Along the line of smoky hills
The crimson forest stands,
And all the day the blue-jay calls
Throughout the autumn lands.
Now by the brook the maple leans
With all his glory spread,
And all the sumachs on the hills
Have turned their green to red.
Now by great marshes wrapt in mist,
Or past some river's mouth,
Throughout the long, still autumn day
Wild birds are flying south.
The End of the Furrow
When we come to the end of the furrow,
When our last day's work is done,
We will drink of the long red shaft of light
That slants from the westering sun.
We will turn from the field of our labour,
From the warm earth glad and brown,
And wend our feet up that village street,
And with our folk lie down.
Yea, after the long toil, surcease,
Rest to the hearts that roam,
When we join in the mystic silence of eve
The glad procession home.
In My Study,
Out over my study,
All ashen and ruddy,
Sinks the December sun;
And high up over
The chimney’s soot cove,
The winter night wind has begun.
Here in the red embers
I dream old Decembers,
Until the low moan of the blast,
Like a voice out of Ghost-land,
Or memory’s lost-land,
Seems to conjure up wraiths of the past.
Then into the room
Through the firelight and gloom,
Some one steals,—let the night-wind grow bleak,
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On Christmas Eve
In byre and barn the mows are brim with sheaves,
Where stealeth in with phosphorescent tread
The glimmering moon, and, ’neath his wattled eaves,
The kennelled hound unto the darkness grieves
His chilly straw, and from his gloom-lit shed,
The wakeful cock proclaims the midnight dread.
With mullioned windows, ’mid its skeleton trees,
Beneath the moon the ancient manor stands,
Old gables rattle in the midnight breeze,
Old elms make answer to the moaning seas
Beyond the moorlands, on the wintry sands,
While drives the gust along the leafless lands.
We are what nature made us; soon or late,
Life's art that fadeth passeth slow away,
With iron eatings of our sordid day,
Leaving behind those influences, innate,
Immutable, divine. As round some great,
Rude, craggy isle, the loud surf's ravening fray
Shatters all life in spume of thundered spray,
Leaving huge cliffs, scarred, grim, in naked state.
So life and all its idols hath its hour,
Its fleet, ephemeral dream, its passing show,
Its pomp of fevered hopes that come and go:
Then stripped of vanity and folly's power,
Like some wide water bared to moon and star,
We know ourselves in truth for what we are.
The Wind's Royalty
This summer day is all one palace rare,
Builded by architects of life unseen,
In elfin hours the sun and moon between,
Up out of quarries of the sea and air,
And earth's fine essences. Aladdin's were
But tinsel sheen beside this gloried dream,
High, sunny-windowed, walled by wood and stream,
And high, dome-roofed, blue-burnished, beyond compare.
Here reigns a king, the happiest known on earth,
That blithesome monarch mortals call the wind,
Who roves his galleries wide in vagrant mirth,
His courtier clouds obedient to his mind;
Or when he sleeps his sentinal stars are still,
With ethiop guards o'ertopping some grave hill.
Not Unto Endless Dark
Not unto endless dark do we go down,
Though all the wisdom of wide earth said yea,
Yet my fond heart would throb eternal nay.
Night, prophet of morning, wears her starry crown,
And jewels with hope her murkiest shades that frown.
Death's doubt is kernelled in each prayer we pray.
Eternity but night in some vast day
Of God's far-off red flame of love's renown.
Not unto endless dark. We may not know
The distant deeps to which our hopings go,
The tidal shores where ebbs our fleeting breath:
But over ill and dread and doubt's fell dart,
Sweet hope, eternal, holds the human heart,
And love laughs down the desolate dusks of death.
The Higher Kinship
Life is too grim with anxious, eating care
To cherish what is best. Our souls are scarred
By daily agonies, and our conscience marred
By petty tyrannies that waste and wear.
Why is this human fate so hard to bear?
Could we but live with hill-lakes silver-starred,
Or where the eternal silence leaneth toward
The awful front of nature, waste and bare:
Then might we, brothers to the lofty thought
And inward self-communion of her dream,
Into that closer kin with love be brought,
Where mighty hills and woods and waters, wan,
Moon-paved at midnight or godlike at dawn,
Hold all earth's aspirations in their gleam.
Carven in leathern mask or brazen face,
Were I time's sculptor, I would set this man.
Retreating from the truth, his hawk-eyes scan
The platforms of all public thought for place.
There wriggling with insinuating grace,
He takes poor hope and effort by the hand,
And flatters with half-truths and accents bland,
Till even zeal and earnest love grow base.
Knowing no right, save power's grim right-of-way;
No nobleness, save life's ignoble praise;
No future, save this sordid day to day;
He is the curse of these material days:
Juggling with mighty wrongs and mightier lies,
This worshipper of Dagon and his flies!
There dwells a spirit in the budding year-
As motherhood doth beautify the face-
That even lends these barren glebes a grace,
And fills grey hours with beauty that were drear
And bleak when the loud, storming March was here:
A glamour that the thrilled heart dimly traces
In swelling boughs and soft, wet, windy spaces,
And sunlands where the chattering birds make cheer.
I thread the uplands where the wind's footfalls
Stir leaves in gusty hollows, autumn's urns.
Seaward the river's shining breast expands,
High in the windy pines a lone crow calls,
And far below some patient ploughman turns
His great black furrow over steaming lands.