A SUNNY glade below the bridge;
by Augusta Davies Webster
Clear shadows branching through a stream;
A hillock purple to the ridge
With velvet thyme; and the far gleam
Of white clouds in a dream,
Floating above the dusky lines
Of silent mountains black with pines.
An idle hour to lose away,
To question not, nor muse, nor know:
The ripples ripple where they may
From brown into the amber glow;
The moments drift and go.
And what is life, and toil, and fret?
We only breathe, and we forget.
So in their summer fields might rest
Disprisoned shades that henceforth share
The careless strength of souls possessed
By but the moment that is there,
The strength which children wear;
Might so be stilled from thought or speech,
Passed into calm beyond their reach.
And lo, the dragon-fly's locked wings
Upon the leaf my breath could stir;
And on my sleeve undoubting springs
A merry-minded grasshopper;
And, see, behind that fir,
A rat across our brook has come,
And rustles past us to his home.
And the sweet air is hushed with sound
More tranceful than low lullabies,
The plashings of the waters drowned
In babble of small insect cries
And surge of leafy sighs.
We hear, not heed: enough for us
Resting to feel that rest is thus.
Not now. Oh vacant hour long past,
Wherefore to-day live back in thee?
Ill hour that grew no growth to last,
Flower without seed, unfruitful tree,
Hast thou still right to be?
Fade out forgotten, ghost of nought,
What worth or wisdom hast thou brought?
Nay, seedless, fruitless hour, not so;
Fade not, but hide from sterner looks.
We have a secret we two know,
The secret of the woods, the brooks,
Of wild flowers in their nooks,
Of all glad growing things' delight
That live and never long for night:
A secret hidden from thought and will,
And only given to those who cease
From toil and pondering and are still,
The secret of that soulless peace,
The soul's joy and release,
To sit and see the sun and smile
Only because we live the while.