Retrospection and Introspection

Retrospection and Introspection

The Country-seat
17Written in youth, while visiting a family friend in the beautiful suburbs of Boston.

Wild spirit of song, — midst the zephyrs at play
 In bowers of beauty, — I bend to thy lay,
And woo, while I worship in deep sylvan spot,
The Muses’ soft echoes to kindle the grot.
Wake chords of my lyre, with musical kiss,
To vibrate and tremble with accents of bliss.


Here morning peers out, from her crimson repose,
On proud Prairie Queen and the modest Moss-rose;
And vesper reclines — when the dewdrop is shed
On the heart of the pink — in its odorous bed;
But Flora has stolen the rainbow and sky,
To sprinkle the flowers with exquisite dye.


Here fame-honored hickory rears his bold form,
And bares a brave breast to the lightning and storm,
While palm, bay, and laurel, in classical glee,
Chase tulip, magnolia, and fragrant fringe-tree;
And sturdy horse-chestnut for centuries hath given
Its feathery blossom and branches to heaven.

18Here is life! Here is youth! Here the poet’s world-wish, —
Cool waters at play with the gold-gleaming fish;
While cactus a mellower glory receives
From light colored softly by blossom and leaves;
And nestling alder is whispering low,
In lap of the pear-tree, with musical flow.1


Dark sentinel hedgerow is guarding repose,
Midst grotto and songlet and streamlet that flows
Where beauty and perfume from buds burst away,
And ope their closed cells to the bright, laughing day;
Yet, dwellers in Eden, earth yields you her tear, —
Oft plucked for the banquet, but laid on the bier.


Earth’s beauty and glory delude as the shrine
Or fount of real joy and of visions divine;
But hope, as the eaglet that spurneth the sod,
May soar above matter, to fasten on God,
And freely adore all His spirit hath made,
Where rapture and radiance and glory ne’er fade.


Oh, give me the spot where affection may dwell
In sacred communion with home’s magic spell!
Where flowers of feeling are fragrant and fair,
And those we most love find a happiness rare;
But clouds are a presage, — they darken my lay:
This life is a shadow, and hastens away.

     1  An alder growing from the bent branch of a pear-tree.