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The White Bees, Continued



THE other night I had a dream, most clear
And comforting, complete
In every line, a crystal sphere,
And full of intimate and secret cheer.
Therefore I will repeat
That vision, dearest heart, to you,
As of a thing not feigned, but very true,
Yes, true as ever in my life befell;
And you, perhaps, can tell
Whether my dream was really sad or sweet.


The shadows flecked the elm-embowered street
I knew so well, long, long ago;
And on the pillared porch where Marguerite
Had sat with me, the moonlight lay like snow.
But she, my comrade and my friend of youth,
Most gaily wise,
Most innocently loved, --
She of the blue-grey eyes
That ever smiled and ever spoke the truth, --
From that familiar dwelling, where she moved
Like mirth incarnate in the years before,
Had gone into the hidden house of Death.
I thought the garden wore
White mourning for her blessed innocence,
And the syringa's breath
Came from the corner by the fence,
Where she had made her rustic seat,
With fragrance passionate, intense,
As if it breathed a sigh for Marguerite.
My heart was heavy with a sense
Of something good forever gone. I sought
Vainly for some consoling thought,
Some comfortable word that I could say
To the sad father, whom I visited again
For the first time since she had gone away.
The bell rang shrill and lonely, -- then
The door was opened, and I sent my name
To him, -- but ah! 't was Marguerite who came!

There in the dear old dusky room she stood
Beneath the lamp, just as she used to stand,
In tender mocking mood.
"You did not ask for me," she said,
"And so I will not let you take my hand;
"But I must hear what secret talk you planned
"With father. Come, my friend, be good,
"And tell me your affairs of state:
"Why you have stayed away and made me wait
"So long. Sit down beside me here, --
"And, do you know, it seemed a year
"Since we have talked together, -- why so late?"

Amazed, incredulous, confused with joy
I hardly dared to show,
And stammering like a boy,
I took the place she showed me at her side;
And then the talk flowed on with brimming tide
Through the still night,
While she with influence light
Controlled it, as the moon the flood.
She knew where I had been, what I had done,
What work was planned, and what begun;
My troubles, failures, fears she understood,
And touched them with a heart so kind,
That every care was melted from my mind,
And every hope grew bright,
And life seemed moving on to happy ends.
(Ah, what self-beggared fool was he
That said a woman cannot be
The very best of friends?)
Then there were memories of old times,
Recalled with many a gentle jest;
And at the last she brought the book of rhymes
We made together, trying to translate
The Songs of Heine (hers were always best).
"Now come," she said,
"To-night we will collaborate
"Again; I'll put you to the test.
"Here's one I never found the way to do, --
"The simplest are the hardest ones, you know, -- 
"I give this song to you."
And then she read:
     Mein kind, wir waren Kinder,
     Zei Kinder, jung und froh.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

But all the while a silent question stirred
Within me, though I dared not speak the word:
"Is it herself, and is she truly here,
"And was I dreaming when I heard
"That she was dead last year?
"Or was it true, and is she but a shade
"Who brings a fleeting joy to eye and ear,
"Cold though so kind, and will she gently fade
"When her sweet ghostly part is played
"And the light-curtain falls at dawn of day?"

But while my heart was troubled by this fear
So deeply that I could not speak it out,
Lest all my happiness should disappear,
I thought me of a cunning way
To hide the question and dissolve the doubt.
"Will you not give me now your hand,
"Dear Marguerite," I asked, "to touch and hold,
"That by this token I may understand
"You are the same true friend you were of old?"
She answered with a smile so bright and calm
It seemed as if I saw new stars arise
In the deep heaven of her eyes;
And smiling so, she laid her palm
In mine. Dear God, it was not cold
But warm with vital heat!
"You live!" I cried, "you live, dear Marguerite!"
Then I awoke; but strangely comforted,
Although I knew again that she was dead.


Yes, there's the dream! And was it sweet or sad?
Dear mistress of my waking and my sleep,
Present reward of all my heart's desire,
Watching with me beside the winter fire,
Interpret now this vision that I had.
But while you read the meaning, let me keep
The touch of you: for the Old Year with storm
Is passing through the midnight, and doth shake
The corners of the house,  -- man oh! my heart would break
Unless both dreaming and awake
My hand could feel your hand was warm, warm, warm!



CHILDREN of the elemental mother,
     Born upon some lonely island shore
Where the wrinkled ripples run and whisper,
    Where the crested billows plunge and roar;
Long-winged, tireless roamers and adventurers,
     Fearless breasters of the wind and sea,
In the far-off solitary places
     I have seen you floating wild and free!

Here the high-built cities rise around you;
    Here the cliffs that tower east and west,
Honeycombed with human habitations,
     Have no hiding for the sea-bird's nest:
Here the river flows begrimed and troubled;
    Here the hurrying, panting vessels fume,
Restless, up and down the watery highway,
     While a thousand chimneys vomit gloom.

Toil and tumult, confiict and confusion,
     Clank and clamor of the vast machine
Human hands have built for human bondage --
     Yet amid it all you float serene;
Circling, soaring, sailing, swooping lightly
     Down to glean your harvest from the wave;
In your heritage of air and water,
     You have kept the freedom Nature gave.

Even so the wild-woods of Manhattan
     Saw your wheeling flocks of white and grey;
Even so you fluttered, followed, floated,
     Round the Half-Moon creeping up the bay;
Even so your voices creaked and chattered,
     Laughing shrilly o'er the tidal rips,
While your black and beady eyes were glistening
     Round the sullen British prison-ships.

Children of the elemental mother,
     Fearless floaters 'mid the double blue,
From the crowded boats that cross the ferries
     Many a longing heart goes out to you.
Though the cities climb and close around us,
     Something tells us that our souls are free,
While the sea-gulls fly above the harbor,
     While the river flows to meet the sea!


(Song for the City College of New York)

O YOUNGEST of the giant brood
     Of cities far-renowned;
In wealth and power thou hast passed
     Thy rivals at a bound;
And now thou art a queen, New York;
     And how wilt thou be crowned?

"Weave me no palace-wreath of pride,"
     The royal city said;
"Nor forge an iron fortress-wall
     To frown upon my head;
But let me wear a diadem
     Of Wisdom's towers instead."

And so upon her island height
     She worked her will forsooth,
She set upon her rocky brow
     A citadel of Truth,
A house of Light, a home of Thought,
     A shrine of noble Youth.

Stand here, ye City College towers,
     And look both up and down;
Remember all who wrought for you
     Within the toiling town;
Remember all they thought for you,
And all the hopes they brought for you,
     And be the City's Crown.


I LOVE thine inland seas,
     Thy groves of giant trees,
     Thy rolling plains;
Thy rivers' mighty sweep,
Thy mystic canyons deep,
Thy mountains wild and steep,
     All thy domains;

Thy silver Eastern strands,
Thy Golden Gate that stands
     Wide to the West;
Thy flowery Southland fair,
Thy sweet and crystal air, --
O land beyond compare,
     Thee I love best!

Additional verses for the
National Hymn,
March, 1906.


THE mountains that enfold the vale
     With walls of granite, steep and high,
Invite the fearless foot to scale
     Their stairway toward the sky.

The restless, deep, dividing sea
     That flows and foams from shore to shore,
Calls to its sunburned chivalry,
     "Push out, set sail, explore!"

And all the bars at which we fret,
     That seem to prison and control,
Are but the doors of daring, set
     Ajar before the soul.

Say not, "Too poor," but freely give;
     Sigh not, "Too weak," but boldly try,
You never can begin to live
     Until you dare to die.


I READ within a poet's book
      A word that starred the page:
"Stone walls do not a prison make,
      Nor iron bars a cage!"

Yes, that is true; and something more
     You'll find, where'er you roam,
That marble floors and gilded walls
     Can never make a home.

But every house where Love abides,
      And Friendship is a guest,
Is surely home, and home-sweet-home:
      For there the heart can rest.


THERE are songs for the morning and songs for the night,
     For sunrise and sunset, the stars and the moon;
But who will give praise to the fulness of light,
     And sing us a song of the glory of noon?
         Oh, the high noon, and the clear noon,
         The noon with golden crest;
     When the sky burns, and the sun turns
         With his face to the way of the west!

How swiftly he rose in the dawn of his strength;
     How slowly he crept as the morning wore by;
Ah, steep was the climbing that led him at length
     To the height of his throne in the blue summer sky.
          Oh, the long toil, and the slow toil,
          The toil that may not rest,
     Till the sun looks down from his journey's crown,
          To the wonderful way of the west!

Then a quietness falls over meadow and hill,
      The wings of the wind in the forest are furled;
The river runs softly, the birds are all still,
      And the workers are resting all over the world.
          Oh, the good hour, and the kind hour,
          The hour that calms the breast!
     Little inn half-way on the road of the day,
          Where it follows the turn to the west!

There's a plentiful feast in the maple-tree shade,
     The lilt of a song to an old-fashioned tune;
The talk of a friend, and the kiss of a maid,
     To sweeten the cup that we drink to the noon.
          Oh, the deep noon, and the full noon,
          Of all the day the best!
    When the sky burns, and the sun turns
          To his home by the way of the west!

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