Fragrant Quote for September 30th, 2012-A FOREST WALK by Alfred Billings Street

A Lovely sky, a cloudless sun,
A wind that breathes of leaves and
flowers,
O'er hill, through dale, my steps have
run 
To the cool forest's shadowy
bowers;
One of the paths all round that wind.

Traced by the browsing herds, I
choose, 
And sights and sounds of human kind
In Nature's lone recesses lose: 
The beech displays its marbled bark, 
The spruce its green tent stretches
wide, 
While scowls the hemlock grim and
dark,
The maple's scalloped dome beside. 
 All weave on high a verdant roof 
That keeps the very sun aloof. Making a twilight soft and green 
Within the columned, vaulted scene.

Sweet forest-odors have their birth
From the clothed boughs and teem-
ing earth:
Where pine-cones dropped, leaves
piled and dead 
Long tufts of grass, and stars of
fern, 
With many a wild flower's fairy
inn,
A thick, elastic carpet spread:
Here, with its mossy pall, the trunk, 
Resolving into soil, is sunk; 
There, wrenched but lately from its
throne 
By some fierce whirlwind circling
past, 
Its huge roots massed with earth and
stone, 
One of the woodland kings is cast.

Above, the forest-tips are bright 
With the broad blaze of sunny light; 
But now a fitful air-gust parts
The screening branches, and aglow
 Of dazzling, startling radiance darts
Down the dark stems, and breaks
below:
The mingled shadows off are rolled. 
The sylvan floor is bathed in gold;
Low sprouts and herbs, before unseen 
Display their shades of brown and
green:
Tints brighten o'er the velvet moss, 
Gleams twinkle on the laurel's gloss; 
The robin, brooding in her nest, 
Chirps as the quick ray strikes her
breast;
And, as my shadow prints the ground,
I see the rabbit upward bound,
With pointed ears an instant look,
Then scamper to the darkest nook,
Where, with crouched limb and star-
ing eye,
He watches while I saunter by.

A narrow vista, carpeted
With rich green grass, invites my
tread:
Here showers the light in golden dots,
There drops the shade in ebon spots,
So blended that the very air
Seems net-work as I enter there.
The partridge, whose deep-rolling
drum
Afar has sounded in my ear, 
Ceasing his beatings as I come. 
Whirs to the sheltering branches
near;
The little milk-snake glides away. 
The brindled marmot dives from day; 
And now, between the boughs, a
space
Of the blue, laughing sky, I trace: 
On each side shrinks the bowery
shade;
Before me spreads an emerald glade; 
The sunshine steeps its grass and
moss;
That couch my footsteps as I cross;
Merrily hums the tawny bee,
The glittering humming-bird I see;
Floats the bright butterfly along,
The insect choir is loud in song;
A spot of light and life, it seems. —
A fairy haunt for Fancy's dreams.

Here stretched, the pleasant turf I
press
In luxury of idleness;
Sun-streaks, and glancing wings, and
sky 
Spotted with cloud-shapes charm my
eye:
While murmuring grass and waving
trees —
Their leaf-harps sounding to the
breeze —
And water-tones that tinkle near. 
Blend their sweet music to my ear; 
And by the changing shades alone, 
The passage of the hours is known.