In Vacation

THE sun has marked me for his own ;
I’m growing browner day by day :
I cannot lea ve: the fields alone ;
I bring their breath away.
I put aside the forms of men.
And shun the world’s consuming care.
Come, green and honest hills again!
For ye are free and fair.
How wonderful this pilgrimage!
On every side new worlds appear.
I weigh the wisdom of the sage,
And find it wanting here.
I crave the tongues that Adam knew,
To question and discourse with these,—
To taunt the jay with jacket blue,
And quarrel with the bees.
To answer when the grossbeak calls
His mate ; to mock the catbird’s screech;
The sloven crow’s, with nasal drawls,
The oriole’s golden speech.
Now through the pasture, and across
The brook, while flocks of sparrows try
To quit the world, and wildly toss
Their forms against the sky.
A small owl from the thistle-tops
Makes eyes at me, with blank distrust,
Tips off upon the air, and drops,
Plat-footed, in the dust.
The meadow-lark lifts shoulder-high
Above the sward, and, quivering
With broken notes of ecstasy,
Slants forth on curvéd wing.
The patient barn-fowls strut about,
Intent on nothing every one.
A tall cock hails a cock without,
A grave hen eyes the sun.
The gobbler swells his shaggy coat,
Portentous of a conquest sure ;
His houris pipe their treble note,
Round-shouldered and demure.
The clear-eyed cattle calmly stop
To munch the dry husk in the rack ;
Or stretch their solid necks, and crop
The fringes of the stack.
But night is coming, as I think ;
The moving air is growing cool;
I hear the hoarse frog’s hollow chink
Around the weedy pool.
The sun is down, the clouds are gray,
The cricket lifts his trembling voice.
Come back again, O happy day,
And bid my heart rejoice !