July 27, 2011
—Amelia B. Welby.
I WANDERED out one summer night,
‘Twas when my years were few,
The wind was singing in the light.
And I was singing too;
The sunshine lay upon the hill,
The shadow in the vale,
And here and there a leaping rill
Was laughing on the gale.
One fleecy cloud upon the air
Was all that met my eyes;
It floated like an angel there
Between me and the skies;
I clapped my hands and warbled wild,
As here and there I flew,
For I was but a careless child,
And did as children do.
The waves came dancing o’er the sea
In bright and glittering bands;
Like little children, wild with glee,
They linked their dimpled hands—
They linked their hands, but, ere I caught
Their sprinkled drops of dew,
They kissed my feet, and, quick as thought,
Away the ripples flew.
The twilight hours, like birds, flew by,
As lightly and as free;
Ten thousand stars were in the sky,
Ten thousand on the sea;
For every wave with dimpled face,
That leaped upon the air,
Had caught a star in its embrace,
And held it trembling there.
The young moon, too, with upturned sides
Her mirrored beauty gave.
And, as a bark at anchor rides,
She rode upon the wave;
The sea was like the heaven above,
As perfect and as whole,
Have that it seemed to thrill with love
As thrills the immortal soul.
The leaves, by spirit-voices stirred,
Made murmurs on the air,
Low murmurs, that my spirit heard
And answered with a prayer;
For ‘twas upon that dewy sod,
Beside the moaning seas,
I learned at first to worship God
And sing such strains as these.
The flowers, all folded to their dreams,
Were bowed in slumber free
By breezy hills and murmuring streams,
Where’er they chanced to be;
No guilty tears had they to weep,
No sins to be forgiven;
They closed their leaves and went to sleep
‘Neath the blue eye of heaven!
No costly robes upon them shone,
No jewels from the seas,
Yet Solomon upon his throne
Was ne’er arrayed like these;
And just as free from guilt and art
Were lovely human flowers,
Ere Sorrow set her bleeding heart
On this fair world of ours.
I heard the laughing wind behind
A-playing with my hair;
The breezy fingers of the wind—
How cool and moist they were!
I heard the night-bird warbling o’er
Its soft, enchanting strain:
I never heard such sounds before,
And never shall again.
Then wherefore weave such strains as these,
And sing them day by day,
When every bird upon the breeze
Can sing a sweeter lay?
I’d give the world for their sweet art,
The simple, the divine—
I’d give the world to melt one heart
As they have melted mine!