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From the Prelude to “The Vision of Sir Launfal”
OVER his keys the musing organist,
Beginning doubtfully and far away, First lets his fingers wander as they list,
And builds a bridge from Dreamland for his lay: Then, as the touch of his loved instrument
Gives hope and fervor, nearer draws his theme, First guessed by faint auroral flushes sent
Along the wavering vista of his dream.
Not only around our infancy
Over our manhood bend the skies;
Against our fallen and traitor lives The great winds utter prophecies;
With our faint hearts the mountain strives; Its arms outstretched, the druid wood
Waits with its benedicite; And to our age's drowsy blood
Still shouts the inspiring sea.
Earth gets its price for what Earth gives us;
The beggar is taxed for a corner to die in,
We bargain for the graves we lie in;
For a cap and bells our lives we pay,
'Tis heaven alone that is given away, 'Tis only God may be had for the asking; No price is set on the lavish summer; June may be had by the poorest comer.
And what is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days;
And over it softly her warm ear lays;
An instinct within it that reaches and towers, And, groping blindly above it for light,
Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers; The flush of life may well be seen
Thrilling back over hills and valleys; The cowslip startles in meadows green,
The buttercup catches the sun in its chalice, And there's never a leaf nor a blade too mean
To be some happy creature's palace; The little bird sits at his door in the sun,
Atilt like a blossom among the leaves, And lets his illumined being o'errun
With the deluge of summer it receives; His mate feels the eggs beneath her wings, And the heart in her dumb breast flutters and sings; He sings to the wide world and she to her nest, — In the nice ear of Nature which song is the best?
Now is the high-tide of the year,
And whatever of life hath ebbed away
Into every bare inlet and creek and bay;
shut our eyes, but we cannot help knowing
That the river is bluer than the sky,
We could guess it all by yon heifer's lowing,
James Russell Lowell (1819–1891)
Down the sources of the breeze,
In the tops of blackened trees,
When the Spring has dipped her foot,
Like a bather, in the air,
Till the little flowers dare,
But the moon of middle night,
Risen, is the rounded moon;
Eddies into just a June.
Harrison Smith Morris (1856–
SWEET, sweet, sweet,
Is the wind's song,
All day long,
Oh, hush and hear!
And hum of bee
In the meadow-grass
The innocent white daisies blow,
The unquiet spirit of a flower
Now doth a little cloud all white,
Or golden bright,
And now on the horizon line,
A sunny mist doth shine,
Sweet, sweet, sweet,
Is the wind's song,
All day long.
The reaper everywhere
Life and death must share.
So doth all end, –
Science and Art,
The bloom of the heart;-
Make Thou the harvest of our days
MOWERS, weary and brown, and blithe,
What is the word methinks ye know, Endless over-word that the Scythe
Sings to the blades of the grass below? Scythes that swing in the grass and clover,
Something, still, they say as they pass; What is the word that, over and over,
Sings the Scythe to the flowers and grass?
Hush, ah hush, the Scythes are saying,
Hush, and heed not, and fall asleep; Hush, they say to the grasses swaying,
Hush, they sing to the clover deep!
Hush, and heed not, for all things pass,
Andrew Lang (1844-1912)
SWEET is the voice that calls
From babbling waterfalls
And soft the breezes blow,
And eddying come and go,