A Child's Garden:    1-10    11-20    21-30    31-41
The Child Alone,    Garden Days,    Envoys

Garden Days

Posuit Eum in Paradiso Voluptatis

I. Night and Day

When the golden day is done,
     Through the closing portal,
Child and garden, flower and sun,
     Vanish all things mortal.

As the blinding shadows fall,
     As the rays diminish,
Under evening's cloak, they all
     Roll away and vanish.

Garden darkened, daisy shut,
     Child in bed, they slumber--
Glow-worm in the highway rut,
     Mice among the lumber.

In the darkness houses shine,
     Parents move with candles;
Till on all, the night divine
     Turns the bedroom handles.

Till at last the day begins
     In the east a-breaking,
In the hedges and the whins
     Sleeping birds a-waking.

In the darkness shapes of things,
     Houses, trees, and hedges,
Clearer grow; and sparrows' wings
     Beat on window ledges.

These shall wake the yawning maid;
     She the door shall open--
Finding dew on garden glade
     And the morning broken.

There my garden grows again
     Green and rosy painted,
As at eve behind the pane
     From my eyes it fainted.

Just as it was shut away,
     Toy-like, in the even,
Here I see it glow with day
     Under glowing heaven.

Every path and every plot,
     Every bush of roses,
Every blue forget-me-not
     Where the dew reposes,

"Up!" they cry, "the day is come
     On the smiling valleys;
We have beat the morning drum;
     Playmate, join you allies!"
Redeunt Spectacula Mane

Aureus it Phoebus; tenebrae mortalia condunt,
     Flores et pueros arvaque culta simul;
Rarescunt radii; montes umbrantur opaci;
     Omnia jam Noctis nigra lacerna tegit.
Ut pueri in lectis, obscuro bellis in horto
     Dormit; lampyris parva cubile petit;
Scruta inter recubant mures; candela parentes
     Illustrat; lucet quaeque fenestra domus.
Nox divina operit cunctos, dum rursus Eous
     Sentibus in duris suscitet ortus aves;
Multa per obscurum, casa saepta arbust, videntur,
     Et penna auditur passeris ante domum.
Oscitat ut pandit valvas ancilla fidelis;
     Prospicit et pleno roscida prata die.
Qualem subripuit mihi nox, jam redditur hortus,
     Ante oculos viridis, non sine flore rosae.
Vespere qualis erat cum pupis hortus ademptus,
     Lumine talis erit lucidiore poli,
Roscida prata rosae calles, "damus, ecce!" reclamant,
     "Nos signum pueris; surgite! lumen adest!
Jam rediit" clamant "Phoebus, vallesque renident;
     Vos socii exspectant, vos studiosa cohors."
II. Nest Eggs

Birds, all the sunny day
     Flutter and quarrel
Here in the arbour-like
     Tent of the laurel.

Here in the fork
     The brown nest is seated;
Four little blue eggs
     The mother keeps heated.

While we stand watching her,
     Staring like gabies,
Safe in each egg are the
     Bird's little babies.

Soon the frail eggs they shall
     Chip, and upspringing
Make all the April woods
     Merry with singing.

Younger than we are,
     O children, and frailer,
Soon in blue air they'll be,
     Singer and sailor.

We, so much older,
     Taller and stronger,
We shall look down on the
     Birdies no longer.

They shall go flying
     With musical speeches
High overhead in the
     Tops of the beeches.

In spite of our wisdom
     And sensible talking,
We on our feet must go
     Plodding and walking.
Illic Passeres Nidificabunt

Sol nitet, et volucres, ramis qua laurus odumbrat
     Spectantes pueros, jurgia quanta movent!
Jam sedet in fusco (videas!) matercula nido,
     Caerulea et pullos ova quaterna tegunt.
Defixi obtutu dum nos spectamus, in ovis
     Tuta quidem suboles matre sedente latet.
Protinus exclusae furcam nidumque relinquent;
     Cantibus incipiet silva sonare novis.
Ante annos jubet Aprilis petere aera nostros,
     Carmina dum teneras ipse novella docet.
Amplior est habitus nobis et firmior aetas,
     Vix tamen in parvas despiciemus aves;
Quae super in fagis volitant, et voce canora
     Dulcia laetantur concinuisse mele.
Quid nos nostra juvat sapientia, quidve loquella,
     Quos pede pulvereo vadere fata velint?
III. The Flowers

All the names I know from nurse:
Gardener's garters, Shepherd's purse,
Bachelor's buttons, Lady's smock,
And the Lady Hollyhock.

Fairy places, fairy things,
Fairy woods where the wild bee wings,
Tiny trees for tiny dames--
These must all be fairy names!

Tiny woods below whose boughs
Shady fairies weave a house;
Tiny tree-tops, rose or thyme,
Where the braver fairies climb!

Fair are grown-up people's trees,
But the fairest woods are these;
Where if I were not so tall,
I should live for good and all.
Nuper in Pratis Studiosa Florum

Nomina me docuit nutrix; quem Pastor amaret,
     Quem florem Interulae nomen habere juvet;
Quive Periscelidis titulum sibi vindicet; illis
     Adjicias cui sit Caelibis omnis honor.
Parva decent Nymphas; silvestria numina, credo,
     Floribus haec parvis nomina parva dabant.
Exiguis gaudent silvis; apis inter amoenas
     Hic umbras resono murmure parva volat.
Arbore saepe casam sub parva vimine texunt,
     Gaudet enim parvo Nympha latere loco.
Hic rosa; sed videas illic thyma pandere ramos;
     Fortior at tantos scandere Nympha velit?
Est decus arboribus magnis, sed gloria major
     Parvarum. Nymphis silva minuta placet.
Immo ego, procerum quem vult Natura creatum,
     Ut magis in parvis parvulus esse velim!
IV. Summer Sun

Great is the sun, and wide he goes
Through empty heaven without repose;
And in the blue and glowing days
More thick than rain he showers his rays.

Though closer still the blinds we pull
To keep the shady parlour cool,
Yet he will find a chink or two
To slip his golden fingers through.

The dusty attic spider-clad
He, through the keyhole, maketh glad;
And through the broken edge of tiles,
Into the laddered hayloft smile.

Meantime his golden face around
He bares to all the garden ground,
And sheds a warm and glittering look
Among the ivy's inmost nook.

Above the hills, along the blue,
Round the bright air with footing true,
To please the child, to paint the rose,
The gardener of the World, he goes.
O Sol Pulcer, O Laudande!

Sol requiem spernit magnus; curritque viator
          Strenuus aetherium
Per caelum. Ruit autumno non spissior imber
          Quam sua tela die
Sol jacit aestivo radians. Si vela fenestris,
          Frigoris ut cupidi,
Tendimus, hic rimas quaerit; digitusque repertis
          Aureus inseritur.
Sedem et araneoli recreat cenacula, siquid
          Clave foramen eget.
Tegula ridentem lacera in faenilia mittit,
          Scalaque restat iners.
Aureus interea terras circumspicit; hortos
          Ore benignus adit;
Nec siquas hedera abscondit, vult luce latebras
          Vique carere sua.
Sol superat colles, certo et pede caerula caeli;
          Agricola est, properat
Ne sine laetitia pueris praetervolet aestas
          Neu sine flore rosae.
V. The Dumb Soldier

When the grass was closely mown,
Walking on the lawn alone,
In the turf a hole I found
And hid a soldier underground.

Spring and daisies came apace;
Grasses hide my hiding place;
Grasses run like a green sea
O'er the lawn up to my knee.

Under grass alone he lies,
Looking up with leaden eyes,
Scarlet coat and pointed gun,
To the stars and to the sun.

When the grass is ripe like grain,
When the scythe is stoned again,
When the lawn is shaven clear,
Then my hole shall reappear.

I shall find him, never fear,
I shall find my grenadier;
But for all that's gone and come,
I shall find my soldier dumb.

He has lived, a little thing,
In the grassy woods of spring;
Done, if he could tell me true,
Just as I should like to do.

He has seen the starry hours
And the springing of the flowers;
And the fairy things that pass
In the forests of the grass.

In the silence he has heard
Talking bee and ladybird,
And the butterfly has flown
O'er him as he lay alone.

Not a word will he disclose,
Not a word of all he knows,
I must lay him on the shelf,
And make up the tale myself.
Plumbeae Miles Taciturnitatis

Angustam inveni rimam, spatiatus in horto,
     Herba ubi jam demessa jacebat.
Hic illi, qui forte comes mihi plumbeus errat
     Centurio, custodia longa
Sub terra datur et statio. Ver proterit aestas
     Bellide graminibusque decora;
Ut viridi mersus pelago, latet abditus ille,
     Tarda levat dum lumina plumbo;
Sed super herba, genu tenus alta, abscondere solem
     Laetatur, quamvis sua miles
Tendat tela minax et coccum tegmine vincat.
     Adveniet messis; renovata
Cote suum navabit opus, reddetque lacunam
     Falx illam; in statione fidelis
Miles erit, spes certa mihi; tamen ille repertus
     Mutus erit, spectata silebit
Gramineas inter silvas per tempora veris
     Hic fecit, modo si loqueretur,
Quae facerem laetus. Stellis ardentibus aptum
     Aethera Nympharumque choreas
Nascentes inter flores et gramina vidit
     Parvulus ipse; silentia rupta
Colloquiis hic novit apum, dum murmura miscent;
     Responsa audivit scarabaei;
Papilionem alis vidit volitare coruscis.
     Cuncta tamen novitque siletque.
Talem ad pegma virum! Commentus et ipse tacentis
     Militis historias recitabo.
VI. Autumn Fires

In the other gardens
     And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
     See the smoke trail!

Pleasant summer over
     And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
     The grey smoke towers.

Sing a song of seasons!
     Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
     Fires in the fall!
Volat Vapor Ater ad Auras

Per vallem videas ut in aethera fumidae vaporis
     Surgunt columnae; nullus exstat hortus,
Qua non jam cogat cum frondibus hortulanus instans
     Ramos vetustos ut ministret igni.
Aestas praeteriit dulcissima; praeterire flores
     Flammae monebunt et volans favilla.
Volvitur hora quidem grata vice; flosculos ut aestas
     Autumnus offert ignium colores.
VII. The Gardener

The gardener does not love to talk,
He makes me keep the gravel walk;
And when he puts his tools away,
He locks the door and takes the key.

Away behind the currant row
Where no one else but cook may go,
Far in the plots, I see him dig,
Old and serious, brown and big.

He digs the flowers, green, red, and blue,
Nor wishes to be spoken to.
He digs the flowers and cuts the hay,
And never seems to want to play.

Silly gardener: summer goes,
And winter comes with pinching toes,
When in the garden bare and brown
You must lay your barrow down.

Well now, and while the summer stays,
To profit by these garden days,
O how much wiser you would be
To play at Indian wars with me!
Est et Fideli Tuta Silentio Merces

Verborum male parcus hortulanus,
"Hic, qua est semita," dicit, "ambularis."
Et cum vespere sarculum reponit
Occluditque sera levatque clavem.
Pone arbusta solum fodit novale;
Vidi, nam vetitum est venire nobis
Illuc, quo coqua sola vadit audax,
Vidi dum fodit, ore quam severo,
Fuscus, vastus homo, et gravis senecta.
Per flores varios fodit metitque
Herbas, impatiens senex loquellae
Humanae minimeque ludibundus.
Aestas effugit, hortulane inepte!
Brumali digiti gelu rigebunt.
Depones modium et simul ligonem
Et squalere situ videbis hortum.
Ergo dum Zephyri tepent et aestas,
Hortus dum vocat optimis dierum,
Cur non te libet, hortulane, mecum
Indorum revocare bella ludo?
VIII. Historical Associations

Dear Uncle Jim, this garden ground
That now you smoke your pipe around,
Has seen immortal actions done
And valiant battles lost and won.

Here we had best on tip-toe tread,
While I for safety march ahead,
For this is that enchanted ground
Where all who loiter slumber sound.

Here is the sea, here is the sand,
Here is simple Shepherd's Land,
Here are the fairy hollyhocks,
And there are Ali Baba's rocks.

But yonder, see! apart and high,
Frozen Siberia lies; where I,
With Robert Bruce and William Tell,
Was bound by an enchanter's spell.

There, then, awhile in chains we lay,
In wintry dungeons, far from day;
But ris'n at length, with might and main,
Our iron fetters burst in twain.

Then all the horns were blown in town,
And to the ramparts clanging down,
All the giants leaped to horse
And charged behind us through the gorse.

On we rode, the others and I,
Over the mountains blue, and by
The Silver River, the sounding sea,
And the robber woods of Tartary.

A thousand miles we galloped fast,
And down the witches' lane we passed,
And rode amain, with brandished sword,
Up to the middle, through the ford.

Last we drew rein--a weary three--
Upon the lawn, in time for tea,
And from our steeds alighted down
Before the gates of Babylon.
Nullum Sine Nomine Saxum

Hic ubi tu fumo intentus spatiaris in horto,
     Militibus cum laude perenni
Proelia sunt commissa; his dat victoria palmam,
     Illos dedecorat fuga victos.
Hic summis, credo, digitis incedere praestat,
     Teque sequi, pravosque sopores
Devitare, magi quos incussere maligni
     Saepe viatori perituro.
Hic mare conspicies, campos pastoris, arenas,
     Naiadumque rosas tenerarum,
Hic Arabum scopulos, Alibas qua forte latronum
     Thesauros reseravit in antro.
Illic nec procul est glacie taeterrima tellus,
     Carminibus qua et Colchidis arte
Me comite Aeneaque pio sopitus Ulixes
     Vincla tulit gelidasque tenebras,
Donec longa dies ferrum rupisse moneret;
     Tum strepitu sonuere tubarum
Moenia, tum glomerant turmas Cyclopes in urbem
     Quadrupedante sono reboantem.
Effugimus; sequitur suboles procera Gigantum
     Per deserta et inhospita tesqua,
Qua per caeruleos montes Argenteus amnis
     Defluit in Pontum, siluasque
Gens praedonum habitat Scythicis armata sagittis;
     Nos spatia infinita equitatu
Sagarumque viam decurrimus, inde fluenti
     Per vada pectoribus tenus udi
Strictis sed gladiis; et tandem in graminie fessi
     Constitimus, Babylona superbam
Tres nacti, quibus haud possent jam deesse placentae
     Scottorum neque Sericus humor.

A Child's Garden:    1-10    11-20    21-30    31-41
The Child Alone,    Garden Days,    Envoys