POEMS TEACHERS ASK FOR
Selected by READERS OF "NORMAL INSTRUCTOR-PRIMARY PLANS"
COMPRISING THE POEMS MOST FREQUENTLY REQUESTED FOR PUBLICATION IN THAT MAGAZINE ON THE PAGE "POEMS OUR READERS HAVE ASKED FOR"
Abou Ben Adhem Hunt 30 Abraham Lincoln T. Taylor 16 All Things Bright and Beautiful Alexander 41 American Flag, The Drake 133 Answer to "Rock Me to Sleep" 103 Arrow and the Song, The Longfellow 74 Asleep at the Switch Hoey 56 At School-Close Whittier 65 Aunt Tabitha 45 Autumn Woods Bryant 48
Baby, The Macdonald 22 Barbara Frietchie Whittier 71 Barefoot Boy, The Whittier 176 Bay Billy Gassaway 104 Be Strong Babcock 174 Better Than Gold Smart 143 Bingen on the Rhine Norton 121 Blue and the Gray, The Finch 183 Bluebird's Song, The E.H. Miller 73 Bobby Shaftoe 8 Boy and His Stomach, A 93 Boy's Song, A Hogg 172 "Breathes There the Man" Scott 185 Brier-Rose Boyesen 144 Brook, The Tennyson 162 Brown Thrush, The Larcom 181 Bugle Song, The Tennyson 183 Builders, The Longfellow 181 Building of the Ship, The Longfellow 63 Burial of Sir John Moore, The Wolfe 190
Calf Path, The Foss 110 Casey at the Bat Thayer 100 Casey's Revenge Wilson 101 Chambered Nautilus, The Holmes 169 Character of the Happy Warrior Wordsworth 165 Charge of the Light Brigade, The Tennyson 166 Children's Hour, The Longfellow 70 Children, The Dickinson 53 Child's Thought of God, A E.B. Browning 183 Christ in Flanders 18 Christmas Everywhere Brooks 158 Cloud, The Shelley 159 College Oil Cans McGuire 122 Columbus Joaquin Miller 83 Concord Hymn, The Emerson 99 Corn Song, The Whittier 171 Crossing the Bar Tennyson 186 Curfew Must Not Ring To-night Thorpe 24 Custer's Last Charge Whittaker 91
Daffodils Wordsworth 179 Darius Green and His Flying Machine Trowbridge 153 Day Well Spent, A 38 Dead Pussy Cat, The Short 64 Diffidence 23 Don't Give Up P. Cary 182 Driving Home the Cows Osgood 88 Drummer Boy of Mission Ridge 49
Each in His Own Tongue Carruth 58 Echo Saxe 20 Engineers Making Love Burdette 21 Eternal Goodness, The Whittier 87
Fable, A Emerson 177 Face Upon the Floor, The D'Arcy 108 Fairies, The Allingham 173 Fence or an Ambulance, A Malins 127 First Settler's Story, The Carleton 197 First Snow-fall, The Lowell 99 Flag Goes By, The Bennett 45 Fountain, The Lowell 186 Four-leaf Clover, The Higginson 134 Frost, The Gould 171
Give Us Men Holland 33 God's Judgment on a Wicked Bishop Southey 124 Golden Keys 134 Good Night and Good Morning Houghton 184 Gradatim Holland 96 Green Mountain Justice, The Reeves 74 Guilty or Not Guilty 22
Hand That Rules the World, The Wallace 113 House by the Side of the Road, The Foss 56 How Cyrus Laid the Cable Saxe 58 How He Saved St. Michael's Stansbury 119 Huskers, The Whittier 152
If— Kipling 51 I Like Little Pussy J. Taylor 178 Incident of the French Camp R. Browning 182 In Flanders Fields McCrae 195 In Flanders Fields: An Answer Galbreath 195 In School-Days Whittier 31 Inventor's Wife, An Ewing 13 Invictus Henley 29 Is It Worth While? Joachim Miller 36 I Want to Go to Morrow 72
Jane Conquest Milne 76 Jane Jones King 59 Johnny's Hist'ry Lesson Waterman 62 June Lowell 163
Kate Ketchem P. Cary 81 Kate Shelly Hall 25 Katie Lee and Willie Grey 30 Kentucky Belle Woolson 10 Kentucky Philosophy Robertson 32 Kid Has Gone to the Colors, The Herschell 9 King Robert of Sicily Longfellow 147
Lady Moon Houghton 185 Landing of the Pilgrims, The Hemans 8 Lasca Desprez 129 Last Hymn, The Faringham 126 Leak in the Dike, The P. Cary 187 Leap for Life, A Morris 74 Leap of Roushan Beg, The Longfellow 60 Leedle Yawcob Strauss Adams 35 Legend of Bregenz, A Procter 141 Legend of the Organ-Builder, The Dorr 106 L'Envoi Kipling 67 Life's Mirror Bridges 37 Lips That Touch Liquor, The Young 79 Little Birdie Tennyson 173 Little Black-Eyed Rebel, The Carleton 37 Little Boy Blue Field 195 Little Brown Hands Krout 71 Little Plant, The Brown 192 Lost Chord, The Procter 69 Love of Country Scott 185 ("Breathes There the Man")
Main Truck, The Morris 74 Mandalay Kipling 82 Man With the Hoe, The Markham 115 Maud Muller Whittier 205 Miller of the Dee, The Mackay 39 Moo Cow Moo, The Cooke 40 Mother's Fool 31 Mothers of Men Joaquin Miller 43 Mount Vernon's Bells Slade 95 Mr. Finney's Turnip 96 My Love Ship Wilcox 114 My Mother 138
Nathan Hale Finch 78 Never Trouble Trouble Windsor 33 Nobility A. Cary 169 "Not Understood" 136 November A. Cary 173
O Captain! My Captain Whitman 7 October's Bright Blue Weather Jackson 144 Old Clock on the Stairs, The Longfellow 17 Old Ironsides Holmes 61 Old Red Cradle, The Grannies 39 O Little Town of Bethlehem Brooks 168 On His Blindness Milton 172 On the Shores of Tennessee Beers 93 Opportunity Ingalls 175 Opportunity Malone 175 Order for a Picture, An A. Cary 41 Our Folks Beers 107 Out in the Fields E.B. Browning 73 Over the Hill to the Poorhouse Carleton 131 Overworked Elocutionist, The 9 Owl and the Pussy-Cat, The Lear 170 Owl Critic, The Fields 64
Paul Revere's Ride Longfellow 193 Penny Ye Mean to Gie, The 34 Perfect Day, A Bond 80 Pippa's Song R. Browning 185 Plain Bob and a Job Foley 44 Planting of the Apple-Tree Bryant 164 Poet's Prophecy, A Tennyson 7 Polonius' Advice to Laertes Shakespeare 177 Poorhouse Nan Blinn 116 Psalm of Life, A Longfellow 61
Quality of Mercy, The Shakespeare 181
Raggedy Man, The Riley 203 Recessional, The Kipling 86 Ride of Jennie M'Neal, The Carleton 111 Riding on the Rail Saxe 62 Rivers of France, The 46 Robert of Lincoln Bryant 189 Robert Reese (The Overworked Elocutionist) 9 Rock Me to Sleep Allen 102
Say Not the Struggle Nought Availeth Clough 39 Second Table Waterman 52 Seein' Things Field 203 Seven Times One Ingelow 46 Seven Times Two Ingelow 47 Seven Times Three Ingelow 47 Seven Times Four Ingelow 48 Sheridan's Ride Read 167 She Walks in Beauty Byron 180 Sister and I 207 Sister's Best Feller Lincoln 84 Sleep, Baby, Sleep Elizabeth Prentiss 69 Smack in School, The Palmer 128 Somebody's Mother Brine 136 Song of Our Flag, A Nesbit 89 Song of the Camp, The B. Taylor 180 Song of the Sea Cornwall 23 Song of the Shirt Hood 157 Song: The Owl Tennyson 174 So Was I Smiley 36 Suppose P. Cary 178 Sweet and Low Tennyson 175
Tapestry Weavers, The Chester 85 Teacher's Dream, The Venable 140 Telling the Bees Whittier 135 Thanatopsis Bryant 196 Thanksgiving-Day Child 178 There's But One Pair of Stockings 27 To a Butterfly Wordsworth 179 To a Skylark Shelley 160 To a Waterfowl Bryant 137 To-day Carlyle 191 To-day Waterman 35 To the Fringed Gentian Bryant 179 Tree, The Bjornson 186 Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star J. Taylor 185 Two Glasses, The Wilcox 15
Village Blacksmith, The Longfellow 97 Visit from St. Nicholas, A Moore 54
Walrus and the Carpenter, The Carroll 138 We Are Seven Wordsworth 19 What I Live For Banks 114 What is Good O'Reilly 34 When the Cows Come Home Mitchell 90 When the Minister Comes to Tea Lincoln 89 When the Teacher Gets Cross 86 Where the West Begins Chapman 85 Whistling in Heaven 67 White-Footed Deer, The Bryant 94 Who Won the War? Pulsifer 43 Why Should the Spirit of Mortal Be Proud! Knox 118 Wild White Rose, The Willis 66 Wind and the Moon, The Macdonald 191 Wind, The Rossetti 170 Wishing Allingham 190 Woman's Question, A Lathrop 129 Wonderful World, The Rands 174 Woodman, Spare That Tree Morris 70
You and You Wharton 97 Young Man Waited, The Cooke 28 Your Mission Gates 55
Seldom does a book of poems appear that is definitely a response to demand and a reflection of readers' preferences. Of this collection that can properly be claimed. For a decade NORMAL INSTRUCTOR-PRIMARY PLANS has carried monthly a page entitled "Poems Our Readers Have Asked For." The interest in this page has been, and is, phenomenal. Occasionally space considerations or copyright restrictions have prevented compliance with requests, but so far as practicable poems asked for have been printed. Because it has become impossible to furnish many of the earlier issues of the magazine, the publishers decided to select the poems most often requested and, carefully revising these for possible errors, to include them in the present collection. In some cases the desired poems are old favorite dramatic recitations, but many of them are poems that are required or recommended for memorizing in state courses of study. This latter feature will of itself make the book extremely valuable to teachers throughout the country. We are glad to offer here certain poems, often requested, but too long for insertion on our magazine Poetry Page. We are pleased also to be able to include a number of popular copyright poems. Special permission to use these has been granted through arrangement with the authorized publishers, whose courtesy is acknowledged below in detail:
THE BOBBS-MERRILL COMPANY—The Raggedy Man, from "The Biographical Edition of the Complete Works of James Whitcomb Riley," copyright 1918.
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS—Seein' Things and Little Boy Blue, by Eugene Field; Gradatim and Give Us Men, from "The Poetical Works of J.G. Holland"; and You and You, by Edith Wharton, copyright 1919.
HARPER AND BROTHERS—Over the Hill to the Poor-House, The Ride of Jennie M'Neal, The Little Black-Eyed Rebel, and The First Settler's Story, by Will Carleton.
THE DODGE PUBLISHING COMPANY—The Moo Cow Moo and The Young Man Waited, by Edmund Vance Cooke.
LOTHROP, LEE AND SHEPARD COMPANY—The House by the Side of the Road and The Calf Path, by Sam Walter Foss.
LITTLE, BROWN AND COMPANY—October's Bright Blue Weather, by Helen Hunt Jackson.
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY—Poems by John G. Whittier, Alice Cary, Phoebe Cary, James T. Fields, and Lucy Larcom.
POEMS TEACHERS ASK FOR
* * * * *
O Captain! My Captain!
(This poem was written in memory of Abraham Lincoln.)
O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done, The ship has weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won; The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring; But, O heart! heart! heart! O the bleeding drops of red, Where on the deck my Captain lies, Fallen, cold and dead.
O Captain! My Captain! rise up and hear the bells; Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills, For you bouquets and ribboned wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding, For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning; Here Captain! dear father! This arm beneath your head! It is some dream that on the deck You've fallen cold and dead.
My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still; My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse or will; The ship is anchored safe and sound, its voyage closed and done; From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won; Exult, O shores! and ring, O bells! But I, with mournful tread, Walk the deck my Captain lies, Fallen, cold and dead.
A Poet's Prophecy
For I dipt into the future, far as human eye could see, Saw the Vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be; Saw the heavens fill with commerce, argosies of magic sails, Pilots of the purple twilight, dropping down with costly bales; Heard the heavens fill with shouting, and there rained a ghastly dew From the nations' airy navies grappling in the central blue; Far along the world-wide whisper of the south-wind rushing warm, With the standards of the peoples plunging through the thunderstorm; Till the war-drum throbb'd no longer, and the battleflags were furl'd In the Parliament of man, the Federation of the world. There the common sense of most shall hold a fretful realm in awe, And the kindly earth shall slumber, lapt in universal law.
Tennyson, "Locksley Hall," 1842.
The Landing of the Pilgrims
The breaking waves dashed high On a stern and rock-bound coast, And the woods against a stormy sky Their giant branches tossed;
And the heavy night hung dark The hills and waters o'er, When a band of exiles moored their bark On the wild New England shore.
Not as the conqueror comes, They, the true-hearted, came,— Not with the roll of the stirring drums, And the trumpet that sings of fame;
Not as the flying come, In silence and in fear; They shook the depths of the desert's gloom With their hymns of lofty cheer.
Amidst the storms they sang; And the stars heard, and the sea; And the sounding aisles of the dim woods rang To the anthem of the free.
The ocean eagle soared From his nest by the white wave's foam; And the rocking pines of the forest roared— This was their welcome home!
There were men with hoary hair Amidst that pilgrim band: Why had they come to wither there Away from their childhood's land?
There was woman's fearless eye, Lit by her deep love's truth; There was manhood's brow serenely high, And the fiery heart of youth.
What sought they thus afar? Bright jewels of the mine? The wealth of seas, the spoils of war?— They sought a faith's pure shrine.
Ay, call it holy ground,— The soil where first they trod! They have left unstained what there they found— Freedom to worship God!
"Marie, will you marry me? For you know how I love thee! Tell me, darling, will you be The wife of Bobby Shaftoe?"
"Bobby, pray don't ask me more, For you've asked me twice before; Let us be good friends, no more, No more, Bobby Shaftoe."
"If you will not marry me, I will go away to sea; And you ne'er again shall be A friend of Bobby Shaftoe."
"Oh, you will not go away For you've said so twice to-day. Stop! He's gone! Dear Bobby, stay! Dearest Bobby Shaftoe!
"Bobby Shaftoe's gone to sea, Silver buckles on his knee, But he'll come back and marry me, Pretty Bobby Shaftoe.
"He will soon come back to me, And how happy I shall be, He'll come back and marry me, Dearest Bobby Shaftoe."
"Bobby Shaftoe's lost at sea, He cannot come back to thee. And you ne'er again will see Your dear Bobby Shaftoe.
"Oh, we sadly mourn for thee, And regret we ne'er shall see Our friend Bobby, true and free, Dearest Bobby Shaftoe."
"Bobby Shaftoe's lost at sea. And can ne'er come back to me, But I'll ever faithful be, True to Bobby Shaftoe."
"Darling, I've come home from sea, I've come back to marry thee, For I know you're true to me, True to Bobby Shaftoe."
"Yes, I always cared for thee, And now you've come back to me, And we will always happy be, Dearest Bobby Shaftoe."
"Bobby Shaftoe's come from sea, And we will united be, Heart and hand in unity, Mr. and Mrs. Shaftoe."
The Overworked Elocutionist
(Or "ROBERT REESE")
Once there was a little boy Whose name was Robert Reese, And every Friday afternoon He had to speak a piece.
So many poems thus he learned That soon he had a store Of recitations in his head And still kept learning more.
Now this it is what happened: He was called upon one week And totally forgot the piece He was about to speak.
His brain he vainly cudgeled But no word was in his head, And so he spoke at random, And this is what he said;
My beautiful, my beautiful, Who standest proudly by, It was the schooner Hesperus The breaking waves dashed high.
Why is the Forum crowded? What means this stir in Rome? Under a spreading chestnut tree There is no place like home.
When Freedom from her mountain height Cried, "Twinkle, little star," Shoot if you must this old gray head, King Henry of Navarre.
If you're waking, call me early To be or not to be, Curfew must not ring to-night, Oh, woodman, spare that tree.
Charge, Chester, Charge! On, Stanley, on! And let who will be clever, The boy stood on the burning deck But I go on for ever.
The Kid Has Gone to the Colors
The Kid has gone to the Colors And we don't know what to say; The Kid we have loved and cuddled Stepped out for the Flag to-day. We thought him a child, a baby With never a care at all, But his country called him man-size And the Kid has heard the call.
He paused to watch the recruiting, Where, fired by the fife and drum, He bowed his head to Old Glory And thought that it whispered: "Come!" The Kid, not being a slacker, Stood forth with patriot-joy To add his name to the roster— And God, we're proud of the boy!
The Kid has gone to the Colors; It seems but a little while Since he drilled a schoolboy army In a truly martial style, But now he's a man, a soldier, And we lend him a listening ear, For his heart is a heart all loyal, Unscourged by the curse of fear.
His dad, when he told him, shuddered, His mother—God bless her!—cried; Yet, blest with a mother-nature, She wept with a mother-pride, But he whose old shoulders straightened Was Granddad—for memory ran To years when he, too, a youngster, Was changed by the Flag to a man!
Summer of 'sixty-three, sir, and Conrad was gone away— Gone to the county-town, sir, to sell our first load of hay— We lived in the log house yonder, poor as ever you've seen; Roschen there was a baby, and I was only nineteen.
Conrad, he took the oxen, but he left Kentucky Belle. How much we thought of Kentuck, I couldn't begin to tell— Came from the Blue-Grass country; my father gave her to me When I rode north with Conrad, away from the Tennessee.
Conrad lived in Ohio—a German he is, you know— The house stood in broad cornfields, stretching on, row after row. The old folks made me welcome; they were kind as kind could be; But I kept longing, longing, for the hills of the Tennessee.
Oh, for a sight of water, the shadowed slope of a hill! Clouds that hang on the summit, a wind that never is still! But the level land went stretching away to meet the sky— Never a rise, from north to south, to rest the weary eye!
From east to west, no river to shine out under the moon, Nothing to make a shadow in the yellow afternoon: Only the breathless sunshine, as I looked out, all forlorn; Only the rustle, rustle, as I walked among the corn.
When I fell sick with pining, we didn't wait any more, But moved away from the cornlands, out to this river shore— The Tuscarawas it's called, sir—off there's a hill, you see— And now I've grown to like it next best to the Tennessee.
I was at work that morning. Some one came riding like mad Over the bridge and up the road—Farmer Rouf's little lad. Bareback he rode; he had no hat; he hardly stopped to say, "Morgan's men are coming, Frau; they're galloping on this way.
"I'm sent to warn the neighbors. He isn't a mile behind; He sweeps up all the horses—every horse that he can find. Morgan, Morgan the raider, and Morgan's terrible men, With bowie knives and pistols, are galloping up the glen!"
The lad rode down the valley, and I stood still at the door; The baby laughed and prattled, playing with spools on the floor; Kentuck was out in the pasture; Conrad, my man, was gone. Nearer, nearer, Morgan's men were galloping, galloping on!
Sudden I picked up baby, and ran to the pasture bar. "Kentuck!" I called—"Kentucky!" She knew me ever so far! I led her down the gully that turns off there to the right, And tied her to the bushes; her head was just out of sight.
As I ran back to the log house, at once there came a sound— The ring of hoofs, galloping hoofs, trembling over the ground— Coming into the turnpike out from the White Woman Glen— Morgan, Morgan the raider, and Morgan's terrible men.
As near they drew and nearer, my heart beat fast in alarm; But still I stood in the doorway with baby on my arm. They came, they passed; with spur and whip in haste they sped along— Morgan, Morgan the raider, and his band, six hundred strong.
Weary they looked and jaded, riding through night and through day; Pushing on east to the river, many long miles away, To the border strip where Virginia runs up into the West, And fording the Upper Ohio before they could stop to rest.
On like the wind they hurried, and Morgan rode in advance; Bright were his eyes like live coals, as he gave me a sideways glance. And I was just breathing freely, after my choking pain, When the last one of the troopers suddenly drew his rein.
Frightened I was to death, sir; I scarce dared look in his face, As he asked for a drink of water, and glanced around the place. I gave him a cup, and he smiled—'twas only a boy, you see; Faint and worn, with dim blue eyes; and he'd sailed on the Tennessee.
Only sixteen he was, sir—a fond mother's only son— Off and away with Morgan before his life had begun! The damp drops stood on his temples; drawn was the boyish mouth; And I thought me of the mother waiting down in the South.
Oh! pluck was he to the backbone, and clear grit through and through; Boasted and bragged like a trooper; but the big words wouldn't do;— The boy was dying, sir, dying as plain as plain could be, Worn out by his ride with Morgan up from the Tennessee.
But when I told the laddie that I too was from the South, Water came in his dim eyes, and quivers around his mouth. "Do you know the Blue-Grass country?" he wistful began to say; Then swayed like a willow sapling, and fainted dead away.
I had him into the log house, and worked and brought him to; I fed him, and I coaxed him, as I thought his mother'd do; And when the lad got better, and the noise in his head was gone, Morgan's men—were miles; away, galloping, galloping on.
"Oh, I must go," he muttered; "I must be up and away! Morgan—Morgan is waiting for me; Oh, what will Morgan say?" But I heard a sound of tramping and kept him back from the door— The ringing sound of horses' hoofs that I had heard before.
And on, on, came the soldiers—the Michigan cavalry— And fast they rode, and black they looked, galloping rapidly,— They had followed hard on Morgan's track; they had followed day and night; But of Morgan and Morgan's raiders they had never caught a sight.
And rich Ohio sat startled through all those summer days; For strange, wild men were galloping over her broad highways— Now here, now there, now seen, now gone, now north, now east, now west, Through river-valleys and cornland farms, sweeping away her best.
A bold ride and a long ride; but they were taken at last. They almost reached the river by galloping hard and fast; But the boys in blue were upon them ere ever they gained the ford, And Morgan, Morgan the raider, laid down his terrible sword.
Well, I kept the boy till evening—kept him against his will— But he was too weak to follow, and sat there pale and still. When it was cool and dusky—you'll wonder to hear me tell— But I stole down to that gully, and brought up Kentucky Belle.
I kissed the star on her forehead—my pretty gentle lass— But I knew that she'd be happy back in the old Blue-Grass. A suit of clothes of Conrad's, with all the money I had, And Kentuck, pretty Kentuck, I gave to the worn-out lad.
I guided him to the southward as well as I know how; The boy rode off with many thanks, and many a backward bow; And then the glow it faded, and my heart began to swell, As down the glen away she went, my lost Kentucky Belle!
When Conrad came in the evening, the moon was shining high; Baby and I were both crying—I couldn't tell him why— But a battered suit of rebel gray was hanging on the wall, And a thin old horse, with drooping head, stood in Kentucky's stall.
Well, he was kind, and never once said a hard word to me; He knew I couldn't help it—'twas all for the Tennessee, But, after the war was over, just think what came to pass— A letter, sir; and the two were safe back in the old Blue-Grass.
The lad had got across the border, riding Kentucky Belle; And Kentuck, she was thriving, and fat, and hearty, and well; He cared for her, and kept her, nor touched her with whip or spur. Ah! we've had many horses since, but never a horse like her!
Constance F. Woolson.
An Inventor's Wife
I remember it all so very well, the first of my married life, That I can't believe it was years ago—it doesn't seem true at all; Why, I just can see the little church where they made us man and wife, And the merry glow of the first wood-fire that danced on our cottage wall.
We were happy? Yes; and we prospered, too; the house belonged to Joe, And then, he worked in the planing mill, and drew the best of pay; And our cup was full when Joey came,—our baby-boy, you know; So, all went well till that mill burned down and the owner moved away.
It wasn't long till Joe found work, but 'twas never quite the same,— Never steady, with smaller pay; so to make the two ends meet He fell to inventin' some machine—I don't recall the name, But he'd sit for hours in his little shop that opens toward the street,—
Sit for hours, bent over his work, his tools all strewn about. I used to want to go in there to dust and sweep the floor, But 'twas just as if 'twas the parson there, writing his sermon out; Even the baby—bless the child!—learned never to slam that door!
People called him a clever man, and folks from the city came To look at his new invention and wish my Joe success; And Joe would say, "Little woman,"—for that was my old pet-name,— "If my plan succeeds, you shall have a coach and pair, and a fine silk dress!"
I didn't want 'em, the grand new things, but it made the big tears start To see my Joe with his restless eyes, his fingers worn away To the skin and bone, for he wouldn't eat; and it almost broke my heart When he tossed at night from side to side, till the dawning of the day.
Of course, with it all he lost his place. I couldn't blame the man, The foreman there at the factory, for losing faith in Joe, For his mind was never upon his work, but on some invention-plan, As with folded arms and his head bent down he wandered to and fro.
Yet, he kept on workin' at various things, till our little money went For wheels and screws and metal casts and things I had never seen; And I ceased to ask, "Any pay, my dear?" with the answer, "Not a cent!" When his lock and his patent-saw had failed, he clung to that great machine.
I remember one special thing that year. He had bought some costly tool, When we wanted our boy to learn to read—he was five years old, you know; He went to his class with cold, bare feet, till at last he came from school And gravely said, "Don't send me back; the children tease me so!"
I hadn't the heart to cross the child, so, while I sat and sewed He would rock his little sister in the cradle at my side; And when the struggle was hardest and I felt keen hunger's goad Driving me almost to despair—the little baby died.
Her father came to the cradle-side, as she lay, so small and white; "Maggie," he said, "I have killed this child, and now I am killing you! I swear by heaven, I will give it up!" Yet, like a thief, that night He stole to the shop and worked; his brow all wet with a clammy dew.
I cannot tell how I lived that week, my little boy and I, Too proud to beg; too weak to work; and the weather cold and wild. I can only think of one dark night when the rain poured from the sky, And the wind went wailing round the house, like the ghost of my buried child.
Joe still toiled in the little shop. Somebody clicked the gate; A neighbor-lad brought in the mail and laid it on the floor, But I sat half-stunned by my heavy grief crouched over the empty grate, Till I heard—the crack of a pistol-shot; and I sprang to the workshop door.
That door was locked and the bolt shut fast. I could not cry, nor speak, But I snatched my boy from the corner there, sick with a sudden dread, And carried him out through the garden plot, forgetting my arms were weak, Forgetting the rainy torrent that beat on my bare young head;
The front door yielded to my touch. I staggered faintly in, Fearing—what? He stood unharmed, though the wall showed a jagged hole. In his trembling hand, his aim had failed, and the great and deadly sin Of his own life's blood was not yet laid on the poor man's tortured soul.
But the pistol held another charge, I knew; and like something mad I shook my fist in my poor man's face, and shrieked at him, fierce and wild, "How can you dare to rob us so?"—and I seized the little lad; "How can you dare to rob your wife and your little helpless child?"
All of a sudden, he bowed his head, while from his nerveless hand That hung so limp, I almost feared to see the pistol fall. "Maggie," he said in a low, low voice, "you see me as I stand A hopeless man. My plan has failed. That letter tells you all."
Then for a moment the house was still as ever the house of death; Only the drip of the rain outside, for the storm was almost o'er; But no;—there followed another sound, and I started, caught my breath; As a stalwart man with a heavy step came in at the open door.
I shall always think him an angel sent from heaven in a human guise; He must have guessed our awful state; he couldn't help but see There was something wrong; but never a word, never a look in his eyes Told what he thought, as in kindly way he talked to Joe and me.
He was come from a thriving city firm, and they'd sent him here to say That one of Joe's inventions was a great, successful thing; And which do you think? His window-catch that he'd tinkered up one day; And we were to have a good per cent on the sum that each would bring.
And then the pleasant stranger went, and we wakened as from a dream. My man bent down his head and said, "Little woman, you've saved my life!" The worn look gone from his dear gray eyes, and in its place, a gleam From the sun that has shone so brightly since, on Joe and his happy wife!
Jeannie Pendleton Ewing.
The Two Glasses
There sat two glasses filled to the brim On a rich man's table, rim to rim, One was ruddy and red as blood, And one was clear as the crystal flood.
Said the Glass of Wine to his paler brother: "Let us tell tales of the past to each other; I can tell of banquet and revel and mirth, Where I was king, for I ruled in might; For the proudest and grandest souls of earth Fell under my touch, as though struck with blight. From the heads of kings I have torn the crown; From the heights of fame I have hurled men down. I have blasted many an honored name; I have taken virtue and given shame; I have tempted youth with a sip, a taste, That has made his future a barren waste. Far greater than any king am I, Or than any army beneath the sky. I have made the arm of the driver fail, And sent the train from the iron rail. I have made good ships go down at sea. And the shrieks of the lost were sweet to me. Fame, strength, wealth, genius before me fall; And my might and power are over all! Ho, ho, pale brother," said the Wine, "Can you boast of deeds as great as mine?"
Said the Water Glass: "I cannot boast Of a king dethroned, or a murdered host; But I can tell of hearts that were sad, By my crystal drops made bright and glad; Of thirsts I have quenched and brows I have laved, Of hands I have cooled, and souls I have saved. I have leaped through the valley, dashed down the mountain, Slipped from the sunshine, and dripped from the fountain, I have burst my cloud-fetters, and dropped from the sky, And everywhere gladdened the prospect and eye; I have eased the hot forehead of fever and pain, I have made the parched meadows grow fertile with grain. I can tell of the powerful wheel of the mill, That ground out the flour, and turned at my will. I can tell of manhood debased by you That I have uplifted and crowned anew; I cheer, I help, I strengthen and aid, I gladden the heart of man and maid; I set the wine-chained captive free, And all are better for knowing me."
These are the tales they told each other, The Glass of Wine, and its paler brother, As they sat together, filled to the brim, On a rich man's table, rim to rim.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
(Written after Lincoln's death by Tom Taylor, famous cartoonist of the London "Punch.")
You lay a wreath on murdered Lincoln's bier! You, who with mocking pencil wont to trace, Broad for the self-complacent British sneer, His length of shambling limb, his furrowed face,
His gaunt, gnarled hands, his unkempt, bristling hair, His garb uncouth, his bearing ill at ease, His lack of all we prize as debonair, Of power or will to shine, of art to please!
You, whose smart pen backed up the pencil's laugh, Judging each step, as though the way were plain; Reckless, so it could point its paragraph, Of chief's perplexity, or people's pain!
Beside this corpse, that bears for winding-sheet The Stars and Stripes he lived to rear anew, Between the mourners at his head and feet— Say, scurril jester, is there room for you?
Yes, he had lived to shame me from my sneer— To lame my pencil and confute my pen— To make me own this hind, of princes peer, This rail-splitter, a true-born king of men.
My shallow judgment I had learned to rue, Noting how to occasion's height he rose; How his quaint wit made home-truth seem more true, How, iron-like, his temper grew by blows;
How humble, yet how hopeful he could be; How in good fortune and in ill the same; Nor bitter in success, nor boastful he, Thirsty for gold, nor feverish for fame.
He went about his work—such work as few Ever had laid on head, and heart, and hand— As one who knows where there's a task to do, Man's honest will must Heaven's good grace command;
Who trusts the strength will with the burden grow, That God makes instruments to work His will, If but that will we can arrive to know, Nor tamper with the weights of good and ill.
So he went forth to battle, on the side That he felt clear was Liberty's and Right's, As in his peasant boyhood he had plied His warfare with rude nature's thwarting mights;—
The uncleared forest, the unbroken soil, The iron bark that turns the lumberer's axe, The rapid, that o'erbears the boatman's toil, The prairie, hiding the mazed wanderer's tracks,
The ambushed Indian and the prowling bear— Such were the needs that helped his youth to train: Rough culture—but such trees large fruit may bear, If but their stocks be of right girth and grain.
So he grew up, a destined work to do, And lived to do it: four long, suffering years Ill-fate, ill-feeling, ill-report, lived through, And then he heard the hisses change to cheers,
The taunts to tribute, the abuse to praise, And took both with the same unwavering mood; Till, as he came on light, from darkling days, And seemed to touch the goal from where he stood,
A felon hand, between the goal and him, Beached from behind his back, a trigger prest— And those perplexed and patient eyes were dim, Those gaunt, long-laboring limbs were laid to rest!
The words of mercy were upon his lips, Forgiveness in his heart and on his pen, When this vile murderer brought swift eclipse To thoughts of peace on earth, goodwill to men.
The Old World and the New, from sea to sea, Utter one voice of sympathy and shame! Sore heart, so stopped when it at last beat high; Sad life, cut short as its triumph came!
The Old Clock on the Stairs
Somewhat back from the village street Stands the old-fashioned country-seat; Across its antique portico Tall poplar trees their shadows throw; And, from its station in the hall, An ancient timepiece says to all, "Forever—never! Never—forever!"
Half-way up the stairs it stands, And points and beckons with its hands, From its case of massive oak, Like a monk who, under his cloak, Crosses himself, and sighs, alas! With sorrowful voice to all who pass, "Forever—never! Never—forever!"
By day its voice is low and light; But in the silent dead of night, Distinct as a passing footstep's fall, It echoes along the vacant hall, Along the ceiling, along the floor, And seems to say at each chamber door, "Forever—never! Never—forever!"
Through days of sorrow and of mirth, Through days of death and days of birth, Through every swift vicissitude Of changeful time, unchanged it has stood, And as if, like God, it all things saw, It calmly repeats those words of awe, "Forever—never! Never—forever!"
In that mansion used to be Free-hearted Hospitality; His great fires up the chimney roared; The stranger feasted at his board; But, like the skeleton at the feast, That warning timepiece never ceased,— "Forever—never! Never—forever!"
There groups of merry children played; There youths and maidens dreaming strayed; Oh, precious hours! oh, golden prime And affluence of love and time! Even as a miser counts his gold, Those hours the ancient timepiece told,— "Forever—never! Never—forever!"
From that chamber, clothed in white, The bride came forth on her wedding night; There, in that silent room below, The dead lay, in his shroud of snow; And, in the hush that followed the prayer, Was heard the old clock on the stair,— "Forever—never! Never—forever!"
All are scattered, now, and fled,— Some are married, some are dead; And when I ask, with throbs of pain, "Ah! when shall they all meet again?" As in the days long since gone by, The ancient timepiece makes reply,— "Forever—never! Never-forever!"
Never here, forever there, Where all parting, pain, and care, And death, and time, shall disappear,— Forever there, but never here! The horologe of Eternity Sayeth this incessantly,— "Forever—never! Never—forever!"
Christ in Flanders
We had forgotten You, or very nearly— You did not seem to touch us very nearly— Of course we thought about You now and then; Especially in any time of trouble— We knew that you were good in time of trouble— But we were very ordinary men.
And there were always other things to think of— There's lots of things a man has got to think of— His work, his home, his pleasure, and his wife; And so we only thought of You on Sunday— Sometimes, perhaps, not even on a Sunday— Because there's always lots to fill one's life.
And, all the while, in street or lane or byway— In country lane, in city street, or byway— You walked among us, and we did not see. Your feet were bleeding as You walked our pavements— How did we miss Your footprints on our pavements?— Can there be other folk as blind as we?
Now we remember; over here in Flanders— (It isn't strange to think of You in Flanders)— This hideous warfare seems to make things clear. We never thought about You much in England— But now that we are far away from England— We have no doubts, we know that You are here.
You helped us pass the jest along the trenches— Where, in cold blood, we waited in the trenches— You touched its ribaldry and made it fine. You stood beside us in our pain and weakness— We're glad to think You understand our weakness— Somehow it seems to help us not to whine.
We think about You kneeling in the Garden— Ah, God, the agony of that dread Garden— We know You prayed for us upon the cross. If anything could make us glad to bear it— 'Twould be the knowledge that You willed to bear it— Pain—death—the uttermost of human loss.
Though we forgot You—You will not forget us— We feel so sure that You will not forget us— But stay with us until this dream is past. And so we ask for courage, strength, and pardon— Especially, I think, we ask for pardon— And that You'll stand beside us to the last.
L.W. in London "Spectator."
We Are Seven
—A simple Child, That lightly draws its breath, And feels its life in every limb, What should it know of death?
I met a little cottage Girl: She was eight years old, she said; Her hair was thick with many a curl That clustered round her head.
She had a rustic, woodland air, And she was wildly clad: Her eyes were fair, and very fair; —Her beauty made me glad.
"Sisters and brothers, little Maid, How many may you be?" "How many? Seven in all," she said, And wondering looked at me.
"And where are they? I pray you tell." She answered, "Seven are we; And two of us at Conway dwell, And two are gone to sea.
"Two of us in the church-yard lie, My sister and my brother; And, in the church-yard cottage, I Dwell near them with my mother."
"You say that two at Conway dwell, And two are gone to sea, Yet ye are seven!—I pray you tell, Sweet Maid, how this may be."
Then did the little Maid reply, "Seven boys and girls are we; Two of us in the church-yard lie, Beneath the church-yard tree."
"You run about, my little Maid, Your limbs they are alive; If two are in the church-yard laid, Then ye are only five."
"Their graves are green, they may be seen," The little Maid replied, "Twelve steps or more from my mother's door, And they are side by side.
"My stockings there I often knit, My kerchief there I hem; And there upon the ground I sit, And sing a song to them.
"And often after sunset, Sir, When it is light and fair, I take my little porringer, And eat my supper there.
"The first that died was sister Jane; In bed she moaning lay, Till God released her of her pain; And then she went away.
"So in the church-yard she was laid; And, when the grass was dry, Together round her grave we played, My brother John and I.
"And when the ground was white with snow, And I could run and slide, My brother John was forced to go, And he lies by her side."
"How many are you, then," said I, "If they two are in heaven?" Quick was the little Maid's reply, "O Master! we are seven."
"But they are dead; those two are dead! Their spirits are in heaven!" 'T was throwing words away; for still The little Maid would have her will, And said, "Nay, we are seven!"
"I asked of Echo, t'other day (Whose words are often few and funny), What to a novice she could say Of courtship, love and matrimony. Quoth Echo plainly,—'Matter-o'-money!'
"Whom should I marry? Should it be A dashing damsel, gay and pert, A pattern of inconstancy; Or selfish, mercenary flirt? Quoth Echo, sharply,—'Nary flirt!'
"What if, aweary of the strife That long has lured the dear deceiver, She promise to amend her life, And sin no more; can I believe her? Quoth Echo, very promptly,—'Leave her!'
"But if some maiden with a heart On me should venture to bestow it, Pray should I act the wiser part To take the treasure or forego it? Quoth Echo, with decision,—'Go it!'
"But what if, seemingly afraid To bind her fate in Hymen's fetter, She vow she means to die a maid, In answer to my loving letter? Quoth Echo, rather coolly,-'Let her!'
"What if, in spite of her disdain, I find my heart entwined about With Cupid's dear, delicious chain So closely that I can't get out? Quoth Echo, laughingly,—'Get out!'
"But if some maid with beauty blest, As pure and fair as Heaven can make her, Will share my labor and my rest Till envious Death shall overtake her? Quoth Echo (sotto voce),—'Take her!'"
John G. Saxe.
Engineers Making Love
It's noon when Thirty-five is due, An' she comes on time like a flash of light, An' you hear her whistle "Too-tee-too!" Long 'fore the pilot swings in sight. Bill Madden's drivin' her in to-day, An' he's calling his sweetheart far away— Gertrude Hurd lives down by the mill; You might see her blushin'; she knows it's Bill. "Tudie, tudie! Toot-ee! Tudie, tudie! Tu!"
Six-five, A.M. there's a local comes, Makes up at Bristol, runnin' east; An' the way her whistle sings and hums Is a livin' caution to man and beast. Every one knows who Jack White calls,— Little Lou Woodbury, down by the falls; Summer or Winter, always the same, She hears her lover callin' her name— "Lou-ie! Lou-ie! Lou-iee!"
But at one fifty-one, old Sixty-four— Boston express, runs east, clear through— Drowns her rattle and rumble and roar With the softest whistle that ever blew. An' away on the furthest edge of town Sweet Sue Winthrop's eyes of brown Shine like the starlight, bright and clear, When she hears the whistle of Abel Gear, "You-oo! Su-u-u-u-u-e!"
Along at midnight a freight comes in, Leaves Berlin sometime—I don't know when; But it rumbles along with a fearful din Till it reaches the Y-switch there and then The clearest notes of the softest bell That out of a brazen goblet fell Wake Nellie Minton out of her dreams; To her like a wedding-bell it seems— "Nell, Nell, Nell! Nell, Nell, Nell!"
Tom Willson rides on the right-hand side, Givin' her steam at every stride; An' he touches the whistle, low an' clear, For Lulu Gray on the hill, to hear— "Lu-Lu! Loo-Loo! Loo-oo!"
So it goes all day an' all night Till the old folks have voted the thing a bore; Old maids and bachelors say it ain't right For folks to do courtin' with such a roar. But the engineers their kisses will blow From a whistle valve to the girls they know, An' stokers the name of their sweethearts tell; With the "Too-too-too" and the swinging bell.
Guilty or Not Guilty
She stood at the bar of justice, A creature wan and wild, In form too small for a woman, In features too old for a child; For a look so worn and pathetic Was stamped on her pale young face, It seemed long years of suffering Must have left that silent trace.
"Your name?" said the judge, as he eyed her With kindly look yet keen,— "Is Mary McGuire, if you please, sir." And your age?"—"I am turned fifteen." "Well, Mary," and then from a paper He slowly and gravely read, "You are charged here—I'm sorry to say it— With stealing three loaves of bread.
"You look not like an offender, And I hope that you can show The charge to be false. Now, tell me, Are you guilty of this, or no?" A passionate burst of weeping Was at first her sole reply. But she dried her eyes in a moment, And looked in the judge's eye.
"I will tell you just how it was, sir: My father and mother are dead, And my little brothers and sisters Were hungry and asked me for bread. At first I earned it for them By working hard all day, But somehow, times were bad, sir, And the work all fell away.
"I could get no more employment. The weather was bitter cold, The young ones cried and shivered— (Little Johnny's but four years old)— So what was I to do, sir? I am guilty, but do not condemn. I took—oh, was it stealing?— The bread to give to them."
Every man in the court-room— Gray-beard and thoughtless youth— Knew, as he looked upon her, That the prisoner spake the truth; Out from their pockets came kerchiefs, Out from their eyes sprung tears, And out from their old faded wallets Treasures hoarded for years.
The judge's face was a study, The strangest you ever saw, As he cleared his throat and murmured Something about the law; For one so learned in such matters, So wise in dealing with men, He seemed, on a simple question, Sorely puzzled, just then.
But no one blamed him or wondered, When at last these words he heard, "The sentence of this young prisoner Is, for the present, deferred." And no one blamed him or wondered When he went to her and smiled And tenderly led from the court-room, Himself, the "guilty" child.
Where did you come from, baby dear? Out of the everywhere into the here.
Where did you get your eyes so blue? Out of the sky as I came through.
What makes the light in them sparkle and spin? Some of the starry spikes left in.
Where did you get that little tear? I found it waiting when I got here.
What makes your forehead so smooth and high? A soft hand stroked it as I went by.
What makes your cheek like a warm white rose? Something better than anyone knows.
Whence that three-cornered smile of bliss? Three angels gave me at once a kiss.
Where did you get that pearly ear? God spoke, and it came out to hear.
Where did you get those arms and hands? Love made itself into hooks and bands.
Feet, whence did you come, you darling things? From the same box as the cherubs' wings.
How did they all just come to be you? God thought about me, and so I grew.
But how did you come to us, you dear? God thought of you, and so I am here.
Song of the Sea
The sea! the sea! the open sea! The blue, the fresh, the ever free! Without a mark, without a bound, It runneth the earth's wide regions round; It plays with the clouds; it mocks the skies, Or like a cradled creature lies.
I'm on the sea! I'm on the sea! I am where I would ever be; With the blue above and the blue below, And silence wheresoe'er I go. If a storm should come and awake the deep What matter? I shall ride and sleep.
I love, oh, how I love to ride On the fierce, foaming, bursting tide, When every mad wave drowns the moon, Or whistles aloud his tempest tune, And tells how goeth the world below, And why the southwest blasts do blow.
I never was on the dull, tame shore, But I loved the great sea more and more, And back I flew to her billowy breast, Like a bird that seeketh its mother's nest; And a mother she was, and is, to me, For I was born on the open sea!
I've lived, since then, in calm and strife, Full fifty summers a sailor's life, With wealth to spend and a power to range, But never have sought nor sighed for change; And Death, whenever he comes to me, Shall come on the wild, unbounded sea.
"I'm after axin', Biddy dear—" And here he paused a while To fringe his words the merest mite With something of a smile— A smile that found its image In a face of beauteous mold, Whose liquid eyes were peeping From a broidery of gold.
"I've come to ax ye, Biddy dear, If—" then he stopped again, As if his heart had bubbled o'er And overflowed his brain. His lips were twitching nervously O'er what they had to tell, And timed the quavers with the eyes That gently rose and fell.
"I've come—" and then he took her hands And held them in his own, "To ax—" and then he watched the buds That on her cheeks had blown,— "Me purty dear—" and then he heard The throbbing of her heart, That told how love had entered in And claimed its every part.
"Och! don't be tazin' me," said she, With just the faintest sigh, "I've sinse enough to see you've come, But what's the reason why?" "To ax—" and once again the tongue Forbore its sweets to tell, "To ax—if Mrs. Mulligan, Has any pigs to sell."
Curfew Must Not Ring To-night
Slowly England's sun was setting o'er the hilltops far away, Filling all the land with beauty at the close of one sad day, And the last rays kissed the forehead of a man and maiden fair,— He with footsteps slow and weary, she with sunny floating hair; He with bowed head, sad and thoughtful, she with lips all cold and white, Struggling to keep back the murmur, "Curfew must not ring to-night."
"Sexton," Bessie's white lips faltered, pointing to the prison old, With its turrets tall and gloomy, with its walls dark, damp and cold, "I've a lover in that prison, doomed this very night to die At the ringing of the curfew, and no earthly help is nigh; Cromwell will not come till sunset," and her lips grew strangely white As she breathed the husky whisper: "Curfew must not ring to-night."
"Bessie," calmly spoke the sexton—every word pierced her young heart Like the piercing of an arrow, like a deadly poisoned dart,— "Long, long years I've rung the curfew from that gloomy shadowed tower; Every evening, just at sunset, it has told the twilight hour; I have done my duty ever, tried to do it just and right; Now I'm old I will not falter,—curfew, it must ring to-night."
Wild her eyes and pale her features, stern and white her thoughtful brow. As within her secret bosom Bessie made a solemn vow. She had listened while the judges read without a tear or sigh: "At the ringing of the curfew, Basil Underwood must die." And her breath came fast and faster, and her eyes grew large and bright; In an undertone she murmured, "Curfew must not ring to-night."
With quick step she bounded forward, sprung within the old church door, Left the old man treading slowly paths so oft he'd trod before; Not one moment paused the maiden, but with eye and cheek aglow Mounted up the gloomy tower, where the bell swung to and fro,— As she climbed the dusty ladder on which fell no ray of light, Up and up,—her white lips saying: "Curfew must not ring to-night."
She has reached the topmost ladder; o'er her hangs the great, dark bell; Awful is the gloom beneath her, like the pathway down to hell. Lo, the ponderous tongue is swinging—'tis the hour of curfew now, And the sight has chilled her bosom, stopped her breath and paled her brow. Shall she let it ring? No, never! flash her eyes with sudden light, As she springs and grasps it firmly—"Curfew shall not ring to-night!"
Out she swung—far out; the city seemed a speck of light below, There 'twixt heaven and earth suspended as the bell swung to and fro; And the sexton at the bell-rope, old and deaf, heard not the bell, Sadly thought, "That twilight curfew rang young Basil's funeral knell." Still the maiden clung more firmly, and with trembling lips so white, Said, to hush her heart's wild throbbing: "Curfew shall not ring to-night."
It was o'er; the bell ceased swaying, and the maiden stepped once more Firmly on the dark old ladder where, for hundred years before Human foot had not been planted. The brave deed that she had done Should be told long ages after; as the rays of setting sun Crimson all the sky with beauty, aged sires with heads of white, Tell the eager, listening children, "Curfew did not ring that night."
O'er the distant hills came Cromwell; Bessie sees him, and her brow, Lately white with fear and anguish, has no anxious traces now. At his feet she tells her story, shows her hands all bruised and torn; And her face so sweet and pleading, yet with sorrow pale and worn, Touched his heart with sudden pity, lit his eyes with misty light: "Go! your lover lives," said Cromwell, "Curfew shall not ring to-night."
Wide they flung the massive portal; led the prisoner forth to die,— All his bright young life before him. 'Neath the darkening English sky Bessie comes with flying footsteps, eyes aglow with love-light sweet; Kneeling on the turf beside him, lays his pardon at his feet. In his brave, strong arms he clasped her, kissed the face upturned and white, Whispered, "Darling, you have saved me—curfew will not ring to-night."
Rose Hartwick Thorpe.
Have you heard how a girl saved the lightning express— Of Kate Shelly, whose father was killed on the road? Were he living to-day, he'd be proud to possess Such a daughter as Kate. Ah! 'twas grit that she showed On that terrible evening when Donahue's train Jumped the bridge and went down, in the darkness and rain.
She was only eighteen, but a woman in size, With a figure as graceful and lithe as a doe, With peach-blossom cheeks, and with violet eyes, And teeth and complexion like new-fallen snow; With a nature unspoiled and unblemished by art— With a generous soul, and a warm, noble heart!
'Tis evening—the darkness is dense and profound; Men linger at home by their bright-blazing fires; The wind wildly howls with a horrible sound, And shrieks through the vibrating telegraph wires; The fierce lightning flashes along the dark sky; The rain falls in torrents; the river rolls by.
The scream of a whistle; the rush of a train! The sound of a bell! a mysterious light That flashes and flares through the fast falling rain! A rumble! a roar! shrieks of human affright! The falling of timbers! the space of a breath! A splash in the river; then darkness and death!
Kate Shelly recoils at the terrible crash; The sounds of destruction she happens to hear; She springs to the window—she throws up the sash, And listens and looks with a feeling of fear. The tall tree-tops groan, and she hears the faint cry Of a drowning man down in the river near by.
Her heart feebly flutters, her features grow wan, And then through her soul in a moment there flies A forethought that gives her the strength of a man— She turns to her trembling old mother and cries: "I must save the express—'twill be here in an hour!" Then out through the door disappears in the shower.
She flies down the track through the pitiless rain; She reaches the river—the water below Whirls and seethes through the timbers. She shudders again; "The bridge! To Moingona, God help me to go!" Then closely about her she gathers her gown And on the wet ties with a shiver sinks down.
Then carefully over the timbers she creeps On her hands and knees, almost holding her breath. The loud thunder peals and the wind wildly sweeps, And struggles to hurry her downward to death; But the thought of the train to destruction so near Removes from her soul every feeling of fear.
With the blood dripping down from each torn, bleeding limb, Slowly over the timbers her dark way she feels; Her fingers grow numb and her head seems to swim; Her strength is fast failing—she staggers! she reels! She falls—Ah! the danger is over at last, Her feet touch the earth, and the long bridge is passed!
In an instant new life seems to come to her form; She springs to her feet and forgets her despair. On, on to Moingona! she faces the storm, She reaches the station—the keeper is there, "Save the lightning express! No—hang out the red light! There's death on the bridge at the river to-night!"
Out flashes the signal-light, rosy and red; Then sounds the loud roar of the swift-coming train, The hissing of steam, and there, brightly ahead, The gleam of a headlight illumines the rain. "Down brakes!" shrieks the whistle, defiant and shrill; She heeds the red signal—she slackens, she's still!
Ah! noble Kate Shelly, your mission is done; Your deed that dark night will not fade from our gaze; An endless renown you have worthily won; Let the nation be just, and accord you its praise, Let your name, let your fame, and your courage declare What a woman can do, and a woman can dare!
Eugene J. Hall.
There's But One Pair of Stockings to Mend To-Night
An old wife sat by her bright fireside, Swaying thoughtfully to and fro In an easy chair, whose creaky craw Told a tale of long ago; While down by her side, on the kitchen floor, Stood a basket of worsted balls—a score.
The good man dozed o'er the latest news Till the light in his pipe went out; And, unheeded, the kitten with cunning paws Rolled and tangled the balls about; Yet still sat the wife in the ancient chair, Swaying to and fro in the fire-light glare.
But anon, a misty teardrop came In her eyes of faded blue, Then trickled down in a furrow deep Like a single drop of dew; So deep was the channel—so silent the stream— That the good man saw naught but the dimmed eye-beam.
Yet marveled he much that the cheerful light Of her eye had heavy grown, And marveled he more at the tangled balls, So he said in a gentle tone: "I have shared thy joys since our marriage vow, Conceal not from me thy sorrows now."
Then she spoke of the time when the basket there Was filled to the very brim; And now, there remained of the goodly pile But a single pair—for him; "Then wonder not at the dimmed eye-light, There's but one pair of stockings to mend to-night.
"I cannot but think of the busy feet Whose wrappings were wont to lay In the basket, awaiting the needle's time— Now wandering so far away; How the sprightly steps to a mother dear, Unheeded fell on the careless ear.
"For each empty nook in the basket old By the hearth there's a vacant seat; And I miss the shadows from off the wall, And the patter of many feet; 'Tis for this that a tear gathered over my sight, At the one pair of stockings to mend to-night.
"'Twas said that far through the forest wild, And over the mountains bold, Was a land whose rivers and darkening caves Were gemmed with the rarest gold; Then my first-born turned from the oaken door— And I knew the shadows were only four.
"Another went forth on the foaming wave, And diminished the basket's store; But his feet grew cold—so weary and cold, They'll never be warm any more. And this nook, in its emptiness, seemeth to me To give forth no voice but the moan of the sea.
"Two others have gone toward the setting sun, And made them a home in its light, And fairy fingers have taken their share, To mend by the fireside bright; Some other baskets their garments will fill— But mine, ah, mine is emptier still.
"Another—the dearest, the fairest, the best— Was taken by angels away, And clad in a garment that waxeth not old, In a land of continual day; Oh! wonder no more at the dimmed eye-light, When I mend the one pair of stockings to-night."
The Young Man Waited
In the room below the young man sat, With an anxious face and a white cravat, A throbbing heart and a silken hat, And various other things like that Which he had accumulated. And the maid of his heart was up above Surrounded by hat and gown and glove, And a thousand things which women love, But no man knoweth the names thereof— And the young man sat and—waited.
You will scarce believe the things I tell, But the truth thereof I know full well, Though how may not be stated; But I swear to you that the maiden took A sort of half-breed, thin stove-hook, And heated it well in the gaslight there. And thrust it into her head, or hair. Then she took something off the bed, And hooked it onto her hair, or head, And piled it high, and piled it higher, And drove it home with staples of wire! And the young man anxiously—waited.
Then she took a thing she called a "puff" And some very peculiar whitish stuff, And using about a half a peck, She spread it over her face and neck, (Deceit was a thing she hated!) And she looked as fair as a lilied bower, Or a pound of lard or a sack of flour;— And the young man wearily—waited.
Then she took a garment of awful shape And it wasn't a waist, nor yet a cape, But it looked like a piece of ancient mail, Or an instrument from a Russian jail, And then with a fearful groan and gasp, She squeezed herself in its deathly clasp— So fair and yet so fated! And then with a move like I don't know what, She tied it on with a double knot;— And the young man wofully—waited.
Then she put on a dozen different things, A mixture of buttons and hooks and strings, Till she strongly resembled a notion store; Then, taking some seventeen pins or more, She thrust them into her ruby lips, Then stuck them around from waist to hips, And never once hesitated. And the maiden didn't know, perhaps, That the man below had had seven naps, And that now he sleepily—waited.
And then she tried to put on her hat, Ah me, a trying ordeal was that! She tipped it high and she tried it low, But every way that the thing would go Only made her more agitated. It wouldn't go straight and it caught her hair, And she wished she could hire a man to swear, But alas, the only man lingering there Was the one who wildly—waited.
And then before she could take her leave, She had to puff up her monstrous sleeve. Then a little dab here and a wee pat there. And a touch or two to her hindmost hair, Then around the room with the utmost care She thoughtfully circulated. Then she seized her gloves and a chamoiskin, Some breath perfume and a long stickpin, A bonbon box and a cloak and some Eau-de-cologne and chewing-gum, Her opera glass and sealskin muff, A fan and a heap of other stuff; Then she hurried down, but ere she spoke, Something about the maiden broke. So she scurried back to the winding stair, And the young man looked in wild despair, And then he—evaporated.
Edmund Vance Cooke.
Out of the night that covers me, Black as the Pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the Horror of the shade, And yet the menace of the years Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.
William E. Henley.
Katie Lee and Willie Grey
Two brown heads with tossing curls, Red lips shutting over pearls, Bare feet, white and wet with dew, Two eyes black, and two eyes blue; Little girl and boy were they, Katie Lee and Willie Grey.
They were standing where a brook, Bending like a shepherd's crook, Flashed its silver, and thick ranks Of willow fringed its mossy banks; Half in thought, and half in play, Katie Lee and Willie Grey.
They had cheeks like cherries red; He was taller—'most a head; She, with arms like wreaths of snow, Swung a basket to and fro As she loitered, half in play, Chattering to Willie Grey.
"Pretty Katie," Willie said— And there came a dash of red Through the brownness of his cheek— "Boys are strong and girls are weak, And I'll carry, so I will, Katie's basket up the hill."
Katie answered with a laugh, "You shall carry only half"; And then, tossing back her curls, "Boys are weak as well as girls." Do you think that Katie guessed Half the wisdom she expressed?
Men are only boys grown tall; Hearts don't change much, after all; And when, long years from that day, Katie Lee and Willie Grey Stood again beside the brook, Bending like a shepherd's crook,—
Is it strange that Willie said, While again a dash of red Crossed the brownness of his cheek, "I am strong and you are weak; Life is but a slippery steep, Hung with shadows cold and deep.
"Will you trust me, Katie dear,— Walk beside me without fear? May I carry, if I will, All your burdens up the hill?" And she answered, with a laugh, "No, but you may carry half."
Close beside the little brook, Bending like a shepherd's crook, Washing with its silver hands Late and early at the sands, Is a cottage, where to-day Katie lives with Willie Grey.
In a porch she sits, and lo! Swings a basket to and fro— Vastly different from the one That she swung in years agone, This is long and deep and wide, And has—rockers at the side.
Abou Ben Adhem
Abou Ben Adhem—may his tribe increase!— Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace, And saw, within the moonlight in his room, Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom, An angel, writing in a book of gold. Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold, And to the Presence in the room he said, "What writest thou?" The vision raised its head, And, with a look made all of sweet accord, Answered, "The names of those who love the Lord." "And is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay, not so," Replied the angel.—Abou spoke more low, But cheerily still; and said, "I pray thee, then, Write me as one that loves his fellow-men."
The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night It came again, with a great wakening light, And showed the names whom love of God had blessed: And, lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.
Still sits the school-house by the road, A ragged beggar sunning; Around it still the sumachs grow, And blackberry vines are running.
Within, the master's desk is seen, Deep scarred by raps official; The warping floor, the battered seats, The jack-knife's carved initial;
The charcoal frescoes on its wall; Its door's worn sill, betraying The feet that, creeping slow to school, Went storming out to playing!
Long years ago a winter sun Shone over it at setting; Lit up its western window-panes, And low eaves' icy fretting.
It touched the tangled golden curls, And brown eyes full of grieving, Of one who still her steps delayed When all the school were leaving.
For near her stood the little boy Her childish favor singled: His cap pulled low upon a face Where pride and shame were mingled.
Pushing with restless feet the snow To right and left, he lingered;— As restlessly her tiny hands The blue-checked apron fingered.
He saw her lift her eyes; he felt The soft hand's light caressing, And heard the tremble of her voice, As if a fault confessing.
"I'm sorry that I spelt the word: I hate to go above you, Because,"—the brown eyes lower fell,— "Because, you see, I love you!"
Still memory to a gray-haired man That sweet child-face is showing. Dear girl: the grasses on her grave Have forty years been growing!
He lives to learn, in life's hard school, How few who pass above him Lament their triumph and his loss, Like her,—because they love him.
John Greenleaf Whittier.
"Tis plain to see," said a farmer's wife, "These boys will make their mark in life; They were never made to handle a hoe, And at once to a college ought to go; There's Fred, he's little better than a fool, But John and Henry must go to school."
"Well, really, wife," quoth Farmer Brown, As he set his mug of cider down, "Fred does more work in a day for me Than both his brothers do in three. Book larnin' will never plant one's corn, Nor hoe potatoes, sure's you're born; Nor mend a rod of broken fence— For my part, give me common sense."
But his wife was bound the roost to rule, And John and Henry were sent to school, While Fred, of course, was left behind, Because his mother said he had no mind.
Five years at school the students spent; Then into business each one went. John learned to play the flute and fiddle, And parted his hair, of course, in the middle; While his brother looked rather higher than he, And hung out a sign, "H. Brown, M.D."
Meanwhile, at home, their brother Fred Had taken a notion into his head; But he quietly trimmed his apple trees, And weeded onions and planted peas, While somehow or other, by hook or crook, He managed to read full many a book; Until at last his father said He was getting "book larnin'" into his head; "But for all that," added Farmer Brown, "He's the smartest boy there is in town."
The war broke out, and Captain Fred A hundred men to battle led, And when the rebel flag came down, Went marching home as General Brown. But he went to work on the farm again, And planted corn and sowed his grain; He shingled the barn and mended the fence, Till people declared he had common sense.
Now common sense was very rare, And the State House needed a portion there; So the "family dunce" moved into town— The people called him Governor Brown; And the brothers who went to the city school Came home to live with "mother's fool."
You Wi'yam, cum 'ere, suh, dis instunce. Wu' dat you got under dat box? I do' want no foolin'—you hear me? Wut you say? Ain't nu'h'n but rocks? 'Peah ter me you's owdashus p'ticler. S'posin' dey's uv a new kine. I'll des take a look at dem rocks. Hi yi! der you think dat I's bline?
I calls dat a plain water-million, you scamp, en I knows whah it growed; It come fum de Jimmerson cawn fiel', dah on ter side er de road. You stole it, you rascal—you stole it! I watched you fum down in de lot. En time I gets th'ough wid you, nigger, you won't eb'n be a grease spot!
I'll fix you. Mirandy! Mirandy! go cut me a hick'ry—make 'ase! En cut me de toughes' en keenes' you c'n fine anywhah on de place. I'll larn you, Mr. Wi'yam Joe Vetters, ter steal en ter lie, you young sinner, Disgracin' yo' ole Christian mammy, en makin' her leave cookin' dinner!
Now ain't you ashamed er yo'se'lf sur? I is, I's 'shamed you's my son! En de holy accorjan angel he's 'shamed er wut you has done; En he's tuk it down up yander in coal-black, blood-red letters— "One water-million stoled by Wi'yam Josephus Vetters."
En wut you s'posen Brer Bascom, yo' teacher at Sunday school, 'Ud say ef he knowed how you's broke de good Lawd's Gol'n Rule? Boy, whah's de raisin' I give you? Is you boun' fuh ter be a black villiun? I's s'prised dat a chile er yo mammy 'ud steal any man's water-million.
En I's now gwinter cut it right open, en you shain't have nary bite, Fuh a boy who'll steal water-millions—en dat in de day's broad light— Ain't—Lawdy! it's green! Mirandy! Mi-ran-dy! come on wi' dat switch! Well, stealin' a g-r-e-e-n water-million! who ever yeered tell er des sich?
Cain't tell w'en dey's ripe? W'y you thump 'um, en w'en dey go pank dey is green; But w'en dey go punk, now you mine me, dey's ripe—en dat's des wut I mean. En nex' time you hook water-millions—you heered me, you ign'ant, you hunk, Ef you do' want a lickin' all over, be sho dat dey allers go "punk"!
Give Us Men
God give us men; a time like this demands Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands. Men whom the lust of office cannot kill; Men whom the spoils of office cannot buy; Men who possess opinions and a will; Men who have honor; men who will not lie; Men who can stand before a demagogue, And brave his treacherous flatteries without winking; Tall men, sun-crowned, who live above the fog, In public duty and in private thinking; For while the rabble, with its thumb-worn creeds, Its large professions, and its little deeds, Mingle in selfish strife—lo! Freedom weeps, Wrong rules the land, and waiting Justice sleeps.
Never Trouble Trouble
My good man is a clever man, which no one will gainsay; He lies awake to plot and plan 'gainst lions in the way, While I, without a thought of ill, sleep sound enough for three, For I never trouble trouble till trouble troubles me.
A holiday we never fix but he is sure 'twill rain; And when the sky is clear at six he knows it won't remain. He is always prophesying ill to which I won't agree, For I never trouble trouble till trouble troubles me.
The wheat will never show a top—but soon how green the field! We will not harvest half a crop—yet have a famous yield! It will not sell, it never will! but I will wait and see, For I never trouble trouble till trouble troubles me.
We have a good share of worldly gear, and fortune seems secure, Yet my good man is full of fear—misfortune's coming sure! He points me out the almshouse hill, but cannot make me see, For I never trouble trouble till trouble troubles me.
He has a sort of second sights and when the fit is strong, He sees beyond the good and right the evil and the wrong. Heaven's cop of joy he'll surely spill unless I with him be, For I never trouble trouble till trouble troubles me.
What is Good
"What is the real good?" I asked in musing mood. Order, said the law court; Knowledge, said the school; Truth, said the wise man; Pleasure, said the fool; Love, said the maiden; Beauty, said the page; Freedom, said the dreamer; Home, said the sage; Fame, said the soldier; Equity, the seer. Spake my heart full sadly: "The answer is not here." Then within my bosom Softly this I heard: "Each heart holds the secret: Kindness is the word."
John Boyle O'Reilly.
The Penny Ye Mean to Gie
There's a funny tale 'of a stingy man, Who was none too good but might have been worse, Who went to his church, on a Sunday night And carried along his well-filled purse.
When the sexton came with the begging plate, The church was but dim with the candle's light; The stingy man fumbled all thro' his purse, And chose a coin by touch and not by sight.
It's an odd thing now that guineas should be So like unto pennies in shape and size. "I'll gie a penny," the stingy man said: "The poor must not gifts of pennies despise."
The penny fell down with a clatter and ring! And back in his seat leaned the stingy man. "The world is full of the poor," he thought, "I can't help them all—I give what I can."
Ha! ha! how the sexton smiled, to be sure, To see the gold guinea fall in the plate; Ha! ha! how the stingy man's heart was wrung, Perceiving his blunder—but just too late!
"No matter," he said; "in the Lord's account That guinea of gold is set down to me— They lend to him who give to the poor; It will not so bad an investment be."
"Na, na, mon," the chuckling sexton cried out, "The Lord is na cheated—he kens thee well; He knew it was only by accident That out o' thy fingers the guinea fell!
"He keeps an account, na doubt, for the puir; But in that account He'll set down to thee Na mair o' that golden guinea, my mon, Than the one bare penny ye mean to gie!"
There's comfort, too, in the little tale— A serious side as well as a joke— A comfort for all the generous poor In the comical words the sexton spoke;
A comfort to think that the good Lord knows How generous we really desire to be, And will give us credit in his account, For all the pennies we long "to gie."
Leedle Yawcob Strauss
I haf von funny leedle poy Vot gomes shust to my knee,— Der queerest schap, der createst rogue As efer you dit see. He runs, und schumps, und schmashes dings In all barts off der house. But vot off dot? He vas mine son, Mine leedle Yawcob Strauss.
He gets der measels und der mumbs, Und eferyding dot's oudt; He sbills mine glass off lager bier, Poots schnuff indo mine kraut; He fills mine pipe mit Limburg cheese— Dot vas der roughest chouse; I'd dake dot vrom no oder poy But leedle Yawcob Strauss.
He dakes der milkban for a dhrum, Und cuts mine cane in dwo To make der schticks to beat it mit— Mine cracious, dot vas drue! I dinks mine hed vas schplit abart He kicks oup sooch a touse; But nefer mind der poys vas few Like dot young Yawcob Strauss.
He asks me questions sooch as dese: Who baints mine nose so red? Who vos it cuts dot schmoodth blace oudt Vrom der hair ubon mine hed? Und vhere der plaze goes vrom der lamp Vene'er der glim I douse? How gan I all dese dings eggsblain To dot schmall Yawcob Strauss?
I somedimes dink I schall go vild Mit sooch a grazy poy, Und vish vonce more I gould haf rest Und beaceful dimes enshoy. But ven he vas asleep in ped, So quiet as a mouse, I prays der Lord, "Dake any dings, But leaf dot Yawcob Strauss."
Charles F. Adams.
We shall do so much in the years to come, But what have we done to-day? We shall give out gold in princely sum, But what did we give to-day? We shall lift the heart and dry the tear, We shall plant a hope in the place of fear, We shall speak with words of love and cheer, But what have we done to-day? We shall be so kind in the after while, But what have we been to-day? We shall bring to each lonely life a smile, But what have we brought to-day? We shall give to truth a grander birth, And to steadfast faith a deeper worth, We shall feed the hungering souls of earth, But whom have we fed to-day?
So Was I
My name is Tommy, an' I hates That feller of my sister Kate's, He's bigger'n I am an' you see He's sorter lookin' down on me, An' I resents it with a vim; I think I am just as good as him. He's older, an' he's mighty fly, But's he's a kid, an' so am I.
One time he came,—down by the gate, I guess it must have been awful late,— An' Katie, she was there, an' they Was feelin' very nice and gay, An' he was talkin' all the while About her sweet an' lovin' smile, An' everythin' was as nice as pie, An' they was there, an' so was I.
They didn't see me, 'cause I slid Down underneath a bush, an' hid, An' he was sayin' that his love Was greater'n all the stars above Up in the glorious heavens placed; An' then His arms got 'round her waist, An' clouds were floatin' in the sky, And they was there, an' so was I.
I didn't hear just all they said, But by an' by my sister's head Was droopin' on his shoulder, an' I seen him holdin' Katie's hand, An' then he hugged her closer, some, An' then I heerd a kiss—yum, yum; An' Katie blushed an' drew a sigh, An' sorter coughed,—an' so did I.
An' then that feller looked around An' seed me there, down on the ground, An'—was he mad? well, betcher boots I gets right out of there an' scoots. An' he just left my sister Kate A-standin' right there by the gate; An' I seen blood was in his eye, An' he runned fast—an' so did I.
I runned the very best I could, But he cotched up—I's 'fraid he would— An' then he said he'd teach me how To know my manners, he'd allow; An' then he shaked me awful. Gee! He jest—he frashed the ground with me. An' then he stopped it by and by, 'Cause he was tired—an' so was I,
An' then he went back to the gate An' couldn't find my sister Kate 'Cause she went in to bed, while he Was runnin' 'round an' thumpin' me. I got round in a shadder dim, An' made a face, an' guffed at him; An' then the moon larfed, in the sky, 'Cause he was there, an' so was I.
Joseph Bert Smiley.
Is It Worth While?
Is it worth while that we jostle a brother. Bearing his load on the rough road of life? Is it worth while that we jeer at each other In blackness of heart that we war to the knife? God pity us all in our pitiful strife.
God pity as all as we jostle each other; God pardon us all for the triumph we feel When a fellow goes down 'neath his load on the heather, Pierced to the heart: Words are keener than steel, And mightier far for woe than for weal,
Were it not well, in this brief little journey On over the isthmus, down into the tide, We give him a fish instead of a serpent, Ere folding the hands to be and abide Forever and aye in dust at his side?
Look at the roses saluting each other; Look at the herds all at peace on the plain; Man, and man only, makes war on his brother, And laughs in his heart at his peril and pain, Shamed by the beasts that go down on the plain.
Is it worth while that we battle to humble Some poor fellow down into the dust? God pity us all! Time too soon will tumble All of us together, like leaves in a gust, Humbled, indeed, down into the dust.
There are loyal hearts, there are spirits brave, There are souls that are pure and true; Then give to the world the best you have, And the best will come back to you.
Give love, and love to your life will flow, A strength in your utmost need; Have faith, and a score of hearts will show Their faith in your work and deed.
Give truth, and your gift will be paid in kind; And honor will honor meet, And the smile which is sweet will surely find A smile that is just as sweet.
Give pity and sorrow to those who mourn; You will gather in flowers again The scattered seeds from your thought outborne, Though the sowing seemed in vain.
For life is the mirror of king and slave; 'Tis just what we are and do; Then give to the world the best you have, And the best will come back to you.
Madeline S. Bridges.
The Little Black-Eyed Rebel
A boy drove into the city, his wagon loaded down With food to feed the people of the British-governed town; And the little black-eyed rebel, so cunning and so sly, Was watching for his coming from the corner of her eye.
His face was broad and honest, his hands were brown and tough, The clothes he wore upon him were homespun, coarse, and rough; But one there was who watched him, who long time lingered nigh, And cast at him sweet glances from the corner of her eye.
He drove up to the market, he waited in the line— His apples and potatoes were fresh and fair and fine. But long and long he waited, and no one came to buy, Save the black-eyed rebel, watching from the corner of her eye.
"Now, who will buy my apples?" he shouted, long and loud; And, "Who wants my potatoes?" he repeated to the crowd. But from all the people round him came no word of reply, Save the black-eyed rebel, answering from the corner of her eye.
For she knew that 'neath the lining of the coat he wore that day Were long letters from the husbands and the fathers far away, Who were fighting for the freedom that they meant to gain, or die; And a tear like silver glistened in the corner of her eye.
But the treasures—how to get them? crept the question through her mind, Since keen enemies were watching for what prizes they might find; And she paused a while and pondered, with a pretty little sigh, Then resolve crept through her features, and a shrewdness fired her eye.
So she resolutely walked up to the wagon old and red— "May I have a dozen apples for a kiss?" she sweetly said; And the brown face flushed to scarlet, for the boy was somewhat shy, And he saw her laughing at him from the corner of her eye.
"You may have them all for nothing, and more, if you want," quoth he. "I will have them, my good fellow, but can pay for them," said she. And she clambered on the wagon, minding not who all were by, With a laugh of reckless romping in the corner of her eye.
Clinging round his brawny neck, she clasped her fingers white and small, And then whispered, "Quick! the letters! thrust them underneath my shawl! Carry back again this package, and be sure that you are spry!" And she sweetly smiled upon him from the corner of her eye.
Loud the motley crowd was laughing at the strange, ungirlish freak; And the boy was scared and panting, and so dashed he could not speak. And "Miss, I have good apples," a bolder lad did cry; But she answered, "No, I thank you," from the corner of her eye.
With the news from loved ones absent to the dear friends they would greet, Searching them who hungered for them, swift she glided through the street. "There is nothing worth the doing that it does not pay to try," Thought the little black-eyed rebel with a twinkle in her eye.
A Day Well Spent
If you sit down at set of sun And count the deeds that you have done, And, counting, find One self-denying act, one word that eased the heart of him that heard; One glance most kind, which felt like sunshine where it went, Then you may count that day well spent.
But if through, all the livelong day You've eased no heart by yea or nay, If through it all you've nothing done that you can trace That brought the sunshine to one face, No act most small that helped some soul and nothing cost, Then count that day as worse than lost.
Say Not the Struggle Nought Availeth
Say not the struggle nought availeth, The labor and the wounds are vain, The enemy faints not, nor faileth, And as things have been they remain.
If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars; It may be, in yon smoke concealed, Your comrades chase e'en now the fliers, And, but for you, possess the field.
For while the tired waves, vainly breaking, Seem here no painful inch to gain, Far back, through creeks and inlets making, Comes silent, flooding in, the main,
And not by eastern windows only, When daylight comes, comes in the light, In front, the sun climbs slow, how slowly, But westward, look, the land is bright.
The Miller of the Dee
There dwelt a miller, hale and bold, Beside the river Dee; He worked and sang from morn till night— No lark more blithe than he; And this the burden of his song Forever used to be: "I envy nobody—no, not I— And nobody envies me!"
"Thou'rt wrong, my friend," said good King Hal, "As wrong as wrong can be; For could my heart be light as thine, I'd gladly change with thee. And tell me now, what makes thee sing, With voice so loud and free, While I am sad, though I'm a king, Beside the river Dee?"
The miller smiled and doffed his cap, "I earn my bread," quoth he; "I love my wife, I love my friend, I love my children three; I owe no penny I cannot pay, I thank the river Dee That turns the mill that grinds the corn That feeds my babes and me."
"Good friend," said Hal, and sighed the while, "Farewell, and happy be; But say no more, if thou'dst be true That no one envies thee; Thy mealy cap is worth my crown, Thy mill my kingdom's fee; Such men as thou art England's boast, O miller of the Dee!"
The Old Red Cradle
Take me back to the days when the old red cradle rocked, In the sunshine of the years that are gone; To the good old trusty days, when the door was never locked, And we slumbered unmolested till the dawn.
I remember of my years I had numbered almost seven, And the old cradle stood against the wall— I was youngest of the five, and two were gone to heaven, But the old red cradle rocked us all.
And if ever came a day when my cheeks were flushed and hot, When I did not mind my porridge or my play, I would clamber up its side and the pain would be forgot, When the old red cradle rocked away.
It has been a hallowed spot where I've turned through all the years, Which have brought me the evil with the good, And I turn again to-night, aye, and see it through my tears, The place where the dear old cradle stood.
By its side my father paused with a little time to spare. And the care-lines would soften on his brow, Ah! 't was but a little while that I knew a father's care, But I fancy in my dreams I see him now.
By my mother it was rocked when the evening meal was laid, And again I seem to see her as she smiled; When the rest were all in bed, 'twas there she knelt and prayed, By the old red cradle and her child.
Aye, it cradled one and all, brothers, sisters in it lay, And it gave me the sweetest rest I've known; But to-night the tears will flow, and I let them have their way, For the passing years are leaving me alone.
And it seems of those to come, I would gladly give them all For a slumber as free from care as then, Just to wake to-morrow morn where the rising sun would fall Round the old red cradle once again.
But the cradle long has gone and the burdens that it bore, One by one, have been gathered to the fold; Still the flock is incomplete, for it numbers only four, With one left out straying in the cold.
Heaven grant again we may in each other's arms be locked, Where no sad tears of parting ever fall; God forbid that one be lost that the old red cradle rocked; And the dear old cradle rocked us all.
Annie J. Granniss.
The Moo Cow Moo
My papa held me up to the Moo Cow Moo So close I could almost touch, And I fed him a couple of times or so, And I wasn't a fraid-cat, much.
But if my papa goes in the house, And my mamma she goes in too, I keep still like a little mouse For the Moo Cow Moo might Moo.
The Moo Cow's tail is a piece of rope All raveled out where it grows; And it's just like feeling a piece of soap All over the Moo Cow's nose.
And the Moo Cow Moo has lots of fun Just switching his tail about, But if he opens his mouth, why then I run, For that's where the Moo comes out.
The Moo Cow Moo has deers on his head, And his eyes stick out of their place, And the nose of the Moo Cow Moo is spread All over the Moo Cow's face.
And his feet are nothing but fingernails, And his mamma don't keep them cut, And he gives folks milk in water pails, When he don't keep his handles shut.
But if you or I pull his handles, why The Moo Cow Moo says it hurts, But the hired man sits down close by And squirts, and squirts, and squirts.
Edmund Vance Cooke.
All Things Bright and Beautiful
All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small, All things wise and wonderful,— The Lord God made them all.
Each little flower that opens, Each little bird that sings,— He made their glowing colors, He made their tiny wings.
The rich man in his castle, The poor man at his gate, God made them, high or lowly, And ordered their estate.
The purple-headed mountain, The river running by, The morning, and the sunset That lighteth up the sky,
The cold wind in the winter, The pleasant summer sun, The ripe fruits in the garden,— He made them, every one.
The tall trees in the greenwood, The meadows where we play, The rushes by the water We gather every day,—
He gave us eyes to see them, And lips that we might tell How great is God Almighty, Who hath made all things well.
Cecil Frances Alexander.
An Order for a Picture
Oh, good painter, tell me true, Has your hand the cunning to draw Shapes of things that you never saw? Aye? Well, here is an order for you.
Woods and cornfields, a little brown,— The picture must not be over-bright,— Yet all in the golden and gracious light Of a cloud, when the summer sun is down. Alway and alway, night and morn, Woods upon woods, with fields of corn Lying between them, not quite sere, And not in the full, thick, leafy bloom, When the wind can hardly find breathing-room, Under their tassels,—cattle near, Biting shorter the short green grass, And a hedge of sumach and sassafras, With bluebirds twittering all around,— (Ah, good painter, you can't paint sound!)— These, and the little house where I was born, Low and little, and black and old, With children, many as it can hold, All at the windows, open wide,— Heads and shoulders clear outside, And fair young faces all ablush: Perhaps you have seen, some day, Roses crowding the self-same way, Out of a wilding, wayside bush.
Listen closer. When you have done With woods and cornfields and grazing herds, A lady, the loveliest ever the sun Looked down upon you must paint for me: Oh, if I could only make you see The clear blue eyes, the tender smile, The sovereign sweetness, the gentle grace, The woman's soul, and the angel's face That are beaming on me all the while, I need not speak these foolish words: Yet one word tells you all I would say,— She is my mother: you will agree That all the rest may be thrown away.
Two little urchins at her knee You must paint, sir: one like me,— The other with a clearer brow, And the light of his adventurous eyes Flashing with boldest enterprise: At ten years old he went to sea,— God knoweth if he be living now; He sailed in the good ship "Commodore,"— Nobody ever crossed her track To bring us news, and she never came back. Ah, it is twenty long years and more Since that old ship went out of the bay With my great-hearted brother on her deck: I watched him till he shrank to a speck, And his face was toward me all the way. Bright his hair was, a golden brown, The time we stood at our mother's knee: That beauteous head, if it did go down, Carried sunshine into the sea!
Out in the fields one summer night We were together, half afraid Of the corn-leaves' rustling, and of the shade Of the high hills, stretching so still and far,— Loitering till after the low little light Of the candle shone through the open door, And over the hay-stack's pointed top, All of a tremble and ready to drop, The first half-hoar, the great yellow star, That we, with staring, ignorant eyes, Had often and often watched to see Propped and held in its place in the skies By the fork of a tall red mulberry-tree, Which close in the edge of our flax-field grew,— Dead at the top, just one branch full Of leaves, notched round, and lined with wool, From which it tenderly shook the dew Over our heads, when we came to play In its hand-breadth of shadow, day after day. Afraid to go home, sir; for one of us bore A nest full of speckled and thin-shelled eggs,— The other, a bird, held fast by the legs, Not so big as a straw of wheat: The berries we gave her she wouldn't eat, But cried and cried, till we held her bill, So slim and shining, to keep her still.