(17 November 1861 - 10 February 1899 / Morpeth, Ontario)

The Frogs

I1.
Breathers of wisdom won without a quest,
.
Quaint uncouth dreamers, voices high and strange;
.
Flutists of lands where beauty hath no change,
.
And wintry grief is a forgotten guest,
.
Sweet murmurers of everlasting rest,
.
For whom glad days have ever yet to run,
.
And moments are as aeons, and the sun
.
But ever sunken half-way toward the west.1.
Often to me who heard you in your day,
.

With close rapt ears, it could not choose but seem
.

That earth, our mother, searching in what way
.

Men's hearts might know her spirit's inmost-dream;
.

Ever at rest beneath life's change and stir,
.

Made you her soul, and bade you pipe for her.II2.
In those mute days when spring was in her glee,
.
And hope was strong, we knew not why or how,
.
And earth, the mother, dreamed with brooding brow,
.
Musing on life, and what the hours might be,
.
When love should ripen to maternity,
.
Then like high flutes in silvery interchange
.
Ye piped with voices still and sweet and strange,
.
And ever as ye piped, on every tree2.
The great buds swelled; among the pensive woods
.

The spirits of first flowers awoke and flung
.

From buried faces the close-fitting hoods,
.

And listened to your piping till they fell,
.

The frail spring-beauty with her perfumed bell,
.

The wind-flower, and the spotted adder-tongue.III3.
All the day long, wherever pools might be
.
Among the golden meadows, where the air
.
Stood in a dream, as it were moorèd there
.
For ever in a noon-tide reverie,
.
Or where the birds made riot of their glee
.
In the still woods, and the hot sun shone down,
.
Crossed with warm lucent shadows on the brown
.
Leaf-paven pools, that bubbled dreamily, 3.
Or far away in whispering river meads
.

And watery marshes where the brooding noon,
.

Full with the wonder of its own sweet boon,
.

Nestled and slept among the noiseless reeds,
.

Ye sat and murmured, motionless as they,
.

With eyes that dreamed beyond the night and day.IV4.
And when day passed and over heaven's height,
.
Thin with the many stars and cool with dew,
.
The fingers of the deep hours slowly drew
.
The wonder of the ever-healing night,
.
No grief or loneliness or rapt delight
.
Or weight of silence ever brought to you
.
Slumber or rest; only your voices grew
.
More high and solemn; slowly with hushed flight4.
Ye saw the echoing hours go by, long-drawn,
.

Nor ever stirred, watching with fathomless eyes,
.

And with your countless clear antiphonies
.

Filling the earth and heaven, even till dawn,
.

Last-risen, found you with its first pale gleam,
.

Still with soft throats unaltered in your dream.V5.
And slowly as we heard you, day by day,
.
The stillness of enchanted reveries
.
Bound brain and spirit and half-closèd eyes,
.
In some divine sweet wonder-dream astray;
.
To us no sorrow or upreared dismay
.
Nor any discord came, but evermore
.
The voices of mankind, the outer roar,
.
Grew strange and murmurous, faint and far away. 5.
Morning and noon and midnight exquisitely,
.

Rapt with your voices, this alone we knew,
.

Cities might change and fall, and men might die,
.

Secure were we, content to dream with you
.

That change and pain are shadows faint and fleet,
.

And dreams are real, and life is only sweet.

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