Wherefore, leaves, so gladly mad? I am rather sad than glad.
"He is the merry child that play'd Underneath our beechen shade, Years ago; whom all things bright Gladden’d, glad with his delight!”
I KNOW the Mirage—the vague, wandering ghost
That haunts the desert's still and barren sand
With the close vision of a lovely land,
Once blossoming, but now forever lost;
It rises to the eyes of men who bear
Hunger of heart and thirst of lip in vain-
Mocking their souls with rest. Behold, how plain!
Taking the breathless sand and boundless air,
It stands upon the horizon, far
Lost fountains flutter under beckoning palm
(Singing, all birds of longing thither start);
Dear voices rise from homes where children play;
The footsteps lighten, the blest air blows balm.
Then all is sand—within a dreamer's heart!
I am not the child that play'd
Underneath your beechen shade;
I am not the boy ye sung
Songs to, in lost fairy-tongue.
He read fairy dreams below,
Legends leaves and flowers must know;
He dream'd fairy dreams, and ye
Changed to fairies, in your glee
Dancing, singing from the tree;
And, awaken'd, fairy-land
Circled childhood's magic wand!
Joy swell’d his heart, joy kiss'd his brow;
I am following funerals now.
Fairy shores from Time depart;
Lost horizons flush my heart.
I am not the child that play'd
Underneath your beechen shade.
“ 'Tis the merry child that play'd
Underneath the beechen shade
Years ago; when all things bright
Loved, made glad with his delight!"
All things are full of life this autumn morn;
The hills are gladdening under silver cloud;
A fresher spirit in Nature's breast is born;
The woods are blowing lustily and loud;
The crows fly, cawing, among the flying leaves;
On sunward-lifted branches struts the jay;
The fluttering brooklet, quick and bright, receives
Bright frosty silverings slow from sledges gray
Of rock in buoyant sunshine glittering;
Cold apples drop through orchards mellowing;
’Neath forest-eaves blithe squirrels dart along;
Farms answer farms as through bright morns of
And joy, with dancing pulses full and strong,
Joy everywhere is heard with laugh and song!
Ah! the bright leaves will not know
That an old man dreams below!
No; they will not hear nor see,
Clapping their hands at finding me,
Singing, dancing from their tree!
Ah! their happy voices steal
Time away: again I feel,
While they sing to me apart,
The lost child come in my heart:
In the enchantment of the Past,
The old man is the child at last!
The angels come, the angels go,
Through open doors of purer air; Their moving presence oftentimes we know,
It thrills us everywhere.
I DREAMED; I saw a lily in my dream
Of feverish wakefulness at twilight hour:
Issuing from moonlight grew that sainted flower
Above my pillow; and, the tender gleam
Of its white radiance, like a fragrant stream,
Alighting on me, marvel'd I: “What dower
Of purity is thine, which 'gainst the power
Of aught impure a steadfast charm doth seem?"
... Transfigured dreadlessly, the lily grew
An angel's stature, passing so away.
Then I awoke from fever which had been,
But in that dewy presence could not stay,
And over me you lent with holier dew:
Out of your heart had grown the flower within.
Sometimes we see them: lo, at night,
Our eyes were shut but open'd seem: The darkness breathes a breath of wondrous light,
And then it was a dream!