdom writ upon the skies?
Are these indeed my children, all my own?
What strange, enchanting visions meet my eyes?"
She hears the rhythmic strains of one who caught
The Muse's most majestic melodies;
The lofty heights, the shining altitudes
Her latest children climb, with pride she sees.
"Ah! my prophetic hopes were not in vain,"
Cried Mother Eve with eager eyes aglow;
"Yet could I dream of this when Time began?
The deeds my daughters dare I could not know."
She paused, and soon her rapt soliloquy
Died like a zephyr o'er a leafy lawn;
She gazed once more from jeweled battlements
Far down the firmament, e'en as the Dawn
Blushed in the east; and when the magic hues
Began in music warfare to engage,
Throughout the spheres a chiming measure thrilled,--
The vibrant music of the newer age!
Ode on the Twentieth Century
What seer is this,
Who gazing calm athwart the deep
Where pent-up storms and thunders sleep,
Nothing can miss?
O'er sweeping with his falcon glance vast tracks,
Chaotic, dim, mysterious.
His prescience brooding o'er a cycle new?
What vaster view
Saw ever seer of eld wrapped in a trance?
What pageant more majestic to enhance
His spirit's yearning mood?
To distant caves
The mighty ocean laves,
To airy grottoes, where the lightning wakes,
His searching glance is sent.
Serene, absorbed, attent,
Forecasting what may be in days unborn--
Days that with sunrise freshness all impearled,
With wings unfurled,
Pause to alight upon a waiting world.
"What may they bring us, Seer?
Unto thy vision clear
Is all revealed?
What of those mystic spheres
Th' unfathomable years
So close have sealed?
What cult is taught in Venus?
Shall we know
Whether there come and go
Fair mortals on that soil unknown,
To manly stature grown?
Are hearth-fires kindled on that planet-isle,
And o'er the sacred pile
Does incense rise to some Divinity?
Look closer, Seer, and see!"
O the wonder of the vision!
O the marvel of the sight!
What shores and streams Elysian!
What scenes with splendor dight!
The seer is rapt: enkinled
His brooding glance has grown;
Then solemn made he answer,
With myst'ry in his tone.
"I grope: the scales are yet
Upon my asking eyes;
Forebodings of surprise
My spirit seize; then let
Naught rude disturb my consecrated mood.
"'Tis come! 'tis come! the vision grows apace!
The scales have fall'n, and behold! I trace
The scroll of Time
With deeper mysteries will be o'er-writ.
"The world is spanned by bridges
Builded of rainbow rays;
O'er foam and wat'ry ridges,
They glitter, glitter to the moon.
They'll lead the foot full soon
To dwellings past the Pleads,
To Cassiope's bright seat.
A thought! and lo, we gaze
Amid a planet's haze.
Could motion be more fleet?
"And harken! Down the chiming spheres
To list'ning ears,
An anthem comes from Jupiter's vast plain--
A matchless strain.
"A message from a star!
Harness the winged car
33With other steeds than any seen before.
Why heed our lagging pow'rs?
Star-wisdom will be ours;
E'en in a flash of thought
Intelligence be brought,
Undreamed of lore.
I see a hall of weird magnificence,
All studded o'er with scintillating gems
Of rarest lustre; 'tis a temple whence
Flows wisdom like a river; nothing stems
The rushing of its richly freighted waves.
Lo! 'tis on Saturn's isles where stately stands
That gleaming hall, and countless student bands
Are flocking thither in air-chariots brought
To learn the subtlest thought
Of star and planet lore,
All unrevealed before.
"Wisdom from worlds erstwhile beyond our ken.
Stupendous! marvelous! what deeds of men
Evoke this guerdon? Lo! the Deity
Makes man-to praise
His boundless majesty.
These works beyond compare
His signet bear.
And all the alchemy of Earth's vast depths,
Magic in coruscating jewels hid,
Secrets but vaguely hinted by the winds,
Marvels beneath the Ocean's wavy lid,
Have yielded to man's craving; myst'ries sealed!
Since sun and moon and stars from Chaos wheeled,
Are now revealed.
"I cease to gaze. I cannot struggle more
With mighty sights and sounds that wingèd come
From space illimitable, and my eyes
Grow misty 'neath th' effulgence. I am dumb.
I cannot fathom what so near me lies--
Wonders unseen, unheard, unknown before."
The curtains falls again, the quest is o'er.