Puslapio vaizdai



THE August day was perfect. It is a kind of perfection that no other month in the year can quite match.

"A neglected month," said Jason.

The heat, I think, had something to do with his sympathy. He expressed it in the tone with which one says, "November is chill and drizzling." He was forlorn about the heat, and missed, I believe, the wonderfully pregnant quietude of August days.

"August," I said, "is of the fulness of time. Time triumphs in August. It is rich, ripe and golden; serene and melancholy. All the other months are garrulous in one form or another. August is full of the sense of sound; its rhythm is silence."

"The month of vacationists and the fiction number of magazines," remarked Jason contemptuously.

"Your mood is hollow," exclaimed Cassandra, reprovingly.

"So is the earth and sky of air!" Jason rejoined.

I let the remark pass as of no consequence. A

light breath of air came through the trees filled with the hot scent of the pines. It was intoxicatingly sweet. "Did you catch that?" I asked Jason. The odor worked like magic. Listlessness took a visible departure from his being. And he began to quote:

"There were four apples on the bough,

Half gold, half red, that one might know
The blood was ripe inside the core;
The color of the leaves was more
Like stems of yellow corn that grow
Through all the gold June meadow's floor.

"The warm smell of the fruit was good
To feed on, and the split green wood,
With all its bearded lips and stains
Of mosses in the cloven veins,
Most pleasant, if one lay or stood
In sunshine or in happy rains.

"There were four apples on the tree,
Red stained through gold, that all might see,
The sun went warm from core to rind;
The green leaves made the summer blind
In that soft place they kept for me
With golden apples shut behind.


The leaves caught gold across the sun,
And where the bluest air begun,
Thirsted for song to help the heat;
As I to feel my lady's feet

Draw close before the day were done:
Both lips grew dry with dreams of it.

"In the mute August afternoon
They trembled to some undertune
Of music in the silver air:

Great pleasure was it to be there
Till green turned duskier, and the moon
Colored the corn-sheaves like gold hair.

"That August time it was delight

To watch the red moons wane to white,
'Twixt gray seamed stems of apple-trees:
A sense of heavy harmonies

Grew on the growth of patient night,
More sweet than shapen music is.

"Bút some three hours before the moon
The air, still eager from the noon,
Flagged after heat, not wholly dead;
Against the stem I leant my head;
The color soothed me like a tune,
Green leaves all round the gold and red.

"I lay there till the warm smell grew
More sharp, when flecks of yellow dew
Between the round ripe leaves had blurred
The rind with stain and wet: I heard
A wind that blew and breathed and blew,
Too weak to alter its one word.

The wet leaves next the gentle fruit
Felt smoother, and the brown tree-root
Felt the mould warmer: I, too, felt
(As water feels the slow gold melt
Right through it when the day burns mute)
The place of time wherein love dwelt..

"There were four apples on the tree,

Gold stained on red, that all might see
The sweet blood filled them to the core:
The color of her hair is more

Like stems of fair faint gold, that be
Mown from the harvest's middle-floor."


"Ah, Swinburne!" exclaimed Psyche, when Jason finished, "what an imcomparable lutanist he is. Mute August afternoons,' full of the undertune of music in the silver air.' And gold, gold, in everything and everywhere."

"Your modern critic,- I would say too, your modern poet -may deny to Swinburne substance and sense, but one glory cannot be denied him, and that is the glory of music," Jason declared with as much enthusiasm as the heat would permit him to show. "Why, music is the very garment of dreams so much of our modern poetry is undressed," he drawled back into silence.

I could not let what I regarded as a challenge from Jason concerning the poetry of August, pass, so I repeated these lines by Mr. Howells:

"All the long August afternoon,
The little drowsy stream
Whispers a melancholy tune,
As if it dreamed of June

And whispered in its dream.

"The thistles show beyond the brook
Dust on their down and bloom,
And out of many a weed-grown nook
The aster-flowers look

With eyes of tender gloom.


66 The silent orchard aisles are sweet
With smell of ripening fruit.

Through the sere grass, in shy retreat,
Flutter, at coming feet,

The robins strange and mute.

There is no wind to stir the leaves,
The harsh leaves overhead;
Only the querulous cricket grieves,
And shrilling locust weaves

A song of Summer dead.

"Our American poet," I said, when I finished, agrees with the English poet that August is silent, mute, and yet they both make her musical. But it is the music of quiescence, the subdual of dreams really," I hazarded, "the miracle of birth."

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"Birth!" declared Jason, with surprise, and shaking off his enervation with a vigorous gesture of his hand.

"Yes, birth," I repeated. "There is a budding morrow at midnight,'" I quoted from Keats. "August is, in a sense, the midnight of the year. Not December, as is commonly accepted," I hastened to explain, "for that month is the dawn of the year." It was a puzzling fancy to my companions. But such a calendar of the year I had believed in since a child. Somehow man always seemed very dull to me in his perception of the seasons. He lost most of the wonder of time and change, by only regarding the surface of experience. "Time and change," I repeated aloud,

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