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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.


Adown the long aisles careless pass
The wavering butterflies of May,
And on the spreading mat of grass
In troops the fitful shadows play.


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,
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;
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!


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.


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 treasure 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.


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.