Meadow Rue

Elaine Goodale Eastman (1863 - 1953)

from All Round the Year, Verses from Sky Farm


Below the slopes of tender green,
Starred thick with pale forget-me-nots,
Below the hedge-row’s milk-white bloom,
Where bees hum deep in faint perfume,
The brook winds in and out between
Its grassy knolls and alder-knots;
There dewy stillness cools the burning brow,
There restful shade shuts out the random day;
Sweet refuge from the virginal overflow.
The blossomed grace of May!

’Tis there a modest floweret grows,
Whose lightest touch renews the place;
With drooping leaves, but half unrolled,
And tasselled fringe of tawny gold,
O’er all the shady bank she throws
A timid and caressing grace;
Adown the steep with careless freedom flung,
Caught up by wandering fringes, loose and cool
And left the dripping, deep-green moss among,
Beside some quiet pool.

Now circled by the dizzying tide,
And wet with drift of blinding spray;
Now on the sloping turf reclined,
And stirred by breezes soft and kind;
Now half-way up the jagged side
Of cliffs that break the narrow way; -
Hers is a native lightness, fine and free,
A rich and changeful lustre, fitting best,
A grave, quaint charm of bare simplicity,
And most, a sense of rest.

When emerald slopes are drowned in song,
When weary grows the unclouded blue,
When warm winds sink in billowy bloom,
And flood you with a faint perfume,
One moment leave the rapturous throng
To seek the haunts of meadow rue!
There dewy stillness cools the aching brow,
There grateful shade shuts out the oppressive day;
Sweet refuge from the sensuous overflow,
The wanton grace of May!