By Alfred Hayes
LET others strive for wealth or praise
Who care to win ;
I count myself full blest, if He,
Who made my study fair to see,
Grant me but length of quiet days
To muse therein.
Its walls, with peach and cherry clad,
From yonder wold
Unbosomed, seem as if thereon
September sunbeams ever shone ;
They make the air look warm and glad
When winds are cold.
Around its door a clematis
Her arms doth tie ;
Through leafy lattices I view
Its endless corridors of blue
Curtained with clouds ; its ceiling is
The marbled sky.
A verdant carpet smoothly laid
Doth oft invite
My silent steps ; thereon the sun
With silver thread of dew hath spun
Devices rare the warp of shade,
The weft of light.
Here dwell my chosen books, whose leaves
With healing breath
The ache of discontent assuage,
And speak from each illumined page
The patience that my soul reprieves
From inward death ;
Some perish with a season’s wind,
And some endure ;
One robes itself in snow, and one
In raiment of the rising sun
Bordered with gold ; in all I find
As on my grassy couch I lie,
From hedge and tree
Musicians pipe ; or if the heat
Subdue the birds, one crooneth sweet
Whose labour is a lullaby
The slumbrous bee.
The sun my work doth overlook
With searching light ;
The serious moon, the flickering star,
My midnight lamp and candle are;
A soul unhardened is the book
Wherein I write.
There labouring, my heart is eased
Of every care ;
Yet often wonderstruck I stand,
With earnest gaze but idle hand,
Abashed for God Himself is pleased
To labour there.
Ashamed my faultful task to spell,
I watch how grows
The Master’s perfect colour-scheme
Of sunset, or His simpler dream
Of moonlight, or that miracle
We name a rose.
Dear Earth, one thought alone doth grieve—
The tender dread
Of parting from thee ; as a child,
Who painted while his father smiled,
Then watched him paint, is loth to leave
And go to bed.
Hayes, Alfred. “My Study.” The Yellow Book vol. 2, July 1894, pp. 275-77. Yellow Book Digital Edition, edited by Dennis Denisoff and Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, 2010-2014. Yellow Nineties 2.0, Ryerson University Centre for Digital Humanities, 2019. https://1890s.ca/YBV2_hayes_study/