The Two Homes

MY home was seated high and fair,
Upon a mountain’s side;
The day was longest, brightest there;
Beneath, the world was wide.
Across its blue, embracing zone
The rivers gleamed, the cities shone,
And over the edge of the fading rim
I saw the storms in the distance dim,
And the flash of the soundless thunder.
But weary grew the sharp, cold wine
Of winds that never kissed,
The changeless green of fir and pine,
The gray and clinging mist.
Above the granite sprang no bowers ;
The soil gave low and scentless flowers;
And the drone and din of the waterfall
Became a challenge, a taunting call:
“ '’T is fair, ’t is fair in the valley! ”
Of all the homesteads deep and far
My fancy clung to one,
Whose gable burned, a mellow star,
Touched by the sinking sun.
Unseen around, but not unguessed,
The orchards made a leafy nest;
The turf before it was thick, I knew,
And bees were busy the garden, through,
And the windows were dark with roses.
“ ’T is happier there, below,” I sighed:
The world is warm and near,
And closer love and comfort hide,
That cannot reach me here.
Who master is must be so blest
He ’ll share with me his sheltered nest,
If down to the valley I should go,
Leaving the granite, the pines and snow,
And the winds that are keen us lances.”
I wandered down, by ridge and dell;
The way was rough and long:
Though earlier shadows round me fell,
I cheered them with my song.
The world’s great circle narrower grew,
Till hedge and thicket hid the blue;
But over the orchards, near at hand,
The gable shone on the quiet land,
And far away was the mountain!
Then came the master: mournful-eyed
And stern of brow was he.
“ O, planted in such peace ! ” I cried,
“ Spare but the least to me! ”
“ Who seeks,” he said, “ this brooding haze,
The tameness of these weary days ?
The highway’s dust, the glimmer and heat,
The woods that fetter the young wind’s feet,
And hide the world and its beauty ? ”
He stretched his hand; he looked afar
With eyes of old desire:
I saw my home, a mellow star
That held the sunset’s fire.
“But yonder home,” he cried, “how fair!
Its chambers burn like gilded air ;
I know that the gardens are wild as dreams,
With the sweep of winds, the dash of streams,
And the pines that sound as an anthem!
“ So quiet, so serenely high
It sits, when clouds are furled,
And knows the beauty of the sky,
The glory of the world!
Who there abides must be so blest
He’ll share with me that lofty crest,
If up to the mountain I should go,
Leaving the dust and the glare below,
And the weary life of the valley! ”
Bayard Taylor.