Why do trees along the river
Lean so far out o’er the tide?
Very wise men tell me why, but
I am never satisfied;
And so I keep my fancy still,
That trees lean out to save
The drowning from the clutches of
The cold, remorseless wave.
Between me and the noise of strife
Are walls of mountains set with pine;
The dusty, care-strewn paths of life
Lead not to this retreat of mine.
I hear the morning wind awake
Beyond the purple height,
And, in the growing light,
The lap of lilies on the lake.
I live with Echo and with Song,
And Beauty leads me forth to see
Her temple’s colonnades, and long
Together do we love to be.
The mountains wall me in, complete,
And leave me but a bit blue
Above. All year, the days are sweet—
How sweet! And all the long nights thro’
I hear the river flowing by
Along its sandy bars;
Behold, far in the midnight sky,
An infinite of stars!
‘Tis sweet, when all is still,
When darkness gathers round,
To hear, from hill to hill,
The far, the wandering sound.
The cedar and the pine
Have pitched their tents with me.
What freedom vast is mine!
What room! What mystery!
Upon the dreamy southern breeze,
That steals in like a laden bee
And sighs for rest among the trees,
Are far-blown bits of melody.
What afterglows the twilight hold,
The darkening skies along!
And O, what rose-like dawns unfold,
That smite the hills to song!
High in the solitude of air,
The gray hawk circles on and on,
Till, like a spirit soaring there,
His image pales and he is gone!