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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Frederic William Henry Myers 1843–1901

A Letter from Newport


THE CRIMSON leafage fires the lawn,

The pil’d hydrangeas blazing glow;

How blue the vault of breezy dawn

Illumes the Atlantic’s crested snow!

’Twixt sea and sands how fair to ride

Through whispering airs a starlit way,

And watch those flashing towers divide

Heaven’s darkness from the darkling bay!

Ah, friend, how vain their pedant’s part,

Their hurrying toils how idly spent,

How have they wrong’d the gentler heart

Which thrills the awakening continent,

Who have not learnt on this bright shore

What sweetness issues from the strong,

Where flowerless forest, cataract roar,

Have found a blossom and a song!

Ah, what imperial force of fate

Links our one race in high emprize!

Nor aught henceforth can separate

Those glories mingling as they rise;

For one in heart, as one in speech,

At last have Child and Mother grown,—

Fair Figures! honoring each in each

A beauty kindred with her own.

Through English eyes more calmly soft

Looks from gray deeps the appealing charm;

Reddens on English cheeks more oft

The rose of innocent alarm;—

Our old-world heart more gravely feels,

Has learnt more force, more self-control;

For us through sterner music peals

The full accord of soul and soul.

But ah, the life, the smile untaught,

The floating presence feathery air!

The eyes and aspect that have caught

The brilliance of Columbian air!

No oriole through the forest flits

More sheenyplum’d, more gay and free;

On no nymph’s marble forehead sits

Proudlier a glad virginity.

So once the Egyptian, gravely bold,

Wander’d the Ionian folk among.

Heard from their high Letôon roll’d

That song the Delian maidens sung;

Danced in his eyes the dazzling gold,

For with his voice the tears had sprung,—

“They die not, these! they wax not old,

They are ever-living, ever-young!”

Spread then, great land! thine arms afar,

Thy golden harvest westward roll;

Banner with banner, star with star,

Ally the tropics and the pole;—

There glows no gem than these more bright

From ice to fire, from sea to sea;

Blossoms no fairer flower to light

Through all thine endless empery.

And thou come hither, friend! thou too

Their kingdom enter as a boy;

Fed with their glorious youth renew

Thy dimm’d prerogative of joy:—

Come with small question, little thought,

Through thy worn veins what pulse shall flow,

With what regrets, what fancies fraught,

Shall silver-footed summer go:—

If round one fairest face shall meet

Those many dreams of many fair,

And wandering homage seek the feet

Of one sweet queen, and linger there;

Or if strange winds betwixt be driven,

Unvoyageable oceans foam,

Nor this new earth, this airy heaven,

For thy sad heart can find a home.