"O Trade! O Trade! would thou wert
The age needs heart—'tis tired of
We're all for love," the violins
"Of what avail the rigorous tale
Of coin for coin and box for bale?
Grant thee, O Trade! thine uttermost
Level red gold with blue sky-slope,
And base it deep as devils grope,
When all's done what hast thou won
Of the only sweet that's under the
Ay, canst thou buy a single sigh
Of true love's least, least ecstasy?"
Then all the mightier strings,
Fell a-trembling, with a trembling
Bridegroom's heart-beats quick
Ranged them on the violin's side
Like a bridegroom by his bride,
And, heart in voice, together cried:
"Yea, what avail the endless tale
Of gain by cunning and plus by sale?
Look up the land, look down the
The poor, the poor, the poor, they
Wedged by the pressing of Trade's
Against an inward-opening door
That pressure tightens ever more:
They sigh, with a monstrous foul-air
For the outside heaven of liberty,
Where Art, sweet lark, translates the
Into a heavenly melody.
'Each day, all day' (these poor folks
'In the same old year-long, drear-long
We weave in the mills and heave in the
We sieve mine-meshes under the hills,
And thieve much gold from the Devil's
To relieve, O God, what manner of
Such manner of ills as brute-flesh
The beasts, they hunger, eat, sleep,
And so do we, and our world's a sty;
And, fellow-swine, why nuzzle and
Swinehood hath never a remedy,
The rich man says, and passes by,
And clamps his nostril and shuts his
Did God say once in God's sweet tone,
Man shall not live by bread alone,
But by all that cometh from His white
Yea: God said so,
But the mills say
And the kilns and the strong bank-tills
There's plenty that can, if you can't.
Move out, if you think you're
The poor are prolific; we re not
Business is business; a trade is a
Over and over the mills have said.'"
And then these passionate hot
Changed to less vehement moods, until
They sank to sad suggestings
And requestings sadder still:
"And oh, if the world might some time
'Tis not a law of necessity
That a trade just naught but a trade must
Does business mean, Die,
Then 'business is business' phrases a
'Tis only war grown miserly.
If Traffic is battle, name it so:
War-crimes less will shame it so,
And we victims less will blame it so.
But oh, for the poor to have some
In the sweeter half of life called
Is not a problem of head, but of
Vainly might Plato's head revolve it:
Plainly the heart of a child could solve
And then, as when our words seem all too
We cease from speech, to take our thought
Back in our heart's great dark and
So sank the strings to heartwise
Of long chords change-marked with
Motherly sobbing, not distinctlier
Than half wing-openings of the sleeping
Some dream of danger to her young hath
Then stirring and demurring ceased, and
Every least ripple of the strings' song
Died to a level with each level bow,
And made a great chord tranquil-surfaced
As a brook beneath his curving bank doth
To linger in the sacred dark and
Where many boughs the still pool
And many leaves make shadow with their
A velvet flute-note fell down
Upon the bosom of that harmony,
And sailed and sailed incessantly,
As if a petal from a wild-rose blown
Had fluttered down upon that pool of
And boatwise dropped o' the convex
And floated down the glassy tide,
And clarified and glorified
The solemn spaces where the shadows
From the velvet convex of that fluted
Somewhat, half song, half odor, forth did
As if God turned a rose into a
"When Nature from her far-off glen
Flutes her soft messages to men,
The flute can say them o'er again;
Yea, Nature, singing sweet and lone,
Breathes through life's strident
The flute-voice in the world of tone.
Man's love ascends
To finer and diviner ends
Than man's mere thought e'er
For I, e'en I,
As here I lie,
A petal on a harmony,
Demand of Science whence and why
Man's tender pain, man's inward cry,
When he doth gaze on earth and sky?
Behold, I grow more bold:
Full powers from Nature manifold.
I speak for each no-tonguèd
That, spring by spring, doth nobler
And dumbly and most wistfully
His mighty prayerful arms outspreads
Above men's oft-unheeding heads,
And his big blessing downward sheds.
I speak for all-shaped blooms and
Lichens on stones and moss on eaves,
Grasses and grains in ranks and
Broad-fronded ferns and keen-leaved
And briery mazes bounding lanes,
And marsh-plants, thirsty-cupped for
And milky stems and sugary veins;
For every long-armed woman-vine
That round a piteous tree doth twine;
For passionate odors, and divine
Pistils, and petals crystalline;
All purities of shady springs,
All shynesses of film-winged things
That fly from tree-trunks and
All modesties of mountain-fawns
That leap to covert from wild lawns,
And tremble if the day but dawns;
All sparklings of small beady eyes
Of birds, and sidelong glances wise
Wherewith the jay hints tragedies;
All piquancies of prickly burs,
And smoothnesses of downs and furs
Of eiders and of minevers;
All limpid honeys that do lie
At stamen-bases, nor deny
The humming-birds' fine
Bee-thighs, nor any butterfly;
All gracious curves of slender wings,
Fern-wavings and leaf-flickerings;
Each dial-marked leaf and flower-bell
Wherewith in every lonesome dell
Time to himself his hours doth tell;
All tree-sounds, rustlings of
Wind-sighings, doves' melodious
And night's unearthly undertones;
All placid lakes and waveless deeps,
All cool reposing mountain-steeps,
Vale-calms and tranquil lotos-sleeps;
Yea, all fair forms, and sounds, and
And warmths, and mysteries, and
Of Nature's utmost depths and
—These doth my timid tongue
Their mouthpiece and lead instrument
And servant, all love-eloquent.
I heard, when 'All for love' the
Nature through me doth take their human
That soul is like a groom without a
That ne'er by Nature in great love hath
Much time is run, and man hath changed
Since Nature, in the antique
Was hid from man's true love by proxy
False fauns and rascal gods that stole
The nymphs, cold creatures of man's
Chilled Nature's streams till man's warm
heart was fain
Never to lave its love in them again.
Later, a sweet Voice Love thy
Then first the bounds of neighborhood
Beyond all confines of old ethnic
Vainly the Jew might wag his covenant
'All men are neighbors,' so the
sweet Voice said.
So, when man's arms had measure as man's
The liberal compass of his warm
Stretched bigger yet in the dark bounds
With hands a-grope he felt smooth
Drew her to breast and kissed her
His heart found neighbors in great hills
And streams and clouds and suns and birds
And throbbed with neighbor-loves in
But oh, the poor! the poor! the poor!
That stand by the inward-opening door
Trade's hand doth tighten ever more,
And sigh with a monstrous foul-air
For the outside heaven of liberty,
Where Nature spreads her wild blue
For Art to make into melody!
Thou Trade! thou king of the modern
Change thy ways,
Let the sweaty laborers file
A little while,
A little while,
Where Art and Nature sing and smile.
Trade! is thy heart all dead, all
And hast thou nothing but a head?
I'm all for heart," the flute-voice
And into sudden silence fled,
Like as a blush that while 'tis red
Dies to a still, still white instead.
Thereto a thrilling calm succeeds,
Till presently the silence breeds
A little breeze among the reeds
That seems to blow by sea-marsh
Then from the gentle stir and fret
Sings out the melting clarionet,
Like as a lady sings while yet
Her eyes with salty tears are wet.
"O Trade! O Trade!" the Lady said,
"I too will wish thee utterly dead
If all thy heart is in thy head.
For O my God! and O my God!
What shameful ways have women trod
At beckoning of Trade's golden rod!
Alas when sighs are traders' lies,
And heart's-ease eyes and violet eyes
O purchased lips that kiss with pain!
O cheeks coin-spotted with smirch and
O trafficked hearts that break in
—And yet what wonder at my sisters'
So hath Trade withered up Love's sinewy
Men love not women as in olden time.
Ah, not in these cold merchantable
Deem men their life an opal gray, where
The one red sweet of gracious ladies'
Now comes a suitor with sharp prying
Says, Here, you Lady, if you'll sell,
Come, heart for heart—a trade?
What! weeping? why?
Shame on such wooers' dapper mercery!
I would my lover kneeling at my feet
In humble manliness should cry, O
I know not if thy heart my heart will
I ask not if thy love my love can
Whatever thy worshipful soft tongue
I'll kiss thine answer, be it yea or
I do but know I love thee, and I
To be thy knight until my dying
Woe him that cunning trades in hearts
Base love good women to base loving
If men loved larger, larger were our
And wooed they nobler, won they nobler
There thrust the bold straightforward
To battle for that lady lorn;
With heartsome voice of mellow scorn,
Like any knight in knighthood's morn.
"Now comfort thee," said he,
Soon shall God right thy grievous
Soon shall man sing thee a true-love
Voiced in act his whole life long,
Yea, all thy sweet life long,
Where's he that craftily hath said
The day of chivalry is dead?
I'll prove that lie upon his head,
Or I will die instead,
Is Honor gone into his grave?
Hath Faith become a caitiff knave,
And Selfhood turned into a slave
To work in Mammon's cave,
Will Truth's long blade ne'er gleam
Hath Giant Trade in dungeons slain
All great contempts of mean-got gain
And hates of inward stain,
For aye shall Name and Fame be sold,
And Place be hugged for the sake of
And smirch-robed Justice feebly scold
At Crime all money-bold,
Shall self-wrapt husbands aye forget
Kiss-pardons for the daily fret
Wherewith sweet wifely eyes are
Blind to lips kiss-wise set—
Shall lovers higgle, heart for heart,
Till wooing grows a trading mart
Where much for little, and all for
Make love a cheapening art,
Shall woman scorch for a single sin
That her betrayer can revel in,
And she be burnt, and he but grin
When that the flames begin,
Shall ne'er prevail the woman's plea,
We maids would far, far whiter
If that our eyes might sometimes
Men maids in purity,
Shall Trade aye salve his
With jibes at Chivalry's old
The wars that o'erhot knighthood
For Christ's and ladies' sakes,
Now by each knight that e'er hath
To fight like a man and love like a
Since Pembroke's life, as Pembroke's
I' the scabbard, death, was laid,
I dare avouch my faith is bright
That God doth right and God hath
Nor time hath changed His hair to
Nor His dear love to spite,
I doubt no doubts: I strive, and shrive
And fight my fight in the patient modern
For true love and for thee—ah me!
To be thy knight until my dying day,
Said that knightly horn, and spurred
Into the thick of the melodious fray.
And then the hautboy played and
And sang like a little large-eyed
Cool-hearted and all undefiled.
"Huge Trade!" he said,
"Would thou wouldst lift me on thy
And run where'er my finger led!
Once said a Man—and wise was
Never shalt thou the heavens
Save as a little child thou
Then o'er sea-lashings of commingling
The ancient wise bassoons,
Old harpers sitting on the wild
"Bright-waved gain, gray-waved loss,
The sea of all doth lash and toss,
One wave forward and one across.
But now 'twas trough, now 'tis crest,
And worst doth foam and flash to
And curst to blest.
"Life! Life! thou sea-fugue, writ from
east to west,
Love, Love alone can pore
On thy dissolving score
Of wild half-phrasings,
Blotted ere writ,
And double erasings.
Of tunes full fit.
Yea, Love, sole music-master blest,
May read thy weltering palimpsest.
To follow Time's dying melodies
And never to lose the old in the
And ever to solve the discords
Love alone can do.
And ever Love hears the poor-folks'
And ever Love hears the women's
And ever sweet knighthood's
And ever wise childhood's deep
And never a trader's glozing and
"And yet shall Love himself be heard,
Though long deferred, though long
O'er the modern waste a dove hath
Music is Love in search of a Word."