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Title: Songs and Other Verse
Author: Field, Eugene, 1850-1895
Language: English
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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 "Songs and Other Verse" ***

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THE WORKS OF EUGENE FIELD

Vol. IX

THE WRITINGS IN PROSE AND VERSE OF EUGENE FIELD


    SONGS AND OTHER VERSE



INTRODUCTION

"It is about impossible for a man to get rid of his Puritan grandfathers,
and nobody who has ever had one has ever escaped his Puritan grandmother;"
so said Eugene Field to me one sweet April day, when we talked together of
the things of the spirit. It is one of his own confessions that he was
fond of clergymen. Most preachers are supposed to be helplessly tied up
with such a set of limitations that there are but a few jokes which they
may tolerate, and a small number of delights into which they may enter.
Doubtless many a cheerful soul likes to meet such of the clergy, in order
that the worldling may feel the contrast of liberty with bondage, and
demonstrate by bombardment of wit and humor, how intellectually thin are
the walls against which certain forms of skepticism and fun offend. Eugene
Field did not belong to these. He called them "a tribe which do unseemly
beset the saints." Nobody has ever had a more numerous or loving clientage
of friendship among the ministers of this city than the author of "The
Holy Cross" and "The Little Yaller Baby." Those of this number who were
closest to the full-hearted singer know that beneath and within all his
exquisite wit and ludicrous raillery--so often directed against the
shallow formalist, or the unctuous hypocrite--there were an aspiration
toward the divine, and a desire for what is often slightingly called
"religious conversation," as sincere as it was resistless within him. My
own first remembrance of him brings back a conversation which ended in a
prayer, and the last sight I had of him was when he said, only four days
before his death, "Well, then, we will set the day soon and you will come
out and baptize the children."

Some of the most humorous of his letters which have come under the
observation of his clerical friends, were addressed to the secretary of
one of them. Some little business matters with regard to his readings and
the like had acquainted him with a better kind of handwriting than he had
been accustomed to receive from his pastor, and, noting the finely
appended signature, "per ---- ----," Field wrote a most effusively
complimentary letter to his ministerial friend, congratulating him upon
the fact that emanations from his office, or parochial study, were "now
readable as far West as Buena Park." At length, nothing having appeared in
writing by which he might discover that ---- ---- was a lady of his own
acquaintance, she whose valuable services he desired to recognize was made
the recipient of a series of beautifully illuminated and daintily written
letters, all of them quaintly begun, continued, and ended in
ecclesiastical terminology, most of them having to do with affairs in
which the two gentlemen only were primarily interested, the larger number
of them addressed in English to "Brother ----," in care of the minister,
and yet others directed in Latin:

Ad Fratrem ---- ----
  In curam, Sanctissimi patris ----, doctoris divinitatis,
    Apud Institutionem Armouriensem,
          CHICAGO,
              ILLINOIS.

{Ab Eugenic Agro, peccatore misere}


Even the mail-carrier appeared to know what fragrant humor escaped from
the envelope.

Here is a specimen inclosure:

BROTHER ----: I am to read some of my things before the senior class of
the Chicago University next Monday evening. As there is undoubtedly more
or less jealousy between the presidents of the two south side institutions
of learning, I take it upon myself to invite the lord bishop of
Armourville, our holy père, to be present on that occasion in his
pontifical robes and followed by all the dignitaries of his see, including
yourself. The processional will occur at 8 o'clock sharp, and the
recessional circa 9:30. Pax vobiscum. Salute the holy Father with a kiss,
and believe me, dear brother,

Your fellow lamb in the old Adam,
EUGENIO AGRO.

(A. Lamb) SEAL.

The First Wednesday after Pay day,
September 11, 1895.

On an occasion of this lady's visit to the South-west, where Field's
fancied association of cowboys and miners was formed, she was fortunate
enough to obtain for the decoration of his library the rather
extraordinary Indian blanket which often appears in the sketches of his
loved workshop, and for the decoration of himself a very fine necktie made
of the skin of a diamond-back rattlesnake. Some other friend had given his
boys a "vociferant burro." After the presentation was made, though for two
years he had met her socially and at the pastor's office, he wrote to the
secretary, in acknowledgment, as follows:


DEAR BROTHER ----: I thank you most heartily for the handsome specimens of
heathen manufacture which you brought with you for me out of the land of
Nod. Mrs. Field is quite charmed--with the blanket, but I think I prefer
the necktie; the Old Adam predominates in me, and this pelt of the serpent
appeals with peculiar force to my appreciation of the vicious and the
sinful. Nearly every morning I don that necktie and go out and twist the
supersensitive tail of our intelligent imported burro until the profane
beast burthens the air with his ribald protests. I shall ask the holy
father--Pere ---- to bring you with him when he comes again to pay a
parochial visit to my house. I have a fair and gracious daughter into
whose companionship I would fain bring so circumspect and diligent a young
man as the holy father represents you to be. Therefore, without fear or
trembling accompany that saintly man whensoever he says the word. Thereby
you shall further make me your debtor. I send you every assurance of
cordial regard, and I beg you to salute the holy father for me with a
kiss, and may peace be unto his house and unto all that dwell therein.

Always faithfully yours,

EUGENE FIELD.

CHICAGO, MAY 26, 1892.


He became acquainted with the leading ladies of the Aid Society of the
Plymouth Church, and was thoroughly interested in their work. Partly in
order to say "Goodbye" before his leaving for California in 1893, and
partly, no doubt, that he might continue this humorous correspondence, as
he did, he hunted up an old number of Peterson's Magazine, containing a
very highly colored and elaborate pattern for knit slippers, such as
clergymen received at Christmas thirty years ago, and, inclosing it with
utmost care, he forwarded it to the aforesaid "Brother ----" with this
note:

DEAR BROTHER ----: It has occurred to me that maybe the sisters of our
congregation will want to make our dear pastor a handsome present this
Christmas; so I inclose a lovely pattern for slippers, and I shall be glad
to ante up my share of the expense, if the sisters decide to give our dear
pastor this beautiful gift. I should like the pattern better if it had
more red in it, but it will do very nicely. As I intend to go to
California very soon, you'll have to let me know at once what the
assessment _per cap._ is, or the rest of the sisters will be compelled to
bear the full burthen of the expense. Brother, I salute you with an holy
kiss, and I rejoice with you, humbly and meekly and without insolent
vaunting, that some of us are not as other men are.

Your fellow-lamb,

EUGENE FIELD,

BUENA PARK, ILL., DECEMBER 4, 1893.

This was only one phase of the life of this great-hearted man, as it came
close to his friends in the ministry. Other clergymen who knew him well
will not forget his overflowing kindness in times of sickness and
weariness. At least one will not forget the last day of their meeting and
the ardor of the poet's prayer. Religion, as the Christian life, was not
less sacred to him because he knew how poorly men achieve the task of
living always at the best level, nor did the reality of the soul's
approach to God grow less noble or commanding to him because he knew that
too seldom do we lift our voices heavenward. I am permitted to copy this
one letter addressed to a clerical friend, at a time when Eugene Field
responded to the call of that undying puritanism in his blood:

DEAR, DEAR FRIEND: I was greatly shocked to read in the Post last night of
your dangerous illness. It is so seldom that I pray that when I do God
knows I am in earnest. I do not pester Him with small matters. It is only
when I am in real want that I get down on my wicked knees and pray. And
I prayed for you last night, dear friend, for your friendship--the help
that it is to me--is what I need, and I cannot be bereft of it. God has
always been good to me, and He has said yes to my prayer, I am sure.
Others, too--thousands of them--are praying for you, and for your
restoration to health; none other has had in it more love and loyalty than
my prayer had, and none other, dear friend, among the thousands whom you
have blessed with your sweet friendship, loves you better than I do.

                                  EUGENE FIELD.
BUENA PARK, NOVEMBER 15, 1893.

I am still sick abed and I find it hard to think out and write a letter.
Read between the lines and the love there will comfort you more than my
faulty words can.

I have often thought, as I saw him through his later years espousing the
noblest causes with true-hearted zeal, of what he once said in the old
"Saints' and Sinners' Corner" when a conversation sprang up on the death
of Professor David Swing. His words go far to explain to me that somewhat
reckless humor which oftentimes made it seem that he loved to imitate and
hold in the pillory of his own inimitable powers of mimicry some of the
least attractive forms of the genus _parson_ he had seen and known. He
said: "A good many things I do and say are things I have to employ to keep
down the intention of those who wanted me to be a parson. I guess their
desire got into my blood, too, for I have always to preach some little
verses or I cannot get through Christmastide."

He had to get on with blood which was exquisitely harmonious with the
heart of the Christ. He was not only a born member of the Society for the
Prevention of Sorrow to Mankind, but he was by nature a champion of a
working Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. This society was
composed of himself. He wished to enlarge the membership of this latter
association, but nobody was as orthodox in the faith as to the nobility of
a balky horse, and he found none as intolerant of ill-treatment toward any
and every brute, as was he. Professor Swing had written and read at the
Parliament of Religions an essay on the Humane Treatment of the Brutes,
which became a classic before the ink was dry, and one day Field proposed
to him and another clergyman that they begin a practical crusade. On those
cold days, drivers were demanding impossible things of smooth-shod horses
on icy streets, and he saw many a noble beast on his knees, "begging me,"
as he said, "to get him a priest." Field's scheme was that the delicate
and intelligent seer, David Swing, and his less refined and less gentle
contemporary should go with him to the City Hall and be sworn in as
special policemen and "do up these fellows." His clear blue eye was like a
palpitating morning sky, and his whole thin and tall frame shook with
passionate missionary zeal. "Ah," said he, as the beloved knight of the
unorthodox explained that if he undertook the proposed task he would
surely have to abandon all other work, "I never was satisfied that you
were orthodox." His other friend had already fallen in his estimate as to
fitness for such work. For, had not Eugene Field once started out to pay a
bill of fifteen dollars, and had he not met a semblance of a man on the
street who was beating a lengthily under-jawed and bad-eyed bull-dog of
his own, for some misdemeanor? "Yea, verily," confessed the poet-humorist,
who was then a reformer. "Why didn't you have him arrested, Eugene?" "Why,
well, I was going jingling along with some new verses in my heart, and I
knew I'd lose the _tempo_ if I became militant. I said, 'What'll you take
for him?' The pup was so homely that his face ached, but, as I was in a
hurry to get to work, I gave him the fifteen dollars, and took the beast
to the office." For a solitary remark uttered at the conclusion of this
relation and fully confirmed as to its justness by an observation of the
dog, his only other human prop for this enterprise was discarded. "Oh, you
won't do," he said.

Christianity was increasingly dear to him as the discovery of childhood
and the unfolding of its revelations. Into what long disquisitions he
delighted to go, estimating the probable value of the idea that all
returning to righteousness must be a child's returning. He saw what an
influence such a conception has upon the hard and fast lines of habit and
destiny to melt them down. He had a still greater estimate of the
importance of the fact that Jesus of Nazareth came and lived as a child;
and the dream of the last year of his life was to write, in the mood of
the Holy-Cross tale, a sketch of the early years of the Little Galilean
Peasant-Boy. This vision drifted its light into all his pictures of
children at the last. He knew the "Old Adam" in us all, especially as he
reappeared in the little folk. "But I don't believe the depravity is
total, do you?" he said, "else a child would not care to hear about Mary's
Little One;"--and then he would go on, following the Carpenter's Son about
the cottage and over the hill, and rejoicing that, in following Him thus,
he came back to his own open-eyed childhood, "But, you know," said he,
"my childhood was full of the absurdities and strenuosities" (this last
was his word) "of my puritan surroundings. Why, I never knew how naturally
and easily I can get back into the veins of an old puritan grandfather
that one of my grandmothers must have had--and how hard it is for me to
behave there, until I read Alice Morse Earle's 'The Sabbath in New
England.' I read that book nearly all night, if haply I might subdue the
confusion and sorrows that were wrought in me by eating a Christmas pie on
that feast-day. The fact is, my immediate ecclesiastical belongings are
Episcopalian. I am of the church of Archbishop Laud and King Charles of
blessed memory. I like good, thick Christmas pie, 'reeking with sapid
juices,' full-ripe and zealous for good or ill. But my 'Separatist'
ancestors all mistook gastric difficulties for spiritual graces, and,
living in me, they all revolt and want to sail in the Mayflower, or hold
town-meetings inside of me after feast-day."

Then, as if he had it in his mind,--poor, pale, yellow-skinned sufferer,--
to attract one to the book he delighted in, he related that he fell asleep
with this delicious volume in his hand, and this is part of the dream he
sketched afterward:

"I went alone to the meeting-house the which those who are sinfully
inclined toward Rome would call a 'church,' and it was on the Sabbath day.
I yearned and strove to repent me of the merry mood and full sorry humors
of Christmastide. For did not Judge Sewall make public his confession of
having an overwhelming sense of inward condemnation for having opposed the
Almighty with the witches of Salem? I fancied that one William F. Poole
of the Newberry Library went also to comfort me and strengthen, as he
would fain have done for the Judge. Not one of us carried a cricket,
though Friend Poole related that he had left behind a 'seemly brassen
foot-stove' full of hot coals from his hearthstone. On the day before,
Pelitiah Underwood, the wolf-killer, had destroyed a fierce beast; and now
the head thereof was 'nayled to the meetinghouse with a notice thereof.'
It grinned at me and spit forth fire such as I felt within me. I was glad
to enter the house, which was 'lathed on the inside and so daubed and
whitened over workmanlike.' I had not been there, as it bethought me,
since the day of the raising, when Jonathan Strong did 'break his thy,'
and when all made complaint that only £9 had been spent for liquor, punch,
beere, and flip, for the raising, whereas, on the day of the ordination,
even at supper-time, besides puddings of corn meal and 'sewet baked
therein, pyes, tarts, beare-stake and deer-meat,' there were 'cyder,
rum-bitters, sling, old Barbadoes spirit, and Josslyn's nectar, made of
Maligo raisins, spices, and syrup of clove gillyflowers'--all these given
out freely to the worshippers over a newly made bar at the church door--
God be praised! As I mused on this merry ordination, the sounding-board
above the pulpit appeared as if to fall upon the pulpit, whereon I read,
after much effort: '_Holiness is the Lord's_.' The tassels and carved
pomegranates on the sounding-board became living creatures and changed
themselves into grimaces, and I was woefully wrought upon by the red
cushion on the pulpit, which did seem a bag of fire. As the minister was
heard coming up the winding stairs unseen, and, yet more truly, as his
head at length appeared through the open trap-doorway, I thought him
Satan, and, but for friend Poole, I had cried out lustily in fear. Terror
fled me when I considered that none might do any harm there. For was not
the church militant now assembled? Besides, had they not obeyed the law of
the General Court that each congregation should carry a 'competent number
of pieces, fixed and complete with powder and shot and swords, every
Lord's-day at the meeting-house?' And, right well equipped 'with
psalm-book, shot and powder-horn' sat that doughty man, Shear Yashub
Millard along with Hezekiah Bristol and four others whose issue I have
known pleasantly in the flesh here; and those of us who had no pieces wore
'coats basted with cotton-wool, and thus made defensive against Indian
arrows.' Yet it bethought me that there was no defence against what I had
devoured on Christmas day. I had rather been the least of these,--even he
who 'blew the Kunk'--than to be thus seated there and afeared that the
brethren in the 'pitts' doubted I had true religion. That I had found a
proper seat--even this I wot not; and I quaked, for had not two of my kin
been fined near unto poverty for 'disorderly going and setting in seats
not theirs by any means,' so great was their sin. It had not yet come upon
the day when there was a 'dignifying of the meeting.' Did not even the
pious Judge Sewall's second spouse once sit in the foreseat when he
thought to have taken her into 'his own pue?' and, she having died in a
few months, did not that godly man exclaim: 'God in his holy Sovereignity
put my wife out of the Foreseat'? Was I not also in recollection by many
as one who once 'prophaned the Lord's Day in ye meeting-house, in ye times
of ye forenoone service, by my rude and Indecent acting in Laughing and
other Doings by my face with Tabatha Morgus, against ye peace of our
Sovereign Lord ye King, His crown and Dignity?'"

At this, it appears that I groaned in my sleep, for I was not only asleep
here and now, but I was dreaming that I was asleep there and then, in the
meeting-house. It was in this latter sleep that I groaned so heavily in
spirit and in body that the tithing-man, or awakener, did approach me from
behind, without stopping to brush me to awakening by the fox-taile which
was fixed to the end of his long staffe, or even without painfully
sticking into my body his sharp and pricking staffe which he did sometimes
use. He led me out bodily to the noone-house, where I found myself fully
awakened, but much broken in spirit. Then and there did I write these
verses, which I send to you:

  "Mother," says I, "is that a pie?" in tones akin to scorning;
  "It is, my son," quoth she, "and one full ripe for Christmas  morning!
  It's fat with plums as big as your thumbs, reeking with sapid juices,
  And you'll find within all kinds of sin our grocery store produces!"
                    "O, well," says I,
                    "Seein' it's _pie_
     And is guaranteed to please, ma'am,
                    By your advice,
                    I'll take a slice,
     If you'll kindly pass the cheese, ma'am!"

  But once a year comes Christmas cheer, and one should then be merry,
  But as for me, as you can see, I'm disconcerted, very;
  For that pesky pie sticks grimly by my organs of digestion,
  And that 't will stay by me till May or June I make no question.
                    So unto you,
                    Good friends and true,
     I'll tip this solemn warning:
                    At every price,
                    Eschew the vice
     Of eating pie in the morning.


FRANK W. GUNSAULUS.
Chicago, March, 1896.



    THE CONTENTS OF THIS BOOK

THE SINGING IN GOD'S ACRE

THE DREAM-SHIP

TO CINNA

BALLAD OF WOMEN I LOVE

SUPPOSE

MYSTERIOUS DOINGS

WITH TWO SPOONS FOR TWO SPOONS

MARY SMITH

JESSIE

TO EMMA ABBOTT

THE GREAT JOURNALIST IN SPAIN

LOVE SONG--HEINE

THE STODDARDS

THE THREE TAILORS

THE JAFFA AND JERUSALEM RAILWAY

HUGO'S "POOL IN THE FOREST"

A RHINE-LAND DRINKING SONG

DER MANN IM KELLER

TWO IDYLLS FROM BION THE SMYRNEAN

THE WOOING OF THE SOUTHLAND

HYMN

STAR OF THE EAST

TWIN IDOLS

TWO VALENTINES

MOTHER AND SPHINX

A SPRING POEM FROM BION

BÉRANGER'S "To MY OLD COAT"

BEN APFELGARTEN

A HEINE LOVE SONG

UHLAND'S "CHAPEL"

THE DREAMS

IN NEW ORLEANS

MY PLAYMATES

STOVES AND SUNSHINE

A DRINKING SONG

THE LIMITATIONS OF YOUTH

THE BOW-LEG BOY

THE STRAW PARLOR

A PITEOUS PLAINT

THE DISCREET COLLECTOR

A VALENTINE

THE WIND

A PARAPHRASE

WITH BRUTUS IN ST. JO

THE TWO LITTLE SKEEZUCKS

PAN LIVETH

DR. SAM

WINFREDA

LYMAN, FREDERICK, AND JIM

BE MY SWEETHEART

THE PETER-BIRD

SISTER'S CAKE

ABU MIDJAN

ED

JENNIE

CONTENTMENT

"GUESS"

NEW-YEAR'S EVE

OLD SPANISH SONG

THE BROKEN RING

IN PRAISE OF CONTENTMENT

THE BALLAD OF THE TAYLOR PUP

AFTER READING TROLLOPE'S HISTORY OF FLORENCE

A LULLABY

"THE OLD HOMESTEAD"

CHRISTMAS HYMN

A PARAPHRASE OF HEINE

THE CONVALESCENT GRIPSTER

THE SLEEPING CHILD

THE TWO COFFINS

CLARE MARKET

A DREAM OF SPRINGTIME

UHLAND'S WHITE STAG

HOW SALTY WIN OUT



    THE SINGING IN GOD'S ACRE

Out yonder in the moonlight, wherein God's Acre lies,
Go angels walking to and fro, singing their lullabies.
Their radiant wings are folded, and their eyes are bended low,
As they sing among the beds whereon the flowers delight to grow,--

        "Sleep, oh, sleep!
        The Shepherd guardeth His sheep.
  Fast speedeth the night away,
  Soon cometh the glorious day;
  Sleep, weary ones, while ye may,
        Sleep, oh, sleep!"

The flowers within God's Acre see that fair and wondrous sight,
And hear the angels singing to the sleepers through the night;
And, lo! throughout the hours of day those gentle flowers prolong
The music of the angels in that tender slumber-song,--

        "Sleep, oh, sleep!
        The Shepherd loveth His sheep.
  He that guardeth His flock the best
  Hath folded them to His loving breast;
  So sleep ye now, and take your rest,--
        Sleep, oh, sleep!"

From angel and from flower the years have learned that soothing song,
And with its heavenly music speed the days and nights along;
So through all time, whose flight the Shepherd's vigils glorify,
God's Acre slumbereth in the grace of that sweet lullaby,--

        "Sleep, oh, sleep!
        The Shepherd loveth His sheep.
  Fast speedeth the night away,
  Soon cometh the glorious day;
  Sleep, weary ones, while ye may,--
        Sleep, oh, sleep!"



    THE DREAM-SHIP

When the world is fast asleep,
    Along the midnight skies--
As though it were a wandering cloud--
    The ghostly dream-ship flies.

An angel stands at the dream-ship's helm,
    An angel stands at the prow,
And an angel stands at the dream-ship's side
    With a rue-wreath on her brow.

The other angels, silver-crowned,
    Pilot and helmsman are,
And the angel with the wreath of rue
    Tosseth the dreams afar.

The dreams they fall on rich and poor;
    They fall on young and old;
And some are dreams of poverty,
    And some are dreams of gold.

And some are dreams that thrill with joy,
    And some that melt to tears;
Some are dreams of the dawn of love,
    And some of the old dead years.

On rich and poor alike they fall,
    Alike on young and old,
Bringing to slumbering earth their joys
    And sorrows manifold.

The friendless youth in them shall do
    The deeds of mighty men,
And drooping age shall feel the grace
    Of buoyant youth again.

The king shall be a beggarman--
    The pauper be a king--
In that revenge or recompense
    The dream-ship dreams do bring.

So ever downward float the dreams
    That are for all and me,
And there is never mortal man
    Can solve that mystery.

But ever onward in its course
    Along the haunted skies--
As though it were a cloud astray--
    The ghostly dream-ship flies.

Two angels with their silver crowns
    Pilot and helmsman are,
And an angel with a wreath of rue
    Tosseth the dreams afar.



    TO CINNA

Cinna, the great Venusian told
  In songs that will not die
How in Augustan days of old
  Your love did glorify
His life and all his being seemed
  Thrilled by that rare incense
Till, grudging him the dreams he dreamed,
  The gods did call you hence.

Cinna, I've looked into your eyes,
  And held your hands in mine,
And seen your cheeks in sweet surprise
  Blush red as Massic wine;
Now let the songs in Cinna's praise
  Be chanted once again,
For, oh! alone I walk the ways
  We walked together then!

Perhaps upon some star to-night,
  So far away in space
I cannot see that beacon light
  Nor feel its soothing grace--
Perhaps from that far-distant sphere
  Her quickened vision seeks
For this poor heart of mine that here
  To its lost Cinna speaks.

Then search this heart, beloved eyes,
  And find it still as true
As when in all my boyhood skies
  My guiding stars were you!
Cinna, you know the mystery
  That is denied to men--
Mine is the lot to feel that we
  Shall elsewhere love again!



    BALLAD OF WOMEN I LOVE

Prudence Mears hath an old blue plate
  Hid away in an oaken chest,
And a Franklin platter of ancient date
  Beareth Amandy Baker's crest;
What times soever I've been their guest,
  Says I to myself in an undertone:
"Of womenfolk, it must be confessed,
  These do I love, and these alone."

Well, again, in the Nutmeg State,
  Dorothy Pratt is richly blest
With a relic of art and a land effete--
  A pitcher of glass that's cut, not pressed.
And a Washington teapot is possessed
  Down in Pelham by Marthy Stone--
Think ye now that I say in jest
  "These do I love, and these alone?"

Were Hepsy Higgins inclined to mate,
  Or Dorcas Eastman prone to invest
In Cupid's bonds, they could find their fate
  In the bootless bard of Crockery Quest.
For they've heaps of trumpery--so have the rest
  Of those spinsters whose ware I'd like to own;
You can see why I say with such certain zest,
  "These do I love, and these alone."



    ENVOY

Prince, show me the quickest way and best
  To gain the subject of my moan;
We've neither spinsters nor relics out West--
  These do I love, and these alone.



    SUPPOSE

Suppose, my dear, that you were I
  And by your side your sweetheart sate;
Suppose you noticed by and by
  The distance 'twixt you were too great;
Now tell me, dear, what would you do?
  I know--and so do you.

And when (so comfortably placed)
  Suppose you only grew aware
That that dear, dainty little waist
  Of hers looked very lonely there;
Pray tell me sooth--what would you do?
  I know, and so do you.

When, having done what I just did
  With not a frown to check or chill,
Suppose her red lips seemed to bid
  Defiance to your lordly will;
Oh, tell me, sweet, what would you do?
  I know, and so do you.



    MYSTERIOUS DOINGS

As once I rambled in the woods
  I chanced to spy amid the brake
A huntsman ride his way beside
  A fair and passing tranquil lake;
Though velvet bucks sped here and there,
  He let them scamper through the green--
Not one smote he, but lustily
  He blew his horn--what could it mean?

As on I strolled beside that lake,
  A pretty maid I chanced to see
Fishing away for finny prey,
  Yet not a single one caught she;
All round her boat the fishes leapt
  And gambolled to their hearts' content,
Yet never a thing did the maid but sing--
  I wonder what on earth it meant.

As later yet I roamed my way,
  A lovely steed neighed loud and long,
And an empty boat sped all afloat
  Where sang a fishermaid her song;
All underneath the prudent shade,
  Which yonder kindly willows threw,
Together strayed a youth and maid--
  I can't explain it all, can you?



    WITH TWO SPOONS FOR TWO SPOONS

How trifling shall these gifts appear
  Among the splendid many
That loving friends now send to cheer
  Harvey and Ellen Jenney.

And yet these baubles symbolize
  A certain fond relation
That well beseems, as I surmise,
  This festive celebration.

Sweet friends of mine, be spoons once more,
  And with your tender cooing
Renew the keen delights of yore--
  The rapturous bliss of wooing.

What though that silver in your hair
  Tells of the years aflying?
'T is yours to mock at Time and Care
  With love that is undying.

In memory of this Day, dear friends,
  Accept the modest token
From one who with the bauble sends
  A love that can't be spoken.



    MARY SMITH

Away down East where I was reared amongst my Yankee kith,
There used to live a pretty girl whose name was Mary Smith;
And though it's many years since last I saw that pretty girl,
And though I feel I'm sadly worn by Western strife and whirl;
Still, oftentimes, I think about the old familiar place,
Which, someway, seemed the brighter for Miss Mary's pretty face,
And in my heart I feel once more revivified the glow
I used to feel in those old times when I was Mary's beau.

I saw her home from singing school--she warbled like a bird.
A sweeter voice than hers for song or speech I never heard.
She was soprano in the choir, and I a solemn bass,
And when we unisoned our voices filled that holy place;
The tenor and the alto never had the slightest chance,
For Mary's upper register made every heart-string dance;
And, as for me, I shall not brag, and yet I'd have you know
I sung a very likely bass when I was Mary's beau.

On Friday nights I'd drop around to make my weekly call,
And though I came to visit her, I'd have to see 'em all.
With Mary's mother sitting here and Mary's father there,
The conversation never flagged so far as I'm aware;
Sometimes I'd hold her worsted, sometimes we'd play at games,
Sometimes dissect the apples which we'd named each other's names.
Oh how I loathed the shrill-toned clock that told me when to go--
'Twas ten o'clock at half-past eight when I was Mary's beau.

Now there was Luther Baker--because he'd come of age
And thought himself some pumpkins because he drove the stage--
He fancied he could cut me out; but Mary was my friend--
Elsewise I'm sure the issue had had a tragic end.
For Luther Baker was a man I never could abide,
And, when it came to Mary, either he or I had died.
I merely cite this instance incidentally to show
That I was quite in earnest when I was Mary's beau.

How often now those sights, those pleasant sights, recur again:
The little township that was all the world I knew of then--
The meeting-house upon the hill, the tavern just beyond,
Old deacon Packard's general store, the sawmill by the pond,
The village elms I vainly sought to conquer in my quest
Of that surpassing trophy, the golden oriole's nest.
And, last of all those visions that come back from long ago,
The pretty face that thrilled my soul when I was Mary's beau.

Hush, gentle wife, there is no need a pang should vex your heart--
'T is many years since fate ordained that she and I should part;
To each a true, maturer love came in good time, and yet
It brought not with its nobler grace the power to forget.
And would you fain begrudge me now the sentimental joy
That comes of recollections of my sparkings when a boy?
I warrant me that, were your heart put to the rack, 't would show
That it had predilections when I was Mary's beau.

And, Mary, should these lines of mine seek out your biding place,
God grant they bring the old sweet smile back to your pretty face--
God grant they bring you thoughts of me, not as I am to-day,
With faltering step and brimming eyes and aspect grimly gray;
But thoughts that picture me as fair and full of life and glee
As _we_ were in the olden times--as _you_ shall always be.
Think of me ever, Mary, as the boy you used to know
When time was fleet, and life was sweet, and I was Mary's beau.

Dear hills of old New England, look down with tender eyes
Upon one little lonely grave that in your bosom lies;
For in that cradle sleeps a child who was so fair to see
God yearned to have unto Himself the joy she brought to me;
And bid your winds sing soft and low the song of other days,
When, hand in hand and heart to heart, we went our pleasant ways--
Ah me! but could I sing again that song of long ago,
Instead of this poor idle song of being Mary's beau.



    JESSIE

When I remark her golden hair
  Swoon on her glorious shoulders,
I marvel not that sight so rare
  Doth ravish all beholders;
For summon hence all pretty girls
  Renowned for beauteous tresses,
And you shall find among their curls
  There's none so fair as Jessie's.

And Jessie's eyes are, oh, so blue
  And full of sweet revealings--
They seem to look you through and through
  And read your inmost feelings;
Nor black emits such ardent fires,
  Nor brown such truth expresses--
Admit it, all ye gallant squires--
  There are no eyes like Jessie's.

Her voice (like liquid beams that roll
    From moonland to the river)
Steals subtly to the raptured soul,
    Therein to lie and quiver;
Or falls upon the grateful ear
    With chaste and warm caresses--
Ah, all concede the truth (who hear):
    There's no such voice as Jessie's.

Of other charms she hath such store
    All rivalry excelling,
Though I used adjectives galore,
    They'd fail me in the telling;
But now discretion stays my hand--
    Adieu, eyes, voice, and tresses.
Of all the husbands in the land
    There's none so fierce as Jessie's.



    TO EMMA ABBOTT

There--let thy hands be folded
    Awhile in sleep's repose;
The patient hands that wearied not,
But earnestly and nobly wrought
      In charity and faith;
    And let thy dear eyes close--
The eyes that looked alway to God,
Nor quailed beneath the chastening rod
        Of sorrow;
Fold thou thy hands and eyes
      For just a little while,
      And with a smile
        Dream of the morrow.

And, O white voiceless flower,
    The dream which thou shalt dream
Should be a glimpse of heavenly things,
For yonder like a seraph sings
      The sweetness of a life
    With faith alway its theme;
While speedeth from those realms above
The messenger of that dear love
        That healeth sorrow.
    So sleep a little while,
      For thou shalt wake and sing
      Before thy King
        When cometh the morrow.



    THE GREAT JOURNALIST IN SPAIN

Good editor Dana--God bless him, we say--
  Will soon be afloat on the main,
    Will be steaming away
    Through the mist and the spray
  To the sensuous climate of Spain.

Strange sights shall he see in that beautiful land
  Which is famed for its soap and its Moor,
    For, as we understand,
    The scenery is grand
  Though the system of railways is poor.

For moonlight of silver and sunlight of gold
  Glint the orchards of lemons and mangoes,
    And the ladies, we're told,
    Are a joy to behold
  As they twine in their lissome fandangoes.

What though our friend Dana shall twang a guitar
  And murmur a passionate strain;
    Oh, fairer by far
    Than those ravishments are
  The castles abounding in Spain.

These castles are built as the builder may list--
  They are sometimes of marble or stone,
    But they mostly consist
    Of east wind and mist
  With an ivy of froth overgrown.

A beautiful castle our Dana shall raise
  On a futile foundation of hope,
    And its glories shall blaze
    In the somnolent haze
  Of the mythical lake del y Soap.

The fragrance of sunflowers shall swoon on the air
  And the visions of Dreamland obtain,
    And the song of "World's Fair"
    Shall be heard everywhere
  Through that beautiful castle in Spain.



    LOVE SONG--HEINE

Many a beauteous flower doth spring
  From the tears that flood my eyes,
And the nightingale doth sing
  In the burthen of my sighs.

If, O child, thou lovest me,
  Take these flowerets fair and frail,
And my soul shall waft to thee
  Love songs of the nightingale.



    THE STODDARDS

When I am in New York, I like to drop around at night,
To visit with my honest, genial friends, the Stoddards hight;
Their home in Fifteenth street is all so snug, and furnished so,
That, when I once get planted there, I don't know when to go;
A cosy cheerful refuge for the weary homesick guest,
Combining Yankee comforts with the freedom of the west.

The first thing you discover, as you maunder through the hall,
Is a curious little clock upon a bracket on the wall;
'T was made by Stoddard's father, and it's very, very old--
The connoisseurs assure me it is worth its weight in gold;
And I, who've bought all kinds of clocks, 'twixt Denver and the Rhine,
Cast envious eyes upon that clock, and wish that it were mine.

But in the parlor. Oh, the gems on tables, walls, and floor--
Rare first editions, etchings, and old crockery galore.
Why, talk about the Indies and the wealth of Orient things--
They couldn't hold a candle to these quaint and sumptuous things;
In such profusion, too--Ah me! how dearly I recall
How I have sat and watched 'em and wished I had 'em all.

Now, Mr. Stoddard's study is on the second floor,
A wee blind dog barks at me as I enter through the door;
The Cerberus would fain begrudge what sights it cannot see,
The rapture of that visual feast it cannot share with me;
A miniature edition this--this most absurd of hounds--
A genuine unique, I'm sure, and one unknown to Lowndes.

Books--always books--are piled around; some musty, and all old;
Tall, solemn folios such as Lamb declared he loved to hold;
Large paper copies with their virgin margins white and wide,
And presentation volumes with the author's comps. inside;
I break the tenth commandment with a wild impassioned cry:
Oh, how came Stoddard by these things? Why Stoddard, and not I?

From yonder wall looks Thackeray upon his poet friend,
And underneath the genial face appear the lines he penned;
And here, gadzooks, ben honge ye prynte of marvaillous renowne
Yt shameth Chaucers gallaunt knyghtes in Canterbury towne;
And still more books and pictures. I'm dazed, bewildered, vexed;
Since I've broke the tenth commandment, why not break the eighth one next?

And, furthermore, in confidence inviolate be it said
Friend Stoddard owns a lock of hair that grew on Milton's head;
Now I have Gladstone axes and a lot of curious things,
Such as pimply Dresden teacups and old German wedding-rings;
But nothing like that saintly lock have I on wall or shelf,
And, being somewhat short of hair, I should like that lock myself.

But Stoddard has a soothing way, as though he grieved to see
Invidious torments prey upon a nice young chap like me.
He waves me to an easy chair and hands me out a weed
And pumps me full of that advice he seems to know I need;
So sweet the tap of his philosophy and knowledge flows
That I can't help wishing that I knew a half what Stoddard knows.

And so we sit for hours and hours, praising without restraint
The people who are thoroughbreds, and roasting the ones that ain't;
Happy, thrice happy, is the man we happen to admire,
But wretched, oh, how wretched he that hath provoked our ire;
For I speak emphatic English when I once get fairly r'iled,
And Stoddard's wrath's an Ossa upon a Pelion piled.

Out yonder, in the alcove, a lady sits and darns,
And interjects remarks that always serve to spice our yarns;
She's Mrs. Stoddard; there's a dame that's truly to my heart:
A tiny little woman, but so quaint, and good, and smart
That, if you asked me to suggest which one I should prefer
Of all the Stoddard treasures, I should promptly mention her.

O dear old man, how I should like to be with you this night,
Down in your home in Fifteenth street, where all is snug and bright;
Where the shaggy little Cerberus dreams in its cushioned place,
And the books and pictures all around smile in their old friend's face;
Where the dainty little sweetheart, whom you still were proud to woo,
Charms back the tender memories so dear to her and you.



    THE THREE TAILORS

I shall tell you in rhyme how, once on a time,
Three tailors tramped up to the inn Ingleheim,
     On the Rhine, lovely Rhine;
They were broke, but the worst of it all, they were curst
With that malady common to tailors--a thirst
     For wine, lots of wine.

"Sweet host," quoth the three, "we're hard up as can be,
Yet skilled in the practice of cunning are we,
     On the Rhine, genial Rhine;
And we pledge you we will impart you that skill
Right quickly and fully, providing you'll fill
     Us with wine, cooling wine."

But that host shook his head, and he warily said:
"Though cunning be good, we take money instead,
     On the Rhine, thrifty Rhine;
If ye fancy ye may without pelf have your way
You'll find that there's both host and the devil to pay
     For your wine, costly wine."

Then the first knavish wight took his needle so bright
And threaded its eye with a wee ray of light
     From the Rhine, sunny Rhine;
And, in such a deft way, patched a mirror that day
That where it was mended no expert could say--
     Done so fine 't was for wine.

The second thereat spied a poor little gnat
Go toiling along on his nose broad and flat
     Towards the Rhine, pleasant Rhine;
"Aha, tiny friend, I should hate to offend,
But your stockings need darning"--which same did he mend,
     All for wine, soothing wine.

And next there occurred what you'll deem quite absurd--
His needle a space in the wall thrust the third,
     By the Rhine, wondrous Rhine;
And then all so spry, he leapt through the eye
Of that thin cambric needle--nay, think you I'd lie
     About wine--not for wine.

The landlord allowed (with a smile) he was proud
To do the fair thing by that talented crowd
     On the Rhine, generous Rhine.
So a thimble filled he as full as could be--
"Drink long and drink hearty, my jolly friends three,
     Of my wine, filling wine."



    THE JAFFA AND JERUSALEM RAILWAY

A tortuous double iron track; a station here, a station there;
A locomotive, tender, tanks; a coach with stiff reclining chair;
Some postal cars, and baggage, too; a vestibule of patent make;
With buffers, duffers, switches, and the soughing automatic brake--
This is the Orient's novel pride, and Syria's gaudiest modern gem:
The railway scheme that is to ply 'twixt Jaffa and Jerusalem.

Beware, O sacred Mooley cow, the engine when you hear its bell;
Beware, O camel, when resounds the whistle's shrill, unholy swell;
And, native of that guileless land, unused to modern travel's snare,
Beware the fiend that peddles books--the awful peanut-boy beware.
Else, trusting in their specious arts, you may have reason to condemn
The traffic which the knavish ply 'twixt Jaffa and Jerusalem.

And when, ah, when the bonds fall due, how passing wroth will wax the
state
From Nebo's mount to Nazareth will spread the cry "Repudiate"!
From Hebron to Tiberius, from Jordan's banks unto the sea,
Will rise profuse anathemas against "that ---- monopoly!"
And F.M.B.A. shepherd-folk, with Sockless Jerry leading them,
Will swamp that corporation line 'twixt Jaffa and Jerusalem.



    HUGO'S "POOL IN THE FOREST"

How calm, how beauteous and how cool--
  How like a sister to the skies,
Appears the broad, transparent pool
  That in this quiet forest lies.
The sunshine ripples on its face,
  And from the world around, above,
It hath caught down the nameless grace
  Of such reflections as we love.

But deep below its surface crawl
  The reptile horrors of the night--
The dragons, lizards, serpents--all
  The hideous brood that hate the light;
Through poison fern and slimy weed
  And under ragged, jagged stones
They scuttle, or, in ghoulish greed,
  They lap a dead man's bleaching bones.

And as, O pool, thou dost cajole
  With seemings that beguile us well,
So doeth many a human soul
  That teemeth with the lusts of hell.



    A RHINE-LAND DRINKING SONG

If our own life is the life of a flower
    (And that's what some sages are thinking),
We should moisten the bud with a health-giving flood
      And 'twill bloom all the sweeter--
      Yes, life's the completer
    For drinking,
          and drinking,
                and drinking.

If it be that our life is a journey
    (As many wise folk are opining),
We should sprinkle the way with the rain while we may;
      Though dusty and dreary,
      'Tis made cool and cheery
    With wining,
          and wining,
                and wining.

If this life that we live be a dreaming
    (As pessimist people are thinking),
To induce pleasant dreams there is nothing, meseems,
      Like this sweet prescription,
      That baffles description--
    This drinking,
          and drinking,
                and drinking.



    DER MANN IM KELLER

How cool and fair this cellar where
    My throne a dusky cask is;
To do no thing but just to sing
    And drown the time my task is.
        The cooper he's
        Resolved to please,
And, answering to my winking,
        He fills me up
        Cup after cup
For drinking, drinking, drinking.

        Begrudge me not
        This cosy spot
In which I am reclining--
        Why, who would burst
        With envious thirst,
When he can live by wining.
A roseate hue seems to imbue
    The world on which I'm blinking;
My fellow-men--I love them when
I'm drinking, drinking, drinking.

And yet I think, the more I drink,
    It's more and more I pine for--
Oh, such as I (forever dry)
    God made this land of Rhine for;
      And there is bliss
      In knowing this,
As to the floor I'm sinking:
      I've wronged no man
      And never can
While drinking, drinking, drinking.



    TWO IDYLLS FROM BION THE SMYRNEAN

I

Once a fowler, young and artless,
  To the quiet greenwood came;
Full of skill was he and heartless
  In pursuit of feathered game.
And betimes he chanced to see
Eros perching in a tree.

"What strange bird is that, I wonder?"
  Thought the youth, and spread his snare;
Eros, chuckling at the blunder,
  Gayly scampered here and there.
Do his best, the simple clod
Could not snare the agile god!

Blubbering, to his aged master
  Went the fowler in dismay,
And confided his disaster
  With that curious bird that day;
"Master, hast thou ever heard
Of so ill-disposed a bird?"

"Heard of him? Aha, most truly!"
  Quoth the master with a smile;
"And thou too, shall know him duly--
  Thou art young, but bide awhile,
And old Eros will not fly
From thy presence by and by!

"For when thou art somewhat older
  That same Eros thou didst see,
More familiar grown and bolder,
  Shall become acquaint with thee;
And when Eros comes thy way
Mark my word, he comes to stay!"

II

Once came Venus to me, bringing
  Eros where my cattle fed--
"Teach this little boy your singing,
  Gentle herdsman," Venus said.
I was young--I did not know
  Whom it was that Venus led--
That was many years ago!

In a lusty voice but mellow--
  Callow pedant! I began
To instruct the little fellow
  In the mysteries known to man;
Sung the noble cithern's praise,
  And the flute of dear old Pan,
And the lyre that Hermes plays.

But he paid no heed unto me--
  Nay, that graceless little boy
Coolly plotted to undo me--
  With his songs of tender joy;
And my pedantry o'erthrown,
  Eager was I to employ
His sweet ritual for mine own!

Ah, these years of ours are fleeting!
  Yet I have not vainly wrought,
Since to-day I am repeating
  What dear lessons Eros taught;
Love, and always love, and then--
  Counting all things else for naught--
Love and always love again!



    THE WOOING OF THE SOUTHLAND

      (ALASKAN BALLAD)

The Northland reared his hoary head
  And spied the Southland leagues away--
"Fairest of all fair brides," he said,
  "Be thou my bride, I pray!"

Whereat the Southland laughed and cried:
  "I'll bide beside my native sea,
And I shall never be thy bride
  Till thou com'st wooing me!"

The Northland's heart was a heart of ice,
  A diamond glacier, mountain high--
Oh, love is sweet at any price,
  As well know you and I!

So gayly the Northland took his heart
  And cast it in the wailing sea--
"Go, thou, with all thy cunning art,
  And woo my bride for me!"

For many a night and for many a day,
  And over the leagues that rolled between,
The true-heart messenger sped away
  To woo the Southland queen.

But the sea wailed loud, and the sea wailed long,
  While ever the Northland cried in glee:
"Oh, thou shalt sing us our bridal song,
  When comes my bride, O sea!"

At the foot of the Southland's golden throne
  The heart of the Northland ever throbs--
For that true-heart speaks in the waves that moan,
  The songs that it sings are sobs.

Ever the Southland spurns the cries
  Of the messenger pleading the Northland's part;
The summer shines in the Southland's eyes--
  The winter bides in her heart!

And ever unto that far-off place
  Which love doth render a hallowed spot,
The Northland turneth his honest face
  And wonders she cometh not.

The sea wails loud, and the sea wails long,
  As the ages of waiting drift slowly by,
But the sea shall sing no bridal song--
  As well know you and I!



    HYMN

   (FROM THE GERMAN OF MARTIN LUTHER)

O heart of mine! lift up thine eyes
And see who in yon manger lies!
Of perfect form, of face divine--
It is the Christ-child, heart of mine!

O dearest, holiest Christ-child, spread
Within this heart of mine thy bed;
Then shall my breast forever be
A chamber consecrate to thee!

Beat high to-day, O heart of mine,
And tell, O lips, what joys are thine;
For with your help shall I prolong
Old Bethlehem's sweetest cradle-song.

Glory to God, whom this dear Child
Hath by His coming reconciled,
And whose redeeming love again
Brings peace on earth, good will to men!



    STAR OF THE EAST

Star of the East, that long ago
  Brought wise men on their way
Where, angels singing to and fro,
  The Child of Bethlehem lay--
Above that Syrian hill afar
Thou shinest out to-night, O Star!

Star of the East, the night were drear
  But for the tender grace
That with thy glory comes to cheer
  Earth's loneliest, darkest place;
For by that charity we see
Where there is hope for all and me.

Star of the East! show us the way
  In wisdom undefiled
To seek that manger out and lay
  Our gifts before the child--
To bring our hearts and offer them
Unto our King in Bethlehem!



    TWIN IDOLS

There are two phrases, you must know,
  So potent (yet so small)
That wheresoe'er a man may go
  He needs none else at all;
No servile guide to lead the way
  Nor lackey at his heel,
If he be learned enough to say
  "Comme bien" and "Wie viel."

The sleek, pomaded Parleyvoo
  Will air his sweetest airs
And quote the highest rates when you
  "Comme bien" for his wares;
And, though the German stolid be,
  His so-called heart of steel
Becomes as soft as wax when he
  Detects the words "Wie viel."

Go, search the boulevards and rues
  From Havre to Marseilles--
You'll find all eloquence you use
  Except "Comme bien" fails;
Or in the country auf der Rhine
  Essay a business deal
And all your art is good fuhr nein
  Beyond the point--"Wie viel."

It matters not what game or prey
  Attracts your greedy eyes--
You must pursue the good old way
  If you would win the prize;
It is to get a titled mate
  All run down at the heel,
If you inquire of stock effete,
  "Comme bien" or "Wie viel."

So he is wise who envieth not
  A wealth of foreign speech,
Since with two phrases may be got
  Whatever's in his reach;
For Europe is a soulless shrine
  In which all classes kneel
Before twin idols, deemed divine--
  "Comme bien" and "Wie viel."



    TWO VALENTINES

I.--TO MISTRESS BARBARA

There were three cavaliers, all handsome and true,
On Valentine's day came a maiden to woo,
And quoth to your mother: "Good-morrow, my dear,
We came with some songs for your daughter to hear!"

Your mother replied: "I'll be pleased to convey
To my daughter what things you may sing or may say!"

Then the first cavalier sung: "My pretty red rose,
I'll love you and court you some day, I suppose!"

And the next cavalier sung, with make-believe tears:
"I've loved you! I've loved you these many long years!"

But the third cavalier (with the brown, bushy head
And the pretty blue jacket and necktie of red)
He drew himself up with a resolute air,
And he warbled: "O maiden, surpassingly fair!
I've loved you long years, and I love you to-day,
And, if you will let me, I'll love you for aye!"

I (the third cavalier) sang this ditty to you,
In my necktie of red and my jacket of blue;
I'm sure you'll prefer the song that was mine
And smile your approval on your valentine.


II.--TO A BABY BOY

Who I am I shall not say,
But I send you this bouquet
With this query, baby mine:
"Will you be my valentine?"

See these roses blushing blue,
Very like your eyes of hue;
While these violets are the red
Of your cheeks. It can be said
Ne'er before was babe like you.

And I think it is quite true
No one e'er before to-day
Sent so wondrous a bouquet
As these posies aforesaid--
Roses blue and violets red!

Sweet, repay me sweets for sweets--
'Tis your lover who entreats!
Smile upon me, baby mine--
Be my little valentine!



    MOTHER AND SPHINX

   (EGYPTIAN FOLK-SONG)

Grim is the face that looks into the night
  Over the stretch of sands;
A sullen rock in a sea of white--
A ghostly shadow in ghostly light,
  Peering and moaning it stands.
_"Oh, is it the king that rides this way--
Oh, is it the king that rides so free?
I have looked for the king this many a day,
But the years that mock me will not say
  Why tarrieth he!"_

'T is not your king that shall ride to-night,
  But a child that is fast asleep;
And the horse he shall ride is the Dream-horse white--
Aha, he shall speed through the ghostly light
  Where the ghostly shadows creep!
_"My eyes are dull and my face is sere,
  Yet unto the word he gave I cling,
For he was a Pharaoh that set me here--
And, lo! I have waited this many a year
  For him--my king!"_

Oh, past thy face my darling shall ride
  Swift as the burning winds that bear
The sand clouds over the desert wide--
Swift to the verdure and palms beside
  The wells off there!
_"And is it the mighty king I shall see
  Come riding into the night?
Oh, is it the king come back to me--
Proudly and fiercely rideth he,
  With centuries dight!"_

I know no king but my dark-eyed dear
  That shall ride the Dream-Horse white;
But see! he wakes at my bosom here,
While the Dream-Horse frettingly lingers near
  To speed with my babe to-night!
_And out of the desert darkness peers
  A ghostly, ghastly, shadowy thing
Like a spirit come out of the mouldering years,
And ever that waiting spectre hears
  The coming king!_



    A SPRING POEM FROM BION

  One asketh:
"Tell me, Myrson, tell me true:
What's the season pleaseth you?
Is it summer suits you best,
When from harvest toil we rest?
  Is it autumn with its glory
    Of all surfeited desires?
  Is it winter, when with story
    And with song we hug our fires?
Or is spring most fair to you--
Come, good Myrson, tell me true!"

  Another answereth:
"What the gods in wisdom send
We should question not, my friend;
Yet, since you entreat of me,
I will answer reverently:
  Me the summertime displeases,
    For its sun is scorching hot;
  Autumn brings such dire diseases
    That perforce I like it not;
As for biting winter, oh!
How I hate its ice and snow!

"But, thrice welcome, kindly spring,
With the myriad gifts you bring!
Not too hot nor yet too cold,
Graciously your charms unfold--
  Oh, your days are like the dreaming
    Of those nights which love beseems,
  And your nights have all the seeming
    Of those days of golden dreams!
Heaven smiles down on earth, and then
Earth smiles up to heaven again!"



    BÉRANGER'S "TO MY OLD COAT."

Still serve me in my age, I pray,
  As in my youth, O faithful one;
For years I've brushed thee every day--
  Could Socrates have better done?
What though the fates would wreak on thee
  The fulness of their evil art?
Use thou philosophy, like me--
  And we, old friend, shall never part!

I think--I _often_ think of it--
  The day we twain first faced the crowd;
My roistering friends impeached your fit,
  But you and I were very proud!
Those jovial friends no more make free
  With us (no longer new and smart),
But rather welcome you and me
  As loving friends that should not part.

The patch? Oh, yes--one happy night--
  "Lisette," says I, "it's time to go"--
She clutched this sleeve to stay my flight,
  Shrieking: "What! leave so early? No!"
To mend the ghastly rent she'd made,
  Three days she toiled, dear patient heart!
And I--right willingly I staid--
  Lisette decreed we should not part!

No incense ever yet profaned
  This honest, shiny warp of thine,
Nor hath a courtier's eye disdained
  Thy faded hue and quaint design;
Let servile flattery be the price
  Of ribbons in the royal mart--
A roadside posie shall suffice
  For us two friends that must not part!

Fear not the recklessness of yore
  Shall re-occur to vex thee now;
Alas, I am a youth no more--
  I'm old and sere, and so art thou!
So bide with me unto the last
  And with thy warmth caress this heart
That pleads, by memories of the Past,
  That two such friends should never part!



    BEN APFELGARTEN

There was a certain gentleman, Ben Apfelgarten called,
  Who lived way off in Germany a many years ago,
And he was very fortunate in being very bald
  And so was very happy he was so.
      He warbled all the day
      Such songs as only they
Who are very, very circumspect and very happy may;
      The people wondered why,
      As the years went gliding by,
They never heard him once complain or even heave a sigh!

The women of the province fell in love with genial Ben,
  Till (may be you can fancy it) the dickens was to pay
Among the callow students and the sober-minded men--
  With the women-folk a-cuttin' up that way!
      Why, they gave him turbans red
      To adorn his hairless head,
And knitted jaunty nightcaps to protect him when abed!
      In vain the rest demurred--
      Not a single chiding word
Those ladies deigned to tolerate--remonstrance was absurd!

Things finally got into such a very dreadful way
  That the others (oh, how artful) formed the politic design
To send him to the reichstag; so, one dull November day,
  They elected him a member from the Rhine!
      Then the other members said:
      "Gott im Himmel! what a head!"
But they marvelled when his speeches they listened to or read;
      And presently they cried:
      "There must be heaps inside
Of the smooth and shiny cranium his constituents deride!"

Well, when at last he up 'nd died--long past his ninetieth year--
  The strangest and the most lugubrious funeral he had,
For women came in multitudes to weep upon his bier--
  The men all wond'ring why on earth the women had gone mad!
      And this wonderment increased
      Till the sympathetic priest
Inquired of those same ladies: "Why this fuss about deceased?"
      Whereupon were they appalled,
      For, as one, those women squalled:
"We doted on deceased for being bald--bald--bald!"

He was bald because his genius burnt that shock of hair away
  Which, elsewise, clogs one's keenness and activity of mind;
And (barring present company, of course) I'm free to say
  That, after all, it's intellect that captures womankind.
      At any rate, since then
      (With a precedent in Ben),
The women-folk have been in love with us bald-headed men!



    A HEINE LOVE SONG

The image of the moon at night
  All trembling in the ocean lies,
But she, with calm and steadfast light,
  Moves proudly through the radiant skies,

How like the tranquil moon thou art--
  Thou fairest flower of womankind!
And, look, within my fluttering heart
  Thy image trembling is enshrined!



    UHLAND'S "CHAPEL"

Yonder stands the hillside chapel
  Mid the evergreens and rocks,
All day long it hears the song
  Of the shepherd to his flocks.

Then the chapel bell goes tolling--
  Knelling for a soul that's sped;
Silent and sad the shepherd lad
  Hears the requiem for the dead.

Shepherd, singers of the valley,
  Voiceless now, speed on before;
Soon shall knell that chapel bell
  For the songs you'll sing no more.



    THE DREAMS

Two dreams came down to earth one night
  From the realm of mist and dew;
One was a dream of the old, old days,
  And one was a dream of the new.

One was a dream of a shady lane
  That led to the pickerel pond
Where the willows and rushes bowed themselves
  To the brown old hills beyond.

And the people that peopled the old-time dream
  Were pleasant and fair to see,
And the dreamer he walked with them again
  As often of old walked he.

Oh, cool was the wind in the shady lane
  That tangled his curly hair!
Oh, sweet was the music the robins made
  To the springtime everywhere!

Was it the dew the dream had brought
  From yonder midnight skies,
Or was it tears from the dear, dead years
  That lay in the dreamer's eyes?

The _other_ dream ran fast and free,
  As the moon benignly shed
Her golden grace on the smiling face
  In the little trundle-bed.

For 't was a dream of times to come--
  Of the glorious noon of day--
Of the summer that follows the careless spring
  When the child is done with play.

And 't was a dream of the busy world
  Where valorous deeds are done;
Of battles fought in the cause of right,
  And of victories nobly won.

It breathed no breath of the dear old home
  And the quiet joys of youth;
It gave no glimpse of the good old friends
  Or the old-time faith and truth.

But 't was a dream of youthful hopes,
  And fast and free it ran,
And it told to a little sleeping child
  Of a boy become a man!

These were the dreams that came one night
  To earth from yonder sky;
These were the dreams two dreamers dreamed--
  My little boy and I.

And in our hearts my boy and I
  Were glad that it was so;
_He_ loved to dream of days to come,
  And _I_ of long ago.

So from our dreams my boy and I
  Unwillingly awoke,
But neither of his precious dream
  Unto the other spoke.

Yet of the love we bore those dreams
  Gave each his tender sign;
For there was triumph in _his_ eyes--
  And there were tears in _mine!_



    IN NEW ORLEANS

'Twas in the Crescent City not long ago befell
The tear-compelling incident I now propose to tell;
So come, my sweet collector friends, and listen while I sing
Unto your delectation this brief, pathetic thing--
No lyric pitched in vaunting key, but just a requiem
Of blowing twenty dollars in by nine o'clock a.m.

Let critic folk the poet's use of vulgar slang upbraid,
But, when I'm speaking by the card, I call a spade a spade;
And I, who have been touched of that same mania, myself,
Am well aware that, when it comes to parting with his pelf,
The curio collector is so blindly lost in sin
That he doesn't spend his money--he simply blows it in!

In Royal street (near Conti) there's a lovely curio-shop,
And there, one balmy, fateful morn, it was my chance to stop;
To stop was hesitation--in a moment I was lost--
_That_ kind of hesitation does not hesitate at cost!
I spied a pewter tankard there, and, my! it was a gem--
And the clock in old St. Louis told the hour of eight a.m.!

Three quaint Bohemian bottles, too, of yellow and of green,
Cut in archaic fashion that I ne'er before had seen;
A lovely, hideous platter wreathed about with pink and rose,
With its curious depression into which the gravy flows;
Two dainty silver salts--oh, there was no resisting _them_--
And I'd blown in twenty dollars by nine o'clock a.m.

With twenty dollars, one who is a prudent man, indeed,
Can buy the wealth of useful things his wife and children need;
Shoes, stockings, knickerbockers, gloves, bibs, nursing-bottles, caps,
A gown--_the_ gown for which his spouse too long has pined, perhaps!
These and ten thousand other spectres harrow and condemn
The man who's blown in twenty by nine o'clock a.m.

Oh, mean advantage conscience takes (and one that I abhor!)
In asking one this question: "What _did_ you buy it for?"
Why doesn't conscience ply its blessed trade _before_ the act,
_Before_ one's cussedness becomes a bald, accomplished fact--
_Before_ one's fallen victim to the Tempter's stratagem
And blown in twenty dollars by nine o'clock a.m.?

Ah me! now that the deed is done, how penitent I am!
I _was_ a roaring lion--behold a bleating lamb!
I've packed and shipped those precious things to that more precious wife
Who shares with our sweet babes the strange vicissitudes of life,
While he who, in his folly, gave up his store of wealth
Is far away, and means to keep his distance--for his health!



    MY PLAYMATES

The wind comes whispering to me of the country green and cool--
Of redwing blackbirds chattering beside a reedy pool;
It brings me soothing fancies of the homestead on the hill,
And I hear the thrush's evening song and the robin's morning trill;
So I fall to thinking tenderly of those I used to know
Where the sassafras and snakeroot and checkerberries grow.

What has become of Ezra Marsh, who lived on Baker's hill?
And what's become of Noble Pratt, whose father kept the mill?
And what's become of Lizzie Crum and Anastasia Snell,
And of Roxie Root, who 'tended school in Boston for a spell?
They were the boys and they the girls who shared my youthful play--
They do not answer to my call! My playmates--where are they?

What has become of Levi and his little brother Joe,
Who lived next door to where we lived some forty years ago?
I'd like to see the Newton boys and Quincy Adams Brown,
And Hepsy Hall and Ella Cowles, who spelled the whole school down!
And Gracie Smith, the Cutler boys, Leander Snow, and all
Who I am sure would answer could they only hear my call!

I'd like to see Bill Warner and the Conkey boys again
And talk about the times we used to wish that we were men!
And one--I shall not name her--could I see her gentle face
And hear her girlish treble in this distant, lonely place!
The flowers and hopes of springtime--they perished long ago,
And the garden where they blossomed is white with winter snow.

O cottage 'neath the maples, have you seen those girls and boys
That but a little while ago made, oh! such pleasant noise?
O trees, and hills, and brooks, and lanes, and meadows, do you know
Where I shall find my little friends of forty years ago?
You see I'm old and weary, and I've traveled long and far;
I am looking for my playmates--I wonder where they are!



    STOVES AND SUNSHINE

Prate, ye who will, of so-called charms you find across the sea--
The land of stoves and sunshine is good enough for me!
I've done the grand for fourteen months in every foreign clime,
And I've learned a heap of learning, but I've shivered all the time;
And the biggest bit of wisdom I've acquired--as I can see--
Is that which teaches that this land's the land of lands for me.

Now, I am of opinion that a person should get some
Warmth in this present life of ours, not all in that to come;
So when Boreas blows his blast, through country and through town,
Or when upon the muddy streets the stifling fog rolls down,
Go, guzzle in a pub, or plod some bleak malarious grove,
But let me toast my shrunken shanks beside some Yankee stove.

The British people say they "don't believe in stoves, y' know;"
Perchance because we warmed 'em so completely years ago!
They talk of "drahfts" and "stuffiness" and "ill effects of heat,"
As they chatter in their barny rooms or shiver 'round the street;
With sunshine such a rarity, and stoves esteemed a sin,
What wonder they are wedded to their fads--catarrh and gin?

In Germany are stoves galore, and yet you seldom find
A fire within the stoves, for German stoves are not that kind;
The Germans say that fires make dirt, and dirt's an odious thing,
But the truth is that the pfennig is the average Teuton's king,
And since the fire costs pfennigs, why, the thrifty soul denies
Himself all heat except what comes with beer and exercise.

The Frenchman builds a fire of cones, the Irishman of peat;
The frugal Dutchman buys a fire when he has need of heat--
That is to say, he pays so much each day to one who brings
The necessary living coals to warm his soup and things;
In Italy and Spain they have no need to heat the house--
'Neath balmy skies the native picks the mandolin and louse.

Now, we've no mouldy catacombs, no feudal castles grim,
No ruined monasteries, no abbeys ghostly dim;
Our ancient history is new, our future's all ahead,
And we've got a tariff bill that's made all Europe sick abed--
But what is best, though short on tombs and academic groves,
We double discount Christendom on sunshine and on stoves.

Dear land of mine! I come to you from months of chill and storm,
Blessing the honest people whose hearts and hearths are warm;
A fairer, sweeter song than this I mean to weave to you
When I've reached my lakeside 'dobe and once get heated through;
But, even then, the burthen of that fairer song shall be
That the land of stoves and sunshine is good enough for me.



    A DRINKING SONG

Come, brothers, share the fellowship
  We celebrate to-night;
There's grace of song on every lip
  And every heart is light!
But first, before our mentor chimes
  The hour of jubilee,
Let's drink a health to good old times,
  And good times yet to be!
        Clink, clink, clink!
        Merrily let us drink!
          There's store of wealth
          And more of health
        In every glass, we think.
        Clink, clink, clink!
        To fellowship we drink!
          And from the bowl
          No genial soul
        In such an hour can shrink.

And you, oh, friends from west and east
  And other foreign parts,
Come share the rapture of our feast,
  The love of loyal hearts;
And in the wassail that suspends
  All matters burthensome,
We'll drink a health to good old friends
  And good friends yet to come.
        Clink, clink, clink!
        To fellowship we drink!
          And from the bowl
          No genial soul
        In such an hour will shrink.
        Clink, clink, clink!
        Merrily let us drink!
          There's fellowship
          In every sip
        Of friendship's brew, we think.



    THE LIMITATIONS OF YOUTH

I'd like to be a cowboy an' ride a fiery hoss
  Way out into the big an' boundless west;
I'd kill the bears an' catamounts an' wolves I come across,
  An' I'd pluck the bal' head eagle from his nest!
      With my pistols at my side,
      I would roam the prarers wide,
An' to scalp the savage Injun in his wigwam would I ride--
      If I darst; but I darsen't!

I'd like to go to Afriky an' hunt the lions there,
  An' the biggest ollyfunts you ever saw!
I would track the fierce gorilla to his equatorial lair,
  An' beard the cannybull that eats folks raw!
      I'd chase the pizen snakes
      An' the 'pottimus that makes
His nest down at the bottom of unfathomable lakes--
      If I darst; but I darsen't!

I would I were a pirut to sail the ocean blue,
  With a big black flag aflyin' overhead;
I would scour the billowy main with my gallant pirut crew
  An' dye the sea a gouty, gory red!
      With my cutlass in my hand
      On the quarterdeck I'd stand
And to deeds of heroism I'd incite my pirut band--
      If I darst; but I darsen't!

And, if I darst, I'd lick my pa for the times that he's licked me!
  I'd lick my brother an' my teacher, too!
I'd lick the fellers that call round on sister after tea,
  An' I'd keep on lickin' folks till I got through!
      You bet! I'd run away
      From my lessons to my play,
An' I'd shoo the hens, an' tease the cat, an' kiss the girls all day--
      If I darst; but I darsen't!



    THE BOW-LEG BOY

Who should come up the road one day
But the doctor-man in his two-wheel shay!
And he whoaed his horse and he cried "Ahoy!
I have brought you folks a bow-leg boy!
  Such a cute little boy!
    Such a funny little boy!
      Such a dear little bow-leg boy!"

He took out his box and he opened it wide,
And there was the bow-leg boy inside!
And when they saw that cunning little mite,
They cried in a chorus expressive of delight:
  "What a cute little boy!
    What a funny little boy!
      What a dear little bow-leg boy!"

Observing a strict geometrical law,
They cut out his panties with a circular saw;
Which gave such a stress to his oval stride
That the people he met invariably cried:
  "What a cute little boy!
    What a funny little boy!
      What a dear little bow-leg boy!"

They gave him a wheel and away he went
Speeding along to his heart's content;
And he sits so straight and he pedals so strong
That the folks all say as he bowls along:
  "What a cute little boy!
    What a funny little boy!
      What a dear little bow-leg boy!"

With his eyes aflame and his cheeks aglow,
He laughs "aha" and he laughs "oho";
And the world is filled and thrilled with the joy
Of that jolly little human, the bow-leg boy--
  The cute little boy!
    The funny little boy!
      The dear little bow-leg boy!

If ever the doctor-man comes _my_ way
With his wonderful box in his two-wheel shay,
I'll ask for the treasure I'd fain possess--
Now, honest Injun! can't you guess?
  Why, a cute little boy--
    A funny little boy--
      A dear little bow-leg boy!



    THE STRAW PARLOR

Way up at the top of a big stack of straw
Was the cunningest parlor that ever you saw!
And there could you lie when aweary of play
And gossip or laze in the coziest way;
No matter how careworn or sorry one's mood
No worldly distraction presumed to intrude.
As a refuge from onerous mundane ado
I think I approve of straw parlors, don't you?

A swallow with jewels aflame on her breast
On that straw parlor's ceiling had builded her nest;
And she flew in and out all the happy day long,
And twittered the soothingest lullaby song.
Now some might suppose that that beautiful bird
Performed for her babies the music they heard;
_I_ reckon she twittered her répertoire through
For the folk in the little straw parlor, don't you?

And down from a rafter a spider had hung
Some swings upon which he incessantly swung.
He cut up such didoes--such antics he played
Way up in the air, and was never afraid!
He never made use of his horrid old sting,
But was just upon earth for the fun of the thing!
I deeply regret to observe that so few
Of these good-natured insects are met with, don't you?

And, down in the strawstack, a wee little mite
Of a cricket went chirping by day and by night;
And further down, still, a cunning blue mouse
In a snug little nook of that strawstack kept house!
When the cricket went "chirp," Miss Mousie would squeak
"Come in," and a blush would enkindle her cheek!
She thought--silly girl! 't was a beau come to woo,
But I guess it was only the cricket, don't you?

So the cricket, the mouse, and the motherly bird
Made as soothingsome music as ever you heard
And, meanwhile, that spider by means of his swings
Achieved most astounding gyrations and things!
No wonder the little folk liked what they saw
And loved what they heard in that parlor of straw!
With the mercury up to 102
In the shade, I opine they just sizzled, don't you?

But once there invaded that Eden of straw
The evilest Feline that ever you saw!
She pounced on that cricket with rare promptitude
And she tucked him away where he'd do the most good;
And then, reaching down to the nethermost house,
She deftly expiscated little Miss Mouse!
And, as for the Swallow, she shrieked and withdrew--
I rather admire her discretion, don't you?

Now listen: That evening a cyclone obtained,
And the mortgage was all on that farm that remained!
Barn, strawstack and spider--they all blew away,
And nobody knows where they're at to this day!
And, as for the little straw parlor, I fear
It was wafted clean off this sublunary sphere!
I really incline to a hearty "boo-hoo"
When I think of this tragical ending, don't you?



    A PITEOUS PLAINT

I cannot eat my porridge,
  I weary of my play;
No longer can I sleep at night,
  No longer romp by day!
Though forty pounds was once my weight,
  I'm shy of thirty now;
I pine, I wither and I fade
  Through love of Martha Clow.

As she rolled by this morning
  I heard the nurse girl say:
"She weighs just twenty-seven pounds
  And she's one year old to-day."
I threw a kiss that nestled
  In the curls upon her brow,
But she never turned to thank me--
  That bouncing Martha Clow!

She ought to know I love her,
  For I've told her that I do;
And I've brought her nuts and apples,
  And sometimes candy, too!
I'd drag her in my little cart
  If her mother would allow
That delicate attention
  To her daughter, Martha Clow.

O Martha! pretty Martha!
  Will you always be so cold?
Will you always be as cruel
  As you are at one-year-old?
Must your two-year-old admirer
  Pine as hopelessly as now
For a fond reciprocation
  Of his love for Martha Clow?

You smile on Bernard Rogers
  And on little Harry Knott;
You play with them at peek-a-boo
  All in the Waller Lot!
Wildly I gnash my new-cut teeth
  And beat my throbbing brow,
When I behold the coquetry
  Of heartless Martha Clow!

I cannot eat my porridge,
  Nor for my play care I;
Upon the floor and porch and lawn
  My toys neglected lie;
But on the air of Halsted street
  I breathe this solemn vow:
"Though _she_ be _false_, _I_ will be true
  To pretty Martha Clow!"



    THE DISCREET COLLECTOR

Down south there is a curio-shop
  Unknown to many men;
Thereat do I intend to stop
  When I am south again;
The narrow street through which to go--
  Aha! I know it well!
And may be you would like to know--
  But no--I will not tell!

'T is there to find the loveliest plates
  (The bluest of the blue!)
At such surprisingly low rates
  You'd not believe it true!
And there is one Napoleon vase
  Of dainty Sèvres to sell--
I'm sure you'd like to know that place--
  But no--I will not tell!

Then, too, I know another shop
  Has old, old beds for sale,
With lovely testers up on top
  Carved in ornate detail;
And there are sideboards rich and rare,
  With fronts that proudly swell--
Oh, there are bargains waiting there,
  But where I will not tell!

And hark! I know a bottle-man
  Smiling and debonair,
And he has promised me I can
  Choose of his precious ware!
In age and shape and color, too,
  His dainty goods excel--
Aha, my friends, if you but knew--
  But no! I will not tell!

A thousand other shops I know
  Where bargains can be got--
Where other folk would like to go
  Who have what I have not.
I let them hunt; I hold my mouth--
  Yes, though I know full well
Where lie the treasures of the south,
  I'm not a going to tell!



    A VALENTINE

Your gran'ma, in her youth, was quite
  As blithe a little maid as you.
And, though her hair is snowy white,
  Her eyes still have their maiden blue,
And on her cheeks, as fair as thine,
  Methinks a girlish blush would glow
If she recalled the valentine
  She got, ah! many years ago.

A valorous youth loved gran'ma then,
  And wooed her in that auld lang syne;
And first he told his secret when
  He sent the maid that valentine.
No perfumed page nor sheet of gold
  Was that first hint of love he sent,
But with the secret gran'pa told--
  "I love you"--gran'ma was content.

Go, ask your gran'ma, if you will,
  If--though her head be bowed and gray--
If--though her feeble pulse be chill--
  True love abideth not for aye;
By that quaint portrait on the wall,
  That smiles upon her from above,
Methinks your gran'ma can recall
  The sweet divinity of love.

Dear Elsie, here's no page of gold--
  No sheet embossed with cunning art--
But here's a solemn pledge of old:
  "I love you, love, with all my heart."
And if in what I send you here
  You read not all of love expressed,
Go--go to gran'ma, Elsie dear,
  And she will tell you all the rest!



    THE WIND

   (THE TALE)

Cometh the Wind from the garden, fragrant and full of sweet singing--
Under my tree where I sit cometh the Wind to confession.

"Out in the garden abides the Queen of the beautiful Roses--
Her do I love and to-night wooed her with passionate singing;
Told I my love in those songs, and answer she gave in her blushes--
She shall be bride of the Wind, and she is the Queen of the Roses!"

"Wind, there is spice in thy breath; thy rapture hath fragrance Sabaean!"

"Straight from my wooing I come--my lips are bedewed with her kisses--
My lips and my song and my heart are drunk with the rapture of loving!"

   (THE SONG)

The Wind he loveth the red, red Rose,
  And he wooeth his love to wed:
    Sweet is his song
    The Summer long
  As he kisseth her lips so red;
And he recketh naught of the ruin wrought
  When the Summer of love is sped!

   (AGAIN THE TALE)

Cometh the Wind from the garden, bitter with sorrow of winter.

"Wind, is thy love-song forgot? Wherefore thy dread lamentations?"

Sigheth and moaneth the Wind: "Out of the desolate garden
Come I from vigils with ghosts over the grave of the Summer!"

"Thy breath that was fragrant anon with rapture of music and loving,
It grieveth all things with its sting and the frost of its wailing
displeasure."

The Wind maketh ever more moan and ever it giveth this answer:
"My heart it is numb with the cold of the love that was born of the
Summer--
I come from the garden all white with the wrath and the sorrow of Winter;
I have kissed the low, desolate tomb where my bride in her loveliness
lieth
And the voice of the ghost in my heart is the voice that forever
outcrieth!"

(AGAIN THE SONG)

The Wind he waileth the red, red Rose
  When the Summer of love is sped--
    He waileth above
    His lifeless love
  With her shroud of snow o'erspread--
Crieth such things as a true heart brings
  To the grave of its precious dead.



    A PARAPHRASE

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name;
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, in Heaven the same;
Give us this day our daily bread, and may our debts to heaven--
As we our earthly debts forgive--by Thee be all forgiven;
When tempted or by evil vexed, restore Thou us again,
And Thine be the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory, forever and ever;
amen.



    WITH BRUTUS IN ST. JO

Of all the opry-houses then obtaining in the West
The one which Milton Tootle owned was, by all odds, the best;
Milt, being rich, was much too proud to run the thing alone,
So he hired an "acting manager," a gruff old man named Krone--
A stern, commanding man with piercing eyes and flowing beard,
And his voice assumed a thunderous tone when Jack and I appeared;
He said that Julius Caesar had been billed a week or so,
And would have to have some armies by the time he reached St. Jo!

O happy days, when Tragedy still winged an upward flight,
When actors wore tin helmets and cambric robes at night!
O happy days, when sounded in the public's rapturous ears
The creak of pasteboard armor and the clash of wooden spears!
O happy times for Jack and me and that one other supe
That then and there did constitute the noblest Roman's troop!
With togas, battle axes, shields, we made a dazzling show,
When we were Roman soldiers with Brutus in St. Jo!

We wheeled and filed and double-quicked wherever Brutus led,
The folks applauding what we did as much as what he said;
'T was work, indeed; yet Jack and I were willing to allow
'T was easier following Brutus than following father's plough;
And at each burst of cheering, our valor would increase--
We tramped a thousand miles that night, at fifty cents apiece!
For love of Art--not lust for gold--consumed us years ago,
When we were Roman soldiers with Brutus in St. Jo!

To-day, while walking in the Square, Jack Langrish says to me:
"My friend, the drama nowadays ain't what it used to be!
These farces and these comedies--how feebly they compare
With that mantle of the tragic art which Forrest used to wear!
My soul is warped with bitterness to think that you and I--
Co-heirs to immortality in seasons long gone by--
Now draw a paltry stipend from a Boston comic show,
We, who were Roman soldiers with Brutus in St. Jo!"

And so we talked and so we mused upon the whims of Fate
That had degraded Tragedy from its old, supreme estate;
And duly, at the Morton bar, we stigmatized the age
As sinfully subversive of the interests of the Stage!
For Jack and I were actors in the halcyon, palmy days
Long, long before the Hoyt school of farce became the craze;
Yet, as I now recall it, it was twenty years ago
That we were Roman soldiers with Brutus in St. Jo!

We were by birth descended from a race of farmer kings
Who had done eternal battle with grasshoppers and things;
But the Kansas farms grew tedious--we pined for that delight
We read of in the _Clipper_ in the barber's shop by night!
We would be actors--Jack and I--and so we stole away
From our native spot, Wathena, one dull September day,
And started for Missouri--ah, little did we know
We were going to train as soldiers with Brutus in St. Jo!

Our army numbered three in all--Marc Antony's was four;
Our army hankered after fame, but Marc's was after gore!
And when we reached Philippi, at the outset we were met
With an inartistic gusto I can never quite forget.
For Antony's overwhelming force of thumpers seemed to be
Resolved to do "them Kansas jays"--and that meant Jack and me!
My lips were sealed but that it seems quite proper you should know
That Rome was nowhere in it at Philippi in St. Jo!

I've known the slow-consuming grief and ostentatious pain
Accruing from McKean Buchanan's melancholy Dane;
Away out West I've witnessed Bandmann's peerless hardihood,
With Arthur Cambridge have I wrought where walking was not good;
In every phase of horror have I bravely borne my part,
And even on my uppers have I proudly stood for Art!
And, after all my suffering, it were not hard to show
That I got my allopathic dose with Brutus at St. Jo!

That army fell upon me in a most bewildering rage
And scattered me and mine upon that histrionic stage;
My toga rent, my helmet gone and smashed to smithereens,
They picked me up and hove me through whole centuries of scenes!
I sailed through Christian eras and mediæval gloom
And fell from Arden forest into Juliet's painted tomb!
Oh, yes, I travelled far and fast that night, and I can show
The scars of honest wounds I got with Brutus in St. Jo!

Ah me, old Davenport is gone, of fickle fame forgot,
And Barrett sleeps forever in a much neglected spot;
Fred Warde, the papers tell me, in far woolly western lands
Still flaunts the banner of high Tragic Art at one-night stands;
And Jack and I, in Charley Hoyt's Bostonian dramas wreak
Our vengeance on creation at some eensty dolls per week.
By which you see that public taste has fallen mighty low
Since we fought as Roman soldiers with Brutus in St. Jo!



    THE TWO LITTLE SKEEZUCKS

There were two little skeezucks who lived in the isle
  Of Boo in a southern sea;
They clambered and rollicked in heathenish style
  In the boughs of their cocoanut tree.
They didn't fret much about clothing and such
  And they recked not a whit of the ills
    That sometimes accrue
    From having to do
With tailor and laundry bills.

The two little skeezucks once heard of a Fair
  Far off from their native isle,
And they asked of King Fan if they mightn't go there
  To take in the sights for awhile.
    Now old King Fan
    Was a good-natured man
(As good-natured monarchs go),
And howbeit he swore that all Fairs were a bore,
He hadn't the heart to say "No."

So the two little skeezucks sailed off to the Fair
  In a great big gum canoe,
And I fancy they had a good time there,
  For they tarried a year or two.
And old King Fan at last began
  To reckon they'd come to grief,
    When glory! one day
    They sailed into the bay
To the tune of "Hail to the Chief!"

The two little skeezucks fell down on the sand,
  Embracing his majesty's toes,
Till his majesty graciously bade them stand
  And salute him nose to nose.
    And then quoth he:
    "Divulge unto me
  What happenings have hapt to you;
And how did they dare to indulge in a Fair
  So far from the island of Boo?"

The two little skeezucks assured their king
  That what he surmised was true;
That the Fair would have been a different thing
  Had it only been held in Boo!
"The folk over there in no wise compare
  With the folk of the southern seas;
    Why, they comb out their heads
    And they sleep in beds
Instead of in caverns and trees!"

The two little skeezucks went on to say
  That children (so far as they knew)
Had a much harder time in that land far away
  Than here in the island of Boo!
    They have to wear clo'es
    Which (as every one knows)
  Are irksome to primitive laddies,
While, with forks and with spoons, they're denied the sweet boons
That accrue from free use of one's paddies!

"And now that you're speaking of things to eat,"
  Interrupted the monarch of Boo,
"We beg to inquire if you happened to meet
  With a nice missionary or two?"
"No, that we did not; in that curious spot
 Where were gathered the fruits of the earth,
   Of that special kind
   Which Your Nibs has in mind
There appeared a deplorable dearth!"

Then loud laughed that monarch in heathenish mirth
  And loud laughed his courtiers, too,
And they cried: "There is elsewhere no land upon earth
  So good as our island of Boo!"
    And the skeezucks, tho' glad
    Of the journey they'd had,
  Climbed up in their cocoanut trees,
Where they still may be seen with no shirts to keep clean
  Or trousers that bag at the knees.



    PAN LIVETH

They told me once that Pan was dead,
  And so, in sooth, I thought him;
For vainly where the streamlets led
  Through flowery meads I sought him--
Nor in his dewy pasture bed
  Nor in the grove I caught him.
  _"Tell me," 'twas so my clamor ran--
  "Tell me, oh, where is Pan?"_

But, once, as on my pipe I played
  A requiem sad and tender,
Lo, thither came a shepherd-maid--
  Full comely she and slender!
I were indeed a churlish blade
  With wailings to offend 'er--
    _For, surely, wooing's sweeter than
    A mourning over Pan!_

So, presently, whiles I did scan
  That shepherd-maiden pretty,
And heard her accents, I began
  To pipe a cheerful ditty;
And so, betimes, forgot old Pan
  Whose death had waked my pity;
     _So--so did Love undo the man
     Who sought and pined for Pan!_

He was _not_ dead! I found him there--
  The Pan that I was after!
Caught in that maiden's tangling hair,
  Drunk with her song and laughter!
I doubt if there be otherwhere
  A merrier god or dafter--
    _Nay, nor a mortal kindlier than
    Is this same dear old Pan!_

Beside me, as my pipe I play,
  My shepherdess is lying,
While here and there her lambkins stray
  As sunny hours go flying;
They look like me--those lambs--they say,
  And that I'm not denying!
    _And for that sturdy, romping clan,
    All glory be to Pan!_

Pan is not dead, O sweetheart mine!
  It is to hear his voices
In every note and every line
  Wherein the heart rejoices!
He liveth in that sacred shrine
  That Love's first, holiest choice is!
    _So pipe, my pipe, while still you can,
    Sweet songs in praise of Pan!_



    DR. SAM

    TO MISS GRACE KING

Down in the old French quarter,
  Just out of Rampart street,
    I wend my way
    At close of day
  Unto the quaint retreat
Where lives the Voodoo Doctor
  By some esteemed a sham,
Yet I'll declare there's none elsewhere
  So skilled as Doctor Sam
    _With the claws of a deviled crawfish,
      The juice of the prickly prune,
        And the quivering dew
        From a yarb that grew
      In the light of a midnight moon!_

I never should have known him
  But for the colored folk
    That here obtain
    And ne'er in vain
  That wizard's art invoke;
For when the Eye that's Evil
  Would him and his'n damn,
The negro's grief gets quick relief
  Of Hoodoo-Doctor Sam.
    _With the caul of an alligator,
      The plume of an unborn loon,
        And the poison wrung
        From a serpent's tongue
      By the light of a midnight moon!_

In all neurotic ailments
  I hear that he excels,
    And he insures
    Immediate cures
  Of weird, uncanny spells;
The most unruly patient
  Gets docile as a lamb
And is freed from ill by the potent skill
  Of Hoodoo-Doctor Sam;
    _Feathers of strangled chickens,
      Moss from the dank lagoon,_
    _And plasters wet
      With spider sweat
    In the light of a midnight moon!_

They say when nights are grewsome
  And hours are, oh! so late,
    Old Sam steals out
    And hunts about
  For charms that hoodoos hate!
That from the moaning river
  And from the haunted glen
He silently brings what eerie things
  Give peace to hoodooed men:--
  _The tongue of a piebald 'possum,
    The tooth of a senile 'coon,
  The buzzard's breath that smells of death,
    And the film that lies
    On a lizard's eyes
  In the light of a midnight moon!_



     WINFREDA

    (A BALLAD IN THE ANGLO-SAXON TONGUE)

When to the dreary greenwood gloam
  Winfreda's husband strode that day,
The fair Winfreda bode at home
  To toil the weary time away;
"While thou art gone to hunt," said she,
"I'll brew a goodly sop for thee."

Lo, from a further, gloomy wood,
  A hungry wolf all bristling hied
And on the cottage threshold stood
  And saw the dame at work inside;
And, as he saw the pleasing sight,
He licked his fangs so sharp and white.

Now when Winfreda saw the beast,
  Straight at the grinning wolf she ran,
And, not affrighted in the least,
  She hit him with her cooking pan,
And as she thwacked him on the head--
"Scat! scat!" the fair Winfreda said.

The hills gave answer to their din--
  The brook in fear beheld the sight.
And all that bloody field within
  Wore token of Winfreda's might.
The wolf was very loath to stay--
But, oh! he could not get away.

Winfreda swept him o'er the wold
  And choked him till his gums were blue,
And till, beneath her iron hold,
  His tongue hung out a yard or two,
And with his hair the riven ground
Was strewn for many leagues around.

They fought a weary time that day,
  And seas of purple blood were shed,
Till by Winfreda's cunning lay
  That awful wolf all limp and dead;
Winfreda saw him reel and drop--
Then back she went to brewing sop.

So when the husband came at night
  From bootless chase, cold, gaunt, and grim,
Great was that Saxon lord's delight
  To find the sop dished up for him;
And as he ate, Winfreda told
How she had laid the wolf out cold.

The good Winfreda of those days
  Is only "pretty Birdie" now--
Sickly her soul and weak her ways--
  And she, to whom we Saxons bow,
Leaps on a bench and screams with fright
If but a mouse creeps into sight.



    LYMAN, FREDERICK, AND JIM

    (FOR THE FELLOWSHIP CLUB)

Lyman and Frederick and Jim, one day,
  Set out in a great big ship--
Steamed to the ocean adown the bay
  Out of a New York slip.
"Where are you going and what is your game?"
  The people asked those three.
"Darned if we know; but all the same
  Happy as larks are we;
  And happier still we're going to be!"
    Said Lyman
    And Frederick
    And Jim.

The people laughed "Aha, oho!
  Oho, aha!" laughed they;
And while those three went sailing so
  Some pirates steered that way.
The pirates they were laughing, too--
  The prospect made them glad;
But by the time the job was through
  Each of them pirates, bold and bad,
Had been done out of all he had
    By Lyman
    And Frederick
    And Jim.

Days and weeks and months they sped,
  Painting that foreign clime
A beautiful, bright vermilion red--
  And having a ---- of a time!
'T was all so gaudy a lark, it seemed
  As if it could not be,
And some folks thought it a dream they dreamed
  Of sailing that foreign sea,
  But I'll identify you these three--
    Lyman
    And Frederick
    And Jim.

Lyman and Frederick are bankers and sich
  And Jim is an editor kind;
The first two named are awfully rich
  And Jim ain't far behind!
So keep your eyes open and mind your tricks,
  Or you are like to be
In quite as much of a Tartar fix
  As the pirates that sailed the sea
  And monkeyed with the pardners three,
    Lyman
    And Frederick
    And Jim!



    BY MY SWEETHEART

Sweetheart, be my sweetheart
  When birds are on the wing,
When bee and bud and babbling flood
  Bespeak the birth of spring,
Come, sweetheart, be my sweetheart
  And wear this posy-ring!

Sweetheart, be my sweetheart
  In the mellow golden glow
Of earth aflush with the gracious blush
  Which the ripening fields foreshow;
Dear sweetheart, be my sweetheart,
  As into the noon we go!

Sweetheart, be my sweetheart
  When falls the bounteous year,
When fruit and wine of tree and vine
  Give us their harvest cheer;
Oh, sweetheart, be my sweetheart,
  For winter it draweth near.

Sweetheart, be my sweetheart
  When the year is white and old,
When the fire of youth is spent, forsooth,
  And the hand of age is cold;
Yet, sweetheart, be my sweetheart
  Till the year of our love be told!



    THE PETER-BIRD

Out of the woods by the creek cometh a calling for Peter,
And from the orchard a voice echoes and echoes it over;
Down in the pasture the sheep hear that strange crying for Peter,
Over the meadows that call is aye and forever repeated.
So let me tell you the tale, when, where, and how it all happened,
And, when the story is told, let us pay heed to the lesson.

Once on a time, long ago, lived in the State of Kentucky
One that was reckoned a witch--full of strange spells and devices;
Nightly she wandered the woods, searching for charms voodooistic--
Scorpions, lizards, and herbs, dormice, chameleons, and plantains!
Serpents and caw-caws and bats, screech-owls and crickets and adders--
These were the guides of that witch through the dank deeps of the forest.
Then, with her roots and her herbs, back to her cave in the morning
Ambled that hussy to brew spells of unspeakable evil;
And, when the people awoke, seeing that hillside and valley
Sweltered in swathes as of mist--"Look!" they would whisper in terror--
"Look! the old witch is at work brewing her spells of great evil!"
Then would they pray till the sun, darting his rays through the vapor,
Lifted the smoke from the earth and baffled the witch's intentions.

One of the boys at that time was a certain young person named Peter,
Given too little to work, given too largely to dreaming;
Fonder of books than of chores, you can imagine that Peter
Led a sad life on the farm, causing his parents much trouble.
"Peter!" his mother would call, "the cream is a'ready for churning!"
"Peter!" his father would cry, "go grub at the weeds in the garden!"
So it was "Peter!" all day--calling, reminding, and chiding--
Peter neglected his work; therefore that nagging at Peter!

Peter got hold of some books--how, I'm unable to tell you;
Some have suspected the witch--this is no place for suspicions!
It is sufficient to stick close to the thread of the legend.
Nor is it stated or guessed what was the trend of those volumes;
What thing soever it was--done with a pen and a pencil,
Wrought with a brain, not a hoe--surely 't was hostile to farming!

"Fudge on all readin'!" they quoth; or "_that's_ what's the ruin of
Peter!"

So, when the mornings were hot, under the beech or the maple,
Cushioned in grass that was blue, breathing the breath of the blossoms,
Lulled by the hum of the bees, the coo of the ring-doves a-mating,
Peter would frivol his time at reading, or lazing, or dreaming.
"Peter!" his mother would call, "the cream is a'ready for churning!"
"Peter!" his father would cry, "go grub at the weeds in the garden!"
"Peter!" and "Peter!" all day--calling, reminding, and chiding--
Peter neglected his chores; therefore that outcry for Peter;
Therefore the neighbors allowed evil would surely befall him--
Yes, on account of these things, ruin would come upon Peter!

Surely enough, on a time, reading and lazing and dreaming
Wrought the calamitous ill all had predicted for Peter;
For, of a morning in spring when lay the mist in the valleys--
"See," quoth the folk, "how the witch breweth her evil decoctions!
See how the smoke from her fire broodeth on woodland and meadow!
Grant that the sun cometh out to smother the smudge of her caldron!
She hath been forth in the night, full of her spells and devices,
Roaming the marshes and dells for heathenish magical nostrums;
Digging in leaves and at stumps for centipedes, pismires, and spiders,
Grubbing in poisonous pools for hot salamanders and toadstools;
Charming the bats from the flues, snaring the lizards by twilight,
Sucking the scorpion's egg and milking the breast of the adder!"

Peter derided these things held in such faith by the farmer,
Scouted at magic and charms, hooted at Jonahs and hoodoos--
Thinking and reading of books must have unsettled his reason!
"There ain't no witches," he cried; "it isn't smoky, but foggy!
I will go out in the wet--you all can't hender me, nuther!"

Surely enough he went out into the damp of the morning,
Into the smudge that the witch spread over woodland and meadow,
Into the fleecy gray pall brooding on hillside and valley.
Laughing and scoffing, he strode into that hideous vapor;
Just as he said he would do, just as he bantered and threatened,
Ere they could fasten the door, Peter had done gone and done it!
Wasting his time over books, you see, had unsettled his reason--
Soddened his callow young brain with semi-pubescent paresis,
And his neglect of his chores hastened this evil condition.

Out of the woods by the creek cometh a calling for Peter
And from the orchard a voice echoes and echoes it over;
Down in the pasture the sheep hear that shrill crying for Peter,
Up from the spring house the wail stealeth anon like a whisper,
Over the meadows that call is aye and forever repeated.
Such were the voices that whooped wildly and vainly for Peter
Decades and decades ago down in the State of Kentucky--
Such _are_ the voices that cry now from the woodland and meadow,
"Peter--O Peter!" all day, calling, reminding, and chiding--
Taking us back to the time when Peter he done gone and done it!
These are the voices of those left by the boy in the farmhouse
When, with his laughter and scorn, hatless and bootless and sockless,
Clothed in his jeans and his pride, Peter sailed out in the weather,
Broke from the warmth of his home into that fog of the devil,
Into the smoke of that witch brewing her damnable porridge!

Lo, when he vanished from sight, knowing the evil that threatened,
Forth with importunate cries hastened his father and mother.
"Peter!" they shrieked in alarm, "Peter!" and evermore "Peter!"--
Ran from the house to the barn, ran from the barn to the garden,
Ran to the corn-crib anon, then to the smoke-house proceeded;
Henhouse and woodpile they passed, calling and wailing and weeping,
Through the front gate to the road, braving the hideous vapor--
Sought him in lane and on pike, called him in orchard and meadow,
Clamoring "Peter!" in vain, vainly outcrying for Peter.
Joining the search came the rest, brothers and sisters and cousins,
Venting unspeakable fears in pitiful wailing for Peter!
And from the neighboring farms gathered the men and the women,
Who, upon hearing the news, swelled the loud chorus for Peter.

Farmers and hussifs and maids, bosses and field-hands and niggers,
Colonels and jedges galore from cornfields and mint-beds and thickets,
All that had voices to voice, all to those parts appertaining,
Came to engage in the search, gathered and bellowed for Peter.
The Taylors, the Dorseys, the Browns, the Wallers, the Mitchells, the
Logans,
The Yenowines, Crittendens, Dukes, the Hickmans, the Hobbses, the Morgans;
The Ormsbys, the Thompsons, the Hikes, the Williamsons, Murrays, and
Hardins,

The Beynroths, the Sherleys, the Hokes, the Haldermans, Harneys, and
Slaughters--
All, famed in Kentucky of old for prowess prodigious at farming,
Now surged from their prosperous homes to join in that hunt for the
truant,
To ascertain where he was at, to help out the chorus for Peter.

Still on those prosperous farms where heirs and assigns of the people
Specified hereinabove and proved by the records of probate--
_Still_ on those farms shall you hear (and still on the turnpikes
adjacent)
That pitiful, petulant call, that pleading, expostulant wailing,
That hopeless, monotonous moan, that crooning and droning for Peter.
Some say the witch in her wrath transmogrified all those good people;
That, wakened from slumber that day by the calling and bawling for Peter,
She out of her cave in a thrice, and, waving the foot of a rabbit
(Crossed with the caul of a coon and smeared with the blood of a chicken),
She changed all those folk into birds and shrieked with demoniac venom:
"Fly away over the land, moaning your Peter forever,
Croaking of Peter, the boy who didn't believe there were hoodoos,
Crooning of Peter, the fool who scouted at stories of witches,
Crying of Peter for aye, forever outcalling for Peter!"

This is the story they tell; so in good sooth saith the legend;
As I have told it to you, so tell the folk and the legend.
That it is true I believe, for on the breezes this morning
Come the shrill voices of birds calling and calling for Peter;
Out of the maple and beech glitter the eyes of the wailers,
Peeping and peering for him who formerly lived in these places--
Peter, the heretic lad, lazy and careless and dreaming,
Sorely afflicted with books and with pubescent paresis,
Hating the things of the farm, care of the barn and the garden,
Always neglecting his chores--given to books and to reading,
Which, as all people allow, turn the young person to mischief,
Harden his heart against toil, wean his affections from tillage.

This is the legend of yore told in the state of Kentucky
When in the springtime the birds call from the beeches and maples,
Call from the petulant thorn, call from the acrid persimmon;
When from the woods by the creek and from the pastures and meadows,
When from the spring house and lane and from the mint-bed and orchard,
When from the redbud and gum and from the redolent lilac,
When from the dirt roads and pikes cometh that calling for Peter;
Cometh the dolorous cry, cometh that weird iteration
Of "Peter" and "Peter" for aye, of "Peter" and "Peter" forever!
This is the legend of old, told in the tum-titty meter
Which the great poets prefer, being less labor than rhyming
(My first attempt at the same, my _last_ attempt, too, I reckon!);
Nor have I further to say, for the sad story is ended.



    SISTER'S CAKE

I'd not complain of Sister Jane, for she was good and kind,
Combining with rare comeliness distinctive gifts of mind;
Nay, I'll admit it were most fit that, worn by social cares,
She'd crave a change from parlor life to that below the stairs,
And that, eschewing needlework and music, she should take
Herself to the substantial art of manufacturing cake.

At breakfast, then, it would befall that Sister Jane would say:
"Mother, if you have got the things, I'll make some cake to-day!"
Poor mother'd cast a timid glance at father, like as not--
For father hinted sister's cooking cost a frightful lot--
But neither _she_ nor _he_ presumed to signify dissent,
Accepting it for gospel truth that what she wanted went!

No matter what the rest of 'em might chance to have in hand,
The whole machinery of the house came to a sudden stand;
The pots were hustled off the stove, the fire built up anew,
With every damper set just so to heat the oven through;
The kitchen-table was relieved of everything, to make
That ample space which Jane required when she compounded cake.

And, oh! the bustling here and there, the flying to and fro;
The click of forks that whipped the eggs to lather white as snow--
And what a wealth of sugar melted swiftly out of sight--
And butter? Mother said such waste would ruin father, quite!
But Sister Jane preserved a mien no pleading could confound
As she utilized the raisins and the citron by the pound.

Oh, hours of chaos, tumult, heat, vexatious din, and whirl!
Of deep humiliation for the sullen hired-girl;
Of grief for mother, hating to see things wasted so,
And of fortune for that little boy who pined to taste that dough!
It looked so sweet and yellow--sure, to taste it were no sin--
But, oh! how sister scolded if he stuck his finger in!

The chances were as ten to one, before the job was through,
That sister'd think of something else she'd great deal rather do!
So, then, she'd softly steal away, as Arabs in the night,
Leaving the girl and ma to finish up as best they might;
These tactics (artful Sister Jane) enabled her to take
Or shift the credit or the blame of that too-treacherous cake!

And yet, unhappy is the man who has no Sister Jane--
For he who has no sister seems to me to live in vain.
I never had a sister--may be that is why today
I'm wizened and dyspeptic, instead of blithe and gay;
A boy who's only forty should be full of romp and mirth,
But _I _(because I'm sisterless) am the oldest man on earth!

Had I a little sister--oh, how happy I should be!
I'd never let her cast her eyes on any chap but me;
I'd love her and I'd cherish her for better and for worse--
I'd buy her gowns and bonnets, and sing her praise in verse;
And--yes, what's more and vastly more--I tell you what I'd do:
I'd let her make her wondrous cake, and I would eat it, too!

I have a high opinion of the sisters, as you see--
Another fellow's sister is so very dear to me!
I love to work anear her when she's making over frocks,
When she patches little trousers or darns prosaic socks;
But I draw the line at one thing--yes, I don my hat and take
A three hours' walk when she is moved to try her hand at cake!



    ABU MIDJAN

_When Father Time swings round his scythe,
  Intomb me 'neath the bounteous vine,
So that its juices, red and blithe,
  May cheer these thirsty bones of mine._

_"Elsewise with tears and bated breath
  Should I survey the life to be.
But oh! How should I hail the death
  That brings that--vinous grace to me!"_

So sung the dauntless Saracen,
  Whereat the Prophet-Chief ordains
That, curst of Allah, loathed of men,
  The faithless one shall die in chains.

But one vile Christian slave that lay
  A prisoner near that prisoner saith:
"God willing, I will plant some day
  A vine where liest thou in death."

Lo, over Abu Midjan's grave
  With purpling fruit a vine-tree grows;
Where rots the martyred Christian slave
  Allah, and only Allah, knows!



    ED

Ed was a man that played for keeps, 'nd when he tuk the notion,
You cudn't stop him any more'n a dam 'ud stop the ocean;
For when he tackled to a thing 'nd sot his mind plum to it,
You bet yer boots he done that thing though it broke the bank to do it!
So all us boys uz knowed him best allowed he wuzn't jokin'
When on a Sunday he remarked uz how he'd gin up smokin'.

Now this remark, that Ed let fall, fell, ez I say, on Sunday--
Which is the reason we wuz shocked to see him sail in Monday
A-puffin' at a snipe that sizzled like a Chinese cracker
An' smelt fur all the world like rags instead uv like terbacker;
Recoverin' from our first surprise, us fellows fell to pokin'
A heap uv fun at "folks uz said how they had gin up smokin'."

But Ed--sez he: "I found my work cud not be done without it--
Jes' try the scheme yourselves, my friends, ef any uv you doubt it!
It's hard, I know, upon one's health, but there's a certain beauty
In makin' sackerfices to the stern demands uv duty!
So, wholly in a sperrit uv denial 'nd concession,
I mortify the flesh 'nd smoke for the sake uv my perfession!"



    JENNIE

Some men affect a liking
  For the prim in face and mind,
And some prefer the striking
  And the loud in womankind;
Wee Madge is wooed of many,
  And buxom Kate, as well,
And Jennie--charming Jennie--
  Ah, Jennie doesn't tell!

What eyes so bright as Daisy's,
  And who as Maud so fair?
Who does not sing the praises
  Of Lucy's golden hair?
There's Sophie--she is witty,
  A very sprite is Nell,
And Susie's, oh, so pretty--
But Jennie doesn't tell!

And now for my confession:
  Of all the virtues rare,
I argue that discretion
  Doth most beseem the fair.
And though I hear the many
  Extol each other belle,
I--I pronounce for Jennie,
  For Jennie doesn't tell!



    CONTENTMENT

Happy the man that, when his day is done,
  Lies down to sleep with nothing of regret--
The battle he has fought may not be won--
  The fame he sought be just as fleeting yet;
Folding at last his hands upon his breast,
  Happy is he, if hoary and forespent,
He sinks into the last, eternal rest,
  Breathing these only works: "I am content."

But happier he, that, while his blood is warm,
  See hopes and friendships dead about him lie--
Bares his brave breast to envy's bitter storm,
  Nor shuns the poison barbs of calumny;
And 'mid it all, stands sturdy and elate,
  Girt only in the armor God hath meant
For him who 'neath the buffetings of fate
  Can say to God and man: "I am content."



    "GUESS"

There is a certain Yankee phrase
  I always have revered,
Yet, somehow, in these modern days,
  It's almost disappeared;
It was the usage years ago,
  But nowadays it's got
To be regarded coarse and low
  To answer: "I guess not!"

The height of fashion called the pink
  Affects a British craze--
Prefers "I fancy" or "I think"
  To that time-honored phrase;
But here's a Yankee, if you please,
  That brands the fashion rot,
And to all heresies like these
  He answers, "I--guess not!"--

When Chaucer, Wycliff, and the rest
  Express their meaning thus,
I guess, if not the very best,
  It's good enough for us!
Why! shall the idioms of our speech
  Be banished and forgot
For this vain trash which moderns teach?
  Well, no, sir; I guess not!

There's meaning in that homely phrase
  No other words express--
No substitute therefor conveys
  Such unobtrusive stress.
True Anglo-Saxon speech, it goes
  Directly to the spot,
And he who hears it always knows
  The worth of "I--guess--not!"



    NEW-YEAR'S EVE

Good old days--dear old days
  When my heart beat high and bold--
When the things of earth seemed full of life,
  And the future a haze of gold!
Oh, merry was I that winter night,
  And gleeful our little one's din,
And tender the grace of my darling's face
  As we watched the new year in.
But a voice--a spectre's, that mocked at love--
   Came out of the yonder hall;
"Tick-tock, tick-tock!" 't was the solemn clock
  That ruefully croaked to all.
Yet what knew we of the griefs to be
  In the year we longed to greet?
Love--love was the theme of the sweet, sweet dream
  I fancied might never fleet!

But the spectre stood in that yonder gloom,
  And these were the words it spake,
"Tick-tock, tick-tock"--and they seemed to mock
  A heart about to break.

'T is new-year's eve, and again I watch
  In the old familiar place,
And I'm thinking again of that old time when
  I looked on a dear one's face.
Never a little one hugs my knee
  And I hear no gleeful shout--
I am sitting alone by the old hearthstone,
  Watching the old year out.
But I welcome the voice in yonder gloom
  That solemnly calls to me:
"Tick-tock, tick-tock!"--for so the clock
  Tells of a life to be;
"Tick-tock, tick-tock!"-'tis so the clock
  Tells of eternity.



    OLD SPANISH SONG

I'm thinking of the wooing
  That won my maiden heart
When he--he came pursuing
  A love unused to art.
Into the drowsy river
  The moon transported flung
Her soul that seemed to quiver
  With the songs my lover sung.
And the stars in rapture twinkled
  On the slumbrous world below--
You see that, old and wrinkled,
  I'm not forgetful--no!

He still should be repeating
  The vows he uttered then--
Alas! the years, though fleeting,
  Are truer yet than men!
The summer moonlight glistens
  In the favorite trysting spot
Where the river ever listens
  For a song it heareth not.
And I, whose head is sprinkled
  With time's benumbing snow,
I languish, old and wrinkled,
  But not forgetful--no!

What though he elsewhere turneth
  To beauty strangely bold?
Still in my bosom burneth
  The tender fire of old;
And the words of love he told me
  And the songs he sung me then
Come crowding to uphold me,
  And I live my youth again!
For when love's feet have tinkled
  On the pathway women go,
Though one be old and wrinkled,
  She's not forgetful--no!



    THE BROKEN RING

To the willows of the brookside
  The mill wheel sings to-day--
    Sings and weeps,
    As the brooklet creeps
  Wondering on its way;
And here is the ring _she_ gave me
  With love's sweet promise then--
    It hath burst apart
    Like the trusting heart
  That may never be soothed again!

Oh, I would be a minstrel
  To wander far and wide,
Weaving in song the merciless wrong
  Done by a perjured bride!
Or I would be a soldier,
  To seek in the bloody fray
What gifts of fate can compensate
  For the pangs I suffer to-day!

Yet may this aching bosom,
  By bitter sorrow crushed,
    Be still and cold
    In the churchyard mould
  Ere _thy_ sweet voice be hushed;
So sing, sing on forever,
  O wheel of the brookside mill,
    For you mind me again
    Of the old time when
  I felt love's gracious thrill.



    IN PRAISE OF CONTENTMENT

    (HORACE'S ODES, III, I)

I hate the common, vulgar herd!
  Away they scamper when I "booh" 'em!
But pretty girls and nice young men
Observe a proper silence when
  I chose to sing my lyrics to 'em.

The kings of earth, whose fleeting pow'r
  Excites our homage and our wonder,
Are precious small beside old Jove,
The father of us all, who drove
  The giants out of sight, by thunder!

This man loves farming, that man law,
  While this one follows pathways martial--
What moots it whither mortals turn?
Grim fate from her mysterious urn
  Doles out the lots with hand impartial.

Nor sumptuous feasts nor studied sports
  Delight the heart by care tormented;
The mightiest monarch knoweth not
The peace that to the lowly cot
  Sleep bringeth to the swain contented.

On him untouched of discontent
  Care sits as lightly as a feather;
He doesn't growl about the crops,
Or worry when the market drops,
  Or fret about the changeful weather.

Not so with him who, rich in fact,
  Still seeks his fortune to redouble;
Though dig he deep or build he high,
Those scourges twain shall lurk anigh--
  Relentless Care, relentless Trouble!

If neither palaces nor robes
  Nor unguents nor expensive toddy
Insure Contentment's soothing bliss,
Why should I build an edifice
  Where Envy comes to fret a body?

Nay, I'd not share your sumptuous cheer,
  But rather sup my rustic pottage,
While that sweet boon the gods bestow--
The peace your mansions cannot know--
  Blesseth my lowly Sabine cottage.



    THE BALLAD OF THE TAYLOR PUP

Now lithe and listen, gentles all,
  Now lithe ye all and hark
Unto a ballad I shall sing
  About Buena Park.

Of all the wonders happening there
  The strangest hap befell
Upon a famous Aprile morn,
  As I you now shall tell.

It is about the Taylor pup
  And of his mistress eke
And of the prankish time they had
  That I am fain to speak.


    FITTE THE FIRST

The pup was of as noble mien
  As e'er you gazed upon;
They called his mother Lady
  And his father was a Don.

And both his mother and his sire
  Were of the race Bernard--
The family famed in histories
  And hymned of every bard.

His form was of exuberant mold,
  Long, slim, and loose of joints;
There never yet was pointer-dog
  So full as he of points.

His hair was like to yellow fleece,
  His eyes were black and kind,
And like a nodding, gilded plume
  His tail stuck up behind.

His bark was very, very fierce,
  And fierce his appetite,
Yet was it only things to eat
  That he was prone to bite.

But in that one particular
  He was so passing true
That never did he quit a meal
  Until he had got through.

Potatoes, biscuits, mush or hash,
  Joint, chop, or chicken limb--
So long as it was edible,
  'T was all the same to him!

And frequently when Hunger's pangs
  Assailed that callow pup,
He masticated boots and gloves
  Or chewed a door-mat up.

So was he much beholden of
  The folk that him did keep;
They loved him when he was awake
  And better still asleep.


    FITTE THE SECOND

Now once his master, lingering o'er
  His breakfast coffee-cup,
Observed unto his doting spouse:
  "You ought to wash the pup!"

"That shall I do this very day",
  His doting spouse replied;
"You will not know the pretty thing
  When he is washed and dried.

"But tell me, dear, before you go
  Unto your daily work,
Shall I use Ivory soap on him,
  Or Colgate, Pears' or Kirk?"

"Odzooks, it matters not a whit--
  They all are good to use!
Take Pearline, if it pleases you--
  Sapolio, if you choose!

"Take any soap, but take the pup
  And also water take,
And mix the three discreetly up
  Till they a lather make.

"Then mixing these constituent parts,
  Let Nature take her way,"
With which advice that sapient sir
  Had nothing more to say.

Then fared he to his daily toil
  All in the Board of Trade,
While Mistress Taylor for that bath
  Due preparation made.


  FITTE THE THIRD

She whistled gayly to the pup
  And called him by his name,
And presently the guileless thing
  All unsuspecting came.

But when she shut the bath-room door,
  And caught him as catch-can,
And hove him in that odious tub,
  His sorrows then began.

How did that callow, yallow thing
  Regret that Aprile morn--
Alas! how bitterly he rued
  The day that he was born!

Twice and again, but all in vain
  He lifted up his wail;
His voice was all the pup could lift,
  For thereby hangs this tale.

'Twas by that tail she held him down,
  And presently she spread
The creamy lather on his back,
  His stomach, and his head.

His ears hung down in sorry wise,
  His eyes were, oh! so sad--
He looked as though he just had lost
  The only friend he had.

And higher yet the water rose,
  The lather still increased,
And sadder still the countenance
  Of that poor martyred beast!

Yet all the time his mistress spoke
  Such artful words of cheer
As "Oh, how nice!" and "Oh, how clean!"
  And "There's a patient dear!"

At last the trial had an end,
  At last the pup was free;
She threw aside the bath-room door--
  "Now get you gone!" quoth she.


    FITTE THE FOURTH

Then from that tub and from that room
  He gat with vast ado;
At every hop he gave a shake,
  And--how the water flew!

He paddled down the winding stairs
  And to the parlor hied,
Dispensing pools of foamy suds
  And slop on every side.

Upon the carpet then he rolled
  And brushed against the wall,
And, horror! whisked his lathery sides
  On overcoat and shawl.

Attracted by the dreadful din,
  His mistress came below--
Who, who can speak her wonderment--
  Who, who can paint her woe!

Great smears of soap were here and there--
  Her startled vision met
With blobs of lather everywhere,
  And everything was wet!

Then Mrs. Taylor gave a shriek
  Like one about to die:
"Get out--get out, and don't you dare
  Come in till you are dry!"

With that she opened wide the door
  And waved the critter through;
Out in the circumambient air
  With grateful yelps he flew.


    FITTE THE FIFTH

He whisked into the dusty street
  And to the Waller lot,
Where bonnie Annie Evans played
  With charming Sissy Knott.

And with those pretty little dears
  He mixed himself all up--
Oh, fie upon such boisterous play--
  Fie, fie, you naughty pup!

Woe, woe on Annie's India mull,
  And Sissy's blue percale!
One got that pup's belathered flanks,
  And one his soapy tail!

Forth to the rescue of those maids
  Rushed gallant Willie Clow;
His panties they were white and clean--
  Where are those panties now?

Where is the nicely laundered shirt
  That Kendall Evans wore,
And Robbie James' tricot coat
  All buttoned up before?

The leaven, which, as we are told,
  Leavens a monstrous lump,
Hath far less reaching qualities
  Than a wet pup on the jump.

This way and that he swung and swayed,
  He gambolled far and near,
And everywhere he thrust himself
  He left a soapy smear.


    FITTE THE SIXTH

That noon a dozen little dears
  Were spanked and put to bed
With naught to stay their appetites
  But cheerless crusts of bread.

That noon a dozen hired girls
  Washed out each gown and shirt
Which that exuberant Taylor pup
  Had frescoed o'er with dirt.

That whole day long the Aprile sun
  Smiled sweetly from above
On clotheslines flaunting to the breeze
  The emblems mothers love.

That whole day long the Taylor pup
  This way and that did hie
Upon his mad, erratic course,
  Intent on getting dry.

That night when Mr. Taylor came
  His vesper meal to eat,
He uttered things my pious pen
  Would liefer not repeat.

Yet still that noble Taylor pup
  Survives to romp and bark
And stumble over folks and things
  In fair Buena Park.

Good sooth, I wot he should be called
  Buena's favorite son
Who's sired of such a noble sire
  And dammed by every one!



    AFTER READING TROLLOPE'S HISTORY OF FLORENCE

My books are on their shelves again
And clouds lie low with mist and rain.
Afar the Arno murmurs low
The tale of fields of melting snow.
List to the bells of times agone
The while I wait me for the dawn.

Beneath great Giotto's Campanile
The gray ghosts throng; their whispers steal
From poets' bosoms long since dust;
They ask me now to go. I trust
Their fleeter footsteps where again
They come at night and live as men.

The rain falls on Ghiberti's gates;
The big drops hang on purple dates;
And yet beneath the ilex-shades--
Dear trysting-place for boys and maids--
There comes a form from days of old,
With Beatrice's hair of gold.

The breath of lands or lilied streams
Floats through the fabric of my dreams;
And yonder from the hills of song,
Where psalmists brood and prophets throng,
The lone, majestic Dante leads
His love across the blooming meads.

Along the almond walks I tread
And greet the figures of the dead.
Mirandula walks here with him
Who lived with gods and seraphim;
Yet where Colonna's fair feet go
There passes Michael Angelo.

In Rome or Florence, still with her
Stands lone and grand her worshipper.
In Leonardo's brain there move
Christ and the children of His love;
And Raphael is touching now,
For the last time, an angel's brow.

Angelico is praying yet
Where lives no pang of man's regret,
And, mixing tears and prayers within
His palette's wealth, absolved from sin,
He dips his brush in hues divine;
San Marco's angel faces shine.

Within Lorenzo's garden green,
Where olives hide their boughs between,
The lovers, as they read betimes
Their love within Petrarca's lines,
Stand near the marbles found at Rome,
Lost shades that search in vain for home.

They pace the paths along the stream,
Dark Vallombrosa in their dream.
They sing, amidst the rain-drenched pines,
Of Tuscan gold that ruddier shines
Behind a saint's auroral face
That shows e'en yet the master's trace.

But lo, within the walls of gray,
E're yet there falls a glint of day,
And far without, from hill to vale,
Where honey-hearted nightingale
Or meads of pale anemones
Make sweet the coming morning breeze--

I hear a voice, of prophet tone,
A voice of doom, like his alone
That once in Gadara was heard;
The old walls trembled--lo, the bird
Has ceased to sing, and yonder waits
Lorenzo at his palace gates.

Some Romola in passing by
Turns toward the ruler, and his sigh
Wanders amidst the myrtle bowers
Or o'er the city's mantled towers,
For she is Florence! "Wilt thou hear
San Marco's prophet? Doom is near."

"Her liberties," he cries, "restore!
This much for Florence--yea, and more
To men and God!" The days are gone;
And in an hour of perfect dawn
I stand beneath the cypress trees
That shiver still with words like these.



    A LULLABY

The stars are twinkling in the skies,
  The earth is lost in slumbers deep;
So hush, my sweet, and close thine eyes,
  And let me lull thy soul to sleep.
Compose thy dimpled hands to rest,
  And like a little birdling lie
Secure within thy cozy nest
Upon my loving mother breast,
  And slumber to my lullaby,
  So hushaby--O hushaby.

The moon is singing to a star
  The little song I sing to you;
The father sun has strayed afar,
  As baby's sire is straying too.
And so the loving mother moon
  Sings to the little star on high;
And as she sings, her gentle tune
Is borne to me, and thus I croon
  For thee, my sweet, that lullaby
  Of hushaby--O hushaby.

There is a little one asleep
  That does not hear his mother's song;
But angel watchers--as I weep--
  Surround his grave the night-tide long.
And as I sing, my sweet, to you,
  Oh, would the lullaby I sing--
The same sweet lullaby he knew
While slumb'ring on this bosom too--
  Were borne to him on angel's wing!
  So hushaby--O hushaby.



    "THE OLD HOMESTEAD"

JEST as atween the awk'ard lines a hand we love has penn'd
  Appears a meanin' hid from other eyes,
So, in your simple, homespun art, old honest Yankee friend,
  A power o' tearful, sweet seggestion lies.
We see it all--the pictur' that our mem'ries hold so dear--
  The homestead in New England far away,
An' the vision is so nat'ral-like we almost seem to hear
  The voices that were heshed but yesterday.

Ah, who'd ha' thought the music of that distant childhood time
  Would sleep through all the changeful, bitter years
To waken into melodies like Chris'mas bells a-chime
  An' to claim the ready tribute of our tears!
Why, the robins in the maples an' the blackbirds round the pond,
  The crickets an' the locusts in the leaves,
The brook that chased the trout adown the hillside just beyond,
  An' the swallers in their nests beneath the eaves--
They all come troopin' back with you, dear Uncle Josh, to-day,
  An' they seem to sing with all the joyous zest
Of the days when we were Yankee boys an' Yankee girls at play,
  With nary thought of "livin' way out West"!

God bless ye, Denman Thomps'n, for the good y' do our hearts,
  With this music an' these memories o' youth--
God bless ye for the faculty that tops all human arts,
  The good ol' Yankee faculty of Truth!



    CHRISTMAS HYMN

    Sing, Christmas bells!
Say to the earth this is the morn
Whereon our Saviour-King is born;
  Sing to all men--the bond, the free,
The rich, the poor, the high, the low--
  The little child that sports in glee--
The aged folk that tottering go--
    Proclaim the morn
    That Christ is born,
  That saveth them and saveth me!

     Sing, angel host!
Sing of the star that God has placed
Above the manger in the east;
  Sing of the glories of the night,
The virgin's sweet humility,
  The Babe with kingly robes bedight--
Sing to all men where'er they be
    This Christmas morn,
    For Christ is born,
  That saveth them and saveth me!

    Sing, sons of earth!
O ransomed seed of Adam, sing!
God liveth, and we have a King!
  The curse is gone, the bond are free--
By Bethlehem's star that brightly beamed,
  By all the heavenly signs that be,
We know that Israel is redeemed--
    That on this morn
    The Christ is born
  That saveth you and saveth me!

    Sing, O my heart!
Sing thou in rapture this dear morn
Whereon the blessed Prince is born!
  And as thy songs shall be of love,
So let my deeds be charity--
  By the dear Lord that reigns above,
By Him that died upon the tree,
    By this fair morn
    Whereon is born
  The Christ that saveth all and me!



    A PARAPHRASE OF HEINE

    (LYRIC INTERMEZZO)

There fell a star from realms above--
  A glittering, glorious star to see!
Methought it was the star of love,
  So sweetly it illumined me.

And from the apple branches fell
  Blossoms and leaves that time in June;
The wanton breezes wooed them well
  With soft caress and amorous tune.

The white swan proudly sailed along
  And vied her beauty with her note--
The river, jealous of her song,
  Threw up its arms to clasp her throat.

But now--oh, now the dream is past--
  The blossoms and the leaves are dead,
The swan's sweet song is hushed at last,
  And not a star burns overhead.



    THE CONVALESCENT GRIPSTER

The gods let slip that fiendish grip
    Upon me last week Sunday--
No fiercer storm than racked my form
    E'er swept the Bay of Fundy;
  But now, good-by
  To drugs, say I--
    Good-by to gnawing sorrow;
  I am up to-day,
  And, whoop, hooray!
    I'm going out to-morrow!

What aches and pain in bones and brain
    I had I need not mention;
It seemed to me such pangs must be
    Old Satan's own invention;
  Albeit I
  Was sure I'd die,
    The doctor reassured me--
  And, true enough,
  With his vile stuff,
    He ultimately cured me.

As there I lay in bed all day,
    How fair outside looked to me!
A smile so mild old Nature smiled
    It seemed to warm clean through me.
  In chastened mood
  The scene I viewed,
    Inventing, sadly solus,
  Fantastic rhymes
  Between the times
    I had to take a bolus.

Of quinine slugs and other drugs
    I guess I took a million--
Such drugs as serve to set each nerve
    To dancing a cotillon;
  The doctors say
  The only way
    To rout the grip instanter
  Is to pour in
  All kinds of sin--
    Similibus curantur!

'Twas hard; and yet I'll soon forget
    Those ills and cures distressing;
One's future lies 'neath gorgeous skies
    When one is convalescing!
  So now, good-by
  To drugs say I--
    Good-by, thou phantom Sorrow!
  I am up to-day,
  And, whoop, hooray!
    I'm going out to-morrow.



    THE SLEEPING CHILD

My baby slept--how calm his rest,
  As o'er his handsome face a smile
  Like that of angel flitted, while
He lay so still upon my breast!

My baby slept--his baby head
  Lay all unkiss'd 'neath pall and shroud:
  I did not weep or cry aloud--
I only wished I, too, were dead!

My baby sleeps--a tiny mound,
  All covered by the little flowers,
  Woos me in all my waking hours,
Down in the quiet burying-ground.

And when I sleep I seem to be
  With baby in another land--
  I take his little baby hand--
He smiles and sings sweet songs to me.

Sleep on, O baby, while I keep
  My vigils till this day be passed!
  Then shall I, too, lie down at last,
And with my baby darling sleep.



    THE TWO COFFINS

In yonder old cathedral
  Two lovely coffins lie;
In one, the head of the state lies dead,
  And a singer sleeps hard by.

Once had that King great power
  And proudly ruled the land--
His crown e'en now is on his brow
  And his sword is in his hand.

How sweetly sleeps the singer
  With calmly folded eyes,
And on the breast of the bard at rest
  The harp that he sounded lies.

The castle walls are falling
  And war distracts the land,
But the sword leaps not from that mildewed spot
  There in that dead king's hand.

But with every grace of nature
  There seems to float along--
To cheer again the hearts of men
  The singer's deathless song.



    CLARE MARKET

In the market of Clare, so cheery the glare
Of the shops and the booths of the tradespeople there;
That I take a delight on a Saturday night
In walking that way and in viewing the sight.
For it's here that one sees all the objects that please--
New patterns in silk and old patterns in cheese,
For the girls pretty toys, rude alarums for boys,
And baubles galore while discretion enjoys--
But here I forbear, for I really despair
Of naming the wealth of the market of Clare.

A rich man comes down from the elegant town
And looks at it all with an ominous frown;
He seems to despise the grandiloquent cries
Of the vender proclaiming his puddings and pies;
And sniffing he goes through the lanes that disclose
Much cause for disgust to his sensitive nose;
And free of the crowd, he admits he is proud
That elsewhere in London this thing's not allowed;
He has seen nothing there but filth everywhere,
And he's glad to get out of the market of Clare.

But the child that has come from the gloom of the slum
Is charmed by the magic of dazzle and hum;
He feasts his big eyes on the cakes and the pies,
And they seem to grow green and protrude with surprise
At the goodies they vend and the toys without end--
And it's oh! if he had but a penny to spend!
But alas, he must gaze in a hopeless amaze
At treasures that glitter and torches that blaze--
What sense of despair in this world can compare
With that of the waif in the market of Clare?

So, on Saturday night, when my custom invites
A stroll in old London for curious sights,
I am likely to stray by a devious way
Where goodies are spread in a motley array,
The things which some eyes would appear to despise
Impress me as pathos in homely disguise,
And my battered waif-friend shall have pennies to spend,
So long as I've got 'em (or chums that will lend);
And the urchin shall share in my joy and declare
That there's beauty and good in the market of Clare.


    A DREAM OF SUNSHINE

I'm weary of this weather and I hanker for the ways
Which people read of in the psalms and preachers paraphrase--
The grassy fields, the leafy woods, the banks where I can lie
And listen to the music of the brook that flutters by,
Or, by the pond out yonder, hear the redwing blackbird's call
Where he makes believe he has a nest, but hasn't one at all;
And by my side should be a friend--a trusty, genial friend,
With plenteous store of tales galore and natural leaf to lend;
Oh, how I pine and hanker for the gracious boon of spring--
For _then_ I'm going a-fishing with John Lyle King!

How like to pigmies will appear creation, as we float
Upon the bosom of the tide in a three-by-thirteen boat--
Forgotten all vexations and all vanities shall be,
As we cast our cares to windward and our anchor to the lee;
Anon the minnow-bucket will emit batrachian sobs,
And the devil's darning-needles shall come wooing of our bobs;
The sun shall kiss our noses and the breezes toss our hair
(This latter metaphoric--we've no fimbriae to spare!);
And I--transported by the bliss--shan't do a plaguey thing
But cut the bait and string the fish for John Lyle King!

Or, if I angle, it will be for bullheads and the like,
While he shall fish for gamey bass, for pickerel, and for pike;
I really do not care a rap for all the fish that swim--
But it's worth the wealth of Indies just to be along with him
In grassy fields, in leafy woods, beside the water-brooks,
And hear him tell of things he's seen or read of in his books--
To hear the sweet philosophy that trickles in and out
The while he is discoursing of the things we talk about;
A fountain-head refreshing--a clear, perennial spring
Is the genial conversation of John Lyle King!

Should varying winds or shifting tides redound to our despite--
In other words, should we return all bootless home at night,
I'd back him up in anything he had a mind to say
Of mighty bass he'd left behind or lost upon the way;
I'd nod assent to every yarn involving piscine game--
I'd cross my heart and make my affidavit to the same;
For what is friendship but a scheme to help a fellow out--
And what a paltry fish or two to make such bones about!
Nay, Sentiment a mantle of sweet charity would fling
O'er perjuries committed for John Lyle King.

At night, when as the camp-fire cast a ruddy, genial flame,
He'd bring his tuneful fiddle out and play upon the same;
No diabolic engine this--no instrument of sin--
No relative at all to that lewd toy, the violin!
But a godly hoosier fiddle--a quaint archaic thing
Full of all the proper melodies our grandmas used to sing;
With "Bonnie Doon," and "Nellie Gray," and "Sitting on the Stile,"
"The Heart Bowed Down," the "White Cockade," and "Charming Annie Lisle"
Our hearts would echo and the sombre empyrean ring
Beneath the wizard sorcery of John Lyle King.

The subsequent proceedings should interest me no more--
Wrapped in a woolen blanket should I calmly dream and snore;
The finny game that swims by day is my supreme delight--
And _not_ the scaly game that flies in darkness of the night!
Let those who are so minded pursue this latter game
But not repine if they should lose a boodle in the same;
For an example to you all one paragon should serve--
He towers a very monument to valor and to nerve;
No bob-tail flush, no nine-spot high, no measly pair can wring
A groan of desperation from John Lyle King!

A truce to badinage--I hope far distant is the day
When from these scenes terrestrial our friend shall pass away!
We like to hear his cheery voice uplifted in the land,
To see his calm, benignant face, to grasp his honest hand;
We like him for his learning, his sincerity, his truth,
His gallantry to woman and his kindliness to youth,
For the lenience of his nature, for the vigor of his mind,
For the fulness of that charity he bears to all mankind--
That's why we folks who know him best so reverently cling
(And that is why I pen these lines) to John Lyle King.

And now adieu, a fond adieu to thee, O muse of rhyme--
I do remand thee to the shades until that happier time
When fields are green, and posies gay are budding everywhere,
And there's a smell of clover bloom upon the vernal air;
When by the pond out yonder the redwing blackbird calls,
And distant hills are wed to Spring in veils of water-falls;
When from his aqueous element the famished pickerel springs
Two hundred feet into the air for butterflies and things--
_Then_ come again, O gracious muse, and teach me how to sing
The glory of a fishing cruise with John Lyle King!



    UHLAND'S WHITE STAG.

Into the woods three huntsmen came,
Seeking the white stag for their game.

They laid them under a green fir-tree
And slept, and dreamed strange things to see.

  (FIRST HUNTSMAN)

I dreamt I was beating the leafy brush,
When out popped the noble stag--hush, hush!

  (SECOND HUNTSMAN)

As ahead of the clamorous pack he sprang,
I pelted him hard in the hide--piff, bang!

  (THIRD HUNTSMAN)

And as that stag lay dead I blew
On my horn a lusty tir-ril-la-loo!

So speak the three as there they lay
When lo! the white stag sped that way,

Frisked his heels at those huntsmen three,
Then leagues o'er hill and dale was he--
Hush, hush! Piff, bang! Tir-ril-la-loo!



    HOW SALTY WIN OUT

I used to think that luck wuz luck and nuthin' else but luck--
It made no diff'rence how or when or where or why it struck;
But sev'ral years ago I changt my mind, an' now proclaim
That luck's a kind uv science--same as any other game;
It happened out in Denver in the spring uv '80 when
Salty teched a humpback an' win out ten.

Salty wuz a printer in the good ol' Tribune days,
An', natural-like, he fell into the good ol' Tribune ways;
So, every Sunday evenin' he would sit into the game
Which in this crowd uv thoroughbreds I think I need not name;
An' there he'd sit until he rose, an', when he rose, he wore
Invariably less wealth about his person than before.

But once there came a powerful change; one sollum Sunday night
Occurred the tidal wave that put ol' Salty out o' sight.
He win on deuce an' ace an' Jack--he win on king an' queen--
Clif Bell allowed the like uv how he win wuz never seen.
An' how he done it wuz revealed to all us fellers when
He said he teched a humpback to win out ten.

There must be somethin' in it, for he never win afore,
An' when he told the crowd about the humpback, how they swore!
For every sport allows it is a losin' game to luck
Agin the science uv a man who's teched a hump f'r luck;
And there is no denyin' luck wuz nowhere in it when
Salty teched a humpback an' win out ten.

I've had queer dreams an' seen queer things, an' allus tried to do
The thing that luck apparently intended f'r me to;
Cats, funerils, cripples, beggers have I treated with regard,
An' charity subscriptions have hit me powerful hard;
But what's the use uv talkin'? I say, an' say again:
You've got to tech a humpback to win out ten!

So, though I used to think that luck wuz lucky, I'll allow
That luck, for luck, agin a hump aint nowhere in it now!
An' though I can't explain the whys an' wherefores, I maintain
There must be somethin' in it when the tip's so straight an' plain;
For I wuz there an' seen it, an' got full with Salty when
Salty teched a humpback an' win out ten!


THE END





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