August 3, 2011
—Harriet Beecher Stowe.
WHY shouldst thou study in the month of June
The dusty books of Greek and Hebrew lore,
When the Great Teacher of all glorious things
Passes in hourly light before thy door?
There is a brighter book unrolling now;
Fair are its leaves as is the tree of heaven,
All veined, and dewed, and gemmed with wondrous signs,
To which a healing mystic power is given.
Now is that glorious resurrection time,
When all earth’s buried beauties have new birth;
Behold the yearly miracle complete,
God hath created a new heaven and earth!
No tree that wants its joyful garments now,
No flower but hastes its bravery to don;
God bids thee to his marriage feast of joy,
Let thy soul put the wedding garment on.
All fringed with festal gold the barberry stands,
The ferns, exultant, clap their new made wings.
The hemlock rustles broideries of fresh green,
And thousand bells of pearl the blueberry rings.
Hast thou no time for all this wondrous show—
No thought to spare? Wilt thou forever be
With thy last year’s dry flower-stalk and dead leaves,
And no new shoot or blossom on thy tree?
See how the pines push off their last year’s leaves,
And stretch beyond them with exultant bound;
The grass and flowers with living power o’ergrow
Their last year’s remnants on the greening ground.
Wilt thou, then, all thy wintry feelings keep,
The old dead routine of thy book writ lore;
Nor deem that God can teach, by one bright hour.
What life hath never taught to thee before?
See what vast leisure, what unbounded rest,
Lie in the bending dome of the blue sky;
Ah, breathe that life-born languor from thy breast,
And know once more a child’s unreasoning joy.
Cease, cease to think, and be content to be;
Swing safe at anchor in fair nature’s bay;
Reason no more, but o’er thy quiet soul
Let God’s sweet teachings ripple their soft way.
Soar with the bird, and flutter with the leaf;
Dance with the seeded grass in fringy play;
Sail with the cloud; wave with the dreamy pine;
And float with nature all the life-long day.
Call not such hours an idle waste of life;
Land that lies fallow gains a quiet power;
It treasures from the brooding of God’s wings
Strength to unfold the future tree and flower.
So shall it be with thee, if restful still
Thou rightly studiest the summer hour;
Like a deep fountain which a brook doth fill,
Thy mind in seeming rest doth gather power.
And when the summer’s glorious show is past,
Its miracles no longer charm thy sight,
The treasured riches of these thoughtful hours
Shall make thy wintry musings warm and bright.