POEMS TEACHERS ASK FOR
Selected by Readers of "Normal Instructor-Primary Plans" Containing More Than Two Hundred Poems Requested for Publication in That Magazine on the Page "Poems Our Readers Have Asked For"
INDEX OF TITLES
African Chief, The Bryant 145 Annabel Lee Poe 25 Annie and Willie's Prayer Snow 196 April! April! Are You Here? Goodale 59 April Showers Wilkins 26 Armageddon E. Arnold 157 Autumn Hood 186 Autumn Leaves Wray 65 Aux Italiens Lytton 72 Awakening Sangster 93
Babie, The Miller 131 Ballad of East and West, The Kipling 23 Ballad of the Tempest, The Fields 56 Battle of Bunker's Hill, The Cozzens 102 Bells of Ostend, The Bowles 140 Bernardo Del Carpio Hemans 160 Betty and the Bear 130 Bible My Mother Gave Me, The 117 Bill's in the Legislature 53 Billy's Rose Sims 104 Bivouac of the Dead, The O'Hara 15 Boy and Girl of Plymouth Smith 154 Boys, The O.W. Holmes 27 Boy Who Didn't Pass, The 108 Boy with the Hoe, The Weaver 202 Break, Break, Break Tennyson 52 "Brides of Enderby, The." See "High Tide, The" 150 Bridge Builder, The 54 Broken Pinion, The Butterworth 9 Burial of Moses, The Alexander 45
Casabianca Hemans 164 Charge of Pickett's Brigade, The 122 Children Longfellow 16 Children, The Dickinson 133 Children We Keep, The Wilson 146 Christmas Day in the Workhouse Sims 193 Christmas Long Ago, A 47 Chums Foley 206 Circling Year, The Graham 208 Cleon and I Mackay 37 Color in the Wheat Garland 8 Columbus Smith 137 Conscience and Future Judgment 81 Courting in Kentucky 67 Courtin', The Lowell 59 Cradle Hymn Watts 35
Dandelion Garabrant 82 David's Lament for Absalom Willis 191 Death of the Flowers, The Bryant 21 Don't Kill the Birds Colesworthy 53 Duty Browning 20 Dying Newsboy, The Thornton 52
Echo Saxe 65 Encouragement Dunbar 71 Engineer's Story, The Hall 96 Ensign Bearer, The 11 Eve of Waterloo, The Byron 17 Excelsior Longfellow 15
Finding of the Lyre, The Lowell 150 Fireman's Story, The 125 Flower of Liberty, The O.W. Holmes 85 Flying Jim's Last Leap Banks 128 Fortunate Isles, The Miller 168
Give Them the Flowers Now Hodges 84 God Derzhavin 162 God's Message to Men Emerson 62 God's Will Is Best Mason 67 Good Shepherd, The Howe 166 Grandfather's Clock Work 35 Grandmother's Quilt 186 Graves of a Household, The Hemans 130 Gray Swan, The A. Cary 207 Gunga Din Kipling 98
Hark, Hark! the Lark Shakespeare 111 Harp That Once Through Tara's Halls, The Moore 71 Health and Wealth 103 Heartening, The Webb 103 Height of the Ridiculous, The O.W. Holmes 14 Heritage, The Lowell 22 He Who Has Vision McKenzie 146 He Worried About It Foss 203 Highland Mary Burns 88 High Tide, The Ingelow 150 His Mother's Song 39 Home Guest 7 Home They Brought Her Warrior Dead Tennyson 74 House with Nobody in It, The Kilmer 8 How Did You Die? Cooke 132 How Salvator Won Wilcox 120 Hullo Foss 123
If All the Skies Van Dyke 36 "If" for Girls, An Otis 153 If We Understood 29 I Got to Go to School Waterman 121 I Have a Rendezvous with Death Seeger 142 I Have Drank My Last Glass 87 Inasmuch Ford 178 Indian Names Sigourney 135 Inventor's Wife, The Corbett 82 Isle of Long Ago, The B.F. Taylor 51
Jamie Douglas 9 Jim Brady's Big Brother Foley 206 John Maynard Alger 78 John Thompson's Daughter P. Cary 34
King and the Child, The Hall 134 King's Ring, The Tilton 159 Knight's Toast, The W. Scott 57
Ladder of St. Augustine, The Longfellow 33 Lamb, The Blake 86 Land of Beginning Again, The Tarkington 32 Land Where Hate Should Die, The McCarthy 18 Last Leaf, The O.W. Holmes 20 Laugh in Church, A 29 Laughing Chorus, A 59 Law and Liberty Cutler 39 Leaving the Homestead 159 Legend Beautiful, The Longfellow 174 Legend of the Northland, A P. Cary 131 Let Me Walk with the Men in the Road Gresham 28 Let Us Be Kind Childress 143 Life, I Know Not What Thou Art Barbauld 65 Lincoln, the Man of the People Markham 118 Little Bateese Drummond 80 Little Fir-Trees, The Stein 203 Little Willie's Hearing 127 Loss and Gain Longfellow 34 Lost Occasion, The Whittier 84 Lullaby Foley 205
Mad River Longfellow 100 Message for the Year, A Hardy 66 Minstrel-Boy, The Moore 55 Minuet, The Dodge 48 Mizpah 162 Monterey Hoffman 165 More Cruel Than War Hawkins 136 Mortgage on the Farm, The 173 Mother o' Mine Kipling 70 Mothers of Men Miller 64 My Prairies Garland 74 Mystic Weaver, The 171
Nearer Home P. Cary 48 New Leaf, A Rice 202 Newsboy, The Corbett 94 New Year, The Craik 153 Night with a Wolf, A Bayard Taylor 89 Nobody's Child Case 46 No Sects in Heaven Cleaveland 180
O'Grady's Goat Hays 44 Old Actor's Story, The Sims 106 Old Flag Forever Stanton 21 Old Kitchen Floor, The 75 Old Man Dreams, The O.W. Holmes 58 Old Man in the Model Church, The Yates 148 Old Man's Dreams, An Sherman 61 "One, Two, Three!" Bunner 30 Our Flag Sangster 202 Our Homestead P. Cary 55 Our Own Sangster 119 Our Presidents Gilman 195 Out in the Snow Moulton 83 Over the Hill from the Poor-House Carleton 42
Papa's Letter 40 Parting of Marmion and Douglas W. Scott 95 Parts of Speech, The 201 Petrified Fern, The Branch 36 Picciola Newell 158 Piller Fights Ellsworth 80 Polish Boy, The Stephens 12 Poor Little Joe Proudfit 32 Prayer and Potatoes Pettee 200 Prayer for a Little Home, A 87 President, The Johnston 204 Pride of Battery B Gassaway 176
Quangle Wangle's Hat, The Lear 91
Railroad Crossing, The Strong 182 Rain on the Roof Kinney 97 Rainy Day, The Longfellow 28 Real Riches, The Saxe 12 Red Jacket, The Baker 77 Reply to "A Woman's Question" Pelham 155 Rhodora, The Emerson 90 Ring Out, Wild Bells Tennyson 63 Roll Call, The Shepherd 86 Romance of Nick Van Stann Saxe 156 Rustic Courtship 76
Sandman, The Vandegrift 62 Santa Filomena Longfellow 56 School-Master's Guest, The Carleton 68 September G. Arnold 75 September Days Smith 153 September Gale, The O.W. Holmes 137 Sermon in Rhyme, A 167 Service Flag, The Herschell 127 She Was a Phantom of Delight Wordsworth 89 Singing Leaves, The Lowell 92 Sin of Omission, The Sangster 116 Sin of the Coppenter Man Cooke 139 Small Beginnings Mackay 97 Solitude Wilcox 139 Somebody's Darling La Coste 175 Song of Marion's Men Bryant 54 Song of the Chattahoochee Lanier 66 "'Specially Jim" 44 Station-Master's Story, The Sims 109 Stranger on the Sill, The Read 147 Sunset City, The Gilman 183
Teacher's "If", The Gale 165 There Was a Boy Wordsworth 90 Things Divine, The Burt 64 Tin Gee Gee, The Cape 169 "Tommy" Kipling 170 Tommy's Prayer Nicholls 112 Towser Shall Be Tied To-night 37 Trailing Arbutus Whittier 199 Trouble in the Amen Corner Harbaugh 18 Try, Try Again 135 Two Angels, The Longfellow 187 Two Kinds of People, The Wilcox 116 Two Little Stockings, The Hunt 141 Two Pictures, The 114
Unawares Lent 30
Vagabonds, The Trowbridge 49 Voice of Spring, The Hemans 26 Volunteer Organist, The Foss 149
Warren's Address to the American Soldiers Pierpont 99 Washington Bryant 37 Washington's' Birthday Butterworth 58 Water Mill, The Doudney 143 What the Choir Sang About the New Bonnet Morrison 168 When Father Carves the Duck Wright 40 When My Ship Comes In Burdette 138 When Papa Was a Boy Brininstool 100 When the Light Goes Out Chester 199 Which Shall It Be? Beers 101 Who Stole the Bird's Nest? Child 41 Why the Dog's Nose Is Always Cold 144 Wishing Bridge, The Whittier 63 Witch's Daughter, The Whittier 188 With Little Boy Blue Kennedy 122 Wolsey's Farewell to His Greatness Shakespeare 94 Women of Mumbles Head, The C. Scott 123 Wood-Box, The Lincoln 177 Work: A Song of Triumph Morgan 154 Work Thou for Pleasure Cox 169
You Put No Flowers on My Papa's Grave C.E.L. Holmes 140
(An Index of First Lines is given on pages 209-213)
In homely phrase, this is a sort of "second helping" of a dish that has pleased the taste of thousands. Our first collection of Poems Teachers Ask For was the response to a demand for such a book, and this present volume is the response to a demand for "more." In Book One it was impracticable to use all of the many poems entitled to inclusion on the basis of their being desired. We are constantly in receipt of requests that certain selections be printed in NORMAL INSTRUCTOR-PRIMARY PLANS on the page "Poems Our Readers Have Asked For." More than two hundred of these were chosen for Book One, and more than two hundred others, as much desired as those in the earlier volume, are included in Book Two.
Because of copyright restrictions, we often have been unable to present, in magazine form, verse of large popular appeal. By special arrangement, a number of such poems were included in Book One of Poems Teachers Ask For, and many more are given in the pages that follow. Acknowledgment is made below to publishers and authors for courteous permission to reprint in this volume material which they control:
THE CENTURY COMPANY—The Minuet, from "Poems and Verses," by Mary Mapes Dodge.
W.B. CONKEY COMPANY—Solitude, from "Poems of Passion," and How Salvator Won, from "Kingdom of Love," both by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
DODD, MEAD AND COMPANY, INC.—Encouragement, by Paul Laurence Dunbar, copyright by Dodd, Mead & Company; Work, by Angela Morgan, from "The Hour Has Struck," copyright 1914 by Angela Morgan.
DODGE PUBLISHING COMPANY—How Did You Die? from "Impertinent Poems," and The Sin of the Coppenter Man, from "I Rule the House," both by Edmund Vance Cooke.
GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY—The House with Nobody in It, from "Trees and Other Poems," by Joyce Kilmer, copyright 1914 by George H. Doran Company, publishers.
HAMLIN GARLAND—My Prairies and Color in the Wheat.
ISABEL AMBLER GILMAN—The Sunset City.
HARPER & BROTHERS—Over the Hill from the Poor-House and The School-Master's Guests, from "Farm Legends," by Will Carleton.
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY—The Sandman, by Margaret Vandegrift; The Sin of Omission and Our Own, by Margaret E. Sangster; The Ballad of the Tempest, by James T. Fields; also the poems by Henry W. Longfellow, John G. Whittier, James Russell Lowell, Alice Cary, Phoebe Cary, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and J.T. Trowbridge, of whose works they are the authorized publishers.
CHARLES H.L. JOHNSTON—The President.
RUDYARD KIPLING and DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY (A.P. WATT & SON, London, England)—Mother o' Mine.
LOTHROP, LEE & SHEPARD COMPANY—Hullo and The Volunteer Organist, both from "Back Country Poems," by Sam Walter Foss, and He Worried About It, from "Whiffs from Wild Meadows," by Sam Walter Foss.
EDWIN MARKHAM—Lincoln, the Man of the People.
REILLY & LEE CO.—Home, from "A Heap o' Livin'," by Edgar A. Guest.
FLEMING H. REVELL COMPANY—Our Flag, by Margaret E. Sangster.
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS—I Have a Rendezvous with Death, by Alan Seeger; Song of the Chattahoochee, by Sidney Lanier; If All the Skies, by Henry van Dyke.
HARR WAGNER PUBLISHING COMPANY—Mothers of Men and The Fortunate Isles, by Joaquin Miller.
POEMS TEACHERS ASK FOR
* * * * *
It takes a heap o' livin' in a house t' make it home, A heap o' sun an' shadder, an' ye sometimes have t' roam Afore ye really 'preciate the things ye left behind, An' hunger fer 'em somehow, with 'em allus on yer mind. It don't make any differunce how rich ye get t' be, How much yer chairs an' tables cost, how great yer luxury; It ain't home t' ye, though it be the palace of a king, Until somehow yer soul is sort o' wrapped 'round everything.
Home ain't a place that gold can buy or get up in a minute; Afore it's home there's got t' be a heap o' livin' in it: Within the walls there's got t' be some babies born, and then Right there ye've got t' bring 'em up t' women good, an' men; And gradjerly, as time goes on ye find ye wouldn't part With anything they ever used—they've grown into yer heart; The old high chairs, the playthings, too, the little shoes they wore Ye hoard; an' if ye could ye'd keep the thumbmarks on the door.
Ye've got t' weep t' make it home, ye've got t' sit and sigh An' watch beside a loved one's bed, an' know that Death is nigh; An' in the stillness o' the night t' see Death's angel come, An' close the eyes o' her that smiled, an' leave her sweet voice dumb. Fer these are scenes that grip the heart, an' when yer tears are dried, Ye find the home is dearer than it was, an' sanctified; An' tuggin' at ye always are the pleasant memories O' her that was an' is no more—ye can't escape from these.
Ye've got t' sing and dance fer years, ye've got t' romp an' play, An' learn t' love the things ye have by usin' 'em each day; Even the roses 'round the porch must blossom year by year Afore they 'come a part o' ye, suggestin' someone dear Who used t' love 'em long ago, an' trained 'em jes' t' run The way they do, so's they would get the early mornin' sun; Ye've got t' love each brick an' stone from cellar up t' dome: It takes a heap o' livin' in a house f' make it home.
Edgar A. Guest.
The House with Nobody In It
Whenever I walk to Suffern along the Erie track I go by a poor old farm-house with its shingles broken and black; I suppose I've passed it a hundred times, but I always stop for a minute And look at the house, the tragic house, the house with nobody in it.
I've never seen a haunted house, but I hear there are such things; That they hold the talk of spirits, their mirth and sorrowings. I know that house isn't haunted and I wish it were, I do, For it wouldn't be so lonely if it had a ghost or two.
This house on the road to Suffern needs a dozen panes of glass, And somebody ought to weed the walk and take a scythe to the grass. It needs new paint and shingles and vines should be trimmed and tied, But what it needs most of all is some people living inside.
If I had a bit of money and all my debts were paid, I'd put a gang of men to work with brush and saw and spade. I'd buy that place and fix it up the way that it used to be, And I'd find some people who wanted a home and give it to them free.
Now a new home standing empty with staring window and door Looks idle perhaps and foolish, like a hat on its block in the store, But there's nothing mournful about it, it cannot be sad and lone For the lack of something within it that it has never known.
But a house that has done what a house should do, a house that has sheltered life, That has put its loving wooden arms around a man and his wife, A house that has echoed a baby's laugh and helped up his stumbling feet, Is the saddest sight, when it's left alone, that ever your eyes could meet.
So whenever I go to Suffern along the Erie track I never go by the empty house without stopping and looking back, Yet it hurts me to look at the crumbling roof and the shutters fallen apart, For I can't help thinking the poor old house is a house with a broken heart.
Color in the Wheat
Like liquid gold the wheat field lies, A marvel of yellow and russet and green, That ripples and runs, that floats and flies, With the subtle shadows, the change, the sheen, That play in the golden hair of a girl,— A ripple of amber—a flare Of light sweeping after—a curl In the hollows like swirling feet Of fairy waltzers, the colors run To the western sun Through the deeps of the ripening wheat.
Broad as the fleckless, soaring sky, Mysterious, fair as the moon-led sea, The vast plain flames on the dazzled eye Under the fierce sun's alchemy. The slow hawk stoops To his prey in the deeps; The sunflower droops To the lazy wave; the wind sleeps— Then swirling in dazzling links and loops, A riot of shadow and shine, A glory of olive and amber and wine, To the westering sun the colors run Through the deeps of the ripening wheat.
O glorious land! My western land, Outspread beneath the setting sun! Once more amid your swells, I stand, And cross your sod-lands dry and dun. I hear the jocund calls of men Who sweep amid the ripened grain With swift, stern reapers; once again The evening splendor floods the plain, The crickets' chime Makes pauseless rhyme, And toward the sun, The colors run Before the wind's feet In the wheat!
The Broken Pinion
I walked through the woodland meadows, Where sweet the thrushes sing; And I found on a bed of mosses A bird with a broken wing. I healed its wound, and each morning It sang its old sweet strain, But the bird with a broken pinion Never soared as high again.
I found a young life broken By sin's seductive art; And touched with a Christlike pity, I took him to my heart. He lived with a noble purpose And struggled not in vain; But the life that sin had stricken Never soared as high again.
But the bird with a broken pinion Kept another from the snare; And the life that sin had stricken Raised another from despair. Each loss has its compensation, There is healing for every pain; But the bird with a broken pinion Never soars as high again.
It was in the days when Claverhouse Was scouring moor and glen, To change, with fire and bloody sword, The faith of Scottish men.
They had made a covenant with the Lord Firm in their faith to bide, Nor break to Him their plighted word, Whatever might betide.
The sun was well-nigh setting, When o'er the heather wild, And up the narrow mountain-path, Alone there walked a child.
He was a bonny, blithesome lad, Sturdy and strong of limb— A father's pride, a mother's love, Were fast bound up in him.
His bright blue eyes glanced fearless round, His step was firm and light; What was it underneath his plaid His little hands grasped tight?
It was bannocks which, that very morn, His mother made with care. From out her scanty store of meal; And now, with many a prayer,
Had sent by Jamie her ane boy, A trusty lad and brave, To good old Pastor Tammons Roy, Now hid in yonder cave,
And for whom the bloody Claverhouse Had hunted long in vain, And swore they would not leave that glen Till old Tam Roy was slain.
So Jamie Douglas went his way With heart that knew no fear; He turned the great curve in the rock, Nor dreamed that death was near.
And there were bloody Claverhouse men, Who laughed aloud with glee, When trembling now within their power, The frightened child they see.
He turns to flee, but all in vain, They drag him back apace To where their cruel leader stands, And set them face to face.
The cakes concealed beneath his plaid Soon tell the story plain— "It is old Tam Roy the cakes are for," Exclaimed the angry man.
"Now guide me to his hiding place And I will let you go." But Jamie shook his yellow curls, And stoutly answered—"No!"
"I'll drop you down the mountain-side, And there upon the stones The old gaunt wolf and carrion crow Shall battle for your bones."
And in his brawny, strong right hand He lifted up the child, And held him where the clefted rocks Formed a chasm deep and wild
So deep it was, the trees below Like stunted bushes seemed. Poor Jamie looked in frightened maze, It seemed some horrid dream.
He looked up at the blue sky above Then at the men near by; Had they no little boys at home, That they could let him die?
But no one spoke and no one stirred, Or lifted hand to save From such a fearful, frightful death, The little lad so brave.
"It is woeful deep," he shuddering cried, "But oh! I canna tell, So drop me down then, if you will— It is nae so deep as hell!"
A childish scream, a faint, dull sound, Oh! Jamie Douglas true, Long, long within that lonely cave Shall Tam Roy wait for you.
Long for your welcome coming Waits the mother on the moor, And watches and calls, "Come, Jamie, lad," Through the half-open door.
No more adown the rocky path You come with fearless tread, Or, on moor or mountain, take The good man's daily bread.
But up in heaven the shining ones A wondrous story tell, Of a child snatched up from a rocky gulf That is nae so deep as hell.
And there before the great white throne, Forever blessed and glad, His mother dear and old Tam Roy Shall meet their bonny lad.
The Ensign Bearer
Never mind me, Uncle Jared, never mind my bleeding breast! They are charging in the valley and you're needed with the rest. All the day long from its dawning till you saw your kinsman fall, You have answered fresh and fearless to our brave commander's call; And I would not rob my country of your gallant aid to-night, Though your presence and your pity stay my spirit in its flight.
All along that quivering column see the death steed trampling down Men whose deeds this day are worthy of a kingdom and a crown. Prithee hasten, Uncle Jared, what's the bullet in my breast To that murderous storm of fire raining tortures on the rest? See! the bayonets flash and falter—look! the foe begins to win; See! oh, see our falling comrades! God! the ranks are closing in.
Hark! there's quickening in the distance and a thundering in the air, Like the roaring of a lion just emerging from his lair. There's a cloud of something yonder fast unrolling like a scroll— Quick! oh, quick! if it be succor that can save the cause a soul! Look! a thousand thirsty bayonets are flashing down the vale, And a thousand thirsty riders dashing onward like a gale!
Raise me higher, Uncle Jared, place the ensign in my hand! I am strong enough to float it while you cheer that flying band; Louder! louder! shout for Freedom with prolonged and vigorous breath— Shout for Liberty and Union, and the victory over death!— See! they catch the stirring numbers and they swell them to the breeze— Cap and plume and starry banner waving proudly through the trees.
Mark our fainting comrades rally, see that drooping column rise! I can almost see the fire newly kindled in their eyes. Fresh for conflict, nerved to conquer, see them charging on the foe— Face to face with deadly meaning—shot and shell and trusty blow. See the thinned ranks wildly breaking—see them scatter to the sun— I can die, Uncle Jared, for the glorious day is won!
But there's something, something pressing with a numbness on my heart, And my lips with mortal dumbness fail the burden to impart. Oh I tell you, Uncle Jared, there is something back of all That a soldier cannot part with when he heeds his country's call! Ask the mother what, in dying, sends her yearning spirit back Over life's rough, broken marches, where she's pointed out the track.
Ask the dear ones gathered nightly round the shining household hearth, What to them is dearer, better, than the brightest things of earth, Ask that dearer one whose loving, like a ceaseless vestal flame, Sets my very soul a-glowing at the mention of her name; Ask her why the loved in dying feels her spirit linked with his In a union death but strengthens, she will tell you what it is.
And there's something, Uncle Jared, you may tell her if you will— That the precious flag she gave me, I have kept unsullied still. And—this touch of pride forgive me—where death sought our gallant host— Where our stricken lines were weakest, there it ever waved the most. Bear it back and tell her fondly, brighter, purer, steadier far, 'Mid the crimson tide of battle, shone my life's fast setting star.
But forbear, dear Uncle Jared, when there's something more to tell, When her lips with rapid blanching bid you answer how I fell; Teach your tongue the trick of slighting, though 'tis faithful to the rest, Lest it say her brother's bullet is the bullet in my breast; But if it must be that she learn it despite your tenderest care, 'Twill soothe her bleeding heart to know my bayonet pricked the air.
Life is ebbing, Uncle Jared, my enlistment endeth here; Death, the Conqueror, has drafted—I can no more volunteer,— But I hear the roll call yonder and I go with willing feet— Through the shadows of the valley where victorious armies meet, Raise the ensign, Uncle Jared, let its dear folds o'er me fall— Strength and Union for my country—and God's banner over all.
The Real Riches
Every coin of earthly treasure We have lavished upon earth For our simple worldly pleasure May be reckoned something worth; For the spending was not losing, Tho' the purchase were but small; It has perished with the using. We have had it,—that is all!
All the gold we leave behind us, When we turn to dust again, Tho' our avarice may blind us, We have gathered quite in vain; Since we neither can direct it, By the winds of fortune tost, Nor in other worlds expect it; What we hoarded we have lost.
But each merciful oblation— Seed of pity wisely sown, What we gave in self-negation, We may safely call our own; For the treasure freely given Is the treasure that we hoard, Since the angels keep in heaven, What is lent unto the Lord.
John G. Saxe.
The Polish Boy
Whence come those shrieks so wild and shrill, That cut, like blades of steel, the air, Causing the creeping blood to chill With the sharp cadence of despair?
Again they come, as if a heart Were cleft in twain by one quick blow, And every string had voice apart To utter its peculiar woe.
Whence came they? From yon temple, where An altar, raised for private prayer, Now forms the warrior's marble bed Who Warsaw's gallant armies led.
The dim funereal tapers throw A holy luster o'er his brow, And burnish with their rays of light The mass of curls that gather bright Above the haughty brow and eye Of a young boy that's kneeling by.
What hand is that, whose icy press Clings to the dead with death's own grasp, But meets no answering caress? No thrilling fingers seek its clasp. It is the hand of her whose cry Rang wildly, late, upon the air, When the dead warrior met her eye Outstretched upon the altar there.
With pallid lip and stony brow She murmurs forth her anguish now. But hark! the tramp of heavy feet Is heard along the bloody street; Nearer and nearer yet they come, With clanking arms and noiseless drum. Now whispered curses, low and deep, Around the holy temple creep; The gate is burst; a ruffian band Rush in, and savagely demand, With brutal voice and oath profane, The startled boy for exile's chain.
The mother sprang with gesture wild, And to her bosom clasped her child; Then, with pale cheek and flashing eye, Shouted with fearful energy, "Back, ruffians, back! nor dare to tread Too near the body of my dead; Nor touch the living boy; I stand Between him and your lawless band. Take me, and bind these arms—these hands,— With Russia's heaviest iron bands, And drag me to Siberia's wild To perish, if 'twill save my child!"
"Peace, woman, peace!" the leader cried, Tearing the pale boy from her side, And in his ruffian grasp he bore His victim to the temple door. "One moment!" shrieked the mother; "one! Will land or gold redeem my son? Take heritage, take name, take all, But leave him free from Russian thrall! Take these!" and her white arms and hands She stripped of rings and diamond bands, And tore from braids of long black hair The gems that gleamed like starlight there; Her cross of blazing rubies, last, Down at the Russian's feet she cast. He stooped to seize the glittering store;— Up springing from the marble floor, The mother, with a cry of joy, Snatched to her leaping heart the boy. But no! the Russian's iron grasp Again undid the mother's clasp. Forward she fell, with one long cry Of more than mortal agony.
But the brave child is roused at length, And, breaking from the Russian's hold, He stands, a giant in the strength Of his young spirit, fierce and bold. Proudly he towers; his flashing eye, So blue, and yet so bright, Seems kindled from the eternal sky, So brilliant is its light.
His curling lips and crimson cheeks Foretell the thought before he speaks; With a full voice of proud command He turned upon the wondering band.
"Ye hold me not! no! no, nor can; This hour has made the boy a man. I knelt before my slaughtered sire, Nor felt one throb of vengeful ire. I wept upon his marble brow, Yes, wept! I was a child; but now My noble mother, on her knee, Hath done the work of years for me!"
He drew aside his broidered vest, And there, like slumbering serpent's crest, The jeweled haft of poniard bright Glittered a moment on the sight. "Ha! start ye back? Fool! coward! knave! Think ye my noble father's glaive Would drink the life-blood of a slave? The pearls that on the handle flame Would blush to rubies in their shame; The blade would quiver in thy breast Ashamed of such ignoble rest. No! thus I rend the tyrant's chain, And fling him back a boy's disdain!"
A moment, and the funeral light Flashed on the jeweled weapon bright; Another, and his young heart's blood Leaped to the floor, a crimson flood. Quick to his mother's side he sprang, And on the air his clear voice rang: "Up, mother, up! I'm free! I'm free! The choice was death or slavery. Up, mother, up! Look on thy son! His freedom is forever won; And now he waits one holy kiss To bear his father home in bliss; One last embrace, one blessing,—one! To prove thou knowest, approvest thy son. What! silent yet? Canst thou not feel My warm blood o'er thy heart congeal? Speak, mother, speak! lift up thy head! What! silent still? Then art thou dead: —Great God, I thank thee! Mother, I Rejoice with thee,—and thus—to die." One long, deep breath, and his pale head Lay on his mother's bosom,—dead.
Ann S. Stephens.
The Height of the Ridiculous
I wrote some lines once on a time In wondrous merry mood, And thought, as usual, men would say They were exceeding good.
They were so queer, so very queer, I laughed as I would die; Albeit, in the general way, A sober man am I.
I called my servant, and he came; How kind it was of him To mind a slender man like me, He of the mighty limb!
"These to the printer," I exclaimed, And, in my humorous way, I added (as a trifling jest), "There'll be the devil to pay."
He took the paper, and I watched, And saw him peep within; At the first line he read, his face Was all upon the grin.
He read the next; the grin grew broad, And shot from ear to ear; He read the third; a chuckling noise I now began to hear.
The fourth; he broke into a roar; The fifth; his waistband split; The sixth; he burst five buttons off, And tumbled in a fit.
Ten days and nights, with sleepless eye, I watched that wretched man, And since, I never dare to write As funny as I can.
Oliver Wendell Holmes.
The shades of night were falling fast, As through an Alpine village passed A youth, who bore, 'mid snow and ice, A banner with the strange device, Excelsior!
His brow was sad his eye beneath Flashed like a falchion from its sheath, And like a silver clarion rung The accents of that unknown tongue, Excelsior!
In happy homes he saw the light Of household fires gleam warm and bright; Above, the spectral glaciers shone, And from his lips escaped a groan, Excelsior!
"Try not the Pass!" the old man said; "Dark lowers the tempest overhead, The roaring torrent is deep and wide!" And loud the clarion voice replied, Excelsior!
"O stay," the maiden said, "and rest Thy weary head upon this breast!" A tear stood in his bright blue eye, But still he answered, with a sigh, Excelsior!
"Beware the pine-tree's withered branch! Beware the awful avalanche!" This was the peasant's last Good-night, A voice replied, far up the height, Excelsior!
At break of day, as heavenward The pious monks of Saint Bernard Uttered the oft-repeated prayer, A voice cried through the startled air, Excelsior!
A traveller, by the faithful hound, Half-buried in the snow was found, Still grasping in his hand of ice That banner with the strange device, Excelsior!
There in the twilight cold and gray, Lifeless, but beautiful, he lay, And from the sky, serene and far, A voice fell, like a falling star, Excelsior!
Henry W. Longfellow.
The Bivouac of the Dead
The muffled drum's sad roll has beat The soldier's last tattoo; No more on life's parade shall meet That brave and fallen few. On fame's eternal camping ground Their silent tents are spread, And Glory guards with solemn round The bivouac of the dead.
No rumor of the foe's advance Now swells upon the wind; No troubled thought at midnight haunts Of loved ones left behind; No vision of the morrow's strife The warrior's dream alarms; No braying horn or screaming fife At dawn shall call to arms.
Their shivered swords are red with rust; Their plumed heads are bowed; Their haughty banner, trailed in dust, Is now their martial shroud; And plenteous funeral tears have washed The red stains from each brow; And the proud forms, by battle gashed, Are free from anguish now.
The neighing troop, the flashing blade, The bugle's stirring blast, The charge, the dreadful cannonade, The din and shout are passed. Nor war's wild note, nor glory's peal, Shall thrill with fierce delight Those breasts that nevermore shall feel The rapture of the fight.
Like a fierce northern hurricane That sweeps his great plateau, Flushed with the triumph yet to gain, Came down the serried foe, Who heard the thunder of the fray Break o'er the field beneath, Knew well the watchword of that day Was "Victory or Death!"
Full many a mother's breath hath swept O'er Angostura's plain, And long the pitying sky hath wept Above its moulder'd slain. The raven's scream, or eagle's flight, Or shepherd's pensive lay, Alone now wake each solemn height That frowned o'er that dread fray.
Sons of the "dark and bloody ground," Ye must not slumber there, Where stranger steps and tongues resound Along the heedless air! Your own proud land's heroic soil Shall be your fitter grave; She claims from war its richest spoil,— The ashes of her brave.
Thus 'neath their parent turf they rest, Far from the gory field, Borne to a Spartan mother's breast On many a bloody shield. The sunshine of their native sky Smiles sadly on them here, And kindred eyes and hearts watch by The heroes' sepulcher.
Rest on, embalmed and sainted dead! Dear as the blood ye gave; No impious footsteps here shall tread The herbage of your grave; Nor shall your glory be forgot While fame her record keeps, Or honor points the hallowed spot Where Valor proudly sleeps.
Yon marble minstrel's voiceless stone In deathless song shall tell, When many a vanished year hath flown, The story how ye fell. Nor wreck, nor change, nor winter's blight, Nor time's remorseless doom, Can dim one ray of holy light That gilds your glorious tomb.
Come to me, O ye children! For I hear you at your play, And the questions that perplexed me Have vanished quite away.
Ye open the eastern windows, That look towards the sun, Where thoughts are singing swallows And the brooks of morning run.
In your hearts are the birds and the sunshine, In your thoughts the brooklet's flow But in mine is the wind of Autumn And the first fall of the snow.
Ah! what would the world be to us If the children were no more? We should dread the desert behind us Worse than the dark before.
What the leaves are to the forest, With light and air for food, Ere their sweet and tender juices Have been hardened into wood,—
That to the world are children; Through them it feels the glow Of a brighter and sunnier climate Than reaches the trunks below.
Come to me, O ye children! And whisper in my ear What the birds and the winds are singing In your sunny atmosphere.
For what are all our contrivings, And the wisdom of our books, When compared with your caresses, And the gladness of your looks?
Ye are better than all the ballads That ever were sung or said; For ye are living poems, And all the rest are dead.
Henry W. Longfellow.
The Eve of Waterloo
(The battle of Waterloo occurred June 18, 1815)
There was a sound of revelry by night, And Belgium's capital had gathered then Her beauty and her chivalry, and bright The lamps shone o'er fair women and brave men. A thousand hearts beat happily; and when Music arose with its voluptuous swell, Soft eyes looked love to eyes which spake again, And all went merry as a marriage bell; But hush! hark! a deep sound strikes like a rising knell.
Did ye not hear it?—No; 'twas but the wind, Or the car rattling o'er the stony street: On with the dance! let joy be unconfined; No sleep till morn, when youth and pleasure meet To chase the glowing hours with flying feet— But, hark!—that heavy sound breaks in once more, As if the clouds its echo would repeat And nearer, clearer, deadlier than before! Arm! arm! it is—it is the cannon's opening roar.
Ah! then and there was hurrying to and fro, And gathering tears, and tremblings of distress, And cheeks all pale, which but an hour ago Blush'd at the praise of their own loveliness; And there were sudden partings, such as press The life from out young hearts, and choking sighs Which ne'er might be repeated: who could guess If ever more should meet those mutual eyes, Since upon night so sweet such awful morn could rise!
And there was mounting in hot haste: the steed, The mustering squadron, and the clattering car Went pouring forward with impetuous speed, And swiftly forming in the ranks of war; And the deep thunder, peal on peal afar; And near, the beat of the alarming drum Roused up the soldier ere the morning star; While thronged the citizens with terror dumb, Or whispering with white lips, "The foe! they come! they come!"
Last noon beheld them full of lusty life, Last eve in Beauty's circle proudly gay, The midnight brought the signal sound of strife, The morn the marshaling in arms,—the day Battle's magnificently stern array! The thunder clouds close o'er it, which when rent The earth is covered thick with other clay, Which her own clay shall cover, heaped and pent, Rider and horse—friend, foe—in one red burial blent.
The Land Where Hate Should Die
This is the land where hate should die— No feuds of faith, no spleen of race, No darkly brooding fear should try Beneath our flag to find a place. Lo! every people here has sent Its sons to answer freedom's call, Their lifeblood is the strong cement That builds and binds the nation's wall.
This is the land where hate should die— Though dear to me my faith and shrine, I serve my country when I Respect the creeds that are not mine. He little loves his land who'd cast Upon his neighbor's word a doubt, Or cite the wrongs of ages past From present rights to bar him out.
This is the land where hate should die— This is the land where strife should cease, Where foul, suspicious fear should fly Before the light of love and peace. Then let us purge from poisoned thought That service to the state we give, And so be worthy as we ought Of this great land in which we live.
Denis A. McCarthy.
Trouble In the "Amen Corner"
'Twas a stylish congregation, that of Theophrastus Brown, And its organ was the finest and the biggest in the town, And the chorus—all the papers favorably commented on it, For 'twas said each female member had a forty-dollar bonnet.
Now in the "amen corner" of the church sat Brother Eyer, Who persisted every Sabbath-day in singing with the choir; He was poor but genteel-looking, and his heart as snow was white, And his old face beamed with sweetness when he sang with all his might.
His voice was cracked and broken, age had touched his vocal chords, And nearly every Sunday he would mispronounce the words Of the hymns, and 'twas no wonder, he was old and nearly blind, And the choir rattling onward always left him far behind.
The chorus stormed and blustered, Brother Eyer sang too slow, And then he used the tunes in vogue a hundred years ago; At last the storm-cloud burst, and the church was told, in fine, That the brother must stop singing, or the choir would resign.
Then the pastor called together in the vestry-room one day Seven influential members who subscribe more than they pay, And having asked God's guidance in a printed pray'r or two, They put their heads together to determine what to do.
They debated, thought, suggested, till at last "dear Brother York," Who last winter made a million on a sudden rise in pork, Rose and moved that a committee wait at once on Brother Eyer, And proceed to rake him lively "for disturbin' of the choir."
Said he: "In that 'ere organ I've invested quite a pile, And we'll sell it if we cannot worship in the latest style; Our Philadelphy tenor tells me 'tis the hardest thing Fer to make God understand him when the brother tries to sing.
"We've got the biggest organ, the best-dressed choir in town, We pay the steepest sal'ry to our pastor, Brother Brown; But if we must humor ignorance because it's blind and old— If the choir's to be pestered, I will seek another fold."
Of course the motion carried, and one day a coach and four, With the latest style of driver, rattled up to Eyer's door; And the sleek, well-dress'd committee, Brothers Sharkey, York and Lamb, As they crossed the humble portal took good care to miss the jamb.
They found the choir's great trouble sitting in his old arm chair, And the Summer's golden sunbeams lay upon his thin white hair; He was singing "Rock of Ages" in a cracked voice and low But the angels understood him, 'twas all he cared to know.
Said York: "We're here, dear brother, with the vestry's approbation To discuss a little matter that affects the congregation"; "And the choir, too," said Sharkey, giving Brother York a nudge, "And the choir, too!" he echoed with the graveness of a judge.
"It was the understanding when we bargained for the chorus That it was to relieve us, that is, do the singing for us; If we rupture the agreement, it is very plain, dear brother, It will leave our congregation and be gobbled by another.
"We don't want any singing except that what we've bought! The latest tunes are all the rage; the old ones stand for naught; And so we have decided—are you list'ning, Brother Eyer?— That you'll have to stop your singin' for it flurrytates the choir."
The old man slowly raised his head, a sign that he did hear, And on his cheek the trio caught the glitter of a tear; His feeble hands pushed back the locks white as the silky snow, As he answered the committee in a voice both sweet and low:
"I've sung the psalms of David nearly eighty years," said he; "They've been my staff and comfort all along life's dreary way; I'm sorry I disturb the choir, perhaps I'm doing wrong; But when my heart is filled with praise, I can't keep back a song.
"I wonder if beyond the tide that's breaking at my feet, In the far-off heav'nly temple, where the Master I shall greet— Yes, I wonder when I try to sing the songs of God up high'r, If the angel band will church me for disturbing heaven's choir."
A silence filled the little room; the old man bowed his head; The carriage rattled on again, but Brother Eyer was dead! Yes, dead! his hand had raised the veil the future hangs before us, And the Master dear had called him to the everlasting chorus.
The choir missed him for a while, but he was soon forgot, A few church-goers watched the door; the old man entered not. Far away, his voice no longer cracked, he sang his heart's desires, Where there are no church committees and no fashionable choirs!
The sweetest lives are those to duty wed, Whose deeds, both great and small, Are close knit strands of an unbroken thread, Whose love ennobles all. The world may sound no trumpet, ring no bells; The book of life, the shining record tells. Thy love shall chant its own beatitudes, After its own life-working. A child's kiss Set on thy singing lips shall make thee glad; A poor man served by thee shall make thee rich; A sick man helped by thee shall make thee strong; Thou shalt be served thyself by every sense Of service thou renderest.
The Last Leaf
I saw him once before, As he passed by the door, And again The pavement stones resound, As he totters o'er the ground With his cane.
They say that in his prime, Ere the pruning-knife of Time Cut him down, Not a better man was found By the Crier on his round Through the town.
But now he walks the streets, And he looks at all he meets Sad and wan, And he shakes his feeble head, That it seems as if he said "They are gone."
The mossy marbles rest On the lips that he has prest In their bloom, And the names he loved to hear Have been carved for many a year On the tomb.
My grandmamma has said,— Poor old lady, she is dead Long ago,— That he had a Roman nose, And his cheek was like a rose In the snow.
But now his nose is thin, And it rests upon his chin. Like a staff, And a crook is in his back, And a melancholy crack In his laugh.
I know it is a sin For me to sit and grin At him here; But the old three-cornered hat, And the breeches, and all that, Are so queer!
And if I should live to be The last leaf upon the tree In the spring, Let them smile, as I do now, At the old forsaken bough Where I cling.
Oliver Wendell Holmes.
Old Flag Forever
She's up there—Old Glory—where lightnings are sped; She dazzles the nations with ripples of red; And she'll wave for us living, or droop o'er us dead,— The flag of our country forever!
She's up there—Old Glory—how bright the stars stream! And the stripes like red signals of liberty gleam! And we dare for her, living, or dream the last dream, 'Neath the flag of our country forever!
She's up there—Old Glory—no tyrant-dealt scars, No blur on her brightness, no stain on her stars! The brave blood of heroes hath crimsoned her bars. She's the flag of our country forever!
Frank L. Stanton.
The Death of the Flowers
The melancholy days are come, the saddest of the year, Of wailing winds, and naked woods, and meadows brown and sear. Heaped in the hollows of the grove, the withered leaves lie dead; They rustle to the eddying gust, and to the rabbit's tread. The robin and the wren are flown, and from the shrub the jay, And from the wood-top calls the crow, through all the gloomy day.
Where are the flowers, the fair young flowers, that lately sprang and stood In brighter light and softer airs, a beauteous sisterhood? Alas! they all are in their graves; the gentle race of flowers Are lying in their lowly beds, with the fair and good of ours. The rain is falling where they lie; but the cold November rain Calls not from out the gloomy earth the lovely ones again.
The wind-flower and the violet, they perished long ago, And the brier-rose and the orchis died amid the summer glow; But on the hill the golden-rod, and the aster in the wood, And the yellow sun-flower by the brook, in autumn beauty stood, Till fell the frost from the clear cold heaven, as falls the plague on men, And the brightness of their smile was gone from upland, glade and glen.
And now, when comes the calm, mild day, as still such days will come, To call the squirrel and the bee from out their winter home, When the sound of dropping nuts is heard, though all the trees are still, And twinkle in the smoky light the waters of the rill, The south wind searches for the flowers, whose fragrance late he bore, And sighs to find them in the wood and by the stream no more.
And then I think of one who in her youthful beauty died, The fair, meek blossom that grew up and faded by my side, In the cold, moist earth we laid her when the forest cast the leaf, And we wept that one so lovely should have a life so brief; Yet not unmeet it was that one, like that young friend of ours, So gentle and so beautiful, should perish with the flowers.
The rich man's son inherits lands, And piles of brick, and stone, and gold, And he inherits soft white hands, And tender flesh that fears the cold, Nor dares to wear a garment old; A heritage, it seems to me, One scarce would wish to hold in fee.
The rich man's son inherits cares; The bank may break, the factory burn, A breath may burst his bubble shares, And soft white hands could hardly earn A living that would serve his turn; A heritage, it seems to me, One scarce would wish to hold in fee.
The rich man's son inherits wants, His stomach craves for dainty fare; With sated heart, he hears the pants Of toiling hinds with brown arms bare, And wearies in his easy-chair; A heritage, it seems to me, One scarce would wish to hold in fee.
What doth the poor man's son inherit? Stout muscles and a sinewy heart, A hardy frame, a hardier spirit; King of two hands, he does his part In every useful toil and art; A heritage, it seems to me, A king might wish to hold in fee.
What doth the poor man's son inherit? Wishes o'erjoyed with humble things, A rank, adjudged by toil-won merit, Content that from employment springs, A heart that in his labor sings; A heritage, it seems to me, A king might wish to hold in fee.
What doth the poor man's son inherit? A patience learned of being poor, Courage, if sorrow come, to bear it, A fellow-feeling that is sure To make the outcast bless his door; A heritage, it seems to me, A king might wish to hold in fee.
O rich man's son! there is a toil That with all others level stands; Large charity doth never soil, But only whiten, soft white hands,— This is the best crop from thy lands; A heritage it seems to me, Worth being rich to hold in fee.
O poor man's son! scorn not thy state; There is worse weariness than thine, In merely being rich and great; Toil only gives the soul to shine And makes rest fragrant and benign; A heritage, it seems to me, Worth being poor to hold in fee.
Both heirs to some six feet of sod, Are equal in the earth at last; Both, children of the same dear God, Prove title to your heirship vast By record of a well-filled past; A heritage, it seems to me, Well worth a life to hold in fee.
James Russell Lowell.
The Ballad of East and West
Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet, Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat; But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth, When two strong men stand face to face, tho' they come from the ends of the earth!
Kamal is out with twenty men to raise the Border side, And he has lifted the Colonel's mare that is the Colonel's pride: He has lifted her out of the stable-door between the dawn and the day, And turned the calkins upon her feet, and ridden her far away. Then up and spoke the Colonel's son that led a troop of the Guides: "Is there never a man of all my men can say where Kamal hides?" Then up and spoke Mahommed Khan, the son of the Ressaldar, "If ye know the track of the morning-mist, ye know where his pickets are. At dust he harries the Abazai—at dawn he is into Bonair, But he must go by Fort Bukloh to his own place to fare, So if ye gallop to Fort Bukloh as fast as a bird can fly, By the favor of God ye may cut him off ere he win to the Tongue of Jagai, But if he be passed the Tongue of Jagai, right swiftly turn ye then, For the length and the breadth of that grisly plain is sown with Kamal's men. There is rock to the left, and rock to the right, and low lean thorn between, And ye may hear a breech-bolt snick where never a man is seen." The Colonel's son has taken a horse, and a raw rough dun was he, With the mouth of a bell and the heart of Hell, and the head of the gallows-tree. The Colonel's son to the Fort has won, they bid him stay to eat— Who rides at the tail of a Border thief, he sits not long at his meat. He's up and away from Fort Bukloh as fast as he can fly, Till he was aware of his father's mare in the gut of the Tongue of Jagai, Till he was aware of his father's mare with Kamal upon her back, And when he could spy the white of her eye, he made the pistol crack. He has fired once, he has fired twice, but the whistling ball went wide. "Ye shoot like a soldier," Kamal said. "Show now if ye can ride." It's up and over the Tongue of Jagai, as blown dust-devils go, The dun he fled like a stag of ten, but the mare like a barren doe. The dun he leaned against the bit and slugged his head above, But the red mare played with the snaffle-bars, as a maiden plays with a glove. There was rock to the left and rock to the right, and low lean thorn between, And thrice he heard a breech-bolt snick tho' never a man was seen. They have ridden the low moon out of the sky, their hoofs drum up the dawn, The dun he went like a wounded bull, but the mare like a new-roused fawn. The dun he fell at a water-course—in a woful heap fell he, And Kamal has turned the red mare back, and pulled the rider free. He has knocked the pistol out of his hand—small room was there to strive, "'Twas only by favor of mine," quoth he, "ye rode so long alive: There was not a rock of twenty mile, there was not a clump of tree, But covered a man of my own men with his rifle cocked on his knee. If I had raised my bridle-hand, as I have held it low, The little jackals that flee so fast, were feasting all in a row: If I had bowed my head on my breast, as I have held it high, The kite that whistles above us now were gorged till she could not fly." Lightly answered the Colonel's son: "Do good to bird and beast, But count who come for the broken meats before thou makest a feast. If there should follow a thousand swords to carry my bones away, Belike the price of a jackal's meal were more than a thief could pay. They will feed their horse on the standing crop, their men on the garnered grain, The thatch of the byres will serve their fires when all the cattle are slain. But if thou thinkest the price be fair,—thy brethren wait to sup. The hound is kin to the jackal-spawn, howl, dog, and call them up! And if thou thinkest the price be high, in steer and gear and stack, Give me my father's mare again, and I'll fight my own way back!" Kamal has gripped him by the hand and set him upon his feet. "No talk shall be of dogs," said he, "when wolf and gray wolf meet. May I eat dirt if thou hast hurt of me in deed or breath; What dam of lances brought thee forth to jest at the dawn with Death?" Lightly answered the Colonel's son: "I hold by the blood of my clan: Take up the mare of my father's gift—by God, she has carried a man!" The red mare ran to the Colonel's son, and nuzzled against his breast, "We be two strong men," said Kamal then, "but she loveth the younger best. So she shall go with a lifter's dower, my turquoise-studded rein, My broidered saddle and saddle-cloth, and silver stirrups twain." The Colonel's son a pistol drew and held it muzzle-end, "Ye have taken the one from a foe," said he; "will ye take the mate from a friend?" "A gift for a gift," said Kamal straight; "a limb for the risk of a limb. Thy father has sent his son to me, I'll send my son to him!" With that he whistled his only son, that dropped from a mountain-crest— He trod the ling like a buck in spring, and he looked like a lance in rest. "Now here is thy master," Kamal said, "who leads a troop of the Guides, And thou must ride at his left side as shield on shoulder rides. Till Death or I cut loose the tie, at camp and board and bed, Thy life is his—thy fate is to guard him with thy head. So thou must eat the White Queen's meat, and all her foes are thine, And thou must harry thy father's hold for the peace of the Border-line, And thou must make a trooper tough and hack thy way to power— Belike they will raise thee to Ressaldar when I am hanged in Peshawur." They have looked each other between the eyes, and there they found no fault, They have taken the Oath of the Brother-in-Blood on leavened bread and salt: They have taken the Oath of the Brother-in-Blood on fire and fresh-cut sod, On the hilt and the haft of the Khyber knife, and the wondrous Names of God. The Colonel's son he rides the mare and Kamal's boy the dun, And two have come back to Fort Bukloh where there went forth but one. And when they drew to the Quarter-Guard, full twenty swords flew clear— There was not a man but carried his feud with the blood of the mountaineer. "Ha' done! ha' done!" said the Colonel's son. "Put up the steel at your sides! Last night ye had struck at a Border thief—to-night 'tis a man of the Guides!"
Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the two shall meet, Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat; But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth, When two strong men stand face to face, tho' they come from the ends of the earth.
It was many and many a year ago, In a kingdom by the sea, That a maiden there lived whom you may know By the name of Annabel Lee; And this maiden she lived with no other thought Than to love and be loved by me.
I was a child, and she was a child, In this kingdom by the sea, But we loved with a love that was more than love, I and my Annabel Lee; With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven Coveted her and me.
And this was the reason that, long ago, In this kingdom by the sea, A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling My beautiful Annabel Lee; So that her highborn kinsmen came And bore her away from me, To shut her up in a sepulchre In this kingdom by the sea.
The angels, not half so happy in heaven, Went envying her and me; Yes! that was the reason (as all men know, In this kingdom by the sea) That the wind came out of the cloud by night, Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.
But our love it was stronger by far than the love Of those who were older than we, Of many far wiser than we; And neither the angels in heaven above, Nor the demons down under the sea, Can ever dissever my soul from the soul Of the beautiful Annabel Lee:
For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams Of the beautiful Annabel Lee; And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes Of the beautiful Annabel Lee: And so all the night-tide, I lie down by the side Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride, In her sepulchre there by the sea, In her tomb by the sounding sea.
Edgar Allan Poe.
There fell an April shower, one night: Next morning, in the garden-bed, The crocuses stood straight and gold: "And they have come," the children said.
There fell an April shower, one night: Next morning, thro' the woodland spread The Mayflowers, pink and sweet as youth: "And they are come," the children said.
There fell an April shower, one night: Next morning, sweetly, overhead, The blue-birds sung, the blue-birds sung: "And they have come," the children said.
Mary E. Wilkins.
The Voice of Spring
I come, I come! ye have called me long; I come o'er the mountains, with light and song; Ye may trace my step o'er the waking earth By the winds which tell of the violet's birth, By the primrose stars in the shadowy grass, By the green leaves opening as I pass.
I have breathed on the South, and the chestnut flowers By thousands have burst from the forest bowers, And the ancient graves and the fallen fanes Are veiled with wreaths as Italian plains; But it is not for me, in my hour of bloom, To speak of the ruin or the tomb!
I have looked o'er the hills of the stormy North, And the larch has hung all his tassels forth; The fisher is out on the sunny sea, And the reindeer bounds o'er the pastures free, And the pine has a fringe of softer green, And the moss looks bright, where my step has been.
I have sent through the wood-paths a glowing sigh, And called out each voice of the deep blue sky, From the night-bird's lay through the starry time, In the groves of the soft Hesperian clime, To the swan's wild note by the Iceland lakes, When the dark fir-branch into verdure breaks.
From the streams and founts I have loosed the chain; They are sweeping on to the silvery main, They are flashing down from the mountain brows, They are flinging spray o'er the forest boughs, They are bursting fresh from their sparry caves, And the earth resounds with the joy of waves.
Felicia D. Hemans.
Has there any old fellow got mixed with the boys? If there has take him out, without making a noise. Hang the Almanac's cheat and the Catalogue's spite! Old Time is a liar! We're twenty tonight!
We're twenty! We're twenty! Who says we are more? He's tipsy—young jackanapes!—show him the door! "Gray temples at twenty?"—Yes! white if we please; Where the snowflakes fall thickest there's nothing can freeze!
Was it snowing I spoke of? Excuse the mistake! Look close—you will see not a sign of a flake! We want some new garlands for those we have shed, And these are white roses in place of the red.
We've a trick, we young fellows, you may have been told. Of talking (in public) as if we were old; That boy we call "Doctor," and this we call "Judge"; It's a neat little fiction—of course it's all fudge.
That fellow's the "Speaker"—the one on the right; "Mr. Mayor," my young one, how are you to-night? That's our "Member of Congress," we say when we chaff; There's the "Reverend" What's-his-name?—don't make me laugh.
That boy with the grave mathematical look Made believe he had written a wonderful book, And the ROYAL SOCIETY thought it was true! So they chose him right in; a good joke it was, too!
There's a boy, we pretend, with a three-decker brain, That could harness a team with a logical chain; When he spoke for our manhood in syllabled fire, We called him "The Justice," but now he's "The Squire."
And there's a nice youngster of excellent pith: Fate tried to conceal him by naming him Smith; But he shouted a song for the brave and the free— Just read on his medal, "My country," "of thee!"
You hear that boy laughing? You think he's all fun; But the angels laugh, too, at the good he has done. The children laugh loud as they troop to his call, And the poor man that knows him laughs loudest of all!
Yes, we're boys—always playing with tongue or with pen; And I sometimes have asked, Shall we ever be men? Shall we always be youthful and laughing and gay, Till the last dear companion drops smiling away?
Then here's to our boyhood, its gold and its gray! The stars of its winter, the dews of its May! And when we have done with our life-lasting toys, Dear Father, take care of Thy children, THE BOYS!
Oliver Wendell Holmes.
The Rainy Day
The day is cold, and dark, and dreary; It rains, and the wind is never weary; The vine still clings to the mouldering wall, But at every gust the dead leaves fall, And the day is dark and dreary.
My life is cold, and dark, and dreary; It rains, and the wind is never weary; My thoughts still cling to the mouldering past, But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast, And the days are dark and dreary.
Be still, sad heart! and cease repining; Behind the clouds is the sun still shining; Thy fate is the common fate of all, Into each life some rain must fall, Some days must be dark and dreary.
Let Me Walk With the Men in the Road
'Tis only a half truth the poet has sung Of the "house by the side of the way"; Our Master had neither a house nor a home, But He walked with the crowd day by day. And I think, when I read of the poet's desire, That a house by the road would be good; But service is found in its tenderest form When we walk with the crowd in the road.
So I say, let me walk with the men in the road, Let me seek out the burdens that crush, Let me speak a kind word of good cheer to the weak Who are falling behind in the rush. There are wounds to be healed, there are breaks we must mend, There's a cup of cold water to give; And the man in the road by the side of his friend Is the man who has learned to live.
Then tell me no more of the house by the road. There is only one place I can live— It's there with the men who are toiling along, Who are needing the cheer I can give. It is pleasant to live in the house by the way And be a friend, as the poet has said; But the Master is bidding us, "Bear ye their load, For your rest waiteth yonder ahead."
I could not remain in the house by the road And watch as the toilers go on, Their faces beclouded with pain and with sin, So burdened, their strength nearly gone. I'll go to their side, I'll speak in good cheer, I'll help them to carry their load; And I'll smile at the man in the house by the way, As I walk with the crowd in the road.
Out there in the road that goes by the house, Where the poet is singing his song, I'll walk and I'll work midst the heat of the day, And I'll help falling brothers along— Too busy to live in the house by the way, Too happy for such an abode. And my heart sings its praise to the Master of all, Who is helping me serve in the road.
Walter J. Gresham.
If We Understood
Could we but draw back the curtains That surround each other's lives, See the naked heart and spirit, Know what spur the action gives, Often we should find it better, Purer than we judged we should, We should love each other better, If we only understood.
Could we judge all deeds by motives, See the good and bad within, Often we should love the sinner All the while we loathe the sin; Could we know the powers working To o'erthrow integrity, We should judge each other's errors With more patient charity.
If we knew the cares and trials, Knew the effort all in vain, And the bitter disappointment, Understood the loss and gain— Would the grim, eternal roughness Seem—I wonder—just the same? Should we help where now we hinder, Should we pity where we blame?
Ah! we judge each other harshly, Knowing not life's hidden force; Knowing not the fount of action Is less turbid at its source; Seeing not amid the evil All the golden grains of good; Oh! we'd love each other better, If we only understood.
A Laugh in Church
She sat on the sliding cushion, The dear, wee woman of four; Her feet, in their shiny slippers, Hung dangling over the floor. She meant to be good; she had promised, And so, with her big, brown eyes, She stared at the meeting-house windows And counted the crawling flies.
She looked far up at the preacher, But she thought of the honey bees Droning away at the blossoms That whitened the cherry trees. She thought of a broken basket, Where, curled in a dusky heap, Three sleek, round puppies, with fringy ears Lay snuggled and fast asleep.
Such soft warm bodies to cuddle, Such queer little hearts to beat, Such swift, round tongues to kiss, Such sprawling, cushiony feet; She could feel in her clasping fingers The touch of a satiny skin And a cold wet nose exploring The dimples under her chin.
Then a sudden ripple of laughter Ran over the parted lips So quick that she could not catch it With her rosy finger-tips. The people whispered, "Bless the child," As each one waked from a nap, But the dear, wee woman hid her face For shame in her mother's lap.
"One, Two, Three!"
It was an old, old, old, old lady, And a boy that was half past three; And the way that they played together Was beautiful to see.
She couldn't go running and jumping, And the boy, no more could he; For he was a thin little fellow, With a thin little twisted knee,
They sat in the yellow sunlight, Out under the maple-tree; And the game that they played I'll tell you, Just as it was told to me.
It was Hide-and-Go-Seek they were playing, Though you'd never have known it to be— With an old, old, old, old lady, And a boy with a twisted knee.
The boy would bend his face down On his one little sound right knee, And he'd guess where she was hiding, In guesses One, Two, Three!
"You are in the china-closet!" He would cry, and laugh with glee— It wasn't the china-closet; But he still had Two and Three.
"You are up in Papa's big bedroom, In the chest with the queer old key!" And she said: "You are warm and warmer; But you're not quite right," said she.
"It can't be the little cupboard Where Mamma's things used to be— So it must be the clothes-press, Gran'ma!" And he found her with his Three.
Then she covered her face with her fingers, That were wrinkled and white and wee, And she guessed where the boy was hiding, With a One and a Two and a Three.
And they never had stirred from their places, Right under the maple-tree— This old, old, old, old lady, And the boy with the lame little knee— This dear, dear, dear old lady, And the boy who was half past three.
Henry Cuyler Bunner.
They said, "The Master is coming To honor the town to-day, And none can tell at what house or home The Master will choose to stay." And I thought while my heart beat wildly, What if He should come to mine, How would I strive to entertain And honor the Guest Divine!
And straight I turned to toiling To make my house more neat; I swept, and polished, and garnished. And decked it with blossoms sweet. I was troubled for fear the Master Might come ere my work was done, And I hasted and worked the faster, And watched the hurrying sun.
But right in the midst of my duties A woman came to my door; She had come to tell me her sorrows And my comfort and aid to implore, And I said, "I cannot listen Nor help you any, to-day; I have greater things to attend to." And the pleader turned away.
But soon there came another— A cripple, thin, pale and gray— And said, "Oh, let me stop and rest A while in your house, I pray! I have traveled far since morning, I am hungry, and faint, and weak; My heart is full of misery, And comfort and help I seek."
And I cried, "I am grieved and sorry, But I cannot help you to-day. I look for a great and noble Guest," And the cripple went away; And the day wore onward swiftly— And my task was nearly done, And a prayer was ever in my heart That the Master to me might come.
And I thought I would spring to meet Him, And serve him with utmost care, When a little child stood by me With a face so sweet and fair— Sweet, but with marks of teardrops— And his clothes were tattered and old; A finger was bruised and bleeding, And his little bare feet were cold.
And I said, "I'm sorry for you— You are sorely in need of care; But I cannot stop to give it, You must hasten otherwhere." And at the words, a shadow Swept o'er his blue-veined brow,— "Someone will feed and clothe you, dear, But I am too busy now."
At last the day was ended, And my toil was over and done; My house was swept and garnished— And I watched in the dark—alone. Watched—but no footfall sounded, No one paused at my gate; No one entered my cottage door; I could only pray—and wait.
I waited till night had deepened, And the Master had not come. "He has entered some other door," I said, "And gladdened some other home!" My labor had been for nothing, And I bowed my head and I wept, My heart was sore with longing— Yet—in spite of it all—I slept.
Then the Master stood before me, And his face was grave and fair; "Three times to-day I came to your door, And craved your pity and care; Three times you sent me onward, Unhelped and uncomforted; And the blessing you might have had was lost, And your chance to serve has fled."
"O Lord, dear Lord, forgive me! How could I know it was Thee?" My very soul was shamed and bowed In the depths of humility. And He said, "The sin is pardoned, But the blessing is lost to thee; For comforting not the least of Mine You have failed to comfort Me."
Emma A. Lent.
The Land of Beginning Again
I wish there were some wonderful place Called the Land of Beginning Again, Where all our mistakes and all our heartaches, And all our poor, selfish griefs Could be dropped, like a shabby old coat, at the door, And never put on again.
I wish we could come on it all unaware, Like the hunter who finds a lost trail; And I wish that the one whom our blindness had done The greatest injustice of all Could be at the gate like the old friend that waits For the comrade he's gladdest to hail.
We would find the things we intended to do, But forgot and remembered too late— Little praises unspoken, little promises broken, And all of the thousand and one Little duties neglected that might have perfected The days of one less fortunate.
It wouldn't be possible not to be kind. In the Land of Beginning Again; And the ones we misjudged and the ones whom we grudged Their moments of victory here, Would find the grasp of our loving handclasp More than penitent lips could explain.
For what had been hardest we'd know had been best, And what had seemed loss would be gain, For there isn't a sting that will not take wing When we've faced it and laughed it away; And I think that the laughter is most what we're after, In the Land of Beginning Again.
So I wish that there were some wonderful place Called the Land of Beginning Again, Where all our mistakes and all our heartaches, And all our poor, selfish griefs Could be dropped, like a ragged old coat, at the door, And never put on again.
Louisa Fletcher Tarkington.
Poor Little Joe
Prop yer eyes wide open, Joey, Fur I've brought you sumpin' great. Apples? No, a derned sight better! Don't you take no int'rest? Wait! Flowers, Joe—I know'd you'd like 'em— Ain't them scrumptious? Ain't them high? Tears, my boy? Wot's them fur, Joey? There—poor little Joe—don't cry!
I was skippin' past a winder W'ere a bang-up lady sot, All amongst a lot of bushes— Each one climbin' from a pot; Every bush had flowers on it— Pretty? Mebbe not! Oh, no! Wish you could 'a seen 'em growin', It was such a stunnin' show.
Well, I thought of you, poor feller, Lyin' here so sick and weak, Never knowin' any comfort, And I puts on lots o' cheek. "Missus," says I, "if you please, mum, Could I ax you for a rose? For my little brother, missus— Never seed one, I suppose."
Then I told her all about you— How I bringed you up—poor Joe! (Lackin' women folks to do it) Sich a imp you was, you know— Till you got that awful tumble, Jist as I had broke yer in (Hard work, too), to earn your livin' Blackin' boots for honest tin.
How that tumble crippled of you, So's you couldn't hyper much— Joe, it hurted when I seen you Fur the first time with yer crutch. "But," I says, "he's laid up now, mum, 'Pears to weaken every day"; Joe, she up and went to cuttin'— That's the how of this bokay.
Say! it seems to me, ole feller, You is quite yourself to-night— Kind o' chirk—it's been a fortnit Sense yer eyes has been so bright. Better? Well, I'm glad to hear it! Yes, they're mighty pretty, Joe. Smellin' of 'em's made you happy? Well, I thought it would, you know.
Never see the country, did you? Flowers growin' everywhere! Some time when you're better, Joey, Mebbe I kin take you there. Flowers in heaven? 'M—I s'pose so; Dunno much about it, though; Ain't as fly as wot I might be On them topics, little Joe.
But I've heerd it hinted somewheres That in heaven's golden gates Things is everlastin' cheerful— B'lieve that's what the Bible states. Likewise, there folks don't git hungry: So good people, w'en they dies, Finds themselves well fixed forever— Joe my boy, wot ails yer eyes?
Thought they looked a little sing'ler. Oh, no! Don't you have no fear; Heaven was made fur such as you is— Joe, wot makes you look so queer? Here—wake up! Oh, don't look that way! Joe! My boy! Hold up yer head! Here's yer flowers—you dropped em, Joey. Oh, my God, can Joe be dead?
David L. Proudfit (Peleg Arkwright).
The Ladder of St. Augustine
Saint Augustine! well hast thou said, That of our vices we can frame A ladder, if we will but tread Beneath our feet each deed of shame!
All common things, each day's events, That with the hour begin and end, Our pleasures and our discontents, Are rounds by which we may ascend.
The low desire, the base design, That makes another's virtues less; The revel of the ruddy wine, And all occasions of excess;
The longing for ignoble things; The strife for triumph more than truth; The hardening of the heart, that brings Irreverence for the dreams of youth;
All thoughts of ill; all evil deeds, That have their root in thoughts of ill; Whatever hinders or impedes The action of the nobler will;—
All these must first be trampled down Beneath our feet, if we would gain In the bright fields of fair renown The right of eminent domain.
We have not wings, we cannot soar; But we have feet to scale and climb By slow degrees, by more and more, The cloudy summits of our time.
The mighty pyramids of stone That wedge-like cleave the desert airs, When nearer seen, and better known, Are but gigantic flights of stairs,
The distant mountains, that uprear Their solid bastions to the skies, Are crossed by pathways, that appear As we to higher levels rise.
The heights by great men reached and kept Were not attained by sudden flight. But they, while their companions slept, Were toiling upward in the night.
Standing on what too long we bore With shoulders bent and downcast eyes, We may discern—unseen before— A path to higher destinies.
Nor deem the irrevocable Past As wholly wasted, wholly vain, If, rising on its wrecks, at last To something nobler we attain.
Loss and Gain
When I compare What I have lost with what I have gained, What I have missed with what attained, Little room do I find for pride.
I am aware How many days have been idly spent; How like an arrow the good intent Has fallen short or been turned aside.
But who shall dare To measure loss and gain in this wise? Defeat may be victory in disguise; The lowest ebb in the turn of the tide.
John Thompson's Daughter
(A Parody on "Lord Ullin's Daughter")
A fellow near Kentucky's clime Cries, "Boatman, do not tarry, And I'll give thee a silver dime To row us o'er the ferry."
"Now, who would cross the Ohio, This dark and stormy water?" "Oh, I am this young lady's beau, And she John Thompson's daughter.
"We've fled before her father's spite With great precipitation, And should he find us here to-night, I'd lose my reputation.
"They've missed the girl and purse beside, His horsemen hard have pressed me. And who will cheer my bonny bride, If yet they shall arrest me?"
Out spoke the boatman then in time, "You shall not fail, don't fear it; I'll go not for your silver dime, But—for your manly spirit.
"And by my word, the bonny bird In danger shall not tarry; For though a storm is coming on, I'll row you o'er the ferry."
By this the wind more fiercely rose, The boat was at the landing, And with the drenching rain their clothes Grew wet where they were standing.
But still, as wilder rose the wind, And as the night grew drearer, Just back a piece came the police, Their tramping sounded nearer.
"Oh, haste thee, haste!" the lady cries, "It's anything but funny; I'll leave the light of loving eyes, But not my father's money!"
And still they hurried in the race Of wind and rain unsparing; John Thompson reached the landing-place, His wrath was turned to swearing.
For by the lightning's angry flash, His child he did discover; One lovely hand held all the cash, And one was round her lover!
"Come back, come back," he cried in woe, Across the stormy water; "But leave the purse, and you may go, My daughter, oh, my daughter!"
'Twas vain; they reached the other shore, (Such dooms the Fates assign us), The gold he piled went with his child, And he was left there, minus.
My grandfather's clock was too tall for the shelf, So it stood ninety years on the floor; It was taller by half than the old man himself, Though it weighed not a pennyweight more. It was bought on the morn of the day that he was born, And was always his treasure and pride, But it stopped short ne'er to go again When the old man died.
In watching its pendulum swing to and fro, Many hours had he spent while a boy; And in childhood and manhood the clock seemed to know And to share both his grief and his joy, For it struck twenty-four when he entered at the door, With a blooming and beautiful bride, But it stopped short never to go again When the old man died.
My grandfather said that of those he could hire, Not a servant so faithful he found, For it wasted no time and had but one desire, At the close of each week to be wound. And it kept in its place, not a frown upon its face, And its hands never hung by its side. But it stopped short never to go again When the old man died.
Henry C. Work.
A Cradle Hymn
Hush! my dear, lie still and slumber, Holy angels guard thy bed! Heavenly blessings without number Gently falling on thy head.
Sleep, my babe; thy food and raiment, House and home, thy friends provide; All without thy care or payment: All thy wants are well supplied.
How much better thou'rt attended Than the Son of God could be, When from heaven He descended And became a child like thee!
Soft and easy is thy cradle: Coarse and hard thy Saviour lay, When His birthplace was a stable And His softest bed was hay.
Blessed babe! what glorious features— Spotless fair, divinely bright! Must He dwell with brutal creatures? How could angels bear the sight?
Was there nothing but a manger Cursed sinners could afford To receive the heavenly stranger? Did they thus affront their Lord?
Soft, my child: I did not chide thee, Though my song might sound too hard; 'Tis thy mother sits beside thee, And her arm shall be thy guard.
* * * * *
See the kinder shepherds round Him, Telling wonders from the sky! Where they sought Him, there they found Him, With His Virgin mother by.
See the lovely babe a-dressing; Lovely infant, how He smiled! When He wept, His mother's blessing Soothed and hush'd the holy Child,
Lo, He slumbers in a manger, Where the horned oxen fed:— Peace, my darling, here's no danger; There's no ox anear thy bed.
* * * * *
May'st thou live to know and fear Him, Trust and love Him all thy days; Then go dwell forever near Him, See His face, and sing His praise!
If All the Skies
If all the skies were sunshine, Our faces would be fain To feel once more upon them The cooling splash of rain.
If all the world were music, Our hearts would often long For one sweet strain of silence, To break the endless song.
If life were always merry, Our souls would seek relief, And rest from weary laughter In the quiet arms of grief.
Henry van Dyke.
The Petrified Fern
In a valley, centuries ago, Grew a little fern leaf, green and slender, Veining delicate and fibers tender, Waving when the wind crept down so low; Rushes tall, and moss, and grass grew round it; Playful sunbeams darted in and found it; Drops of dew stole down by night and crowned it; But no foot of man e'er came that way; Earth was young and keeping holiday.
Monster fishes swam the silent main; Stately forests waved their giant branches; Mountains hurled their snowy avalanches; Mammoth creatures stalked across the plain, Nature reveled in grand mysteries. But the little fern was not like these, Did not number with the hills and trees, Only grew and waved its sweet, wild way; No one came to note it day by day.
Earth, one time, put on a frolic mood, Heaved the rocks and changed the mighty motion Of the strong, dread currents of the ocean; Moved the hills and shook the haughty wood; Crushed the little fern in soft, moist clay, Covered it, and hid it safe away. Oh, the long, long centuries since that day; Oh, the changes! Oh, life's bitter cost, Since the little useless fern was lost!
Useless? Lost? There came a thoughtful man Searching Nature's secrets far and deep; From a fissure in a rocky steep He withdrew a stone, o'er which there ran Fairy pencilings, a quaint design, Leafage, veining, fibers, clear and fine, And the fern's life lay in every line. So, I think, God hides some souls away, Sweetly to surprise us the Last Day.
Mary L. Bolles Branch.
Cleon and I
Cleon hath ten thousand acres, Ne'er a one have I; Cleon dwelleth in a palace, In a cottage, I; Cleon hath a dozen fortunes, Not a penny, I, Yet the poorer of the twain is Cleon, and not I.
Cleon, true, possesseth acres, But the landscape, I; Half the charms to me it yieldeth Money cannot buy; Cleon harbors sloth and dullness, Freshening vigor, I; He in velvet, I in fustian— Richer man am I.
Cleon is a slave to grandeur, Free as thought am I; Cleon fees a score of doctors, Need of none have I; Wealth-surrounded, care-environed, Cleon fears to die; Death may come—he'll find me ready, Happier man am I.
Cleon sees no charms in nature, In a daisy, I; Cleon hears no anthems ringing 'Twixt the sea and sky; Nature sings to me forever, Earnest listener, I; State for state, with all attendants— Who would change?—Not I.
Great were the hearts and strong the minds Of those who framed in high debate The immortal league of love that binds Our fair, broad empire, State with State.
And deep the gladness of the hour When, as the auspicious task was done, In solemn trust the sword of power Was given to Glory's Unspoiled Son.
That noble race is gone—the suns Of fifty years have risen and set;— But the bright links, those chosen ones, So strongly forged, are brighter yet.
Wide—as our own free race increase— Wide shall extend the elastic chain, And bind in everlasting peace State after State, a mighty train.
Towser Shall Be Tied To-Night
A Parody on "Curfew Shall Not Ring Tonight."
Slow the Kansas sun was setting, O'er the wheat fields far away, Streaking all the air with cobwebs At the close of one hot day; And the last rays kissed the forehead Of a man and maiden fair, He with whiskers short and frowsy, She with red and glistening hair, He with shut jaws stern and silent; She, with lips all cold and white, Struggled to keep back the murmur, "Towser shall be tied to-night."
"Papa," slowly spoke the daughter, "I am almost seventeen, And I have a real lover, Though he's rather young and green; But he has a horse and buggy And a cow and thirty hens,— Boys that start out poor, dear Papa, Make the best of honest men, But if Towser sees and bites him, Fills his eyes with misty light, He will never come again, Pa; Towser must be tied to-night."
"Daughter," firmly spoke the farmer, (Every word pierced her young heart Like a carving knife through chicken As it hunts the tender part)— "I've a patch of early melons, Two of them are ripe to-day; Towser must be loose to watch them Or they'll all be stole away. I have hoed them late and early In dim morn and evening light; Now they're grown I must not lose them; Towser'll not be tied to-night."
Then the old man ambled forward, Opened wide the kennel-door, Towser bounded forth to meet him As he oft had done before. And the farmer stooped and loosed him From the dog-chain short and stout; To himself he softly chuckled, "Bessie's feller must look out." But the maiden at the window Saw the cruel teeth show white; In an undertone she murmured,— "Towser must be tied to-night."
Then the maiden's brow grew thoughtful And her breath came short and quick, Till she spied the family clothesline, And she whispered, "That's the trick." From the kitchen door she glided With a plate of meat and bread; Towser wagged his tail in greeting, Knowing well he would be fed. In his well-worn leather collar, Tied she then the clothesline tight, All the time her white lips saying: "Towser shall be tied to-night,"
"There, old doggie," spoke the maiden, "You can watch the melon patch, But the front gate's free and open, When John Henry lifts the latch. For the clothesline tight is fastened To the harvest apple tree, You can run and watch the melons, But the front gate you can't see." Then her glad ears hear a buggy, And her eyes grow big and bright, While her young heart says in gladness, "Towser dog is tied to-night."
Up the path the young man saunters With his eye and cheek aglow; For he loves the red-haired maiden And he aims to tell her so. Bessie's roguish little brother, In a fit of boyish glee, Had untied the slender clothesline, From the harvest apple tree. Then old Towser heard the footsteps, Raised his bristles, fixed for fight,— "Bark away," the maiden whispers; "Towser, you are tied to-night."
Then old Towser bounded forward, Passed the open kitchen door; Bessie screamed and quickly followed, But John Henry's gone before. Down the path he speeds most quickly, For old Towser sets the pace; And the maiden close behind them Shows them she is in the race. Then the clothesline, can she get it? And her eyes grow big and bright; And she springs and grasps it firmly: "Towser shall be tied to-night."
Oftentimes a little minute Forms the destiny of men. You can change the fate of nations By the stroke of one small pen. Towser made one last long effort, Caught John Henry by the pants, But John Henry kept on running For he thought that his last chance. But the maiden held on firmly, And the rope was drawn up tight. But old Towser kept the garments, For he was not tied that night.
Then the father hears the racket; With long strides he soon is there, When John Henry and the maiden, Crouching, for the worst prepare. At his feet John tells his story, Shows his clothing soiled and torn; And his face so sad and pleading, Yet so white and scared and worn, Touched the old man's heart with pity, Filled his eyes with misty light. "Take her, boy, and make her happy,— Towser shall be tied to-night."
Law and Liberty
O Liberty, thou child of Law, God's seal is on thy brow! O Law, her Mother first and last, God's very self art thou! Two flowers alike, yet not alike, On the same stem that grow, Two friends who cannot live apart, Yet seem each other's foe. One, the smooth river's mirrored flow Which decks the world with green; And one, the bank of sturdy rock Which hems the river in. O Daughter of the timeless Past, O Hope the Prophets saw, God give us Law in Liberty And Liberty in Law!