"He leadeth me beside the still waters; He restoreth my soul." My tent stands in a garden Of aster and goldenrod, Tilled by the rain and the sunshine, An sown by the hand of God,-- An old New England pasture Abandoned to peace and time, And by the magic of beauty Reclaimed to the sublime. About it are golden woodlands Of tulip and hickory; On the open ridge behind it You may mount to a glimpse of sea,-- The far-off, blue, Homeric Rim of the world's great shield, A border of boundless glamour For the soul's familiar field. In purple and gray-wrought lichen The boulders lie in the sun; Along its grassy footpath The white-tailed rabbits run. The crickets work and chirrup Through the still afternoon; And the owl calls from the hillside Under the frosty moon. The odorous wild grape clambers Over the tumbling wall, And through the autumnal quiet The chestnuts open and fall. Sharing time's freshness and fragrance, Part of the earth's great soul, Here man's spirit may ripen To wisdom serene and whole. Shall we not grow with the asters-- Never reluctant nor sad, Not counting the cost of being, Living to dare and be glad? Shall we not lift with the crickets A chorus of ready cheer, Braving the frost of oblivion, Quick to be happy here? Is my will as sweet as the wild grape, Spreading delight on the air For the passerby's enchantment, Subtle and unaware? Have I as brave a spirit, Sprung from the self-same mould, As the weed from its own contentment Lifting its shaft of gold? The deep red cones of the sumach And the woodbine's crimson sprays Have bannered the common roadside For the pageant of passing days. These are the oracles Nature Fills with her holy breath, Giving them glory of color, Transcending the shadow of death. Here in the sifted sunlight A spirit seems to brood On the beauty and worth of being, In tranquil, instinctive mood; And the heart, filled full of gladness Such as the wise earth knows, Wells with a full thanksgiving For the gifts that life bestows: For the ancient and virile nurture Of the teeming primordial ground, For the splendid gospel of color, The rapt revelations of sound; For the morning-blue above us And the rusted gold of the fern, For the chickadee's call of valor Bidding the faint-heart turn; For fire and running water, Snowfall and summer rain; For sunsets and quiet meadows, The fruit and the standing grain; For the solemn hour of moonrise Over the crest of trees, When the mellow lights are kindled In the lamps of the centuries; For those who wrought aforetime, Led by the mystic strain To strive for the larger freedom, And live for the greater gain; For plenty of peace and playtime, The homely goods of earth, And for rare immaterial treasures Accounted of little worth; For art and learning and friendship, Where beneficent truth is supreme,-- Those everlasting cities Built on the hills of dream; For all things growing and goodly That foster this life, and breed The immortal flower of wisdom Out of the mortal seed. But most of all for the spirit That cannot rest nor bide In stale and sterile convenience, Nor safety proven and tried, But still inspired and driven, Must seek what better may be, And up from the loveliest garden Must climb for a glimpse of sea.