GREEN FIELDS AND RUNNING BROOKS
JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY
THE BOBBS-MERRILL COMPANY
BY JAMES W. RILEY
TO MY SISTERS
ELVA AND MARY
Artemus of Michigan, The As My Uncle Used to Say At Utter Loaf August Autumn
Bedouin Being His Mother Blind Blossoms on the Trees, The By Any Other Name By Her White Bed
Chant of the Cross-Bearing Child, The Country Pathway, A Cup of Tea, A Curse of the Wandering Foot, The Cyclone, The
Dan Paine Dawn, Noon and Dewfall Discouraging Model, A Ditty of No Tone, A Don Piatt of Mac-o-chee Dot Leedle Boy Dream of Autumn, A
Farmer Whipple—Bachelor Full Harvest, A
Glimpse of Pan, A Go, Winter
Her Beautiful Eyes Hereafter, The His Mother's Way His Vigil Home at Night Home-Going, The Hoodoo, The Hoosier Folk-Child, The How John Quit the Farm
Iron Horse, The Iry and Billy and Jo
Jack the Giant-Killer Jap Miller John Alden and Percilly John Brown John McKeen Judith June at Woodruff Just to Be Good
Last Night—And This Let Us Forget Little Fat Doctor, The Longfellow Lounger, A
Monument for the Soldiers, A Mr. What's-His-Name My Friend
Nessmuk North and South
Old Retired Sea Captain, The Old Winters on the Farm Old Year and the New, The On the Banks o' Deer Crick Out of Nazareth
Passing of A Heart, The Plaint Human, The
Quarrel, The Quiet Lodger, The
Reach Your Hand to Me Right Here at Home Rival, The Rivals, The; or the Showman's Ruse Robert Burns Wilson Rose, The
September Dark Shoemaker, The Singer, The Sister Jones's Confession Sleep Some Scattering Remarks of Bub's Song of Long Ago, A Southern Singer, A Suspense
Thanksgiving Their Sweet Sorrow Them Flowers To an Importunate Ghost To Hear Her Sing Tom Van Arden To the Serenader Tugg Martin Twins, The
Wandering Jew, The Watches of the Night, The Water Color, A We to Sigh Instead of Sing What Chris'mas Fetched the Wigginses When Age Comes On Where-Away While the Musician Played Wife-Blessed, The Wraith of Summertime, A
GREEN FIELDS AND RUNNING BROOKS
GREEN FIELDS AND RUNNING BROOKS
Ho! green fields and running brooks! Knotted strings and fishing-hooks Of the truant, stealing down Weedy backways of the town.
Where the sunshine overlooks, By green fields and running brooks, All intruding guests of chance With a golden tolerance,
Cooing doves, or pensive pair Of picnickers, straying there— By green fields and running brooks, Sylvan shades and mossy nooks!
And—O Dreamer of the Days, Murmurer of roundelays All unsung of words or books, Sing green fields and running brooks!
A COUNTRY PATHWAY.
I come upon it suddenly, alone— A little pathway winding in the weeds That fringe the roadside; and with dreams my own, I wander as it leads.
Full wistfully along the slender way, Through summer tan of freckled shade and shine, I take the path that leads me as it may— Its every choice is mine.
A chipmunk, or a sudden-whirring quail, Is startled by my step as on I fare— A garter-snake across the dusty trail Glances and—is not there.
Above the arching jimson-weeds flare twos And twos of sallow-yellow butterflies, Like blooms of lorn primroses blowing loose When autumn winds arise.
The trail dips—dwindles—broadens then, and lifts Itself astride a cross-road dubiously, And, from the fennel marge beyond it, drifts Still onward, beckoning me.
And though it needs must lure me mile on mile Out of the public highway, still I go, My thoughts, far in advance in Indian-file, Allure me even so.
Why, I am as a long-lost boy that went At dusk to bring the cattle to the bars, And was not found again, though Heaven lent His mother ail the stars
With which to seek him through that awful night. O years of nights as vain!—Stars never rise But well might miss their glitter in the light Of tears in mother-eyes!
So—on, with quickened breaths, I follow still— My avant-courier must be obeyed! Thus am I led, and thus the path, at will, Invites me to invade
A meadow's precincts, where my daring guide Clambers the steps of an old-fashioned stile, And stumbles down again, the other side, To gambol there awhile
In pranks of hide-and-seek, as on ahead I see it running, while the clover-stalks Shake rosy fists at me, as though they said— "You dog our country-walks
And mutilate us with your walking-stick!— We will not suffer tamely what you do And warn you at your peril,—for we'll sic Our bumble-bees on you!"
But I smile back, in airy nonchalance,— The more determined on my wayward quest, As some bright memory a moment dawns A morning in my breast—
Sending a thrill that hurries me along In faulty similes of childish skips, Enthused with lithe contortions of a song Performing on my lips.
In wild meanderings o'er pasture wealth— Erratic wanderings through dead'ning-lands, Where sly old brambles, plucking me by stealth, Put berries in my hands:
Or, the path climbs a boulder—wades a slough— Or, rollicking through buttercups and flags, Goes gaily dancing o'er a deep bayou On old tree-trunks and snags:
Or, at the creek, leads o'er a limpid pool Upon a bridge the stream itself has made, With some Spring-freshet for the mighty tool That its foundation laid.
I pause a moment here to bend and muse, With dreamy eyes, on my reflection, where A boat-backed bug drifts on a helpless cruise, Or wildly oars the air,
As, dimly seen, the pirate of the brook— The pike, whose jaunty hulk denotes his speed— Swings pivoting about, with wary look Of low and cunning greed.
Till, filled with other thought, I turn again To where the pathway enters in a realm Of lordly woodland, under sovereign reign Of towering oak and elm.
A puritanic quiet here reviles The almost whispered warble from the hedge, And takes a locust's rasping voice and files The silence to an edge.
In such a solitude my somber way Strays like a misanthrope within a gloom Of his own shadows—till the perfect day Bursts into sudden bloom,
And crowns a long, declining stretch of space, Where King Corn's armies lie with flags unfurled, And where the valley's dint in Nature's face Dimples a smiling world.
And lo! through mists that may not be dispelled, I see an old farm homestead, as in dreams, Where, like a gem in costly setting held, The old log cabin gleams.
* * * * *
O darling Pathway! lead me bravely on Adown your valley way, and run before Among the roses crowding up the lawn And thronging at the door,—
And carry up the echo there that shall Arouse the drowsy dog, that he may bay The household out to greet the prodigal That wanders home to-day.
ON THE BANKS O' DEER CRICK.
On the banks o' Deer Crick! There's the place fer me!— Worter slidin' past ye jes as clair as it kin be:— See yer shadder in it, and the shadder o' the sky, And the shadder o' the buzzard as he goes a-lazein' by; Shadder o' the pizen-vines, and shadder o' the trees— And I purt'-nigh said the shadder o' the sunshine and the breeze! Well—I never seen the ocean ner I never seen the sea: On the banks o' Deer Crick's grand enough fer me!
On the banks o' Deer Crick—mild er two from town— 'Long up where the mill-race comes a-loafin' down,— Like to git up in there—'mongst the sycamores— And watch the worter at the dam, a-frothin' as she pours: Crawl out on some old log, with my hook and line, Where the fish is jes so thick you kin see 'em shine As they flicker round yer bait, coaxin' you to jerk, Tel yer tired ketchin' of 'em, mighty nigh, as work!
On the banks o' Deer Crick!—Allus my delight Jes to be around there—take it day er night!— Watch the snipes and killdees foolin' half the day— Er these-'ere little worter-bugs skootin' ever'way!— Snakefeeders glancin' round, er dartin' out o' sight; And dew-fall, and bullfrogs, and lightnin'-bugs at night— Stars up through the tree-tops—er in the crick below,— And smell o' mussrat through the dark clean from the old b'y-o!
Er take a tromp, some Sund'y, say, 'way up to "Johnson's Hole," And find where he's had a fire, and hid his fishin' pole; Have yer "dog-leg," with ye and yer pipe and "cut-and-dry"— Pocketful o' corn-bred, and slug er two o' rye,— Soak yer hide in sunshine and waller in the shade— Like the Good Book tells us—"where there're none to make afraid!" Well!—I never seen the ocean ner I never seen the sea— On the banks o' Deer Crick's grand enough fer me!
A DITTY OF NO TONE.
Piped to the Spirit of John Keats.
Would that my lips might pour out in thy praise A fitting melody—an air sublime,— A song sun-washed and draped in dreamy haze— The floss and velvet of luxurious rhyme: A lay wrought of warm languors, and o'er-brimmed With balminess, and fragrance of wild flowers Such as the droning bee ne'er wearies of— Such thoughts as might be hymned To thee from this midsummer land of ours Through shower and sunshine blent for very love.
Deep silences in woody aisles wherethrough Cool paths go loitering, and where the trill Of best-remembered birds hath something new In cadence for the hearing—lingering still Through all the open day that lies beyond; Reaches of pasture-lands, vine-wreathen oaks, Majestic still in pathos of decay,— The road—the wayside pond Wherein the dragonfly an instant soaks His filmy wing-tips ere he flits away.
And I would pluck from out the dank, rich mould, Thick-shaded from the sun of noon, the long Lithe stalks of barley, topped with ruddy gold, And braid them in the meshes of my song; And with them I would tangle wheat and rye, And wisps of greenest grass the katydid Ere crept beneath the blades of, sulkily, As harvest-hands went by; And weave of all, as wildest fancy bid, A crown of mingled song and bloom for thee.
Low hidden in among the forest trees An artist's tilted easel, ankle-deep In tousled ferns and mosses, and in these A fluffy water-spaniel, half asleep Beside a sketch-book and a fallen hat— A little wicker flask tossed into that.
A sense of utter carelessness and grace Of pure abandon in the slumb'rous scene,— As if the June, all hoydenish of face, Had romped herself to sleep there on the green, And brink and sagging bridge and sliding stream Were just romantic parcels of her dream.
So lone I stood, the very trees seemed drawn In conference with themselves.—Intense—intense Seemed everything;—the summer splendor on The sight,—magnificence!
A babe's life might not lighter fail and die Than failed the sunlight—Though the hour was noon, The palm of midnight might not lighter lie Upon the brow of June.
With eyes upraised, I saw the underwings Of swallows—gone the instant afterward— While from the elms there came strange twitterings, Stilled scarce ere they were heard.
The river seemed to shiver; and, far down Its darkened length, I saw the sycamores Lean inward closer, under the vast frown That weighed above the shores.
Then was a roar, born of some awful burst!— And one lay, shrieking, chattering, in my path— Flung—he or I—out of some space accurst As of Jehovah's wrath:
Nor barely had he wreaked his latest prayer, Ere back the noon flashed o'er the ruin done, And, o'er uprooted forests touseled there, The birds sang in the sun.
O the Lands of Where-Away! Tell us—tell us—where are they? Through the darkness and the dawn We have journeyed on and on— From the cradle to the cross— From possession unto loss,— Seeking still, from day to day, For the lands of Where-Away.
When our baby-feet were first Planted where the daisies burst, And the greenest grasses grew In the fields we wandered through, On, with childish discontent, Ever on and on we went, Hoping still to pass, some day, O'er the verge of Where-Away.
Roses laid their velvet lips On our own, with fragrant sips; But their kisses held us not, All their sweetness we forgot;— Though the brambles in our track Plucked at us to hold us back— "Just ahead," we used to say, "Lie the Lands of Where-Away."
Children at the pasture-bars, Through the dusk, like glimmering stars, Waved their hands that we should bide With them over eventide: Down the dark their voices failed Falteringly, as they hailed, And died into yesterday— Night ahead and—Where-Away?
Twining arms about us thrown— Warm caresses, all our own, Can but stay us for a spell— Love hath little new to tell To the soul in need supreme, Aching ever with the dream Of the endless bliss it may Find in Lands of Where-Away!
We must get home—for we have been away So long it seems forever and a day! And O so very homesick we have grown, The laughter of the world is like a moan In our tired hearing, and its songs as vain,— We must get home—we must get home again!
We must get home: It hurts so, staying here, Where fond hearts must be wept out tear by tear, And where to wear wet lashes means, at best, When most our lack, the least our hope of rest When most our need of joy, the more our pain— We must get home—we must get home again!
We must get home: All is so quiet there: The touch of loving hands on brow and hair— Dim rooms, wherein the sunshine is made mild—- The lost love of the mother and the child Restored in restful lullabies of rain.— We must get home—we must get home again!
We must get home, where, as we nod and drowse, Time humors us and tiptoes through the house, And loves us best when sleeping baby-wise, With dreams—not tear-drops—brimming our clenched eyes,— Pure dreams that know nor taint nor earthly stain— We must get home—we must get home again!
We must get home; and, unremembering there All gain of all ambitions otherwhere, Rest—from the feverish victory, and the crown Of conquest whose waste glory weighs us down.— Fame's fairest gifts we toss back with disdain— We must get home—we must get home again!
HOW JOHN QUIT THE FARM.
Nobody on the old farm here but Mother, me and John, Except, of course, the extry he'p when harvest-time come on— And then, I want to say to you, we needed he'p about, As you'd admit, ef you'd a-seen the way the crops turned out!
A better quarter-section, ner a richer soil warn't found Than this-here old-home place o' ourn fer fifty miles around!— The house was small—but plenty-big we found it from the day That John—our only livin' son—packed up and went way.
You see, we tuck sich pride in John—his mother more 'n me— That's natchurul; but both of us was proud as proud could be; Fer the boy, from a little chap, was most oncommon bright, And seemed in work as well as play to take the same delight.
He allus went a-whistlin' round the place, as glad at heart As robins up at five o'clock to git an airly start; And many a time 'fore daylight Mother's waked me up to say— "Jest listen, David!—listen!—Johnny's beat the birds to-day!"
High-sperited from boyhood, with a most inquirin' turn,— He wanted to learn ever'thing on earth they was to learn: He'd ast more plaguey questions in a mortal-minute here Than his grandpap in Paradise could answer in a year!
And read! w'y, his own mother learnt him how to read and spell; And "The Childern of the Abbey"—w'y, he knowed that book as well At fifteen as his parents!—and "The Pilgrim's Progress," too— Jest knuckled down, the shaver did, and read 'em through and through!
At eighteen, Mother 'lowed the boy must have a better chance— That we ort to educate him, under any circumstance; And John he j'ined his mother, and they ding-donged and kep' on, Tel I sent him off to school in town, half glad that he was gone.
But—I missed him—w'y of course I did!—The Fall and Winter through I never built the kitchen-fire, er split a stick in two, Er fed the stock, er butchered, er swung up a gambrel-pin, But what I thought o' John, and wished that he was home agin.
He'd come, sometimes—on Sund'ys most—and stay the Sund'y out; And on Thanksgivin'-Day he 'peared to like to be about: But a change was workin' on him—he was stiller than before, And did n't joke, ner laugh, ner sing and whistle any more.
And his talk was all so proper; and I noticed, with a sigh, He was tryin' to raise side-whiskers, and had on a striped tie, And a standin'-collar, ironed up as stiff and slick as bone; And a breast-pin, and a watch and chain and plug-hat of his own.
But when Spring-weather opened out, and John was to come home And he'p me through the season, I was glad to see him come; But my happiness, that evening, with the settin' sun went down, When he bragged of "a position" that was offered him in town.
"But," says I, "you'll not accept it?" "W'y, of course I will," says he.— "This drudgin' on a farm," he says, "is not the life fer me; I've set my stakes up higher," he continued, light and gay, "And town's the place fer me, and I'm a-goin' right away!"
And go he did!—his mother clingin' to him at the gate, A-pleadin' and a-cryin'; but it hadn't any weight. I was tranquiller, and told her 'twarn't no use to worry so, And onclasped her arms from round his neck round mine—and let him go!
I felt a little bitter feelin' foolin' round about The aidges of my conscience; but I didn't let it out;— I simply retch out, trimbly-like, and tuck the boy's hand, And though I did n't say a word, I knowed he'd understand.
And—well!—sence then the old home here was mighty lonesome, shore! With me a-workin' in the field, and Mother at the door, Her face ferever to'rds the town, and fadin' more and more—- Her only son nine miles away, a-clerkin' in a store!
The weeks and months dragged by us; and sometimes the boy would write A letter to his mother, savin' that his work was light, And not to feel oneasy about his health a bit— Though his business was confinin', he was gittin' used to it.
And sometimes he would write and ast how I was gittin' on, And ef I had to pay out much fer he'p sence he was gone; And how the hogs was doin', and the balance of the stock, And talk on fer a page er two jest like he used to talk.
And he wrote, along 'fore harvest, that he guessed he would git home, Fer business would, of course be dull in town.—But didn't come:— We got a postal later, sayin' when they had no trade They filled the time "invoicin' goods," and that was why he staid.
And then he quit a-writin' altogether: Not a word— Exceptin' what the neighbors brung who'd been to town and heard What store John was clerkin' in, and went round to inquire If they could buy their goods there less and sell their produce higher.
And so the Summer faded out, and Autumn wore away, And a keener Winter never fetched around Thanksgivin'-Day! The night before that day of thanks I'll never quite fergit, The wind a-howlin' round the house—it makes me creepy yit!
And there set me and Mother—me a-twistin' at the prongs Of a green scrub-ellum forestick with a vicious pair of tongs, And Mother sayin', "David! David!" in a' undertone, As though she thought that I was thinkin' bad-words unbeknown.
"I've dressed the turkey, David, fer to-morrow," Mother said, A-tryin' to wedge some pleasant subject in my stubborn head,— "And the mince-meat I'm a-mixin' is perfection mighty nigh; And the pound-cake is delicious-rich—" "Who'll eat 'em?" I-says-I.
"The cramberries is drippin-sweet," says Mother, runnin' on, P'tendin' not to hear me;—"and somehow I thought of John All the time they was a-jellin'—fer you know they allus was His favour—he likes 'em so!" Says I, "Well, s'pose he does?"
"Oh, nothin' much!" says Mother, with a quiet sort o' smile— "This gentleman behind my cheer may tell you after while!" And as I turned and looked around, some one riz up and leant And put his arms round Mother's neck, and laughed in low content.
"It's me," he says—"your fool-boy John, come back to shake your hand; Set down with you, and talk with you, and make you understand How dearer yit than all the world is this old home that we Will spend Thanksgivin' in fer life—jest Mother, you and me!"
* * * * * *
Nobody on the old farm here but Mother, me and John, Except of course the extry he'p, when harvest-time comes on; And then, I want to say to you, we need sich he'p about, As you'd admit, ef you could see the way the crops turns out!
NORTH AND SOUTH.
Of the North I wove a dream, All bespangled with the gleam Of the glancing wings of swallows Dipping ripples in a stream, That, like a tide of wine, Wound through lands of shade and shine Where purple grapes hung bursting on the vine.
And where orchard-boughs were bent Till their tawny fruitage blent With the golden wake that marked the Way the happy reapers went; Where the dawn died into noon As the May-mists into June, And the dusk fell like a sweet face in a swoon.
Of the South I dreamed: And there Came a vision clear and fair As the marvelous enchantments Of the mirage of the air; And I saw the bayou-trees, With their lavish draperies, Hang heavy o'er the moon-washed cypress-knees.
Peering from lush fens of rice, I beheld the Negro's eyes, Lit with that old superstition Death itself can not disguise; And I saw the palm tree nod Like an oriental god, And the cotton froth and bubble from the pod,
And I dreamed that North and South, With a sigh of dew and drouth, Blew each unto the other The salute of lip and mouth; And I wakened, awed and thrilled— Every doubting murmur stilled In the silence of the dream I found fulfilled.
THE IRON HORSE.
No song is mine of Arab steed— My courser is of nobler blood, And cleaner limb and fleeter speed, And greater strength and hardihood Than ever cantered wild and free Across the plains of Araby.
Go search the level desert-land From Sana on to Samarcand— Wherever Persian prince has been Or Dervish, Sheik or Bedouin, And I defy you there to point Me out a steed the half so fine— From tip of ear to pastern-joint— As this old iron horse of mine.
You do not know what beauty is— You do not know what gentleness His answer is to my caress!— Why, look upon this gait of his,— A touch upon his iron rein— He moves with such a stately grace The sunlight on his burnished mane Is barely shaken in its place; And at touch he changes pace, And, gliding backward, stops again.
And talk of mettle—Ah! my friend, Such passion smoulders in his breast That when awakened it will send A thrill of rapture wilder than Ere palpitated heart of man When flaming at its mightiest. And there's a fierceness in his ire— A maddened majesty that leaps Along his veins in blood of fire, Until the path his vision sweeps Spins out behind him like a thread Unraveled from the reel of time, As, wheeling on his course sublime, The earth revolves beneath his tread.
Then stretch away, my gallant steed! Thy mission is a noble one: You bear the father to the son, And sweet relief to bitter need; You bear the stranger to his friends; You bear the pilgrim to the shrine, And back again the prayer he sends That God will prosper me and mine,— The star that on thy forehead gleams Has blossomed in our brightest dreams. Then speed thee on thy glorious race! The mother waits thy ringing pace; The father leans an anxious ear The thunder of thy hoofs to hear; The lover listens, far away, To catch thy keen exultant neigh; And, where thy breathings roll and rise, The husband strains his eager eyes, And laugh of wife and baby-glee Ring out to greet and welcome thee. Then stretch away! and when at last The master's hand shall gently check Thy mighty speed, and hold thee fast, The world will pat thee on the neck.
HIS MOTHER'S WAY
Tomps 'ud allus haf to say Somepin' 'bout "his mother's way."— He lived hard-like—never jined Any church of any kind.— "It was Mother's way," says he, "To be good enough fer me And her too,—and certinly Lord has heerd her pray!" Propped up on his dyin' bed,— "Shore as Heaven's overhead, I'm a-goin' there," he said—- "It was Mother's way."
Jap Miller down at Martinsville's the blamedest feller yit! When he starts in a-talkin' other folks is apt to quit!— 'Pears like that mouth o' his'n wuz n't made fer nuthin' else But jes' to argify 'em down and gether in their pelts: He'll talk you down on tariff; er he'll talk you down on tax, And prove the pore man pays 'em all—and them's about the fac's!— Religen, law, er politics, prize-fightin', er base-ball— Jes' tetch Jap up a little and he'll post you 'bout 'em all.
And the comicalist feller ever tilted back a cheer And tuck a chaw tobacker kind o' like he did n't keer.— There's where the feller's strength lays,—he's so common-like and plain,— They haint no dude about old Jap, you bet you—nary grain! They 'lected him to Council and it never turned his head, And did n't make no differunce what anybody said,— He didn't dress no finer, ner rag out in fancy clothes; But his voice in Council-meetin's is a turrer to his foes.
He's fer the pore man ever' time! And in the last campaign He stumped old Morgan County, through the sunshine and the rain, And helt the banner up'ards from a-trailin' in the dust, And cut loose on monopolies and cuss'd and cuss'd and cuss'd! He'd tell some funny story ever' now and then, you know, Tel, blame it! it wuz better 'n a jack-o'-lantern show! And I'd go furder, yit, to-day, to hear old Jap norate Than any high-toned orator 'at ever stumped the State!
W'y, that-air blame Jap Miller, with his keen sircastic fun, Has got more friends than ary candidate 'at ever run! Do n't matter what his views is, when he states the same to you, They allus coincide with your'n, the same as two and two: You can't take issue with him—er, at least, they haint no sense In startin' in to down him, so you better not commence.— The best way's jes' to listen, like your humble servant does, And jes' concede Jap Miller is the best man ever wuz!
A SOUTHERN SINGER.
Written In Madison Caweln's "Lyrics and Idyls."
Herein are blown from out the South Songs blithe as those of Pan's pursed mouth— As sweet in voice as, in perfume, The night-breath of magnolia-bloom.
Such sumptuous languor lures the sense— Such luxury of indolence— The eyes blur as a nymph's might blur, With water-lilies watching her.
You waken, thrilling at the trill Of some wild bird that seems to spill The silence full of winey drips Of song that Fancy sips and sips.
Betimes, in brambled lanes wherethrough The chipmunk stripes himself from view, You pause to lop a creamy spray Of elder-blossoms by the way.
Or where the morning dew is yet Gray on the topmost rail, you set A sudden palm and, vaulting, meet Your vaulting shadow in the wheat.
On lordly swards, of suave incline, Entessellate with shade and shine, You shall misdoubt your lowly birth, Clad on as one of princely worth:
The falcon on your wrist shall ride— Your milk-white Arab side by side With one of raven-black.—You fain Would kiss the hand that holds the rein.
Nay, nay, Romancer! Poet! Seer! Sing us back home—from there to here; Grant your high grace and wit, but we Most honor your simplicity.—
Herein are blown from out the South Songs blithe as those of Pan's pursed mouth— As sweet in voice as, in perfume, The night-breath of magnolia-bloom.
A DREAM OF AUTUMN.
Mellow hazes, lowly trailing Over wood and meadow, veiling Somber skies, with wildfowl sailing Sailor-like to foreign lands; And the north-wind overleaping Summer's brink, and floodlike sweeping Wrecks of roses where the weeping Willows wring their helpless hands.
Flared, like Titan torches flinging Flakes of flame and embers, springing From the vale the trees stand swinging In the moaning atmosphere; While in dead'ning-lands the lowing Of the cattle, sadder growing, Fills the sense to overflowing With the sorrow of the year.
Sorrowfully, yet the sweeter Sings the brook in rippled meter Under boughs that lithely teeter Lorn birds, answering from the shores Through the viny, shady-shiny Interspaces, shot with tiny Flying motes that fleck the winy Wave-engraven sycamores.
Fields of ragged stubble, wrangled With rank weeds, and shocks of tangled Corn, with crests like rent plumes dangled Over Harvest's battle-piain; And the sudden whir and whistle Of the quail that, like a missile, Whizzes over thorn and thistle, And, a missile, drops again.
Muffled voices, hid in thickets Where the redbird stops to stick its Ruddy beak betwixt the pickets Of the truant's rustic trap; And the sound of laughter ringing Where, within the wild-vine swinging, Climb Bacchante's schoolmates, flinging Purple clusters in her lap.
Rich as wine, the sunset flashes Round the tilted world, and dashes Up the sloping west and splashes Red foam over sky and sea— Till my dream of Autumn, paling In the splendor all-prevailing, Like a sallow leaf goes sailing Down the silence solemnly.
TOM VAN ARDEN.
Tom Van Arden, my old friend, Our warm fellowship is one Far too old to comprehend Where its bond was first begun: Mirage-like before my gaze Gleams a land of other days, Where two truant boys, astray, Dream their lazy lives away.
There's a vision, in the guise Of Midsummer, where the Past Like a weary beggar lies In the shadow Time has cast; And as blends the bloom of trees With the drowsy hum of bees, Fragrant thoughts and murmurs blend, Tom Van Arden, my old friend.
Tom Van Arden, my old friend, All the pleasures we have known Thrill me now as I extend This old hand and grasp your own— Feeling, in the rude caress, All affection's tenderness; Feeling, though the touch be rough, Our old souls are soft enough.
So we'll make a mellow hour: Fill your pipe, and taste the wine— Warp your face, if it be sour, I can spare a smile from mine; If it sharpen up your wit, Let me feel the edge of it— I have eager ears to lend, Tom Van Arden, my old friend.
Tom Van Arden, my old friend, Are we "lucky dogs," indeed? Are we all that we pretend In the jolly life we lead?— Bachelors, we must confess, Boast of "single blessedness" To the world, but not alone— Man's best sorrow is his own!
And the saddest truth is this,— Life to us has never proved What we tasted in the kiss Of the women we have loved: Vainly we congratulate Our escape from such a fate As their lying lips could send, Tom Van Arden, my old friend!
Tom Van Arden, my old friend, Hearts, like fruit upon the stem, Ripen sweetest, I contend, As the frost falls over them: Your regard for me to-day Makes November taste of May, And through every vein of rhyme Pours the blood of summertime.
When our souls are cramped with youth Happiness seems far away In the future, while, in truth, We look back on it to-day Through our tears, nor dare to boast,— "Better to have loved and lost!" Broken hearts are hard to mend, Tom Van Arden, my old friend.
Tom Van Arden, my old friend, I grow prosy, and you tire; Fill the glasses while I bend To prod up the failing fire . . . You are restless:—I presume There's a dampness in the room.— Much of warmth our nature begs, With rheumatics in our legs! . . .
Humph! the legs we used to fling Limber-jointed in the dance, When we heard the fiddle ring Up the curtain of Romance, And in crowded public halls Played with hearts like jugglers'-balls.— Feats of mountebanks, depend!— Tom Van Arden, my old friend.
Tom Van Arden, my old friend, Pardon, then, this theme of mine: While the fire-light leaps to lend Higher color to the wine,— I propose a health to those Who have homes, and home's repose, Wife- and child-love without end! . . . Tom Van Arden, my old friend.
JUST TO BE GOOD.
Just to be good— This is enough—enough! O we who find sin's billows wild and rough, Do we not feel how more than any gold Would be the blameless life we led of old While yet our lips knew but a mother's kiss? Ah! though we miss All else but this, To be good is enough!
It is enough— Enough—just to be good! To lift our hearts where they are understood; To let the thirst for worldly power and place Go unappeased; to smile back in God's face With the glad lips our mothers used to kiss. Ah! though we miss All else but this, To be good is enough!
HOME AT NIGHT.
When chirping crickets fainter cry, And pale stars blossom in the sky, And twilight's gloom has dimmed the bloom And blurred the butterfly:
When locust-blossoms fleck the walk, And up the tiger-lily stalk The glow-worm crawls and clings and falls And glimmers down the garden-walls:
When buzzing things, with double wings Of crisp and raspish flutterings, Go whizzing by so very nigh One thinks of fangs and stings:—
O then, within, is stilled the din Of crib she rocks the baby in, And heart and gate and latch's weight Are lifted—and the lips of Kate.
THE HOOSIER FOLK-CHILD.
The Hoosier Folk-Child—all unsung— Unlettered all of mind and tongue; Unmastered, unmolested—made Most wholly frank and unafraid: Untaught of any school—unvexed Of law or creed—all unperplexed— Unsermoned, aye, and undefiled, An all imperfect-perfect child— A type which (Heaven forgive us!) you And I do tardy honor to, And so, profane the sanctities Of our most sacred memories. Who, growing thus from boy to man, That dares not be American? Go, Pride, with prudent underbuzz— Go whistle! as the Folk-Child does.
The Hoosier Folk-Child's world is not Much wider than the stable-lot Between the house and highway fence That bounds the home his father rents. His playmates mostly are the ducks And chickens, and the boy that "shucks Corn by the shock," and talks of town, And whether eggs are "up" or "down," And prophesies in boastful tone Of "owning horses of his own," And "being his own man," and "when He gets to be, what he'll do then."— Takes out his jack-knife dreamily And makes the Folk-Child two or three Crude corn-stalk figures,—a wee span Of horses and a little man.
The Hoosier Folk-Child's eyes are wise And wide and round as Brownies' eyes: The smile they wear is ever blent With all-expectant wonderment,— On homeliest things they bend a look As rapt as o'er a picture-book, And seem to ask, whate'er befall, The happy reason of it all:— Why grass is all so glad a green, And leaves—and what their lispings mean;— Why buds grow on the boughs, and why They burst in blossom by and by— As though the orchard in the breeze Had shook and popped its popcorn-trees, To lure and whet, as well they might, Some seven-league giant's appetite!
The Hoosier Folk-Child's chubby face Has scant refinement, caste or grace,— From crown to chin, and cheek to cheek, It bears the grimy water-streak Of rinsings such as some long rain Might drool across the window-pane Wherethrough he peers, with troubled frown, As some lorn team drives by for town. His brow is elfed with wispish hair, With tangles in it here and there, As though the warlocks snarled it so At midmirk when the moon sagged low, And boughs did toss and skreek and shake, And children moaned themselves awake, With fingers clutched, and starting sight Blind as the blackness of the night!
The Hoosier Folk-Child!—Rich is he In all the wealth of poverty! He owns nor title nor estate, Nor speech but half articulate,— He owns nor princely robe nor crown;— Yet, draped in patched and faded brown, He owns the bird-songs of the hills— The laughter of the April rills; And his are all the diamonds set. In Morning's dewy coronet,— And his the Dusk's first minted stars That twinkle through the pasture-bars, And litter all the skies at night With glittering scraps of silver light;— The rainbow's bar, from rim to rim, In beaten gold, belongs to him.
JACK THE GIANT KILLER.
Bad Boy's Version.
Tell you a story—an' it's a fac':— Wunst wuz a little boy, name wuz Jack, An' he had sword an' buckle an' strap Maked of gold, an' a "'visibul cap;" An' he killed Gi'nts 'at et whole cows— Th' horns an' all—an' pigs an' sows! But Jack, his golding sword wuz, oh! So awful sharp 'at he could go An' cut th' ole Gi'nts clean in two Fore 'ey knowed what he wuz goin' to do! An' one ole Gi'nt, he had four Heads, and name wuz "Bumblebore"— An' he wuz feered o' Jack—'cause he, Jack, he killed six—five—ten—three, An' all o' th' uther ole Gi'nts but him: An' thay wuz a place Jack haf to swim 'Fore he could git t' ole "Bumblebore"— Nen thay was "griffuns" at the door: But Jack, he thist plunged in an' swum Clean acrost; an' when he come To th' uther side, he thist put on His "'visibul cap," an' nen, dog-gone! You could n't see him at all!—An' so He slewed the "griffuns"—boff, you know! Nen wuz a horn hunged over his head High on th' wall, an' words 'at read,— "Whoever kin this trumput blow Shall cause the Gi'nt's overth'ow!" An' Jack, he thist reached up an' blowed The stuffin' out of it! an' th'owed Th' castul-gates wide open, an' Nen tuck his gold sword in his han', An' thist marched in t' ole "Bumblebore," An', 'fore he knowed, he put 'bout four Heads on him—an' chopped 'em off, too!— Wisht 'at I'd been Jack!—don't you?
WHILE THE MUSICIAN PLAYED.
O it was but a dream I had While the musician played!— And here the sky, and here the glad Old ocean kissed the glade— And here the laughing ripples ran, And here the roses grew That threw a kiss to every man That voyaged with the crew.
Our silken sails in lazy folds Drooped in the breathless breeze: As o'er a field of marigolds Our eyes swam o'er the seas; While here the eddies lisped and purled Around the island's rim, And up from out the underworld We saw the mermen swim.
And it was dawn and middle-day And midnight—for the moon On silver rounds across the bay Had climbed the skies of June— And there the glowing, glorious king Of day ruled o'er his realm, With stars of midnight glittering About his diadem.
The seagull reeled on languid wing In circles round the mast, We heard the songs the sirens sing As we went sailing past; And up and down the golden sands A thousand fairy throngs Flung at us from their flashing hands The echoes of their songs.
O it was but a dream I had While the musician played— For here the sky, and here the glad Old ocean kissed the glade; And here the laughing ripples ran, And here the roses grew That threw a kiss to every man That voyaged with the crew.
A day of torpor in the sullen heat Of Summer's passion: In the sluggish stream The panting cattle lave their lazy feet, With drowsy eyes, and dream.
Long since the winds have died, and in the sky There lives no cloud to hint of Nature's grief; The sun glares ever like an evil eye, And withers flower and leaf.
Upon the gleaming harvest-field remote The thresher lies deserted, like some old Dismantled galleon that hangs afloat Upon a sea of gold.
The yearning cry of some bewildered bird Above an empty nest, and truant boys Along the river's shady margin heard— A harmony of noise—
A melody of wrangling voices blent With liquid laughter, and with rippling calls Of piping lips and trilling echoes sent To mimic waterfalls.
And through the hazy veil the atmosphere Has draped about the gleaming face of Day, The sifted glances of the sun appear In splinterings of spray.
The dusty highway, like a cloud of dawn, Trails o'er the hillside, and the passer-by, A tired ghost in misty shroud, toils on His journey to the sky.
And down across the valley's drooping sweep, Withdrawn to farthest limit of the glade, The forest stands in silence, drinking deep Its purple wine of shade.
The gossamer floats up on phantom wing; The sailor-vision voyages the skies And carries into chaos everything That freights the weary eyes:
Till, throbbing on and on, the pulse of heat Increases—reaches—passes fever's height, And Day sinks into slumber, cool and sweet, Within the arms of Night.
TO HEAR HER SING.
To hear her sing—to hear her sing— It is to hear the birds of Spring In dewy groves on blooming sprays Pour out their blithest roundelays.
It is to hear the robin trill At morning, or the whip-poor-will At dusk, when stars are blossoming— To hear her sing—to hear her sing!
To hear her sing—it is to hear The laugh of childhood ringing clear In woody path or grassy lane Our feet may never fare again.
Faint, far away as Memory dwells, It is to hear the village bells At twilight, as the truant hears Them, hastening home, with smiles and tears.
Such joy it is to hear her sing, We fall in love with everything— The simple things of every day Grow lovelier than words can say.
The idle brooks that purl across The gleaming pebbles and the moss, We love no less than classic streams— The Rhines and Arnos of our dreams.
To hear her sing—with folded eyes, It is, beneath Venetian skies, To hear the gondoliers' refrain, Or troubadours of sunny Spain.—
To hear the bulbul's voice that shook The throat that trilled for Lalla Rookh: What wonder we in homage bring Our hearts to her—to hear her sing!
BEING HIS MOTHER.
Being his mother—when he goes away I would not hold him overlong, and so Sometimes my yielding sight of him grows O So quick of tears, I joy he did not stay To catch the faintest rumor of them! Nay, Leave always his eyes clear and glad, although Mine own, dear Lord, do fill to overflow; Let his remembered features, as I pray, Smile ever on me! Ah! what stress of love Thou givest me to guard with Thee thiswise: Its fullest speech ever to be denied Mine own—being his mother! All thereof Thou knowest only, looking from the skies As when not Christ alone was crucified.
JUNE AT WOODRUFF.
Out at Woodruff Place—afar From the city's glare and jar, With the leafy trees, instead Of the awnings, overhead; With the shadows cool and sweet, For the fever of the street; With the silence, like a prayer, Breathing round us everywhere.
Gracious anchorage, at last, From the billows of the vast Tide of life that comes and goes, Whence and where nobody knows— Moving, like a skeptic's thought, Out of nowhere into naught. Touch and tame us with thy grace, Placid calm of Woodruff Place!
Weave a wreath of beechen leaves For the brow that throbs and grieves O'er the ledger, bloody-lined, 'Neath the sun-struck window-blind! Send the breath of woodland bloom Through the sick man's prison room, Till his old farm-home shall swim Sweet in mind to hearten him!
Out at Woodruff Place the Muse Dips her sandal in the dews, Sacredly as night and dawn Baptize lilied grove and lawn: Woody path, or paven way— She doth haunt them night and day,— Sun or moonlight through the trees, To her eyes, are melodies.
Swinging lanterns, twinkling clear Through night-scenes, are songs to her— Tinted lilts and choiring hues, Blent with children's glad halloos; Then belated lays that fade Into midnight's serenade— Vine-like words and zithern-strings Twined through ali her slumberings.
Blessed be each hearthstone set Neighboring the violet! Blessed every rooftree prayed Over by the beech's shadel Blessed doorway, opening where We may look on Nature—there Hand to hand and face to face— Storied realm, or Woodruff Place.
It's a mystery to see me—a man o' fifty-four, Who's lived a cross old bachelor fer thirty year' and more— A-lookin' glad and smilin'! And they's none o' you can say That you can guess the reason why I feel so good to-day!
I must tell you all about it! But I'll have to deviate A little in beginning so's to set the matter straight As to how it comes to happen that I never took a wife— Kind o' "crawfish" from the Present to the Springtime of my life!
I was brought up in the country: Of a family of five— Three brothers and a sister—I'm the only one alive,— Fer they all died little babies; and 'twas one o' Mother's ways, You know, to want a daughter; so she took a girl to raise.
The sweetest little thing she was, with rosy cheeks, and fat— We was little chunks o' shavers then about as high as that! But someway we sort o' suited-like! and Mother she'd declare She never laid her eyes on a more lovin' pair
Than we was! So we growed up side by side fer thirteen year', And every hour of it she growed to me more dear!— W'y, even Father's dyin', as he did, I do believe Warn't more affectin' to me than it was to see her grieve!
I was then a lad o' twenty; and I felt a flash o' pride In thinkin' all depended on me now to pervide Fer Mother and fer Mary; and I went about the place With sleeves rolled up—and workin', with a mighty smilin' face.—
Fer sompin' else was workin'! but not a word I said Of a certain sort o' notion that was runnin' through my head,— "Someday I'd mayby marry, and a brother's love was one Thing—a lover's was another!" was the way the notion run!
I remember onc't in harvest, when the "cradle-in'" was done— When the harvest of my summers mounted up to twenty-one— I was ridin' home with Mary at the closin' o' the day— A-chawin' straws and thinkin', in a lover's lazy way!
And Mary's cheeks was burnin' like the sunset down the lane: I noticed she was thinkin', too, and ast her to explain Well—when she turned and kissed me, with her arm around me—law! I'd a bigger load o' heaven than I had a load o' straw!
I don't p'tend to learnin', but I'll tell you what's a fac', They's a mighty truthful sayin' somers in a almanack— Er somers—'bout "puore happiness"—perhaps some folks'll laugh At the idy—"only lastin' jest two seconds and a half."—
But its jest as true as preachin'!—fer that was a sister's kiss, And a sister's lovin' confidence a-tellin' to me this:— "She was happy, bein' promised to the son o' farmer Brown."— And my feelin's struck a pardnership with sunset and went down!
I don't know how I acted—I don't know what I said, Fer my heart seemed jest a-turnin' to an ice-cold lump o' lead; And the hosses kind o' glimmered before me in the road, And the lines fell from my fingers—and that was all I knowed—
Fer—well, I don't know how long—They's a dim rememberence Of a sound o' snortin' bosses, and a stake-and-ridered fence A-whizzin' past, and wheat-sheaves a-dancin' in the air, And Mary screamin' "Murder!" and a-runnin' up to where
I was layin' by the roadside, and the wagon upside down A-leanin' on the gate-post, with the wheels a whirlin' round! And I tried to raise and meet her, but I couldn't, with a vague Sort o' notion comin' to me that I had a broken leg.
Well, the women nussed me through it; but many a time I'd sigh As I'd keep a-gittin' better instid o' goin' to die, And wonder what was left me worth livin' fer below, When the girl I loved was married to another, don't you know!
And my thoughts was as rebellious as the folks was good and kind When Brown and Mary married—Railly must a-been my mind Was kindo' out o' kilter!—fer I hated Brown, you see, Worse'n pizen—and the feller whittled crutches out fer me—
And done a thousand little ac's o' kindness and respec'— And me a-wishin' all the time that I could break his neck! My relief was like a mourner's when the funeral is done When they moved to Illinois in the Fall o' Forty-one.
Then I went to work in airnest—I had nothin' much in view But to drownd out rickollections—and it kep' me busy, too! But I slowly thrived and prospered, tel Mother used to say She expected yit to see me a wealthy man some day.
Then I'd think how little money was, compared to happiness— And who'd be left to use it when I died I couldn't guess! But I've still kep' speculatin' and a-gainin' year by year, Tel I'm payin' half the taxes in the county, mighty near!
Well!—A year ago er better, a letter comes to hand Astin' how I 'd like to dicker fer some Illinois land— "The feller that had owned it," it went ahead to state, "Had jest deceased, insolvent, leavin' chance to speculate,"—
And then it closed by sayin' that I'd "better come and see."— I'd never been West, anyhow—a most too wild fer me, I'd allus had a notion; but a lawyer here in town Said I'd find myself mistakend when I come to look around.
So I bids good-bye to Mother, and I jumps aboard the train, A-thinkin' what I'd bring her when I come back home again— And ef she'd had an idy what the present was to be, I think it's more 'n likely she'd a-went along with me!
Cars is awful tejus ridin', fer all they go so fast! But finally they called out my stopping-place at last: And that night, at the tavern, I dreamp' I was a train O' cars, and skeered at sumpin', runnin' down a country lane!
Well, in the mornin' airly—after huntin' up the man— The lawyer who was wantin' to swap the piece o' land— We started fer the country;' and I ast the history Of the farm—its former owner—and so-forth, etcetery!
And—well—it was interestin'—I su'prised him, I suppose, By the loud and frequent manner in which I blowed my nose!— But his su'prise was greater, and it made him wonder more, When I kissed and hugged the widder when she met us at the door!—
It was Mary: They's a feelin' a-hidin' down in here— Of course I can't explain it, ner ever make it clear.— It was with us in that meeting I don't want you to fergit! And it makes me kind o' nervous when I think about it yit!
I bought that farm, and deeded it, afore I left the town, With "title clear to mansions in the skies," to Mary Brown! And fu'thermore, I took her and the childern—fer you see, They'd never seed their Grandma—and I fetched 'em home with me.
So now you've got an idy why a man o' fifty-four, Who's lived a cross old bachelor fer thirty year' and more, Is a-lookin' glad and smilin'!—And I've jest come into town To git a pair o' license fer to marry Mary Brown.
DAWN, NOON AND DEWFALL.
Dawn, noon and dewfall! Bluebird and robin Up and at it airly, and the orchard-blossoms bobbin'! Peekin' from the winder, half-awake, and wishin' I could go to sleep agin as well as go a-fishin'!
On the apern o' the dam, legs a-danglin' over, Drowsy-like with sound o' worter and the smell o' clover: Fish all out a visitin'—'cept some dratted minnor! Yes, and mill shet down at last and hands is gone to dinner.
Trompin' home acrost the fields: Lightnin'-bugs a-blinkin' In the wheat like sparks o' things feller keeps a-thinkin':— Mother waitin' supper, and the childern there to cherr me! And fiddle on the kitchen-wall a-jist a-eechin' fer me!
I hail thee, Nessmuk, for the lofty tone Yet simple grace that marks thy poetry! True forester thou art, and still to be, Even in happier fields than thou hast known. Thus, in glad visions, glimpses am I shown Of groves delectable—"preserves" for thee— Ranged but by friends of thine—I name thee three:—
First, Chaucer, with his bald old pate new-grown With changeless laurel; next, in Lincoln-green, Gold-belted, bowed and bugled, Robin Hood; And next, Ike Walton, patient and serene: These three, O Nessmuk, gathered hunter-wise, Are camped on hither slopes of Paradise To hail thee first and greet thee, as they should.
AS MY UNCLE USED TO SAY.
I've thought a power on men and things, As my uncle ust to say,— And ef folks don't work as they pray, i jings! W'y, they ain't no use to pray! Ef you want somepin', and jes dead-set A-pleadin' fer it with both eyes wet, And tears won't bring it, w'y, you try sweat, As my uncle ust to say.
They's some don't know their A, B, Cs, As my uncle ust to say, And yit don't waste no candle-grease, Ner whistle their lives away! But ef they can't write no book, ner rhyme No ringin' song fer to last all time, They can blaze the way fer the march sublime, As my uncle ust to say.
Whoever's Foreman of all things here, As my uncle ust to say, He knows each job 'at we 're best fit fer, And our round-up, night and day: And a-sizin' His work, east and west, And north and south, and worst and best I ain't got nothin' to suggest, As my uncle ust to say.
While with Ambition's hectic flame He wastes the midnight oil, And dreams, high-throned on heights of fame, To rest him from his toil,—
Death's Angel, like a vast eclipse, Above him spreads her wings, And fans the embers of his lips To ashes as he sings.
A FULL HARVEST.
Seems like a feller'd ort 'o jes' to-day Git down and roll and waller, don't you know, In that-air stubble, and flop up and crow, Seein' sich craps! I'll undertake to say There're no wheat's ever turned out thataway Afore this season!—Folks is keerless tho', And too fergitful—'caze we'd ort 'o show More thankfulness!—Jes' looky hyonder, hey?— And watch that little reaper wadin' thue That last old yaller hunk o' harvest-ground— Jes' natchur'ly a-slicin' it in-two Like honey-comb, and gaumin' it around The field—like it had nothin' else to do On'y jes' waste it all on me and you!
You think it is a sorry thing That I am blind. Your pitying Is welcome to me; yet indeed, I think I have but little need Of it. Though you may marvel much That we, who see by sense of touch And taste and hearing, see things you May never look upon; and true Is it that even in the scent Of blossoms we find something meant No eyes have in their faces read, Or wept to see interpreted.
And you might think it strange if now I told you you were smiling. How Do I know that? I hold your hand— Its language I can understand— Give both to me, and I will show You many other things I know. Listen: We never met before Till now?—Well, you are something lower Than five-feet-eight in height; and you Are slender; and your eyes are blue—
Your mother's eyes—your mother's hair— Your mother's likeness everywhere Save in your walk—and that is quite Your father's; nervous.—Am I right? I thought so. And you used to sing, But have neglected everything Of vocalism—though you may Still thrum on the guitar, and play A little on the violin,— I know that by the callous in The finger-tips of your left hand— And, by-the-bye, though nature planned You as most men, you are, I see, "Left-handed," too,—the mystery Is clear, though,—your right arm has been Broken, to "break" the left one in. And so, you see, though blind of sight, I still have ways of seeing quite Too well for you to sympathize Excessively, with your good eyes.— Though once, perhaps, to be sincere, Within the whole asylum here, From cupola to basement hall, I was the blindest of them all!
Let us move further down the walk— The man here waiting hears my talk, And is disturbed; besides, he may Not be quite friendly anyway. In fact—(this will be far enough; Sit down)—the man just spoken of Was once a friend of mine. He came For treatment here from Burlingame— A rich though brilliant student there, Who read his eyes out of repair, And groped his way up here, where we Became acquainted, and where he Met one of our girl-teachers, and, If you 'll believe me, asked her hand In marriage, though the girl was blind As I am—and the girl declined. Odd, wasn't it? Look, you can see Him waiting there. Fine, isn't he? And handsome, eloquently wide And high of brow, and dignified With every outward grace, his sight Restored to him, clear and bright As day-dawn; waiting, waiting still For the blind girl that never will Be wife of his. How do I know? You will recall a while ago I told you he and I were friends. In all that friendship comprehends, I was his friend, I swear! why now, Remembering his love, and how His confidence was all my own, I hear, in fancy, the low tone Of his deep voice, so full of pride And passion, yet so pacified With his affliction, that it seems An utterance sent out of dreams Of saddest melody, withal So sorrowfully musical It was, and is, must ever be— But I'm digressing, pardon me. I knew not anything of love In those days, but of that above All worldly passion,—for my art— Music,—and that, with all my heart And soul, blent in a love too great For words of mine to estimate. And though among my pupils she Whose love my friend sought came to me I only knew her fingers' touch Because they loitered overmuch In simple scales, and needs must be Untangled almost constantly. But she was bright in other ways, And quick of thought, with ready plays Of wit, and with a voice as sweet To listen to as one might meet In any oratorio— And once I gravely told her so,— And, at my words, her limpid tone Of laughter faltered to a moan, And fell from that into a sigh That quavered all so wearily, That I, without the tear that crept Between the keys, had known she wept; And yet the hand I reached for then She caught away, and laughed again. And when that evening I strolled With my old friend, I, smiling, told Him I believed the girl and he Were matched and mated perfectly: He was so noble; she, so fair Of speech, and womanly of air; He, strong, ambitious; she, as mild And artless even as a child; And with a nature, I was sure, As worshipful as it was pure And sweet, and brimmed with tender things Beyond his rarest fancyings. He stopped me solemnly. He knew, He said, how good, and just, and true Was all I said of her; but as For his own virtues, let them pass, Since they were nothing to the one That he had set his heart upon; For but that morning she had turned Forever from him. Then I learned That for a month he had delayed His going from us, with no aid Of hope to hold him,—meeting still Her ever firm denial, till Not even in his new-found sight He found one comfort or delight. And as his voice broke there, I felt The brother-heart within me melt In warm compassion for his own That throbbed so utterly alone. And then a sudden fancy hit Along my brain; and coupling it With a belief that I, indeed, Might help my friend in his great need, I warmly said that I would go Myself, if he decided so, And see her for him—that I knew My pleadings would be listened to Most seriously, and that she Should love him, listening to me. Go; bless me! And that was the last— The last time his warm hand shut fast Within my own—so empty since, That the remembered finger-prints I 've kissed a thousand times, and wet Them with the tears of all regret!
I know not how to rightly tell How fared my quest, and what befell Me, coming in the presence of That blind girl, and her blinder love. I know but little else than that Above the chair in which she sat I leant—reached for, and found her hand, And held it for a moment, and Took up the other—held them both— As might a friend, I will take oath: Spoke leisurely, as might a man Praying for no thing other than He thinks Heaven's justice;—She was blind, I said, and yet a noble mind Most truly loved her; one whose fond Clear-sighted vision looked beyond The bounds of her infirmity, And saw the woman, perfectly Modeled, and wrought out pure and true And lovable. She quailed, and drew Her hands away, but closer still I caught them. "Rack me as you will!" She cried out sharply—"Call me 'blind'— Love ever is—I am resigned! Blind is your friend; as blind as he Am I—but blindest of the three— Yea, blind as death—you will not see My love for you is killing me!"
There is a memory that may Not ever wholly fade away From out my heart, so bright and fair The light of it still glimmers there. Why, it did seem as though my sight Flamed back upon me, dazzling white And godlike. Not one other word Of hers I listened for or heard, But I saw songs sung in her eyes Till they did swoon up drowning-wise, As my mad lips did strike her own And we flashed one and one alone! Ah! was it treachery for me To kneel there, drinking eagerly That torrent-flow of words that swept Out laughingly the tears she wept?— Sweet words! O sweeter far, maybe, Than light of day to those that see,— God knows, who did the rapture send To me, and hold it from my friend.
And we were married half a year Ago,—and he is—waiting here, Heedless of that—or anything, But just that he is lingering To say good-bye to her, and bow— As you may see him doing now,— For there's her footstep in the hall; God bless her!—help him!—save us all!
RIGHT HERE AT HOME.
Right here at home, boys, in old Hoosierdom, Where strangers allus joke us when they come, And brag o' their old States and interprize— Yit settle here; and 'fore they realize, They're "hoosier" as the rest of us, and live Right here at home, boys, with their past fergive!
Right here at home, boys, is the place, I guess, Fer me and you and plain old happiness: We hear the World's lots grander—likely so,— We'll take the World's word fer it and not go.— We know its ways aint our ways—so we'll stay Right here at home, boys, where we know the way.
Right here at home, boys, where a well-to-do Man's plenty rich enough—and knows it, too, And's got a' extry dollar, any time, To boost a feller up 'at wants to climb And 's got the git-up in him to go in And git there, like he purt'-nigh allus kin!
Right here at home, boys, is the place fer us!— Where folks' heart's bigger 'n their money-pu's'; And where a common feller's jes as good As ary other in the neighborhood: The World at large don't worry you and me Right here at home, boys, where we ort to be!
Right here at home, boys—jes right where we air!— Birds don't sing any sweeter anywhere: Grass don't grow any greener'n she grows Acrost the pastur' where the old path goes,— All things in ear-shot's purty, er in sight, Right here at home, boys, ef we size 'em right.
Right here at home, boys, where the old home-place Is sacerd to us as our mother's face, Jes as we rickollect her, last she smiled And kissed us—dyin' so and rickonciled, Seein' us all at home here—none astray— Right here at home, boys, where she sleeps to-day.
THE LITTLE FAT DOCTOR.
He seemed so strange to me, every way— In manner, and form, and size, From the boy I knew but yesterday,— I could hardly believe my eyes!
To hear his name called over there, My memory thrilled with glee And leaped to picture him young and fair In youth, as he used to be.
But looking, only as glad eyes can, For the boy I knew of yore, I smiled on a portly little man I had never seen before!—
Grave as a judge in courtliness— Professor-like and bland— A little fat doctor and nothing less, With his hat in his kimboed hand.
But how we talked old times, and "chaffed" Each other with "Minnie" and "Jim"—- And how the little fat doctor laughed, And how I laughed with him!
"And it's pleasant," I thought, "though I yearn to see The face of the youth that was, To know no boy could smile on me As the little fat doctor does!"
Thou Poet, who, like any lark, Dost whet thy beak and trill From misty morn till murky dark, Nor ever pipe thy fill: Hast thou not, in thy cheery note, One poor chirp to confer— One verseful twitter to devote Unto the Shoe-ma-ker?
At early dawn he doth peg in His noble work and brave; And eke from cark and wordly sin He seeketh soles to save; And all day long, with quip and song, Thus stitcheth he the way Our feet may know the right from wrong, Nor ever go a stray.
Soak kip in mind the Shoe-ma-ker, Nor slight his lasting fame: Alway he waxeth tenderer In warmth of our acclaim;— Aye, more than any artisan We glory in his art Who ne'er, to help the under man, Neglects the upper part.
But toe the mark for him, and heel Respond to thee in kine— Or kid—or calf, shouldst thou reveal A taste so superfine: Thus let him jest—join in his laugh— Draw on his stock, and be A shoer'd there's no rival half Sole liberal as he.
Then, Poet, hail the Shoe-ma-ker For all his goodly deeds,— Yea, bless him free for booting thee— The first of all thy needs! And when at last his eyes grow dim, And nerveless drops his clamp, In golden shoon pray think of him Upon his latest tramp.
THE OLD RETIRED SEA CAPTAIN.
The old sea captain has sailed the seas So long, that the waves at mirth, Or the waves gone wild, and the crests of these, Were as near playmates from birth: He has loved both the storm and the calm, because They seemed as his brothers twain,— The flapping sail was his soul's applause, And his rapture, the roaring main.
But now—like a battered hulk seems he, Cast high on a foreign strand, Though he feels "in port," as it need must be, And the stay of a daughter's hand— Yet ever the round of the listless hours,— His pipe, in the languid air— The grass, the trees, and the garden flowers, And the strange earth everywhere!
And so betimes he is restless here In this little inland town, With never a wing in the atmosphere But the wind-mill's, up and down; His daughter's home in this peaceful vale, And his grandchild 'twixt his knees— But never the hail of a passing sail, Nor the surge of the angry seas!
He quits his pipe, and he snaps its neck— Would speak, though he coughs instead, Then paces the porch like a quarter-deck With a reeling mast o'erhead! Ho! the old sea captain's cheeks glow warm, And his eyes gleam grim and weird, As he mutters about, like a thunder-storm, In the cloud of his beetling beard.
ROBERT BURNS WILSON.
What intuition named thee?—Through what thrill Of the awed soul came the command divine Into the mother-heart, foretelling thine Should palpitate with his whose raptures will Sing on while daisies bloom and lavrocks trill Their undulating ways up through the fine Fair mists of heavenly reaches? Thy pure line Falls as the dew of anthems, quiring still The sweeter since the Scottish singer raised His voice therein, and, quit of every stress Of earthly ache and longing and despair, Knew certainly each simple thing he praised Was no less worthy, for its lowliness, Than any joy of all the glory There.
TO THE SERENADER.
Tinkle on, O sweet guitar, Let the dancing fingers Loiter where the low notes are Blended with the singer's: Let the midnight pour the moon's Mellow wine of glory Down upon him through the tune's Old romantic story!
I am listening, my love, Through the cautious lattice, Wondering why the stars above All are blinking at us; Wondering if his eyes from there Catch the moonbeam's shimmer As it lights the robe I wear With a ghostly glimmer.
Lilt thy song, and lute away In the wildest fashion:— Pour thy rippling roundelay O'er the heights of passion!— Flash it down the fretted strings Till thy mad lips, missing All but smothered whisperings, Press this rose I'm kissing.
In youth he wrought, with eyes ablur, Lorn-faced and long of hair— In youth—in youth he painted her A sister of the air— Could clasp her not, but felt the stir Of pinions everywhere.
She lured his gaze, in braver days, And tranced him sirenwise; And he did paint her, through a haze Of sullen paradise, With scars of kisses on her face And embers in her eyes.
And now—nor dream nor wild conceit— Though faltering, as before— Through tears he paints her, as is meet, Tracing the dear face o'er With lilied patience meek and sweet As Mother Mary wore.
SISTER JONES'S CONFESSION.
I thought the deacon liked me, yit I warn't adzackly shore of it— Fer, mind ye, time and time agin, When jiners 'ud be comin' in, I'd seed him shakin' hands as free With all the sistern as with me! But jurin' last Revival, where He called on me to lead in prayer, An' kneeled there with me, side by side, A-whisper'n' "he felt sanctified Jes' tetchin of my gyarment's hem,"— That settled things as fur as them- Thare other wimmin was concerned!— And—well!—I know I must a-turned A dozen colors!—Flurried?—la!— No mortal sinner never saw A gladder widder than the one A-kneelin' there and wonderun' Who'd pray'—So glad, upon my word, I railly could n't thank the Lord!
THE CURSE OF THE WANDERING FOOT.
All hope of rest withdrawn me?— What dread command hath put This awful curse upon me— The curse of the wandering foot! Forward and backward and thither, And hither and yon again— Wandering ever! And whither? Answer them, God! Amen.
The blue skies are far o'er me—- The bleak fields near below: Where the mother that bore me?— Where her grave in the snow?— Glad in her trough of a coffin— The sad eyes frozen shut That wept so often, often, The curse of the wandering foot!
Here in your marts I care not Whatsoever ye think. Good folk many who dare not Give me to eat and drink: Give me to sup of your pity— Feast me on prayers!—O ye, Met I your Christ in the city He would fare forth with me—
Forward and onward and thither, And hither again and yon, With milk for our drink together And honey to feed upon— Nor hope of rest withdrawn us, Since the one Father put The blessed curse upon us— The curse of the wandering foot.
A MONUMENT FOR THE SOLDIERS.
A monument for the Soldiers! And what will ye build it of? Can ye build it of marble, or brass, or bronze, Outlasting the Soldiers' love? Can ye glorify it with legends As grand as their blood hath writ From the inmost shrine of this land of thine To the outermost verge of it?
And the answer came: We would build it Out of our hopes made sure, And out of our purest prayers and tears, And out of our faith secure: We would build it out of the great white truths Their death hath sanctified, And the sculptured forms of the men in arms, And their faces ere they died.
And what heroic figures Can the sculptor carve in stone? Can the marble breast be made to bleed, And the marble lips to moan? Can the marble brow be fevered? And the marble eyes be graved To look their last, as the flag floats past, On the country they have saved?
And the answer came: The figures Shall all be fair and brave, And, as befitting, as pure and white As the stars above their grave! The marble lips, and breast and brow Whereon the laurel lies, Bequeath us right to guard the flight Of the old flag in the skies!
A monument for the Soldiers! Built of a people's love, And blazoned and decked and panoplied With the hearts ye build it oft And see that ye build it stately, In pillar and niche and gate, And high in pose as the souls of those It would commemorate!
I so loved once, when Death came by I hid Away my face, And all my sweetheart's tresses she undid To make my hiding-place.
The dread shade passed me thus unheeding; and I turned me then To calm my love—kiss down her shielding hand And comfort her again.
And lo! she answered not: And she did sit All fixedly, With her fair face and the sweet smile of it, In love with Death, not me.
IRY AND BILLY AND JO.
Iry an' Billy an' Jo!— Iry an' Billy's the boys, An' Jo's their dog, you know,— Their pictures took all in a row. Bet they kin kick up a noise— Iry and Billy, the boys, And that-air little dog Jo!
Iry's the one 'at stands Up there a-lookin' so mild An' meek—with his hat in his hands, Like such a 'bediant child— (Sakes-alive!)—An' Billy he sets In the cheer an' holds onto Jo an' sweats Hisse'f, a-lookin' so good! Ho-ho! Iry an' Billy an' Jo!
Yit the way them boys, you know, Usen to jes turn in An' fight over that dog Jo Wuz a burnin'-shame-an'-a-sin !— Iry he'd argy 'at, by gee-whizz! That-air little Jo-dog wuz his!— An' Billy he'd claim it wuzn't so— 'Cause the dog wuz his'n!—An' at it they'd go, Nip-an'-tugg, tooth-an'-toenail, you know— Iry an' Billy an' Jo!
But their Pa—(He wuz the marshal then) He 'tended-like 'at he jerked 'em up; An' got a jury o' Brickyard men An' helt a trial about the pup: An' he says he jes like to a-died When the rest o' us town-boys testified— Regardin', you know, Iry an' Billy an' Jo.—
'Cause we all knowed, when the Gypsies they Camped down here by the crick last Fall, They brung Jo with 'em, an' give him away To Iry an' Billy fer nothin' at all!— So the jury fetched in the verdick so Jo he ain't neether o' theirn fer shore— He's both their dog, an' jes no more! An' so They've quit quarrelin' long ago, Iry an' Billy an' Jo.
A WRAITH OF SUMMERTIME.
In its color, shade and shine, 'T was a summer warm as wine, With an effervescent flavoring of flowered bough and vine, And a fragrance and a taste Of ripe roses gone to waste, And a dreamy sense of sun- and moon- and star-light interlaced.
'Twas a summer such as broods O'er enchanted solitudes, Where the hand of Fancy leads us through voluptuary moods, And with lavish love out-pours All the wealth of out-of-doors, And woos our feet o'er velvet paths and honeysuckle floors.
'Twas a summertime long dead,— And its roses, white and red, And its reeds and water-lilies down along the river-bed,— O they all are ghostly things— For the ripple never sings, And the rocking lily never even rustles as it rings!
HER BEAUTIFUL EYES.
O her beautiful eyes! they are as blue as the dew On the violet's bloom when the morning is new, And the light of their love is the gleam of the sun O'er the meadows of Spring where the quick shadows run: As the morn shirts the mists and the clouds from the skies— So I stand in the dawn of her beautiful eyes.
And her beautiful eyes are as midday to me, When the lily-bell bends with the weight of the bee, And the throat of the thrush is a-pulse in the heat, And the senses are drugged with the subtle and sweet And delirious breaths of the air's lullabies— So I swoon in the noon of her beautiful eyes.
O her beautiful eyes! they have smitten mine own As a glory glanced down from the glare of The Throne; And I reel, and I falter and fall, as afar Fell the shepherds that looked on the mystical Star, And yet dazed in the tidings that bade them arise— So I grope through the night of her beautiful eyes.
DOT LEEDLE BOY.
Ot's a leedle Christmas story Dot I told der leedle folks— Und I vant you stop dot laughin' Und grackin' funny jokes'— So-help me Peter-Moses! Ot's no time for monkeyshine', Ober I vas told you somedings Of dot leedle boy of mine!
Ot vas von cold Vinter vedder, Ven der snow vas all about— Dot you have to chop der hatchet Eef you got der saur kraut! Und der cheekens on der hind-leg Vas standin' in der shine Der sun shmile out dot morning On dot leedle boy of mine.
He vas yoost a leedle baby Not bigger as a doll Dot time I got acquaintet— Ach! you ought to heard 'im squall!— I grackys! dot's der moosic Ot make me feel so fine Ven first I vas been marriet— Oh, dot leedle boy of mine!
He look' yoost like his fader!— So, ven der vimmen said "Vot a purty leedle baby!" Katrina shake der head. I dink she must a-notice Dot der baby vas a-gryin', Und she cover up der blankets Of dot leedle boy of mine.
Vel, ven he vas got bigger, Dot he grawl und bump his nose, Und make der table over, Und molasses on his glothes— Dot make 'im all der sveeter,— So I say to my Katrine "Better you vas quit a-shpankin' Dot leedle boy of mine!"
I vish you could a-seen id— Ven he glimb up on der chair Und shmash der lookin' glasses Ven he try to comb his hair Mit a hammer!—Und Katrina Say "Dot's an ugly sign!" But I laugh und vink my fingers At dot leedle boy of mine.
But vonce, dot Vinter morning, He shlip out in der snow Mitout no stockin's on 'im.— He say he "vant to go Und fly some mit der birdies!" Und ve give 'im medi-cine Ven he catch der "parrygoric"— Dot leedle boy of mine!
Und so I set und nurse 'im, Vile der Christmas vas come roun', Und I told 'im 'bout "Kriss Kringle," How he come der chimbly down: Und I ask 'im eef he love 'im Eef he bring 'im someding fine? "Nicht besser as mein fader," Say dot leedle boy of mine.—
Und he put his arms aroun' me Und hug so close und tight, I hear der gclock a-tickin' All der balance of der night! . . . Someding make me feel so funny Ven I say to my Katrine "Let us go und fill der stockin's Of dot leedle boy of mine."
Veil.—Ve buyed a leedle horses Dot you pull 'im mit a shtring, Und a leedle fancy jay-bird— Eef you vant to hear 'im sing You took 'im by der top-knot Und yoost blow in behine— Und dot make much spectakel— For dot leedle boy of mine!
Und gandles, nuts and raizens— Unt I buy a leedle drum Dot I vant to hear 'im rattle Ven der Gristmas morning come! Und a leedle shmall tin rooster Dot vould crow so loud und fine Ven he sqveeze 'im in der morning, Dot leedle boy of mine!
Und—vile ve vas a-fixin'— Dot leedle boy vake out! I fought he been a-dreamin' "Kriss Kringle" vas about,— For he say—"Dot's him!—I see 'im Mit der shtars dot make der shine!" Und he yoost keep on a-gryin'— Dot leedle boy of mine,—
Und gottin' vorse und vorser— Und tumble on der bed! So—ven der doctor seen id, He kindo' shake his head, Und feel his pulse—und visper "Der boy is a-dyin'." You dink I could believe id?— Dot leedle boy of mine?
I told you, friends—dot's someding, Der last time dot he speak Und say "Goot-bye, Kriss Kringle!" —Dot make me feel so veak I yoost kneel down und drimble, Und bur-sed out a-gryin' "Mein Goit, mein Gott im Himmel!— Dot leedle boy, of mine!"
* * * * *
Der sun don't shine dot Gristmas! . . . Eef dot leedle boy vould liff'd— No deefer-en'! for Heaven vas His leedle Gristmas-gift! . . . Und der rooster, und der gandy, Und me—und my Katrine— Und der jay-bird—is a-vaiting For dot leedle boy of mine.
DONN PIATT OF MAC-O-CHEE.
Donn Piatt—of Mac-o-chee,— Not the one of History, Who, with flaming tongue and pen, Scathes the vanities of men; Not the one whose biting wit Cuts pretense and etches it On the brazen brow that dares Filch the laurel that it wears: Not the Donn Piatt whose praise Echoes in the noisy ways Of the faction, onward led By the statesman!—But, instead, Give the simple man to me,— Donn Piatt of Mac-o-chee!
Donn Piatt of Mac-o-chee! Branches of the old oak tree, Drape him royally in fine Purple shade and golden shine! Emerald plush of sloping lawn Be the throne he sits upon! And, O Summer sunset, thou Be his crown, and gild a brow Softly smoothed and soothed and calmed By the breezes, mellow-palmed As Erata's white hand agleam On the forehead of a dream.— So forever rule o'er me, Donn Piatt of Mac-o-chee!
Donn Piatt of Mac-o-chee: Through a lilied memory Plays the wayward little creek Round thy home at hide-and-seek— As I see and hear it, still Romping round the wooded hill, Till its laugh-and-babble blends With the silence while it sends Glances back to kiss the sight, In its babyish delight, Ere it strays amid the gloom Of the glens that burst in bloom Of the rarest rhyme for thee, Donn Piatt of Mac-o-chee!
Donn Piatt of Mac-o-chee! What a darling destiny Has been mine—to meet him there— Lolling in an easy chair On the terrace, while he told Reminiscences of old— Letting my cigar die out, Hearing poems talked about; And entranced to hear him say Gentle things of Thackeray, Dickens, Hawthorne, and the rest, Known to him as host and guest— Known to him as he to me— Donn Piatt of Mac-o-chee!
Take a feller 'at's sick and laid up on the shelf, All shaky, and ga'nted, and pore— Jes all so knocked out he can't handle hisself With a stiff upper-lip any more; Shet him up all alone in the gloom of a room As dark as the tomb, and as grim, And then take and send him some roses in bloom, And you can have fun out o' him!
You've ketched him 'fore now—when his liver was sound And his appetite notched like a saw— A-mockin' you, mayby, fer romancin' round With a big posy-bunch in yer paw; But you ketch him, say, when his health is away, And he's flat on his back in distress, And then you kin trot out yer little bokay And not be insulted, I guess!
You see, it's like this, what his weaknesses is,— Them flowers makes him think of the days Of his innocent youth, and that mother o' his, And the roses that she us't to raise:— So here, all alone with the roses you send— Bein' sick and all trimbly and faint,— My eyes is—my eyes is—my eyes is—old friend— Is a-leakin'—I'm blamed ef they ain't!
THE QUIET LODGER.
The man that rooms next door to me: Two weeks ago, this very night, He took possession quietly, As any other lodger might— But why the room next mine should so Attract him I was vexed to know,— Because his quietude, in fine, Was far superior to mine.
"Now, I like quiet, truth to tell, A tranquil life is sweet to me— But this," I sneered, "suits me too well.— He shuts his door so noiselessly, And glides about so very mute, In each mysterious pursuit, His silence is oppressive, and Too deep for me to understand."
Sometimes, forgetting book or pen, I've found my head in breathless poise Lifted, and dropped in shame again, Hearing some alien ghost of noise— Some smothered sound that seemed to be A trunk-lid dropped unguardedly, Or the crisp writhings of some quire Of manuscript thrust in the fire.
Then I have climbed, and closed in vain My transom, opening in the hall; Or close against the window-pane Have pressed my fevered face,—but all The day or night without held not A sight or sound or counter-thought To set my mind one instant free Of this man's silent mastery.
And often I have paced the floor With muttering anger, far at night, Hearing, and cursing, o'er and o'er, The muffled noises, and the light And tireless movements of this guest Whose silence raged above my rest Hoarser than howling storms at sea— The man that rooms next door to me.
But twice or thrice, upon the stair, I've seen his face—most strangely wan,— Each time upon me unaware He came—smooth'd past me, and was gone. So like a whisper he went by, I listened after, ear and eye, Nor could my chafing fancy tell The meaning of one syllable.
Last night I caught him, face to face,— He entering his room, and I Glaring from mine: He paused a space And met my scowl all shrinkingly, But with full gentleness: The key Turned in his door—and I could see It tremblingly withdrawn and put Inside, and then—the door was shut.
Then silence. Silence!—why, last night The silence was tumultuous, And thundered on till broad daylight;— O never has it stunned me thus!— It rolls, and moans, and mumbles yet.— Ah, God! how loud may silence get When man mocks at a brother man Who answers but as silence can!
The silence grew, and grew, and grew, Till at high noon to-day 'twas heard Throughout the house; and men flocked through The echoing halls, with faces blurred With pallor, gloom, and fear, and awe, And shuddering at what they saw— The quiet lodger, as he lay Stark of the life he cast away.