Summer on the Lakes. (poem)

From: At Home and Abroad, or Things and Thoughts in Europe (1856)
Author: Margaret Fuller Ossoli
Published: and Company 1856 Boston


  SUMMER days of busy leisure,
  Long summer days of days-bought pleasure,
  You have done your teaching well;
  Had the scholar means to tell
  How grew the vine of bitter-sweet
  What made the path for truant feet,
  Winter nights would quickly pass,
  Gazing out the magic glass
  O’er which the new-world shadows pass.
  But, in fault of wizard spell,
  Moderns their tale can only tell
  In dull words, with a poor reed
  Breaking at each time of need.
  Yet those to whom a hint suffices
  Mottoes find for all devices,
  See the knights behind their shields,
  Through dried grasses, blooming fields.


SOME dried grass-tufts from the wild flowery field,
A muscle-shell from the lone fairy shore,
Some antlers from tall woods which never more
To the wild deer a safe retreat can yield,
An eagle’s feather which adorned a Brave,
Well-nigh the last of his despairing band,—
For such slight gifts wilt thou extend thy hand
When weary hours a brief refreshment crave?
I give you what I can, not what I would
If my small drinking-cup would hold a flood,
As Scandinavia sung those must contain
With which the giants gods may entertain;
In our dwarf day we drain few drops, and soon must thirst again.

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