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Title: The Coast of Bohemia
Author: Page, Thomas Nelson, 1853-1922
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 Coast of Bohemia" ***

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THE COAST OF BOHEMIA


BY

THOMAS NELSON PAGE



NEW YORK

CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS

1906



Copyright, 1888, 1906, by

CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS


THE DE VINNE PRESS



PREFACE

One who after writing prose all his life suddenly essays to launch a
volume of verse, must know something of the feeling with which an
old-time sailor after coasting only his native shores found himself
setting sail into an unknown sea.

The author of this little volume knows quite as well as the most
experienced mariner the temerity of sailing an untried main in so frail
a bark.  But he is willing, if the Fates so decree, to go down with the
unnumbered sail of that great fleet which have throughout the ages
faced the wide ocean of oblivion, merely for the thrill of being for a
brief space on its vast waters.

Since Horace, secure in the double endowment of genius and of an
Emperor's favor, wrote scornfully how hated of gods and men was
middling verse, no one has ever doubted the fact--perhaps, not even one
of all the myriads who have dared to brave that bitter scorn.  The
explanation then for the production of so much of the despised matter
must be that there is for the minor poet also a music that the outer
world does not catch--an inner day which the outer world does not see.
It is this music, this light which, for the most part, is for the
lesser poet his only reward.  That he has heard, however brokenly, and
at however vast a distance, snatches of those strains which thrilled
the souls of Marlowe and Milton and Keats and Shelley, even though he
may never reproduce one of them, is moreover a sufficiently high reward.

T. N. P.



*** Most of the poems in the following pages, with the exception of
those in dialect, are now published for the first time.



CONTENTS


POEMS

  DEDICATION
  THE COAST OF BOHEMIA
  THE VOICE OF THE SEA
  LONG ROLL AT NAPOLEON'S TOMB
  THE PRINCESS' PROGRESS
  YOUTH
  AMERICA: GREETING
  DAWN
  THE POET ON AGRADINA
  THE SHEPHERD OF THE SEAS
  SLEEP
  TO A LADY AT A SPRING
  UNFORGOTTEN
  THE OLD LION
  THE DRAGON OF THE SEAS
  THE BENT MONK
  THE MESSAGE
  THE NEEDLE'S EYE
  THE CLOSED DOOR
  CONVENTION
  THE MAGDALEN
  THE REQUIREMENT
  THE LISTENER
  CONTRADICTION
  THE QUESTION
  OUR DEAD
  MY MOTHER
  HER INFLUENCE
  MATTHEW ARNOLD
  THE STRANGER
  LOVE
  AN OLD REFRAIN
  TO CLAUDIA
  THE APPLE-TREES AT EVEN
  MY TRUE-LOVE'S WEALTH
  A VALENTINE
  A PORTRAIT
  FÉLICE
  LOVE SONG
  THE HARBOUR LIGHT
  FADED SPRAY OF MIGNONETTE
  LOST ROSES
  DE NAME OF OLE VIRGINIA
  THE DANCER
  THE APRIL-FACE
  COME BACK TO US, DAVIE
  THE WITCH
  HUMANITY
  ASPIRATION
  REALITY
  LITTLE DOLLY DIMPLE
  A VALENTINE


DIALECT POEMS (FROM "BEFO' DE WAR")

  UNCLE GABE'S WHITE FOLKS
  LITTLE JACK
  ASHCAKE
  ZEKYL'S INFIDELITY
  MARSE PHIL
  ONE MOURNER



  THE COAST OF BOHEMIA



  .... "Few, few are they:
  Perchance, among a thousand, one
  Thou shouldest find, for whom the sun
  Of Poesy makes an inner day."
    --_The Medea of Euripides--Way's Translation._



  DEDICATION

  TO F. L. P.

  As one who wanders in a lonely land,
  Through all the blackness of a stormy night,
  Now stumbling here, now falling there outright,
  And doubts if it be worse to stir or stand,
  Not knowing what abysses yawn at hand,
  What torrents roar beyond some beetling height;
  Yet scales the top to find the dawn in sight,
  And Earth kissed into radiance with its wand:
  So, wandering hopeless in the darkness, I,
  Scarce recking whither led my painful way,
  Or whether I should faint or strive to prove
  If 'yond the mountain-top some path might lie,
  Climbed boldly up the steep, and lo! the Day
  Broke into pearl and splendor in thy love.



  THE COAST OF BOHEMIA

  There is a land not charted on all charts;
  Though many mariners have touched its coast,
  Who far adventuring in those distant parts,
  Meet ship-wreck there and are forever lost;
  Or if they e'er return, are soon once more
  Borne far away by hunger for that magic shore.

  Its mystic mountains on the horizon piled,
  Some mariners have glimpsed when driven far
  Out of life's measured course by tempests wild,
  Or lured therefrom by the erratic star
  They chose as pilot, till their errant guide
  Drew them resistlessly within its witching tide.

  For oft, they tell, who know its sapphire strand
  The golden haze enfolding it hangs low,
  And those who careless steer may miss the land,
  Embosomed in the sunset's purple glow,
  Its lights mistaken for the evening stars,
  Its music for the surf-beat on its golden bars.

  Young Jason found it when he dauntless sought
  The golden fleece by Colchis' perilous stream,
  And in his track full many an argonaut
  Hath found the rare fleece of his golden dream,
  And at the last, Ulysses-like, surcease
  From Sorrow's dole and Labor's heavy prease.

  One voyager charted it for every age,
  From azure rim to starry mountain core.
  A nameless player on the World's great stage,
  He spread his sails, adventured to that shore
  And reared a pharos with his art sublime,
  Like Ilion's song-wrought towers, to beacon every clime.

  The great adventurers reached it when they brake
  Columbus-led into the unknown West,
  And those who followed in their shining wake,
  But left no trace of where their keels have pressed;
  Yet have through stress of storm and tempests' rage
  Won by his quenchless light a happy anchorage.

  There rest the heroes of lost causes lorn,
  On their calm brows more fadeless chaplets far
  Than all their conquerors' could e'er adorn,
  When shone effulgent Fame's ascendant star;
  There fallen patriots reap the glorious prize
  Of deathless memory of their precious sacrifice.

  There many a dream-faced maid and matron dwells,
  From Argive Helen on through gliding time;
  There drink the poets draughts from crystal wells,
  And choir high music to their harps sublime:
  And there the great philosophers discourse
  Divine Philosophy in due and tranquil course.

  There not alone the great and lofty sing;
  But silent poets too find there the song
  They only sang in dreams when wandering
  Amazed and lost amid the earthly throng;
  Their hearts unfettered all from worldly fears.
  Attuned to meet the spacious music of the spheres:

  Gray, wrinkled men, the sea-salt in their hair,
  Their eyes set deep with peering through the gloom,
  Their voices low with speaking ever, where
  The surges break beneath the mountains' loom;
  But deep within their yearning, burning eyes
  The light reflected ever from those radiant skies.

  There fadeless Youth, unknowing of annoy,
  Walks aye with changeless Love; and Sorrow there
  Is but a memory to hallow Joy,
  With chastened Happiness so deep and rare,
  Well-nigh the Heart aches with its rich content,
  And Hope with full fruition evermore is blent.

  Constant Penelope, her web complete,
  Rests there content at last and smiling down
  On worn Ulysses basking at her feet;
  Calm Beatrice wears joyously the crown
  Bestowed by exiled Dante in his grief,
  And Laura, kind, gives Petrarch's tuneful heart relief.

  'Mid bloomy meadows laved by limpid streams,
  Repose the Muses and the Graces sweet;
  There kiss we lips we only kissed in dreams
  Meshed in the grosser world; and there we meet
  The fair and flower-like lost loves of our Youth,
  When unafraid we trod the ways with radiant Truth.

  Those who return have pressed alone the coast;
  But tell of some lost in that charmèd strond:
  Aspiring souls who loving Honor most,
  Have sought the crystal mountain-tops beyond,
  And striven upward, heedless of their scars,
  To where all paths lead ever to the shining stars.



  THE VOICE OF THE SEA

  Thus spake to Man the thousand-throated Sea;
  Words which the stealing winds caught from its lips:


  Thou thinkest thee and thine, God's topmost crown.
  But hearken unto me and humbly learn
  How infinite thine insignificance.
  Thou boastest of thine age--thy works--thyself:
  Thine oldest monuments of which thou prat'st
  Were built but yesterday when measured by
  Yon snow-domed mountains of eternal rock:
  The Earth, thy mother, from whose breast thou draw'st,
  The sweat-stained living which she wills to give,
  And in whose dust thine own must melt again,
  Was agèd cycles ere thine earliest dawn;--
  But they to me are young: I gave them birth.
  Climb up those heaven-tipt peaks thy dizziest height,
  Thou there shalt read, graved deep, my name and age;
  Dig down thy deepest depth, shalt read them still.
  Before the mountains sprang, before the Earth,
  Thy cradle and thy tomb, was made, I was:
  God called them forth from me, as thee from Earth.
  Thou burrow'st through a mountain, here and there,
  Work'st all thine engines, cutting off a speck;
  I wash their rock-foundations under; tear
  Turret from turret, toppling thundering down,
  And crush their mightiest fragments into sand:
  Thou gravest with thy records slab and spar,
  And callest them memorials of thy Might;--
  Lo! not a stone exists, from yon black cliff
  To that small pebble at thy foot, but bears
  My signature graved there when Earth was young,
  To teach the mighty wonders of the Deep.
  Thy deeds--thyself--are what?  A morning mist!
  But I!  I face the ages.  Dost not know
  That as I gave the Earth to spread her fair
  And dew-washed body in the morning light,
  So, still, 't is I that keep her fair and fresh?--
  That weave her robes and nightly diamond them?
  I fill her odorous bowers with perfumes rare;
  Strew field and forest with bee-haunted stars;
  I give the Morn pearl for her radiant roof,
  And Eve lend glory for her rosy dome;
  I build the purple towers that hold the West
  And guard the passage of Retiring Day.
  Thy frailest fabric far outlasts thyself:
  The pyramids rise from the desert sands,
  Their builders blown in dust about their feet.
  The winged bull looms mid an alien race,
  Grim, silent, lone.  But whither went the King?
  I cool the lambent air upon my breast,
  And send the winds forth on mine embassies;
  I offer all my body to the Sun,
  And lade our caravans with merchandise,
  To carry wealth and plenty to all climes.
  Yon fleecy continents of floating snow,
  That dwarf the mountains over which they sail,
  Are but my bales borne by my messengers,
  To cheer and gladden every thirsty land.
  The Arab by his palm-girt desert pool,
  The Laplander above his frozen rill,
  The Woodsman crouched beside his forest brook,
  The shepherd mirrored in his upland spring,
  Drink of my cup in one great brotherhood.
  'T is, nay, not man alone--thou art but one
  Of all the myriads of life-holding things,--
  Brute, beast, bird, reptile, insect, thing unnamed,
  Whose souls find recreation in my breath:
  Nay, not a tree, flower, sprig of grass or weed,
  But lives through me and hymns my praise to God:
  I feed, sustain, refresh and keep them all:
  Mirror and type of God that giveth life.
  I sing as softly as a mother croons
  Her drowsy babe to sleep upon her breast.
  On quiet nights when all my winds are laid,
  I wile the stars down from their azure home
  To sink with golden footprints in my depths:
  I show the silvered pathway to the moon,
  All paved with gems the errant Pleiad lost,
  That night she strayed from her sisters wan;
  But I sing other times strains from that song
  Before whose awfulness my waters sank,
  And at whose harmony the mountains rose,
  I heard that morning when the breath of God
  Moved on my face, and said, Let there be light!
  I thrill and tremble since but at the thought
  Of that great wonder of that greatest dawn,
  When at God's word the brooding darkness rose,
  Which veiled my face from all the birth of things
  And rolled far frighted from its resting-place,
  To bide henceforth beyond Day's crystal walls,
  While all the morning stars together sang,
  And on the instant God stood full revealed!



  LONG ROLL AT NAPOLEON'S TOMB

  'Twas the marble crypt where the Emperor lay,
  His mighty marshals on either side,
  Guarding his couch since the solemn day
  France brought him home in her chastened pride,
  To sleep on her heart, from the sea-girt cage
  Where the Eagle pined and died in his rage.

  I thought of the long, red carnival
  Death held in the track of his sword, amain,
  From Toulon's bloom to the crimsoned pall
  He spread upon Waterloo's ripened grain;
  I thought of the long black years of dread
  When the nations quaked at his armies' tread.

  A-sudden above as the twilight fell
  The deathly silence around was shocked
  By the roll of a drum.  At the throbbing swell
  The vaulted dome of the Heavens rocked,
  Till it seemed that the mighty conqueror's soul
  Was shaking the earth in that drum's long roll.

  In the purple glooming the spell was wrought;
  And forth from their tomb the legions sprang:
  A Cadmus-brood of a Master's thought;
  The long-roll beat and the bugles sang;
  The tattered standards again unfurled,
  And Napoleon once more bestrid the world.

  I heard that instant the self-same drum
  Which beat at his call when France arose
  From her ashes and blood when he bade her come
  In Liberty's name to face her foes;
  I saw her invincible armies arise,
  The light of Liberty in their eyes.

  O'er Tyranny's pyre her standards flew;
  I felt the thrill of the new-born life:
  As cleansed from Terror, France the true,
  Sprang forth rejoicing amid the strife,
  As a woman rejoiceth travail-torn
  At the living voice of her own first-born.

  From the ruddy morning on Egypt's sands,
  When her eagles rose in their terrible flight
  To stretch their shadow across the lands
  Till it perished in Russia's frozen night,
  When th' insatiable conqueror's reckoning came
  And his Empire melted away in flame:

  When there at Moscow the Lord God spoke
  And said, "Thine end is at hand: prepare,"
  As at Kadesh once, from amid the smoke,
  To the prophet who led His People there;
  "I set thee up, I will cast thee down,
  For that thou claimedst thyself the crown.

  "Thine eyes have seen; but thou shalt not stand
  On the promised shore of a world set free;
  The People shall pass alone to the Land
  Of Promise and Light and Liberty:
  Of Peace enthroned in a Nation's trust,
  When thou and thy throne alike are dust."



  THE PRINCESS' PROGRESS

  Across the dusky land
  The Gracious Goddess, Spring,
  In vernal robes arrayed,
  Last night her royal progress made,
  Scattering with lavish hand
  Her fragrant blossoming.
  Along the wold,
  In spendthrift glee,
  She strewed her gold
  And gilded all the lea.
  The dandelions' yellow coin
  Lie scattered in the tangled grass,
  And buttercup and crocus join
  To tell the way she chose to pass.
  In lavish wealth the gleaming daffodil
  Shines on the cloudy April hill,
  And many a yellow marigold
  Marks where her brazen chariot rolled;
  The slender-necked narcissus bends
  His dewy head, and leaning down,
  Looks deep to find within a dew-drop's lens
  A mirrowing pool where Love may drown.
  No cranny deep nor nook
  But felt her tender look;
  No secret leafy place
  But warmed before her face
  And blossomed with her grace.
  The woodland, sombre yesterday,
  Hath in her presence donned a brave array,
  And in a night grown gay.
  Her purple cloak, all careless flung,
  Upon the red-bud hung;
  And on the forest trees,
  Her richest laceries.
  While sprinkled deep with dust of gold
  The tender, flowery branches hold
  Her verdant robe blown fold on fold.
  Her queenly figure clad
  In broidered raiment glad,
  Complete and passing sweet,
  Hath set the sylvan zephyrs mad.
  About her breathed rare odors sweet,
  Of roses blowing neath her feet:
  About her breathed sweet odors rare,
  Of violets shaken from her hair,
  As though unseen of mortal eyes,
  She 'd jarred the gates of Paradise.
  Her crystal horn in passing by she wound,
  And at the witching sound,
  As by the enchanter's stroke,
  The fields in music broke,
  And every silent grove in melody awoke.
  Responsive to her charmèd lyre
  The dewy-throated choir
  Carol in every brake and brier,
  And flood with golden song
  The verdant reaches ranged along--
  Where drinking deep from fountains clear
  Their inspiration,
  They hymn their jubilation
  That Spring again is here;
  And all together sing
  The Goddess of the Year,
  The Spring: the gracious Spring.



  YOUTH

  I once might hear the fairies sing
  Upon the feathery grass a-swing,
  Or in the orchard's blossoming:
  Their melody so fine and clear,
  One had to bend his ear to hear,
  Or else the music well might pass
  For zephyrs whispering in the grass.

  I once might see the fairies dance
  A-circle in their meadow-haunts,
  Soft-tapered by the new-moon's glance:
  Their airy feet in crystal shoon
  Made twinklings neath the silver moon.
  Such witchery, but that 't was seen,
  Might well have been the dew-drops' sheen.

  I've wandered far yond summer seas,
  Where Music dwells mid harmonies
  That well the Seraphim might please;
  But never more I catch, ah me!
  The fairies' silvery melody--
  Their crystal twinkling on the moonlit lea.



  AMERICA: GREETING

  I have journeyed the spacious world over,
  And here to thy sapphire wide gate,
  America, I, thy True Lover
  Return now, exalted, elate,
  As an heir who returns to recover
  His forefathers' lofty estate.

  I 've seen visions of castle and palace
  Up-soaring to sun-flooded skies,
  Where men have drunk deep of Death's chalice,
  In infinite soul-agonies--
  Where Tyranny glutted her malice
  And battened on Liberty's cries.

  Where splendor of palace and tower
  Cried up unto God with men's blood;
  Where th' emblems of Tyranny's Power
  Imperial and brazen have stood,
  With faggot and sword to devour,
  And the rack scowling hard by God's Rood.

  And now at thy fair, open portal,
  I stand as I stood in my Youth,
  Amazed at the vision immortal
  Of naked and unashamed Truth:
  The Truth that the Fathers have taught all
  Their children: their birth-right in sooth.

  I greet thee: thy purple, large reaches,--
  From the snow-mantled, spire-pointed pine,
  To thy golden, long, low-lying beaches,
  Awash with thy tropical brine,
  And thine infinite bosom that teaches
  How God hath made Freedom divine.

  God dowered thee fair mid the Oceans:
  He bulwarked thee strong with the seas,
  That Man might preserve here the motions
  He gave Freedom's bold processes:
  That Man in his loftiest devotions
  Might serve Freedom's altars in Peace.

  How crude then and rude then soever
  Thy struggles to lift from the sod,
  Thy Freedom is strong to dissever
  The Shackles, the Yoke, and the Rod;
  Thy Freedom is Mighty forever,
  For men who kneel only to God.



  DAWN

  Who hath not heard in dusky summer dawns,
  Ere winds Aurora's horn, the dreamy spell
  Just rippled by some drowsy sentinel.
  Who from his leafy outpost on the lawns
  Chimes sleepily his call that all is well?
  A moment--pipes another silvery note:
  Aurora's crystal wheels flash up the sky;
  The sentries cry the Dawn and joyously
  Glad Welcome peals from every dewy throat,
  And every leafy bough chimes melody.

  So, in the gloom and silence of the night,
  My heart in slumber steeped, unheeding lay,
  Not recking how the hours might fleet away;
  When on my Heavens dawned a radiant light,
  And straight I wakened to a shining day.



  THE POET ON AGRADINA

  The spacious cities hummed with toil:
  The monarch reared his towers to the skies;
  Men delved the fruitful soil
  And studied to be wise;
  Along the highway's rocky coil
  The mailed legions rang;
  Smiling unheeded 'mid the moil,
  The Poet sang.

  The glittering cities long are heaps:
  The starry towers lie level with the plain;
  The desert serpent sleeps
  Where soared the marble fane;
  The stealthy, bead-eyed lizard creeps
  Where gleamed the tyrant's throne;
  The grandeur dark oblivion steeps:
  The song sings on.



  THE SHEPHERD OF THE SEAS

  From Raleigh's Devon hills the misty sea
  Climbs ever westward till it meets the sky,
  And silently the white-fleeced ships go by,
  And mount and mount up the long azure lea,
  Peaceful as sheep at night that placidly
  Climb the tall downs to quiet pastures high,
  Assured no foes dare lurk, no dangers lie
  Where still abides their shepherd's memory.
  Well did men name him "Shepherd of the Seas,"
  Who knew so well his shepherd's watch to keep,
  Driving the Spanish wolves with noble rage:
  Forsaking Pomp and Power and Beds-of-ease
  To herd his mighty flock through every Deep
  And make of every sea their common pasturage.



  SLEEP

  IN MEMORIAM: A. B. P.

  Thou best of all: God's choicest blessing, Sleep;
    Better than Earth can offer--Wealth, Power, Fame:
    They change, decay; thou always art the same;
  Through all the years thy freshness thou dost keep;
  Over all lands thine even pinions sweep.
    The sick, the worn, the blind, the lone, the lame,
    Hearing thy tranquil footsteps, bless thy name;
  Anguish is soothed, Sorrow forgets to weep.
  Thou ope'st the captive's cell and bid'st him roam;
    Thou giv'st the hunted refuge, free'st the slave,
    Show'st the outcast pity, call'st the exile home;
  Beggar and king thine equal blessings reap.
    We for our loved ones Wealth, Joy, Honors crave;
    But God, He giveth his beloved--Sleep.



  TO A LADY AT A SPRING

  Long æons since, in leafy woodlands sweet,
    Diana, weary with the eager chase,
    Was wont to seek full oft some trysting-place
  Loved of her rosy train; some cool retreat
  Of crystal springs, deep-verdured from the heat
    Of sultry noon, wherein each subtle grace
    Of snowy form and radiant flower-face,
  Narcissus-like, goddess and nymph might greet.
  Diana long hath fleeted 'yond the main;
    The founts which erst she loved are all bereft;
    No more 'mid violet-banks her feet are set;
  Silent her silvern bugle, fled her train;
    One spot alone of all she loved is left:
    This poplar-shaded spring is Goddess-haunted yet.



  UNFORGOTTEN

  Oh! do not think that thee I can forget:
  Though all the Centuries should o'er me roll--
  Though Space should spread more far than Pole from Pole,
  Or star from furthest star betwixt us; yet,
  I still would hold thee in my heart's core set:
  More rare than rarest Queens whom Kings extol
  When Death hath throned them high above regret.
  Through endless Time when Memory the stone
  Rolls back from silent years long sepulchred,
  To call the Past forth from the sullen tomb,
  Howe'er far 'yond her voice all else hath flown,
  Shalt thou appear--her living summons heard--
  Fresh as Eternal Spring in all thy radiant bloom.



  THE OLD LION

  "THE WHELPS OF THE LION ANSWER HIM"

  The Old Lion stood in his lonely lair:
  The sound of the hunting had broken his rest:
  He scowled to the Eastward: Tiger and Bear
  Were harrying his Jungle.  He turned to the west;
  And sent through the murk and mist of the night
  A thunder that rumbled and rolled down the trail;
  And Tiger and Bear, the Quarry in sight,
  Crouched low in the covert to cower and quail;
  For deep through the midnight like surf on a shore,
  Pealed Thunder in answer resounding with ire.
  The Hunters turn'd stricken: they knew the dread roar:
  The Whelp of the Lion was joining his Sire.



  THE DRAGON OF THE SEAS

  APRIL, 1898

  They say the Spanish ships are out
  To seize the Spanish Main;
  Reach down the volume, Boy, and read
  The story o'er again:

  How when the Spaniard had the might,
  He drenched the Earth, like rain,
  With Saxon blood and made it Death
  To sail the Spanish Main.

  With torch and steel; with stake and rack
  He trampled out God's Truce
  Until Queen Bess her leashes slip't
  And let her sea-dogs loose.

  God! how they sprang and how they tore!
  The Gilberts, Hawkins, Drake!
  Remember, Boy, they were your sires:
  They made the Spaniard quake.

  Dick Grenville with a single ship
  Struck all the Spanish line:
  One Devon knight to the Spanish Dons:
  One ship to fifty and nine.

  When Spain in San Ulloa's Bay
  Her sacred treaty broke,
  Stout Hawkins fought his way through fire
  And gave her stroke for stroke.

  A bitter malt Spain brewed that day,
  She drained it to the lees:
  The thunder of her guns awoke
  The Dragon of The Seas.

  From coast to coast he ravaged far,
  A scourge with flaming breath:
  Where'er the Spaniard sailed his ships,
  Sailed Francis Drake and Death.

  No coast was safe against his ire;
  Secure no furthest shore;
  The fairest day oft sank in fire
  Before the Dragon's roar.

  He made th' Atlantic surges red
  Round every Spanish keel,
  Piled Spanish decks with Spanish dead,
  The noblest of Castile.

  From Del Fuego's beetling coast
  To sleety Hebrides
  He hounded down the Spanish host
  And swept the flaming seas.

  He fought till on Spain's inmost lakes
  'Mid Orange bowers set,
  La Mancha's maidens feared to sail
  Lest they the Dragon met.*

  King Philip, of his ravin' reft,
  Called for "the Pirate's" head;
  The great Queen laughed his wrath to scorn
  And knighted Drake instead.

  And gave him ships and sent him forth
  To sweep the Spanish Main,
  For England and for England's brood,
  And sink the fleets of Spain.

  And well he wrought his mighty work,
  Till on that fatal day
  He met his only conqueror,
  In Nombre Dios Bay.

  There in his shotted hammock swung
  Amid the surges' sweep,
  He waits the look-out's signal cry
  Across the quiet deep,

  And dreams of dark Ulloa's bar,
  And Spanish treachery,
  And how he tracked Magellan far
  Across the unknown sea.

  But if Spain fire a single shot
  Upon the Spanish Main,
  She 'll come to deem the Dragon dead
  Has waked to life again.


*Note. It is related that King Philip one day invited a lady to sail
with him on a lake, and she replied that she was afraid they might meet
"the Dragon."



  THE BENT MONK

  Ever along the way he goes,
    With eyes cast down as in despair,
  And shoulders stooped with weight of woes
  And lips from which unceasing flows
    An agonizèd prayer.

  His form is bent; his step is slow;
    His hands with fasting long are thin;
  And wheresoe'er his footsteps go,
  Men hear his muttered prayer and know
    He weeps for deadly sin.

  This monk was once the knightliest
    Of knights who ever sat in hall:
  With wondrous might and beauty blest;
  And whoso met him lance-in-rest
    Had need on Christ to call.

  Men say this monk with hair so hoar,
    And eye where grief hath quenched the flame,
  Once loved a maiden fair and pure,
  And for she would not wed him swore
    He 'd bring her down to Shame.

  They say he wooed her long and well;
    And splendid spoils both eve and morn
  Of song and tourney won, they tell,
  He gave her till at last she fell,
    Then drave her forth with scorn.

  The world was cold; her father's door
    Was barred--they thus the tale repeat--
  Her name was heard in jousts no more;
  And so, one day the river bore
    And laid her at his feet.

  Her brow was calm, the sunny hair
    Lay tangled in the snowy breast,
  And from the face all trace of care
  And sin was cleansed away, and there
    Shone only utter rest.

  The old men say that when the wave
    That burden brought, then backward fled,
  He stooped, no sign nor groan he gave,
  As mourners by an open grave;
    But fell as one struck dead.

  He seemed, when from that swound he woke,
    A man already touched by Death,
  As when the stalwart forest oak,
  Blasted beneath the lightning's stroke
    Lives on, yet languisheth.

  And ever since he tells his beads,
    And sackcloth lieth next his skin,
  And nightly his frail body bleeds
  With knotted cord that intercedes
    With Christ for deadly sin.

  For his own soul he hath no care,
    By penance purged as if by flame:
  Men know that agonized prayer
  He prays is for the maiden fair
    Whom he brought down to Shame.

  And still along the way he goes,
    With eyes cast down as in despair,
  And shoulders stooped with weight of woes,
  And lips from which forever flows
    An agonizèd prayer.



  THE MESSAGE

  An ancient tome came to my hands:
  A tale of love in other lands:
  Writ by a Master so divine,
  The Love seems ever mine and thine.
  The volume opened at the place
  That sings of sweet Francesca's grace:
  How reading of Fair Guinevere
  And Launcelot that long gone year,
  Her eyes into her lover's fell
  And--there was nothing more to tell.
  That day they op'ed that book no more:
  Thenceforth they read a deeper lore.

  Beneath the passage so divine,
  Some woman's hand had traced a line,
  And reverently upon the spot
  Had laid a blue forget-me-not:
  A message sent across the years,
  Of Lovers' sighs and Lovers' tears:
  A messenger left there to tell
  They too had loved each other well.
  The centuries had glided by
  Since Love had heaved that tender sigh;
  The tiny spray that spoke her trust,
  Had like herself long turned to dust.

  I felt a sudden sorrow stir
  My heart across the years for her,
  Who, reading how Francesca loved,
  Had found her heart so deeply moved:
  Who, hearing poor Francesca's moan,
  Had felt her sorrow as her own.
  I hope where e 'er her grave may be,
  Forget-me-nots bloom constantly:
  That somewhere in yon distant skies
  He who is Love hath heard her sighs:
  And her hath granted of His Grace,
  Ever to see her Lover's face.



  THE NEEDLE'S EYE

  They bade me come to the House of Prayer,
  They said I should find my Saviour there:
  I was wicked enough, God wot, at best,
  And weary enough to covet rest.

  I paused at th' door with a timid knock:
  The People within were a silken flock--
  By their scowls of pride it was plain to see
  Salvation was not for the likes of me.

  The Bishop was there in his lace and lawn,
  And the cassocked priest,--I saw him yawn,--
  The rich and great and virtuous too,
  Stood smug and contented each in his pew.

  The music was grand,--the service fine,
  The sermon was eloquent,--nigh divine.
  The subject was, Pride and the Pharisee,
  And the Publican, who was just like me.

  I smote my breast in an empty pew,
  But an usher came and looked me through
  And bade me stand beside the door
  In the space reserved for the mean and poor.

  I left the church in my rags and shame:
  In the dark without, One called my name.
  "They have turned me out as well," quoth He,
  "Take thou my hand and come fare with me.

  "We may find the light by a narrow gate,
  The way is steep and rough and strait;
  But none will look if your clothes be poor,
  When you come at last to my Father's door."

  I struggled on where 'er He led:
  The blood ran down from His hand so red!
  The blood ran down from His forehead torn.
  "'Tis naught," quoth He, "but the prick of a thorn!"

  "You bleed," I cried, for my heart 'gan quail.
  "'Tis naught, 'tis naught but the print of a nail."
  "You limp in pain and your feet are sore."
  "Yea, yea," quoth He, "for the nails they were four."

  "You are weary and faint and bent," I cried.
  "'Twas a load I bore up a mountain side."
  "The way is steep, and I faint."  But He:
  "It was steeper far upon Calvary."

  By this we had come to a narrow door,
  I had spied afar.  It was locked before;
  But now in the presence of my Guide,
  The fast-closed postern opened wide.

  And forth there streamed a radiance
  More bright than is the noon-sun's glance;
  And harps and voices greeted Him--
  The music of the Seraphim.

  I knew His face where the light did fall:
  I had spat in it, in Herod's Hall,
  I knew those nail-prints now, ah, me!--
  I had helped to nail Him to a tree.

  I fainting fell before His face,
  Imploring pardon of His grace.
  He stooped and silencing my moan,
  He bore me near to His Father's throne.

  He wrapt me close and hid my shame,
  And touched my heart with a cleansing flame.
  "Rest here," said He, "while I go and try
  To widen a little a Needle's Eye."



  THE CLOSED DOOR

  Lord, is it Thou who knockest at my door?
  I made it fast and 't will not open more;
  Barred it so tight I scarce can hear Thy knock,
  And am too feeble now to turn the lock,
  Clogged with my folly and my grievous sin:
  Put forth Thy might, O Lord, and burst it in.



  CONVENTION

  At the Judgment-bar stood spirits three:
  A thief, a fool and a man of degree,
  To whom spake the Judge in his Majesty.

  To the shivering thief: "Thy sins are forgiven,
  For that to repent thou hast sometime striven;
  There be other penitent thieves in Heaven."

  To the fool: "Poor fool, thou art free from sin;
  To My light thou, too, mayest enter in,
  Where Life and Thought shall for thee begin."

  To the mirror of others, smug and neat,
  With the thoughts and sayings of others replete,
  This Judgment rolled from the Judgment-seat:

  "Remain thou thyself, a worm to crawl.
  Thou, doubly damned, canst not lower fall
  Than ne'er to have thought for thyself at all."



  THE MAGDALEN

  He flaunted recklessly along,
  With hollow laugh and mocking song;

  In tawdry garb and painted mirth,
  The sorrowfulest thing on earth.

  Time runs apace: the fleeting years
  Left but her misery and her tears.

  The very brothel-door was barred
  Against a wretch so crook'd and marred.

  She knocked at every gate in vain,
  The cast-out harlot black with stain--

  At all save one,--when this she tried,--
  'T was His, the High Priest crucified.

  He heard her tears, flung wide His door
  And said, "Come in, and sin no more."



  THE REQUIREMENT

  To the Steward of his vineyard spake the Lord,
  When he handed him over His Keys and Sword:
  "See that you harken unto my word:

  "There be three chief things that I love," quoth He,
  "That bear a sweet savor up to me:
  They be Justice, Mercy and Purity."

  Justice was sold at a thief's behest;
  Purity went for a harlot's jest,
  And Mercy was slain with a sword in her breast.



  THE LISTENER

  A sparrow sang on a weed,
  Sprung from an upturned sod,
  And no one gave him heed
  Or heard the song, save God.



  CONTRADICTION

  A bishop preached Sunday on Dives forsaken:
  How he was cast out and Lazarus taken;
  The very next day he rejoiced he was able
  To dine that evening at Dives' table.
  While wretched Lazarus, sick and poor,
  Was called an impostor and turned from the door.



  THE QUESTION

  Why may I not step from this empty room,
  Where heavy round me hangs the curtained gloom,
  And passing through a little darkness there,
  Even as one climbs to bed an unlit stair,
  Find that I know is but one step above,
  And that I hunger for: my Life: my Love?

  'T is but a curtain doth our souls divide,
  A veil my eager hand might tear aside--
  One step to take, one thrill, one throb, one bound,
  And I have gained my Heaven, the Lost have found--
  Have solved the riddle rare, the secret dread:
  The vast, unfathomable secret of the Dead.

  It seems but now that as I yearning stand,
  I might put forth my hand and touch her hand;
  That I might lift my longing eyes and trace
  But for the darkness there the gracious face;
  That could I hush the grosser sounds, my ear
  The charmèd music of her voice might hear.

  She may not come to me, Alas! I know,
  Else had she surely come, long, long ago.
  The Conqueror Death, who save One conquers all,
  Had never power to hold that soul in thrall;
  No narrowest prison-house; no piled up stone
  Had held her heart a captive from my own.

  No, 't is not these:  Hell's might nor Heaven's charms,
  Had never power to hold her from my arms;--
  'T is that by some inscrutable, fixed Law,
  Vaster than mortal vision ever saw,
  Whose sweep is worlds; whose track Eternity,
  Somewhere her soul angelic waits for me:--

  Waits patiently His Wisdom, whose decree
  Is Wisdom's self veiled in Infinity:
  Who gives us Life divine with mortal breath,
  Yet in its pathway, lo! hath planted Death;
  Who grants us Love our dull souls to uplift
  Nearer to Him; yet tears away His Gift;

  Crowns us with Reason in His image made,
  Yet blinds our eyes with never lifting shade.
  Who may the mystery solve?  'T is His decree!
  Can Mortal understand Infinity?
  Prostrate thyself before His feet, dull clod,
  Who saith, "Be still, and know that I am God."

  Ah! did we surely know the joys that wait
  Beyond the portal of the silent gate,
  Who would a moment longer here abide,
  The spectre, Sorrow, stalking at his side?
  Who would not daring take the leap and be
  Unbound, unfettered clean, a slave set free!



  OUR DEAD

  We bury our dead,
  We lay them to sleep
  With the earth for their bed,
  With stones at their head:
  We leave them and weep
  When we bury our dead.

  We bury our dead,
  We lay them to sleep,--
  On our Mother's calm breast
  We leave them to rest--
  To rest while we weep.

  We bury our dead,
  We lay them to sleep--
  They reck not our tears,
  Though the sad years creep--
  Through our tears, through the years
  They tranquilly sleep.

  We bury our dead,
  We lay them to sleep;
  We bury the bloom
  Of our life,--all our bloom
  In the coffin we fold:
  We enfold in the tomb:
  We reënter the room
  We left young,--we are old.

  We bury our dead,
  We lay them to sleep;
  The cold Time-tides flow
  With winter and spring,
  With birds on the wing,
  With roses and snow,
  With friends who beguile
  Our sorrow with pity--
  With pity awhile.
  Then weary and smile,
  Then chide us, say, "Lo!
  How the sun shines,--'t is May."
  But we know 't is not so--
  That the sun died that day
  When we laid them away,
  With the earth for a bed--
  When we buried our dead.

  We bury our dead,
  We lay them to sleep;
  We turn back to the world;
  We are caught,--we are whirled
  In the rush of the current--
  The rush and the sweep
  Of the tide, without rest.
  But they sleep--they the blest--
  The Blessed dead sleep:
  They tranquilly rest
  On our Mother's calm breast.



  MY MOTHER

  I knew her in her prime,
  Before the seal of Time
  Was graven on her brow,
  As Age hath graved it now:
  When radiant Youth was just subdued
  To yield to gracious womanhood.
  And as an inland lake
  Lies tranquil mid the hills,
  Unruffled by the storms that break
  Beyond, and mirrors Heaven;
  So, to her spirit, freed from ills,
  A blessed calm was given.
  Encircled by War's strife
  Peace ruled her life.
  Christ's teachings were her constant guide,
  And naught beside,
  Christ's Death and Passion were her plea--
  None needed she;
  For that amid earth's fiercest strife
  Her life was patterned on His life.
  Now when her eyes grow dim
  She lives so close to Him,
  The radiance of His smile
  Envelops her the while.
  As when the Prophet's figure shone
  With light reflected from the Throne,
  So, ever in her face
  Shines Heaven's divinest grace.
  Her soul is fresh and mild
  As is a little child.
  And as the fleshly tenement
  With age grows worn and bent,
  Her Spirit's unabated youth
  Is aye to me
  The mind-compelling truth
  Of Immortality.
  Her voice is, as it were,
  A silver dulcimer,
  Tuned like the seraph's lays
  Eternally to praise.
  The blessings of Christ's chosen friends
  Are doubly hers, whose mind,
  To charity inclined,
  No selfish ends
  Have ever for an instant moved:
  Who served like Martha
  And like Mary loved.



  HER INFLUENCE

  The tender Earth that smiles when kissed by Spring;
  The flowers; the budding woods; the birds that sing
  The Summer's song her spirit to me bring.

  The meadows cool that breathe their fragrant myrrh;
  Deep, placid pools that little breezes blur;
  Soft-tinkling springs speak to my heart of her.

  Heaven's purple towers upon the horizon's rim;
  The dove that mourns upon his lonely limb,
  Fill my soul's cup with memories to its brim.

  In evening's calm when in the quiet skies,
  The lustrous, silent, tender stars uprise,
  I feel the holy influence of her eyes.

  That deeper hour when Night with Dawn is blent,
  And Silence stirs, its languors well-nigh spent,
  I hear her gently sigh with sweet content.

  I hear young children laughing in the street:
  Catch rays of sunshine from them as we meet,
  And smile content to know what makes them sweet.

  Yea, everywhere, in every righteous strife,
  I find her spirit's fragrant influence rife,
  Like Mary's precious spikenard sweetening Life.



  MATTHEW ARNOLD

  He challenged all that came within his ken,
  And Error held with steadfast mind aloof.
  E'en Truth itself he put upon the proof:
  Holding that Light was God's first gift to men.



  THE STRANGER

  Straying one day amid the leafy bowers,
  A Presence passed, masked in a sunny ray,
  Tossing behind him carelessly the hours,
  As one shakes blossoms from a ravished spray,--
    Strewing them far and wide.
    Nor glanced to either side.

  A-sudden as he strolled he chanced upon
  A flower which full within his pathway blew,
  White as a lily, modest as a nun,
  Sweeter than Lilith's rose in Eden grew--
    Her beauty he espied,
    Approached and softly sighed.

  His breath the blossom stirred and all the air
  Grew fragrant with a subtle, rich perfume;
  The spicèd alleys glowed, the while a rare
  And crystal radiance did illume
    All the adjacent space
    As 't were an angel's face.

  Kneeling, he gently laid his glowing lips,
  Like softest music on her lips, when came
  A thrill that trembled to her petal-tips,
  And on the instant, with a sudden flame,
    Leaped forth the shining sun,
    And Earth and Heaven were one.

  "Who art thou?" queried she, "Tell me thy name,
  To whom Godlike this Godlike power is given,
  That thus for me, without or fear or shame,
  But by thy lips' soft touch Greatest Heaven?"
    Whilst to his heart she clove,
    He whispered, "I am Love."



  LOVE

  (AFTER ANACREON)

  Astray within a garden bright
  I found a tiny wingèd sprite:

  He scarce was bigger than a sparrow
  And bore a little bow and arrow.

  I lifted him up in my arm,
  Without a thought of guile or harm;

  But merely as it were in play,
  With threats to carry him away.

  The sport he took in such ill part,
  He stuck an arrow in my heart.

  And ever since, I have such pain,--
  I cannot draw it out again.

  And yet, the strangest part is this:
  I love the pain as though 't were bliss.



  AN OLD REFRAIN

  It seems to me as I think of her,
  That my youth has come again:
  I hear the breath of summer stir
  The leaves in the old refrain:
    "Oh! my Lady-love!  Oh! my Lady-love!
    Oh! where can my Lady be?
  I will seek my Love, with the wings of a dove,
    And pray her to love but me."

  The flower-kissed meadows all once more
  Are green with grass and plume;
  The apple-trees again are hoar
  With fragrant snow of bloom.
    Oh! my Lady-love!  Oh! my Lady-love!
    Oh! where can my Lady be? etc.

  The meadow-brook slips tinkling by
  With silvery, rippling flow,
  And blue-birds sing on fences nigh,
  To dandelions below.
    Oh! my Lady-love, Oh, my Lady-love!
    Oh! where can my Lady be? etc.

  I hear again the drowsy croon
  Of honey-laden bees,
  And catch the poppy-mellowed rune
  They hum to locust trees.
    Oh! my Lady-love!  Oh! my Lady-love!
    Oh! where can my Lady-love be? etc.

  Far off the home-returning cows
  Low that the Eve is late,
  And call their calves neath apple-boughs
  To meet them at the gate.
    Oh! my Lady-love!  Oh! my Lady-love!
    Oh! where can my Lady be? etc.

  Once more the Knights and ladies pass
  In visions Fancy-wove:
  I lie full length in summer grass,
  To choose my own True-Love.
    Oh! my Lady-love!  Oh! my Lady-love!
    Oh! where can my Lady be? etc.

  I know not how,--I know not where,--
  I dream a fairy-spell:
  I know she is surpassing fair,--
  I know I love her well.
    Oh! my Lady-love!  Oh! my Lady-love!
    Oh! where can my Lady be? etc.

  I know she is as pure as snow:--
  As true as God's own Truth:--
  I know,--I know I love her so,
  She must love me, in sooth!
    Oh! my Lady-love!  Oh! my Lady-love!
    Oh! where can my Lady be? etc.

  I know the stars dim to her eyes;
  The flowers blow in her face:
  I know the angels in the skies
  Have given her of their grace.
    Oh! my Lady-love!  Oh! my Lady-love!
    Oh! where can my Lady be? etc.

  And none but I her heart can move,
  Though seraphs may have striven;
  And when I find my own True-love,
  I know I shall find Heaven.
    Oh! my Lady-love!  Oh! my Lady-love!
    Oh! where can my Lady be!
  I will seek my Love with the wings of a dove
    And pray her to love but me.



  TO CLAUDIA

  It is not, Claudia, that thine eyes
    Are sweeter far to me,
  Than is the light of Summer skies
    To captives just set free.

  It is not that the setting sun
    Is tangled in thy hair,
  And recks not of the course to run,
    In such a silken snare.

  Nor for the music of thy words,
    Fair Claudia, love I thee,
  Though sweeter than the songs of birds
    That melody to me.

  It is not that rich roses rare
    Within thy garden grow,
  Nor that the fairest lilies are
    Less snowy than thy brow.

  Nay, Claudia, 't is that every grace
    In thy dear self I find;
  That Heaven itself is in thy face,
    And also in thy mind.



  THE APPLE-TREES AT EVEN

  Ah! long ago it seems to me,
    Those sweet old days of summer,
  When I was young and fair was she,
    And sorrow only rumor.

  And all the world was less than naught
    To me who had her favor;
  For Time and Care had not then taught
    How Life of Death hath savor.

  And all the day the roving bees
    Clung to the swinging clover,
  And robins in the apple-trees
    Answered the faint-voiced plover.

  And all the sounds were low and sweet;
    The zephyrs left off roaming
  In curving gambols o'er the wheat,
    To kiss her in the gloaming.

  The apple-blossoms kissed her hair,
    The daisies prayed her wreathe them;
  Ah, me! the blossoms still are there,
    But she lies deep beneath them.

  I now have turned my thoughts to God,
    Earth from my heart I sever;
  With fast and prayer I onward plod--
    With prayer and fast forever.

  Yet, when the white-robed priest speaks low
    And bids me think of Heaven,
  I always hear the breezes blow
    The apple-trees at even.



  MY TRUE-LOVE'S WEALTH

  My True-love hath no wealth they say;
  But when they do, I tell them nay,--
  For she hath wealth of golden hair,
  Shot through with shafts from Delos' bow,
  That shines about her shoulders rare,
  Like sunlight on new driven snow.

  My True-love hath no wealth they say;
  But when they do, I tell them nay,--
  For she hath eyes so soft and bright,
  So deep the light that in them lies,
  That stars in heaven would lose their light
  Ashine beside my True-love's eyes.

  My True-love hath no wealth they say;
  But when they do, I tell them nay,--
  For oh! she hath such dainty hands,
  So snowy white, so fine and small,
  That had I wealth of Ophir's lands,
  For one of them I 'd give it all.

  My True-love hath no wealth they say;
  But when they do, I tell them nay,--
  For oh! she hath a face so fair,
  Such winsome light about it plays,
  For worldly wealth I nothing care,
  So I can look upon her face.

  My True-love hath no wealth they say;
  But when they do, I tell them nay,--
  For endless wealth of mind hath she,
  Her heart so stored with precious lore--
  Her riches they as countless be
  As shells upon the ocean's shore.

  My True-love hath no wealth they say;
  But when they do, I tell them nay,--
  The wild-brier bough hath less of grace
  And on wild violets when she treads
  They turn to look into her face
  And scarcely bow their azure heads.

  My True-love hath no wealth they say;
  But when they do, I tell them nay,--
  For oh! she hath herself, in fee,
  And this is more than worlds to me.



  A VALENTINE

  My patron saint, St. Valentine,
  Why dost thou leave me to repine,
  Still supplicating at her shrine?

  But bid her eyes to me incline,
  I 'll ask no other sun to shine,
  More rich than is Golconda's mine.

  Range all that Woman, Song, or Wine
  Can give; Wealth, Power, and Fame combine;
  For her I 'd gladly all resign.

  Take all the pearls are in the brine,
  Sift heaven for stars, earth's flowers entwine,
  But be her heart my Valentine.



  A PORTRAIT

  A mouth red-ripened like a warm, sweet rose,
  Wherein are gleaming pearls all pure and bright
  As dewdrops nestled where the zephyr blows
  With pinion soft across the humid night;
  A cheek not ruddy, but soft-tinged and fair,
  Where whiles the rich patrician blood is seen,
  As though it knew itself a thing too rare
  For common gaze, yet did its high demean;
  A brow serene and pure as her white soul,
  By which the sifted snow would blackened seem
  That sleeps untrodden where the Northern pole
  Rests calm, unscanned save by the Moon's chaste beam;
  Eyes gray as Summer twilight skies are gray,
  And deep with light as deep, still waters are,--
  Tender as evening's smile when kissing day,
  Yet bright and true as is her lustrous star.
  These all unite and with accordant grace
  Make heaven mirrored ever in her face.



  FÉLICE

  You are very fair, Félice, wondrous fair,
  And the light deep in your eyes
  Is more soft than summer skies,
  And rare roses in your cheek
  Play with lilies hide-and-seek,--
  Play as Pleasure plays with Care.

  And your throat is white, Félice, wondrous white,
  White as sifted snow, I wis,
  Ere the sun hath stol'n a kiss,
  High up starry mountain-heights,
  Or as in rich moonful nights
  Parian baths in Cynthia's light.

  And, Félice, your rippling waves of soft hair,
  In their mystic depths aye hold
  Shade and shimmer of red gold,
  Like a halo round your face,
  Lending you another grace
  From the sunbeams shining there.

  And your voice is sweet, Félice, wondrous sweet,
  As the murmur of the sea,
  After long captivity,
  To a sailor far inland,--
  Or as summer flowers fanned
  By soft zephyrs blown o'er wheat.

  But so stony, fair Félice, is your heart,
  That I wonder oft, I own,
  If you 're not mere carven stone--
  While my soul your charms enthrall--
  Just some chiseled Goddess tall:
  Merely Beauty, Stone, and Art.



  LOVE SONG

  Love 's, for Youth, and not for Age,
    E'en though Age should wear a crown;
  For the Poet, not the Sage;
    Not the Monarch, but the Clown.

  Love 's for Peace, and not for War,
    E'en though War bring all renown;
  For the Violet, not the Star;
    For the Meadow, not the Town.

  Love 's for lads and Love 's for maids,
    Courts a smile and flees a frown;
  Love 's for Love, and saucy jades
    Love Love most when Love has flown.

  Love a cruel tyrant is:
    Slays his victims with a glance,
  Straight recovers with a kiss,
    But to slay again, perchance.

  Wouldst thou know where Love doth bide?
    Whence his sharpest arrows fly?
  In a dimple Love may hide,
    Or the ambush of an eye.

  Wert thou clad in triple mail,
    In some desert far apart,
  Not a whit would this avail:
    Love would find and pierce thy heart.



  THE HARBOUR-LIGHT

  Oh, the Harbour-light and the Harbour-light!
  And how shall we come to the Harbour-light?
  'Tis black to-night and the foam is white,
  And would we might win to the Harbour-light!

  Oh, the Harbour-bar and the Harbour-bar!
  And how shall we pass o'er the Harbour-bar?
  The sea is tost and the ship is lost,
  And deep is the sleep 'neath the Harbour-bar.



  FADED SPRAY OF MIGNONETTE

  Faded spray of mignonette,
  Can you ever more forget
  How you lay that summer night,
  In the new moon's silvery light,
  Dreaming sweet in tranquil rest
  On my true-love's snowy breast?

  Since her rosy finger-tips
  Bore you to her fragrant lips,
  Blessed you with a shadowy kiss,
  Nestled you again in bliss,
  (Envied of the Gods above)
  All is faded save my love.



  LOST ROSES

  I stood beside the laughing, shining river,
  And shook the roses down upon its breast,--
  I watched them whirl away with gleam and quiver,
  As 't were a merry jest.

  I stood beside the silent, sombre river,
  As creepingly the tide came from the sea,
  I watched for my fair roses, but ah! never
  Did they come back to me.



  DE NAME OF OLE VIRGINIA

  SONG

  De old place on de Ches'peake Bay
  Is in my heart to-night--
  I hopes to git back d'yar some day,
  An' hongers for de sight.

  Dee come an' tole me I was free,
  An' all my work was done;
  I left dem whar was good to me,
  An' now I 'se all alone.

      De name of ole Virginia
      Is sweet as rain in drouf--
      Oh! Master, say, has you been dy'ar?
      Hit 's way down in de Souf.

  De grass dat grows 'pon top de hill
  De ones I love does hide,
  I pray de Lord to spyah me still
  To sleep dyar by dee side.

  De ole plantation 's sole an' all,
  But sometime dee will come,
  An' I will hear Brer Gabrull call,
  To fetch de ole man home.

      De name ob ole Virginia
      Is sweet as rain in drouf--
      Oh! Master, say, has you been dy'ar?
      Hit 's way down in de Souf.



  THE DANCER

  FROM ONE WHO KNOWS ONE OF THE MUSES

  You say the gods and muses all
    From earth now banished be?
  Will you believe that yester-eve
    I saw Terpsichore?

  Her robe of snow and gossamer
    Enclad a form most neat;
  Such sandals green were never seen
    As shod her twinkling feet.

  Her every step was melody,
    Her every motion grace,
  That one might prize a thousand eyes
    To note both form and face.

  The motes that dance in sunny beams
    Tripped never in such wise;
  This lovely sprite danced in the light
    That beamed from her own eyes.

  A man's head once was danced away--
    You know how it befell?
  My dainty fay danced yesterday
    Men's hearts away as well.

  What 's that?  'Twas but a graceful girl
    That took the hearts for pelf?
  Nay, I was there, and 't was, I swear,
    Terpsichore herself.



  THE APRIL-FACE

  AN OLD IDYL OF A RICHMOND STREET-CAR

  All up the street at a stately pace
  The maiden passed with her April-face,
  And the roses I 'd paid for, on her breast
  Were white as the eggs in a partridge-nest,
  While behind her--driver upon his stool--
  Tinkled the bell of the street-car mule.

  "Going to walk up the street?" I said;
  She graciously bowed her beautiful head.
  "Then I 'll walk, too; 't is a lovely day."--
  Thus I opened the ball in my usual way.
  "Do you see the car anywhere?" inquired
  The April-face, "I 'm a trifle tired."

  I urged a walk; 'twas a useless suit!
  She wildly waved her parachute;
  The stub-tailed mule stopped quick enow;
  I handed her in with a stately bow;
  And the bell rang out with a jangled quirk,
  As the stub-tailed mule went off with a jerk.

  Three men as she entered solemnly rose,
  And quietly trampled their neighbors' toes;
  A dudish masher left his place,
  And edged near the girl with the April-face,
  Who sat on the side you 'd call "the lee,"
  (With the same sweet smile she 'd sat on me).

  The day it was lovely; mild the air;
  The sky, like the maiden's face, was fair;
  The car was full, and a trifle stale
  (Attached to the mule with the stubbly tail);
  Yet the maiden preferred the seat she hired,
  To the stroll with me; for I made her tired.

  And now when the maiden walks the street
  With another's flowers, and smile so sweet,
  _I_ wave to the driver upon his stool,
  And stop the stub-tailed street-car mule,
  While I purchase a seat with half my pelf;
  For it makes me a trifle tired myself.



  COME BACK TO US, DAVIE

  So, Davie, you 're gaeing to tak yo' a wife
  To halve a' yo' sorrows, an' sweeten yo' life;
  An' Davie, my laddie, I wish you enow
  Of joy and content on your shiny auld pow.

  She 's feat and she 's brightsome, I ken, as the day
  When sinshine is whispering its luve to the May;
  Her cheeks are like blossoms, her mouth is a rose,
  And her teeth are the pearlies its petals enclose.

  Of her voice, her ain music, I dinna' say mair,
  Than that 'tis a strain might a bogle ensnare,
  And her een they are stars beaming forth a bright flame
  To cheer a puir wanderer and lead him safe hame.

  Yes, Davie, ye villain, ye 're sleekit and slee,
  Ye 've lift the door sneck and looped in afore me;
  Ye 've steek it ahint ye and lea'ed me alain,
  Like a dowie auld cat blinkin' by the hearth-stane.

  Yet Davie, belyve, should you mind in your joy
  The puir lonely carlies you lo'ed as a boy,
  The memories of canty auld days we have spent
  Will come like the harp-tones o'er still waters sent.

  Then come to me, Davie, auld days we 'll renew;
  We 'll heap the bit-ingle and bouse the auld brew;
  We 'll smoke the auld pipe, till we freshen your life,
  And send you back young as a boy to your wife.



  THE WITCH

  Celia, before her mirror bends,
  Inquiring how to please her friends.

  The mystery is solved apace:
  The mirror but reflects her grace.

  Her mirror Celia now defies,
  She sees herself in all men's eyes.

  Celia 's a witch, and hath such arts,
  Her image is in all men's hearts.



  HUMANITY

  A lover left his new-made bride
  And shot a dove with her mate at her side.



  ASPIRATION

  I have stood and watched the Eagle soar into the Sun,
  And envied him his swift light-cleaving pinion;
  And, though I may not soar, at least I may
  Lift up my feet above the encumbering clay.



  REALITY

  There be three things real in all the earth:
  Mother-love, Death, and a Little Child's mirth.



  LITTLE DOLLY DIMPLE

  Little Dolly Dimple,
  In her green wimple,
  Knows all the philosophers know:
  That fire is hot
  And ice is not,
  And that sun will melt the snow.
  She has heard that the moon is made of green cheese;
  But she 's not quite certain of this.
  She knows if you tickle your nose you will sneeze,
  And a hurt is made well by a kiss.
  I wish I were wise as Dolly is wise,
  For mysteries lie in her deep, clear eyes.



  A VALENTINE

  TO M. F. AND F. F.

  "_The Fourteenth Day of February fine:
  I choose you for my Valentine._"


  Thus ran the first of the sweet old rhymes
  On the Lovers'-Day in the old, sweet times:
  And so, I follow closely along
  To tell my love in the words of the song.


  "_Roses are red; violets are blue;
  Pinks are sweet, and so are you._"


  Roses are red in my sweetheart's cheeks,
  Deepening tints whenever one speaks;
  Violets are blue in the eyes of one;
  In the eyes of the other smileth the sun;
  But never were roses half so rare
  And never were pinks a tithing as fair
  And never have they in their garden-bed
  A hundredth part of the fragrance shed,

  As my two flowers in their sweet home-frame,
  Both flowers by nature and one by name.
  So as sure as the bloom grows on the vine
  I 'll choose them for my valentine:
  My sweet-heart one and my sweet-heart two,
  Both little sweet-hearts sweet and true--
  To love and to cherish forever mine:
  To cherish and love as my valentine.



  DIALECT POEMS

  FROM "BEFO' DE WAR"



  UNCLE GABE'S WHITE FOLKS

  Sarvent, Marster!  Yes, suh, dat 's me--
    'Ole Unc' Gabe' 's my name;
  I thankee, Marster; I 'm 'bout, yo' see.
    "An' de ole 'ooman?"  She 's much de same:
  Po'ly an' c'plainin', thank de Lord!
  But de Marster's gwine ter come back from 'broad.

  "Fine ole place?"  Yes, suh, 't is so;
    An' mighty fine people my white folks war--
  But you ought ter 'a' seen it years ago,
    When de Marster an' de Mistis lived up dyah;
  When de niggers 'd stan' all roun' de do',
  Like grains o' corn on de cornhouse flo'.

  "Live' mons'ous high?"  Yes, Marster, yes;
    D' cut 'n' onroyal 'n' gordly dash;
  Eat an' drink till you could n' res'.
    My folks war n' none o' yo' po'-white-trash;
  Nor, suh, dey was of high degree--
  Dis heah nigger am quality!

  "Tell you 'bout 'em?"  You mus' 'a' hearn
    'Bout my ole white folks, sho'!
  I tell you, suh, dey was gre't an' stern;
  D' didn' have nuttin' at all to learn;
    D' knowed all dar was to know;
  Gol' over dey head an' onder dey feet;
  An' silber! dey sowed 't like folks sows wheat.

  "Use' ter be rich?"  Dat warn' de wud!
    D' jes' wallowed an' roll' in wealf.
  Why, none o' my white folks ever stir'd
    Ter lif' a han' for d' self;
  De niggers use ter be stan'in' roun'
  Jes' d' same ez leaves when dey fus' fall down;
  De stable-stalls up heah at home
  Looked like teef in a fine-toof comb;
  De cattle was p'digious--I mus' tell de fac'!
  An' de hogs mecked de hill-sides look lite black;
  An' de flocks o' sheep was so gre't an' white
  Dey 'peared like clouds on a moonshine night.
  An' when my ole Mistis use' ter walk--

    _Jes'_ ter her kerridge (dat was fur
    Ez ever she walked)--I tell you, sir,
  You could almos' heah her silk dress talk;
    Hit use' ter soun' like de mornin' breeze,
  When it wakes an' rustles de Gre't House trees.
  An' de Marster's face!--de Marster's face,
    Whenever de Marster got right pleased--
  Well, I 'clar' ter Gord! 't would shine wid grace
    De same ez his countenance had been greased.
  Dat cellar, too, had de bes' o' wine,
  An' brandy, an' sperrits dat yo' could fine;
  An' ev'ything in dyah was stored,
  'Skusin' de Glory of de Lord!

  "Warn' dyah a son?"  Yes, suh, you knows
    _He_ 's de young Marster now;
  But we heah dat dey tooken he very clo'es
    Ter pay what ole Marster owe;
  He 's done been gone ten year, I s'pose.
  But he 's comin' back some day, of co'se;
  An my ole 'ooman is aluz 'pyard,
    An' meckin' de Blue-Room baid;
  An' ev'ry day dem sheets is ayard,
    An' will be tell she 's daid;
  An' dem styars she 'll scour,
    An' dat room she 'll ten',
    Ev'y blessed day dat de Lord do sen'!

  What say, Marster?  Yo' say, you knows--?
    He 's young an' slender-like an' fyah;
  Better-lookin' 'n you, of co'se!
  Hi! you 's he?  'Fo' Gord! 't is him!
    'T is de very voice an' eyes an' hyah,
    An' mouf an' smile, on'y yo' ain' so slim--
  I wonder whah--whah is de ole 'ooman?
  Now let my soul
    Depart in peace
  For I behol'
  Dy glory, Lord!--I knowed you, chile--
    I knowed you soon 's I see 'd your face!
  Whar has you been dis blessed while?
    Yo' 's "done come back an' buy de place?
    Oh, bless de Lord for all his grace!
  De ravins shell hunger, an' shell not lack
  De Marster, de young Marster is done come back!



  LITTLE JACK[1]

[1] In memory of John Dalmey, of Richmond, Virginia: a man faithful to
all trusts.


  Yes, suh.  'T was jes' 'bout sundown
    Dad went--two months ago;
  I always used ter run down
    Dat time, bec'us', you know,
  I wudden like ter had him die,
    An' no one nigh.

  You see, we cudden git him
    Ter come 'way off dat lan'--
  'E said New House did n' fit him,
    No mo' 'n new shoes did; an'
  Gord mout miss him at Jedgment day,
    Ef he moved 'way.

  "How ole?"  Ef we all wondered
    How ole he was, he 'd frown
  An' say he was "a hundred an--
    Ole Miss done sot it down,
  An' she could tell--'t was fo' or five--
    Ef she was live."

  Well, when, as I was sayin',
    Dat night I come on down,
  I see he bench was layin'
    Flat-sided on de groun';
  An' I kinder hurried to'ds de do'--
    Quick-like, you know.

  Inside I see him layin'
    Back, quiet, on de bed;
  An' I heahed him kep on sayin':
    "Dat 's what ole Marster said;
  An' Marster warn' gwine tell me lie,
    He 'll come by-m'-by."

  I axed how he was gettin'.
    "Nigh ter de furrow's een',"
  He said; "dis ebenin', settin'
    Outside de do', I seen
  De thirteen curlews come in line,
    An' knowed de sign.

  "You know, ole Marster tole me
    He 'd come for me 'fo' long;
  'Fo' you was born, he sole me--
    But den he pined so strong
  He come right arter Little Jack,
    An' buyed him back.

  "I went back ter de kerrige
    An' tuk dem reins ag'in.
  I druv him ter his marriage;
    An', nigger, 't was a sin
  Ter see de high an' mighty way
    I looked dat day!

  "Dat coat had nary button
    'Skusin' it was ob gole;
  My hat--but dat warn't nuttin'!
    'T was noble ter behole
  De way dem hosses pawed de yar,
    Wid me up dyar.

  "Now all 's w'ared out befo' me!--
    Marster, an' coat, an' all;
  Me only lef--you know me!--
    Cheat wheat 's de lars' ter fall:
  De rank grain ben's wid its own weight,
    De light stan's straight.

  "But heah!  Ole Marster 's waitin'--
    So I mus' tell you: raise
  De jice dyar; 'neaf de platin'--
    De sweat o' many days
  Is in dat stockin'--toil an' pain
    In sun an' rain.

  "I worked ter save dem figgers
    Ter buy you; but de Lord
  He sot free all de niggers,
    Same as white-folks, 'fo' Gord!
  Free as de crows!  Free as de stars!
    Free as ole hyars!

  "Now, chile, you teck dat money,
    Git on young Marster's track,
  An' pay it ter him, honey;
    An' tell him Little Jack
  Worked forty year, dis Chris'mus come,
    Ter save dat sum;

  "An' dat 't was for ole Marster,
    To buy your time f'om him;
  But dat de war come farster,
    An' squandered stock an' lim'--
  Say you kin work an' don't need none,
    An' he carn't, son.

  "He ain' been use ter diggin'
    His livin' out de dirt;
  He carn't drink out a piggin,
    Like you; an' it 'ud hurt
  Ole Marster's pride, an' make him sw'ar,
    In glory dyar!"

  Den all his strength seemed fallin';
    He shet his eyes awhile,
  An' den said: "Heish! he 's callin'!
    Dyar he!  Now watch him smile!
  Yes, suh--  You niggers jes' stan' back!
    Marster, here 's Jack!"



  ASHCAKE

  Well, yes, suh, dat am a comical name
    It are so, an' for a fac'--
  But I knowed one, down in Ferginyer,
    Could 'a' toted dat on its back.

  "What was it?"  I 'm gwine to tell you--
    'T was mons'us long ago:
  'T was, "Ashcake," suh; an' all on us
    Use' ter call 'im jes', "Ashcake," so.

  You see, suh, my ole Marster, he
    Was a pow'ful wealfy man,
  Wid mo' plantations dan hyahs on you haid--
    Gre't acres o' low-groun' lan':

  Jeems River bottoms, dat used ter stall
    A fo'-hoss plough, no time;
  An' he 'd knock' you down ef you jes' had dyared
    Ter study 'bout guano 'n' lime.

  De corn used ter stan' in de row dat thick
    You jes' could follow de balk;
  An' rank! well I 'clar' ter de king, Ise seed
    Five 'coons up a single stalk!

  He owned mo' niggers 'n arr' a man
    About dyar, black an' bright;
  He owned so many, b'fo' de Lord,
    He did n' know all by sight!

  Well, suh, one evelin', long to'ds dusk,
    I seen de Marster stan'
  An' watch a yaller boy pass de gate
    Wid a ashcake in his han'.

  He never had no mammy at all--
    Leastways, she was dead by dat--
  An' de cook an' de hands about on de place
    Used ter see dat de boy kep' fat.

  Well, he trotted along down de parf dat night,
    An' de Marster he seen him go,
  An' hollered, "Say, boy--say, what 's yer name?"
    "A--ashcake, suh," says Joe.

  It 'peared ter tickle de Marster much,
    An' he called him up to de do'.
  "Well, dat is a curisome name," says he;
    "But I guess it suits you, sho'."

  "Whose son are you?" de Marster axed.
    "Young Jane's," says Joe; "she 's daid."
  A sperrit cudden 'a' growed mo' pale,
    An', "By Gord!" I heerd him said.

  He tuk de child 'long in de house,
    Jes' 'count o' dat ar whim;
  An', dat-time-out, you nuver see
    Sich sto' as he sot by him.

  An' Ashcake swung his cradle, too,
    As clean as ever you see;
  An' stuck as close ter ole Marster's heel
    As de shader sticks to de tree.

  'Twel one dark night, when de river was out,
    De Marster an' Ashcake Joe
  Was comin' home an' de skiff upsot,
    An' bofe wo'd 'a' drowned, sho',

  Excusin' dat Ashcake cotch'd ole Marst'r
    An' gin him holt o' de boat,
  An' saved him so; but 't was mo'n a week
    B'fo' his body comed afloat.

  An' de Marster buried dat nigger, suh,
    In de white-folks' graveyard, sho!
  An' he writ 'pon a white-folks' tombstone,
    "Ashcake"--jes' "Ashcake" so.

  An' de Marster he grieved so 'bouten dat thing,
    It warn' long, suh, befo' he died;
  An' he 's sleep, 'way down in Perginyer,
    Not fur from young Ashcake's side.



  ZEKYL'S INFIDELITY

      Mistis, I r'al'y wish you 'd hole
        A little conversation
      Wid my old Zekyl 'bout his soul.
        Dat nigger's sitiwation
      Is mons'us serious, 'deed 'n' 't is,
      'Skusin' he change dat co'se o' his.

      Dat evil sinner 's sot he face
        Ginst ev'y wud I know;
      Br'er Gabrul say, he 's fell from grace,
        An' Hell is got him sho'!

      He don' believe in sperits,
        'Skusin' 't is out a jug!
      Say 'tain' got no mo' merits
        Den a ole half-cured lug;
      'N' dat white cat I see right late,
      One evelin' nigh de grave-yard gate,
      Warn't nuttin' sep some ole cat whar
      Wuz sot on suppin' off old hyah.

      He 'oont allow a rooster
        By crowin' in folks' do',
      Kin bring death dyah; and useter
        Say, he wish mine would crow.
      An' he even say, a hin mout try,
      Sep woman-folks would git so spry,
      An' want to stick deeselves up den,
      An' try to crow over de men.

      'E say 't ain' no good in preachin';
        Dat niggers is sich fools--
      Don' know no mo' 'bout teachin'
      'N white-folks does 'bout mules;
      An' when br'er Gabrul's hollered tell
      You mos' kin see right into Hell,
      An' rambled Scriptures fit to bus',
      Dat hard-mouf nigger 's wus an' wus.

      'E say quality (dis is mainer
        'N all Ise told you yit)--
      Says 'tain' no better 'n 'arf-strainer;
        An' dat _his_ master 'll git
      Good place in Heaven--po'-white-folks, mark!--
      As y' all whar come right out de ark;
      An' dat--now jes' heah dis!--dat he,
      A po'-white-folks' nigger 's good as me!

      He 's gwine straight to de deble!
        An' sarve him jes' right, too!
      He 's a outdacious rebel,
        Arter all Ise done do!--
      Ise sweat an' arguified an' blowed
        Over dat black nigger mo'
      'N would 'a' teck a c'nal-boat load
        Over to Canyan sho'!

      Ise tried _refection_--'t warn' no whar!
      Ise wrastled wid de Lord in pra'r;
      Ise quoiled tell I wuz mos daid;
      Ise th'owed de spider at his haid--
      But he ole haid 't wuz so thick th'oo
      Hit bus' my skillit spang in two.

  You kin dye black hyah an' meek it light;
  You kin tu'n de Ethiope's spots to white;
  You mout grow two or three cubics bigger--
  But you carn't onchange a po'-white-folks' nigger.

  When you 's dwellin' on golden harps an' chunes,
  A po-white-foiks' nigger's thinkin' bout coons;
  An' when you 's snifflin' de heaven'y blossoms,
  A po'-white-folks' nigger 's studyin' 'bout possums.



  MARSE PHIL

  Yes, yes, you is Marse Phil's son; you favor 'm might'ly, too.
    We wuz like brothers, we wuz, me an' him.
  You tried to fool d' ole nigger, but, Marster, 'twouldn' do;
    Not do yo' is done growed so tall an' slim.

  Hi!  Lord!  Ise knowed yo', honey, sence long befo' yo' born--
    I mean, Ise knowed de _family_ dat long;
  An' dees been _white_ folks, Marster--dee han 's white ez young corn--
    An', ef dee want to, couldn' do no wrong.

  You' gran'pa bought my mammy at Gen'l Nelson's sale,
    An' Deely she come out de same estate;
  An' blood is jes' like pra'r is--hit tain' gwine nuver fail;
    Hit 's sutney gwine to come out, soon or late.

  When I wuz born, yo' gran'pa gi' me to young Marse Phil,
    To be his body-servant--like, you know;
  An' we growed up together like two stalks in a hill--
    Bofe tarslin' an' den shootin' in de row.

  Marse Phil wuz born in harves', an' I dat Christmas come;
    My mammy nussed bofe on we de same time;
  No matter what one got, suh, de oder gwine git some--
    We wuz two fibe-cent pieces in one dime.

  We cotch ole hyahs together, an' possums, him an' me;
    We fished dat mill-pon' over, night an' day;
  Rid horses to de water; treed coons up de same tree;
    An' when you see one, turr warn' fur away.

  When Marse Phil went to College, 't wuz, "Sam--Sam 's got to go."
    Ole Marster said, "Dat boy 's a fool 'bout Sam."
  Ole Mistis jes' said, "Dear, Phil wants him, an', you know--"
    Dat "_Dear_"--hit used to soothe him like a lamb.

  So we all went to College---'way down to Williamsburg--
    But 't warn' much l'arnin out o' books we got;
  Dem urrs warn' no mo' to him 'n a ole wormy lug;
    Yes, suh, we wuz de ve'y top-de-pot.

  An' ef he didn' study dem Latins an' sich things,
    He wuz de popularetis all de while
  De ladies use' to call him, "De angel widout wings";
    An' when he come, I lay dee use' to smile.

  Yo' see, he wuz ole Marster's only chile; an' den,
    He had a body-servant--at he will;
  An' wid dat big plantation; dee 'd all like to be brides;
    Dat is ef dee could have de groom, Marse Phil.

  'T wuz dyah he met young Mistis--she wuz yo' ma, of co'se!
    I disremembers now what mont' it wuz:
  One night, he comes, an' seys he, "Sam, I needs new clo'es";
    An' seys I, "Marse Phil, yes, suh, so yo' does."

  Well, suh, he made de tailor meek ev'y thing bran' new;
    He would n' w'ar one stitch he had on han'--
  Jes' throwed 'em in de chip box, an' seys, "Sam, dem 's fur you."
    Marse Phil, I tell yo', wuz a gentleman.

  So Marse Phil co'tes de Mistis, an' Sam he co'tes de maid--
    We always sot our traps upon one parf;
  An' when we tole ole Marster we bofe wuz gwine, he seyd,
    "All right, we 'll have to kill de fatted calf."

  An' dat wuz what dee did, suh--de Prodigal wuz home;
    Dee put de ring an' robe upon yo' ma.
  Den you wuz born, young Marster, an' den de storm hit come;
    An' den de darkness settled from afar.

  De storm hit comed an' wrenchted de branches from de tree--
    De war--you' pa--he 's sleep dyah on de hill;
  An' do I know, young Marster, de war hit sot us free?
    I seys, "Dat 's so; but tell me whar 's Marse Phil?"

  "A dollar!"--thankee, Marster, you sutney is his son;
    You is his spitt an' image, I declar'!
  What sey, young Marster?  Yes, suh: you sey, "It 's _five_--not one--"
    Yo' favors, honey, bofe yo' pa an' ma!



  ONE MOURNER

(FOR IRWIN RUSSELL, WHO DIED IN NEW ORLEANS IN GREAT DESTITUTION, ON
CHRISTMAS EVE, 1879)

  Well, well, I declar'!  I is sorry.
    He 's 'ceasted, yo' say, Marse Joe?--
  Dat gent'man down in New Orleans,
    Whar writ 'bout'n niggers so,

  An' tole, in all dat poetry
    You read some time lars' year,
  'Bout niggers, an' 'coons, an' 'possums,
    An' ole times, an' mules an' gear?

  Jes' name dat ag'in, seh, please, seh;
    _Destricution_ 's de word yo' said?
  Dat signifies he wuz mons'us po',
    Yo' say?--want meat and bread?

  Hit mout: I never knowed him
    Or hearn on him, 'sep' when you
  Read me dem valentines o' his'n;
    But I lay you, dis, seh 's, true--

  Dat he wuz a rael gent'man,
    Bright fire dat burns, not smokes;
  An' ef he did die _destricute_,
    He war n't no po'-white-folks.

  Dat gent'man knowed 'bout niggers,
    Heah me! when niggers wuz
  Ez good ez white-folks mos', seh,
    I knows dat thing, I does.

  An' he could 'a' tetched his hat, seh,
    To me jes' de same ez you;
  An' folks gwine to see what a gent'man
    He wuz, an' I wuz, too.

  He could n' 'a' talked so natchal
    'Bout niggers in sorrow an' joy,
  Widdouten he had a black mammy
    To sing to him 'long ez a boy.

  An' I think, when he tole 'bout black-folks
    An' ole-times, an' all so sweet,
  Some nigh him mout 'a' acted de ravins
    An' gin him a mouf-ful to eat,

  An' not let him starve at Christmas,
    When things ain't sca'ce nowhar--
  Ef he hed been a dog, young Marster,
    I 'd 'a feeded him den, I 'clar'!

  But wait!  Maybe Gord, when thinkin'
    How po' he 'd been himself,
  Cotch sight dat gent'man scufflin',
    An' 'lowed fur to see what wealf

  Hit mout be de bes' to gin him,
    Ez a Christmas-gif', yo' know;
  So he jes' took him up to heaven,
    Whar he earn' be po' no mo'.

  An' jes' call his name ag'in, seh.
    How?--IRWIN RUSSELL--so?
  I 'se gwine fur to tell it to Nancy,
    So ef I 'd furgit, she 'd know.

  An' I hopes dey 'll lay him to sleep, seh,
    Somewhar, whar de birds will sing
  About him de live-long day, seh,
    An' de flowers will bloom in Spring.

  An' I wish, young Marster, you 'd meek out
    To write down to whar you said,
  An' sey, dyar 's a nigger in Richmond
    Whar 's sorry Marse Irwin 's dead.





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