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Title: The Cornflower, and Other Poems
Author: Blewett, Jean, 1862-1934
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Cornflower, and Other Poems" ***

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    The Cornflower
    and Other Poems



    Author of "Heart Songs,"


Entered according to Act of the Parliament of Canada, in the year one
thousand nine hundred and six, by JEAN BLEWETT, at the Department of


Lillian Massey Treble

    _A woman with a heart of gold
      I heard her called before I knew
      How noble was that heart and true,
    How full of tenderness untold.

    Her sympathies both broad and sure,
      Her one desire to do the right--
      Clear visioned from the inner light
    God gives to souls unworldly, pure.

    A heart of gold that loves and gives,
      God's almoner from day to day,
      Of her there is but this to say:
    The world is better that she lives._



    The Cornflower                                                15

    The Quarrel                                                   21

    In Sunflower Time                                             26

    The Wooing o' Katie                                           32

    The Old Man's Visit                                           39

    Jack                                                          44

    At the Sick Children's Hospital                               49

    Christy and the Pipers                                        53

    The Stable-boy's Guest                                        58

    Soldiers All                                                  61

    As Good as a Girl                                             64

    Fool's Luck                                                   67

    The Harbor Lights of Home                                     72

    The Preacher Down at Coles                                    77

    Chore Time                                                    89

    A Boy's Trials                                                92

    An April Fool of Long Ago                                     95

    For He was Scotch and so was She                              98

    The Ploughman                                                100

    Two Monuments                                                103

    The Lonesomest House                                         107

    Daddy's Boy                                                  110

    Janet                                                        113

    The Lad from Inverness                                       116

    All on an April Morning                                      119

    Billy                                                        121

    Sly Boy                                                      124


    Queen Victoria                                               129

    Thankfulness                                                 131

    The Native Born                                              132

    The King's Gift                                              134

    The Passage                                                  135

    Air Castles                                                  136

    Youth and June                                               136

    The Mother                                                   137

    Love's Lesson                                                140

    Immortality                                                  141

    August                                                       141

    A Song of Harvest Home                                       142

    The Usurer                                                   143

    Miracles                                                     144

    Peace                                                        144

    Life's Grandest Things                                       145

    Strength                                                     146

    The Time and the Deed                                        146

    Discontent                                                   147

    A Prayer of Love                                             149

    Wild Strawberries                                            150

    Spring                                                       151

    Madam Grundy                                                 153

    The Splendor of the Days                                     154

    God's Warmth is She                                          155

    Her Prayer                                                   156

    Decorating the Old Church                                    158

    Envy                                                         159

    The Song of the Bells                                        160

    Quebec                                                       161

    Men o' the Forest Mark                                       162

    A Song of Cheer                                              163

    The Firstborn                                                164

    St. Patrick's Day                                            165

    Lesley                                                       166

    The Tryst                                                    167

    A Good Woman                                                 168

    Despair                                                      169

    Our Dead in South Africa                                     170

    The Barley Field                                             171

    The Imprisoned Lark                                          172

    Woman                                                        174

    The Mullein Meadow                                           175

    Living Freshness                                             176

    Life's Day                                                   177

    Morning                                                      178

    Grace                                                        179

    The Way to Dreamland                                         181

    Her Mission                                                  182

    Friend or Foe?                                               183

    The Highland Shepherd                                        184

    Christmas Conversion                                         185

    A Bit o' Shamrock                                            187

    Slander                                                      188

    Archibald Lampman                                            189

    A Hint                                                       190

    Chrysanthemum's Court                                        191

    Her Little Way                                               192

    The Criticism                                                193

    Jessie                                                       195

    Poynings                                                     197

    Song of the Golden Sea                                       201

    Dawn                                                         202

    The Cricket                                                  204

    Earth to the Twentieth Century                               205

    Thail Burn                                                   208

    The Lake Shore Road                                          209

    Magdalene                                                    210

    My Lady Nightingale                                          211

    The Orchard                                                  212

    October                                                      213

    St. Andrew's Day--A Toast                                    214

    When Trees Are Green                                         216

    O Radiance of Life's Morning                                 219

    The Idler                                                    220

    The Trust                                                    221

    When Paganini Plays                                          223

    To-day You Understand                                        225

    Love's Sacrifice                                             226

    When the Dusk Comes Down                                     229

    The Ghosts of Night                                          231

    The Long Ago                                                 233

    Forgive and Forget                                           234

    The Argument                                                 236

    The Secret                                                   238

    Vashti                                                       239

    The Treasure Box                                             241

    The Message                                                  244

    Estranged                                                    245

    The Parting                                                  246

    Margaret                                                     247

    St. Valentine                                                248

    Two June Nights                                              249

    Remembrance                                                  250

    The Emigrant Laddie                                          251

    Love's Service                                               252

    April                                                        254

    In Memoriam                                                  255

Narrative Poems


    The day she came we were planting corn,
      The west eighty-acre field,--
    These prairie farms are great for size,
      And they're sometimes great for yield.

    "The new school-ma'am is up to the house,"
      The chore-boy called out to me;
    I went in wishing anyone else
      Had been put in chief trustee.

    I was to question that girl, you see,
      Of the things she ought to know;
    As for these same things, I knew right well
      I'd forgot them long ago.

    I hadn't kept track of women's ways,
      'Bout all I knew of the sex
    Was that they were mighty hard to please,
      And easy enough to vex.

    My sister Mary, who ruled my house--
      And me--with an iron hand,
    Was all the woman I knew real well--
      Her I didn't understand.

    But I'd no call to grumble at fate,
      Fifty, well off, and unwed;
    Young as a lad in spite of the dust
      Old Time had thrown on my head.

    I engaged the school-ma'am on the spot,
      And the reason, I surmise,
    Was this, she didn't giggle or blush,
      But looked me fair in the eyes.

    The planting over, why, every lad
      In a space of ten good mile
    Was off for the school with a sudden zeal
      That made all us old folks smile.

    How she took to our wide prairie
      After towns with narrow streets!
    To watch that west eighty-acre field
      Was one of her queer conceits.

    "You planted that corn the day I came,"
      She said, "and I love to go
    And watch the sun-mother kiss and coax
      Each slim green stalk to grow."

    I called her "Cornflower" when she took
      To wearing 'em in her belt.
    The young chaps were all in love with her--
      _And I knew just how they felt_.

    Oh, I tell you that was a summer,
      Such sunshine, such dew, such rain;
    Never saw crops grow so in my life--
      Don't expect I will again.

    To watch that west eighty-acre field,
      When the fall came clear and cold,
    Was something like a sermon to me--
      Made me think of streets of gold.

    But about that time the new school-ma'am
      Had words with the first trustee;
    A scholar had taken the fever
      And she was for blaming _me_.

    That schoolhouse should be raised from the ground--
      Grave reason there for alarm;
    A new coat of plaster be put on
      That the children be kept warm.

    A well--a good one--should take the place
      Of the deathtrap that was there.
    "This should all be done at once," she said.
      Cost five hundred dollars clear!

    I told her I couldn't think of it,
      But, when all my work was through,
    If the taxes came in middling good,
      I would see what I could do.

    "Remember you're only the steward,"
      She said, "of your acres broad,
    And that the cry of a little child
      Goes straight to the ears of God."

    I remarked that it wasn't her place
      To dictate to the trustee,
    And Cornflower lifted her eyes of blue
      And _looked_ what she thought of me.

    That night as we came up from the fields,
      And talked of the threatened frost,
    The chore-boy called out, half pleased, half scared:
      "The school-ma'am's got herself lost."

    I turned me about and spoke no word;
      I'd find her and let her see
    I held no spite 'gainst a wayward girl
      For lecturing a trustee.

    For I knew before I found the knot
      Of ribbon that she had worn,
    That somehow Betty had lost her way
      In the forest of ripened corn.

    The sun went down and left the world
      Beautiful, happy and good;
    True, the girl and myself had quarrelled,
      But when I found her and stood

    With silver stars mistily shining
      Through the deep blue of the skies,
    Heard somebody sob like a baby,
      Saw tears in somebody's eyes.

    Why, I just whispered, "Betty, Betty,"
      Then whispered "Betty" some more;
    Not another word did I utter--
      I'll stick to this o'er and o'er.

    You needn't ask me to explain, friends,
      I don't know how 'twas myself,
    That first "Betty" said I was ashamed
      Of my greedy love of pelf.

    The second one told her I'd be glad
      To raise the old schoolhouse up,
    And be in haste to put down a well,
      With a pump and drinking cup.

    The third "Betty" told her I would act
      A higher and nobler part;
    The fourth "Betty" told her I loved her--
      Loved her with all my heart.

    "Ah, well! there's no fool like an old fool,"
      Was what sister Mary said;
    "No fool in the world like an old fool,
      You'll find that out, brother Ned."

    "Mary," I said, "there's a better thing
      Than land, or dollar, or dime;
    If being in love is being a fool
      Here's one till the end of time."

    I should think so, I'm a married man
      Four years come this Christmastide,
    And autumn now is flinging her gold
      O'er the fields on every side.

    My wife called out as I drove the cows
      To the pasture-field this morn,
    "Ned, please go look for your son and heir,
      He toddled off in the corn."

    And sister Mary must make a joke;
      "Go find him at once," said she,
    "You know to get lost in a field of corn
       Runs in that boy's family."


  When Mary found fault with me that day the trouble was well begun.
  No man likes being found fault with, no man really thinks it fun
  To have a wisp of a woman, in a most obnoxious way,
  Allude to his temper as beastly, and remark that day by day
  He proves himself so careless, so lacking in love, so mean,
  Then add, with an air convincing, she wishes she'd never seen
  A person who thinks so little of breaking a woman's heart,
  And since he is--well, what he is--'tis better that they should part.

  Now, no man enjoys this performance--he has his faults, well and good,
  He doesn't want to hear them named--this ought to be understood.

  Mary was aggravating, and all because I'd forgot
  To bring some flowers I'd promised--as though it mattered a lot;
  But that's the way with a woman, your big sins she may forgive,
  But little things, not worth mention, you hear of as long as you live.

  A few sweet peas and carnations to start a tempest, forsooth!
  For Mary got in a temper--I did the same, of a truth.
  I said things that weren't gentle; she pretended not to mind--
  But answered back in a manner that left me away behind.

  It ended up in our saying good-bye for the rest of our days,
  Both vowing we'd be happier going our different ways.
  And I strode out in the garden where the trees were pink and white,
  Where bobolinks scolded sparrows, and robins, wild with delight,
  Chirped and called and fluttered in the blossoming trees above,
  Where Nature was busy teaching her lessons of joy and love.

  I made a bed of the soft, warm earth, stretched me out in the sun.
  Vext and weary, I fell asleep, and slept till the day was done.
  The voice of my brother waked me, crying, "Quickly arise and come;
  Bear up like a man, Heaven help you! Death has suddenly entered your

  'Twas Mary, my own sweet Mary! The eyelashes slept on her cheek,
  The lips had a half-smile on them, as though they were going to speak
  Some of the old-time tender words, witty rejoinder or jest,
  Or ask the question they'd asked so oft, "Jim, who do you love
         the best?"

  But the small hands gave no pressure when I took them in my own,
  And bending down to kiss her face, I found it cold as a stone.
  And it came to me I could never--never, since Mary was dead--
  Say, "Dear one, I didn't mean them, the bitter words that I said."
  Never see the tears go from her sweet, dark eyes, and
        the brightness take their place,
  Never watch the joy and gladness come back to my darling's face.

  Not a fault could I remember--she'd been perfect all her days,
  With her sweetness and her laughter, her tender womanly ways.
  Dead--dead in her fresh young beauty--oh, I had an anguished heart
  At thought of the quarrel ending in our agreeing to part!

  When two people love each other, I'll tell you the wisest way,
  'Tis to think before speaking harshly, for there surely will come a day
  When one will sleep on so soundly that he or she will not wake,
  The other sit in the stillness and cry with a great heart-break.
  It is to ears all unheeding our tenderest words are said--
  The love that the living long for we waste it upon the dead.
  We say this life is so dreary, talk much of heaven, I know,
  But if we were good to each other we'd have our heaven below.
  "Mary," I whispered, "my Mary, no flowers to you I gave,
  But I'll heap them on your coffin and plant them over your grave."

  A bird sang sweetly and shrilly in the blossoms over-head,
  And I awoke, awoke, awoke--I'd _dreamed_ that Mary was dead!
  I woke in the golden sunshine, the birds were singing aloud.
  There was no still form beside me, nor any coffin or shroud,
  But just a slip of a woman with her brown eyes full of tears--
  Oh, that blessed, blessed waking I've remembered through all the years.
  I told the story to Mary, who hasn't let me forget
  That dream in the blossoming orchard--I hear of it often yet.
  If I neglect to bring flowers, it's: "Oh, you're going to save
  Your roses to heap on my coffin, your pansies to plant on my grave?"

  And if I lose my temper--a common weakness of men--
  The sweetest voice in the world says: "You'll have to get
        dreaming again."


    In the farmhouse kitchen were Nan and John,
    With only the sunflowers looking on.

    A farmhouse kitchen is scarce the place
    For knight or lady of courtly grace.

    But this is just an everyday pair
    That hold the kitchen this morning fair.

    A saucy, persistent thorn-tree limb
    Had sacrificed a part of the brim

    Of the youth's straw hat. His face was brown,
    And his well-shaped forehead wore a frown.

    His boots were splashed with mud and clay
    From marshland pasture over the way,

    Where alderbushes and spicewood grew,
    And frogs croaked noisily all night through.

    'Neath muslin curtains, snowy and thin,
    The homely sunflowers nodded in.

    Nan was a picture. Her muslin gown
    Had maybe a bit old-fashioned grown,

    But fitted the slender shape so well.
    In its low-cut neck the soft lace fell.

    Sleeves, it had none from the elbows down;
    In length--well, you see, the maid had grown.

    A labor of love her homely task--
    To share it none need hope nor ask,

    For Nan was washing each trace of dirt
    From fluted bodice and ruffled skirt.

    Now, few that will, and fewer that can,
    Bend over a tub like pretty Nan.

    The frail soap bubbles sailed high in air
    As she drew each piece from frothy lair,

    And rubbed with cruel yet tender hand
    As only a woman could, understand.

    Then wrung with twist of the wrist so strong,
    Examined with care, shook well and long,

    Flung in clear water to lie in state--
    Each dainty piece met the same hard fate.

    "'Tis done!" with a look of conscious pride
    At the rinsing bucket deep and wide.

    Wiping the suds from each rounded arm,
    She turned to John with a smile so warm:

    "I've kept you waiting--excuse me, please,
    The soapsuds ruin such goods as these."

    "You're over fond of finery, Nan,
    Dresses and furbelows," he began.

    "Maybe I am, of a truth," she said.
    Each sunflower nodded its yellow head.

    "Ned Brown's growing rich"--John's words came slow--
    "That he loves you well you doubtless know.

    "My house and acres, I held them fast,
    Was stubborn over them to the last,

    "For when my father was carried forth,
    And men were asking 'What was he worth?'

    "I saw them look and nod and smile
    As they whispered together all the while,

    "'A fine old homestead, but mortgaged so,
    A foolish thing for a man to do!'

    "I said, 'My father's dead and gone,
    But he's left behind a strong-armed son.'

    "My heart was hot with a purpose set
    To clear that mortgage, to pay that debt.

    "I've worked, heaven knows, like any slave,
    I've learned the lesson of scrimp and save,

    "Kept a good horse, but dressed like a clown--
    And I've not a dollar to call my own.

    "I'm beaten--well beaten; yesterday
    Everything went to Ned Brown from me.

    "My woods, my meadows, my tasseled corn,
    The orchard planted when I was born,

    "The old rose garden my mother loved,
    My chestnut mare--can't help feeling moved,

    "For I'm a beggar, Nan, you see--
    Don't think me begging for sympathy.

    "The world is wide, I don't care--much.
    Thank God, health's a thing the law can't touch.

    "The happiest man I ever knew
    Was born a beggar, and died one, too."

    Each sunflower, nodding its yellow head,
    Listened to every word that was said,

    As Nan in her slow and easy way,
    In the farmhouse kitchen that summer day,

    Set a great and weighty problem forth,
    One that no scholar on this green earth

    Has been able to solve since things began
    With Adam--a lone and lonesome man.

    Yet very coolly she set it forth:
    "Tell me the truth, how much am _I_ worth?"

    The sunbeams kissing her golden hair,
    Her cheeks, her round arms dimpled and bare,

    Seemed stamping value of mighty wealth
    On youth, and love, and the bloom of health.

    John looked and looked till his eyes grew dim,
    Then tilted the hat with worthless brim

    To hide what he would not have her see--
    "You are worth the whole world, Nan," said he.

    "Then you're no beggar," said sweet, bold Nan,
    "You're the whole world richer than any man."

    A girl queen wearing a crown of gold
    Set a precedent, the tale is told,

    But no royal prince this world has seen
    Ever felt so proud as John, I ween,

    As he clasped her hands in new-born hope--
    And never noticed they smelt of soap.

    Only the sunflowers looking on,
    So he kissed the maid--oh, foolish John!

    As he went out through the garden gate
    Ned Brown was coming to learn his fate.

    He was riding John's own chestnut mare,
    But, somehow, John didn't seem to care.

    The two men met at top of the hill,
    And eyed each other as rivals will.

    Ned thought of the home he'd won from John,
    "Poor beggar!" he said, as he rode on.

    John thought of all he had won from Ned,
    "You poor, poor beggar!" was what he said.

    Why? Under the heavens clear and blue
    Only our John and the sunflowers knew.


    McLeod of Dare called his son to him.
    McLeod of Dare looked stern and grim,

    For he was sending on mission grave
    His son, and though he knew him brave

    The old man trembled lest he should make
    In heedless youth a grave mistake.

    'Twas not for the country, nor for the king,
    Nay, 'twas a more important thing

    Than country, or clan, or feud, or strife,
    The young man went to woo a wife.

    He listened, did Neil, with scanty grace,
    Haughty gloom on his handsome face,

    While the old man told him where to go,
    And what to say, and what to do.

    "The morrow ye'll go for a lang, lang stay
    Wi' your rich uncle, Donald Gray.

    "He'll gie ye a welcome wairm and true,
    And mate his only child wi' you.

    "She's weel worth winning, for in her hand
    She hauds the deed o' a' his land.

    "She's far frae haun'some--a homely lass,
    As you will see--but let that pass."

    "Why should I wed a woman that's plain?
    You didn't yourself." McLeod was vain.

    He smiled and he smirked, "Ah, true, Neil, true,
    But I was haun'somer nor you.

    "Juist coort this cousin, and never mind
    Squint or freckle, since luve is blind--

    "Or ought tae be in sic case as this--
    'Tis no a chance I'd hae ye miss.

    "Jane's na sae braw as her cousin Kate,
    But 'tis wi' Jane I'd hae ye mate;

    "For Kate, poor lassie, she hasna land--
    Her face is her fortune, understand.

    "Gie her guid day when ye chance tae meet,
    But Jane, remember, your fain tae greet

    "Wi' warmer words, and a gallant air.
    Go, win a wife--and a warld o' care!"

    Neil listened closest to what was said
    Of Kate, the poor but pretty maid.

    And when he reached his good uncle's place
    'Twas Kate that in his eyes found grace,

    The while Jane simpered with conscious pride,
    As if to say: "Behold your bride!"

    In this home he dwelt for many a day,
    A favorite, he, of Donald Gray.

    They walked together over the hill,
    Or through the valleys solemn and still,

    And the old man showed him acres wide
    That would be Jane's dower as a bride,

    Then spoke of the cousin, poor but fair,
    Her eyes of blue and her golden hair.

    "She'll hae na flocks, and she'll hae na laund,
    She'll hae na fortune rich and graund,

    "But gin she stood in her scanty dress,
    Would man o' mettle luve her less?"

    The lad's heart warmed to the logic old.
    What worth has land? What worth has gold?

    Compared with the light in Katie's eyes,
    What worth was aught beneath the skies?

    Jane courted briskly day by day,
    If he walked out she walked his way.

    Did he sit him down to rest awhile,
    She looked his way with tender smile.

    Did he try to get a word with Kate,
    Jane was there like the hand of fate.

    One day it chanced, as he rode to mill,
    He met with Kate just under the hill.

    Would she mount beside him, ride along?
    Yes, if he felt 'twould not be wrong.

    He helped her up with a trembling arm;
    Surely the day is close and warm.

    Whoa, mare! steady! there's no need for haste
    With two soft arms about his waist.

    Neil--shame on him!--pressed Kate's finger-tips,
    Then turned about and pressed her lips.

    All over the road the blossoms white
    Scattered themselves in sheer delight.

    A bird flew singing a tender rhyme
    Of meadow, mate, and nesting time.

    The world looked beautiful in the glow
    That heaven flung on the hills below.

    Ah me, if that ride could but last a week,
    Her gold hair blowing against his cheek!

    The road to the mill, says worldly wise--
    Nay, nay, the road to Paradise!

    Travel it once if you wish to know
    Something of heaven here below.

    Though your eyes grow dim, and locks grow white,
    You'll not forget this journey--quite.

    But Neil must go to the old home place,
    Meet his stern father face to face.

    Altho' his cheek was a trifle pale,
    Boldly enough he told his tale.

    He would marry Kate--and Kate alone--
    He could not love the other one.

    Her eyes were crooked, her hair was red,
    Freckles over her face were spread,

    And the whole world held no lass for him
    But Kate. Then laughed the old man grim.

    "Your mither, she was a stubborn lass,
    Self-willed, handsome--but let that pass.

    "In a' oor battles 'twas she who won,
    And Neil, you're juist your mither's son.

    "But I hae na lived these mony days
    Wi'oot walking in wisdom's ways.

    "I saw your Kate, and like't her weel--
    In luiks she's like your mither, Neil;

    "The same blue een, and the same gowd hair--
    But no sae fair, Neil, no sae fair.

    "I tou'd your uncle to let Kate be
    The lassie poor, o' low degree,

    "And gie ye at once to understand
    'Twas Jane who owned baith flocks and land.

    "Why gie mysel' sic a senseless task?
    I wunner, lad, ye've hairt tae ask.

    "Gin ye was driven ye wouldna' move,
    Too stubborn to even fa' in luve!

    "Like a' the Campbells, ye'll hae your way--
    Your mither has hers every day.

    "'Tis prood ye should be, upon my word,
    Tak' time to yoursel' and thank the Lord

    For plans that gat ye a bonny bride--
    An' heaps o' wardly gear beside."

    Ah! thankful enough was Neil that day--
    Joy flashed in his eager eyes of gray.

    'Twas not for the land, not for the gold,
    Not for the flocks that slept in fold,

    Not for the wealth--the worldly gear--
    But something wonderful, sweet and dear.

    "Thank heaven," he cried, with a glow and thrill,
    "Thank heaven for the day I rode to mill!"


    Joe lives on the farm, and Sam lives in the city,
    I haven't a daughter at all--more's the pity,
    For girls, to my mind, are much nicer and neater;
    Not such workers as boys, but cuter and sweeter.
    Sam has prospered in town, has riches a-plenty,
    Big house, fine library--books written by Henty,
    And Kipling, and Cooper, and all those big writers--
    Swell pictures and busts of great heroes and fighters.
    His home is a fine one from cellar to garret,
    But not to my notion--in fact, I can't bear it.
    I'm not hard to please, but of all things provoking
    Is a woman around who sniffs when you're smoking.

    Last springtime Sam said: "Now, Father, how is it
    I can't coax you oftener up on a visit?"
    I couldn't think up any plausible reason,
    So off I went with him to stop for a season.
    Sam said with a laugh as we stepped from the ferry,
    "You won't mind my wife; she's particular, very."
    It wasn't like home, that house in the city,
    Our Sam took his fun at the club--more's the pity.

    It is in his own house, when he has the leisure,
    A man should find comfort and freedom and pleasure.
    It wasn't so bad for me in the daytime,
    Sam took me all over and made it a playtime;
    But evenings were awful--we sat there so proper,
    While Sam's wife, if nobody came in to stop her,
    Read history to us, or, column by column,
    A housekeeping journal, or other dry volume.
    I used to wish someone would give me a prodding,
    My eyes would go shut and head fall a-nodding.
    She's an awful good housewife, nothing gets musty,
    Or littered about, or untidy, or dusty;
    But a little disorder never did fret me,
    And these perfect women they always upset me.
    I can stand her dusting, her shining, her poking,
    But wilt like a leaf when she sniffs when I'm smoking.

    I got so blamed homesick I couldn't be jolly;
    I wanted our Joe, and his little wife, Molly,
    My old corner at home, and all the old places;
    I wanted the youngsters--who cared if their faces
    Were smeared up a trifle? I didn't, a penny.
    Molly tends to 'em, though she has so many.
    I was tickled to death when I got a letter
    From Joe, which ran: "Dear Dad, I think you had better
    Get back to the farm in pretty short order.
    Molly's papered your room and put on a border;
    The baby, she says, has two new teeth to show you--
    If you don't hustle back the dear thing won't know you.
    She says to inform you that Bob, Sue, and Mary
    Are good as can be, but your namesake's contrary,
    Wants granddaddy's story, and granddaddy's ditty--
    And granddaddy off on a trot to the city."
    I packed my belongings. They tried to dissuade me--
    Sam's wife said so proper: "I'm really afraid we
    Have not succeeded in our entertaining."
    "Oh, yes!" said I--some things won't stand much explaining.
    She really meant well, but of all things provoking
    Is a woman so perfect she sniffs when you're smoking.

    I was glad to get home; it made me quite silly
    To hear the loud whinny of Starling and Billy;
    And here was the farm with its orchards and meadows,
    The big maple trees all throwing their shadows,
    The stubble-fields yellow, the tall stacks of clover,
    The wag of the stub of a tail on old Rover.
    And here came dear Mary, her hat on her shoulder,
    With Sue trying hard to catch her and hold her;
    Here came Tommy and Joe, always foot in their classes,
    And Bob, with his features all crumbs and molasses,
    Carrying a basin with fishworms and dirt in--
    Oh, that scalawag, Bob, I'm morally certain
    Is a chip of the old block--it just seemed to strike me
    They'd named the boy rightly, for he was so like me--
    All laughing and calling: "Here's grandpa to play with!"
    And Bob supplementing: "And sleep 'ith and _stay_ 'ith!"
    And then such a hugging, with Molly behind me,
    The tears came so fast that they threatened to blind me.
    My heart overflowed with sorrow and pity
    For the boy I had left back there in the city.
    His lot is a hard one--indeed, I'm not joking--
    He lives with a woman who sniffs when he's smoking.

    The supper we had, sir, and when it was over
    The walk round the homestead close followed by Rover,
    Who's most like a human. You'd fancy him saying:
    "See those stacks? Oh, yes, we have finished the haying!
    That colt should be broken. Old friend, I'd just mention
    This farm stands in need of our closest attention."
    And when, the lamp lighted, with Mary's beside me,
    The boys at my feet, and Bob up astride me,
    I felt like a king--I really can't write it--
    Molly must take my pipe and fill it and light it,
    Then plump herself down in her own little rocker
    For a visit with me. Oh, she is a talker
    Worth the listening to. The threshing was over,
    Joe had got ten dollars a ton for the clover,
    Deacon Hope had had a sharp tiff with the preacher
    Over immersion, and the pretty school-teacher
    Intended to marry--resigned her position.
    Yes, most of the church folks had signed the petition
    Against granting a license to Baker's saloon,
    The Thanksgiving service would be coming on soon,
    The neighbors were hearty, had every one missed me--
    Right here Molly stood on her tip-toes and kissed me.
    Sho! Sam's wife is handsome and cultured and clever,
    But she's not the woman that Molly is--never.
    Molly's smile is so kind, and her hair is so glossy,
    Her brown eyes look at you so sweet and so saucy!
    Yes, Joe's richer than Sam, though Joe's but a farmer,
    For his home atmosphere is brighter and warmer.
    Sam has lots of money, there's no use denying;
    Has made himself wealthy, and that without trying;
    But what chance has a man--indeed, I'm not joking--
    Who lives with a woman who sniffs when he's smoking!


    Jack's dead an' buried; it seems odd,
    A deep hole covered up with sod
    Lyin' out there on the hill,
    An' Jack, as never could keep still,
    A sleepin' in it. Jack could race,
    And do it at a good old pace,
    Could sing a song, an' laugh so hard
    That I could hear him in our yard
    When he was half a mile away.
    Why, not another boy could play
    Like him, or run, or jump so high,
    Or swim, no matter how he'd try;
    An' I can't get it through my head
    At all, at all, that Jack is dead.

    Jack's mother didn't use to be
    So awful good to him and me,
    For often when I'd go down there
    On Saturdays, when it was fair,
    To get him out to fish or skate,
    She'd catch me hangin' round the gate
    And look as cross as some old hen,
    An' tell me, "Go off home again.
    It's not the thing for boys," she'd say,
    "A hangin' round the creek all day;
    You go off home and do your task--
    No, Jack can't go, you needn't ask."
    And when he got in scrapes, why, she
    Would up and lay it on to me,
    An' wish I lived so far away
    Jack couldn't see me every day.

    But last night when I'd done the chores
    It seemed so queer-like out of doors,
    I kept a listenin' all the while,
    An' looking down the street a mile;
    I couldn't bear to go inside,
    The house is lonesome since he died.
    The robber book we read by turns
    Is lyin' there--an' no boy learns
    All by himself, 'cause he can't tell
    How many words he'll miss or spell,
    Unless there's some one lookin' on
    To laugh at him when he gets done.

    An' neighbor women's sure to come
    A visitin' a feller's home,
    An' talkin', when they look at me,
    'Bout how thick us two used to be,
    A stealin' off from school, an' such,
    An' askin' do I miss him much,
    'Till I sneak off out doors--you see,
    They just can't let a feller be!
    Well, I walked down the road a bit.
    Smith's dog came out. I throwed at it,
    An', do you know, it never howled
    Same as it always did, or growled;
    It seemed to say, "Why, Jim's alone!
    I wonder where's that other one?"

    Afore I knew it I was down
    'Way at the other end of town,
    A hangin' round in the old way
    For someone to come out and play.
    There wasn't no one there to look,
    So I slipped into our old nook.
    I found his knife down in the grass
    Where we'd been Zulus at the pass.
    The can of bait, the hook and line
    Were lyin' with the ball of twine,
    An' "Jim," I seemed to hear him say,
    "The fish will suffer some to-day."

    'Twas more than I could stand just then;
    I got up to go off home, when
    Someone kissed me on the cheek,
    An' hugged me so I couldn't speak.
    You wouldn't believe it, like as not,
    But 'twas Jack's mother, an' a lot
    Of great big tears came stealin' down
    Right on my face. She didn't frown
    A single bit--kept sayin' low,
    "My blue-eyed boy, I loved you so!"
    Of course, I knew just right away
    That she meant Jack. My eyes are gray,
    But Jack, he had the bluest eyes,
    Blue like you see up in the skies,
    An' shine that used to come and go--
    One misses eyes like his, you know.

    An' by-an'-by she up an' tried
    To tell me that she'd cried an' cried
    A thinkin' of the times that she
    Had scolded Jack an' scolded me,
    An' other things that I won't tell
    To anyone, because--Oh, well,
    Boys can't do much, but they can hold
    Tight on to secrets till they're old.
    She's Jack's relation, that's why she
    Feels kind of lovin' like to me.
    But when she called me her own lad,
    Oh, say, I felt just awful bad;
    My head it went round in a whirl--
    I up an' cried just like a girl.

    But say, if Jack could see us two
    He'd laugh a little, don't you know;
    For if I'd ever brag around
    That I'd lick some one safe an' sound,
    He'd laugh an' say, "Jim, hold your jaw!
    You know you're scared to death of maw."
    Oh, I'd give all this world away
    If I could hear him laugh to-day!
    I get so lonesome, it's so still,
    An' him out sleepin' on that hill;
    There's nothin' seems just worth the while
    A doin' up in the old style;
    'Cause everything we used to do
    Seemed allus just to need us two.
    My throat aches till I think 'twill crack--
    I don't know why--it must be Jack.
    There ain't no fun, there ain't no stir.
    His mother--well, it's hard on her,
    But she can knit an' sew, an' such--
    Oh, she can't miss him half as much!


  A little crippled figure, two big pathetic eyes,
  A face that looked unchildish, so wan it was and wise;
  I watched her as the homesick tears came chasing down each cheek.
  "I had to come," she whispered low, "I was so tired and weak.
  My spine, you know! I used to be so strong, and tall, and straight!
  I went to school and learned to read and write upon a slate,
  And add up figures--such a lot, and play with all my might,
  Until I hurt my back--since then I just ache day and night.
  'Tis most a year since I could stand, or walk around at all;
  All I am good for now, you see, is just to cry and crawl."
  Poor, pale-faced thing! there came to us the laughter gay and sweet
  Of little ones let out from school, the sound of flying feet.
  She listened for a moment, then turned her to the wall
  To hide the tears. "Oh, me!" she cried, "I'm tired of it all.
  I feel so hurt and useless, why can't I run about
  As others do?" "Some day, please God, you will," I said, but doubt
  Was in the eyes she turned on mine, and doubt was in her tone.
  "Perhaps," she faltered, then the pain grew harsh; the plaintive moan
  Smote sharply on my heart. I knew she had but lately come
  From mother's care and father's love, and all the joys of home.
  "I wished I'd lived on earth," she sobbed, "a long, long time ago,
  When Jesus came at eventide, because He loved folks so,
  And just by stretching out His hand made all the sick folks well.
  If it were now, oh, wouldn't I creep close to Him, and tell
  All that I wanted Him to do. I'd kneel down low and say:
  'It is my back, dear Jesus, please cure it right away.
  I'm tired of being weak and sick, I want to jump and run,
  And play at games, and laugh out loud, and have such heaps of fun!
  Be good to your poor crippled girl,' and He would touch me--so--
  And every atom of the pain and crookedness would go."
  I held her close, and kissed her, and soothed her off to rest,
  So frail she was, so homesick for the ones she loved the best!

           *       *       *       *       *

  But yesterday I saw her, and would have passed her by
  Had I not caught the greeting smile, the glance so bright and shy.
  "Can this be you?" I questioned. She laughed, "O yes, I thought
  You'd hardly know me when you came, I've changed, oh, such a lot!
  For see how tall and straight I am! My back don't hurt at all,
  And I can stand and I can walk--I never have to crawl.
  I'll tell you, it's a secret, I raced with nurse last night.
  Just think of it! I raced and won," and then, in sheer delight,
  She laughed so loudly and so long the nurse looked in to say,
  "Is not this little girl of ours quite boisterous to-day?"
  "They are so good to me," she said, "I know I'll want to cry
  When I start off for home next week, and have to say good-bye.
  What if I hadn't come at all?"--the sweet blue eyes grew wet--
  "My back would ache and throb and hurt--I'd be a cripple yet.
  For folks as poor as my folks are, they haven't much to spare
  For nurse's bills, and doctor's bills, and all--but won't they stare
  When I go home, red-cheeked and straight, and fat as I can be?
  My daddy, he will never take his dear eyes off of me;
  My mamma, she will cry some tears, and bend her head and pray,
  While all the others kiss and hug; then I can hear her say:
  'Give me my girlie, she's been gone so many long months--five,'
  And hold me close--oh, I will be the gladdest thing alive!"


    'Twas a score of years since I'd heard the pipes,
      But the other night I heard them;
    There are sweet old memories in my heart,
      And the music woke and stirred them.

    In the armories, at the big parade
      The highland regiment was giving,
    A half-dozen pipers piping away--
      Ah! 'twas music, as sure as your living.

    Donald's lowland, he shook his head at me,
      And glowered with every feature,
    And a pretty young lassie just behind
      Said: "Oh, what a funny old creature!"

    But the skirl o' the pipes got in my ears,
      In my eyes, and made them misty;
    I laughed and I cried, and Donald said low:
      "Dinna act so daft, noo, Christy!"

    "Do ye no see the elder sitting there?
      Dinna act sae daft, my wooman.
    Can ye no hear the airs o' auld lang syne
      Wi'oot fashin' yersel' sae, wooman?"

    But the skirl o' the pipes got in my heart,
      It got in my throat and choked me,
    It got in my feet, and tapped my toes,
      And my shame-faced Donald poked me.

    "But isn't it grand? O, isn't it grand?"
      "Ay, a fine auld player is Mylands,
    But the pipes' wild sound disna stir my bluid"--
      He was not born in the highlands.

    Do you know what I saw as I sat there?
      I saw the hills and the heather,
    The green, and the lads and the lassies there
      All dancing the reels together.

    I saw our glen, half hid, and the rocks
      Standing guard like grim old watchmen.
    Oh, the land o' heather and hill and loch
      Must e'en be dear to a Scotchman.

    And I saw, too, the soldiers blithe and brave
      Their flag to the breeze unfurling,
    As they marched away on a morning fair
      To the bagpipes' merry skirling.

    My brother was one. As he kissed my cheek,
      I could hear him proudly saying:
    "Ho! you'll know when we come marching home,
      For you'll hear our pipers playing."

    Oh, the bonniest lads in kilt and hose--
      Braver men, you cannot find them--
    And few, so few, came marching home
      To the loved ones left behind them.

    'Twas a loyal heart, and a strong right arm,
      With a stubborn foe before them;
    A soldier's grave in a far off land,
      And God's blue sky bending o'er them.

    As I hearkened to sweet old martial airs
      I could hear my brother saying:
    "Ho! you'll know when we come marching home,
      For you'll hear our pipers playing."

    There are only harps in heaven, I'm told,
      And maybe I shouldn't say it,
    For a harp of gold's a wondrous thing
      In a hand that's skilled to play it.

    But those highland lads, 'twas the pibroch's call
      They heard morning, noon, and even,
    And the pibroch's call, I believe in my heart,
      They will hear in the streets of heaven.

    They marched to the old belovèd airs
      'Mid the bullets' hail and rattle;
    'Twas the last sweet sound that fell on their ears
      'Mid the clamor and clang of battle.

    O a harp when an angel strikes the strings
      Is softer and sweeter, but try
    As I will, I cannot fancy a harp
      In the hands of, say, Peter MacKay.

    And were an angel to proffer him one,
      Methinks I can hear him saying:
    "'Twas not on an instrument like the same
      That Pete MacKay will be playing,

    "For she neffer set eyes on it before,
      Isn't quick to learn, or cleffer;
    She'd break the strings if she took it in hand,
      She couldn't do it, whateffer.

    "So please be excusing old Pete MacKay--
      But hark! bring the chanter to me,
    I'll play the 'March o' the Cameron Men,'
      And afterward 'Bonnie Dundee.'"

    I told this to Donald late that night;
      He said, as he sipped his toddy,
    "Do ye ken ye shocked the elder the night?
      Yersel' is the doited body.

    "And are ye speaking o' bagpipes in Heaven?
      Ah, Christy, I'm that astoonded
    I'll hae the guid meenister speak tae ye,
      For, Christy, ye're no weel groonded."

    Well, if it is heresy to believe
      In the promise of the Father,
    "Eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard,"
      I am heretical, rather.

    I believe when the last loud trump shall sound,
      The old flag again unfurling,
    My highland lads will come marching home
      To the bagpipes grandly skirling.


    The Wise Men came to the inn that night,
      "Now open to us," they cried,
    "We have journeyed far that we might kneel
      To One who doth here abide."

    The door was opened with eager haste.
      "Of whom do ye come in quest?
    Can it be that a lord of high degree
      Is with us this night as guest?"

    The Wise Men answered: "The eastern sky
      Is luminous still, and clear,
    With the radiance of a golden star
      That hath led our footsteps here.

    "Blessed, O keeper, this inn of thine,
      Both thatch and foundation stone,
    For the open door and hearth-fire warm
      When the King came to His own!"

    "The King! the King!" loud the keeper's cry,
      "The King in this house of mine!
    Lights ho! lights ho! set the place aglow,
      Bring forth the meat and the wine!

    "The King! let the guest-room be prepared--
      Honor and homage we pay
    To royal son of a royal line
      Who tarries with us to-day!"

    From room to room of the inn they went,
      The Wise Men and keeper proud,
    But not a trace of the One they sought
      Found they in that motley crowd.

    "You have other guests?" the Wise Men asked,
      And the keeper's face flamed red;
    "But a straggling pair who came so late
      They found neither room nor bed."

    "My masters," a lad said timidly,
      "As I gave the cattle feed,
    Came creeping down to the stable door
      A woman in sorest need.

    "I made her a bed in the manger low,
      At head of the oxen mild,
    And, masters, I heard a moan of pain,
      Then the cry of a new-born child."

    "A prince shalt thou be!" the Wise Men cried,
      "For hearkening to that moan,
    A prince shalt thou be for succor given
      When the King came to His own!"

    "Nay, I'm but a stable-boy," he smiled,
      With his eager eyes aglow;
    "No King, but a little naked child,
      Sleeps out in my manger low."

           *       *       *       *       *

    Hast come to these homes of ours, O Christ,
      In quest of a meal or bed,
    And found no welcoming cheer set forth,
      Nor place to pillow thine head?

    Give us a heart aflame with love,
      Filled with a pity divine,
    Then come Thou as beggar, or babe, or king,
      The best that we have is Thine.


  They're praying for the soldier lads in grim old London town;
  Last night I went, myself, and heard a bishop in his gown
  Confiding to the Lord of Hosts his views of this affair.
  "We do petition Thee," he said, "to have a watchful care
  Of all the stalwart men and strong who at their country's call
  Went sailing off to Africa to fight, perchance to fall!"
  "Amen!" a thousand voices cried. I whispered low: "Dear Lord,
  A host is praying for the men, I want to say a word
  For those who stay at home and wait--the mothers and the wives.
  Keep close to them and help them bear their cheerless, empty lives!"

  The Bishop prayed: "Our cause is good, our quarrel right and just;
  The God of battles is our God, and in His arm we trust."
  He never got that prayer of his in any printed book,
  It came straight from the heart of him, his deep voice, how it shook!
  And something glistened in his eye and down his flushed cheek ran.
  I like a Bishop best of all when he is just a man.

  "Amen!" they cried out louder still, but I bent low my head;
  "Dear Christ, be kind to hearts that break for loved ones dying--dead;
  Keep close to women folk who wait beset with anxious fears,
  The wan-faced watchers whose dim eyes are filled with bitter tears!
  I know, dear Christ, how hard it is," I whispered as I kneeled,
  "For long ago my bonnie boy fell on the battlefield.
  Find comfort for the broken hearts of those weighed down to-day
  With love and longing for the ones in danger far away."

  "They will not shrink," the Bishop prayed, "nor fear a soldier's grave;
  Nay, each man will acquit himself like Briton true and brave.
  God of battles, march with them, keep guard by day and night,
  And arm them with a trust in Thee when they go up to fight!"

  "Amen!" a sound of muffled sobs. The deep voice trembled some,
  But I, with hot tears on my face, prayed hard for those at home:
  "Keep watch and ward of all that wait in fever of unrest,
  Who said good-bye and let them go, the ones they loved the best!
  O comfort, Christ! Above the din of martial clamor, hark!
  The saddest sound in all God's world--a crying in the dark."


    Oh, a big broad-shouldered fellow was Ben,
      And homely as you would see,
    Such an awkward walker and stammering talker,
      And as bashful as he could be.

    The son of a lone, widowed mother was he,
      And right well did he act his part,
    A giant at sowing and reaping and mowing--
      His farm was the pride of his heart.

    His mother depended on his strong arm;
      In the cottage so neat and trim
    He kept the fires burning, did sweeping and churning--
      Oh, the odd jobs saved up for him!

    "My Ben's a comfort," she said every day,
      With pride that made his head whirl,
    "As handy at sweeping as he is at reaping--
      Ben is just as good as a girl!"

    "A six-foot fellow to work round the house!
      We'll call him 'Miss Ben,'" said the girls;
    But Ben, heaven bless him, never let this distress him
      Till there came a day when the curls

    And blue eyes of Gladys, the prettiest girl,
      And the proudest in all the place,
    His young heart set beating at every chance meeting--
      Though she only laughed in his face.

    "I'll have none but a gay and a gallant man"--
      Her lips took a scornful curl--
    "Your pride is in hearing your mother declaring,
      'Ben is just as good as a girl!'"

    But sweet little Marjory laughed not at Ben;
      He was homely, awkward, shy,
    But she liked the fellow whose voice was so mellow,
      And she smiled as she passed him by.

    He went to the front when the war broke out,
      And filled his post like a man;
    The good-natured giant was bold and defiant
      As soon as the battle began.

    You'd never have thought of the broom and the churn,
      Nor of the nickname "Miss Ben,"
    Had you heard his voice cheering, seen his arm clearing
      A path for his own gallant men.

    Capt. Benjamin Brooks he came riding home
      When the war was over and done,
    As homely and backward, as shy and as awkward,
      As tender and loyal a son.

    Now Gladys gave him her sunniest smile--
      On heroes she ever did dote--
    And the proud little beauty felt it her duty
      To be kind to this young man of note.

    But Ben, wise fellow, liked Marjory best;
      He knew her lips did not curl
    When mother said sweetly, "Ben does work so neatly--
      He is just as good as a girl!"

    So he wooed and won this Marjory true,
      And made her his loving bride,
    While Gladys she fretted, bemoaned and regretted
      The goal she had missed by her pride.

    To-day Ben is filling a prominent place,
      A statesman, honest and bold;
    He frees the opprest, and he helps the distrest,
      Wins love, which is better than gold.

    For the very grandest men you can find
      In this great world's busy whirl
    Are men like my farmer--no praise need be warmer
      Than "he's just as good as a girl."


    The Allans o' Airlie they set muckle store
      On ancestry, acres, and siller,
    Nor cared to remember the good days of yore,
      Nor grandfather Allan, the miller--
                               The honest old miller.

    "We're wealthy fowk now, tak' oor place wi' the best,"
      Said the heid o' the Allans, one Dougal,
    A man whom Dame Fortune had royally blest,
      Of sensible habits, and frugal--
                               Uncommonly frugal.

    "We're honored by great fowk and wise fowk, now min',
      O' the kirk each Allan's a pillar--
    What more could we spier o' a providence kin',
      Unless 'twere a little more siller--
                               A little more siller.

    "For it's get what ye can, and keep what ye get;
      Ye'll fin' this an unco' guid motto,
    We chose it lang syne, and we stick to it yet,
      Altho' not sae close as we ought to--
                               Not nearly sae close as we ought to.

    "There is ane o' the name is a spendthrift, an ass;
      The reason tae ye I'll discover:
    Oor gran'faither marrit an Inverness lass,
      Juist because he happened to luve her--
                               Foolish mon, he happened to luve her!

    "And the wild Highland strain is still i' the bluid--
      'Tis i' Colin, as sure's you're leeving;
    Ye ken how it is wi' the whole Highland brood--
      'Tis a' for spending and geeving.

    "Gin ye're freen' o' the clan, why, ask what ye may,
      Ye'll get o' the best, ay, get double;
    Gin ye're foe o' the clan, weel, juist gang your way
      If so be ye're no hunting trouble.

    "Brither Colin was daft when a lad at the school,
      Wi' ways and wi' morals improper,
    Had high flowing notions--poor family fool,
      His notions ha' made him a pauper.

    "What owns he? Bare acres a few, and a house,
      Yet when we, last year, were expecting
    Twa relatives, ane puir as ony church mouse,
      Ane freighted wi' wealth, unreflecting,

    "He spat oot graun' like, 'Sin' ye're ower fond o' pelf
      'Ye can hae,' said he, 'the rich pairty,
    But I'll tak' the mon that is puir as mysel'
      And gie him a welcome right hearty'--
                               A welcome right hearty.

    "Gosh! I had tae lauch at the feckless auld mon
      As he stood there, his bonnet-strings twirling;
    Ye'd think he was chief o' a whole Highland clan
      That marched to the pibroch's mad skirling.

    "Ah! hot-headed, high-handed, go as you please,
      These Highlanders no worth a copper,
    Wi' their kilt and hose, and their uncovered knees--
      A bold dress, and highly improper!

    "Oor Colin's the same; hark ye, Davy and Jock,
      Go no to the hills for your mating;
    Twa weel dowered lassies o' guid lowland stock,
      'Tis for such I'd hae ye both waiting.

    "Ho! it's get what ye can, and keep what ye get,--
      What is it ye whisper amang ye?
    What! oor rich uncle's deid--weel, weel, dinna fret,
      Ah'm certain that he wouldna wrang me.

    "He promised to leave everything he possest--
      Before witness promised it fairly--
    To the most deserving, the noblest and best
      O' a' the Allans o' Airlie.

    "Ye ken I'm the mon. Here's the lawyer at hand,
      (I'm richer a'ready and prooder)
    Hark ye! 'Give and bequeath my gowd and my land'--
      Mr. Grant, I pray ye, speak looder.

    "I'll buy me the laird's castle doon by the park--
      Oh, me! but I'll step aboot rarely.
    'To my nephew, Colin'--it canna' be--hark!
      'To the grandest Allan o' Airlie.'

    "To Colin! I'd ficht, but I've no got the pluck,
      I'm auld, and I'm broken, I tell ye;
    I ca'd him a fool--he has had a fool's luck,
      And noo he can buy me and sell me.

    "Now hearken ye, lads, frae the morn till the nicht
      It pays best tae act quite sincerely;
    Get what ye can--aweel, the motto's a'richt,
      But some things are gotten too dearly.
          Ay, some things are gotten too dearly.

    "I'm thinkin' o' gran'faither's Inverness wife,
      Nor cattle nor siller she brought him,
    Juist a hairt fu' o' luve--some queer views o' life--
      How runs that auld ballad she taught him?

    _"I've a lowly cot and a wide open door,
      Neither old nor young need pass by, sir;
    A piece of red gold for the brother that's poor--
      Ho, a rich, happy man am I, sir!"_

    "Aweel! there be lessons ye'll no learn in school,
      It tak's my breath away fairly--
    The ne'er-do-weel Colin, the family fool,
      And the graundest Allan o' Airlie!"


    J. Thomas Gordon left home one day,
      Left home for good and all--
    A boy has a right to have his own way
      When he's nearly six foot tall;
    At least, this is what J. Thomas thought,
      And in his own young eyes
    There were very few people quite so good,
      And fewer still quite so wise.

    What! tie as clever a lad as he
      Down to commonplace toil?
    Make J. Thomas Gordon a farmer lad,
      A simple son of the soil?
    Not if he knew it--'twould be a sin;
      He wished to rise and soar.
    For men like himself who would do and dare
      Dame Fortune had much in store.

    The world was in need of brains and brawn,
      J. Thomas said modestly,
    The clever young man was in great demand--
      They would see what they would see.
    He would make his mark in the busy world,
      Some day the daily press
    Would herald the glad news forth to the throng,
      J. Thomas is a SUCCESS.

    Then would the doubters and sceptics all
      Say, with regret sincere,
    "To think that we gave his hopes and his aims
      But an unbelieving sneer!"
    As for him, he would kiss his mother,
      And give her wealth galore,
    Shake the hand of his father--maybe--
      Then back to the world once more.

    With big ambition and high conceit
      Was young J. Thomas filled;
    The warning of friends and their arguments
      His eloquence quickly stilled.
    "You may go," said the irate father,
      "I'll not urge you to stay;
    You will learn your lesson, you headstrong fool,
      Be glad to come back some day."

    So J. Thomas Gordon left the farm,
      As boys have done before,
    And his mother began to count the hours
      Till he would be home once more.

    The father wearied as time went on--
      Missed the boy from his side;
    But all through the years the fond mother kept
      Her love, her hope, and her pride.
    With a mother's beautiful faith, she said:
      "I know my boy will come
    So wealthy, so honored, noble and great,
      Proudly come marching home."

    And ever she looked at eventide
      Into the glowing west
    For the dust of the carriage bringing her
      The one that she loved the best.
    Ah! how she longed to look on his face,
      Her stalwart lad and true,
    With his sunburned cheek, and his ruddy hair,
      And his eyes so bright and blue.

    To those who said 'twas cruel of him
      Never a line to send,
    She had but one answer, with eyes ashine:
      "It will all come right in the end;
    He's busy making a name and place,
      And I must patient be
    Till this clever, ambitious lad of mine
      Finds time to come back to me."

    Important and wealthy and famous,
      Honored and wise and great!
    But look you, who can that ragged tramp be,
      Down there by the garden gate,
    Pale as if hunger had pressed him sore,
      Trembling because so weak,
    Pushed on by his longing, held back by shame--
      A tear on his poor pale cheek?

    'Tis he! Had he come back rich and great
      She'd have met him at the door,
    But she's down the path with her arms outspread,
      Because he has come back poor.
    Gone, gone are her day-dreams sweet and fair--
      Gone in the swift glad shock
    Of folding a ragged tramp in her arms,
      But love stands firm as a rock.

    She rang the dinner bell long and loud,
      The father came with speed;
    The welcome he gave the prodigal
      Was a tender one indeed.
    "The young fool has learned his lesson,"
      J. Thomas whispered low.
    "So he has--God bless him!" the father cried,
      "He'll make a good man, I know.

    "Honest, unselfish, and true as steel,
      Our boy will stand the test;
    Kindly of thought and word and deed--
      The homely virtues are best.
    I knew when you went, and you know it now,
      That all this pride and style,
    This yearnin' to fill up the public eye,
      Isn't really worth the while."

    Oh, the happy face of the mother
      That night as, kneeling low,
    Tom said the prayer that he used to say
      At her knee so long ago.
    A new J. Thomas had this to add--
      With his bonnie blue eyes wet--
    "Thank God for the home, for the faithful hearts
      That never change or forget."

           *       *       *       *       *

    Though far and wide on the world's rough sea
      The children, reckless, roam,
    The boldest thanks God in some stress of storm
      For the harbor lights of home.


  He was not especially handsome, he was not especially smart,
  A great big lumbering fellow with a soft and tender heart.
  His eyes were gray and honest, his smile a friendly one,
  He wore his parson's suit of black on days of state alone;
  At other times he went around in clothes the worse of wear,
  A blue cloth cap set jauntily upon his thick gray hair.
  He cared so little how he looked, so little how he drest,
  That he tired the patience sorely of the ones he loved the best.
  For a preacher, so they argued, should be dressed like one, of course,
  But in the winter it was tweeds, in summer it was worse;
  Ducks and flannels would be grimy, if the sad truth must be told,
  For he spaded up the gardens of the people who were old,
  And he ran down dusty highways at unministerial rate,
  Going errands for the people who really could not wait.
  His coat-sleeves would be short an inch, his trousers just the same,
  For the washerwoman had them every week that ever came.
  He cared so little how he looked, and never paused to think
  That linen, duck, and flannel were such awful things to shrink.

  His wife, she was the primmest thing, as neat as any doll,
  And looked like one when walking by her husband big and tall.
  It almost broke her heart that he refused to give a thought
  To how he looked, or do the thing, or say the thing he ought.
  Sometimes, though well she loved him, quite high her temper ran,
  For 'tis hard on any woman to have such a careless man.

  Think! when the conference president came visiting the place,
  The preacher down at Coles he had a badly battered face--
  One eye was black as black could be; he looked, so we've been told,
  More like a fierce prize-fighter than a shepherd of the fold.
  "How did it happen?" questioned him the visitor so wise,
  With hint of laughter on his lips, and in his twinkling eyes.
  "Old Betty Brown," the preacher said--his wife broke in just here,
  "A cross-grained spinster of the place who hates him, that is clear;
  And never did a woman have a meaner tongue than hers--
  The slighting things she says of him, the mischief that she stirs!"
  "Fields have we," said the president, "in country and in town;
  Believe me, Madam, most of them can boast a Betty Brown."

  The preacher stroked his blackened eye, and laughed good-naturedly.
  "She doesn't like me very well, but what of that?" said he.
  "The other night I found the poor old creature sick in bed,
  She 'didn't want no prayin' done,' she very quickly said,
  So, seeing that she was so ill and worn she could not stir,
  I thought with care and patience I could milk the cow for her.
  I stroked old Spot caressingly, and placed my little can,
  But Spot she knew, and I came home a sadder, wiser man."

  The preacher down at Coles he was no orator at all,
  But sick, and sad, and sinful were glad to have him call.
  Not that he ever found a host of happy things to say;
  In fact, as far as talking went, he might have stayed away.
  But oh, the welcome that he got! I think his big right hand
  Gave such a grip that all the rest they seemed to understand.

  Some of the congregation would have liked a different man,
  He couldn't hope to please them all--few ministers that can.
  Once, at the district meeting, the good old farmer Bowles
  Stood up and spoke his mind about the preacher down at Coles.

  "There's not," he said, "you know it, too, a better man than he;
  An' you fault-findin', carpin' folk--I say this reverently--
  If the Lord 'd take an angel and gently turn him loose
  To preach down here, do you suppose he'd please the hull caboose?
  Not much! It's human nature to quarrel with what we've got,
  An' this man is a better man than we deserve, a lot."

  But he did preach curious sermons, just as dry as they could be,
  And the old folks slumbered through them every Sabbath, peacefully;
  But they all woke up the moment the singing would begin,
  And not an ear was found too dull to drink the music in.
  For though the preacher could not boast an orator's smooth tongue,
  He could reach the people's heart-strings when he stood up
     there and sung.

  O the wondrous power and sweetness of the voice that filled the place!
  Everyone that heard it swelling grew the purer for a space.
  And men could not choose but listen to the singer standing there,
  Till their worldliness slipped from them, and their selfishness
     and care.
  Mourners turned their eyes all misty from the crosses tall and white
  Where their loved ones slumbered softly all the day and all the night;
  Listening, faith rose triumphant over sorrow, loss, and pain,
  Heaven was not a far-off country, they would meet their own again.
  And the white-haired men and women wished the singing need not cease,
  For they seemed to see the beauty of the longed for Land of Peace.
  Upward soared that voice, and upward, with a sweetness naught could
  Till each dim eye caught the glory of the new Jerusalem.

  He was such a curious fellow, the preacher down at Coles!
  One winter day the word was brought to town by Farmer Bowles
  That in a little shanty, in the hollow by the mill,
  Were children gaunt with hunger, a mother sad and ill,
  The father just a drunkard, a vagabond who left
  His family for long, long weeks of love and care bereft.
  The squire talked of taking a big subscription up,
  And talked, and talked, while in that house was neither bite nor sup.
  O, these talking folks! these talking folks! the poor would starve
     and freeze
  If the succoring and caring were done by such as these.

  The preacher down at Coles he had not very much to say;
  He harnessed up the old roan horse and hitched it to the sleigh,
  And piled in so much provisions that his wife said, tearfully,
  She didn't have a cake or pie left in the house for tea.
  He filled the sleigh with baskets, and with bundles--such a pile!
  Heaps of wood, and clothes, and victuals--everybody had to smile
  As they watched the old roan canter down the crossroad, o'er the hill,
  To the little cheerless shanty in the hollow by the mill.
  The preacher built a fire and bade the children warm their toes
  While he heard the worn-out mother's tale of miseries and woes.
  He brought in a bag of flour, and a turkey big and fat--
  His dainty wife had meant to dine the Ladies' Aid on that.
  He brought in ham and butter, and potatoes in a sack,
  A pie or two, a loaf of cake, and doughnuts, such a stack!
  Ah! his wife and her good handmaid had been baking many a day,
  For the Ladies' Aid would dine there--he had lugged it all away.
  He brought in a pair of blankets, and a heavy woollen quilt;
  Betty Brown, who happened in there, said she thought that she
     would wilt,
  For these things the active members of the Missionary Band
  Had gathered for the heathen in a far-off foreign land.
  "These belong unto the Lord, sir," Betty said, "I think you'll find."
  But he answered her quite gently, "Very well, He will not mind."
  "To see him making tea for the woman in the bed
  Made me wish I had been kinder to the preacher," Betty said.
  Though he was so big and clumsy he could step around so light,
  And to see him getting dinner to the children's huge delight!
  It was not till he had warmed them, and had fed them there, that day,
  That he whispered very softly: "Little children, let us pray."
  Then he gave them to the keeping of a Father kind and wise
  In a way that brought the tear-drops into hard old Betty's eyes.
  She felt an aching in her throat, and when she cried, "Amen!"
  Other folks might flout the preacher, Betty never would again.

  He took up the fresh air movement, but the people down at Coles
  Shook their head--a preacher's work, they said, was saving precious
  Not worrying lest the waifs and strays that throng the city street
  Should pine for want of country air, and country food to eat.
  Lawyer Angus, at the meeting, spoke against new-fangled things;
  "Seems to me our preacher's bow, friends, has a muckle lot of strings."
  Merchant Jones said trade was failing, rent was high and clerks to pay;
  Not a dollar could he give them, he was very grieved to say.
  Old Squire Hays was buying timber, needed every cent and more;
  Doctor Blake sat coldly smiling--then the farmer took the floor.

  "Wish," he said, "our hearts were bigger, an' our speeches not so long;
  I would move right here the preacher tunes us up a little song."
  Sing? I wish you could have heard him--simple songs of long ago,
  Old familiar things that held us--warm that golden voice and low--
  Songs of summer in the woodlands, cowslips yellow in the vale;
  Songs of summer in the city, and the children wan and pale,
  Till we saw the blist'ring pavement pressed by tired little feet,
  Heard the baby voices crying for the meadows wide and sweet.

  "Now we'll take up the collection," said the wily farmer Bowles,
  And they showered in their money, did the people down at Coles.
  "Here's a cheque," said lawyer Angus, "'tis the best that I can do;
  Man, you'd have us in the poorhouse if you sang your sermons through!"

  The very careless fellow still goes his cheery way
  Unmindful of what people think or of what people say.
  Some still are finding fault with him--he doesn't mind it much--
  Laughs when they make remarks about his clothes and shoes and such,
  Declare his sermons have no point, and quarrel with his text,
  As people will, but oh, it makes his pretty wife so vext!
  "I think," she says, "as much of him as any woman can,
  But 'tis most aggravating to have such a careless man."

  There are those who think him perfect, shout his praises with a will.
  He has labored for the Master, he is laboring for Him still;
  And the grumbling does not move him, nor the praises sung abroad--
  Things like these seem only trifles to the man who works for God.
  Farmer Bowles summed up the total in his own original way
  When he spoke at the Convention that was held the other day.
  "Never knew a better worker, never knew a kinder man;
  Lots of preachers are more stylish, keep themselves so spic-and-span
  You could spot 'em out for preachers if you met 'em walkin' round
  Over on the Fejee Islands, silk hat, long coat, I'll be bound.
  _Our_ man's different, but, I tell you, when it comes to doing good
  There's not one can beat him at it, an' I want this understood.
  Ask the sad folks and the sinful, ask the fallen ones he's raised,
  Ask the sick folks and the poor folks, if you want to hear him praised.
  Orator? Well, maybe not, friends, but in caring for men's souls
  There stand few men half so faithful as the preacher down at Coles."


    When I'm at gran'dad's on the farm,
      I hear along 'bout six o'clock,
    Just when I'm feelin' snug an' warm,
      "Ho, Bobby, come and feed your stock."

    I jump an' get into my clothes;
      It's dark as pitch, an' shivers run
    All up my back. Now, I suppose
      Not many boys would think this fun.

    But when we get out to the barn
      The greedy pigs begin to squeal,
    An' I throw in the yellow corn,
      A bushel basket to the meal.

    Then I begin to warm right up,
      I whistle "Yankee Doodle" through,
    An' wrastle with the collie pup--
      And sometimes gran'dad whistles too.

    The cow-shed door, it makes a din
      Each time we swing it open wide;
    I run an' flash the lantern in,
      There stand the shorthorns side by side.

    Their breathin' makes a sort of cloud
      Above their heads--there's no frost here.
    "My beauties," gran'dad says out loud,
      "You'll get your breakfasts, never fear."

    When up I climb into the loft
      To fill their racks with clover hay,
    Their eyes, all sleepy like and soft,
      A heap of nice things seem to say.

    The red ox shakes his curly head,
      An' turns on me a solemn face;
    I know he's awful glad his shed
      Is such a warm and smelly place.

    An' last of all the stable big,
      With harness hanging on each door,
    I always want to dance a jig
      On that old musty, dusty floor.

    It seems so good to be alive,
      An' tendin' to the sturdy grays,
    The sorrels, and old Prince, that's five--
      An' Lightfoot with her coaxing ways.

    My gran'dad tells me she is mine,
      An' I'm that proud! I braid her mane,
    An' smooth her sides until they shine,
      An' do my best to make her vain.

    When we have measured oats for all,
      Have slapped the grays upon the flanks,
    An' tried to pat the sorrels tall,
      An' heard them whinny out their thanks,

    We know it's breakfast time, and go
      Out past the yellow stacks of straw,
    Across the creek that used to flow,
      But won't flow now until a thaw.

    Behind the trees the sky is pink,
      The snow drifts by in fat white flakes,
    My gran'dad says: "Well, Bob, I think
      There comes a smell of buckwheat cakes."


    When I was but a little lad
      One thing I could not bear,
    It was to stand at mother's knee
      And have her comb my hair.

    They didn't keep boys' hair as short
      As it's kept now-a-days,
    And mine was always tangled up
      In twenty different ways.

    I'd twist my mouth and grit my teeth,
      And say it wasn't fair--
    It was a trial, and no mistake,
      When mother combed my hair.

    She'd brush and brush each stubborn curl
      That grew upon my pate,
    And with her scissors nip and clip
      To make the edges straight.

    Then smooth it down until it shone,
      While I would grin and bear,
    And feel a martyr through and through,
      When mother combed my hair.

    She'd take my round chin in her hand
      And hold it there the while
    She made the parting carefully,
      Then tell me with a smile:

    "Don't push your cap down on your curls
      And spoil my work and care;
    He is a pretty little lad
      When mother combs his hair."

    I'd hurry out and rumple up
      That mop of hair so thick--
    A vandal, I, for she had worked
      So hard to make it slick--

    And wish I were a grown-up man
      So nobody would dare
    To put a washrag in my ears,
      Or comb my tangled hair.

    Heigho! now that I'm bald and gray,
      Methinks I would be glad
    To have her smooth my brow and cheeks,
      And whisper, "Mother's lad!"

    A longing for the care-free days
      Doth take me unaware;
    To stand, a boy, at mother's knee
      And have her comb my hair.


    In powdered wig and buckled shoe,
      Knee-breeches, coat and waistcoat gay,
    The wealthy squire rode forth to woo
      Upon a first of April day.

    He would forget his lofty birth,
      His spreading acres, and his pride,
    And Betty, fairest maid on earth,
      Should be his own--his grateful bride.

    The maid was young, and he was old;
      The maid was good to look upon.
    Naught cared she for his land or gold,
      Her love was for the good squire's son.

    He found her as the noonday hush
      Lay on the world, and called her name.
    She looked up, conscious, and her blush
      A tender interest did proclaim.

    For he was Hubert's sire, and she
      To keep a secret tryst did go.
    He said: "Methinks she cares for me"--
      That April fool of long ago.

    The flattered squire his suit did press
      Without delay. "Say, wilt thou come,"
    He said, with pompous tenderness,
      "And share my wealth and grace my home?"

    "Kind sir," the lovely Betty cried,
      "I'm but a lass of low degree."
    "The love that is controlled by pride
      Is not true love at all," quoth he.

    "I hold a man should woo and wed
      Where'er he wills--should please himself."
    "There is the barrier strong," she said,
      "Of pedigree, and place, and pelf.

    "Could one so lowly hope to grace
      Your home?" Right proud his air and tone:
    "You're pure of heart and fair of face;
      Dear Betty, you would grace a throne!"

    "Since you so highly think of me"--
      Her tears and laughter were at strife--
    "You will not mind so much, maybe,
      That I am Hubert's promised wife."

    Pale went the good squire's florid cheek,
      His wrath flamed out--but Betty stood,
    Brown-haired, red-lipped, blue-eyed and meek,
      A sight to make a bad man good.

    She won on him. "But why this guile--
      This secrecy?" His voice was rough.
    "We feared," she whispered, with a smile,
      "You would not think me good enough."

    "An April fool am I. Come, come--
      My offer stands. As Hubert's wife,"
    He laughed, "you'll share my wealth and home
      And brighten up a lonely life."

    He kissed her cheek and rode away.
      Unbroken was his heart, I wist,
    For he was thinking of a day--
      A day back in youth's rosy mist--

    And of a form and of a face.
      "My dear, dead love," he whispered low,
    The while he rode at sober pace,
      That April fool of long ago.


    They were a couple well content
    With what they earned and what they spent,
    Cared not a whit for style's decree--
    For he was Scotch, and so was she.

    And oh, they loved to talk of Burns--
    Dear blithesome, tender Bobby Burns!
    They never wearied of his song,
    He never sang a note too strong.
    One little fault could neither see--
    For he was Scotch, and so was she.

    They loved to read of men who stood
    And gave for country life and blood,
    Who held their faith so grand a thing
    They scorned to yield it to a king.
    Ah, proud of such they well might be--
    For he was Scotch, and so was she.

    From neighbors' broils they kept away;
    No liking for such things had they,
    And oh, each had a canny mind,
    And could be deaf, and dumb, and blind.
    With words or pence was neither free--
    For he was Scotch, and so was she.

    I would not have you think this pair
    Went on in weather always fair,
    For well you know in married life
    Will come, sometimes, the jar and strife;
    They couldn't always just agree--
    For he was Scotch, and so was she.

    But near of heart they ever kept,
    Until at close of life they slept;
    Just this to say when all was past,
    They loved each other to the last!
    They're loving yet, in heaven, maybe--
    For he was Scotch, and so was she.


    Friend, mark these muscles; mine's a frame
      Born, grown, and fitted for the toil.
      My father, tiller of the soil,
    Bequeathed them to me with my name.

    Fear work? Nay, many times and oft
      Upon my brow the sweat-bead stands,
      And these two brown and sinewy hands,
    Methinks, were never white or soft.

    I earn my bread and know its worth,
      Through days that chill and days that warm,
      I wrest it with my strong right arm
    From out the bosom of the earth.

    The moneyed man may boast his wealth,
      The high-born boast his pedigree,
      But greater far, it seems to me,
    My heritage of brawn and health.

    My sinews strong, my sturdy frame,
      My independence free and bold--
      Mine is the richest dower, I hold,
    And ploughman is a noble name.

    Nor think me all uncouth and rough,
      For, as I turn the furrows o'er,
      Far clearer than the threshing-floor
    I see the tender growing stuff.

    A lab'rer, I, the long day through;
      The lonely stretch of field and wood
      Seem pleasant things to me, and good;
    The river sings, the heaven's blue

    Bends down so near the sun-crowned hill--
      Thank God, I have the eyes to see
      The beauty and the majesty
    Of Nature, and the heart to thrill

    At crimson sunset, dawn's soft flush,
      The fields of gold that stretch afar,
      The glimmer of the first pale star
    That heralds in the evening's hush.

    They lie who say that labor makes
      A brute thing, an insensate clod,
      Of man, the masterpiece of God;
    They lie who say that labor takes

    All from us save the lust of pelf,
      Dulls eye, and ear, and soul, and mind,
      For no man need be deaf or blind
    Unless he wills it so himself.

    This life I live's a goodly thing--
      My soul keeps tune to one glad song
      The while I turn the furrows long--
    A ploughman happy as a king.


    Two men were born the self-same hour:
      The one was heir to untold wealth,
    To pride of birth and love of power;
      The other's heritage was health.

    A sturdy frame, an honest heart,
      Of human sympathy a store,
    A strength and will to do his part,
      A nature wholesome to the core.

    The two grew up to man's estate,
      And took their places in the strife:
    One found a sphere both wide and great,
      One found the toil and stress of life.

    Fate is a partial jade, I trow;
      She threw the rich man gold and frame,
    The laurel wreath to deck his brow,
      High place, the multitude's acclaim.

    The common things the other had--
      The common hopes to thrill him deep,
    The common joys to make him glad,
      The common griefs to make him weep.

    No high ambitions fired his breast;
      The peace of God, the love of friend,
    Of wife and child, these seemed the best,
      These held and swayed him to the end.

    The two grew old, and death's clear call
      Came to them both the self-same day:
    To him whose name was known to all,
      To him who walked his lowly way.

    Down to his grave the rich man went,
      With cortege long, with pomp and pride,
    O'er him was reared a monument
      That told his virtues far and wide;

    Told of his wealth, his lineage high,
      His statesmanship, his trophies won,
    How he had filled the public eye--
      But empty praise when all was done.

    The other found a narrow bed
      Within God's acre, peaceful, lone;
    The throng cared not that he was dead,
      A man uncultured and unknown.

    But in the house that he had left
      A woman whispered through her tears:
    "Christ, comfort me, who am bereft
      Of love that failed not through the years."

    And oft his stalwart sons and tall
      Would murmur as their eyes grew dim:
    "A useful life is best of all;
      God grant we pattern after him!"

    A sick man sighed: "I'll miss his smile;"
      A shrivelled crone did shake her head
    And mutter to herself the while
      How oft his hand had given bread.

    A maimed child sobbed: "He carried me
      To gather blossoms in the wood,"
    And more than one said, brokenly:
      "A man who always did me good."

    One came at twilight to the grave,
      And knelt and kissed the fresh-turned sod.
    "Oh, faithful soul," she cried, "and brave,
      'Twas you that led me back to God!

    "Back from the sin, the shame, the snare--
      Forget your trust and faith?--not I;
    Each helpful word, each tender prayer,
      I will remember till I die!"

    Two men that sleep: above the one
      The monument an artist's hand
    Has fashioned from the block of stone,
      A thing of beauty, tall and grand;

    Above the other naught--what then?
      Ere he did fold his hands for rest,
    He builded in the hearts of men
      The fairest monument and best.


    It's the lonesomest house you ever saw,
      This big gray house where I stay.
    I don't call it living at all, at all,
      Since my mother's gone away.

    Only four weeks now--it seems a year--
      Gone to heaven, the preacher said,
    And my heart is just broke awaiting her,
      And my eyes are always red.

    I stay out of doors till I'm almost froze,
      'Cause every identical room
    Seems empty enough to scare a boy,
      And packed to the door with gloom.

    Oh, but I hate to come in to my meals,
      And her not there in her place,
    Pouring the tea, and passing the things,
      With that lovin' shine on her face!

    But night-time is worse. I creep up the stair
      And to bed as still 's a mouse,
    And cry in my pillow, it seems so hard
      To stay in this old gray house!

    And nobody giving me good-night hugs,
      Or smoothing my hair back--so;
    Things a boy makes fun of before his chums,
      But things that he likes, you know.

    There's no one to go to when things go wrong--
      Oh, she was so safe and sure!
    There wasn't a thing could tackle a boy
      That she couldn't up and cure.

    There's lots of women, it seems to me,
      That wouldn't be missed so much,
    The women whose boys are 'most growed up,
      And old maid aunties, and such.

    I can't understand it at all, at all,
      Why on earth she should have to go,
    And leave me here in this old gray house,
      Needin' an' wantin' her so!

    Oh, the very lonesomest thing of all
      In the wide, wide world to-day
    Is a big boy of twelve whose heart's just broke
      'Cause his mother's gone away!


    It is time for bed, so the nurse declares,
      But I slip off to the nook,
    The cozy nook at the head of the stairs,
      Where daddy's reading his book.

    "I want to sit here awhile on your knee,"
      I say, as I toast my feet,
    "And I want you to pop some corn for me,
      And give me an apple sweet."

    I tickle him under the chin--just so--
      And I say, "Please can't I, dad?"
    Then I kiss his mouth so he can't say no
      To his own little black-eyed lad.

    "You can't have a pony this year at all,"
      Says my stingy Uncle Joe,
    After promising it--and there's the stall
      Fixed ready for it, you know.

    One can't depend on his uncle, I see,
      It's daddies that are the best,
    And I find mine and climb up on his knee
      As he takes his smoke and rest.

    I tickle him under the chin--just so--
      And I say, "Please can't I, dad?"
    Then I kiss his mouth so he can't say no
      To his own little black-eyed lad.

    I want to skate, and oh, what a fuss
      For fear I'll break through the ice!
    This woman that keeps our house for us,
      She isn't what I call nice.

    She wants a boy to be just like a girl,
      To play in the house all day,
    Keep his face all clean and his hair in curl,
      But dad doesn't think that way.

    I tickle him under the chin--just so--
      And I say, "Please can't I, dad?"
    Then I kiss his mouth so he can't say no
      To his own little black-eyed lad.

    "You're growing so big," says my dad to me.
      "Soon be a man, I suppose,
    Too big to climb on your old dad's knee
      And toast your ten little toes."

    Then his voice it gets the funniest shake,
      And oh, but he hugs me tight!
    I say, when I can't keep my eyes awake,
      "Let me sleep with you to-night."

    I tickle him under the chin--just so--
      And I say, "Please can't I, dad?"
    Then I kiss his mouth so he can't say no
      To his own little black-eyed lad.


    Janet, she was trim and small,
      Swift her feet could go;
    Sandy, he was great and tall,
      Sandy, he was slow.

    Dark the curls on Janet's heid,
      Dark her een, and true;
    Sandy's hair was straicht an' reid,
      Sandy's een were blue.

    Sandy had been coortin' lang,
      Sandy wasna bold,
    Blushed when Janet trilled the sang,
      Sweet as it is old:

    _"Gin a body meet a body
      Comin' through the rye,
    Gin a body kiss a body,
      Need a body cry?"_

    Janet's lips were reid and ripe,
      Full o' sic delichts;
    Longing for them spoiled the pipe
      Sandy smoked o' nichts.

    Janet laughed when he would sigh,
      Janet wasna kin'.
    Spite o' a' as days went by
      Janet filled his min'.

    When in kirk he sat and heard
      Sermons deep and lang,
    Every fluttering bird ootside
      Seemed piping Janet's sang.

    Through the psalm, and through the prayer,
      Thought went wanderin' wide--
    O what were toil, what were care,
      Wi' Janet by his side?

    Janet, wi' the waist sae sma',
      Janet, dear indeed;
    Sermon, psalm, and prayer, and a',
      Sandy didna heed--

    Going hame at sober pace
      Made confession--sae:
    "Hearken, Lord! hide no Thy face
      Though I go astray.

    "Help me juist tae do my pairt--
      Win her if I can--
    Sae I plead wi' a' my hairt,
      Help a sinfu' mon!"

    Surely faith was in that prayer.
      Ere an hour went by
    Janet cam' wi' lichtsome air
      Through the fields o' rye.

    Sandy, tak' ye hairt o' grace--
      Surely 'tisna wrang--
    Here's the lass wi' saucy face,
      How runs Janet's sang?

    _"Gin a body meet a body
      Comin' through the rye,
    Gin a body kiss a body
      Need a body cry?"_


  He would go, they could not keep him, for he came of fighting stock;
  Though his widowed mother pleaded, he was firm as any rock.
  Well he loved the patient woman who had nursed him on her breast,
  Been quite blind to all his follies,--but he loved his country best.
  "I'll come home again," he told her; "I'll come home again some day,"
  Laid his face to her's and kissed her, said good-bye and marched away.
  Stronger than the voice that pleaded, "Laddie, laddie, bide at home,"
  Was the shrill voice of the bugle and the deep voice of the drum,
  Calling to him all the day, calling to him in his dreams:
  "Come, lad! Come, lad! Come! Come! Come!"

  His face was like a maiden's face, so smooth it was, and fair;
  The laughter in his eyes of gray, the sunshine in his hair;
  But a man's heart, true and gallant, beat beneath the tartan plaid,
  And a strong right arm he boasted, did this bonnie Highland lad.
  Oh, the battlefield is gruesome, with its dying and its dead,
  But 'twas to the field of battle that the drum and bugle led--
  Magersfontein--and the bullets biting fiercely left and right,
  And the lad in kilt and hose there in the thickest of the fight.
  Fearful odds, and none to help them, fight they boldly, undismayed,
  Gallant clansmen of the north land! Brave old Highlander brigade!
      Someone blundered, this we know,
      When you met the ambushed foe,
  But you fought as heroes fight, and died as heroes die;
      This we know, this we know.

  Where the fighting had been fiercest, as the sun sank in the west,
  Did they find the widow's laddie, with a bullet in his breast,
  And his smiling face turned upward. Did he dream at last--who knows--
  Of the far-off hills of Scotland? Lying there in kilt and hose,
  With the gold hair gleaming brightly underneath the bonnet blue,
  And the tartan plaid laid gently o'er the heart so brave and true.
  Stilled forever! With death's coming did there fall upon his ear
  Music that he loved to list to, bugle call so high and clear,
  Thrilling, stirring, sweeter, shriller, and the deep voice of the drum,
  Calling to him through the shadows, calling softly through the shadows,
  "Come, lad! Come, lad! Come! Come! Come!"


    The teacher was wise and learned, I wis,
      All nonsense she held in scorning,
    But you never can tell what the primmest miss
      Will do of a bright spring morning.

    What this one did was to spread a snare
      For feet of a youth unheeding,
    As March, with a meek and lamb-like air,
      To its very last hour was speeding.

    Oh, he was the dullard of his class,
      For how can a youth get learning
    With his eyes aye fixed on a pretty lass
      And his heart aye filled with yearning?

    "Who finds 'mong the rushes which fringe a pool,"
      She told him, "the first wind blossom,
    May wish what he will"--poor April fool,
      With but one wish in his bosom.

    Her gray eyes danced--on a wild-goose chase
      He'd sally forth on the morrow,
    And, later, she'd laugh in his sombre face,
      And jest at his words of sorrow.

    But penitence and a troubled mind
      Were fruits of the night's reflection;
    After all, he was simple, and strong, and kind--
      'Twas wrong to flout his affection.

    They met on the hill as she walked to school;
      He said, unheeding her blushes,
    "Here's the early flower your April fool
      Found growing among the rushes.

    "Take it or leave it as you will"--
      His voice ringing out so clearly
    Awoke in her heart a happy thrill--
      "You know that I love you dearly."

    Day-dreams indulged as she taught the school
      Held lovers kneeling and suing;
    "Take it or leave it"--her April fool
      Was masterful in his wooing.

    He gave her the flower--she gave him a kiss--
      His suit she had long been scorning;
    But you never can tell what the primmest miss
      Will do of a bright spring morning.


    O! He was the boy of the house, you know,
      A jolly and rollicking lad;
    He never was sick, he never was tired,
      And nothing could make him sad.

    If he started to play at sunrise,
      Not a rest would he take at noon;
    No day was so long from beginning to end,
      But his bed-time came too soon.

    Did someone urge that he make less noise,
      He would say, with a saucy grin:
    "Why, one boy alone doesn't make much stir--
      O sakes! I wish I was a twin.

    "There's two of twins, and it must be fun
      To go double at everything;
    To holler by twos, and whistle by twos,
      To stamp by twos, and to sing!"

    His laugh was something to make you glad,
      So brimful was it of joy;
    A conscience he had, perhaps, in his breast,
      But it never troubled the boy.

    You met him out on the garden path,
      The terrier at his heels,
    And knew by the shout he hailed you with
      How happy a youngster feels.

    The maiden auntie was half distraught
      With his tricks as the days went by;
    "The most mischievous child in all the world!"
      She said with a shrug and a sigh.

    His father owned that her words were true,
      His mother declared each day
    He was putting wrinkles into her face,
      And turning her brown hair gray.

    His grown-up sister referred to him
      As "a trouble," "a trial," "a grief";
    The way he ignored all rules, she said,
      Was something beyond belief!

    It never troubled the boy of the house,
      He revelled in racket and din,
    Had only one regret in the world--
      He hadn't been born a twin!

           *       *       *       *       *

    There's nobody making a noise to-day,
      There's nobody stamping the floor,
    'Tis strangely silent upstairs and down--
      White ribbons upon the door.

    The terrier's whining out in the sun:
      "Where's my comrade?" he seems to say.
    Turn your plaintive eyes away, little dog,
      There's no frolic for you to-day.

    The freckle-faced girl from the house next door
      Is sobbing her young heart out.
    Don't cry, little girl, you'll soon forget
      The laugh and the merry shout.

    The grown-up sister is kissing his face,
      And calling him "angel" and "sweet,"
    And the maiden aunt is nursing the boots
      He wore on his restless feet.

    So big, so solemn the old house seems--
      No uproar, no racket, no din,
    No shrill peal of laughter, no voice shrieking out,
      "O sakes! I wish I was a twin!"

    A man and a woman white with grief
      Watch the wearisome moments creep--
    Oh! the loneliness touches everything,
      The boy of the house is asleep!


    I was the slyest boy at home,
      The slyest boy at school,
    I wanted all the world to know
      That I was no one's fool.

    I kept my childish hopes and schemes
      Locked closely in my breast,
    No single secret shared with Bob,
      The chum I liked the best.

    I never showed my squirrel's nest,
      Nor beaver dam, nor cave,
    Nor fortress where I used to go
      To be a soldier brave.

    Oh, I was sly, just awful sly,
      In winter, summer, spring,
    While Bob would tell me all he knew,
      I never told a thing.

    And yet Bob always got ahead;
      I'd find the careless knave
    Asleep within my fortress walls,
      And fishing in my cave.

    "What, yours!" he said, in great surprise,
      "You should have told me so.
    You never said a word, old chum,
      And how was I to know?"

    My slyness hurt more than it helped;
      If Bob had known, you see,
    He was too kind to do his best
      To get ahead of me.

    I still was sly when I grew up.
      I fell in love with Nan,
    But scorned to own it to myself
      Or any other man.

    So sly was I, Nan never guessed--
      No more did handsome Bob--
    That every time she looked my way
      My heart, it stirred and throbbed.

    The same old story! Ere I knew,
      My chum had loved and won.
    When I explained I'd picked her out
      To be my very own,

    "What, yours!" he said in great surprise,
      "You should have told me so.
    You never said a word, old chum,
      And how was I to know?"

    I've learned my lesson, lost my girl;
      You'll own 'tis rather rough.
    Henceforward I'll not be too sly--
      I'll be just sly enough.




    The sunshine streaming through the stainèd glass
    Touched her with rosy colors as she stood,
    The maiden Queen of all the British realm,
    In the old Abbey on that soft June day.
    Youth shone within her eyes, where God had set
    All steadfastness, and high resolve, and truth;
    Youth flushed her cheek, dwelt on the smooth white brow
    Whereon the heavy golden circlet lay.

    The ashes of dead kings, the history of
    A nation's growth, of strife, and victory,
    The mighty past called soft through aisle and nave:
    "Be strong, O Queen; be strong as thou art fair!"
    A virgin, white of soul and unafraid,
    Since back of her was God, and at her feet
    A people loyal to the core, and strong,
    And loving well her sweetness and her youth.


    Upon her woman's head earth's richest crown
    Hath sat with grace these sixty years and more.
    Her hand, her slender woman's hand, hath held
    The weightiest sceptre, held it with such power
    All homage hath been hers, at home, abroad,
    Where'er hath dwelt a chivalrous regard
    For strength of purpose and for purity,
    For grand achievement and for noble aim.

    To-day the cares of State no longer vex;
    To-day the crown is laid from off her brow.

    Dead! The great heart of her no more will beat
    With tenderness for all beneath her rule.
    Dead! The clear eyes of her no more will guard
    The nation's welfare. Dead! The arm of her
    No more will strike a mighty blow for right
    And justice; make a wide world stand amazed
    That one so gentle as old England's Queen
    Could be so fearless and so powerful!

    Full wearily the sense of grief doth press
    And weight us down. The good Queen is no more;
    And we are fain to weep as children weep
    When greedy death comes to the home and bears
    From thence the mother, whose unfailing love
    Hath been their wealth, their safeguard, and their pride.
    O bells that toll in every zone and clime!
    There is a sound of sobbing in your breath.
    East, west, north, south, the solemn clamor goes,
    Voicing a great, a universal grief!


              I thank Thee, Lord,
              For every joyous hour
              That has been mine!
    For every strengthening and helpful word,
    For every tender sound that I have heard,
              I thank Thee, Lord!

              I thank Thee, Lord,
              For work and weariness
              That have been mine!
    For patience toward one groping toward the light,
    For mid-day burden and for rest of night,
              I thank Thee, Lord.


  There's a thing we love to think of when the summer days are long,
  And the summer winds are blowing, and the summer sun is strong,
  When the orchards and the meadows throw their fragrance on the air,
  When the grain-fields flaunt their riches, and the glow is everywhere.
          Something sings it all the day,
            Canada, fair Canada,
    And the pride thrills through and through us,
            'Tis our birthplace, Canada!

  There's a thing we love to think of when the frost and ice and snow
  Hold high carnival together, and the biting north winds blow.
  There's a thing we love to think of through the bitter winter hours,
  For it stirs a warmth within us--'tis this fair young land of ours.
          Something sings it all the day,
            Canada, fair Canada,
  And the pride thrills through and through us,
            'Tis our birthplace, Canada!

  Ours with all her youth and promise, ours with all her strength
       and might,
  Ours with all her mighty waters and her forests deep as night.
  Other lands may far outshine her, boast more charms than she can claim,
  But this young land is our own land, and we love her very name.
          Something sings it all the day,
            Canada, fair Canada,
    And the pride thrills through and through us,
            'Tis our birthplace, Canada!

  Let the man born in old England love the dear old land the most,
  For what spot a man is born in, of that spot he's fain to boast;
  Let the Scot look back toward Scotland with a longing in his eyes,
  And the exile from old Erin think her green shores paradise,
          Native born are we, are we,
            Canada, fair Canada,
  And the pride thrills through and through us,
            'Tis our birthplace, Canada!

  Well we love that sea-girt island, and we strive to understand
  All the greatness, all the grandeur, of the glorious Mother Land;
  And we cheer her to the skies, cheer her till the echoes start,
  For the old land holds our homage, but the new land holds our heart!
          Native born are we, are we,
            Canada, fair Canada!
    And the pride thrills through and through us,
            'Tis our birthplace, Canada!


TO E. S. R.

    The new year coming to us with swift feet
            Is the King's gift,
            And all that in it lies
    Will make our lives more rounded and complete.
            It may be laughter,
            May be tear-filled eyes;
            It may be gain of love,
            Or loss of love;
    It may be thorns, or bloom and breath of flowers,
      The full fruition of these hopes that move--
    It may be what will break these hearts of ours,
    What matter? 'Tis the great gift of the King--
    We do not need to fear what it may bring.


    O soul on God's high seas! the way is strange and long,
    Yet fling your pennons out, and spread your canvas strong;
    For though to mortal eyes so small a craft you seem,
    The highest star in heaven cloth lend you guiding gleam.

    O soul on God's high seas! look to your course with care,
    Fear most when winds are kind and skies are blue and fair.
    Your helm must sway at touch of no hand save your own--
    The soul that sails on God's high seas must sail alone.

    O soul on God's high seas! sail on with steady aim,
    Unmoved by winds of praise, untouched by seas of blame.
    Beyond the lonely ways, beyond the guiding star,
    There stretches out the strand and golden harbor bar.


        I built a castle in the air--
    A radiant thing made out of dreams;
      Love's dear desire its golden stair--
      Naught heavier than a hope was there--
    A thing of mist and rainbow gleams.

        But when it fell--ah! when it fell,
    Though made o' dreams and mist and shine,
      The mystery of it who can tell?
      Its falling shook both heaven and hell,
    And ground to dust this heart of mine.


    I was your lover long ago, sweet June,
      Ere life grew hard; I am your lover still,
    And follow gladly to the wondrous tune
      You pipe on golden reeds to vale and hill.
    I am your lover still--to me you seem
      To hold the fragrance of the joys long dead--
    The brightness and the beauty of the dream
      We dreamed in youth--to hold the tears we shed,
    The laughter of our lips--the faith that lies
      Back in that season dear to every heart,
    Life's springtime, when God's earth and God's blue skies
      Are, measured by our glance, not far apart.


  As "Peace on earth!" the glad world sings one glorious Christmas morn,
  "Peace, peace on earth! Good-will to men! Peace, peace! the Christ
       is born!"
  As through the courts, the wondrous courts, of heaven hosannas ring,
  As harpers strike their harps of gold and "Glory! Glory!" sing,
          Upon the City's threshold fair
          A woman steps, and lingers there.

  The eyes she turns on Peter's face with unshed tears are dim,
  "Tell Christ," she says, "a mother waits who fain would speak
       with Him."
  Through all the music, far above the highest, grandest note
  Of triumph, and of joy and praise, her soft voice seems to float;
          And hearing it, straight from His throne
          Comes down to her the Kingly One
          With shining face and eyes that hold
            Such wealth of love and peace,
          She feels her trembling heart grow bold,
            Her doubt and grieving cease.
  "Dear Lord!" she cries, and lowly kneels, "I have a prayer to make;
  O do Thou hear and answer it for Thine own mercy's sake,
          Since heaven will not seem fair to me
          If one dear face I may not see.

          "Dear Christ, a mother's love is great
          To shield, to guide, to watch, to wait.
  The last kiss that I gave on earth was to my wayward son,
  Whose soul, though deeply stainèd by sin, may yet by love be won
  To penitence, to higher walk, to purer, holier way;
  O wilt Thou let me to go to him and guard him night and day?

  "Thou wert a babe in Bethlehem, a mother guarded Thee.
  I pray Thee now, for her dear sake, to hearken unto me!
  Remember how she held Thee close, and crooned Thee, sweet and low,
  The lullabies that mothers sang long centuries ago,
          And bared her snowy breast to Thee,
          And stroked Thy forehead tenderly.

  "And kissed Thee oft, and told herself, again and yet again,
  To hold Thee thus one hour outweighed the travail and the pain!
  Dear Christ, this city is most fair; its glories thrill and move;
  O doth it grieve Thee that my heart cleaves to an earthly love?
          That on mine eyes heaven's beauties dim
          Because my heart is back with him?

  "With him--the wandering son of mine, the wayward one--whose need
  Of patient love and guiding hand is very great indeed!
  Think not I love Thee not, dear Lord, nor long for heaven's rest;
  'Tis only that the mother-heart throbs fiercely in my breast.
          On this glad morning of Thy birth,
          O grant me leave to visit earth!"

  Lo! on her head she feels the touch of tender wounded hand,
  "Fear not," she hears, "a love like thine the Christ can understand.
  No mother prays in vain to Me on this day of the year,
  For when the faltering words she speaks fall on My waiting ear,
          I do remember that My cheek
            Lay on a bosom warm,
          I do remember Bethlehem,
            And Mary's cradling arm."


    One lesson let us bear in mind--
      Be very gentle with our own,
    Be to their faults a little blind,
      Nor wound them by a look or tone.

    Put self behind! turn tender eyes;
      Keep back the words that hurt and sting;
    We learn, when sorrow makes us wise,
      Forbearance is the grandest thing.

    Be patient lest some day we turn
      Our eyes on loved one fast asleep,
    And whisper, as we lean and yearn,
      "How often I have made you weep!

    "Some loved you not and words let fall
      That must have piercèd your gentle breast,
    But I, who loved you best of all,
      Hurt you far more than all the rest."

    One lesson let us keep in mind--
      To hold our dear ones close and fast,
    Since loyal hearts are hard to find,
      And life and love so soon are past.


    The fluttering leaves above his grave,
      The grasses creeping toward the light,
    The flowers fragile, sweet, and brave,
      That hide the earth clods from our sight,

    The swelling buds on shrub and tree,
      The golden gleam of daffodil,
    The violet blooming fair and free
      Where late the winds blew harsh and chill,

    The lily lifting up its breath
      Where snowdrifts spread but yesterday--
    All cry: "Where is thy sting, O death?
      O grave, where is thy victory?"

    Each Eastertide the old world sings
      Her anthem sweet and true and strong,
    And all the tender growing things
      Join in her resurrection song.


    God in His own right hand doth take each day--
      Each sun-filled day--each rare and radiant night,
    And drop it softly on the earth and say:
      "Touch earth with heaven's own beauty and delight."


    Praise God for blessings great and small,
      For garden bloom and orchard store,
    The crimson vine upon the wall,
    The green and gold of maples tall,
      For harvest-field and threshing-floor!

    Praise God for children's laughter shrill,
      For clinging hands and tender eyes,
    For looks that lift and words that thrill,
    For friends that love through good and ill,
      For home, and all home's tender ties!

    Praise God for losses and for gain,
      For tears to shed, and songs to sing,
    For gleams of gold and mists of rain,
    For the year's full joy, the year's deep pain,
      The grieving and the comforting!


    Fate says, and flaunts her stores of gold,
    "I'll loan you happiness untold.
    What is it you desire of me?"
    A perfect hour in which to be
    In love with life, and glad, and good,
    The bliss of being understood,
    Amid life's cares a little space
    To feast your eyes upon a face,
    The whispered word, the love-filled tone,
    The warmth of lips that meet your own,
        To-day of Fate you borrow;
          In hunger of the heart, and pain,
          In loneliness, and longing vain,
        You pay the debt to-morrow!

    Prince, let grim Fate take what she will
    Of treasures rare, of joys that thrill,
    Enact the cruel usurer's part,
    Leave empty arms and hungry heart,
    Take what she can of love and trust,
    Take all life's gladness, if she must,
    Take meeting smile and parting kiss--
    The benediction and the bliss.
      What then? The fairest thing of all
      Is ours, O Prince, beyond recall--
      Not even Fate would dare to seize
      Our store of golden memories.


    Love met a worldling on the way,
      And softly crept into his breast.
    Straight Self and Greed refused to stay
      Where Love had dared to make his nest.

    Love met a mourner on the road,
      And said: "I'll bear thee company."
    Full soon the mourner lost his load
      Of grief, and care, and misery.

    Into a grim and cheerless home
      Love forced his way through barriers tall;
    Fled wretchedness, and chill, and gloom--
      The golden sunshine flooded all.


    Unbroken peace, I ween, is sweeter far
      Than reconciliation. Love's red scar,
    Though salved with kiss of penitence, and tears,
      Remains, full oft, unhealed through all the years.


        What is the greatest work of all?
    The work that comes every day;
      The work that waits us on ev'ry hand
      Is work that, for us, is truly grand,
    And the love of work is our pay.

        What is the highest life of all?
    It is living, day by day,
      True to ourselves and true to the right,
      Living the truth from dawn till the night,
    And the love of truth for our pay.

        What is the grandest thing of all--
    Is it winning Heaven some day?
      No, and a thousand times say no;
      'Tis making this old world thrill and glow
      With the sun of love till each shall know
      Something of Heaven here below,
    And God's _well done_ for our pay.


    Write on Life's tablet all things tender, great and good,
    Uncaring that full oft thou art misunderstood.
    Interpretation true is foreign to the throng
    That runs and reads; heed not its praise or blame. Be strong!
    Write on with steady hand, and, smiling, say, "'Tis well!"
    If when thy deeds spell _Heaven_
    The rabble read out _Hell_.


    Art going to do a kindly deed?
      'Tis never too soon to begin;
    Make haste, make haste, for the moments speed,
    The world, my dear one, has pressing need
    Of your tender thought and kindly deed.
      'Tis never too soon to begin.

    But if the deed be a selfish one,
      'Tis ever too soon to begin;
    If some heart will be sorer when all is done,
    Put it off! put it off from sun to sun,
    Remembering always, my own dear one,
      'Tis ever too soon to begin.


    My soul spoke low to Discontent:
      Long hast thou lodged with me,
    Now, ere the strength of me is spent,
      I would be quit of thee.

    Thy presence means revolt, unrest,
      Means labor, longing, pain;
    Go, leave me, thou unwelcome guest,
      Nor trouble me again.

    I longed for peace--for peace I cried;
      You would not let her in;
    No room was there for aught beside
      The turmoil and the din.

    I longed for rest, prayed life might yield
      Soft joy and dear delight;
    You urged me to the battlefield,
      And flung me in the fight.

    We two part company to-day.
      Now, ere my strength be spent,
    I open wide my doors and say:
      "Begone, thou Discontent!"

    Then something strong and sweet and fair
      Rose up and made reply:
    Who gave you the desire to dare
      And do the right? 'Twas I.

    The coward soul craves pleasant things,
      Soft joys and dear delights--
    I scourged you till you spread your wings
      And soared to nobler heights.

    You know me but imperfectly--
      My surname is Divine;
    God's own right hand did prison me
      Within this soul of thine,

    Lest thou, forgetting work and strife,
      By human longings prest,
    Shouldst miss the grandest things of life,
      Its battles and unrest.


    A prayer of love, O Father!
      A fair and flowery way
    Life stretches out before these
      On this their marriage day.
    O pour Thy choicest blessing,
      Withhold no gift of Thine,
    Fill all their world with beauty
      And tenderness divine!

    A prayer of love, O Father!
      This holy love and pure,
    That thrills the soul to rapture,
      O may it e'er endure!
    The richest of earth's treasures,
      The gold without alloy,
    The flower of faith unfading,
      The full, the perfect joy!

    No mist of tears or doubting,
      But in their steadfast eyes
    The light divine, the light of love,
      The light of Paradise.
    A prayer of love, O Father!
      A prayer of love to Thee,
    God's best be theirs for life, for death,
      And all Eternity!


    The glad, glad days, and the pleasant ways--
      Ho! for the fields and the wildwood!
    The scents, the sights, and the dear delights--
      Ho! for our care-free childhood!

    Heavy the air with a fragrance rare,
      Strawberries ripe in the meadow,
    Luscious and red where the vines are spread
      Thickly in sun and shadow.

    The glad, glad days, and the pleasant ways,
      Chorus of wild birds calling:
    "Strawberry ripe! Ho! strawberry ripe!"
      From dawn till the dew is falling.


  O the frozen valley and frozen hill make a coffin wide and deep,
  And the dead river lies, all its laughter stilled within it, fast

  The trees that have played with the merry thing, and freighted its
        breast with leaves,
  Give never a murmur or sigh of woe--they are dead--no dead thing

  No carol of love from a song-bird's throat; the world lies naked and
  For all things tender, and all things sweet, have been touched by the
       gruesome chill.

  Not a flower--a blue forget-me-not, a wild rose, or jasmine soft--
  To lay its bloom on the dead river's lips, that have kissed them
       all so oft.

  But look! a ladder is spanning the space 'twixt earth and the sky
  A ladder of gold for the Maid of Grace--the strong, the subtle,
       the fond!

  Spring, with the warmth in her footsteps light, and the breeze and
       the fragrant breath,
  Is coming to press her radiant face to that which is cold in death.

  Spring, with a mantle made of the gold held close in a sunbeam's heart
  Thrown over her shoulders bonnie and bare--see the sap in the great
       trees start!

  Where the hem of this flowing garment trails, see the glow, the color
  A stirring and spreading of something fair--the dawn is chasing
       the night!

  Spring, with all love and all dear delights pulsing in every vein,
  The old earth knows her, and thrills to her touch, as she claims her
       own again.

  Spring, with the hyacinths filling her lap and violet seeds in
       her hair,
  With the crocus hiding its satin head in her bosom warm and fair;

  Spring, with the daffodils at her feet and pansies abloom in her eyes,
  Spring, with enough of God in herself to make the dead to arise!

  For see, as she bends o'er the coffin deep--the frozen valley
       and hill--
  The dead river stirs,--ah, that ling'ring kiss is making its heart
       to thrill!

  And then as she closer and closer leans, it slips from its snowy shroud,
  Frightened a moment, then rushing away, calling and laughing aloud!

  The hill where she rested is all abloom, the wood is green as of old,
  And wakened birds are striving to send their songs to the Gates of Gold.


    Madam, they say, has lost her way.
      Tell me, has she passed thither?
    Let her alone and she'll come home,
      And bring her _tales_ all with her.


  Sweet and shrill the crickets hiding in the grasses brown and lean
  Pipe their gladness--sweeter, shriller--one would think the world
       was green.
  O the haze is on the hilltops, and the haze is on the lake!
  See it fleeing through the valley with the bold wind in its wake!
              Mark the warm October haze!
              Mark the splendor of the days!
  And the mingling of the crimson with the sombre brown and grays!

  See the bare hills turn their furrows to the shine and to the glow;
  If you listen you can hear it, hear a murmur soft and low--
  "We are naked," so the fields say, "stripped of all our golden dress."
  "Heed it not," October answers, "for I love ye none the less.
              Share my beauty and my cheer
              While we rest together here,
  In these sun-filled days of languor, in these late days of the year."

  All the splendor of the summer, all the springtime's light and grace,
  All the riches of the harvest, crown her head and light her face;
  And the wind goes sighing, sighing, as if loath to let her pass,
  While the crickets sing exultant in the lean and withered grass.
              O the warm October haze!
              O the splendor of the days!
  O the mingling of the crimson with the sombre brown and grays!


    O glad sun, creeping through the casement wide,
      A million blossoms have you kissed since morn,
    But none so fair as this one at my side--
      Touch soft the bit of love, the babe new born.

    Towards all the world my love and pity flow,
      With high resolves, with trust, with sympathy.
    This happy heart of mine is all aglow--
      This heart that was so cold--God's warmth is she.


    Low in the ivy-covered church she kneeled,
      The sunshine falling on her golden hair;
    The moaning of a soul with hurt unhealed
      Was her low-breathed and broken cry of prayer.

    "Thy wounded hand, dear Christ, Thy wounded hand!
      I pray Thee, lay it on this heart of mine--
    This heart so sick with grief it cannot stand
      Aught heavier than this tender touch of Thine.

    "Thy wounded hand, dear Christ, O let it press
      Here, where the hurt is hardest, where the pain
    Throbs fiercest, and the utter emptiness
      Mocks at glad memories and longings vain!

    "Thy wounded hand, dear Christ, who long ago
      Slept by Thy mother's side in Bethlehem!
    Think of her cradling arms, her love-song low,
      And pity me when Thou dost think of them.

    "My baby girl, my pretty dear, I miss
      Morning and noon and night--her ways so wise,
    The patting of her soft, warm hands, the kiss,
      The cooing voice, the sunshine of her eyes.

    "I sleep, and dream she nestles close, my own,
      Her red mouth on my breast; I wake and cry.
    She sleeps out yonder in the dark, alone--
      My arms are empty and my bosom dry.

    "Thy wounded hand, dear Christ, will surely bring
      Healing for this great anguish that I bear!
    A nursing babe, a little dimpled thing,
      God might have left her to her mother's care!

    "Thy wounded hand, dear Christ, O let me feel
      Its touch to-day, and past all doubting prove
    Thou hast not lost Thine ancient power to heal--
      Press out the bitterness, fill up with love!

    "O Babe that in the manger rude did sleep!
      O Prince of Peace, Thy tender wounded palm
    Still holds the oil of joy for those that weep!
      Still holds the comforting, the Gilead's balm!"


    Gray old gardener, what do you bring?
      "Laurel and ivy and bay,
    With palms for the crowning of a King--
      The morrow is Christmas Day.

    "Holly with thorns, and berries like blood
      On its shiny greenness flung.
    O the piercèd side, and the thorny crown,
      And the cross whereon He hung!

    "The mistletoe, meaning All-healing,
      Hangs close to the holly's thorn,
    Lest we forget that on Christmas Day
      The Healer of Souls was born.

    "Ivy's for faith; on the altar rail
      Let it creep where all may see;
    It crept till it kissed a cheek so pale
      That night in Gethsemane.

    "Bay's for remembrance, full and sweet;
      It speaks with its fragrant breath
    Of manger and cross and a lowly tomb,
      And a love that conquered death.

    "And laurel leaves for the wreath I bring,
      The laurel for victory,
    And palms for the crowning of a King--
      The morrow is Christmas Day."


    When Satan sends--to vex the mind of man
      And urge him on to meanness and to wrong--
    His satellites, there is not one that can
      Acquit itself like envy. Not so strong
    As lust, so quick as fear, so big as hate--
      A pigmy thing, the twin of sordid greed--
    Its work all noble things to underrate,
      Decry fair face, fair form, fair thought, fair deed,
    A sneer it has for what is highest, best,
      For love's soft voice, and virtue's robe of white;
    Truth is not true, and pity is not kind,
      A great task done is but a pastime light.
    Tormented and tormenting is the mind
      That grants to envy room to make its nest.


    He frowned and shook his snowy head.
      "Those clanging bells! they deafen quite
    With their unmeaning song," he said.
      "I'm weary of it all to-night--
    The gladness, sadness. I'm so old
      I have no sympathy to spare,
    My heart has grown so hard and cold,
      So full of self, I do not care
    How many laugh, or long, or grieve
    In all the world this Christmas eve.

    "There was a time long, long ago--
      They take our best, the passing years--
    For the old life, and faith, and glow.
      I'd give--what's on my cheek? Not tears!
    I have a whim. To-night I'll spend
      Till eyes turn on me gratefully--
    An old man's whim, just to pretend
      That he is what he used to be;
    For this one night, not want nor pain
      Shall look to me for help in vain."

    "A foolish whim!" he muttered oft,
      The while he gave to those in need;
    But strangely warm and strangely soft
      His old face grew, for self and greed
    Slipped from him. Ah, it made him glow
      To hear the blessing, thanks, the prayer.
    He looked into his heart, and lo!
      The old-time faith and love were there.
    "Ring out, old bells, right gladly ring!"
    He said, "Full sweet the song you sing."


    Quebec, the gray old city on the hill,
      Lies, with a golden glory on her head,
    Dreaming throughout this hour so fair, so still,
      Of other days and her belovèd dead.
    The doves are nesting in the cannons grim,
      The flowers bloom where once did run a tide
    Of crimson when the moon rose pale and dim
      Above a field of battle stretching wide.
    Methinks within her wakes a mighty glow
      Of pride in ancient times, her stirring past,
    The strife, the valor of the long ago
      Feels at her heart-strings. Strong and tall, and vast
    She lies, touched with the sunset's golden grace,
    A wondrous softness on her gray old face.


    What we most need is men of worth,
      Men o' the forest mark,
    Of lofty height and mighty girth
      And green, unbroken bark.

    Not men whom circumstances
      Have stunted, wasted, sapped,
    Men fearful of fighting chances,
      Clinging to by-paths mapped.

    Holding honor and truth below
      Promotion, place and pelf;
    Weaklings that change as winds do blow,
      Lost in their love of self.

    Tricksters playing a game unfair
      (Count them, sirs, at this hour),
    Ready to dance to maddest air
      Piped by the man in power.

    The need, sore need, of this young land
      Is honest men, good sirs,
    Men as her oak trees tall and grand,
      Staunch as her stalwart firs.

    Steadfast, unswerving, first and last,
      Fearless of front and strong,
    Meeting the challenge of the blast
      With high, clear battle song.

    Not sapless things of the byways,
      Lacking in life and strength,
    Not shrivelled shrubs of the highways,
      Pigmy of breadth and length,

    But noblest growth of God's green earth--
      Men o' the forest mark,
    Of lofty height and giant girth
      And green, unbroken bark.


    Here's a song of cheer
    For the whole long year:

    We've only to do our best,
        Take up our part
        With a strong, true heart--
    The Lord will do all the rest.


    The harvest sun lay hot and strong
      On waving grain and grain in sheaf,
    On dusty highway stretched along,
      On hill and vale, on stalk and leaf.

    The wind which stirred the tasseled corn
      Came creeping through the casement wide,
    And softly kissed the babe new born
      That nestled at its mother's side.

    That mother spoke in tones that thrilled:
      "My firstborn's cradled in my arm,
    Upon my breast his cry is stilled,
      And here he lies so dear, so warm."

    To her had come a generous share
      Of worldly honors and of fame,
    Of hours replete with gladness rare,
      But no one hour seemed just the same

    As that which came when, white and spent
      With pain of travail great, she lay,
    Thrilled through with rapture and content,
      And love and pride, that August day.

    The fairest picture of the past--
      Life's tenderest page till all is done--
    A glad young mother holding fast
      God's wondrous gift--her little son.


    There's an Isle, a green Isle, set in the sea,
      Here's to the Saint that blessed it!
    And here's to the billows wild and free
      That for centuries have caressed it!

    Here's to the day when the men that roam
      Send longing eyes o'er the water!
    Here's to the land that still spells home
      To each loyal son and daughter!

    Here's to old Ireland--fair, I ween,
      With the blue skies stretched above her!
    Here's to her shamrock warm and green,
      And here's to the hearts that love her!


    From the little bald head to the two little feet,
    You are winsome, and bonnie, and tender, and sweet,
                But not for this do I love you.

    You're wilful, cajoling, not fond of restraint,
    A creature of moods--no tiresome saint--
    You're wise and you're wistful, and oh, you are quaint,
                But not for this do I love you.

    You're a rose of a maiden, the pink and the white
    Of your face is to me a rare thing of delight,
                But not for this do I love you.

    That "agoo" on your lips is the tenderest thing,
    And the eyes smiling at me, ye bonnie wee thing,
    Are violets washed with the dewdrops of spring,
                But not for this do I love you.

    Come, nestle down close on my bosom, you dear,
    The secret I'll whisper right into your ear,
                Because you are _you_ do I love you,

    Because you are you, just you, oh, my own,
    Because you are Lesley, this reason alone
    Will do for us, darling, until you are grown,
                Because you are _you_ do I love you.


    The harvest moon in yellow haze
      Is steeping all the sea and land,
    Is kindling paths and shining ways
      Around the hills, across the sand.

    And there are only thou and I--
      O sweetheart, I've no eyes to note
    The glory of the sea and sky,
      I see a softly rounded throat,

    A face uplifted, pure and sweet,
      Two blue eyes filled with trust and love;
    Enough, the sea sings at our feet,
      The harvest moon sails just above.


    Her eyes are the windows of a soul
      Where only the white thoughts spring,
    And they look, as the eyes of the angels look,
      For the good in everything.

    Her lips can whisper the tenderest words
      That weary and worn can hear,
    Can tell of the dawn of a better morn
      Till only the cowards fear.

    Her hands can lift up the fallen one
      From an overthrow complete,
    Can take a soul from the mire of sin
      And lead it to Christ's dear feet.

    And she can walk wherever she will--
      She walketh never alone.
    The work she does is the Master's work,
      And God guards well His own.


    We catch a glimpse of it, gaunt and gray,
      When the golden sunbeams are all abroad;
    We sober a moment, then softly say:
      The world still lies in the hand of God.

    We watch it stealthily creeping o'er
      The threshold leading to somebody's soul;
    A shadow, we cry, it cannot be more
      When faith is one's portion and Heaven one's goal.

    A ghost that comes stealing its way along,
      Affrighting the weak with its gruesome air,
    But who that is young and glad and strong
      Fears for a moment to meet Despair?

    To this heart of ours we have thought so bold
      All uninvited it comes one day--
    Lo! faith grows wan, and love grows cold,
      And the heaven of our dreams lies far away.


    Day of battle and day of blood
      Found you steady and strong, I ween;
    Sons of the land of the Maple Leaf,
      Face to the foe, you died for the Queen.

    Brave boys, our boys, filling to-day
      Nameless graves upon veldt and plain,
    Here's to your mem'ry gallant and true,
      Sons of our soil, who thought it gain

    To fight and win, or to fight and fall!
      Strong of purpose, you took your stand,
    Proved with your life-blood red and warm
      Canada's faith in the Motherland!

    Brave boys, our boys, this have you done,
      Drawn us closer, and bound us fast;
    One are we with the Isle in the sea,
      One in the future, the present, the past.

    Brave boys, our boys, honor we owe,
      Honor and homage a mighty debt--
    You proved our love and our loyalty--
      The land that bore you will not forget!
    Canada's soldiers, Canada's sons,
      The land that bore you will not forget!


    The sunset has faded, there's but a tinge,
      Saffron pale, where a star of white
    Has tangled itself in the trailing fringe
      Of the pearl-gray robe of the summer night.

    O the green of the barley fields grows deep,
      The breath of the barley fields grows rare;
    There is rustle and glimmer, sway and sweep--
      The wind is holding high revel there,

    Singing the song it has often sung--
      Hark to the troubadour glad and bold:
    "Sweet is the earth when the summer is young
      And the barley fields are green and gold!"


    Did you send your song to the gates of gold
        In the days of long ago?
    A song of sweetness and gladness untold,
    Till fain was my lady to have and to hold--
        Ah! my lady did not know.

    'Tis love and joy make the soul of a song,
        If we only understood.
    Can each strain be tender, and true, and strong,
    When the days stretch out so weary and long,
        Dear little bird of the wood?

    The sun came so boldly into your cell--
        'Tis the springtime, pretty bird--
    And full sweet the story he had to tell
    Of doings in meadow and wood and dell,
        Till your longing grew and stirred.

    This cage of my lady's has silver bars,
        And my lady's voice is mild,
    But oh, to sail 'twixt the earth and stars,
    Forget the hurt of the prison bars
        In the gladness of freedom wild!

    To soar and circle o'er shadowy glade
        Where dewdrops hide from the sun!
    O fields where the blossoming clover swayed!
    O voices familiar that music made
        Till the full, glad day was done!

    Ah, then you sang, little bird of the wood,
        And you stilled the laughing throng.
    To make passionate longing understood
    You took the height and depth of your mood
        And flung them into a song!

    These guests of my lady's did listen, I know,
        When out through the silver bars
    You sent forth a measure, liquid and low
    As laughter of waters that ebb and flow
        Under the shimmering stars.

    You sang of the sweetest, gladdest, and best
        Your longing heart held in store,
    Till into the careless listener's breast
    There flashed a sudden and vague unrest,
        That grew into something more.

    Eyes saw for a few brief moments' space
        The heights that were never trod,
    And, seeing, grew dim for the swift, bold race
    That was planned in the hours when youth and grace
        Came fresh from the hand of God.

    Only a homesick bird of the field
      Trilling a glorious note!
    Only a homesick bird of the wood
      With heaven in your full throat!


    Not faultless, for she was not fashioned so,
      A mingling of the bitter and the sweet;
    Lips that can laugh and sigh and whisper low
      Of hope and trust and happiness complete,
    Or speak harsh truths; eyes that can flash with fire,
      Or make themselves but wells of tenderness
    Wherein is drowned all bitterness and ire--
      Warm eyes whose lightest glance is a caress.
    Heaven sent her here to brighten this old earth,
      And only heaven fully knows her worth.


    Down in the mullein meadow
      The lusty thistle springs,
    The butterflies go criss-cross,
      The lonesome catbird sings,

    The alderbush is flaunting
      Her blossoms white as snow--
    The same old mullein meadow
      We played in long ago.

    The waste land of the homestead,
      The arid sandy spot,
    Where reaper's song is never heard,
      Where wealth is never sought,

    But where the sunshine lingers,
      And merry breezes come
    To gather pungent perfumes
      From the mullein-stalks abloom.

    There's a playground on the hillside,
      A playhouse in the glade,
    With mulleins for a garden,
      And mulleins for a shade.

    And still the farmer grumbles
      That nothing good will grow
    In this old mullein meadow
      We played in long ago!


    O freshness, living freshness of a day
    In June! Spring scarce has gotten out of sight,
    And not a stain of wear shows on the grass
    Beneath our feet, and not a dead leaf calls,
    "Our day of loveliness is past and gone!"
    I found the thick wood steeped in pleasant smells,
    The dainty ferns hid in their sheltered nooks;
    The wild-flowers found the sunlight where they stood,
    And some hid their white faces quite away,
    While others lifted up their starry eyes
    And seemed right glad to ruffle in the breeze.


    "Life's day is too brief," he said at dawn,
      "I would it were ten times longer,
    For great tasks wait for me further on."
      At noonday the wish was stronger.

    His place was in the thick of the strife,
      And hopes were nearing completeness,
    While one was crowning the joys of life
      With love's own wonderful sweetness.

    "Life's day is too brief for all it contains,
      The triumphs, the fighting, the proving,
    The hopes and desires, the joys and the pains--
      Too brief for the hating and loving."

           *       *       *       *       *

    To-night he sits in the shadows gray,
      While heavily sorrow presses.
    O the long, long day! O the weary day,
      With its failures and successes!

    He sits in the shadows and turns his eyes
      On the years that lie behind him.
    "I am tired of all things now," he cries,
      And the hot tears rise and blind him.

    "Rest and stillness is all that I crave,
      Such robbing of strength has grief done.
    Make room, dear love, in your lowly grave--
      Life's day, thank God, is a brief one!"


    The eastern sky grew all aglow,
    A tinted fleet sailed just below.

    The thick wood and the clinging mist
    Slow parted, wept good-bye, and kissed.

    To primrose, tulip, daffodil,
    The wind came piping gay and shrill:

    "Wake up! wake up! while day is new,
    And all the world is washed with dew!"


(JUNE 13, 1899.)

    So still you sleep upon your bed,
      So motionless and slender,
    It cannot be that you are dead,
      My maiden gay and tender!

    You were no creature pale and meek
      That death should hasten after,
    The dimples played within your cheek,
      Your lips were made for laughter.

    To you the great world was a place
      That care might never stay in,
    A playground built by God's good grace
      For glad young folks to play in.

    You made your footpath by life's flowers,
      O happy, care-free maiden!
    The sky was full of shine and showers,
      The wind was perfume laden.

    Your dimpled hands are folded now
      Upon your snowy bosom,
    The dark hair nestles on your brow--
      O tender, broken blossom!

    The white lids hide your eyes so clear,
      So mirthful, so beguiling,
    But as my tears fall on you, dear,
      Your lips seem softly smiling.

    And do you feel that it is home,
      The city far above us?
    And were they glad to have you come?
      And will you cease to love us?

    Methinks when you stand all in white
      To learn each sweet new duty,
    Some eye will note, with keen delight,
      Your radiance and beauty.

    And when your laughter softly rings
      Out where God's streets do glisten,
    The angels fair will fold their wings
      And still their song to listen.


  With an angel flower-laden, every day a dimpled maiden
    Sails away from off my bosom on a radiant sea of bliss;
  I can see her drifting, drifting, hear the snowy wings uplifting
    As he woos her into Dreamland with a kiss.

  Blissful hour, my pretty sleeper, guarded by an angel keeper,
    List'ning to the words he brings thee from a fairer world than this;
  Sweet! thy heart he is beguiling, I can tell it by thy smiling,
    As he woos thee into Dreamland with a kiss.

  Could there come to weary mortals such a glimpse through golden
  Would we not drift on forever toward the longed-for land of peace,
jean     Would we not leave joys and sorrows,
    Glad to-days and sad to-morrows,
  For the sound of white wings lifting, and the kiss?


    She is so winsome and so wise
      She sways me at her will,
    And oft the question will arise,
      What mission does she fill?
    O then I say with pride untold,
      And love beyond degree,
    This woman with the heart of gold,
      She just keeps house for me--
                    For me,
      She just keeps house for me!

    A full content dwells on her face,
      She's quite in love with life,
    And for a title wears with grace
      The sweet old-fashioned "wife."
    Our children climb upon her knee,
      And nestle on her breast,
    And ah! her mission seems to me
      The grandest and the best.

    O then I say with pride untold,
      And love beyond degree,
    This woman with the heart of gold,
      She just keeps house for me--
                    For me,
      She just keeps house for me!


    There's a man I know--
      A likeable man--
    Whom you meanly wound
      Whenever you can,
    Remark with malice
      His task is done ill,
    He's poor of judgment
      And weak of will.
    I implore you, now,
      As that poor man's friend,
    Let persecution
      Have speediest end.

    Cease taunting the man
      With blunders he makes,
    Cease harping alway
      On wrongs and mistakes.
    Come, be his good friend--
      Hail fellow, well met--
    His failures forgive,
      And his faults forget.
    Who is the man you've
      Discouraged and blamed?
    The man is _yourself_--
      Are you not ashamed?

    For faults of the past
      Make ample amends,
    And you and yourself
      Be the best of friends.


    O the hills of purple heather,
      And the skies so warm and gray!
    O the shimmer of the sea-mist
      In the sea-wind far away!
    O the calling of the torrent,
      Sweeping down Ben Vorlich's side,
    And my white flocks faring foldward
      In the hush of eventide!


    I can see her in the kitchen,
      Apron on and sleeves rolled up,
    Measurin' spices in a teaspoon,
      Figs and raisins in a cup.

    Now she's throwin' apple quarters
      In that wooden bowl of hers,
    'Long with lemon peel and orange,
      An' she stirs, an' stirs, an' stirs.

    Then she takes her knife an' chops it,
      Chops so fast her hand jest flies.
    Now I know what ma is up to--
      Makin' mincemeat for the pies.

    I smell Christmas in our kitchen,
      An' my heart gets big an' glad,
    An' I, somehow, fall to wishin',
      That I wasn't quite so bad.

    An' I tell myself I'll never
      Cheat at marbles any more,
    Nor make faces at my teacher,
      Nor hang round the corner store

    'Stead of goin' on my errands;
      Never touch the cookie pail,
    Nor play hooky an' go skatin',
      Nor tie cans on Rover's tail;

    Never let ma think it's spellings
      When it's only Robin Hood.
    With the gladness comes the wishin'
      To be, oh, just awful good!

    'Bout this time of year it takes me--
      Pa, he doesn't understand,
    Always says: "You sly young codger,
      You know Christmas is at hand."

    But it isn't that, it's something--
      Can't explain it very well--
    Takes me when ma fills the kitchen
      With this juicy Christmas smell.

    When she chops the spice an' raisins,
      With the peels an' Northern Spies,
    Sleeves rolled up above her elbows,
      Makin' mincemeat for the pies.


    We met her on the hillside green
      Below old Castle Blarney;
    Her name, she whispered, was Eileen,
      Her home it was Killarney.

    I see her yet, her Irish eyes
      Blue gray as seas in summer,
    And hear her welcome, on this wise,
      Vouchsafed to each new-comer:

    "I'll guide ye up the stairway steep,
      And naught will ye be missing
    O' battlement or donjon keep,
      Or blarney stone for kissing.

    "The tower that was McCarthy's pride,
      The scene o' battles thrilling,
    And where the Desmond kept his bride--
      Me fee is but a shilling.

    "Here's for ye, now, a keepsake charm"--
      Her low tones grow caressing--
    "A bit o' shamrock green and warm,
      To bring ye luck and blessing."

    The "keepsake charm"--I have it yet--
      A thing of guile and blarney;
    Each green leaf dares me to forget
      Fair Eileen o' Killarney.


    He does the devil's basest work, no less,
      Who deals in calumnies--who throws the mire
    On snowy robes whose hem he dare not press
      His foul lips to. The pity of it! Liar,
    Yet half believed by such as deem the good
      Or evil but the outcome of a mood.
    That one who, with the breath lent him by Heaven,
      Speaks words that on some white soul do reflect,
    Is lost to decency, and should be driven
      Outside the pale of honest men's respect.
    O slanderer, hell's imps must say of you:
      "He does the work we are ashamed to do!"


"_Poet by the grace of God._"

    You sing of winter gray and chill,
      Of silent stream and frozen lake,
      Of naked woods, and winds that wake
    To shriek and sob o'er vale and hill.

    And straight we breathe the bracing air,
      And see stretched out before our eyes
      A white world spanned by brooding skies,
    And snowflakes drifting everywhere.

    You sing of tender things and sweet,
      Of field, of brook, of flower, of bush,
      The lilt of bird, the sunset flush,
    The scarlet poppies in the wheat.

    Until we feel the gleam and glow
      Of summer pulsing through our veins,
      And hear the patter of the rains,
    And watch the green things sprout and grow.

    You sing of joy, and we do mark
      How glad a thing is life, and dear;
      Of sorrow, and we seem to hear
    The sound of sobbing in the dark.

    The subtle power to sway and move,
      The stamp of genius strong and true,
      This, friend, was heaven's gift to you,
    This made you great and won you love.

    Your song goes ringing clear and sweet--
      Though on earth's bosom, bare and brown,
      All willingly you laid you down,
    The music is not incomplete.

    Sleep on, it is not by the years
      We measure life when all is done;
      Your rest is earned, your laurels won;
    Sleep, softly sleep, we say with tears.


    Among the vivid green I see
      A yellow leaf,
    And yonder in the basswood tree
    An empty nest swings lonesomely--
      The wheat's in sheaf.


    They lift their faces to the light,
      And aye they are a gallant band;
    The queen of all is snowy white--
      A stately thing, and tall and grand.

    See, close beside, in yellow drest,
      Is the prince consort of the hour;
    A bit of God's own sunshine prest
      Into a glorious golden flower!

    And mark the courtiers' noble grace--
      Gay courtiers these, in raiment fine--
    Their satin doublets slashed with lace,
      Their velvet cloaks as red as wine.

    Each maid-in-waiting is most fair--
      Note well the graces she unfurls--
    The winds have tossed her fluffy hair,
      And left it in a thousand curls.

    And yonder quaint, old-fashioned one,
      Arrayed in palest lavender,
    Ah! few there are, when all is done,
      In beauty can compare with her.

    The pink--I've seen at eventide
      A something very like to this,
    A cloud adrift upon the sky,
      All rosy from the sun's last kiss.

    Without the court, the chill and gloom
      Of autumn twilight o'er the land;
    Within, the grandeur and the bloom
      Of queen, of prince, and courtiers grand.


    'Tis woman rules the whole world still,
      Though faults the critics say she has;
    She smiles her smile and works her will--
      'Tis just a little way she has.


    The great man came to the country place,
      To preach to farmers sturdy;
    He said: "I'm in my happiest vein,
      I'll be eloquent and wordy."

    "Not often a great man like myself
      Comes here to do the teaching--
    A big event in these quiet lives--
      They'll not forget my preaching."

    The great man found him a text at length
      In Ezekiel's ponderous pages;
    From point to point of his sermon long
      He travelled at easy stages.

    He soared up high in the realms of thought,
      Was rich in allegory.
    "I have," said he, as he sat him down,
      "Covered myself with glory.

    "These simple rustics are overcome
      With my rhetoric and power,
    They're used to a sprinkling of thought
      And I've given them a shower."

    The great man got a terrible shock
      As, the long service over,
    He walked with a farmer grave and staid
      Home through the fields of clover.

    "Your people--ah--were they much impressed
      With my sermon?" he queried.
    "Preaching with earnestness, power and force
      Has left me sadly wearied."

    "A worse would a done us country folks"--
      The farmer's tone a terse one--
    "That is," reflectively, "if you
      Happened to have a worse one."


    You miss the touch of her dear hand,
      Her laughter gay and sweet,
    The dimpled cheek, the sunny smile,
      The patter of her feet.

    The loving glances she bestowed,
      The tender tales she told--
    The world, since she has gone away,
      Seems empty, drear and cold.

    Dear, oft you prayed that God would give
      Your darling joy and grace,
    That pain or loss might never dim
      The brightness of her face.

    That her young heart might keep its trust,
      Its purity so white,
    Its wealth of sweet unselfishness,
      Her eyes their radiant light,

    Her fair, soft face its innocence
      Of every guile and wrong,
    And nothing touch to mar the joy
      And gladness of her song.

    God heard the prayer; His answer came--
      Now, cease thy murmuring, cease--
    "Come, little one, come home," He said,
      "Unto the Land of Peace!"

    You sheltered her upon your breast,
      The child so quaint and wise,
    To-day, where sorrow is unknown,
      She walks in paradise.

    Her eyes have learned the mystery,
      Her feet the vale have crost,
    But, friend of mine, you'll find again
      The treasure you have lost.

    Your arms will surely clasp once more
      The little fair-haired girl
    Who waits for you within the gates
      Of jasper and of pearl.


    Do you remember that June day among
    The hills, the high, far-reaching Sussex hills?
    Above, the straggling flocks of fleecy clouds
    That skipped and chased each other merrily
    In God's warm pasturage, the azure sky;
    Below, the hills that stretched their mighty heads
    As though they fain would neighbor with that sky.
    Deep, vivid green, save where the flocks showed white;
    The wise ewes hiding from the glow of noon
    In shady spots, the short-wooled lambs at play,
    And over all the stillness of the hills,
    The sweet and solemn stillness of the hills.

    The shepherds gave us just such looks of mild
    Surprise as did the sheep they shepherded.
    "Ye are not of the hills," so said the looks,
    "Not of our kind, but strangers come from out
    The busy, bustling world to taste the sweets
    Of silence and of peace. We wish you well."
    In eager quest of what the hills might hide,
    Some valley of content, some spring of youth,
    Some deep, enchanted dell filled to the brim
    With subtle mysteries, allurement rare,
    We followed down a path, a little crooked,
    Wand'ring path that lost itself and found itself
    So oft we knew it for the playmate of the stream
    That went with us and sang a clamorous song--
    A never-ending song of flock and fold
    Of sea-mist and of sun--until at length
    We came into a valley warm and wide,
    A cradle 'mong the hills. In it there lay
    No infant hamlet, but one gray and old
    That dozed and dreamed the soft June hours away.

    Gardens there were with fragrant wall-flowers filled,
    And daffodils, and rhododendrons pale,
    And sweet, old-fashioned pinks, phlox, rosemary;
    An avenue of elms, with cottages,
    And barefoot children sporting on the green.
    "'Tis Poynings," said the rustic, "see, the church
    Lies yonder, and the graveyard just beyond;
    This path will lead you straight to it."

    Do you remember--rather, will you e'er forget?--
    That gray church built, how many centuries
    Ago? The worn stone steps, the oaken door,
    The crumbling walls, the altar carved,
    The stories told by stained-glass windows set
    Deep in the walls; the ivy, thick and green,
    Which crept and hid the grayness quite from sight.
    Within, the smell of roses from the sheaf
    Of scarlet bloom before the altar laid,
    Close mingled with the mould and must of age;
    On wall and floor memorials to the dead,
    Who, unafraid, had slumbered there so long.

    And then the graveyard out among the trees--
    No graveyard, but a garden, flower filled--
    Moss roses white as moth wings in the night,
    And lilies sorrowful but very sweet,
    Low-growing violets in grasses hid,
    And rue which spoke of some heart's bitterness.
    Old Time had decked the stones with lichens rare,
    Rubbed out with careless hand the lettering:
    In memory of someone's life and love
    Each stood, but whose we might not know.

    And while we lingered in the perfumed gloom,
    And watched the golden sunshine smite the hills,
    An English blackbird straight began a song
    So sweet, so high, so shrill, so wondrous clear,
    That! listening, our eyes grew dim the while
    Our hearts did thrill. Whoe'er has heard the song
    An English blackbird carols forth in June
    Knows well the power it has, the wondrous charm!
    Strangers were we within the gates, and so
    He gave us welcome, clearer, warmer still,
    A welcome to the beauty and the bloom,
    The silence of the churchyard old and gray,
    A welcome to the grasses and the brook,
    The shade of feathery elm trees, and the glow
    Of sunlight quivering, golden on the sward,
    A welcome to the valley dim, and to
    The hills, the high, far-reaching Sussex hills.


    Sing, ye ripening fields of wheat,
      Sing to the breezes passing by,
    Sing your jubilant song and sweet,
      Sing to the earth, the air, the sky!

    Earth that held thee and skies that kissed
      Morning and noon and night for long,
    Sun and rain and dew and mist,
      All that has made you glad and strong

    The harvest fields of the far, far west
      Stretch out a shimmering sea of gold!
    Every ripple upon its breast
      Sings peace, and plenty, and wealth untold!

    Far as the eye can reach it goes,
      Farther yet, 'till there seems no end,
    Under a sky where blue and rose
      With the gold and turquoise softly blend.

    Here, where sweep the prairies lone,
      Broad and beautiful in God's eyes,
    Here in this young land, all our own,
      The garner-house of the old world lies.


    I cannot echo the old wish to die at morn, as darkness strays!
    We have been glad together greeting some new-born radiant days,
    The earth would hold me, every day familiar things
              Would weigh me fast,
    The stir, the touch of morn, the bird that on swift wings
              Goes flitting past.
    Some flower would lift to me its tender tear-wet face, and send
         its breath
    To whisper of the earth, its beauty and its grace,
              And combat death.
    It would be light, and I would see in thy dear eyes
              The sorrow grow.
    Love, could I lift my own, undimmed, to paradise
              And leave thee so!
    A thousand cords would hold me down to this low sphere,
              When thou didst grieve;
    Ah! should death come upon morn's rosy breast, I fear
              I'd crave reprieve.
    But when, her gold all spent, the sad day takes her flight,
              When shadows creep,
    Then just to put my hand in thine and say, "Good-night,"
              And fall asleep.


  O the gayest of musicians! O the gladdest thing on earth,
  With its piping and its chirping, is the cricket on the hearth!
  There is magic in the music that he flings us with such zest:
  "Love's the only wealth that's lasting--who cares aught for all
       the rest?
  Never mind though ill-luck dog you, never mind though times are hard,
  Have you not the wife and bairns?" chirps the sweet, insistent bard--
  Chirps and chirps, until you heed him, till your heart is all aglow--
  "Love's the only wealth that's lasting, home's a bit of heaven below."
  O the gayest of musicians! O the gladdest thing on earth,
  With his piping and his chirping, is the cricket on the hearth!


    You cannot take from out my heart the growing,
      The green, sweet growing, and the vivid thrill.
    "O Earth," you cry, "you should be old, not glowing
      With youth and all youth's strength and beauty still!"

    Old, and the new hopes stirring in my bosom!
      Old, and my children drawing life from me!
    Old, in my womb the tender bud and blossom!
      Old, steeped in richness and fertility!

    Old, while the growing things call to each other,
      In language I alone can understand:
    "How she doth nourish us, this wondrous mother
      Who is so beautiful and strong and grand!"

    Old, while the wild things of the forest hide them
      In my gray coverts, which no eye can trace!
    Hunted or hurt, 'tis my task to provide them
      Healing and soothing and a hiding place.

    And then, my human children, could you listen
      To secrets whispered in the stillness deep
    Of noonday, or when night-dews fall and glisten--
      'Tis on my bosom that men laugh and weep.

    Some tell me moving tales of love and passion,
      Of gladness all too great to be pent in--
    The sweet, old theme which does not change its fashion--
      Another cries out brokenly of sin.

    While others filled with sorrow, fain to share it,
      Hide tear-wet faces on my soft brown breast,
    Sobbing: "Dear Mother Earth, we cannot bear it,
      Grim death has stolen all that we loved best!"

    The old familiar cry of loss and sorrow
      I hear to-day--I heard it yesterday--
    Ay, and will hear in every glad to-morrow
      That ye may bring to me, O Century.

    I answer mourner, penitent, and lover,
      With quick'ning stir, with bud and leaf and sap:
    "Peace, peace," I say, "when life's brief day is over
      Ye shall sleep soundly in your mother's lap."

    The loss, the longing of mankind I'm sharing,
      The hopes, the joys, the laughter and the tears,
    And yet you think I should be old, uncaring,
      The barren, worn-out plaything of the years!

    Past centuries have not trodden out my greenness
      With all their marches, as you well can see,
    Nor will you bring me withered age or leanness.
      March on--what are your hundred years to me

    While life and growth within me glow and flourish,
      While in the sunshine and the falling rain
    I, the great Mother, do bring forth and nourish
      The springtime blossom and the harvest grain?

    March on, O Century, I am safe holden
      In God's right hand, the garner-house of truth--
    The hand that holds the treasure rare and golden
      Of life, and sweetness, and eternal youth!


    The river is a ribbon wide,
      The falls a snowy feather,
    And stretching far on ilka side
      Are hills abloom wi' heather.
    The wind comes loitering frae the west
      By weight o' sweets retarded;
    The sea-mist hangs on Arran's crest,
      A Golden Fleece unguarded.

    We ken ye weel, ye fond young pair,
      That hand in hand do tarry;
    The youth is Burns, the Bard o' Ayr,
      The lass is Highland Mary.
    He tells her they will never pairt--
      'Tis life and luve taegither--
    The world has got the song by hairt
      He sang among the heather.

    'Twas lang ago, lang, lang ago,
      Yet all remember dearly
    The eyes, the hair, the brow o' snow
      O' her he luved sae dearly.
    And lads still woo their lassies dear,
      I' cot and hall and dairy,
    By words he whispered i' the ear
      O' his ain Highland Mary.


    'Tis noon, the meadow stretches in the sun,
    And every little spear of grass uplifts its slimness to the glow
    To let the heavy-laden bees pass out.

    A stream comes at a snail's pace through the gloom
      Of shrub and fern and brake,
    Leaps o'er a wall, goes singing on to find
      The coolness of the lake.

    A wild rose spreads her greenness on a hedge,
    And flings her tinted blossoms in the air;
    The sweetbriar neighbors with that porcupine
    Of shrubs, the gooseberry; with parasol
    Of white the elderberry shades her head
    And dreams of purple fruit and wine-press chill.

    From off her four warm eggs of mottled shade,
    A bird flies with a call of love and joy
      That wins an answer straight
    From that brown thing of gladness on a bough,
    Too slight to hold him and his weight of song,
      The proud and watchful mate.

    The wind comes heavy freighted from the wood,
    With jasmine, honeysuckle, iris, phlox,
      And lilies red and white;
    The blue lake murmurs, and the world seems all
      A garden of delight.


    A woman in her youth, but lost to all
    The joys of innocence. Love she had known,
    Such love as leaves the soul filled full of shame.
    Passion was hers, hate and impurity,
    The gnawing of remorse, the longing vain
    To lose the mark of sin, the scarlet flush
    Of fallen womanhood, the envy of
    The spotless, the desire that they might sink
    Low in the mire as she.
                            Oh, what a soul
    She carried on that day! The women drew
    Their robes back from her touch, men leered,
    And children seemed afraid to meet
    The devilish beauty of her form and face.
                            Shunned and alone,
    Till One came to her side,
    And spake her name, and took her hand in His.
                            And what He said
    Is past the telling. There are things the heart
    Knows well, but cannot blazon to the world;
    And when He went His way,
    Upon her brow, where shame had lain,
    Was set the one sweet word:


    I heard you singing in the grove,
      My Lady Nightingale;
    The thirsty leaves were drinking dew,
      And all the sky was pale.

    A silence--clear as bells of peace
      Your song thrilled on the air,
    Each liquid note a thing of joy,
      And sweet beyond compare.

    Not all of joy--a haunting strain
      Of sorrow and of tears,
    A note of grief which seemed to voice
      The sadness of the years.

    'Twas pure, 'twas clear, 'twas wondrous sweet,
      My Lady Nightingale,
    Yet subtly sad, the song you sang
      When all the sky was pale.


    There's no garden like an orchard,
      Nature shows no fairer thing
    Than the apple trees in blossom
      In these late days o' the spring.

    Here the robin redbreast's nesting,
      Here, from golden dawn till night,
    Honey bees are gaily swimming
      In a sea of pink and white.

    Just a sea of fragrant blossoms,
      Steeped in sunshine, drenched in dew,
    Just a fragrant breath which tells you
      Earth is fair again and new.

    Just a breath of subtle sweetness,
      Breath which holds the spice o' youth,
    Holds the promise o' the summer--
      Holds the best o' things, forsooth.

    There's no garden like an orchard,
      Nature shows no fairer thing
    Than the apple trees in blossom
      In these late days o' the spring.


    Who is it says May is the crown of the year?
      Who is it says June is the gladdest?
    Who is it says Autumn is withered and sere,
      The gloomiest season and saddest?

    You shut to your doors as I come with my train,
      And heed not the challenge I'm flinging,
    The ruddy leaf washed by the fresh falling rain,
      The scarlet vine creeping and clinging!

    Come out where I'm holding my court like a queen,
      With canopy rare stretching over;
    Come out where I revel in amber and green,
      And soon I may call you my lover!

    Come out to the hillside, come out to the vale,
      Come out ere your mood turns to blaming,
    Come out where my gold is, my red gold and pale,
      Come out where my banners are flaming!

    Come out where the bare furrows stretch in the glow,
      Come out where the stubble fields glisten,
    Where the wind it blows high, and the wind it blows low,
      And the lean grasses dance as they listen!


    Wha cares if skies be dull and gray?
      Wha heeds November weather?
    Let ilka Scot be glad to-day
      The whole wide warl' thegither.

    We're a' a prood and stubborn lot,
      And clannish--sae fowk name us--
    Ay, but with sic guid cause none ought
      Tae judge us, or tae blame us,

    For joys that are we'll pledge to-day
      A land baith fair and glowing--
    Here's tae the hames o' Canada,
      Wi' luve and peace o'erflowing!

    For joys that were, for auld lang syne,
      For tender chords that bind us,
    A toast--your hand, auld friend, in mine--
      "The land we left behind us!"

    Ho, lowlanders! Ho, hielandmen!
      We'll toast her a' thegither,
    Here's tae each bonnie loch and glen!
      Here's tae her hills and heather!

    Here's tae the auld hame far away!
      While tender mists do blind us,
    We'll pledge on this, St. Andrew's day,
      "The land we left behind us!"


    Would you be glad of heart and good?
      Would you forget life's toil and care?
    Come, lose yourself in this old wood
      When May's soft touch is everywhere.

    The hawthorn trees are white as snow,
      The basswood flaunts its feathery sprays,
    The willows kiss the stream below
      And listen to its flatteries:

    "O willows supple, yellow, green,
      Long have I flowed o'er stock and stone,
    I say with truth I have not seen
      A rarer beauty than your own!"

    The rough-bark hickory, elm, and beech
      With quick'ning thrill and growth are rife;
    Oak, maple, through the heart of each
      There runs a glorious tide of life.

    Fresh leaves, young buds on every hand,
      On trunk and limb a hint of red,
    The gleam of poplars tall that stand
      With God's own sunshine on their head.

    The mandrake's silken parasol
      Is fluttering in the breezes bold,
    And yonder where the waters brawl
      The buttercups show green and gold.

    The slender grape-vine sways and weaves,
      From sun-kissed sward and nook of gloom
    There comes the smell of earth and leaves,
      The breath of wild-flowers all abloom.

    Spring's gleam is on the robin's breast,
      Spring's joy is in the robin's song:
    "My mate is in yon sheltered nest;
      Ho! love is sweet and summer long!"

    While full and jubilant and clear,
      All the long day, from dawn till dark,
    The trill of bobolink we hear,
      Of hermit thrush and meadowlark.

    Sit here among the grass and fern
      Unmindful of the cares of life,
    The lessons we have had to learn,
      The hurts we've gotten in the strife.

    There's youth in every breath we take,
      Forgetfulness of loss and tears,
    Within the heart there seems to wake
      The gladness of the long past years.

    Peace keeps us company to-day
      In this old fragrant, shadowy wood;
    We lift our eyes to heaven and say:
      The world is fair and God is good.


    O Radiance of life's morning! O gold without alloy!
    O love that lives through all the years! O full, O perfect joy!

    The hills of earth touch heaven, the heaven of blue and gold,
    And angel voices swell the song of love and peace untold!

        O radiance of life's morning!
          The dew within the rose,
        The fragrance fresh from Eden
          That freights each breeze that blows!

    Dear Christ, the wine of Cana pour out in rich supply,
    These hearts keep young with gladness while all the years go by!

        O radiance of life's morning!
          O gold without alloy!
        O love that lives through all the years,
          O full, O perfect joy!


    If but one spark of honest zeal
      Flashes to life within his breast--
      A feeble, flick'ring spark at best;
    If for a moment he doth feel
    A dim desire to throw aside
      The bonds that idleness has wrought,
      To do, to be the man he ought,
    The tyrant thing he calls his pride--

    The curse of all things good on earth--
      Takes on the cruel midwife's role,
      And each high impulse of the soul
    Is strangled in the hour of birth.
    "To dig I am ashamed," quoth he;
      "Mine is the pride of name and race
      That scorns to fill such humble space--
    Life's lowly tasks are not for me."

    Oh, he can flatter with his tongue,
      Can toady to the rich and great,
      Can fawn on those he feels to hate,
    Until from out his nature's wrung
    Each shred of honesty and zeal,
      Each impulse independent, strong,
      Till truth and honor's but a song,
    And naught is beautiful or real.


    We steal the brawn, we steal the brain;
      The man beneath us in the fight
    Soon learns how helpless and how vain
      To plead for justice or for right.
    We steal the youth, we steal the health,
      Hope, courage, aspiration high;
    We steal men's all to make for wealth--
      We will repent us by and by.

    Meantime, a gift will heaven appease--
    Great God, forgive our charities!

    We steal the children's laughter shrill,
      We steal their joys e'er they can taste,
    "Why skip like young lambs on a hill?
      Go, get ye to your task in haste."
    No matter that they droop and tire,
      That heaven cries out against the sin,
    The gold, red gold, that we desire
      Their dimpled hands must help to win.

    A cheque for missions, if you please--
    Great God, forgive our charities!

    We steal the light from lover's eyes,
      We hush the tale he has to tell
    Of pure desire, of tender ties--
      No man can serve two masters well.
    So loot his treasury of pride,
      His holy hopes and visions steal,
    His hearth-fire scatter far and wide,
      And grind the sparks beneath your heel.

    A cheque will cover sins like these--
    Great God, forgive our charities!


    "Dawn!" laughs the bow, and we straight see the sky,
          Crimson, and golden, and gray,
    See the rosy cloudlets go drifting by,
    And the sheen on the lark as, soaring high,
          He carols to greet the day.

    Fast moves the bow o'er the wonderful strings--
          We feel the joy in the air--
    'Tis alive with the glory of growing things,
    With wild honeysuckle that creeps and clings,
    Rose of the briar bush--queen of the springs--
          Anemones frail and fair!

    We listen, and whisper with laughter low,
    "It voices rare gladness, that ancient bow!"

    Then, sad as the plaint of a child at night--
          A child aweary with play--
    The falling of shadows, a lost delight,
    The moaning of watchers counting the flight
          Of hours 'twixt the dark and day.

    It echoes the cry of a broken heart,
          It grieves o'er a "might have been,"
    It holds all the passionate tears that start
    When our heaven and our earth drift far apart,
          And the way lies dark between.

    It stills all our laughter, and whispers low--
    'Tis heart-strings it plays on, that ancient bow!


    You lifted eyes pain-filled to me,
      Sad, questioning eyes that did demand
    Why I should thrust back, childishly,
    The friendship warm you offered me--
      Ah, sweet, to-day you understand!

    'Twas that my heart beat rapturously
      At word of thine, at touch of hand,
    At tender glance vouchsafed to me
    The while I knew it must not be--
      Ah, sweet, to-day you understand!

    There's neither pain nor mystery
      In that far-off and fragrant land
    To which you journeyed fearlessly;
    By gates of pearl and jasper sea--
      Ah, sweet, to-day you understand!


"And behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that
Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of
ointment and stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his
feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head."

    The eyes He turned on her who kneeling wept
      Were filled with tenderness and pity rare;
    But looking on the Pharisee, there crept
      A sorrow and a hint of sternness there.

    "Simon, I have somewhat to say to thee,"
      The Master's voice rang clearly out, and stirred,
    With its new note of full authority,
      The list'ning throng, who pressed to catch each word.

    "Master, say on," self-righteous Simon said,
      And muttered in his beard, "A sinner, she!"
    Marvelling the while that on the drooping head
      The hand of Jesus rested tenderly.

    "Seest thou this woman, Simon?" Scornful eyes
      Did Simon bend upon the woman's face,
    The while the breath of love's sweet sacrifice
      Rose from the broken box and filled the place.

    Self-righteousness, the slimy thing that grows
      Upon a fellow-creature's frailty,
    That waxes fat on shame of ruined lives,
      Swelled in the bosom of the Pharisee.

    "Into thine house I came at thy request,
      Weary with travel, and thou gavest not
    To me the service due the humblest guest,
      No towel, no water clear and cold was brought

    "To wash my feet; but she, whom you despise,
      Out of the great affection she doth bear
    Hath made a basin of her woman's eyes,
      A towel of her woman's wealth of hair.

    "Thou gavest me no kiss"--O Simon, shame,
      Thus coldly and unlovingly to greet
    The Prince of Peace!--"but ever since I came
      This woman hath not ceased to kiss my feet.

    "He loveth most who hath been most forgiven."
      O Simon, hearken, learn the great truth well,
    No soul on faith's glad wings mounts nearer heaven
      Than that which hath been prisoned deep in hell.

    Methinks I hear her say: "Thou who forgivest
      My many sins, this off'ring, sweet of breath,
    I pour on Thee, dear Lord, while yet thou liv'st,
      For love is ever swift to outrun death."

    Upon her are the eyes of Jesus turned,
      With gaze which seems to strengthen and to bless.
    Who knows how long the soul of Him hath yearned
      For some such token of rare tenderness?

    The flush of shame flaunts red on Simon's cheeks,
      About the table idle babblings cease,
    A deep, full silence, then the Master speaks:
      "Thy faith hath saved thee, go in peace--in peace."


    Do you know what I will love best of all
      To do when I'm old? At the close of day
      When the dusk comes down and the shadows play,
    And the wind sings loud in the poplars tall,
    I will love to get into my corner here--
      The curtains drawn, and never a one
      To break the stillness--to sit here alone
    And dream of these good old times, my dear.

    In fancy you'll come and sit by my side--
      I can see your face with my eyes close shut,
      With the pride and the softness clearly cut,
    The obstinate chin and the forehead wide,
    The oval cheek and the smile so warm,
      The dark eyes full of their fun and power,
      With the tender light for the tender hour,
    And the flash of fire that was half their charm.

    I'll whisper: 'Twas sweet when youth was our own--
      The laughter, the nonsense, the freedom from care,
      The castles we built high up in the air,
    The secrets told to each other alone!
    Not all of laughter; the world went wrong,
      And the shadows pressed till my heart was sore.
      I'll never be glad, I said, any more,
    Never be happy, or gay, or strong.

    O the sweetest thing in the hour of pain
      Is to have one near us who understands,
      To touch us gently and hold our hands,
    Till our strength and courage come back again.
    At love's swift pace you hurried to me--
      Your tender words they will ring in my ears
      When I sit and dream after long, long years--
    The shine in your eyes through the mists I'll see.

    Our lives will be lying so far apart,
      And time, no doubt, will have given us much
      Of weary wisdom; put many a touch
    Of his withering hand on face and heart.
    But I know what I will love best of all
      To do at the end of the busy day,
      When the dusk comes down and the shadows play,
    And the wind sings low in the poplars tall.

    I will love to get into my corner here,
      With the curtains drawn, and never a one
      To break the stillness--to sit here alone
    And dream of these happy days, my dear,
    And take my treasures from memory's hold--
      The tears, the laughter, the songs that were sung--
      O the friends we love when the heart is young
    Are the friends we love when the heart grows old!


    When we were children, long ago,
      And crept to bed at close of day,
    With backward glance and footstep slow,
      Though all aweary with our play,
    Do you remember how the room--
      The little room with window deep--
    Would fill with shadows and with gloom,
      And fright us so we could not sleep?

    For O! the things we see at night--
      The dragons grim, the goblins tall,
    And, worst of all, the ghosts in white
      That range themselves along the wall!

    We could but cover up our head,
      And listen to our heart's wild beat--
    Such dreadful things about our bed,
      And no protection save a sheet!
    Then slept, and woke quite unafraid.
      The sun was shining, and we found
    Our shadows and our ghosts all laid,
      Our world a glorious playing-ground.

    For O! the things we see at night--
      The dragons grim, the goblins tall,
    And, worst of all, the ghosts in white
      That range themselves along the wall!

    We are but children still, the years
      Have never taught us to be bold,
    For mark our trembling and our fears
      When sometimes, as in days of old,
    We in the darkness lie awake,
      And see come stealing to our side
    A ghostly throng--the grave Mistake,
      The Failure big, the broken Pride.

    For O! the things we see at night--
      The dragons grim, the goblins tall,
    And, worst of all, the ghosts in white
      That range themselves along the wall!

    How close they creep! How big they loom!
      The Task which waits, the Cares which creep;
    A child, affrighted in the gloom,
      We fain would hide our head and weep.
    When, lo! the coward fear is gone--
      The golden sunshine fills the air,
    And God has sent us with the dawn
      The strength and will to do and dare.

    For O! the things we see at night--
      The dragons grim, the goblins tall,
    And, worst of all, the ghosts in white
      That range themselves along the wall!


    O life has its seasons joyous and drear,
      Its summer sun and its winter snow,
    But the fairest of all, I tell you, dear,
      Was the sweet old spring of the long ago--
              The ever and ever so long ago--

    When we walked together among the flowers,
      When the world with beauty was all aglow.
    O the rain and dew! O the shine and showers
      Of the sweet old spring of the long ago!
              The ever and ever so long ago.

    A hunger for all of the past delight
      Is stirred by the winds that softly blow.
    Can you spare me a thought from heaven to-night
      For the sweet old spring of the long ago?--
              The ever and ever so long ago.


    I'll tell you the sweetest thing, dear heart,
      I'll tell you the sweetest thing--
    'Tis saying to one that we love: "Forgive
      The careless words and the sting;
    Forgive and forget, and be friends once more,
      For the world is an empty place
    Without the light of your warm, true eyes,
      And the smile of your tender face."

    O the kissing and making up again,
      And the tender whispering!
    I'll tell you the sweetest thing, dear heart,
      I'll tell you the sweetest thing.

    I'll tell you the saddest thing, dear heart,
      I'll tell you the saddest thing:
    'Tis coming to one that we love full well,
      Some tender message to bring.
    And loitering, loitering, by the way--
      Held back by a foolish pride--
    Till it's all too late to say "Forgive!"
      When at length we reach her side.

    For the ears are heavy and cannot hear,
      And the chill lips cannot move
    To whisper "Peace," though our hearts may break
      With longing, and pain, and love,

    O this coming too late with our tenderness!
      O the passionate tears that spring!
    I'll tell you the saddest thing, dear heart,
      I'll tell you the saddest thing!

    Then let us make haste to be friends again,
      Make haste to fold to our breast
    The one we have hurt by word and deed,
      Though we loved that one the best.
    "Forgive and forget! Forgive and forget!"
      O warm in the tear-wet eyes
    Is the glow and the gleam of a golden light
      From the shores of Paradise.

    O the kissing and making up again,
      And the tender whispering!
    I'll tell you the sweetest thing, dear heart,
      I'll tell you the sweetest thing.


    "As friend," she said, "I will be kind,
      My sympathy will rarely fail,
    My eyes to many faults be blind--
      As wife, I'll lecture, scold, and rail,

    "Be full of moods, a shrew one day,
      A thing of tenderness the next,
    Will kiss and wound--a woman's way
      That long the soul of man has vext.

    "You've been a true, unselfish man,
      Have thought upon my good alway,
    Been strong to shield, and wise to plan,
      But ah! there is a change to-day.

    "There's mastery in your 'Be my wife!'
      For self stands up and eagerly
    Claims all my love, and all my life,
      The body and the soul of me.

    "Come, call me friend, and own me such,
      Nor count it such a wondrous thing
    To hold me close, thrill at my touch--
      A lord and master!--there's the sting.

    "'Tis all or naught with you, you plead,
      And he is blest who boldly wins;
    These words," she said, "are proof, indeed,
      That love and selfishness are twins.

    "Yet, had you let my wisdom sway,
      Would it have pleased me, who can tell?
    I might have said regretfully:
      'Methinks I reasoned far too well!'"


    The throng about her did not know,
      Her nearest friend could not surmise
    Whence came the brightness and the glow,
      The wondrous radiance of her eyes.

    One said, half enviously: "Your face
      Is beautiful with gladness rare,
    With that warm, generous heart of yours
      Some precious secret you must share."

    Ah, true beneath the filmy lace
      That rose and fell upon her breast,
    Her first love-taken held its place--
      From him, from him whom she loved best!


    "O last days of the year!" she whispered low,
      "You fly too swiftly past. Ah, you might stay
    A while, a little while. Do you not know
      What tender things you bear with you away?

    "I'm thinking, sitting in the soft gloom here,
      Of all the riches that were mine the day
    There crept down on the world the soft New Year,
      A rosy thing with promise filled, and gay.

    "But twelve short months ago! a little space
      In which to lose so much--a whole life's wealth
    Of love and faith, youth and youth's tender grace--
      Things that are wont to go from us by stealth.

    "Laughter and blushes, and the rapture strong,
      The clasp of clinging hands, the ling'ring kiss,
    The joy of living, and the glorious song
      That drew its sweetness from a full heart's bliss.

    "O wealth of tenderness! O gladness great!
      That crowned me, covered me a year ago!
    A bankrupt, I--gone faith, gone warm caress
      Gone love, gone youth, gone all!"
                  She whispered low.

    "Oh, last days of the year, you take away
      The riches that I held so close and dear.
    Go not so swiftly, stay a little, stay
      With one poor bankrupt,
                  Last days of the year."


    I asked Aunt Persis yester-eve, as twilight fell,
    If she had things of value hidden safe away--
    Treasures that were her very own? And did she love
    To bring them forth, and feast her eyes upon their worth,
    And finger them with all a miser's greed of touch?

    She smiled that slow, warm smile of hers, and drew me down
    Beside her in the inglenook. The rain beat hard
    Against the panes, without the world was doubly gray
    With twilight and with cloud. The room was full of shade
    Till Persis stirred the slumbering grate fire wide awake,
    And made it send its flickering shafts of light into
    Each corner dim--gay shafts that chased the shadows forth
    And took their place, then stole away and let
    The shadow back, and then gave chase again,
    The maddest and the stillest game!

                To music of
    The raindrops on the pane, and wind that softly shrilled
    About the eaves, the treasure box was opened wide
    And its contents exposed to the rude gaze of one
    Too young, too worldly-wise to know their value great.
    I thought to see pearls, corals, quaint, old-fashioned gems,
    Or lace like gossamer creamed by the hand of time--
    Real treasures worthy of the hoarding.

                Lo! I saw
    A leather-covered book, a worn and musty thing
    With ragged leaves and many marks. "What is it?" I asked;
    "To me it looks the school-book that some stupid child
    Has learned its lesson from."
    "And so it is," she smiled. "My father's testament,
    And at his knee I conned the Golden Rule, and all
    The wondrous truths that teach us how to live. 'Tis dear
    To me, you may suppose."

                A knot of ribbon that
    Had once been blue, a braid of dark brown hair, a spray
    Of lily o' the valley, withered, sere, yet holding still a breath
    Of sweetness indescribable; some letters tied
    With silk, a broken fan, some verses scribbled on
    A yellow page, a baby's shoe, more letters, and,
    What think you, friend? A string of amber beads, without
    A trace of value--beads of glass strung on a bit
    Of twine. Aunt Persis took them in her hand and let
    The firelight play on them. "My grandmother's first gift,"
    She said, and slipped them round her neck. "I love them best
    Of all my ornaments--each amber bead holds fast
    A joy caught in the childhood days of pleasantness,
    And when I sit here with the sparkling things held close
    The joys they gathered long ago slip from them to
    My heart, and ere I know, I am a child once more.

    "Treasures! Nay, dear one, in your clear young eyes I see
    The disappointment grow--no treasures these, you say;
    These faded things, and poor, these musty, ragged things--
    But some day in the gloaming of your life you'll ope
    Your treasure box, and find a hoard of just such things
    As these--a few rare trifles wrapped in memories."


    My Marjorie doth hold in her white hands
      A spray of lilies plucked below the brook
    Where the old ruin of a chapel stands--
      A ruin tenanted by many a nook,
    And all the grayness of it hid from sight
      By gracious draping of the ivy green.
    Sweet lilies, 'tis your glorious fate to-night
      To lie upon her breast, to send between
    Her silken bodice and the heart beneath
      The fragrance given you by sun and shower.
    Speak subtly with your warm, sweet-scented breath
      Till, 'mid the dance and music of the hour,
    She turn you love-filled eyes and glowing face,
      With: "Ah, ye grew in that old trysting place!"


    "It is good-bye," she said; "the world is wide,
      There's space for you and me to walk apart.
    Though we have walked together side by side,
      My thoughts all yours, my resting-place your heart,
    We now will go our different ways. Forget
      The happy past. I would not have you keep
    One thought of me. Ah, yes, my eyes are wet;
      My love is great, my grief must needs be deep.

    "Yet I have strength to look at you, and say:
      Forget it all, forget our souls were stirred,
    Forget the sweetness of each dear, dead day,
      The warm, impassioned kiss, the tender word,
    The clinging handclasp, and the love-filled eyes--
      Forget all these; but, when we walk apart
    Remember this, though wilful and unwise,
      No word of mine did ever hurt your heart."


    One summer's morning I heard a lark
      Singing to heaven, a sweet-throated bird;
    One winter's night I was glad in the dark
      Because of the wondrous song I had heard.

    The joy of life, I have heard you say,
      Is my love, my laughter, my smiles and tears;
    When I have gone on the long, strange way,
      Let these stay with you through all the years--

    These be the lark's song. What is love worth
      That cannot crowd, in the time that's given
    To two like us on this gray old earth,
      Such bliss as will last till we reach heaven?

    Dear one, think oft of the full, glad years,
      And, thinking of them, forget to weep.
    Whisper: "Remembrance holds no tears!"
      And kiss my mouth when I fall on sleep.


    Her eyes--upon a summer's day
    God's skies are not more blue than they.

    Her hair--you've seen a sunbeam bold
    Made up of just such threads of gold.

    Her cheek--the leaf which nearest grows
    The dewy heart of June's red rose.

    Her mouth--full lipped, and subtly sweet
    As briar drowned in summer heat.

    Her heart--December's chill and snow--
    Heaven pity me, who love her so!


    The girl's a slender thing and fair,
      With dimpled cheek and eyes ashine;
    The youth is tall, with bashful air.
      Heigho! a fond and foolish pair--
          The day is yours, St. Valentine.

    He says: "My heart will constant prove,
      Since every beat of it is thine;
    The sweetest joy of life is love."
      The birds are mating in the grove--
          The day is yours, St. Valentine.

    What matter that the wind blows chill
      Through leafless tree and naked vine,
    That snowdrifts linger on the hill,
      When warm love makes the pulses thrill?
          The day is yours, St. Valentine.


    A red rose in my lady's hair,
      A white rose in her fingers,
    A wild bird singing low, somewhere,
      A song that pulses, lingers.
    The sound of dancing and of mirth,
      The fiddle's merry chiming,
    A smell of earth, of fresh, warm earth,
      And honeysuckle climbing;
    My lady near, yet far away--
      Ah, lonely June of yesterday!

    A big white night of velvet sky,
      And Milky Way a-gleaming,
    The fragrant blue smoke drifting by
      From camp-fire brightly beaming;
    The stillness of the Northland far--
      God's solitudes of splendor--
    My road a trail, my chart a star.
      Wind, 'mong the balsams slender,
    Sing low: O glad June of to-day,
      My lady's near, though far away!


    "Once they were lovers," says the world, "with young hearts all aglow;
    They have forgotten," says the world, "forgotten long ago."
    Between ourselves--just whisper it--the old world does not know.

    They walk their lone, divided ways, but ever with them goes
    Remembrance, the subtle breath of love's sweet thorny rose.


    Though long, long leagues of land and sea
    Stretch out between Braemar and me,
      I'll win home late or soon,
    Will take the old familiar way
    Past Isla Glen, up bold Glenshee,
    By sun-kissed hill and valley gray--
    These feet of mine will find their way
      At midnight or at noon.

    The hearth-fire, and the cot of stone
    Set 'mong the fir trees tall and lone,
      I'll see before my eyes;
    Hear rough winds kiss the heath-clad hill,
    The murmur gay of loch and rill,
    The mavis singing sweet and shrill,
    Hear, warm and soft as notes that thrill
      The souls in paradise.

    A voice all tremulous and glad
    Cries out: "A welcome home, my lad!"


    Your presence is a psalm of praise,
      And as its measure grandly rings
    God's finger finds my heart and plays
      A _te deum_ upon its strings.
    I never see you but I feel
    That I in gratitude must kneel.

    Your head down-bent, the brow of snow
      Crowned with the shining braids of hair,
    To me, because I love you so,
      Is in itself a tender prayer,
    All faith, all meekness, and all trust--
    "Amen!" I cry, because I must.

    Your clear eyes hold the text apart,
      And shame my love of place and pelf
    With, "Love the Lord with all thine heart,
      And love thy neighbor as thyself!"
    Dear eyes and true,--I sorely need
    More knowledge of your gracious creed.

    About your lips the summer lies--
      Who runs may read each subtle lure
    To draw me nearer to the skies,
      And make me strong, and keep me pure.
    I loathe my worldliness and guile
    Each time your red lips on me smile.

    The benediction of your face--
      Your lifted face--doth make a road
    For white-robed peace and golden grace
      To reach my heart and take its load.
    Dear woman saint, I bow the knee,
    And give God thanks for love and thee!


    God's garden is this dim old wood,
      And hidden in its bosom
    The bursting bud, the feathery leaf
      And soft, sweet smelling blossom.

      Ho! May is fair, and glorious June,
        In rose leaves doth enfold her;
      Their bloom is richer than my own,
        But mine is sweeter, bolder.

    God's garden is this dim old wood,
      And I, the pretty vagrant,
    I am the gardener He sends
      To make it fair and fragrant.


(_A Tribute to Mrs. George A. Cox._)

    The Golden Rule--the blessed creed
      That shelters frail humanity,
    The tender thought for those in need,
    The charity of word and deed,
      Without which all is vanity--

    This, friend, you made your very own,
      And yours the satisfying part
    To pluck the rose of love full blown,
    To reap the gladness you had sown
      With open hand and kindly heart.

    Simplicity, the jewel rare,
      Whose gleam is ever true and warm--
    That thing of worth beyond compare
    Which none but truly great may wear--
      Adorned your life with power and charm.

    Yours the sincerity that grips
      Fast hold of natures strong and wise;
    It thrilled you to your finger-tips,
    It set its seal on brow and lips,
      And shone within your dark, true eyes.

    The throng knew not how rich the store
      Of sympathy and trust you had;
    Knew not you were, till life was o'er,
    God's almoner among His poor,
      God's comforter to sick and sad.

    Too soon you went--we miss the cheer,
      The kindliness vouchsafed to all;
    The world seems strangely lone and drear
    When one whom many hearts hold dear
      Fares heavenward ere the shadows fall.

    Too soon you went, and yet, maybe,
      Your work well done, your task complete,
    The soul of you turned longingly
    Toward gates of pearl and jasper sea
      And fields of Eden rarely sweet.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Cornflower, and Other Poems" ***

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