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Harriett Jay

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{White Rose and Red 1873}





WHERE were they wedded? In no Temple of ice
     Built up by human fingers;
The floor was strewn with flowers of fair device,
     The wood-birds were the singers.

Who was the Priest? The priest was the still Soul,
     Calm, gentle, and low-spoken;
He read a running brooklet like a scroll,
     And trembled at the token.

What was the service? ’Twas the service read
     When Adam’s faith was plighted!
The tongue was silent, but the lips rose-red                                   67
     In silence were united.

Who saw it done? The million starry eyes
     Of one ecstatic Heaven.
Who shared the joy? The flowers, the trees, the skies
     Thrill’d as each kiss was given.

Who was the Bride? A spirit strong and true,
     Beauteous to human seeing,—
Soft elements of flesh, air, fire, and dew,
     Blent in one Rose of being.

What was her consecration? Innocence!
     Pure as the wood-doves round her,
Nothing she knew of rites—the strength intense
     Of God and Nature found her.

As freely as maids give a lock away,                                             68
     She gave herself unto him.
What was the Bridegroom? Clay, and common clay,
     Yet the wild joy slipt through him.

Hymen, O Hymen! By the birds was shed
     A matrimonial cadence!
Da nuces! Squirrels strew’d the nuts, instead
     Of rosy youths and maidens!

Eureka, yea, Eureka was to blame—
     He was an erring creature:
Uncivilised by one wild flash of flame
     He waver’d back on Nature.

He kiss’d her lips, he drank her breath in bliss,
     He drew her to his bosom:
As a clod kindles at the Spring’s first kiss
     His being burst to blossom!

Who rung the bells? The breeze, the merry breeze,                        69
     Set all in bright vibration:
Clear, sweet, yet low, there trembled through the trees
     The nuptial jubilation!





O’ER this joy I dare not linger:
Stands a Shape with lifted finger
Crying in a low voice, “Singer!
     Far too much of Eve and Adam.

“Details of this dark connection
I desire not for inspection!”
And the Bard, with genuflexion,
     Answers, “I obey thee, Madam!”

Stands the Moral Shape reproving,
While I linger o’er this loving;
Cries the voice, “Pass on! be moving!
     We are virtuous, here to nor’ward!”

Constable, I force cessation                                                         71
To my flood of inspiration;
Such a theme for adumbration!
     I resign it, and move forward.





LOVE, O love! thou bright and burning
Weathercock for ever turning;
Gilded vane, fix’d for our seeing
On the highest spire of being;
Symbol, indication; reeling
Round to every wind of feeling;
Only pointing some sad morrow,
In one sudden gust of sorrow,
Sunset-ward, where redly, slowly,
Passion sets in melancholy.

In the wood-ways, roof’d by heaven,
Were the nuptial kisses given;
In the dark green, moonbeam-haunted                                        73
Forest; in the bowers enchanted
Where the fiery specks are flying,
And the whip-poor-will is crying;
Where the heaven’s open blue eye
Thro’ the boughs broods dark and dewy,
And the white magnolia glimmers
Back the light in starry tremors;
Where the acacia in the shady
Silence trembles like a lady
Scented sweet and softly breathing;
There, amid the brightly wreathing,
Blooming branches, did they capture
Love’s first consecrated rapture.

Pure she came to him, a maiden
Innocent as Eve in Eden,
Tho’ in secret; for she dreaded
Wrath of kinsmen tiger-headed,
In whose vision, fierce and awful,
Love for white men was unlawful.
Yet in this her simple reason                                                          74
Knew no darker touch of treason
Than dost thou, O white and dainty
English maid of sweet-and-twenty,
When from guardian, father, brother,
[Harsh protectors, one or t’other,]
Off you trip, self-handed over
To your chosen lord and lover,
Tears of love and rapture shedding
In the hush of secret wedding.

Now from these lost days Elysian,
Modestly I drop my vision!
Rose the wave supreme and splendid,
To a tremulous crest, and ended,
Falling, falling, one sad morrow,
In a starry spray of sorrow.

Whether ’twas by days or hours,
Weeks or months, in those bright bowers,
They their gladness counted,—whether                                       75
Like the one day’s summer weather
At the pole, their bliss upstarted,
Brighten’d, blacken’d, and departed,—
I relate not; all my story
Is, that soon or late this glory
Fell and faded. After daylight
Came an eve of sad and gray light;
There were tears—wild words were spoken,
Down the cup was dash’d, and broken.

First came danger,—eyeballs fiery
Watch’d the pair in fierce inquiry;
Secret footsteps dodged the lovers;
As a black hawk slowly hovers
O’er the spot amid the heather
Where the gray birds crouch together,
Hung Suspicion o’er the places
Where they sat with flaming faces.
Next came—what d’ye call the dreary                                          76
Heavy-hearted thing and weary,
In old weeds of joy bedizen’d?
By the shallow French ’tis christen’d
Ennui! Ay, the snake that grovels
In a host of scrofulous novels,
Leper even of the leprous
Race of serpents vain and viprous,
Bred of slimy eggs of evil,
Sat on by the printer’s devil,
Last, to gladden absinthe-lovers,
Born by broods in paper covers!

After the great wave of madness,
Ennui came; and tho’ in gladness
Still the Indian maiden’s nature
Clung round the inferior creature,
Though with burning, unconsuming,
Deathless love her heart was blooming,
He grew weary, and his passion                                                   77
In a dull evaporation
Slowly lessen’d, till caressing
Grew distracting and distressing.
Conscience waken’d in a fever,
Just a day too late, as ever;
He remember’d, one fine day,
His relations far away.

All the beavers! the deceiver!
After all, he was a beaver
Born and bred, tho’ the unchanging
Dash of wild blood kept him ranging;
Beaver-conscience, now awaken’d,
Since the first true bliss had slacken’d,
Whisper’d with a sad affection,
“Fie! it is a strange connection!
Is it worthy? Can it profit?
Sits the world approving of it?”
While another whisper said,
You're a white man! She is red!”
Ne’ertheless he seem’d to love her,                                              78
Watch’d her face and bent above her,
Fondly thinking, “Now, I wonder
If the world would blame my blunder?
If her skin were only whiter,
If her manners were politer,
I would take her with me nor’ward,
Wed her, cling to her thenceforward,
Clothe her further, just a tittle,
Live respectable and settle!”
She was silent, as he brooded
Handsome-faced and beaver-mooded,
Thinking, “Now my chief is seeming
Where the fires of fight are streaming!
O, how great and grand his face is,
Lit with light of the pale races!”
And she bent her brows before him,
Kiss’d his hands, and did adore him,
And she waited in deep duty;
While her eyes of dazzling beauty,
Like two jewels ever streaming                                                   79
     Broken yet unceasing rays,
Watch’d him as in beaver-dreaming
     He would walk in the green ways.

Still he seem’d to her a splendid
Creature, but his trance had ended;
More and more, thro’ ever seeing
     Red skins round him, he lost patience,
More and more the hybrid being
     Sigh’d for civilised relations;
For Eureka Hart, tho’ wholly
     Of a common social mind,
Narrow-natured, melancholy,
     Hated ties of any kind;—
Yet if any tie could hold him
     To a place or to a woman,
’Twould be one the world had told him
     Was respectable and common.
Here, then, hemm’d in by a double                                              80
Dark dilemma, he found trouble,
And with look a Grecian painter
     Would have given to a god,
Feeling passion still grow fainter,
     Thought, “I reckon things look odd!
Wouldn’t Parson Pendon frown,
If he knew, in Drowsietown?”

As he spoke he saw the village
Rising up with tilth and tillage,
Saw the smithy, like an eye
Flaming bloodshot at the sky,
Saw the sleepy river flowing,
     Saw the swamps burn in the sun,
Saw the people coming, going,
     All familiar, one by one.
“There the plump old Parson goes,
Silver buckles on his toes.
Broad-brimm’d beaver on his head,                                              81
Clean-shaved chin, and cheek as red
As ripe pippins, kept in hay,
Polish’d on Thanksgiving day;
Black coat, breeches, all complete,
On the old mare he keeps his seat,
Jogging on with smiles so bright
To creation left and right.
There’s the Widow Abner smiling
     At her door as he goes past,
Guess she thinks she looks beguiling,
     But he cuts along more fast.
There’s Abe Sinker drunk as ever,
     There’s the pigs all in the gutter,
There’s the miller by the river,
     Broad as long and fat as butter.
See it all, so plain and pleasant,
     Just like life their shadows pass,
Wonder how they are at present?
     Guess they think I’m gone to grass!”
While this scene he contemplated,                                                82
     Sighing like a homeless creature,
Round him, brightly concentrated,
     Glow’d the primal fire of Nature!
Rainbow-hued and rapturous-colour’d,
     With one burning brilliant look
Flaming fix’d upon the dullard,
     Nature rose in wild rebuke!
Shower’d her blossoms round him, o’er him,
     Breathed warm breath upon his face,
Flash’d her flowers and fruits before him,
     Follow’d him from place to place;
With wild jasmine and with amber
She perfumed his sleeping chamber,
Hung around him happy hours
With her arms of lustre-flowers,
Held to his in blest reposes
Her warm breasts of living roses;
Bade a thousand dazzling, crying,
     Living, creatures do him honour,
Stood herself, naked and sighing,
     With an aureole upon her;                                                       83
Then, with finger flashing brightly
     Pointing to her prime creation,—
Fruits and flowers and scents blent lightly
     In one dazzling adumbration,—
Cried unto him over and over,
“See my child! O love her, love her!
I eternal am, no comer
In a feeble flush of summer,
Like the hectic colour flying
Of a maid love-sick and dying;
Here no change, but ever burning
Quenchless fire, and ceaseless yearning:
Endless exquisite vibration
     Sweet as love’s first nuptial kiss,
One soft sob of strange sensation
     Flowering into shapes of bliss;
And the brightest, O behold her
     With a changeless warmth like mine—
Love her! In thy soul enfold her!
     Blend with us, and be divine!”                                                84
All in vain that fond entreating!
     Still Eureka’s beaver-brain
Thought—“This climate’s rather heating—
     Weather’s cooler up in Maine!”

Yet no wonder Nature loved him,
     Sought to take his soul by storm,
Gloried when her meaning moved him,
     Clung in fondness round his form;
For, in sooth, tho’ unimpassion’d,
Gloriously the man was fashion’d:
One around whose strength and splendour
     Women would have pray’d to twine,
As the lian loves to blend her
     Being with the beech or pine.
And his smile when she was present
     Was seraphic, full of spirit,
And his voice was low and pleasant,
     And her soul grew bright to hear it!
And when tall he strode to meet her,                                             85
And his handsome face grew sweeter,
In her soul she thought, “O being,
Fair and gracious and deep-seeing,
White man, great man, far above me,
What am I, that thou shouldst love me?”

She had learnt him with lips burning
(O for such a course of learning!)
Something of her speech,—’twas certain
Quite enough to woo and flirt in;
Words not easy of translation
They transfused into sensation,
Soon discovering and proving,
     As a small experience teaches,
“Bliss” and “kiss,” and other loving
     Words, are common to all speeches!
Ah, the rapture! ah, the fleeting
Follies of each fond, mad meeting!
Smiling with red lips asunder,                                                       86
Clapping hands at each fond blunder,
She instructed him right gaily
In her Indian patois daily.
Sweetly from his lips it sounded,
     Help’d with those great azure eyes,
Till upon his heart she bounded
     Panting praise with laughs and cries.
’Twas a speech antique and olden,
     Full of gurgling notes, it ran
Like some river rippling golden
     Down a vale Arcadian;
Like the voices of doves brooding;
     Like a fountain’s gentle moan;
Nothing commonplace intruding
     On its regal monotone:
Sounds and symbols interblending
     Like the heave of loving bosoms;
Consonants like strong boughs bending,
     Snowing vowels down like blossoms!
Faltering in this tongue, he told her,                                               87
     Sitting in a secret place,
While with bright head on his shoulder,
     Luminous-eyed, she watch’d his face,
How, tho’ every hour grown fonder,
     Tho’ his soul was still aflame,
Still, he sigh’d once more to wander
     To the clime from whence he came;
Just once more to look upon it,
Just for one brief hour to con it,
Just to see his kin and others
     In the Town where they did dwell,
Just to say to his white brothers
     One farewell, a last farewell.
Then to hasten back unto her,
     And to live with her and die. . . .
Sharp as steel his speech stabb’d thro’ her,
     Cold she sat without a cry,
On her heart her small hand pressing,
     Breathing like a bird in pain,
Silent, tho’ he smiled caressing,                                                    88
     Kiss’d, but kissing not again.

Then she waken’d, like one waking
From a trance, and with heart aching
Clung around him, as if dreading
     Lest some hand should snatch him thence!
Then, upon his bosom shedding
     Tears of ecstacy intense,
By her gods conjured him wildly
     Never, never to depart!
O how meekly, O how mildly,
     Answer’d back Eureka Hart!

But by slow degrees he coax’d her,
     Night by night, and day by day,
With such specious spells he hoax’d her
     That her first fear fled away.
Slow she yielded, still believing
     Not for long he’d leave her lonely;
For he told her, still deceiving,                                                      89
     ’Twas a little journey only.
Poor, dark bird! nought then knew she
Of this world’s geography!

Troubled, shaken, half-demented,
Broken-hearted—she assented.
Since, by wind, and wave, and vapour,
     By the shapes of earth and skies;
By the white moon’s ghostly taper,
     By the stars that like dead eyes
Watch it burning; by the mystic
     Motion of the winds and woods;
By all dark and cabalistic
     Shapes of tropic solitudes;
By the waters melancholy;
     By God’s hunting-fields of blue;
By all things that she deem’d holy
     He had promised to be true!
Just to pay a flying visit
     To connections close at hand,                                                 90
Then to haste with love undying
     Back unto that happy land.
’Twas enough! the Maid assented,
     Thinking sadly, in her pain,
“He will never be contented
     Till he sees them once again.
Thither, thither let him wander;
     When once more I feel his kiss,
His proud spirit will be fonder
     Since my love hath granted this!”

“Go!” she cried, and her dark features
Kindled like a dying creature’s,
And her heart rose, and her spirit
Cried as if for God to hear it—
Wildly in her arms she press’d him
     To her bosom broken-hearted—
Call’d upon her gods, and blest him!
     And Eureka Hart departed.





Here should my second canto end—yet stay
Listen a little ere ye turn away.

By night they parted; and she cut by night
One large lock from his forehead, which with bright,
Warm lips she kiss’d; then kiss’d the lock of hair,
With one quick sob of passionate despair;
And he, with hand that shook a little now,
Still with that burning seal upon his brow,
While in that bitter agony they embraced,
He in her little hand a paper placed,
Whereon, at her fond prayer, he had writ plain,                            92
“Eureka Hart, Drowsietown, State of Maine.”
“For,” thought he, “I have promised soon or late
Hither to come again to her, my mate;
And I will keep my promise, sure, some day,
Unless I die or sicken by the way.
But no man knows what pathway he may tread,—
To-morrow—nay, ere dawn—I may be dead!
And she shall know, lest foul my fortune proves,
The name and country of the man she loves;
And since she wishes it, to cheer her heart,
It shall be written down ere I depart.”
And so it was; and while his kiss thrill’d thro’ her,
With that loved lock of hair he gave it to her.

Aye, so it was; for in the woods at dawn
He from his pouch had an old letter drawn,
One leaf of which was blank, and this he took,                             93
And smiling at the woman’s wondering look,
While quietly she murmur’d, “T’is a charm!”
In hunter’s fashion he had prick’d his arm,
And, having pen nor ink, had ta’en a spear
Of thorn for stylus, and in crimson clear,
His own heart’s blood, had writ the words she sought.
And in that hour deep pity in him wrought,
And he believed that he his vows would keep,
Nor e’er be treacherous to a love so deep.
“See!” said he, as the precious words he gave,
“Keep this upon thy bosom, and be brave.
As sure as that red blood belong’d to me,
I shall, if I live on, return to thee.
If death should find me while thou here dost wait,
Thou canst at least make question of my fate
Of any white man whose stray feet may fare
Down hither, showing him the words writ there.”
All this he said to her with faltering voice                                       94
In broken Indian, and in words less choice;
And quite persuaded of his good intent,
Shoulder’d his gun with a gay heart, and went.

And in that paper, while her fast tears fell,
She wrapt the lock of hair she loved so well,
And thrust it on her heart; and with sick sight,
Watch’d his great figure fade into the night;
Then raised her hands to her wild gods, that sped
Above her in a whirlwind overhead,
And the pines rock’d in tempest, and her form
Bent broken with the breathing of the storm.

O little paper! Blurr’d with secret tears!
O blood-red charm! O thing of hopes and fears!
Between two worlds a link, so faint, so slight,
The two worlds of the red man and the white!
Lie on her heart and soothe her soul’s sad pain!





Part III.






O SO drowsy! In a daze
Sweating ’mid the golden haze,
With its smithy like an eye
Glaring bloodshot at the sky,
And its one white row of street
Carpetted so green and sweet,
And the loungers smoking still
Over gate and window-sill;
Nothing coming, nothing going,
Locusts grating, one cock crowing,
Few things moving up or down,
All things drowsy—Drowsietown!

Thro’ the fields with sleepy gleam,
Drowsy, drowsy steals the stream,
Touching with its azure arms                                                         98
Upland fields and peaceful farms,
Gliding with a twilight tide
Where the dark elms shade its side;
Twining, pausing sweet and bright
Where the lilies sail so white;
Winding in its sedgy hair
Meadow-sweet and iris fair;
Humming as it hies along
Monotones of sleepy song;
Deep and dimpled, bright nut-brown,
Flowing into Drowsietown.

Far as eye can see, around,
Upland fields and farms are found,
Floating prosperous and fair
In the mellow misty air:
Apple-orchards, blossoms blowing
Up above,—and clover growing
Red and scented round the knees                                                  99
Of the old moss-silvered trees.
Hark! with drowsy deep refrain,
In the distance rolls a wain;
As its dull sound strikes the ear,
Other kindred sounds grow clear—
Drowsy all—the soft breeze blowing,
Locusts grating, one cock crowing,
Cries like voices in a dream
Far away amid the gleam,
Then the waggons rumbling down
Thro’ the lanes to Drowsietown.

Drowsy? Yea!—but idle? Nay!
Slowly, surely, night and day,
Humming low, well greased with oil,
Turns the wheel of human toil.
Here no grating gruesome cry
Of spasmodic industry;
No rude clamour, mad and mean,                                               100
Of a horrible machine!
Strong yet peaceful, surely roll’d,
Winds the wheel that whirls the gold.
Year by year the rich rare land
Yields its stores to human hand—
Year by year the stream makes fat
Every field and meadow-flat—
Year by year the orchards fair
Gather glory from the air,
Redden, ripen, freshly fed,
Their bright balls of golden red.
Thus, most prosperous and strong,
Flows the stream of life along
Six slow days! wains come and go,
Wheat-fields ripen, squashes grow,
Cattle browse on hill and dale,
Milk foams sweetly in the pail,
Six days: on the seventh day,
Toil’s low murmur dies away—
All is husht save drowsy din                                                         101
Of the waggons rolling in,
Drawn amid the plenteous meads
By small fat and sleepy steeds.
Folk with faces fresh as fruit
Sit therein or trudge afoot,
Brightly drest for all to see,
In their seventh-day finery:
Farmers in their breeches tight,
Snowy cuffs, and buckles bright;
Ancient dames and matrons staid
In their silk and flower’d brocade,
Prim and tall, with soft brows knitted,
Silken aprons, and hands mitted;
Haggard women, dark of face,
Of the old lost Indian race;
Maidens happy-eyed and fair,
With bright ribbons in their hair,
Trip along, with eyes cast down,
Thro’ the streets of Drowsietown.
Drowsy in the summer day                                                           102
In the meeting-house sit they;
’Mid the high-back’d pews they doze,
Like bright garden-flowers in rows;
And old Parson Pendon, big
In his gown and silver’d wig,
Drones above in periods fine
Sermons like old-flavour’d wine—
Crusted well with keeping long
In the darkness, and not strong.
O! so drowsily he drones
In his rich and sleepy tones,
While the great door, swinging wide,
Shows the bright green street outside,
And the shadows as they pass
On the golden sunlit grass.
Then the mellow organ blows,
And the sleepy music flows,
And the folks their voices raise
In old unctuous hymns of praise,
Fit to reach some ancient god                                                      103
Half asleep with drowsy nod.
Deep and lazy, clear and low,
Doth the oily organ grow!
Then with sudden golden cease
Comes a silence and a peace;
Then a murmur, all alive,
As of bees within a hive;
And they swarm with quiet feet
Out into the sunny street;
There, at hitching-post and gate
Do the steeds and waggons wait.
Drawn in groups, the gossips talk,
Shaking hands before they walk;
Maids and lovers steal away,
Smiling hand in hand, to stray
By the river, and to say
Drowsy love in the old way—
Till the sleepy sun shines down
On the roofs of Drowsietown.
In the great marsh, far beyond                                                     104
Street and building, lies the Pond,
Gleaming like a silver shield
In the midst of wood and field;
There on sombre days you see
Anglers old in reverie,
Fishing feebly morn to night
For the pickerel so bright.
From the woods of beech and fir,
Dull blows of the woodcutter
Faintly sound; and haply, too,
Comes the cat-owl’s wild “tuhoo!”
Drown’d by distance, dull and deep,
Like a dark sound heard in sleep;—
And a cock may answer, down
In the depths of Drowsietown.

Such is Drowsietown—but nay!
Was, not is, my song should say—
Such was summer long ago
In this town so sleepy and slow.                                                   105
Change has come: thro’ wood and dale
Runs the demon of the rail,
And the Drowsietown of yore
Is not drowsy any more!

O so drowsy! In the haze
Of those long dead summer days,
Underneath the still blue sky
I can see the hamlet lie—
Like a river in a dream
Flows the little nut-brown stream;
Yet not many a mile away
Flashes foam and sprinkles spray,
Close at hand the green marsh flows
Into brackish pools and sloughs,
And with storm-wave fierce and frantic
Roars the wrath of the Atlantic.

Waken Drowsietown?—The Sea?
Break its doze and reverie?
Nay, for if it hears at all                                                                106
Those unresisting waters call,
They are far enough, I guess,
Just to soothe and not distress.
When the wild nor’wester breaks,
And the sullen thunder shakes,
For a space the Town in fear,
Dripping wet with marsh and mere,
Quakes and wonders, and is found
With its ear against the ground
Listening to the sullen war
Of the flashing sea afar!
But the moment all is done
On its tear-drops gleams the sun,
Each rude murmur dies; and lo!
In a sleepy sunny glow,
’Mid the moist rays slanting down,
Once more dozes Drowsietown.

As the place is, drowsy-eyed
Are the folks that there abide;
Strong, phlegmatic, calm, revealing                                              107
No wild fantasies of feeling;
Loving sunshine; on the soil
Basking in a drowsy toil.
Mild and mellow, calm and clear,
Flows their life from year to year—
Each fulfils his drowsy labour,
Each the picture of his neighbour,
Each exactly, rich or poor,
What his father was before—
O so drowsy! In a gleam,
Far too steady to be Dream,
Flows their slow humanity
Winding, stealing, to the Sea.

Sea? What Sea? The Waters vast,
Whither all life flows at last,
Where all individual motion
Lost in one imperious ocean
Fades, as yonder river doth
In the great Sea at its mouth.
Ah! the mighty wondrous Deep,                                                  108
’Tis so near;—yet half asleep,
Deaf to all its busy hum,
These calm people go and come;—
Quite forgetting it is nigh,
Save when hurricanes go by
With a ghostly wail o’erhead
Shrieking shrill—“Bury your dead!”
For a moment, wild-eyed, caught
In a sudden gust of thought,
Panting, praying, wild of face,
Stand the people of the place;
But, directly all is done,
They are smiling in the sun—
Drowsy, yet busy as good bees
Working in a sunny ease,
To and fro, and up and down,
Move the folks of Drowsietown.







WELL, winter’s over altogether;
     The loon’s come back to Purley Pond;
It’s all green grass and pleasant weather
     Up on the marsh and the woods beyond.
It’s God Almighty’s meaning clear
To give us farmers a prosperous year;
Tho’ many a sinner that I could mention
     Is driving his ploughshare nowadays
Clean in the teeth of the Lord’s intention,
     And spiling the land he ought to raise.



I’ve drained the marsh by Simpson’s building,
     Cleared out the rushes, and flag, and weed,
The ground’s all juicy, and looks like yielding,
     And I’m puttin’ it down in pip-corn seed.
How’s Father Abel? Comin’ round?
     Glad the rheumatics have left him now.



Summer’s his med’cine; he’ll soon be sound,
     And spry as a squirrel on a bough.



Chickadee! chickadee!
Green leaves on every tree!
Over field, over foam,
All the birds are coming home.
Honk! honk! sailing low,
Cried the gray goose long ago.
Weet! weet! in the light
Flutes the phœbe-bird so bright.
Chewink, veery, thrush o’ the wood,                                  111
     Silver treble raise together;
All around their dainty food
     Ripens with the ripening weather.
Hear, O hear!
In the great elm by the mere
Whip-poor-will is crying clear.



And so it is! And so the news is true!
And your Eureka has returned to you;
I saw him in the church, and took a stare.
A Hart, aye every inch, the tallest there.
You’ll hold the farm-land now, and keep things clear;
You wanted jest a man—Eureka’s here.



Well, I don’t know. Eureka ain’t no hand
At raising crops or looking after land;
It’s been a bitter trial to me, neighbour,                                       112
To see his wandering ways and hate o’ labour.
He’s been abroad too much to care jest now
For white men’s ways, and following the plough.



He’s a fine figure and a handsome face;
There ain’t his ekal this day in the place.
And if he’d take a wife and settle down,
There’s many a wench would jump in Drowsietown.
Ah! that’s the only way to tie your son,
And now he’s got the farm ’tis easy done;
There’s Jez’bel Jones, and there’s Euphemia Clem,
And Sarah Snowe,—they’re all good matches, them.
And there’s—why, there he goes, right down the flat,
Looks almost furrin’ in that queer straw hat;
And who’s that with him in the flower’d chintz dress?
Why, Phœbe Anna Cattison, I guess!                                           113
That little mite! How tiny and how prim
Trips little Phœbe by the side of him!
And when she looks up in his face, tehee!
It’s like a chipmunk looking up a tree!



               O willow loose lightly
                   Your soft long hair!
               I’ll brush it brightly
                   With tender care;
               And past you flowing
                   I’ll softly uphold
               Great lilies blowing
                   With hearts of gold.
               For spring is beaming,
                   The wind’s in the south,
               And the musk-rat’s swimming,
                   A twig in its mouth,
               To build its nest                                                             114
               Where it loves it best,
               In the great dark nook
               By the bed o’ my brook.
               It’s spring, bright spring,
               And blue-birds sing!
               And the fern is pearly
                   All day long,
               And the lark rises early
                   To sing a song.
     The grass shoots up like fingers of fire,
     And the flowers awake to a dim desire,
     So willow, willow, shake down, shake down
         Your locks so silvern and long and slight;
     For lovers are coming from Drowsietown,
         And thou and I must be merry and bright!



This is the first fine day this year:
The grass is dry and the sky is clear;
The sun’s out shining; up to the farm
It looks like summer; so bright and warm.                                    115
There’s apple blooms on the boughs already,
     Long as your finger the corn-blades shoot,
And father thinks, if the sun keeps steady,
     ’Twill be a wonderful fall for fruit.
How do you like being here at home again?
Reckon you’d rather pack up and roam again!



I’m sick o’ roaming, I hate strange places;
     I’ve slep’ too long in the woods and brakes;
It’s pleasure seeing white folks’ faces
     After the b’ars, and the birds, and the snakes.
This yer life is civilisation,
T’other’s a heathen dissipation!
One likes to die where his father before him
Died, with the same sky shinin’ o’er him.
I’ve been a wastrel and that’s the truth,
     Earning nought but a sneer and a frown;
I’ve wasted the precious days o’ youth,
     Instead of stopping and settling down.



But now the farm is your own to dwell in,
     You’ll ne’er go back to the wilderness?



Waal! that’s a question! There’s no tellin’;
     I ain’t my own master quite, I guess.
Think I shall have to go some day,
And fix some business far away.
I—there’s your mother beckonin’ yonder,
     Looks kind o’ huffish, you’d better run;
(Alone, sotto voce) That girl’s a sort of a shinin’ wonder,
     The prettiest pout beneath the sun.



Chickadee! chickadee!
Green leaves on every tree;
Winter goes, spring is here;
Little mate, we loved last year.
Cheewink, veery, robin red,                                              117
     Shall we take another bride?
We have plighted, we are wed.
     Here we gather happy-eyed.
Little bride, little mate,
Shall I leave you desolate?
Men change; shall we change too?
Men change; but we are true.
If I cease to love thee best,
May a black boy take my nest.



Soothin’ it is, after so many a year,
To hear the Sabbath bells a-ringing clear,
The air so cool and soft, the sky so blue,
The place so peaceful and so well-to-do. . . .
Wonder what she is doing this same day?
Thinkin’ o’ me in her wild Injin way,
Listenin’ and waitin’, dreaming every minute
The door will open, and this child step in it.
Poor gal! I seem to feel her eyes so bright                                    118
A-followin’ me about, morn, noon, and night!
Sometimes they make me start and thrill right thro’—
She was a splendid figure, and that’s true!
Not jest like Christian women, fair and white,
A heap more startlin’ and a deal more bright;
And as for looks, why many would prefer
That Phœbe Ann, or some white gal like her!
Don’t know! I’ve got no call to judge; but see!
The little white wench is so spry and free!
And tho’ she’s but a mite, small as a mouse,
She’d look uncommon pretty in a house.
No business, tho’, of mine—I’ve made my bed,
And I must lie in it, as I have said.
Ye . . . s, I’ll go back—and stay—or bring her here,
But there’s no call to hurry yet, that’s clear.
She’ll fret and be impatient for a while,
And go on in the wild mad Injin style;
But she can’t know, for a clear heathen’s sake,                            119
The sort o’ sacrifice I'm fix’d to make.
Some wouldn’t do it; Parson there would say
It’s downright throwing next world’s chance away;
But I’ve made up my mind—it’s fix’d at present;
And—there, let’s try to think of something pleasant!



Boohoo! boohoo!
White man is not true;
I have seen such wicked ways
That I hide me all the days,
And come from my hole so deep
While the white man lies asleep.
A misanthrope am I,
     And, tho’ the skies are blue,
I utter my warning cry—
Boohoo! boohoo! boohoo!


(Chuckling to himself on the pond.)

               Ha! ha! ha! back again,
               Thro’ the frost and fog and rain;
               Winter’s over now, that’s plain.
               Ha! ha! ha! back again!
               And I laugh and scream,
                   For I love so well
               The bright, bright bream,
                   And the pickerel!
               And soft is my breast,
                   And my bill is keen,
               And I’ll build my nest
               ’Mid the sedge unseen.
I’ve travell’d—I’ve fish’d in the sunny south,
In the mighty mere, at the harbour mouth;
I’ve seen fair countries, all golden and gay;
     I’ve seen bright pictures that beat all wishing;
I’ve found fine colours far away—
     But give me Purley Pond, for fishing;
Of all the ponds, north, south, east, west,                                      121
This is the pond I love the best;
For all is quiet, and few folk peep,
     Save some of the innocent angling people;
And I like on Sundays, half asleep,
All alone on the pool so deep,
     To rock and hear the bells from the steeple.
And I laugh so clear that all may hear
The loon is back, and summer is near.
Ha! ha! ha! so merry and plain
I laugh with joy to be home again.

(A shower passes over; all things sing.)

         The swift is wheeling and gleaming,
               The brook is brown in its bed,
         Rain from the cloud is streaming,
               And the Bow bends overhead.
The charm of the winter is broken! the last of the spell is said!

         The eel in the pond is quick’ning,                                                 122
               The grayling leaps in the stream—
         What if the clouds are thick’ning?
            See how the meadows gleam!
The spell of the winter is shaken; the world awakes from a dream!

         The fir puts out green fingers,
            The pear-tree softly blows,
         The rose in her dark bower lingers,
            But her curtains will soon unclose,
The lilac will shake her ringlets over the blush of the rose.

         The swift is wheeling and gleaming,
            The woods are beginning to ring,
         Rain from the cloud is streaming;—
            There, where the Bow doth cling,
Summer is smiling afar off, over the shoulder of Spring!



White Rose and Red continued

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The Fleshly School Controversy
Buchanan and the Press
Buchanan and the Law


The Critical Response
Harriett Jay


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