Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

DEDICATION.

#tould the gift I offer here Might graces from thy favor take, And, seen through Friendship's atmosphere, On softened lines and coloring, wear The unaccustomed light of beauty, for thy sake.

Few leaves of Fancy's spring remain:

But what I have I give to thee,— The o'er-sunned bloom of summer's plain, And paler flowers, the latter rain Calls from the westering slooe of life's autumnal lea.

Above the fallen groves of green,

Where youth's enchanted forest stood, Dry root and mossed trunk between, A sober after-growth is seen, As springs the pine where falls the gay-leafed maple wood 1

Yet birds will sing, and breezes play

Their leaf-harps in the sombre tree; And through the bleak and wintry day It keeps its steady green alway,— 80, even my after-thoughts may have a charm for thee.

Art's perfect forms no moral need,

And beauty is its own excuse ;*

But for the dull and flowerless weed

Some healing virtue still must plead,

And the rough ore must find its honors in its use. So haply these, my simple lays

Of homely toil, may serve to show The orchard bloom and tasselled maize That skirt and gladden duty's ways, The unsung beauty hid life's common things below

Haply from them the toiler, bent

Above his forge or plough, may gain A manlier spirit of content, And feel that life is wisest spent Where the strong working hand makes strong tha working brain.

The doom which to the guilty pair

Without the walls of Eden came, Transforming sinless ease to care And rugged toil, no more shall bear The burden of old crime, or mark of primal shame.

A blessing now—a curse no more;

Since He, whose name we breathe witfi awe, The coarse mechanic vesture wore,— A poor man toiling with the poor,, In labor, as in prayer, fulfilling the same law

SONGS OF LABOR.

THE SHIP-BUILDERS.

The sky is ruddy in the East,

The earth is gray below, And, spectral in the river-mist,

The ship's white timbers show.
Then let the sounds of measured stroke

And grating saw begin;
The broad-axe to the gnarled oak,

The mallet to the pin 1

Hark!—roars the bellows, blast on blast,

The sooty smithy jars,
And fire-sparks, rising far and fast,

Are fading with the stars.
All day for us the smith shall stand

Beside that flashing forge;
All day for us his heavy hand

The groaning anvil scourge.

From far-off hills, the panting team

For us is toiling near;
For us the raftsmen down the stream

Their island barges steer.
Rings out for us the axe-man's stroke

In forests old and still,—
For us the century-circled oak

Falls crashing down his hill.

Up !—up!—In nobler toil than ours

No craftsmen bear a part:
We make of Nature's giant powers

The slaves of human Art.
Lay rib to rib and beam to beam,

And drive the treenails free;
Nor faithless joint nor yawning seam

Shall tempt the searching sea!

Where'er the keel of our good ship

The sea's rough field shall plough— Where'er her tossing spars shall drip

With salt-spray caught below—
That ship must heed her master's beck,

Her helm obey his hand,
And seamen tread her reeling deck

As if they trod the land.

Her oaken ribs the vulture-beak

Of Northern ice may peel;
The sunken rock and coral peak

May grate along her keel;
And know we well the painted sheE

We give to wind and wave,
Must float, the sailor's citadel,

Or sink, the sailor's grave!

Ho!—strike away the bars and blocks,

And set the good ship free! Why lingers on these dusty rocks

The young bride of the sea?
Look! how she moves adown the grooves.

In graceful beauty now 1
How lowly on the breast she loves

Sinks down her virgin prow!

God bless her! wheresoe'er the breeze

Her snowy wing shall fan, Aside the frozen Hebrides,

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »