Normale Version: Christmas Sonnets (4)
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Christmas Sonnets

I. To G. H. B.

If that my hand, like yours, dear George, were skilled
To win from Wordsworth’s scandy plot of ground
A shining harvest, such as you have found,
Where strength and grace, fraternally fulfilled,

As in those sheaves whose rustling glories gild
The hills of August, folded are and bound:
So would I draw my loving tillage round
Its borders, let the gentlest rains be spilled,

The goldenest suns its happy growth compel,
And bind for you the ripe, redundant grain:
But ah! you stand amid your songful sheaves

So rich, this wed-born flower you might disdain,
Save that of me its groth and color tell,
And of my love some perfume haunt its leaves.

II. To E. C. S. (Edmund Clarence Stedmen?)

When days were long, and o’er that farm of mine,
Green Cedarcroft, the summer breezes blew,
And from the walnut-shadows I and you,
Dear Edmund, saw the red lawn-roses shine,

Or, following our idyllic Brandywine
Through meadows flecked with many a flowery hue,
To where with wild Arcadian pomp I drew
Your Bacchic march among the startled kine, -

You gave me, linked with old Mæonides,
Your loving sonnet, -record dear and true
Of days as dear; and now, when suns are brief

And Christmas snows are on the nacked trees,
I give you this, - a withered winter leaf,
Yet with your blossom from one root it grew!

III. To R. H. S. (Richard Henry Stoddard?)

The Years go by, old friend! Each, as it fleets,
Moves to a farther, fairer realm the time
When first we twain the pleasant land of rhyme
Discovered, choosing sie by side our seats

Below our separate gods: in midnight streets
And haunted attics flattered by the chime
Of silver words, and fed by faith sublime,
I Shelley’s mantle wore, you that of Keats, -

Dear dreams, that marked the Muse’s childhood then,
Nor now to be disowned! The years go by:
The clear-eyed goddess flatters us no more,

And yet, I think, in soberer aims of men
And servitude of Song, that you and I
Are nearer, dearer, faithfuller than before.

IV. To J. L. G. (James Lorimer Graham?)

If I could touch with Petrarch’s pen thin strain
Of graver song, and shape to liquid flow
Of soft Italian syllables the glow
That warms my heart, my tribute were not vain;

But how shall I such measured sweetness gain
As may your golden nature fitly show,
And with the heart-light shine, that fills you so,
It pales the graces of the cultured brain?

Long have I known, Love better is than Fame,
And Love hath crowned you; yet if any bay
Cling to my chaplet when the years have fled

And I am dust, may this which bears your name
Cling latest, that my love’s result shall stray,
When that which mine ambition wrought is dead!