Not written down in haste, but in the quiet
Of thoughtful seasons, still to memory dear, When the whole soul was calm and the world's riot, Even in its echo, came not to my ear; What I have thought, and felt, and seen, and heard, is here.
Sometimes the cloud, but oft the happier noonlight Floated above me, as I mused and sung:
At times the stars, at times the mellow moonlight Gave ripeness to the fruit of pen and tongue While o'er my ravelled dreams the years and ages hung.
In days of public strife, when sharp and stinging,
The angry words went daily to and fro,
Friend against friend the polished missiles flinging,
Each seeking who could launch the keenest blow,
I went to thee, my harp, and bade thy numbers
In hours of heaviness thy solace seeking,
I took thee up and woke the trembling tone
Of the deep melody within thee, speaking
Like the heart-broken thrush, that sits alone,
Mourning its spoiled nest, and all its nestlings
Into these pages peace-thoughts weave their brightness;
The peace that has been, is, and is to be
Is here; peace-blossoms in their tranquil whiteness
fve shaken, as I passed from tree to tree,
Relics of many a strange and broken history.
Lie there, my pen I Only a little longer,
And then thy work shall be for ever done:
Death in these pulses daily groweth stronger;
Life's ruby drops are oozing one by one;
The dreams that flowed through thee shall soon be
dreamed alone t
Rest kindly now, beside what thou hast written:
Let that a little longer linger here;
By age unwithered, and by time unsmitten,
True leaves of health, that never can grow sere, From the great tree of life, plant of a purer sphere!
Thou art the lute with which I sang my sadness,
When sadness like a cloud begirt my way;
Thou art the harp whose strings gave out my gladness,
When burst the sunshine of a happier day, Resting upon my soul with sweet and silent ray.
The sickle thou with which I have been reaping
My great life-harvest here on earth; and now
'Mid these my sheaves I lay me down unweeping,—
Nay, full of joy, in life's still evening-glow,
And wipe the reaper's sweat from this toil-fur-
From this right hand its cunning is departing, This wrinkkd palm proclaims its work is done:
Look back, fond reaper, to thy place of starting,— Days, months, and years, a lifetime fast and
Say, which is best, thy rising or thy setting sun?
I may not stay. These hills that smile around me
Are full of music, and its happy glow
Beckons me upward; all that here has bound me
Seems now dissolving; daily I outgrow
The chains and drags of earth. I rise, / go,