The Pre-emptor.

While turning furrows on a Kansas prairie,
     Cares half imaginary
Come trooping through my brain, then skip away
     Like antelopes at play.
All day I watch the furrow-slices slide
     Along the mould-board steel;
     But when night comes I feel
Along my brain strange restful fancies glide.

Although my home may be a humble shanty,
     With fittings rude and scanty,
Each night a kind magician comes to see,
     And hand the world to me:
I see a grand cathedral; on a hill
     I note a Moorish tower,
     And orange trees in flower --
It is the graceful city of Seville.

The evening lights upon the ripples twinkle,
     I hear the mule-bells tinkle,
And organs peal, and twittering mandolins,
     As fragrant night begins.
I see Giralda, in dissolving views,
     And purple shadows fade
     In glorious brocade;
I watch the twilight of the Andaluz.

I hand the world back to my necromancer,
     And make to him no answer.
Next day I hear the rattle just the same
     Of clevis and of hame;
But when night comes, emerging from the dark
     I see the sunrise smile
     Upon the Campanile,
And bronze the flying lion of St. Mark.

I gaze on ducal palaces adorning
     The Grand Canal, at morning;
I view the ancient trophies that have come
     Torn from Byzantium;
I see what colors Tintoretto's were;
     Upon the mole I hear
     The gaudy gondolier,
Then -- hand the world back to my sorcerer.

The griefs that flock like rabbits in a warren
     To me are wholly foreign.
No help, no cheer, no sympathy I ask;
     I'm equal to my task.
Though small my holdings when the sun may shine,
     When evening comes my cares
     Steal from me unawares,
And then the earth I love so much is mine.

Divider line of thick olive-green leaves

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