Oh, solitude, where is the sting,
    That men ascribe to thee?
Where is the terror in thy mien?
    I look, but cannot see.

Where hidest thou, that loneliness
    The world pretends to fear?
While lying on thy loving breast
    I find my sweetest cheer.

They do not understand thee, no,
    They are but knaves or fools,
Or else they must discern in thee
    Dame Nature’s queen of schools.

For in thy care, with naught but books,
    The bards and saints of old,
Become my friends and to mine ear
    Their mystic truths unfold.

When problems and perplexities
    Of life becloud my mind,
I know in thee, oh, solitude,
    The answer I can find.

When grief and sorrow crowd my heart
    To breaking, with their fears
Within thy arms, oh, solitude,
    I find relief in tears.

And when I weary of the world’s
    Deceits and cares and strife,
I find in thee sweet rest and peace
    And vigorous new life.

My garden never is complete
    Without a blooming rose,
Nor is my life, oh, solitude,
    Without thy sweet repose.

Winter to Spring

Did not I remember that my hair is grey
    With only a fringe of it left,
I’d follow your footsteps from wee break of day
    Till night was of moon-light bereft.

Your eyes wondrous fountains of joy and of youth
    Remind me of days long since flown,
My sweetheart, I led to the altar of truth,
    But then the gay spring was my own.

Now winter has come with its snow and its wind
    And made me as bare as its trees,
Oh, yes, I still love, but it’s only in mind,
    For I’m fast growing weak at the knees.

Your voice is as sweet as the song of a bird, 
    Your manners are those of the fawn,
I dream of you, darling,—oh, pardon, that word,
    From twilight to breaking of dawn.

Your name in this missive you’ll search for in vain,
    Nor mine at the finis, I’ll fling,
For winter must suffer the bliss and the pain 
In secret for loving the spring.

Related Poems

Deep in the Quiet Wood

Are you bowed down in heart?
Do you but hear the clashing discords and the din of life?
Then come away, come to the peaceful wood,
Here bathe your soul in silence. Listen! Now,
From out the palpitating solitude
Do you not catch, yet faint, elusive strains?
They are above, around, within you, everywhere.
Silently listen! Clear, and still more clear, they come.
They bubble up in rippling notes, and swell in singing tones.
Now let your soul run the whole gamut of the wondrous scale
Until, responsive to the tonic chord,
It touches the diapason of God’s grand cathedral organ,
Filling earth for you with heavenly peace
And holy harmonies.

By the Stream

By the stream I dream in calm delight, and watch as in a glass,
How the clouds like crowds of snowy-hued and white-robed maidens pass,
And the water into ripples breaks and sparkles as it spreads,
Like a host of armored knights with silver helmets on their heads.
And I deem the stream an emblem fit of human life may go,
For I find a mind may sparkle much and yet but shallows show,
And a soul may glow with myriad lights and wondrous mysteries,
When it only lies a dormant thing and mirrors what it sees.

Beehive

Within this black hive to-night
There swarm a million bees;
Bees passing in and out the moon,
Bees escaping out the moon,
Bees returning through the moon,
Silver bees intently buzzing,
Silver honey dripping from the swarm of bees
Earth is a waxen cell of the world comb,
And I, a drone,
Lying on my back,
Lipping honey,
Getting drunk with silver honey,
Wish that I might fly out past the moon
And curl forever in some far-off farmyard flower.