Songs from the Mountains


Henry Kendall

I AM writing this song at the close
    Of a beautiful day of the spring
In a dell where the daffodil grows
    By a grove of the glimmering wing;
From glades where a musical word
    Comes ever from luminous fall,
I send you the song of a bird
    That I wish to be dear to you all.

I have given my darling the name
    Of a land at the gates of the day,
Where morning is always the same,
    And spring never passes away.
With a prayer for a lifetime of light,
    I christened her Persia, you see;
And I hope that some fathers to-night
    Will kneel in the spirit with me.

She is only commencing to look
    At the beauty in which she is set;
And forest and flower and brook,
    To her are all mysteries yet.
I know that to many my words
    Will seem insignificant things;
But you who are mothers of birds
    Will feel for the father who sings.

For all of you doubtless have been
    Where sorrows are many and wild;
And you know what a beautiful scene
    Of this world can be made by a child:
I am sure, if they listen to this,
    Sweet women will quiver, and long
To tenderly stoop to and kiss
    The Persia I’ve put in a song.

And I’m certain the critic will pause,
    And excuse, for the sake of my bird,
My sins against critical laws—
    The slips in the thought and the word.
And haply some dear little face
    Of his own to his mind will occur—
Some Persia who brightens his place—
    And I’ll be forgiven for her.

A life that is turning to grey
    Has hardly been happy, you see;
But the rose that has dropped on my way
    Is morning and music to me.
Yea, she that I hold by the hand
    Is changing white winter to green,
And making a light of the land—
    All fathers will know what I mean:

All women and men who have known
    The sickness of sorrow and sin,
Will feel—having babes of their own—
    My verse and the pathos therein.
For that must be touching which shows
    How a life has been led from the wild
To a garden of glitter and rose,
    By the flower-like hand of a child.

She is strange to this wonderful sphere;
    One summer and winter have set
Since God left her radiance here—
    Her sweet second year is not yet.
The world is so lovely and new
    To eyes full of eloquent light,
And, sisters, I’m hoping that you
    Will pray for my Persia to-night.

For I, who have suffered so much,
    And know what the bitterness is,
Am sad to think sorrow must touch
    Some day even darlings like this!
But sorrow is part of this life,
    And, therefore, a father doth long
For the blessing of mother and wife
    On the bird he has put in a song.

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