Spring in the Study


The winter has grown so still,
I can pause and pluck what I will
From the arms of Time as he goes.
All the poems with beauty half-hid,
Yet touching my haste like a rose,
May fall to me now if I bid.
There’s the book whose pages shall read
Like the hearts of old friends, who will need>
For its quaint flowered paths no guide,
And into the late, sweet night
Will smile as they lay it aside
The book that they once meant to write;
And one that may haunt a strange road,
Like a voice blown low from a wood,
And be song to the wanderer there
Till the inn is a dark thing and cold,
And the night is a roof-tree dear,
And the moon his hearth of warm gold;
And that other whose music may be
As a flight of birds to the sea;
To the far island beaches made brave
With the feet of to-morrows; where strain
The lifters of stone from the grave
Of the world we have dreamed us and slain.


What is this sudden gayety that shakes the grayest boughs?
A voice is calling fieldward — ’t is time to start the ploughs!
To set the furrows rolling, while all the old crows nod;
And deep as life, the kernel, to cut the golden sod.
The pen — let nations have it; — we’ll plough a while for God.
When half the things that must be done are greater than our art,
And half the things that must be done are smaller than our heart,
And poorest gifts are dear to burn on altars unrevealed,
Like music comes the summons, the challenge from the weald!
‘They tread immortal measure who make a mellow field!’
The planet’s rather pleasant, alluring in its way;
But let the ploughs be idle, and none of us can stay.
Here’s where there is no doubting, no ghosts uncertain stalk,
A-traveling with the plough beam, beneath the sailing hawk,
Cutting the furrow deep and true where Destiny will walk.