Other Poems in the collection
by Thomas Bailey Aldrich
THE SISTERS' TRAGEDY|
WITH OTHER POEMS, LYR-
ICAL AND DRAMATIC. BY
THOMAS BAILEY ALDRICH
PART THREE: INTERLUDES
- WHO can say where Echo dwells?
- In some mountain-cave, methinks,
- Where the white owl sits and blinks;
- Or in deep sequestered dells,
- Where foxglove hangs its bells,
- Echo dwells.
- Phantom of the crystal Air,
- Daughter of sweet Mystery!
- Here is one has need of thee;
- Lead him to thy secret lair,
- Myrtle brings he for thy hair--
- Hear his prayer,
- Echo lift thy drowsy head,
- And repeat each charmëd word
- Thou must needs have overheard
- Yestere'en ere, rosy-red,
- Daphne down the valley fled--
- Words unsaid,
- Breathe the vows she since denies!
- She hath broken every vow;
- What she would she would not now--
- Thou didst hear her perjuries.
- Whisper, whilst I shut my eyes,
- Those sweet lies,
- A BLIGHT, a gloom, I know not what, has crept upon my gladness--
- Some vague, remote ancestral touch of sorrow, or of madness;
- A fear that is not fear, a pain that has not pain's insistence;
- A sense of longing, or of loss, in some foregone exsistence;
- A subtle hurt that never pen has writ nor tongue has spoken--
- Such hurt perchance as Nature feels wen a blossomed bough is broken.
- THE folk who lived in Shakespeare's day
- And saw that gentle figure pass
- By London Bridge, his frequent way--
- They little knew what man he was.
- The pointed beard, the courteous mien,
- The equal port to high and low,
- All this they saw or might have seen--
- But not the light behind the brow!
- The doublet's modest gray or brown,
- The slender sword-hilt's plain device,
- What sign had these for prince or clown?
- Few turned, or none, to scan him twice.
- Yet 't was the King of England's kings!
- The rest with all their pomps and trains
- Are mouldered, half-remembered things--
- 'T is he alone that lives and reigns!
"PILLARED ARCH AND SCULPTURED TOWER"
- PILLARED arch and sculptured tower
- Of Ilium have had their hour;
- The dust of many a king is blown
- On the winds from zone to zone;
- Many a warrior sleeps unknown.
- Time and Death each hold in thrall,
- Yet is Love the lord of all;
- Still does Helen's beauty stir
- Because a poet sang of her!
- UPON your hearse this flower I lay
- Brief be your sleep! You shall be known
- When lesser men have had their day:
- Fame blossoms where true seed is sown,
- Or soon or late, let Time wound what it may.
- Unvext by any dream of fame,
- You smiled, and bade the world pass by:
- But I--I turned, and saw a name
- Shaping itself against the sky--
- White star that rose amid the battle's flame!
- Brief be your sleep, for I would see
- Your laurels--ah, how trivial now
- To him must earthly laurel be
- Who wears the amaranth on his brow!
- How vain the voices of mortality
SENT TO A FRIEND WITH A VOLUME OF TENNYSON
- WOULDST thou know the knightly clash of steel on steel?
- Or list the throstle singing loud and clear?
- Or walk at twilight by some haunted mere
- In Surrey; or in throbbing London feel
- Life's pulse at highest--hark, the minster's peal! . . .
- Turn but the page, that various world is here!
A TOUCH OF NATURE
- WHEN first the crocus thrusts its point of gold
- Up through the still snow-drifted garden mould,
- And folded green things in dim woods unclose
- Their crinkled spears, a sudden tremor goes
- Into my veins and makes me kith and kin
- To every wild-born thing that thrills and blows.
- Sitting beside this crumbling sea-coal fire,
- Here in the city's ceaseless roar and din,
- Far from the brambly paths I used to know,
- Far from the rustling brooks that slip and shine
- Where the Neponset alders take their glow,
- I share the tremulous sense of bud and briar
- And inarticulate ardors of the vine.
- MY mind lets go a thousand things
- Like dates of wars and deaths of kings,
- And yet recalls the very hour--
- 'T was noon by yonder village tower,
- And on the last blue noon in May--
- The wind came briskly up this way,
- Crisping the brook beside the road;
- Then, pausing here, set down its load
- Of pine-scents, and shook listlessly
- Two petals from that wild-rose tree.
"I'LL NOT CONFER WITH SORROW"
- I'LL not confer with Sorrow
- Till to-morrow;
- But Joy shall have her way
- This very day.
- Ho, eglantine and cresses
- For her tresses!--
- Let Care, the beggar, wait
- Outside the gate.
- Tears if you will--but after
- Mirth and laughter;
- Then, folded hands on breast
- And endless rest.
- TAKE these rhymes into thy grace,
- Since they are of thy begetting,
- Lady, that dost make each place
- Where thou art a jewel's setting.
- Some such glamour lend this Book;
- Let it be thy poet's wages
- That henceforth thy gracious look
- Lies reflected on its pages.
NO SONGS IN WINTER
- THE sky is gray as gray may be,
- There is no bird upon the bough,
- There is no leaf on vine or tree.
- In the Neponset marshes now
- Willow-stems, rosy in the wind,
- Shiver with hidden sense of snow.
- So too 't is winter in my mind,
- No light-winged fancy comes and stays:
- A season churlish and unkind.
- Slow creep the hours, slow creep the days,
- The black ink crusts upon the pen--
- Just wait till bluebirds, wrens, and jays
- And golden orioles come again!
"LIKE CRUSOE, WALKING BY THE LONELY STRAND"
- LIKE Crusoe, walking by the lonely strand
- And seeing a human footprint on the sand,
- Have I this day been startled, finding here,
- Set in brown mould, and delicately clear,
- Spring's footprint--the first crocus of the year!
- O sweet invasion! Farewell solitude!
- Soon shall wild creatures of the field and wood
- Flock from all sides with much ado and stir,
- And make of me most willing prisoner!
EDWARD ROWLAND SILL, DIED FEBRUARY 27, 1887
- I HELD his letter in my hand,
- And even while I read
- The lightning flashed across the land
- The word that he was dead.
- How strange it seemed! His living voice
- Was speaking from the page
- Those courteous phrases, tersely choice,
- Light-hearted, witty, sage.
- I wondered what it was that died!
- The man himself was here,
- His modesty, his scholar's pride,
- His soul serene and clear.
- These neither death nor time shall dim,
- Still this sad thing must be--
- Henceforth I may not speak to him,
- Though he can speak to me!
SARGENT'S PORTRAIT OF EDWIN BOOTH AT "THE PLAYERS"
- THAT face which no man ever saw
- And from his memory banished quite,
- With eyes in which are Hamlet's awe
- And Cardinal Richelieu's subtle light,
- Looks from this frame. A master's hand
- Has set the master player here,
- In the fair temple that he planned
- Not for himself. To us most dear
- This image of him! "It was thus
- He looked; such pallor touched his cheek;
- With that same grace he greeted us--
- Nay, 't is the man, could it but speak!"
- Sad words that shall be said some day--
- Far fall the day! O cruel Time,
- Whose breath sweeps mortal things away,
- Spare long this image of his prime,
- That others standing in the place
- Where, save as ghosts, we come no more,
- May know what sweet majestic face
- The gentle Prince of Players wore!
On to the next poem.