« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
reckless to the last, comes garrulous, chattering down, and dips upon an island pebble; and Bobby Linkum, with his amorous song shivered into silvery quavers, comes eagerly hurrying after, and dashes up the spray, like as not, amid
. stream ; the Indigo Bird darts in, and the Sparrows skip chirpingly over the curled last-winter leaves; the yelloweyed Thrush, with long bounds and drooping wings, splashes plump into the water; the Cat Bird, with faint purr, glides meekly down; the Elfin Mocker, even, silent now and panting, half-spreading its white-barred wings with every hop, follows the rest; with low chirrup and quick pattering feet, the dusky-dotted Partridge hurries in; now see them one and all dip their thirsty bills into the cool ripples—a single drop, then each is upturned towards heaven, and softest eyes look the mute eloquence of thanks.
Down they all go again-another drop-up they rise together, pointing toward the home of God, gesticulating praises while they take his gifts.
Beautiful worshippers! Lovely and fitting temple of the Most High! your shady places have been hallowed by those simple prayers. That inarticulate incense, like the invisible aroma of hill-side violets, has ascended gratefully to heaven!
Ye human Formalists, who, to the alarm of chimes, go on your knees to mumble the set forms of praise! what is your faith compared to these?
Would that ye would read this Elder Bible more-its wide, miraculous pages have many a sentient chapter such as this, where all the breathing is of love! Turn aside to look upon them with a calm regard ; who knows but that the light abiding with these gentle things, may find its way through the hard crust of cant, and wake to flowering some genial place beside thy heart.
Ye are not all ossified_brain, sense and heart—even down to that altar of the belly gods within you! Be of good cheer, and not affrighted because of great black-letter Tomes, God's Commentary on his written Revelation was given first
—was handed down from a thousand Sinais, and strewed in green and golden shadowy lines through all the plains. It yet lives, and is, from under his own hand, above, around, beneath thee; and by it too ye may understand that holy mystery—how God is Love, and Love is God-like.
These are not all the mysteries symbolized by Birds.
How came old Genius to give wings to its embodied visions of the Spirit-Land ? but that it had looked upon some plumed and beamy singers of the clouds,
“With wings that might have had a soul within them,
They bore their owners by such sweet enchantment."
Can you not know that never again to it, from out the umbrage, could “ministers of grace" or glad ideals come other than “by such sweet enchantment?”
" The wings! the wings!" Ah! ever they must grow upon The Beautiful, ere it can rise to Heaven!
To us on wings The Beautiful must come down from thence! It is with longing for these wings, this "Immortality" doth struggle in us! To the music of their mellow whirr we feel exultings, and our bare arms beat vainly, reaching toward the stars. Ah! “whence this longing ?”—we poor unfledged earth-prone things !
Is it not a memory dimly recalled of some mysterious whilome when our free vans made sudden melody, cleaving past the worlds, through space, where now our thoughts go haunting ghost-like ?—or is it that “the shadow of the coming time" falls over us in wings?
“The wings!”—no fair Ideal can come to us but with their light aerial movement-no dream of Love but with the low murmur of their softest beat—no gleam of Joy but as they glance the sunlight off in gambolling—no Hope but as they climb the dark craigs of the piled-up storm and reach the serene sky above—no Ambition
“But flies an eagle flight, bold and forth on!”
no Freedom but wheels and rushes tameless through the unbounded fields of air-no ecstasy of Faith, but like
“ The lark whose notes do beat
-“singeth at Heaven's gate !"—no spiritual Warning but comes and goes, inexplicably, quick as the shadow of some “full-winged bird,” glides across our path upon a summer's day—no Visitation but comes like a fierce swooper of the sky, the moan of arrowy wings and stroke at once—no Shudder from the charnel but the frowsy flap of owlet and of bat,
chasing the lagging night-shades," or the cloud. dropped croak of “sad presaging Raven” going by must bring it—no dash of “mirthful Phantasie” but that sparkles from the jewelled wings of restless Hummers, light it amidst the flowers.
All the mysteries of hope, of joy, of hate, of love, are winged, and to the tameless pulsing of this winnowed air our life must beat!
Winging and singing through the spring-time with the birds our Childhood goes—and ever, while that
“Infantine Familiar clasp of things divine,"
lingers in freshness with the years—keeping the wise youth of our hearts unhackneyed—shall living be a joyful thing, and the cycling moons wheel blithely with us!
Ah, those times!—with the yellow-haired, blue-eyed, blooming maidens, in their white pinafores and pantalettes !
"Lightsome, then, as April shadows,
With bees and merry birds at play,
Chasing sunlight o'er the meadows," were we!
Bounding and carrolling through the flower-starred, odorous grass—scaring the fire-flies back to the moon, whence their bright showers fell—driving the sad, plaining, ill-omened whippoorwill farther away-what cared we on summer evenings?
“ Rigor now is gone to bed—
Go listen, we may, to the Mocking-Bird down in the valley, on the lone thorn tree—singing gleefully-singing quaintly—singing mournfully now and wildly:
“And gushing then such a melodie
As harp-strings make when a Sprite goes by !"
Ha! ha! what a hotch-potch of minstrelsy he is pouring !while the stars glint on the green leaves, and they are seem. ing to glint back those silver points earthwise, barbing his bright notes more keenly—what a dividing asunder of the joints and marrow the sharp delight of those loud quaverings doth bring?
Many a time have we kissed the white innocence of an upturned forehead, and felt the light pressure of a "flowersoft hand” return the questioning of our gaze into the "fringed windows” of the soul—large, open, dewy, tremulous with ecstasy beneath that song.
How could the earth-walking angel fail to think of Heaven when those rare snatches of her natal roundelays went by ? Would that our kiss might be as pure and our spirit as appreciative now of these "better symphonies!"
The years! the years! what changes do they bring! The heated walls, the din of wheels, the dust and smoke of the great city are around us, and we are toiling wearily with the weary toiling crowd-while away by the scented woods this Mocking-Bird-our Philomel
* singing in summer's front! Now when her mournful hymns do hush the night, And that wild music burdens every bough!”
that wild music is in vain for us. We can only dream of it as the thirsty Arab dreameth of the palm-trees and the fountain—and as to
“ How silver-sweet sound lovers' tongues by night!"
we can only tell when these memories babble to our sleep!
To be sure we sometime since did steal an hour from our duties, and run away like a truant school-boy to the country, emulous of the odors of new-mown hay upon our garments!
We caught this infection of sweetness while “loafing" on the shady side of the ricks out in the shorn meadows, with eyes half closed, listening to Bobby Linkum chirruping his saucy thoughts about the despoliation of his forage-grounds.
He is a very chatty, gay, abusive fellow, Robert Linkum is. The utile et dulci he has no respect for. What matter is it to him that grass smells sweeter for being cut, and that it makes the heavy wains go creaking to the barns, and the farmer's canvas pocket heavier too, when all this curtails his lineal prerogative of bugs and butterflies-puts him to shifts for "findings" to keep that wide-mouthed crew of little brawlers quiet he has hid yonder in the shrubs ?
One can see plainly he does not like it. He comes flutter ing sideways, chattering, raving and scolding, just above our heads, his eye cocked downwards, with a connoisseuring look, at our proceeding.
He evidently thinks we are an awkward set of fellows, besides being mischief-doers.
It does gladden one's eyes to see these waving lakes of green-heavy and deep—the rich promise of a golden prime. And then the fruits! The pregnant winds from the dewdropping south, since Lang Syne, have hardly been so prod. igal; the ruddy flushing from under the green leaves of shiny clusters, deepens all the air, and clothes the trees right royally.
We came back half mourning at our lot being cast amidst the stifling streets of Gotham, and more than half envying