PIKE COUNTY BALLADS and other poems by John Hay.
INTRODUCTION by Henry Morley.
POEMS BY JOHN HAY.
THE PIKE COUNTY BALLADS.
JIM BLUDSO LITTLE BREECHES BANTY TIM THE MYSTERY OF GILGAL GOLYER THE PLEDGE AT SPUNKY POINT
SUNRISE IN THE PLACE DE LA CONCORDE THE SPHINX OF THE TUILERIES THE SURRENDER OF SPAIN THE PRAYER OF THE ROMANS THE CURSE OF HUNGARY THE MONKS OF BASLE THE ENCHANTED SHIRT A WOMAN'S LOVE ON PITZ LANGUARD BOUDOIR PROPHECIES A TRIUMPH OF ORDER ERNST OF EDELSHEIM MY CASTLE IN SPAIN SISTER SAINT LUKE
NEW AND OLD.
MILES KEOGH'S HORSE THE ADVANCE-GUARD LOVE'S PRAYER CHRISTINE EXPECTATION TO FLORA A HAUNTED ROOM DREAMS THE LIGHT OF LOVE QUAND MEME WORDS THE STIRRUP-CUP A DREAM OF BRIC-A-BRAC LIBERTY THE WHITE FLAG THE LAW OF DEATH MOUNT TABOR RELIGION AND DOCTRINE SINAI AND CALVARY THE VISION OF ST. PETER ISRAEL THE CROWS AT WASHINGTON REMORSE ESSE QUAM VIDERI WHEN THE BOYS COME HOME LESE-AMOUR NORTHWARD IN THE FIRELIGHT IN A GRAVEYARD THE PRAIRIE CENTENNIAL A WINTER NIGHT STUDENT-SONG HOW IT HAPPENED GOD'S VENGEANCE TOO LATE LOVE'S DOUBT LAGRIMAS ON THE BLUFF UNA "THROUGH THE LONG DAYS AND YEARS" A PHYLACTERY BLONDINE DISTICHES REGARDANT GUY OF THE TEMPLE
THE WAY TO HEAVEN COUNTESS JUTTA A BLESSING TO THE YOUNG THE GOLDEN CALF THE AZRA GOOD AND BAD LUCK L'AMOUR DU MENSONGE AMOR MYSTICUS
Pike County Ballads and other poems in this volume by Colonel John Hay represent in the best manner the spirit of our strong and independent sister-land across the Atlantic. Pike County Ballads do full justice to the raw material in the United States, and show a loyal temper in the rough. The other pieces show how the love of freedom speaks through finer spirits of the land, and, dealing with realities, can turn a life of action into music.
Colonel Hay has lived always in vigorous relation with the full life of the people whose best mind his poems represent. He is descended from a Scottish soldier, a John Hay, who, at the beginning of the last century, left his country to take service under the Elector-Palatine, and whose son went afterwards with his family to settle among the Kentucky pioneers. Dr. Charles Hay was the father of John Hay the poet, who was born on the 8th of October 1838, in the heart of the United States, at Salem in Indiana. When twenty years old he graduated at the neighbouring Brown University, where his fellow-students valued his skill as a writer. Then he studied for the Bar, and he was called to the Bar three years later, at Springfield, Illinois.
At Springfield, Abraham Lincoln practised as a barrister. Shrewd, lively, earnest, honest, he grudged help to a rogue. In a criminal case, when evidence threw unexpected light upon a client's character, Abraham Lincoln said suddenly to his junior, "Swett, the man is guilty; you defend him, I can't." In another case, when a piece of rascality in his client came out, Abraham Lincoln left his junior in possession of the case and went to his hotel. To the judge, who sent for him, he replied that he had found his hands were very dirty, and had gone away to get them clean. Almost immediately after John Hay's call to the Bar at Springfield he was chosen by Abraham Lincoln, newly made President, to go with him to Washington. At Washington, Hay acted as Assistant-Secretary, and was also, in the Civil War, aide-de-camp to President Lincoln. Throughout that momentous struggle he was actively employed on the side of the North at the headquarters and on the field of battle. He served for a time under Generals Hunter and Gillmore, became a Colonel in the army of the North, and served also as Assistant Adjutant-General. John Hay had in that struggle three brothers and two brothers-in-law serving also in the field.
In 1890 there was published, in ten volumes, at New York, by the New York Century Company, "Abraham Lincoln, a History: by John G. Nicolay and John Hay." This was, with fresh material inserted, a collection of chapters that had been published in The Century Magazine from November 1886 to the beginning of 1890. The friends, who worked equally together upon this large record, said, "We knew Mr. Lincoln intimately before his election to the Presidency. We came from Illinois to Washington with him, and remained at his side and in his service—separately or together- -until the day of his death."
Abroad, as at home, Colonel Hay has been active in the service of his country. In 1865 he went to Paris as Secretary of Legation, and after remaining two years in that office he went as Charge-d'Affaires for the United States to Vienna. After a year at Vienna, Colonel Hay went to Madrid as Secretary of Legation under General Daniel Sickles. In 1870 he returned to the United States, and was for the next five years an editorial writer for the New York Tribune. During seven months, when Whitelaw Reid was in Europe, Colonel Hay was editor in chief.
It was for The Tribune that Hay wrote "The Pike County Ballads," which were first reprinted separately in 1871, and are placed first in the collection of his poems. In the same year he published his "Castilian Days," inspired by residence in Spain.
In 1876 Colonel Hay removed from New York to Cleveland, Ohio. He then ceased to take part in the editing of The Tribune, but continued friendly service as a writer. From 1879 to 1881 Colonel Hay served under President Hayes as Assistant-Secretary of State in the Government of the United States. In 1881 he was President of the International Sanitary Congress at Washington. Since that time he has been active, with John G. Nicolay, in the preparation and production of the full Memoir of Abraham Lincoln, now completed, that will take high rank among the records of a war which, in its issues, touched the future of the world, perhaps, more nearly than any war since Waterloo, not even excepting the great struggle which ended at Sedan.
That is the life of a man, here is its music. H. M.
THE PIKE COUNTY BALLADS.
JIM BLUDSO, OF THE "PRAIRIE BELLE."
Wall, no! I can't tell whar he lives, Becase he don't live, you see; Leastways, he's got out of the habit Of livin' like you and me. Whar have you been for the last three year That you haven't heard folks tell How Jimmy Bludso passed in his checks The night of the Prairie Belle?
He weren't no saint,—them engineers Is all pretty much alike, - One wife in Natchez-under-the-Hill, And another one here, in Pike; A keerless man in his talk was Jim, And an awkward hand in a row, But he never flunked, and he never lied, - I reckon he never knowed how.
And this was all the religion he had, - To treat his engine well; Never be passed on the river; To mind the pilot's bell; And if ever the Prairie Belle took fire, - A thousand times he swore, He'd hold her nozzle agin the bank Till the last soul got ashore.
All boats has their day on the Mississip, And her day come at last, - The Movastar was a better boat, But the Belle she WOULDN'T be passed. And so she come tearin' along that night - The oldest craft on the line - With a nigger squat on her safety-valve, And her furnace crammed, rosin and pine.
The fire bust out as she clared the bar, And burnt a hole in the night, And quick as a flash she turned, and made For that willer-bank on the right. There was runnin' and cursin', but Jim yelled out, Over all the infernal roar, "I'll hold her nozzle agin the bank Till the last galoot's ashore."
Through the hot, black breath of the burnin' boat Jim Bludso's voice was heard, And they all had trust in his cussedness, And knowed he would keep his word. And, sure's you're born, they all got off Afore the smokestacks fell, - And Bludso's ghost went up alone In the smoke of the Prairie Belle.
He weren't no saint,—but at jedgment I'd run my chance with Jim, 'Longside of some pious gentlemen That wouldn't shook hands with him. He seen his duty, a dead-sure thing, - And went for it thar and then; And Christ ain't a-going to be too hard On a man that died for men.
I don't go much on religion, I never ain't had no show; But I've got a middlin' tight grip, sir, On the handful o' things I know. I don't pan out on the prophets And free-will, and that sort of thing, - But I b'lieve in God and the angels, Ever sence one night last spring.
I come into town with some turnips, And my little Gabe come along, - No four-year-old in the county Could beat him for pretty and strong, Peart and chipper and sassy, Always ready to swear and fight, - And I'd larnt him to chaw terbacker Jest to keep his milk-teeth white.
The snow come down like a blanket As I passed by Taggart's store; I went in for a jug of molasses And left the team at the door. They scared at something and started, - I heard one little squall, And hell-to-split over the prairie Went team, Little Breeches and all.
Hell-to-split over the prairie! I was almost froze with skeer; But we rousted up some torches, And searched for 'em far and near. At last we struck hosses and wagon, Snowed under a soft white mound, Upsot, dead beat,—but of little Gabe No hide nor hair was found.
And here all hope soured on me, Of my fellow-critters' aid, - I jest flopped down on my marrow-bones, Crotch-deep in the snow, and prayed.
. . . .
By this, the torches was played out, And me and Isrul Parr Went off for some wood to a sheepfold That he said was somewhar thar.
We found it at last, and a little shed Where they shut up the lambs at night. We looked in and seen them huddled thar, So warm and sleepy and white; And thar sot Little Breeches and chirped, As peart as ever you see, "I want a chaw of terbacker, And that's what's the matter of me."
How did he git thar? Angels. He could never have walked in that storm; They jest scooped down and toted him To whar it was safe and warm. And I think that saving a little child, And fotching him to his own, Is a derned sight better business Than loafing around The Throne.
REMARKS OF SERGEANT TILMON JOY TO THE WHITE MAN'S COMMITTEE OF SPUNKY POINT, ILLINOIS.
I reckon I git your drift, gents, - You 'low the boy sha'n't stay; This is a white man's country; You're Dimocrats, you say; And whereas, and seein', and wherefore, The times bein' all out o' j'int, The nigger has got to mosey From the limits o' Spunky P'int!
Le's reason the thing a minute: I'm an old-fashioned Dimocrat too, Though I laid my politics out o' the way For to keep till the war was through. But I come back here, allowin' To vote as I used to do, Though it gravels me like the devil to train Along o' sich fools as you.
Now dog my cats ef I kin see, In all the light of the day, What you've got to do with the question Ef Tim shill go or stay. And furder than that I give notice, Ef one of you tetches the boy, He kin check his trunks to a warmer clime Than he'll find in Illanoy.
Why, blame your hearts, jest hear me! You know that ungodly day When our left struck Vicksburg Heights, how ripped And torn and tattered we lay. When the rest retreated I stayed behind, Fur reasons sufficient to me, - With a rib caved in, and a leg on a strike, I sprawled on that cursed glacee.
Lord! how the hot sun went for us, And br'iled and blistered and burned! How the Rebel bullets whizzed round us When a cuss in his death-grip turned! Till along toward dusk I seen a thing I couldn't believe for a spell: That nigger—that Tim—was a crawlin' to me Through that fire-proof, gilt-edged hell!
The Rebels seen him as quick as me, And the bullets buzzed like bees; But he jumped for me, and shouldered me, Though a shot brought him once to his knees; But he staggered up, and packed me off, With a dozen stumbles and falls, Till safe in our lines he drapped us both, His black hide riddled with balls.
So, my gentle gazelles, thar's my answer, And here stays Banty Tim: He trumped Death's ace for me that day, And I'm not goin' back on him! You may rezoloot till the cows come home, But ef one of you tetches the boy, He'll wrastle his hash to-night in hell, Or my name's not Tilmon Joy!
THE MYSTERY OF GILGAL.
The darkest, strangest mystery I ever read, or heern, or see, Is 'long of a drink at Taggart's Hall, - Tom Taggart's of Gilgal.
I've heern the tale a thousand ways, But never could git through the maze That hangs around that queer day's doin's; But I'll tell the yarn to youans.
Tom Taggart stood behind his bar, The time was fall, the skies was fa'r, The neighbours round the counter drawed, And ca'mly drinked and jawed.
At last come Colonel Blood of Pike, And old Jedge Phinn, permiscus-like, And each, as he meandered in, Remarked, "A whisky-skin."
Tom mixed the beverage full and fa'r, And slammed it, smoking, on the bar. Some says three fingers, some says two, - I'll leave the choice to you.
Phinn to the drink put forth his hand; Blood drawed his knife, with accent bland, "I ax yer parding, Mister Phinn - Jest drap that whisky-skin."
No man high-toneder could be found Than old Jedge Phinn the country round. Says he, "Young man, the tribe of Phinns Knows their own whisky-skins!"
He went for his 'leven-inch bowie-knife: - "I tries to foller a Christian life; But I'll drap a slice of liver or two, My bloomin' shrub, with you."
They carved in a way that all admired, Tell Blood drawed iron at last, and fired. It took Seth Bludso 'twixt the eyes, Which caused him great surprise.
Then coats went off, and all went in; Shots and bad language swelled the din; The short, sharp bark of Derringers, Like bull-pups, cheered the furse.
They piled the stiffs outside the door; They made, I reckon, a cord or more. Girls went that winter, as a rule, Alone to spellin'-school.
I've searched in vain, from Dan to Beer- Sheba, to make this mystery clear; But I end with HIT as I did begin, - "WHO GOT THE WHISKY-SKIN?"
Ef the way a man lights out of this world Helps fix his heft for the other sp'ere, I reckon my old friend Golyer's Ben Will lay over lots of likelier men For one thing he done down here.
You didn't know Ben? He driv a stage On the line they called the Old Sou'-west; He wa'n't the best man that ever you seen, And he wa'n't so ungodly pizen mean, - No better nor worse than the rest.
He was hard on women and rough on his friends; And he didn't have many, I'll let you know; He hated a dog and disgusted a cat, But he'd run off his legs for a motherless brat, And I guess there's many jess so.
I've seed my sheer of the run of things, I've hoofed it a many and many a miled, But I never seed nothing that could or can Jest git all the good from the heart of a man Like the hands of a little child.
Well! this young one I started to tell you about, - His folks was all dead, I was fetchin' him through, - He was just at the age that's loudest for boys, And he blowed such a horn with his sarchin' small voice, We called him "the Little Boy Blue."
He ketched a sight of Ben on the box, And you bet he bawled and kicked and howled, For to git 'long of Ben, and ride thar too; I tried to tell him it wouldn't do, When suddingly Golyer growled,
"What's the use of making the young one cry? Say, what's the use of being a fool? Sling the little one up here whar he can see, He won't git the snuffles a-ridin' with me, The night ain't any too cool."
The child hushed cryin' the minute he spoke; "Come up here, Major! don't let him slip." And jest as nice as a woman could do, He wropped his blanket around them two, And was off in the crack of a whip.
We rattled along an hour or so, Till we heerd a yell on the still night air. Did you ever hear an Apache yell? Well, ye needn't want to, THIS side of hell; There's nothing more devilish there.
Caught in the shower of lead and flint, We felt the old stage stagger and plunge; Then we heerd the voice and the whip of Ben, As he gethered his critters up again, And tore away with a lunge.
The passengers laughed. "Old Ben's all right, He's druv five year and never was struck." "Now if I'd been thar, as sure as you live, They'd 'a' plugged me with holes as thick as a sieve; It's the reg'lar Golyer luck."
Over hill and holler and ford and creek, Jest like the hosses had wings, we tore; We got to Looney's, and Ben come in And laid down the baby and axed for his gin, And dropped in a heap on the floor.
Said he, "When they fired, I kivered the kid, - Although I ain't pretty, I'm middlin' broad; And look! he ain't fazed by arrow nor ball, - Thank God! my own carcase stopped them all." Then we seen his eye glaze, and his lower jaw fall, - And he carried his thanks to God.
THE PLEDGE AT SPUNKY POINT.
A TALE OF EARNEST EFFORT AND HUMAN PERFIDY.
It's all very well for preachin', But preachin' and practice don't gee: I've give the thing a fair trial, And you can't ring it in on me. So toddle along with your pledge, Squire, Ef that's what you want me to sign; Betwixt me and you, I've been thar, And I'll not take any in mine.
A year ago last Fo'th July A lot of the boys was here. We all got corned and signed the pledge For to drink no more that year. There was Tilmon Joy and Sheriff McPhail And me and Abner Fry, And Shelby's boy Leviticus, And the Golyers, Luke and Cy.
And we anteed up a hundred In the hands of Deacon Kedge For to be divided the follerin' Fo'th 'Mongst the boys that kep' the pledge. And we knowed each other so well, Squire, You may take my scalp for a fool, Ef every man when he signed his name Didn't feel cock-sure of the pool.
Fur a while it all went lovely; We put up a job next day Fur to make Joy b'lieve his wife was dead, And he went home middlin' gay; Then Abner Fry he killed a man And afore he was hung McPhail Jest bilked the widder outen her sheer By getting him slewed in jail.
But Chris'mas scooped the Sheriff, The egg-nogs gethered him in; And Shelby's boy Leviticus Was, New Year's, tight as sin; And along in March the Golyers Got so drunk that a fresh-biled owl Would 'a' looked 'longside o' them two young men, Like a sober temperance fowl.
Four months alone I walked the chalk, I thought my heart would break; And all them boys a-slappin my back And axin', "What'll you take?" I never slep' without dreamin' dreams Of Burbin, Peach, or Rye, But I chawed at my niggerhead and swore I'd rake that pool or die.
At last—the Fo'th—I humped myself Through chores and breakfast soon, Then scooted down to Taggart's store - For the pledge was off at noon; And all the boys was gethered thar, And each man hilt his glass - Watchin' me and the clock quite solemn-like Fur to see the last minute pass.
The clock struck twelve! I raised the jug And took one lovin' pull - I was holler clar from skull to boots. It seemed I couldn't git full. But I was roused by a fiendish laugh That might have raised the dead - Them ornary sneaks had sot the clock A half an hour ahead!
"All right!" I squawked. "You've got me, Jest order your drinks agin, And we'll paddle up to the Deacon's And scoop the ante in." But when we got to Kedge's, What a sight was that we saw! The Deacon and Parson Skeeters In the tail of a game of Draw.
They had shook 'em the heft of the mornin', The Parson's luck was fa'r, And he raked, the minute we got thar, The last of our pool on a pa'r. So toddle along with your pledge, Squire, I 'low it's all very fine, But ez fur myself, I thank ye, I'll not take any in mine.
SUNRISE IN THE PLACE DE LA CONCORDE. (PARIS, AUGUST 1865.)
I stand at the break of day In the Champs Elysees. The tremulous shafts of dawning, As they shoot o'er the Tuileries early, Strike Luxor's cold grey spire, And wild in the light of the morning With their marble manes on fire, Ramp the white Horses of Marly.
But the Place of Concord lies Dead hushed 'neath the ashy skies. And the Cities sit in council With sleep in their wide stone eyes. I see the mystic plain Where the army of spectres slain In the Emperor's life-long war March on with unsounding tread To trumpets whose voice is dead. Their spectral chief still leads them, - The ghostly flash of his sword Like a comet through mist shines far, - And the noiseless host is poured, For the gendarme never heeds them, Up the long dim road where thundered The army of Italy onward Through the great pale Arch of the Star!
The spectre army fades Far up the glimmering hill, But, vaguely lingering still, A group of shuddering shades Infects the pallid air, Growing dimmer as day invades The hush of the dusky square. There is one that seems a King, As if the ghost of a Crown Still shadowed his jail-bleached hair; I can hear the guillotine ring, As its regicide note rang there, When he laid his tired life down And grew brave in his last despair. And a woman frail and fair Who weeps at leaving a world Of love and revel and sin In the vast Unknown to be hurled; (For life was wicked and sweet With kings at her small white feet!) And one, every inch a Queen, In life and in death a Queen, Whose blood baptized the place, In the days of madness and fear, - Her shade has never a peer In majesty and grace.
Murdered and murderers swarm; Slayers that slew and were slain, Till the drenched place smoked with the rain That poured in a torrent warm, - Till red as the Riders of Edom Were splashed the white garments of Freedom With the wash of the horrible storm!
And Liberty's hands were not clean In the day of her pride unchained, Her royal hands were stained With the life of a King and Queen; And darker than that with the blood Of the nameless brave and good Whose blood in witness clings More damning than Queens' and Kings'.
Has she not paid it dearly? Chained, watching her chosen nation Grinding late and early In the mills of usurpation? Have not her holy tears, Flowing through shameful years, Washed the stains from her tortured hands? We thought so when God's fresh breeze, Blowing over the sleeping lands, In 'Forty-Eight waked the world, And the Burgher-King was hurled From that palace behind the trees.
As Freedom with eyes aglow Smiled glad through her childbirth pain, How was the mother to know That her woe and travail were vain? A smirking servant smiled When she gave him her child to keep; Did she know he would strangle the child As it lay in his arms asleep?
Liberty's cruellest shame! She is stunned and speechless yet, In her grief and bloody sweat Shall we make her trust her blame? The treasure of 'Forty-Eight A lurking jail-bird stole, She can but watch and wait As the swift sure seasons roll.
And when in God's good hour Comes the time of the brave and true, Freedom again shall rise With a blaze in her awful eyes That shall wither this robber-power As the sun now dries the dew. This Place shall roar with the voice Of the glad triumphant people, And the heavens be gay with the chimes Ringing with jubilant noise From every clamorous steeple The coming of better times. And the dawn of Freedom waking Shall fling its splendours far Like the day which now is breaking On the great pale Arch of the Star, And back o'er the town shall fly, While the joy-bells wild are ringing, To crown the Glory springing From the Column of July!
THE SPHINX OF THE TUILERIES.
Out of the Latin Quarter I came to the lofty door Where the two marble Sphinxes guard The Pavillon de Flore. Two Cockneys stood by the gate, and one Observed, as they turned to go, "No wonder He likes that sort of thing, - He's a Sphinx himself, you know."
I thought as I walked where the garden glowed In the sunset's level fire, Of the Charlatan whom the Frenchmen loathe And the Cockneys all admire. They call him a Sphinx,—it pleases him, - And if we narrowly read, We will find some truth in the flunkey's praise, - The man is a Sphinx indeed.
For the Sphinx with breast of woman And face so debonair Had the sleek false paws of a lion, That could furtively seize and tear. So far to the shoulders,—but if you took The Beast in reverse you would find The ignoble form of a craven cur Was all that lay behind.
She lived by giving to simple folk A silly riddle to read, And when they failed she drank their blood In cruel and ravenous greed. But at last came one who knew her word, And she perished in pain and shame, - This bastard Sphinx leads the same base life And his end will be the same.
For an OEdipus-People is coming fast With swelled feet limping on, If they shout his true name once aloud His false foul power is gone. Afraid to fight and afraid to fly, He cowers in an abject shiver; The people will come to their own at last, - God is not mocked for ever.
THE SURRENDER OF SPAIN.
I. Land of unconquered Pelayo! land of the Cid Campeador! Sea-girdled mother of men! Spain, name of glory and power; Cradle of world-grasping Emperors, grave of the reckless invader, How art thou fallen, my Spain! how art thou sunk at this hour!
II. Once thy magnanimous sons trod, victors, the portals of Asia, Once the Pacific waves rushed, joyful thy banners to see; For it was Trajan that carried the battle-flushed eagles to Dacia, Cortes that planted thy flag fast by the uttermost sea.
III. Hast thou forgotten those days illumined with glory and honour, When the far isles of the sea thrilled to the tread of Castile? When every land under Heaven was flecked by the shade of thy banner, - When every beam of the sun flashed on thy conquering steel?
IV. Then through red fields of slaughter, through death and defeat and disaster, Still flared thy banner aloft, tattered, but free from a stain, - Now to the upstart Savoyard thou bendest to beg for a master! How the red flush of her shame mars the proud beauty of Spain!
V. Has the red blood run cold that boiled by the Xenil and Darro? Are the high deeds of the sires sung to the children no more? On the dun hills of the North hast thou heard of no plough-boy Pizarro? Roams no young swine-herd Cortes hid by the Tagus' wild shore?
VI. Once again does Hispania bend low to the yoke of the stranger! Once again will she rise, flinging her gyves in the sea! Princeling of Piedmont! unwitting thou weddest with doubt and with danger, King over men who have learned all that it costs to be free.
THE PRAYER OF THE ROMANS.
Not done, but near its ending, Is the work that our eyes desired; Not yet fulfilled, but near the goal, Is the hope that our worn hearts fired. And on the Alban Mountains, Where the blushes of dawn increase, We see the flash of the beautiful feet Of Freedom and of Peace!
How long were our fond dreams baffled! - Novara's sad mischance, The Kaiser's sword and fetter-lock, And the traitor stab of France; Till at last came glorious Venice, In storm and tempest home; And now God maddens the greedy kings, And gives to her people Rome.
Lame Lion of Caprera! Red-shirts of the lost campaigns! Not idly shed was the costly blood You poured from generous veins. For the shame of Aspromonte, And the stain of Mentana's sod, But forged the curse of kings that sprang From your breaking hearts to God!
We lift our souls to Thee, O Lord Of Liberty and of Light! Let not earth's kings pollute the work That was done in their despite; Let not Thy light be darkened In the shade of a sordid crown, Nor pampered swine devour the fruit Thou shook'st with an earthquake down!
Let the People come to their birthright, And crosier and crown pass away Like phantasms that flit o'er the marshes At the glance of the clean, white day. And then from the lava of AEtna To the ice of the Alps let there be One freedom, one faith without fetters, One republic in Italy free!
THE CURSE OF HUNGARY.
King Saloman looked from his donjon bars, Where the Danube clamours through sedge and sand, And he cursed with a curse his revolting land, - With a king's deep curse of treason and wars.
He said: "May this false land know no truth! May the good hearts die and the bad ones flourish, And a greed of glory but live to nourish Envy and hate in its restless youth.
"In the barren soil may the ploughshare rust, While the sword grows bright with its fatal labour, And blackens between each man and neighbour The perilous cloud of a vague distrust!
"Be the noble idle, the peasant in thrall, And each to the other as unknown things, That with links of hatred and pride the kings May forge firm fetters through each for all!
"May a king wrong them as they wronged their king May he wring their hearts as they wrung mine, Till they pour their blood for his revels like wine, And to women and monks their birthright fling!"
The mad king died; but the rushing river Still brawls by the spot where his donjon stands, And its swift waves sigh to the conscious sands That the curse of King Saloman works for ever.
For flowing by Pressbourg they heard the cheers Ring out from the leal and cheated hearts That were caught and chained by Theresa's arts, - A man's cool head and a girl's hot tears!
And a star, scarce risen, they saw decline, Where Orsova's hills looked coldly down, As Kossuth buried the Iron Crown And fled in the dark to the Turkish line.
And latest they saw in the summer glare The Magyar nobles in pomp arrayed, To shout as they saw, with his unfleshed blade, A Hapsburg beating the harmless air.
But ever the same sad play they saw, The same weak worship of sword and crown, The noble crushing the humble down, And moulding Wrong to a monstrous Law.
The donjon stands by the turbid river, But Time is crumbling its battered towers; And the slow light withers a despot's powers, And a mad king's curse is not for ever!
THE MONKS OF BASLE.
I tore this weed from the rank, dark soil Where it grew in the monkish time, I trimmed it close and set it again In a border of modern rhyme.
I. Long years ago, when the Devil was loose And faith was sorely tried, Three monks of Basle went out to walk In the quiet eventide.
A breeze as pure as the breath of Heaven Blew fresh through the cloister-shades, A sky as glad as the smile of Heaven Blushed rose o'er the minster-glades.
But scorning the lures of summer and sense, The monks passed on in their walk; Their eyes were abased, their senses slept, Their souls were in their talk.
In the tough grim talk of the monkish days They hammered and slashed about, - Dry husks of logic,—old scraps of creed, - And the cold gray dreams of doubt, -
And whether Just or Justified Was the Church's mystic Head, - And whether the Bread was changed to God, Or God became the Bread.
But of human hearts outside their walls They never paused to dream, And they never thought of the love of God That smiled in the twilight gleam.
II. As these three monks went bickering on By the foot of a spreading tree, Out from its heart of verdurous gloom A song burst wild and free, -
A wordless carol of life and love, Of nature free and wild; And the three monks paused in the evening shade, Looked up at each other and smiled.
And tender and gay the bird sang on, And cooed and whistled and trilled, And the wasteful wealth of life and love From his happy heart was spilled.
The song had power on the grim old monks In the light of the rosy skies; And as they listened the years rolled back, And tears came into their eyes.
The years rolled back and they were young, With the hearts and hopes of men, They plucked the daisies and kissed the girls Of dear dead summers again.
III. But the eldest monk soon broke the spell; "'Tis sin and shame," quoth he, "To be turned from talk of holy things By a bird's cry from a tree.
"Perchance the Enemy of Souls Hath come to tempt us so. Let us try by the power of the Awful Word If it be he, or no!"
To Heaven the three monks raised their hands; "We charge thee, speak!" they said, "By His dread Name who shall one day come To judge the quick and the dead, -
"Who art thou? Speak!" The bird laughed loud. "I am the Devil," he said. The monks on their faces fell, the bird Away through the twilight sped.
A horror fell on those holy men (The faithful legends say), And one by one from the face of the earth They pined and vanished away.
IV. So goes the tale of the monkish books, The moral who runs may read, - He has no ears for Nature's voice Whose soul is the slave of creed.
Not all in vain with beauty and love Has God the world adorned; And he who Nature scorns and mocks, By Nature is mocked and scorned.
THE ENCHANTED SHIRT.
Fytte the First: wherein it shall be shown how the Truth is too mighty a Drug for such as be of feeble temper.
The King was sick. His cheek was red And his eye was clear and bright; He ate and drank with a kingly zest, And peacefully snored at night.
But he said he was sick, and a king should know, And doctors came by the score. They did not cure him. He cut off their heads And sent to the schools for more.
At last two famous doctors came, And one was as poor as a rat, - He had passed his life in studious toil, And never found time to grow fat.
The other had never looked in a book; His patients gave him no trouble - If they recovered they paid him well, If they died their heirs paid double.
Together they looked at the royal tongue, As the King on his couch reclined; In succession they thumped his august chest, But no trace of disease could find.
The old sage said, "You're as sound as a nut." "Hang him up!" roared the King in a gale, - In a ten-knot gale of royal rage; The other leech grew a shade pale;
But he pensively rubbed his sagacious nose, And thus his prescription ran, - The King will be well, if he sleeps one night In the Shirt of a Happy Man.
Fytte the Second: tells of the search for the Shirt, and how it was nigh found, but was not, for reasons which are said or sung.
Wide o'er the realm the couriers rode, And fast their horses ran, And many they saw, and to many they spoke, But they found no Happy Man.
They found poor men who would fain be rich And rich who thought they were poor; And men who twisted their waists in stays, And women that shorthose wore.
They saw two men by the roadside sit, And both bemoaned their lot; For one had buried his wife, he said, And the other one had not.
At last they came to a village gate, A beggar lay whistling there; He whistled and sang and laughed and rolled On the grass in the soft June air.
The weary couriers paused and looked At the scamp so blithe and gay; And one of them said, "Heaven save you, friend! You seem to be happy to-day."
"O yes, fair sirs!" the rascal laughed, And his voice rang free and glad, "An idle man has so much to do That he never has time to be sad."
"This is our man," the courier said "Our luck has led us aright. I will give you a hundred ducats, friend, For the loan of your shirt to-night."
The merry blackguard lay back on the grass, And laughed till his face was black; "I would do it, God wot," and he roared with the fun, "But I haven't a shirt to my back."
Fytte the Third: shewing how His Majesty the King came at last to sleep in a Happy Man his Shirt.
Each day to the King the reports came in Of his unsuccessful spies, And the sad panorama of human woes Passed daily under his eyes.
And he grew ashamed of his useless life, And his maladies hatched in gloom; He opened his windows and let the air Of the free heaven into his room.
And out he went in the world and toiled In his own appointed way; And the people blessed him, the land was glad, And the King was well and gay.
A WOMAN'S LOVE.
A sentinel angel sitting high in glory Heard this shrill wail ring out from Purgatory: "Have mercy, mighty angel, hear my story!
"I loved,—and, blind with passionate love, I fell. Love brought me down to death, and death to Hell. For God is just, and death for sin is well.
"I do not rage against His high decree, Nor for myself do ask that grace shall be; But for my love on earth who mourns for me.
"Great Spirit! let me see my love again And comfort him one hour, and I were fain To pay a thousand years of fire and pain."
Then said the pitying angel, "Nay, repent That wild vow! Look, the dial-finger's bent Down to the last hour of thy punishment!"
But still she wailed, "I pray thee, let me go! I cannot rise to peace and leave him so. Oh, let me soothe him in his bitter woe!"
The brazen gates ground sullenly ajar, And upward, joyous, like a rising star, She rose and vanished in the ether far.
But soon adown the dying sunset sailing, And like a wounded bird her pinions trailing, She fluttered back, with broken-hearted wailing.
She sobbed, "I found him by the summer sea Reclined, his head upon a maiden's knee, - She curled his hair and kissed him. Woe is me!"
She wept, "Now let my punishment begin! I have been fond and foolish. Let me in To expiate my sorrow and my sin."
The angel answered, "Nay, sad soul, go higher! To be deceived in your true heart's desire Was bitterer than a thousand years of fire!"
ON PITZ LANGUARD.
I stood on the top of Pitz Languard, And heard three voices whispering low, Where the Alpine birds in their circling ward Made swift dark shadows upon the snow.
I loved a girl with truth and pain, She loved me not. When she said good-bye She gave me a kiss to sting and stain My broken life to a rosy dye.
I loved a woman with love well tried, - And I swear I believe she loves me still. But it was not I who stood by her side When she answered the priest and said "I will."
I loved two girls, one fond, one shy, And I never divined which one loved me. One married, and now, though I can't tell why, Of the four in the story I count but three.
The three weird voices whispered low Where the eagles swept in their circling ward; But only one shadow scarred the snow As I clambered down from Pitz Languard.
One day in the Tuileries, When a south-west Spanish breeze Brought scandalous news of the Queen, The fair, proud Empress said, "My good friend loses her head; If matters go on this way, I shall see her shopping, some day, In the Boulevard des Capucines."
The saying swiftly went To the Place of the Orient, And the stout Queen sneered, "Ah, well! You are proud and prude, ma belle! But I think I will hazard a guess I shall see you one day playing chess With the Cure of Carabanchel."
Both ladies, though not over wise, Were lucky in prophecies. For the Boulevard shopmen well Know the form of stout Isabel As she buys her modes de Paris; And after Sedan in despair The Empress prude and fair Went to visit Madame sa Mere In her villa at Carabanchel - But the Queen was not there to see.
A TRIUMPH OF ORDER.
A squad of regular infantry, In the Commune's closing days, Had captured a crowd of rebels By the wall of Pere-la-Chaise.
There were desperate men, wild women, And dark-eyed Amazon girls, And one little boy, with a peach-down cheek And yellow clustering curls.
The captain seized the little waif, And said, "What dost thou here?" "Sapristi, Citizen captain! I'm a Communist, my dear!"
"Very well! Then you die with the others!" —"Very well! That's my affair; But first let me take to my mother, Who lives by the wine-shop there,
"My father's watch. You see it; A gay old thing, is it not? It would please the old lady to have it; Then I'll come back here, and be shot."
"That is the last we shall see of him," The grizzled captain grinned, As the little man skimmed down the hill Like a swallow down the wind.
For the joy of killing had lost its zest In the glut of those awful days, And Death writhed, gorged like a greedy snake, From the Arch to Pere-la-Chaise.
But before the last platoon had fired The child's shrill voice was heard; "Houp-la! the old girl made such a row I feared I should break my word."
Against the bullet-pitted wall He took his place with the rest, A button was lost from his ragged blouse, Which showed his soft white breast.
"Now blaze away, my children! With your little one-two-three!" The Chassepots tore the stout young heart, And saved Society.
ERNST OF EDELSHEIM.
I'll tell the story, kissing This white hand for my pains: No sweeter heart, nor falser, E'er filled such fine, blue veins.
I'll sing a song of true love, My Lilith, dear! to you; Contraria contrariis - The rule is old and true.
The happiest of all lovers Was Ernst of Edelsheim; And why he was the happiest, I'll tell you in my rhyme.
One summer night he wandered Within a lonely glade, And, couched in moss and moonlight, He found a sleeping maid.
The stars of midnight sifted Above her sands of gold; She seemed a slumbering statue, So fair and white and cold.
Fair and white and cold she lay Beneath the starry skies; Rosy was her waking Beneath the Ritter's eyes.
He won her drowsy fancy, He bore her to his towers, And swift with love and laughter Flew morning's purpled hours.
But when the thickening sunbeams Had drunk the gleaming dew, A misty cloud of sorrow Swept o'er her eyes' deep blue.
She hung upon the Ritter's neck, She wept with love and pain, She showered her sweet, warm kisses Like fragrant summer rain.
"I am no Christian soul," she sobbed, As in his arms she lay; "I'm half the day a woman, A serpent half the day.
"And when from yonder bell-tower Rings out the noonday chime, Farewell! farewell for ever, Sir Ernst of Edelsheim!"
"Ah! not farewell for ever!" The Ritter wildly cried; "I will be saved or lost with thee, My lovely Wili-Bride!"
Loud from the lordly bell-tower Rang out the noon of day, And from the bower of roses A serpent slid away.
But when the mid-watch moonlight Was shimmering through the grove, He clasped his bride thrice dowered With beauty and with love.
The happiest of all lovers Was Ernst of Edelsheim - His true love was a serpent Only half the time!
MY CASTLE IN SPAIN.
There was never a castle seen So fair as mine in Spain: It stands embowered in green, Crowning the gentle slope Of a hill by the Xenil's shore And at eve its shade flaunts o'er The storied Vega plain, And its towers are hid in the mists of Hope; And I toil through years of pain Its glimmering gates to gain.
In visions wild and sweet Sometimes its courts I greet: Sometimes in joy its shining halls I tread with favoured feet; But never my eyes in the light of day Were blest with its ivied walls, Where the marble white and the granite gray Turn gold alike when the sunbeams play, When the soft day dimly falls.
I know in its dusky rooms Are treasures rich and rare; The spoil of Eastern looms, And whatever of bright and fair Painters divine have caught and won From the vault of Italy's air: White gods in Phidian stone People the haunted glooms; And the song of immortal singers Like a fragrant memory lingers, I know, in the echoing rooms.
But nothing of these, my soul! Nor castle, nor treasures, nor skies, Nor the waves of the river that roil With a cadence faint and sweet In peace by its marble feet - Nothing of these is the goal For which my whole heart sighs. 'Tis the pearl gives worth to the shell - The pearl I would die to gain; For there does my lady dwell, My love that I love so well - The Queen whose gracious reign Makes glad my castle in Spain.
Her face so pure and fair Sheds light in the shady places, And the spell of her girlish graces Holds charmed the happy air. A breath of purity For ever before her flies, And ill things cease to be In the glance of her honest eyes. Around her pathway flutter, Where her dear feet wander free In youth's pure majesty, The wings of the vague desires; But the thought that love would utter In reverence expires.
Not yet! not yet shall I see That face which shines like a star O'er my storm-swept life afar, Transfigured with love for me. Toiling, forgetting, and learning With labour and vigils and prayers, Pure heart and resolute will, At last I shall climb the hill And breathe the enchanted airs Where the light of my life is burning Most lovely and fair and free, Where alone in her youth and beauty And bound by her fate's sweet duty, Unconscious she waits for me.
SISTER SAINT LUKE.
She lived shut in by flowers and trees And shade of gentle bigotries. On this side lay the trackless sea, On that the great world's mystery; But all unseen and all unguessed They could not break upon her rest. The world's far splendours gleamed and flashed, Afar the wild seas foamed and dashed; But in her small, dull Paradise, Safe housed from rapture or surprise, Nor day nor night had power to fright The peace of God that filled her eyes.
NEW AND OLD.
MILES KEOGH'S HORSE.
On the bluff of the Little Big-Horn, At the close of a woeful day, Custer and his Three Hundred In death and silence lay.
Three Hundred to Three Thousand! They had bravely fought and bled; For such is the will of Congress When the White man meets the Red.
The White men are ten millions, The thriftiest under the sun; The Reds are fifty thousand, And warriors every one.
So Custer and all his fighting-men Lay under the evening skies, Staring up at the tranquil heaven With wide, accusing eyes.
And of all that stood at noonday In that fiery scorpion ring, Miles Keogh's horse at evening Was the only living thing.
Alone from that field of slaughter, Where lay the three hundred slain, The horse Comanche wandered, With Keogh's blood on his mane.
And Sturgis issued this order, Which future times shall read, While the love and honour of comrades Are the soul of the soldiers creed.
He said - Let the horse Comanche Henceforth till he shall die, Be kindly cherished and cared for By the Seventh Cavalry.
He shall do no labour; he never shall know The touch of spur or rein; Nor shall his back be ever crossed By living rider again.
And at regimental formation Of the Seventh Cavalry, Comanche draped in mourning and led By a trooper of Company I,
Shall parade with the Regiment! Thus it was Commanded and thus done, By order of General Sturgis, signed By Adjutant Garlington.
Even as the sword of Custer, In his disastrous fall, Flashed out a blaze that charmed the world And glorified his pall,
This order, issued amid the gloom That shrouds our army's name, When all foul beasts are free to rend And tear its honest fame,
Shall prove to a callous people That the sense of a soldier's worth, That the love of comrades, the honour of arms, Have not yet perished from earth.
In the dream of the Northern poets, The braves who in battle die Fight on in shadowy phalanx In the field of the upper sky; And as we read the sounding rhyme, The reverent fancy hears The ghostly ring of the viewless swords And the clash of the spectral spears.
We think with imperious questionings Of the brothers whom we have lost, And we strive to track in death's mystery The flight of each valiant ghost. The Northern myth comes back to us, And we feel, through our sorrow's night, That those young souls are striving still Somewhere for the truth and light.
It was not their time for rest and sleep; Their hearts beat high and strong; In their fresh veins the blood of youth Was singing its hot, sweet song. The open heaven bent over them, 'Mid flowers their lithe feet trod, Their lives lay vivid in light, and blest By the smiles of women and God.
Again they come! Again I hear The tread of that goodly band; I know the flash of Ellsworth's eye And the grasp of his hard, warm hand; And Putnam, and Shaw, of the lion-heart, And an eye like a Boston girl's; And I see the light of heaven which lay On Ulric Dahlgren's curls.
There is no power in the gloom of hell To quench those spirits' fire; There is no power in the bliss of heaven To bid them not aspire; But somewhere in the eternal plan That strength, that life survive, And like the files on Lookout's crest, Above death's clouds they strive.
A chosen corps, they are marching on In a wider field than ours; Those bright battalions still fulfil The scheme of the heavenly powers; And high brave thoughts float down to us, The echoes of that far fight, Like the flash of a distant picket's gun Through the shades of the severing night.
No fear for them! In our lower field Let us keep our arms unstained, That at last we be worthy to stand with them On the shining heights they've gained. We shall meet and greet in closing ranks In Time's declining sun, When the bugles of God shall sound recall And the battle of life be won.
If Heaven would hear my prayer, My dearest wish would be, Thy sorrows not to share, But take them all on me; If Heaven would hear my prayer.
I'd beg with prayers and sighs That never a tear might flow From out thy lovely eyes, If Heaven might grant it so; Mine be the tears and sighs.
No cloud thy brow should cover, But smiles each other chase From lips to eyes all over Thy sweet and sunny face; The clouds my heart should cover.
That all thy path be light Let darkness fall on me; If all thy days be bright, Mine black as night could be. My love would light my night.
For thou art more than life, And if our fate should set Life and my love at strife, How could I then forget I love thee more than life?
The beauty of the Northern dawns, Their pure, pale light is thine; Yet all the dreams of tropic nights Within thy blue eyes shine. Not statelier in their prisoning seas The icebergs grandly move, But in thy smile is youth and joy, And in thy voice is love.
Thou art like Hecla's crest that stands So lonely, proud, and high, No earthly thing may come between Her summit and the sky. The sun in vain may strive to melt Her crown of virgin snow - But the great heart of the mountain glows With deathless fire below.
Roll on, O shining sun, To the far seas! Bring down, ye shades of eve, The soft, salt breeze! Shine out, O stars, and light My darling's pathway bright, As through the summer night She comes to me.
No beam of any star Can match her eyes; Her smile the bursting day In light outvies. Her voice—the sweetest thing Heard by the raptured spring When waking wild-woods ring - She comes to me.
Ye stars, more swiftly wheel O'er earth's still breast; More wildly plunge and reel In the dim west! The earth is lone and lorn, Till the glad day be born, Till with the happy morn She comes to me.
When April woke the drowsy flowers, And vagrant odours thronged the breeze, And bluebirds wrangled in the bowers, And daisies flashed along the leas, And faint arbutus strove among Dead winter's leaf-strewn wreck to rise, And nature's sweetly jubilant song Went murmuring up the sunny skies, Into this cheerful world you came, And gained by right your vernal name.
I think the springs have changed of late, For "Arctics" are my daily wear, The skies are turned to cold grey slate, And zephyrs are but draughts of air; But you make up whate'er we lack, When we, too rarely, come together, More potent than the almanac, You bring the ideal April weather; When you are with us we defy The blustering air, the lowering sky; In spite of winter's icy darts, We've spring and sunshine in our hearts.
In fine, upon this April day, This deep conundrum I will bring: Tell me the two good reasons, pray, I have, to say you are like spring?
[You give it up?] Because we love you - And see so very little of you.
A HAUNTED ROOM.
In the dim chamber whence but yesterday Passed my beloved, filled with awe I stand; And haunting Loves fluttering on every hand Whisper her praises who is far away. A thousand delicate fancies glance and play On every object which her robes have fanned, And tenderest thoughts and hopes bloom and expand In the sweet memory of her beauty's ray. Ah! could that glass but hold the faintest trace Of all the loveliness once mirrored there, The clustering glory of the shadowy hair That framed so well the dear young angel face! But no, it shows my own face, full of care, And my heart is her beauty's dwelling place.
I love a woman tenderly, But cannot know if she loves me. I press her hand, her lips I kiss, But still love's full assurance miss. Our waking life for ever seems Cleft by a veil of doubt and dreams.
But love and night and sleep combine In dreams to make her wholly mine. A sure love lights her eyes' deep blue, Her hands and lips are warm and true. Always the fact unreal seems, And truth I find alone in dreams.
THE LIGHT OF LOVE.
Each shining light above us Has its own peculiar grace; But every light of heaven Is in my darling's face.
For it is like the sunlight, So strong and pure and warm, That folds all good and happy things, And guards from gloom and harm.
And it is like the moonlight, So holy and so calm; The rapt peace of a summer night, When soft winds die in balm.
And it is like the starlight; For, love her as I may, She dwells still lofty and serene In mystery far away.
I strove, like Israel, with my youth, And said, "Till thou bestow Upon my life Love's joy and truth, I will not let thee go."
And sudden on my night there woke The trouble of the dawn; Out of the east the red light broke, To broaden on and on.
And now let death be far or nigh, Let fortune gloom or shine, I cannot all untimely die, For love, for love is mine.
My days are tuned to finer chords, And lit by higher suns; Through all my thoughts and all my words A purer purpose runs.
The blank page of my heart grows rife With wealth of tender lore; Her image, stamped upon my life, Gives value evermore.
She is so noble, firm, and true, I drink truth from her eyes, As violets gain the heaven's own blue In gazing at the skies.
No matter if my hands attain The golden crown or cross; Only to love is such a gain That losing is not loss.
And thus whatever fate betide Of rapture or of pain, If storm or sun the future hide, My love is not in vain.
So only thanks are on my lips; And through my love I see My earliest dreams, like freighted ships, Come sailing home to me.
When violets were springing And sunshine filled the day, And happy birds were singing The praises of the May, A word came to me, blighting The beauty of the scene, And in my heart was winter, Though all the trees were green.
Now down the blast go sailing The dead leaves, brown and sere; The forests are bewailing The dying of the year; A word comes to me, lighting With rapture all the air, And in my heart is summer, Though all the trees are bare.
My short and happy day is done, The long and dreary night comes on; And at my door the Pale Horse stands, To carry me to unknown lands.
His whinny shrill, his pawing hoof, Sound dreadful as a gathering storm; And I must leave this sheltering roof, And joys of life so soft and warm.
Tender and warm the joys of life, - Good friends, the faithful and the true; My rosy children and my wife, So sweet to kiss, so fair to view.
So sweet to kiss, so fair to view, - The night comes down, the lights burn blue; And at my door the Pale Horse stands, To bear me forth to unknown lands.
A DREAM OF BRIC-A-BRAC. [C. K. loquitur.]
I dreamed I was in fair Niphon. Amid tea-fields I journeyed on, Reclined in my jinrikishaw; Across the rolling plains I saw The lordly Fusi-yama rise, His blue cone lost in bluer skies.
At last I bade my bearers stop Before what seemed a china-shop. I roused myself and entered in. A fearful joy, like some sweet sin, Pierced through my bosom as I gazed, Entranced, transported, and amazed.
For all the house was but one room, And in its clear and grateful gloom, Filled with all odours strange and strong That to the wondrous East belong, I saw above, around, below, A sight to make the warm heart glow, And leave the eager soul no lack, - An endless wealth of bric-a-brac.
I saw bronze statues, old and rare, Fashioned by no mere mortal skill, With robes that fluttered in the air, Blown out by Art's eternal will; And delicate ivory netsukes, Richer in tone than Cheddar cheese, Of saints and hermits, cats and dogs, Grim warriors and ecstatic frogs.
And here and there those wondrous masks, More living flesh than sandal-wood, Where the full soul in pleasure basks And dreams of love, the only good. The walls were all with pictures hung: Gay villas bright in rain-washed air, Trees to whose boughs brown monkeys clung, Outlineless dabs of fuzzy hair. And all about the opulent shelves Littered with porcelain beyond price: Imari pots arrayed themselves Beside Ming dishes; grain-of-rice Vied with the Royal Satsuma, Proud of its sallow ivory beam; And Kaga's Thousand Hermits lay Tranced in some punch-bowl's golden gleam. Over bronze censers, black with age, The five-clawed dragons strife engage; A curled and insolent Dog of Foo Sniffs at the smoke aspiring through.
In what old days, in what far lands, What busy brains, what cunning hands, With what quaint speech, what alien thought, Strange fellow-men these marvels wrought!
As thus I mused, I was aware There grew before my eager eyes A little maid too bright and fair, Too strangely lovely for surprise. It seemed the beauty of the place Had suddenly become concrete, So full was she of Orient grace, From her slant eyes and burnished face Down to her little gold-bronzed feet. She was a girl of old Japan; Her small hand held a gilded fan, Which scattered fragrance through the room; Her cheek was rich with pallid bloom, Her eye was dark with languid fire, Her red lips breathed a vague desire; Her teeth, of pearl inviolate, Sweetly proclaimed her maiden state. Her garb was stiff with broidered gold Twined with mysterious fold on fold, That gave no hint where, hidden well, Her dainty form might warmly dwell, - A pearl within too large a shell. So quaint, so short, so lissome, she, It seemed as if it well might be Some jocose god, with sportive whirl, Had taken up a long lithe girl And tied a graceful knot in her. I tried to speak, and found, oh, bliss! I needed no interpreter; I knew the Japanese for kiss, - I had no other thought but this; And she, with smile and blush divine, Kind to my stammering prayer did seem; My thought was hers, and hers was mine, In the swift logic of my dream. My arms clung round her slender waist, Through gold and silk the form I traced, And glad as rain that follows drouth, I kissed and kissed her bright red mouth.
What ailed the girl? No loving sigh Heaved the round bosom; in her eye Trembled no tear; from her dear throat Bubbled a sweet and silvery note Of girlish laughter, shrill and clear, That all the statues seemed to hear. The bronzes tinkled laughter fine; I heard a chuckle argentine Ring from the silver images; Even the ivory netsukes Uttered in every silent pause Dry, bony laughs from tiny jaws; The painted monkeys on the wall Waked up with chatter impudent; Pottery, porcelain, bronze, and all Broke out in ghostly merriment, - Faint as rain pattering on dry leaves, Or cricket's chirp on summer eves.
And suddenly upon my sight There grew a portent: left and right, On every side, as if the air Had taken substance then and there, In every sort of form and face, A throng of tourists filled the place. I saw a Frenchman's sneering shrug; A German countess, in one hand A sky-blue string which held a pug, With the other a fiery face she fanned; A Yankee with a soft felt hat; A Coptic priest from Ararat; An English girl with cheeks of rose; A Nihilist with Socratic nose; Paddy from Cork with baggage light And pockets stuffed with dynamite; A haughty Southern Readjuster, Wrapped in his pride and linen duster; Two noisy New York stockbrokers, And twenty British globe-trotters. To my disgust and vast surprise, They turned on me lack-lustre eyes, And each with dropped and wagging jaw Burst out into a wild guffaw: They laughed with huge mouths opened wide; They roared till each one held his side; They screamed and writhed with brutal glee, With fingers rudely stretched to me, - Till lo! at once the laughter died, The tourists faded into air; None but my fair maid lingered there, Who stood demurely by my side. "Who were your friends?" I asked the maid, Taking a tea-cup from its shelf. "This audience is disclosed," she said, "Whenever a man makes a fool of himself."
What man is there so bold that he should say, "Thus, and thus only, would I have the sea"? For whether lying calm and beautiful, Clasping the earth in love, and throwing back The smile of heaven from waves of amethyst; Or whether, freshened by the busy winds, It bears the trade and navies of the world To ends of use or stern activity; Or whether, lashed by tempests, it gives way To elemental fury, howls and roars At all its rocky barriers, in wild lust Of ruin drinks the blood of living things, And strews its wrecks o'er leagues of desolate shore, - Always it is the sea, and men bow down Before its vast and varied majesty.
So all in vain will timorous ones essay To set the metes and bounds of Liberty. For Freedom is its own eternal law; It makes its own conditions, and in storm Or calm alike fulfils the unerring Will. Let us not then despise it when it lies Still as a sleeping lion, while a swarm Of gnat-like evils hover round its head; Nor doubt it when in mad, disjointed times It shakes the torch of terror, and its cry Shrills o'er the quaking earth, and in the flame Of riot and war we see its awful form Rise by the scaffold, where the crimson axe Rings down its grooves the knell of shuddering kings. For ever in thine eyes, O Liberty, Shines that high light whereby the world is saved, And though thou slay us, we will trust in thee!
THE WHITE FLAG.
I sent my love two roses,—one As white as driven snow, And one a blushing royal red, A flaming Jacqueminot.
I meant to touch and test my fate; That night I should divine, The moment I should see my love, If her true heart were mine.
For if she holds me dear, I said, She'll wear my blushing rose; If not, she'll wear my cold Lamarque As white as winter's snows.
My heart sank when I met her: sure I had been over bold, For on her breast my pale rose lay In virgin whiteness cold.
Yet with low words she greeted me, With smiles divinely tender; Upon her cheek the red rose dawned. - The white rose meant surrender.
THE LAW OF DEATH.
The song of Kilvani: fairest she In all the land of Savatthi. She had one child, as sweet and gay And dear to her as the light of day. She was so young, and he so fair, The same bright eyes and the same dark hair; To see them by the blossomy way, They seemed two children at their play.
There came a death-dart from the sky, Kilvani saw her darling die. The glimmering shade his eyes invades, Out of his cheek the red bloom fades; His warm heart feels the icy chill, The round limbs shudder, and are still. And yet Kilvani held him fast Long after life's last pulse was past, As if her kisses could restore The smile gone out for evermore.
But when she saw her child was dead, She scattered ashes on her head, And seized the small corpse, pale and sweet, And rushing wildly through the street, She sobbing fell at Buddha's feet.
"Master, all-helpful, help me now! Here at thy feet I humbly bow; Have mercy, Buddha, help me now!" She grovelled on the marble floor, And kissed the dead child o'er and o'er. And suddenly upon the air There fell the answer to her prayer: "Bring me to-night a lotus tied With thread from a house where none has died."
She rose, and laughed with thankful joy, Sure that the god would save the boy. She found a lotus by the stream; She plucked it from its noonday dream, And then from door to door she fared, To ask what house by Death was spared. Her heart grew cold to see the eyes Of all dilate with slow surprise: "Kilvani, thou hast lost thy head; Nothing can help a child that's dead. There stands not by the Ganges' side A house where none hath ever died." Thus, through the long and weary day, From every door she bore away Within her heart, and on her arm, A heavier load, a deeper harm. By gates of gold and ivory, By wattled huts of poverty, The same refrain heard poor Kilvani, THE LIVING ARE FEW, THE DEAD ARE MANY.
The evening came—so still and fleet - And overtook her hurrying feet. And, heartsick, by the sacred fane She fell, and prayed the god again. She sobbed and beat her bursting breast: "Ah, thou hast mocked me, Mightiest! Lo! I have wandered far and wide; There stands no house where none hath died." And Buddha answered, in a tone Soft as a flute at twilight blown, But grand as heaven and strong as death To him who hears with ears of faith: "Child, thou art answered. Murmur not! Bow, and accept the common lot."
Kilvani heard with reverence meet, And laid her child at Buddha's feet.
On Tabor's height a glory came, And, shrined in clouds of lambent flame, The awestruck, hushed disciples saw Christ and the prophets of the law. Moses, whose grand and awful face Of Sinai's thunder bore the trace, And wise Elias,—in his eyes The shade of Israel's prophecies, - Stood in that wide, mysterious light, Than Syrian noons more purely bright, One on each hand, and high between Shone forth the godlike Nazarene. They bowed their heads in holy fright, - No mortal eyes could bear the sight, - And when they looked again, behold! The fiery clouds had backward rolled, And borne aloft in grandeur lonely, Nothing was left "save Jesus only."
Resplendent type of things to be! We read its mystery to-day With clearer eyes than even they, The fisher-saints of Galilee. We see the Christ stand out between The ancient law and faith serene, Spirit and letter; but above Spirit and letter both was Love. Led by the hand of Jacob's God, Through wastes of eld a path was trod By which the savage world could move Upward through law and faith to love. And there in Tabor's harmless flame The crowning revelation came. The old world knelt in homage due, The prophets near in reverence drew, Law ceased its mission to fulfil, And Love was lord on Tabor's hill.
So now, while creeds perplex the mind And wranglings load the weary wind, When all the air is filled with words And texts that wring like clashing swords, Still, as for refuge, we may turn Where Tabor's shining glories burn, - The soul of antique Israel gone, And nothing left but Christ alone.
RELIGION AND DOCTRINE.
He stood before the Sanhedrim; The scowling rabbis gazed at him. He recked not of their praise or blame; There was no fear, there was no shame, For one upon whose dazzled eyes The whole world poured its vast surprise. The open heaven was far too near, His first day's light too sweet and clear, To let him waste his new-gained ken On the hate-clouded face of men.
But still they questioned, "Who art thou? What hast thou been? What art thou now? Thou art not he who yesterday Sat here and begged beside the way; For he was blind."
—"And I am he; For I was blind, but now I see."
He told the story o'er and o'er; It was his full heart's only lore: A prophet on the Sabbath-day Had touched his sightless eyes with clay, And made him see who had been blind. Their words passed by him like the wind, Which raves and howls, but cannot shock The hundred-fathom-rooted rock.
Their threats and fury all went wide; They could not touch his Hebrew pride. Their sneers at Jesus and His band, Nameless and homeless in the land, Their boasts of Moses and his Lord, All could not change him by one word.
"I know not what this man may be, Sinner or saint; but as for me, One thing I know,—that I am he Who once was blind, and now I see."
They were all doctors of renown, The great men of a famous town, With deep brows, wrinkled, broad, and wise, Beneath their wide phylacteries; The wisdom of the East was theirs, And honour crowned their silver hairs. The man they jeered and laughed to scorn Was unlearned, poor, and humbly born; But he knew better far than they What came to him that Sabbath-day; And what the Christ had done for him He knew, and not the Sanhedrim.
SINAI AND CALVARY.
There are two mountains hallowed By majesty sublime, Which rear their crests unconquered Above the floods of Time. Uncounted generations Have gazed on them with awe, - The mountain of the Gospel, The mountain of the Law.
From Sinai's cloud of darkness The vivid lightnings play; They serve the God of vengeance, The Lord who shall repay. Each fault must bring its penance, Each sin the avenging blade, For God upholds in justice The laws that He hath made.
But Calvary stands to ransom The earth from utter loss, In shade than light more glorious, The shadow of the Cross. To heal a sick world's trouble, To soothe its woe and pain, On Calvary's sacred summit The Paschal Lamb was slain.
The boundless might of Heaven Its law in mercy furled, As once the bow of promise O'erarched a drowning world. The Law said, "As you keep me, It shall be done to you; " But Calvary prays, "Forgive them; They know not what they do."
Almighty God! direct us To keep Thy perfect Law! O blessed Saviour, help us Nearer to Thee to draw! Let Sinai's thunders aid us To guard our feet from sin; And Calvary's light inspire us The love of God to win.
THE VISION OF ST. PETER.
To Peter by night the faithfullest came And said, "We appeal to thee! The life of the Church is in thy life; We pray thee to rise and flee.
"For the tyrant's hand is red with blood, And his arm is heavy with power; Thy head, the head of the Church, will fall If thou tarry in Rome an hour."
Through the sleeping town St. Peter passed To the wide Campagna plain; In the starry light of the Alban night He drew free breath again:
When across his path an awful form In luminous glory stood; His thorn-crowned brow, His hands and feet, Were wet with immortal blood.
The godlike sorrow which filled His eyes Seemed changed to a godlike wrath As they turned on Peter, who cried aloud, And sank to his knees in the path.
"Lord of my life, my love, my soul! Say, what wilt Thou with me?" A voice replied, "I go to Rome To be crucified for thee."
The Apostle sprang, all flushed, to his feet, - The vision had passed away; The light still lay on the dewy plain, But the sky in the east was gray.
To the city walls St. Peter turned, And his heart in his breast grew fire; In every vein the hot blood burned With the strength of one high desire.
And sturdily back he marched to his death Of terrible pain and shame; And never a shade of fear again To the stout Apostle came.
When by Jabbok the patriarch waited To learn on the morrow his doom, And his dubious spirit debated In darkness and silence and gloom, There descended a Being with whom He wrestled in agony sore, With striving of heart and of brawn, And not for an instant forbore Till the east gave a threat of the dawn; And then, as the Awful One blessed him, To his lips and his spirit there came, Compelled by the doubts that oppressed him, The cry that through questioning ages Has been wrung from the hinds and the sages, "Tell me, I pray Thee, Thy name!"
Most fatal, most futile, of questions! Wherever the heart of man beats, In the spirit's most sacred retreats, It comes with its sombre suggestions, Unanswered for ever and aye. The blessing may come and may stay, For the wrestlers heroic endeavour; But the question, unheeded for ever, Dies out in the broadening day.
In the ages before our traditions, By the altars of dark superstitions, The imperious question has come; When the death-stricken victim lay sobbing At the feet of his slayer and priest, And his heart was laid smoking and throbbing To the sound of the cymbal and drum On the steps of the high Teocallis; When the delicate Greek at his feast Poured forth the red wine from his chalice With mocking and cynical prayer; When by Nile Egypt worshipping lay, And afar, through the rosy, flushed air The Memnon called out to the day; Where the Muezzin's cry floats from his spire; In the vaulted Cathedral's dim shades, Where the crushed hearts of thousands aspire Through arts highest miracles higher, This question of questions invades Each heart bowed in worship or shame; In the air where the censers are swinging, A voice, going up with the singing, Cries, "Tell me, I pray Thee, Thy name!"
No answer came back, not a word, To the patriarch there by the ford; No answer has come through the ages To the poets, the seers, and the sages Who have sought in the secrets of science The name and the nature of God, Whether cursing in desperate defiance Or kissing His absolute rod; But the answer which was and shall be, "My name! Nay, what is it to thee?" The search and the question are vain. By use of the strength that is in you, By wrestling of soul and of sinew The blessing of God you may gain.
There are lights in the far-gleaming Heaven That never will shine on our eyes; To mortals it may not be given To range those inviolate skies. The mind, whether praying or scorning, That tempts those dread secrets shall fail; But strive through the night till the morning, And mightily shalt thou prevail.
THE CROWS AT WASHINGTON.
Slow flapping to the setting sun By twos and threes, in wavering rows, As twilight shadows dimly close, The crows fly over Washington.
Under the crimson sunset sky Virginian woodlands leafless lie, In wintry torpor bleak and dun. Through the rich vault of heaven, which shines Like a warmed opal in the sun, With wide advance in broken lines The crows fly over Washington.
Over the Capitol's white dome, Across the obelisk soaring bare To prick the clouds, they travel home, Content and weary, winnowing With dusky vans the golden air, Which hints the coming of the spring, Though winter whitens Washington.
The dim, deep air, the level ray Of dying sunlight on their plumes, Give them a beauty not their own; Their hoarse notes fail and faint away; A rustling murmur floating down Blends sweetly with the thickening glooms; They touch with grace the fading day, Slow flying over Washington.
I stand and watch with clouded eyes These dim battalions move along; Out of the distance memory cries Of days when life and hope were strong, When love was prompt and wit was gay; Even then, at evening, as to-day, I watched, while twilight hovered dim Over Potomac's curving rim, This selfsame flight of homing crows Blotting the sunset's fading rose, Above the roofs of Washington.
Sad is the thought of sunniest days Of love and rapture perished, And shine through memory's tearful haze The eyes once fondliest cherished. Reproachful is the ghost of toys That charmed while life was wasted. But saddest is the thought of joys That never yet were tasted.
Sad is the vague and tender dream Of dead love's lingering kisses, To crushed hearts haloed by the gleam Of unreturning blisses; Deep mourns the soul in anguished pride For the pitiless death that won them, - But the saddest wail is for lips that died With the virgin dew upon them.
ESSE QUAM VIDERI.
The knightly legend of thy shield betrays The moral of thy life; a forecast wise, And that large honour that deceit defies, Inspired thy fathers in the elder days, Who decked thy scutcheon with that sturdy phrase, TO BE RATHER THAN SEEM. As eve's red skies Surpass the morning's rosy prophecies, Thy life to that proud boast its answer pays. Scorning thy faith and purpose to defend The ever-mutable multitude at last Will hail the power they did not comprehend, - Thy fame will broaden through the centuries; As, storm and billowy tumult overpast, The moon rules calmly o'er the conquered seas.
WHEN THE BOYS COME HOME.
There's a happy time coming, When the boys come home. There's a glorious day coming, When the boys come home. We will end the dreadful story Of this treason dark and gory In a sunburst of glory, When the boys come home.
The day will seem brighter When the boys come home, For our hearts will be lighter When the boys come home. Wives and sweethearts will press them In their arms and caress them, And pray God to bless them, When the boys come home.
The thinned ranks will be proudest When the boys come home, And their cheer will ring the loudest When the boys come home. The full ranks will be shattered, And the bright arms will be battered, And the battle-standards tattered, When the boys come home.
Their bayonets may be rusty, When the boys come home, And their uniforms dusty, When the boys come home. But all shall see the traces Of battle's royal graces, In the brown and bearded faces, When the boys come home.
Our love shall go to meet them, When the boys come home, To bless them and to greet them, When the boys come home; And the fame of their endeavour Time and change shall not dissever From the nation's heart for ever, When the boys come home.
How well my heart remembers Beside these camp-fire embers The eyes that smiled so far away, - The joy that was November's.
Her voice to laughter moving, So merrily reproving, - We wandered through the autumn woods, And neither thought of loving.
The hills with light were glowing, The waves in joy were flowing, - It was not to the clouded sun The day's delight was owing.
Though through the brown leaves straying, Our lives seemed gone a-Maying; We knew not Love was with us there, No look nor tone betraying.
How unbelief still misses The best of being's blisses! Our parting saw the first and last Of love's imagined kisses.
Now 'mid these scenes the drearest I dream of her, the dearest, - Whose eyes outshine the Southern stars, So far, and yet the nearest.
And Love, so gaily taunted, Who died, no welcome granted, Comes to me now, a pallid ghost, By whom my life is haunted.
With bonds I may not sever, He binds my heart for ever, And leads me where we murdered him, - The Hill beside the River.
CAMP SHAW, FLORIDA, February 1864.
Under the high unclouded sun That makes the ship and shadow one, I sail away as from the fort Booms sullenly the noonday gun.
The odorous airs blow thin and fine, The sparkling waves like emeralds shine, The lustre of the coral reefs Gleams whitely through the tepid brine.
And glitters o'er the liquid miles The jewelled ring of verdant isles, Where generous Nature holds her court Of ripened bloom and sunny smiles.
Encinctured by the faithful seas Inviolate gardens load the breeze, Where flaunt like giant-warders' plumes The pennants of the cocoa-trees.
Enthroned in light and bathed in balm, In lonely majesty the Palm Blesses the isles with waving hands, - High-Priest of the eternal Calm.
Yet Northward with an equal mind I steer my course, and leave behind The rapture of the Southern skies, - The wooing of the Southern wind.
For here o'er Nature's wanton bloom Falls far and near the shade of gloom, Cast from the hovering vulture-wings Of one dark thought of woe and doom.
I know that in the snow-white pines The brave Norse fire of freedom shines, And fain for this I leave the land Where endless summer pranks the vines.
O strong, free North, so wise and brave! O South, too lovely for a slave! Why read ye not the changeless truth, - The free can conquer but to save?
May God upon these shining sands Send Love and Victory clasping hands, And Freedom's banners wave in peace For ever o'er the rescued lands!
And here, in that triumphant hour, Shall yielding beauty wed with power; And blushing earth and smiling sea In dalliance deck the bridal bower.
KEY WEST, 1864.
IN THE FIRELIGHT.
My dear wife sits beside the fire With folded hands and dreaming eyes, Watching the restless flames aspire, And rapt in thralling memories. I mark the fitful firelight fling Its warm caresses on her brow, And kiss her hands' unmelting snow, And glisten on her wedding-ring.
The proud free head that crowns so well The neck superb, whose outlines glide Into the bosom's perfect swell Soft-billowed by its peaceful tide, The cheek's faint flush, the lip's red glow, The gracious charm her beauty wears, Fill my fond eyes with tender tears As in the days of long ago.
Days long ago, when in her eyes The only heaven I cared for lay, When from our thoughtless Paradise All care and toil dwelt far away; When Hope in wayward fancies throve, And rioted in secret sweets, Beguiled by Passion's dear deceits, - The mysteries of maiden love.
One year had passed since first my sight Was gladdened by her girlish charms, When on a rapturous summer night I clasped her in possessing arms. And now ten years have rolled away, And left such blessings as their dower; I owe her tenfold at this hour The love that lit our wedding-day.
For now, vague-hovering o'er her form, My fancy sees, by love refined, A warmer and a dearer charm By wedlock's mystic hands entwined, - A golden coil of wifely cares That years have forged, the loving joy That guards the curly-headed boy Asleep an hour ago upstairs.
A fair young mother, pure as fair, A matron heart and virgin soul! The flickering light that crowns her hair Seems like a saintly aureole. A tender sense upon me falls That joy unmerited is mine, And in this pleasant twilight shine My perfect bliss myself appals.
Come back! my darling, strayed so far Into the realm of fantasy, - Let thy dear face shine like a star In love-light beaming over me. My melting soul is jealous, sweet, Of thy long silence' drear eclipse; O kiss me back with living lips, To life, love, lying at thy feet!
IN A GRAVEYARD.
In the dewy depths of the graveyard I lie in the tangled grass, And watch, in the sea of azure, The white cloud-islands pass.
The birds in the rustling branches Sing gaily overhead; Grey stones like sentinel spectres Are guarding the silent dead.
The early flowers sleep shaded In the cool green noonday glooms; The broken light falls shuddering On the cold white face of the tombs.
Without, the world is smiling In the infinite love of God, But the sunlight fails and falters When it falls on the churchyard sod.
On me the joyous rapture Of a heart's first love is shed, But it falls on my heart as coldly As sunlight on the dead.
The skies are blue above my head, The prairie green below, And flickering o'er the tufted grass The shifting shadows go, Vague-sailing, where the feathery clouds Fleck white the tranquil skies, Black javelins darting where aloft The whirring pheasant flies.
A glimmering plain in drowsy trance The dim horizon bounds, Where all the air is resonant With sleepy summer sounds, - The life that sings among the flowers, The lisping of the breeze, The hot cicala's sultry cry, The murmurous dream of bees.
The butterfly—a flying flower - Wheels swift in flashing rings, And flutters round his quiet kin, With brave flame-mottled wings. The wild Pinks burst in crimson fire The Phlox' bright clusters shine, And Prairie-Cups are swinging free To spill their airy wine.
And lavishly beneath the sun, In liberal splendour rolled, The Fennel fills the dipping plain With floods of flowery gold; And widely weaves the Iron-Weed A woof of purple dyes Where Autumn's royal feet may tread When bankrupt Summer flies.
In verdurous tumult far away The prairie-billows gleam, Upon their crests in blessing rests The noontide's gracious beam. Low quivering vapours steaming dim The level splendours break Where languid Lilies deck the rim Of some land-circled lake.
Far in the east like low-hung clouds The waving woodlands lie; Far in the west the glowing plain Melts warmly in the sky. No accent wounds the reverent air, No footprint dints the sod, Lone in the light the prairie lies Rapt in a dream of God.
A hundred times the bells of Brown Have rung to sleep the idle summers, And still to-day clangs clamouring down A greeting to the welcome comers.
And far, like waves of morning, pours Her call, in airy ripples breaking, And wanders to the farthest shores, Her children's drowsy hearts awaking.
The wild vibration floats along, O'er heart-strings tense its magic plying, And wakes in every breast its song Of love and gratitude undying.
My heart to meet the summons leaps At limit of its straining tether, Where the fresh western sunlight steeps In golden flame the prairie heather.
And others, happier, rise and fare To pass within the hallowed portal, And see the glory shining there Shrined in her steadfast eyes immortal.
What though their eyes be dim and dull, Their heads be white in reverend blossom; Our mothers smile is beautiful As when she bore them on her bosom!
Her heavenly forehead bears no line Of Time's iconolastic fingers, But o'er her form the grace divine Of deathless youth and wisdom lingers.
We fade and pass, grow faint and old, Till youth and joy and hope are banished, And still her beauty seems to fold The sum of all the glory vanished.
As while Tithonus faltered on The threshold of the Olympian dawnings, Aurora's front eternal shone With lustre of the myriad mornings.
So joys that slip like dead leaves down, And hopes burnt out that die in ashes, Rise restless from their graves to crown Our mother's brow with fadeless flashes.
And lives wrapped in traditions mist These honoured halls to-day are haunting, And lips by lips long withered kissed The sagas of the past are chanting.
Scornful of absence' envious bar BROWN smiles upon the mystic meeting Of those her sons, who, sundered far, In brotherhood of heart are greeting;
Her wayward children wandering on Where setting stars are lowly burning, But still in worship toward the dawn That gilds their souls' dear Mecca turning;
Or those who, armed for God's own fight, Stand by His Word through fire and slaughter, Or bear our banner's starry light Far-flashing through the Gulf's blue water.
For where one strikes for light and truth, The right to aid, the wrong redressing, The mother of his spirit's youth Sheds o'er his soul her silent blessing.
She gained her crown a gem of flame When KNEASS fell dead in victory gory; New splendour blazed upon her name When IVES' young life went out in glory!
Thus bright for ever may she keep Her fires of tolerant Freedom burning, Till War's red eyes are charmed to sleep And bells ring home the boys returning.
And may she shed her radiant truth In largess on ingenuous comers, And hold the bloom of gracious youth Through many a hundred tranquil summers!
A WINTER NIGHT.
The winter wind is raving fierce and shrill, And chides with angry moan the frosty skies; The white stars gaze with sleepless Gorgon eyes That freeze the earth in terror fixed and still. We reck not of the wild night's gloom and chill, Housed from its rage, dear friend; and fancy flies, Lured by the hand of beckoning memories, Back to those summer evenings on the hill Where we together watched the sun go down Beyond the gold-washed uplands, while his fires Touched into glittering life the vanes and spires Piercing the purpling mists that veiled the town. The wintry night thy voice and eyes beguile, Till wake the sleeping summers in thy smile.
When Youth's warm heart beats high, my friend, And Youth's blue sky is bright, And shines in Youth's clear eye, my friend, Love's early dawning light, Let the free soul spurn care's control, And while the glad days shine, We'll use their beams for Youth's gay dreams Of Love and Song and Wine.
Let not the bigot's frown, my friend, O'ercast thy brow with gloom, For Autumn's sober brown, my friend, Shall follow Summer's bloom. Let smiles and sighs and loving eyes In changeful beauty shine, And shed their beams on Youth's gay dreams Of Love and Song and Wine.
For in the weary years, my friend, That stretched before us lie, There'll be enough of tears, my friend, To dim the brightest eye. So let them wait, and laugh at fate, While Youth's sweet moments shine, - Till memory gleams with golden dreams Of Love and Song and Wine.
HOW IT HAPPENED.
I pray you, pardon me, Elsie, And smile that frown away That dims the light of your lovely face As a thunder-cloud the day. I really could not help it, - Before I thought, 'twas done, - And those great grey eyes flashed bright and cold, Like an icicle in the sun.
I was thinking of the summers When we were boys and girls, And wandered in the blossoming woods, And the gay winds romped with your curls. And you seemed to me the same little girl I kissed in the alder-path, I kissed the little girl's lips, and, alas! I have roused a woman's wrath.
There is not so much to pardon, - For why were your lips so red? The blond hair fell in a shower of gold From the proud, provoking head. And the beauty that flashed from the splendid eyes, And played round the tender mouth, Rushed over my soul like a warm sweet wind That blows from the fragrant south.
And where, after all, is the harm done? I believe we were made to be gay, And all of youth not given to love Is vainly squandered away. And strewn through life's low labours, Like gold in the desert sands, Are love's swift kisses and sighs and vows And the clasp of clinging hands.
And when you are old and lonely, In Memory's magic shine You will see on your thin and wasting hands, Like gems, these kisses of mine. And when you muse at evening At the sound of some vanished name, The ghost of my kisses shall touch your lips And kindle your heart to flame.