A JUNE day, cool from recent rain ;
The sky without a speck or stain
To mark the gray storm’s toil and stress ;
The brimming river rippleless.
Into the stream the long boat swings ;
Soft drop her oars, like sinewy wings;
And more than lifeless steel and wood,
She leaps into the middle flood.
Her strength is ours, our will is hers,
One life within us thrills and stirs.
What joy with rhythmic sweep and sway
To fly along the liquid way,
To feel each tense-drawn muscle strain,
And hear the dripping blade’s refrain;
Or, resting on the level oar,
To drift beside the dusky shore,
Through green pads, whispering as we pass,
And bending beds of pickerel grass,
And watch with eager, grateful eye
The woodland’s changing pageantry :
The gnarled oaks spreading broad and low,
The elms that like leaf-fountains grow ;
Ash, chestnut, lightsome maple grove,
With elder-thickets interwove,
And sharply clear against the green
The swaying birch’s silver sheen.
We catch the smell of sun-warmed pines,
Of marsh-pinks and of wild grapevines,
And scent, to make the bee’s heart glad,
Of pungent balm of Gilead.
And now, in sunlight once again,
We round the headland’s narrow plain ;
Three strokes, and on the shelving sand
We bring the willing boat to land;
Then off through stubbly pasture dells,
Sparse-set with cedar sentinels,
To where in cool, leaf-laughing nook
Slips o’er the stones the swollen brook.
Outstretched full-length beside the stream,
We lie half waking, half in dream,
And feast our ears with woodland notes.
Down the warm air the wren’s song floats,
Sharp trumpets out the angry jay ;
Hark ! from some tree-top far away
The cat-bird’s saucy answer falls ;
And when all else is silent calls,
Deep-bowered on some shady hill,
The day-caught, sleepy whip-poor-will.
But look ! the level sunbeams shine
Along the tree trunks’ gleaming line;
A sea of gold, the water fills
The purple circle of the hills.
Home then our sparkling path we trace,
The sunset’s glory in our face,
Which fades and fades, till as we reach
The low pier and the shingly beach,
On stream, and wood, and hill-top bare
The moon’s soft light lies everywhere.
Augustus M. Lord.

CHARLES RIVER, June, 1884.