He bides at home, and treasures all
That to his homely lot doth fall.
He says, to journey hence
Were mere improvidence,
For winds of thought have sown his field,
And he must wait the priceless yield.
His own loved arbor-vine
Provides provençal wine.
His hemlocks chant the selfsame runes
That, under wild Norwegian moons,
The saga-singing firs
To Night and Fame rehearse.
His oak-trees drop no other mast
Than that Dodona's oaks did cast.
The crab-fruits of the waste
To him more flavorous taste
Than apples of Hesperides;
And in broad-waving filices
His fancy-lighted eyes
Mark lesser palms arise.
He keeps no garden richly ranked
With strangers in bright livery pranked,
But takes delight to greet
Blue speedwell at his feet,
And mints that yield the bee its food,
And slender sorrel of the wood,
And chickweed in the grass
(His ready weather-glass),
And primrose, slumbering all the day,
At eve to meet the moonlight fay!
The flag flower is his France
And dream of old romance;
While everlasting whitely nods
Above these nibbled pasture sods,
Why scale the Alpine ice
To pluck the edelweiss?
He says, he must not go from home,
Who keeps an inn for those who roam:
Many a warbler gay
Stops on its northward way;
The swallows that proclaim his spring
From far Bermudas tidings bring.
He finds the pewee's nest,
With ruffled lichens drest,
The field lark's under grassy eaves;
And one he takes, and three he leaves,
Of cherished eggs that lie
Concealed in covert sly;
He is too shrewd for birds' decoy.
He also knows what tasks employ
The solitary bee--
The rose-leaf privacy
Of chambers sealèd and profound,
With velvet curtains hung around--
The nectar coined to keep
The larva weak from sleep.
He stoops to look on myrmidons
Arrayed in shining jet or bronze--
A small world's civil feud,
A field with carnage strewed,
And victors trampling down the slain
Upon the noiseless battle-plain!
No creature can evade
The snares that he has laid
To learn its secret haunts and thrift.
The timorous hare is not so swift,
Nor tortoise is so slow,
Nor fox such craft can show,
But wit and patience, never spent,
Outspeed, outstay, and circumvent;
And what least guides can show
He follows fain to know.
He says he dares not disesteem
Or savant's lore or poet's dream.
The flood from heaven's urn
He sees in mist return,
And, in a globèd drop of dew,
The round world tremble into view.
The flowers of frost and snow,
That in night stillness blow,
And lucid grain and glinting spar
That in the marl imprisoned are,
Observe relation fine,
In order crystalline.
To him yon field of billowing grain
Spreads broad and free as pampas plain,
And neighboring hills are high,
In his ennobling eye.
He will not yield that Helicon
And Castaly more limpid run
Than streams that take their rise
Anear his native skies;
In every clear unfailing spring
He hears the nymph Egeria sing.
She to a prince of old
Did laws and arts unfold;
Still Numa comes, and still she reads
Humanities in woods and meads.
The morning has a voice
That makes his heart rejoice;
The noon pours amber-drink for him,
And fills his goblet to the brim;
The owlet-light doth lend
The countenance of a friend,
And he with hooded evening holds
Strange trysts by murmuring fields and wolds.
No season but is kind--
Best fitted to his mind;
So, none shall hear him wash away
The pinching water bare and gray;
Nor will he chide the sky,
If it be wet or dry:
The grain is lodged! he will not fret;
He holds rich Nature in his debt,
The balance to maintain,
Adjusting loss with gain.
He bides at home and treasures all
That to his homely lot doth fall:
Each twelvemonth to the seer
Completes a Wondrous Year.