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And the sea answered, with a lamentation,
Like some old prophet wailing, and it said,

“ Alas! thy youth is dead !
It breathes no more, its heart has no pulsation,
In the dark places with the dead of old,

It lies for ever cold !”
Then said I, “From its consecrated cerements
I will not drag this sacred dust again,

Only to give me pain ;
But, still remembering all the lost endearments,
Go on my way, like one who looks before,

And turns to weep no more.”
Into what land of harvests, what plantations
Bright with autumnal foliage and the glow

Of sunsets burning low;
Beneath what midnight skies, whose constellations
Light up the spacious avenues between

This world and the unseen!
Amid what friendly greetings and caresses,
What households, though not alien, yet not mine,

What bowers of rest divine;
To what temptations in lone wildernesses,
What famine of the heart, what pain and loss,

The bearing of what cross!
I do not know; nor will I vainly question
Those pages of the mystic book which hold

The story still untold,
But without rash conjecture or suggestion
Turn its last leaves in reverence and good heed,

Until “ The End " I read.


MAY 23, 1864.

How beautiful it was, that one bright day
In the long week of rain!
Though all its splendour could not chase away
The omnipresent pain.
The lovely town was white with apple-blooms,
And the great elms o'erhead,
Dark shadows wove on their aërial looms,
Shot through with golden thread.

Across the meadows, by the grey old manse,
The historic river flowed ;-
I was as one who wanders in a trance,
Unconscious of his road.
The faces of familiar friends seemed strange;
Their voices I could hear,
And yet the words they uttered seemed to change
Their meaning to the ear.
For the one face I looked for was not there,
The one low voice was mute;
Only an unseen presence filled the air,
And baffled my pursuit.
Now I look back, and meadow, manse, and stream,
Dimly my thought defines;
I only see-a dream within a dream-
The hill-top hearsed with pines.
I only hear above his place of rest
Their tender undertone,
The infinite longings of a troubled breast,
The voice so like his own.
There in seclusion and remote from men
The wizard hand lies cold,
Which at its topmost speed let fall the pen,
And left the tale half told.
Ah! who shall lift that wand of magic power,
And the lost clue regain?
The unfinished window in Aladdin's tower,
Unfinished must remain!


HEARD AT NAHANT. O CURFEW of the setting sun ! O Bells of Lynn ! O requiem of the dying day! O Bells of Lynn! From the dark belfries of yon cloud-cathedral wafted, Your sounds aërial seem to float, O Bells of Lynn! Borne on the evening wind across the crimson twilight, O'er land and sea they rise and fall, O Bells of Lynn! The fisherman in his boat, far out beyond the headland, Listens, and leisurely rows ashore, O Bells of Lynn !

Over the shining sands the wandering cattle homeward
Follow each other at your call, O Bells of Lynn!
The distant lighthouse hears, and with his flaming signal
Answers you, passing the watchword on, O Bells of Lynn !
And down the darkening coast run the tumultuous surges,
And clap their hands, and shout to you, O Bells of Lynn!
Till from the shuddering sea, with your wild incantations,
Ye summon up the spectral moon, O Bells of Lynn!
And startled at the sight, like the weird woman of Endor,
Ye cry aloud, and then are still, O Bells of Lynn!

BURN, O evening hearth, and waken | Baffled I return, and leaning
Pleasant visions, as of old !

O'er the parapets of cloud,
Though the house by winds be shaken, Watch the mist that intervening

Safe I keep this room of gold. Wraps the valley in its shroud.

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SEE, the fire is sinking low,
Dusky red the embers glow,

While above them still I cower,-
While a moment more I linger,
Though the clock, with lifted finger,
Points beyond the midnight hour.

Sings the blackened log a tune
Learned in some forgotten June

From a schoolboy in his play,
When they both were young together,
Heart of youth and summer weather

Making all their holiday.
And the night-wind rising, hark !
How above there in the dark,

In the midnight and the snow,
Ever wilder, fiercer, grander,
Like the trumpets of Iskander,

All the noisy chimneys blow! Every quivering tongue of flame Seems to murmur some great name,

Seems to say to me, “ Aspire !” But the night-wind answers,—“Hollow Are the visions that you follow;

Into darkness sinks your fire!” Then the flicker of the blaze Gleams on volumes of old days,

Written by masters of the art, Loud through whose majestic pages Rolls the melody of ages,

Throb the harp-strings of the heart. And again the tongues of flame Start exulting and exclaim,

“ These are prophets, bards, and seers; In the horoscope of nations, Like ascendant constellations,

They control the coming years."
But the night-wind cries,—“ Despair !
Those who walk with feet of air

Leave no long-enduring marks;
At God's forges incandescent
Mighty hammers beat incessant,

These are but the flying sparks.
“Dust are all the hands that wrought;
Books are sepulchres of thought;

The dead laurels of the dead
Rustle for a moment only,
Like the withered leaves in lonely

Churchyards at some passing tread.”

Suddenly the flame sinks down ;
Sink the rumours of renown;

And alone the night-wind drear
Clamours louder, wilder, vaguer,
“'Tis the brand of Meleager

Dying on the hearth-stone here?”

And I answer,—“Though it be,
Why should that discomfort me?

No endeavour is in vain;
Its reward is in the doing,
And the rapture of pursuing

Is the prize the vanquished gain."


Envoyé à M. Agassiz, la veille de Noël, 1864, avec un panier de vins divers.

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