IN summer dusk the valley lies
With far-flung shadow veil;
A cloud-sea laps the precipice
Before the evening gale:
The welter of the cloud-waves grey
Cuts off from keenest sight
The glacier, looking out by day
O'er all the district, far away,
And crowned with golden light.
But o'er the smouldering cloud-wrack's flow,
Where gold and amber kiss,
Stands up the archipelago,
A home of shining peace.
The mountain eagle seems to sail
A ship far seen at even;
And over all a serried pale
Of peaks, like giants ranked in mail,
Fronts westward threatening heaven.
But look, a steading nestles, close
Beneath the ice-fields bound,
Where purple cliffs and glittering snows
The quiet home surround.
Here place and people seem to be
A world apart, alone; --
Cut off from men by spate and scree
It has a heaven more broad, more free,
A sunshine all its own.
Look: mute the saeter-maiden stays,
Half shadow, half aflame;
The deep, still vision of her gaze
Was never word to name.
She names it not herself, nor knows
What goal my be its will;
While cow-bells chime and alp-horn blows
It bears her where the sunset glows,
Or, maybe, further still.
Too brief, thy life on highland wolds
Where close the glaciers jut;
Too soon the snowstorm's cloak enfolds
Stone byre and pine-log hut.
Then wilt thou ply with hearth ablaze
The winter's well-worn tasks; --
But spin thy wool with cheerful face:
One sunset in the mountain pays
For all their winter asks.
HER griefs were the hours
When my struggle was sore,--
Her joys were the powers
That the climber upbore.
Her home is the boundless
Free ocean that seems
To rock, calm and soundless,
My galleon of dreams.
Half hers are the glancing
Creations that throng
With pageant and dancing
The ways of my song.
My fires when they dwindle
Are lit from her brand;
Men see them rekindle
Nor guess by whose hand.
Of thanks to requite her
No least thought is hers,--
And therefore I write her,
Once, thanks in a verse.
To the survivors
NOW they sing the hero loud; --
But they sing him in his shroud.
Torch he kindled for his land;
On his brow ye set its brand.
Taught by him to wield a glaive;
Through his heart the steel ye drave.
Trolls he smote in hard-fought fields;
Ye bore him down 'twixt traitor shields.
But the shining spoils he won,
These ye treasure as your own.--
Dim them not, that so the dead
Rest appeased his thorn-crowned head.
Wildflowers and hothouse-plants
"GOOD Heavens, man, what a freak of taste!
What blindness to form and feature!
The girl's no beauty, and might be placed
As a hoydenish kind of creature."
No doubt it were more in the current tone
And the tide today we move in,
If I could but choose me to make my own
A type of our average woman.
Like winter blossoms they all unfold
Their primly maturing glory;
Like pot-grown plants in the tepid mould
Of a window conservatory.
They sleep by rule and by rule they wake,
Each tendril is taught its duties;
Were I worldly-wise, yes, my choice I'd make
From our stock of average beauties.
For worldly wisdom what do I care?
I am sick of its prating mummers;
She breathes of the field and the open air,
And the fragrance of sixteen summers.
Ricardo M Marcenaro - Facebook
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