Madison Julius Cawein



Under Arcturus

by Madison Julius Cawein


I belt the morn with ribboned mist;
With baldricked blue I gird the noon,
And dusk with purple, crimson-kissed,
White-buckled with the hunter's moon.

These follow me, the season says:
Mine is the frost-pale hand that packs
Their scrips, and speeds them on their ways,
With gipsy gold that weighs their backs.


A daybreak horn the Autumn blows,
As with a sun-tanned hand he parts
Wet boughs whereon the berry glows;
And at his feet the red-fox starts.

The leafy leash that holds his hounds
Is loosed; and all the noonday hush
Is startled; and the hillside sounds
Behind the fox's bounding brush.

When red dusk makes the western sky
A fire-lit window through the firs,
He stoops to see the red-fox die
Among the chestnut's broken burs.

Then fanfaree and fanfaree,
Down vistas of the afterglow
His bugle rings from tree to tree,
While all the world grows hushed below.


Like some black host the shadows fall,
And darkness camps among the trees;
Each wildwood road, a Goblin Hall,
Grows populous with mysteries.

Night comes with brows of ragged storm,
And limbs of writhen cloud and mist;
The rain-wind hangs upon her arm
Like some wild girl that will be kissed.

By her gaunt hand the leaves are shed
Like nightmares an enchantress herds;
And, like a witch who calls the dead,
The hill-stream whirls with foaming words.

Then all is sudden silence and
Dark fear -- like his who can not see,
Yet hears, aye in a haunted land,
Death rattling on a gallow's tree.

The days approach again; the days,
Whose mantles stream, whose sandals drag;
When in the haze by puddled ways
Each gnarled thorn seems a crooked hag.

When rotting orchards reek with rain;
And woodlands crumble, leaf and log;
And in the drizzling yard again
The gourd is tagged with points of fog.

Oh, let me seat my soul among
Your melancholy moods! and touch
Your thoughts' sweet sorrow without tongue,
Whose silence says too much, too much!


The Garden Of Dreams
Copyright 1896
John P. Morton & Company, Louisville