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I HOME-THOUGHTS, FROM ABROAD
Said Abner, “At last thou art come! Ere Oh, to be in England
I tell, ere thou speak, Now that April 's there,
Kiss my cheek, wish me well!” Then I And whoever wakes in England
wished it, and did kiss his cheek. Sees, some morning, unaware,
And he: “Since the King, O my friend, for That the lowest boughs and the brush- thy countenance sent, wood sheaf
Neither drunken nor eaten have we; nor Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf, until from his tent While the chaffinch sings on the orchard Thou return with the joyful assurance the bough
King liveth yet, In England-now!
Shall our lip with the honey be bright, with
the water be wet. And after April, when May follows,
For out of the black mid-tent's silence, a And the whitethroat builds, and all the space of three days, swallows!
Not a sound hath escaped to thy servants, Hark, where my blossomed pear-tree in the of prayer nor of praise, hedge
To betoken that Saul and the Spirit have Leans to the field and scatters on the clover ended their strife, Blossoms and dewdrops-at the bent And that, faint in his triumph, the monspray's edge
arch sinks back upon life.
“Yet now my heart leaps, O beloved! Then I tuned my harp,-took off the lilies God's child with his dew
we twine round its chords On thy gracious gold hair, and those lilies Lest they snap 'neath the stress of the noonstill living and blue
tide—those sunbeams like swords! 35 Just broken to twine round thy harp- And I first played the tune all our sheep strings, as if no wild heat
know, as, one after one, Were now raging to torture the desert!” So docile they come to the pen-door till
folding be done. They are white and untorn by the bushes,
for lo, they have fed Then I, as was meet,
Where the long grasses stifle the water Knelt down to the God of my fathers, and
within the stream's bed; rose on my feet,
And now one after one seeks its lodging,
15 And ran o'er the sand burnt to powder. Into eve and the blue far above us, 50
star follows star The tent was unlooped; I pulled up the spear that obstructed, and
blue and so far! under I stooped; Hands and knees on the slippery grasspatch, all withered and gone,
VI That extends to the second enclosure, I - Then the tune, for which quails on the groped my way on
cornland will each leave his mate Till I felt where the foldskirts fly open. To fly after the player; then, what makes Then once more I prayed,
the crickets elate And opened the foldskirts and entered, Till for boldness they fight one another; and was not afraid
and then, what has weight But spoke, “Here is David, thy servant!” To set the quick jerboa a-musing outside And no voice replied.
45 At the first I saw naught but the black- There are none such as he for a wonder, ness; but soon I descried
half bird and half mouse! A something more black than the black- God made all the creatures and gave them ness—the vast, the upright
our love and our fear, Main prop which sustains the pavilion; | To give sign, we and they are his children, and slow into sight
25 one family here. Grew a figure against it, gigantic and
blackest of all. Then a sunbeam, that burst through the
VII tent roof, showed Saul.
Then I played the help-tune of our reapers,
their wine-song, when hand
Grasps at hand, eye lights eye in good IV
friendship, and great hearts expand 50 He stood as erect as that tent-prop, both And grow one in the sense of this world's arms stretched out wide
life.—And then, the last song On the great cross-support in the center, When the dead man is praised on his jourthat goes to each side;
ney—“Bear, bear him along He relaxed not a muscle, but hung there with his few faults shut up like dead as, caught in his pangs
flowerets! Are balm-seeds not here And waiting his change, the king serpent to console us? The land has none left all heavily hangs,
such as he on the bier. Far away from his kind, in the pine, till de- Oh, would we might keep thee, my liverance come
brother!” —And then, the glad chaunt With the spring-time, so agonized Saul, Of the marriage,-first go the young drear and stark, blind and dumb.
maidens, next, she whom we vaunt
As I sang:
As the beauty, the pride of our dwelling. When he trusted thee forth with the -And then, the great march
armies, for glorious reward? 81 Wherein man runs to man to assist him Didst thou see the thin hands of thy and buttress an arch
mother, held up as men sung Naught can break; who shall harm them, The low song of the nearly-departed, and
our friends?—Then, the chorus in- hear her faint tongue toned
Joining in while it could to the witness, As the Levites go up to the altar in glory 'Let one more attest enthroned.
60 I have lived, seen God's hand through a But I stopped here: for here in the dark- lifetime, and all was for best?' 85 ness Saul groaned.
Then they sung through their tears in
strong triumph, not much, but the VIII
rest. And I paused, held my breath in such
And thy brothers, the help and the consilence, and listened apart;
test, the working whence grew
Such result as, from seething grapeAnd the tent shook, for mighty Saul shuddered: and sparkles 'gan dart
bundles, the spirit strained true:
And the friends of thy boyhood--that boyFrom the jewels that woke in his turban, at once with a start,
hood of wonder and hope, All its lordly male-sapphires, and rubies
Present promise and wealth of the future
beyond the eye's scope, courageous at heart.
65 So the head: but the body still moved not,
Till lo, thou art grown to a monarch; a still hung there erect.
people is thine; And I bent once again to my playing, pur
And all gifts, which the world offers singly, sued it unchecked,
on one head combine! On one head, all the beauty and strength,
love and rage (like the throe
That, a-work in the rock, helps its labor "Oh, our manhood's prime vigor! No and lets the gold go), spirit feels waste,
High ambition and deeds which surpass it, Not a muscle is stopped in its playing nor fame crowning them, -all
95 sinew unbraced.
Brought to blaze on the head of one creaOh, the wild joys of living! the leaping ture-King Saul!” from rock up to rock,
70 The strong rending of boughs from the
fir-tree, the cool silver shock Of the plunge in a pool's living water, the And lo, with that leap of my spirit, -heart, hunt of the bear,
hand, harp and voice, And the sultriness showing the lion is Each lifting Saul's name out of sorrow, couched in his lair.
each bidding rejoice And the meal, the rich dates yellowed over Saul's fame in the light it was made forwith gold dust divine,
as when, dare I say, And the locust-flesh steeped in the pitcher, The Lord's army, in rapture of service, the full draft of wine,
strains through its array, And the sleep in the dried river-channel And upsoareth the cherubim-chariotwhere bulrushes tell
“Saul!” cried I, and stopped, That the water was wont to go warbling And waited the thing that should follow. so softly and well.
Then Saul, who hung propped How good is man's life, the mere living! By the tent's cross-support in the center, how fit to employ
was struck by his name. All the heart and the soul and the senses Have ye seen when Spring's arrowy sumforever in joy!
mons goes right to the aim, Hast thou loved the white locks of thy And some mountain, the last to withstand father, whose sword thou didst guard her, that held (he alone,
While the vale laughed in freedom and Glean a vintage more potent and perfect to flowers) on a broad bust of stone
brighten the eye A year's snow bound about for a breast- And bring blood to the lip, and commend plate,-leaves grasp of the sheet?
them the cup they put by? Fold on fold all at once it crowds thunder- He saith, “It is good;" still he drinks not: ously down to his feet,
he lets me praise life, And there fronts you, stark, black, but Gives assent, yet would die for his own part.
alive yet, your mountain of old, With his rents, the successive bequeathings of ages untold
Then fancies grew rife
135 Yea, each harm got in fighting your bat
Which had come long ago on the pasture, tles, each furrow and scar
when round me the sheep Of his head thrust 'twixt you and the
Fed in silence above, the one eagle tempest—all hail, there they are!
wheeled slow as in sleep; -Now again to be softened with verdure,
And I lay in my hollow and mused on the again hold the nest
world that might lie Of the dove, tempt the goat and its young
’Neath his ken, though I saw but the strip to the green on his crest
'twixt the hill and the sky: For their food in the ardors of summer.
And I laughed—“Since my days are orOne long shudder thrilled
dained to be passed with my flocks, 140
115 All the tent till the very air tingled, then
Let me people, at least with my fancies, the sank and was stilled
plains and the rocks, At the King's self left standing before me,
Dream the life I am never to mix with, and released and aware.
image the show What was gone, what remained? All to Of mankind as they live in those fashions traverse 'twixt hope and despair;
I hardly shall know! Death was past, life not come: so he
Schemes of life, its best rules and right waited. . Awhile his right hand
uses, the courage that gains, Held the brow, helped the eyes left too
And the prudence that keeps what men vacant, forthwith to remand
strive for." And now these old trains To their place what new objects should Of vague thought came again; I grew enter: 't was Saul as before.
surer; so once more the string I looked up, and dared gaze at those eyes,
Of my harp made response to my spirit, as nor was hurt any more
thusThan by slow pallid sunsets in autumn, ye
XIII watch from the shore,
“Yea, my King," At their sad level gaze o'er the ocean-a I began—"thou dost well in rejecting sun's slow decline
mere comforts that spring Over hills which, resolved in stern silence, From the mere mortal life held in common o'erlap and entwine
125 by man and by brute: Base with base to knit strength more in- In our flesh grows the branch of this life, tensely; so, arm folded arm
in our soul it bears fruit.
150 O'er the chest whose slow heavings subsided. Thou hast marked the slow rise of the tree,
-how its stem trembled first XI
Till it passed the kid's lip, the stag's What spell or what charm,
antler; then safely outburst (For a while there was trouble within me,) The fan-branches all round; and thou what next should I urge
mindest when these too, in turn To sustain him where song had restored Broke a-bloom and the palm-tree seemed him?—Song filled to the verge
perfect: yet more was to learn, His cup with the wine of this life, press- | E'en the good that comes in with the palming all that it yields
130 fruit. Our dates shall we slight, 155 Of mere fruitage, the strength and the When their juice brings a cure for all sorbeauty: beyond, on what fields,
row? or care for the plight
Of the palm's self whose slow growth For not half, they'll affirm, is comprised
produced them? Not so! stem and there! Which fault to amend, branch
In the grove with his kind grows the cedar, Shall decay, nor be known in their place, whereon they shall spend
while the palm wine shall stanch (See, in tablets 't is level before them) their Every wound of man's spirit in winter. I praise, and record
185 pour thee such wine.
With the gold of the graver, Saul's story, Leave the flesh to the fate it was fit for! —the statesman's great word the spirit be thine!
160 Side by side with the poet's sweet comBy the spirit, when age shall o'ercome thee, ment. The river's a-wave thou still shalt enjoy
With smooth paper-reeds grazing each More indeed, than at first when incon- other when prophet-winds rave: scious, the life of a boy.
So the pen gives unborn generations their Crush that life, and behold its wine run- due and their part
ning! Each deed thou hast done In thy being! Then, first of the mighty, Dies, revives, goes to work in the world; thank God that thou art!”
until e'en as the sun Looking down on the earth, though clouds
XIV spoil him, though tempests efface, 165
And behold while I sang ... but o Thou Can find nothing his own deed produced
who didst grant me that day, not, must everywhere trace
And before it not seldom hast granted thy The results of his past summer-prime,
help to essay, so, each ray of thy will,
Carry on, and complete an adventure, Every flash of thy passion and prowess, long
my shield and my sword over, shall thrill
In that act where my soul was thy servant, Thy whole people, the countless, with
thy word was my word,ardor, till they too give forth
Still be with me, who then at the summit A like cheer to their sons; who in turn, fill
of human endeavor
195 the South and the North
170 And scaling the highest, man's thought With the radiance thy deed was the germ
could, gazed hopeless as ever of. Carouse in the past!
On the new stretch of heaven above me But the license of age has its limit; thou
till, mighty to save, diest at last: As the lion when age dims his eyeball, the Just one lift of thy hand cleared that dis
tance-God's throne from man's rose at her height,
grave! So with man-so his power and his beauty
Let me tell out my tale to its ending-my for ever take flight.
voice to my heart No! Again a long draft of my soul-wine!
Which can scarce dare believe in what marLook forth o'er the years!
175 vels last night I took part, Thou hast done now with eyes for the ac
As this morning I gather the fragments, tual; begin with the seer's!
alone with my sheep, Is Saul dead? In the depth of the vale
And still fear lest the terrible glory evanish make his tomb-bid arise
like sleep! A gray mountain of marble heaped four
For I wake in the gray dewy covert, while square, till built to the skies,
Hebron upheaves Let it mark where the great First King The dawn struggling with night on his slumbers: whose fame would ye
shoulder, and Kidron retrieves know?
Slow the damage of yesterday's sunUp above see the rock's naked face, where
205 the record shall go
I say then,-my song With the sages directing the work, by the While I sang thus, assuring the monarch, populace chid,
and, ever more strong,