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O hearts that break and give no sign

Save whitening lip and fading tresses, Till Death pours out his cordial wine

Slow-dropped from Misery’s crushing presses, — If singing breath or echoing chord

To every hidden pang were given, What endless melodies were poured,

As sad as earth, as sweet as heaven !

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Ah, here it is! the sliding rail

That marks the old remembered spot, — The gap that struck our schoolboy trail,

The crooked path across the lot.

It left the road by school and church,

A pencilled shadow, nothing more, That parted from the silver birch

And ended at the farm-house door.

No line or compass traced its plan ;

With frequent bends to left or right, In aimless, wayward curves it ran,

But always kept the door in sight.

The gabled porch, with woodbine green,

The broken millstone at the sill, — Though many a rood might stretch between,

The truant child could see them still.

No rocks across the pathway lie,

No fallen trunk is o'er it thrown, And yet it winds, we know not why,

And turns as if for tree or stone.

Perhaps some lover trod the way

With shaking knees and leaping heart, — And so it often runs astray

With sinuous sweep or sudden start.

Or one, perchance, with clouded brain

From some unholy banquet reeled, — And since, our devious steps maintain

His track across the trodden field.

Nay, deem not thus, - no earthborn will

Could ever trace a faultless line ; Our truest steps are human still,

To walk unswerving were divine i

Truants from love, we dream of wrath ;

0, rather let us trust the more ! Through all the wanderings of the path,

We still can see our Father's door !


Behold the rocky wall

That down its sloping sides Pours the swift rain-drops, blending, as they fall,

In rushing river-tides!

Yon stream, whose sources run

Turned by a pebble's edge,
Is Athabasca, rolling toward the sun

Through the cleft mountain-ledge.

The slender rill had strayed,

But for the slanting stone,
To evening's ocean, with the tangled braid

Of foam-flecked Oregon.

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