God is good to let us keep in mind the pictures of the past;
And sometimes in the summer, when the seething city's clack
Flings sorrow on my fevered soul, I take the outward track,
And from off my weary spirit all the slavish burdens cast.
O leaving work half-done,
Far away from care I run
To where a brook winds thro' a wood and wimples in the sun.
I saunter in the tousled grass that tangles round my feet;
High above my lifted head, where the tulip-trees are crossed,
In her cool and airy cradle, the cardinal-bird is tossed;
While the emerald grove is girt with the gold of wavy wheat,
And the rivulet is traced
By a thread of silver, laced
Thro' ferns and fair white lilies wading in it to the waist.
Far away I hear the murmur by the dripping mill-wheel made;
Dewy roses light the thickets, where ring-doves coo and croon;
From the levels comes the music of the mowers' harvest tune,
All rejoicing in a cadence to the swish of sharpened blade,
While the quail in coveys rise,
Whirring from the gleaming scythes,
And the frightened rabbit leaps at the harvester's loud cries.
The unwithered bloom of bramble winds the fences in its wreath;
Where the squirrel sits and chats with the reiterating jay;
And the honey-burdened bee doth halt, upon her homeward way,
Where sumach spreads its branches over partridge-eggs beneath;
On distant slopes the sheep,
In long shadows lie asleep,
And across the winding path I watch the tortoise slowly creep.
Far down the lane the oxen strain against the polished yoke,
As they draw the creaking wagon up toward the traveled road;
And the laughter of the boys that ride upon the fragrant load
Has scared the speckled hawk from his perch upon the oak;
For, with a sudden cry,
He mounteth up on high,
And wheels in burnished curves upon the dappled summer sky.
The anise and the spice-bush have brewed a rare perfume,
Along the woodland edge, where the workers rest from toil,
Floats the smell of meadow-sorrel, the scent of penny-royal,
Mingled with the breath of balsam and the wild grape bloom.
Once more I sit and sing,
Within the forest swing,
Where, enamored of the murmurous tree, the vine doth cling.
Thro' the Babel of the town, high above the whistle's scream,
I hear the modulated chirring of the shrill cicada's voice,
And oblivious of my labor, make again my youthful choice
Of the berries from the brier, or the pebbles from the stream;
A glow of love is cast
Over all my life at last,
As Fancy turns the pages of the pictures of the past.