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And in better hours and brighter,
When I saw thy waters gleam, I have felt my heart beat lighter,
And leap onward with thy stream.
Not for this alone I love thee,
Nor because thy waves of blue From celestial seas above thee
Take their own celestial hue.
Where yon shadowy woodlands hide thee,
And thy waters disappear,
And have made thy margin dear.
More than this; thy name reminds me
Of three friends, all true and tried ; And that name, like magic, binds me
Closer, closer to thy side.
Friends my soul with joy remembers !
How like quivering flames they start, When I fan the living embers On the hearth-stone of my heart !
'Tis for this, thou Silent River !
That my spirit leans to thee; Thou hast been a generous giver, Take this idle song from me.
Written November 3, 1841. Mr. Longfellow writes under that date to Mr. Ward: “I was reading this morning, just after breakfast, the tenth chapter of Mark, in Greek, the last seven verses of which contain the story of blind Bartimeus, and always seemed to me remarkable for their beauty. At once the whole scene presented itself to my mind in lively colors, — the walls of Jericho, the cold wind through the gate-way, the ragged, blind beggar, his shrill cry, the tumultuous crowd, the serene Christ, the miracle; and these things took the form I have given them above, where, perforce, I have retained the striking Greek expressions of entreaty, comfort, and healing; though I am well aware that Greek was not spoken at Jericho. The poem is for your private eye. It must see the light first in the volume, which is going bravely on. I think I shall add to the title “supposed to be written by a monk of the Middle Ages,' as it is in the legend style.”
Blind Bartimeus at the gates
The thronging multitudes increase;
Then saith the Christ, as silent stands
And he replies, “Oh, give me light !
Ye that have eyes, yet cannot see,
THE GOBLET OF LIFE.
Mr. Longfellow writing to Mr. Ward, November 3, 1841, says: “I shall send him [Mr. Benjamin) a new poem, called simply Fennel, which I do not copy here on account of its length. It is as good, perhaps, as Excelsior. Hawthorne, who is passing the night with me, likes it better.” He afterward changed the title to that which the poem now bears. This was the other of the two pieces which Mr. Benjamin valued lightly. It was printed in Graham's Magazine, January, 1842.
FILLED is Life's goblet to the brim;
With solemn voice and slow.
No purple flowers, — no garlands green,
Thick leaves of mistletoe.
This goblet, wrought with curious art, Is filled with waters, that upstart, When the deep fountains of the heart, By strong convulsions rent apart,
Are running all to waste.
And as it mantling passes round,
And give a bitter taste.
Above the lowly plants it towers,
than ours Was gifted with the wondrous powers,
Lost vision to restore. ·
It gave new strength, and fearless mood;
A wreath of fennel wore.
Then in Life's goblet freely press,
New light and strength they give !
And he who has not learned to know
How bitter are the drops of woe,
He has not learned to live.
of Ajax was for light; Through all that dark and desperate fight, The blackness of that noonday night, He asked but the return of sight,
To see his foeman's face.
Let our unceasing, earnest prayer
One half the human race.
O suffering, sad humanity!
who lie Steeped to the lips in misery, Longing, and yet afraid to die,
Patient, though sorely tried !
I pledge you in this cup of grief,
Then sleep we side by side.