Herr Weiser

A poem by James Whitcomb Riley

Herr Weiser! Three-score-years-and-ten,
A hale white rose of his country-men,
Transplanted here in the Hoosier loam,
And blossomy as his German home -
As blossomy and as pure and sweet
As the cool green glen of his calm retreat,
Far withdrawn from the noisy town
Where trade goes clamoring up and down,
Whose fret and fever, and stress and strife,
May not trouble his tranquil life!

Breath of rest, what a balmy gust!
Quite of the city's heat and dust,
Jostling down by the winding road,
Through the orchard ways of his quaint abode.
Tether the horse, as we onward fare
Under the pear-trees trailing there,
And thumping the wood bridge at night
With lumps of ripeness and lush delight,
Till the stream, as it maunders on till dawn,
Is powdered and pelted and smiled upon.

Herr Weiser, with his wholesome face,
And the gentle blue of his eyes, and grace
Of unassuming honesty,
Be there to welcome you and me!
And what though the toil of the farm be stopped
And the tireless plans of the place be dropped,
While the prayerful master's knees are set
In beds of pansy and mignonette
And lily and aster and columbine,
Offered in love, as yours and mine?

What, but a blessing of kindly thought,
Sweet as the breath of forget-me-not!
What, but a spirit of lustrous love
White as the aster he bends above!
What, but an odorous memory
Of the dear old man, made known to me
In days demanding a help like his,
As sweet as the life of the lily is -
As sweet as the soul of a babe, bloom-wise
Born of a lily in paradise.

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