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 crevase and shadow-fill'd canon,
'Are trac'd in silver mist. How 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 waken'd, turns her ring'd and glossy neck
To watch dawn's ruby pulsing on her breast,
And see the first bright golden motes slip down
The gnarl'd trunks about her leaf-deep nest,
Nor sees nor fears the eagle on the peak.
* * * * *
'Aye, 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 lean'd,
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, ripp'ling clear;
And she of the sweet azure eye,
Close at my list'ning 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, ev'ry blossom hath a tale
With silent grace to tell,
From rose that reddens to the gale
To modest heather bell;
But O, the flow'r in ev'ry 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 loves palms between,
With many an ardent sigh;
And bluely up from grassy graves
In some lov'd churchyard spot,
It glances tenderly and waves,
The dear 'Forget-me-not!'
And with the faint last cadence, stole a glance
At Malcolm's soften'd 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 ask'd,
Of Alfred, sitting pallid in the shade,
'Out by yon unco place, a lad,--a lad
'Nam'd 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,
Trembl'd 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 quarr'ling 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. 'Aye, aye! 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
Look'd up with two 'forget-me-nots' for eyes,
With eager jewels in their centres 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 a maze,
And laid his heavy hand on Katie's head;
'Did you play me false, my little lass?
'Speak and I'll pardon! Katie, lassie, what?'
'He has a wife,' said Alfred, 'lithe and bronz'd,
'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!' said Katie, lifting up her head.
'O, you know not the Max
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"Malcolm's Katie: A Love Story - Part V." Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 25 Feb. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/19910/malcolm's-katie:-a-love-story-----part-v.>.