African American Poetry (1870-1928): A Digital Anthology

George Marion McClellan, "The Path of Dreams" (full text) (1916)

The Path of Dreams 
 Louisville, Kentucky 
 Copyright, 191G 
 Louisville, Ky. 

 The Path of Dreams 1 
 Daybreak 3 
 To Hollyhocks 5 
 Spring Dawn 6 
 The Ephemera 7 
 The Hills of Sewanee 8 
 Hydromel and Rue 9 
 Dogwood Blossoms 10 
 The April of Alabama 11 
 The Bride of Nitta Yuma ^12 
 A September Night 15 
 The Harvest Moon 16 
 The Sun Went Down in Beauty 17 
 Love is a Flame 18 
 The Feet of Judas 19 
 To Lochiel 20 
 To Theodore 21 
 In The Heart of a Rose 22 
 A January Dandelion 23 
 A Belated Oriole 23 
 Eternity 25 
 A Psyche of Spring 26 
 May Along the Cumberland 27 
 The Secret , 28 
 A Serenade 29 
 A Butterfly in Church 30 
 As Sifted Wheat 31 
 A New Year's Greeting to a College Senior 32 
 Estranged 33 
 A Decoration Day 34 
 June 36 
 Heart Yearnings 38 
 A Faithless Love 39 
 The Bridal Wreath's Lament 41 
 Sustaining Hope 44 
 The Woods of October 45 
 Youthful Delusions 47 
 The March's Promise 49 
 A Meadow-Land 50 
 In Summer 51 
 In Memory of Katie Reynolds, Dying 58 
 Lines to Mount Glen 54 
 The Legend of Tannhauser: 
 I The Venusburg 61 
 II The Contest oi Love and Song 66 
 III The Pilgrimage and Staff 72 

The Path of Dreams 
 Sweet-scented winds move inward from the shore, 
 Blythe is the air of June with silken gleams, 
 My roving fancy treads at will once more, 
 The golden path of dreams. 
 Along the sloping uplands yellow wheat 
 Is bending to the honied breath of June, 
 While all the lowlands slumber at my feet 
 This glorious afternoon. 
 To balmy gusts from blue-girt breezy hills 
 The clover blossoms nod with graceful art, 
 And all the mystery of living thrills 
 The ever pulsing heart. 
 A boon to lovers still, the sweet wild rose 
 Adds perfume to the languor in the air, 
 And whispering Zephyr scatters as she goes 
 Sweet atters everywhere. 
 The wild birds restlessly from tree to tree. 
 Flit ceaselessly beneath the sunlit skies, 
 And give a sumptuous afternoon to me. 
 In song and gladsome cries. 

 Blue gauze the empty distances enfold ; 
 The stream-fed glens lie bare in loveliness, 
 And waves of light along the paths of gold 
 The glens and hills caress. 
 In garish light the rustling, shimmering corn, 
 The trembling leaves, the passing winds caress, 
 And in the heart a subtle throb is born 
 Of mighty tenderness. 
 Vague yearnings, tenderness that prompt to tears 
 And fill the heart with mingled pain and bliss, 
 Come down to men through many thousand years, 
 On afternoons like this. 
 What is there in the vistas, song, and flower, 
 That prompt alike to happiness and tears. 
 Unites life's scattered visions in the hour 
 Of past and present years? 
 Is it the throb of life on soft hill slopes, 
 A thousand passions burned to fever heat 
 Spread out in shimmering glows that run to hopes. 
 For some fulfillment sweet? 
 Some half fulfillment yet of vanished gleams, 
 Of vanished promises when love's wild glow 
 Made fervid youth a tenement of dreams 
 Back in the long ago. 

 Awake! arise! Oh, men of my race, 
 I see our morning star, 
 And feel the dawn-breeze on my face 
 Creep inward, from afar.
 I feel the dawn, with soft-like tread, 
 Steal through our lingering night. 
 Aglow with flame our sky to spread 
 In floods of morning light. 
 Arise ! my men, be wide awake 
 To hear the bugle call, 
 For Negroes everywhere to break 
 The bands that bind us all. 
 Great Lincoln, now with glory graced,  
 All God-like with the pen. 
 Our chattel fetters broke, and placed 
 Us in the ranks of men. 
 But even he could not awake 
 The dead, nor make alive, 
 Nor change stern nature's laws which make 
 The fittest to survive. 
 Let every man his soul inure. 
 In noblest sacrifice, 
 And with a heart of oak endure, 
 Ignoble, arrant prejudice. 
 Endurance, love, will yet prevail 
 Against all laws of hate; 
 Such armaments can never fail 
 Our race its best estate. 
 Let none make common cause with sin, 
 Be that in honor bound, 
 For they who fight with God must win 
 On every battle ground. 
 Though wrongs there are, and wrongs have been, 
 And wrongs we still must face, 
 We have more friends than foes within 
 The Anglo-Saxon race. 
 In spite of all the babel cries, 
 Of those who rage and shout, 
 God's silent forces daily rise 
 To bring His will about. 
 Our portion is, and yet will be, 
 To drink a bitter cup 
 In many things, yet all must see 
 The race is moving up. 
 Oh! men of my race, awake! arise! 
 Our morning's in the air, 
 There's scarlet all along the skies, 
 Our day breaks everywhere. 

 Gay hollyhocks with flaming bells 
 And waving plumes, as gently swells 
 The breeze upon the Summer air; 
 You bind me still with magic spells 
 When to the wind, in grave farewells, 
 You bow in all your graces fair. 
 You bring me back the childhood view, 
 Where arching skies and deepest blue 
 Stretch on in endless lengths above; 
 To see you so awakes anew 
 Long past emotions, from which grew 
 My wild and first heart-throbs of love. 
 There is in all your brilliant dyes. 
 Your gorgeousness and azure skies, 
 A joy like soothing summer rain; 
 Yet in the scene there vaguely lies 
 A something half akin to sighs. 
 Along the borderland of pain. 

 There comes to my heart from regions remote 
 A wild desire for the hedge and the brush, 
 Whenever I hear the first wild note 
 Of the meadow lark and the hermit thrush. 
 The broken and upturned earth to the air, 
 By a million thrusting blades of Spring, 
 Sends out from the sod and everywhere 
 Its pungent aromas over everything. 
 Then it's Oh, for the hills, the dawn, and the dew, 
 The breath of the fields and the silent lake. 
 And watching the wings of light burst through 
 The scarlet blush of the new daybreak. 
 It is then, when the earth still nestles in sleep, 
 And the robes of light are scarce unfurled. 
 You can almost feel, in its mighty sweep. 
 The onward rush and roll of the world. 

 Creatures of gauze and velvet wings, 
 With life for one brief day, 
 Dancing and flitting where the breezes fling 
 The sweets of blooming May; 
 Skimming the stream where the wild thyme grows, 
 You dart with keen delight. 
 Only to die when the sweet wild rose 
 Gives perfume to the night. 
 Weary at last, when the day is done, 
 Of the breeze and clover's breath. 
 Folding your delicate wings with the sun, 
 You gently drop to death; 
 Glimmering wings and a few short hours 
 Were yours in sweet delight. 
 Living for a day in the world of flowers. 
 And then — everlasting night. 
 Creatures of gauze and velvet wings, 
 With a day of gleams and flowers, 
 Who knows — in the light of eternal things — 
 Your life is less than ours? 
 Weary at last, it is ours, like you, 
 When our brief day is done. 
 Folding our hands, to say adieu. 
 And pass with the setting sun. 

 Sewanee Hills of dear delight, 
 Prompting my dreams that used to be, 
 I know you are waiting me still tonight 
 By the Unika Range of Tennessee. 
 The blinking stars in endless space, 
 The broad moonlight and silvery gleams, 
 Tonight caress your wind-swept face, 
 And fold you in a thousand dreams. 
 Your far outlines, less seen than felt, 
 Which wind with hill propensities. 
 In moonlight dreams I see you melt 
 Away in vague immensities. 
 And, far away, I still can feel 
 Your mystery that ever speaks 
 Of vanished things, as shadows steal 
 Across your breast and rugged peaks. 
 O, dear blue hills, that lie apart, 
 And wait so patiently down there. 
 Your peace takes hold upon my heart 
 And makes its burden less to bear. 
 Lord, let me live to serve and make a loan 
 Of life and soul in love to my heart's own. 
 And what if they should never care or know 
 How dark sometimes and weary are the ways, 
 How piercing cold and pitiless the snow, 
 How desolate and lonely are the days 
 Which life for me holds sometimes in reserve? 
 And what if those I love esteem above 
 Me, others all untried and far less true. 
 And lightly barter off my wealth of love 
 For careless, strange, and passing comrads new? 
 Oh Lord, those, whom I love, I still would serve. 
 To be permitted, once in this short life. 
 To hold a little child close to my heart 
 In fatherhood, as mine, is worth all strife 
 Which circumstance and time to me impart. 
 To know the bliss of chaste and holy love. 
 To have one friend to even half divine 
 My hungry heart, is heaven from above 
 Come to this ever-longing soul of mine. 
 And so, dear Lord, I thank Thee for the cup 
 Of hydromel Thou givest me to sup, 
 Though rue and hyssop pass my lips and fill 
 My life with earthly sorrow, grief, and pam. 
 In faith my soul will rise to thank Thee still 
 For garish day, for guerdon and its gam. 
 And though through time insentient clay, the sward, 
 My erstwhile form may hold; for joy, for life, 
 For everlasting love, sunshine and rain. 
 My ardent heart above all earthly strife, 
 Unbound in space, soars up through joy and pain 
 Triumphantly, in thanks to Thee, dear Lord. 
 To dreamy languors and the violet mist 
 Of early Spring, the deep sequestered vale 
 Gives first her paling-blue Miamimist, 
 Where blithely pours the cuckoo's annual tale 
 Of Summer promises and tender green. 
 Of a new life and beauty yet unseen. 
 The forest trees have yet a sighing mouth, 
 Where dying winds of March their branches swing, 
 While upward from the dreamy sunny South, 
 A hand invisible leads on the Spring. 
 His rounds from bloom to bloom the bee begins 
 With flying song, and cowslip wine he sups. 
 Where to the warm and passing southern winds, 
 Azaleas gently swing their yellow cups. 
 Soon everywhere, with glory through and through, 
 The fields will spread with every brilliant hue. 
 But high o'er all the early floral train, 
 Where softness all the arching sky resumes. 
 The dogwood dancing to the winds' refrain. 
 In stainless glory spreads its snowy blooms. 
 Fair Alabama, "Here we rest," thy name — 
 And in this stretch of oak and spotted ash, 
 Well said that long past swarthy tribe who came 
 Here, "Alabama," in these glamour wilds. 
 To-day thy April woods have had for me 
 A thousand charms, elusive loveliness, 
 That melt in shimmering views which flash 
 From leaves and buds in half-grown daintiness. 
 From every tree and living thing there smiles 
 A touch of Summer's glory yet to be. 
 Already overhead the sky resumes 
 Its Summer softness, and a hand of light 
 All through the woods has beckoned with its blooms 
 Of honeysuckle wild and dogwood white 
 As bridal robes. 
 With bashful azure eyes 
 All full of dew-born, laughing, falling tears, 
 Th^ violets more blue than summer skies 
 Are rioting in vagrancy around 
 Beneath old oaks, old pines, and sending out 
 Like prodigals their sweets to spicy airs. 
 And, as to-day, this loveliness for years 
 Unknown has come and gone. To-day it wears 
 Its pageantry of youth with sylvan sound 
 Of many forest tribes which fairly shout 
 Their ecstacies. But soon with Summer smiles 
 Will such a gorgeousness of flaming hues 
 Bedeck these Alabama glamour wilds 
 As ever burst to life by rain and dews. 

 Softly the cool breath of the early morning, 
 Swamp-scented air, fragrant with deep lagoons 
 And water lilies, stole on through the fields 
 Of cotton, whispering a sighing song. 
 'Twas Sunday morning then, and everywhere 
 The May dew rolled away in diadems. 
 Another day was born with floods of light; 
 The grass with newer green ail wet with dew- 
 Gave welcoming. And rose hues spent with yesterday 
 Found blushes still, and sent out night-born sweets 
 To mingle with a thousand other spicy 
 Airs, and perfumes of the jessamine. 
 And wald aromas of the Summer air. 
 And murmured low the sycamore overhead 
 With whisperings of passing Summer winds. 
 The dapple sunshine gleamed and kissed their leaves, 
 And golden gleams were on the fields. Rich were 
 The blackbird's notes, and joyous sounds from all 
 The feathered tribes. In lazy lengths the bayou went 
 With stretches on, and murmuring low songs 
 Like those of love. There floated far and wide 
 The queenly water lilies — white, perfuming 
 All the Sunday air. 
 And, like a dove 
 Of peace, fair Nitta Yuma sat amid 
 Her spreading figs and rich magnolia blooms, 
 In rest; for there was come the hallowed day, 
 The Sabbath of the Lord. The church bell pealed 
 To far plantations for her worshippers. 
 They came in straggling bands through cotton fields 
 And shady lanes. Upon their faces, young 
 And old, was seen a keen expectancy. 
 And eagerness. It was the wedding day 
 Of sweet Alicia Bell, the fairest maid, 
 And most beloved of all the country side. ^ 
 And when the preacher called the happy pair 
 To stand and take their vows, no costly veil 
 Resplendent in transparency enwrapped 
 The dusky bride, nor great Cathedral gleamed 
 In rich mosaics, nor stately pillars carved, 
 To mark the elegance and luxury 
 Where come the great, the lordly, and the rich 
 To take their marriage vows. But love was there 
 And hope, and youth, to guide and lead them forth 
 To their new world. And to his humble home. 
 With whitewashed walls, the bridegroom led his bride. 
 The wedding feast of simple fare was theirs 
 Alone. Through all the golden afternoon 
 They took their bridal tour, still hand in hand. 
 Love ever leading on, through cotton fields. 
 Along the bayou's side, until their feet 
 Led to the forest old, where man first loved, 
 First wooed, first won a bride and made a home. 
 Gently the spirit of the ancient forest 
 Wove her magic spell around them, till, 
 As one, they had no further need of speech. 
 They were no longer twain, and on, as one. 
 Slowly they walked through the fragrant and green woods — 
 Woods sun-stained, and peaceful, where all nature 
 Fused her mellow beauty into one 
 Harmonious whole. Softened and blended colors 
 Gleamed in vistas and in open glades; 
 Delicious murmurs, inarticulate, 
 Soothing all the senses, crept in quiet, 
 Even undertones all through the forest, 
 Whispering primeval memories. 
 Primeval mysteries of ages past. 
 Once more the ancient forest, dim and silent, 
 Throbbed with energy and unseen life. 
 Where sunshine fell among the moist ferns, 
 Gleamed on silent pools and altars lost. 
 Again the musty fragrance of the forest mould 
 Greeted the nostrils of fauns and dryads 
 Unseen, and all the fairy forest lived 
 Once more, commingling with their murmurings 
 The past and present. Here primordial love 
 Walked hand in hand through Paradise anew. 
 The full September moon sheds floods of light, 
 And all the bayou's face is gemmed with stars, 
 Save where are dropped fantastic shadows down 
 From sycamore and moss-hung cypress trees. 
 With slumberous sound the waters half asleep 
 Creep on and on their way, 'twixt rankish reeds, 
 Through marsh and lowlands stretching to the Gulf. 
 Begirt with cotton fields, Anguilla sits 
 Half bird-like, dreaming on her Summer nest. 
 Amid her spreading figs and roses, still 
 In bloom with all their Spring and Summer hues, 
 Pomegranates hang with dapple cheeks full ripe. 
 And over all the town a dreamy haze 
 Drops down. The great plantations, stretching far 
 Away, are plains of cotton, downy white. 
 O, glorious is this night of joyous sounds; 
 Too full for sleep. Aromas wild and sweet, 
 From muscadine, late blooming jessamine. 
 And roses, all the heavy air suffuse. 
 Faint bellows from the alligators come 
 From swamps afar, where sluggish lagoons give 
 To them a peaceful home. The katydids 
 Make ceaseless cries. Ten thousand insects' wings 
 Stir in the moonlight haze and joyous shouts 
 Of Negro song and mirth awake hard by 
 The cabin dance. O, glorious is this night! 
 The Summer sweetness fills my heart with songs, 
 I can not sing, with loves I can not speak. 
 The dark magnolia leaves and spreading fig 
 With green luxuriant beauty all their own, 
 Stirless, hang heavy-coated with the dew, 
 Which swift and iridescent gleams shoot through 
 As if a thousand brilliant diamonds shone. 
 Afloat the lagoon, water-lilies white 
 In sweets with muscadines perfume the night. 
 A song bird restless chants a fleeting lay; 
 Asleep on all the swamp and bayou lies 
 A peaceful, blissful moonlight, mystic haze, 
 A dreaminess o'er all the landscape plays. 
 While lake and lagoon mirror all the skies. 
 There is a glory doomed to pass too soon. 
 That lies subdued beneath the harvest moon. 
 The sun went down In beauty 
 Beyond the Mississippi side, 
 As I stood on the banks of the river 
 And watched its waters gHde; 
 Its swelHng currents resembling 
 The longing restless soul, 
 Surging, swelling, and pursuing 
 Its ever receding goal. 
 The sun went down in beauty. 
 But the restless tide flowed on. 
 And the phantom of absent loved ones 
 Danced on the waves and were gone ; 
 Fleeting phantoms of loved ones, 
 Their faces jubilant with glee. 
 In the spray seemed to rise and beckon, 
 And then rush on to the sea. 
 The sun went down in beauty. 
 While I stood musing alone, 
 Stood watching the rushing river 
 And heard its restless moan; 
 Longings, vague, intenable. 
 So far from speech apart. 
 Like the endless rush of the river, 
 Went surging through my heart. 
 The sun went down in beauty, 
 Peacefully sank to rest, 
 Leaving its golden reflection 
 On the great Mississippi's breast; 
 Gleaming on the turbulent river, 
 In the coming gray twilight, 
 Soothing its restless surging, 
 And kissing its waters goodnight. 
 Love is a flame that burns with sacred fire, 
 And fills the being up with sweet desire; 
 Yet, once the altar feels love's fiery breath. 
 The heart must be a crucible till death. 
 Say love is life ; and say it not amiss. 
 That love is but a synonym for bliss. 
 Say what you will of love, in what refrain. 
 But knows the heart, 'tis but a word for pain. 
 Christ washed the feet of Judas ! 
 The dark and evil passions of his soul, 
 His secret plot, and sordidness complete, 
 His hate, his purposing, Christ knew the whole, 
 And still in love he stooped and washed his feet. 
 Christ washed the feet of Judas ! 
 Yet ail his lurking sin was bare to him. 
 His bargain with the priest, and more than this, 
 In Olivet, beneath the moonlight dim, 
 Aforehand knew and felt his treacherous kiss. 
 Christ washed the feet of Judas! 
 And so ineffable his love 'twas meet. 
 That pity fill his great forgiving heart. 
 And tenderly to wash the traitor's feet, 
 Who in his Lord had basely sold his part. 
 Christ washed the feet of Judas! 
 And thus a girded servant, self-abased. 
 Taught that no wrong this side the gate of heaven 
 Was ever too great to wholly be effaced. 
 And though unasked, in spirit be forgiven. 
 And so if we have ever felt the wrong 
 Of trampled rights, of caste, it matters not, 
 What e'er the soul has felt or suffered long. 
 Oh, heart! this one thing should not be forgot: 
 Christ washed the feet of Judas. 
 Dear little babe, of all born things alive, 
 Most helpless thou — of life a slender thread. 
 Can such as thee so rough a sea survive, 
 And come at last the way all feet must tread? 
 Yea ! by the God whom I adore above, 
 If I could fix thy destiny by choice 
 Thou wouldst be safe, my little love. 
 'Tis Love ineffable I wrap thee in 
 To pitiless pain, and ache, and storm, and blast, 
 I'd bare my soul to save thy feet from sin. 
 And bring thee safely home, Lochiel, at last. 
 But, in thy chancing boon of birth, thy whole 
 And everlasting destiny of life 
 Lies in thy self-directing souL 
 Such are the little memories of you; 
 They come and go, return and He apart 
 From all main things of life ; yet more than they, 
 With noiseless feet, they come and grip the heart. 
 Gay laughter leading quick and stormy tears, 
 Then smiles again and pulse of flying feet. 
 In breathless chase of fleeting gossamers, 
 Are memories so dear, so bitter-sweet. 
 No more are echoes of your flying feet. 
 Hard by, where Pike's Peak rears its head in state, 
 The erstwhile rushing feet, with halting steps, 
 For health's return in Denver watch and wait. 
 But love and memories of noiseless tread, 
 Where angels hovered once, all shining fair, 
 To tuck you in your little trundle bed. 
 Kneel nightly now in agony of prayer. 
 Feb. 22, 1916. 
 I will hide my soul and its mighty love 
 In the bosom of this rose, 
 And its dispensing breath will take 
 My love wherever it goes. 
 And perhaps she'll pluck this very rosCi 
 And, quick as blushes start, 
 Will breathe my hidden secret in 
 Her unsuspecting heart. 
 And there I will live in her embrace 
 And the realm of sweetness there, 
 Enamored with an ecstasy 
 Of bliss beyond compare. 
 All Nashville is a-chill ! And everywhere, 
 As wind-swept sands upon the deserts blow, 
 There is, each moment, sifted through the air 
 A powered blast of January snow. 
 O thoughtless dandelion ! to be misled 
 By a few warm days to leave thy natural bed 
 Was folly growth and blooming over soon. 
 And yet, thou blasted, yellow-coated gem! 
 Full many hearts have but a common boon 
 With thee, now freezing on thy slender stem. 
 When once the heart-blooms by love's fervid breath 
 Is left, and chilling snow is sifted in. 
 It still may beat, but there is blast and death 
 To all that blooming Hfe that might have been. 
 Gay little songster of the Spring, 
 This is an evil hour, 
 For one so light of heart and win^ 
 To face the storms that lower. 
 December winds blow on the lea 
 A chill that threatens harm. 
 With not a leaf on bush or tree 
 To shield thee from the storm. 
 Why hast thou lingered here so late 
 To face the storms that rise, 
 When all thy kind, and yellow mate. 
 Have sought for southern skies? 
 Hast thou, like me, some fortune ill 
 To bind thee to this spot? 
 Made to endure, against thy will, 
 A melancholy lot? 
 Chill is the air with windy sighs, 
 A prophecy that blows, 
 Of cold and inhospitable skies. 
 Of bitter frost and snows. 
 But there is One whose power it is 
 To temper blast and storm, 
 And love to give a bird is His, 
 And keep it safe from harm. 
 To Him thy helplessness will plead, 
 To Him I lift a prayer. 
 For we alike have common need 
 Of His great love and care. 

 Rock me to sleep, ye waves, and drift my boat, 
 With undulations soft, far out to sea; 
 Perchance, where sky and wave wear one blue coat, 
 My heart shall find some hidden rest remote. 
 My spirit swoons, and all my senses cry 
 For ocean's breast and covering of the sky. 
 Rock me to sleep, ye waves, and, outward bound, 
 Just let me drift far out from toil and care, 
 Where lapping of the waves shall be the sound 
 Which, mingled with the winds that gently bear 
 Me on between a peaceful sea and sky, 
 To make my soothing, slumberous lullaby. 
 Thus drifting on and on upon thy breast. 
 My heart shall go to sleep and rest, and rest. 
 Thou gaily painted butterfly, exquisite thing, 
 A child of light and blending rainbow hues, 
 In loveliness a Psyche of the Spring, 
 Companion for the rose and diamond dews ; 
 'Tis thine, in sportive joy, from hour to hour, 
 To ride the breeze from flower to flower. 
 But thou wast once a worm of hueless dye 
 Now, seeing thee, gay thing, afloat in bliss, 
 I take new hope in thoughts of bye and bye, 
 When T, as thou, have shed my chrysalis. 
 I dream now of eternal springs of light 
 In which, as thou, I too may have my flight. 
 Embodiment of all the beautiful 
 That crowns the year, O May! is come with thee. 
 For miles and miles along the rugged hills, 
 Where in and out the Cumberland must wind, 
 And Spring her first response of green doth find, 
 A rapt'rous beauty all the valley fills. 
 The yellow sun with Summer at his heels, 
 Betokeneth the time about to be. 
 Siestas, days and nights alive with wings, 
 The stirring of a miUion living things. 
 The month is full of roses, perfumed air. 
 And crooning bees upon the clover's breast, 
 The morning woodlands ring with music sweet; 
 The zephyrs whisper to the corn, 
 And echo back the hills the dinner horn. 
 But all in tune and harmony complete. 
 In blissful self-abandonment awhile, 
 Here on thy lap, sweet May, O! let me rest, 
 And dream, and dream, till, lulled by sight and sound, 
 In unison to all the earth around. 

 Go, whisper to her gentle winds, 
 While you are passing by, 
 The mighty secret of my heart, 
 The burden of my sigh. 
 Take to her from this blushing rose 
 Such sweets of scented air 
 As are befitting for a queen, 
 And one divinely fair. 
 And from this lily of the vale 
 Take her, who is to me, 
 The emblem of all that is good, 
 And sweetest purity. 
 The violets of azure eyes, 
 Which ever sweets impart. 
 Take her their gentle modesty, 
 So like her guileless heart. 
 Take all the sweets which you can find 
 Along your airy way. 
 To her whose face and daily life 
 Are like the month of May. 
 Blow softly on her lovely brow. 
 And give her lips a kiss. 
 The thing were I to do, O winds! 
 Would count a wonderous bliss. 
 She does not know my secret flame, 
 But what is that to you 
 Oh, winds? but take her from my heart 
 Its mighty love and true. 
 Dear heart, I would that thou couldst know 
 How, like the burning glow of Mars, 
 My love here keeps a watch below 
 Thy window and the midnight stars. 
 How sweet the breath of night is now, 
 Of sweets the rose and jessamine keep; 
 Go, winds, with these and kiss her brow, 
 And bear my love to her in sleep. 
 Oh, such a love! that loves her so. 
 With such a little space apart. 
 Should through yon open casement go, 
 And gentl}^ stir her dreaming heart. 
 Dear heart, sleep on without a fear. 
 If all unconsciously to thee. 
 My love must watch, to watch so near, 
 Makes even that a bliss to me. 

 What dost thou here, thou shining, sinless thing, 
 With many colored hues and shapely wing? 
 Why quit the open field and Summer air 
 To flutter here? Thou hast no need of prayer. 
 'Tis mete that we, who this great structure built. 
 Should come to be redeemed and washed from guilt, 
 For we this gilded edifice within 
 Are come, with erring hearts and stains of sin. 
 But thou art free from guilt as God on high; 
 Go, seek the blooming waste and open sky. 
 And leave us here our secret woes to bear, 
 Confessionals and agonies of prayer. 

 sift me, Lord, and make me 
 Clean as sifted wheat ; 
 My soul, an empty vessel, bring 
 To my Redeemer's feet. 
 However sinful I have been or be. 
 Thou knowest, Lord, that I love thee. 
 1 am so closely hedged about. 
 Oh, Christ! as thou hast been; 
 My soul, hemmed in with flesh, 
 Is so in love with sin. 
 Sin stained am I, but sift me. Lord, complete, 
 And make me clean as sifted wheat. 

 Soft winds and a moving tide 
 May bear you on, I pray, 
 With the love of God to guide 
 Through the year to your B. A. 
 On the shores of heavenly grace, 
 Or the crest of the ocean's swell, 
 May the smile of the Father's face 
 Be the sign that all is well. 
 In storms, whenever they rise, 
 Cling close to the pilot of prayer, 
 Keep faith under blackest of skies 
 That the love of God is there. 

 An Autumn sky, a pleasant weather; 
 The asters blossom by the way; 
 We two between them walk together, 
 And watch the ships pass on the bay. 
 His Summer song yet to the clover, 
 The hovering bee still murmurs there, 
 But there's that tells that Summer's over 
 In this sweet, dreamy. Autumn air. 
 When it w^as May and lovely weather, 
 And ships went sailing to the west. 
 We walked this path, we two together. 
 With happy throbs of heart and breast. 
 The Spring was young and hope was growing, 
 And love went idling on the sand. 
 And there was blissful overflowing 
 Of heart in touch of lip and hand. 
 And yet the bee hums to the clover 
 Soft, all the dreamy hours long. 
 But there's that tells that Summer's over 
 In all his drowsy, flying song. 
 An Autumn sky, a pleasant weather, 
 But all the Summer glow is changed 
 Here, where in love we walked together, 
 Before we two were so estranged. 

 The reign of death was there, 
 Where swept the Winter winds with 
 pipes and moans, 
 And, stretched in silence bare, 
 A colonnade of gray sepulchral stones. 
 But then it was in May, 
 And all the fields were bright and gay 
 with tune 
 That Decoration Day, 
 And blossoms wore their hues and breath 
 of June. 
 A motley crowd that came, 
 But who more fit than they that once 
 were slaves. 
 Despised, unknown to fame. 
 With love should decorate the 
 soldiers' graves? 
 Black feet trod cheerily 
 From out the town in crowds or 
 straggling bands. 
 And flowers waved and flaunted merrily 
 From little Negro hands. 
 And far, far away 
 From home and love, deep in a silent bed, 
 Beneath the sky of May, 
 Was sleeping there, in solitude, the dead. 
 But for the hearts that day 
 Who in the distant North was sore and sighed, 
 Black hands, with sweets of May, 
 Made green the graves of those who for them died. 
 The June has come with all its brilliant dyes, 
 Its honeyed breath, its balmy gusts and sighs. 
 In fields and stretching uplands, glade and glen, 
 And by the high and lowly haunts of men. 
 With all-surpassing glory bloom the flowers. 
 And come are sun-lit skies and dreamy hours. 
 The morning earth is all begemmed with dew, 
 The toiling bee, the blissful hours through, 
 Hums softly on his self-beguiling tune. 
 While gathers he the sweetest sweets of June. 
 Low murmuring, the crystal brooklet leads 
 Its way through fields and lane and emerald meads. 
 The clover fields are red and sweetly scent 
 The pasture lands, where browse the kine content. 
 The corn is swayed with breezes passing by, 
 And everywhere the bloom is on the rye. 
 Already on the bearded wheat is seen 
 The gold which tempts the farmer's sickle keen, 
 And I can almost see the gleaming blade 
 By which the golden grain is lowly laid. 
 And hear the singing scythe and tramp of feet, 
 And s^e the cone-shaped shocks of gathered wheat. 
 All shimmering the landscapes far and wide 
 Bespeak fair promise for the harvest-tide. 

 The June has come with Summer skies and glow, 
 Reflecting bUss and Junes of long ago- 
 Bare feet, and careless roving bands ot boys 
 That haunted lake and stream in halcyon joys, 
 The bow and arrow, hunting ground and snares, 
 The sudden flight of quails and skulkmg hares, 
 The wild and joyous shouts along the glen 
 Come back in all the month of June agam. 
 Then other days and solitary dreams. 
 Are come again with flash of flaming gleams 
 Where red birds shot across the openmg glades, 
 In quest of deeper thickets, deeper shades 
 The soft sunshine comes down aslant the hiUs, 
 With perfume sweet the honeysuckle fills, 
 The Summer atmosphere for mfles around 
 And all the groves and fields are sweet with sound. 
 Soft tinkling bells of flocks and browsmg herds, 
 The rippling streams and restless twittermg birds. 
 Unite with children's voices in their shout 
 Of mirth and joy on all the sward about. 
 A nameless charm, a bliss, a merry tune 
 Abideth in the country lap of June. 
 While hills, and woods, and vale, and grassy slope, 
 Are teeming everywhere with life and hope 
 The brook's low murmuring the mormng through. 
 Is still a lullaby, and love is true. 
 In earth, and sky, and air, in dale and glen, 
 For all the changing, faithless sons of men. 
 The June has come with all its brflliant dyes, 
 Its honied breath, its balmy gusts and sighs. 

 Oh ! for the welcome breath of country air, 
 With Summer skies and flowers, 
 To shout and feel once more the halcyon 
 Of gayer boyhood hours. 
 I think the sight of fields and shady lanes 
 Would ease my heart of pains. 
 To cool once more my thirst, where bubbled up 
 The waters of a spring, 
 Where I have seen the golden daffodils 
 And lillies flourishing. 
 My fevered heart would more than half forget 
 Its sighs, and vain regret. 
 Far, far away, from early scenes am I ; 
 And, too, my youth has fled; 
 For me a stranger's land, a stranger's sky. 
 That arches overhead. 
 For scenes and joys that now have passed me by, 
 I can but give a sigh. 

 The lovely May has come at last, 
 With songs and gleaming dews, 
 And apple blossoms bursting out 
 With evanescent hues. 
 A newer life, a newer charm, 
 Is bursting every hour. 
 With pledge and faithful promises, 
 From leaf and bud and flower. 
 And hope is growing on the hill. 
 And blooming in the vale, 
 And comes new vigor and new life 
 On every passing gale. 
 But O, my heart! my heart of hearts! 
 What hope is there for me? 
 For what was hope and what was joy. 
 For me have ceased to be. 
 The woodlark's tender w^arbling lay. 
 Which flows with melting art, 
 Is but a trembling song of love 
 That serves to break my heart. 

 Gay flowers burst on every side, 
 The fairest of the fair, 
 But what are these to any heart 
 That's breaking with despair? 
 O May! my heart had found a rose 
 As lovely as the morn, 
 Which charmed awhile, then faithless went, 
 But left with me its thorn. 

 O! woe, ah! bitter woe for us, 
 Who did the fooHsh thing. 
 To trust our folded leaves and buds 
 To the first warm sun of Spring. 
 Up from the lagoons of the South, 
 From lake and flowers about, 
 Came soft, deceitful, sighing winds 
 And gently called us out. 
 They whispered strange Floridian tales, 
 Of bayous and the brake. 
 Of Spring's aroma and the rose. 
 And bade us to awake. 
 The sun, so old of many Springs, 
 Looked down on us and smiled. 
 And all our foolish swelling buds 
 To leaf and flower beguiled. 
 We rivaled the Japonicas 
 Which budded half in doubt. 
 But reassured by southern winds, 
 Fast sought to beat us out. 

 And O ! we spread our leaves and buds 
 Up to the open sky, 
 And looked with condescension on 
 Our lagging neighbors by. 
 Bedecked in all our finery, 
 And blind with foolish pride, 
 We laughed unconscious of our doom, 
 And of our woe betide. 
 But swift and stealthily as comes 
 A lurking foe at night, 
 Without a warning note swept down 
 A storm with bitter blight. 
 Now all the highway and the plain 
 Lie covered up with snow. 
 The sun is hid and leaden clouds. 
 Look down on all below. 
 Deceitful zephyrs of the south. 
 Where are your kisses now? 
 The snowflakes make our winding sheet, 
 And death is on our brow. 
 But soon the true warm Spring will come, 
 And violets in their beds 
 Will bloom: And flauntingly will 
 Lift the tulips up their heads. 

 The gladsome Summer-time will come, 
 The Summer winds will sigh, 
 A thousand brilliant flowers will bloom 
 Beneath a Summer sky. 
 But we, O vain and foolish buds ! 
 Who did the foolish thing, 
 To trust our folded leaves and flowers 
 To the first warm sun of Spring, 
 So premature must pass away 
 To nothingness for time and aye. 

 Farewell, Dearest and Best! 
 What matters it whether the name be Dove, 
 Dear-heart, and all sweet words at love's behest. 
 Since none can voice my love? 
 To stay is past my power ; 
 Oh, love, my own Dear-heart, farewell, good-bye! 
 For thee I'll breathe through every passing hour 
 A fond and secret sigh. 
 But, Dear, though it be long. 
 This hope 'mid distant scenes and fellow-men 
 Will lead me on, in solitude or throng. 
 That we shall meet again. 

 The last sweet blush of Summer in her glory 
 Still lingers in October woods and skies, 
 But changed in forest, hills, and mountains hoary, 
 From green into a thousand brilliant dyes. 
 The cloudless skies a restful peace betoken, 
 The Indian Summer broodeth over all, 
 In earth and everywhere is plainly spoken 
 A placidness which only comes with Fall. 
 In fields, where to the breeze was lately swaying 
 The wheat in all its golden beauty seen, 
 Are flocks and herds of lazy cattle straying. 
 And feeding on a second growth of green. 
 A bee is seen still out in hope of finding 
 A blossom in the second growth of clover. 
 But nature's law, too, on the bee is binding. 
 His harvesting will also soon be over. 
 A few more days of Autumn's hazy gleaming. 
 And all October woods, to-day so fair, 
 The very imagery of death in seeming 
 Will stand, dismantled, naked, bare. 

 O ! who would think that all this beauty, painted 
 Upon these leaves in colors clear 
 In every brilliant hue, with death is tainted, 
 But for the dying lesson year by year? 
 That lesson let me learn to-day in earnest, 
 Which thou dost teach in every hue and dye; 
 Who knows but when thy glory here returnest, 
 Within the silent grave my head shall lie? 
 Farewell, October woods — soon bleak December 
 Will all the forest wrap in spotless snow, 
 But I, forgetting not, shall still remember 
 Thy glory, which to-day delights me so. 

 And where now, restless, wilt thou roam, 
 Thou young, uneaseful heart? 
 'Tis better far to stay at home, 
 So young a stripHng as thou art. 
 And thinkest thou to go 
 Abroad to taste the sweets of Ufe, 
 And miss its lurking woe? 
 Yea, doubtless thou wouldst find a bliss 
 Of honey sweet, awhile. 
 And many a love-born, smothered kiss, 
 Unknown to thee erstwhile. 
 And of a thousand hues 
 Would blossoms give the morning sweets 
 With honey-dabbled dews. 
 And, all-believing heart and young. 
 Thou wouldst unfold thy best 
 To faith, and laugh till thou wert stung 
 With poison in thy breast.^ 
 Then who would be thee nigh. 
 So far from home, to heal thy pain 
 And soothe thy bitter cry? 

 'Tis best, by far, to stay at home, 
 Dear, over- trusting heart; 
 None but a prodigal may roam 
 So far from love apart. 
 Doubt not, abide thy day, 
 And what is best for thee to have 
 In time will come thy way. 

 When gray clouds break on southern skies 
 And winds of March begin to blow, 
 Our fancies run to Summer sighs, 
 That whisper and delight us so. 
 For in this stormy month of winds 
 The first new pulse of life is felt, 
 When Spring with all her sweets begins 
 Where Winter's ice and snow have dwelt. 
 The bluebird carols out his note, 
 A prelude to the country 'round 
 Of chimes, a few more days remote, 
 To which the forest will resound. 
 The plowman's song, the forest chime. 
 The upturned sod, the country scene, 
 Bespeak a resurrection time 
 In air, sky, and sprouting green. 
 O, blessed hope of life anew! 
 That comes from death when Spring begins ; 
 Life after death, a promise true. 
 Is brought in March's stormy winds. 

 Delight of keen delights in Summer hours, 
 Is this long meadowy scene, 
 All rioting in festival of flowers 
 And pageantry of green. 
 With smiling skies above and Summer blue, 
 With ancient fields below, yet ever new. 
 Thou mindest me of other scenes and days, 
 In sunnier climes than thine. 
 Of mocking birds and ever piping lays, 
 Of figs and muscadine. 
 Of dreamy afternoons and dreamy love 
 In silent bliss, with southern skies above. 
 Dear meadow-lands, it makes me sigh to know 
 That this fair scene must die, 
 And sleep long months beneath the frost and snow, 
 And inhospitable sky ; 
 And yet why should I sigh and yield to pain, 
 Since all thy loveliness will bloom again? 
 For long before the red men trod thy soil. 
 Or white men came to till 
 Thy blooming waste, and crown with patient toil 
 Surrounding vale and hill, 
 All rioting with gleeful, vagrant flowers 
 Wert thou in bloom, through long and sunny hours. 

 'Tis mine to lie beneath a changeless snow, 
 How sad to me the truth, 
 But thine to sleep awhile, and wake to know 
 A gay immortal youth. 
 For thou, when I back to the dust have gone, 
 With festive face, will still be smiling on. 
 The Summer shimmering to-day 
 Puts on the earth a rune, 
 Which blends in magic waves of light. 
 Beneath the sky of June. 
 Along the pavements of the street. 
 And in the crowded mart. 
 There is a joy of Summer-time, 
 A comforting of heart. 
 To-day one hardly can believe. 
 Along these pavements old. 
 That March held such an icy sway 
 Of bitterness and cold. 
 The little gamin of the street. 
 Full keeping with the boy, 
 Forgetting all his Winter woes, 
 Is hallooing for joy. 

 And I go back to youth again, 
 And get myself away, 
 To where the country fields are in 
 The green and blue of May. 
 And on I sweetly glide with them. 
 With changing song and tune. 
 With bursting buds and brilliant dyes, 
 That line the lap of June. 
 The morning trembles with its throbs 
 Of ever-gushing notes. 
 Which pour with shuddering sweetness from 
 A thousand feathered throats. 
 'Tis true the shadows of four walls 
 Are ever on me cast. 
 But they have a transparency 
 To me of a sweet past. 

 O Death! 
 If thou hath aught of tenderness, 
 Be kindly in thy touch 
 Of her whose fragile slenderness 
 Was overburdened much 
 With life. And let her seem to go to sleep. 
 As often does a tired child, when it has grown 
 Too tired to longer weep. 
 A rose but half in bloom- 
 She is too young and beautiful to die. 
 But yet, if she must go. 
 Let her go out as goes a sigh 
 From tired life and woe. 
 And let her keep, in death's brief space 
 This side the grave, the dusky beauty still 
 Belonging to her face. 
 She must have been 
 Of those upon the trembling lyre 
 Of whom the poets sung; 
 'Whom the gods love" and desire 
 Fade and "die young." 
 Her life so loved on earth was brief. 
 But yet withal so beautiful there is no cause, 
 But in our loss, for grief. 

 In this soft air perfumed with blooming May, 
 Stretched at thy feet on the green grass, Old Glen, 
 It is a joy unspeakable to me 
 To see again thy face and friendly crags. 
 My childhood friend, then height of heights to me, 
 I am come home to worship thee once more, 
 And feel that bliss in indolent repose 
 Of those long past delightful afternoons. 
 When first you smiled on me and gave to my 
 Imaginings such imagery, when I 
 Would lie down at thy base as I 
 Do now. My feet have wandered far since then. 
 And over heights with prouder heads than thine. 
 Such as would name thy majesty with hills. 
 But I, Old Glen, my early mountain friend. 
 Am come with loyalty and heart still true 
 As thy bald crags are to their kindred skijs. 
 My own Olympus yet and pride thou art, 
 With thy Thessalian gates of clouds 
 Which hide the great Olympian Hall, 
 Where Hebe still sweet nectar pours 
 Out to the gods. And murmurs sweet and low, 
 Of melting cadences, Apollo from 
 His magic lyre sends gently wandering 
 In soft succeeding measures, yet in air 
 To me. 

 And yet, Old Glen, 
 A stranger at thy base I lie to-day 
 To all but thee, save this soft yielding grass 
 And blooming waste, thy pageantry of flowers. 
 All these, with yon bald eagle circling in 
 The upper air with keen descrying for 
 Some timorous, skulking hare, are but old friends 
 Who laughed and played with me in childhood hours 
 Full many a Summer day, and told me tales 
 Of fairy lore. With such immortal friends 
 To welcome me again, what care I then 
 For yon rude plowman's stare and taking me 
 For some trespassing rake? This broad domain 
 Of circling hills and intervening vales 
 Is thine by ancient rights to shelter me, 
 And take me in thy lap when I have come. 
 With love, to Vv^orship thee. Before Rome was. 
 Or Greece had sprung with poetry and art. 
 Thy majesty with impartiaUty 
 Was here. The first soft tread of moccasin 
 On Indian feet, in ages none can tell. 
 That bent this yielding grass was thine to hear. 
 And all the sons of men who since have brought 
 Their pulsing hearts to thee with loves, with aches, 
 With tragedies, with childhood innocence. 
 Have had thy welcoming. To thee no race 
 May come with arrogance and claim first right 
 To thy magnificence, and mighty heart. 
 And thy ennobling grace that touches every 
 Soul who may commune with thee. 

 And so 
 It was Old Glen we came at first to love 
 In this soft scented air now long ago, 
 When first I brought my youthful heart to thee, 
 All pure with pulsing blood still hot 
 In its descent of years in tropic suns 
 And sands of Africa, to be caressed 
 By thee. And to your lofty heights you bore 
 Me up to see the boundless world beyond, 
 Which nothing then to my young innocence 
 Had aught of evil or deceptive paths. 
 With maddening haste I quit thy friendly side 
 To mix with men. And then as some young bison 
 Of the plain, which breathes the morning air 
 And restless snorts with mad excess of life, 
 And rushes heedless on in hot pursuit 
 Of what it does not know: So I, Old Glen, 
 As heedlessly went out from thee to meet 
 With buffeting, with hates, and selfishness, 
 And scorn. At first I stood abashed, disarmed 
 Of faith. Too soon I learned the ways of men, 
 Forgetting much I wish I had retained 
 Of once a better life. And in the fret 
 And fever of the endless strife for gain 
 I often sigh for thee, my native peaks. 
 And for that early life for me now past 

 But for one day, my early friend, 
 I am come back to thee again, to feel 
 Thy gentle grace so indefinable, 
 So subtle is thy touch, yet to the heart 
 A never-failing gift to all who come 
 To thee. And so it is, Old Glen, that I am come, 
 But not with all-believing innocence 
 As in those unsuspecting days of yore. 
 And O! Mount Glen, sin-stained my burning heart 
 With shame lifts up its face to thine, but with 
 A love as changeless as thy ancient crags 
 Does it still beat for thee. And I rejoice 
 To feel thy mighty heart here solace mine. 
 For when the day leads in the early dawn 
 With blushing rosy light and caroling 
 Of larks; and sleepy flowers half unclosed. 
 All wet with dew, unfold their buds and leaves, 
 There is enchantment in this lovely spot 
 Beyond, by far, all mortal utterances. 
 To come here then and lie down on thy side, 
 As I do now, and see the butterflies 
 Bobbing from flower to flower, and hear 
 The restless songs of birds as they in joy 
 Flit carelessly from bush and tree, is all 
 The bliss my heart could ask. Here I could lie 
 In such repose and let a lifetime pass. 
 And here, Old Glen, could I forget the fret 
 Of life and selfishness of men, and see 
 The face of him who is all beautiful. 

 And here in this perfume of May, and bloom 
 Luxuriant, and friendly rioting 
 Of green in all this blooming Vv^aste, is seen 
 A glimpse of that which He, the Lord of all, 
 Intended there should be with things and men 
 In all this earth, a thing which yet will be, 
 A universal brotherhood. 

 The legend of Tannhauser and Elizabeth lends itself 
 readily to a story more human than any other of the 
 Wagner-opera legends. The restlessness of Tann- 
 hauser which leads him into such ultimate misfortune, 
 and Elizabeth's undying love andxievotion to him, are 
 exhibitions of pathos and tragedy instinct with human 
 life. The dethronement of Venus by the acceptance 
 of Christianity throughout the world, by which she 
 was robbed of her divinity, and relegated to the 
 realms of the lower world to become a sorceress, is 
 not less sorrowful than that of the sorrowful Elizabeth. 
 Venus, the goddess of love and beauty, was, accord- 
 ing to the more ancient Greek conception, a daughter 
 of Jupiter and Dione; but Hesiod says that she arose 
 from the sea at the time of the wounding of Uranus 
 and was therefore called by the Greeks, Aphrodite, 
 the foam-born. Wafted by the west wind she was 
 borne to the island of Cytherea, and afterward, like a 
 dream, she passed to Cypress, where the grace of her 
 beauty conquered every heart. She at once became 
 the goddess of love and beauty, the goddess of gardens 
 and flowers, of the rose, the myrtle and the linden. 
 The heaths and slumberous vales, pleasant with Spring 
 and the vernal breezes, were her's. She Vs-as the mis- 
 tress of feminine charm and beauty, and ruled the 
 hearts of men. Driven from her ancient kingdom, 
 from the sunshine and the flowers of the upper 
 world, it is no wonder that her heart grew hard, that 
 we find her the wicked enchantress and sorceress that 
 she is in the Venusburg, situated in the German valley 
 of Thuringia. 

 The version of the legend of Tannhauser here given 
 at the end is a Hberty taken, but it seemed to me in- 
 consistent after his chastening to have him consider a 
 return to the Venusburg. 
 G. M.McClellan. 

 In Germany the fabled Venusburg 
 A broad and fertile valley overlooked, 
 In fair Thuringia. The winds blew free 
 Along the mountain slopes, where shepherds watched 
 Their sheep, and played upon their pipes in sweet 
 Contentment all the day, beneath the blue 
 And arching sky. And in the valley rang 
 Often the cheery cry of noble knights 
 And jovial hunting parties on their way 
 To visit Wartburg castle, in which dwelt 
 The Landgrave, Herman, and his men-at-arms, 
 And his brave knights of fair Thuringia. 
 And with him dwelt his niece, Elizabeth, 
 The princess of the realm. The minstrel knights 
 And nobles, skilled in voice and on the harp, 
 Were wont to gather in the Landgrave's hall 
 And there contest in song. In this fine art 
 The sweetest singer of Thuringia 
 Was young Tannhauser, who, by his fair face 
 And wondrous melodies in song, had won 
 The heart of proud Elizabeth. And yet 
 This noble knight was dreamy in his mood 
 And restless in his life, dissatisfied, 
 And longed for change and new experiences. 

 And in this dreamy mood, with harp in hand, 
 He passed, one day, the grotto of the Venusburg. 
 The great enchantress of this fateful place 
 Put forth her magic spells and drew him on. 
 And when Tannhauser raised his eyes he saw 
 A country beautiful and strangely new. 
 As through a doorway seen, there flitted through 
 The gleaming, ever-changing, rose-hued mist 
 A countless throng of figures beautiful. 
 And heavy-headed flowers sent to him 
 Their all-compeUing perfume through the air. 
 And far away he saw the misty lakes 
 Of magic blue. The sound of music came to him. 
 So strangely sweet it almost gave him pain 
 To hear. And in the midst of all there stood 
 The great enchantress, smiling, beckoning him 
 To come. So great her spell, he moved as in a dream, 
 Into the grotto passed, and fancied that 
 He heard a heavy door behind him clang. 
 For one long year, with ever changing scenes, 
 Tannhauser stayed within the Venusburg 
 And thought that he was happy there. The change 
 In shifting scenes, the wild bacchantes, and 
 The nymphs in mimic war, in graceful dance, 
 Afforded for his ever restless soul 
 The wild excitement which he craved. And for 
 His softer moods the chording voices of 
 The sirens satisfied. He breathed the scent 
 Of flowers wondrous sweet, and watched at times 

 Dissolving mist-wreaths as they faded out 
 Their rosy hues. With Venus long he sat 
 At other times, and more and more she wove 
 Her spells which bound him fast to her. She taught 
 To him her songs of love, which he before 
 Had never heard, and dazzled by her charms 
 He worshipped her as did the world of old 
 When she was grand and true and gave 
 The gift of noble love to all humanity. 
 Tannhauser, now enthralled by magic spells, 
 Had long forgotten all his former life — 
 His friends, his love for fair Elizabeth, 
 His love for God, for Christ and righteousness, 
 And all the good and true which come to man 
 By sacrifice and overcoming sin 
 Were banished from his mind, so lost was he 
 To all the life within the Venusburg. 
 And yet, the restless nature of his soul 
 That led him into sin was destined to 
 Arouse him to his lost estate. One day 
 Tannhauser felt himself awake once more. 
 He fancied that he heard the clanging peals 
 Of church bells far away, and through his mind 
 There struggled back the long forgotten life ; 
 The sun, the friendly glimmer of the stars. 
 The song of nightingales, the morning light, 
 The freshness of the earth, the skies above. 
 In memory came rushing through his mind. 
 In wild appeal to Venus now he cried: 

 "Are these things lost to me?" And, rising from 
 Her couch, with quick though mild rebuke she bade 
 Him call to mind for her a scene less sad. 
 For she remembered well the world from which 
 She was dethroned and basely relegated to 
 This under-realm. Tannhauser, now aroused. 
 Felt all his restlessness, and would not be 
 Denied. In vain she wove about him now 
 Her magic spells. Tannhauser pleaded for 
 Releasement from her power, to live again 
 His former life, to know the natural joys, 
 The sorrows and the common things of earth. 
 In wrath she charged him with ingratitude 
 To her for all the lavished joys which she 
 Had given him. But when she saw in vain 
 Her wrath affected him, in softer tones 
 She promised him more perfect joys, and things 
 More beautiful. And while she spoke there came 
 From over all the dim blue lakes the soft 
 Caressing voices of the sirens in 
 Their wondrous harmonies. "My knight," she cried, 
 "Why will you fly?" With stormy passion moved, 
 Tannhauser seized his harp and smote the strings, 
 And sang in mighty voice. He pledged to sing 
 When in the upper world, of Venus and 
 Her praise alone, but to that upper world 
 He now must go. The great enchantress saw 
 Her power on him now was gone, and bade him go. 
 Then in a moment flashed away from him 
 The Venusburg and all its wondrous spells; 

 And, stretched full length upon the mountain side, 
 Tannhauser found himself too weak to rise 
 Up from the grassy slope at first. Confused 
 In mind, up to the wide blue sky he gazed. 
 While slowly came to him the memory 
 Of all his former life, the bitter truth 
 Of sin in going to the Venusburg. 
 And from the pasture lands below he heard 
 The sheep bells, where the peaceful shepherd lad 
 Lay playing on his pipes, and pausing now and then 
 To sing a song to Holda, goddess of 
 The Spring. Across the quiet valley came 
 The sounds of hunting horns, the baying of 
 The hunting pack with full excitement for 
 The chase, and stirred the lonely knight upon 
 The mountain side to full activity. 
 And soon the Landgrave and five minstrel knights 
 Drew near and recognized Tannhauser, and 
 With words of welcome and much kindness asked 
 Where he had been. *T wandered in strange lands,' 
 Tannhauser said. "I pray you question not, 
 But let me pass." The Landgrave saw his mood 
 And courteously forbore to further press 
 And question him, but pointed out how sad 
 Had been the princess, fair Elizabeth, 
 In his long absence from the hall, and asked 
 That he should join the coming revels of 
 The minstrelsy of song in Wartburg Hall. 
 With gladness in his heart he promised to 
 Attend. And now the heavens seemed to smile 

 A pardon down on him, and sweet the wind 
 Blew softly on his face. "Elizabeth," he said. 
 The murmur of her name a sense of peace 
 And freedom brought to him. And now once more 
 He humbly prayed to God that he might be 
 Forgiven for his sin, and find a peace 
 Of heart, and full acceptance in His sight. 

 The Landgrave's gilded hall was all bedecked 
 In preparation for the minstrel knights 
 Who would contest in skill upon the harp. 
 Though named were all contestants long before, 
 Tannhauser's name was added to the list 
 In recognition of his marvelous skill 
 And, too, in honor of his coming home. 
 Before the minstrel hour the princess, fair 
 Elizabeth, came in the hall to feast 
 Her eyes upon the place where, long before, 
 Tannhauser's harp and voice awoke her heart 
 To such fond sympathy and ardent love. 
 When now at last he had returned her heart 
 Was beating fast with its tumultous joy. 
 And scarcely could await the hour when she 
 Could see her noble knight and hear his voice again. 

 At last the hour arrived, and to the hall 
 The princess came. Her white, soft draperies, 
 Embroidered in rich colors, fell around 
 Her graceful form in many folds, and on 
 Her brow a crown of fretted gold proclaimed 
 Thuringia's princess, fair Elizabeth. 
 She was of northern birth, in coloring 
 Was fair, and had the clear blue eyes with which 
 The daughters of the cold and far north skies 
 So often are endowed. And for her hand 
 The prince, brave knights and nobles from afar, 
 Came suing ardently. To all of whom 
 She was unfailing kind, but ever proud, 
 And cold and stately in her pride, the pride 
 In generations of her noble blood. 
 One knight alone had touched her heart, and while 
 He was away she turned her back upon 
 The gayeties of the realm. But once again, 
 Now that he had returned, her spirit thrilled 
 With quickened heartbeats of her happiness, 
 And sent its sparkling gleams to her blue eyes. 
 Into the minstrel hall the noble knights 
 Came, bearing each his harp. Elizabeth 
 In queenly beauty stood with welcome smiles, 
 But yet with searching eyes for one above 
 All other knights. He came, by Wolfram led. 
 In through a doorway at the side. "Ah, there 
 She is, — the princess," Wolfram softly said, 
 And turned away, upon a pillar leaned 

 All richly carved, and fixed his gaze upon 
 The quiet beauty of the vale without. 
 "O! princess fair!" he heard Tannhauser cry, 
 And then her voice, with love, which softly said, 
 "You must not kneel to me." He heard no more. 
 Save now and then a word, a phrase which filled 
 His heart with cold despair, for Wolfram, too. 
 The princess loved, but in his noble heart — 
 His heart as noble as his name — he now 
 Relinquished all his hopes for those he loved. 
 And who would find their joy in mutual love. 
 The Landgrave, smiling, came into the hall. 
 And in her joy Elizabeth herself 
 Threw in his arms, so great her happiness. 
 Together mounted they the royal seat 
 To wait the coming of the knights and guests. 
 All bidden to the feast of love and song. 
 Four pages called the guests as they arrived ; 
 The Landgrave, with all stately courtesy, 
 The princess, with the utmost graciousness. 
 Made welcome there the knights and all the guests, 
 Arrayed in rich medieval dress. There stood 
 Behind them all the men-at-arms; also 
 The Landgrave's brave retainers lined the wall. 
 The swinging lamps revealed the columns rich 
 In carving. When the guests had all arrived. 
 The Landgrave stood and said the contest was 
 Of love in song, and he who won should have 
 The hand of fair Elizabeth, he pledged; 

 Not doubting once that he would win in song 
 Who had already won Elizabeth 
 In ardent love. "All hail ! Thuringia's lord !" 
 The minstrels cried in greeting to his speech. 
 Then came deep silence as the pages passed 
 The golden cup in which each minstrel dropped 
 A folded slip of paper with his name. 
 Then from the golden cup Elizabeth 
 Drew out a name and gave it to the page 
 Who raised his voice and cried, 
 "Herr Wolfram Eschenbach in song begin." 
 Upon his feet Von Eschenbach arose 
 And to his harp's soft rippling cadences 
 Began to sing: first of brave knights and to 
 Fair ladies present in the hall. Then to 
 Elizabeth his pent-up soul in song 
 Poured out the mighty passion of his love. 
 He sang in noble fervor to the star 
 Of love embodied in the princess fair. 
 Applause from all the guests and minstrels rang 
 Save from Tannhauser, seeming lost in dreams, 
 From which he did not rouse until the page 
 Announced his name as next upon the slip 
 Drawn by the princess from the golden cup. 
 He took his harp, but hardly knowing what 
 He did, for wild excitement seized his mind. 
 Once more rose-colored mists before his eyes 
 Arose, and voices whispered in his ears. 

 He stood as blind, with throbbing heart, and swayed 
 As sways an oak with storm and tempest tossed. 
 "I, too, have seen the fount of love," he cried, 
 And then his vow, back in the Venusburg: 
 That Venus, when he sang, should be his theme, 
 Enchained his memory. He smote his harp 
 And sang with stormy music till the roof 
 With praise of Venus rang. Still higher rose 
 His voice in eulogy of fairest, then. 
 Of all enchantresses. At last he flung 
 Away his harp and cried, ''I fly, I fly 
 Back to the Venusburg." Entranced, transfixed, 
 He stood, his harp unnoticed at his feet. 
 In horror-stricken tones the nobles cried, 
 "Hear him! Hear him! So to the Venusburg 
 This wandering knight has been. Press forward, all, 
 And in his blood bathe every sword." With cries 
 The ladies hastened from the hall, save fair 
 Elizabeth, who stood there shuddering 
 Betwixt her horror and her mighty love. 
 Increased the clamor and the great tumult 
 From every side as came the cry, "Kill him!" 
 And, pressing on, the nobles drew their swords 
 To do their deadly work. "Brave knights, stop" cried 
 Elizabeth; "Or else kill me. Stand back!" 
 Her tones were full of mingled love and deep 
 Despair, and yet surcharged with dignity 
 And stern command. The nobles all fell back, 
 Amazed to see their princess shield a wretch 
 As was Tannhauser now. Her voice all full 
 Of piteous tragedy continued in 
 Her plea: ''What is the wounds your swords could give 
 To this death-stroke which has been dealt to me?" 
 The nobles cried, "This fallen and false knight 
 You should be first indeed to scorn." She said, 
 "Why do you speak of me? Of this poor knight, 
 Of hi'm and his salvation, you should speak. 
 This knight, by dreadful magic bound, can yet, 
 Through sorrow and repentance, break his chains, 
 And win forgiveness from the pitying Lord. 
 I plead for him, for his dear life I plead." 
 Tannhauser, softened by her pleading words 
 And his own deep remorse, bowed low his head 
 And wept. The knights, now softened by his grief, 
 More gently spoke, but still in deep reproach. 
 At last the Landgrave spoke with kindness and 
 Command, the course Tannhauser must pursue, 
 Because around him clung the magic spells 
 And dark enchantment lingered in his heart. 
 He must go forth and not return again 
 To fair Thuringia till his soul was free 
 From all the spells of Venus. He advised 
 Tannhauser to unite himself with pilgrims, 
 Then setting out for Rome to seek the Pope ^ 
 And pray for pardon for their sins. And while 
 He talked there came from far without the chant 
 Of voices sweet and low, which brought a peace 
 And gentle rest into the minstrel hall, 
 Which short before with strife and tumult rang. 
 Tannhauser heard the chant ; with rising hope 
 And with a sudden impulse rose and said, 
 "I go to Rome." "To Rome!" the nobles cried. 
 The nobles, Landgrave and Elizabeth, 
 All cried with one loud voice to speed him on 
 From the great doorway of the Hall, 'To Rome!' 

 Now full of hope and deep repentance too, 
 Tannhauser hastened on his pilgrimage 
 To Rome. The road was long and rough and full 
 Of weariness, with none to aid him save 
 His staff. But his own deep remorse, also 
 His reborn faith in God, his reverent love 
 Now for Elizabeth made easy all the way. 
 When other pilgrims through the meadows went 
 And sought the gentle paths, he turned aside 
 To bruise his feet in thorns and stony ways. 
 The wayside streams he passed and bore his thirst. 
 In silence and contrition pressing on. 
 He filled his mind with hope and noble thoughts 
 Of future deeds and life all free from sin. 
 At last when many days were passed he came 
 To Rome. The bells were pealing forth in joy, 
 And anthems filled the air in promise of 

 The pardons for the weary pilgrim band, 
 As one by one they sought the presence of the Pope 
 And from him found the full assurance of 
 Forgiveness for their sins. Then came at last 
 Tannhauser's turn. In deep repentance now 
 He humbly knelt and told of all his sin : 
 The Venusburg, its dark and evil spells, 
 His wasted year, his fearful seizure in 
 The minstrel hall. For mercy now he begged 
 The Pope, and from enchantment to be freed. 
 But sternly spoke his papal lord, 'Tf you 
 Have been into the Venusburg, and there 
 Enchanted by its magic powers and spells, 
 You will succumb again, and you may hope 
 For God's forgiveness when my staff puts forth 
 Green leaves." Struck dumb with grief and deep 
 Tannhauser staggered forth. In hopelessness 
 He fell upon the ground and wished for death. 
 At last when he arose, the pilgrim band 
 Had passed its way toward home, and from afar 
 Its chorus of thanksgiving faintly reached 
 His ears. Tannhauser took his staff, alone 
 To wander on he knew not where, bereft 
 Of consolation, and of hope and love. 
 And far, far away in secret prayed 
 EHzabeth in agonizing love 
 To God that He might save Tannhauser's soul, 
 And bring him back to her from magic powers 

 Redeemed. The year passed on and bringing near 
 The time the pilgrims must return from Rome. 
 EHzabeth more anxious grew ; there spread 
 Upon her face a greater sign of fear 
 And growing sadness, which Von Eschenbach 
 Was quick to see. He sought to comfort her 
 With gentle words, and unobtrusive love. 
 And ever watchful care. Elizabeth 
 Was grateful for his deep solicitude 
 And love, but could not give him love for love. 
 Thus, day by day, down to the Virgin's shrine. 
 Where passed the pilgrims on their road from Rome, 
 She came to pray, until one day there came 
 Upon the wind the echo of a song 
 Which she well knew. ''It is their song," she cried 
 With heart half bursting with its hope and fear. 
 Its pent-up agony and love. She strained 
 Her eyes to see the coming pilgrim band. 
 And of the band the pilgrim whom she loved. 
 Still onward came the pilgrims as they sang 
 Triumphantly of God — His mighty love. 
 And His forgiveness of their sins, x^nd they. 
 Unseeing, passed her by while she saw them, 
 But saw not with them that dear pilgrim face 
 She sought. "No more will he return," she said, 
 And, with the wound of death upon her face. 
 She sought the palace hall to wait and die. 
 For die she must, she knew, without his love. 
 To see his face no more ; to hear his voice 
 No more ; was more than she could bear and live. 

 A few more days were passed so quietly 
 None in the palace thought Elizabeth 
 Was near the end of life, or that her grief 
 And love were yet so great that she must die. 
 They thought her youth would yet assert itself 
 And time would bring a solace to her love, 
 And heal her broken heart. But scarcely was 
 The sun up from the glowing East when she 
 One morning called the Landgrave to her bed, 
 And all the household dear, and bade tham all, 
 A last farewell. And while they wept for her 
 She closed her eyes and died. So gently did 
 She pass she seemed as one who slept. 
 And then Elizabeth was laid to rest 
 With swelling music, and with holy mass, 
 And gorgeous obsequies becoming to 
 Her princely race and noble line of kings. 
 Wolfram von Eschenbach stood on a hill 
 One day above the shrine more sacred now 
 To him because in prayer Elizabeth 
 Had knelt so often there. The twiHght hour 
 Came on and brightly shone the evening star, 
 And as he watched he felt as if it were 
 The shining spirit of Elizabeth. 
 He struck his harp and softly sang a song 
 In which he made the lovely evening star 
 In its soft radiance to symbolize 
 Elizabeth in purity and love. 
 And, while he sang, he saw in ragged garb 
 A pilgrim leaning hard upon his staff 
 As he approached, and on his haggard face 
 The marks of deep despair and hopelessness. 
 And when the pilgrim spoke he recognized 
 Tannhauser, whom he kindly welcomed home. 
 "Tell me the story of your pilgrimage," 
 He said. Briefly Tannhauser told him all, 
 And said, "When I have seen Elizabeth 
 Once more, I leave this valley never to 
 Return again." "Alas," Von Wolfram said, 
 "Elizabeth is dead. She died for you. 
 In daily prayer for you and faithful love, 
 She pined her life away, and now a saint 
 In heaven she pleads with everlasting love 
 For you." Tannhauser fell upon the earth 
 With grief too much to bear. And while he lay, 
 Behold, swift messengers came from the Pope 
 And bore aloft the papal staff and sang 
 Of a great marvel wrought by God, for now 
 The staff put forth green leaves in token of 
 Tannhauser's full redemption from his sins. 
 The evening star in gentle radiance 
 Shone down upon the pilgrim's face at last 
 Reposing in the calm and peace of death.