The Frogs

Original Text: 
The Poems of Archibald Lampman, ed. Duncan Campbell Scott (Toronto: George N. Morang, 1900): 7-10, as reprinted in The Poems of Archibald Lampman (including At the Long Sault), intro. by Margaret Coulb of Toronto Press, 1974), and from Among the Millet and Other Poems (Ottawa: Durie, 1888).
I
1.1Breathers of wisdom won without a quest,
1.2    Quaint uncouth dreamers, voices high and strange;
1.3Flutists of lands where beauty hath no change,
1.4    And wintry grief is a forgotten guest,
1.5Sweet murmurers of everlasting rest,
1.6    For whom glad days have ever yet to run,
1.7    And moments are as aeons, and the sun
1.8But ever sunken half-way toward the west.
1.9Often to me who heard you in your day,
1.10    With close rapt ears, it could not choose but seem
1.11That earth, our mother, searching in what way
1.12    Men's hearts might know her spirit's inmost-dream;
1.13        Ever at rest beneath life's change and stir,
1.14        Made you her soul, and bade you pipe for her.
II
2.1In those mute days when spring was in her glee,
2.2    And hope was strong, we knew not why or how,
2.3    And earth, the mother, dreamed with brooding brow,
2.4Musing on life, and what the hours might be,
2.5When love should ripen to maternity,
2.6    Then like high flutes in silvery interchange
2.7    Ye piped with voices still and sweet and strange,
2.8And ever as ye piped, on every tree
2.9The great buds swelled; among the pensive woods
2.10    The spirits of first flowers awoke and flung
2.11From buried faces the close-fitting hoods,
2.12    And listened to your piping till they fell,
2.13The frail spring-beauty with her perfumed bell,
III
3.1All the day long, wherever pools might be
3.2      Among the golden meadows, where the air
3.3      Stood in a dream, as it were moorèd there
3.4For ever in a noon-tide reverie,
3.5Or where the birds made riot of their glee
3.6          In the still woods, and the hot sun shone down,
3.7          Crossed with warm lucent shadows on the brown
3.8Leaf-paven pools, that bubbled dreamily,
3.9Or far away in whispering river meads
3.10    And watery marshes where the brooding noon,
3.11Full with the wonder of its own sweet boon,
3.12    Nestled and slept among the noiseless reeds,
3.13        Ye sat and murmured, motionless as they,
3.14        With eyes that dreamed beyond the night and day.
IV
4.1And when day passed and over heaven's height,
4.2    Thin with the many stars and cool with dew,
4.3    The fingers of the deep hours slowly drew
4.4The wonder of the ever-healing night,
4.5No grief or loneliness or rapt delight
4.6    Or weight of silence ever brought to you
4.7    Slumber or rest; only your voices grew
4.8More high and solemn; slowly with hushed flight
4.9Ye saw the echoing hours go by, long-drawn,
4.10    Nor ever stirred, watching with fathomless eyes,
4.11And with your countless clear antiphonies
4.12    Filling the earth and heaven, even till dawn,
4.13        Last-risen, found you with its first pale gleam,
4.14        Still with soft throats unaltered in your dream.
V
5.1And slowly as we heard you, day by day,
5.2    The stillness of enchanted reveries
5.3    Bound brain and spirit and half-closèd eyes,
5.4In some divine sweet wonder-dream astray;
5.5To us no sorrow or upreared dismay
5.6    Nor any discord came, but evermore
5.7    The voices of mankind, the outer roar,
5.8Grew strange and murmurous, faint and far away.
5.9Morning and noon and midnight exquisitely,
5.10    Rapt with your voices, this alone we knew,
5.11Cities might change and fall, and men might die,
5.12    Secure were we, content to dream with you
5.13        That change and pain are shadows faint and fleet,
5.14        And dreams are real, and life is only sweet.

Notes

2.14] wind-flower: anemone.
adder-tongue: dog-tooth, small plant of the lily family. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1888
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1997.
Form: