Complete Poetical Works

The Mountain Heart’s-Ease

Bret Harte

BY scattered rocks and turbid waters shifting,
        By furrowed glade and dell,
To feverish men thy calm, sweet face uplifting,
        Thou stayest them to tell

The delicate thought that cannot find expression,
        For ruder speech too fair,
That, like thy petals, trembles in possession,
        And scatters on the air.

The miner pauses in his rugged labor,
        And, leaning on his spade,
Laughingly calls unto his comrade-neighbor
        To see thy charms displayed.

But in his eyes a mist unwonted rises,
        And for a moment clear
Some sweet home face his foolish thought surprises,
        And passes in a tear,—

Some boyish vision of his Eastern village,
        Of uneventful toil,
Where golden harvests followed quiet tillage
        Above a peaceful soil.

One moment only; for the pick, uplifting,
        Through root and fibre cleaves,
And on the muddy current slowly drifting
        Are swept by bruised leaves.

And yet, O poet, in thy homely fashion,
        Thy work thou dost fulfill,
For on the turbid current of his passion
        Thy face is shining still!

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