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He-poens-oF
ceLiA
THAxreR




icdove 0:'diUotx



ll ■




COLLEGE
OF THE PACIFIC



(sMritinp of Cclia dCbaptcr

POEMS. AppUdore Edition.

STORIES AND POEMS FOR CHILDREN. With
frontispiece. Also in Riverside School Library.

AMONG THE ISLES OF SHOALS. Illustrated.

AN ISLAND GARDEN.

LETTERS OF CELIA THAXTER. With three
portraits.

HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY
Boston and New York



Spplrtoce Eliiticn



THE POEMS

OF

CELIA THAXTER



THE POEMS



OF



CELIA THAXTER




BOSTON AND NEW YORK
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY



COPYRIGHT, 187I AND 1S74, BY L. L. THAXTIR

COPYRIGHT, 1S78, BY HOUGHTON, OSGOOD * CO.

COPYRIGHT, 1SS6, BY CELIA THAXTER

COPYRIGHT, 1896, 1S99, 1903, 1906, I913, AND IQM, BY ROLAND THAXTER

COPYRIGHT, I9I4 AND I916, BY ROLAND THAXTER AND JOHN THAXTER

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED



20\0



CAMBRIDGE . MASSACHUSETTS
PRINTED IN THE U.S.A.



In this new edition of the collected writings of Celia
Thaxter, great care has been taken to keep to her own
arrangement and to the order in which the poems were
originally published. In this way they seem to make
something like a journal of her daily life and thought,
and to mark the constantly increasing power of obser-
vation which was so marked a trait in her character.
As her eyes grew quicker to see the blooming of flow-
ers and the flight of birds, the turn of the waves as
they broke on the rocks of Appledore, so the eyes
of her spirit read more and more clearly the inward
significance of things^' the mysterious sorrows and joys
of human life. In the earliest of her poems there is
much to be found of that strange insight and antici-
pation of experience which comes with such gifts of
nature and gifts for writing as hers, but as life went
on it seemed as if Sorrow were visible to her eyes,
a shrouded figure walking in the daylight. Here I
and Sorrow sit was often true to the sad vision of her
imagination, yet she oftenest came hand in hand with
some invisible dancing Joy to a friend's door.

Through the long list of these brief poems (begin-
ning in the earliest book with Land-locked and follow-



VI PREFACE

ing through the volumes called Driftiveed and The
Cruise of the Mystery ; all reprinted here with some
later verses found together among lier papers), one
walks side by side in intimate companionship with this
sometimes sad-hearted but sincerely glad and happy
woman and poet, and knows the springs of her life and
the power of her great love and hope. In another
volume all her delightful verses and stories for children
have been gathered; but one poem, The Sa/idjn'j)er,
seemed to belong to one book as much as to the other,
and this has been reprinted in both.

In the volume of her Letters will be found the
records of Celia Thaxter's life and so far as it could be
told the history of her literary work, while some per-
sonal notes by the hand of one of her dearest and old-
est friends leave little to be said here. Yet those who
have known through her writings alone the islands she
loved so much, may care to know how, just before she
died, she paid, as if with dim foreboding, a last visit
to the old familiar places of the tiny world that was
80 dear to her. Day after day she called those who
were with her to walk or sail; once to spend a long
afternoon among the high cliffs of Star Island where
we sat in the shade behind the old church, and she
spoke of the year that she spent in the Gosport par-
sonage, and went there with us, to find old memories
waiting to surprise her in the worn doorways, and
ghosts and fancies of her youth tenanting all the an-



PKEFACE vii

cient rooms. Once we went to the lighthouse on
■\Vhite Island, where she walked lightly over the
rough rocks with wonted feet, and showed us many
a trace of her childhood, and sang some quaint old
songs, as we sat on the clilf looking seaward, with
a touching lovely cadence in her voice, an unfor-
gotten cadence to any one who ever heard her sing.
We sat by the Spaniards' graves through a long
summer twilight, and she repeated her poem as if its
famili;tr words were new, and we talked of many
things as we watched the sea. And on Appledore she
showed us all the childish playgrounds dearest to her
and to her brothers, — the cupboard in a crevice of
rock, the old wells and cellars, the tiny stone-walled
enclosures, the worn doorsteps of unremembored houses.
We crept under the Sheep rock for shelter out of a
sudden gust of rain, we found some of the rarer wild
flowers in their secret places. In one of these it
thrills me now to remember that she saw a new white
flower, strange to her and to the island, which seemed
to reach up to her hand. "This never bloomed on
Appledore before," she said, and looked at it with
grave wonder. "It has not quite bloomed yet," she
said, standing before the flower; " I shall come here
again ; " and then we went our unreturning way up the
footpath that led over the ledges, and left the new
flower growing in its deep windless hollow on the soft
green turf.



viii PREFACE

It was midsummer, and the bayberry bushes were
all a bright and shining green, and we watched a
sandpiper, and heard the plaintive cry that begged us
not to find and trouble its nest. Under the very rocks
and gray ledges, to the far nests of the wild sea birds,
her love and knowledge seemed to go. She was made
of that very dust, and set about with that sea, islanded
indeed in the reserves of her lonely nature with its
storms and calmness of high tides, but it seemed as if
a little star dust must have been mixed with the ordi-
nary dust of those coasts; there was something bright
in her spirit that will forever shine, and light the
hearts of those who loved her. It will pass on to a
later time in these poems that she wrote of music, of
spring and winter, of flowers and birds, and of that
northern sea which was her friend and fellow.

S. 0. J.



CONTENTS



Sil.4



331



Laitd-looked

Ofk SnoiiK

Expectation

The Wkecu of the Pocahontas
A Thanksgiving ....
The Misi:te-quns

Seawakd

Rock Weeds

The Sandpu'ER

twilioht ....

The Swallow

A Grateful Heart . .

The Spaniards' Graves .

Watchino ....

In May

A Summer Day .

Kegret

Before Sunrise
By the Roadside .

SOBRl>W ....

November ....

Courage ....

Remembrance

Song : " We sail toward E

A Tryst

Imprisoned ....
Pbcsaoe



ENINO'S LONELY StAR "



Ma

. 1
2

. 4
6

. 11
12



U
15
18
19
20
22
21
25
27
29
32
34
37
39
41
41
43
44
45
4S
50



X. CONTENTS

Midsummer Midkight 51

April Days 53

Heartbreak Hill 54

The Sosg-Sparrow 57

In Kittery Churchyard 59

At the Breakers' Edge 61

"For Thoughts" 63

Wherefore 64

guendolen 66

The Watch of Boon Island 67

Beethoven 70

Mozart 72

Schubert 73

Chopin 74

The Pimpernel 75

By the Dead 78

Footprints in the Sand 80

A Broken Lily 83

May Morning 84

All 's Well 86

The Secret 90

Seaside Goldenrod 92

March 93

SoNOi 95

The White Rover 95

Contrast 99

A Faded Glove 100

Portent ]03

SoNQ : " Sing, little Bird, oh sing " .... 105

Renunciation lOfi

Song: "Oh the Fraobance of the Air" . . . 107

Two Sonnets 108

Daybreak 109

Song : " O Love, Love, Love I " Ill

The Nestling Swallows 112

Vesper Song 114

1 By Oscar Laighton.



CONTENTS XI

Flowers is Octodbb 114

Wait 116

Karkk 117

A Mussel Shell ■ 11!>

Trust 120

modjeska 122

SoNo : " O Swallow, saiukg liohtly " . ... 123

Laks 124

SoNO : "A RusHiNO ok Wisos in the Dawn" . . 127

Thoka 128

The HArrY Birds 130

Slumber Song 132

Starugut 132

Scso : " Hark, how swket the Thrushes siko I " . . 135

Uemonstr^vmce 135

MoU.NINO SoNO 138

Beethoven 139

Song : "What good Gift can I bring Thee, thou

Dearest" 139

With the Tide 140

" The Sunrise never failed us yet " 142

Enthralled 143

Song: "Rolls the long Breaker in Splendor, and

glances" 145

Transition 146

Leviathan 148

To a Violin 149

Philosopht 150

Medrick and Osprey 152

Alone 153

Reverie 154

Heart's-Easb 156

Autumn 158

SoNO : " Love, art Thou weabt with the sultrt Day? " 159

Submission 160

Song : "I work toub Roses, Yesterday " .... 162

Spring again 162

Sonnet : " As happy Dwellbbs by tub Sbasiob heab " 165



XU CONTENTS

Song : " Above in heb Chamber hek Voice I hear " . 165

Foreboding 166

Homage 167

Discontent 168

Already 170

Guests 171

Mutation 173

Farewell . 174

Doubt 176

Sunset Song 176

"Love shall save us all" 177

The Cruise of the Mystery 177

Schumann's Sonata in A Minor 1K4

Because of Thee 185

Flowers for the Brave 186

Expostulation 187

Persistence 188

S. E 190

Poor Lisf.ttb 190

To J. G. W 192

In Tuscany 193

Good-By, Sweet Day 195

In Autumn 19G

West-Wind 197

Impatience 199

In the Lane 200

Her Mirror 202

Fob Christmas 203

At Set of Moon 204

My Garden 205

Lost and Saved 208

A Rose of Joy 209

In September 210

Under the Eaves 212

November Morning 214

In Death's Despite 217

A Song of Hope 218

OuK Soldiers 219



CONTENTS '""

. 220

Two . . 222

Compensation „ "

Sonnet : " Back from Life'8 Coasth the eudino Tide

„ADDUAW.N" . •••••/•_■_■ .2^

* ' 225

»^^''''^''" ■ . ■ . 226

TlIK ASSWEK

SoNo : " fAST THE Point and by the Beacu • ■ ^^J

. . • • 228

August

SoNO: "A BiKD upon A ROSY Bouoh" . . . . iiJ

'• On tell me not of heavenly Halls " . • • -230

Midsummer ^^^

New Year Song ^^^

^'^"''«=" .234

'■■'"" , ■ . . 235

'^^^'-^"•^ • ... .236

In a Hoksf.-Car ^^^

A Valentine ^39

Within AND Withovt

. , , , zW
Betrothed

Questions ^44

Ttrb and Sidon

Hjklma .'*••" 017

My Hollyhock

. 250

Benedution

Sonnet : " If I do speak your Praise, foroive me,

S«-="'" ■ . ■ .25?

On the Train ^53

Peace 254

As Linnets Sino ^^^

K"""' * . 257

P«T"I0N * ... 258

Appeal



POEMS



LAND-LOCKED

Black lie the hills; swiftly doth daylight- flee;
And, catching gleams of sunset's dying smile,
Through the dusk land for many a changing mile

The river runneth softly to the sea.

O happy river, could I follow thee !

yearning heart, that never can be still!

O wistful eyes, that watch the steadfast hiU,
Longing for level line of solemn sea !

Have patience; here are flowers and songs of birds.
Beauty and fragrance, wealth of sound and sight,
All summer's glory thine from morn till night.

And life too full of joy for uttered words.

Neither am I ungrateful ; but I dream
Deliciously how twilight falls to-night
Over the glimmering water, how the light

Dies blissfully away, imtil I seem



OFF SHORE

To feel the wind, sea-scented, on my cheek,
To catch the sound of dusky flapping sail
And dip of oars, and voices on the gale

Afar off, calling low, — my name they speak 1

Earth! thy summer song of joy may soar
Ringing to heaven in triumph. I hut crave
The sad, caressing murmur of the wave

That hreaks in tender music on the shore.



OFF SHORE

EOCK, little boat, beneath the quiet sky;
Only the stars behold us where we lie, —
Only the stars and yonder brightening moon.

On the wide sea to-night alone are we;
The sweet, bright summer day dies silently,
Its glowing sunset will have faded soon.

Eock softly, little boat, the while I mark
The far off gliding sails, distinct and dark,
Across the west pass steadily and slow.

But on the eastern waters sad, they change

And vanish, dream-like, gray, and cold, and strange,

And no one knoweth whither they may go.



OFF SHORE "

Wo care not, wc, drifting with wuid and tide,
While glad waves darken upon either side,
Save where the moon sends silver sparkles down,

And yonder slender stream of changing light,
Now white, now crimson, tremulously bright,
Where dark the lighthouse stands, with fiery crown.

Thick falls the dew, soundless on sea and shore:

It shines on little boat and idle oar.

Wherever moonbeams touch with tranqud glow.

The waves are full of whispers wild and sweet;
They call to mc, — incessantly they beat
Along the boat from stern to curved prow.

Comes the careering wind, blows back my hair,
All damp with dew, to kiss me unaware.
Murmuring "Thee I love," and passes on.

Sweet sounds on rocky shores the distant rote;
Oh could wo float forever, little boat,
Under the blissful sky drifting alone 1



EXPECTATION



EXPECTATION



Throughout the lonely house the whole day long
The wind-harp's fitful music sinks and swells, —

A cry of pain, sometimes, or sad and strong,
Or faint, like broken peals of silver beUs.

Across the little garden comes the hreeze,
Bows all its cups of flame, and brings to me

Its breath of mignonette and bright sweet-peas,
With drowsy murmurs from the encircling sea.

In at the open door a crimson drift

Of fluttering, fading woodbine leaves is blown.
And through the clambering vine the sunbeams sift,

And trembling shadows on the floor are thrown.

I climb the stair, and from the window lean
Seeking thy sail, love, that still delays;

Longing to catch its glimmer, searching keen
The jealous distance veiled in tender haze.

What care I if the pansies purple be.

Or sweet the wind-harp wails through the slow
hours ;
Or that the lulling music of the sea

Comes woven with the perfume of the flowers?



EXPECTATION

Thou comest not! I ponder o'or the leaves,
The crimson drift behind the open door:

Soon shall we listen to a wind that grieves,
Mourning this glad year, dead forevermore.

And, O my love, shall we on some sad day

Finil joys and hopes low fallen like the leaves,

Blown by life's chilly autumn wind away

In withered heaps God's eye alone perceives?

Come thou, and save me from my dreary thought!

Who dares to question Time, what it may bring 1
Yet round us lies the radiant summer, fraught

"With beauty: must wo dream of suffering?

Yea, even so. Through this enchanted land,
This morning-red of life, we go to meet

Tlie tempest in the desert, hand in hand.

Along God's paths of pain, that seek his feet.

But this one golden moment, — hold it fast!

The li"ht grows long: low in the west the sun,
Clear red and glorious, slowly sinks at last.

And while I muse, the tranquil day is done.

The land breeze freshens in thy gleaming sail!

Across the singing waves the shadows creep:
Under the new moon's thread of silver pale.

With the first star, thou comest o'er the deep.



THE WRECK OF THE POCAHONTAS



THE WRECK OF THE POCAHONTAS

I LIT the lamps in the lighthouse tower,

For the sun dropped down and the day was dead.

They shone like a glorious clustered flower, —
Ten golden and five red.

Looking across, where the line of coast

Stretched darkly, shrinking away from the sea,

The lights sprang out at its edge, — almost
They seemed to answer me !

warning lights ! burn bright and clear,
Hither the storm comes ! Leagues away

It moans and thunders low and drear, —
Burn till the break of day I

Good-night! I called to the gulls that sailed
Slow past me through the evening sky ;

And my comrades, answering shrilly, hailed
Me back with boding cry.

A mournful breeze began to blow ;

Weird music it drew through the iron barsj
The sullen billows boiled below.

And dimly peered the stars;



THE WKECK OF THK POCAHONTAS 7

The sails that flecked the ocean floor
From east to west leaned low and flod;

They knew what came in the distant roar
That filled the air with dread!

Flung hy a fitful gust, there heat
Against the window a dash of rain:

Steady as tramp of marching feet
Strode on the hurricane.

It smote the waves for a moment still,
Level and deadly white for fear ;

The bare rock shuddered, — an awful thrill
Shook even my tower of cheer.

Like all the demons loosed at last,

Whistling and shrieking, wild and wide,

Tlic mad wind raged, while strong and fast
Rolled in the rising tide.

And soon in ponderous showers, the spray,
Struck from the granite, reared and sprung

And clutched at tower and cottage gray,
WTiere overwhelmed they clung

Half drowning to the naked rock;

But still burned on the faithful light,
Nor faltered at the tempest's shock,

Through all tho fearful night.



THE WRECK OF THE POCAHONTAS

Was it in vain ? That knew not we.

We seemed, in that confusion vast
Of rushing wind and roaring sea,

One point whereon was cast

The whole Atlantic's weight of brine.

Heaven help the ship should drift our wayt
No matter how the light might shine

Far on into the day.

Wlien morning dawned, above the din
Of gale and breaker boomed a gun!

Another! We who sat within
Answered with cries each one.

Into each other's eyes with fear

We looked through helpless tears, as still.
One after one, near and more near,

The signals pealed, until

The thick storm seemed to break apart
To show us, staggering to her grave,

The fated brig. We had no heart
To look, for naught could save.

One glimpse of black hull heaving slow,
Then closed the mists o'er canvas torn

And tangled ropes swept to and fro
From masts that raked forlorn.



THE WRECK OF THE POCAnONTAS

Weeks after, yet ringed round with spray
Our island lay, and none might land;

Though blue the waters of the bay
Stretched calm on either hand.

And when at last from the distant shore
A little boat stole out, to reach

Our loneliness, and bring once more
Fresh human thought and speech,

We told our tale, and the boatmen cried:
" "£ was the Pocahontas, — all were losti

For miles along the coast the tide
Her shattered timbers tossed."

Then I looked the whole horizon round, —

So beautiful the ocean spread
About us, o'er those sailors drowned!

"Father in heaven," I said, —

A child's grief struggling in my breast, —
" Do purposeless thy children meet

Such bitter death 1 How was it best
These hearts should cease to beati

"Oh wherefore? Are we naught to Thcci
Like senseless weeds that rise and fall
Upon thine awful sea, are we
No more then, after all? "



10 THK WRECK OF THE POCAHONTAS

And I shut the beauty from my sight,

For I thought of the dead that lay below;

From the bright air faded the warmth and light,
There came a chill like snow.

Then I heard the far-off rote resound.

Where the breakers slow and slumberous rolled,

And a subtile sense of Thought profound
Touched me with power untold.

And like a voice eternal spake

That wondrous rhythm, and, " Peace, be still ! "
It murmured, " bow thy head and take

Life's rapture and life's ill,

"And wait. At last all shall be clear."
The long, low, mellow music rose
And fell, and soothed my dreaming ear
With infinite repose.

Sighing I climbed the lighthouse stair,
Half forgetting my grief and pain ;

And while the day died, sweet and fair,
I lit the lamps again.



A THANKSGIVING H



A THAMLSGIVING

fliGH on the ledge the wind hlows the bayberry

bright,
Turning the leaves till they shudder and shine in the

light;
Yellow St. John's-wort and yarrow are nodding their

heads,
Iris and wild-rose are glowing in purples and reds.

Swift flies the schooner careering beyond o'er the blue;
Faint shows the furrow she leaves as she cleaves lightly

through ;
Gay gleams the fluttering flag at her delicate mast;
Full swell the sails with the wind that is following fast.

Quail and sandpiper and swallow and sparrow are here:
Sweet sound their manifold notes, high and low, far

and near;
Caiorus of musical waters, the rush of the breeze,
Steady and strong from the south, —what glad voices

are these!

cup of the wild-rose, curved close to hold odorous

dew.
What thought do you hide in your heart? I would

that I knew 1



12 THE MINUTE-GUNS

O beautiful Iris, unfurling your purple and gold,
What victory fling you abroad in the flags you unfold t

Sweet may your thought be, red rose, but still sweeter

is mine,
Close in my heart hidden, clear as your dewdrop

divine.
Flutter your gonfalons. Iris, the paean I sing
Is for victory better than joy or than beauty can bring.

Into thy calm eyes, Nature, I look and rejoice;
Prayerful, I add my one note to the Infinite voice:
As shining and singing and sparkling glides on the

glad day.
And eastward the swift-rolling planet wheels into the

gray.

THE MINUTE-GUlSrS

I STOOD within the little cove.

Full of the morning's life and hope,

While heavily the eager waves

Charged thundering up the rocky slope.

The splendid breakers! How they rushed,
All emerald green and flashing white,

Tumultuous in the morning sun,

With cheer and sparkle and delight I



THE MNUTE-GUNS 18

And freshly blow the fragrant wind,
Tho wild sea wind, across their tops,

And caught the spray and flung it far
In sweeping showers of glittering diops.

"Within the cove all flashed and foamed
"With many a fleeting rainbow hue ;

"Without, gleamed bright against tho sky
A tender wavering line of blue,

"Where tossed the distant waves, and far

Shone silver- white a quiet sailj
And overhead the soaring gulls

"With graceful pinions stemmed the gale.

And all my pulses thrilled with joy,

"Watching the winds' and waters' strife,

"With sudden rapture, — and I cried,

" Oh, sweet is life ! Thank God for life 1 »»

Sailed any cloud across the sky.

Marring this glory of tho sun's?
Over the sea, from distant forts,

There came tho boom of minute-guns!

"War-tidings! Many a brave soul fled.
And many a heart the message stuns!

I saw no more tlie joyous waves,
1 only heard the minute-guna.



14 S£AWA£D

SEAWAED



TO



How long it seems since that mild April night,
When, leaning from the window, you and I

Heard, clearly ringing from the shadowy bight,
The loon's unearthly cry !

Southwest the wind blew, million little waves
Kan rippling round the point in mellow tune,

But mournful, like the voice of one who raves.
That laughter of the loon !

We called to him, while blindly through the haze
Uprose the meagre moon behind us, slow,

So dim, the fleet of boats we scarce could trace,
Moored lightly just below.

We called, and lo, he answered ! Half in fear
We sent the note back. Echoing rock and bay

Made melancholy music far and near.
Sadly it died away.

That schooner, you remember? Flying ghost I
Her canvas catching every wandering beam.

Aerial, noiseless, past the glimmering coast
She glided like a dream •



EOOK WEEDS H

Would we were leaning from your window now,

Together calling to the eerie loon,
The fresh wind blowing care from either brow,

This sumptuous night of June!

So many sighs load this sweet inland air,

'T is hard to breathe, nor can wo find relief, —

However lightly touched we all must share
This nobleness of grief.

But sighs are spent before they reach your ear;

Vaguely they mingle with the water's rune,
No sadder sound salutes you than the clear.

Wild laughter of the loon.



BOCK WEEDS

So bleak these shores, wind-swept and all the year
Washed by the wild Atlantic's restless tide.

You would not dream that flowers the woods hold deal
Amid such desolation dare abide.

Yet when the bitter wmter breaks, some day,
With soft winds fluttering her garments' hem.

Up from the sweet South comes the lingering May,
Sets the first wind-flower trembling on its stem;



16 BOCK WEEDS

Scatters her violets witli lavish hands,

White, blue, and amber; calls the columbine,

Till like clear flame in lonely nooks, gay bands
Swinging their scarlet bells, obey the sign;

Makes buttercups and dandelions blaze,

And throws in glimmering patches here and there,
The little eyebright's pearls, and gently lays

The impress of her beauty everywhere.

Later, June bids the sweet wild rose to blow;

Wakes from its dream the drowsy pimpernel;
Unfolds the bindweed's ivory buds, that glow

As delicately blushing as a shell.

Then purple Iris smiles, and hour by hour.
The fair procession multiplies; and soon.

In clusters creamy white, the elder-flower

Waves its broad disk against the rising moon.

O'er quiet beaches shelving to the sea

Tall mulleins sway, and thistles ; all day long

Flows in the wooing water dreamily.

With subtile music in its slumberous song.

Herb-robert hears, and princess'-feather bright.
And goldthread clasps the little skull-cap blue;



BOCK WEEDS 17

And troops of swallows, gathering for their flight.
O'er goldenroJ aud asters hold review.

The barren island dreams in flowers, while blow
The south winds, drawing haze o'er sea and land;

Yet the great heart of ocean, throbbing slow,

Makes the frail blossoms vibrate where they stand j

And hints of heavier pulses soon to shako
Its mighty breast when summer is no more,

And devastating waves sweep on aud break,


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