FREEMAN E. MILLER, A.M.,
PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE IN THE
AGRICULTURAL AND MECHANICAL COLLEGE OF
CHARLES WELLS MOULTON
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BY FREEMAN E. MILLER, A.M.
CHARLES WELLS MOULTON,
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JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY,
MEMORY OF OTHER DAYS.
Our dearest joys forever flow From fountains of the Long Ago, That from the heights of pleasures past Flood all the present valleys vast, And with eternal glees provide The future's endless ocean tide.
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To ope each cage where a heartless age Hath chained the birds of singing, Till Love's own glee that is fond and free Shall laugh where they are winging,— Such is my wish. 'Tis true, hold I, That songs, like birds, in bondage die.
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OKLAHOMA 9 THE RACE FOR HOMES 15 AT PERRY, SEPTEMBER 16, 1893 19 "SING ME A SONG, O WIND." 21 A CHRISTMAS CAROL 24 YEARS THAT ARE TO BE 26 IF WE DON'T OR IF WE DO 28 DEAR SONGS OF MY COUNTRY 30 JULY FOURTH 33 "O, GENTLE SHADES OF QUIET WOODS." 35 LOVE 37 WINTERS ON THE FARM 39 "O, WEAK AND WEARY WORLD." 41 EX ANIMA 43 "LO, ALL THE AGE IS RANK WITH WRONG." 45 "LOVE, THOU GAYEST FANCY-WEAVER." 47 THE FARMER 49 "NATURE HAS A THOUSAND CHOIRS." 51 THE WORKINGMAN 53 GIVING AND FORGIVING 55 "O, SACRED SOULS THAT GRANDLY SING." 57 CHRISTMAS TIME 59 TRUEST HEROES ARE UNKNOWN 61 IF WE BUT KNEW 62 HOPE 64 DESPONDENCY 66 IF LOVE WERE KING 68 "SING ME THE OLD SONGS, MOTHER." 69 TWO LIVES 71 "AWAY, AWAY, FROM THE SULTRY WAYS." 72 SPINSTERHOOD 74 "SWEET FAIRIES FROM THE ISLES OF SONG." 75 STANZAS 77 "MAKE THE MOST OF THIS LIFE." 78 "THE SONGS THAT MOTHER USED TO SING." 80 "QUAFF THE GLASS, THE WINE IS RED." 81 GOOD-NIGHT 83 LIVE LIFE WITH LOVE 84 DISCONTENT 86 STANZAS 87 THE WAY OF THE WORLD 89 MY SHADOW AND I 90 IN THE VALES 91 THE WILLOW 92 AT THE MILL 94 SHADOW AND SHINE 95 THE GROWTH OF SONG 96 SPRING AND MUSIC 97 COMPENSATION 98 MY MOLLIE, O 100 SING NOT OF BEAUTY 101 AT EVENTIDE 102 WHEN CHRISTMAS COMES 103 WHEN THOU ART NEAR 104 HE SLEEPS AT LAST 105 WHEN FORTUNES FROWN 106 WHEN WE SHALL MEET 107 SWEET EYES OF BLUE 108 HAD WE NOT MET 109 A SONNET 110 OKLAHOMA.—A SONNET 111 ESTRANGED 112 RECONCILED 113 THE DYING HERO 114 SONNET 115 GREATNESS LIVES APART 116 POEMS 117 SINGER AND SONG 118 TO ONE WHO PLEDGED HER FRIENDSHIP 119 THE BANKS O' TURKEY RUN 119
Oklahoma! Oklahoma! Land, O, land of the Fair God, Land where ancient, savage races Through barbarian ages trod! Through thy story fancy traces Facts above what fictions say, Where the world with haste advances,— Born are nations in a day! Where the wigwam stood so lonely, Lordly cities rise in might; Where spread desert wildness only, Fertile farms and homes delight. Thou hast summoned to thy bosom From the ends of all the earth, All the youngest, strongest, bravest, Full of will and wondrous worth. O'er thy valleys grow the blossoms Culled from earth's remotest sod; Oklahoma! Oklahoma! Land, O, Land of the Fair God!
Oklahoma! Oklahoma! There is music in thy name. There is gladness in thy glory, There is fondness in thy fame! In the wonders of thy story Shines the sheen of noble deed, Brighter than the glare of battle Where the warriors toil and bleed; Ruling with immortal forces, There is found the king of might, Over all thy great resources By the strength of truth and right. With thy happy sons and daughters, Live the virtues fair and pure, And the better angels guiding Keep their hearts and souls secure. There are treasures in thy valleys, There are treasures in thy hills; Oklahoma! Oklahoma! How thy name my bosom thrills!
Oklahoma! Oklahoma! Child of law and liberty, Thou art always true and tender, Thou art ever dear to me! I will always praises render To the grandeur of thy worth, For the fortunes all presided At the moment of thy birth. Pleasures in their pure completeness O'er thy pleasant prairies shine, And the raptures run with fleetness Through the happy vales of thine. Thou art empress of the angels, Thou art queen of all the gods, And the happiness of heaven O'er thy laughing valleys nods. I will always crown with praises All thy glories, O, my state; Oklahoma! Oklahoma! Thou art greatest of the great!
Oklahoma! Oklahoma! Bravest are thy noble sons, In the thunders of the battle, And the roaring of the guns! Flash of sword and musket's rattle Never fearful terror gave To the staunch and valiant bosoms Of thy happy hosts and brave. When the roars of hell grow louder, And the mountains shake in fright, In the lurid clouds of powder, They are foremost in the fight; And when bayonet and musket, Sword and saber, slaughter cease, They are tenderest and truest In the silent ways of peace. O, my state! A stream of greatness From thy mighty people runs; Oklahoma! Oklahoma! Bravest are thy noble sons!
Oklahoma! Oklahoma! Fairest are thy daughters fair, In the thousand deeds of duty Thou hast given them to bear; Peerless is their wondrous beauty, Bright with blushes as the rose, Pure as petals of the lily, White as newly-fallen snows; And their voices bright with blessing Banish misery and woe, While their fingers' soft caressing Soothes the fevers from the brow. Souls are always blessed with brightness Bosoms filled with goodly pearls, Hearts forever harvest gladness, In the glances of thy girls. They are robed in golden garments, Nature's vestments, rich and rare; Oklahoma! Oklahoma! Fairest are thy daughters fair!
Oklahoma! Oklahoma! Sweetest are thy happy homes, Smiling in the holy gladness Which above thee always roams; They are never linked with sadness, They are never bound with pains, For the sunshine of enjoyment Rules the people of thy plains. Songs are singing with thy maidens, Music echoes with thy wives, Rapture slays the grief that ladens All the gladness of their lives. Happiness is with thy husbands, And thy swains are blest with joy, While the fondest rapture rises In the hearts of girl and boy. Pleasures linger in thy woodlands, Gladness on thy prairies roams; Oklahoma! Oklahoma! Sweetest are thy happy homes!
Oklahoma! Oklahoma! Thou shall ever live in song; Freedom, near to nature, raises Temples that to thee belong; Minstrels shall in merry praises Wind their music o'er thy name Till the voices of the ages Shout for thee in wild acclaim; They shall sing with tender pleasure Beauty of thy daughters true; Sing, in high, exultant measure, Deeds thy sons in battle do. Sages shall in wisdom offer Full rewards of love to thee, And shall crown thy land and people Favorites of liberty. All thy glory shall be shining Through the cycles clear and strong; Oklahoma! Oklahoma! Though shall ever live in song!
Oklahoma! Oklahoma! Romance of the ages, thou! Now, unknown; a moment later. Kingly crowns upon thy brow! Child of all the nations, greater Shall thy splendors year by year Grow unfading, bringing bounties Full of happiness and cheer! Morning saw a desert sleeping, Worn and wasted with distress; Night beheld an empire keeping Watch above the wilderness. Progress with her wand of magic Touched the sleeping valleys bright, And they leaped with instant vigor, Shaking out their locks of might; Earth shall send her fairest blossoms As a garland for thy brow; Oklahoma! Oklahoma! Romance of the ages thou!
THE RACE FOR HOMES.
APRIL 22, 1889.
Behold! As from the shades of night, An army gathers full of might, And strong with constant courage stands 'Tween civilized and savage lands, Where, vast in power, the legion waits The turning of the desert gates, That men of might may enter in And progress all her glories win! Lo, where these thousands make assail, The barren ages all shall fail, And swift advancement far be hurled, O'er sleeping empires and the world!
The morning hours haste hurried by; Behold! The noon is drawing nigh! The anxious host with careful eyes Marks well each rapid hour that flies, While hope, exulting, wildly rolls The highest, such as filled the souls Of Jason and his comrades bold, Who sought the famous fleece of gold. Upon the trampled grasses beat Impatient steeds with restless feet; The dins of harsh, discordant cries Above the thrilling thousands rise; Shrilly the scattered children call, And soft the words of women fall, While men with voices hushed and weak Their low commands expectant speak; Till suddenly a mighty cry, A shout of warning, smites the sky:
"Attention! Ho, Attention here! Attention! Lo, The noon is near!" O'er hill and brake Resounds the warning cry; The moment great is nigh; The hosts awake; Awake, to strive with mad delight, Awake to win the friendly fight; And from the camps anear and far, Where nervous haste and hurry are, Vast legions gather on the plain, While chaos and confusion reign; The neighing steed with quickened pace Impatient seeks the vantage place; The slower ox with lightened load Stands waiting in the crowded road. And wagon, buggy, carriage, cart, Vehicles formed with rudest art, All forward, forward, forward dart, Swift-forming on the level ground Where most advantage may be found.
"Line up! Ho, there, Line up, line up!" The hurried order smites the air; Above the silent prairies fair Unseen progression holds her cup, Filled to the brim with magic seeds That harvests hold for human needs. Excitement grows on beasts and men; The saddle girths are tightened o'er, The stirrups lengthened out once more, And silence softly falls again; Each bit and buckle, strap and band, Is tested o'er with careful hand, And man and beast in chosen place Stand ready for the coming race;
The circling sun His morning race has fully run; A waving hand Signals above the brief command That sight and sense will understand,— And open swings the desert land! A shot! A hundred, thousand more The grassy meadows echo o'er; A shout! From countless throats a shout, On rolling wings leaps madly out; A yell, a raging roar, that flies On bounding winds o'er hill and glen, And 'round the land electrifies A thousand living miles of men! A mammoth stir, A sudden dash, Swift whip and spur Together clash, And wheels on wheels that totter crash! They're off! They're off! Away, away, In mad array! No stop nor stay! The hurried charge they ride to-day Would shame and scoff The Tartar, Turk and Romanoff! The race is on; The host is gone; The thronging legions madly ride O'er hill and dale, With hurried pace unsatisfied. In fierce assail Where none may fail; And only phantoms dimly blent Tell where the mounted armies went, Like shifting shadows, faint and dim, Or ghostly spectors, gaunt and grim, Beyond the far horizon's rim! Behold! Adown the valleys bright, The last, lone straggler fades from sight, And only hasty hoof-beats say What thousands rode the race to-day; What hosts, with hearts that build and bless, Found homes amid the wilderness!
AT PERRY, SEPTEMBER 16, 1893.
Crowds! Crowds! Crowds! Suddenly here as if come from the clouds That faded away as they came; Mad acres of people aflame With thirst for a morsel of land; Wild hunters of fortune, whose game Is ever escaping the hand; Vast, countless, uncountable throngs With restless, unrestable feet, That hurry the ways, full of agonized wrongs, For the conquest of happiness sweet; Wild seas of ambition whose waves of desire On their obstacles mighty continually beat, Where neither the shore nor the ocean is fixed; Like thunderous songs of a choir, Whose murmurs in music repeat; And confusion and chaos are terribly mingled and mixed.
Dust! Dust! Dust! Borne in the arms of the gathering gust, And whirled on the wings of the wind, The eyes feel the blight of the blind, And horror comes into the heart; For nature is far more unkind Than the thousands that struggle apart. Dark, wild, inescapable dust, In fiercest, untamable clouds, That men into misery helplessly thrust, And bury in agony-shrouds; A simoom of sorrow whose pestilent breath To the strong and the weak, to the young and the old, Brings despair that is reckless of possible gain, And the awfullest anguish of death; Till the soul in its rage uncontrolled, Droops low in the horrible sickness and sorrow of pain.
But out from the clouds, Out from the agonized dust that enshrouds; True kings shall arise who shall reign In homes on the populous plain! Great cities shall gather and grow In glories that never shall wane, Far over the valleys below. With merry yet measureless might They conquer the waste with the gladness that brings To the desert the newest delight. The barren shall bloom as the rose, and the land That is sleeping, a wilderness wasted and wild, And dreaming to welcome its master's command, Shall leap at the touch of his hand, His voice shall obey as a child!
"SING ME A SONG, O, WIND."
Sing me a song, O, Wind, Of musical cadence sweet, Which in the wood around Shall often and oft repeat; Soft as an angel's song That never can give annoy, Which in the balmy notes Shall tell me its tales of joy.
Sing me a song, O, Wind, Of countries beyond the sea, Which in thy wand'rings oft Thou pass with a footstep free; Lands that are ever green 'Neath blaze of the tropic spells, Bright with their blessed suns, Where summer forever dwells.
Sing me a song, O, Wind, Of groves with a verdure fair, Waving their boughs of green O'er solitudes grand and rare; Groves with a stillness sweet, With cheering and cooling shades, Where from its cares the race May rest in the leafy glades.
Sing me a song, O, Wind, Of birds with a plumage gay, That with their carols sweet Give praise to the God of day; Music of sad refrain, Though fond in its tender chime, Thou in thy travels wide Hast heard in a fairy clime.
Sing me a song, O, Wind, Of crystalline brooks at play, Which with the murmurs low Make sweetest of sounds all day; Winding through meadows wide, And blossoming fields between, Fringed with the willows tall On emerald banks of green.
Sing me a song, O, Wind, Of flowers that are fond and fair, Filling the fields of earth With beauty and fragrance rare; Wafting an incense pure On every breeze that blows, Drawn from the lily's heart And soul of the royal rose.
Sing me a song, O, Wind, Of man in his brightest homes; Tell if he there meet joy, Wherever his longing roams; Tell if there's e'er a place Where, all his ambition spent, He toils throughout all his days And knoweth no discontent.
Sing me a song, O, Wind, For I am a-weary now; Life, with its woes and cares, Hangs heavily on my brow; Sing me a song of cheer, My heart that is sad to ease; Sing in thy brightness and joy With heavenly harmonies!
A CHRISTMAS CAROL.
The brazen bells of laughing lands In swelling echoes wildly ring, And over seas and hoary strands This Christmas carol sing.
"Awaken, O, heart of the race, To bountiful riches from Eden above, Till roses of beauty and lilies of grace Shall sweeten the languishing bosom with love; Till virulent sorrow and venomous hate Their poisonous curses of misery cease, And rapturous fortune, felicitous fate, Have rule in the musical meadows of peace.
"The voices of morning to men, In passionate whispers of bounteous glee, Are pulsing the gladness of Christmas again O'er plains of the prairie and sounds of the sea; Rejoice and be happy, O, languishing soul, In limitless treasures of marvelous cheer, Till ravishing murmurs of lullabies roll Through all of the sorrows that sadden the year!
"Though summer has gone from the earth, And silken embraces of velvety snow Are folding the blossoms of beauty and worth In wretched surroundings of wearisome woe; Let innocent joys in their sweetness abound And silvery cadence in melody start, Till rapturous fortunes with pleasure surround The aims of the soul and the hopes of the heart.
"Let youth with its yearning engage All vigorous passion that lives in the breast, While tearful remembrance of tottering age Finds halcyon harbors of comforting rest; Let silver of years with the ardor of youth Be going again through the temple of joy, While palms of amusement and laurels of truth Encircle the hearts of the maiden and boy.
"Let happiness reign with the race; There's never a reason for sorrowful tears, Kriss Kringle has come with his fatherly face To comfort complaining humanity's fears; Let music go 'round and the beautiful smile Bring gladsome delight to the bosom of bliss, Till gentle enjoyments unbroken beguile The souls of the sad with their coveted kiss.
"Though crystalline frost on the trees, Though ice on the river and snow on the plain Are freezing the breath of the shivering breeze. The heart has Nepenthe for all of its pain; For Christmas is king, and his bountiful hand Is giving its treasures to mountain and lea, And gentleness rules on the billowy strand, And reigns in the far-away isles of the sea."
This is the carol that swells Over the meadows and brakes, From brazen throats of the pealing bells When Christmas morning wakes.
YEARS THAT ARE TO BE.
Wild years that are to be The sad completion of my weary life, In ghostly mantles of despairing strife Your phanton dimness darkly shadows me! Gaunt demons dancing from your horrid halls Entwine my soul in gloomy arms of woe, While mystic fancies to my madness show The monsters on your walls.
Your forms are skeletons, Whose bony hands with mortal fingers play, Where grinning skulls are heaping on the way, And airy specters meet the timid ones; Death drops his arrows from your sullen skies, Destruction dances in your noisome shades, And in the dreadful darkness of your glades The horrid shriekings rise.
There in your cycles are Dark valleys where my weary feet must go, Though devils of disaster hurl and throw Their awful sorrows from the fortunes far; No hands of pleasure can presume to part The clouded curtains of impending care, And hissing serpents of insane despair Pour poison in my heart.
O, years that are to be, Among your solitudes I, dreaming, grope; My life's the shade of unaccomplished hope, My heart's a ghoul that feeds on agony! No strains of music call my tears away, No smiling star illumes the awful night; Ambition weeps; my soul draws without light My shameless feet astray!
No soothing welcome floats Between your marble lips, nor sweetly rise The tender songs of gentle melodies From croaking caverns of your iron throats; But from your dirges of destructive pain, Wild clash of wretched sound is borne to me, Where death and failure, tears and misery, In robes or anguish reign.
But my heart hopes to find Some infant joy for woes that sorrow did, Some faded garland on some coffin lid, To cheer the wildness of my broken mind; Some angel pleasures in your realms must roll, Some laughing life, some music, in your glooms, Shall gladness give, amid your ghostly tombs, Mad Future, to my soul!
IF WE DON'T OR IF WE DO.
If we don't or if we do. What's the odds to me and you? Fame is e'er a heartless jade, And her slaves are poorly paid; Weary hearts and soul's distress Are the prices of success; All our stations sadness view,— If we don't or if we do.
If we don't or if we do, Our deservings will accrue; We must pay the fullest price, For each virtue and each vice, And each life for every thing Must an equal portion bring; Justice shall our deeds review, If we don't or if we do.
If we don't or if we do, Fortune to our worth is true; Trophies that enshroud our clay, Scarce are worth the price we pay; Shame doth small endeavors share, Fame and glory, toil and care; Earth floats but an equal crew, If we don't or if we do.
If we don't or if we do, What's the diff'rence 'tween the two, When our souls have gone to God And we sleep beneath the sod? Kindred grasses wave and creep Where the prince and pauper sleep; We shall have our six-feet-two, If we don't or if we do.
If we don't or if we do, We but dust and ashes brew; Labor, trouble, toil and strife Weave within each human life; Sorrows cloud the younger years; Age is bowed with cares and tears; Accidents in fame are few,— If we don't or if we do.
If we don't or if we do. Fate to our deserts is true; If we fail, or falter not, Every life deserves his lot; Every human, small or great, Buys with current coin his fate; What's the odds to me and you, If we don't or if we do?
DEAR SONGS OF MY COUNTRY!
Dear songs of my country! How sweetly thy measures Come stealthily stealing o'er mountain and wave, To sweeten the riches of liberty's treasures And thrill with their numbers the hearts of the brave! To move in wild glory the souls of a nation, Till men are together so happily hurled, That millions are bound in fraternal relation And brotherhoods rule in the ranks of the world.
Such praises ye offer our heroes and sages, So grand is the greatness that lives in thy strains, That small is the fame of the far away ages, So sunken in tyranny, fettered in chains. For freedom ye strive and ye struggle for glory, And Liberty—Liberty still is your theme— And glad are your lips with the national story, Which warriors have written on forest and stream.
Dear songs of my country! The soul patriotic Ye fill with the wishes of mighty emprise, Till conquers he tyranny harsh and despotic, Or first in the front of the battle he dies. Ye offer him laurels, ye crown him with praises, Who falls in the fight with his face to the foe, And gratitude over his sepulcher raises The marbles eternal of national woe.
Your strains are as high as the cloud-covered mountains, As deep as the ocean, as wide as the land, As pure as the murmurs of silvery fountains, But loud as the roar on the billowy strand. Our deep-furrowed prairies, our ship-laden rivers, Our ax-ringing forests, our steam-shrieking bays, Swell high in your music, for all are free givers To freedom's true grandeur and liberty's praise.
How fondly, dear songs of my country, ye cherish The struggle heroic, the God-shapen deed, That nothing of worthiness ever may perish But live to the time of humanity's need! Afar from the realms of the centuries olden, Ye summon with gladness the glories of years, To greet every hero with cadences golden, And sing every sage that in greatness appears.
The ages may falter thee, Land of my Birth, The years may thy grandeur and glory betray; But long as thy songs murmur over the earth, No forces can carry thy splendors away! Then live, ye dear songs of my country, forever, With voices eternal to utter her name, That cycles may never her liberty sever, Nor trample her greatness nor crumble her fame!
Hail, glorious morning of Columbia's birth, Celestial dawn of freedom! There shall be In recognition of thy wondrous worth By mighty millions this side of the sea, Triumphant crowns of laurel wreathed for thee! Welcome thy mammoth pageants, welcome all The choral songs and melodies of glee, The swelling shouts of praise that gladly fall From mighty multitudes in anthems national!
High hangs the sacred banner, and the stars Dance in the sunshine, while the breezes play Around the glory of the hallowed bars Gleaming in white and crimson; music gay Floats from the patriot host and cheers array Great shouts around its foldings. Long in state, Flag of the brave and free, wave o'er this day To bring the world rejoicings which await The natal hours of might, the day we celebrate!
How fears the tyrant in his capital, As myriad wires throb with the nation's tale! How despot trembles in his castled hall, When liberty's wild shouts of power prevail, And give their gladness unto every gale! Fetters and chains dissolve in holy trust, Scepters and swords in puny weakness fail, While crowns and thrones make monumental dust, And kingly Might is dead, Oppression downward thrust.
Wide float thy wondrous paeans; loudly range Thy songs of holy rapture; and the roars Of deep-mouthed cannons echo wild and strange Through shouting cities; Patriotism pours Her full libations on the trembling shores, Till earth reels with her triumph; and the voice Of millions mad with merriment far soars From sea to ocean with entrancing noise, Till nations hear the cry and continents rejoice.
Wave on, thou flag of freedom, and this day Still live in hearts of nations! O, thou Land, Where Man was first the monarch, where the sway Of birth exalted first was broken, stand To guard the helpless with a mighty hand, And give the weak protection; scout the ban Which tyrants utter, and with growing band Of noble freemen serve thy primal plan, And bind all nations in the Brotherhood of Man!
"O, GENTLE SHADE OF QUIET WOODS."
O, gentle shade of quiet woods, Where nature dwells in leafy halls, I love the sacred voice that falls In music o'er thy solitudes! Within thine arms the weary heart Is hidden from the toils of men, And pleasure makes ambition start Into a nobler life again.
Among the fragrant shadows throng With all the riches of their truth, Glad echoes from the days of youth And mingle into laughing song; While angel fingers touch the keys That slumber in the silent breast, Till mem'ry wakes her lullabies And childhood fancies rock to rest.
Again the hours of early joy Upon the aged years intrude, And dance amid the summer wood The golden dreamings of the boy; Again the songs of wonder thrill The days of life with gladness wild, And lofty visions fondly fill The longing fancies of the child.
Enchanted choirs of baby years, Sweet dirges from the cradle's keys, The glories of your harmonies Impel my secret soul to tears! The roses of my fancies fade Into the dust of wicked strife, And all the promise boyhood made Has proved the desert of my life.
O, fragrant woods of happy times, Fair children of the glowing days, How sweet the music of your lays Is mingled into fairy chimes! Ye lisp again the songs of yore, The stories of my infant years, And throw a sweeter cadence o'er My hoary sorrows and my tears!
Angelic theme of ancient lays! By Doric hills, Athenian vales, The nations bound thy brows with bays And fanned thy cheeks with scented gales; While golden lamps illumed thy shrines Beside the Tiber and the Po, Till anthems thine were taught to flow Along the Alps and Appenines.
The souls of sages and of slaves Were faithful servants unto thee, Whose rapture soothed the Grecian waves, And kissed the islands of the sea; And bounding on from strand to strand It crossed the coasts and climbed the slopes, To place a crown of tender hopes Upon the vine-clad Roman land.
Great empress of that early time, Glad ruler of the gentle souls, Each year is changed to raptured rhyme That o'er thy laughing bosom rolls; For cycles as they sink to rest So closely guard thy joy and truth, That fondness and immortal youth Give sweet embraces to thy breast.
Thou goddess of the Paphian shrine, Cytheran queen of Ion's isle, Fair Venus from the land of wine, The races love thy dewy smile; While silent hills and dewy glades Bear praises on each breeze that blows, Sweet as the breath of morning rose That blossoms in the woodland shades!
Then crown, O, Love, these later days With mystic charms of wondrous bliss, That lived when thou wert wreathed with bays, And nations hungered for thy kiss! No more thy temples tower above, But lives and bosoms hold thee dear; Then come with all thy worth of cheer And gentleness, O, mighty Love!
WINTERS ON THE FARM.
Glad winters on the olden farm! How raptures from those early times Commingle into fairy chimes Which gently banish cries of harm! My fainting soul finds rest the whiles Within the arms of memory, And tender scenes of boyish glee Transform my sorrows into smiles.
How brightly beamed the pleasures then, When frigid fingers came to throw A wintry winding sheet of snow Around the silent homes of men! But happiness found no alarm, For safe with cheer, secure with love, She gladly grew and sweetly throve Through winters on the olden farm.
With merry bells and busy sleighs, That sung and flew o'er icy vales And climbed the hills as fleet as gales, Like singing phantoms died the days; Or then with coat and muffler warm Sweet children glided on the lake, Or chased the rabbit through the brake, In winters on the olden farm.
How glad the joys at eventide When 'round the hearth-stone's pleasant heat The simple song in music sweet From loving voices floated wide! The mellowed apples gave a charm, While pop-corn white and cider bright With worlds of laughter lent delight To winters on the olden farm.
Thrice happy nights and happy days, Sweet isles of pleasure in the past, May long your hallowed moments cast A sacred sunshine o'er my ways! And where life leads me, gladly arm My soul with angel songs of bliss, With true embrace and holy kiss, O, winters on the olden farm!
"O, WEAK AND WEARY WORLD!"
O weak and weary world Forever struggling on, When will thy toils in comfort be impearled, When will thy sorrows and thy cares be gone? When shall the races, all ambition dead, Forsake the stony slope and rocky steep, And in contentment sweetly wed The joys that never sleep?
O, weak and weary world, Long hast thou toiled in vain; The smoky fumes of woe are darkly curled With endless troubles and enduring pain; When will thy bosom, faint and helpless grown, Rest sweetly in the balmy bowers of ease? Avoid the woes that constant groan And follow shapes that please?
O, weak and weary world, Why search the hills and seas? All Nature is in secrecy enfurled And thou canst never solve her mysteries; Thou canst not understand nor comprehend Her varied movements nor the intricate, The systems that so far extend, Creation wide and great.
O, weak and weary world, Why more attempt advance? Long have thy forces in confusion whirled In circles through the misty maze of chance; The nations rise and sink in sepulchres, Thy peoples perish in a common grave; Progression dies, perfection errs, Wrong rules the wood and wave.
O, weak and weary world, Let thy ambition rest! Long have defeat and gloomy ruin twirled In dark embrace the purest and the best; Destruction is thy portion, death thy part, Ashes thy glory, and thy splendor dust; Then ease the longings of thy breast; Serve pleasures well; and trust!
The gloomy hours of silence wake Remembrance and her train, And phantoms through the fancies chase The mem'ries that remain; And hidden in the dark embrace Of days that now are gone, I see a form, a fairy form, And fancy hurries on!
I see the old familiar smile, I hear the tender tone, I greet the softness of the glance That cheered me when alone; The ruby chains of rich romance That bound our bosoms o'er, I still can know, I still can feel, As they were felt before.
I name the vows, the fresh young vows, That we together said; What matters it? She can not know; She slumbers with the dead! Again the fields of fate I sow, As she and I have sown; I dream again the same old dreams, But I am left alone!
The twining grasses verdant wreathe Above her silent grave; The rose and violet over all Their purest blossoms wave; Unbidden from their fountains fall The tender tides of tears; A sorrow winds among the days, And chains the passing years.
My life commingles shine with shade, The lily with the rose, And in my heart a loathsome weed Beside each lily grows; Through every thought, through every deed, The somber shadows play; And I am sad, alone and sad, And life is never gay.
"LO, ALL THE AGE IS RANK WITH WRONG."
Lo, all the age is rank with wrong! The nations kneel to monstrous might, And horrid cries that haunt the night, Have hushed the notes of happy song; Mankind the deepest truth has missed, The best emotions have grown dim; We praise the God that dwelt in Christ, But crucify the man in him.
Laws, noble, good, and great at first, With plan perverted, bind again The regal rights of mind and men And prove of tyrants far the worst; With blinded eyes is Nature made, And knows her constant purpose crossed, While crafty Jacob plies his trade And Esau finds his blessing lost.
Earth yields her fruits in ample store; Her children all are heirs that trace Their lineage through the royal race, And all her wealth is theirs—and more; But one with cunning hand controls The portions that his brothers fed, While thousands—just and worthy souls— In aimless anguish cry for bread!
No royal blood by caste or creed, No pride of place, no gild of gold Can warm the weak, accursed with cold, Or light the awful nights of need; Labor alone can blessings bring To crown the brows of freedom's brave; The toiler is the truest king, The idler is the only slave!
But laugh, O, Labor, dry thy tears! A better day is drawing nigh; Hope brightens all the somber sky; The golden age of Love is near! Behold! But yonder stands a Star! The ancient lies are downward hurled; A man—a child—is greater far Than all the wealth of all the world!
"LOVE, THOU GAYEST FANCY-WEAVER."
Love, thou gayest fancy-weaver, Heart-betrayer, soul-deceiver, Come with all thy clinging kisses; Bringing all thy beaming blisses; It may serve the cynic's parts, If he curse and if he scout thee, But, O, where were gentle hearts, If they had to live without thee!
Weave the spells of thy beguiling 'Round and 'round me with thy smiling, Till the ashen cheek is beaming, And the faded eye is gleaming; Millions may endure the fight In the battle vain to end thee, But when taste they thy delight They will serve thee and defend thee.
Bring thy little winsome graces And the sweets of glad embraces, Till the pleasures all are dancing Into mazy whirls entrancing; It may please the icy breast To despise thee and distress thee, But the burning hearts find rest When they bless thee and caress thee.
Send thy gladness, laughing rover, All my sorrows o'er and over, Till the strains of happy pleasure Mingle in melodious measure; It may give a transient glee To condemn thy ways and sever, But the sweets of melody Thou wilt murmur on forever.
Bind my heart in silken chaining, Till from thee is none remaining; Clothe my soul in glad completeness Of thy happiness and sweetness; When the times are true, the soul May not hunger for thy gladness, But when surging sorrows roll Thou alone shall banish sadness.
Let nations encircle the brows of the brave With glory the greatest that glitters below, Who make in the blood of the battle a grave For all that are found in the ranks of the foe; But I from the greatness, the grandeur, and gleam, Would turn to the light of clear-glowing hearth, And choose from his joy for the soul of my theme The farmer, the lord and the king of the earth.
Let millions give worship to riches and wealth, That gay in their brilliancy sparkle and gleam, And serve with the hands of their happiest health The haughty who idle and revel and dream; In hall or in hamlet, in cottage or cave, Or sickened with sorrow or maddened with mirth, There's none I shall serve with the will of a slave But the farmer, the lord and the king of the earth.
Let poets in praises heart-swelling and sweet With rapture that rises in beautiful song, Make sages immortal and ages replete With hundreds of heroes who wrestled the wrong; All honest men well from the Muses may claim The numbers that murmur to merit and worth, And so I would fold in the mantles of fame The farmer, the lord and the king of the earth.
Let orators over the deeds of the great Re-echo the tributes of tenderest praise, And over the ashes that slumber in state Let peoples their marbles and monuments raise; But I, from the frenzied applauses uncouth, To those who are chained in the bondage of birth, Would flee to surround with the lilies of truth The farmer, the lord and the king of the earth.
Let hearts that are grateful in gratitude crown The friend of the many and foe of the few; Let souls in their secret admiring enthrone Whatever a martyr or minion may do; But down in my bosom while reasonings reign, Of friendship and love there is never a dearth For him who is toiling in pleasure or pain, The farmer, the lord and the king of the earth.
"NATURE HAS A THOUSAND CHOIRS."
Nature has a thousand choirs Singing in the sylvan shadows, And the music of her lyres Echoes in the merry meadows; Always glad with golden glee Sounds her happy melody, Swelling wild in fairy measure With the songs of purest pleasure.
Where the dancing fountains play Winding warbles shake and shiver, And soft carols rise alway From the ripples of the river; Sweetest voices fondly call From the fleecy waterfall, And the joyful chimes are creeping Where the lovely lake is sleeping.
Raptures echo in the wood, Where the pimpernel reposes; Gladness fills the solitude Where the blushes kiss the roses; Sunny beam and somber gloom Utter hymns from bowers of bloom, Where the vernal winds are crying And the vocal birds are flying.
O'er the smiling scenes of earth Nature throws no sullen weather; All her soul is full of mirth, Song and springtime walk together; For the harps of happy days Wake the woodlands with their lays, And where lilies white are springing Gentle melodies are ringing.
O, wild Nature, from thy soul Fill the human hearts with gladness, Till their lives shall gladly troll Songs that banish all their sadness! Bathe their breasts with songs of love From the Edens found above, Till their lips shall sing the story Of their happiness and glory!
God bless the brawny arms of toil, The noble hearts and royal hands, That plow the plain and seed the soil, And grow the grains of laughing lands! King in the blessed vales of life Where perfect pleasures first began, May blessings come with raptures rife To crown the humble workingman!
His kingdoms wave with bannered corn And meadows bright with fairy bloom, While duties of his heart are born Where sylvan shadows hide the gloom; Sweet Nature fills his heart with health, While rustic warbles lead his soul Where rill and fountain sing by stealth And breezes soft with music roll.
He lives where simple wishes throng, And give contentment to his breast, While tender lullabies of song Bring angel gladness to his rest; No praises linger o'er his name Where he in silence works apart, And honor never links with fame The modest glories of his heart.
He needs no kiss of royal crown To wield the axe or guide the plow, Or woo the smiles of heaven down To cling in clusters on his brow; But in the sacred shine of love, With humble deeds he lives his days, And, drinking from the founts above, He scatters gladness o'er his ways.
Proud monarch of the tattered vest, Thy toil is fraught with greater gains Than his that bleeds where warrior crest Slays thousands on the battled plains! Thy duty prompts to build, to grow, The forest fell, the city plan And scatter seeds of love below, Where'er thou art, O, workingman!
GIVING AND FORGIVING.
'Tis not by selfish miser's greed The great rewards of love are given; 'Tis not the cynic's haughty creed Which gladly makes this world a heaven; But tender word and loving deed Increase the angel joys of living, And mortals gain life's grandest meed By acts of giving and forgiving.
Let warriors bold with armies fight Their awful battles brave and gory, To reap the harvest of their might And fill a gaping world with glory! The humble heroes, out of sight, Where hidden tears and woes are striving, Win victories for truth and right By deeds of giving and forgiving.
Let mighty kings of loyal lands Despise the faithful sons of duty, And with the swords of vandal hands Destroy the homes of joy and beauty; The honest lords of low commands Will find a nobler way of thriving, In lonely vales where sorrow stands, By sweets of giving and forgiving.
Let rich men with their heaps of gold Be servants of the shining splendor, And crush the bosom, poor and old, That lives by mercies pure and tender; But still the soul with saints enrolled Will keep its charity surviving, And have its humble glory told In tales of giving and forgiving.
O, helping hands and Christian hearts, Twin parents of the race's gladness, God speed the time when your sweet arts Shall banish every sign of sadness! When mournful cries, when pain's wild darts, Shall cease to curse the days of living, And Heaven's love to man imparts The joys of giving and forgiving.
"O, SACRED SOULS THAT GRANDLY SING."
O sacred souls that grandly sing The secret songs of human hearts, Where your wild music madly starts, The sorrows into raptures spring! Within the warbles of your chimes Man reads the longings of his days, And finds, amid your lofty lays, Glad music for his gloomy times.
How sweet the mute, melodious cries Which only lives like yours may hear, Where pleasures thrill the singer's ear With laughing strains of lullabies! You know soft voices, rich with love, That mingle in the fields and woods, To bless the silent solitudes With carols coming from above.
Your golden harps resound alway, Where valley bound with blossom lies, And rugged mountains highest rise, And silver fountains softly play; While in the gladness of your songs The fainting bosoms hope again, And toil among their fellow men, Forgetful of their ancient wrongs.
You sport with singing meadows bright, With fragrant winds and scented gales, Where shine and shadow kiss the vales In fairy fondness of delight; For where the meads and forests blend, The sweetest songs of life are found, And where the lonely hills abound The soul of music meets a friend.
Glad hearts that warble songs divine, Sweet singers of a mourning race, The ages long your brows shall grace With crowns where bays and laurels twine! For man the grandest garland brings, To bless the tender lives that tell, And with their mystic music swell, The lays that Nature fondly sings!
How sweet the brazen belfries chime Across the hills and through the dales, And o'er the breasts of meadowed vales, Beneath the smiles of Christmas time! Rough sorrow's thorny fingers grow As soft and waxen as a child's, And balmy pleasures o'er the wilds Chant music to the drifting snow.
Ah, scattered locks that fringe my face, With wintry wisps of white and gray! Ah, sad, dimmed eyes that look away To artless childhood's tender grace! To-night those years with joys sublime Steal over me and fill my soul With lullabies of bliss that roll The golden glees of Christmas time.
Again I live in wondrous days, When baby hands with chubby glee Plucked gladness from the loaded tree Where loving burdens bent the sprays; The sunny songs of that sweet clime Sing softly in my soul again, Till I forget the ways of men And laugh and shout at Christmas time.
Angelic joys that died in pain, Sweet raptures from the days of bliss, Your loving lips with clinging kiss Thrill all my heart and soul and brain; And turning from my weary rhyme To count my sorrows o'er and o'er, I'd give my life to know once more Those wondrous days of Christmas time.
Ring, laughing bells, ring out to-night! From happy years that now are fled, You bring the faces of the dead, And bless me with a deep delight! Away, away, these thoughts of men, These toils of mine, that sadness give; My heart grows young and I would live My Christmas pleasures o'er again!
TRUEST HEROES ARE UNKNOWN.
All worthies are not sung in song. That live their lives and do their deeds Where wounded nature writhes and bleeds Beneath the savage blows of wrong; From humble duties tender grown, The truest heroes are unknown.
The heart that toils where none may know And uncomplaining conquers care, To save his loved ones or to spare His fellows from the pangs of woe, Is more the hero than who shields His country on the bleeding fields.
He claims no praises for his love, He seeks no tribute for his worth, But sows the desert hearts of earth With blossoms from the vales above; And in their sunshine warm and bright He holds these duties as his right.
Where lives are dark with dismal groans Great men are often chained by fate, And oft are slaves more truly great Than princes on their purple thrones; But servant brows are bound with shame, While monarchs flutter into fame.
Deeds pure and noble, gladly done, Unselfish work for sickly souls When sorrow in black surges rolls And gloomy darkness hides the sun,— These in their truth make more the man Than royal aim or princely plan.
But sometime man shall rule by thought, And worth shall gain her just return, Till all shall every singer spurn Who in the ancient cycles taught That heroes rest in royal graves, But never in the tombs of slaves.
IF WE BUT KNEW.
If we but knew the weary way, The poisoned paths of hostile hate, The roughened roads of fiercest fate, Through which our brother's journey lay, Would we condemn, as now we do, His faults and failures,—if we knew?
Would we forget the shadows grim, The lonely hours of grief and pain, The follies dead, the pleasures slain, The tears and toils that hindered him, And only prize the deeds that grew To mighty conquest, if we knew?
Would careless hand sow tares of strife, Amid the blooms of happy care, And plant, in spite of sigh and prayer, Wild thorns amid the blameless life, Till sorrows rule the nations through, With scarce a rival, if we knew?
Would we be quicker with our praise, And gladly give the greatest meeds As recompense for noble deeds, And heroes crown with brightest bays, And slay all foes that hearts imbue With doubt and weakness, if we knew?
From lofty kings would constant worth On peasant brows their crowns bestow, And rising from her overthrow Eternal justice rule the earth, While right would strip the favored few To bless the many, if we knew?
If we but knew! Ah, well-a-day! From lives that murmur, full of ills, Behind the shadows of the hills, God hides our brother's heart away; And we shall know in vales of rest That His eternal ways are best!
When man from pure perfection fell, And bathed his life in grief and woe, His angel heart had overthrow From all the joys he loved so well, And only Hope of all the host Remained to comfort him when lost.
And when the other passions throw Their phantoms in the arms of death, And pour their last remaining breath Within the dismal haunts of woe, Then Hope alone of all remains To soothe our sorrows and our pains.
Hope makes the fearful millions brave, The helpless and the weary strong, Gives courage to the fainting throng And whispers freedom to the slave, And unto each, where'er he lives, Unceasing cause to struggle gives.
In heavy hours of ghostly gloom When raging billows dash and beat Around the weak and weary feet Which tremble on the yawning tomb, The harp of Hope divinely sings Exalted songs of better things.
It lifts the gaze of mortal eyes Above the desert and the dearth, Above the barren fields of earth, Unto the promise of the skies, And to the last expiring breath Gives comfort in the hour of death.
O, sacred light of human life, Eternal star of Heaven's love, Thy brightness ever shines above The darkest hours of woe and strife, To raise our souls above the sod Into the holy home of God!
O, gloomy world that rolls in weary space, And moans wild music to the broken spheres, Whose rivers wander into seas of tears, Despair has bound thee in a close embrace; A birth, a life, a death; man is no more!
Death grows beside existence, and with time Is comrade of its changes; cycles roll Their heavy circles through the human soul, And pour their dirges into mournful rhyme; A birth, a life, a death; man is no more!
He gropes in shadows for a happy beam That shall delight his bosom; into mist Dissolves the substance that ambition kissed, While greatness grows the garland of a dream; A birth, a life, a death; man is no more!
Endeavor struggles to an open grave; The past is lost in monumental dust, Where age on age in angry ire has thrust The wise, the strong, the mighty, and the brave; A birth, a life, a death; man is no more!
The years are shades that totter from their tombs, The ages, ghosts that live in catacombs And lure the Present to their awful homes, Where ancient races wander in the glooms; A birth, a life, a death; man is no more!
Oblivion welcomes men with gentle arms, And presses them like infants to her breast, Repeats to them her lullabies of rest, And guards them from all sorrows and alarms; A birth, a life, a death; man is no more!
Then hasten, world, and let my battle cease; I care not where I stay nor when I go; For action gives unhappiness and woe, But Lethe brings forgetfulness and peace; A birth, a life, a death; man is no more!
IF LOVE WERE KING.
If Love were king, That sacred Love which knows not selfish pleasure, But for its children spends its fondest treasure, Sad hearts would sing, And all the hosts of misery and wrong Forget their anguish in the happy song That joy would bring.
If Love were king, Gaunt wickedness would hide his loathsome features, And virtue would to all the world's sad creatures Her treasures fling; Till drooping souls would rise above their fate, And find sweet flowers for all the desolate And sorrowing.
If Love were king, Before the scepter of his might should vanish Toil's curse and care, and happiness should banish Want's awful sting; While laughing plenty from sweet hands would throw Delightful raptures over all below, And gladness bring.
If Love were king, The nations would eternal sunshine borrow, And conquer all the heavy clouds of sorrow And every thing That binds the race in groans and agony; Life's changing seasons would forever be Unvaried spring.
If Love were king! O, broken feet that wander worn and weary Beneath the crags and awful mountains dreary, With rapture cling Your anguished arms about him; drink delight Upon his perfect bosom soft and white And comforting!
"SING ME THE OLD SONGS, MOTHER."
Our souls are the deserts of sorrow, Our hearts are the ashes of hope, And madly from gladness we borrow The brightness where sadness may grope; My raptures in wretchedness vanish, My bosom is weeping with wrongs; Then sing me the old songs, mother, Then sing me the dear old songs.
My joys are in memory lying, Still ardently happy with youth, When smiles in ambition were dying, And life was the vision of youth; My brow for your gentle caresses And kisses of tenderness longs; Then sing me the old songs, mother, Then sing me the dear old songs.
Sweet murmurs in mystical measures Come soothingly over my soul, Where voices of babyish pleasures And echoes of lullabies roll; The struggles of all my endeavor Are bound in the darkest of thongs; Then sing me the old songs, mother, Then sing me the dear old songs.
I fain would return in my dreaming To years that proclaimed me a boy, When gladness was happily beaming And life was a musical toy; My sorrow has never Nepenthe, My woe in its bitterness throngs; Then sing me the old songs, mother, Then sing me the dear old songs.
Two infants in their cradles lie, Where lullabies of peace In gentle strains of tender music die. And carols never cease.
Two urchins o'er the meadow lands Are bounding in their plays, Where sweet enjoyment with angelic hands Winds gladness o'er the days.
Two boys, where golden fancies bless, Repose in sunny beams, And muse away the hours of happiness On couches made of dreams.
Two men upon a summer sea Are toiling, brave and strong, Where pleasures roll their elfin harmony And labor ends in song.
Two gray-haired sages, silvered o'er, In life meet once again, To name the wondrous happiness they bore Among their fellow-men.
Two graves forever hide the twain Who found, in all their years, No secret shadows, where unbroken pain Held fountains full of tears.
Two lives have passed from human reach, And few have heard of them, But joy had not been better served if each Had worn a diadem.
Ah, bosoms here are strangely blest With perfect bliss that glows, And he above all others lives the best, Who has the fewest woes!
"AWAY, AWAY, FROM THE SULTRY WAYS."
Away, away, from the sultry ways Where the pleasures fall and fade, To the bannered corn and the meadowed bloom And the forest's cooling shade!
Afar, afar, from the rooms of care With the toils of life distressed, To the grassy hills and the fragrant slopes And the quiet vales of rest!
Away from the weary, dusty town, Where the sorrows dim the days, To the sleeping lake and the silent stream And the wildwood's tangled ways!
To margins wide of the woodland pools, Where the wild birds troll their songs, Where the lilies laugh and the willows wave, And the pleasures dance in throngs!
The dark-eyed nymphs and the fairy elves In their robes of laughing smiles, In the forests romp 'neath the leafy trees, Through the narrow long-drawn aisles.
The bannered corn and the golden wheat In the ties of bliss are bound; The sweetest joys and highest hopes On the shady farms are found.
The raptures reign in the holy scenes, And the old grow young once more, To roam the meadows and live again In the happy years of yore.
Then haste, O, haste, to the country downs, Where the valleys are sweet with joys, And the soul grows young, and the heart is light, And the bosom is like a boy's!
Alone, alone, in the twilight gray, In the shadows so dark and dim, I watch through all of the weary hours, And I wait with my heart for him; For him who'll come, when he comes at all, As my king and warrior bold; Whose form so tall is my fortress wall And whose heart is a chunk of gold.
Again, again, do I dream the dreams, All the dreams that my young heart knew, And through my soul do the yearnings thrill As of old they were wont to do; I know in truth when his face I see, I shall fall at his shining feet, Where'er it be and whoever is he, In the light of his glances sweet.
I wait in vain for the sounds that rise From the tread of his horse's hoof, And still the mists hide his form away And forever he stays aloof; His shining face and his eyes so bright In the shades of the distance hide, And out of the night with the stars bedight He hath never approached my side!
O, years, O, wonderful tide of years, From the shadows of time set free My king, my lover, my life, and bring To my heart what is most of me! Somewhere in pain do his yearnings grope For the joys that my love would bring; O, up the slope of his life-long hope, Guide the feet of my royal king!
"SWEET FAIRIES FROM THE ISLES OF SONG."
Sweet fairies from the isles of song, Bewitching choirs from music land, The pleasures of your wondrous band Once wooed me from the ways of wrong; Once won my heart with fond caress To sacred vales of summer glees, Till carols fraught with lullabies Filled all my soul with blessedness!
My yearnings miss those gentle sprites, Whose laughing lips and angel eyes And voices ever winsome-wise, Bedewed my dreams with new delights; For in the sad hours of my pain I hold them as I hold the dead, And trust that in the vales they tread, My hands shall clasp their hands again.
From those glad meadows where they play 'Neath lovely sun and gentle star, My longing soul has wandered far On rocky path and thorny way; I croon again the notes of song In strains they taught me years ago, And weep because my sorrows know They have been absent for so long.
Return, O, laughing sprites of rest, From gentle isles and peaceful seas, And pour the balsamed wine of ease Upon the anguish of my breast! Till gladness in her raptures roll Sweet strains of music, and I gain Eternal joy for all the pain That darkens o'er my weary soul!
God bless the man who gave us rest And him who taught us play, For kindness reigned within his breast To all our sorrow slay; The weary heart, the fainting limb, The soul that droops in woe, Should most unceasing praise on him In gratitude bestow.
He is the hero of the race, The toiling nation's friend, For pity smiles upon his face With joys that never end; He tears away the iron gyves That chain our best repose, And makes the deserts of our lives To blossom as the rose.
He pours his balms into the wound Of bosom weak and sad, Till holy pleasures flit around And all the heart is glad; Till all is sweet that here before Was wrapped in bitter woe, And only gladness hurries o'er The millions here below.
Great man he is, and him I give That gratitude of mine, Which must in brilliance while I live With brightest glory shine, To wreathe a radiance always gay Around the worthy breast Of him who first discovered play And gave the nations rest.
MAKE THE MOST OF THIS LIFE.
Make the most of this life; where the shadow reposes The beams of the summer shall gather in glee, And the snow on the graves of the lilies and roses But cradles the blooms that shall whiten the lea; Though the hopes of the heart be encircled with sorrow And billows of wretchedness mutter and roll, There shall come with the morn of the bountiful morrow The pleasures that gladden the desolate soul.
Make the most of this life; where the carols are sleeping That rose in their rapture from lips of the spring, That awakened the world from its winter of weeping, Sweet songs shall be sung by the birds on the wing. Though the bosom be dark with the dirges of sadness And solitudes gather so heavy and lone, There shall float from the musical meadows of gladness The ravishing measures that banish each groan.
Make the most of this life; 'tis a garden of beauty, Where, blushing, the blossoms grow tenderly-sweet, While they brighten the years of man's labor and duty And scatter the kisses of love at his feet; 'Tis a world that is wild with the laughter of living When hands do the brotherly kindness they can, And its hearts are the treasures of tenderness giving To soften and sweeten the nature of man.
Make the most of this life; there is happiness in it, When souls find a theme for their jubilant song; There is music, when angels are taught to begin it, Which never was marred with a murmur of wrong; There are voices that sing in their sweetness forever, And mutter no strains of contention or strife, Neither burden the hours with the pangs of endeavor, When we, with our deeds, make the most of this life.
"THE SONGS THAT MOTHER USED TO SING."
The songs that mother used to sing! How tenderly those ditties roll, And to the dirges in my soul The happy notes of gladness bring! Where'er my vagrant feet may roam From pleasures of my childhood's home, This life of mine with rapture throngs, When thinking of my mother's songs.
They were not made of magic lays; No perfect melodies were found, That with the strains of fairy sound Would charm the stranger's ear to praise; But I can never hope to meet Another music half so sweet, And all my longing love will cling To songs that mother used to sing.
With gentleness of crooning cries, She freed the aching limbs from pain, And lulled the eyes to sleep again With sweetness of her lullabies. Love mingled with her tender voice In tones that made the heart rejoice, And Heaven's music seemed to ring In songs that mother used to sing.
Though years have passed, they still impart Glad warbles to the hours of woe, And their mute carols fondly throw The sacred raptures o'er my heart; Until my locks are thin and gray Deep in my soul will sound alway, And full of joy will ever spring The songs that mother used to sing.
"QUAFF THE GLASS, THE WINE IS RED."
Quaff the glass, the wine is red, And the rose of youth is glowing, While the toils of life are fled And the snows of age are going; Quaff it with a hearty will, Quaff it deep and quaff forever; Wine will every sorrow kill, And destroy the pleasures never.
When the heart beats sad and low, Drink its gladness like a river; When the soul is weak with woe, Quaff and be a cheerful liver; Never, never, life, despair, While a cup of hope is nigh thee; Bend not under loads of care While the fount of joy is by thee!
If the fickle friendships end And thy fortune be a sad one, Claim, O, claim, as truest friend, Ruby wine, the sweet and glad one! If thy love hath proven cold, Leave her, leave her, for the new one; Wine is never false for gold; Friend to friend, a tried and true one!
Let the cynics curse and rave; This must be a life of pleasure; Fill a bumper! He's the knave Who would scorn joy's fullest measure; Quaff the glass, the wine is red; Hour by hour the days are going; Wine is yet the fountain head From which pleasure's tide is flowing
Good night, my little love, good-night! May angels keep With fondest watch thy slumbers, till the light Shall break thy sleep, And morning with its wonders bright Shall banish all thy cares with might.
Within this quickened life of mine, I bear away The loving looks and tender words of thine, Which from this day Within my soul shall ever shine And make me better, more divine.
With love and trust and truth, my heart Beats all for thee; And though our lives may wander far apart, Till death's decree Shall pierce my hopes with deadly dart, Thou still my star of guidance art.
Good-night, dear one! As gladdest songs, The sweetest dreams Fill all my happy soul in joyous throngs, And tender themes Bring bliss for which my nature longs, And slay the curse of ancient wrongs.
Good-night, my little love! In care Of Heaven rest, And may thy life no deeper sorrow share Than love's behest, Beneath the smiles of raptures rare! Good-night! God keep thee everywhere!
LIVE LIFE WITH LOVE.
There is no soul of anguish or repining, That doubts and trembles in the shades of gloom, But love can lead where softest suns are shining And fill his days with beauty and its bloom. Live life with love!
There is no bosom dark with lonely caring, That sadly sorrows in the nights of woe, But love can soothe his torture and despairing, And scatter gladness where his feet may go. Live life with love!
There is no scene of misery or sorrow That droops and withers in the dark of night, But love can bring fond yearnings for the morrow And heap the heart with hope's unfading light. Live life with love!
There is in all the world no sinful creature That gropes and falters on his troubled way, But love can overcome his erring nature, And change his darkness to eternal day. Live life with love!
Sweet love, with bounties that her hands are giving, Can blossom roses on the desert heath, Can brighten all the longings of the living And with found kisses warm the lips of death. Live life with love!
As love is thine, so shall thy days be sweeter With all the deeds that shall thy fellows bless; Thy small achievements nobler and completer With truth and hope and highest happiness! Live life with love!
The sun comes up in the east And the sun goes down in the west, And man to me is a heartless beast And the world has only a savage breast.
How thoughts rush over my soul As the waves walk over the sea! Their forms flee soon and the sorrows roll In the deep distress that is over me.
How hopes arise in my heart, As the roses bloom over the plain! But time is tearing their sweets apart And they die in darkness and awful pain.
Ambitions burn in my breast, As the fires in a city rage; But damp creeps over their fervid zest And they sink away into ashen age.
If there was pleasure for pain I could well be happy awhile, And, O, my bosom would ne'er complain, If my fortune gave me a single smile.
But here I am, and the curse is on, And my life is a waste of woe, And ere one river of tears is gone, O, another torrent begins to flow.
Ah, the sun comes up in the east And the sun goes down in the west. And man to me is a heartless beast And the world has only a savage breast!
Put not trust nor tenderness to sleep, In sorrow sad; The heart, in which a little love may creep, Is not all bad.
The darkest hours that wear a wondrous gloom, Are somewhat light, If but one ray of brilliancy illume The brooding night.
The field in which the weed and bramble thrive Has some of good, If but a single blossom struggling live Amid the rude.
The ocean vast is not all desolate, The worlds between, If on its waters bearing human freight One sail is seen.
All is not harsh and cold amid the wood, If warbled song Resound, how feebly, through the solitude Of tangled wrong.
The desert, barren, bleak, a waste of sand Does never spread, If spear of grass in verdure green expand Above the dead.
Then put not trust nor tenderness to sleep In sorrow sad; The heart in which a little love may creep Is not all bad.
THE WAY OF THE WORLD.
Since Adam's first sin in the garden of song, Where the hopes of the race were empearled, Whenever a mortal does anything wrong, It is only the way of the world!
If statesmen forget all the pledges they made, And the people to evils are hurled,— Excuse their misdeeds! 'Tis a trick of the trade, And is only the way of the world!
If bankers, confusing distinctions of wealth, Have your gold to their own pockets whirled, And then gone to Europe for pleasure and health— It is only the way of the world.
If preachers, forgetting the Master of old And the banner of light He unfurled, Elope with the fairest ewe-lambs of the fold,— It is only the way of the world.
If merchants, unscrupulous, cheat with a will While their lips are at honesty curled,— Harsh blame, hie away! And your censure, be still! It is only the way of the world!
The way of the world! What a happy excuse For the faults and the follies unfurled! Bind virtue securely! The vices turn loose! 'Tis the way—'tis the way—of the world!
MY SHADOW AND I.
A something, not of earth or sky, Beside me walks the ways I go, And I—I never truly know, If I am it or it is I.
It soothes me with its tender speech, It guides me with its gentle hand, But I—I can not understand The links that bind us each to each.
I hear the songs of golden days Fall softly on the saddened years, But know not whose the hungry ears First feasted on the roundelays.
I feel the hopes, the yearnings brave, Within my bosom surge and roll, But know not whose the Master Soul That called their glories from the grave.
I see the great world's greater curse, Dark struggles on through darker days, But know not whose the eyes that gaze Through all the sobbing universe.
O, Shadow mine! Beneath my brow I feel thy thoughts, and in my heart Thy fondest longings madly start! Thou art myself and I am thou!
IN THE VALES.
When from these vales I go, That slumber on in dreams, O, will the summer winds dance to and fro, And kiss the streams That play where roses scatter fond perfume And lilies burst with bloom?
Glad children of the spring, They moan their music sweet Where tangled grasses wave, and softly sing Where meadows meet, And wildwood shadows drooping bless The groves with happiness.
Their soothing songs I hear Among the granite hills, Above the elfin warbles rich and clear From rippling rills, As if they called my soul in future days To wander all their ways.
Ah, moaning winds, you seem To fill my musing breast With lullabies that linger as I dream And bring me rest; For melodies from your low voices creep That soothe my heart with sleep!
A song for the willow, the wild weeping willow, That murmurs a dirge to the rapturous days, And moans when the kiss of the breeze laden billow Entangles and dangles among the sad sprays! A musical ditty to scatter the sadness, A warble of wildness to banish its tears, Till tremulous measures of bountiful gladness Be sounding and bounding through all of the years.
The beautiful brooks, as they waken from slumbers, Pause under the shadows that fall from the boughs, And weave their caresses in passionate numbers, While soothing and smoothing the frowns from its brows; But chained in the desolate sorrows of weeping Its heart never warms to the raptures of mirth, And over its bosom no pleasures are creeping While wending and blending their joys with the earth.
Then sing for the willow, the wild weeping willow, That droops in the smiles of the summer-born times, And mourns in the kiss of the sweet-scented billow, When beaming and gleaming are dripping with chimes! While melodies move where their happiness lingers, They surely will gladden the tear-laden sprays, And music that flutters from fairy-like fingers Will lighten and brighten the burdensome days.
AT THE MILL.
The water-wheel goes 'round and 'round With heavy sighs of mournful sound, While dismal cries and weary moans Unite with sad and tearful groans, And weeping waves of water throw Afar the echoes of their sadness, And cadences of plaintive woe Dispel each little note of gladness.
My daily life goes 'round and 'round, And rest for me is never found; The sobbing dirges of distress Are more than songs of happiness; The shadows of despairing doom Condemn to-day and curse to-morrow, And muffled terrors fill the gloom Which offers anguish to my sorrow.
But hope, O, heart, for future weal! The waters rest beyond the wheel; So life may sing when toil is done And all its battles lost or won. There lives a sweeter music there, Of gentle and melodious measure, Where weeping never comes and where The ages perish into pleasure.
SHADOW AND SHINE.
They will find in this life who are grieved with its gladness No songs for the heart and no hopes for the soul, But will faint in the glooms where the dirges of sadness In tremulous murmurs of wretchedness roll; For the sweets of this earth never lavish their kisses Where lives in the valleys of rapture repine; In the tortures they mourn who denounce all the blisses,— They weep in the shadow that rail at the shine.
In the fields that are fair with the blooms of the clover, No garlands are grown for the arbors of shade Where the woes of the wood in their darkness hang over The grasses that wave with the winds of the glade; From the chimes of the breezes there echo no measures That gladden the gale with a music divine; In the troubles they languish who shrink from the pleasures, They weep in the shadow that rail at the shine.
Ah, the world is abounding with wonderful glories And wild are the warbles that sweeten its ways While the songs of the land sing their beautiful stories, And scatter their melodies over the days! There are smiles, there are joys, never mingled with sorrow, O, man, in return for the tears that are thine, And the soul never sobs that has hopes for the morrow, Nor weeps in the shadow nor rails at the shine!
THE GROWTH OF SONG.
A tender song in shadows grew, And humble hearts were homes it knew.
But through its wondrous music stole The longings of the human soul;
The hopes of hosts unsatisfied Within its numbers wandered wide;
And strangely wet with toilsome tears It held the yearnings of the years;
Till millions with their woes oppressed, Proclaimed the song of peace and rest;
Till nations in their troubled ways Found comfort in the joyous lays,
And all the halting race of wrong Exalts the loving might of song!
Ah, song that soothes our many cries With fondness of thy lullabies,
We love, we bless, we scepter thee Proud empress of the hearts that be!
SPRING AND MUSIC.
Spring, among her sylvan shades, And the gladness of her glades, Once in dreamy hours was straying, Where sweet Music with her throngs Of glad melodies and songs In the happy vales was playing.
Pan beheld the fairy maids As they gamboled in the shades, And he swore they should not sever. But that o'er the blooming land, Heart to heart and hand in hand, They should wander on forever.
Thus when come the gentle days O'er the wildwood's tangled ways, There is found no gloomy weather; For among the leafy bowers And the valleys bright with flowers Spring and Music walk together!
The softest beams of the stars are born in the farthest skies, And fairest rays of the sun where evening shadows rise; The sweetest songs of the bird are sung in the darkest days, And rarest blooms of the spring are found in the wildest ways.
The brightest blush of the rose is blown as the petals fade. The greenest grass of the earth is grown in the hidden glade; The fondest rhyme of the rill is heard in the secret vale, And lightest lays of the breeze are borne from the dying gale.
The highest hopes of the heart in saddest of sorrows grow, The purest pleasures of joy arise in the wane of woe; The gladdest smiles of the lips are seen in the hours of pain, And proudest days of the free are spent by the broken chain.
The grandest deeds of the race are writ on the faded scroll, The truest rivers of good from villainous fountains roll; The perfect raptures of life are reared in the arms of care, And Hope with her joys dispels the darkness of our despair.
MY MOLLIE, O!
'Twas in the summer's sweet perfume, When roses bloomed and holly, O, That in the brightness of her bloom, I first did meet my Mollie, O.
Although she said for lives to love Was nothing but pure folly, O, My heart was lit with light above, And I true loved my Mollie, O.
O, swift and fast the days did flee And seemed most bright and jolly, O, For evermore was near to me My fair and lovely Mollie, O.
Now I doth sit through all the day And nurse my melancholy, O, For from me she has turned away, O, false and fickle Mollie, O!
SING NOT OF BEAUTY.
Sing not of beauty's grace to me; Its very name a story tells Of doubly dark inconstancy, Love falser than a hundred hells.
Its face is often but a screen To hide a devil's heart of guile, Of thoughts and deeds of shameful mien, By winning looks of heartless wile.
Its laughing smile is but the gleam That springs from dross of foulest make; It stirs a sweet but idle dream, Then leaves the trusting heart to break.
Sing not of beauty's grace to me; I can not bear to hear the name; For, oh! Too oft in it I see A soul of falsehood and of shame!
At eventide, when glories lie In crimson curtains hung on high, And all the breast of heaven glows With mingled wreaths of flowers and snows, The dearest dreams of life draw nigh.
The pleasures in their soft robes fly With angel wings adown the sky, And rapture lulls to sweet repose, At eventide.
Ah, well-a-day! Life's weary cry, And all its curse and care shall die, When Age on downy couches throws His weary limbs and only knows The tender dreams of bye-and-bye, At eventide!
WHEN CHRISTMAS COMES.
When Christmas comes, what pleasures spring From drooping hearts on happy wing, Like joyous birds that soaring rise From hidden coverts to the skies. And echo in the chimes that ring!
Glad millions in wild rapture sing Hosannaed hopes of welcoming, While praises blend in harmonies, When Christmas comes.
Ah, happy hours! Around them cling The dearest joys that life may bring, And all the world's despairing cries Are soothed to sleep with lullabies That banish every bitter thing, When Christmas comes!
WHEN THOU ART NEAR.
When thou art near, with gladdest grace My heart is held in fond embrace, For laughing lips with raptures bless The toils and tears of my distress, And woes within me have no place.
The halting hours with hurried pace Whirl wildly on through happy space, And life is light with happiness, When thou art near.
Like mortals whom an angel race Renews with gladness face to face, I thrill with Love's unseen caress That holy hands upon me press, And Heaven's pleasures all I trace, When thou art near.
HE SLEEPS AT LAST.
He sleeps at last! The vales of rest Are waiting for the war-worn breast, And glorious angels fondly spread The sweetest roses for his bed. While countless millions call him blest.
Fame welcomes him with glad behest, While garlands on his brow are pressed, And laurels cluster o'er his head; He sleeps at last.
O, deep the sorrows here confessed, Where Freedom makes eternal quest! The wondrous chief that proudly led The long, blue lines that fought and bled, In peace is now no more distressed; He sleeps at last!
WHEN FORTUNES FROWN.
When fortunes frown, the woes, bedight With brooding shadows, bring the night, While dismal sorrows darkness dole, And disappointments rise and roll Above the longings for the light.
Despair, with hands that curse and blight, Sows weakness in the hearts of might Until they falter near the goal, When fortunes frown.
But onward still! The valleys white With Heaven's blossoms are in sight; The Holy Mountains, knoll on knoll, Are waiting for the Master Soul, And he shall conquer for the right, When fortunes frown!
WHEN WE SHALL MEET.
When we shall meet, I strangely know The mad emotions that shall flow Across my heart all quivering, Beneath the raptures he shall bring From angel years that gladdened so.
And I all shy and silent grow Beneath his glance of gladness, though Wild yearnings through my bosom spring, When we shall meet.
Till joyful tears of passion show, And to his kind embrace I throw My heart unworthy, and I cling With deathless fondness to the king I worshipped in the Long Ago, When we shall meet!
SWEET EYES OF BLUE.
Sweet eyes of blue! The stars by night, That swoon the world with laughing light, And touch the hills with tender glow While all the vales are kissed below, Beside you would no more be bright.
My worlds ye are, and while I throw My heart to catch the beams that flow From your fair shrine, my woes take flight, Sweet eyes of blue!
Glad orbs of beauty! In your sight My soul mounts up with secret might, Till Eden's lovely bowers I know; And as through Heaven's gates I go, The pleasures all my sorrow smite, Sweet eyes of blue!
HAD WE NOT MET.
Had we not met, the brooding woe And all the griefs that greater grow, Might not have been, and happy-wise Our lives have laughed with lullabies And quaffed such joys as few may know.
Our days beneath embittered skies Where anguish moans and sorrow cries, Might not have wept and wandered so, Had we not met!
But ah, my darling! All we prize,— Love and sweet trust that never dies, Wild yearnings that with constant flow From kindred heart to bosom go,— Would never in our souls had rise, Had we not met!
We gentler grow by sorrow; not the breast That never crouches in the nights of tears, That never bends beneath the loads of years, Has sympathies that are the kindliest. There is a strength in agony that best Can link the careless heart with human fears, And teach it that fond kindness which endears The millions that with sadness are oppressed.
Grief softens while it saddens; pleasure smites The timid soul with harshness, till it knows Small earnest of the great world's grievous woes And little of its struggles; sorrow plights Her troth with sorrow, and in tears unites Man unto man and hatred overthrows.
Here, through the ages old, the desert slept In solitudes unbroken, save when passed The bison herds, and savage hunters swept In thund'ring chaos down the valleys vast; But, lo! Across the barren margins stepped Advancement with her legions, and one blast From her imperial trumpet filled the last Lone covert where affrighted wildness crept.
Full armed, full armored, at her wondrous birth, Her shining temples wreathed with gorgeous dower, She sits among the empires of the earth; Her proud achievements o'er the nations tower, Won by her people with their royal worth, With lofty culture, wisdom, wealth and power.
Though far apart, my darling, side by side We wander still and our fond yearnings meet, As when our hearts with highest raptures beat Before our footsteps trod the paths of pride; Our close companionship hath never died; True love and trust are always fair and sweet, And time from life's best hopes can never hide A kindred soul that made its own complete! So thou, dear one, shall come once more to me, The sweeter grown for all thy years of pain; My longing arms shall open wide for thee, And thou shalt nestle on my breast again; Then perfect love shall richly crown the years, And both be better for our griefs and tears.
We meet again beyond the barren past, Beyond the pride, the sorrows and the tears; And yearnings leave the strife and hate of years To flood our souls with perfect peace at last! Our hearts forget the wrong so deep and vast, The wounding words and all the cruel woe, Till joy is all our bounding bosoms know, And life is glad with happiness at last.
Love, deathless and forgiving, crowns with bays The future and our hopes, as full of grace, As youth had fondly dreamed in other days, When first we knew how sweet was her embrace. God's endless purpose guides the feet of men; Beyond our pride we meet in love again!
THE DYING HERO.
His greatness hath not left him; till the years Have won the nation from her children dead, And robbed her of remembrance where she rears Her monuments above the blood they shed, Will his name want for homage; with sad fears The Union winds her garlands o'er his head, And fondly wreathes her love, bedewed with tears, To bless the hero on his dying bed.
His luster lives untarnished; as he lies Where Malady has bound him in wild pain, And only Death can loose the heavy chain That galls her captive while his nature dies, He seems far greater in his country's eyes, Than if an Appomattox spake again.
Somehow, someway, I can not see the light; The giant hills of doubting reach the skies, Abiding shadows bring eternal night, And on my ways no suns of morning rise; Dark mysteries across the years of might Crush down my hopes, until each yearning dies, Until my soul is weary, dim my sight, And ghostly echoes mock my fainting cries.
Ah, I shall know beyond these narrow years, The glorious mornings of eternal day, Where perfect love and tender trust shall play, And smiles and laughter banish all the tears, And all the heavy mists of doubts and fears Shall leave my longing soul somehow, someway!
GREATNESS LIVES APART.
Great natures live apart; the mountain gray May call no comrade to his lonely side; The giant ocean, wrapped in storm and spray, Has no companion for her endless tide; The forest monarch, where his parents died, Can find no brother in his lofty sway, And mighty rivers chafe their margins wide Where infant rills and childish fountains play.
So heroes live; no raptured blossoms start Where rugged heights of human glory end; No tender songs of loving beauty blend Their chorus in the great man's peerless heart; Fate fills their souls with magnitude, and art Supplies their lives with no congenial friend.
Poems are holy things. Eternal Truth, Borrowing the robes of song and lovely grown, In them her glory unto man proclaims And fills his longing soul. They softly speak Of Nature's beauty and the secrets old Concealed behind the shadows of the hills, And love on angel fingers borne to men, Naming them over in so sweet a voice That music leads their footsteps in the ways Where God has walked; and with a lofty Harp, As wondrous as the gentle harps of heaven, Uplifts, ennobles, soothes and leads the race Unto its last great ultimate of power, To words of tenderness and goodly deeds.
SINGER AND SONG.
A singer sang in sorrow long And breathed his life into his song.
Unknown, unheard, the song went wide, Until the singer, starving, died.
Now in their hearts the nations write And wear the singer's song of might.
Ah, singers fail and fall from view, But songs are always, always new!
If garlands none to singers cling, Bays wreathe above the songs they sing.
TO ONE WHO PLEDGED HER FRIENDSHIP.
Within this false world we may count ourselves blest, If we have but one friend who is faithful and true; And so in your friendship contented I'll rest, And believe I have found that one blessing in you.
THE BANKS O' TURKEY RUN.
Like a thousan' birds o' brightness from the isles o' summer seas, Rickollections, full o' gladness, come with songs and lullabies, An' I listen to the carols that with gentle voices roll, Full o' tenderness an' beauty, down upon my weary soul, Fer thar's one thet keeps a-singin' with a song thet's never done, An' I see the bendin' willers on the banks o' Turkey Run.
An' agin' I be a youngster with a youngster's foolin' dreams, With his high-falutin' notions an' his fiddle-faddle schemes; With the laughin' an' the cryin', with the sorrow an' the joy, Thet is jumbled up together in the bosom o' the boy; An' agin my arly fancies in a fairy loom are spun Underneath the dancin' shadders on the banks o' Turkey Run.
An' agin I be a school-boy with the other merry lads, When Joe an' Jerry, Bill an' I, wus only little tads, When a half a dozen marvels an' a kivered ball was worth— With a knife o' Barlow pattern—all the treasures o' the earth; An' the soundin' sort o' thunder from a poppin' kind o' gun Set our faces all a-giggle on the banks o' Turkey Run.
It 'ud tickle any feller but ter see the solemn look, When the master was a-watchin', thet we fastened on the book, But the mischief stickin' in us, like pertaters in a sack, It wus never hard ter empty when the teacher turned his back; O, the paper wads we tumbled thet 'ud weigh about a ton, In thet crazy-cornered school-house on the banks o' Turkey Run!
How we used ter chase the robins an' the rabbits in the wood, How we gethered bloomin' posies in the sighin' solitude! How we wundered all the medders in our roamin's o'er an' o'er, How we teetered in the branches o' the beech an' sycamore! Or we watched the rompin' minners as they rasseled in their fun, While we nearly bust a-laughin', on the banks o' Turkey Run!
How we used ter go a-fishin' when the day wus gittin' late, With a little line o' cotton an' a fish-worm fer a bait! With a bent pin for a fish-hook an' a hazel fer a pole, How we sought the softest places by the widest, deepest hole! How we teehee-eed at the nibbles, caught the fishes one by one, With the biggest kind o' prowess, on the banks o' Turkey Run!
When the sun was burnin' shavin's in the heatin' stove o' June, An' the clock upon the mantle wus a-knockin' off the noon When the beams in bunches blistered as they never did afore, An' the sweat was drippin', droppin', from the mouth o' every pore, How we skipped across the medder, how our swimmin' wus begun, In the cool an' crystal waters 'tween the banks o' Turkey Run!
O, the smilin' days o' childhood! O, the loudly laughin' years! When contentment brings the moments neither heaviness ner tears! When the pleasures jine the longin's an' the fairy fingers roll All the heaps o' angel music in upon the blazin' soul! O, my Joe an' Bill an' Jerry! Trustin' comrades, you wus won Whar my bare feet brushed the grasses on the banks o' Turkey Run!
But, alas! Thar wus another; she was fairer than the rest, An' she allus had a hearin' fer the wishes o' my breast; Allus wus a chunk o' sunshine an' a piece o' quiet glee, Allus had a smile o' welcome an' a tender word fer me; An' without her wus no shinin' an' o' happiness wus none Ter bring gladness ter my bosom on the banks o' Turkey Run.
O, her home wus in a cottage whar the mornin'-glories hung, An' the arly birds o' April with their sweetest music sung; Thar wus roses 'round her winder, thar wus roses 'round her door, Thet wus stickin' full o' blushes, but they allus blushed the more, When her eyes wus seen a-peepin' an' her cheeks beamed like the sun, From thet cosy little cottage on the banks o' Turkey Run!
Many an' many a time we wandered in the grassy medder-land With our wishes right together an' our longin's hand in hand; How we dreamed about the future when the world should give me fame, An' when she would be thrice noble to be worthy o' my name! Thus we talked an' thus we fancied; others might my boyhood shun, But I found her kind, my sweetheart, on the banks o' Turkey Run.
But the times have been a-changin' sence them arly years o' joy, When she wus but a little girl an' I a little boy; When Joe an' Jerry, Bill an' I, together wus at play, With our hearts as light as feathers, every minute of the day, An' at twilight sunk ter slumber tell the mornin' wus begun, In the gloomy silent forests on the banks o' Turkey Run.
Bill an' Joe have gone a-rovin' on a fortune-huntin' quest Through the silver mines an' Injuns in the mountains o' the west; But the janders came ter Jerry with a solemn sort o' call Tell they painted him as yaller as a punkin in the fall; An' to-day I saw his tombstone as it glittered in the sun, Over in the little churchyard, on the banks o' Turkey Run!
An' alas, my precious sweetheart! Like a lily virgin white, Did she slowly fade an' wither tell her spirit took its flight! Like an angel into heaven did she sweetly, calmly creep, An' her lovely life wus over an' her bosom went ter sleep; An' the tollin', tollin' church-bells dropt the dirges one by one, As we laid her 'neath the wilier on the banks o' Turkey Run.
Thar a little cross o' marble marks the sacred, silent shade, Whar the fair an' laughin' beauty o' my ole sweetheart wus laid; An' the summer has a sadness thet is cryin' through the years, An' my heart is full o' sorrow, an' mine eyes is full o' tears, Fer I've allus had a failin', sence her friendship first I won, Fer thet little lovin' maiden on the banks o' Turkey Run!
But them days have past forever in the years o' long ago, An' a wishin' ter be wealthy has enraptured Bill an' Joe; Death has taken Jerry; only I, o' all the boys, Am' remainin' ter remember all them arly angel joys; But to-night I see their faces as they peep in full o' fun, An' agin we're boys together, on the banks o' Turkey Run!
Oh, to be able to capture and bring And bind in the bonds of control, Some of the carols that warble and sing Down in the depths of my soul.