American Critic and Poet
R. H. Stoddard, fully Richard Henry Stoddard
American Critic and Poet
It beckons, I follow. Good-by to the light, I am going, O whither? Out into the night.
There is no hope--the future will but turn the old sand in the falling glass of time.
Joy may be a miser, but Sorrow?s purse is free.
We grow like flowers, and bear desire, the odor of the human flowers.
Men can be great when great occasions call: In little duties women find their spheres, The narrow cares that cluster round the hearth.
We have two lives about us, two worlds in which we dwell, within us and without us, alternate Heaven and Hell:?without, the somber Real, within, our hearts of hearts, the beautiful Ideal.
No Caesar he whom we lament a Man without a precedent, sent, it would seem to do His work, and perish, too.
With no companion but the constant Muse, Who sought me when I needed her ? ah, when did I not need her, solitary else?
A face at the window, a tap on the pane; who is it that wants me to-night in the rain?
Not that the heavens the little can make great, But many a man has lived an age too late.
A voice of greeting from the wind was sent; The mists enfolded me with soft white arms; The birds did sing to lap me in content, The rivers wove their charms, ? And every little daisy in the grass Did look up in my face, and smile to see me pass!
Not what we would, but what we must makes up the sum of living; Heaven is both more and less than just in taking and in giving.
Around our pillows golden ladders rise, And up and down the skies, With winged sandals shod, The angels come, and go, the Messengers of God! Nor, though they fade from us, do they depart ? It is the childly heart We walk as heretofore, Adown their shining ranks, but see them nevermore.
O wretched state of kings! Doleful fate! Greatness misnamed, in misery only great! Could men but know the endless woe it brings wise would die before they would be kings. That what a king must do! It tasks the best to rule the little world within his breast, yet must he rule it, and the world beside, or king is none, undone by power and pride think what a king must be! What burdens bear from birth to death! His life is one long care. It wears away in tasks that never end. He has ten thousand foes, but not one friend.
But let me silent be: for silence is the speech of love, the music of the spheres above.
Once, when the days were ages, And the old Earth was young, The high gods and the sages From Nature's golden pages Her open secrets wrung.
Day and night my thoughts incline To the blandishments of wine, Jars were made to drain, I think; Wine, I know, was made to drink.
Pale in her fading bowers the Summer stands, like a new Niobe with claspŠd hands, silent above the flowers, her children lost, slain by the arrows of the early Frost.
Divinest Autumn! who may paint thee best, Forever changeful o'er the changeful globe? Who guess thy certain crown, thy favorite crest, The fashion of thy many-colored robe?
She wears a rose in her hair, at the twilight's dreamy close: Her face is fair, ? how fair under the rose!
England, our mother's mother! Come, and see a greater England here! O come and be at home with us, your children, for there runs the same blood in our veins as in your sons; the same deep-seated love of liberty Beats in our hearts. We speak the same good tongue; familiar with all songs your bards have sung, those large men, Milton, Shakespeare, both are ours.
Silence is the speech of love, the music of the spheres above.
Given the books of a man, it is not difficult, I think, to detect therein the personality of the man, and the station in life to which he was born.
Summer or winter, day or night, the woods are an ever-new delight; they give us peace, and they make us strong, such wonderful balms to them belong: so, living or dying, I'll take mine ease under the trees, under the trees.
I am not alone, for solitude like this is populous. Its abundant life of sky and sun, high-floating clouds, low mists, and wheeling birds, and waves that ripple shoreward all day long, whether the tide is setting in or out, forever rippling shoreward, dark and bright, as lights and shadows, and the shifting winds pursue each other in their endless play, is more than the companionship of man.