I push on through the shaggy wood,
I round the hill: 't is here it stood;
And there, beyond the crumbled walls,
The shining Concord slowly crawls,
Yet seems to make a passing stay,
And gently spreads its lilied bay,
Curbed by this green and reedy shore,
Up toward the ancient homestead's door.
But dumbly sits the shattered house,
And makes no answer: man and mouse
Long since forsook it, and decay
Chokes its deep heart with ashes gray.
On what was once a garden-ground
Dull red-bloomed sorrels now abound;
And boldly whistles the shy quail
Within the vacant pasture's pale.
Ah, strange and savage, where he shines,
The sun seems staring through those pines
That once the vanished home could bless
With intimate, sweet loneliness.
The ignorant, elastic sod
The feet of them that daily trod
Its roods hath utterly forgot:
The very fire-place knows them not.
For, in the weedy cellar, thick
The ruined chimney's mass of brick
Lies strown. Wide heaven, with such an ease
Dost thou, too, lose the thought of these?
Yet I, although I know not who
Lived here, in years that voiceless grew
Ere I was born, - and never can, -
Am moved, because I am a man.
Oh glorious gift of brotherhood!
Oh sweet elixir in the blood,
That makes us live with those long dead,
Or hope for those that shall be bred
Hereafter! No regret can rob
My heart of this delicious throb;
No thought of fortunes haply wrecked,
Nor pang for nature's wild neglect.
And, though the hearth be cracked and cold,
Though ruin all the place enfold,
These ashes that have lost their name
Shall warm my life with lasting flame!