GLEAMS OF SUNSHINE
JOSEPH HORATIO CHANT
Printed for the Author by William Briggs Toronto 1915
Copyright, Canada, 1915 by J. H. Chant.
TO The memory of my beloved wife, MARY MATILDA McKIM Who, by her gentle disposition, cheerful spirit, sound judgment, and earnest Christian life, not only proved herself my true helpmate for over 46 years, but, also, made our home a place of constant peace and abounding joy, I dedicate this book.
J. H. C.
FATHER OF UNIVERSAL MAN 9
GOD'S PLAN IS BEST 12
LATE AUTUMN 18
TO MR. RUDYARD KIPLING 23
MEN BELOW DECK 26
"OTHERS SAVE WITH FEAR" 28
TREAD SOFTLY 31
"IT WAS MY FAULT" 34
KEPT THE FLAG FLOATING 35
A WORLD REDEEMED 38
ALASKAN BOUNDARY SETTLEMENT 40
MY PRIMROSE 42
NIAGARA'S RAINBOW 44
MY SISTER NELL AND I 46
GATHER THE WAYSIDE FLOWERS 48
HIDE THEIR SCARS 50
"ASHAMED BUT NOT AFRAID" 52
MARSTON MOOR 59
OIL THE CRICKET 62
THE REAL 63
VICTORY GAINED AND LIFE LOST 65
THE BAPTISM OF CLOVIS 66
THE WATER LILY 70
"HE SHALL WIPE AWAY EVERY TEAR" 72
THE TAJ OF AGRA 73
ENGLAND'S BRAVE SONS 78
QUEEN VICTORIA 80
SILVER TONES 83
GOD'S ORDER 86
UNDECAYING FRUIT 90
THE HEROES OF OUR DAY 92
THE BIG BEAR CREEK 94
THE FROST ON THE WINDOW 96
"WILT THOU HARASS A DRIVEN LEAF?" 98
A GEM 100
THE CLOUDS 101
THE MOSSES 103
THE GRANDEST THEME 105
THE FLOWERS 111
THE BUD 113
BEAUTIFUL SKY 115
BUTTERCUPS AND DAISIES 116
THE MOSS ROSE 118
GOD'S CARE 120
MY LOT 121
GOD'S FOOT ON THE CRADLE 122
GOD'S GIFTS TO BE ENJOYED 124
THE HIGHEST GOAL 126
JOY IN THE MORNING 128
"HE SHALL DWELL ON HIGH" 129
BAG YOUR GAME 132
OTHERS' BURDENS 135
THE ROYAL WAY 138
A MEROGNOSTIC 141
"SALUT AUX BLESSIS" 144
SHE DEARLY LOVED THE FLOWERS 149
MY PANSY PETS 151
LOVE BETTER THAN KNOWLEDGE 153
A SUFFERING GOD 155
THE COPY 157
PERFECT WORK 159
THE JOHNSTOWN DISASTER 160
EYE HATH NOT SEEN 169
WHAT LASTS? 171
IS THERE A BRIGHTER WORLD? 173
A GLIMPSE OF HEAVEN 176
THE END WE SOUGHT 178
MY REST 180
"PAINT ME AS I AM, WARTS AND ALL" 182
"I WAS THERE" 183
TRUE LOVE 185
A TRUE MAN 186
MY OLD SWEETHEART 187
Gleams of Sunshine
_O Thou, who art the source of joy and light, The great Revealer of the will Divine; Thyself Divine, all nature owns Thy might, And bows in homage at a beck of Thine, Afford me light to guide my unskilled hand, And by Thy Spirit all my thoughts command.
To Thy great name I dedicate my powers, Yielding to Thee what Thou with blood hast bought, Resolved that Thou shalt have my days and hours, And for Thy sake shall every work be wrought; O deign to use me, if it be Thy will, And my poor heart with love and gladness fill.
If this strange impulse which I feel within To write this book proceeds, O Lord, from Thee, Let it not die, nor be defiled by sin, But let the work from self and sin be free, And prove a guide to home and bliss above, And help to fill this warring world with love.
The Master's touch I know it sadly lacks, And may not please the nice artistic taste Of some fine mind that naught but gold attracts; Some may not count these iron-filings waste; Like magnets, to which gold will not adhere, May they find ore in this to bless and cheer.
In this plain pitcher, Lord, Thy blessing pour, That from it men their raging thirst may slake, And when exhausted is the scanty store, Then let the earthen vessel quickly break; Its end is gained if Thou art glorified, And men have learned to love the Christ who died.
As flowers drink in the solar rays and dew, And in return give bloom and odors sweet, So would I to Thy Spirit's touch prove true, And render that return which seemeth meet; Come, dews of grace! Great Sun, illume my heart! That I to some sad soul may joy impart._
FATHER OF UNIVERSAL MAN
Father of Universal Man, Where'er in this wide world he roam, Not known to thee by kith or clan, Nor height, nor breadth of mental dome, Nor babbling tongue, nor sounding creed, But by his woe and common need.
The pushing Anglo-Saxon race, The Celts with wealth of heart and mind, The Esquimaux of leaden face, The Arabs whom no chain can bind, With hardy Boers and all the rest, Are with one common Father blest.
And all are brothers, though at times Our flashing swords obscure the sun. We ring aloud our Christmas chimes, But louder sounds the booming gun, And brother is by brother slain, And kindred ties are rent in twain.
Yet Thou art true whate'er betide; Thy heart o'er human woe doth melt; For men of every race Christ died, And, as a zone, Thy love would belt All human kind from pole to pole Into one grand, harmonious whole.
Men war with men in every clime, Commotions rock this earthly ball; Our souls are covered o'er with grime— Sad fruits of our Adamic fall, But grace shall triumph in the end, And good the evil far transcend.
Thy throne remains forever firm, And here, amidst the strife of men, We find with joy a heavenly germ Which shall re-stock this world again With fruitful plants of righteousness, If Thou, O God, but deign to bless.
Help us that we may not deny Our brotherhood in hour of strife; When swords shall from their scabbards fly, And great the sacrifice of life, May we in pity o'er them bend, And help to wounded foe extend.
If we are working out Thy plan, Give our brave soldiers arms of steel, And may each prove himself a man— To God and to his nation leal, And never falter in the fight, But die, if need be, for the right.
May right prevail in this dread war, Though we be humbled in the dust; To fail our end is better far Then gain it, if it be unjust, But if our aims with Thine agree— We trust—and leave results with Thee.
The world moves on; let none essay To block it in its onward course, Lest they like chaff be swept away As by a supernatural force; For laggards progress does not wait— Keep pace with time or bide your fate.
May our brave foes rise in defeat To higher form of liberty; And Freedom's flag, as seemeth meet, Wave over all from sea to sea; Pushed on as by the hand of fate To nationhood, both firm and great.
GOD'S PLAN IS BEST
Thy plan is best, though it may not agree With my conceptions of my needs and rights, And faith may fail to scale its azure heights; Yet still I trust, and leave my cause with Thee.
With single eye I sought to do Thy will. I felt Thy smile and left results with Thee; If they have failed, then that is naught to me— I did my part, and am Thy servant still.
The hearts of men are in Thy mighty hand; Naught is concealed from Thy all-searching sight; Canst Thou not turn them to the left or right? The raging ocean calms at Thy command.
The aching clay may circumscribe my sphere; Yet in confinement I may labor still In work which harmonizes with Thy will, And e'er rejoice to have my Master near.
Thoughts of Thy love will yet remain with me, And in my silent hours may shape assume, And by their measures help to lift the gloom Of this dark world, and bring men nearer Thee.
Whate'er may come, I will not, Lord, complain; My plan is Thine, I have no other choice. In work or rest 'tis meet I should rejoice; Contentment in my lot is blessed gain.
Dear Canada, our native land, Our love for thee grows day by day; Our fathers left the olden strand, O'er sea and rapids made their way, And by their energy and skill They laid thy firm foundation deep, And sowed the seed o'er vale and hill Which we, their sons, are called to reap.
The wilderness blooms as the rose; The old-time hardships are unknown; And wealth in streams of commerce flows From sea to sea—a nation grown— Still youthful, but with thews of steel To throttle foes that may arise; Yet loving touch sore hearts to heal, And lift us nearer to the skies.
We cannot boast as blue a sky As smiles o'er many an Alpine plain, Nor are our mountain peaks as high As theirs, yet we have other gain; Our hills are rich in yellow gold, Our plains are broad and fertile too; Our lakes and streams hold wealth untold, And grander forests never grew.
Our sky is bright to healthy eyes; Pure ozone lades the air we breathe; Our climate we have learned to prize; Nor do we o'er our winters grieve; For nature throws her ermine robe O'er purple hills and vales as well; No portion of this earthly globe As gay as this, with sleigh and bell.
But soon the winter wears away, And plants long sheltered now are seen, And April showers and smiling May Soon clothe the earth in living green. Monotony is thus unknown— Each season is a glad surprise, In which God's truth and love are shown, And hope within us never dies.
Our sons, inured to noble toil, Grow strong in arm and broad in mind; Some stay at home to till the soil, Others in various callings find Their missions—but where'er their place In the great drama of our day, They, as a class, win in the race, And the behests of Heaven obey.
The gold of monarchy have we, Without the useless silt and dross; And like our cousins, all are free, Yet we have no election boss. No union here of Church and State, Yet Church and State full well agree That nations never can be great If they refuse to bow the knee.
We make the nation's weal or woe, As one may shape his future life. "God's mill," 'tis said, "grinds fine, tho' slow," A fact lost sight of in the strife For place and power in Church and State, And think God cares not what we do; But to our doubt he whispers "wait," And time proves Him both just and true.
From England and from sunny France Our fathers came, long years ago; On Abraham's plain with sword and lance They fought as foes—gave blow for blow. The victors and the conquered now Recall that day with mutual pride; To their grand destiny all bow, And as true peers, stand side by side.
So give me Canada before The fairest land beneath the sky. We stretch our arms from shore to shore And all are free, both low and high; An infant nation yet, 'tis true, But strong in muscle and in nerve, We hold our own, give all their due, And God's great purpose humbly serve.
The fields lie bare before me now, The fruit is gathered in, Not even seen a grazing cow, Nor heard the blackbird's din. The heath is brown, and ivy pale, The woodbine berries red, And withered leaves borne on the gale Sink down on peaty bed.
At morn the fence was covered o'er With a pale sheet of rime; The earth was like a marble floor, But now is turned to grime. For Autumn rains are falling fast, And swells the running brook; The Indian Summer, too, is past; For snowfall soon we look.
When presses hard my load of care, And other friends from me depart, I want a friend my grief to share, With faithful speech and loving heart.
I want a friend of noble mind, Who loves me more than praise or pelf, Reproves my faults with spirit kind, And thinks of me as well as self—
A friend whose ear is ever closed Against traducers' poison breath; And, though in me be not disclosed An equal love, yet loves till death—
A friend who knows my weakness well, And ever seeks to calm my fears; If words should fail the storm to quell, Will soothe my fevered heart with tears—
A friend not moved by jealousy Should I outrun him in life's race; And though I doubt, still trusts in me With loyal heart and cloudless face.
True friendship knows both joy and grief, The sweetest pleasure, keenest pain; Its sharpest pangs are ever brief, Mere flitting clouds before the rain.
But soon the joy returns again With bluer sky and brighter light; The grief proves but a narrow glen All full of flowers, though hid from sight.
And e'en in darkness we inhale The fragrant odors love emits; Friendship like this can never fail— On love's strong throne its monarch sits.
True friendship is of greater worth Than words, though they were solid gold. To all the glittering gems of earth I it prefer, a thousandfold.
One Friend I have who knows my heart, And loves me with a changeless love; I love Him, too—nor death can part Us two, for we will love above.
A woman's love to His is faint; No brother cleaves as close as He; No seraph words could ever paint The love this Friend now bears to me.
Our lives seem filled with things of little worth; A thousand petty cares arise each day Which bring our soaring thoughts from heaven to earth, Reminding us that we have feet of clay; Yet we will not from path of duty stray If we amidst them all cleave to the right; Nor great nor small are actions in His sight; Through lowly vale He shows our feet the way.
Our early dreams may not be realized; The roseate sky now proves quite commonplace; The constellations we so highly prized Have vanished all—nor left the slightest trace Of former glory in its azure face, But high o'er all beams out the polar star To guide us safe through rock and sandy bar; Life is complete and its cap-stone is grace.
TO MR. RUDYARD KIPLING
True laureate of the Anglo-Saxon race, Whose words have won the hearts of young and old; So free from cant, and yet replete with grace, Or prose or verse it glows like burnished gold; Thy muse is ever loyal to the truth, And those who know thee best forget thy youth.
Unbend thy bow and rest with us awhile; Thy active mind requires a healthy brain; Death's shadow has gone back upon the dial, And thou art left a higher goal to gain; The future will eclipse the brilliant past; Fear not; thy ideal will be reached at last.
To do the grandest work one must needs be Endowed by Nature for the master task; Yea more, he must possess the light to see Those mysteries which nature seems to mask, And this can gain but in the royal way— 'Tis dread experience leads from gloom to-day.
The Master saw a struggling youth, and smiled, Pleased with his work in main; but, knowing too His latent power, if it could be beguiled From hiding-place, much greater work would do, He took His servant's hand and led the way Through vale of sorrow up to brighter day.
By other path this height is ne'er attained, Nor books nor schools its hidden wealth unveil. Philosophy and art have treasures gained, But in this quest they must forever fail— Experience only can the gift impart, Bring needed light and regulate the heart.
To solace those who grieve one must have felt In his own heart the rending pangs of pain; The heart that suffers not will never melt At others' woes, though free from selfish stain; What we have felt and seen we truly know, And thus endowed, our tears for others flow.
So leave thy much-loved lyre awhile unstrung Till health again invigorate thy frame; With brain renewed, with vigorous heart and lung Take up thy work once more, and greater fame— A richer man by far than e'er before, For thou hast treasure on the other shore.
[Footnote 1: These lines were written directly after Mr. Kipling's recovery from severe illness.]
MEN BELOW DECK
The battleship its anchor weighs, And belches forth its thunder; Its commodore all classes praise, And at his victories wonder; And well they may—for braver man Ne'er wielded sword or sabre; But tell me, brother, if you can, Who did the lowly labor.
Below the deck in engine-room, As oilers and coal-heavers? Amidst the smut and ghastly gloom, Who worked the iron levers? And thus it is in other lines; Brave men are often hidden "Below the deck," in shops and mines, To higher plane unbidden.
The men on deck the praise receive, But meagre thanks the others; As honest men they seldom grieve, And envy not their brothers; A common cause they gladly serve, Though in a lowly station, From path of duty never swerve— Loyal to God and nation.
For when the smoke has cleared away, And din of battle ended, On upper deck, in bright array, By angel bands attended, The whole ship's crew will then appear, From high and lowly station, And each the words "well done" shall hear, 'Midst shouts of acclamation.
"OTHERS SAVE WITH FEAR"
Some men there are who stand so straight, So equipoised, that others' fate Seems to depend on their behest; And useless all our every quest To gain perfection or renown, Unless we touch the flowing gown Of these high-priests, whose shadows fall Within themselves, if fall at all.
Others are not as straight as these, But more like rough and gnarled trees; But little beauty they display; Shadows they cast across the way; And from them men with scorning turn, Or, if they speak, their accents burn Like capsicum on chafed skin, And leave a smarting wound within.
Once noble men, when turned aside By fleshly lust or sinful pride, Each one becomes a broken bell On which the angry fiends of hell Ring out their discord, harsh and loud, As if with demon powers endowed. Colossal once through grace they were; Colossal still, though cleft and bare.
On northern rocks is often seen The impress of some southern sheen, The brightness of a warmer bloom, Unknown to winter's frost and gloom. The fossil flower of epoch fair Has left its lasting impress there. So in some men whose hearts are cold You find a trace of days of old.
While we deplore the Arctic chill, The frigid heart, the ice-bound will, We must admire the fossil trace, Still seen, of early days of grace. Hiding from sight as best we can The traces of the fallen man, We feast our eyes upon the fair, Though fossil, lines that linger there.
How to restore is our concern, As we o'er their declensions mourn. Can such dire ruin be repaired? Only if God's strong arm be bared. But we must do a brother's part, And try to thaw the frozen heart; Not by the fire of wrath above, But by the melting coals of love.
As bullets smooth are farther shot, Because rough angles they have not, So gentle ways and loving speech Are sure the erring heart to reach, While jagged deeds and words unkind, Like pebbles rough, much friction find; They fall before they reach the goal, And seldom help the needy soul.
To truth be loyal, but take a care That with true zeal tact have a share. The lightning when it strikes the tree Runs with the grain, as oft you see; Those who at angling are adepts, Choose well their bait and guard their steps; So if you would the sinner gain, Bait well your hook, or mark the grain.
In the courts of truth tread softly, Though your tread be firm and bold; Your steps may awaken echoes, Resounding through years untold. The trend of the age is onward, And you should not lag behind; If men's minds are bound with fetters, Perchance you may some unbind.
Our creed, say you, needs revising, In line with the growth of light; Be sure you have made real progress Before you assume the right, By stroke of pen, to unsettle The faith of the long ago; For many who err in judgment Stand fast to the truth they know.
You bring from the mine rare jewels, That you think the world should see; But, perhaps, their estimation With your own may not agree; They may lack discrimination, And their worth may not discern; So polish them at your leisure, And give the world time to learn.
Before you dig up the old tree That sheltered in ages past The earth's noblest men and women From the fury of the blast, See that your sapling is rooted, And no borer at its base, And its boughs both strong and spreading, To cover an erring race.
Bear down on the lever gently, Or the rock may be o'erturned! Or, perchance, your lever shattered, And little experience learned! Take time to adjust your fulcrum, Then thrust home your iron bar; Bear down and the rock is lifted, Is lifted without a jar.
Your views are, perhaps, exotic— Young shoots from a tropic brain, They need to be better rooted To endure the wind and rain; You may well admire the markings On each graceful stem and leaf, But if taken from the hot-house, They will surely come to grief.
Before they have wholly perished They may please admiring eyes, The old be thrown on the dunghill, To receive your floral prize; They adorn the porch and window, And brighten the wayside bed, But we waken some summer morning To find our new treasures dead.
'Tis better to make haste slowly, Than to antedate your day; The farmer waits for the sunshine, To transmute the grass to hay. When the fields are ripe for harvest Fear neither the heat or rain, But thrust in your sharpened sickle, And gather the golden grain.
"IT WAS MY FAULT"
Those men are deemed heroes who rush on the foe Regardless of danger, and seek not to know What others may do; Stern duty demands it—why should they falter If all they hold dear is laid on the altar, And conscience be true?
The greatest of all is the man who can say When battle is over and foe gained the day, "The fault was in me: My plan miscarried through miscalculation; On me rests the blame, and not on the nation: My soldiers are free."
In George Stewart White, and men of like mind, Our nation can rest, for in them you will find A true manliness; Their failures acknowledged are failures no more; Defeat to such men only opens the door To future success.
[Footnote 2: General White's words.]
KEPT THE FLAG FLOATING
"Thank God, we have kept the flag floating."—General White.
Some men, like French, display much dash; They boldly rush upon the foe, Their sword-blades like the lightning flash, As they on helm or hauberk clash; Nor fear the foeman's blow. We praise them for their gallant deeds; They are the men the Empire needs.
But true as they are those who stand Within the fort beleaguered round; Resources few at their command, Their army but a feeble band, Yet bravely hold their ground; And o'er their blood-bespattered coats The Union Jack in triumph floats.
Reduced their strength through lack of food, And fever germs on vitals preyed; Yet they o'er trouble did not brood, By night or day of cheerful mood; This burden on them weighed— To keep the flag afloat—in brief, Till Buller came to their relief.
Brave White, accept our meed of praise! We crown thee equal to the best Of heroes of the olden days, Whose deeds inspired the poets' lays! We need no further quest; But this with gratitude we note, Thy valour kept the flag afloat!
Valor like thine does not surprise When we review thy noble past; A hero is the one who tries, Though he may not to ideal rise— His plan may fail at last— Yet is too brave to lay the blame On others, but takes all the shame.
"The fault was mine," thy language then, Revealing the divinest grace Possessed by truly noble men, And, prophecy of triumph, when With foe brought face to face, The choice remains, defeat or death, The flag will float till latest breath.
She brought her alabaster flask Well-filled with precious nard; Nor did she deem the act a task, Nor look for great reward; She only thought of His great love, And felt her gift was small For Him who left His home above To suffer death for all. But her blest Lord more highly prized The loving heart that gave; For loveless gifts are e'er despised, Yet men oft seek to pave The way that leads to glory land With deeds devoid of grace; But only those who love can stand Approved before His face.
A WORLD REDEEMED
This world is but the shadow Of the world that is to be, A ripple on the surface Of a deep, unfathomed sea. God's plans are always perfect, But long ages intervene From the planning of the temple To the glow upon its sheen; But we can be co-workers In accomplishing his plan; For in God's purpose is a place For every son of man.
The germ may be developed In a more salubrious clime, All obstacles surmounted In the onward march of time, And nature's forces harnessed Will their destiny fulfil, And things now deemed supernal Respond to human will; For God has so adjusted The laws of this earthly sphere, That by man's help his plans unfold, And order doth appear.
The words of God's own prophets Concerning these latter days Of mighty transformations, To our great Redeemer's praise; When wastes shall glow in beauty, And the savage beast be kind, Though they have prior fulfilment In the realm of soul and mind; Will then be more than figure, Though that we all count sublime; The earth will wear its regal robes In every land and clime.
This life is but a sample Of the life that is to be; There we know the perfect lesson, Here we learn the a—b—c; And the life beyond is fashioned By the thoughts and deeds of this; Fitting it for realms of darkness, Or for never-ending bliss; For those alone will sorrow Who receive His grace in vain, But those who wrought with God will prove That godliness is gain.
ALASKAN BOUNDARY SETTLEMENT
My neighbor's farm and mine lie side by side, And nothing should our mutual trust divide; But they who made th' original survey Were guided by the stars, the records say, So that the line that marks out our domain Is indistinct, and puzzling doubts remain.
Our farms are large, and portions near the line With rocky soil and stunted spruce and pine, With scarce a wigwam or a ranger's hearth, We left untilled, and deemed of little worth; The petals of this desert rose unfold, When man discovers mines of yellow gold.
"Where is the boundary line?" is now the cry. Each stakes his claim and gives his reason why; One sought an exit to the main highway, The other closed the gates and gained the day In custom duties on the shining ore, And stores for man and beast that inland pour.
Each claimed his own, whatever that may be, Yet, neighbors true, we feared to disagree. We studied maps and treaties old and new, Yet each his own line-fence declared was true; Then, to avoid unseemly strife, we chose To settle our dispute as friends, not foes.
My neighbor chose three men in his employ, I three, at least, accepted them with joy; Not chosen these to arbitrate our case, But from material at command to trace, In harmony with law, the primal line For boundary fence, between his farm and mine.
I lost my case—all but one narrow lane! All other gates are closed, but why complain? Diminished somewhat is my large estate, But self-respect remains—nor place for hate; O'er our line-fence we grasp each other's hand, And for the right, united, ever stand.
My sweet primrose with thy open face, And with fringe-like leaves, without a trace Of coarseness, either in flower or stem, Among all my plants thou art the gem.
My lovely lilies soon disappear; Thy bloom is constant through all the year; In summer's heat and winter's cold, Undimmed the light of thy floral gold.
Or if thy color be pink, or blue, Or white as snow, thou art ever true; My room is bright with thy smiling eyes, And thy fragrance rare I also prize.
Thou hast done thy part, my little pet— Let me keep thy roots forever wet, But guard with care all thy tender leaves And growing crown, which the earth-crust heaves.
Thou dost heaven-ward tend, aspiring high, To kiss the stars in the vaulted sky, And they look down from the azure blue, My sweet primrose—they are smiling, too.
Upon the "table-rock" I stand, And gaze into the depths profound, In ecstacy at sights so grand, And deafened by the sound Of rushing waters, as they leap Like maddened steeds, down hillside steep.
The falling spray my head bedews, As gently as a vernal shower; Or, as the Holy Ghost imbues In consecrated hour, The soul that inly yearns for love, And seeks it from the throne above.
But I see more than chasm deep, Than falling spray and rushing tide. Sublime, indeed, the awful leap; The awe will long abide— God's rainbow hangs in colors bright, A thing of beauty in my sight.
Our cousins on the other side And we too often disagree; Puffed up, I fear, at times, with pride, Each strong, and brave, and free; But we forget the stormy past, Our lands and hearts are linked at last.
The "Union-Jack" hangs o'er my head, The "Stars and Stripes" my cousin rears, But old-time grievances are dead For all the coming years; As separate flags they still may wave, But we are one the world to save.
MY SISTER NELL AND I
We strolled down by the river side, My sister Nell and I, To watch the waters onward glide, And vessels passing by.
On Nature's floor of lovely green, Bedecked with flowers of gold, The purple sassafras as sheen, Which trumpet vines enfold.
We played our youthful games for hours, And told our childish tales; Adorned each brow with fragrant flowers, And slept 'neath cooling gales.
For I was then but nine years old, And she was only seven; Yet joys like ours can ne'er be told— They savored much of heaven.
Close by the bank, in shady nooks, The waxen lilies grew; We called them fish, and with our hooks To shore full many drew.
With these I made a wreath for Nell. She was so good and pure, They seemed to suit her brow so well, Yet could not long endure
The heated brow and dewless air— The river suits them best; But graced awhile her golden hair, As dove would silken nest.
Frail like the lilies, too, was Nell. The fever's scorching blast Swept by, and my fair flowerette fell, And to the dust was cast.
But now she blooms in glory land, Close by the tree of Life; Better to bloom at God's right hand Than in this world of strife.
I hope some day to meet her there, And as in days of yore We plucked the lilies, pure and fair, Up there we'll gather more.
GATHER THE WAYSIDE FLOWERS
'Tis well to have a goal in mind, A life-aim, high and true; Clear as the day, and well defined, And ever kept in view. But God has strewn along the way Bright flowers of every hue. Gather the brightest while you may, For they were meant for you.
Heaven's joy transcends the joys of earth, But if earth's joys be pure They must have had a heavenly birth, And bless while they endure; So pluck the flower before it fades— Drink from the purling stream; Nor look for sorrow's darkening shades, But for the morning gleam.
Life's burdens lose full half their weight If gay our spirits be; The rest beyond we antedate, And serve, though ever free. Our lamentations all will end, Exchanged for smile and song, And men will mark our upward trend By joy-points all along.
The poet wrote, "no room for mirth;" Much less for sigh and frown. "A vale of tears" may be this earth— 'Tis so to every clown. The desert blossoms as the rose, And joy flows everywhere; The star of hope in brightness glows, No room for dark despair.
Before we reach God's heaven above, Enjoy His heaven below; And by the ministries of love A Christlike nature show; For he who lives a selfish life Must lose the joy of this; For highest good, vain is our strife, If man share not our bliss.
HIDE THEIR SCARS!
A painter, high in worldy fame, Was sought to reproduce by art A likeness of the man whose name Sent darts of anguish through the heart Of mighty monarchs in his day; For he by arms subdued the world. Kingdoms and empires owned his sway And bowed beneath his flag unfurled.
But Alexander bore a scar, Deep marked upon his royal brow; To paint him thus would greatly mar The monarch's beauty; as a slough Would mar the beauty of a lawn, Where queenly feet are wont to tread; Or like the cloud at early dawn, Which hides some glory 'neath its spread.
To leave it out would not be true, For Alexander bore the scar; The painter this resolved to do, Which would be true, yet would not mar: To paint the monarch's head reclined, With his fore-finger on his brow; And thus much grace with art combined, Like ornament on vessel's prow.
The finger rested on the scar, As if mere chance had placed it there; And hid from sight this fruit of war, And left a likeness true and fair. So let us try, as best we can, To cover o'er each ugly scar Upon the brow of mortal man, So none may see it, near nor far.
"ASHAMED, BUT NOT AFRAID"
O God, I am ashamed to die, But not the least afraid; Tho' death's dark shadow draweth nigh, Atonement has been made
For every member of our race, And I on it rely, And hope immortal blooms thro' grace; I'm not afraid to die.
But Thou hast done great things for me, And I have nothing done. To set my sin-bound spirit free, Was sacrificed Thy Son;
And every day by Thy kind hand Rich blessings are bestowed; Oh, how can I before Thee stand, Or rest in Thine abode
With self-respect, or feel at home With no returns to show, My whole life like the worthless foam On time's incessant flow.
Oh, that in life's great harvest field, I may some reaping do; Early and late the sickle wield, And prove a reaper true.
And when the summons comes from Thee, While I on Christ rely, Thou wilt not be ashamed of me, Nor I ashamed to die.
Up to Dunbar our Cromwell went, Not to invade was his intent; But they who first King Charles sold Now turn their backs on friends of old, And principles they then held dear Were sacrificed for self, I fear. Another Stuart they receive, Who knew too well how to deceive; The most perfidious of his race, Corrupt in life, and void of grace, The menial of the Papacy; And yet content by oath to free Himself from Holy See's control, And covenant to save his soul By the Scotch Presbyterian mode, As to the crown this paved the road. But Cromwell brooked not this control; He wished man free to save his soul As conscience may to him dictate, Without subservience to the State. He saw also thro' the disguise Of one well versed in fraud and lies, And saw how England's liberties Were threatened by this scheme of his. So up to Dunbar Cromwell went; To break this compact his intent, Conserve the rights of Britons true To worship God in desk and pew As conscience may to them dictate, Without control of king, or state, Or Papal "bull," or legate's rod— Only accountable to God. On Sunday night he reached Dunbar. From darkened sky gleamed not a star; The way he travelled o'er was drear, Made doubly so by Scotchmen's fear. At his approach like sheep they fled, Made frantic by an awful dread Of red-hot irons, spear, and sword, Of breasts thrust thro', and bodies gored, Which they were told would be their lot When Cromwell came. So from each cot They bore away what pleased them best, And to the flames consigned the rest. But now Dunbar is reached; yet he Finds himself in extremity; Midst swamps and bogs unfit to tent, By Lammermoor from hillside rent, Leslie in front defiant stands A noble army he commands Of thousands two score seven, or more, Ready on Cromwell shot to pour. Behind the sea cut off retreat; With such great odds can he compete? The mountain sheep may safely tread The Lammermoor, but men may dread To cross this heath at any time; Much more now, midst the rain and slime, Will Cromwell with the smaller score Dare to cross o'er to Dunbar shore? Tho' shipped were half his guns and men The foe falls ere he turn again. With foresight keen, like one inspired, He saw the end ere Leslie fired. "THE LORD," said he, as rapt he stands, "HATH GIVEN THEM INTO OUR HANDS!" 'Tis the ninth month and second day, A wild, wet night, historians say. Quit you like men, and bravely stand; Death's wrestle now is close at hand; Heed not the hoarse sea's doleful moan, As on the cliffs its waves are thrown. Think not of life nor kindred dear— Who goes to war should nothing fear But God, whose eye-lids never sleep— His Israel He will safely keep. Oh, pray! but keep your powder dry— Your part do, then on God rely. Stand to your arms the whole night thro' Or lie awake with arms in view. And you, ye Scots, your lights blow out, But stay not in your strong redoubt. 'Midst shocks of corn your shelter seek, And rest in sleep; your foe is weak, Yet ere another night comes 'round In deeper slumber shall be found Full many of your stalwart host, And stilled for aye their every boast. In Cromwell's camp all night was heard The voice of prayer in tones which stirred The tender hearts of "Ironside" men, As never can be told by pen. Ere shone the first faint streak of morn, The Scots beneath the shocks of corn, Stretched out full length in quiet sleep, Hear a loud blast, and upward leap To seize their arms and face the foe. Too late the warning! or, too slow Their movements when the trump was heard, Yet rang along the lines the word Of battle-cry by Leslie sent, "The Covenant! The Covenant!" While high and strong was Cromwell's boast, "The Lord of Hosts! The Lord of Hosts!" With master skill he struck the blow, And when shone out the crimson glow Of morning sun upon the sea, Brave Leslie's men began to flee. "They run! Oh, I protest they run! Let God arise! Let God arise! And scattered be His enemies!" Loud Cromwell cried. The work was done. Then rose from England's host a cry Which rent the very heavens on high. Now halt they on the battle field And to the Lord their homage yield— And sing this song with hearts devout: "O praise the Lord, ye nations all! Laud Him all peoples on this ball! His mercy toward us e'er is great; His truth and grace for sinners wait, Let all the people shout!"
The armies met on Marston Moor, 'Midst lightning's flash and thunder's roar; As murky clouds sweep o'er the sky, God's cannonade with man's will vie. The Royalists in phalanx strong, By fiery Rupert led along, From Bolton's cruel massacre Towards York, in hope to keep it free From the Roundheads at any cost. "If York be lost, my crown is lost"— Wrote Charles to this trusted chief, And he must bring it prompt relief. The foe's true strength he did not know, But dazzled much by victory's glow He hoped with ease to overthrow The untrained volunteers; Nor did he for brave Cromwell care, Tho' he had asked "is Cromwell there?" Would not his grenadiers Scatter those yeomen to their fields, To hold their ploughs instead of shields? Thus confident of great success He asked his chaplain now to bless From God's own word their going out, And seemed to hear the victor's shout, While from the ranks of Roundheads rose Triumphant hymns, ere came the blows. Now Rupert madly dashes out, "God and the King!" his battle shout; Charges the parliamentary ranks In centre, heedless of the flanks, Defeats Lord Fairfax and Leven, Scatters like leaves their untrained men. Remorselessly he hewed them down, And chased their leaders far from town. But Cromwell kept his men restrained Till Rupert thought the victory gained. His eye was all ablaze with fire, And burned his soul with righteous ire; Then sharp and passionate came the cry, "Charge, in the name of the Most High!" His features now most clearly show A strange, enthusiastic glow. With zeal he wraps himself about, And fires men's hearts with glance and shout. "For God and king," is Rupert's cry. "For truth and peace we dare to die!" Shouts Cromwell, all the lines along, Which holds as with a mighty thong Th' immortal hosts of Puritans, While on them fall the Royal bans. As Roundheads, Rupert them derides; Not Roundheads now, but Ironsides. The heavens were black, the storm still raged, As tho' with earth a war it waged, But raged a fiercer war just then, Not forces blind, but men with men; For two score thousand men were there; And booming cannon rent the air.
The Cavaliers were scattered wide, Brought to the dust their haughty pride; Across the beanfield Rupert fled, His standard gone, his garments red; His men by many hundreds turned To ask for mercy, nor were spurned; While he left all and to York sped, Heedless of stores, or Royal dead. To Cromwell's swords as stubble they, And Truth and Peace had gained the day.
OIL THE CRICKET
"Mamma, what noises do I hear? They keep me wide awake." "The chirping crickets, little dear; What funny noise they make!"
"Yes, ma, but touch their tongues with oil, To take the squeak away; For soon it will their voices spoil, To squeak thus night and day."
Well done, my little girl of three; 'Twould tune our speaking gear To utter sweeter melody For your attentive ear,
If it were oiled a little, too, For harsh too oft its tones; Though formed to thrill with pleasure true, It gives forth shrieks and groans,
Which fall discordant on the ear, And budding pleasures spoil, And speaking gear, likewise I fear; So bring along the oil.
The leaf is faded, and decayed the flower, The birds have ceased to sing in wayside bower, The babbling brook is silenced by the cold, And hill and vale the frost and snow enfold. The life we see seems hasting to the tomb Nor sun, nor star, relieves the dismal gloom; The good man suffers with the base and vile, And honesty and truth give place to guile.
Things are not always as they seem to be; The outer surface only man may see. The summer sleeps beneath the quilt of snow, Behind the clouds is hid the solar glow, The babbling brook will burst its icy bands, And birds will sing, and trees will clap their hands. The fallen leaf has left a bud behind, And flowers will bloom of brightest hue and kind; For when we look beneath the outward crust With vision clear, and free from worldly lust, We will behold a brighter world than this, With less of curse and much of noble bliss; For God's kind hand in all our conflicts here Is clearly seen and doubts must disappear; The end He has in view is most benign; The fire will dross consume and gold refine.
VICTORY GAINED AND LIFE LOST
As fought the Paladins of old, With gleaming swords and spirit bold, To thwart the schemes of base Lothar, Give France to Karl in holy war, So would we battle for the right, Tho' we may perish in the fight.
Our trusty blade, not made of steel, While wounding deep, doth also heal; With this, and clad in Christian mail, The hosts of sin we would assail, To gain the world for Christ, tho' we Should fall while shouting victory!
THE BAPTISM OF CLOVIS
Five hundred years have nearly passed away Since that glad morn, when o'er fair Bethl'hem's plain A light resplendent as the glow of day, Shone down from heaven, and holy angels deign To sing the sweetest song e'er heard by mortal ear, Which fills sad hearts with joy and drives away their fear.
Clovis, of the brave Franks, the king, and sheen, Heard from Aurelian of a maid to wed, Matchless in feature, and of graceful mein— "Zenobia, of the Alps," Aurelian said, "The daughter of Chilperic, the Burgundian king, Clotilda is her name; fair maids her praises sing.
"She dwells among the Alps, in forest glade, And by the shore of its most famous lake; But fairer than that land is this fair maid; And brighter than its peaks at morn's awake; A Christian girl is she, whose heart God has renewed, And her fine, comely mind with grace and truth embued."
Then Clovis, by Aurelian, sent a ring To this fair damsel, whom he hoped to wed; She took the ring; and soon fair songsters sing The marriage hymn, as he to altar led This lovely Christian maid. They plight their nuptial vows; And the old priest invoked a blessing on their brows.
Then on her head a coronet was placed, And she sat down by Clovis on his throne; And never was a throne so highly graced, Nor ever monarch felt less sad and lone; He found in her a bride, and counsellor, as well, And happy are the men who in her palace dwell.
In tones of eloquence and words of power, The wond'rous story of the cross she told; Christ's lowly birth, pure life, and of the hour When He, to bring us to the heavenly fold, Bore on the cross our sins, and opened mercy's door, Then from the dead arose to reign for evermore.
Soon on Tolbiac's bloody field the king Led on his troops against a mighty foe; A foe too strong; for soon, though no weakling, Clovis retreats—his men returned no blow; But fled as timid sheep before a beast of prey; The conquering Alemanni will surely win the day.
"O king! cry on Clotilda's Christ for aid!" Shouted Aurelian, as the monarch fled; Then, on his helmet, Clovis his hand laid, And lifting it, these words the monarch said: "My gods have failed to help: O Christ, Clotilda's God, Grant me Thy mighty aid, and I will kiss Thy rod."
On the French pennons triumph perches now; The foe is routed by Clotilda's God; And Clovis wished to have upon his brow The symbol of her faith; for 'neath the rod Of the eternal King he bows his regal will, And waits, with heart devout, Christ's purpose to fulfil.
On Rheims now dawns a cloudless Christmas morn; And flags of silk and satin grace each tower; This is the day Clotilda's Christ was born, And to His cause a great triumphal hour, For see, on carpet stretched from church to palace door, A grand procession march, of two-score priests or more!
Remigius had led the way, and then, Assisted by his priests, on monarch's brow, And on the brows of full six thousand men, As they before the holy altar bow; The water from the font he sprinkled down like rain, Thankful that his blest Lord so many hearts should gain.
THE WATER LILY
This lovely lily, so pure and white, Seems covered o'er with celestial light; As if it grew on the "Tree of Life," And not down here, in this world of strife; Too pure for earth it now seems to be; My queenly wife, it was meant for thee.
Its wax-like petals with graceful bend, Drink in the sunbeams as they descend; And lade with fragrance the heated air As it floats around us everywhere; And the world grows better by its advent, This lovely lily, so kindly sent.
It rested once on its crystal bed; Neither wind, nor wave, occasioned dread; Admired by all as they passed it by, Though the contrast oft produced a sigh; In purer soil than affords this earth This lovely lily must have had its birth.
Dive down in search, where the root is found; In vain you look for the purer ground; The root is fixed in the foulest mud; And from it grows this pure lily bud; While speckled frogs, and the slimy eels, Around its roots find their daily meals.
As lilies fair from the foul mud grow, So oft it is with good men below; In daily life they absorb the pure, And the adverse elements endure; And rise, through grace, to a higher sphere, Their hearts in heaven, and their root down here.
Though foul the world where they have their growth, Unfit the soil, and the climate both, The blood of Christ does their stains remove; His power to keep they all daily prove; As lilies pure are these plants of grace, Though growing now in so foul a place.
"HE SHALL WIPE AWAY EVERY TEAR"
Every tear that dims the eye, Or bedews the careworn cheek, Will our God, who reigns on high, With a hand so kind and meek, Wipe away, nor leave a trace Of its stain on eye or face.
He alone life's ills can right. Each His tender pity needs; None are hidden from His sight; "Every tear," the promise reads— Every tear shall cease to flow, Cease, likewise, the cause of woe.
O may I in Him confide While I tread this vale of tears! Walking closely by His side He will dissipate my fears, And when ends the weary strife, May I share the tearless life!
THE TAJ OF AGRA
The Shah Jehan sat with his much-loved wife, The Empress Mahal, one hot summer day, In a cool arbor far from courtly strife, Close by the Jumna, winding on its way.
In silence played they long their game of chess, But Jehan's eyes rose oft to Mahal's brow, His ardent love he could not well repress, Nor tried—she was his own rich jewel now.
He stayed the game to breathe some words of love And press her lips with lips that knew no guile, And felt the thrill, and peace like white-winged dove Flew down, and she repaid with loving smile.
Then said, "What would you do if I should die?" He paused a moment, some bright thought to woo, And then, in solemn tone, made this reply: "This thing, by Allah's help, I'll surely do:
"I'll build upon the spot where we now sit The grandest tomb a woman ever had; All sombre tints I deem would be unfit; For never have such tints thy bosom clad.
"Of pure white marble shall its walls be built, Adorned with gold, and earth's most costly gems; Each minaret shall glow like jewelled hilt, Sarcophagus surpass kings' diadems.
"Then to the world it shall the truth proclaim That Moomtaza surpassed all woman kind, And I esteemed her more than gold or fame: Thus cycles vast will find our names combined."
The summer breeze now sighed among the flowers As they play on with solemn thoughts; and sweet As running brook passed by the pleasant hours, And likewise passed the burning summer heat.
And like the fading day, the Empress, too, For scarce a year had passed ere set her sun, But Shah Jehan, to promise ever true, Thought of the tomb his loving wife had won.
No common architect would he engage; From far and near he sought with eager heart. At last there came one Issa, gifted sage, Whose plan pleased the great shah in whole and part.
On the same spot where they that day had played The game of chess, and he the promise gave, The massive stone foundation strong was laid, On which would rest a palace o'er her grave.
Then Issa disappeared, but where, none knew; Cast in the Jumna stream, by foes, some thought. They dragged the stream, nor came the slightest clue, And on his fate the oracles were dumb.
The years rolled by, yet Jehan rested not, Tho' hope, so long delayed, engendered gloom, Content to live himself in any cot; But no inferior hand must touch her tomb.
Seven years had gone, when Issa came again, And offered this excuse for his delay, "The soil is spongy all along this glen— To have it settle I have stayed away.
"I now can build on base that will not sink, Though pierced the clouds which bend so kindly down, 'Twere fit this long delay, dost thou not think? So chide me not nor on thy servant frown."
Then on this base as firm as granite rock, He built its walls as fair as falling snow, And built them well, nor storm, nor earthquake shock Has moved, tho' built two hundred years ago.
For ten long years wrought twenty thousand men, While many thousand carts the marble drew; And proud Jehan told o'er his love again; To love so Jacob-like the years seemed few.
From every part of his domain they brought Rare gems and precious stones of every hue; Skilled hands, in form of birds and flowers inwrought In snow-white walls, these gems the building through,
The name of God, one hundred times save one, On the sarcophagus, by cunning hand, Then lined with gold ere they pronounced it done; But then the grandest tomb in any land.
By Titans built, it seems, as mountain high Of pure white marble, based on pink sandstone; In length it is a thousand feet well nigh, Its width three hundred feet by measure shown.
It seems a temple of the living One, Though tomb to hide the dust of Jehan's queen. It serves each purpose well—her course was run, Returned to God, love must the dust ensheen.
To many hearts it speaks of God and rest, And lifts our thoughts above the things of earth; It teaches us that love will give its best, And then regard its gifts of little worth.
ENGLAND'S BRAVE SONS
The yeoman lays aside his soil-stained smock, And from his herd selects a trusty steed, And sallies forth to help in hour of need; Nor dreads the battle's shock.
The artisan from mine, or shop, or store, Responds at duty's call without delay, Nor stops to ask, "What will my nation pay?" It calls—what needs he more?
The man of law—the herald of the cross— The painter, skilled—he of the healing art— The man of trade—come each with loyal heart, Nor calculates his loss.
But brave as these are those of noble birth; Genteel in manner, but with athlete frames, They do full honor to their ancient names, And prove by deeds their worth.
Palatial homes have they and wealth untold; Nor need to labor, and no cause for fret, But deeds of noble sires they ne'er forget; Deem honor more than gold.
Brave lads are these on whom we may rely. They go uncalled, content the gaps to fill, And in their places fall, if God so will, For they fear not to die.
The whole Empire is loyal to the core. From far-off East, brave Indians seek the fray, And on French soil have clearly shown that they Were true to flag they bore.
Their old-time leader greets his men once more, Bestows his parting blessing ere his death, And praised their valor with his final breath, Then crossed to other shore.
Our own brave youth by thousands answer call, And in our common cause enroll their names; With cultured minds and well-developed frames They stand like granite wall.
For truth and brotherhood all face the foe; Themselves they cannot save, but others may. But, live or die, they hope to win the day. To sacrifice they go!
A Prize Birthday Poem, 1885.
We do not sing of vast domain— Empires as vast as ours are seen, And o'er their millions despots reign; We sing the virtues of our Queen.
We think of her when but a maid The message came, "the King is dead!" And at her feet a crown was laid; In deep distress of mind, she said:
"In my behalf I ask your prayers." Then falling on her knees to pray, She told the Lord her fears and cares, And sought from Him strength for her day.
He seemed to say, "Child, do not fear; I will uphold thee with my hand, And I will make thy pathway clear, Thy throne establish in the land."
'Twas thus began Victoria's reign, And God has made her throne secure; Her enemies will plot in vain, For it is destined to endure.
But while she sits on regal throne, And acts full well a regal part, She reigns not on the throne alone, She reigns to-day in England's heart.
Her queenly heart with pity throbs For every suffering subject's woes; In lowly cot, 'midst groans and sobs, She like a ray of sunshine goes.
As sweet perfume by outward gale Is carried far o'er sea and land, So queenly virtues never fail To touch true hearts on every strand.
In every land, her name is blest; She is beloved by old and young; From pole to pole, from east to west, The song, "God save the Queen," is sung.
Through sorrows deep her path has led, And tender ties have sundered been; Bright hopes were buried with her dead, And love has kept their memory green.
By grief secluded from the world, Her path through lonely years she trod, And oft her life has been imperilled; But she has leaned upon her God.
And as she wept a nation's tears In heartfelt sympathy were shed; Forgetting their own griefs and biers, They wept beside the royal dead.
With grateful hearts her natal day We loyal Britons hail again, And join with millions as they pray "God bless our Queen! Long may she reign!"
And when at last life's glories fade, And robes of state are laid aside, When nature's debt to dust is paid And charms no more earth's pomp and pride,
May angel bands her spirit bear Up to the palace of her King, Where she a fadeless crown shall wear, And the new song with rapture sing.
A stately church by pious hands erected long ago, Was found to lack a vesper bell, by which the poor might know The hour of prayer, the hour of mass, and who had lately died, The hour when gent and bonny lass, so timid at his side, Would stand before the surpliced priest, and twain would pledge their troth, The hour in which the priest would vent on heretic his wrath. The faithful then were called upon to bring from home and mine The metal for the holy bell, which must be strong and fine. In smelting pot of massive size they placed the needed ore; A molten mass it soon became, but ere in mould they pour, And thus provide a bell for God to grace His temple fair, In crowds the people came, to see the metal glowing there. Then as they passed, with hearts devout, each took a silver coin And dropped it in the glowing mass—no priest did this enjoin. They wished to show their grateful love to Him who bore their sin; A simple form which love took on, not done God's grace to win. Nor did they hope to win applause from priest and saintly friar; If God were pleased they asked no more, nor more did they desire; Nor did they deem their silver lost, though little dreamed they then The grand result of their small gifts, which now is known to men. Their coins were for a moment seen, like flakes of snow on sward, And then they melted out of sight, yet, seen by their blest Lord, They mingled with the glowing mass, and when in high church tower The bell was hung and daily rung, all people felt its power. Its booming tones were soft and sweet, and echoed o'er their hills In a grand symphony of praise, subduing all their wills, And calling forth from old and young a burst of rapturous praise. Their gifts, though small, were not despised; God turned them into lays. This world is one great smelting pot in which life's ore is cast, And from it God will some day bring a bell, destined to last And ring aloud in thunder tones wherever man is found. Oh, may we, by kind words and deeds, give it a silver sound! Each word though short, each deed though small, if for the Master's sake Are said and done, like silver coin, our blessed Lord will take, And skillfully will blend them with the coarser ore of earth, And grander music none have heard e'er since time had its birth. Then from this bell of silver tone will sound o'er hill and vale: "The work men do in Jesus' name is never known to fail."
Every flower that decks the way, Whether it be dun or gay, Fills a place in God's great plan, Serving Him, while pleasing man. Every star that gilds the night With its beams of silver light Has its mission to fulfil, As assigned it by God's will.
Feathered songsters all declare As they cleave the ambient air, "He who made us made our lays, Giving each a note of praise; Each one's note, unique and sweet, Helps to make the song complete; Various tones, yet all agree, Forming one grand symphony."
So, also, does God's own hand Fix in place each grain of sand, Tiny though that grain may be Hangs on it the destiny Of a world, yea, systems whole, As they in their orbits roll; Should it from its globe remove, Worlds would clash and chaos prove.
When we reach the world of mind Law and order still we find; In God's purpose is a plan For the life of every man. Free, he may his own course choose, Help divine through pride refuse, But disorder will ensue— Life a wreck! Yet God is true.
In gentle showers the rain descends, And softly falls the dew. The dewdrop with the raindrop blends; The tiny stream they form then wends Its way the grasses through.
And kindred streams with it combine And form a rivulet; Then on it runs like trailing vine, Lays bare the roots of oak and pine, And other brooks are met.
The swelling stream meanders on, Gives power to busy mills, And bears huge ships its breast upon, Gives drink to kine and lovely fawn, And drinks up other rills.
A lady's foot had changed its course, And drank it dry a lamb, Had they but sought it at its source; But now it rushes on with force And leaps the mighty dam.
Thus is it with our influence here; Each look, each word, each deed, Is like the rain, or dewdrop clear— Though tiny things they now appear, They to the ocean lead.
As grains of sand make up the hill Which towers above the plain, And drops combine to swell the rill Which helps the mighty sea to fill, So does our influence gain.
Doomed to decay are all things here; Whate'er their form or worth, Color and beauty disappear, Or turn to mother earth.
The luscious fruits which please the taste And please the eye as well, Sometimes reduced to rot and waste, Ere from the tree they fell—
Some gathered with a gentle hand, And stored away with care, To serve a place in banquet grand, Some favorite peach or pear,
Is found diseased in skin and core, And loathsome to the sight, When 'tis too late to gather more, And comes the festal night.
So is it with all earthly joy— It pleases for a time, As toy may please a growing boy, Though costing but a dime;
But soon he tires and asks for more, Appropriate to his age; So, though a man may higher soar And greater aims engage
His active mind, he, like the child, Soon looks for something new. Too oft are men by this beguiled And fail to find the true.
But he who goes to Christ for rest, Finds fruit that ne'er decays. He sups with Christ as welcome guest, And glory crowns his days.
THE HEROES OF OUR DAY
Heroic deeds in every age Command the world's esteem; Each finds a place in history's page, 'Midst gloom a glory beam.
And we full oft revert to this, To show man's true descent From Him who is the source of bliss, Tho' now by passions rent.
But we need not consult the past; The present bears this fruit: The hero race will ever last; The tree is sound at root.
And never has the world excelled The present in this line; Our loving Lord has not withheld From us this trait divine.
And we should not from them withhold The praise we feel is due For deeds of love, and actions bold, For spirit kind and true.
Their worth we now should recognize, Not chant it o'er their graves; The hero of the past we prize, No less the man who braves
The dangers of the present hour, The sneers which now are rife, Not for the sake of earthly power, Nor yet to save his life.
But for the good of fellow man, And for his Master's sake, He shuns no cross, and fears no ban; 'Tis these a hero make.
THE BIG BEAR CREEK
The waters of the Big Bear creek Glide slowly on their way; The western lakes they surely seek, Which they will reach some day;
But sluggishly they seek their end— They scarcely seem to move; Yet through the fields and round each bend Their progress daily prove.
By debris borne upon their breast, And strewn along each shore, They slowly move, but never rest, Yet turbid evermore.
But when they reach the Johnson bend And the Sni Chartna meet, The turbid and the sky-blue blend— The union is complete.
And soon is lost all trace of mud; Of azure tint the whole; With heaven's own hue the rolling flood Has gained the long-sought goal.
So is it with the soul renewed While on its heaven-bound way, With grace divine it is embued, Yet shows the trace of clay.
And though to rest it never halts, Its progress is so slow; Alas, it has too many faults, Nor much of heavenly glow.
But when God's sanctifying grace Shall meet it from above, You seek in vain for sinful trace— It now is full of love.
A new impulse it then receives Which speeds it on its way; To it no stain of sin now cleaves— It seeks its perfect day.
And as the azure stream has found Its home in brimming lake, So shall the soul thus heavenward bound Of God's own joy partake.
THE FROST ON THE WINDOW
Feathery frost on the window-pane, Who placed you there? "I cannot explain," Each little feather at once replied; "But this I know, I'm the children's pride, As they think I fell from an angel's wing, And coming to earth must rich blessings bring.
"I once formed part of a lovely bay; The sun shone out, and I turned to spray, And rose aloft on the ambient air, To the regions high where all is rare; Then I mingled with my old friends again, Who were my neighbors in the haunts of men.
"On the blustering wind, I rode along, Sometimes hard tossed by the tempest strong, And then at rest, as when in the bay, Though much enlarged, the wise savants say; Though I cannot tell you how long my sleep, With a chill I woke and began to weep.
"And my ample form much smaller grew, By the cold compressed to a drop of dew; Then down I fell, swift as bounding deer, And knew no more till I fell right here; But how I became so like a feather Is problem I can unravel never.
"But, oh, how the sun begins to burn! I think I must to the clouds return. Farewell, my boy! but you must not fret; We meet again, as we now have met, If not as a feather, perhaps a tree, Or whatever the Wise One may make of me."
"WILT THOU HARASS A DRIVEN LEAF?"
O harass not a driven leaf, Nor stubble dry in wrath pursue; A life so brief load not with grief, Nor with thine arrow pierce me through.
The fragile leaf, by tempest tost, Is scarcely worth a passing thought; The brook is crossed, and then is lost; There let it lie, a thing of naught.
The stubble dry ne'er grows again; To golden grain it gave its sap. It died, and then 'twas left by men To rot betimes, or some mishap.
Am I not like the stubble dry And fragile leaf by tempest strewed? Must I not die, then tell me why A thing so frail is thus pursued?
A voice replies: "Thy life is frail, Much like the leaf and stubble dry; Thy strength must fail, and as the gale Bears them away, so must thou die;
"But live again, in bliss, or pain; For death to man does not end all; Life is not vain, if thou but gain A home in heaven, when I shall call!
"To fit thy soul for endless rest, I harass now the driven leaf, But though sore pressed and grief distressed, The life of sorrow will be brief.
"And when released from suffering clay, Thy blood-bought spirit shall arise To endless day. Then thou shalt say, The ways of God are good and wise."
The gem is not this ode itself; Hardly can it aspire so high. Earth has its gems; but all its wealth,
Increased by thousands, cannot buy Man's soul, the gem of priceless worth, Made in God's image at its birth; Ordained to live for evermore; Redeemed by blood from sin and hell; Transformed by grace, God's love to tell; And at His feet its homage pour. Lordly are its endowments, too;
Superb its destiny, if true; Only below, said one who knew, Unfallen angels round God's throne. Lord, may this gem be Thine alone.
A grand stairway do these clouds appear As they heavenward rise, tier upon tier, With clearly-marked space of blue between, Compared with which human art looks mean.
Do the angels tread this grand staircase, When they come to earth to bless our race, And lend their aid to each struggling soul As he ascends toward the heavenly goal?
Was this the ladder by Jacob seen, That reached from heaven to the mattress green On which he lay all the lonely night Till God afforded the blessed sight,
And made him feel, tho' an exile here, His father's God would be ever near— The servant's cry would to heaven arise, And blessings fall from the bending skies?
But no staircase do the angels need; They come to earth at a greater speed, Not step by step, nor on eagle's wing, Nor beams of light do their message bring.
Though heaven be far beyond mortal ken, Assisted by all the arts of men, A moment's time and the space is passed, And heaven's best gifts at our feet are cast.
Not a cloud stairway, nor ladder long, Connects this earth with the land of song; The Saviour bends from the opening skies— He smiles in love, and our souls arise.
As flakes of steel to the magnet fly, And mists ascend to the sun on high, So we are drawn by the cords of love From the earth below to thrones above.
O lift me up from my bed of clay, To dwell with Thee in the realms of day. If 'tis Thy will I should tarry still, Prepare me, Lord, for Thy Holy Hill.
Exquisite mosses, so lovely and green, Covering the rocks with emerald sheen; Hiding the scars which convulsions have made; Blessing the mound where our angel was laid; Forming a carpet on which we may tread; Clothing with beauty the rotten and dead; Sheathing from storm-blasts the young forest tree— Beautiful mosses, examples for me.
Trod under foot by all kinds of men; Gracing the mountain or hid in the fen; Never adorning the brow of the fair; Seldom deemed worthy some corner to share In the bouquets that are cast in the way Princely feet tread on reception's proud day; The glory of roses do not attain; Beautiful mosses, ye grow not in vain.
Answer the end by your Maker designed. Humble your bloom, but your mission is kind. Those will most prize you who knew you the best. Cover me o'er when I lie down to rest; Cover, likewise, in the marble my name, Hiding forever that index of shame; But tell to the world, "as life he passed through, He covered some scars and aimed to be true."
THE GRANDEST THEME
The grandest theme for tongue, or pen, Is not the heavens supernal; Nor mighty deeds of God-like men, Though they may be eternal;
Nor Alpine heights, nor lovely vale, With brooks and grazing cattle; Nor awful roar of rushing gale, Beyond the noise of battle;
Nor clashing arms, nor trembling earth; Nor heaving waves of ocean; Nor record of a nation's birth; Nor heaven's cloud-cars in motion.
The grandest theme, for tongue, or pen, Above all else in glory; Which suits alike, all sinful men, Is the sweet Gospel story,
Which tells me of my Saviour's love And infinite compassion, Which brought Him from His throne above To Calvary's cross and passion.
And now the holy angels sing, With blood-washed souls in glory, A song which makes heaven's arches ring About this Gospel story.
The hills are clad in purple and in gold, The ripened maize is gathered in the shock, The frost has kissed the nuts, their shells unfold, And fallen leaves are floating on the lock.
The flowers their many-colored petals drop; But seed-pods full and ripe they leave behind, A prophecy of more abundant crop, And proof that nature in decay is kind.
But still the dahlia blooms, and pansies, too; The golden-rod still rears its yellow crest. The sumach bobs are now of crimson hue, The luscious grape has donned its purple vest.
The forest trees, so long arrayed in green, Wear now a robe like Joseph's coat of old, Brighter than that on eastern satrap seen, Tho' clad was he in purple and fine gold.
The woodbine twined about the giant oak Blends with its purple-red a brighter shade. Co-mingled thus our praises they evoke, Tho' we know well this glory soon must fade.
The fields are green with grass and new-sown wheat, Tho' here and there a brown stalk may appear, A dying rag-weed, ripened by the heat, To reproduce an hundred-fold next year.
The melon yellows in the kindly sun, The peach puts on its blush like virtuous maid, The gourd its snow-white band like brow of nun, While flower and gum the air with fragrance lade.
The swallows gather on the fence and wire, Chatter a loud farewell to barn and nest, And then on wings which never seem to tire They fly away in southern bowers to rest.
The thrush no longer sings its tender song In osage thicket, or in locust hedge, But pipes its notes the negro boys among, On cotton plant, or Alabama sedge.
The blackbird lingers by the flowing brook, Or perches proudly on the shock of corn; The lark still hovers round its meadow nook, And soars and sings as on a vernal morn.
The robin, too, is loth to quit the lawn And visits yet his nest beneath the eaves; I hear his cheering notes at early dawn— To part with these old friends my spirit grieves.
But soon these feathered songsters must away, Ere winter's frosts shall chill them thro' and thro'; In other lands they find the summer day, The opening flower, and the refreshing dew.
The air, tho' chill, is not surcharged with death, But health-inspiring germs it bears along. We drink in vigor with our every breath, And life appears like spring, each day a song.
God spreads a carpet for our weary feet, Richer than those which grace the palace floor; The rainbow hues are in it all complete, And tints, I think, of full a thousand more.
God with His hands of wind for woof collects The forest leaves, and weaves them with the grass, With nap of richest hues the fabric decks, And spreads it out for feet of every class.
A haze at times may veil the smiling sky, The sun his golden locks exchange for gray; But soon a western blast comes sweeping by— The mists depart, and glory crowns the day.
The lowing cattle roam from field to field; No more content in narrow bounds to stay; The ozone in the autumn air has healed Their every ill, and lo, the dull beasts play.
This season has its lesson each should learn— The fading leaf reminds us of our doom; But whether like the stately tree, or fern, In hope we travel onward to the tomb.
We look not for the Winter, but the Spring, When we shall glow in beauty from the skies; Each now his tribute sheaf of praise should bring, Then hear his Lord's "Well done!" O glorious prize.
Some flowers are brighter far in hue Than others by their side, But God baptizes all with dew, And spreads His mantle wide To cover all for half the day, From rays of scorching sun, Though some may shine in colors gay, And some in sober dun.
And I account each one my friend, The stately and the plain. Diverse their hue, but not their end; For me none bloom in vain; For all proclaim their Maker's skill, And point to bloom above; In God's great plan their part fulfil, And whisper "God is love."
The fragrance lades the summer air With health-inspiring germs, Ascend on high as nature's prayer, Suggesting well the terms Of God-accepted prayer from man, Odors of grateful praise; For though in penitence began, It ends in joyful lays.
The winter through I lay asleep, Unconscious and unseen; The howling winds disturbed me not, Nor felt the frost tho' keen. Thick blankets covered me about, And kept me dry and warm, And weeks and months passed quickly by And I received no harm. At last I felt uneasy in My cosy little cot, Tho' it was lined with softest down. The cause I knew not what. I struggled hard to free myself, But struggled all in vain; My blankets felt the strain, 'tis true, And opened to the rain, But just enough for me to see The frowning sky o'erhead; I closed my eyes, in sad affright, And wished that I was dead.
But soon a change came o'er my frame, Much like electric shock; Oh, how I longed for some rare key With which I might unlock My prison door, for I now felt The breath of coming Spring, And heard, likewise, her merry laugh, Like silver bells its ring. My lips were close to blanket rent, I ceased my useless strife, And she bent over me in love, And kissed me into life.
O beautiful sky of every hue; Golden and purple, crimson and blue, With some sombre lines thrown in between, And some bright spots of emerald green. The earth is wed to the sun it seems, And to grace the robe of his royal bride No pains are spared, nor a tint untried, And thus complete it with glory gleams.
He wields his brush as an artist now; Lo beauty glows on the earth's fair brow! And the lovely flowers at once arise To match the glow of the radiant skies, The sparkling dewdrops at morn are seen, Close nestling among the petals rare, Like crystal studs in a maiden's hair, Brighter then gems which adorn a queen.
BUTTERCUPS AND DAISIES
Buttercups and daisies growing everywhere, In the field of clover, on the hillside fair, And in lovely valley, tilled with greatest care.
Naught but weeds and rubbish, in the farmer's eyes, Drawing off the nurture from the grain they prize, And their great luxuriance sore their patience tries.
But the dews of heaven give them richest bloom, And their smiling beauty drives away our gloom; For such little beauties surely there is room.
In this world of sorrow flowers ne'er bloom in vain, Though they in their blooming sap the golden grain, And drink in the moisture of the latter rain;
For our Heavenly Father deemed it wise and good To diffuse this beauty with the grain for food. And this wise arrangement He has never rued.
Teaching us this lesson we are slow to learn; Man lives not for eating, nor for duties stern, But to serve God's pleasure, then to Him return.
Room for joy is given and for purest bliss, And we may all find them in a world like this, If our aims are sordid all this gold we miss;
But if we are faithful and to God inclined, Seeing Him in nature, and of heavenly mind, Aiming to be like Him, and by grace refined,
We shall live forever where there is no gloom; Though the path to glory leadeth through the tomb; But a moment's darkness—flowers that ever bloom.
THE MOSS ROSE
'Tis said, long since an angel came to earth, Sent by his Lord, to help with loving hand A suffering one, afflicted from his birth. The limb was healed as by divine command, But He felt weak, for strength from Him had gone, A sacrifice which love could not withhold; So he sought shelter till the morning dawn, But none received—they prized not love, but gold.
Then 'neath a rose bush did the angel lie, And rested well until the break of day, When much refreshed he sought his home on high, But ere he started on his upward way, He said to sheltering rose, in loving voice, "What man refused thou hast afforded me. What is thy wish? Make known to me thy choice; The God of love and power will grant it thee!"
"I ask no brighter hue," the rose replied, "Both old and young smile on me as they pass, My buds adorn the bosom of the bride, And hide among the locks of lovely lass; With fragrance, too, I own myself content, For naught on earth surpasses me in this; But if, indeed, my Maker thee has sent I ask but this, to consummate my bliss:
"I feel the cold, both in my bark and bud, When Autumn winds sweep o'er the western hill, And frozen dewdrops oft my branches stud, Which mar my beauty and my juices chill. Give me an extra garb, 'tis all I lack." "Thou hast thy wish, I shelter found in thee, I take delight in kind to pay thee back. Let softest moss thy extra garment be."
Then touched the angel bark, and bud, and leaf, And soft green moss suffused it o'er and o'er. He lingered near it for a moment brief, Plucked off a bud, which he to heaven bore; And now the rose smiles at the raging storm, Defies the wind and nipping frost as well; Its fragrance still retains, and lovely form, While nestling budlets this old story tell.
I fear not, my Father, the tempest's loud roar, Nor dread the huge breakers on the rock-girded shore; Thy presence is with me, my refuge is near, With help all-sufficient; oh, why should I fear? Tho' billows of sorrow should roll o'er my head, My sun sink in darkness, and joys be all dead, Thy presence will cheer me, and spectres will flee, For who can molest me while trusting in thee?
My lot on earth is not all mirth, Nor is it constant gloom; Some joys decay and fall away, But leave much lasting bloom. My wishes are not always met, And cares press hard at times; Yet joyous strains ne'er sink to fret, Tho' dollars shrink to dimes.
My earthly lot boasts not a cot, No foot of land I own, No bank account nor phosphate mount, Nor credit for a loan; But I can read my title clear To mansion, robe, and crown; I couple these with lot down here, And sing, tho' foes may frown.
GOD'S FOOT ON THE CRADLE
The air is chill with the frost of doubt, And men's hearts are sadly failing; They do not hear the great Victor's shout; But indulge in bitter wailing. "The old gives place to the new," they say, "And fond hopes are daily buried; Our cherished views are oft borne away, As if by the tempest hurried.
"The world is stirred to its very heart, And the Church shares the commotion; With systems old, we are loathe to part, To sail on an unknown ocean. The world now heaves like the great sea's breast, And rocks like an infant's cradle; And looking up, by sore grief oppressed, We find the sky draped in sable."
I will not fear, though the earth should rock, If God's foot be on the cradle; But rest in peace midst the tempest's shock, Rejoicing that God is able To still the world with His mighty hand, If His timid child should waken; Or, if it rock, He will by me stand; And my heart shall not be shaken.
GOD'S GIFTS TO BE ENJOYED
From God's all bounteous hand descend Rare gifts in rich effusion, And with those gifts no poisons blend, Nor is their end delusion; So do not spurn if He bestow Those forms arrayed in beauty; If thus His gifts with radiance glow, Enjoyment is a duty.
Come, deck your brows with leaves and flowers, Ye fair ones, nothing fearing; Adorn your homes and train your bowers Nor deem this sin's appearing; We do not fit ourselves for bliss By scorning all adorning; We may enjoy the good of this And share heaven's brighter morning.
A garment plain may have its stain, And saintly brows lack sweetness; But he who would heaven's glory gain Must here acquire a meetness; So eat and drink, rejoice and sing, But don't forget the ending; The bells of earth more sweetly ring If we are heavenward tending.
The world we use, but not abuse, If we enjoy its beauty; And they who all its joys refuse Miss privilege and duty. Then prize earth's joys, but prize much more The bloom beyond the river; God's gifts enjoy, but e'er adore The ever blessed Giver.
THE HIGHEST GOAL
The highest goal is not success, If that be made the aim; But faithfulness, tho' counted less, Is what God promises to bless: These goals are not the same.
And if I am to do my best In every line of life, My effort will be surely blest, And I will find in toil sweet rest, Tho' in a world of strife.
And when before the throne I stand To answer for the use Of gifts received from God's own hand, He will not then, in wrath, demand From me some strong excuse,
To show why I had not attained The goal of grand success, Such as some noted men have gained, For if my work is not sin-stained God will my failures bless.
And I will hear Him say, "My son, A throne thou hast attained; Without applause thy race was run, 'Midst failures oft thy work was done, Life's highest goal is gained."
JOY IN THE MORNING
The night of affliction, with its long hours of sadness, Will soon pass away to be remembered no more; And the weeping will end in a morning of gladness; For no sorrow is known on the evergreen shore.
In this world we shall have tribulation and sorrow; 'Tis enough for the subject to be as his king; But if we are faithful, joy will come with the morrow, And with the blood-washed a new song shall we sing.
"HE SHALL DWELL ON HIGH"
Tossed about in strange commotion Like the surface of the ocean When the wind, its waters lashing, Sends great billows, roaring, dashing O'er the breakers, which for ages Have withstood the storms it wages, See those clouds, so like this ocean, How they whirl in strange commotion.
Dust and vapor now are meeting, Each the other wildly greeting; As one hand another grasping, So are these each other clasping; Now they whirl in form fantastic And great trees with boughs elastic With loud moans are lowly bending, Leaves and fruit to earth descending.
Eyes 'most blinded, nerves all shaken, By this fearful storm o'ertaken, As it swept on toward the sunrise; Yet, I chanced to lift my dim eyes Upward, when, O sight entrancing, I beheld, to west advancing, Other clouds, in higher current, Unlike earth's, so wild and errant.
Far above the wild commotion, Like great ships on peaceful ocean, Floating westward, grand and steady, Were those clouds, as if made ready, As great cars, with grand pavilions, To convey the ransomed millions From this earth where storms are raging To that land of charms engaging.
Life on earth is a probation; Storms fit well in this relation; Yet, above, are peaceful regions, Where ne'er come hell's dreaded legions. Looking toward the things eternal, We may rise to realms supernal, Where earth's dust will not defile us Nor the cunning foe beguile us.
To this higher plain, O lift me, Gracious Lord! ere Satan sift me, Far above this noisy Babel; Far above earth's clouds, all sable; Up so far no darts can reach me, Where the Holy Ghost will teach me; And, in perfect peace abiding, I will sing while heavenward riding!