|THE HEAVENLY HILLS OF HOLLAND
The heavenly hills of Holland,--
How wondrously they rise
Above the smooth green pastures
Into the azure skies!
With blue and purple hollows,
With peaks of dazzling snow,
Along the far horizon
The clouds are marching slow.
No mortal foot has trodden
The summits of that range,
Nor walked those mystic valleys
Whose colors ever change;
Yet we possess their beauty,
And visit them in dreams,
While the ruddy gold of sunset
From cliff and canyon gleams.
In days of cloudless weather
They melt into the light;
When fog and mist surround us
They're hidden from our sight;
But when returns a season
Clear shining after rain,
While the northwest wind is blowing,
We see the hills again.
The old Dutch painters loved them,
Their pictures show them clear,
Old Hobbema and Ruysdael,
Van Goyen and Vermeer.
Above the level landscape,
Rich polders, long-armed mills,
Canals and ancient cities,--
Float Holland's heavenly hills.
The Hague, November, 1916.
THE PROUD LADY
When Stiivoren town was in its prime
And queened the Zuyder Zee,
Its ships went out to every clime
With costly merchantry.
A lady dwelt in that rich town,
The fairest in all the land;
She walked abroad in a velvet gown,
With many rings on her hand.
Her hair was bright as the beaten gold,
Her lips as coral red,
Her roving eyes were blue and bold,
And her heart with pride was fed.
For she was proud of her father's ships,
As she watched them gayly pass;
And pride looked out of her eyes and lips
When she saw herself in the glass.
"Now come," she said to the captains ten,
Who were ready to put to sea,
"Ye are all my men and my father's men,
And what will ye do for me?"
"Go north and south, go east and west,
And get me gifts," she said.
"And he who bringeth me home the best,
With that man will I wed."
So they all fared forth, and sought with care
In many a famous mart,
For satins and silks and jewels rare,
To win that lady's heart.
She looked at them all with never a thought,
And careless put them by;
"I am not fain of the things ye brought,
Enough of these have I."
The last that came was the head of the fleet,
His name was Jan Borel;
He bent his knee at the lady's feet,--
In truth he loved her well.
"I've brought thee home the best i' the world,
A shipful of Danzig corn!"
She stared at him long; her red lips curled,
Her blue eyes filled with scorn.
"Now out on thee, thou feckless kerl,
A loon thou art," she said.
"Am I a starving beggar girl?
Shall I ever lack for bread?"
"Go empty all thy sacks of grain
Into the nearest sea,
And never show thy face again
To make a mock of me."
Then Jan Borel, he hoisted sail,
And out to sea he bore;
He passed the Helder in a gale
And came again no more.
But the grains of corn went drifting down
Like devil-scattered seed,
To sow the harbor of the town
With a wicked growth of weed.
The roots were thick and the silt and sand
Were gathered day by day,
Till not a furlong out from land
A shoal had barred the way.
Then Stavoren town saw evil years,
No ships could out or in,
The boats lay rotting at the piers,
And the mouldy grain in the bin.
The grass-grown streets were all forlorn,
The town in ruin stood,
The lady's velvet gown was torn,
Her rings were sold for food.
Her father had perished long ago,
But the lady held her pride,
She walked with a scornful step and slow,
Till at last in her rags she died.
Yet still on the crumbling piers of the town,
When the midnight moon shines free,
woman walks in a velvet gown
And scatters corn in the sea.
FLOOD-TIDE OF FLOWERS
The laggard winter ebbed so slow
With freezing rain and melting snow,
It seemed as if the earth would stay
Forever where the tide was low,
In sodden green and watery gray.
But now from depths beyond our sight,
The tide is turning in the night,
And floods of color long concealed
Come silent rising toward the light,
Through garden bare and empty field.
And first, along the sheltered nooks,
The crocus runs in little brooks
Of joyance, till by light made bold
They show the gladness of their looks
In shining pools of white and gold.
The tiny scilla, sapphire blue,
Is gently seeping in, to strew
The earth with heaven; and sudden rills
Of sunlit yellow, sweeping through,
Spread into lakes of daffodils.
The hyacinths, with fragrant heads,
Have overflowed their sandy beds,
And fill the earth with faint perfume,
The breath that Spring around her sheds.
And now the tulips break in bloom!
A sea, a rainbow-tinted sea,
A splendor and a mystery,
Floods o'er the fields of faded gray:
The roads are full of folks in glee,
For lo, -- to-day is Easter Day!