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R. G. ROSE.





presented to the

LIBRARY
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SAN DIEGO

by
FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY



MR. JOHN C. ROSE



donor




SCYTHE AND SWORD



POEMS



BY



O C AURINGER



BOSTON
D LOTHROP COMPANY

FRANKLIN AND HAWLEY STREETS
1887



COPYRIGHT, 1887, BY
D. LOTHROP COMPANY.



PRESS OF HENRY H. CLARK A CO., BOSTON.



TO
EDWARD EGGLESTON, D.D.,

W 'ARM FRIEND
AND WISE COUNSELLOR,

THESE POEMS ARE AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED

BY
THE AUTHOR.



CONTENTS.



THE ORCHARD . . . i

A WIND SONG 7

THE VALE OF SPIRITS 9

THE OLD BALSAM 10

ONE OF NATURE'S SURPRISES 15

RAIN SONG FOR OCTOBER 17

AFTER THE HARVEST 19

THE FIRST PHEBE 21

CRICKET SONG 24

To A SUMMER EVENING WIND 25

FADING DAYS 29

GLEN LAKE AT TWILIGHT 30

THE ROBE-WEAVERS 33

WINTER 35

THE VOICE OF WATERS 36

THE UNTIMELY SINGER 38

SONG'S DIVINITY ........ 39

THE VOYAGERS 41

PRESAGE 45

INLAND 48

STARLIGHT SONG 49



Vi CONTENTS.

PAGE

THE COMING PREACHER 50

GOD'S COUNTRY 53

THE FLIGHT OF THE WAR-EAGLE .... 55

THE PARTING OF EMERSON 56

GORDON 57

EMERSON CARLYLE ....... 58

CHARLES DARWIN 59

PRESBYTERY . 61

SONG-SEEDS 62

CONFESSION 64

THE POET'S HERITAGE 65

THOUGHT AND PASSION 66

A SONG ON THE SHORE 67

WHIPPOORWILL 68

HELLAS 71

A TROPICAL SHOWER 72

SUMMER GODS 73

THE NEW KINGDOM 77

A DAY AND A FRIEND 78

PHAON AND HYALS ........ 79

THE SLAYER . .... 81



SCYTHE AND SWORD.



THE ORCHARD.
I.

THE orchard stretches from the door,
To right and left and far along,

To where the gray fence winds before
The slope where meadow grasses throng

The trunks, like graven columns old,
Rise from the tight turf all arow,

And breaking into arms uphold
A roof of emerald and snow.

Its breezy floor with gold is strown,
As thick as stars on cloudless night,

Where flower-enamored Spring has sown
Her dandelions for delight.



SCYTHE AND SWORD.



Adown the long aisles careless pass
The wavering butterflies of May,

And on the spreading mat of grass
In troops the fitful shadows play.



II.

Midway along the deep arcade
The monarch of the orchard stands,

For fifty years through light and shade
The glory of the homestead lands.

His massive trunk is straight and free,
His great arms of heroic brawn

Are spread abroad in majesty
O'er many a rood of level lawn.

His leaf is greenest emerald,

His bloom is mottled blood and snow,
His fruit is mellow globes of gold,

With summer's choicest wines aglow.

The tufted sod about his feet
At morn is longest wet with dew,



THE ORCHARD. 3

So close the leafy branches meet,

So rare the rifts the sun shines through.

Above his old root swells a mound,

A royal pillow for the head
Of one who on the fragrant ground

Would lie and dream as on a bed.

'T is here at noon's celestial hour.

When not with spirit weighed and worn,

But fresh and open as a flower,

Through which all wandering airs are borne,

I come. Beneath the rustling tide

Of leaves I lie upon the grass,
While winds of heaven from far and wide

Blow me a greeting as they pass.

The farmer sun, whose harvest face
The cloud of foliage shuts from view,

Finds here and there unguarded space
To shoot a shining message through.

I feel the swift pulse of delight

That thrills the wild bird on the wing ;



SCYTHE AND SWORD.

My spirit, in the joys of flight,
Joins his exultant caroling.

That wandering flower of groves and fields,

The butterfly, luxurious guest,
To me his dainty secret yields ;

I join him in his foolish quest.

The pleasure-hunting bumblebee,
Sipping from clover-cups his wine,

I apprehend, I am as he,

And all his honeyed thoughts are mine.

Ah ! sweet wild friends of summer-time,

By kindly love familiar made,
That in the day's delicious prime

Throng round me, and are not afraid !



III.

Then hovering round me, lo ! I hear
Seraphic voices, tongue on tongue,

In airy syllables as clear

As e'er through brain of poet rung.



THE ORCHARD.

Swift fade the fields, the birds grow mute,
The winds fall faint and die away,

Soft sounds, as of a lyre or lute,
With voices, o'er my spirit stray.

They speak to me sublimer things
Than seer or master ever taught,

Or mind has gleaned in wanderings
Through all the universe of thought.

The treasures of the secret place
The passive soul may freely share,

While he that runs with ardent pace
Comes baffled back, and in despair.

So in a trance I lie and hear
That hidden stream in music flow,

Whose happy current, still and clear,
Sweeps brightly round our walls of woe.

I rise as one by magic birth

'Mong new-created things set free,

To look upon a wondrous earth
'Neath skies of stainless purity.



SCYTHE AND SWORD.

It lies in floods of heaven immersed :
Gone is the curse, the sin, the stain ;

And glorious, as at the first,

Man walks in joy with God again.



A WIND SONG.



A WIND SONG.

BLOW, freely blow,

Over the snow, O wind !
As merrily blow o'er the hills of snow

As if never a man had sinned,
As if never a woman had wept,

Or a delicate child grown pale,
Or a maiden's warm tears crept

To hallow a faithless tale !

Blow, stoutly blow,

Strong in thy heathen joy !
Sorrow thou surely canst not know,

For thine is the heart of a boy !
For thine is the freedom and strength

Of a rover careless and gay,
Over the fair land's length

Joyfully wandering away !

Blow, bravely blow,

Out of the fields of air !
Till we see thy garments' airy flow,

And the gleam of thy flying hair ;



SCYTHE AND SWORD.

Till the light of thy broad bright wing
And thy glad eyes set us free,

And we feel in our hearts the spring
Of a joy that was wont to be !



THE; VAL,E OF SPIRITS.




THE VALE OF SPIRITS.

IN deep green woods there lies a fairy glade
Shut in by tawny hemlocks wild and tall ;
Its floor is laid with richest moss, and all

Its round is steeped in most delicious shade.

It is a spot for listening silence made ;

Few sounds awake it, save the wild-bird's call,
And winds that murmur round its forest wall,

Like instruments at airy distance played.

'Tis there a still and stolen guest I lie,

And listen to the weird wood-spirits singing ;

I hear their bell-like voices floating nigh,

From arches green and dewy dingles springing ;

They pass in elfin song and laughter by,

I hear their clear ha ! ha ! in deep dells ringing.



10 SCYTHE AND SWORD.



THE OLD BALSAM.

YEAR in, year out, unchanged thou standest there,

And broodest in a visionary wise ;
Inscrutably the same in seasons rare

As 'midst the winter's straits and stormy cries.

Solemn and vast, and hard in reticence,

That speaks not save in unremembered tongue,

Thou standest an enigma and offence,

Steadfast and old 'midst all that 's frail and
young.

Looking on noble mountains from thy place,
And on still waters stayed in linked hills,

A landscape with a chance capricious face,

Now charmed with smiles, now vexed with winter
ills.

Alternate barrenness, bloom, snow, and flowers,
Web sunbeam and frost crystal, now and then ;

All things in turn, and flowing like the hours,
And neighbored by the near abodes of men.



THE OLD BALSAM. II

'Midst these, and under skies as fair as joy,
Or hard as hate, and drawn in fierce distress,

Thou keep'st the calm that nothing can annoy,
The mark the state no chance can dispossess.

For why ? what art thou, and from whence, that so
Thou lettest pass the ineffectual world,

Scornful of its vext strivings to and fro,

Sea without port, whose sails are nowhere furled ?

What art thou, with such matchless hardihood,
That keep'st thy spirit while the fiery sway

Of change unsettles e'en the brave and good,
And leaves not one, but whirls them all away ?

Art thou a prophet, like of old, with feet
Set steadfast on the ancient base of things,

With mighty heart of uncorrupted heat,

Whose thoughts are strong, fierce angels clad with
wings ?

A living sign whereon the world shall gaze,
And be reproved for its inconstancy,

Confronting all its feeble pride of days
With the calm purpose of eternity ?



12 SCYTHE AND SWORD.

I think thou art a prophet ; yet thou hast
At sudden times a glow of milder grace,

That mellows o'er that mood, that iron cast
Of thought, which marks thee of prophetic race,

Like moonlight over armor ; and at night,

Oft when sleep drugs the vulgar sense with
dreams,

Thou wear'st a look of rapture, and a light
Of elfish wildness round thy figure gleams.

Sad, yet withal not lonely, but as one,
For his high heart exalted like a star,

Cut off from kin, and understood by none,
Thou hast thy precious visits from afar.

Ere fields revive their green at Spring's behest,
Robin, the orator from out the south,

From the precarious vantage of thy crest

Pleads loud his cause with eloquence of mouth.

The meteor oriole, of golden fame,

After all woods and orchards overflown,

Cools in thy ample cloud his heart of flame,
And plies the art so wondrously his own.



THE OLD BALSAM. 13

The lady bluebird, quaint and delicate,

And yellowbird the fairy, still and small,
Have known thee long for some congenial trait,
Some grace, some charm familiar over all.

In the black midnight, hark ! a cry, a shout,

As of a night sea roaring unto sea !
The lightning and the storm have found thee out,

Thy giant kindred hold converse with thee !

For these thou hast a voice of speech, a tongue
Confessed, or couched in mystic silences,

That ancient speech unchanged since time was

young
Ah, how forgot of all save such as these !

Nay, not of all ; some few large hearts remain,
Which heed the noble music nature makes,

Which rest and listen, rise and toil again,
Strong in the joy its melody awakes.

Some sage, some prophet, surely thou must be,
Since these esteem thee something more than
friend ;



14 SCYTHE AND SWORD.

Yea, mine own heart hath apprehended thee,
Henceforth thou art my brother to the end !

A soul serene, that hath its dreams apart ;

A mind unmoved by blind Ambition's call ;
A noble, calm capacity of heart ;

A faithful vision glorifying all.

Of strengths like these the present world hath need,
If I, who question thee, have learned aright,

To give to time men of heroic breed,
And bring the old sublimities to light.

Ah, well, good night, brave friend ; kind darkness
keep

This image of thee warm, which now I hold ;
I go awhile to walk the paths of sleep,

'Midst frailer forms and visions manifold.



ONE OF NATURE'S SURPRISES. 15



ONE OF NATURE'S SURPRISES.

FIRST NOVEMBER.

How full of rare surprises nature is !

Not often with the sun so far withdrawn

To southward at the waning of the year,

Leaving the earth, deserted of the glow

And fire and passion of his summer love,

To bide old Winter's cold, ungenial clasp

Is felt so sweet and pleasant a surprise

As met me on a country road to-day.

Slowly I drove along, with eye alert,

And heart intent to catch the faintest gleam

Of glory fading from the autumn hills,

To catch the last pathetic look of earth,

So full of sad regret for glories flown,

And vanished with the joys of summer-time,

Sweet songs, rich feasts, and airs of paradise

Upon the desolation of her house ;

To meet her farewell look, and hear the sigh,

Inaudible to all but charmed ears,

That at this sad and desolate time of year

Arises from her great forsaken heart,



16 SCYTHE AND SWORD.

Doomed, as she knows, soon to be pierced with

frosts,

And frozen into stone a hundred days.
I rode along, when, lo ! beside the way,
Beside a ruined fence patched green with moss,
And sunken down in dampness and decay ;
'Midst tangled briars long blown bare of leaves,
And dried and withered by the autumn winds ;
On frail, precarious stems, shrunk thin as thread
Rare raspberries ! as large and red and round
And full of rich suggestiveness as e'er
The roguish-hearted Summer scattered free
O'er plots unused, and nooks beside the way,
To catch the hearts of merry schoolward elves,
And cheat them to an hour's romp and glee.
Ripe raspberries ! rare gift, this time of year,
From even Earth, great mother rich in gifts !
With heart amid regret surprised by hope,
I stopped, and picked, and ate, ate joy and faith :
Joy at such miracle by nature wrought,
Faith in the unfailing richness of her store.



RAIN SONG FOR OCTOBER. 1 7



RAIN SONG FOR OCTOBER.

BEAT, rain,

Against the pane,
O beat with a welcome, soothing sound ;

Cool and sweet,

After the heat,
Welcome, O rain, to the dry and thirsty ground !

Sing, rain,

Amidst the grain,
O sing to the grass and the parching sod !

Softly sing,

" Rejoice ! I bring
Refreshing gifts for each little herb of God ! "

Go, drouth,

Into the south,
O fly to the desert, where no man is !

Go and stay

Under the ray
Of the red fierce sun in the lifeless wastes of his



1 8 SCYTHE AND SWORD.

Praise, rain,

Our God again,
O praise him who gave thee a voice to praise !

And praise him we

For sending thee
To give us hope of the coming fruitful days !



AFTER THE; HARVEST. 19




AFTER THE HARVEST.

THE scythe is rusting in the tree,
The rake lies broken on the glade,

The mower in a revery

Is stretched at ease within the shade.



A goodly man the mower is,

With sinews tough as twisted rods,

A form of manly grace is his,
A head as trenchant as a god's.

A man of thought ; the harvest o'er,
Its heats and triumphs left behind,

He rests, and gives himself once more
To pleasures of the heart and mind.



Such pleasures ! All the glorious skies,
Their happy deeps, their hues, their forms

That float, are wonders to his eyes ;
He glories in their fires and storms.



2O SCYTHE AND SWORD.

The sweet green earth he deems most fair ;

He knows her moods of ease and toil ;
He walks abroad, and everywhere

Sees blessings springing from the soil.

The woods and pastures, near and far,
To him their secrets yield ; he knows

The shy spot where the berries are,

The corner where the sweet mint grows.

His friendships lie on every hand,
In man and cattle, bird and bee ;

And he is wise to understand

The language of the flower and tree.

The free air and the light he quaffs
Are turned to sunshine in his veins ;

His speech is cheer, and when he laughs
Great nature's joy is in the strains.

For him the cloud shall break and pass,
And show behind its shattered bars

The splendor of the fields and grass,
The glory of the sky and stars.



THE FIRST PHEBE. 21



THE FIRST PHEBE.

SWEET latest herald of the spring,
Fresh from thy rest at nature's heart,

Where thou dost linger listening

Till all her warm, strong pulses start.

Last eve I heard thy fairy note
Along the orchard arches blown ;

Faint, faint it seemed, and far remote,
And yet I knew it for thine own.

Though wild the robin sang above,

And bluebird carolled blithe and clear,

Thy low voice, like the word of love,
Found instant pathway to mine ear.

And in my breast the pulse of spring
Beat out an answering throb ; I knew

'Midst rivals' noisier carolling,

The one fine voice of prophet true.



22 SCYTHE AND SWORD.

And thine, alas ! a prophet's fate ;

All night the rains have fallen on thee ;
All night no comfort, no, but hate,

Darkness and doubt and misery.

Thou comest not to me this morn
With secrets of thy earth and air,

But with thy poor drowned wings forlorn,
Thrice weary with thy heart's despair !

Where didst thou pass thy soul's unrest
Through all those bitter hours and wild ?

Behold thy soft sky-woven vest
With darkest stains of earth defiled !

O welcome to my porch and vine,
Thy singing-bower in other days !

Make it thy house wherein to pine,
Which once thou mad'st thy house of praise !

Ay, welcome to my heart, dear bird !

Come in, come in, and lodge with me :
This breast with greater griefs is stirred

Than any fate can bring to thee.



THE FIRST PHKBE. 23

I '11 tell thee of the wearing pain

No human heart may share or know,

The slow worm that amidst the grain
Robs harvest of its overflow.



And thus with kindly sympathy

We '11 sun these lives with sorrows sown,
Lest some approaching season see

Their fields with bitter weeds o'ergrown.

See now the clouds flow back ! the sun
Comes through the orchard's eastern gate ;

Adown the air fleet murmurs run,
That break in song and soar elate.

The scenes that coldly viewed thy plight
With golden lights are hallowed now ;

The drops that beat on thee all night
Are chains of diamonds on the bough.



24 SCYTHE AND SWORD.



CRICKET SONG.

SING to me, sing to me, sad and low,

Cricket under the rafter ;
Trill to me tenderly, mournfully ; O !

More sweet than the lark's loud laughter
Is thy plaintive voice in the evening's glow,

That follows the fierce hours after !



Sing to me, trill to me ; ah, my heart

Lonely lies and forsaken,
Drooping in sorrowful silence apart,

By tremulous grief o'ertaken,
And the voice is thine that can soothe its smart,

Its tenderest hopes awaken.

Sing to me ! ah, for a heart like thine,

Cricket under the rafter !
Then could I make all my sorrows divine

That follow the fierce joys after !
I could sing, I could sing, and a song were
mine

More sweet than the wild lark's laughter !



TO A SUMMER EVENING WIND. 25



TO A SUMMER EVENING WIND.

SOFT wind of summer's eve,

Fresh from blue fields and paradisial air,
Methinks in happy vision I perceive

Thee winged with floating hair,

A spirit quaintly dight

In robe of airiest gossamer outspread,
Roaming the earth in innocent delight,

By wayward fancy led ;

In sweet unconsciousness,

Wafting thy cool delights through breathless

ways,
That speak again in music, and confess

Thy joys with grateful praise ;

Waking with magic wings

Life and fresh grace in tree and vine and flower,
Till all alive, with airy whisperings

They fill the twilight hour.



26 SCYTHE AND SWORD.

Out of the deep land's breast

A murmur comes, of many glad sounds made,
Gathered from lake and plain and mountain crest,

And meadows bathed in shade ;

A universal sigh

Of calm content and gratitude to thee,
Who feignest not to listen, being shy,

As such rare spirits be.

Through all the arid day

Hast thou been sleeping sweetly in the hill,
Unseen by woodland fairies in their play,

While all around was still ;

Save when some hidden bird,

Full of sly wildwood mischief, suddenly

Broke on thy dream 'mid foliage unstirred,
In mocking melody,

Waking at quiet eve

In most divine refreshment and delight
To bathe in air and over earth to weave

Thy far erratic flight.



TO A SUMMER EVENING WIND. 27

Thy light approach unreels

A band of dancing dimples o'er the lake,
Such as on charmed nights the skimming keels

Of fairies' shallops make.

Thy breath is in the vine,

That half my window's prospect serves to screen ;
Ah ! are not those thy lovely eyes that shine

The woven leaves between ?



Welcome, celestial guest !

With what fond message comest thou to me,
What secret gift of hope or rapture blest,

Of all thy fair eyes see ?

Thou art so shy a sprite !

Here ! breathe it through the vine into my ear !
From out the bosom of the deepening night

Thy arch laugh answers clear.

Thou art not here nor there,

Thou comest not at this or that one's call,
I know thee now, that thou art everywhere,

Thy blessings free to all !



28 SCYTHE AND SWORD.

Ah ! what a bliss to feel

Thy cool breath o'er hot cheek and forehead play,
Delicious to the sense as airs that steal

From flowery woods of May.

How pleasant to the ear

Thy songs are, that their ceaseless music keep,
Soft soft, like voices sleepy children hear

Call from the shores of sleep.



FADING DAYS. 29




FADING DAYS.

FILLED with a quiet sadness nigh to tears,
When tears come fresh from no ungentle spring,
Beside this stream, whose tongue runs faltering,
I watch this graceful fading of the year's.
A breeze shakes all the host of grassy spears,
Rustling their faded pennants where they cling,
A brown rust widens round the fairies' ring,
Pale on each bough a dying grace appears.
The air is tremulous with hovering fears,
Each moment some loved charm is taking wing ;
For every pearl that falls from summer's string
Dies in my breast some song her love endears.
O autumn, haste ! blow fresh through heart and brain
The riper notes of thy reviving strain !



3O SCYTHE AND SWORD.



GLEN LAKE AT TWILIGHT.

How still she lies !

A bride in all her wedding splendor dressed,
After the day's sweet tumult and surprise
Laid in soft rest.

Ere yet the hour

Has come that brings the bridegroom to her arms,
In that mysterious pause 'twixt bud and flower
Of royal charms.

With dearest eyes

Closed over dreams of glorious substance wrought,
Placid as peace, in all content she lies,
And still as thought.

The tender flush

Of twilight lingering warm on brow and cheek,
Upturned in perfect slumber 'mid the hush,
Serene and meek.



GLEN LAKE AT TWILIGHT. 31

Scarcely a gem

Is shaken 'midst the clusters on her breast,
Nor trembles there the red rose on its stem,
So deep her rest.

No faintest stir
Of zephyrs playing unseen round her bed,

Disturbs the folds of the bright robe round her
In wealth outspread.

'Twixt low hills peaked

Hangs the bepainted couch on which she lies,
Pillowed with mist and curtained by the streaked,
Delightful skies.

All life around
Gives worship in a silence delicate,

Soothed by the vision and the charm profound
Of peace so great.

In white undress,

The moon, with two shy children at her side,
Looks down on her in matron tenderness,
Regret, and pride.



32 SCYTHE AND SWORD.

Tranquil and fair,

Untroubled by a thought of all the earth
She sleeps, secure in kindly nature's care
As at her birth.



From thee, still lake,
Passes the shadow of a peace unguessed

By all the dreamless world, substance to take
In this sure breast.



THE; ROBE-WEAVERS.- 33



THE ROBE-WEAVERS.

UPON the hills they set their loom,
They wove in silence in the night;

When morning smiled through mist and gloom
Earth wore a robe of shining white.

It lay upon her rich and chaste,
With starry jewels sprinkled o'er,

Above the one by floods defaced
That yesterday she sadly wore.

Of stainless snow they wove it fair,

And wrapped her in it close and deep ;

They sowed it with frost-crystals rare,
And left her lovely in her sleep.

And many and many a peerless dress
They 've wrought in loving sympathy,

To keep her winter barrenness
Clothed with perpetual purity.



34 SCYTHE AND SWORD.

For on the hills, by night or day,
By spirit hands her garments grow,

Fast as the old ones wear away,
Because the spirits love her so.



WINTER. 35



WINTER.

O WINTER ! thou art not that haggard Lear,

With stormy beard and countenance of woe,

Raving amain, or dumbly crouching low,

In hoary desolation mocked with fear !

To me thou art the white queen of the year,

A stately virgin in her robes of snow,

With royal lilies crowned, and all aglow

With holy charms, and gems celestial clear.

Nor dost thou come in barren majesty,

Thou hast thy dower of sunbeams, thrice refined,

Nor songless, but with cheerful minstrelsy,

Rung from the singing harpstrings of the wind ;

And, ah ! with such sweet dreams, such visions

bright,
Of flowers, and birds, and love's divine delight !



36 SCYTHE AND SWORD.



THE VOICE OF WATERS.

SINGER ! by the lonely main,
Sitting on the sea-rocks hoary,
Listen to his ancient story,
Sung in deep-resounding strain.
From amid the endless flow
Of the tides that come and go ;
Through the passion and the strife,
Stern and grand and sad as life,
Sounds of anguish and of crying,
Sin's remorse and sorrow's sighing ;
'Mid the noise and stormy strain
Of his sea-wrath launched amain,
Down the sun's red track that bridges
Long uprolling ocean ridges,
When his passion sinks subdued
Into golden quietude ;
O'er the slumber great as peace,
Where his spirit finds release,
In and through and over all
Hear the weird sea-voices call.
Listen while their strains come singing



THE VOICE OF WATERS. 37

Round thee, thought with music bringing,

Till the soul is born once more

Which the poets knew of yore,

'Midst the glorious pangs that earth

Feels at a diviner birth,

Child whose restless cries shall be

Harpings of sublimity ;

Whose imperial heart, imbrued

In the fires of solitude,

Wraps the scornful core intense

Of a fierce magnificence,

Worrying the parent breast

With his tumults of unrest.

He shall feed thy searching soul

With the long-delaying fire,


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