Summer at last: the cloudless skies of noon;
The birds' full carol and the fragrant breeze
Filled with the drowsy hum of wakeful bees!
How sadly must the heart be out of tune
That finds no music in the songs of June,
Nor catches, when the west-wind takes the trees,
The undertone of angel-melodies
That cross our lives and leaves us all too soon!
So some loved presences, low voices, come
About our pathway, brighten us, and cease;
Say, do they leave us lonelier than before?
Not so, for their sweet memory evermore
Is like a message from the haunts of peace,
"Your feet are also surely nearing home."
Here to the wayside thistle flashing down,
Like flakes of Heaven's own blue, the butterflies
Unfurl their wings across the purple dyes,
Or lift them and reveal soft grey and brown:
In hot haste now (but shall he win renown?)
Another claimant, fiery-vested, hies
In burnished red, with half-a-hundred eyes,
And combat rages o'er the thistle's crown.
What lesson? Surely none, yet would we gaze
On life and beauty while the seasons roll,
And watch sweet Nature's doings, learn her ways
Look on the workings of her mighty soul,
So woo some secret from the hidden whole,
And then be thankful for the summer days.
III. A SUMMER DAY
Lo! twice today God touched His heaven with flame,
And who regarded? At the early break
He scattered golden wealth o'er sky and lake
In boundless affluence; when evening came
He traced the mystery of His awful Name
In fiery characters, and many a flake
Of crimson, where the pillared poplars shake
Black in the west, and so His light proclaim.
So God bestows, and we accept His light
And barely marvel--'tis a common thing--
Or, looking lightly, soon forget it quite--
A sunbeam glancing from a swallow's wing--
Nor heed His witness, set 'twixt night and day,
To love that should not need such witnessing.