by William Gilmore Simms
SICK of the crowd, the toil, the strife,
Sweet Nature, how I turn to thee,
Seeking for renovated life,
By brawling brook and shady tree!
I knew thy rocks had spells of old,
To soothe the wanderer's woe to calm,
And in thy waters, clear and cold,
My fev'rish brow would seek for balm.
I've bent beneath thy ancient oak,
And sought for slumber in its shade,
And, as the clouds above me broke,
I dream'd to find the boon I pray'd;
For light--a blessed light--was given,
Wide streaming round me from above,
And in the deep, deep vaults of heaven,
There shone, methought, a look of love.
And, through the long, long summer hours,
When every bird had won its wing,
How sweet to think, amidst thy flowers,
That youth might yet renew its spring;--
That sacred season of the heart,
When every pulse with hope is strong,
And, still untaught by selfish art,
Truth fears no guile, and love no wrong.
And who, but nature's self, could yield
The blessing in the prayer I made,
Throned in her realm of wood and field,
Of rocky realm and haunted shade?
Who, but that magic queen, whose sway
Drives winter from his path of strife,
Whilst all her thousand fingers play,
With bud and bird, in games of life!
With these a kindred life I ask,--
Not wealth that mortals vainly seek;
But, in heaven's sunshine let me bask,
My heart as glowing as my cheek;--
An idle heart, that would not heed
That chiding voice, when duty comes,
To drag the soul, but freshly freed,
Back to cold toils and weary glooms.
No lure she finds in mortal schemes,
Which wiser fancies still reprove,--
Far happier in her woodland dreams,
With one sweet teacher, taught by love!
Thou, Nature, that magician be,
Restore each dream that taught the boy,
That warm'd his hope, that made him free,
While wisdom took the shape of joy;
And I will bless thee with a song,
As fond as hers, that idle bird,
That sings above me all day long,
As if she knew I watch'd and heard.
Last updated June 27, 2019