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

Henry Augustin Beers (1847–1926)

His Footsteps

THE WILDERNESS a secret keeps

Upon whose guess I go:

Eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard;

And yet I know, I know,

Some day the viewless latch will lift,

The door of air swing wide

To one lost chamber of the wood

Where those shy mysteries hide,—

One yet unfound, exceeding depth,

From which the wood-thrush sings,

Still luring me to darker shades,

In—in—to colder springs.

There is no wind abroad to-day;

But hark the pine-tops’ war,

That sleep, and in their dreams repeat

The music of the shore.

What wisdom stirs among the pines?

What song is that they sing?

Those airs that search the forest’s heart,

What rumor do they bring?

A hushed excitement fills the gloom,

And in the stillness, clear

The river’s tell-tale warning rings:

“’Tis near—’tis near—’tis near!”

As in the fairy tale, more loud

The ghostly music plays,

When, toward the enchanted bower, the prince

Draws closer through the maze.

Nay, nay—I track a fleeter game,

A wilder than ye know,

To lairs beyond the utmost haunt

Of thrush or vireo.

This way it passed: the scent lies fresh;

The ferns still lightly shake.

Ever I follow hard upon,

But never overtake.