Three Sonnets



THISTLE and serpent we exterminate,
Yet blame them not; and righteously abhor
The crimes of men with all their kind at war,
Whom we may stay or slay, but not in hate.
By blood and brain we are predestinate
Each to his course; and unawares therefor
The heart’s blind wish and inmost counselor
Makes times and tides; for man is his own fate.
Nativity is horoscope and star !
One innocent egg incloses song and wings;
One, deadly fangs and rattles set to warn.
Our days, our deeds, all we achieve or are,
Lay folded in our infancy ; the things
Of good or ill we choose while yet unborn.



STALKING before the lords of life, one came,
A Titan shape ! But often he will crawl,
Their most subservient, helpful, humble thrall;
Swift as the light, or sluggish, laggard, lame ;
Stony-eyed archer, launching without aim
Arrows and lightnings, heedless how they fall, —
Blind Circumstance, that makes or baffles all,
Happiness, length of days, power, riches, fame.
Could we but take each wingèd chance aright!
A timely word let fall, a wind-blown germ,
May crown our glebe with many a golden sheaf;
A thought may touch and edge our life with light,
Fill all its sphere, as yonder crescent worm
Brightens upon the old moon’s dusky leaf.



WEARY with pondering many a weighty theme,
I slept; and in the realm of vision saw
A mighty Angel reverently updraw
The cords of earth, all woven of gloom and gleam,
Wiles, woes, and many a silver-threaded stream
Of sighs and prayers, and golden bands of law,
And ties of faith and love, with many a flaw
Riven, but reunited in my dream.
These the great Angel, gathering, lifted high,
Like mingled lines of rain and radiance, all
In one bright, awful braid divinely blended,
That reached the beams of heaven,— a chain whereby
This dimly glorious, shadow-brooding ball
And home of man hung wondrously suspended.
J. T. Trowbridge.