O winds, that ripple the long grass,
O winds, that kiss the jeweled sea,
Grow still and lingering as you pass,
About this laurel-tree!
The mountain knew you in the cloud
That turbans his dark brow; the sweet,
Cool rivers; and the woods that bowed
Before your pinions fleet.
With meadow-scents your breath is rife;
With cedar-odors, and with pine:
Now pause, and thrill with twofold life
Each spicy leaf I twine.
The laurel grows upon the hill
That looks across the western sea.
O winds, within the boughs be still;
O sun, shine tenderly;
And bird, sing soft about you nest;
I twine a wreath for other lands-
A grave! - nor wife nor child hath blest
With touch of loving hands
Where eyes are closed divine and young,
Dusked in a night no morn may break;
And stilled the poet-lips that sung,
In sleep no touch may wake;
While falls the venomed arrow-thrust,
And lips that hate hiss foul disgrace
And the sad heart is dust, and dust
The beautiful, sad face!
For him I pluck the laurel crown:
It ripened in the western breeze,
Where hills throw giant shadows down
Upon the golden seas.
And sunlight lingered in its leaves
From dawn to darkness-till the sky
Grew white with sudden stars; and waves
Sang to it constantly.
I weave, and strive to weave a tone,
A touch-that, somehow, when it lies
Upon his sacred dust, alone,
Beneath the English skies,
The sunlight of the arch it knew,
The calm that wrapt its native hill,
The love that wreathed its glossy hue,
May breath around it still!