Herba Santa



After long wars when comes release
Not olive wands proclaiming peace
  Can import dearer share
Than stems of Herba Santa hazed
  In autumn's Indian air.
Of moods they breathe that care disarm,
They pledge us lenitive and calm.


Shall code or creed a lure afford
To win all selves to Love's accord?
When Love ordained a supper divine
  For the wide world of man,
What bickerings o'er his gracious wine!
  Then strange new feuds began.
Effectual more in lowlier way,
  Pacific Herb, thy sensuous plea
The bristling clans of Adam sway
  At least to fellowship in thee!
Before thine altar tribal flags are furled,
Fain wouldst thou make one hearthstone of
    the world.


To scythe, to sceptre, pen and hod—
  Yea, sodden laborers dumb;
To brains overplied, to feet that plod,
In solace of the Truce of God
  The Calumet has come!


Ah for the world ere Raleigh's find
  Never that knew this suasive balm
That helps when Gilead's fails to heal,
  Helps by an interserted charm.
Insinuous thou that through the nerve
  Windest the soul, and so canst win
Some from repinings, some from sin,
  The Church's aim thou dost subserve.
The ruffled fag fordone with care
  And brooding, God would ease this pain:
Him soothest thou and smoothest down
  Till some content return again.
Even ruffians feel thy influence breed
  Saint Martin's summer in the mind,
They feel this last evangel plead,
As did the first, apart from creed,
  Be peaceful, man—be kind!


Rejected once on higher plain,
O Love supreme, to come again
  Can this be thine?
Again to come, and win us too
  In likeness of a weed
That as a god didst vainly woo,
  As man more vainly bleed?


Forbear, my soul! and in thine Eastern
  Rehearse the dream that brings the long
Through jasmine sweet and talismanic amber
  Inhaling Herba Santa in the passive Pipe
    of Peace.


facebook share button twitter share button reddit share button share on pinterest pinterest

Add Herba Santa to your library.

Return to the Herman Melville library , or . . . Read the next poem; Inscription

© 2022 AmericanLiterature.com