TO ARCHIBALD CAMERON CORBETT.
THIS, with the memory of that sweet day,
When all the placid dreamings of each hill
Were deep within us, and the thoughts that fill
And widen out our being, as the grey
Morning unfolds itself before the light.
For at our feet, and all between us two,
Lay the pure grave of Wordsworth in our view,
All green and dewy with the tears of night.
We felt as if the spirit of the place
Were with us. We were one with all sweet
Stream, hill, and lake, had each their tender claim
To proffer, and their voices, like the strings
Of some great harp, were sounding forth one name;
While nature knelt and look'd up in our face.
Our old life fled, and, like a thing forgot,
Lay with the yesterdays that make the past,
While over all, like purer light, was cast
The placid consecration of the spot.
And as a mother leads with winning speech
The footsteps of her child, so he who still
Remains the poet priest of stream and hill,
Led us away into the higher reach
Where spirit touches spirit, till we saw
A newer meaning on the very grass,
Whose freshness was the colour of his art,
A glory in mute things, a sacred awe
Of some high end in all that is and was,
And still he kept his hand upon our heart.
And so I give, in token of that hour,
This simple book of early song to thee,
Sung in far years that had a richer dower,
And brought twelve Mays instead of one to me,
The gift is nothing—for to me it seems
Mere spindrift from those mighty waves of song,
Heard in my youth, as sailors hear in dreams,
The booming of the sullen ocean, strong
For conflict with the shore. But thou and I
Can only feel the link that lies in This,—
The interchange of thought, the quiet bliss,
And all the silent rapture of the sky,
While at our feet, as earnest of that trust,
Which is of faith and love—the poet's dust.