Promise

- 1880-1966

Through the moil and the gloom they have issued
    To the steps of the upwinding hill, 
Where the sweet, dulcet pipes of tomorrow
    In their preluding rhapsodies trill.

With a thud comes a stir in the bosom,
    As there steals on the sight from afar,
Through a break of a cloud’s coiling shadow
    The gleam of a bright morning star!

Old Black Men

They have dreamed as young men dream
     Of glory, love and power;
They have hoped as youth will hope
     Of life’s sun-minted hour.

They have seen as other saw
     Their bubbles burst in air,
And they have learned to live it down
     As though they did not care.

The Heart of a Woman

The heart of a woman goes forth with the dawn,
As a lone bird, soft winging, so restlessly on,
Afar o'er life's turrets and vales does it roam
In the wake of those echoes the heart calls home.

The heart of a woman falls back with the night,
And enters some alien cage in its plight,
And tries to forget it has dreamed of the stars
While it breaks, breaks, breaks on the sheltering bars.

The Dreams of the Dreamer

The dreams of the dreamer
   Are life-drops that pass
The break in the heart
   To the soul’s hour-glass.

The songs of the singer
   Are tones that repeat
The cry of the heart
   ‘Till it ceases to beat.

Related Poems

The Promise of the Morning Star

          Thou father of the children of my brain
           By thee engendered in my willing heart,
           How can I thank thee for this gift of art
          Poured out so lavishly, and not in vain.

          What thou created never more can die,
           Thy fructifying power lives in me
           And I conceive, knowing it is by thee,
          Dear other parent of my poetry!

          For I was but a shadow with a name,
           Perhaps by now the very name's forgot;
           So strange is Fate that it has been my lot
          To learn through thee the presence of that aim

          Which evermore must guide me. All unknown,
           By me unguessed, by thee not even dreamed,
           A tree has blossomed in a night that seemed
          Of stubborn, barren wood. For thou hast sown

          This seed of beauty in a ground of truth.
           Humbly I dedicate myself, and yet
           I tremble with a sudden fear to set
          New music ringing through my fading youth.

Hope.

Wild seas of tossing, writhing waves,
A wreck half-sinking in the tortuous gloom;
One man clings desperately, while Boreas raves,
     And helps to blot the rays of moon and star,
     Then comes a sudden flash of light, which gleams on shores afar.

To Hope

    Oh, Hope! thou soother sweet of human woes!
    How shall I lure thee to my haunts forlorn!
For me wilt thou renew the wither’d rose,
    And clear my painful path of pointed thorn?
Ah come, sweet nymph! in smiles and softness drest,
    Like the young hours that lead the tender year,
Enchantress! come, and charm my cares to rest:—
    Alas! the flatterer flies, and will not hear!
A prey to fear, anxiety, and pain,
    Must I a sad existence still deplore?
Lo!—the flowers fade, but all the thorns remain,
    “For me the vernal garland blooms no more.”
Come then, “pale Misery’s love!” be thou my cure,
And I will bless thee, who, tho’ slow, art sure.