Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882). Complete Poetical Works. 1893.

Ultima Thule

Poems. Robert Burns

I SEE amid the fields of Ayr

A ploughman, who, in foul and fair,

Sings at his task

So clear, we know not if it is

The laverock’s song we hear, or his,

Nor care to ask.

For him the ploughing of those fields

A more ethereal harvest yields

Than sheaves of grain;

Songs flush with purple bloom the rye,

The plover’s call, the curlew’s cry,

Sing in his brain.

Touched by his hand, the wayside weed

Becomes a flower; the lowliest reed

Beside the stream

Is clothed with beauty; gorse and grass

And heather, where his footsteps pass,

The brighter seem.

He sings of love, whose flame illumes

The darkness of lone cottage rooms;

He feels the force,

The treacherous undertow and stress

Of wayward passions, and no less

The keen remorse.

At moments, wrestling with his fate,

His voice is harsh, but not with hate;

The brush-wood, hung

Above the tavern door, lets fall

Its bitter leaf, its drop of gall

Upon his tongue.

But still the music of his song

Rises o’er all, elate and strong;

Its master-chords

Are Manhood, Freedom, Brotherhood,

Its discords but an interlude

Between the words.

And then to die so young and leave

Unfinished what he might achieve!

Yet better sure

Is this, than wandering up and down,

An old man in a country town,

Infirm and poor.

For now he haunts his native land

As an immortal youth; his hand

Guides every plough;

He sits beside each ingle-nook,

His voice is in each rushing brook,

Each rustling bough.

His presence haunts this room to-night,

A form of mingled mist and light

From that far coast.

Welcome beneath this roof of mine!

Welcome! this vacant chair is thine,

Dear guest and ghost!