Old Homes

Old homes among the hills ! I love their gardens ;
Their old rock-fences that our day inherits ;
Their doors, round which the great trees stand like wardens ;
Their paths, down which the shadows march like spirits ;
Broad doors and paths that reach bird-haunted gardens.
I see them gray among their ancient acres,
Severe of front, their gables lichen-sprinkled, —
Like gentle-hearted, solitary Quakers,
Grave and religious, with kind faces wrinkled, —
Serene among their memory-hallowed acres.
Their gardens, banked with roses and with lilies, —
Those sweet aristocrats of all the flowers, —
Where Springtime mints her gold in daffodillies,
And Autumn ingots marigolds in showers,
And all the hours are toilless as the lilies.
I love their orchards, where the gay woodpecker
Flits, flashing o’er you, like a winged jewel;
Their woods, whose floors of moss the squirrels checker
With half-hulled nuts ; and where, in cool renewal,
The wild brooks laugh, and raps the red woodpecker.
Old homes ! old hearts! Upon my soul forever
Their peace and gladness lie like tears and laughter ;
Like love, they touch me, through the years that sever,
With simple faith ; like friendship, draw me after
The dreamy patience that is theirs forever.
Madison Cawein.