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Summer Rain

by Edmund Clarence Stedman

Yestermorn the air was dry
As the winds of Araby,
While the sun, with pitiless heat,
Glared upon the glaring street,
And the meadow fountains sealed,
Till the people everywhere,
And the cattle in the field,
And the birds in middle air,
And the thirsty little flowers,
Sent to heaven a fainting prayer
For the blessed summer showers.

Not in vain the prayer was said;
For at sunset, overhead,
Sailing from the gorgeous West,
Came the pioneers, abreast,
Of a wondrous argosy,—
The Armada of the sky!
Far along I saw them sail,
Wafted by an upper gale;
Saw them, on their lustrous route,
Fling a thousand banners out:
Yellow, violet, crimson, blue,
Orange, sapphire,—every hue
That the gates of Heaven put on,
To the sainted eyes of John,
In that hallowed Patmos isle
Their skyey pennons wore; and while
I drank the glory of the sight
Sunset faded into night.

Then diverging, far and wide,
To the dim horizon's side,
Silently and swiftly there,
Every galleon of the air,
Manned by some celestial crew,
Out its precious cargo threw,
And the gentle summer rain
Cooled the fevered Earth again.

Through the night I heard it fall
Tenderly and musical;
And this morning not a sigh
Of wind uplifts the briony leaves,
But the ashen-tinted sky
Still for earthly turmoil grieves,
While the melody of the rain,
Dropping on the window-pane,
On the lilac and the rose,
Round us all its pleasance throws,
Till our souls are yielded wholly
To its constant melancholy,
And, like the burden of its song,
Passionate moments glide along.

Pinks and hyacinths perfume
All our garden-fronted room;
Hither, close beside me, Love!
Do not whisper, do not move.
Here we two will softly stay,
Side by side, the livelong day.
Lean thy head upon my breast:
Ever shall it give thee rest,
Ever would I gaze to meet
Eyes of thine up-glancing, Sweet!
What enchanted dreams are ours!
While the murmur of the showers
Dropping on the tranquil ground,
Dropping on the leaves and flowers,
Wraps our yearning souls around
In the drapery of its sound.

Still the plenteous streamlets fall:
Here two hearts are all in all
To each other; and they beat
With no evanescent heat,
But softly, steadily, hour by hour,
With the calm, melodious power
Of the gentle summer rain,
That in Heaven so long hath lain,
And from out that shoreless sea
Pours its blessings tenderly.

Freer yet its currents swell!
Here are streams that flow as well,
Rivulets of the constant heart;
But a little space apart
Glide they now, and soon shall run,
Love-united, into one.
It shall chance, in future days,
That again the lurid rays
Of that hidden sun shall shine
On the floweret and the vine,
And again the meadow-springs
Fly away on misty wings:
But no glare of Fate adverse
Shall on us achieve its curse,
Never any baneful gleam
Waste our clear, perennial stream;
For its fountains lie below
That malign and ominous glow,—
Lie in shadowy grottoes cool,
Where all kindly spirits rule;
Calmly ever shall it flow
Toward the waters of the sea,—
That serene Eternity!