The Future Summer

SUMMER in all! deep summer in the pines,
And summer in the music on the sands,
And summer where the sea-flowers rise and fall
About the gloomy foreheads of stern rocks
And the green wonders of our circling sphere.
Can mockery be hidden in such guise,
To peep, like sunlight, behind shifting leaves,
And dye the purple berries of the field,
Or gleam like moonlight upon juniper,
Or wear the gems outshining jewelled pride ?
Can mockery do this, and we endure
In Nature’s rounded palace of the world ?
Where, then, has fled the summer’s wonted peace ?
Sweeter than breath borne on the scented seas,
Over fresh fields, and brought to weary shores,
It should await the season’s worshipper;
But as a star shines on the daisy’s eye,
So shines great Conscience on the face of Peace,
And lends it calmer lustre with the dew :
When that star dims, the paling floweret fades!
Yet there be those who watch a serpent crawl
And, blackening, sleep within a blossom’s heart,
Who will not slay, but call their gazing “ Peace.”
Even thus within the bosom of our land
Creeps, serpent-like, Sedition, and hath gnawed
In silence, while a timid crowd stood still.
O suffering land ! O dear long-suffering land,
Slay thou the serpent ere he slime the core !
Take thou our houses and amenities,
Take thou the hand that parting clings to ours,
And going bears our heart into the fight;
Take thou, but slay the serpent ere he kill !
Now, as a lonely watcher on the strand,
Hemmed by the mist and the quick coming waves,
Hears but one voice, the voice of warning bell,
That solemn speaks, “ Beware the jaws of death ! ”
Death on the sea, and warning on the strand !
Such is our life, while Summer, mocking, broods.
O mighty heart! O brave, heroic soul !
Hid in the dim mist of the things that be,
We call thee up to fill the highest place !
“Whether to till thy corn and give the tithe,
Whether to grope a picket in the dark,
Or, having nobly served, to be cast down,
And, unregarded, passed by meaner feet,
Or, happier thou, to snatch the fadeless crown,
And walk in youth and beauty to God’s rest,—
The purpose makes the hero, meet thy doom !
We call to thee, where’er thy pillowed head
Rests lonely for the brother who has gone,
To fix thy gaze on Freedom’s chrysolite,
Which rueful fate can neither crack nor mar,
And, hand in hand indissolubly bound
To thy next fellow, hand and purpose one,
Stretch thus, a living wall, from the rock coast
Home to our ripe and yellow heart of the West,
Impenetrable union triumphing.
The solemn Autumn comes, the gathering-time !
Stand we now ripe, a harvest for the Right !
That, when fair Summer shall return to earth,
Peace may inhabit all her sacred ways,
Lap in the waves upon melodious sands,
And linger in the swaying of the corn,
Or sit with clouds upon the ambient skies, —
Summer and Peace brood on the grassy knolls
Where twilight glimmers over the calm dead,
While clustered children chant heroic tales.