PART I. MAX placed a ring on little Katie's hand, A silver ring that he had beaten out From that same sacred coin--first well prized wage For boyish labour, kept thro' many years. "See, Kate," he said, "I had no skill to shape Two hearts fast bound together, so I graved Just 'K' and 'M', for Katie and for Max." "But look! you've run the lines in such a way That 'M' is part of 'K,' and 'K' of 'M,'" Said Katie, smiling. "Did you mean it thus? I like it better than the double hearts." "Well, well," he said, "but womankind is wise! Yet tell me, dear, will such a prophecy Not hurt you sometimes when I am away? Will you not seek, keen-eyed, for some small break In those deep lines to part the 'K' and 'M' For you? Nay, Kate, look down amid the globes Of those large lilies that our light canoe Divides, and see within the polished pool That small rose face of yours, so dear, so fair,-- A seed of love to cleave into a rock And bourgeon thence until the granite splits Before its subtle strength. I being gone-- Poor soldier of the axe--to bloodless fields (Inglorious battles, whether lost or won), That sixteen-summered heart of yours may say: 'I but was budding, and I did not know My core was crimson and my perfume sweet; I had not seen the sun, and blind I swayed To a strong wind, and thought because I swayed 'Twas to the wooer of the perfect rose-- That strong, wild wind has swept beyond my ken, The breeze I love sighs thro' my ruddy leaves.'" "O words!" said Katie, blushing, "only words! You build them up that I may push them down. If hearts are flowers, I know that flowers can root, Bud, blossom, die--all in the same loved soil. They do so in my garden. I have made Your heart my garden. If I am a bud And only feel unfoldment feebly stir Within my leaves, wait patiently; some June I'll blush a full-blown rose, and queen it, dear, In your loved garden. Tho' I be a bud, My roots strike deep, and torn from that dear soil Would shriek like mandrakes--those with things I read Of in your quaint old books. Are you content?" "Yes, crescent-wise, but not to round, full moon. Look at yon hill that rounds so gently up From the wide lake; a lover king it looks, In cloth of gold, gone from his bride and queen, And yet delayed because her silver locks Catch in his gilded fringe. His shoulders sweep Into blue distance, and his gracious crest, Not held too high, is plumed with maple groves-- One of your father's farms: a mighty man, Self-hewn from rock, remaining rock through all." "He loves me, Max," said Katie. "Yes, I know-- A rock is cup to many a crystal spring. Well, he is rich; those misty, peak-roofed barns-- Leviathans rising from red seas of grain-- Are full of ingots shaped like grains of wheat. His flocks have golden fleeces, and his herds Have monarchs worshipful as was the calf Aaron called from the furnace; and his ploughs, Like Genii chained, snort o'er his mighty fields. He has a voice in Council and in Church--" "He worked for all," said Katie, somewhat pained. "Ay, so, dear love, he did. I heard him tell How the first field upon his farm was ploughed. He and his brother Reuben, stalwart lads, Yoked themselves side by side to the new plough Their weaker father, in the grey of life-- But rather the wan age of poverty Than many winters--in large, gnarlèd hands The plunging handles held; with mighty strains They drew the ripping beak through knotted sod, Thro' tortuous lanes of blackened, smoking stumps, And past great flaming brush-heaps, sending out Fierce summers, beating on their swollen brows. O such a battle! had we heard of serfs Driven to like hot conflict with the soil, Armies had marched and navies swiftly sailed To burst their gyves. But here's the little point-- The polished-diamond pivot on which spins The wheel of difference--they OWNED the soil, And fought for love--dear love of wealth and power-- And honest ease and fair esteem of men. One's blood heats at it!" "Yet you said such fields Were all inglorious," Katie, wondering, said. "Inglorious? Yes! They make no promises Of Star or Garter, or the thundering guns That tell the earth her warriors are dead. Inglorious? Ay, the battle done and won Means not a throne propped up with bleaching bones, A country saved with smoking seas of blood, A flag torn from the foe with wounds and death, Of Commerce, with her housewife foot upon Colossal bridge of slaughtered savages, The Cross laid on her brawny shoulder, and In one sly, mighty hand her reeking sword, And in the other all the woven cheats From her dishonest looms. Nay, none of these. It means--four walls, perhaps a lowly roof; Kine in a peaceful posture; modest fields; A man and woman standing hand in hand In hale old age, who, looking o'er the land, Say, 'Thank the Lord, it all is mine and thine!" It means, to such thewed warriors of the Axe As your own father--well, it means, sweet Kate, Outspreading circles of increasing gold, A name of weight, one little daughter heir Who must not wed the owner of an axe, Who owns naught else but some dim, dusky woods In a far land, two arms indifferent strong,--" "And Katie's heart," said Katie, with a smile;-- For yet she stood on that smooth violet plain Where nothing shades the sun; nor quite believed Those blue peaks closing in were aught but mist Which the gay sun could scatter with a glance. For Max, he late had touched their stones, but yet He saw them seamed with gold and precious ores, Rich with hill flowers and musical with rills,-- "Or that same bud that will be Katie's heart Against the time your deep, dim woods are cleared, And I have wrought my father to relent." "How will you move him, sweet? Why, he will rage And fume and anger, striding o'er his fields, Until the last bought king of herds lets down His lordly front and, rumbling thunder from His polished chest, returns his chiding tones. How will you move him, Katie, tell me how?" "I'll kiss him and keep still; that way is sure," Said Katie, smiling; "I have often tried." "God speed the kiss," said Max, and Katie sighed, With prayerful palms close sealed, "God speed the axe!" O light canoe, where dost thou glide? Below thee gleams no silvered tide, But concave heaven's chiefest pride. Above thee burns Eve's rosy bar; Below thee throbs her darling star; Deep 'neath thy keel her round worlds are. Above, below--O sweet surprise To gladden happy lover's eyes! No earth, no wave--all jewelled skies. PART II. The South Wind laid his moccasins aside, Broke his gay calumet of flowers, and cast His useless wampum, beaded with cool dews, Far from his northward; his long, ruddy spear Flung sunward, whence it came, and his soft locks Of warm, fine haze grew silvery as the birch. His wigwam of green leaves began to shake; The crackling rice-beds scolded harsh like squaws; The small ponds pouted up their silver lips; The great lakes eyed the mountains, whispered "Ugh! Are ye so tall, O chiefs? Not taller than Our plumes can reach," and rose a little way, As panthers stretch to try their velvet limbs And then retreat to purr and bide their time. At morn the sharp breath of the night arose From the wide prairies, in deep-struggling seas, In rolling breakers, bursting to the sky; In tumbling surfs, all yellowed faintly thro' With the low sun; in mad, conflicting crests, Voiced with low thunder from the hairy throats Of the mist-buried herds. And for a man To stand amid the cloudy roll and moil, The phantom waters breaking overhead, Shades of vexed billows bursting on his breast, Torn caves of mist walled with a sudden gold-- Resealed as swift as seen--broad, shaggy fronts, Fire-eyed, and tossing on impatient horns The wave impalpable--was but to think A dream of phantoms held him as he stood. The late, last thunders of the summer crashed Where shrieked great eagles, lords of naked cliffs. The pulseless forest, locked and interlocked So closely bough with bough and leaf with leaf, So serfed by its own wealth, that while from high The moons of summer kissed its green-glossed locks, And round its knees the merry West Wind danced, And round its ring, compacted emerald, The South Wind crept on moccasins of flame, And the red fingers of th' impatient Sun Plucked at its outmost fringes, its dim veins Beat with no life, its deep and dusky heart In a deep trance of shadow felt no throb To such soft wooing answer. Thro' its dream Brown rivers of deep waters sunless stole; Small creeks sprang from its mosses, and, amazed, Like children in a wigwam curtained close Above the great, dead heart of some red chief, Slipped on soft feet, swift stealing through the gloom, Eager for light and for the frolic winds. In this shrill moon the scouts of Winter ran From the ice-belted north, and whistling shafts Struck maple and struck sumach, and a blaze Ran swift from leaf to leaf, from bough to bough, Till round the forest flashed a belt of flame, And inward licked its tongues of red and gold To the deep-crannied inmost heart of all. Roused the still heart--but all too late, too late! Too late the branches, welded fast with leaves, Tossed, loosened, to the winds; too late the Sun Poured his last vigour to the deep, dark cells Of the dim wood. The keen two-bladed Moon Of Falling Leaves rolled up on crested mists, And where the lush, rank boughs had foiled the Sun In his red prime, her pale, sharp fingers crept After the wind and felt about the moss, And seemed to pluck from shrinking twig and stem The burning leaves, while groaned the shuddering wood. Who journeyed where the prairies made a pause Saw burnished ramparts flaming in the sun With beacon fires, tall on their rustling walls. And when the vast horned herds at sunset drew Their sullen masses into one black cloud, Rolling thundrous o'er the quick pulsating plain, They seemed to sweep between two fierce, red suns Which, hunter-wise, shot at their glaring balls Keen shafts with scarlet feathers and gold barbs. By round, small lakes with thinner forests fringed-- More jocund woods that sung about the feet And crept along the shoulders of great cliffs-- The warrior stags, with does and tripping fawns, Like shadows black upon the throbbing mist Of evening's rose, flashed thro' the singing woods, Nor tim'rous sniffed the spicy cone-breathed air; For never had the patriarch of the herd Seen, limned against the farthest rim of light Of the low-dipping sky, the plume or bow Of the red hunter; nor, when stooped to drink, Had from the rustling rice-bed heard the shaft Of the still hunter hidden in its spears-- His bark canoe close knotted in its bronze, His form as stirless as the brooding air, His dusky eyes two fixed, unwinking fires, His bow-string tightened, till it subtly sang To the long throbs and leaping pulse that rolled And beat within his knotted, naked breast. There came a morn the Moon of Falling Leaves With her twin silver blades had only hung Above the low set cedars of the swamp For one brief quarter, when the Sun arose Lusty with light and full of summer heat, And, pointing with his arrows at the blue Closed wigwam curtains of the sleeping Moon, Laughed with the noise of arching cataracts, And with the dove-like cooing of the woods, And with the shrill cry of the diving loon, And with the wash of saltless rounded seas, And mocked the white Moon of the Falling Leaves: "Esa! esa! shame upon you, Pale Face! Shame upon you, Moon of Evil Witches! Have you killed the happy, laughing Summer? Have you slain the mother of the flowers With your icy spells of might and magic? Have you laid her dead within my arms? Wrapped her, mocking, in a rainbow blanket? Drowned her in the frost-mist of your anger? She is gone a little way before me; Gone an arrow's flight beyond my vision. She will turn again and come to meet me With the ghosts of all the stricken flowers, In a blue mist round her shining tresses, In a blue smoke in her naked forests. She will linger, kissing all the branches; She will linger, touching all the places, Bare and naked, with her golden fingers, Saying, 'Sleep and dream of me, my children; Dream of me, the mystic Indian Summer,-- I who, slain by the cold Moon of Terror, Can return across the path of Spirits, Bearing still my heart of love and fire, Looking with my eyes of warmth and splendour, Whisp'ring lowly thro' your sleep of sunshine. I, the laughing Summer, am not turnèd Into dry dust, whirling on the prairies, Into red clay, crushed beneath the snowdrifts. I am still the mother of sweet flowers Growing but an arrow's flight beyond you In the Happy Hunting-Ground--the quiver Of great Manitou, where all the arrows He has shot from His great bow of Power, With its clear, bright singing cord of Wisdom, Are re-gathered, plumed again and brightened, And shot out, re-barbed with Love and Wisdom; Always shot, and evermore returning. Sleep, my children, smiling in your heart-seeds At the spirit words of Indian Summer.' Thus, O Moon of Falling Leaves, I mock you! have you slain my gold-eyed squaw, the Summer?" The mighty Morn strode laughing up the land, And Max, the lab'rer and the lover, stood Within the forest's edge beside a tree-- The mossy king of all the woody tribes-- Whose clatt'ring branches rattled, shuddering, As the bright axe cleaved moon-like thro' the air, Waking strange thunders, rousing echoes linked, From the full lion-throated roar to sighs Stealing on dove-wings thro' the distant aisles. Swift fell the axe, swift followed roar on roar Till the bare woodland bellowed in its rage As the first-slain slow toppled to his fall. "O King of Desolation, art thou dead?" Cried Max, and laughing, heart and lips, leaped on The vast prone trunk. "And have I slain a king? Above this ashes will I build my house; No slave beneath its pillars, but--a king!" Max wrought alone but for a half-breed lad With tough, lithe sinews, and deep Indian eyes Lit with a Gallic sparkle. Max the lover found The lab'rer's arms grow mightier day by day, More iron-welded, as he slew the trees; And with the constant yearning of his heart Toward little Kate, part of a world away, His young soul grew and shewed a virile front, Full-muscled and large-statured like his flesh. Soon the great heaps of brush were builded high, And, like a victor, Max made pause to clear His battle-field high strewn with tangled dead. Then roared the crackling mountains, and their fires Met in high heaven, clasping flame with flame; The thin winds swept a cosmos of red sparks Across the bleak midnight sky; and the sun Walked pale behind the resinous black smoke. And Max cared little for the blotted sun, And nothing for the startled, outshone stars; For love, once set within a lover's breast, Has its own sun, its own peculiar sky, All one great daffodil, on which do lie The sun, the moon, the stars, all see at once And never setting, but all shining straight Into the faces of the trinity-- The one beloved, the lover, and sweet love. It was not all his own, the axe-stirred waste. In these new days men spread about the earth With wings at heel, and now the settler hears, While yet his axe rings on the primal woods, The shrieks of engines rushing o'er the wastes; Nor parts his kind to hew his fortunes out. And as one drop glides down the unknown rock And the bright-threaded stream leaps after it With welded billions, so the settler finds His solitary footsteps beaten out With the quick rush of panting human waves Upheaved by throbs of angry poverty, And driven by keen blasts of hunger from Their native strands, so stern, so dark, so drear! O then to see the troubled, groaning waves Throb down to peace in kindly valley beds, Their turbid bosoms clearing in the calm Of sun-eyed Plenty, till the stars and moon, The blessed sun himself, have leave to shine And laugh in their dark heart! So shanties grew Other than his amid the blackened stumps; And children ran with little twigs and leaves And flung them, shouting, on the forest pyres Where burned the forest kings; and in the glow Paused men and women when the day was done. There the lean weaver ground anew his axe, Nor backward looked upon the vanished loom, But forward to the ploughing of his fields, And to the rose of plenty in the cheeks Of wife and children; nor heeded much the pangs Of the roused muscles tuning to new work. The pallid clerk looked on his blistered palms And sighed and smiled, but girded up his loins And found new vigour as he felt new hope. The lab'rer with trained muscles, grim and grave, Looked at the ground, and wondered in his soul What joyous anguish stirred his darkened heart At the mere look of the familiar soil, And found his answer in the words, "Mine own!" Then came smooth-coated men with eager eyes And talked of steamers on the cliff-bound lakes, And iron tracks across the prairie lands, And mills to crush the quartz of wealthy hills, And mills to saw the great wide-armèd trees, And mills to grind the singing stream of grain. And with such busy clamour mingled still The throbbing music of the bold, bright Axe-- The steel tongue of the present; and the wail Of falling forests--voices of the past. Max, social-souled, and with his practised thews, Was happy, boy-like, thinking much of Kate, And speaking of her to the women-folk, Who, mostly happy in new honeymoons Of hope themselves, were ready still to hear The thrice-told tale of Katie's sunny eyes And Katie's yellow hair and household ways; And heard so often, "There shall stand our home On yonder slope, with vines about the door," That the good wives were almost made to see The snowy walls, deep porches, and the gleam Of Katie's garments flitting through the rooms; And the black slope all bristling with burnt stumps Was known amongst them all as "Max's house." O Love builds on the azure sea, And Love builds on the golden sand, And Love builds on the rose-winged cloud, And sometimes Love builds on the land! O if Love build on sparkling sea, And if Love build on golden strand, And if Love build on rosy cloud, To Love these are the solid land! O Love will build his lily walls, And Love his pearly roof will rear On cloud, or land, or mist, or sea-- Love's solid land is everywhere! PART III. The great farmhouse of Malcolm Graem stood, Square-shouldered and peak-roofed, upon a hill, With many windows looking everywhere, So that no distant meadow might lie hid, Nor corn-field hide its gold, nor lowing herd Browse in far pastures, out of Malcolm's ken. He loved to sit, grim, grey, and somewhat stern, And thro' the smoke-clouds from his short clay pipe Look out upon his riches, while his thoughts Swung back and forth between the bleak, stern past And the near future; for his life had come To that close balance when, a pendulum, The memory swings between the "then" and "now." His seldom speech ran thus two different ways: "When I was but a laddie, thus I did"; Or, "Katie, in the fall I'll see to build Such fences or such sheds about the place; And next year, please the Lord, another barn." Kate's gay garden foamed about the walls, Assailed the prim-cut modern sills, and rushed Up the stone walls to break on the peaked roof. And Katie's lawn was like a poet's sward, Velvet and sheer and diamonded with dew; For such as win their wealth most aptly take Smooth urban ways and blend them with their own. And Katie's dainty raiment was as fine As the smooth, silken petals of the rose, And her light feet, her nimble mind and voice, In city schools had learned the city's ways, And, grafts upon the healthy, lovely vine, They shone, eternal blossoms 'mid the fruit; For Katie had her sceptre in her hand And wielded it right queenly there and here, In dairy, store-room, kitchen--every spot Where woman's ways were needed on the place. And Malcolm took her through his mighty fields And taught her lore about the change of crops, And how to see a handsome furrow ploughed, And how to choose the cattle for the mart, And how to know a fair day's work when done, And where to plant young orchards; for he said, "God sent a lassie, but I need a son-- "Bethankit for His mercies all the same." And Katie, when he said it, thought of Max, Who had been gone two winters and two springs, And sighed and thought, "Would he not be your son?" But all in silence, for she had too much Of the firm will of Malcolm in her soul To think of shaking that deep-rooted rock; But hoped the crystal current of his love For his one child, increasing day by day, Might fret with silver lip until it wore Such channels thro' the rock that some slight stroke Of circumstance might crumble down the stone. The wooer too, Max prophesied, had come; Reputed wealthy; with the azure eyes And Saxon-gilded locks, the fair, clear face And stalwart form that most of women love; And with the jewels of some virtues set On his broad brow; with fires within his soul He had the wizard skill to fetter down To that mere pink, poetic, nameless glow That need not fright a flake of snow away, But, if unloosed, could melt and adverse rock, Marrowed with iron, frowning in his way. And Malcolm balanced him by day and night, And with his grey-eyed shrewdness partly saw He was not one of Kate, but let him come And in chance moments thought, "Well, let it be; They make a bonnie pair; he knows the ways Of men and things; can hold the gear I give, And, if the lassie wills it, let it be;" And then, upstarting from his midnight sleep, With hair erect and sweat upon his brow Such as no labour e'er had beaded there, Would cry aloud, wide staring thro' the dark, "Nay, nay! She shall not wed him! Rest in peace!" Then, fully waking, grimly laugh and say, "Why did I speak and answer when none spake?" But still lie staring, wakeful, through the shades, List'ning to the silence, and beating still The ball of Alfred's merits to and fro, Saying, between the silent arguments, "But would the mother like it, could she know? I would there were a way to ring a lad Like silver coin, and so find out the true. But Kate shall say him 'Nay' or say him 'Yea' At her own will." And Katie said him "Nay" In all the maiden, speechless, gentle ways A woman has. But Alfred only laughed To his own soul, and said in his walled mind, "O Kate, were I a lover I might feel Despair flap o'er my hopes with raven wings, Because thy love is given to other love. And did I love, unless I gained thy love I would disdain the golden hair, sweet lips, True violet eyes and gentle air-blown form, Nor crave the beauteous lamp without the flame, Which in itself would light a charnel house. Unloved, and loving, I would find the cure Of Love's despair in nursing Love's disdain-- Disdain of lesser treasure than the whole. One cares not much to place against the wheel A diamond lacking flame, nor loves to pluck A rose with all its perfume cast abroad To the bosom of the gale. Not I, in truth! If all man's days are three-score years and ten, He needs must waste them not, but nimbly seize The bright, consummate blossom that his will Calls for most loudly. Gone, long gone the days When love within my soul forever stretched Fierce hands of flame, and here and there I found A blossom fitted for him, all up-filled With love as with clear dew:--they had their hour And burned to ashes with him as he drooped In his own ruby fires. No phoenix he To rise again, because of Katie's eyes, On dewy wings from ashes such as his! But now another passion bids me forth To crown him with the fairest I can find, And makes me lover, not of Katie's face, But of her father's riches. O high fool, Who feels the faintest pulsing of a wish And fails to feed it into lordly life, So that, when stumbling back to Mother Earth, His freezing lip may curl in cold disdain Of those poor, blighted fools who starward stare For that fruition, nipped and scanted here! And while the clay o'ermasters all his blood, And he can feel the dust knit with his flesh, He yet can say to them, 'Be ye content; I tasted perfect fruitage thro' my life, Lighted all lamps of passion till the oil Failed from their wicks; and now, O now I know There is no Immortality could give Such boon as this--to simply cease to be! There lies your Heaven, O ye dreaming slaves, If ye would only live to make it so, Nor paint upon the blue skies lying shades Of--what is not. Wise, wise and strong the man Who poisons that fond haunter of the mind, Craving for a hereafter with deep draughts Of wild delights so fiery, fierce, and strong, That when their dregs are deeply, deeply drained, What once was blindly craved of purblind Chance-- Life, life eternal, throbbing thro' all space-- Is strongly loathed; and, with his face in dust, Man loves his only heaven--six feet of earth. So, Katie, tho' your blue eyes say me 'Nay,' My pangs of love for gold must needs be fed, And shall be, Katie, if I know my mind." Events were winds close nestling in the sails Of Alfred's bark, all blowing him direct To his wished harbour. On a certain day All set about with roses and with fire-- One of three days of heat which frequent slip, Like triple rubies, in between the sweet, Mild, emerald days of summer--Katie went, Drawn by a yearning for the ice-pale blooms, Natant and shining, firing all the bay With angel fires built up of snow and gold. She found the bay close packed with groaning logs Prisoned between great arms of close-hinged wood, All cut from Malcolm's forests in the west And floated thither to his noisy mills, And all stamped with the potent "M" and "G" Which much he loved to see upon his goods-- The silent courtiers owning him their king. Out clear beyond, the rustling rice-beds sang, And the cool lilies starred the shadowed wave. "This is a day for lily-love," said Kate, While she made bare the lilies of her feet And sang a lily-song that Max had made That spoke of lilies--always meaning Kate: "While, Lady of the silvered lakes-- Chaste goddess of the sweet, still shrine The jocund river fitful makes By sudden, deep gloomed brakes-- Close sheltered by close warp and woof of vine, Spilling a shadow gloomy-rich as wine Into the silver throne where thou dost sit, Thy silken leaves all dusky round thee knit! "Mild Soul of the unsalted wave, White bosom holding golden fire, Deep as some ocean-hidden cave Are fixed the roots of thy desire, Thro' limpid currents stealing up, And rounding to the pearly cup. Thou dost desire, With all thy trembling heart of sinless fire, But to be filled With dew distilled From clear, fond skies that in their gloom Hold, floating high, thy sister moon. Pale chalice of a sweet perfume, Whiter-breasted than a dove, To thee the dew is--love!" Kate bared her little feet and poised herself On the first log close grating on the shore; And with bright eyes of laughter and wild hair-- A flying wind of gold--from log to log Sped, laughing as they wallowed in her track Like brown-scaled monsters, rolling as her foot Spurned deftly each in turn with rose-white sole. A little island, out in middle wave With its green shoulder held the great drive braced Between it and the mainland,--here it was The silver lilies drew her with white smiles-- And as she touched the last great log of all It reeled, upstarting, like a column braced A second on the wave, when it plunged Rolling upon the froth and sudden foam, Katie had vanished and with angry grind The vast logs rolled together; nor a lock Of drifting, yellow hair, an upflung hand, Told where the rich man's chiefest treasure sank Under the wooden wealth. But Alfred, prone With pipe and book upon the shady marge Of the cool isle, saw all, and seeing hurled Himself, and hardly knew it, on the logs. By happy chance a shallow lapped the isle On this green bank; and when his iron arms Dashed the barked monsters, as frail stems of rice, A little space apart, the soft, slow tide But reached his chest, and in a flash he saw Kate's yellow hair, and by it drew her up, And lifting her aloft, cried out, "O Kate!" And once again cried, "Katie! is she dead?" For like the lilies broken by the rough And sudden riot of the armoured logs, Kate lay upon his hands; and now the logs Closed in upon him, nipping his great chest, Nor could he move to push them off again For Katie in his arms. "And now," he said, "If none should come, and any wind arise To weld these woody monsters 'gainst the isle, I shall be cracked like any broken twig; And as it is, I know not if I die, For I am hurt--ay, sorely, sorely hurt!" Then looked on Katie's lily face, and said, "Dead, dead or living? Why, an even chance. O lovely bubble on a troubled sea, I would not thou shouldst lose thyself again In the black ocean whence thy life emerged, By skyward steal on gales as soft as love, And hang in some bright rainbow overhead, If only such bright rainbow spanned the earth." Then shouted loudly, till the silent air Roused like a frightened bird, and on its wings Caught up his cry and bore it to the farm. There Malcolm, leaping from his noontide sleep, Upstarted as at midnight, crying out, "She shall not wed him! Rest you, wife, in peace!" They found him, Alfred, haggard-eyed and faint, But holding Katie ever toward the sun, Unhurt, and waking in the fervent heat. And now it came that Alfred, being sick Of his sharp hurts and tended by them both With what was like to love--being born of thanks-- Had choice of hours most politic to woo, And used his deed, as one might use the sun To ripe unmellowed fruit; and from the core Of Katie's gratitude hoped yet to nurse A flower all to his liking--Katie's love. But Katie's mind was like the plain, broad shield Of a table diamond, nor had a score of sides; And in its shield, so precious and so plain, Was cut thro' all its clear depths Max's name. And so she said him "Nay" at last, in words Of such true-sounding silver that he knew He might not win her at the present hour, But smiled and thought, "I go, and come again; Then shall we see. Our three-score years and ten Are mines of treasures, if we hew them deep, Nor stop too long in choosing out our tools." PART IV. From his far wigwam sprang the strong North Wind And rushed with war-cry down the steep ravines, And wrestled with the giants of the woods; And with his ice-club beat the swelling crests Of the deep watercourses into death; And with his chill foot froze the whirling leaves Of dun and gold and fire in icy banks; And smote the tall reeds to the hardened earth, And sent his whistling arrows o'er the plains, Scattering the lingering herds; and sudden paused, When he had frozen al the running streams, And hunted with his war-cry all the things That breathed about the woods, or roamed the bleak, Bare prairies swelling to the mournful sky. "White squaw!" he shouted, troubled in his soul, "I slew the dead, umplumed before; wrestled With naked chiefs scalped of their leafy plumes; I bound sick rivers in cold thongs of death, And shot my arrows over swooning plains, Bright with the paint of death and lean an bare. And all the braves of my loud trible will mock and point at me when our great chief, the sun, Relights his council fire in the Moon Of Budding Leaves: 'Ugh, ugh! he is a brave! He fights with squaws and takes the scalps of babes!' And the least wind will blow his calumet, Filled with the breath of smallest flowers, across The war-paint on my face, and pointing with His small, bright pipe, that never moved a spear Of bearded rice, cry, 'Ugh! he slays the dead!' O my white squaw, come from thy wigwam grey, Spread thy white blanket on the twice-slain dead, And hide them ere the waking of the Sun!" High grew the snow beneath the low-hung sky, And all was silent in the wilderness; In trance of stillness Nature heard her God Rebuilding her spent fires, and veiled her face While the Great Worker brooded o'er His work. "Bite deep and wide, O Axe, the tree! What doth thy bold voice promise me?" "I promise thee all joyous things That furnish forth the lives of kings; "For every silver ringing blow Cities and palaces shall grow." "Bite deep and wide, O Axe, the tree! Tell wider prophecies to me." "When rust hath gnawed me deep and red A nation strong shall lift his head. "His crown the very heavens shall smite, Aeons shall build him in his might." "Bite deep and wide, O Axe, the tree! Bright Seer, help on thy prophecy!" Max smote the snow-weighed tree and lightly laughed. "See, friend," he cried to one that looked and smiled, "My axe and I, we do immortal tasks; We build up nations--this my axe and I." "Oh!" said the other with a cold, short smile, "Nations are not immortal. Is there now One nation throned upon the sphere of earth That walked with the first gods and with them saw The budding world unfold its slow-leaved flower? Nay, it is hardly theirs to leave behind Ruins so eloquent that the hoary sage Can lay his hand upon their stones and say: 'These once were thrones!" "The lean, lank lion peals His midnight thunders over lone, red plains, Long-ridged and crested on their dusty waves With fires from moons red-hearted as the sun, And deep re-thunders all the earth to him; For, far beneath the flame-flecked, shifting sands, Below the roots of palms, and under stones Of younger ruins, thrones, towers and cities Honeycomb the earth. The high, solemn walls Of hoary ruins--their foundings all unknown But to the round-eyed worlds that walk In the blank paths of Space and blanker Chance-- At whose stones young mountains wonder, and the seas' New-silvering, deep-set valleys pause and gaze-- Are reared upon old shrines whose very gods Were dreams to the shrine-builders of a time They caught in far-off flashes--as the child Half thinks he can remember how one came And took him in her hand and showed him that, He thinks, she called the sun. "Proud ships rear high On ancient billows that have torn the roots Of cliffs, and bitten at the golden lips Of firm, sleek beaches, till they conquered all And sowed the reeling earth with slated waves; Wrecks plunge, prow foremost, down still, solemn slopes, And bring their dead crews to as dead as quay-- Some city built, before that ocean grew, By silver drops from many a floating cloud, By icebergs bellowing in their throes of death, By lesser seas tossed form their rocking cups, And leaping each to each; by dewdrops flung From painted sprays, whose weird leaves and flowers Are moulded for new dwellers on the earth, Printed in hearts of mountains and or mines. "Nations immortal? Where the well-trimmed lamps Of long-past ages? When Time seemed to pause On smooth, dust-blotted graves that, like the tombs Of monarchs, held dead bones and sparkling gems, She saw no glimmer on the hideous ring Of the black clouds; no stream of sharp, clear light From those great torches passed into the black Of deep oblivion. She seemed to watch, but she Forgot her long-dead nations. When she stirred Her vast limbs in the dawn that forced its fire Up the black East, and saw the imperious red Burst over virgin dews and budding flowers, She still forgot her mouldered thrones and kings, Her sages and their torches and their gods, And said, 'This is my birth--my primal day!' She dreamed new gods, and reared them other shrines, Planted young nations, smote a feeble flame From sunless flint, re-lit the torch of mind. Again she hung her cities on the hills, Built her rich towers, crowned her kings again; And with the sunlight on her awful wings Swept round the flowery cestus of the earth, And said, 'I build for Immortality!' Her vast hand reared her towers, her shrines, her thrones; The ceaseless sweep of her tremendous wings Still beat them down and swept their dust abroad. Her iron finger wrote on mountain sides Her deeds and prowess, and her own soft plume Wore down the hills. Again drew darkly on A night of deep forgetfulness; once more Time seemed to pause upon forgotten graves; Once more a young dawn stole into her eyes; Again her broad wings stirred, and fresh, clear airs Blew the great clouds apart; again she said, 'This is my birth--my deeds and handiwork Shall be immortal!' Thus and so dream on Fooled nations, and thus dream their dullard sons. Naught is immortal save immortal--Death!" Max paused and smiled: "O preach such gospel, friend, To all but lovers who most truly love; For them, their gold-wrought scripture glibly reads, All else is mortal but immortal--Love!" "Fools! fools!" his friend said, "most immortal fools! But pardon, pardon, for perchance you love?" "Yes," said Max, proudly smiling, "thus do I Possess the world and feel eternity." Dark laughter blackened in the other's eyes: "Eternity! why did such Iris arch Enter our worm-bored planet? Never lived One woman true enough such tryst to keep." "I'd swear by Kate," said Max; "and then I had A mother, and my father swore by her." "By Kate? Ah, that were lusty oath, indeed! Some other man will look into her eyes And swear me roundly, 'By true Catherine!' As Troilus swore by Cressèd--so they say." "You never knew my Kate," said Max, and poised His axe again on high; "but let it pass. You are too subtle for me; argument Have I none to oppose yours with but this: Get you a Kate, and let her sunny eyes Dispel the doubting darkness in your soul." "And have not I a Kate? Pause, friend, and see. She gave me this faint shadow of herself The day I slipped the watch-star of our loves-- A ring--upon her hand; she loves me, too. Yet tho' her eyes be suns, no gods are they To give me worlds, or make me feel a tide Of strong eternity set toward my soul; And tho' she loves me, yet am I content To know she loves me by the hour, the year, Perchance the second--as all women love." The bright axe faltered in the air and ripped Down the rough bark and bit the drifted snow, For Max's arm fell, withered in its strength, 'Long by his side. "Your Kate," he said, "your Kate?" "Yes, mine--while holds her mind that way, my Kate; I saved her life, and had her love for thanks. Her father is Malcolm Graem--Max, my friend, You pale! What sickness seizes on your soul?" Max laughed, and swung his bright axe high again: "Stand back a pace; a too far-reaching blow Might level your false head with yon prone truck! Stand back and listen while I say, 'You lie!' That is my Katie's face upon your breast, But 'tis my Katie's love lives in my breast! Stand back, I say! my axe is heavy, and Might chance to cleave a liar's brittle skull! Your Kate! your Kate! your Kate!--hark, how the woods Mock at your lie with all their woody tongues! O silence, ye false echoes! Not his Kate But mine--I'm certain! I will have your life!" All the blue heaven was dead in Max's eyes; Doubt-wounded lay Kate's image in his heart, And could not rise to pluck the sharp spear out. "Well, strike, mad fool," said Alfred, somewhat pale; "I have no weapon but these naked hands!" "Ay, but," said Max, "you smote my naked heart! O shall I slay him? Satan, answer me; I cannot call on God for answer here! O Kate--!" A voice from God came thro' the silent woods And answered him; for suddenly a wind Caught the great tree-tops, coned with high-piled snow, And smote them to and fro, while all the air Was sudden filled with busy drifts; and high White pillars whirled amid the naked trunks, And harsh, loud groans, and smiting, sapless boughs Made hellish clamour in the quiet place. With a shrill shriek of tearing fibres, rocked The half-hewn tree above his fated head, And, tott'ring, asked the sudden blast, "Which way?" And, answering, its windy arms down crashed Thro' other lacing boughs with one loud roar Of woody thunder. All its pointed boughs Pierced the deep snow; its round and mighty corpse, Bark-flayed and shudd'ring, quivered into death. And Max, as some frail, withered reed, the sharp And piercing branches caught at him, as hands In death-throe, and beat him to the earth; And the dead tree upon its slayer lay. "Yet hear we much of gods! If such there be, They play at games of chance with thunderbolts," Said Alfred, "else on me this doom had come. This seals my faith in deep and dark unfaith. Now, Katie, are you mine, for Max is dead-- Or will be soon, imprisoned by those boughs, Wounded and torn, soothed by the deadly palms Of the white, traitorous frost; and buried then Under the snows that fill those vast, grey clouds, Low sweeping on the fretted forest roof. And Katie shall believe you false--not dead. False, false!--And I? O she shall find me true-- True as a fabled devil to the soul He longs for with the heat of all Hell's fires. These myths serve well for simile, I see, And yet--down, Pity! knock not at my breast, Nor grope about for that dull stone, my heart. I'll stone thee with it, Pity! Get thee hence! Pity, I'll strangle thee with naked hands; For thou dost bear upon thy downy breast Remorse, shaped like a serpent, and her fangs Might dart at me and pierce my marrow thro'! Hence, beggar, hence--and keep with fools, I say! He bleeds and groans! Well, Max, thy God or mine, Blind Chance, here played the butcher--'twas not I. Down, hands! ye shall not lift his fallen head! What cords tug at ye? What? Ye'd pluck him up And staunch his wounds? There rises in my breast A strange, strong giant, throwing wide his arms And bursting all the granite of my heart. How like to quivering flesh a stone may feel! Why, it has pangs! I'll none of them! I know Life is too short for anguish and for hearts! So I wrestle with thee, giant, and my will Turns the thumb, and thou shalt take the knife! Well done! I'll turn thee on the arena dust And look on thee-What? thou wert Pity's self, Stolen in my breast; and I have slaughtered thee! But hist! where hast thou hidden thy fell snake, Fire-fanged Remorse? Not in my breast, I know, For all again is chill and empty there, And hard and cold--the granite knitted up! "So lie there, Max--poor fond and simple Max! 'Tis well thou diest! Earth's children should not call Such as thee father--let them ever be Fathered by rogues and villains fit to cope With the black dragon Chance and the black knaves Who swarm in loathsome masses in the dust! True Max, lie there, and slumber into death!" PART V. Said the high hill, in the morning, "Look on me! Behold, sweet earth, sweet sister sky, behold The red flames on my peaks, and how my pines Are cressets of pure gold, my quarried scars Of black crevasse and shadow-filled canyon Are traced in silver mist. Now on my breast Hang the soft purple fringes of the night; Close to my shoulder droops the weary moon, Dove-pale, into the crimson surf the sun Drives up before his prow; and blackly stands On my slim, loftiest peak an eagle with His angry eyes set sunward, while his cry Falls fiercely back from all my ruddy heights, And his bald eaglets, in their bare, broad nest, Shrill pipe their angry echoes: 'Sun, arise, And show me that pale dove beside her nest, Which I shall strike with piercing beak and tear With iron talons for my hungry young!" "And that mild dove, secure for yet a space, Half wakened, turns her ringed and glossy neck To watch dawn's ruby pulsing on my breast, And see the first bright golden motes slip down The gnarlèd trunks about her leaf-deep nest, Nor sees nor fears the eagle on the peak." "Ay, lassie, sing! I'll smoke my pipe the while; And let it be a simple, bonnie song, Such as an old, plain man can gather in His dulling ear, and feel it slipping thro' The cold, dark, stony places of his heart." "Yes, sing, sweet Kate," said Alfred in her ear; "I often heard you singing in my dreams When I was far away the winter past." So Katie on the moonlit window leaned, And in the airy silver of her voice Sang of the tender blue Forget-me-not: Could every blossom find a voice And sing a strain to me, I know where I would place my choice, Which my delight should be. I would not choose the lily tall, The rose from musky grot, But I would still my minstrel call The blue Forget-me-not. And I on mossy bank would lie, Of brooklet, rippling clear; And she of the sweet azure eye, Close at my listening ear, Should sing into my soul a strain Might never be forgot-- So rich with joy, so rich with pain, The blue Forget-me-not. Ah, every blossom hath a tale, With silent grace to tell, From rose that reddens to the gale To modest heather-bell' But O the flower in every heart That finds a sacred spot To bloom, with azure leaves apart, Is the Forget-me-not. Love plucks it from the mosses green When parting hours are nigh, And places it Love's palms between With many an ardent sigh' And bluely up from grassy graves In some loved churchyard spot, It glances tenderly and waves-- The dear Forget-me-not. And with the faint, last cadence stole a glance At Malcolm's softened face--a bird-soft touch Let flutter on the rugged, silver snarls Of his thick locks--and laid her tender lips A second on the iron of his hand. "And did you ever meet," he sudden asked Of Alfred, sitting pallid in the shade, "Out by yon unco place, a lad,--a lad Named Maxwell Gordon; tall and straight and strong; About my size, I take it, when a lad?" And Katie at the sound of Max's name, First spoken for such space by Malcolm's lips, Trembled and started, and let down her brow, Hiding its sudden rose on Malcolm's arm. "Max Gordon? Yes. Was he a friend of yours?" "No friend of mine, but of the lassie's here. How comes he on? I wager he's a drone, And never will put honey in the hive." "No drone," said Alfred, laughing; "when I left, He and his axe were quarreling with the woods And making forests reel. Love steels a lover's arm." O blush that stole from Katie's swelling heart, And with its hot rose brought the happy dew Into her hidden eyes! "Ay, ay! is that the way?" Said Malcolm, smiling. "Who may be his love?" "In that he is a somewhat simple soul; Why, I suppose he loves--"he paused, and Kate Looked up with two forget-me-nots for eyes, With eager jewels in their centre set Of happy, happy tears, and Alfred's heart Became a closer marble than before-- "Why, I suppose he loves--his lawful wife." "His wife! his wife!" said Malcolm, in amaze, And laid his heavy hand on Katie's head; "Did you two play me false, my little lass? Speak and I'll pardon. Katie, lassie, what?" "He has a wife," said Alfred, "lithe and bronzed, An Indian woman, comelier than her kind, And on her knee a child with yellow locks, And lake-like eyes of mystic Indian brown." "And so you knew him; he is doing well?" "False, false!" cried Katie, lifting up her head; "Oh, you know not the Max my father means!" "He came from yonder farm-house on the slope." "Some other Max--we speak not of the same." "He has a red mark on his temple set." "It matters not--'tis not the Max we know." "He wears a turquoise ring slung round his neck." "And many wear them; they are common stones." "His mother's ring--her name was Helen Wynde." "And there be many Helens who have sons." "O Katie, credit me--it is the man!" "O not the man! Why, you have never told Us of the true soul that the true Max has; The Max we know has such a soul, I know." "How know you that, my foolish little lass?" Her father said, a storm of anger bound Within his heart like Samson with green withes; "Belike it is the false young cur we know." "No, no," said Katie, simply, and low-voiced, "If he be traitor I must needs be false, For long ago love melted our two hearts, And time has moulded those two hearts in one, And he is true since I am faithful still." She rose and parted, trembling as she went, Feeling the following steel of Alfred's eyes, And with the icy hand of scorned mistrust Searching about the pulses of her heart, Feeling for Max's image in her breast. "Tonight she conquers Doubt; tomorrow's noon His following soldiers sap the golden wall, And I shall enter and possess the fort," Said Alfred, in his mind. "O Katie, child, Wilt thou be Nemesis with yellow hair To rend my breast? for I do feel a pulse Stir when I look into thy pure-barbed eyes. Oh, am I breeding that false thing, a heart, Making my breast all tender for the fangs Of sharp Remorse to plunge their hot fire in? I am a certain dullard. Let me feel But one faint goad, fine as a needle's point, And it shall be the spur in my soul's side To urge the maddening thing across the jags And cliffs of life into the soft embrace Of that cold mistress, who is constant, too, And never flings her lovers from her arms,-- Not Death, for she is still a fruitful wife, Her spouse the Dead; and their cold marriage yields A million children, born of mouldering flesh. So Death and Flesh live on; immortal they! I mean the blank-eyed queen whose wassail bowl Is brimmed from Lethe, and whose porch is red With poppies, as it waits the panting soul. She, she alone is great! No sceptred slave Bowing to blind, creative giants, she! No forces seize her in their strong, mad hands, Nor say, 'Do this--be that!" Were there a God, His only mocker, she, great Nothingness; And to her, close of kin, yet lover, too, Flies this large nothing that we call the soul." Doth true Love lonely grow? And, no! ah, no! Ah, were it only so, That it alone might show Its ruddy rose upon its sapful tree, Then, then in dewy morn Joy might his brown adorn With Love's young rose as fair and glad as he. But with Love's rose doth blow, Ah, woe! ah, woe! Truth, with its leaves of snow, And Pain and Pity grow With Love's sweet roses on its sapful tree! Love's rose buds not alone, But still, but still doth own A thousand blossoms cypress-hued to see! PART VI. Who curseth Sorrow knows her not at all. Dark matrix she, from which the human soul Has its last birth; whence it, with misty thews Close knitted in her blackness, issues out Strong for immortal toil up such great heights As crown o'er crown rise through Eternity. Without the loud, deep clamour of her wail, The iron of her hands, the biting brine Of her black tears, the soul, but lightly built Of indeterminate spirit, like a mist Would lapse to chaos in soft, gilded dreams, As mists fade in the gazing of the sun. Sorrow, dark mother of the soul, arise! Be crowned with spheres where thy blest children dwell, Who, but for thee, were not. No lesser seat Be thine, thou Helper of the Universe, Than planet on planet piled--thou instrument Close clasped within the great Creative Hand! The Land had put his ruddy gauntlet on, Of harvest gold, to dash in Famine's face; And like a vintage wain deep dyed with juice The great moon faltered up the ripe, blue sky, Drawn by silver stars--like oxen white And horned with rays of light. Down the rich land Malcolm's small valleys, filled with grain lip high, Lay round a lonely hill that faced the moon And caught the wine kiss of its ruddy light. A cusped, dark wood caught in its black embrace The valleys and the hill, and from its wilds, Spiced with dark cedars, cried the whippoorwill. A crane, belated, sailed across the moon. On the bright, small, close linked lakes green islets lay-- Dusk knots of tangled vines, or maple boughs, Or tufted cedars, bossed upon the waves. The gay, enamelled children of the swamp Rolled a low bass to treble, tinkling notes Of little streamlets leaping from the woods. Close to old Malcolm's mills two wooden jaws Bit up the water on a sloping floor; And here, in season, rushed the great logs down To seek the river winding on its way. In a green sheen, smooth as a naiad's locks, The water rolled between the shuddering jaws, Then on the river level roared and reeled In ivory-armèd conflict with itself. "Look down," said Alfred, "Katie, look and see How that but pictures my mad heart to you. It tears itself in fighting that mad love You swear is hopeless. Hopeless--is it so? "Ah, yes," said Katie, "ask me not again!" "But Katie, Max is false; no word has come, Nor any sign from him for many months, And--he is happy with his Indian wife." She lifted eyes fair as the fresh, grey dawn With all its dews and promises of sun. "O Alfred, saver of my little life, Look in my eyes and read them honestly!" He laughed till all the isles and forests laughed. "O simple child! what may the forest flames See in the woodland ponds but their own fires? And have you, Katie, neither fears nor doubts?" She with the flower-soft pinkness of her palm Covered her sudden tears, then quickly said, "Fears--never doubts, for true love never doubts." Then Alfred paused a space, as one who holds A white doe by the throat and searches for The blade to slay her. "This your answer still? You doubt not--doubt not this far love of yours, Tho' sworn a false young recreant, Kate, by me?" "He is as true as I am," Katie said, "And did I seek for stronger simile I could not find such in the universe." "And were he dead? what, Katie, were he dead-- A handful of brown dust, a flame blown out-- What then? would love be strongly true to-- naught?" "Still true to love my love would be," she said, And, faintly smiling, pointed to the stars, "O fool!" said Alfred, stirred as craters rock To their own throes, while over his pale lips Rolled flaming stone--his molten heart. "Then, fool, Be true to what thou wilt, for he is dead, And there have grown this gilded summer past Grasses and buds from his unburied flesh! I saw him dead. I heard his last, loud cry, 'O Kate!' ring thro' the woods; in truth I did!" She half-raised up a piteous, pleading hand, Then fell along the mosses at his feet. "Now will I show I love you, Kate," he said, "And give you gift of love; you shall not wake To feel the arrow feather-deep within Your constant heart. For me, I never meant To crawl an hour beyond what time I felt The strange fanged monster that they call Remorse Fold round my wakened heart. The hour has come;' And as Love grew the welded folds of steel Slipped round in horrid zones. In Love's flaming eyes Stared its fell eyeballs, and with hydra head It sank hot fangs in breast and brow and thigh. Come, Kate! O Anguish is a simple knave Whom hucksters could outwit with small trade lies, When thus so easily his smarting thralls May flee his knout! Come, come, my little Kate; The black porch with its fringe of poppies waits,-- A propylaeum hospitality wide,-- No lictors with their fasces at its jaws, Its floor as kindly to my fire-veined feet As to thy silver-lilied, sinless ones! O you shall slumber soundly, tho' the white, Wild waters pluck the crocus of your hair, And scaly spies stare with round, lightless eyes At your small face laid on my stony breast! Come, Kate; I must not have you wake, dear heart, To hear you cry, perchance, on your dead Max!" He turned her still face close upon his breast, And with his lips upon her soft-ringed hair Leaped from the bank, low shelving o'er the knot Of frantic waters at the long slide's foot. And as the severed waters crashed and smote Together once again, within the wave- Stunned chambers of his ear there pealed a cry, "O Kate! Stay, madman, traitor, stay! O Kate!" Max, gaunt as prairie wolves in famine time With long-drawn sickness, reeled upon the bank, Katie, new rescued, waking in his arms. On the white riot of the waters gleamed The face of Alfred, clam, with close sealed eyes, And blood red on his temple where it smote The mossy timbers of the groaning slide. "O God!" cried Max, as Katie's opening eyes Looked up to his, slow budding to a smile Of wonder and of bliss, "my Kate, my Kate!" She saw within his eyes a larger soul Than that light spirit that before she knew, And read the meaning of his glance and words. "Do as you will, my Max; I would not keep You back with one light falling finger-tip!" And cast herself from his large arms upon The mosses at his feet, and hid her face That she might not behold what he would do; Or lest the terror in her shining eyes Might bind him to her, and prevent his soul Work out its greatness; and her long, wet hair Drew massed about her ears, to shut the sound Of the vexed waters from her anguished brain. Max looked upon her, turning as he looked. A moment came a voice in Katie's soul: "Arise, be not dismayed, arise and look; If he shall perish, 'twill be as a god, For he will die to save his enemy." But answered her torn heart: "I cannot look-- I cannot look and see him sob and die In those pale, angry arms. O let me rest Blind, blind and deaf until the swift-paced end. My Max! O God! was that his Katie's name?" Like a pale dove, hawk-hunted, Katie ran, Her fear's beak in her shoulder; and below, Where the coiled waters straightened to a stream, Found Max all bruised and bleeding on the bank, But smiling with man's triumph in his eyes When he has on fierce Danger's lion neck Placed his right hand and plucked the prey away. And at his feet lay Alfred, still and white, A willow's shadow trembling on his face. "There lies the false, fair devil, O my Kate, Who would have parted us, but could not, Kate!" "But could not, Max," said Katie. "Is he dead?" But, swift perusing Max's strange, dear face, Close clasped against his breast, forgot him straight And ever other evil thing upon The broad green earth. PART VI. Again rang out the music of the axe, And on the slope, as in his happy dreams, The home of Max with wealth of drooping vines On the rude walls, and in the trellised porch Sat Katie, smiling o'er the rich, fresh fields. And by her side sat Malcolm, hale and strong, Upon his knee a little smiling child Named--Alfred, as the seal of pardon set Upon the heart of one who sinned and woke To sorrow for his sins; and whom they loved With gracious joyousness, nor kept the duck Of his past deeds between their hearts and his. Malcolm had followed with his flocks and herds When Max and Katie, hand in hand, went out From his old home; and now, with slow, grave smile, He said to Max, who twisted Katie's hair About his naked arm, bare from his toil: "It minds me of old times, this house of yours; It stirs my heart to hearken to the axe, And hear the windy crash of falling trees. Ay, these fresh forests make an old man young." "Oh, yes!" said Max, with laughter in his eyes; "And I do truly think that Eden bloomed Deep in the heart of tall, green maple groves, With sudden scents of pine from mountain sides, And prairies with their breasts against the skies. And Eve was only little Katie's height." "Hoot, lad! you speak as every Adam speaks About his bonnie Eve; but what says Kate?" "Oh, Adam had not Max's soul," she said; "And these wild woods and plains are fairer far Than Eden's self. O bounteous mothers they, Beckoning pale starvelings with their fresh, green hands, And with their ashes mellowing the earth, That she may yield her increase willingly! I would not change these wild and rocking woods, Dotted by little homes of unbarked trees, Where dwell the fleers from the waves of want, For the smooth sward of selfish Eden bowers, Nor--Max for Adam, if I knew my mind!"