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


By Madison Cawein (1865–1914)

From ‘Poems’

THERE is no rhyme that is half so sweet

As the song of the wind in the rippling wheat;

There is no metre that’s half so fine

As the lilt of the brook under rock and vine;

And the loveliest lyric I ever heard

Was the wildwood strain of a forest bird.—

If the wind and the brook and the bird would teach

My heart their beautiful parts of speech,

And the natural art that they say these with,

My soul would sing of beauty and myth

In a rhyme and metre that none before

Have sung in their love, or dreamed in their lore,

And the world would be richer one poet more.

A thought to lift me up to those

Sweet wildflowers of the pensive woods;

The lofty, lowly attitudes

Of bluet and of bramble-rose:

To lift me where my mind may reach

The lessons which their beauties teach.

A dream, to lead my spirit on

With sounds of fairy shawms and flutes,

And all mysterious attributes

Of skies of dusk and skies of dawn:

To lead me, like the wandering brooks,

Past all the knowledge of the books.

A song, to make my heart a guest

Of happiness whose soul is love;

One with the life that knoweth of

But song that turneth toil to rest:

To make me cousin to the birds,

Whose music needs not wisdom’s words.