The Forest Reverie

    ’Tis said that when
    The hands of men
    Tamed this primeval wood,
    And hoary trees with groans of woe,
    Like warriors by an unknown foe,
    Were in their strength subdued,
    The virgin Earth
    Gave instant birth
    To springs that ne’er did flow
    That in the sun
    Did rivulets run,
    And all around rare flowers did blow
    The wild rose pale
    Perfumed the gale
    And the queenly lily adown the dale
    (Whom the sun and the dew
    And the winds did woo),
    With the gourd and the grape luxuriant grew.

    So when in tears
    The love of years
    Is wasted like the snow,
    And the fine fibrils of its life
    By the rude wrong of instant strife
    Are broken at a blow
    Within the heart
    Do springs upstart
    Of which it doth now know,
    And strange, sweet dreams,
    Like silent streams
    That from new fountains overflow,
    With the earlier tide
    Of rivers glide
    Deep in the heart whose hope has died,
    Quenching the fires its ashes hide,
    Its ashes, whence will spring and grow
    Sweet flowers, ere long,
    The rare and radiant flowers of song!

    (Public Domain Poetry - The Forest Reverie by Abijah M. Ide)


The Sad Shepherd

Shepherd That cry’s from the first cuckoo of the year
I wished before it ceased.

Goatherd Nor bird nor beast
Could make me wish for anything this day,
Being old, but that the old alone might die,
And that would be against God’s Providence.
Let the young wish. But what has brought you here?
Never until this moment have we met
Where my goats browse on the scarce grass or leap
From stone to stone.

Shepherd. I am looking for strayed sheep;
Something has troubled me and in my trouble
I let them stray. I thought of rhyme alone,
For rhyme can beat a measure out of trouble
And make the daylight sweet once more; but when
I had driven every rhyme into its place
The sheep had gone from theirs.

Goatherd. I know right well
What turned so good a shepherd from his charge.

Shepherd. He that was best in every country sport
And every country craft, and of us all
Most courteous to slow age and hasty youth
Is dead.

Goatherd. The boy that brings my griddle cake
Brought the bare news.

Shepherd. He had thrown the crook away
And died in the great war beyond the sea.

Goatherd. He had often played his pipes among my hills
And when he played it was their loneliness,
The exultation of their stone, that cried
Under his fingers.

Shepherd. I had it from his mother,
And his own flock was browsing at the door.

Goatherd. How does she bear her grief? There is not a shepherd
But grows more gentle when he speaks her name,
Remembering kindness done, and how can I,
That found when I had neither goat nor grazing
New welcome and old wisdom at her fire
Till winter blasts were gone, but speak of her
Even before his children and his wife.

Shepherd. She goes about her house erect and calm
Between the pantry and the linen chest,
Or else at meadow or at grazing overlooks
Her labouring men, as though her darling lived,
But for her grandson now; there is no change
But such as I have seen upon her face
Watching our shepherd sports at harvest-time
When her son’s turn was over.

Goatherd. Sing your song,
I too have rhymed my reveries, but youth
Is hot to show whatever it has found
And till that’s done can neither work nor wait.
Old goatherds and old goats, if in all else
Youth can excel them in accomplishment,
Are learned in waiting.

Shepherd. You cannot but have seen
That he alone had gathered up no gear,
Set carpenters to work on no wide table,
On no long bench nor lofty milking shed
As others will, when first they take possession,
But left the house as in his father’s time
As though he knew himself, as it were, a cuckoo,
No settled man. And now that he is gone
There’s nothing of him left but half a score
Of sorrowful, austere, sweet, lofty pipe tunes.

Goatherd. You have put the thought in rhyme.

Shepherd. I worked all day
And when ’twas done so little had I done
That maybe ‘I am sorry’ in plain prose
Had sounded better to your mountain fancy [He sings.]
‘Like the speckled bird that steers
Thousands of leagues oversea,
And runs for a while or a while half-flies
Upon his yellow legs through our meadows,
He stayed for a while; and we
Had scarcely accustomed our ears
To his speech at the break of day,
Had scarcely accustomed our eyes
To his shape in the lengethening shadows,
Where the sheep are thrown in the pool,
When he vanished from ears and eyes.
I had wished a dear thing on that day
I heard him first, but man is a fool.’

Goatherd. You sing as always of the natural life,
And I that made like music in my youth
Hearing it now have sighed for that young man
And certain lost companions of my own.

Shepherd. They say that on your barren mountain ridge
You have measured out the road that the soul treads
When it has vanished from our natural eyes;
That you have talked with apparitions.

Goatherd. Indeed
My daily thoughts since the first stupor of youth
Have found the path my goats’ feet cannot find.

Shepherd. Sing, for it may be that your thoughts have plucked
Some medicable herb to make our grief
Less bitter.

Goatherd. They have brought me from that ridge
Seed-pods and flowers that are not all wild poppy. [Sings.]
‘He grows younger every second
That were all his birthdays reckoned
Much too solemn seemed;
Because of what he had dreamed,
Or the ambitions that he served,
Much too solemn and reserved.
Jaunting, journeying
To his own dayspring,
He unpacks the loaded pern
Of all ’twas pain or joy to learn,
Of all that he had made.
The outrageous war shall fade;
At some old winding whitethorn root
He’ll practice on the shepherd’s flute,
Or on the close-cropped grass
Court his shepherd lass,
Or run where lads reform our daytime
Till that is their long shouting playtime;
Knowledge he shall unwind
Through victories of the mind,
Till, clambering at the cradle side,
He dreams himself his mother’s pride,
All knowledge lost in trance
Of sweeter ignorance.’

Shepherd. When I have shut these ewes and this old ram
Into the fold, we’ll to the woods and there
Cut out our rhymes on strips of new-torn bark
But put no name and leave them at her door.
To know the mountain and the valley grieve
May be a quiet thought to wife and mother,
And children when they spring up shoulder high.

(Public Domain Poetry - The Sad Shepherd by William Butler Yeats)


The Wind Of Spring

    The wind that breathes of columbines
    And celandines that crowd the rocks;
    That shakes the balsam of the pines
    With laughter from his airy locks,
    Stops at my city door and knocks.

    He calls me far a-forest, where
    The twin-leaf and the blood-root bloom;
    And, circled by the amber air,
    Life sits with beauty and perfume
    Weaving the new web of her loom.

    He calls me where the waters run
    Through fronding ferns where wades the hern;
    And, sparkling in the equal sun,
    Song leans above her brimming urn,
    And dreams the dreams that love shall learn.

    The wind has summoned, and I go:
    To read God's meaning in each line
    The wildflowers write; and, walking slow,
    God's purpose, of which song is sign,
    The wind's great, gusty hand in mine.

(Public Domain Poetry - The Wind Of Spring by Madison Julius Cawein)


The Rivers


    True, as becometh a Switzer, I watch over Germany's borders;
    But the light-footed Gaul jumps o'er the suffering stream.


    Many a year have I clasped in my arms the Lorrainian maiden;
    But our union as yet ne'er has been blest with a son.

         DANUBE IN    

    Round me are dwelling the falcon-eyed race, the Phaeacian people;
    Sunday with them never ends; ceaselessly moves round the spit.


    Ay, it is true that my castles are crumbling; yet, to my comfort,
    Have I for centuries past seen my old race still endure.


    Short is my course, during which I salute many princes and nations;
    Yet the princes are good ay! and the nations are free.


    Poor are my banks, it is true; but yet my soft-flowing waters
    Many immortal lays here, borne by the current along.


    Flat is my shore and shallow my current; alas, all my writers,
    Both in prose and in verse, drink far too deep of its stream!


    All ye others speak only a jargon; 'mongst Germany's rivers
    None speak German but me; I but in Misnia alone.


    Ramler once gave me language, my Caesar a subject; and therefore
    I had my mouth then stuffed full; but I've been silent since that.


    Nothing, alas, can be said about me; I really can't furnish
    Matter enough to the Muse e'en for an epigram, small.

         MINERAL WATERS AT    .

    Singular country! what excellent taste in its fountains and rivers
    In its people alone none have I ever yet found!


    I for a long time have been a hypochondriacal subject;
    I but flow on because it has my habit been long.

         THE    RIVERS.

    We would gladly remain in the lands that own as their masters;
    Soft their yoke ever is, and all their burdens are light.


    I, to salt the archbishopric, come from Juvavia's mountains;
    Then to Bavaria turn, where they have great need of salt!


    Lenten food for the pious bishop's table to furnish,
    By my Creator I'm poured over the famishing land.


    Pray be silent, ye rivers! One sees ye have no more discretion
    Than, in a case we could name, Diderot's favorites had.

(Public Domain Poetry - The Rivers. by Friedrich Schiller)