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Archive for the ‘E-H’ Category

We were crowded in the cabin,
Not a soul would dare to sleep, –
It was midnight on the waters
And a storm was on the deep. 

‘Tis a fearful thing in winter
To be shattered by the blast,
And to hear the rattling trumpet
Thunder, “Cut away the mast!” 

So we shuddered there in silence, –
For the stoutest held his breath,
While the hungry sea was roaring,
And the breakers talked with Death. 

As thus we sat in darkness,
Each one busy in his prayers,
“We are lost!” the captain shouted
As he staggered down the stairs.

But his little daughter whispered,
As she took his icy hand,
“Isn’t God upon the ocean
Just the same as on the land?” 

Then we kissed the little maiden,
And we spoke in better cheer,
And we anchored safe in harbor
When the morn was shining clear.

 

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(For the inauguration of the statue of
Governor Andrew Bingham, October 7, 1875)
 

Behold the shape our eyes have known!
It lives once more in changeless stone;
So looked in mortal face and form
Our guide through peril’s deadly storm. 

But hushed the beating heart we knew,
That heart so tender, brave, and true,
Even as the rooted mountain rock,
Pure as the quarry’s whitest block! 

Not his beneath the blood-red star
To win the soldier’s envied scar;
Unarmed he battled for the right,
In Duty’s never-ending fight. 

Unconquered will, unslumbering eye,
Faith such as bids the martyr die,
The prophet’s glance, the master’s hand
To mould the work his foresight planned, 

These were his gifts; what Heaven had lent;
For justice, mercy, truth, he spent,
First to avenge the traitorous blow,
And first to lift the vanquished foe. 

Lo, thus he stood; in danger’s strait
The pilot of the Pilgrim State!
Too large his fame for her alone, –
A nation claims him as her own!

 

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The line-storm clouds fly tattered and swift.
The road is forlorn all day,
Where a myriad snowy quartz-stones lift,
And the hoofprints vanish away.
The roadside flowers, too wet for the bee,
Expend their bloom in vain.
Come over the hills and far with me,
And be my love in the rain. 

The birds have less to say for themselves
In the wood-world’s torn despair
Than now these numberless years the elves,
Although they are no less there:
All song of the woods is crushed like some
Wild, easily shattered rose.
Come, be my love in the wet woods, come,
Where the boughs rain when it blows. 

There is the gale to urge behind
And bruit our singing down,
And the shallow waters aflutter with wind
From which to gather your gown.
What matter if we go clear to the west,
And come not through dry-shod?
For wilding brooch, shall wet your breast
The rain-fresh goldenrod. 

Oh, never this whelming east wind swells
But it seems like the sea’s return
To the ancient lands where it left the shells
Before the age of the fern;
And it seems like the time when, after doubt,
Our love came back amain.
Oh, come forth into the storm and rout
And be my love in the rain.

 

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Brittle beauty that nature made so frail,
Whereof the gift is small, and short the season,
Flow’ring today, tomorrow apt to fail,
Fickle treasure, abhorrèd of reason,
Dangerous to deal with, vain, of none avail,
Costly in keeping, passed not worth two peason,
Slippery in sliding as an eelès tail,
Hard to attain, once gotten not geason,
Jewel of jeopardy that peril doth assail,
False and untrue, enticèd oft to treason,
Enemy to youth (that most may I bewail!),
Ah, bitter sweet! infecting as the poison,
Thou farest as fruit that with the frost is taken:
Today ready ripe, tomorrow all too shaken.

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For The Meeting Of The Massachusetts
…………….Medical Society, 1859
…….[In honor of Dr. Jacob Bigelow]

‘T is sweet to fight our battles o’er,
And crown with honest praise
The gray old chief, who strikes no more
The blow of better days.

Before the true and trusted sage
With willing hearts we bend,
When years have touched with hallowing age
Our Master, Guide, and Friend.

For all his manhood’s labor past,
For love and faith long tried,
His age is honored to the last,
Though strength and will have died.

But when, untamed by toil and strife,
Full in our front he stands,
The torch of light, the shield of life,
Still lifted in his hands,

 

No temple, though its walls resound

With bursts of ringing cheers,

Can hold the honors that surround

His manhood’s twice-told years!

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To Christ Our Lord

I caught this morning morning’s minion kingdom
of daylight’s dauphin, dappledawn-drawn
Falcon, in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
Rebuffed the big wing, My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird, – the achieve of, the mastery of the thing!
Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
Buckle! And the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!
No wonder of it: sheer plod makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermilion.

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Whenas in silks my Julia goes,
Then, then, methinks, how sweetly flows
That liquefaction of her clothes.

Next, when I cast mine eyes, and see
That brave vibration each way free,
Oh, how that glittering taketh me!

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(as told to a child)

As I went out, a Crow
In a low voice said, “Oh,
I was looking for you.
How do you do?
I just came to tell you
To tell Lesley (will you?)
That her little Bluebird
Wanted me to bring word
That the north wind last night
That made the stars bright
And made ice on the trough
Almost made him cough
His tail feathers off.
He just had to fly!
But he sent her Good-by,
And said to be good,
And wear her red hood,
And look for skunk tracks
In the snow with an ax –
And do everything!
And perhaps in the spring
He would come back and sing.”

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[written on the death of an old family servant
who died Jan.7, 1861]

Sexton! Martha’s dead and gone;
…….Toll the bell! toll the bell!
Her weary hands their labor cease;
Good night, poor Martha, – sleep in peace!
…….Toll the bell!

Sexton! Martha’s dead and gone;
…….Toll the bell! toll the bell!
For many a year has Martha said,
“I’m old and poor, – would I were dead!”
…….Toll the bell!

Sexton! Martha’s dead and gone;
…….Toll the bell! toll the bell!
She’ll bring no more, by day or night,
Her basket full of linen white,
…….Toll the bell!

Sexton! Martha’s dead and gone;
…….Toll the bell! toll the bell!
‘T is fitting she should lie below
A pure white sheet of drifted snow.
…….Toll the bell!

Sexton! Martha’s dead and gone;
…….Toll the bell! toll the bell!
Sleep, Martha, sleep, to wake in light,
Where all the robes are stainless white.
…….Toll the bell!

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Why should I keep holiday
When other men have none?
Why but because, when these are gay,
I sit and mourn alone?

And why, when mirth unseals all tongues,
Should mine alone be dumb?
Ah! late I spoke to silent throngs,
And now their hour has come.

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