Transcriber's Note: A few minor irregularities of punctuation have been corrected in this text.
The Path to Home
Edgar A. Guest
Author of "Just Folks"—"Over Here" "A Heap o' Livin'"
The Reilly & Lee Co.
The Reilly & Lee Co.
All Rights Reserved.
Printed in The United States of America.
F. K. R.
A friend who had faith
Alone 145 Along the Paths o' Glory 61 Apple Tree in France, An 60 Approach of Christmas, The 56 At Dawn 165 At the Peace Table 40 Aunty 88
Back Home 82 Becoming a Dad 124 Being Dad on Christmas Eve 102 Best Way to Read a Book 122 Boy at Christmas, A 120 Bread and Jam 90 Bride, The 58 Bud Discusses Cleanliness 72 Burden Bearer, The 112
Change-Worker, The 174 Children, The 108 Choice, A 79 Cliffs of Scotland 63 Comedian, The 109 Common Joys, The 171 Compensation 36 Convalescin' Woman, A 176 Cookie-Lady, The 67 Cut-Down Trousers, The 147
Daddies 52 Dead Return, The 84 Different 117 Dinner-Time 149 Doctor, The 26 Dr. Johnson's Picture Cow 34 Doubtful To-morrow, The 178
Evening-Prayer, The 152
Faces 22 Faith 111 Father's Chore 186 Father of the Man, The 94 Fatherhood 77 Fine 13 Finest Fellowship, The 116 First Name Friends 44 Fun of Forgiving, The 162 Furnace Door, The 46
Gift of Play, The 98 Good Name, A 143
His Dog 157 His Example 172
It Couldn't Be Done 37 "It's a Boy" 114
Lesson from Golf, A 184 Lines for a Flag Raising Ceremony 28 Little Fishermen 66 Little Girls 103 Little Woman, The 92 Living Flowers 170 Lonely Garden, The 134 Lost Opportunities 130 Lost Purse, The 24 Lullaby 158
March o' Man, The 188 Mother's Job 55 Mother's Party Dress 64 Mother Watch, The 20 Mrs. Malone and the Censor 41 My Job 142 My Soul and I 86
Names and Faces 166
Old-Fashioned Parents, The 160 Old-Fashioned Welcome, An 15 Old Wooden Tub, The 128 Our Country 76 Our House 16 Out Fishin' 48
Path to Home, The 11 Patriotism 131 Pay Envelope, The 150 Picture Books 53 Plea, A 17 Pleasing Dad 168 Pleasure's Signs 69
Right Family, The 182
Selling the Old Home 50 Service 38 Shut-Ins 146 Silver Stripes, The 136 Snooping 'Round 70 Song of Loved Ones, The 123 Spoiling Them 14 St. Valentine's Day 33 Story-Time 18
Test, The 126 There Will Always Be Something to Do 119 Thoughts of a Father 153 Tied Down 74 Tinkerin' at Home 138 To the Boy 156 Tommy Atkins' Way 180 Tonsils 163 Toys and Life 100 Toy-Strewn Home, The 30 Tramp, The 133
Under the Roof Where the Laughter Rings 32 United States 105 Unknown Friends, The 43
What Father Knows 80 When a Little Baby Dies 155 When an Old Man Gets to Thinking 140 When Mother Made an Angel Cake 96 When My Ship Comes In 106
The Path to Home
There's the mother at the doorway, and the children at the gate, And the little parlor windows with the curtains white and straight. There are shaggy asters blooming in the bed that lines the fence, And the simplest of the blossoms seems of mighty consequence. Oh, there isn't any mansion underneath God's starry dome That can rest a weary pilgrim like the little place called home.
Men have sought for gold and silver; men have dreamed at night of fame; In the heat of youth they've struggled for achievement's honored name; But the selfish crowns are tinsel, and their shining jewels paste, And the wine of pomp and glory soon grows bitter to the taste. For there's never any laughter, howsoever far you roam, Like the laughter of the loved ones in the happiness of home.
There is nothing so important as the mother's lullabies, Filled with peace and sweet contentment, when the moon begins to rise— Nothing real except the beauty and the calm upon her face And the shouting of the children as they scamper round the place. For the greatest of man's duties is to keep his loved ones glad And to have his children glory in the father they have had.
So where'er a man may wander, and whatever be his care, You'll find his soul still stretching to the home he left somewhere. You'll find his dreams all tangled up with hollyhocks in bloom, And the feet of little children that go racing through a room, With the happy mother smiling as she watches them at play— These are all in life that matter, when you've stripped the sham away.
Isn't it fine when the day is done, And the petty battles are lost or won, When the gold is made and the ink is dried, To quit the struggle and turn aside To spend an hour with your boy in play, And let him race all of your cares away?
Isn't it fine when the day's gone well, When you have glorious tales to tell, And your heart is light and your head is high. For nothing has happened to make you sigh, To hurry homewards to share the joy That your work has won with a little boy?
Isn't it fine, whether good or bad Has come to the hopes and the plans you had, And the day is over, to find him there, Thinking you splendid and just and fair, Ready to chase all your griefs away, And soothe your soul with an hour of play?
Oh, whether the day's been long or brief, Whether it's brought to me joy or grief, Whether I've failed, or whether I've won, It shall matter not when the work is done; I shall count it fine if I end each day With a little boy in an hour of play.
"You're spoiling them!" the mother cries When I give way to weepy eyes And let them do the things they wish, Like cleaning up the jelly dish, Or finishing the chocolate cake, Or maybe let the rascal take My piece of huckleberry pie, Because he wants it more than I.
"You're spoiling them!" the mother tells, When I am heedless to their yells, And let them race and romp about And do not put their joy to rout. I know I should be firm, and yet I tried it once to my regret; I will remember till I'm old The day I started in to scold.
I stamped my foot and shouted: "Stop!" And Bud just let his drum sticks drop, And looked at me, and turned away; That night there was no further play. The girls were solemn-like and still, Just as girls are when they are ill, And when unto his cot I crept, I found him sobbing as he slept.
That was my first attempt and last To play the scold. I'm glad it passed So quickly and has left no trace Of memory on each little face; But now when mother whispers low: "You're spoiling them," I answer, "No! But it is plain, as plain can be, Those little tykes are spoiling me."
An Old-Fashioned Welcome
There's nothing cheers a fellow up just like a hearty greeting, A handclasp and an honest smile that flash the joy of meeting; And when at friendly doors you ring, somehow it seems to free you From all life's doubts to hear them say: "Come in! We're glad to see you!"
At first the portal slips ajar in answer to your ringing, And then your eyes meet friendly eyes, and wide the door goes flinging; And something seems to stir the soul, however troubled be you, If but the cheery host exclaims: "Come in! We're glad to see you!"
We play at our house and have all sorts of fun, An' there's always a game when the supper is done; An' at our house there's marks on the walls an' the stairs, An' some terrible scratches on some of the chairs; An' ma says that our house is really a fright, But pa and I say that our house is all right.
At our house we laugh an' we sing an' we shout, An' whirl all the chairs an' the tables about, An' I rassle my pa an' I get him down too, An' he's all out of breath when the fightin' is through; An' ma says that our house is surely a sight, But pa an' I say that our house is all right.
I've been to houses with pa where I had To sit in a chair like a good little lad, An' there wasn't a mark on the walls an' the chairs, An' the stuff that we have couldn't come up to theirs; An' pa said to ma that for all of their joy He wouldn't change places an' give up his boy.
They never have races nor rassles nor fights, Coz they have no children to play with at nights; An' their walls are all clean an' their curtains hang straight, An' everything's shiny an' right up to date; But pa says with all of its racket an' fuss, He'd rather by far live at our house with us.
God grant me these: the strength to do Some needed service here; The wisdom to be brave and true; The gift of vision clear, That in each task that comes to me Some purpose I may plainly see.
God teach me to believe that I Am stationed at a post, Although the humblest 'neath the sky, Where I am needed most. And that, at last, if I do well My humble services will tell.
God grant me faith to stand on guard, Uncheered, unspoke, alone, And see behind such duty hard My service to the throne. Whate'er my task, be this my creed: I am on earth to fill a need.
"Tell us a story," comes the cry From little lips when nights are cold, And in the grate the flames leap high. "Tell us a tale of pirates bold, Or fairies hiding in the glen, Or of a ship that's wrecked at sea." I fill my pipe, and there and then Gather the children round my knee.
I give them all a role to play— No longer are they youngsters small, And I, their daddy, turning gray; We are adventurers, one and all. We journey forth as Robin Hood In search of treasure, or to do Some deed of daring or of good; Our hearts are ever brave and true.
We take a solemn oath to be Defenders of the starry flag; We brave the winter's stormy sea, Or climb the rugged mountain crag, To battle to the death with those Who would defame our native land; We pitch our camp among the snows Or on the tropics' burning sand.
We rescue maidens, young and fair, Held captive long in prison towers; We slay the villain in his lair, For we're possessed of magic powers. And though we desperately fight, When by our foes are we beset, We always triumph for the right; We have not lost a battle yet.
It matters not how far we stray, Nor where our battle lines may be, We never get so far away That we must spend a night at sea. It matters not how high we climb, How many foes our pathway block, We always conquer just in time To go to bed at 9 o'clock.
The Mother Watch
She never closed her eyes in sleep till we were all in bed; On party nights till we came home she often sat and read. We little thought about it then, when we were young and gay, How much the mother worried when we children were away. We only knew she never slept when we were out at night, And that she waited just to know that we'd come home all right.
Why, sometimes when we'd stayed away till one or two or three, It seemed to us that mother heard the turning of the key; For always when we stepped inside she'd call and we'd reply, But we were all too young back then to understand just why. Until the last one had returned she always kept a light, For mother couldn't sleep until she'd kissed us all good night.
She had to know that we were safe before she went to rest; She seemed to fear the world might harm the ones she loved the best. And once she said: "When you are grown to women and to men, Perhaps I'll sleep the whole night through; I may be different then." And so it seemed that night and day we knew a mother's care— That always when we got back home we'd find her waiting there.
Then came the night that we were called to gather round her bed: "The children all are with you now," the kindly doctor said. And in her eyes there gleamed again the old-time tender light That told she had been waiting just to know we were all right. She smiled the old-familiar smile, and prayed to God to keep Us safe from harm throughout the years, and then she went to sleep.
I look into the faces of the people passing by, The glad ones and the sad ones, and the lined with misery, And I wonder why the sorrow or the twinkle in the eye; But the pale and weary faces are the ones that trouble me.
I saw a face this morning, and time was when it was fair; Youth had brushed it bright with color in the distant long ago, And the goddess of the lovely once had kept a temple there, But the cheeks were pale with grieving and the eyes were dull with woe.
Who has done this thing I wondered; what has wrought the ruin here? Why these sunken cheeks and pallid where the roses once were pink? Why has beauty fled her palace; did some vandal hand appear? Did her lover prove unfaithful or her husband take to drink?
Once the golden voice of promise whispered sweetly in her ears; She was born to be a garden where the smiles of love might lurk; Now the eyes that shone like jewels are but gateways for her tears, And she takes her place among us, toilers early bound for work.
Is it fate that writes so sadly, or the cruelty of man? What foul deed has marred the parchment of a life so fair as this? Who has wrecked this lovely temple and destroyed the Maker's plan, Raining blows on cheeks of beauty God had fashioned just to kiss?
Oh, the pale and weary faces of the people that I see Are the ones that seem to haunt me, and I pray to God above That such cruel desolation shall not ever come to be Stamped forever in the future on the faces that I love.
The Lost Purse
I remember the excitement and the terrible alarm That worried everybody when William broke his arm; An' how frantic Pa and Ma got only jes' the other day When they couldn't find the baby coz he'd up an' walked away; But I'm sure there's no excitement that our house has ever shook Like the times Ma can't remember where she's put her pocketbook.
When the laundry man is standin' at the door an' wants his pay Ma hurries in to get it, an' the fun starts right away. She hustles to the sideboard, coz she knows exactly where She can put her hand right on it, but alas! it isn't there. She tries the parlor table an' she goes upstairs to look, An' once more she can't remember where she put her pocketbook.
She tells us that she had it just a half an hour ago, An' now she cannot find it though she's hunted high and low; She's searched the kitchen cupboard an' the bureau drawers upstairs, An' it's not behind the sofa nor beneath the parlor chairs. She makes us kids get busy searching every little nook, An' this time says she's certain that she's lost her pocketbook.
She calls Pa at the office an' he laughs I guess, for then She always mumbles something 'bout the heartlessness of men. She calls to mind a peddler who came to the kitchen door, An' she's certain from his whiskers an' the shabby clothes he wore An' his dirty shirt an' collar that he must have been a crook, An' she's positive that feller came and got her pocketbook.
But at last she allus finds it in some queer an' funny spot, Where she'd put it in a hurry, an' had somehow clean forgot; An' she heaves a sigh of gladness, an' she says, "Well, I declare, I would take an oath this minute that I never put it there." An' we're peaceable an' quiet till next time Ma goes to look An' finds she can't remember where she put her pocketbook.
I don't see why Pa likes him so, And seems so glad to have him come; He jabs my ribs and wants to know If here and there it's hurting some. He holds my wrist, coz there are things In there, which always jump and jerk, Then, with a telephone he brings, He listens to my breather work.
He taps my back and pinches me, Then hangs a mirror on his head And looks into my throat to see What makes it hurt and if it's red. Then on his knee he starts to write And says to mother, with a smile: "This ought to fix him up all right, We'll cure him in a little while."
I don't see why Pa likes him so. Whenever I don't want to play He says: "The boy is sick, I know! Let's get the doctor right away." And when he comes, he shakes his hand, And hustles him upstairs to me, And seems contented just to stand Inside the room where he can see.
Then Pa says every time he goes: "That's money I am glad to pay; It's worth it, when a fellow knows His pal will soon be up to play." But maybe if my Pa were me, And had to take his pills and all, He wouldn't be so glad to see The doctor come to make a call.
Lines For a Flag Raising Ceremony
Full many a flag the breeze has kissed; Through ages long the morning sun Has risen o'er the early mist The flags of men to look upon. And some were red against the sky, And some with colors true were gay, And some in shame were born to die, For Flags of hate must pass away. Such symbols fall as men depart, Brief is the reign of arrant might; The vicious and the vile at heart Give way in time before the right.
A flag is nothing in itself; It but reflects the lives of men; And they who lived and toiled for pelf Went out as vipers in a den. God cleans the sky from time to time Of every tyrant flag that flies, And every brazen badge of crime Falls to the ground and swiftly dies. Proud kings are mouldering in the dust; Proud flags of ages past are gone; Only the symbols of the just Have lived and shall keep living on.
So long as we shall serve the truth, So long as honor stamps us fair, Each age shall pass unto its youth Old Glory proudly flying there! But if we fail our splendid past, If we prove faithless, weak and base, That age shall be our banner's last; A fairer flag shall take its place. This flag we fling unto the skies Is but an emblem of our hearts, And when our love of freedom dies, Our banner with our race departs.
Full many a flag the breezes kiss, Full many a flag the sun has known, But none so bright and fair as this; None quite so splendid as our own! This tells the world that we are men Who cling to manhood's ways and truth; It is our soul's great voice and pen, The strength of age, the guide of youth, And it shall ever hold the sky So long as we shall keep our trust; But if our love of right shall die Our Flag shall sink into the dust.
The Toy-Strewn Home
Give me the house where the toys are strewn, Where the dolls are asleep in the chairs, Where the building blocks and the toy balloon And the soldiers guard the stairs. Let me step in a house where the tiny cart With the horses rules the floor, And rest comes into my weary heart, For I am at home once more.
Give me the house with the toys about, With the battered old train of cars, The box of paints and the books left out, And the ship with her broken spars. Let me step in a house at the close of day That is littered with children's toys, And dwell once more in the haunts of play, With the echoes of by-gone noise.
Give me the house where the toys are seen, The house where the children romp, And I'll happier be than man has been 'Neath the gilded dome of pomp. Let me see the litter of bright-eyed play Strewn over the parlor floor, And the joys I knew in a far-off day Will gladden my heart once more.
Whoever has lived in a toy-strewn home, Though feeble he be and gray, Will yearn, no matter how far he roam, For the glorious disarray Of the little home with its littered floor That was his in the by-gone days; And his heart will throb as it throbbed before, When he rests where a baby plays.
One never knows How far a word of kindness goes; One never sees How far a smile of friendship flees. Down, through the years, The deed forgotten reappears.
One kindly word The souls of many here has stirred. Man goes his way And tells with every passing day, Until life's end: "Once unto me he played the friend."
We cannot say What lips are praising us to-day. We cannot tell Whose prayers ask God to guard us well. But kindness lives Beyond the memory of him who gives.
Under the Roof Where the Laughter Rings
Under the roof where the laughter rings, That's where I long to be; There are all of the glorious things, Meaning so much to me. There is where striving and toiling ends; There is where always the rainbow bends.
Under the roof where the children shout, There is the perfect rest; There is the clamor of greed shut out, Ended the ceaseless quest. Battles I fight through the heat of to-day Are only to add to their hours of play.
Under the roof where the eyes are bright, There I would build my fame; There my record of life I'd write; There I would sign my name. There in laughter and true content Let me fashion my monument.
Under the roof where the hearts are true, There is my earthly goal; There I am pledged till my work is through, Body and heart and soul. Think you that God will my choice condemn If I have never played false to them?
St. Valentine's Day
Let loose the sails of love and let them fill With breezes sweet with tenderness to-day; Scorn not the praises youthful lovers say; Romance is old, but it is lovely still. Not he who shows his love deserves the jeer, But he who speaks not what she longs to hear.
There is no shame in love's devoted speech; Man need not blush his tenderness to show; 'Tis shame to love and never let her know, To keep his heart forever out of reach. Not he the fool who lets his love go on, But he who spurns it when his love is won.
Men proudly vaunt their love of gold and fame, High station and accomplishments of skill, Yet of life's greatest conquest they are still, And deem it weakness, or an act of shame, To seem to place high value on the love Which first of all they should be proudest of.
Let loose the sails of love and let them take The tender breezes till the day be spent; Only the fool chokes out life's sentiment. She is a prize too lovely to forsake. Be not ashamed to send your valentine; She has your love, but needs its outward sign.
Dr. Johnson's Picture Cow
Got a sliver in my hand An' it hurt t' beat the band, An' got white around it, too; Then the first thing that I knew It was all swelled up, an' Pa Said: "There's no use fussin', Ma, Jes' put on his coat an' hat; Doctor Johnson must see that."
I was scared an' yelled, because One time when the doctor was At our house he made me smell Something funny, an' I fell Fast asleep, an' when I woke Seemed like I was goin' t' choke; An' the folks who stood about Said I'd had my tonsils out.
An' my throat felt awful sore An' I couldn't eat no more, An' it hurt me when I'd talk, An' they wouldn't let me walk. So when Pa said I must go To the doctor's, I said: "No, I don't want to go to-night, 'Cause my hand will be all right."
Pa said: "Take him, Ma," an' so I jes' knew I had t' go. An' the doctor looked an' said: "It is very sore an' red— Much too sore to touch at all. See that picture on the wall, That one over yonder, Bud, With the old cow in the mud?
"Once I owned a cow like that, Jes' as brown an' big an' fat, An' one day I pulled her tail An' she kicked an' knocked the pail Full o' milk clean over me." Then I looked up there t' see His old cow above the couch, An' right then I hollered "ouch."
"Bud," says he, "what's wrong with you; Did the old cow kick you, too?" An' he laughed, an' Ma said: "Son, Never mind, now, it's all done." Pretty soon we came away An' my hand's all well to-day. But that's first time that I knew Picture cows could kick at you.
I'd like to think when life is done That I had filled a needed post, That here and there I'd paid my fare With more than idle talk and boast; That I had taken gifts divine, The breath of life and manhood fine, And tried to use them now and then In service for my fellow men.
I'd hate to think when life is through That I had lived my round of years A useless kind, that leaves behind No record in this vale of tears; That I had wasted all my days By treading only selfish ways, And that this world would be the same If it had never known my name.
I'd like to think that here and there, When I am gone, there shall remain A happier spot that might have not Existed had I toiled for gain; That some one's cheery voice and smile Shall prove that I had been worth while; That I had paid with something fine My debt to God for life divine.
It Couldn't Be Done
Somebody said that it couldn't be done, But he with a chuckle replied That "maybe it couldn't," but he would be one Who wouldn't say so till he'd tried. So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin On his face. If he worried he hid it. He started to sing as he tackled the thing That couldn't be done, and he did it.
Somebody scoffed: "Oh, you'll never do that; At least no one ever has done it"; But he took off his coat and he took off his hat, And the first thing we knew he'd begun it. With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin, Without any doubting or quiddit, He started to sing as he tackled the thing That couldn't be done, and he did it.
There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done, There are thousands to prophesy failure; There are thousands to point out to you one by one, The dangers that wait to assail you. But just buckle in with a bit of a grin, Just take off your coat and go to it; Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing That "cannot be done," and you'll do it.
You never hear the robins brag about the sweetness of their song, Nor do they stop their music gay whene'er a poor man comes along. God taught them how to sing an' when they'd learned the art He sent them here To use their talents day by day the dreary lives o' men to cheer. An' rich or poor an' sad or gay, the ugly an' the fair to see, Can stop most any time in June an' hear the robins' melody.
I stand an' watch them in the sun, usin' their gifts from day to day, Swellin' their little throats with song, regardless of man's praise or pay; Jes' bein' robins, nothing else, nor claiming greatness for their deeds, But jes' content to gratify one of the big world's many needs, Singin' a lesson to us all to be ourselves and scatter cheer By usin' every day the gifts God gave us when He sent us here.
Why should we keep our talents hid, or think we favor men because We use the gifts that God has given? The robins never ask applause, Nor count themselves remarkable, nor strut in a superior way, Because their music sweeter is than that God gave unto the jay. Only a man conceited grows as he makes use of talents fine, Forgetting that he merely does the working of the Will Divine.
Lord, as the robins, let me serve! Teach me to do the best I can To make this world a better place, an' happier for my fellow man. If gift o' mine can cheer his soul an' hearten him along his way Let me not keep that talent hid; I would make use of it to-day. An' since the robins ask no praise, or pay for all their songs o' cheer, Let me in humbleness rejoice to do my bit o' service here.
At the Peace Table
Who shall sit at the table, then, when the terms of peace are made— The wisest men of the troubled lands in their silver and gold brocade? Yes, they shall gather in solemn state to speak for each living race, But who shall speak for the unseen dead that shall come to the council place?
Though you see them not and you hear them not, they shall sit at the table, too; They shall throng the room where the peace is made and know what it is you do; The innocent dead from the sea shall rise to stand at the wise man's side, And over his shoulder a boy shall look—a boy that was crucified.
You may guard the doors of that council hall with barriers strong and stout, But the dead unbidden shall enter there, and never you'll shut them out. And the man that died in the open boat, and the babes that suffered worse, Shall sit at the table when peace is made by the side of a martyred nurse.
You may see them not, but they'll all be there; when they speak you may fail to hear; You may think that you're making your pacts alone, but their spirits will hover near; And whatever the terms of the peace you make with the tyrant whose hands are red, You must please not only the living here, but must satisfy your dead.
Mrs. Malone and the Censor
When Mrs. Malone got a letter from Pat She started to read it aloud in her flat. "Dear Mary," it started, "I can't tell you much, I'm somewhere in France, and I'm fightin' the Dutch; I'm chokin' wid news thot I'd like to relate, But it's little a soldier's permitted t' state. Do ye mind Red McPhee—well, he fell in a ditch An' busted an arrm, but I can't tell ye which.
"An' Paddy O'Hara was caught in a flame An' rescued by—Faith, I can't tell ye his name. Last night I woke up wid a terrible pain; I thought for awhile it would drive me insane. Oh, the suff'rin, I had was most dreadful t' bear! I'm sorry, my dear, but I can't tell ye where. The doctor he gave me a pill, but I find It's conthrary to rules t' disclose here the kind.
"I've been t' the dintist an' had a tooth out. I'm sorry t' leave you so shrouded in doubt But the best I can say is that one tooth is gone, The censor won't let me inform ye which one. I met a young fellow who knows ye right well, An' ye know him, too, but his name I can't tell. He's Irish, red-headed, an' there with th' blarney, His folks once knew your folks back home in Killarney."
"By gorry," said Mrs. Malone in her flat, "It's hard t' make sinse out av writin' like that, But I'll give him as good as he sends, that I will." So she went right to work with her ink well an' quill, An' she wrote, "I suppose ye're dead eager fer news— You know when ye left we were buyin' the shoes; Well, the baby has come, an' we're both doin' well; It's a ——. Oh, but that's somethin' they won't let me tell."
The Unknown Friends
We cannot count our friends, nor say How many praise us day by day. Each one of us has friends that he Has yet to meet and really know, Who guard him, wheresoe'er they be, From harm and slander's cruel blow. They help to light our path with cheer, Although they pass as strangers here.
These friends, unseen, unheard, unknown, Our lasting gratitude should own. They serve us in a thousand ways Where we perhaps should friendless be; They tell our worth and speak our praise And for their service ask no fee; They choose to be our friends, although We have not learned to call them so.
We cannot guess how large the debt We owe to friends we have not met. We only know, from day to day, That we discover here and there How one has tried to smooth our way, And ease our heavy load of care, Then passed along and left behind His friendly gift for us to find.
First Name Friends
Though some may yearn for titles great, and seek the frills of fame, I do not care to have an extra handle to my name. I am not hungry for the pomp of life's high dignities, I do not sigh to sit among the honored LL. D.'s. I shall be satisfied if I can be unto the end, To those I know and live with here, a simple, first-name friend.
There's nothing like the comradeship which warms the lives of those Who make the glorious circle of the Jacks and Bills and Joes. With all his majesty and power, Old Caesar never knew The joy of first-name fellowship, as all the Eddies do. Let them who will be "mistered" here and raised above the rest; I hold a first-name greeting is by far the very best.
Acquaintance calls for dignity. You never really know The man on whom the terms of pomp you feel you must bestow. Professor William Joseph Wise may be your friend, but still You are not certain of the fact till you can call him Bill. But hearts grow warm and lips grow kind, and all the shamming ends, When you are in the company of good old first-name friends.
The happiest men on earth are not the men of highest rank; That joy belongs to George, and Jim, to Henry and to Frank; With them the prejudice of race and creed and wealth depart, And men are one in fellowship and always light of heart. So I would live and laugh and love until my sun descends, And share the joyous comradeship of honest first-name friends.
The Furnace Door
My father is a peaceful man; He tries in every way he can To live a life of gentleness And patience all the while. He says that needless fretting's vain, That it's absurd to be profane, That nearly every wrong can be Adjusted with a smile. Yet try no matter how he will, There's one thing that annoys him still, One thing that robs him of his calm And leaves him very sore; He cannot keep his self-control When with a shovel full of coal He misses where it's headed for, And hits the furnace door.
He measures with a careful eye The space for which he's soon to try, Then grabs his trusty shovel up And loads it in the bin, Then turns and with a healthy lunge, That's two parts swing and two parts plunge, He lets go at the furnace fire, Convinced it will go in! And then we hear a sudden smack, The cellar air turns blue and black; Above the rattle of the coal We hear his awful roar. From dreadful language upward hissed We know that father's aim has missed, And that his shovel full of coal Went up against the door.
The minister was here one day For supper, and Pa went away To fix the furnace fire, and soon We heard that awful roar. And through the furnace pipes there came Hot words that made Ma blush for shame. "It strikes me," said the minister, "He hit the furnace door." Ma turned away and hung her head; "I'm so ashamed," was all she said. And then the minister replied: "Don't worry. I admit That when I hit the furnace door, And spill the coal upon the floor, I quite forget the cloth I wear And—er—swear a little bit."
A feller isn't thinkin' mean, Out fishin'; His thoughts are mostly good an' clean, Out fishin'. He doesn't knock his fellow men, Or harbor any grudges then; A feller's at his finest when Out fishin'.
The rich are comrades to the poor, Out fishin'; All brothers of a common lure, Out fishin'. The urchin with the pin an' string Can chum with millionaire an' king; Vain pride is a forgotten thing, Out fishin'.
A feller gits a chance to dream, Out fishin'; He learns the beauties of a stream, Out fishin'; An' he can wash his soul in air That isn't foul with selfish care, An' relish plain and simple fare, Out fishin'.
A feller has no time fer hate, Out fishin'; He isn't eager to be great, Out fishin'. He isn't thinkin' thoughts of pelf, Or goods stacked high upon a shelf, But he is always just himself, Out fishin'.
A feller's glad to be a friend, Out fishin'; A helpin' hand he'll always lend, Out fishin'. The brotherhood of rod an' line An' sky and stream is always fine; Men come real close to God's design, Out fishin'.
A feller isn't plotting schemes, Out fishin'; He's only busy with his dreams, Out fishin'. His livery is a coat of tan, His creed—to do the best he can; A feller's always mostly man, Out fishin'.
Selling the Old Home
The little house has grown too small, or rather we have grown Too big to dwell within the walls where all our joys were known. And so, obedient to the wish of her we love so well, I have agreed for sordid gold the little home to sell. Now strangers come to see the place, and secretly I sigh, And deep within my breast I hope that they'll refuse to buy.
"This bedroom's small," one woman said; up went her nose in scorn! To me that is the splendid room where little Bud was born. "The walls are sadly finger-marked," another stranger said. A lump came rising in my throat; I felt my cheeks grow red. "Yes, yes," I answered, "so they are. The fingermarks are free But I'd not leave them here if I could take them all with me."
"The stairway shows the signs of wear." I answered her in heat, "That's but the glorious sign to me of happy little feet. Most anyone can have a flight of shiny stairs and new But those are steps where joy has raced, and love and laughter, too." "This paper's ruined! Here are scrawled some pencil marks, I note." I'd treasured them for years. They were the first he ever wrote.
Oh I suppose we'll sell the place; it's right that we should go; The children must have larger rooms in which to live and grow. But all my joys were cradled here; 'tis here I've lived my best, 'Tis here, whatever else shall come, we've been our happiest; And though into a stranger's hands this home I shall resign, And take his gold in pay for it, I still shall call it mine.
I would rather be the daddy Of a romping, roguish crew, Of a bright-eyed chubby laddie And a little girl or two, Than the monarch of a nation, In his high and lofty seat, Taking empty adoration From the subjects at his feet.
I would rather own their kisses, As at night to me they run, Than to be the king who misses All the simpler forms of fun. When his dreary day is ending He is dismally alone, But when my sun is descending There are joys for me to own.
He may ride to horns and drumming; I must walk a quiet street, But when once they see me coming, Then on joyous, flying feet They come racing to me madly And I catch them with a swing, And I say it proudly, gladly, That I'm happier than a king.
You may talk of lofty places; You may boast of pomp and power; Men may turn their eager faces To the glory of an hour, But give me the humble station With its joys that long survive, For the daddies of the nation Are the happiest men alive.
I hold the finest picture books Are woods an' fields an' runnin' brooks; An' when the month o' May has done Her paintin', an' the mornin' sun Is lightin' just exactly right Each gorgeous scene for mortal sight, I steal a day from toil an' go To see the springtime's picture show.
It's everywhere I choose to tread— Perhaps I'll find a violet bed Half hidden by the larger scenes, Or group of ferns, or living greens, So graceful an' so fine, I'll swear That angels must have placed them there To beautify the lonely spot That mortal man would have forgot.
What hand can paint a picture book So marvelous as a runnin' brook? It matters not what time o' day You visit it, the sunbeams play Upon it just exactly right, The mysteries of God to light. No human brush could ever trace A droopin' willow with such grace!
Page after page, new beauties rise To thrill with gladness an' surprise The soul of him who drops his care And seeks the woods to wander there. Birds, with the angel gift o' song, Make music for him all day long; An' nothin' that is base or mean Disturbs the grandeur of the scene.
There is no hint of hate or strife; The woods display the joy of life, An' answer with a silence fine The scoffer's jeer at power divine. When doubt is high an' faith is low, Back to the woods an' fields I go, An' say to violet and tree: "No mortal hand has fashioned thee."
I'm just the man to make things right, To mend a sleigh or make a kite, Or wrestle on the floor and play Those rough and tumble games, but say! Just let him get an ache or pain, And start to whimper and complain, And from my side he'll quickly flee To clamber on his mother's knee.
I'm good enough to be his horse And race with him along the course. I'm just the friend he wants each time There is a tree he'd like to climb, And I'm the pal he's eager for When we approach a candy store; But for his mother straight he makes Whene'er his little stomach aches.
He likes, when he is feeling well, The kind of stories that I tell, And I'm his comrade and his chum And I must march behind his drum. To me through thick and thin he'll stick, Unless he happens to be sick. In which event, with me he's through— Only his mother then will do.
The Approach of Christmas
There's a little chap at our house that is being mighty good— Keeps the front lawn looking tidy in the way we've said he should; Doesn't leave his little wagon, when he's finished with his play, On the sidewalk as he used to; now he puts it right away. When we call him in to supper, we don't have to stand and shout; It is getting on to Christmas and it's plain he's found it out.
He eats the food we give him without murmur or complaint; He sits up at the table like a cherub or a saint; He doesn't pinch his sister just to hear how loud she'll squeal; Doesn't ask us to excuse him in the middle of the meal, And at eight o'clock he's willing to be tucked away in bed. It is getting close to Christmas; nothing further need be said.
I chuckle every evening as I see that little elf, With the crooked part proclaiming that he brushed his hair himself. And I chuckle as I notice that his hands and face are clean, For in him a perfect copy of another boy is seen— A little boy at Christmas, who was also being good, Never guessing that his father and his mother understood.
There's a little boy at our house that is being mighty good; Doing everything that's proper, doing everything he should. But besides him there's a grown-up who has learned life's bitter truth, Who is gladly living over all the joys of vanished youth. And although he little knows it (for it's what I never knew), There's a mighty happy father sitting at the table, too.
Little lady at the altar, Vowing by God's book and psalter To be faithful, fond and true Unto him who stands by you, Think not that romance is ended, That youth's curtain has descended, And love's pretty play is done; For it's only just begun.
Marriage, blushing little lady, Is love's sunny path and shady, Over which two hearts should wander, Of each other growing fonder. As you stroll to each to-morrow, You will come to joy and sorrow, And as faithful man and wife Read the troubled book of life.
Bitter cares will some day find you; Closer, closer they will bind you; If together you will bear them, Cares grow sweet when lovers share them. Love unites two happy mortals, Brings them here to wedlock's portals And then blithely bids them go, Arm in arm, through weal and woe.
Little lady, just remember Every year has its December, Every rising sun its setting, Every life its time of fretting; And the honeymoon's sweet beauty Finds too soon the clouds of duty; But keep faith, when trouble-tried, And in joy you shall abide.
Little lady at the altar, Never let your courage falter, Never stoop to unbelieving, Even when your heart is grieving. To what comes of wintry weather Or disaster, stand together; Through life's fearful hours of night Love shall bring you to the light.
An Apple Tree in France
An apple tree beside the way, Drinking the sunshine day by day According to the Master's plan, Had been a faithful friend to man. It had been kind to all who came, Nor asked the traveler's race or name, But with the peasant boy or king Had shared its blossoms in the spring, And from the summer's dreary heat To all had offered sweet retreat.
When autumn brought the harvest time, Its branches all who wished might climb, And take from many a tender shoot Its rosy-cheeked, delicious fruit. Good men, by careless speech or deed, Have caused a neighbor's heart to bleed; Wrong has been done by high intent; Hate has been born where love was meant, Yet apple trees of field or farm Have never done one mortal harm.
Then came the Germans into France And found this apple tree by chance. They shared its blossoms in the spring; They heard the songs the thrushes sing; They rested in the cooling shade Its old and friendly branches made, And in the fall its fruit they ate. And then they turn on it in hate, Like beasts, on blood and passion drunk, They hewed great gashes in its trunk.
Beneath its roots, with hell's delight, They placed destruction's dynamite And blew to death, with impish glee, An old and friendly apple tree. Men may rebuild their homes in time; Swiftly cathedral towers may climb, And hearts forget their weight of woe, As over them life's currents flow, But this their lasting shame shall be: They put to death an apple tree!
Along the Paths o' Glory
Along the paths o' glory there are faces new to-day, There are youthful hearts and sturdy that have found the westward way. From the rugged roads o' duty they have turned without a sigh, To mingle with their brothers who were not afraid to die. And they're looking back and smiling at the loved ones left behind, With the Old Flag flying o'er them, and they're calling "Never mind.
"Never mind, oh, gentle mothers, that we shall not come again; Never mind the years of absence, never mind the days of pain, For we've found the paths o' glory where the flags o' freedom fly, And we've learned the things we died for are the truths that never die. Now there's never hurt can harm us, and the years will never fade The memory of the soldiers of the legions unafraid."
Along the paths o' glory there are faces new to-day, And the heavenly flags are flying as they march along the way; For the world is safe from hatred; men shall know it at its best By the sacrifice and courage of the boys who go to rest. Now they've claimed eternal splendor and they've won eternal youth, And they've joined the gallant legions of the men who served the truth.
Cliffs of Scotland
Sixteen Americans who died on the Tuscania are buried at the water's edge at the base of the rocky cliffs at a Scottish port.—(News Dispatch.)
Cliffs of Scotland, guard them well, Shield them from the blizzard's rage; Let your granite towers tell That those sleeping heroes fell In the service of their age.
Cliffs of Scotland, they were ours! Now forever they are thine! Guard them with your mighty powers! Barren are your rocks of flowers, But their splendor makes them fine.
Cliffs of Scotland, at your base Freedom's finest children lie; Keep them in your strong embrace! Tell the young of every race Such as they shall never die.
Cliffs of Scotland, never more Men shall think you stern and cold; Splendor now has found your shore; Unto you the ocean bore Freedom's precious sons to hold.
Mother's Party Dress
"Some day," says Ma, "I'm goin' to get A party dress all trimmed with jet, An' hire a seamstress in, an' she Is goin' to fit it right on me; An' then, when I'm invited out To teas an' socials hereabout, I'll put it on an' look as fine As all th' women friends of mine." An' Pa looked up: "I sold a cow," Says he, "go down an' get it now." An' Ma replied: "I guess I'll wait, We've other needs that's just as great. The children need some clothes to wear, An' there are shoes we must repair; It ain't important now to get A dress fer me, at least not yet; I really can't afford it."
Ma's talked about that dress fer years; How she'd have appliqued revers; The kind o' trimmin' she would pick; How 't would be made to fit her slick; The kind o' black silk she would choose, The pattern she would like to use. An' I can mind the time when Pa Give twenty dollars right to Ma, An' said: "Now that's enough, I guess, Go buy yourself that party dress." An' Ma would take th' bills an' smile, An' say: "I guess I'll wait awhile; Aunt Kitty's poorly now with chills, She needs a doctor and some pills; I'll buy some things fer her, I guess; An' anyhow, about that dress, I really can't afford it."
An' so it's been a-goin' on, Her dress fer other things has gone; Some one in need or some one sick Has always touched her to th' quick; Or else, about th' time 'at she Could get th' dress, she'd always see The children needin' somethin' new; An' she would go an' get it, too. An' when we frowned at her, she'd smile An' say: "The dress can wait awhile." Although her mind is set on laces, Her heart goes out to other places; An' somehow, too, her money goes In ways that only mother knows. While there are things her children lack She won't put money on her back; An' that is why she hasn't got A party dress of silk, an' not Because she can't afford it.
A little ship goes out to sea As soon as we have finished tea; Off yonder where the big moon glows This tiny little vessel goes, But never grown-up eyes have seen The ports to which this ship has been; Upon the shore the old folks stand Till morning brings it back to land.
In search of smiles this little ship Each evening starts upon a trip; Just smiles enough to last the day Is it allowed to bring away; So nightly to some golden shore It must set out alone for more, And sail the rippling sea for miles Until the hold is full of smiles.
By gentle hands the sails are spread; The stars are glistening overhead And in that hour when tiny ships Prepare to make their evening trips The sea becomes a wondrous place, As beautiful as mother's face; And all the day's disturbing cries Give way to soothing lullabies.
No clang of bell or warning shout Is heard on shore when they put out; The little vessels slip away As silently as does the day. And all night long on sands of gold They cast their nets, and fill the hold With smiles and joys beyond compare, To cheer a world that's sad with care.
She is gentle, kind and fair, And there's silver in her hair; She has known the touch of sorrow, But the smile of her is sweet; And sometimes it seems to me That her mission is to be The gracious cookie-lady To the youngsters of the street.
All the children in the block Daily stand beside the crock, Where she keeps the sugar cookies That the little folks enjoy; And no morning passes o'er That a tapping at her door Doesn't warn her of the visit Of a certain little boy.
She has made him feel that he Has a natural right to be In her kitchen when she's baking Pies and cakes and ginger bread; And each night to me he brings All the pretty, tender things About little by-gone children That the cookie-lady said.
Oh, dear cookie-lady sweet, May you beautify our street With your kind and gentle presence Many more glad years, I pray; May the skies be bright above you, As you've taught our babes to love you; You will scar their hearts with sorrow If you ever go away.
Life is strange, and when I scan it, I believe God tries to plan it, So that where He sends his babies In that neighborhood to dwell, One of rare and gracious beauty Shall abide, whose sweetest duty Is to be the cookie-lady That the children love so well.
There's a bump on his brow and a smear on his cheek That is plainly the stain of his tears; At his neck there's a glorious sun-painted streak, The bronze of his happiest years. Oh, he's battered and bruised at the end of the day, But smiling before me he stands, And somehow I like to behold him that way. Yes, I like him with dirt on his hands.
Last evening he painfully limped up to me His tale of adventure to tell; He showed me a grime-covered cut on his knee, And told me the place where he fell. His clothing was stained to the color of clay, And he looked to be nobody's lad, But somehow I liked to behold him that way, For it spoke of the fun that he'd had.
Let women-folk prate as they will of a boy Who is heedless of knickers and shirt; I hold that the badge of a young fellow's joy Are cheeks that are covered with dirt. So I look for him nightly to greet me that way, His joys and misfortunes to tell, For I know by the signs that he wears of his play That the lad I'm so fond of is well.
Last night I caught him on his knees and looking underneath the bed, And oh, the guilty look he wore, and oh, the stammered words he said, When I, pretending to be cross, said: "Hey, young fellow, what's your game?" As if, back in the long ago, I hadn't also played the same; As if, upon my hands and knees, I hadn't many a time been found When, thinking of the Christmas Day, I'd gone upstairs to snoop around.
But there he stood and hung his head; the rascal knew it wasn't fair. "I jes' was wonderin'," he said, "jes' what it was that's under there. It's somepin' all wrapped up an' I thought mebbe it might be a sled, Becoz I saw a piece of wood 'at's stickin' out all painted red." "If mother knew," I said to him, "you'd get a licking, I'll be bound, But just clear out of here at once, and don't you ever snoop around."
And as he scampered down the stairs I stood and chuckled to myself, As I remembered how I'd oft explored the topmost closet shelf. It all came back again to me—with what a shrewd and cunning way I, too, had often sought to solve the mysteries of Christmas Day. How many times my daddy, too, had come upstairs without a sound And caught me, just as I'd begun my clever scheme to snoop around.
And oh, I envied him his plight; I envied him the joy he feels Who knows that every drawer that's locked some treasure dear to him conceals; I envied him his Christmas fun and wished that it again were mine To seek to solve the mysteries by paper wrapped and bound by twine. Some day he'll come to understand that all the time I stood and frowned, I saw a boy of years ago who also used to snoop around.
Bud Discusses Cleanliness
First thing in the morning, last I hear at night, Get it when I come from school: "My, you look a sight! Go upstairs this minute, an' roll your sleeves up high An' give your hands a scrubbing and wipe 'em till they're dry! Now don't stand there and argue, and never mind your tears! And this time please remember to wash your neck and ears."
Can't see why ears grow on us, all crinkled like a shell, With lots of fancy carvings that make a feller yell Each time his Ma digs in them to get a speck of dirt, When plain ones would be easy to wash and wouldn't hurt. And I can't see the reason why every time Ma nears, She thinks she's got to send me to wash my neck and ears.
I never wash to suit her; don't think I ever will. If I was white as sister, she'd call me dirty still. At night I get a scrubbing and go to bed, and then The first thing in the morning, she makes me wash again. That strikes me as ridiklus; I've thought of it a heap. A feller can't get dirty when he is fast asleep.
When I grow up to be a man like Pa, and have a wife And kids to boss around, you bet they'll have an easy life. We won't be at them all the time, the way they keep at me, And kick about a little dirt that no one else can see. And every night at supper time as soon as he appears, We will not chase our boy away to wash his neck and ears.
"They tie you down," a woman said, Whose cheeks should have been flaming red With shame to speak of children so. "When babies come you cannot go In search of pleasure with your friends, And all your happy wandering ends. The things you like you cannot do, For babies make a slave of you."
I looked at her and said: "'Tis true That children make a slave of you, And tie you down with many a knot, But have you never thought to what It is of happiness and pride That little babies have you tied? Do you not miss the greater joys That come with little girls and boys?
"They tie you down to laughter rare, To hours of smiles and hours of care, To nights of watching and to fears; Sometimes they tie you down to tears And then repay you with a smile, And make your trouble all worth while. They tie you fast to chubby feet, And cheeks of pink and kisses sweet.
"They fasten you with cords of love To God divine, who reigns above. They tie you, whereso'er you roam, Unto the little place called home; And over sea or railroad track They tug at you to bring you back. The happiest people in the town Are those the babies have tied down.
"Oh, go your selfish way and free, But hampered I would rather be, Yes rather than a kingly crown I would be, what you term, tied down; Tied down to dancing eyes and charms, Held fast by chubby, dimpled arms, The fettered slave of girl and boy, And win from them earth's finest joy."
God grant that we shall never see Our country slave to lust and greed; God grant that here all men shall be United by a common creed. Here Freedom's Flag has held the sky Unstained, untarnished from its birth; Long may it wave to typify The happiest people on the earth.
Beneath its folds have mothers smiled To see their little ones at play; No tyrant hand, by shame defiled, To them has barred life's rosy way. No cruel wall of caste or class Has bid men pause or turn aside; Here looms no gate they may not pass— Here every door is opened wide.
Here at the wells of Freedom all Who are athirst may drink their fill. Here fame and fortune wait to call The toiler who has proved his skill. Here wisdom sheds afar its light As every morn the school bells ring, And little children read and write And share the knowledge of a king.
God grant that we shall never see Our country slave to lust and greed; God grant that men shall always be United for our nation's need. Here selfishness has never reigned, Here freedom all who come may know; By tyranny our Flag's unstained! God grant that we may keep it so.
Before you came, my little lad, I used to think that I was good; Some vicious habits, too, I had, But wouldn't change them if I could. I held my head up high and said: "I'm all that I have need to be, It matters not what path I tread—" But that was ere you came to me.
I treated lightly sacred things, And went my way in search of fun; Upon myself I kept no strings, And gave no heed to folly done. I gave myself up to the fight For worldly wealth and earthly fame, And sought advantage, wrong or right— But that was long before you came.
But now you sit across from me, Your big brown eyes are opened wide, And every deed I do you see, And, O, I dare not step aside. I've shaken loose from habits bad, And what is wrong I've come to dread, Because I know, my little lad, That you will follow where I tread.
I want those eyes to glow with pride; In me I want those eyes to see, The while we wander side by side, The sort of man I'd have you be. And so I'm striving to be good With all my might, that you may know, When this great world is understood, What pleasures are worth while below.
I see life in a different light From what I did before you came; Then anything that pleased seemed right— But you are here to bear my name, And you are looking up to me With those big eyes from day to day, And I'm determined not to be The means of leading you astray.
Sure, they get stubborn at times; they worry and fret us a lot, But I'd rather be crossed by a glad little boy and frequently worried than not. There are hours when they get on my nerves and set my poor brain all awhirl, But I'd rather be troubled that way than to be the man who has no little girl.
There are times they're a nuisance, that's true, with all of their racket and noise, But I'd rather my personal pleasures be lost than to give up my girls and my boys. Not always they're perfectly good; there are times when they're wilfully bad, But I'd rather be worried by youngsters of mine than lonely and childless and sad.
So I try to be patient and calm whenever they're having their fling; For the sum of their laughter and love is more than the worry they bring. And each night when sweet peace settles down and I see them asleep in their cot, I chuckle and say: "They upset me to-day, but I'd rather be that way than not."
What Father Knows
My father knows the proper way The nation should be run; He tells us children every day Just what should now be done. He knows the way to fix the trusts, He has a simple plan; But if the furnace needs repairs We have to hire a man.
My father, in a day or two, Could land big thieves in jail; There's nothing that he cannot do, He knows no word like "fail." "Our confidence" he would restore, Of that there is no doubt; But if there is a chair to mend We have to send it out.
All public questions that arise He settles on the spot; He waits not till the tumult dies, But grabs it while it's hot. In matters of finance he can Tell Congress what to do; But, O, he finds it hard to meet His bills as they fall due.
It almost makes him sick to read The things law-makers say; Why, father's just the man they need; He never goes astray. All wars he'd very quickly end, As fast as I can write it; But when a neighbor starts a fuss 'Tis mother has to fight it.
In conversation father can Do many wondrous things; He's built upon a wiser plan Than presidents or kings. He knows the ins and outs of each And every deep transaction; We look to him for theories, But look to ma for action.
Glad to get back home again, Where abide the friendly men; Glad to see the same old scenes And the little house that means All the joys the soul has treasured— Glad to be where smiles aren't measured, Where I've blended with the gladness All the heart has known of sadness, Where some long-familiar steeple Marks my town of friendly people.
Though it's fun to go a-straying Where the bands are nightly playing And the throngs of men and women Drain the cup of pleasure brimmin', I am glad when it is over That I've ceased to play the Rover. And when once the train starts chugging Towards the children I'd be hugging, All my thoughts and dreams are set there; Fast enough I cannot get there.
Guess I wasn't meant for bright lights, For the blaze of red and white lights, For the throngs that seems to smother In their selfishness, each other; For whenever I've been down there, Tramped the noisy, blatant town there, Always in a week I've started Yearning, hungering, heavy-hearted, For the home town and its spaces Lit by fine and friendly faces.
Like to be where men about me Do not look on me to doubt me; Where I know the men and women, Know why tears some eyes are dimmin', Know the good folks an' the bad folks An' the glad folks an' the sad folks; Where we live with one another, Meanin' something to each other. An' I'm glad to see the steeple, Where the crowds aren't merely people.
The Dead Return
The dead return. I know they do; The glad smile may have passed from view, The ringing voice that cheered us so In that remembered long ago Be stilled, and yet in sweeter ways It speaks to us throughout our days. The kindly father comes again To guide us through the haunts of men, And always near, their sons to greet Are lingering the mothers sweet.
About us wheresoe'er we tread Hover the spirits of our dead; We cannot see them as we could In bygone days, when near they stood And shared the joys and griefs that came, But they are with us just the same. They see us as we plod along, And proudly smile when we are strong, And sigh and grieve the self-same way When thoughtlessly we go astray.
I sometimes think it hurts the dead When into sin and shame we're led, And that they feel a thrill divine When we've accomplished something fine. And sometimes thoughts that come at night Seem more like messages that might Have whispered been by one we love, Whose spirit has been called above. So wise the counsel, it must be That all we are the dead can see.
The dead return. They come to share Our laughter and our bit of care; They glory, as they used to do, When we are splendid men and true, In all the joy that we have won, And they are proud of what we've done. They suffer when we suffer woe; All things about us here they know. And though we never see them here Their spirits hover very near.
My Soul and I
When winter shuts a fellow in and turns the lock upon his door, There's nothing else for him to do but sit and dream his bygones o'er. And then before an open fire he smokes his pipe, while in the blaze He seems to see a picture show of all his happy yesterdays. No ordinary film is that which memory throws upon the screen, But one in which his hidden soul comes out and can be plainly seen.
Now, I've been dreaming by the grate. I've seen myself the way I am, Stripped bare of affectation's garb and wisdom's pose and folly's sham. I've seen my soul and talked with it, and learned some things I never knew. I walk about the world as one, but I express the wish of two. I've come to see the soul of me is wiser than my selfish mind, For it has safely led me through the tangled paths I've left behind.
I should have sold myself for gold when I was young long years ago, But for my soul which whispered then: "You love your home and garden so, You never could be quite content in palace walls. Once rise to fame And you will lose the gentler joys which now so eagerly you claim. I want to walk these lanes with you and keep the comradeship of trees, Let you and I be happy here, nor seek life's gaudy luxuries."
Mine is a curious soul, I guess; it seemed so, smiling in my dreams; It keeps me close to little folks and birds and flowers and running streams, To Mother and her friends and mine; and though no fortune we possess, The years that we have lived and loved have all been rich with happiness. I'm glad the snowdrifts shut me in, for I have had a chance to see How fortunate I've been to have that sort of soul to counsel me.
I'm sorry for a feller if he hasn't any aunt, To let him eat and do the things his mother says he can't. An aunt to come a visitin' or one to go and see Is just about the finest kind of lady there could be. Of course she's not your mother, an' she hasn't got her ways, But a part that's most important in a feller's life she plays.
She is kind an' she is gentle, an' sometimes she's full of fun, An' she's very sympathetic when some dreadful thing you've done. An' she likes to buy you candy, an' she's always gettin' toys That you wish your Pa would get you, for she hasn't any boys. But sometimes she's over-loving, an' your cheeks turn red with shame When she smothers you with kisses, but you like her just the same.
One time my father took me to my aunty's, an' he said: "You will stay here till I get you, an' be sure you go to bed When your aunty says it's time to, an' be good an' mind her, too, An' when you come home we'll try to have a big surprise for you." I did as I was told to, an' when Pa came back for me He said there was a baby at the house for me to see.
I've been visitin' at aunty's for a week or two, an' Pa Has written that he's comin' soon to take me home to Ma. He says they're gettin' lonely, an' I'm kind o' lonely, too, Coz an aunt is not exactly what your mother is to you. I am hungry now to see her, but I'm wondering to-day If Pa's bought another baby in the time I've been away.
Bread and Jam
I wish I was a poet like the men that write in books The poems that we have to learn on valleys, hills an' brooks; I'd write of things that children like an' know an' understand, An' when the kids recited them the folks would call them grand. If I'd been born a Whittier, instead of what I am, I'd write a poem now about a piece of bread an' jam.
I'd tell how hungry children get all afternoon in school, An' sittin' at attention just because it is the rule, An' lookin' every now an' then up to the clock to see If that big hand an' little hand would ever get to three. I'd tell how children hurry home an' give the door a slam An' ask their mothers can they have a piece of bread an' jam.
Some poets write of things to eat an' sing of dinners fine, An' praise the dishes they enjoy, an' some folks sing of wine, But they've forgotten, I suppose, the days when they were small An' hurried home from school to get the finest food of all; They don't remember any more how good it was to cram Inside their hungry little selves a piece of bread an' jam.
I wish I was a Whittier, a Stevenson or Burns, I wouldn't write of hills an' brooks, or mossy banks or ferns, I wouldn't write of rolling seas or mountains towering high, But I would sing of chocolate cake an' good old apple pie, An' best of all the food there is, beyond the slightest doubt, Is bread an' jam we always get as soon as school is out.
The Little Woman
The little woman, to her I bow And doff my hat as I pass her by; I reverence the furrows that mark her brow, And the sparkling love light in her eye. The little woman who stays at home, And makes no bid for the world's applause; Who never sighs for a chance to roam, But toils all day in a grander cause.
The little woman, who seems so weak, Yet bears her burdens day by day; And no one has ever heard her speak In a bitter or loud complaining way. She sings a snatch of a merry song, As she toils in her home from morn to night. Her work is hard and the hours are long But the little woman's heart is light.
A slave to love is that woman small, And yearly her burdens heavier grow, But somehow she seems to bear them all, As the deep'ning lines in her white cheeks show. Her children all have a mother's care, Her home the touch of a good wife knows; No burden's too heavy for her to bear, But, patiently doing her best, she goes.
The little woman, may God be kind To her wherever she dwells to-day; The little woman who seems to find Her joy in toiling along life's way. May God bring peace to her work-worn breast And joy to her mother-heart at last; May love be hers when it's time to rest, And the roughest part of the road is passed.
The little woman—how oft it seems God chooses her for the mother's part; And many a grown-up sits and dreams To-day of her with an aching heart. For he knows well how she toiled for him And he sees it now that it is too late; And often his eyes with tears grow dim For the little woman whose strength was great.
The Father of the Man
I can't help thinkin' o' the lad! Here's summer bringin' trees to fruit, An' every bush with roses clad, An' nature in her finest suit, An' all things as they used to be In days before the war came on. Yet time has changed both him an' me, An' I am here, but he is gone.
The orchard's as it was back then When he was just a little tyke; The lake's as calm an' fair as when We used to go to fish for pike. There's nothing different I can see That God has made about the place, Except the change in him an' me, An' that is difficult to trace.
I only know one day he came An' found me in the barn alone. To some he might have looked the same, But he was not the lad I'd known. His soul, it seemed, had heard the call As plainly as a mortal can. Before he spoke to me at all, I saw my boy become a man.
I can't explain just what occurred; I sat an' talked about it there; The dinner-bell I never heard, Or if I did, I didn't care. But suddenly it seemed to me Out of the dark there came a light, An' in a new way I could see That I was wrong an' he was right.
I can't help thinkin' o' the lad! He's fightin' hate an' greed an' lust, An' here am I, his doting dad, Believin' in a purpose just. Time was I talked the joy o' play, But now life's goal is all I see; The petty thoughts I've put away— My boy has made a man o' me.
When Mother Made An Angel Cake
When mother baked an angel cake we kids would gather round An' watch her gentle hands at work, an' never make a sound; We'd watch her stir the eggs an' flour an' powdered sugar, too, An' pour it in the crinkled tin, an' then when it was through She'd spread the icing over it, an' we knew very soon That one would get the plate to lick, an' one would get the spoon.
It seemed no matter where we were those mornings at our play, Upstairs or out of doors somewhere, we all knew right away When Ma was in the kitchen, an' was gettin' out the tin An' things to make an angel cake, an' so we scampered in. An' Ma would smile at us an' say: "Now you keep still an' wait An' when I'm through I'll let you lick the spoon an' icing plate."
We watched her kneel beside the stove, an' put her arm so white Inside the oven just to find if it was heatin' right. An' mouths an' eyes were open then, becoz we always knew The time for us to get our taste was quickly comin' due. Then while she mixed the icing up, she'd hum a simple tune, An' one of us would bar the plate, an' one would bar the spoon.
Could we catch a glimpse of Heaven, and some snow-white kitchen there, I'm sure that we'd see mother, smiling now, and still as fair; And I know that gathered round her we should see an angel brood That is watching every movement as she makes an angel food; For I know that little angels, as we used to do, await The moment when she lets them lick the icing spoon and plate.
The Gift of Play
Some have the gift of song and some possess the gift of silver speech, Some have the gift of leadership and some the ways of life can teach. And fame and wealth reward their friends; in jewels are their splendors told, But in good time their favorites grow very faint and gray and old. But there are men who laugh at time and hold the cruel years at bay; They romp through life forever young because they have the gift of play.
They walk with children, hand in hand, through daisy fields and orchards fair, Nor all the dignity of age and power and pomp can follow there; They've kept the magic charm of youth beneath the wrinkled robe of Time, And there's no friendly apple tree that they have grown too old to climb. They have not let their boyhood die; they can be children for the day; They have not bartered for success and all its praise, the gift of play.
They think and talk in terms of youth; with love of life their eyes are bright; No rheumatism of the soul has robbed them of the world's delight; They laugh and sing their way along and join in pleasures when they can, And in their glad philosophy they hold that mirth becomes a man. They spend no strength in growing old. What if their brows be crowned with gray? The spirits in their breasts are young. They still possess the gift of play.
The richest men of life are not the ones who rise to wealth and fame— Not the great sages, old and wise, and grave of face and bent of frame, But the glad spirits, tall and straight, who 'spite of time and all its care, Have kept the power to laugh and sing and in youth's fellowship to share. They that can walk with boys and be a boy among them, blithe and gay, Defy the withering blasts of Age because they have the gift of play.
Toys and Life
You can learn a lot from boys By the way they use their toys; Some are selfish in their care, Never very glad to share Playthings with another boy; Seem to want to hoard their joy. And they hide away the drum For the days that never come; Hide the train of cars and skates, Keeping them from all their mates, And run all their boyhood through With their toys as good as new.
Others gladly give and lend, Heedless that the tin may bend, Caring not that drum-heads break, Minding not that playmates take To themselves the joy that lies In the little birthday prize. And in homes that house such boys Always there are broken toys, Symbolizing moments glad That the youthful lives have had. There you'll never find a shelf Dedicated unto self.
Toys are made for children's fun, Very frail and quickly done, And who keeps them long to view, Bright of paint and good as new, Robs himself and other boys Of their swiftly passing joys. So he looked upon a toy When our soldier was a boy; And somehow to-day we're glad That the tokens of our lad And the trinkets that we keep Are a broken, battered heap.
Life itself is but a toy Filled with duty and with joy; Not too closely should we guard Our brief time from being scarred; Never high on musty shelves Should we hoard it for ourselves. It is something we should share In another's hour of care— Something we should gladly give That another here may live; We should never live it through Keeping it as good as new.
Being Dad on Christmas Eve
They've hung their stockings up with care, And I am in my old arm chair, And mother's busy dragging out The parcels hidden all about. Within a corner, gaunt to see, There stands a barren Christmas tree, But soon upon its branches green A burst of splendor will be seen. And when the busy tongues grow still, That now are wagging with a will Above me as I sit and rest, I shall be at my happiest. The greatest joy man can receive Is being Dad on Christmas eve.
Soon I shall toil with tinsel bright; Place here and there a colored light, And wheresoe'er my fingers lie To-morrow shall a youngster spy Some wonder gift or magic toy, To fill his little soul with joy. The stockings on the mantle piece I'll bulge with sweets, till every crease That marks them now is stretched away. There will be horns and drums to play And dolls to love. For it's my task To get for them the joys they ask. What greater charm can fortune weave Than being Dad on Christmas eve?
With all their pomp, great monarchs miss The happiness of scenes like this. Rich halls to-night are still and sad, Because no little girl or lad Shall wake upon the morn to find The joys that love has left behind. Oh, I have had my share of woe— Known what it is to bear a blow— Shed sorrow's tears and stood to care When life seemed desolate and bare, Yet here to-night I smile and say Worth while was all that came my way. For this one joy, all else I'd leave: To be their Dad on Christmas eve.
God made the little boys for fun, for rough and tumble times of play; He made their little legs to run and race and scamper through the day. He made them strong for climbing trees, he suited them for horns and drums, And filled them full of revelries so they could be their father's chums. But then He saw that gentle ways must also travel from above. And so, through all our troubled days He sent us little girls to love.
He knew that earth would never do, unless a bit of Heaven it had. Men needed eyes divinely blue to toil by day and still be glad. A world where only men and boys made merry would in time grow stale, And so He shared His Heavenly joys that faith in Him should never fail. He sent us down a thousand charms, He decked our ways with golden curls And laughing eyes and dimpled arms. He let us have His little girls.
They are the tenderest of His flowers, the little angels of His flock, And we may keep and call them ours, until God's messenger shall knock. They bring to us the gentleness and beauty that we sorely need; They soothe us with each fond caress and strengthen us for every deed. And happy should that mortal be whom God has trusted, through the years, To guard a little girl and see that she is kept from pain and tears.
He shall be great who serves his country well. He shall be loved who ever guards her fame. His worth the starry banner long shall tell, Who loves his land too much to stoop to shame.
Who shares the splendor of these sunny skies Has freedom as his birthright, and may know Rich fellowship with comrades brave and wise; Into the realms of manhood he may go.
Who writes, "United States" beside his name Offers a pledge that he himself is true; Gives guarantee that selfishness or shame Shall never mar the work he finds to do.
He is received world-wide as one who lives Above the sordid dreams of petty gain, And is reputed as a man who gives His best to others in their hours of pain.
This is the heritage of Freedom's soil: High purposes and lofty goals to claim. And he shall be rewarded for his toil Who loves his land too much to stoop to shame.
When My Ship Comes In
You shall have satin and silk to wear, When my ship comes in; And jewels to shine in your raven hair, When my ship comes in. Oh, the path is dreary to-day and long, And little I've brought to your life of song, But the dream still lives and the faith is strong, When my ship comes in.
Gold and silver are pledged to you, When my ship comes in; I pay with this promise for all you do, When my ship comes in. Oh, fairest partner man ever had, It's little I've brought you to make you glad Save the whispered suggestion in moments sad, When my ship comes in.
Though crowded with treasures should be her hold, When my ship comes in, I never can pay for the charms of old, When my ship comes in. The strength I have taken from you has fled, The time for the joys that you craved has sped, I must pay for your gold with the dullest lead, When my ship comes in.
Too late, too late will the treasures be, When my ship comes in. For Age shall stand with us on the quay, When my ship comes in. For the love you've given and the faith you've shown, But a glimpse of the joys that you might have known Will it then be yours on that day to own, When my ship comes in.
The children bring us laughter, and the children bring us tears; They string our joys, like jewels bright, upon the thread of years; They bring the bitterest cares we know, their mothers' sharpest pain, Then smile our world to loveliness, like sunshine after rain.
The children make us what we are; the childless king is spurned; The children send us to the hills where glories may be earned; For them we pledge our lives to strife, for them do mothers fade, And count in new-born loveliness their sacrifice repaid.
The children bring us back to God; in eyes that dance and shine Men read from day to day the proof of love and power divine; For them are fathers brave and good and mothers fair and true, For them is every cherished dream and every deed we do.
For children are the furnace fires of life kept blazing high; For children on the battle fields are soldiers pleased to die; In every place where humans toil, in every dream and plan, The laughter of the children shapes the destiny of man.
Whatever the task and whatever the risk, wherever the flag's in air, The funny man with his sunny ways is sure to be laughing there. There are men who fret, there are men who dream, men making the best of it, But whether it's hunger or death they face, Or burning thirst in a desert place, There is always one, by the good Lord's grace, Who is making a jest of it.
He travels wherever his brothers go and he leaves his home behind him, The need for smiles he seems to know; in the ranks of death you'll find him. When some are weary and sick and faint, and all with the dust are choking, He dances there with a spirit gay, And tints with gold what is drab and gray, And into the gloom of the night and day He scatters his mirthful joking.
He wins to courage the soul-tried men; he lightens their hours of sorrow; He turns their thoughts from the grief that is to the joy that may come to-morrow. He mocks at death and he jests at toil, as one that is never weary; He japes at danger and discipline, Or the muddy trench that he's standing in; There's nothing can banish his merry grin, Or dampen his spirits cheery.
The honors of war to its heroes go; for them are the pomp and glory, But seldom it is that the types relate a victory's inside story. And few shall know when the strife is done and the history's made hereafter, How much depended on him who stirred The souls of men with a cheerful word, And kept them brave by a jest absurd, And brightened their days with laughter.
It is faith that bridges the land of breath To the realms of the souls departed, That comforts the living in days of death, And strengthens the heavy-hearted. It is faith in his dreams that keeps a man Face front to the odds about him, And he shall conquer who thinks he can, In spite of the throngs who doubt him.
Each must stand in the court of life And pass through the hours of trial; He shall tested be by the rules of strife, And tried for his self-denial. Time shall bruise his soul with the loss of friends, And frighten him with disaster, But he shall find when the anguish ends That of all things faith is master.
So keep your faith in the God above, And faith in the righteous truth, It shall bring you back to the absent love, And the joys of a vanished youth. You shall smile once more when your tears are dried, Meet trouble and swiftly rout it, For faith is the strength of the soul inside, And lost is the man without it.
The Burden Bearer
Oh, my shoulders grow aweary of the burdens I am bearin', An' I grumble when I'm footsore at the rough road I am farin', But I strap my knapsack tighter till I feel the leather bind me, An' I'm glad to bear the burdens for the ones who come behind me. It's for them that I am ploddin', for the children comin' after; I would strew their path with roses and would fill their days with laughter.
Oh, there's selfishness within me, there are times it gets to talkin', Times I hear it whisper to me, "It's a dusty road you're walkin'; Why not rest your feet a little; why not pause an' take your leisure? Don't you hunger in your strivin' for the merry whirl of pleasure?" Then I turn an' see them smilin' an' I grip my burdens tighter, For the joy that I am seekin' is to see their eyes grow brighter.
Oh, I've sipped the cup of sorrow an' I've felt the gad of trouble, An' I know the hurt of trudgin' through a field o'errun with stubble; But a rougher road to travel had my father good before me, An' I'm owin' all my gladness to the tasks he shouldered for me. Oh, I didn't understand it, when a lad I played about him, But he labored for my safety in the days I'd be without him.
Oh, my kindly father never gave himself a year of leisure— Never lived one selfish moment, never turned aside for pleasure— Though he must have grown aweary of the burdens he was bearin'; He was tryin' hard to better every road I'd soon be farin'. Now I turn an' see them smilin' an' I hear their merry laughter, An' I'm glad to bear the burdens for the ones that follow after.
"It's a Boy"
The doctor leads a busy life, he wages war with death; Long hours he spends to help the one who's fighting hard for breath; He cannot call his time his own, nor share in others' fun, His duties claim him through the night when others' work is done. And yet the doctor seems to be God's messenger of joy, Appointed to announce this news of gladness: "It's a boy!"
In many ways unpleasant is the doctor's round of cares, I should not like to have to bear the burdens that he bears; His eyes must look on horrors grim, unmoved he must remain, Emotion he must master if he hopes to conquer pain; Yet to his lot this duty falls, his voice he must employ To speak to man the happiest phrase that's sounded: "It's a boy!"
I wish 'twere given me to speak a message half so glad As that the doctor brings unto the fear-distracted dad. I wish that simple words of mine could change the skies to blue, And lift the care from troubled hearts, as those he utters do. I wish that I could banish all the thoughts that man annoy, And cheer him as the doctor does, who whispers: "It's a boy."
Whoever through the hours of night has stood outside her door, And wondered if she'd smile again; whoe'er has paced the floor, And lived those years of fearful thoughts, and then been swept from woe Up to the topmost height of bliss that's given man to know, Will tell you there's no phrase so sweet, so charged with human joy As that the doctor brings from God—that message: "It's a boy!"
The Finest Fellowship
There may be finer pleasures than just tramping with your boy, And better ways to spend a day; there may be sweeter joy; There may be richer fellowship than that of son and dad, But if there is, I know it not; it's one I've never had.
Oh, some may choose to walk with kings and men of pomp and pride, But as for me, I choose to have my youngster at my side. And some may like the rosy ways of grown-up pleasures glad, But I would go a-wandering with just a little lad.
Yes, I would seek the woods with him and talk to him of trees, And learn to know the birds a-wing and hear their melodies; And I would drop all worldly care and be a boy awhile; Then hand-in-hand come home at dusk to see the mother smile.
Grown men are wearisome at times, and selfish pleasures jar, But sons and dads throughout the world the truest comrades are. So when I want a perfect day with every joy that's fine, I spend it in the open with that little lad o' mine.
The kids at our house number three, As different as they can be; And if perchance they numbered six Each one would have particular tricks, And certain little whims and fads Unlike the other girls and lads. No two glad rascals can you name Whom God has fashioned just the same.
Bud's tough and full of life and fun And likes to race about and run, And tease the girls; the rascal knows The slyest ways to pinch a nose, And yank a curl until it hurts, And disarrange their Sunday skirts. Sometimes he trips them, heads o'er heels, To glory in their frenzied squeals.
And Marjorie: She'd have more joy, She thinks, if she'd been born a boy; She wants no ribbons on her hair, No fancy, fussy things to wear. The things in which Sylvia delights To Marjorie are dreadful frights. They're sisters, yet I'd swear the name Is all they own that is the same.
Proud Sylvia, beautiful to see, A high-toned lady wants to be; She'll primp and fuss and deck her hair And gorgeous raiment wants to wear; She'll sit sedately by the light And read a fairy tale at night; And she will sigh and sometimes wince At all the trials of the prince.
If God should send us children nine To follow our ancestral line, I'd vow that in the lot we'd strike No two among them just alike. And that's the way it ought to be; The larger grows the family, The more we own of joy and bliss, For each brings charms the others miss.
There Will Always Be Something to Do
There will always be something to do, my boy; There will always be wrongs to right; There will always be need for a manly breed And men unafraid to fight. There will always be honor to guard, my boy; There will always be hills to climb, And tasks to do, and battles new From now to the end of time.
There will always be dangers to face, my boy; There will always be goals to take; Men shall be tried, when the roads divide, And proved by the choice they make. There will always be burdens to bear, my boy; There will always be need to pray; There will always be tears through the future years, As loved ones are borne away.
There will always be God to serve, my boy, And always the Flag above; They shall call to you until life is through For courage and strength and love. So these are things that I dream, my boy, And have dreamed since your life began: That whatever befalls, when the old world calls, It shall find you a sturdy man.
A Boy at Christmas
If I could have my wish to-night it would not be for wealth or fame, It would not be for some delight that men who live in luxury claim, But it would be that I might rise at three or four a. m. to see, With eager, happy, boyish eyes, my presents on the Christmas tree. Throughout this world there is no joy, I know now I am growing gray, So rich as being just a boy, a little boy on Christmas Day.
I'd like once more to stand and gaze enraptured on a tinseled tree, With eyes that know just how to blaze, a heart still tuned to ecstasy; I'd like to feel the old delight, the surging thrills within me come; To love a thing with all my might, to grasp the pleasure of a drum; To know the meaning of a toy—a meaning lost to minds blase; To be just once again a boy, a little boy on Christmas Day.
I'd like to see a pair of skates the way they looked to me back then, Before I'd turned from boyhood's gates and marched into the world of men; I'd like to see a jackknife, too, with those same eager, dancing eyes That couldn't fault or blemish view; I'd like to feel the same surprise, The pleasure, free from all alloy, that has forever passed away, When I was just a little boy and had my faith in Christmas Day.
Oh, little, laughing, roguish lad, the king that rules across the sea Would give his scepter if he had such joy as now belongs to thee! And beards of gray would give their gold, and all the honors they possess, Once more within their grasp to hold thy present fee of happiness. Earth sends no greater, surer joy, as, too soon, thou, as I, shall say, Than that of him who is a boy, a little boy on Christmas Day.
Best Way to Read a Book
Best way to read a book I know Is get a lad of six or so, And curl him up upon my knee Deep in a big arm chair, where we Can catch the warmth of blazing coals, And then let two contented souls Melt into one, old age and youth, Sharing adventure's marvelous truth.
I read a page, and then we sit And talk it over, bit by bit; Just how the pirates looked, and why They flung a black flag to the sky. We pass no paragraph without First knowing what it's all about, And when the author starts a fight We join the forces that are right.
We're deep in Treasure Island, and From Spy Glass Hill we've viewed the land; Through thickets dense we've followed Jim And shared the doubts that came to him. We've heard Cap. Smollett arguing there With Long John Silver, gaunt and spare, And mastering our many fears We've battled with those buccaneers.