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As earth pours freely to the sea
Her thousand streams of wealth untold,
So flows my silent life to thee,
Glad that its very sands are gold.
What care I for thy carelessness?
I give from depths that overflow,
Regardless that their power to bless
Thy spirit cannot sound or know.
Far lingering on a distant dawn
My triumph shines, more sweet than late;
When from these mortal mists withdrawn,
Thy heart shall know me— -I can wait.
THE PRINCE OF ORANGE IN 1672.
If the base violence of wicked men
Prevail at last; if Charles, to please his lord,
And Louis, for his glory much concerned,
Must needs snatch from us our sea-rescued plains,
Which soon the tides will make their own again,
When once the strenuous freemen shall have fled,
At whose command they ebbed with angry bark;
If France must needs prevail and we must yield,
Then we will yield our lands, but not ourselves.
Ships we have left that will contain, I judge,
Two hundred thousand steadfast Hollanders ;
And 'twixt the realms where our oppressors live
A heaving highway lies, to Dutchmen known,
And to be known hereafter in all lands-
The highway of the exodus of freedom!
Prepare then for departure, citizens;
And for the little space that yet remains,
Make much of home and of your fatherland;
Visit your fathers' graves, take note of all
The furniture of your ancestral homes,
And let your hearts take the impression off
To furnish dreams beside the Southern sea;
Fetch home at once your children from the school,
And in the garden turn them loose to play,
Nor let them want for marbles, hoops, and balls,
That in their old age they may tell their boys
Their home in the cold North was not unsweet.
If any skilful painter be among you,
At some resplendent noontide let him sit,
And paint the busiest street in Amsterdam;
Nor let him slur one stain upon a brick,
Nor smoke-dulled slip of greenery in a window;
And every old cathedral let him paint,
The columns ranged as in some grove of pines,
And windows richer than the sunset clouds,
Wherein the Christ for centuries has smiled,
And rich-robed haloed saints regarded Him;
The Colleges of Leyden and Utrecht,
The solemn libraries, with portraits hung
Of Gerard and à Kempis, let him paint,
And let him paint the Liberator's grave:
The artist that preserves our Holland for us
Shall be much honoured in our Southern home.
So, bearing with us all that can be moved,
We will weigh anchor to the sound of psalms,
And winds from heaven shall waft us to the west,
Between the shores of tyranny on the left,
And the pale cliffs of falsehood on the right;
While looking towards the north, our captains tell
To wondering maidens and exulting boys,
How through the helpless Medway's mouth they sailed,
And saw the towering Keep of Rochester;
While looking towards the south, another group
Hangs on the lips of some book-learnèd man,
Who tells the tale of Egmont and St. Quentin:
Till the low-lying shores recede from sight,
And ancient Europe hide herself in foam,
Mother of heroes, nurse of beauteous arts,
Of serious letters and high Christian truth,
Rich bower of beauty, garden fenced with men,
And gorgeous with all blooms of womanhood,
Temple inviolate of faith and truth
And liberty-until the iron time.
She for a while shall seem to us far off,
A speck of dimness on the sunbright shield,
A roughness on the fine encircling thread,
Until the horizon show a perfect ring,
And the free nation ride on vaster waves,
Plunge onward into more transparent seas,
Under more deep ambrosial domes of night,
Into that second Holland like the first,
But glad with fuller harvests, richer fruits,
Where neither Frenchmen nor rude seas encroach.
THE PRIVATE OF THE BUFFS.
Last night, among his fellow roughs,
He jested, quaffed, and swore;
A drunken private of the Buffs,
Who never looked before.
To-day, beneath the foeman's frown,
He stands in Elgin's place,
Ambassador from Britain's crown,
And type of all her race.
Poor, reckless, rude, low-born, untaught,
Bewildered, and alone,
A heart, with English instinct fraught,
He yet can call his own.
Ay, tear his body limb from limb,
Bring cord, or axe, or flame:
He only knows, that not through him
Shall England come to shame.
Far Kentish hop-fields round him seemed,
Like dreams, to come and go;
Bright leagues of cherry-blossom gleamed,
One sheet of living snow;
The smoke, above his father's door,
In gray soft eddyings hung:
Must he then watch it rise no more,
And thus, with eyes that would not shrink,
ON A PICTURE BY TURNER.
See how the small concentrate fiery force
Is grappling with the glory of the main,
That follows like some grave heroic corse,
Dragged by a sutler from the heap of slain.
Thy solemn presence brings us more than pain,—
Something which Fancy moulds into remorse,
That we, who of thine honour held the gain,
Should from its dignity thy form divorce.
Yet will we read in thy high vaunting name,
How Britain did what France could only dare,
And, while the sunset gilds the darkening air,
We will fill up thy shadowy lines with fame ;
And, tomb or temple, hail thee still the same,
Home of great thoughts, memorial Téméraire.
ON BEING ASKED, WHENCE IS THE FLOWER?
In May, when sea-winds pierced our solitudes,
I found the fresh Rhodora in the woods,
Spreading its leafless blooms in a damp nook,
To please the desert and the sluggish brook;
The purple petals, fallen in the pool,
Made the black water with their beauty gay;
Here might the red-bird come his plumes to cool,
And court the flower that cheapens his array.
Rhodora! if the sages ask thee why
This charm is wasted on the marsh and sky,
Dear, tell them that if eyes were made for seeing,
Then Beauty is its own excuse for being :
Why thou wert there, O rival of the rose!
I never thought to ask, I never knew;
But, in my simple ignorance, suppose
The self-same Power that brought me there brought you.