Outside the afterlight's lucent rose Is smiting the hills and brimming the valleys, And shadows are stealing across the snows; From the mystic gloom of the pineland alleys. Glamour of mingled night and day Over the wide, white world has sway, And through their prisoning azure bars, Gaze the calm, cold eyes of the early stars.
But here, in this long, low-raftered room, Where the blood-red light is crouching and leaping, The fire that colors the heart of the gloom The lost sunshine of old summers is keeping The wealth of forests that held in fee Many a season's rare alchemy, And the glow and gladness without a name That dwells in the deeps of unstinted flame.
Gather we now round the opulent blaze With the face that loves and the heart that rejoices, Dream we once more of the old-time days, Listen once more to the old-time voices! From the clutch of the cities and paths of the sea We have come again to our own roof-tree, And forgetting the loves of the stranger lands We yearn for the clasp of our kindred's hands.
There are tales to tell, there are tears to shed, There are children's flower-faces and women's sweet laughter; There's a chair left vacant for one who is dead Where the firelight crimsons the ancient rafter; What reck we of the world that waits With care and clamor beyond our gates, We, with our own, in this witching light, Who keep our tryst with the past tonight?
Ho! how the elf-flames laugh in glee! Closer yet let us draw together, Holding our revel of memory In the guiling twilight of winter weather; Out on the waste the wind is chill, And the moon swings low o'er the western hill, But old hates die and old loves burn higher With the wane and flash of the farmhouse fire.