High and Low.
Streamlets winding through meadows green,
Rippling, smiling, their banks between.
Up on the heights, the torrents flash,
Rush and tumble, and roar and dash,
Seaming the soil with many a gash.
Down in the valley, the summer rain
Gently falls on the growing grain,
Softly taps at the window-pane.
Up on the heights, the tempests beat,
Hurling volleys of pelting sleet,
When winds and clouds like armies meet.
Down in the valley, through growing corn.
The warm wind steals, and the breeze of morn,
Kisses the buds, and the flowers are born.
Up on the heights, the wind blows chill,
Smiting the heart with its icy thrill,
Shrieking at midnight, sharp and shrill.
Down in the valley, a level street,
Shaded by trees whose branches meet,
Trodden lightly by tripping feet.
Up to the heights, the way is steep,
The stones are sharp, the chasms deep,
And oft the pilgrims pause to weep.
Down in the valley, a vine-wreathed cot,
A happy household where strife is not,
Each content in a simple lot.
Up on the heights, one dwells apart,
A mark for many an envious dart,
Lofty, but lonely, and starved in heart.
Oh, would there were less of strife to gain,
With bleeding feet, with tug and strain,
Far, rocky heights, that are heights of pain.
The brightest wreaths of fame may rest
On throbbing brows, and royal vest
Oft has covered an aching breast.
__Ellen P. Allerton.
Walls of Corn and Other Poems
Ellen P. Allerton
(Hiawatha, KS: Harrington Printing Company. 1894)