So runs the song of eighteen hundred years
Caught by the drowsy shepherds on the hill
From Regents of the Spheres.
Now we have lost the Babe among the straw
That men, too wise, thresh out of Death and Birth;
But year by year the old sweet changeless Law
Rings downward to the Earth.
Wherefore so long as mortal life endures,
To that Beyond we doubt and dream of still,
Peace upon earth and all goodwill be yours
O household of goodwill!
And none the less because so near to Youth
The hand that fails your merits in confessing
And none the less because so far from truth
The heart that shapes the blessing.
Against the petty round of wearing strife
You gave me refuge very dear and new—
The tender courtesies of daily life
Unwavering, sweet and true.
Forgoing much you opened wide your doors
And made me welcome past all worth or right—
An inky gamin doing inky chores
And doing 'em at night!
You heard the egotistic tongue that jumped
From babbling joy to beer-begotten gloom,
Nor shuddered when cheroot in hand I stumped
Your dainty drawing room.
Do I write jestingly? Believe me no—
Between the lines a deeper meaning lies
And heartier thanks than best Blue Black can show
Or pen anatomize
Help, Comfort, Sympathy and Kindness lie
Beyond all scribbling though I set apart
A thirty page edition of the Pi
And filled it—from my heart.
I thank you for I hold you very dear#8212
Science and Housewifry who made me guest,
And more than guest, for half a happy year—
And veil my thanks in jest
Behold! The stranger in your gates calls down
A mighty Blessing#8212yea, a note of credit
Available at every sea and town
As you and yours shall tread it
All good encompass you from East to West
Till utmost East becomes the West extreme,
What time you take your giant pleasure–quest
To lands whereofl dream.
For you shall China's wave take softer mood,
And Yeddo yield her choicest 'broideries,
And Halcyons hastening from their haunts shall brood
O'er North Pacific seas.
Most rare medicaments on every breeze
Shall steal beneath the awnings for your sake
Till tortured temples find unbroken ease,
And burning brows forget the way to ache.
Rangoon shall strew her rubies at your feet,
New skies shall show uncharted constellations,
And gentle earthquakes in Japan shall meet
Your rage for observations.
No plate of all the gross shall frill or blur,
Your trunks shall 'scape unclean douane-darogahs,
Though gems and netschies, curios and fur
Shall cram your Saratogas.
So shall you fare, while happy omens bless,
By land and sea, thrice proof against all harms,
Alex finds himself an F.R.S.
And Ted her Father's arms.