Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, DICKENS IN CAMP, by FRANCIS BRET HARTE

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

DICKENS IN CAMP, by                 Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
First Line: Above the pines the moon was slowly drifting
Last Line: This spray of western pine.
Alternate Author Name(s): Harte, Bret
Subject(s): Books; Dickens, Charles (1812-1870); Pine Trees; West (u.s.); Writing & Writers; Reading; Southwest; Pacific States

ABOVE the pines the moon was slowly drifting,
The river sang below;
The dim Sierras, far beyond, uplifting
Their minarets of snow.
The roaring camp-fire, with rude humor, painted
The ruddy tints of health
On haggard face and form that drooped and
In the fierce race for wealth;

Till one arose, and from his pack's scant treasure
A hoarded volume drew,
And cards were dropped from hands of listless
To hear the tale anew;

And then, while round them shadows gathered
And as the firelight fell,
He read aloud the book wherein the Master
Had writ of "Little Nell."

Perhaps 't was boyish fancy, -- for the reader
Was youngest of them all, --
But, as he read, from clustering pine and cedar
A silence seemed to fall:

The fir-trees, gathering closer in the shadows,
Listened in every spray,
While the whole camp, with "Nell," on English
Wandered and lost their way.

And so in mountain solitudes--o'ertaken
As by some spell divine --
Their cares dropped from them like the needles
From out the gusty pine.

Lost is that camp, and wasted all its fire;
And he who wrought that spell? --
Ah, towering pine and stately Kentish spire,
Ye have one tale to tell!

Lost is that camp! but let its fragrant story
Blend with the breath that thrills
With hop-vines' incense all the pensive glory
That fills the Kentish hills.

And on that grave where English oak and holly
And laurel wreathes intwine,
Deem it not all a too presumptuous folly, --
This spray of Western pine.

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