Home  »  library  »  poem  »  From the Flats

C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

From the Flats

By Sidney Lanier (1842–1881)

WHAT heart-ache—ne’er a hill!

Inexorable, vapid, vague and chill

The drear sand-levels drain my spirit low.

With one poor word they tell me all they know;

Whereat their stupid tongues, to tease my pain,

Do drawl it o’er again and o’er again.

They hurt my heart with griefs I cannot name:

Always the same, the same.

Nature hath no surprise;

No ambuscade of beauty ’gainst mine eyes

From brake or lurking dell or deep defile;

No humors, frolic forms—this mile, that mile;

No rich reserves or happy-valley hopes

Beyond the bend of roads, the distant slopes.

Her fancy fails, her wild is all run tame:

Ever the same, the same.

Oh, might I through these tears

But glimpse some hill my Georgia high uprears

Where white the quartz and pink the pebble shine,

The hickory heavenward strives, the muscadine

Swings o’er the slope, the oak’s far-falling shade

Darkens the dogwood in the bottom glade,

And down the hollow from a ferny nook

Lull sings a little brook!