Treasure Island

James Whitcomb Riley

(7 October 1849 - 22 July 1916 / Greenfield, Indiana)

Some Songs After Master Singers


I

SONG

[W.S.]

With a hey! and a hi! and a hey-ho rhyme!
O the shepherd lad
He is ne'er so glad
As when he pipes, in the blossom-time,
So rare!
While Kate picks by, yet looks not there.
So rare! so rare!
_With a hey! and a hi! and a ho!_
_The grasses curdle where the daisies blow!_

With a hey! and a hi! and a hey-ho vow!
Then he sips her face
At the sweetest place--
And ho! how white is the hawthorn now!--
So rare!--
And the daisied world rocks round them there.
So rare! so rare!
_With a hey! and a hi! and a ho!_
_The grasses curdle where the daisies blow!_



II

TO THE CHILD JULIA

[R.H.]


Little Julia, since that we
May not as our elders be,
Let us blithely fill the days
Of our youth with pleasant plays.
First we'll up at earliest dawn,
While as yet the dew is on
The sooth'd grasses and the pied
Blossomings of morningtide;
Next, with rinsed cheeks that shine
As the enamell'd eglantine,
We will break our fast on bread
With both cream and honey spread;
Then, with many a challenge-call,
We will romp from house and hall,
Gypsying with the birds and bees
Of the green-tress'd garden trees.
In a bower of leaf and vine
Thou shalt be a lady fine
Held in duress by the great
Giant I shall personate.
Next, when many mimics more
Like to these we have played o'er,

We'll betake us home-along
Hand in hand at evensong.

III

THE DOLLY'S MOTHER

[W.W.]


A little maid, of summers four--
Did you compute her years,--
And yet how infinitely more
To me her age appears:

I mark the sweet child's serious air,
At her unplayful play,--
The tiny doll she mothers there
And lulls to sleep away,

Grows--'neath the grave similitude--
An infant real, to me,
And _she_ a saint of motherhood
In hale maturity.

So, pausing in my lonely round,
And all unseen of her,
I stand uncovered--her profound
And abject worshipper.

IV

WIND OF THE SEA

[A.T.]


Wind of the Sea, come fill my sail--
Lend me the breath of a freshening gale
And bear my port-worn ship away!
For O the greed of the tedious town--
The shutters up and the shutters down!
Wind of the Sea, sweep over the bay
And bear me away!--away!

Whither you bear me, Wind of the Sea,
Matters never the least to me:
Give me your fogs, with the sails adrip,
Or the weltering path thro' the starless night--
On, somewhere, is a new daylight
And the cheery glint of another ship
As its colors dip and dip!


Wind of the Sea, sweep over the bay
And bear me away!--away!

V

SUBTLETY

[R.B .]


Whilst little Paul, convalescing, was staying
Close indoors, and his boisterous classmates paying

Him visits, with fresh school-notes and surprises,--
With nettling pride they sprung the word 'Athletic,'
With much advice and urgings sympathetic
Anent 'Athletic exercises.' Wise as
Lad might look, quoth Paul: 'I've pondered o'er that
'Athletic,' but I mean to take, before that,
Downstairic and outdooric exercises.'



VI

BORN TO THE PURPLE

[W.M.]


Most-like it was this kingly lad
Spake out of the pure joy he had
In his child-heart of the wee maid
Whose eerie beauty sudden laid
A spell upon him, and his words
Burst as a song of any bird's:--

A peerless Princess thou shalt be,
Through wit of love's rare sorcery:
To crown the crown of thy gold hair
Thou shalt have rubies, bleeding there
Their crimson splendor midst the marred
Pulp of great pearls, and afterward

Leaking in fainter ruddy stains
Adown thy neck-and-armlet-chains
Of turquoise, chrysoprase, and mad
Light-frenzied diamonds, dartling glad
Swift spirts of shine that interfuse
As though with lucent crystal dews
That glance and glitter like split rays
Of sunshine, born of burgeoning Mays
When the first bee tilts down the lip
Of the first blossom, and the drip
Of blended dew and honey heaves
Him blinded midst the underleaves.
For raiment, Fays shall weave for thee--
Out of the phosphor of the sea
And the frayed floss of starlight, spun
With counterwarp of the firm sun--
A vesture of such filmy sheen
As, through all ages, never queen
Therewith strove truly to make less
One fair line of her loveliness.
Thus gowned and crowned with gems and gold,
Thou shalt, through centuries untold,
Rule, ever young and ever fair,
As now thou rulest, smiling there.

Submitted: Friday, April 09, 2010

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