Acres of mighty pines I bought.
As lord and master, went to see
My goodly trees, and fondly thought,
I own their very minstrelsy.
I stepped within their solemn shade,
And cried aloud. "Mine! mine! all mine!
The deed is drawn, the price is paid;
This day I claim you, every pine!"
Alas! my vain and vulgar words
Broke rudely on the sacred air,
Accustomed to the leaves and birds,
As street cries in a house of prayer.
The chaste, sweet silence hushed the sound;
Then through the aisles and arches ran
Afar, anear, above, around,
The Forest's answer to the man.
O Sound ineffable! you hear
The pulses of the Ocean's rhyme;
The breath of peace and death and fear,
The rustle of the wings of time.
"Our roots take hold on vanished lives;
Our veins with blood of ages run;
Aloft each spire and needle strives
To take the vintage of the sun.
"When living airs draw softly near,
Or trail our whispers on the wind,
We shape the vacant atmosphere
To accents of the Eternal Mind.
"We read the secrets of the stars,
By vigils under open skies
We fight in elemental wars
We look into the morning's eyes.
"We hold our green. No change we know
The branding heat, the frost that delves,
The singing rain, or cowles of snow.
Our life is hid within ourselves.
"We warm the winter's aged heart;
We stand unscathed in autumn's fires;
And to the pale young spring impart
Our mighty faith when her's expires.
"Above your insect joys and fears,
Your hopes and dreams forever fleeing.
Hear the deep tones of endless years;
Behold the sign of changeless being."
Beneath the forest's ancient spell,
My soul awoke, and heard the call
Of boyhood. Voices dimly fell
Around me—voices magical—
Whose subtle intonations clear,
Like echoes tangled in the wind,
Had failed for many a weary year
To gain my manhood's grosser mind.
Ashamed, abased, as from the shrine
Of an offended god I stole,
And felt the accusing light with fine,
Deep scorn look through and through my guilty soul,
Not mine! O Holy Pines, not mine!
Your birthright lies in earth and sky;
The round world claims your fadeless sign,
The Soul, your ancient minstrelsy.