George MacDonald – Songs of the Summer Days [Poem]

July 17, 2012


Songs of the Summer Days
George MacDonald


A glory on the chamber wall!
A glory in the brain!
Triumphant floods of glory fall
On heath, and wold, and plain.

Earth lieth still in hopeless bliss;
She has, and seeks no more;
Forgets that days come after this,
Forgets the days before.

Each ripple waves a flickering fire
Of gladness, as it runs;
They laugh and flash, and leap and spire,
And toss ten thousand suns.

But hark! low, in the world within,
One sad aeolian tone:
‘Ah! shall we ever, ever win
A summer of our own?’


A morn of winds and swaying trees-
Earth’s jubilance rushing out!
The birds are fighting with the breeze;
The waters heave about.

White clouds are swept across the sky,
Their shadows o’er the graves;
Purpling the green, they float and fly
Athwart the sunny waves.

The long grass-an earth-rooted sea-
Mimics the watery strife.
To boat or horse? Wild motion we
Shall find harmonious life.

But whither? Roll and sweep and bend
Suffice for Nature’s part;
But motion to an endless end
Is needful for our heart.


The morn awakes like brooding dove,
With outspread wings of gray;
Her feathery clouds close in above,
And roof a sober day.

No motion in the deeps of air!
No trembling in the leaves!
A still contentment everywhere,
That neither laughs nor grieves!

A film of sheeted silver gray
Shuts in the ocean’s hue;
White-winged feluccas cleave their way
In paths of gorgeous blue.

Dream on, dream on, O dreamy day,
Thy very clouds are dreams!
Yon child is dreaming far away-
He is not where he seems.


The lark is up, his faith is strong,
He mounts the morning air;
Lone voice of all the creature throng,
He sings the morning prayer.

Slow clouds from north and south appear,
Black-based, with shining slope;
In sullen forms their might they rear,
And climb the vaulted cope.

A lightning flash, a thunder boom!-
Nor sun nor clouds are there;
A single, all-pervading gloom
Hangs in the heavy air.

A weeping, wasting afternoon
Weighs down the aspiring corn;
Amber and red, the sunset soon
Leads back to golden morn.

Many of the works of George MacDonald are available
as free ebooks through Project Gutenberg