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Full text of "Poems"

GIFT OF 
Professor Hinds 




POEMS BY JOHN B. TABB. 



Poems by 
John B Tabb 




BOSTON 

COPELAND AND DAY 
MDCCCXCJV 



ENTERED ACCORDING TO THE ACT 
OF CONGRESS, IN THE YEAR 1894, 
BY COPELAND AND DAY, IN THE 
OFFICE OF THE LIBRARIAN OF CON 
GRESS AT WASHINGTON. 



?. 




AVE: SIDNEY LANIER. 

C*RE Times horizon-line was set, 
*-- Somewhere in space our spirits met y 
Then d 1 er the starry parapet 

Came wandering here. 
And now, that thou art gone again 
Beyond the ^uerge, I haste amain 
(Lost echo of a loftier strain) 
To greet thee there. 



M39999 



CONTENTS. 

THE RING 

LIMITATION 2 

NEKROS 3 

WESTWARD 4 

TO A PHOTOGRAPH 5 

MY STAR 6 

CONTENT 7 

ROBIN 8 

THE WHITE JESSAMINE 9 

THE CLOUD 10 

PHANTOMS 12 

THE VOYAGERS 13 

THE SWALLOW 14 

CLOISTERED 1 6 

THE LONELY MOUNTAIN I? 

ECHOES 1 8 

PHOTOGRAPHED 2O 

THE HALF-RING MOON 21 

ENSHRINED 22 

IN MY ORANGE GROVE 23 

INTIMATIONS 24 

EVOLUTION 25 

LOVE S HYBLA 26 

WAYFARERS 27 

THE PEAK 28 

THE CAPTIVES 29 



MY PHOTOGRAPH PAGE 30 

BROTHERHOOD 3! 

EVICTED 32 

GRIEF LONG 33 

RECOGNITION 34 

AN INFLUENCE 35 

HELPMATES 36 

TO MY SHADOW 37 

THE LAKE jg 

THE DAY-SPRING 39 

THE CHORD 40 

COMPENSATION 4! 

VISIBLE SOUND 42 

TO THE SUMMER WIND 43 

NARCISSUS 44 

CHILDHOOD 4^ 

TO AN OLD WASSAIL CUP 46 

FOUNTAIN HEAD 47 

THE REAPER 4 g 

THE BUTTERFLY 49 

THE STRANGER 5 O 

JOY -j 

REGRET ^2 

SLEEP 53 

YORICK S SKULL 54 

KEATS SAPPHO 55 

THE BROOK 5 6 

vi 



KILLDEE PAGE 57 

THE MOCKING-BIRD 58 

THE HUMMING-BIRD 59 

THE LARK 60 

THE BLUEBIRD 6l 

TO A WOOD-ROBIN 62 

BLOSSOM 63 

TO A ROSE 64 

THE WATER-LILY 65 

THE PLAINT OF THE ROSE 66 

THE VIOLET SPEAKS 67 

TO THE VIOLET 68 

GOLDENROD 69 

STAR JESSAMINE JO 

THE DANDELION 71 

FERN SONG 72 

AUTUMN GOLD 73 

AUTUMN SONG 74 

INDIAN SUMMER 75 

DECEMBER 76 

AT THE YEAR S END 77 

THE CHRISTMAS BABE 78 

THE LIGHT OF BETHLEHEM 79 

OUT OF BONDS 80 

MISTLETOE 8 1 

EASTER 82 

EASTER LILIES 83 

vii 



RESURRECTION PAGE 4 

AWAKENING 85 

EARTH S TRIBUTE 86 

THE RECOMPENSE 87 

RABBONI 88 

TO THE CHRIST 89 

THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION 90 

THE ANNUNCIATION 91 

THE INCARNATION 92 

THE ASSUMPTION 93 

MAGDALEN 94 

ABSOLVED 95 

THE PRECURSOR 96 

97 



SON OF MARY 



CHRIST TO THE VICTIM-TREE 98 

ANGELS OF PAIN 99 

A LENTEN THOUGHT IOO 

IS THY SERVANT A DOG IOI 

HOLY GROUND JO 2 

THE PLAYMATES 103 

TO THE BABE NIVA 104 

A PHONOGRAPH 105 

A CRADLE SONG 106 

CONFIDED J07 

THE TAX-GATHERER jog 

BABY ,09 

BABY S DIMPLES no 

viii 



A BUNCH OF ROSES PAGE III 

THE NEW-YEAR BABE 112 

MILTON 113 

TO SHELLEY 114 

SAPPHO H5 

TO SIDNEY LANIER Il6 

ON THE FORTHCOMING VOLUME OF SIDNEY 

LANIER S POEMS 117 

FATHER DAMIEN Il8 

THE SNOW-DROP 119 

QUATRAINS. 

FOR THE RAIN IT RAINETH EVERY DAY 123 

THE MAST 124 

A STONE S THROW 125 

LOVE S AUTOGRAPH 126 

RENEWAL 127 

PREJUDICE 128 

THE BUBBLE 129 

OVERSPENT 130 

IMAGINATION 131 

RUIN 132 

BECALMED 133 

THE SPHINX 134 

DISCREPANCY 135 

POETRY 136 

SAP 137 

IX 



SLEEP PAGE 138 

THE PYRAMIDS 139 

FORMATION 14 

THE PROMONTORY 141 

STARS I4 2 

WHISPER 143 

THE SUN 144 

THE SUNBEAM 145 

ALTER EGO I4 6 

REFLECTION 147 

ESTRANGEMENT I4 8 

BEETHOVEN ANGELO 149 

THE SHADOW 150 

SONNETS. 

THE INDIAN OF SAN SALVADOR 153 

KEATS 154 

SILENCE *55 

UNUTTERED *5 6 

SOLITUDE J 57 

LOVE S RETROSPECT 158 

A WINTER TWILIGHT 159 

GLIMPSES 1 60 

THE AGONY *<>I 

THE DEAD TREE J ^2 

HOMELESS l6 3 

THE PETRAL 164 



AT ANCHOR PAGE 165 

SHADOWS 1 66 

THE MOUNTAIN 167 

UNMOORED l68 

EUGENIE 169 

GOLGOTHA 17 

THE PORTRAIT 172 



THE RING. 

>LD the trinket hear thin eye, 
And it circles eartVaiid sky^ " J 
Place it further, and behold! 
But a finger s breadth of gold. 

Thus our lives, beloved, lie 
Ringed with love s fair boundary; 
Place it further, and its sphere 
Measures but a falling tear. 




me or below; 
v^r canst thou 1 farther go 
Than the spirit s octave-span, 
Harmonizing God and Man. 

Thus within the iris-bound, 
Light a prisoner is found 5 
Thus within my soul I see 
Life in Time s captivity. 



NEKROS. 

LO! all thy glory gone! 
God s masterpiece undone! 
The last created and the first to fall} 
The noblest, frailest, godliest of all. 

Death seems the conqueror now, 

And yet his victor thou : 

The fatal shaft, its venom quench d in thee, 

A mortal raised to immortality. 

Child of the humble sod, 

Wed with the breath of God, 

Descend ! for with the lowest thou must lie - 

Arise! thou hast inherited the sky. 



WESTWARD. 

AND dost thou lead him hence with thee, 
O setting sun, 
And leave the shadows all to me 

When he is gone ? 
Ah, if my grief his guerdon be, 

My dark his light, 
I count each loss felicity, 
And bless the night. 



TO A PHOTOGRAPH. 

O TENDER shade! 
Lone captive of enamoured Light, 
That from an angel visage bright 
A glance betrayed. 

Dost thou not sigh 
To wander from thy prison-place ? 
To seek again the vanished face, 

Or else, to die ? 

A shade like thee, 

Dim Eidolon a dream disproved 
A memory of light removed, 

Behold in me! 



MY STAR. 

SINCE that the dewdrop holds the star 
The long night through, 
Perchance the satellite afar 
Reflects the dew. 

And while thine image in my heart 

Doth steadfast shine 5 
There, haply, in thy heaven apart 

Thou keepest mine. 



CONTENT. 

WERE all the heavens an overladen bough 
Of ripened benediction lowered above me, 
What could I crave, soul-satisfied as now 
That thou dost love me ? 

The door is shut. To each unsheltered Blessing 
Henceforth I say, " Depart! What would 1 st thou 
of me ?" 

Beggared I am of want, this boon possessing, 
That thou dost love me. 



ROBIN. 

COME to me, Robin! The daylight is dying! 
Come to me now! 

Come, ere the cypress-tree over me sighing, 
Dank with the shadow-tide, circle my brow; 
Come, ere oblivion speed to me, flying 
Swifter than thou ! 

Come to me, Robin! The far echoes waken 

Cold to my cry! 

Oh! with the swallow-wing, love overtaken, 
Hence to the Echo-land, homeward, to fly! 
Thou art my life, Robin. Oh ! love-forsaken, 

How can I die ? 



THE WHITE JESSAMINE. 

I KNEW she lay above me, 
Where the casement all the night 
Shone, softened with a phosphor glow 

Of sympathetic light, 
And that her fledgling spirit pure 
Was pluming fast for flight. 

Each tendril throbbed and quickened 
As I nightly climbed apace, 

And could scarce restrain the blossoms 
When, anear the destined place, 

Her gentle whisper thrilled me 
Ere I gazed upon her face. 

I waited, darkling, till the dawn 
Should touch me into bloom, 

While all my being panted 
To outpour its first perfume, 

When, lo ! a paler flower than mine 
Had blossomed in the gloom ! 



THE CLOUD. 

FAR on the brink of day 
Thou standest as the herald of the dawn, 
Where fades the night s last flickering spark away 
Ere the first dewdrop s gone. 

Above the eternal snows 
By winter scattered on the mountain height 
To shroud the centuries, thy visage glows 

With a prophetic light. 

Calm is thine awful brow; 
As when thy presence shrined Divinity 
Between the flaming Cherubim, so now 

Its shadow clings to thee. 

Yet as an Angel mild 

Thou, in the torrid noon, with sheltering wing 
Dost o er the earth, as to a weary child, 

A balm celestial bring. 

And when the evening dies, 
Still to thy fringed vesture cleaves the light 
The last sad glimmer of her tearful eyes 

On the dark verge of night. 

So, soon thy glories wane! 

Thou too must mourn the rose of morning shed: 
Cold creeps the fatal shadow o er thy train, 

And settles on thy head. 

10 



And while the wistful eye 

Yearns for the charm that wooed its ravished gaze, 
The sympathy of Nature wakes a sigh, 

And thus its thought betrays: 

" Thou, like the Cloud, my soul, 
Dost in thyself of beauty nought possess; 
Devoid the light of Heaven, a vapor foul, 

The veil of nothingness! " 



PHANTOMS. 

ARE ye the ghosts of fallen leaves, 
O flakes of snow, 

For which, through naked trees, the winds 
A-mourning go ? 

Or are ye angels, bearing home 

The host unseen 
Of truant spirits, to be clad 

Again in green ? 



12 



THE VOYAGERS. 
T^HE Spring in festival array, 
-L From Death to Life, from Night to Day, 

Came floating o er the main; 
And now with banners brave and bright, 
From Life to Death, from Day to Night, 
The Autumn drifts again. 



THE SWALLOW. 

SKIM o er the tide, 
And from thy pinions fling 
The sparkling water-drops, 

Sweet child of spring! 

Bathe in the dying sunshine warm and bright, 
Till ebbs the last receding wave of light. 

Swift glides the hour, 

But what its flight to thee ? 
Thine own is fleeter far; 

E en now to me 

Thou seem st upon futurity anon 
To beckon thence the tardy present on. 

The eye in vain 

Pursues, with subtle glance, 
Thy dim, delirious course 

Through heaven s expanse: 
Vanished thy form upon the wings of thought, 
Ere yet its place the lagging vision caught. 

Again thou rt here, 

A slanting arrow sent 
From yon fair-tinted bow, 

In promise bent; 

As when, erewhile, the gentle bird of love 
Poised her white wing the new-born land above. 



A seeming shade, 

Scarce palpable in form, 
Yet thine, alas, the change 

Of calm and storm ! 

The veering passions of my stronger soul 
Alike the throbbings of thy heart control. 

For day is done, 

And cloyed of long delight, 
Like me thou welcomest 

The sober night j 

Like me, aweary, sinkest on that breast, 
That woos all nature to her silent rest. 



i: 



CLOISTERED. 

WITHIN the compass of mine eyes 
Behold, a lordly city lies 
A world to me unknown, 
Save that along its crowded ways 
Moves one whose heart in other days 
Was mated to mine own. 

I ask no more} enough for me 
One heaven above us both to see, 

One calm horizon-line 
Around us, like a mystic ring 
That Love has set, encompassing 

That kindred life and mine. 



16 



THE LONELY MOUNTAIN. 

ONE bird, that ever with the wakening spring 
Was wont to sing, 

I wait, through all my woodlands, far and near, 
In vain to hear. 

The voice of many waters, silent long 

Breaks forth in song 5 
Young breezes to the listening leaves outpour 

Their heavenly lore: 

A thousand other winged warblers sweet, 

Returning, greet 
Their fellows, and rebuild upon my breast 

The wonted nest. 

But unto me one fond familiar strain 

Comes not again 
A breath whose faintest echo, farthest heard, 

A mountain stirred. 



ECHOES. 

WHERE of old, responsive 
As the wind and foam, 
Rose the joyous echoes, 

Desolate I roam, 
Nor find one lingering sound to hail the wanderer home. 

Silence, long unbroken, 

Break thy rigid spell! 
Free the fairy captives 

Of the mountain dell, 
If yet in veiling mist the mimic minions dwell. 

Children of the distance, 

Shall I call in vain ? 
From your slumbers waking, 

Speak to me again 
As erst in childhood woke your soft ^Eolian strain! 

Hark! the wavy chorus, 

Faint and far away, 
Like a dream returning 

In the light of day, 
Too fond to flee; alas! too timorous to stay! 

Hints of heavenly voices, 
Tone for silvery tone, 
Move in rarer measures 



18 



Than to us are known, 
Still wooing hence to worlds beyond the shadowy zone. 

Pausing, still they linger 

As in love s delay, 
With sibyllic omen 

Seeming thus to sayj 
"Of all the vanished Past, we Echoes only stay! " 



PHOTOGRAPHED. 

FOR years, an ever-shifting shade 
The sunshine of thy visage made; 
Then, spider-like, the captive caught 
In meshes of immortal thought. 

E en so, with half-averted eye, 
Day after day I passed thee by, 
Till suddenly, a subtler art 
Enshrined thee in my heart of heart. 



20 



THE HALF-RING MOON. 

OVER the sea, over the sea, 
My love he is gone to a far countrie j 
But he brake a golden ring with me 
The pledge of his faith to be. 

Over the sea, over the sea, 
He comes no more from the far countrie 5 
But at night, where the new moon loved to be, 
Hangs the half of a ring for me. 



21 



ENSHRINED. 

COME quickly in and close the door, 
For none hath entered here before, 
The secret chamber set apart 
Within the cloister of the heart. 

Tread softly! Tis the Holy Place 
Where memory meets face to face 
A sacred sorrow, felt of yore, 
But sleeping now forevermore. 

It cannot die; for nought of pain, 
Its fleeting vesture, doth remain : 
Behold upon the shrouded eye 
The seal of immortality ! 

Love would not wake it, nor efface 
Of anguish one abiding trace, 
Since e en the calm of heaven were less, 
Untouched of human tenderness. 



22 



IN MY ORANGE-GROVE 

ORBS of Autumnal beauty, breathed to light 
From blooms of May, 
Rounded between the touch of lengthening night 

And lessening day, 
Flushed with the Summer fulness that the Spring 

(Fair seer!) foretold, 
The circle of three seasons compassing 
In spheres of gold. 



INTIMATIONS. 

I KNEW the flowers had dreamed of you, 
And hailed the morning with regret; 
For all their faces with the dew 
Of vanished joy were wet. 

I knew the winds had passed your way, 
Though not a sound the truth betrayed; 

About their pinions all the day 
A summer fragrance stayed. 

And so, awaking or asleep, 

A memory of lost delight 
By day the sightless breezes keep, 

And silent flowers by night. 



EVOLUTION. 

OUT of the dusk a shadow, 
Then, a spark; 
Out of the cloud a silence, 

Then, a lark; 
Out of the heart a rapture, 

Then, a pain; 

Out of the dead, cold ashes, 
Life again. 



LOVE S HYBLA. 

MY thoughts fly to thee, as the bees 
To find their favorite flower; 
Then home, with honeyed memories 
Of many a fragrant hour: 

For with thee is the place apart 
Where sunshine ever dwells, 

The Hybla, whence my hoarding heart 
Would fill its wintry cells. 



26 



WAYFARERS. 

O COMRADE Sun, that day by day 
Dost weave a shadow on my way, 
Lest, in the luxury of light, 
My soul forget the neighboring night: 
Wilt thou whene er, my journey done, 
Thou wanderest our path upon, 
Bear in thy beams a memory 
Of one who walked the world with thee, 
Or mourn, amid the lavishness 
Of Life, one hovering shade the less ? 



THE PEAK. 

AS on some solitary height 
Abides, in summer s fierce despite, 
Snow-blossom that no sun can blight, 

No frost can kill; 
So, in my soul, all else below 
To change succumbing, stands aglow 
One wreath of immemorial snow, 
Unscattered still. 



THE CAPTIVES. 

APART forever dwelt the twain, 
Save for one oft-repeated strain 
Wherein what Love alone could say 
They learned and lavished day by day. 

Strangers in all but misery 
And music s hope-sustaining tie, 
They lived and loved and died apart, 
But soul to soul and heart to heart. 



29 



MY PHOTOGRAPH. 

MY sister Sunshine smiled on me, 
And of my visage wrought a shade. 
" Behold," she cried, "the mystery 
Of which thou art afraid ! 

" For Death is but a tenderness, 
A shadow, that unclouded Love 

Hath fashioned in its own excess 
Of radiance from above. * * 



BROTHERHOOD. 

KNEW not the Sun, sweet Violet, 
The while he gleaned the snow, 
That thou in darkness sepulchred, 

Wast slumbering below ? 
Or spun a splendor of surprise 
Around him to behold thee rise ? 

Saw not the Star, sweet Violet, 

What time a drop of dew 
Let fall his image from the sky 

Into thy deeper blue ? 
Nor waxed he tremulous and dim 
When rival Dawn supplanted him ? 

And dreamest thou, sweet Violet, 
That I, the vanished Star, 

The Dewdrop, and the morning Sun, 
Thy closest kinsmen are 

So near that, waking or asleep, 

We each and all thine image keep ? 



EVICTED. 

r I ^IME shut the door, and turned the key} 
JL And here in darkness (woe is me!) 

I wait and call in vain: 

He will not come again ! 
I had but stepped beyond the light, 
And on the threshold of the night 

Turned back alas, to find 

Life s portal closed behind! 

Breathless, I beat the ponderous door: 
No answer! Silence evermore, 

Remembering what has been, 

Sits desolate within. 
The Present dead, Futurity, 
Its still-born babe, wakes not for me: 

I am alone at last 

With the immortal Past. 



GRIEF-SONG. 

NEW grief, new tears; 
Brief the reign of sorrow; 
Clouds that gather with the night 
Scatter on the morrow. 

Old grief, old tears; 
Come and gone together; 

Not a fleck upon the sky 
Telling whence or whither. 

Old grief, new tears ; 
Deep to deep is calling: 

Life is but a passing cloud 
Whence the rain is falling. 



RECOGNITION. 

AT twilight, on the open sea> 
We passed, with breath of melody 
A song, to each familiar, sung 
In accents of an alien tongue. 

We could not see each other 1 s face, 
Nor through the growing darkness trace 
Our destinies} but brimming eyes 
Betrayed unworded sympathies. 



34 



AN INFLUENCE. 

I SEE thee, heaven s unclouded face 
A vacancy around thee made, 
Its sunshine a subservient grace 
Thy lovelier light to shade. 

I feel thee, as the billows feel 
A river freshening the brine; 

A life s libation poured to heal 
The bitterness of mine. 



35 



HELPMATES. 

SAYS the Land, " O sister Sea, 
HacTst thou not borne the voyagers to me, 
Vain were their visions grand, 
And I, e en now, perchance, a stranger-land: 
So, thine the glory be! " 

Says the Sea, " Nay, brother Land} 
Had st thou not outward stretched the saving hand, 
My bosom now had kept 
The secret where the souls heroic slept 5 
Tis in thy strength they stand ! 



TO MY SHADOW. 

FRIEND forever in the light 
Cleaving to my side, 
Harbinger of endless night 
That must soon betide j 

Hither," seemest thou to say, 
" From the twilight now: 

In the darkness when I stay, 
Never thence wilt thou." 



37 



THE LAKE. 

I AM a lonely woodland lake: 
The trees that round me grow, 
The glimpse of heaven above me, make 
The sum of all I know. 

The mirror of their dreams to be 

Alike in shade and shine, 
To clasp in Love s captivity, 

And keep them one is mine. 



THE DAYSPRING. 

WHAT hand with spear of light 
Hath cleft the side of Night, 
And from the red wound wide 
Fashioned the Dawn, his bride ? 

Was it the deed of Death ? 
Nay; but of Love, that saith, 
" Henceforth be Shade and Sun, 
In bonds of Beauty, one." 



39 



THE CHORD. 

IN this narrow cloister bound 
Dwells a Sisterhood of Sound, 
Far from alien voices rude 
As in secret solitude 
Unisons, that yearned apart, 
Here, in harmony of heart, 
Blend divided sympathies, 
And in choral strength arise, 
Like the cloven tongues of fire, 
One in heavenly desire. 



40 



COMPENSATION. 

HOW many an acorn falls to die 
For one that makes a tree! 
How many a heart must pass me by 
For one that cleaves to me! 

How many a suppliant wave of sound 

Must still unheeded roll, 
For one low utterance that found 

An echo in my soul! 



VISIBLE SOUND. 

AYE, have we not felt it and known, 
Ere Science proclaimed it her own, 
That form is but visible tone ? 

Behold, where in silence was drowned 

The last fleeting echo of sound, 

The rainbow its blossom is found} 

While anon, with a verdurous sweep 
From the mountain-side, wooded and steep, 
Swells the chorus of deep unto deep, 

That the trumpet flowers, flame-flashing, blow 
Till the lilies enkindled below 
Swoon pale into passion, like snow! 

Yea, Love, of sweet Nature the Lord, 
Hath fashioned each manifold chord 
To utter His visible Word, 

Whose work, wheresoever begun, 
Like the rays floating back to the Sun, 
In the soul of all beauty is one. 



TO THE SUMMER WIND. 

ART thou the selfsame wind that blew 
When I was but a boy ? 
Thy voice is like the voice I knew, 

And yet the thrill of joy 
Has softened to a sadder tone 
Perchance the echo of mine own. 

Beside a sea of memories 

In solitude I dwell: 
Upon the shore forsaken lies 

Alas! no murmuring shell! 
Are all the voices lost to me 
Still wandering the world with thee ? 



43 



NARCISSUS. 

THE god enamoured never knew 
The shadow that beguiled his view, 
Nor deemed it less divinely true 
Than Life and Love. 

And so the poet, while he wrought 
His image in the tide of thought, 
Deemed it a glimpse in darkness caught 
Of light above. 



44 



CHILDHOOD. 

OLD Sorrow I shall meet again, 
And Joy, perchance but never, never, 
Happy Childhood, shall we twain 
See each other s face forever! 

And yet I would not call thee back, 
Dear Childhood, lest the sight of me, 

Thine old companion, on the rack 
Of Age, should sadden even thee. 



45 



TO AN OLD WASSAIL-CUP. 

WHERE Youth and Laughter lingered long 
To quaff delight, with wanton song 
And warm caress, 
Now Time and Silence strive amain 
With lips unsatisfied, to drain 
Life s emptiness! 



46 



FOUNTAIN-HEADS. 

ALIKE from depths of joy and sorrow start 
The rain-drops of the heart : 
Alike from sweet and briny waves arise 

The tear-drops of the skies. 
And back to earth salt tears and freshening rain 
Alike must flow again. 



47 



THE REAPER. 

TELL me whither, maiden June, 
Down the dusky slope of noon 
With thy sickle of a moon, 
Goest thou to reap. 

" Fields of Fancy by the stream 
Of night in silvery silence gleam, 
To heap with many a harvest-dream 
The granary of Sleep. 



48 



THE BUTTERFLY. 

T EAFLESS, stemless, floating flower, 

JLvFrom a rainbow s scattered bower, 

Like a bubble of the air 

Blown by fairies, tell me where 

Seed or scion I may find 

Bearing blossoms of thy kind. 



49 



THE STRANGER. 

HE ENTERED; but the mask he wore 
Concealed his face from me. 
Still, something I had seen before 
He brought to memory. 

" Who art thou ? What thy rank, thy name ? 

I questioned, with surprise; 
"Thyself" the laughing answer came, 

" As seen of others * eyes." 



5 



JOY. 

NEW-BORN, how long to stay ? 
The while a dew-drop may, 
Or rainbow-gleam : 
One kiss of sun or shade, 
And, lo, the breath that made, 
Unmakes the dream ! 



REGRET. 

WHAT pleading passion of the dark 
Hath left the Morning pale ? 
She listens! " T is, alas, the Lark, 

And not the Nightingale ! 
O for the gloom-encircled sphere, 

Whose solitary bird 
Outpours for Love s awakening ear 
What noon hath never heard! " 



SLEEP. 

BLIND art thou as thy mother Night, 
And as thy sister Silence dumb; 
But naught of soothing sound or sight 
Doth unto mortals come 
So tender as thy fancied glance 
And dream -imagined utterance. 



53 



YORICK S SKULL. 

POOR jester! still upon the stage, 
Chap-fallen flung, 
Where merry clowns from age to age 

Thy dirge have sung; 
Yet more than Eloquence may reach, 

Thought-heights among: 
T is thine, humanity to teach, 
Sans brains or tongue. 



54 



KEATS SAPPHO. 

METHINKS, when first the nightingale 
Was mated to thy deathless song, 
That Sappho with emotion pale, 

Amid the Olympian throng, 
Again, as in the Lesbian grove, 
Stood listening with lips apart, 
To hear in thy melodious love 
The pantings of her heart. 



55 



THE BROOK. 

IT is the mountain to the sea 
That makes a messenger of me: 
And, lest I loiter on the way 
And lose what I am sent to say, 
He sets his reverie to song 
And bids me sing it all day long. 
Farewell! for here the stream is slow, 
And I have many a mile to go. 



KILLDEE. 

TyTTLLDEE! Killdee! far o er the lea 
XvAt twilight comes the cry. 
Killdee! a marsh-mate answereth 
Across the shallow sky. 

Killdee! Killdee! thrills over me 

A rhapsody of light, 
As star to star gives utterance 

Between the day and night. 

Killdee! Killdee! O Memory, 
The twin birds, Joy and Pain, 

Like shadows parted by the sun, 
At twilight meet again ! 



57 



THE MOCKING-BIRD. 

O HE ART that cannot sleep for song! 
Behold, I wake with thee, 
And drink, as from a fountain strong, 

Thy midnight melody, 

That, poured upon the thirsting silence, seems 
Fresh from the shade of dreams 

My spirit, like the sapless bough 

Of some long-wintered tree, 
Feels suddenly the life that now 

Sets all thy passion free, 
And flushed as in the wakening strength of wine, 

Leaps heavenward with thine. 



THE HUMMING-BIRD. 

A FLASH of harmless lightning, 
jL\ A mist of rainbow dyes, 
The burnished sunbeams brightening, 
From flower to flower he flies : 

While wakes the nodding blossom, 

But just too late to see 
What lip hath touched her bosom 

And drained her nectary. 



59 



THE LARK. 

HE rose, and singing passed from sight 
A shadow kindling with the sun, 
His joy ecstatic flamed, till light 
And heavenly song were one. 



60 



THE BLUEBIRD. 

* r I ^ IS thine the earliest song to sing 

J. Of welcome to the wakening spring, 
Who round thee, as a blossom, weaves 
The fragrance of her sheltering leaves. 



61 



TO A WOOD-ROBIN. 

LO, where the blooming woodland wakes 
From wintry slumbers long, 
Thy heart, a bud of silence, breaks 
To ecstasy of song. 



62 



BLOSSOM. 

FOR this the fruit, for this the seed, 
For this the parent tree; 
The least to man, the most to God 

A fragrant mystery 
Where Love, with Beauty glorified, 
Forgets Utility. 



TO A ROSE. 

T^HOU hast not toiled, sweet Rose, 
X Yet needest rest} 
Softly thy petals close 

Upon thy breast, 
Like folded hands, of labor long oppressed. 

Naught knowest thou of sin, 

Yet tears are thine j 
Baptismal drops within 

Thy chalice shine, 
At morning s birth, at evening s calm decline. 

Alas! one day hath told 

The tale to thee ! 
Thy tender leaves enfold 

Life s mystery: 
Its shadow falls alike on thee and me! 



64 



THE WATER-LILY. 

WHENCE, O fragrant form of light, 
Hast thou drifted through the night, 
Swanlike, to a leafy nest, 
On the restless waves, at rest ? 

Art thou from the snowy zone 
Of a mountain-summit blown, 
Or the blossoms of a dream, 
Fashioned in the foamy stream ? 

Nay 5 methinks the maiden moon, 
When the daylight came too soon, 
Fleeting from her bath to hide, 
Left her garment in the tide. 



THE PLAINT OF THE ROSE. 

SAID the budding Rose, " All night 
Have I dreamed of the joyous light: 
How long doth my lord delay! 
Come, Dawn, and kiss from mine eyes away 
The dewdrops cold and the shadows gray, 
That hide thee from my sight! " 

Said the full-blown Rose, O Light! 
(So fair to the dreamer s sight !) 

How long doth the dew delay ! 
Come back, sweet sister shadows gray, 
And lead me home from the world away, 

To the calm of the cloister Night!" 



66 



THE VIOLET SPEAKS. 

THINK not yon star, 
New-found afar, 
Love s latest sign; 
Nor fondly dream 
No fresher beam 
Doth on thee shines 
A newer light, 
From longer night 
Of years, is mine* 



TO THE VIOLET. 

SWEET violet, who knows 
From whence thy fragrance flows 
Or whither hence it goes ? 

A pious pilgrim here 
To Winter 1 s sepulchre 
Thou comest year by year 

Alert with balmier store 
Than Magdalen of yore 
To Love s anointing bore. 

Methinks that thou hast been 

So oft the go-between 

Twixt sight and things unseen 

That with thy wafted breath 

Alternate echoeth 

Each bank of sundering Death, 



68 



GOLDEN-ROD. 

AS Israel, in days of old, 
Beneath the prophet s rod, 
Amid the waters, backward rolled, 

A path triumphant trod; 
So, while thy lifted staff appears, 

Her pilgrim steps to guide, 
The Autumn journeys on, nor fears 
The Winter s threatening tide. 



69 



STAR-JESSAMINE. 
"PVISCERNING Star from Sister Star, 
LJ We give to each its name 5 
But ye, O countless Blossoms, are 

In fragrance and in flame 
So like, that He from whom ye came 
Alone discerneth each by name. 



THE DANDELION. 

WITH locks of gold to-day; 
To-morrow, silver gray; 
Then blossom-bald. Behold, 
O man, thy fortune told! 



FERN SONG. 

DANCE to the beat of the rain, little Fern, 
And spread out your palms again, 

And say, " Tho"* the sun 

Hath my vesture spun, 
He had labored, alas, in vain, 

But for the shade 

That the Cloud hath made, 
And the gift of the Dew and the Rain." 

Then laugh and upturn 

All your fronds, little Fern, 
And rejoice in the beat of the rain ! 



72 



AUTUMN GOLD. 

DEATH in the house, and the golden-rod 
A-bloom in the field! 
O blossom, how, from the lifeless clod, 
When the fires are out and the ashes cold, 
Doth a vein that the miners know not, yield 
Such wealth of gold ? 



73 



AUTUMN SONG. 

MY life is but a leaf upon the tree 
A growth upon the stem that feedeth all. 
A touch of frost and suddenly I fall, 
To follow where my sister-blossoms be. 

The selfsame sun, the shadow, and the rain, 
That brought the budding verdure to the bough, 
Shall strip the fading foliage as now, 
And leave the limb in nakedness again. 

My life is but a leaf upon the treej 
The winds of birth and death upon it blow; 
But whence it came and whither it shall go, 
Is mystery of mysteries to me. 



74 



INDIAN SUMMER. 

1/ T^IS said, in death, upon the face 

JL Of Age, a momentary trace 
Of Infancy s returning grace 

Forestalls decay j 

And here, in Autumn s dusky reign, 
A birth of blossom seems again 
To flush the woodland s fading train 
With dreams of May. 



DECEMBER. 

DULL sky above, dead leaves below; 
And hungry winds that whining go. 
Like faithful hounds upon the track 
Of one beloved that comes not back. 



AT THE YEAR S END. 

NIGHT dreams of day, and winter seems 
In sleep to breathe the balm of May. 
Their dreams are true anon 5 but they, 
The dreamers, then, alas, are dreams. 

Thus, while our days the dreams renew 

Of some forgotten sleeper, we, 

The dreamers of futurity, 

Shall vanish when our own are true. 



77 



THE CHRISTMAS BABE. 

SO small that lesser lowliness 
Must bow to worship or caress; 
So great that heaven itself to know 
Love s majesty must look below. 



THE LIGHT OF BETHLEHEM. 

Tis Christmas night! the snow, 
A flock unnumbered lies: 
The old Judean stars aglow, 
Keep watch within the skies. 

An icy stillness holds 

The pulses of the night: 
A deeper mystery infolds 

The wondering Hosts of Light. 

Till, lo, with reverence pale 

That dims each diadem, 
The lordliest, earthward bending, hail 

The Light of Bethlehem ! 



OUT OF BOUNDS. 

A LITTLE Boy of heavenly birth, 
JTA-But far from home to-day, 
Comes down to find His ball, the Earth, 

That Sin has cast away. 
O comrades, let us one and all 
Join in to get Him back His ball! 



MISTLETOE. 

TO the cradle-bough of a naked tree, 
Benumbed with ice and snow, 
A Christmas dream brought suddenly 
A birth of mistletoe. 

The shepherd stars from their fleecy cloud 
Strode out on the night to see; 

The Herod north-wind blustered loud 
To rend it from the tree. 

But the old year took it for a sign, 

And blessed it in his heart: 
"With prophecy of peace divine, 

Let now my soul depart." 



81 



EASTER. 

LIKE a meteor, large and bright, 
Fell a golden seed of light 
On the field of Christmas night 

When the Babe was born; 
Then twas sepulchred in gloom 
Till above His holy tomb 
Flashed its everlasting bloom 
Flower of Easter morn. 



EASTER LILIES. 

"CHOUGH long in wintry sleep ye lay, 
JL The powers of darkness could not stay 
Your coming at the call of day, 

Proclaiming spring. 

Nay; like the faithful virgins wise, 
With lamps replenished ye arise, 
Ere dawn the death-anointed eyes 
Of Christ, the king. 



RESURRECTION. 

A LL that springeth from the sod 
l\Tendeth upwards unto Godj 
All that cometh from the skies 
Urging it anon to rise. 

Winter s life-delaying breath 
Leaveneth the lump of death, 
Till the frailest fettered bloom 
Moves the earth, and bursts the tomb. 

Welcome, then, Time s threshing-pain 
And the furrows where each grain, 
Like a Samson, blossom-shorn, 
Waits the resurrection morn. 



AWAKENING. 

DO they that sleep, O Blossoms, yearn, 
When ye from them to us return, 
Again with you to rise ? 
Or do they in your quickening breath 
Speak to us from the shades of death, 
And see us with your eyes ? 



EARTH S TRIBUTE. 

FIRST the grain, and then the blade - 
The one destroyed, the other madej 
Then stalk and blossom, and again 
The gold of newly minted grain. 

So Life, by Death the reaper cast 
To earth, again shall rise at last; 
For tis the service of the sod 
To render God the things of God. 



86 



THE RECOMPENSE. 

SHE brake the box, and all the house was filled 
With waftures from the fragrant store thereof, 
While at His feet a costlier vase distilled 
The bruised balm of penitential love. 

And, lo, as if in recompense of her, 

Bewildered in the lingering shades of night, 

He breaks anon the sealed sepulchre, 

And fills the world with rapture and with light. 



RABBONI! 

" T BRING Thee balm, and, lo, Thou art not here! 
A Twice have I poured mine ointment on Thy 

brow, 
And washed Thy feet with tears. Disdain st Thou 

now 
The spikenard and the myrrh ? 

Has Death, alas, betrayed Thee with a kiss 
That seals Thee from the memory of mine ?* 
" Mary! " It is the self-same Voice Divine. 

Rabboni! " only this. 



88 



TO THE CHRIST. 

THOU hast on earth a Trinity, 
Thyself, my fellow-man, and me 5 
When one with him, then one with Thee 5 
Nor, save together, Thine are we. 



THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION. 

A DEW-DROP of the darkness born, 
Wherein no shadow liesj 
The blossom of a barren thorn, 

Whereof no petal dies 5 
A rainbow beauty passion-free, 
Wherewith was veiled Divinity. 



90 



THE ANNUNCIATION. 

T!" The flaming word 
Flashed, as the brooding Bird 
Uttered the doom far heard 
Of Death and Night. 

< < Fiat!" A cloistered womb 
A sealed, untainted tomb 
Wakes to the birth and bloom 
Of Life and Light. 



THE INCARNATION. 

SAVE through the flesh Thou wouldst not come 
to me 

The flesh, wherein Thy strength my weakness found 
A weight to bow Thy Godhead to the ground, 
And lift to Heaven a lost humanity. 



92 



THE ASSUMPTION. 

NOR Bethlehem nor Nazareth 
Apart from Mary s care; 
Nor heaven itself a home for Him 
Were not His mother there. 



93 



MAGDALEN. (AFTER SWINBURNE.) 
RE hath done what she could." 
was thus that He spake of her, 
Trembling and pale as the penitent stood. 
" And this she hath done shall be told for the sake 

of her, 

Told as embalmed in the gift that I take of her, 
Take, as an earnest of all that she would 
Who hath done what she could. 

"She hath done what she could: 
Lo, the flame that hath driven her 

Downward, is quenched! and her grief like a flood 
In the strength of a rain-swollen torrent hath shriven 

her: 
Much hath she loved and much is forgiven herj 

Love in the longing fulfils what it would 

She hath done what she could." 



94 



ABSOLVED. 

FAR floating o er its native fen, 
The evening Cloud, like Magdalen 

Her penitential tears 
Assuaged of Love, her sins forgiven 
Upborne upon a waveless heaven 
Of radiant rest, appears. 



THE PRECURSOR. 



ts A s J olm 

JL\ 



To make the rough ways smooth, that all might 
know 

The level road that leads to Bethlehem, lo, 
I come/ proclaims the snow. 



SON OF MARY. 

SHE the mother was of One 
Christ, her Saviour and her Son. 
And another had she none ? 
Yea: her Love s beloved John. 



CHRIST TO THE VICTIM -TREE, 

SOON, but not alone to die, 
Kinsman Tree, 
Limbed and leafless must thou lie, 

Doomed, alas, for Mej 
Yea, for Me, as I for all, 
Must thou first a victim fall. 

Thou for me the bitter fruit 

Loth to bear, 
Must of Death s accursed root 

Shame reluctant share. 
Thus the Father s will divine 
Seals thy fate to compass Mine. 



98 



ANGELS OF PAIN. 

AH, should they come revisiting the spot 
Whence by our prayers we drove them utterly, 
Shame were it for their saddened eyes to see 
How soon their visitations are forgot. 



99 



A LENTEN THOUGHT. 

ALONE with Thee, who canst not be alone, 
At midnight, in Thine everlasting dayj 
Lo, less than naught, of nothingness undone, 
I, prayerless, pray! 

Behold and with Thy bitterness make sweet, 

What sweetest is in bitterness to hide 
Like Magdalen, I grovel at Thy feet, 
In lowly pride. 

Smite, till my wounds beneath Thy scourging cease; 

Soothe, till my heart in agony hath bledj 
Nor rest my soul with enmity at peace, 
Till Death be dead. 



100 



"IS THY SERVANT A DOG?" 

SO must he be who, in the crowded street, 
Where shameless Sin and flauut : j?g Pleasure 
Amid the noisome footprints finds the sweet 
Faint vestige of Thy feet. 



TOI 



HOLY 

where apart the fallen sparrow lies, 
^tly tread^. ? 
For there the pity of a Father s eyes 
Enshrines the dead. 



102 



THE PLAYMATES. 

WHO are thy playmates, boy i* 
"My favorite is Joy, 

Who brings with him his sister, Peace, to stay 
The livelong day. 
I love them both} but he 
Is most to me. 

And where thy playmates now, 

O man of sober brow ? 

" Alas! dear Joy, the merriest, is dead. 

But I have wed 

Peace; and our babe, a boy, 

New-born, is Joy." 



103 



TO THE BABE NIVA. 

NIVA, Child of Innocence, 
Dust to dust <we go : 
Thou, when Winter wooed thee hence, 
Wentest snow to snow. 



104 



A PHONOGRAPH. 

HARK I what his fellow- warblers heard 
And uttered in the light, 
Their phonograph, the mocking-bird, 
Repeats to them at night. 



A CRADLE-SONG. 

SING it, Mother! sing it low: 
Deem it not an idle lay. 
In the heart "t will ebb and flow 
All the life-long way. 

Sing it, Mother! softly sing, 

While he slumbers on thy kneej 

All that after-years may bring 
Shall flow back to thee. 

Sing it, Mother, Love is strong 1 
When the tears of manhood fall, 

Echoes of thy cradle-song 
Shall its peace recall. 

Sing it, Mother! when his ear 
Catcheth first the Voice Divine, 

Dying, he may smile to hear 
What he deemeth thine. 



106 



CONFIDED. 

ANOTHER lamb, O Lamb of God, behold, 
Within this quiet fold, 
Among Thy Father s sheep 
I lay to sleep ! 

A heart that never for a night did rest 
Beyond its mother s breast. 
Lord, keep it close to Thee, 
Lest waking it should bleat and pine for me! 



107 



THE TAX-GATHERER. 
" A ND pray, who are you ? 

/jLSaid the violet blue 
To the Bee, with surprise 
At his wonderful size, 
In her eye-glass of dew. 

"I, madam," quoth he, 

" Am a publican Bee, 

Collecting the tax 

On honey and wax. 

Have you nothing for me?" 



1 08 



BABY. 

BABY in her slumber smiling, 
Doth a captive take: 

Whispers Love, "From dreams beguiling 
May she never wake! " 

When the lids, like mist retreating, 

Flee the azure deep, 
Wakes a newborn Joy, repeating, 

" May she never sleep! " 



109 



BABY S DIMPLES. 

LOVE goes playing hide-and-seek 
Mid the roses on her cheek, 
With a little imp of Laughter, 
Who, the while he follows after, 
Leaves the footprints that we trace 
All about the Kissing-place. 



no 



A BUNCH OF ROSES. 

THE rosy mouth and rosy toe 
Of little baby brother, 
Until about a month ago 

Had never met each other; 
But nowadays the neighbors sweet, 

In every sort of weather, 
Half way with rosy fingers meet, 
To kiss and play together. 



THE NEW-YEAR BABE. 

TWO together, Babe and Year. 
At the midnight chime, 
Through the darkness drifted here 
To the coast of Time. 

Two together, Babe and Year, 

Over night and day 
Crossed the desert Winter drear 

To the land of May. 

On together, Babe and Year, 

Swift to Summer passed; 
"Rest a moment, Brother dear, * 

Said the Babe at last. 

"Nay, but onward;" answered Year, 

" We must farther go: 
Through the Vale of Autumn sere 

To the Mount of Snow." 

Toiling upward, Babe and Year 
Climbed the frozen height. 

" We may rest together here, 
Brother Babe Good-night ! " 

Then together Babe and Year 

Slept: but ere the dawn, 
Vanishing, I know not where, 

Brother Year was gone I 

112 



MILTON. 

SO fair thy vision that the night 
Abided with thee, lest the light, 
A flaming sword before thine eyes, 
Had shut thee out from Paradise. 



TO SHELLEY. 

AT Shelley s birth, 
The Lark, dawn-spirit, with an anthem loud 
Rose from the dusky earth 
To tell it to the Cloud, 

That, like a flower night-folded in the gloom, 
Burst into morning bloom. 

At Shelley s death, 
The Sea, that deemed him an immortal, saw 

A god s extinguished breath, 

And landward, as in awe, 
Upbore him to the altar whence he came, 

And the rekindling flame. 



114 



SAPPHO. 

ALIGHT upon the headland, flaming far, 
We see thee o er the widening waves of time, 
Impassioned as a palpitating star, 

Big with prophetic destiny sublime: 
A momentary flash a burst of song 

Then silence, and a withering blank of pain. 
We wait, alas! in tedious vigils long, 

The meteor-gleam that cometh not again ! 
Our eyes are heavy, and our visage wan: 

Our breath a phantom of the darkness glides 
Ghostlike to swell the dismal caravan 

Of shadows, where thy lingering splendor hides, 
Till, with our tears and ineffectual sighs, 

We quench the spark a smouldering hope supplies. 



115 



TO SIDNEY LANIER. 

THE dewdrop holds the heaven above, 
Wherein a lark, unseen, 
Outpours a rhapsody of love 
That fills the space between. 

My heart a dewdrop is, and thou, 

Dawn -spirit, far away, 
Fillest the void between us now 

With an immortal lay. 



116 



ON THE FORTHCOMING VOLUME OF 
SIDNEY LANIER S POEMS. 

SNOW! Snow! Snow! 
Do thy worst, Winter, but know, but know 
That, when the Spring cometh, a blossom shall blow 
From the heart of the Poet that sleeps below, 
And his name to the ends of the earth shall go, 
In spite of the snow ! 



117 



FATHER DAMIEN. 

OGOD, the cleanest offering 
Of tainted earth below, 
Unblushing to thy feet we bring 
( ( A leper white as snow ! 



Tl8 



THE SNOWDROP. 

NUN of Winter s sisterhood/ 
A Snowdrop in the garden stood 
Alone amid the solitude 
That round her lay. 

No sister blossom there was seen; 
No memory of what had been; 
No promise of returning green, 
Or scented spray: 

But she alone was bold to bear 
The banner of the Spring, and dare, 
In Winter s stern despite, declare 
A gentler sway. 

So didst thou, Damien, when the glow 
Of faith and hope was waning low, 
For souls bewintered dare the snow, 
And lead the way. 



119 



QUATRAINS. 



"FOR THE RAIN IT RAINETH EVERY 
DAY." 

>Y, every day the rain doth fall, 
And every day doth rise: 
T is thus the heavens incessant call, 

,And thus the earth replies. 




123 



THE MAST. 

THE winds that once my playmates were 
No more my voice responsive hear, 
Nor know me, naked now and dumb, 
When o er my wandering way they come. 



124 



A STONE S THROW. 

LO, Death another pebble far doth fling 
Into the midmost sea, 
To leave of Life an ever-widening ring 
Upon Eternity. 



125 



LOVE S AUTOGRAPH. 

ONCE only did he pass my way. 
" When wilt thou come again ? 
Ah, leave some token of thy stay!" 
He wrote (and vanished) "Pain. 1 * 



126 



RENEWAL. 

EACH Hagar month beholds her waning moon 
Upon the desert night, 
Like Ishmael, a famished wanderer, swoon 
From darkness into light. 



127 



PREJUDICE. 

A LEAF may hide the largest star 
l\From Love s uplifted eye; 
A mote of prejudice out-bar 
A world of Charity. 



128 



THE BUBBLE. 

WHY should I stay ? Nor seed nor fruit have I. 
But, sprung at once to beauty s perfect round, 
Nor loss, nor gain, nor change in me is found, 
A life-complete in death-complete to die. 



129 



CTERSPENT. 

MY soul is as a fainting noonday star, 
And thou, the absent night} 
Haste, that thy healing shadow from afar 
May touch me into light. 



130 



IMAGINATION. 

HERE Fancy far outdoes the deed; 
So hath Eternity the need 
Of telling more than Time has taught 
To fill the boundaries of Thought. 



RUIN. 

A POWER beyond Perfection s dream is thine, 
A shadow that the dwindling shape outgrows 
Of substance, like a vast horizon-line 
Receding as the Fancy onward goes. 



132 



BECALMED. 

HPHE bar is crossed: but Death the pilot stands 

-L In seeming doubt before the tranquil deepj 
The fathom-line still trembling in his hands, 
As when upon the treacherous shoals of sleep. 



TO THE SPHINX. 

AH, not alone in Egypt s desert land 
Thy dwelling-place apart ! 
But wheresoever the scorching passion-sand 
Hath seared the human heart. 



DISCREPANCY. 

ONE dream the bird and blossom dreamed 
Of Love, the whole night long; 
Yet twain its revelation seemed, 
In fragrance and in song. 



35 



POETRY. 

A GLEAM of heaven; the passion of a Star 
Held captive in the clasp of harmony: 
A silence, shell-like breathing from afar 
The rapture of the deep, eternity. 



SAP. 

STRONG as the sea, and silent as the grave, 
It ebbs and flows unseen 5 
Flooding the earth a fragrant tidal wave 
With mist of deepening green. 



SLEEP. 

WHAT art thou, balmy sleep ? 
" Foam from the fragrant deep 
Of silence, hither blown 
From the hushed waves of tone." 



138 



THE PYRAMIDS. 

AMID the desert of a mystic land, 
Like Sibyls waiting for a doom far-seen, 
Apart in awful solitude they stand, 

With Thought s unending caravan between. 



139 



FORMATION. 

WHATEVER we love becomes of us a part; 
The centre of all tributary powers 
Our life is fed from Nature s throbbing heart, 
And of her best the fibred growth is ours. 



140 



THE PROMONTORY. 

NOT all the range of sea-born liberty 
Hath ever for one restless wave sufficed: 
So pants the heart, of all compulsion free, 
Self-driven to the Rock, its barrier, Christ. 



141 



STARS. 

BEHOLD, upon the field of Night, 
Far-scattered seeds of golden light; 
Nor one to wither, but anon 
To bear the heaven-full harvest, Dawn. 



142 



WHISPER. 

CLOSE cleaving unto Silence, into sound 
She ventures as a timorous child from land, 
Still glancing, at each wary step, around, 
Lest suddenly she lose her sister s hand. 



THE SUN. 

HE prisons many a life indeed 
Within the narrow cells of seed, 
But cannot call them forth again 
Without the sesame of rain. 



144 



THE SUNBEAM. 

A LADDER from the Land of Light, 
\ I rest upon the sod, 
Whence dewy angels of the Night 
Climb back again to God. 



ALTER EGO. 

THOU art to me as is the sea 
Unto the shell; 

A life whereof I breathe, a love 
Wherein I dwell. 



146 



REFLECTION. 

LIKE stars that in the waves below 
With heaven s reflected splendor glow, 
The flowers, in all their glory bright, 
Are shadows of a fairer light. 



ESTRANGEMENT. 

WHAT kindly Absence hid, forsooth, 
Thy Presence late hath shown} 
That, like a garment worn in youth, 
I am, alas, outgrown! 



148 



BEETHOVEN AND ANGELO. 

ONE made the surging sea of tone 
Subservient to his rod: 
One, from the sterile womb of stone, 
Raised children unto God. 



THE SHADOW. 

O SHADOW, in thy fleeting form I see 
The friend of fortune that once clung to me. 
In flattering light, thy constancy is shown 5 
In darkness, thou wilt leave me all alone. 



150 



SONNETS. 




THE INDIAN OF SAN SALVADOR. 

!HAT time the countless arrow-heads 
of light 

Keen twinkled on the bended heavens, 
back-drawn 
With deadly aim, at signal of the Dawn, 
To slay the slumbering, dusky warrior, Night ; 
I dreamed a dream: And, lo! three spirits, white 
As mist that gathers when the rain is gone, 
Came walking o er the waters, whereupon 
The very waves seemed quivering with affright. 
I woke and heard, while yet the vision stayed, 

A prophecy: "Behold the coming race 
Before whose feet the forest kings shall fall 

Prostrate 5 and ye, like twilight shadows tall 
That wither at the sun s uplifted face, 
Shall pass in silence to a deeper shade." 



153 



KEATS. 

UPON thy tomb "t is graven, " Here lies one 
Whose name is writ in water." Could there be 
A flight of Fancy fitlier feigned for thee, 
A fairer motto for her favorite son ? 
For, as the wave, thy varying numbers run 
Now crested proud in tidal majesty, 
Now tranquil as the twilight reverie 
Of some dim lake the white moon looks upon 

While teems the world with silence. Even there, 
In each Protean rainbow-tint that stains 

The breathing canvas of the atmosphere, 
We read an exhalation of thy strains. 

Thus, on the scroll of Nature, everywhere, 
Thy name, a deathless syllable, remains. 



54 



SILENCE. 

r ~pEMPLE of God, from all eternity 
A Alone like Him without beginning found} 
Of time and space and solitude the bound, 

Yet in thyself of all communion free. 

Is, then, the temple holier than He 

That dwells therein ? Must reverence surround 
With barriers the portal, lest a sound 

Profane it? Nay j behold a mystery! 

What was, abides; what is, hath ever been: 

The lowliest the loftiest sustains. 
A silence, by no breath of utterance stirred 

Virginity in motherhood remains, 
Clear, midst a cloud of all-pervading sin, 

The voice of Love s unutterable word. 



155 



UNUTTERED. 

WAITING for words as on the broad expanse 
Of heaven the formless vapors of the night, 
Expectant, wait the oracle of light 
Interpreting their dumb significance; 
Or like a star that in the morning glance 

Shrinks, like a folding blossom, from the sight, 
Nor wakens till upon the western height 
The shadows to their evening towers advance 

So, in my soul, a dream ineffable, 

Expectant of the sunshine or the shade, 

Hath oft, upon the brink of twilight chill, 

Or at the dawn^s pale glimmering portal stayed 

In tears, that all the quivering eyelids fill, 
In smiles, that on the lip of silence fade. 



156 



SOLITUDE. 

THOU wast to me what to the changing year 
Its seasons are, a joy forever new; 
What to the night its stars, its heavenly dew, 
Its silence; what to dawn its lark-song clear; 
To noon, its light its fleckless atmosphere, 
Where ocean and the overbending blue, 
In passionate communion, hue for hue, 
As one in Love s circumference appear. 

O brimming heart, with tears for utterance 
Alike of joy and sorrow! lift thine eyes 

And sphere the desolation. Love is flown; 
And in the desert s widening expanse 

Grim Silence, like a sepulchre of stone, 
Stands enamelling a soul s funereal sighs. 



57 



LOVE S RETROSPECT. 

I KNEW that he was dying j for the leaves 
Late-fallen, shivered on the frosty ground, 
Disconsolate, with the foreboding sound 
That Autumn whispers to the hearts that grieves. 
The sunshine, slanting upward, smote the sheaves 
Overshadowing the hill-tops ranged around, 
And where the swallow s empty nest was found, 
Spattered, as if with blood, the sheltering eves. 

Twin fires together faded: and but one 
Rewakened o er a world henceforth to me 
In evetlasting twilight. To the Past 

The Present pays its tribute, whereupon 
Each moment coins the selfsame effigy, 
The more than all by wealth unwidowed cast 



158 



A WINTER TWILIGHT. 

BLOOD-SHOTTEN through the bleak gigantic 
trees 

The sunset, o er a wilderness of snow, 
Startles the wolfish winds that wilder grow 
As hunger mocks their howling miseries. 
In every skulking shadow Fancy sees 
The menace of an undiscovered foe 
A sullen footstep, treacherous and slow, 
That comes, or into deeper darkness flees. 

Nor Day nor Night, in Time s eternal round 
Whereof the tides are telling, e 1 er hath passed 

This Isthmus-hour this dim, mysterious land 
That sets their lives asunder where up-cast 

Their earliest and their latest waves resound, 
As each, alternate, nears or leaves the strand. 



59 



GLIMPSES. 

AS one who in the hush of twilight hears 
The pausing pulse of Nature, when the Light 
Commingles in the dim mysterious rite 
Of Darkness with the mutual pledge of tears, 
Till soft, anon, one timorous star appears, 
Pale-budding as the earliest blossom white 
That comes in Winter s livery bedight, 
To hide the gifts of genial Spring she bears, 

So, unto me what time the mysteries 

Of consciousness and slumber weave a dream 

And pause above it with abated breath, 
Like intervals in music lights arise, 

Beyond prophetic Nature s farthest gleam, 
That teach me half the mystery of Death. 



160 



THE AGONY. 

I WRESTLED, as did Jacob, till the dawn, 
With the reluctant Spirit of the Night 
That keeps the keys of Slumber. Worn and white, 
We paused a panting moment, while anon 
The darkness paled around us. Thereupon 
His mighty limbs relaxing in affright 
The Angel pleaded: " Lo, the morning light! 
O Israel, release me, and begone!" 

Then said I, " Nay, a captive to my will 
I hold thee till the blessing thou dost keep 
Be mine." Whereat he breathed upon my brow; 

And, as the dew upon the twilight hill, 
So on my spirit, over-wearied now, 
Came tenderly the benediction, Sleep. 



161 



THE DEAD TREE. 

ERECT in death thou standest gaunt and bare, 
Thy limbs uplifted to the wintry sky, 
To supplicate its pity, or defy 
The threat of wrath with towering despair. 
Around thee, like a wizard s widening snare, 
Lithe shadows in a web fantastic lie, 
Spun of the moon, in midnight sorcery, 
Down gazing with a madman s vacant stare. 

What reads she in thy ruin ? Lives the past 
Recorded in the present ? Lingers here 

The legend of a glory overcast, 

The song of birds long silent, and the stir 

Of leaves forever scattered to the blast, 
Yet echoed in eternal dreams to her ? 



162 



HOMELESS. 

METHINKS that if my spirit could behold 
Its earthly habitation void and chill, 
Whence all its time-encircled good and ill 
Expanded to eternity, t would fold 
Its trembling pinions o er the bosom cold, 
Recalling there the pulse s wonted thrill, 
And lean, perchance, to catch the echo still 
That erst in life the dream of passion told. 

How calm the dissolution! Could she spurn 

Her spouse, so late, and brother ? Could she trace 

The strange familiar lineaments, and mark 
The doom of her own writing in the face, 

To find, alas! no more the vital spark, 
Nor breathe one sigh of pity to return ? 



63 



THE PETREL. 

A WANDERER o er the sea-graves ever green, 
Whereon the foam-flowers blossom day by day, 
Thou flittest as a doomful shadow gray 
That from the wave no sundering light can wean. 
What wouldst thou from the deep unfathomed glean, 
Frail voyager ? and whither leads thy way ? 
Or art thou, as the sailor legends say, 
An exile from the spirit-world unseen ? 

Lo ! desolate, above a colder tide, 

Pale Memory, a sea-bird like to thee, 

Flits outward where the whitening billows hide 
What seemed of Life the one reality, 

A mist whereon the morning bloom hath died, 
Returning, ghost-like, to the restless sea. 



164 



AT ANCHOR. 

HOW calm upon the twilight water sleeps, 
With folded wings, yon solitary sail, 
Safe-harbored, haply dreaming of the gale 
That wolf-like o er the waste deserted leaps: 
One star a signal light above her keeps 
Watch 5 and, behold, its pictured image pale 
Gleams far below, a seeming anchor frail, 
Where onward still the noiseless current sweeps. 

Star of my life, pale planet, far removed, 

Oh, be thou, when the twilight deepens, near! 

Set in my soul thine image undisproved 

By death and darkness, till the morning clear 

Behold me in the presence I have loved, 
My beacon here, my bliss eternal there! 



165 



SHADOWS. 

YE shrink not wholly from us when the morn 
Arises red with slaughter, and the slain 
Sweet visages of tender dreams remain 
To haunt us through the wakened hours forlorn, 
Nor when the noontide cometh, and the thorn 
Of light is centred in the quivering brain, 
And Memory her pilgrimage of pain 
Renews, with fainting footsteps, overworn. 

Nay, then, what time the satellite of day 
Pursues his path victorious, and the West, 

Her clouds beleaguered vanishing away, 
A desert seems of solitude oppressed, 

Around us still your hovering pinions stay, 
The pledges of returning night and rest. 



166 



THE MOUNTAIN. 
A LTAR whereon the lordly sacrifice 

J\Of incense from the reverent vales below 
Is offered at the dawn s first kindling glow 

And when the day s last smouldering ember dies, 

Around thee, too, the kindred sympathies 
Of life itself a vapor breathe and flow, 
And yearn beyond thy pinnacle of snow 

To wing the trackless region of the skies. 

Thy shadow broods above me, and mine own 
Sleeps as a child beneath it. O er my dreams 

Thou dost, as an abiding presence, pour 
Thy spirit in the melancholy moan 

Of cavern winds and far-resounding streams, 
As sings the ocean to the listening shore. 



167 



UNMOORED. 

TO die in sleep to drift from dream to dream 
Along the banks of slumber, beckoned on 
Perchance by forms familiar, till anon, 
Unconsciously, the ever-widening stream 
Beyond the breakers bore thee, and the beam 
Of everlasting morning woke upon 
Thy dazzled gaze, revealing one by one 
Thy visions grown immortal in its gleam. 

O blessed consummation! thus to feel 
In Death no touch of terror. Tenderly 

As shadows to the evening hills, he came 
In garb of God s dear messenger to thee, 

Nor on thy weary eyelids broke the seal, 
In reverence for a brother s holier name. 



168 



EUGENIE. 

IN exile, widowed, childless, desolate, 
Thou sittest in the majesty of woe 5 
And nations gaze, with shuddering murmurs low, 
Upon the direful trilogy of Fate. 
Hushed are the warring interests of state 
Beneath the pall of Sorrow. Foes forego 
Their wonted discord, and with footsteps slow 
And meekened foreheads, move compassionate. 

All exiles weave their miseries with thine; 

All widows turn with sympathy to thee; 
All mothers desolate and childless made, 

Mingle their moan with this thine agony: 
And yet, to thee the royal lot is laid 

Threefold the cross that measures love divine. 



169 



THE PASCHAL MOON. 

THY face is whitened with remembered woe; 
For thou alone, pale satellite, didst see, 
Amid the shadows of Gethsemane, 
The mingled cup of sacrifice overflow; 
Nor hadst the power of utterance to show 
The wasting wound of silent sympathy, 
Till sudden tides, obedient to thee, 
Sobbed, desolate in weltering anguish, low. 

The holy night return eth year by year; 

And, while the mystic vapors from thy rim 
Distil the dews, as from the Victim there 

The red drops trickled in the twilight dim, 
The ocean s changeless threnody we hear, 

And gaze upon thee as thou didst on Him. 



170 



GOLGOTHA. 

A LONE I stand upon the sacred height, 
jfJL Where erst, at noon, the night its mantle flung 

O er the Divine Humanity that hung 
To brutal gaze exposed. The conscious light 
To sudden blindness withered at the sight 

Of mortal pangs from wounds immortal wrung; 

The earth her gates sepulchral open swung, 
Impatient for the soul s descending flight 

To her expectant shades. O Calvary! 

Again the dripping darkness crowns thy brow, 

And I (as then, to His all-seeing mind) 
Weep mid the general gloom. Oh! let me be, 
As in those hours of anguish, hidden now 
In shades of death, the light of life to find. 



171 



THE PORTRAIT. 

EACH has his Angel-Guardian. Mine, I know, 
Looks on me from that pictured face. Behold, 
How clear, between those rifted clouds of gold, 
The radiant brow! It is the morning glow 
Of Innocence, ere yet the heart let go 

The leading-strings of Heaven. Upon the eyes 
No shadow: like the restful noonday skies 
They sanctify the teeming world below. 

Why bows my soul before it ? None but thou, 
O tender child, has known the life estranged 

From thee and all that made thy days of joy 
The measure of my own. Behold me now 

The man that begs a blessing of the boy 
His very self; but from himself how changed! 



172 



THIS FIRST EDITION OF POEMS BY 
JOHN B. TABB IS LIMITED TO FIVE 
HUNDRED COPIES, WHICH HAVE BEEN 
PRINTED DURING THE AUTUMN OF 
1894 BY JOHN WILSON AND SON, 
CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS. 



Tabb 



Poems 



1894 



THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARY