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The sevenfold gates of mystery,
And, baffled ever, babble still,
Word-prodigal of fate and will;
From Nature, and her mockery, Art,
And book and speech of men apart,-
To the still witness in my heart;
With reverence waiting to behold
His Avatar of love untold,
The Eternal Beauty new and old!
WHITE clouds, whose shadows haunt the deep,
Light mists, whose soft embraces keep
The sunshine on the hills asleep!
O isles of calm !—O dark, still wood!
And stiller skies that overbrood
Your rest with deeper quietude!
O shapes and hues, dim beckoning, through Yon mountain gaps, my longing view Beyond the purple and the blue,
To stiller sea and greener land,
And softer lights and airs more bland,
And skies-the hollow of God's hand!
Transfused through you, O mountain friends!
With mine your solemn spirit blends,
And life no more hath separate ends.
I read each misty mountain sign,
I know the voice of wave and pine,
And I am yours, and ye are mine.
Life's burdens fall, its discords cease,
I lapse into the glad release
Of Nature's own exceeding peace.
Oh welcome calm of heart and mind!
As falls yon fir-tree's loosened rind
To leave a tenderer growth behind,
So fall the weary years away;
A child again, my head I lay
Upon the lap of this sweet day.
This western wind hath Lethean powers,
Yon noonday cloud nepenthe showers,
The lake is white with lotus-flowers!
Even Duty's voice is faint and low,
And slumberous Conscience, waking slow,
Forgets her blotted scroll to show.
The Shadow which pursues us all,
Whose ever-nearing steps appal,
Whose voice we hear behind us call,—
That Shadow blends with mountain grey,
It speaks but what the light waves say,—
Death walks apart from Fear to-day!
Rocked on her breast, these pines and I Alike on Nature's love rely;
And equal seems to live or die.
Assured that He whose presence fills
With light the spaces of these hills
No evil to his creatures wills,
The simple faith remains, that He
Will do, whatever that may be,
The best alike for man and tree :-
What mosses over one shall grow,
What light and life the other know,
Unanxious, leaving Him to show.
OH, thicker, deeper, darker growing,
The solemn vista to the tomb
Must know henceforth another shadow,
And give another cypress room.
In love surpassing that of brothers
We walked, O friend, from childhood's day;
And, looking back o'er fifty summers,
Our footprints track a common way.
One in our faith, and one our longing
To make the world within our reach
Somewhat the better for our living,
And gladder for our human speech.
Thou heard'st with me the far-off voices,
The old beguiling song of fame,
But life to thee was warm and present,
And love was better than a name.
To homely joys and loves and friendships
Thy genial nature fondly clung;
And so the shadow on the dial
Ran back and left thee always young.
And who could blame the generous weakness Which, only to thyself unjust,
So overprized the worth of others,
And dwarfed thy own with self-distrust?
All hearts grew warmer in the presence
Of one who, seeking not his own,
Gave freely for the love of giving,
Nor reaped for self the harvest sown.
Thy greeting smile was pledge and prelude
Of generous deeds and kindly words:
In thy large heart were fair guest-chambers
Open to sunrise and the birds!
The task was thine to mould and fashion
Life's plastic newness into grace:
To make the boyish heart heroic,
And light with thought the maiden's face.
O'er all the land, in town and prairie,
With bended heads of mourning, stand
The living forms that owe their beauty
And fitness to thy shaping hand.
Thy call has come in ripened manhood,
The noonday calm of heart and mind;
While I, who dreamed of thy remaining
To mourn me, linger still behind:
Live on, to own, with self-upbraiding,
A debt of love still due from me,—
The vain remembrance of occasions,
For ever lost, of serving thee.
It was not mine among thy kindred
To join the silent funeral prayers,
But all that long sad day of summer
My tears of mourning dropped with theirs.
All day the sea-waves sobbed with sorrow,
The birds forgot their merry trills:
All day I heard the pines lamenting
With thine upon thy homestead hills.
Green be those hillside pines for ever,
And green the meadowy lowlands be,
And green the old memorial beeches
Name carven in the woods of Lee!
Still let them greet thy life-companions
Who thither turn their pigrim-feet
In every mossy line recalling
A tender memory sadly sweet.
O friend! if thought and sense avail not
To know thee henceforth as thou art,
That all is well with thee for ever
I trust the instincts of my heart.
Thine be the quiet habitations,
Thine the green pastures blossom-sown,
And smiles of saintly recognition,
As sweet and tender as thy own.
Thou com'st not from the hush and shadow
To meet us, but to thee we come ;
With thee we never can be strangers,
And where thou art must still be home.
ALL grim and soiled and brown with tan,
I saw a Strong One, in his wrath,
Smiting the godless shrines of man
Along his path.
The Church, beneath her trembling dome,
Essayed in vain her ghostly charm:
Wealth shook within his gilded home
With strange alarm.
Fraud from his secret chambers fled
Before the sunlight bursting in:
Sloth drew her pillow o'er her head
To drown the din.
'Spare," Art implored, "yon holy pile;
That grand, old, time-worn turret spare!"
Meek Reverence, kneeling in the aisle,
Cried out, "Forbear!" !
Grey-bearded Use, who, deaf and blind,
Groped for his old accustomed stone,
Leaned on his staff, and wept to find
His seat o'erthrown.