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Title: Poems
Author: Mercer, S. C.
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.

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                     [Illustration: S. C. MERCER]



                                 POEMS

                                  BY

                             S. C. MERCER

                    [Illustration: text decoration]

              Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito
                              --_Virgil_

                    [Illustration: text decoration]

                              LOUISVILLE
                       JOHN P. MORTON & COMPANY
                             INCORPORATED
                                 1908



                           Copyright, 1908,
                                  BY
                             S. C. MERCER



          FOREWORD.


The poems here collected are in the main reprints of pieces that
originally appeared in various newspapers and periodicals, beginning
with the Louisville Journal in the late ’50s. This newspaper was at that
time edited by the brilliant George D. Prentice, my personal friend, who
a few years after I had left college offered me the assistant editorship
of his paper. The imperative duty which at that time I owed to others
forced me to decline this offer, although for many years I wrote
editorials and verses for this then powerful and widely read journal.
Many of the poems here collected have appeared in the columns of the
Louisville daily papers and have been copied in other journals, North
and South, and in poetic collections. Others were first printed in the
Nashville Press and Times, of which I was editor during my two terms as
Public Printer of Tennessee, during the administrations of Military
Governor Andrew Johnson and of Governor Brownlow in the days of
Reconstruction.

It will be noticed that the partisan poems breathe the spirit of the
times in which they were written--the stormy ’60s--but I have not
thought it wise to change their tone, they being now only the record of
a long-since departed day. There has been some controversy as to the
authorship of the poem “The Angel of the Hospital,” owing to a
manuscript copy of this poem being found on the body of a young
Confederate officer killed in one of the battles in Georgia, and from
which the poem was reprinted in many of the Southern newspapers. I had
previously, however, printed it in the Louisville Journal, and as
newspapers were scarce in the South at that time, the unfortunate youth
must have copied the verses before passing the newspaper on to his
comrades.

THE AUTHOR.

Hopkinsville, June 30, 1908.



          INDEX


                                                                    PAGE
The Two Kentuckians                                                    1

The Hunter’s Last Ride                                                 6

The Old Rock Spring                                                   10

A Lyric for Lilian                                                    11

The Strawberry Bowl                                                   12

Hymn                                                                  18

John Morgan and His Men                                               19

The Whippoorwill                                                      24

The New South                                                         25

A Fever Dream                                                         26

Major Bassett’s Chase                                                 29

The Ten Brothers                                                      31

Echo River                                                            33

The Angel of the Hospital                                             36

The Two Singers                                                       39

Battle of Mill Spring                                                 41

The Greek Slave                                                       42

Ode to Impudence                                                      44

My Birthday                                                           48

Battle of Nashville                                                   49

Blonde and Brunette                                                   53

Gray and Blue                                                         54

Bishop Dudley’s Dirge                                                 55

The Dress Circle                                                      56

In Memoriam                                                           60

The Sorrows of Hinda and Kleinfelter                                  61

Dr. John A. Broaddus                                                  65

To Leonora                                                            67

At His Post                                                           69

Reconciliation                                                        71

Ophelia                                                               74

Death of the Seasons                                                  76

New Year Ode, 1861                                                    78

Monody                                                                83

Washington’s Birthday Ode                                             86

To April                                                              87

Ode on the Death of Leo XIII                                          88

Chiabrera’s Epitaph                                                   90

Elegy                                                                 91

To the Law and Order League                                           92

“With Thy Shield, or Upon It”                                         94

Confirmation at St. Andrew’s                                          96

The Christmas Flower 98

To the Soldiers of General Dumont’s Command                           99

The Two Gordons                                                      100

The Westfield Home                                                   105

The Harp in the Air; or a Night with Gerardi in Seelbach’s
Roof-garden                                                          107

Dedication Hymn                                                      109

Lying in State at Princeton                                          110

In the Morning                                                       113



                                 POEMS



                           +--------------+
                           | POEMS     BY |
                           | S. C. MERCER |
                           +--------------+



[Illustration: THE TWO KENTUCKIANS.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN--Fourteenth President of the United States; born in
Hardin County, Ky., February 12, 1809; assassinated in Ford’s Theater,
April 16, 1865.

JEFFERSON DAVIS--First and last President of the Southern Confederacy;
born in Christian County, Ky., June 3, 1808; died in New Orleans,
December 6, 1889.]


    The sky of the Southland with grief is o’ercast;
    Bitter tears down the cheeks of the brave trickle fast;
    The moss-streamered oaks of Beauvoir bow their head--
    Their Master is fallen, their Chieftain is dead.
    Wake, soldier, who liest outstretched on thy bier:
    Does the warwhoop of Black Hawk not startle thy ear?
    Seest thou not the long Mexican lancers’ array
    At dark Buena Vista rush fierce to the fray?

    Hapless Mexican Cavalry! great was your scath
    As you fearlessly charged down that Angel of Death.
    The manes of the chargers like meteors streamed,
    Like rainbows far-flashing the gay pennons gleamed;
    Like lightning from Heaven Davis brandished his sword
    And fierce was the volley his riflemen poured;
    They reel in their saddles, they topple and fall,
    The flag of the cavalcade turns to a pall,
    Its ghostly Commander is the skeleton Death--
    The fair rose of Mexico shrinks in his breath.
    They halt--they retreat--in wild tumult they run,
    The eagle soars victor--Buena Vista is won.

    Hearken, O spangled Cavaliers, to that dread warning cry
    Which like the trump of Judgment is sounding from the sky--
    “Remember cruel Alamo’s foul massacre and die!”
    Lo her avengers, Taylor, Davis, Hardin, McKee, and Clay!
    Abundant sacrifice went up in smoke of battle gray,
    So were thy Manes appeased, brave Crockett, on that day,
    Thy phantom sped from Alamo to cheer that bloody fray.
    Our troops on that field by their valor and scars
    Added stars to our flag’s constellation of stars,
    And Buena Vista’s immaculate name
    Like a beacon-fire burns in the temple of fame.
    Weep, daughters of Mexico, for lover and spouse,
    Hang crepe on the door of each desolate house,
    Long, long shall the maidens of Anahuac mourn
    For their fallen defenders who shall never return.

    Once, in Senate encounter, in battle’s fierce brunt,
    Thy plume, like Navarre’s, streamed full high in the front.
    Thou wast once, like Scotch Bruce, of inflexible will,
    Unyielding, though conquered, and resolute still.
    In field or in council, with sword, tongue or pen,
    The molder of ideas, the leader of men.
    Clay--Webster--Oh, Chief, are thy pulses unstirred
    When the mighty debate in the Senate is heard?
    Hark, Sumter’s loud tocsin! Saw the world e’er the like?
    For Freedom and Union and Southland they strike.
    Grant, Meade, Lee and Thomas like Titans engage,
    And the Lost Cause departs like a ghost from the stage.

    ’Tis past, like a dream of the dawning in air,
    For thee, the world’s pageant of Vanity Fair.
    All faded--those phantoms and dreams of the past,
    And crepe ties the flag as it falls to the mast.
    The dirge wails its sorrow to dead ears in vain;
    The pallbearers’ flag is the flag of the train,
    The traveler’s baggage lies all in one chest,
    Whose check is a coffin plate lettered “At Rest.”
    And Metairie’s vault opes its dark, narrow berth
    For the cold, pallid earth which returns to the earth.

    As I rode o’er the mountain I saw not how high
    Its pine-covered summit ascended the sky.
    ’Twas a mere undulation that rose from the plain--
    But, as journeying on, I beheld it again,
    The veil of Omnipotence spread like a shroud
    On its brow, that looked down on the loftiest cloud.
    So our lives were too near to those lives which expired
    When the battle of freedom our continent fired.
    To measure their valor and virtue aright--
    Our vision is dim when too close to the light.

    Thou, Lincoln, sad martyr, just, generous, brave;
    A hero of heroes Omnipotence gave
    To mortals in molding thy gaunt, rugged face;
    Like Cromwell, no smooth dilettante in grace;
    But counting all power, glory, life itself, naught,
    Till the duty assigned thee by Heaven was wrought.

    O voice of humanity whose exquisite tone
    Like the moan of the sea breathed a sadness its own--
    As the sea mourns the infinite dead ’neath its waves,
    So mourned his great soul for war’s infinite graves--
    How oft did the widow and orphan rejoice
    In the counsel and sympathy toned in that voice;
    Where sorrow abounded did his love more abound,
    Like the hand of a woman who nurses a wound,
    Like the lullaby sung to a babe at the breast
    Till singer and sufferer sink to sweet rest;
    It cheered the bruised hearts of the children of toil
    Like the summer-night-dew which refreshes the soil;
    Like the Lamb of Redemption he went to the cross
    And our infinite gain was secured by his loss.

    No vision of conquest could lead him astray
    No sectional bias waved false lights in his way.
    Stem duty, as he saw it, confronted his eyes;
    And the future passed judgment at its solemn assize:
    “The Union which Washington won by his sword
    “I have sworn to preserve, ’tis my vow to the Lord.
    “Should the temple he built by my treachery burn,
    “My name would all ages indignantly spurn,
    “My honor be scorned, my oath be forsworn,
    “And my name from the roster of Patriots be torn.
    “This Union so fair asunder to rend,
    “No patriot has sworn--I’ve an oath to defend,
    “‘The Last Sigh of the Moor’ is a voice not in vain,
    “For the mother who bore him scorned Boabdil of Spain.”

    The ages have brought forth no kinder than he
    His soul, like the broad, irresistible sea,
    Was a blending of majesty, sweetness and grace,
    Himself he forgot in his love for his race.
    The truths which he uttered all time will applaud,
    For his lips caught their flame from the altar of God.

    Who can love in this life, and yet truly be wise?
    Who can hate, and still see with unprejudiced eyes?
    Our passions envelop our visions with mist;
    Their whirlwinds transport us wherever they list.
    To tenderly love and judge all hearts aright
    Belongs to One only--the Father of Light,
    Who sits on the throne with white radiance burning--
    In whom is no variableness nor shadow of turning.

    Fallen, fallen, is the storm-shattered oak of the South;
    Fallen, fallen, is the strong, stately pine of the North;
    One combatant loses, another one wins--
    God have mercy on both and forgive them their sins.
    And if a man conquer, or if he should lose,
    ’Tis naught if the Great Judge His mercy refuse.

    And now, all unheeding earth’s praises or blame,
    Thy two sons, Kentucky, repose in their fame.
    The victor struck down while the jubilant cheer
    Of honor and victory rang in his ear;
    The vanquished, who suffered in silence his lot,
    When the empire and glory he dreamed of were not.
    New Orleans and Springfield have taken to rest
    Two children, Kentucky, who nursed at thy breast.

    Oh, Hardin and Christian, the homes of the great,
    Forgetfulness veils, through the satire of fate,
    While fame blazons far to the ends of the earth
    The log huts which gave to your progeny birth.
    The leaders of millions lie helpless and lone
    As the soldiers who perished unnoticed, unknown.
    Take them tenderly, dear Mother Earth, to thy breast,
    To sleep in their “windowless palace of rest.”

    I hear, as I stand, pressed with grief, by your graves,
    A murmur, soft, strong, as of waves upon waves;
    And memory’s harp, with its mystical strings,
    Recalls, with the sweeping of infinite wings,
    How precious that flag by our fathers unfurled--
    White flower of charity, light of the world,
    Float ever, proud banner of freedom sublime,
    Till the judgment’s last trump sounds the ending of time.

    The Christmas Eve bells were all ringing aloud,
    When I dreamed that I saw on God’s bow in the cloud--
    Its red like the rose dawn of Easter’s bright day;
    Its blue like the love that abideth for aye;
    Its gold the reflection of Paradise street;
    Its white the effulgence of God’s mercy seat--
    An Angel, calm, radiant, of presence august,
    The great, golden balance of mercy adjust;
    And millions of martyrs on battlefields slain,
    Like the voice of the ocean, repeated the strain:

    “O, States of the Union, all warfare shall cease;
    Christ lifts o’er the nation the banner of peace,
    As the prism-banded bow of the sky stanched the flood
    Its earth-child, the flag, ends the deluge of blood.
    War’s death-dealing cloud has forever rolled by,
    And Peace, with her olive branch, smiles from the sky
    Forever is silenced dissension’s wild roar;
    The demon of hate rends the Union no more.”
    And, lo! the bells answered from valley and hill:
    “Peace, peace upon earth, to all men of good-will!”



          THE HUNTER’S LAST RIDE.

[We rode for hours, the day following, in the track of the fire which
had swept the vast prairies as far as the eye could reach with utter
desolation, finding on several occasions the charred remains of animals
which had perished in the flames, and in one instance those of an
unfortunate hunter and his horse.--Brissot’s Western Travels, Vol. II.]


    One autumn eve, when clouds unfurled
    Swept down the west in bannered splendor,
    And dying sunset bathed the world
    In dolphin rainbows, mild and tender,
    As if the sun in heaven afar
    Lingered to greet the Evening Star,
    Mingling his glance of clearer light
    With the first radiance of the night,
    And in the twilight, tarrying late,
    Unwilling passed the western gate;
    A hunter, wearied with the chase,
    With his spent steed was slowly turning
    Unto his far-off resting place,
    Where his lone campfire light was burning--
    For many a mile his steed had gone
    O’er the wide prairie since the dawn.

    The choice bits from the saddle hung,
    The deer’s fat haunch, the buffalo’s tongue,
    A simple but a sweet repast
    To cheer his long and painful fast.
    Slow paced the strong but weary steed
    Of spacious chest and lightning speed,
    A coal black of the Norman breed
    Who ne’er had failed in time of need;
    A creature full of strength and grace,
    The noblest of his noble race
    In toil, in battle, or the chase,
    To hunt the bear on mountain side,
    To chase the deer o’er prairie wide,
    Or dash upon the ambuscade
    Of wily Indian foe arrayed,
    Or plunge through winter’s deepest snow,
    Or breast the torrent’s swiftest flow.

[Illustration: BIRTHPLACE OF JEFFERSON DAVIS

Fairview, Christian County, Kentucky]

    To huntsman who has borne the toil,
    Welcome the rest, and sweet the spoil;
    So mused McGregor in his mind,
    Leading his steed, when far behind,
    Upon his startled ears there came
    A rushing sound of distant flame--
    A long, hoarse murmuring, sullen sound,
    As when an earthquake shakes the ground.
    Or the volcano’s voice of wrath
    Warns all to leave the lava’s path.
    A moment scarce he turned his head,
    Too well he knew that sound of dread,
    A moment--and McGregor saw
    A sight to chill his soul with awe;
    Behind him, hastening onward came
    A long, red serpent line of flame,
    Which, hissing, shot its tongues of light
    Upward into the gathering night,
    While midway ’twixt the earth and sky
    Like a death-angel hovering by,
    The smoke pall rolled in volumes dread,
    The awful banner of the dead.
    Quickly the burden was untied--
    “Now, Saladin!” the huntsman cried,
    “Now, Saladin, my gallant steed,
    Attest thyself of noble breed,
    For never yet thy matchless speed
    Has served us in so sore a need,
    And never in the fiercest chase
    Hast thou e’er made so dread a race
    As this wild fight for life or death
    From yon fire-demon’s scorching breath.”

    With nostrils spread and pointed ear,
    And eye of fierceness, not of fear,
    A moment brief, Saladin halted,
    While to his seat his rider vaulted,
    A moment snuffed the hot flame’s breath,
    The stifling atmosphere of death;
    A moment shook his streaming mane,
    Then sped like lightning o’er the plain--
    Fly! Not for one brief moment stay--
    Fly, for thy life--away, away!

    Stretch every muscle--sinew--fly!
    To pause one moment is to die!
    Weary and worn and spent with pain,
    The struggling steed bounds o’er the plain
    Each iron sinew vainly straining;
    The fire upon his path is gaining;
    The mad flame brighter and brighter glows,
    The fatal circle smaller grows,
    And hotter, fiercer, wilder, higher,
    Leap the red demons of the fire.

    The wild-eyed herd of buffaloes came
    Impetuous plunging through the flame;
    The antelopes in terror flying,
    On fleetest limbs in vain relying;
    The grouse fly round on whirring wings,
    Then blindly seek their funeral fires;
    The rattlesnake in anguish springs,
    Pierced with its own fang--writhes--expires.
    Long howls the wolf in dismal yell,
    Such as might shake the caves of hell,
    And many a wild, despairing cry
    Of brutes in mortal agony
    Falls thickly on McGregor’s ear,
    In wailings ominous and drear.

    ’Tis on him--now at last,
    Encircled by the fiery blast,
    McGregor stands
    With folded hands,
    Firm as a martyr when he braves
    The rack, the faggot, or the waves.
    Exhausted, panting, foaming, gasping,
    As though an iron band were clasping
    His laboring chest, Saladin sank
    With quivering side and streaming flank,
    While his pale rider rent the air
    With one sad groan of deep despair.
    Red rose the fire-cave’s crackling arch,
    Red rose the lurid walls around him,
    The hungry flames his pulses parch,
    And like a boa’s coils have bound him.

    The buffalo
    In dying throe,
    With furious hoof the hunter paws;
    The wolf with howl
    And shriek and growl
    In his red life’s blood bathes his jaws,
    And rends his limbs apart,
    And the expiring panther gnaws
    His palpitating heart,
    As if the long revenge they cherish
    Were eased if their old foe might perish.

    By the red moon’s ghostly light,
    Struggling through the murky vail,
    Dripping and dank with tears of night,
    And chill mist casting shadows pale,
    A voice of sorrow seems to wail,
    A fitful, sobbing, plaintive tone,
    Thrilling the pained air with its moan,
    As if some Ariel unsleeping,
    A death watch in the sky was keeping,
    His harp of tears in pity sweeping:
    “Rest, huntsman! from thy final chase,
    Rest, Saladin! from thy last, long race,
    Horseman and horse they both have gone;
    Dying with all their armor on,
    And slumbering in their last repose
    Together, circled by their foes.”



          THE OLD ROCK SPRING.


    I know not what of sadness strange,
      Comes over my soul to-day,
    As I think of Time’s unceasing change,
      And the friends he has snatched away;
    For Time has turned those locks to gray,
      Which were black as a raven’s wing,
    Of the boys and girls who used to play,
      Around the Old Rock Spring.


II.

    Strange voices whisper from its depths,
      The tones of a far church bell,
    A sweet soprano’s melody
      A parting friend’s farewell,
    And phantoms flutter o’er its waves,
      Pale brides with wreath and ring;
    Then vanish like the bubbles that burst
      On the face of the Old Rock Spring.


III.

    Why die the beautiful and strong?
      Why does the great oak fall?
    Why fades the rose? These fleeting drops
      Of water outlive them all:
    Snow, rain or mist--around the world
      They sweep on tireless wing,
    Then fall like mother nature’s tears,
      On the breast of the Old Rock Spring.


IV.

    “How soon we are forgotten clean
      When we are gone,” quoth Rip,
    We perish and the stream of death
      Engulfs the proudest ship;

[Illustration: BIRTHPLACE OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN

Hardin County, Kentucky]

    Gone!--like a faded, broken plume
      Dropped from an eagle’s wing,
    Or pebble tossed by a sportive child,
      In the depths of the Old Rock Spring.


V.

    Some in silence and some in strife,
      Friends, passed to the dim Unknown,
    In manhood’s prime or the morn of life,
      And I am left alone;
    In vain do I essay a song,
      On a harp with broken string,
    While the hot tears trickle down my cheeks,
      And fall in the Old Rock Spring.



          A LYRIC FOR LILIAN.

I BRING THEE A GARLAND.


    I bring thee a garland, O, violet-eyed maid
      Its exquisite bloom in thy dark locks, I braid.
    Love nourished each flower with a sigh and a tear,
          And the sigh and the tear
          Shall make them more dear,
    And bring them new charms with each vanishing year.

    I fill thee a goblet--’tis the heart’s purest wine,
      Fresh foamed from the wine-press of St. Valentine,
    The Rathskeller holds it which sits in the skies,
          Whose roseate gleaming
          Is bright in its beaming,
    As the love-stars which shine in the heav’n of thine eyes.

    I bring thee a song, and though humble the strain,
      Love glows in each word of the burning refrain.
    And oh, that its notes were as wild and as sweet
          As the plashing of fountains
          Or horns on the mountains,
    Or songs which thy dear lips in warblings repeat.



          THE STRAWBERRY BOWL


     [A private and confidential Epistle to Sam Gaines, Editor of the
     Hopkinsville New Era. Written for the Kentucky Press Association.]

     God might have made a better berry than the strawberry, but
     certainly he never did.--_Izaak Walton._


YE SALUTATION.

    Bring forth the bowl within whose round
    No heart-consuming draught is found,
    But berries glittering with the dew
    Which south winds o’er the gardens strew,
    Sweet souvenirs of Paradise,
    With cheeks of flame and breath of spice,
    Shedding for one bright hour their glow
    O’er life’s long Alpine waste of snow.
    Breathes there a man with soul so dead,
    Who never to himself hath said,
    “O that I owned a strawberry bed?”
    Whose heart hath ne’er within him burned,
    As he beheld, in cream inurned,
    Great sugared berries, coral red?
    If such there be, go, mark him well;
    Of berries never let him smell,
    Where gathers the church festival
    Or rings the merry marriage-bell;
    Mark him--as thou wouldst mark a steer
    Or swine--by cropping off his ear.


A WALK IN THE GARDEN.

    Wake, winds of May, yon emerald waves,
    Crested with flowers, like sea-foam white,
    Where sparkle in their trefoil caves
    Long coral reefs of berries bright;
    Shaped like a gentle maiden’s heart,
    And bleeding as from Cupid’s dart,
    The garden’s earliest offering,
    Crown-jewels on the brow of Spring;
    The berry Izaak Walton loved,
    And Downer’s perfect taste approved;
    Dispensing odors beatific,
    Kentucky, Cumberland, Prolific,
    Sharpless, and Monarch of the West,
    And rare Charles Downing, last and best
    Thy leaves, sweet trefoil! symbols three
    Of Faith and Hope and Love shall be;
    Fair type of Christian hope to all,
    The vine sleeps low ’neath snowy pall;
    The resurrection blooms in May,
    With flowers and fruits in bright array,
    And soaring larks in countless throng
    Singing their joyful Easter Song,
    And choir of mocking-birds on high
    Gray-plumed sopranos of the sky


YE REVEL ON OLYMPUS.

    Heap high the bowl! Ages ago
    Before the birth of Faust or Hoe,
    Before New Eras, Posts, and Suns
    Gave specials, paragraphs and puns,
    When only Mercury bore the news
    Around the skies, in winged shoes,
    Such genial revels held the gods,
    Juno and Jove, and other frauds;
    In heaven’s blue crystal urn each night
    The stars, like berries, twinkled bright
    And the Great Dipper skimmed the cream
    Where poured the Milky Way its stream;
    Deserted is the Olympic hill;
    Heaven, stars, girls, strawberries, bless us still


YE INVOCATION.

    Lord, we adore thy matchless bounty
    And grace which, after giving birth
    To sun and moon and stars and earth.
    Gave us a land of rarest worth
    And cast our lot in Christian County!
    ’Mid meek-eyed Jerseys, guileless mules,
    Hopkinsville peaches, Public Schools,
    Tobacco farms and gilt-edged bonds,
    Wheat-fields and sheep and fishing-ponds,
    Coveys of quail and double barrels,
    Opossums, pheasants, doves and squirrels,
    Damsels whose pamphanescent eyes,
    If stars were quenched would light the skies;
    And for to-night, to make us merry,
    Provided Izaak Walton’s berry,
    Ten inches round in lawful measure,
    The garden’s glory, pride and treasure--
    Nor Brenner’s brush nor Prentice’s pen
    Could tell their worth--and so, Amen!


YE PICNIC.

    Fill high the bowl! In blissful vision
    We wander over fields Elysian,
    Through ever-lengthening colonnades,
    Of whispering elms and beechen shades;
    Grave manhood’s cares are cast away,
    And all are boys again, to-day
    By one sure sign we know each other--
    “The strawberry mark!--Our long lost brother!”
    While all discourse on sylvan pipe
    Of golden cream and berries ripe,
    Or sound on Memory’s silver horn,
    “I too was in Arcadia born!”
    Sooth, ’tis a goodly sight to see
    The revellers’ mutual ministry:
    Stanton shall drive the Jersey cow,
    Sam Gaines shall cause her milk to flow,
    Logan shall hold her by the tail,
    And Kelly bear the foaming pail;
    Woodson shall crush the crystal ice,
    Johnston hand spoons, all polished nice,
    The Courier-Journal pass the berries,
    With brisk champagne and golden sherries
    And he shall serve his country best
    Who stores most berries ’neath his vest.
    By shady glen and waterfall
    Our early loves will we recall,
    Maids whom no time can ere eclipse,
    With strawberry cheeks and sugared lips,
    Phantoms which haunt boyhood’s dream,
    Life’s fragrant, pure crême de la crême--
    Delicious cream, which soured too soon,
    And left us with an empty spoon!


YE PIONEER’S WILD STRAWBERRIES.

    _Master of the Feast_:

    “Father, thy locks are thin and gray,
    Hast thou no legend for us pray?
    Sing of the wild strawberry’s flame
    When first Kentucky hunters came.”

    _Old Pioneer_:

    “’Tis nigh on ninety years, I guess,
    By the road called the ‘Wilderness’--
    Its story’s told by Captain Speed,
    A little book you all should read--
    We pioneered to Old Kaintuck,
    Woods swarmed with turkey, bear and buck,
    And by the ‘Rock Spring’ pitched our tents,
    Them times wild strawberries was immense;
    We didn’t pick, we scooped ’em up
    By bushels, with a bowl or cup;
    And when our teams came home at night,
    The critters’ legs--they wuz a sight;
    Seemed like they’d swum in bloody seas,
    The red juice splashed above their knees.
    We rode one May-day ’cross the prairie,
    Me and my wife and little Mary;
    Come to a holler in the ground,
    Where lots of strawberries grew around,
    And herds of trampling buffalo
    Made the red juice in rivers flow
    And fill a pool some five foot deep--
    Excuse me, pardners; I must weep--
    Thanks! My throat is a leetle dry--
    God knows I can not tell a lie (Applause)
    Our horses slipped and tumbled in,
    We swum in juice up to the chin;
    A half an hour we rose and sank
    At last we scrambled to the bank;
    Me and my wife soon came around--“

    (Omnes.) “But little Mary?”

                  “She was drowned!” (Groans)
    “Yes drowned! My stricken heart, be calm!
    Hers is the crown, the harp, the palm--
    Thanks, yes if you insist, a dram.
    Blood flowed them days like strawberry juice
    When Girty let his hell-hounds loose.
    One day some Injin squaws allfired--“

    _Master_:

    “There, old man, rest. You must be tired.
    Share in our feast, Homeric sire;
    Thanks to the Muse for such a lyre!”


YE SILENT TOAST.

    Fill high to-night the strawberry bowl
    For friendship’s feast and flow of soul,
    Quickly, ere Psyche’s brilliant flight
    Shall vanish in the coming night.
    Soon shall the parting word be spoken,
    Soon friendship’s golden bowl be broken;
    Clasp hands and salutation send
    To each true-hearted, absent friend;
    Nor in our circle be forgot
    The masters who before us wrought,
    Titans of memorable days:
    Penn, with his sheathless falchion’s blaze,
    Harney, the dauntless, true, and strong,
    And Prentice of the golden song,
    Triad whose still ascending track
    Flings its long rays of splendor back.


YE SMALL BOY’S DOWNFALL.--A SAM.

    What spectres from the strawberry bowl
    Flit through the galleries of the soul,
    With shrill voice crying, “Grieve his heart;
    Come like shadows; so depart!”
    Strawberry cake, preserves, and jam!
    I see thy mild eyes moisten, Sam
    Perchance at memory of the closet
    Where once was stored the rare deposit,
    High ranged upon the topmost shelf,
    A skillful mother’s richest pelf.
    I see thee steal, at dead of night,
    With cat-like footsteps, soft and light;
    I see thee open slow the door,
    Peep in, and cautiously explore;
    I see short Sam the boxes pile,
    Humming Longfellow’s psalm the while:
    “The heights to which the great have stept,
      Were not attained by sudden flight,
    But they, while their companions slept
      Were toiling upward in the night.”
    I hear a sudden scream--a crash--
    I see a candle’s fitful flash--
    Tableau--A boy with downfallen breeches,
    Loud sobs and screams and stinging switches.


GOOD-NIGHT.

    Heap high the bowl and pour the cream!
    How bright the rosy berries gleam--
    Red fruit and Jersey cream upon it,
    The colors of my lady’s bonnet.
    In hues like these the western sun
    Descends to rest when day is done;
    And round his flaming couch are rolled
    Bright curtained clouds of red and gold.
    Not greedily the fruit devour;
    Prolong the raptures of the hour;
    Stain not with juice your linen fair,
    And of the “strawberry nose” beware.
    Think of the lovely--the sublime--
    Niagara--California’s clime;
    The Mammoth Cave--Alaska’s shore,
    Where glaciers plunge and billows roar;
    Balance each berry in your spoon,
    Sink back in a delicious swoon,
    And murmur in a Romeo’s sigh:
    “I have seen Naples--let me die!”
    O, vital sparks of heavenly flame!
    Whate’er your lineage, land or name,
    Pink buds which Mother Nature clips
    From infant cherubs’ finger tips,
    Or earth-born babies’ little toes,
    Tinted like sea-shell or the rose,
    Or notes from songs of home and love,
    Which floating to the skies above
    Are crystallized in heaven’s pure air
    And turn to crimson berries there--
    Ambrosial fruit of heavenly birth,
    By Ariel’s fingers dropped on earth--
    Come o’er me and possess my soul,
    Sweet spirit of the Strawberry Bowl!
    For all the world’s a strawberry bowl,
    Life the red fruit which fills the brim,
    The daily papers spoon the whole,
    And women are the sugar and cream.

Melrose Garden, May, 1880.


HYMN.

     [Sung at the Dedication of the Jefferson Davis Memorial Church,
     Fairview, Kentucky, November 21, 1886.]

     Inscription on a marble tablet in the wall of the church:

     Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi, was born June 3, 1808, on the site
     of this church. He made a gift of the lot March 10, 1886, to the
     Bethel Baptist Church, as a thank-offering to the Lord.

    Jesus, to thy great name we raise
    A house of penitence and praise,
    A beacon for the wanderers’ bark,
    To guide it home through storm and dark.

    Here shall ambition’s fever cease,
    Sin’s wretched slaves find sweet release,
    And washed in Jordan’s cleansing wave
    Rise from the Christian’s mystic grave.

    Hence bid our earth-born cares depart,
    Heal every aching, bleeding heart,
    Dispel the clouds of doubt and dread
    And feed us with thy living Bread.

    Father, Redeemer, Guide and Friend,
    Go with us to our Journey’s end,
    Until we hail in Paradise
    The nobler Bethel of the skies.

[Illustration: GENERAL JOHN H. MORGAN, C. S. A.]



          JOHN MORGAN AND HIS MEN.

DEDICATED TO MRS. BASIL DUKE.


    Wild disorder, uproar, panic,
    Civil war with deeds Satanic
    Break Kentucky’s dream--Neutrality--
    Everywhere war’s stern reality
    Drum and fife and bugle-playing--
    Terrors breeding; fears allaying--
    For various hopes and fears are rife
    In the wild rage of civil strife;
    When son and sire in contest stand,
    Each loyal to his native land,
    Obeying many-voiced command;
    One loyal to the stripes and stars--
    One faithful to the stars and bars!

    There curls the smoke of burning train!
    There leaguered stockades fight in vain--
        War glows on hill and glen.
    Fat cattle to the camp are led,
    The farmer mourns his thoroughbred.
    They quickly came, as quickly fled;
    Swift as an Indian arrow sped--
    The Southron’s joy, the Federal’s dread--
        John Morgan and his men?
    Loved and obeyed by his command,
    With woman’s heart and lion’s hand--
        The Sydney of the Southern land

    John Harper’s thoroughbreds forsake
    The turf of Woodford’s old cane-brake;
    And walnut, oak and hackberry grove,
    To track the bridle paths that rove
    High o’er the caves of Edmonson--
    The treeless fields without a sun!
    And bear the bold Rough Riders on
    Where trains are seized and treasures won.

    Dark Echo River’s weeping wave
    Shall mourn beneath the warrior’s grave,
    The dauntless partisan who rode
    Right on through storm and snow and flood.
    The foe exclaims, “He’s here!” “He’s there!”
    Vanished like spectres in the air,
    Trackless, save for the empty stall,
    Or smoke wreath rising like a pall
    Over the commissary’s store,
    Where hungry comrades loud deplore
    The thunderbolt of Morgan’s raid--
    Chief of th’ Invisible Brigade,
    Vanished, like morning rainbow, spun
    By golden distaff of the sun.

    There is bustle and commotion to-night with “Ellen N,”
    Fair Ellen, maid of iron stays, beloved of many men,
    From a thousand fertile valleys, from many a teeming glen,
    She bears great stores on laboring trains to Thomas and his men
    The blue-coats down at Nashville have come to do or die,
    To battle for the old flag beneath the Southern sky,
    And to Ellen’s welcome ministry--they look most wistfully,
    She bears souvenirs and messages in her capacious trains,
    The maidens of the great Northwest send greetings to their swains,
    She has hard-tack, and tobacco, and bacon in her store,
    She has cod-fish and dried beef and gingerbread galore,
    From Keystone, Empire State, from Indiana’s plains
    Ellen speeds them all along in her wide flowing trains,
    Bibles and tracts and song-books, and sweet messages from home,
    And prayer-books from every church from Geneva to Rome,
    From many a Western Valley, from many a quiet glen,
    Comes goodly cheer from the kindly hands of buxom Ellen N.
    There is trouble on your road to-night, O dauntless Ellen N!
    There is panic, there is hurry--’tis John Morgan and his men,
    There are bridges burned--the track’s ripped up--some one has
        cut the wire
    And commissary stores go up by thousands in the fire,
    A sudden charge at midnight, the long train is in ashes,
    The magazine explodes with deafening roar and crashes,
    Millions go up like tinder in all-consuming flame,
    And Morgan and his men ride off, as quickly as they came.

    Nashville and Chattanooga rue,
    Divided rations cut in two.
    The horseman scathless burned and fled
    Their foes went supperless to bed.
    They might as well have fought the air
    They charged--but Morgan was not there.
    His baffled foe, always too slow
    To harass or inflict a blow,
    Muttered, “For sure the man’s a wizard,
    One might as well strike at a blizzard,”
    He’s here--he’s gone again--he’s there!
    Like exhalation of the air
    Waving its strange, uncanny light
    O’er grave or dismal swamp at night.
    One trait his hottest foe confessed,
    “A hero’s heart beats in his breast,
    He never strikes a foe when down,
    Nor woman ever saw him frown.”

    The mean poltroon of later days
    Who dons a mask in devious ways,
    Black mask and heart, in liver white,
    Fleet as a hare in coward flight
    And worthy of the hangman’s loop
    Ne’er found his like in Morgan’s troop.
    They lashed no helpless foeman’s back,
    No woman felt his brute attack.
    He burned no roof o’er matron’s head,
    While sleeping with her babes in bed,
    Nor scourged with thorns till shoulders bled.
    No town was burned in bandit flame
    Till the poltroon Night-riders came,
    With bloody threats in unsigned letters
    And switches to alarm their betters;
    An anarchist of basest soul,
    The gallows-tree his fitting goal
    Without a hope of reformation
    He forces this dilemma on the nation,
    Expatriation or Extermination.

    Bred in a home of luxury,
    The very flower of courtesy,
    The pet of good life’s merry whirl,
    Kindly and handsome as a girl,
    The dread of many a Federal band,
    The darling of the Southern land,
    Rode Morgan like a Centaur’s self,
    But not for vulgar greed or pelf,
    Chivalrous men of force and pride,
    Sought brave adventures at his side,
    How shrewd he struck, how hard his blow
    The bravest Federal well might know,
    Even while their needed stores were brough
    Destruction came as quick as thought.

    Victim of Woman’s treachery,
    He perished not as the brave should die,
    Decoyed to death, unarmed he died.
    No friend nor weapon by his side,
    Without resistance or a blow,
    His death-doom came from heartless foe,
    And strong men of heroic heart
    Who stooped not to the assassin’s art
    Dropped at the news an honest tear
    When Morgan after bright career
    Unscathed by ball or battle-spear,
    Rested at last upon his bier,
    And unattended and unshriven
    The warrior’s soul went up to Heaven.

    No base Night-riders he bequeathed,
    When peace her joyful olives wreathed.
    Nor placed a mean banditti stamp
    Upon the soldiers of his camp.
    When truce was called by Grant and Lee
    ’Neath Appomattox apple tree,
    And ’mid the late conflicting bands
    Rejoicing Blue and Gray shook hands,
    And maidens by no fear oppressed
    Clasped warrior lovers to their breast,
    When Richmond’s hills echoed no more,
    The black-lipped cannon’s horrid roar,
    A scene was witnessed there sublime,
    A wonder in the halls of Time,
    Each soldier to his work returned,
    In whom the love of country burned
    Some to their former plow and spade,
    Some to their shops or honest trade;
    Trained by the clinic of the camp
    Doctors relit the student’s lamp.
    Some to the courts, or in the States’
    Grand forum joined the high debates,
    Others who learned in the late strife
    The vanity of mortal life,
    Proclaimed the Gospel’s “Old, old Story”
    Their mothers taught long passed to glory,
    Leading their audience to Christ
    Whose balm for every ill sufficed.
    Watering their flocks at Jordan’s springs,
    Whose doves bore healing in their wings
    Some of the band of Morgan’s fighters,
    Swapped swords for pens of ready writers,
    And Captains spruce and bearded Colonels
    Ruled Times, Gazettes, and Courier-Journals
    Some tossed the blazing torch aside,
    And ruled the tracks they once destroyed,
    Building steel railways far and near;
    And Duke who rode with Morgan’s men,
    Turns suitor now to “Ellen N.”
    Each man who followed Morgan’s fame
    Inspired by his heroic name,
    His living monument became.

    In Gotham’s mighty mart of trade,
    Which all of worth and brain invites
    The men of Morgan’s cavalcade
    Conspicuous walk as shining lights
    As walked the men of Washington
    When Revolution’s war was done.
    In posts of honor now they labor
    As when equipped with gun and sabre,
    And men exclaim on every hand
    “These rode in Morgan’s great Command.
    Nor lapse of years shall e’er dispel
    The love with which they fondly dwell
    On comrades who in battle fell,
    Who braved Stone River’s fiery scath,
    Or forward pressed on bloody path
    Of Shiloh’s field or Nashville’s wrath.



          THE WHIPPOORWILL.


    Evening mists hang o’er the rill,
      Twilight’s lucent dews are falling;
    From the copse on yonder hill
      The lone whippoorwill is calling;
    Soon as glow the Orient fires
      Of the new moon’s shining crescent
    With a throat that never tires
      Cries the bird with song incessant,
              “Whippoorwill!”
              Piping from its tuneful bill,
              “Whippoorwill!”

    Does that quick and plaintive cry
      Burst from bosom sorrow-laden,
    Like the star-told agony
      Of a wretched, love-lorn maiden?
    Or contemning, like a sage,
      Mirthful strains attuned to folly,
    Tames it thus the minstrel’s rage
      With a song so melancholy?
              “Whippoorwill!”
              Music soothes our sorrows still,
              “Whippoorwill!”

    Hearts bereft of hope and light
      By the bolt of sorrow riven,
    ’Neath the friendly vail of night
      Tell their griefs to listening heaven;
    Like the lonely whippoorwill,
      Flying far from daylight’s din,
    To some thick and starless shade
      Like that which fills the soul within.
              “Whippoorwill!”
              Night befriends the mourner still
              “Whippoorwill!”

    Like a hermit in his cell,
      Where a holy vow has bound him,
    Long the night bird’s vesper bell
      Wakes the cloistered shades around him
    Sad as love beside the tomb
      Of its earliest, deepest sorrow
    Wails the bird till twilight’s gloom
      Fades away in dawning morrow--
            “Whippoorwill!”
            And its cry is never still--
            “Whippoorwill!”



          THE NEW SOUTH.

DEDICATED TO R. W. KNOTT, EDITOR OF THE LOUISVILLE EVENING POST


    Sweet were my dreams along thy streams,
      Old South, in bygone days,
    Till war’s red cloud, ’mid thunders loud,
      Consumed them in its blaze:
    Sewanee’s old plantation scenes,
      Where wild bees filled the comb;
    The banjo and the moonlight dance
      Of old Kentucky Home.

    The New South wakes! the New South shakes
      The dew-drops from her mane,
    For idle grief brings no relief,
      The past comes not again;
    To manly hearts and patient souls
      Heaven sanctifies each loss;
    Two angels, Toil and Patience, bear
      To Heaven the Southern Cross.

    New South! New South! unseal thy mouth,
      Thy golden age is come--
    Invention’s soaring harmony
      And labor’s busy hum.
    The Old South dies; with beaming eyes
      The New South hastens in;
    So boyhood’s toys are cast aside
      When manhood’s deeds begin.



          A FEVER DREAM.

    Ægri somnia vanæ
    Fingentur species.--_Horace._


    Many a league have I traversed to-night,
    Many a league in painful flight,
    For demons pressed on my bleeding track
    And the air with their sounding wings was black
    Often, often, they came so near
    I felt their hot breath on my ear,
    And mad with terror, I bounded on
    Till the cock crew out at the glimmering dawn.

    Over the rocks, through trackless woods,
    O’er bottomless chasms and raging floods,
    Through measureless wastes of dreary swamps,
    Lit by the fireflies’ fitful lamps,
    Where the moccasin coils in scaly spires
    ’Mong the water-lilies and tangled briars;
    Where the spotted toad and the water newt
    Lurk in the weeds of the poisonous fen,
    And the blue-heron utters its plaintive cry,
    And the owl hoots out to the starless sky,
    And the foul miasma’s putrid breath
    Is filling the air with the taint of death--
    Under the Upas tree’s fatal shade
    Where death his carnival has made;
    Where ghastly corpses taint the day
    And the vulture fears to claim his prey;
    In the stifling air of the Grotto del Cane
    Where the night dews fall like blustering rain--
    I fled, nor looked one moment back,
    For the ghosts were yelling on my track.

    Ah! not the unimprisoned shadows,
    Which dwell in the Elysian meadows,
    Released from pain, and want, and care,
    And doubt and sorrow and despair;
    Nor such as timid wanderers meet,
    When the moon is struggling under a cloud,
    With bony fingers and skeleton feet,
    And grinning skulls and ghastly shroud,
    But the nameless troop which lawless thought
    To the poet’s wildest dream has brought,
    The brood which dark remorse might view
    When justice comes to claim her due;
    Strange somethings of more frightful mien
    Than mortal eye has ever seen.

    O! sacred sleep, once more descend,
    And seal these throbbing, aching eyes,
    Thou art the sufferer’s truest friend,
    And bringest balm from Paradise,
    Distilled from groves which never cast
    Their leaves from worm, or winter’s blast.
    Hush!--’Twas as if some murmured strain,
    Well known in childhood’s happy hours,
    Came wafted o’er a desolate plain,
    On winds impregnated with flowers,
    And then they vanish--like the lambent light
    That flashes through a tempest cloud at night

    Lo! Dreamland’s terrible array,
    Advances still--Away, away!--
    Down through the dark Cimmerian glen
    Stained with the blood of murdered men,
    Far from the beams of the friendly sun
    When “deeds without a name” are done,
    And the night-hags hold their dance of death
    Around the cauldron of Macbeth;
    Where the sire fell by the hand of the son--
    A stab, a groan, and the crime was done;
    Where the duelist sped the ball of death,
    And the mother stifled the infant’s breath,
    Under yon gloomy cypress’ shade
    By the lonely grave of the beautiful maid,
    Murdered by him who had betrayed,
    Where her spectre glides at dead of night
    With clots of gore on her bosom white;
    Where on a gibbet the murderer swings
    Waving his fleshless arms like wings--
    I fled, nor quaked at the hideous sight,
    For life and death were in my flight.

    Across the burning desert’s waste
    Where the path by skeletons is traced,
    And the bones of the caravan welter and bleach
    As thick as the shells on the ocean’s beach,
    Swift as the winged winds I fly,
    And my swollen lips are all cracked and dry,
    And I plead in vain to the rainless sky,
    While my bloodshot eyes from their sockets burst
    In the torrid agony of thirst;
    But the demons that follow laugh and yell
    As they breathe the native blasts of hell.
    The simoon’s blast, Oh joy! is past,
    And the ocean beach is reached at last!
    A storm is out and the wild winds mock
    The ship as she drives on a hidden rock,
    And the sea-gull screams its piercing dirge
    As the dead drift in on the landward surge.
    No pause! but quick as thought I lave
    My burning limbs in the boiling wave,
    Till I reach a cliff in my watery flight
    And breathless scale its dizzy height.
    The ocean’s roar comes faint and weak
    As I cling to the side of the slippery peak,
    Watching the wrath of the fearful night
    By the fitful flash of tempest’s light.
    Lo! how the eyes of the demons glow
    As they cleave the boiling waves below!
    Yelling at me, their helpless prey
    As bloodhounds yell when the stag’s at bay!
    They climb! they mount! the demons all,
    And the beetling cliff begins to fall--
    And I wake with a groan and a smothered scream
    To find it all a fever dream

[Illustration: MAJOR E. B. BASSETT

Third Infantry, K. S. G.]



          MAJOR BASSETT’S CHASE.


     _Text_--“O that they were wise, that they understood this, that
     they would consider their latter end!

     How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to
     flight?

   --Deuteronomy XXXII, 29, 30


    Glenraven’s Night Riders, five hundred strong,
    Had finished their riot of outrage and wrong,
    They had burned Latham’s warehouse, robbed Italy’s King
    (What defense in the courts will the criminals bring?
    Who will dare to defend base ingratitude’s sting?);
    They have scourged a Kentuckian’s back like a slave,
    ’Twas the brute deed of cowards, not the just or the brave,[A]
    McCool on his shoulders plied an overseer’s lashes
    By the light of two warehouses sinking in ashes.
    They have dragged helpless maidens from innocent bed,
    They have shot through the bedrooms of widows--with lead
    These black-handed anarchists of murder and arson
    Fired four volleys at a silver haired Methodist parson,
    And yelled in derision as their shots rang on air,
    “Denounce us again, Sir Priest--if you dare!
    Neither for you, nor your Church, nor your God do we care!
    They have done all that arson and force could achieve,
    And quaking like cowards the outlaws take leave,
    Unlike valiant soldiers after manly affray
    But like thieves from a hen-roost sneak quickly away.

    Out spoke Major Bassett: “The dogs had their day,
    And shooting’s a game at which two parties can play,
    They surprised us; the cowards have all skulked away.
    We’ll follow!” cried Bassett, and off with his mount
    Pursued--ten brave men and true were his count.
    There was clatter of hoofs down the old Cadiz road,
    ’Twas a clean pair of heels the Glenravenites showed.
    Alas, for the pluck of these minions of night,
    Black of mask and of heart, but their livers are white.

    “Ride fast!” shrieked the Night Riders’ chief, looking back,
    “A thousand giants from Hopkinsville press on our track!
    The Mayor has mustered all Company D,
    In humanity’s name can such outrages be?
    Now is your time to do Latham up brown
    And fire him and his followers out of the town!
    Damn his turnpikes, on which thirty thousand he spent!
    Damn the churches he aided--Hotel, Monument--
    (How grandly it towers o’er Confederate graves--
    Shall the sons of such heroes be Night Riders’ slaves?)
    Damn all such aristocrats, they shall know by the powers,
    That after they’ve made it their money is ours!”
    Hoboes, loafers and robbers, ride for your lives,
    On your crimes the Raven of Glen Raven thrives,
    And its horrible croak strikes fear to the land
    When it calls to the raid the Night Riders’ band.
    But who would have thought that the dogs would shoot back
    Real Krag-Jorgensen bullets? Alas and alack!
    His words were cut short by a volley of lead--
    There were loud shrieks of pain, in all quarters they fled;
    The shots of the bandits flew wide of their mark,
    As they galloped in terror away in the dark.
    Nor halted the maskers in their blood-sprinkled path
    To look back on three comrades writhing in death.

    Then Bassett assembled his God-fearing squad
    And bowing their heads devoutly thanked God
    That when Christian men band to battle for Right
    One Christian can put a thousand outlaws to flight.
    Honest men will always walk off with the cake,
    And that is where Moses made no mistake;
    And to the Last Judgment all honest men
    Will bow to the Decalogue traced by his pen;
    For God Himself writes in Mount Sinai’s brief
    By Moses His penman, Humanity’s chief,
    The Night Rider is coward, assassin, and thief.
    Hold fast to Moses! A squad of eleven
    Who join hands with Truth, are posted for Heaven,
    And the outlaws who ’gainst truth and honor rebel
    Must go to their place with the outlaws in Hell.

    So we’ll all shout huzza for Bassett and band,
    Till they banish the Night Riders out of the land.
    Forever shall God’s honest ministers preach
    Paul’s heaven-taught doctrine of order and law,
    As bold as John Baptist they shall stand in the breach
    To battle for Truth and keep villains in awe.



          THE TEN BROTHERS.

     [On the last day of the Christian County Fair, many years since,
     the ten sons of Mrs. Rebecca Brown, all excellent horsemen, entered
     the amphitheater mounted on iron-gray horses. After a fine exercise
     of horsemanship by the brothers the judges presented their aged
     mother with a silver cup, amid the loud applause of the vast crowd
     of spectators.]

    ’Tis the last afternoon of the old County Fair
    The amphitheatre’s thronged for a spectacle rare.
    Ten sons of one mother contend for the prize
    And a whirlwind of cheering ascends to the skies
    ’Tis surely a pity that horses and sheep,
    Mules, poultry and swine the blue ribbon should keep,
    O’er a highly bred strain of true women and men--
    If degenerate men rule the State, pray what then?

    On ten iron-gray horses they enter the ring,
    Ten brothers as graceful as swallows on wing.
    The crowd shouts and claps, for county and town
    Loved their silver-haired mother, Rebecca Brown.
    Let others for cattle and horses seek the prize
    The boys she had nursed were more dear in her eyes,
    Her sons were her jewels like Cornelia of old,
    More precious than Solomon’s rubies and gold,
    Each son a true citizen honored of men,
    Master workmen are all with plow, anvil or pen.
    In pairs and platoons they join and divide,
    Ever changing the figure in column they ride,
    Firm in the stirrup, with regular motion,
    Like flights of wild geese or the billows of ocean,
    O Mother! far better than rank, fashion, or wealth
    Is the toast all spectators now drink to your health.

    “Here’s a health to good mothers, the Angels of home,
    Write their names in the Temple of Fame--on the dome!”
    Smiling through tears gazed the mother that day,
    Her eyes followed each son on his fleet iron-gray,
    Thrifty, frugal, and upright was each dutiful one,
    In the whole decade not a prodigal son
    Precious memories ran back o’er the long vista of years,
    Faith’s brilliant rainbow arched her fountain of tears,
    Love and hope all commingled with doubts and with fears.

    O hour mysterious of omnipotent prayer!
    When the fireflies’ carnival flashes in air,
    When the Evening Star shines and the meteors glide
    She counselled them thus as they knelt by her side:--
    “Let no plausible white lie, for gain, soil your lips;
    Let the dear sun of Truth be undimmed by eclipse.
    God’s commandments be yours, for their number is Ten,
    Obey them and be honored of God and of Men,
    For ’tis better by far to be honest than rich,
    And the King who is false finds his grave in a ditch;
    His manhood’s secure in the armour of Truth
    Who remembers his Creator in the days of his youth.”

    Swift round the ring rode the Ten Brothers Brown,
    Till the bugle sounds “Halt!” for award of the crown.
    By what rule of the Fair shall the Judges decree?
    Horsemen, horses, or mother--to which of the three?
    There was strewing of flowers, kerchiefs waving _galore_
    Acclamations round the vast amphitheatre roar
    As waves boom aloud ’gainst the rocks on the shore,
    As around the grand stand the brothers rode up
    The Judges with one voice cried, “Take, O Mother, this cup,
    Far better and higher than wealth, rank or beauty,
    Your sons are your jewels--take the high prize of Duty,
    For Motherhood’s Excellence is guarded secure
    While Truth reigns on high and the heavens endure!”



          ECHO RIVER.


    Through the unpeopled realms of night
    We have reached the Echo River;
    And our swinging torches’ light
    Over its sunless waters quiver--
    Shooting their rays athwart the gloom
    Of yonder stern, colossal tomb;
    Emblazoning the funeral pall
    Of night, that drapes the high-arched hall,
    So dense, we almost hear it wave
    Over the Titan’s rocky grave--
    Once the dread Cyclops of the Cave.

    What bold Ulysses, standing by,
    Gazed on his dying agony,
    When, blind and frenzied, he laid down
    His scepter and imperial crown,
    And yielded up his struggling breath
    In this stern catacomb of death;
    And felt the icy shiver
    That chilled the fever’s fiery parch,
    When took his soul its Stygian march
    Adown the dark and stony arch
        Of gloomy Echo River?

    Lone as the tarn, whose sobbing flood
    Sighs in some demon-haunted wood,
    Its cheerless waters ever run
    Without one welcome from the sun;
    Without a smile from one lone star
    That trembles in the sky afar;
    But wend their solitary way,
    Secluded from the light of day.

    Kind Genii of the mystic wave,
    Who guard the portals of the cave,
    Gently along this sable tide
    Now let our little shallop glide;
    And by these weird and shadowy shores
    Direct the dusky boatman’s oars,
    Until yon night-enshrouded strand
    Receives our wandering pilgrim band

    High towering, like the rocky walls
    Of the leviathan’s ocean halls,
    Rises the overshadowing cliff
    Above our frail but daring skiff,
    Which skims along this lower deep,
    Where angry tempests never sweep
    Nor polar star affords its ray
    To steer us on our trackless way.
    And as we slowly sail along,
    The plashing oar, the voice of song,
    Caught by the Naiads of the waves
    And echoed by the vocal caves,
    Enchant the pleased yet startled ear
    With strains that ring as loud and clear
    As the wild mountain music--born
    From the lone Alpine shepherd’s horn,
    In peals so loud that they affright
    The lammergeyer on dizzy height;
    And the bold eagle’s trumpet shriek,
    Loud-bugled from his thunder beak
    And echoed round from peak to peak,
    In hollow cadence dies away
    Along the mountain river,
    When the first stars of evening gray
    On the blue waters quiver.

      *       *       *       *       *

    Boom! rings the flashing pistol’s shot!
    The sound, by myriad echoes caught,
    Roars down the dark aisles of the grot;
    Loud as the earthquake demon’s groan,
    Peals the terrific thunder-tone--
    As if the shrieking blasts of March,
    That wrestle with the mountain larch,
    Swept down the dark and stony arch
        Of glory’s Echo River.

    ’Tis gone! and now a sad farewell
    Unto the listening waves we tell;
    Softer than midnight serenade
    Sung to the ears of Spanish maid
        By the blue Guadalquiver!
    Plaintive and sweet as “Dixie”‘s air
    Of sadness which is not despair
    And ravishes the enchanted ear
    Of home-returning volunteer--
    By his dear Bluegrass maiden sung,
    To mandolin with silver tongue.
    And witching is the fond adieu
    The voice of beauty sings to you--
        O, music-murmuring river!
    For one, whose eyes and flowing locks
    Are darker than the raven’s wing
    Of midnight, brooding o’er yon rocks,
    Touches the plaintive sounding string,
    And pours a melancholy song
    That floats the vocal stream along,
    Sad as the convent’s vesper hymn,
    Chanted by nuns, at twilight dim,
    Or that strange harp, whose magic tone
    So wildly sweet, so sad and lone,
    To mortal minstrel never known,
    On night winds wafts its hollow moan.
    The ravished Genii of the waves
    Repeat the story through the caves;
    And far along the tuneful flood,
    A never-ending multitude
    Of echoing Ariels take their flight
    Far down the dark aisles of the night.

    If, when our throbbing hearts are still,
    And pulseless lies the icy hand,
    Reality should then fulfill
    Our dreamings of a brighter land,
    Then may the unfettered spirit’s ear,
    In some supernal, sinless sphere,
    Hear some immortal song like this
    Float through the bowers of Paradise,
        That bloom serene forever.
    While wafted home to rest, we dream.
    By Eden’s clear, ambrosial stream,
    That clouds o’ershadow never.
    We part! But O, who would not grieve
    This world of melody to leave?
    For round our hearts a witching spell
    Lingers and whispers low, “Farewell!”
    Like the low moan of ocean shell.
    Or midnight chime of distant bell,
    The torches, dancing to and fro,
    Cast in long lines their golden glow
    Over the inky surge’s flow,
    Like arrows from Apollo’s bow
        Or Dian’s starry quiver!
    And like an anthem from the skies,
    The voice of heavenly music dies
        Far down the Echo River!



          THE ANGEL OF THE HOSPITAL.


    ’Twas night in Richmond’s hospital. The day
    As though its eyes were dimmed by bloody rain
    From the red cloud of war, had quenched its light,
    And in its stead some pale sepulchral lamps
    Shed their dim rays across the halls of pain,
    And flaunted mystic shadows on the walls.
    Ah! woe is me! No ringing cry of “Charge!”
    Stirs the hot, sulphurous air. The parting groan,
    The shuddering moan of bitter agony
    From white lips quivering as they strive in vain
    To smother mortal pain, appall the ear,
    And make the warm blood curdle in the heart.

    Nor flag, nor plume, nor bayonet, nor lance,
    Nor burnished gun, nor bugle-call, nor drum,
    Display the pomp of battle; but instead,
    The surgeon hard at work with lips compressed;
    The tourniquet, the scalpel, and the lance,
    The bandage and the splint are scattered round,
    Dumb symbols telling more than tongue can speak
    The awful presence of the fiend of war.
    Lo, there! What gentle form with cautious step
    Passes from cot to cot as noiselessly
    As the faint shadows flickering on the wall?

    She comes to one, a soldier from his youth,
    Grown gray in arms, pierced through with mortal wounds;
    Beside his cot she kneels and tells of Him
    Who wrought redemption on the bitter cross.
    The veteran hears with smile of gratitude,
    And, like a frozen fount when it is touched
    By the sun’s rays, he melts in gushing tears,
    And, fixing his last look on her and Heaven,
    Passes away in penitential prayer.

    She comes to one in sinewy manhood’s prime,
    Now prostrate like a lightning-shattered pine.
    Death fears he not. His busy thoughts have gone
    To his far cottage in the Southern wilds,
    Where his young bride and prattling little ones,
    Poor helpless lambs! chased by the wolves of war,
    Wait for the absent one, and sadly say,
    “How long he stays! Where can he be to-night?”
    The angel softly whispers in his ear,
    “A husband to the widow God will be,
    And guard her orphans. Let His will be done.”
    The dying man her consolation hears,
    And gives the dearest treasure of his soul
    In resignation to the will of Heaven.

    A fair, pale boy of fifteen summers turns
    His wasted form upon the couch of death;
    Ah! how unlike the downy nest prepared
    By mother’s love, when slept the tender child.
    He heard the fife and drum and rushed to arms
    Amid the rude companionship of war.
    The raging fever burns his brain; he moans
    And raves in agony; his laboring breath
    Is quick and hot as that of stricken fawn
    Stretched by the Indian’s arrow on the plain.
    “Mother! dear mother!” oft his faltering tongue
    Shrieks to the cold bare walls, which echo back
    His wailing in the mockery of despair.
    The angel comes, and fondly bending o’er
    The boy she cools his throbbing brow and prays
    That the Good Shepherd would take home the lamb,
    Far wandering from the dear maternal fold,
    To the green valleys of eternal rest.

(Nurse lifts her hands in horror, and faints away. Others hasten to her
relief. The dead boy is carried out.)

_Mary_: O, my long-lost dear brother! What an awful moment was that
when, by the dim lamp-light, I recognized in the wan, wasted face of the
dying boy, the child with whom I had sported so often in the meadows and
by the brook, gathering berries or wild flowers, and shouting in the
fullness of mirth till the woods rang with the echoes. With me he grew
up. We studied our tasks together till our aims and sympathies seemed to
be one. The horrid war-bugle sounded; the dismal drum beat; the
beardless boy then rushed from my arms to throw himself into the tumult
of battle. Suddenly, while waiting on the wounded in the house of
torture, I came upon the lost one, mangled and bleeding. He gasps and
dies in my arms without recognition! Mother of Sorrows, whose loving
heart was pierced with woe as with a sword under the cross of thy Son,
give thy divine sympathy to this heart so bereaved, crushed, and
desolate!

_Materna_:

    An iron scepter and a brazen crown
    The war-god bears; stern, cold, and merciless,
    He smites his worshippers with bloody hand.

_Foreman_:

    So walks the angel on from scene to scene:
    Sweet vision of my dreams! thy light shall shine
    Through this dark world, all cloudless, calm, serene.
    Pure as the sacred evening star of love,
    The brightest planet in the host above!

[Illustration: [TELEGRAM FROM ANDREW JOHNSON, MILITARY GOVERNOR OF
TENNESSEE, TO S. C. MERCER, EDITOR OF THE “NASHVILLE DAILY UNION.”]]

    WASHINGTON, April 28, 1863.

To S. C. MERCER, Editor of the _Nashville Daily Union_:

Private. Your labors are highly appreciated out of Tennessee. Go on as
you have done unfaltering in the work you have commenced. The Union Club
of Nashville is doing much good. Their proceedings are looked to with
much interest. I hope their policy will be sound and their purposes
decided.

I have got things straightened out, I hope for the better. I will be in
Nashville soon.

    ANDREW JOHNSON.



          THE TWO SINGERS.


    Two singers sat on New Year’s eve
      By the blaze of a flickering fire.
    “The old year is burning out,” said one
      “Like the embers of our own life’s fire;
    As the fire’s blaze are our passing days,
      As the year shall our lives be o’er;
    Let us sing a rhyme to the passing year
      Ere we shall rhyme no more.”

    The elder rhymer, heavy of heart,
      Cried “Life is a thankless task.
    Its loves and its hate, its Church and State,
      Are only a hollow mask.
    Honor, and love, and rank and fame,
      Are chaff and idle words,
    And the schemes of men and the hopes of youth
      Are the chatter of silly birds.

    “Thus runs my rhyme:--The Ferryman Time
      With his ever-waning glass,
    Has laid on his bier another year
      And sung his Midnight Mass.
    From the oak wood dim rose a funeral hymn
      As earth bewailed the dead,
    And the seas made moan through every zone
      As the souls to Judgment fled.

    “The Ferryman stands on the sable sands
      Of the desolate Stygian stream;
    Not a starry eye from the stormy sky
      Shoots down one cheerful beam,
    But a hopeless wail filled the winter gale
      As the phantom guests rushed in,
    And fear and despair, and doubt were there,
      Hopes baffled, and woe and sin.

    “Ambition told how his palace fell
      Whose turrets braved the clouds,
    His royal guests changed their courtly robes
      For pale and ghostly shrouds.
    His banquet hall is tenantless,
      Unstrung is the minstrel’s viol--
    Not a sound to greet but the pendulum’s beat
      Of the lone monotonous dial.

    “Genius proclaimed how folly’s scorn
      Robbed his nights and days of rest,
    And the only food of his eagle brood
      Was the life-blood of his breast.
    Bright were the gleams that lit his dreams,
      But ah! when he awoke
    His light was dead, his vision fled,
      And hope and heart were broke.

    “Pale as the light of an Eastern night
      Straying through orange bowers,
    Comes the love-crazed maid, Ophelia sad,
      White-robed and crowned with flowers
    The essence she of purity,
      Born for love’s pure caress,
    But madness quenched her soul’s desire
      In utter wretchedness.

    “So,” cried the bard, “the whole wide earth
      Is a den of baffled souls.
    ’Mid all its pleasures, joys, and hopes,
      The dreary death-bell tolls.”

    “Hold,” cried his comrade--“See the whole
      And judge not by a part.
    The end shall crown the work, and heal
      The disappointed heart.
    See where the boatman waits to cross
      Death’s strange, mysterious stream
    The endless Life to Come outlasts
      This mortal, transient dream.

    “Unworthy of a wise man’s lips
      Are the murmurs of despair;
    The heavens have never lost one star
      And God Himself reigns there,
    A faithful God created man--
      He ne’er forsakes a friend;
    Wait, comrade, on God’s goodness still--
      Be patient to the end.

    “Through mists of doubt there shines a light
      Upon Death’s farther shore--
    Where the Lethean draught of peace is quaffed
      And the struggle of earth is o’er.
    Our feet shall stand on the shining strand
      Of Life’s eternal river,
    Where the buds of Hope in fullness ope
      And Love endures forever.”



          BATTLE OF MILL SPRING.


    By the banks of the Cumberland echoes the roar
    Of the sentinel’s warning--the foe’s on the shore.
    Our war-drums are beaten, our bugles are blown,
    And our legions advance to their musical tone.

    By the banks of the Cumberland, slippery and red
    With the death-dew of battle, and strewn with the dead,
    Kentucky has routed her arrogant foe,
    And victory’s star gilds the night of our woe.

    By those banks, that once bloomed like an Eden of joy
    The fiend of Disunion stalked forth to destroy,
    Our rich teeming harvests he swept in his wrath,
    And the blaze of our dwellings illumined his path.

    Like an eagle-plumed arrow our Nemesis comes.
    Shout, soldiers! sound, bugles! and clamor, oh drums!
    Let the land ring aloud in the wildness of joy,
    And the bonfires blaze brightly--but not destroy.

    For the God of the Union has prospered the right,
    And the ranks of Disunion have melted in flight.
    Blow, bugles! roll, river! and tell to the sea
    That our swords shall not rest ’till Kentucky is free.



          THE GREEK SLAVE.

     [Power’s Greek Slave was on exhibition in Lexington, Ky., where I
     lived when these lines were published in the Lexington _Observer
     and Reporter_.]


    Soft as the silver songs which breathed
    Over the Lesbian Sappho’s shell,
    When the white-handed Paphians wreathed
    Garlands for her who sang so well,
    Is the low murmur of the waves
    Which swell along Zacynthus’ caves
    And in melodious echoes fall
    Within the mermaids’ ocean hall.
    There many a grove salutes the sea
    With song-birds’ ceaseless harmony
    Innumerable blossoms fling
    Rich odors on the dewy wing
    Of every breeze which wanders free
    Over the blue Ægean Sea;
    In golden splendor of the day
    Reflected from the burnished bay,
    Or spangled with the countless lights
    Which gem those skies on cloudless nights,
    And land and sea and sky above
    Breathe only peace and joy and love.

    A maiden in her grape-vine bower
    Sat sorrowful at twilight’s hour,
    And as her fingers sweep the strings
    Of her guitar she softly sings,
    “O, for the Greeks of olden time
    Worthy our blest and sunny clime;
    Men who would rather die than brook
    That Turkish chain or Persian yoke
    Should strangle like a serpent’s coil
    One neck on freedom’s native soil.
    Never, O never, ye Spartan dead,
    Till you arise from your gory bed,
    Will the Sultan cease to bear away
    The flower of Greece for his harem’s prey.
    The sun is up; his rising ray
    Shoots brightly o’er the swelling bay,
    And richly mottled shells which strew
    The beach with many a dazzling hue.
    With tapered masts in sunshine gleaming
    And pennons in the breezes streaming
    And snowy sails yon shallop glides
    Gracefully over the heaving tides.
    And see a captive maiden stands
    Upon its deck with fettered hands.
    Her song is changed to a wail of pain
    For plundered home and parents slain.
    Harsh is the clanging of the chains
    Which bind her lithe and shapely limbs
    Keen are their deep and cankering pains
    But not for this her dark eye swims
    In agonizing tears, whose flow
    Betokens bitter shame and woe.
    Sorer are tears for freedom fled
    Than those affection gives the dead.
    The sorest pangs that fate can send
    Like arrows to the captive’s heart
    Are not from outward griefs; these end,
    Theirs is a transitory smart;
    But musing on her island home,
    The home of purity and bliss,
    And then the thought of days to come--
    The hopeless harem, it is this
    Which fills her soul with deeper anguish
    Than makes the dying martyr languish.

    But Power’s hand shall carve the tale
    Of sorrow in that Grecian vale.
    His cunning chisel shall relate
    The sorrow of a fallen State,
    And the incomparable Slave,
    Repeat o’er many a distant wave
    The legend of the hapless maid
    To Turkish lust and shame betrayed.



          ODE TO IMPUDENCE


    Goddess of Impudence,
    Whose tinsel-crowned pretense
    And shameless eye and cheek of polished brass
        Rule Young America
        With all-triumphant sway,
    The forward school-boy and precocious lass,
    Whose unweaned mouths smell of their nurses’ milk
    And others of that ilk--
    Inspire my pen,
    Queen of the groundlings and the Upper Ten,
    For to thy empire both belong
    And both deserve a song.

    What protean power
    Is thy mysterious dower?
    Thy wonder-working wand
    Transmutes all things to gold like Midas’ hand--
    All save the _metal_ of thy followers’ _face_,
    And that is _brass_, we know in every place;
    Thy favors, where thou dost dispense,
    Make up for lack of decency and sense;
    Thy harlot tread
    Crushes the modest violet in its bed;
    Truth, wit, and merit are proclaimed a bore,
    And kicked _sans ceremonie_ from the door;
    And power, wealth, and fame
    Are given unto them who know no shame.

    Thy trophies first are seen
    In youths and maidens tender, young, and green,
    Who stalk the streets about
    Before their doting mothers know they’re out;
    See how these infant swells
    Gallant their baby belles,
    Who know much more
    Than their mammas found out at twenty-four;
    They feel the early flame at seven;
        At nine
    They languish, sigh, and pine;
    Till, dying to be wedded at thirteen,
    A moonlight runaway concludes the scene.

    The mincing maid,
        Let loose from school,
    Hooped, bustled, high-heeled, stayed,
        Pert as a jay and stubborn as a mule,
    Proves to the world that she has learned to faint
    To dip, to lily-white, and paint,
    And lift her skirts so high
    That the unwilling eye
    May see the neatness of her garter’s tie
    Oh, Impudence; thou hast removed
    The childish innocence we loved;
    No more we see
    The native blush of modesty;
    Saucy and malapert,
    The girl a coquette and the boy a flirt;
    Forward and bold,
    They honor not the old--
    Not even the sire,
    Who sits unhonored by his cheerless fire--
    Too fondly dreaming of the sweet repose
    Under the grape-vine shadows of Melrose.
    Nor her who bore the brood,
    The hissing vipers of ingratitude;
    But dark and ominous fate
    Sits like a raven o’er the gate
    Whence modesty has fled,
    And Impudence lifts up her brazen head,
    For Folly’s breath pollutes the air,
    And Wisdom will not linger there,
    And all within
    Bows to the iron rule of ignorance and sin.

    See where the bold imposter plies his trade,
    And cheats of every kind are made;
    Quack creeds, quack medicines, quack politics,
    In wild confusion mix;
    And lo; the scribbler who _writes down_
        The wisest and the noblest men,
        With his envenomed pen,
    To please the long-eared rabble of the town,
    The darkly hinted calumny,
        The vulgar jeer,
        The cynic sneer,
    The bold unblushing lie,
    He scatters round in heedless wrath,
    Like firebrands upon a madman’s path,
    So when the infernal crew had hunted down
    The statesman who deserved a crown,
    And shot the empoisoned dart
    Deep in his quivering heart,
    While, like a stag chased home, at bay he stood,
    Facing the clamorous pack athirst for blood;
    With awful grandeur beaming in his eye,
    Promethean in its agony,
    The hireling scribbler all unshamed
    By the sad gaze of him he had defamed,
    Exulted in his hellish work,
    As the assassin when he plies his dirk,
    And styled himself apostle sent to teach
    Mankind the glories of free thought and speech.

    The Sage upon Judea’s Mount
    Unsealed the everlasting fount
    Of Peace and Truth and Love,
    And the Evangel Dove
        Came from the skies and nestled to his breast,
    And bright-eyed Hope,
    From Heaven’s starry slope,
    Under his gentle reign,
    Beheld the Golden Age return again,
        And Earth was blest.
    But lo; lean wolves have seized the fold,
    And _brass_ supplants the Age of Gold.
    Luxurious, profligate, and vile,
    With lips of guile,
    And Judas’ kiss and smile,
    The modern Pharisee,
    With broad phylactery,
    Converts the temple of his God
    Into a mart of crime and fraud.
    Inspired by thee, oh, Impudence;
        He holds the words of truth and speaks a lie,
    Cloaks blackest sins with fair pretense
        Of Apostolic piety,
    And shears the starving sheep and flays the lambs,
    ’Mid groans and prayers and penitential psalms.

    Oh, Impudence; thy triumph is complete;
    Mankind lie prostrate at thy feet,
    And every class,
        Like bees in swarm,
        Are spell-bound by the charm
    Of “tinkling cymbals and of sounding brass,”
    Genius and modest worth
    Starve in the cradle of their birth.
    They win the meed of fame
    Whose deeds deserve the pillory of shame;
    Upon the topmost waves of honor ride,
    As scum and froth float on the swollen tide.
    So coxcombs in the garden blow,
    While fragrant myrtles nestle low;
    So hollyhocks uplift their head
    In scentless robes of flaunting red,
    And gaudy peonies
    Attract the passers’ eyes,
    Yet from their leaves no fragrant dews
    Their cheering influence diffuse
    Like that ambrosia and sweet violets shed,
    Or fragrant mignonette in its unnoticed bed.



          MY BIRTHDAY.


    Another milestone meets me, on Time’s weary road of woe,
    And onward to the sea of Death, o’er rugged steeps I go;
    Far in the West the setting sun in clouds is sinking fast,
    And night o’ertakes me with its storms and madly howling blast.

    Ah, there were days whose lapse was like the flow of summer waves
    When June’s fresh roses stoop to kiss the murmuring stream that laves,
    When gentle tones and loving eyes my boyish pastimes blest
    And childhood’s every care was soothed upon a mother’s breast.

    Sister, sweet sister, oh, could not the fearful spoiler spare
    A heart so true and innocent, a form so young and fair!
    I saw thy lily hands crossed on thy snowy winding sheet,
    But thy soul was by the shining throne, upon the golden street.

    But oh, thy gentle voice on earth can make no music now,
    And in the tomb the funeral dust is gathered on thy brow.
    What now is left to me? To muse upon the past with pain
    While the quivering pulse is throbbing like a death knell on my brain.

    I am like one shipwrecked upon some bleak and lonely shore,
    With not a voice to greet his ear except the billows’ roar;
    All that he loved are whelmed far down beneath the briny sea;
    Even hope deserts him now--alas! all hope has fled from me!

    Dark falls the night--all pitiless the rainy tempests blow--
    Earth yields no shelter, and above no friendly beacons glow;
    A crown of thorns is piercing through my aching, throbbing brow,
    And iron griefs my pallid cheeks with deep run furrows plow.

    But oh, thou Holy One, whose feet once pressed this earthly sod;
    Balm of the bruised and bleeding heart, oh, sinless Lamb of God,
    To thee on bended knees, with tears of bitterness, I pray,
    For thou canst heal my stricken heart and guide me on the way.



          BATTLE OF NASHVILLE

DECEMBER 15-16, 1864.

     [Written as a Carriers’ Address for the Nashville _Daily Press and
     Times_, December 25, 1864.]


THE PREPARATION.

    All day, while gazing from yon lofty tower,
    We saw, far gleaming through the mist and smoke,
    The camps, like fleets upon a circling sea,
    Or snowdrifts sleeping on the frozen hills,
    Dumb batteries, like bloodhounds in the leash,
    Yet terrible in silence, the blue tide
    Of cavalry, the battle’s foremost wave;
    The gunboats on the left; upon the right
    Fort Gillem’s bannered staff, and to the south
    Fort Negley’s bastions belting St. Cloud’s hill,
    And Morton and Casino by its side.
    How soon their guns will belch their sulphurous breath
      Upon the crimson carnival of Death!


THE NIGHT SCENE.

    But when the darkness swallowed up the day,
    As if we entered the Elysian fields,
    Through the encircling clouds of awful night,
    We saw a glowing Paradise of light.
    A thousand camp-fires blossomed on the hills,
    The flame-leaved lilies of the Field of Mars,
    Minerva’s bloody roses, passion-flowers,
    Planted by sooty Vulcan, whose red disc
    Thrive best in crimson showers, and gather strength,
    Fanned by the moans and sighs of dying men,
    Each tented hill and pyramid of fire
    Flashed round the dark horizon, till it seemed
    A billowed sea of many-twinkling lights,
    Or burning girdle of Vesuvian crests
    Whose surging lava trembled to o’erleap
    Their glowing craters and engulf the plains.
        Alas, for many a harnessed warrior when
        Yon Battle-Titan turns him in his den!


THE PRELUDE.

    Hearken! In the murky morning,
    Sounds the awful note of warning.
    Winding down the river shore
    Tramps the veteran Sixteenth Corps,
    Wilson’s bugles charm the river,
    With the signal of advance,
    Twenty thousand guidons quiver
    From the horsemen’s tapering lance!
    Twenty thousand chargers’ feet
    Hurry through the startled street,
    Stretching “to the crack of doom”
    Till they vanish in the gloom
    Of the woods which fringe the west
    Round Fort Zollicoffer’s crest.
    We hear along the western shore
    The sullen battle’s opening roar,
    While in the clouds, like the Angel of Death,
    The white-winged shells pour their sulphurous breath.
    Hatch’s horsemen spur their steeds,
    Croxton’s sabres bright and gleaming,
    Johnson in the vanguard leads
    Still encircling, still advancing,
    Onward like a torrent’s dashing,
    Spaulding’s carbine fire is flashing,
    Like a serpent line of fire--
    Stewart reels before their ire.
    Rolls the battle-tumult higher--
    The soldier falls--the charger bleeds,
    Stewart’s line recoils!--recedes!
    “Charge the batteries!”--It is done--
    Stewart’s legions turn and fly--
    Swells the glad shout of Victory!--
    So the first day’s strife is won


THE SECOND DAY.

              The morning breaks
                With battle thunder,
              The city wakes
                With fear and wonder.
    See the glittering bayonets shine,
    Along the front of Steedman’s line.
    The bugle’s call--the rolling drum--
    The mad shriek of the flying shell,
    The rush--the soldier’s frenzied yell,
    The crash of the exploding bomb
    Careering wildly through the air,
    The distant batteries’ vivid glare,
    The cannons’ smoke which jets aloof,
    The foaming charger’s clattering hoof,
    The musketry’s incessant shower,
    Drifting its lead ’round Acklin’s tower;
    The cannister’s consuming spray,
    Where dauntless Steedman cleaves his way;
    Or fearless Wood’s heroic form
    Lion-like, confronts the storm,
    Startle the eye and stun the ear
    As sweeps the battle’s wild career
      There is dread and desperation,
      There is wrath and trepidation;
      They grapple, they reel
      In the sharp shock of steel,
      They struggle, they bleed,
      They rush, they recede;
      Death’s harvesters labor
      With carbine and sabre.
    In swaths the dead are falling, and the maimed and bleeding writhe
    Before the steady swinging of the ponderous battle-scythe.


THE CHIEF.

    Serene and steady as the Polar Star
    Whose light no clouds can quench nor billows mar
    But shines while tempests lash the deep below,
    Thomas surveyed the turbid storm of war,
    And gazed and watched to strike the final blow,
    The Rock of Chickamauga, braving the whirlwind’s jar.


THE CHARGE.

    Freemen of the stern Northwest,
    Come with bayonets in rest,
    Exiles of East Tennessee
    Strike! and make the oppressor flee.
          Warriors once in fetters bound,
          With liberty would you be crowned?
          Now or never stand your ground,
          Make your fearless masters feel
          The vengeance of a freeman’s steel,
          And _with_ or _on_ your shining shield
          Return in glory from the field.
    Clenched lips turn pale, but they pale not with fear,
    And the soldier’s eye gleams like a star in its sphere,--
          There’s a hush!
          There’s a rumbling and crush,
    Like the breaking of the ice in a thawing river’s flush,
    The solid earth shakes with a universal rush,
          The clouds of battle break,
          The hills in terror quake,
    While the fire crackles down their sides like a red volcanic lake--
    Beneath whose fiery surge that day full many a bark went down,
    And many a soul which morning woke from dreams of high renown.
          Face to face and sword to sword--
          See the slave confront his lord;
    Through the tumult the foam-covered charger is spurred,
    And the shrieks of the wounded and dying are heard;
    And the muskets and carbines are doubled and battered
    And sabres and bayonets to atoms are scattered--
    The command and the curse, and the groan and the yell,
    Thunder up like the mad-bubbling cauldron of Hell.[B]
    Eagles of victory, say, on which flag will you alight--
    Confederate or Federal? Both deem their cause is right;
    Never more fearless rivals grappled in mortal fight.
    No carpet knights are they, but iron-sinewed men,
    From office, mine, and workshop, from mountain, prairie, glen,
    From legendary Southern river, from sparkling Northern lake,
    From Indiana beechwood, or Arkansas cane-brake.
    All worthy of the highest song that dropped from Homer’s pen.
    Leonidas at Thermopylæ led on no braver crew
    Than those who bore the “Stars and Bars”; nor bloody Waterloo,
    Than the men who carried the “Stars and Stripes” where bullets
       thickest flew.
    God speed the day when the boys in Gray shall charge with the
        boys in Blue,
    And San Juan and Manila Bay a loving-cup shall brew,
    And Dewey and Joe Wheeler the old love shall renew.
          Where is Thomas? His lips compressed,
          Smother the tumult in his breast;
          Along the line his clear survey
          Scans the sure fortune of the day.
          “Forward to the charge once more!”
          Then like the Judgment thunder,
          Cleaving the clouds asunder,
    The shock of battle sweeps from shore to shore
    And shakes the rock-ribbed valley with its roar.
    Like a tropical tornado, Death pours his crimson rain
    In swirling drifts of slaughter along the trampled plain.
    Bleeding and torn and shattered, Hood’s vanquished legions fly,
    And along the Union line goes up the shout of victory.
    Thus Nashville’s Two Days’ Battle by our silent chief was won,
    And our hearts were filled with gladness at the setting of the sun.



          BLONDE AND BRUNETTE.


    Two clouds, gold and purple, at sunrise contending;
      Two chords of rare music, contrasting and blending,
    Through the carnival flying like sunshine and shadow,
      Pursuing each other o’er mountain and meadow,
    Swept our blonde and brunette, all radiant with joy--
      Cleopatra of Egypt, and Helen of Troy.

    The blonde is a dew-spangled morning in June
      When birds, breeze and bees with the sun are in tune;
    Her lips and the rose scent the crystalline air
      And the sunshine is lost in the gold of her hair.

    The brunette is a ray of the mystical light
      Which falls from the moon on a midsummer night,
    And visions celestial of Loveland arise,
      From the luminous depths of her violet eyes;
    And each rapturous gleam of her presence gives birth
      To the joys which fair Venus brought down to the earth.



          GRAY AND BLUE.

DEDICATED TO COL. R. W. BROWN, OF THE LOUISVILLE TIMES.


    The rage and the chaos of battle,
    The carnage and anguish are o’er,
    The wrath and the rout of Manassas,
    The death-knell of Gettysburg’s roar;
    And softly, round Nashville and Richmond,
    Descends, like Christ’s mercy, the dew
    Where sleep, till the angel of Judgment
    Shall wake them, the Gray and the Blue.

    From the gray of the balm-breathing morning
    The mists of the night flee away
    Till the sun, in his orient splendor,
    Paints the vault with the clear blue of day;
    As those colors in Heaven commingle,
    O, hearts that are faithful and true!
    Blend now in affection together
    By your love of the Gray and the Blue.

    Earth wondered when fought the gray legions
    Round Johnston and Cleburne and Lee,
    When the Blue followed Grant, Meade, and Thomas
    And Sherman marched down to the sea;
    And Stuart’s and Sheridan’s horsemen
    In scorn smote the war-dragon’s mouth,
    A stone wall of granite the Northland,
    A stone wall of marble the South.

    Strew roses, the sweetest of Summer,
    For brave and magnanimous Lee,
    For Lincoln, the merciful victor,
    For the slain on the land and the sea,
    And the States in communion forever
    Like eagles their strength shall renew,
    And the Star of our Union shine brighter
    In the concord of Gray and of Blue.

    Not vainly you perished, O brothers!
    For the land of your deathless devotion,
    The torch-bearing maid of Bartholdi
    Is kindling with splendor the ocean.
    One flag over Northland and Southland,
    Shall rally the faithful and true,
    While ocean rolls gray in the morning,
    Or mirrors the stars in its blue.



          BISHOP DUDLEY’S DIRGE.


    Hang old Christ Church with purple,
    The colors of a king,
    In honor of the kingly soul
    Which hence has taken wing;
    In consolation’s labor
    He fell--his Lord’s behest--
    So evening skies are purple-clad
    When goes the sun to rest.

    Paul’s Bishop--“Blameless, Vigilant,
    Wise, Patient, apt to Teach,”
    Careless of fame or lucre,
    All men he longed to reach;
    “Of Good Report ’mongst those Without,”
    Pure, Genial, Loyal, True,
    Thus, “Brother Man,” God’s Bishop
    Toiled, preached, and sowed for you.

    Thus through the land toiled, preached, and sowed
    The manliest of men
    The seeds of truth, and from his dust
    Shall spring his like again;
    New Dudleys--’tis the Master’s pledge--
    Shall at his voice arise,
    For his immortal spirit speaks
    To earth from Paradise,
    And the purple robes of other kings--
    Such force a good example brings--
    Shall glorify the skies.



          THE DRESS CIRCLE.

[A ball-room mishap of crinoline days, founded on fact.]

“When we have shuffled off this mortal coil.”--_Hamlet_.


    “Know ye the land where the cypress and myrtle
      Are emblems of deeds that are done in their clime”?
    Where the girls live on partridges, oysters and turtle,
      And their days fly as swift as a musical rhyme?
    If you don’t it’s a pity--I think you had better
      Now listen, my story is true to the letter.

    O Lulu! dear Lulu! most beautiful one,
      Whose dark locks sweep over thy exquisite face,
    As the wings of the tempest o’ershadow the sun,
      Fair fawn of the forest, thy bright dwelling place,
    Where the partridges, oysters and turtle were swallowed,
      With catsups and pickles, and fixin’s more solid,
    Was graced by no damsel so charming as thou
      Or so hapless, the night I am writing of now.

    Dear Lulu, sweet angel, was just coming out,
      As they say, had just let the tucks out of her dresses,
    Had such a sly ogle, and the prettiest pout,
      And a coiffeur de Paris did up her tresses,
    So her Ma, Mrs. Browne, to give her a start, she
      Determined, one summer, to give her a party,
    The rout of the season, where her darling Lulu
      Might capture the town by her brilliant debut.
    (They rig up blood-horses with ribbons, you know,
      To make them sell quicker, when brought to the show.)
    So she sent a darky round the town, with cards to the elite,
      With “Mrs. Browne’s regards and she’ll be at home to-night.”

    The clock struck ten, the carriages drew up before the gate,
      The ton display their quality by coming rather late.
    A crowd it was, you may be sure, of opulence and fashion,
      For Mrs. Browne had for high life what one would call a passion.
    There were satins, muslin, taffetas and laces, and illusion
      Like all the rainbows since the flood crushed in one grand confusion,
    And as her guests the parlor thronged, delighted Mrs. Browne
      Felt just a notch or two above all rival Mas in town.

    O feminine, O masculine embarrassment of riches!
      For those who wore and those who longed for bifurcated breeches!
    There was flouncing Miss Barege, and grass-widow, Madame Clack,
      Miss Creame-Cocaine, the dreamer, whey-faced, of morals slack,
    Miss Polly Prude, the finical, fastidious and precise,
      Miss Reverie, a tall bas bleu with sentimental eyes,
    Miss Twitchell, always twitching, Miss Giggle with her twitter,
      Miss Dumb-Bell of the wallflower set, a most accomplished sitter,
    All planets of the Milky Way; as for the herd of beaux,
      Know one, know all--mustachios, gloves, smirks, bows and
       faultless clothes.

    But for laughing and screaming and ogling and dancing,
      Coquetting and ogling and sighing and glancing,
    Madame Mazourka that night made her mark,
      As a punk that took fire at the flash of each spark,
    So high in her waltzing, so low in her dress, that
      She really left gazers very little to guess at.
    For each time that she bounded or gracefully fell--
      For where her grace bounded, sin much more abounded--
    Each curve was so plumply and gracefully rounded--
      The dullest of eyes could discern the fine swell
      Of her dress, and much more than is proper to tell.

    I’ve a hearty contempt--I hope nobody’s hurt
      For that pitiful nuisance, a married flirt,
    Whether it wears a chemise or shirt,
    For when the green season of myrtles is o’er
      This wrinkled-faced courtship is rather a bore,
    And the musk and the paint on an old married lover
      Don’t smell quite as sweetly as newly mown clover.

    O you who are wedded, take care how you walk!
      For the world is suspicious and people will talk,
    And spectators may say--no accounting for taste--
      No arm but a husband’s should encircle the waist
    Of a lady that’s married, in the waltz’s mad whirls,
      And no finger but his should disport with her curls;
    But back to my story--the sin of digression
      It’s really becoming my crying transgression,
    But your feelings will hurry you sometimes away,
      And genius, kind reader, you know must have play.

    You pardon? Well, then, to take up the thread
      Of my story--the old folks were snoring in bed;
    In the western horizon the moon kept her course,
      The talkers were drowsy, the singers were hoarse,
    When Lulu was strolling the cool walks among
      While her beau held her ear as she didn’t her tongue.
    Sweet Venus and Cupid o’er the wide earth held reign
      And the pennons streamed gay o’er their Castles in Spain.

    O Lulu, dear Lulu! magnificent belle--
      Whose name is a charm and whose presence a spell,
    Bright star ever shining in Memory’s stream,
      You were gowned on that night in the very extreme
    Of fashion, indeed quite a crinoline belle,
      You spread yourself so, and you made such a swell,
    Your dress circle being made after the pattern
    Of the rings that the telescope shows around Saturn,
    Not whalebone or cordage, but Carnegie’s best steel,
      As when you dance with her next time you can feel.

    Now, I do not blame Lulu for her fondness for dress
      It’s a passion some people find hard to repress,
    And take this excuse, dear reader, I beg;
      Her grandma had left her a very fine leg-
    Acy, so having abundance of means,
      And being quite young--indeed still in her teens--
    She dressed herself up in the climax of style,
      “A miss”--in circumference--“as good as a mile.”

    Well, Lulu was chatting away with her beau
      Of dances and courtships, and quarrels and so,
    When all of a sudden she made a full stop
      In her gay tête-a-tête, and screamed at the top
      Of her voice, till each sleepy-eyed maid in the hall
      Sprang quick to her feet at the terrible squall,
    There pale as the Greek Slave of Powers she stood,
      Her white lips unstained by a vestige of blood,
    Her arms, like a Pythoness, in agony tossed,
      As she shrieked in her anguish, “O Lord, I am lost!”

    While footsteps fell round her as quick as the clatter
      Of a cavalcade’s hoofs, each one bawling at her
    “O Lulu, my darling, pray what is the matter?”
      “A serpent is biting me under my dress!”
      “Lord help us!” burst forth in a wail of distress,
    “It’s coiling around my--It’s big as a rail,
      And a great bunch of rattles tied on to its tail,”
    Ne’er toper saw snake from his jag or his jug
      Like this which clasped Lulu in terrible hug.

    There were sobbings and swooning away on the floor,
      Of disordered lingerie over a score,
    “Unions,” “Merodes,” and garters galore,
      Indeed ’twas a contretemps all might deplore!
    “A snake at a dance!” “How dare poke its face
      Into such an exceedingly improper place?”
    So the old snake in Paradise brought us to grief;
      He skulked behind Eve; Eve behind her fig leaf,
    And this great world, which it took a whole week to make,
      Went into bankruptcy, all for one snake.

    O Fashion, what follies your votaries make,
      What frauds to your bosom with rapture you take,
    ’Twixt the gay masquerade and the sorrowful wake,
      One tenth is for fashion and nine tenths for mere fake,
    And maidens adorn their fair forms with a snake;
      For earrings, for bracelets, for necklace and jewel,
    Diamonds and rubies for eyes cold and cruel.
      Sparkling and dazzling at reception and mass,
    On debutante’s fingers or on widow of grass,
    O! feminine dragon!--how else depict her,
      When the girl of my dreams turns boa-constrictor?
    Why pineth fair woman’s heart for a snake?
      Man would perish a million times o’er for her sake.

    At last one golden youth, more bold than the rest,
      Walked up, bowed and spoke as he pulled down his vest
    “Well! crying won’t help it, so pray now be still,
      They say there’s a way whene’er there’s a will,
    I will tie up his tail in a sort of a link,
      And jerk him from under his quarters, I think,”
    Dread silence fell like a spell on the air,
      Sobs hardly suppressed, inarticulate prayer,
    When cautiously groping lest he might mistake,
      And grab a--suspender instead of the snake,
    He at last found the dragon and fastened his hold,
      It was scaly and squirming, and quivering and cold,
    Like a huge anaconda writhing its fold,
      And then with a clutch that was steady and bold,
    He twisted it up in a sort of a loop,
      And jerked out--at least forty feet of steel hoop!



          IN MEMORIAM.

[LIEUTENANT BOYD MERCER, ELEVENTH KENTUCKY INFANTRY, U. S. A., 1861.]


    Some souls, unmoved by lust of fame or pelf,
    Pass their whole lives without a thought of self;
    No selfish schemes their high ideals smother--
    Such was thy soul, my noble-hearted brother.
    Modest in manner as a gentle maid,
    As lion bold was duty’s call obeyed,
    Nor man nor devil made thy soul afraid,
    To home, to God and Country ever true.
    Like skylark springing from the morning dew,
    Thine upward, sunlit flight thou didst pursue.
    The ocean’s costliest pearls lie ’neath its waves,
    Blaze richest gems in undiscovered caves,
    And like the wealth o’er which the ocean rolls
    God knows the value of his purest souls.
    Citizen and Christian soldier--why lament
    A life so truly planned, so nobly spent?
    Now without taint or mixture of alloy
    Christ’s soldier marches in eternal joy.

[Illustration: LIEUTENANT BOYD MERCER

First Kentucky Regiment, U. S. A.]



          THE SORROWS OF HINDA AND KLEINFELTER.

“The course of true love never did run smooth.”--_Shakespeare._


I.

    Maidens, say, heard ye the sorrowful story
    Of a turreted castle all mossy and hoary,
    That stood on the banks of the dark-flowing Rhine,
    Where the tall hills are clad with the grape-laden vine,
    Where the strains of the flute and the plaintive guitar
    Are echoed each night ’neath the glow of the star,
    Where the days glide as smooth as the waves of the river,
    And swift as the shaft from an Indian quiver?
    Oh, Heaven has showered with a bountiful hand
    All, all that is lovely and gorgeous and grand
    On the Rhine’s noble valley, that beautiful land,
    Yet alas!--for the tale I am going to tell
    Is as sad as the chime of a funeral bell,
    And oft as they pause at their leisure to listen,
    The tear on the pale cheek of beauty will glisten.
        Weeping they will turn away,
        Sighing have I heard them say,
    “Of all the woes that blight us from above,
    The saddest is the pang of unrequited love.”


II.

    In a castle gloomy and old
    Once there dwelt a Baron bold,
    Rich in acres and flocks and gold;
    Sooth but he was a gallant knight,
    Fond of his lager and fond of fight.
    He was ever in the front
    Of the battle or the hunt,
    And of each struggle he bore the brunt!
    None like him could wield the spear,
    Or run down the flying deer,
    Or drain the flagons of lager beer.


III.

    The Baron had a daughter
    Adored by all the swains:
    Oh, she had wealth and beauty
    And very little brains
    Her breath was sweet
    As the morning dew,
    Her tresses were black,
    And her eyes were blue.
    Her foot was cased
    In a delicate shoe,
    If I remember, a one and a half,
    Made of the finest Parisian calf,
    So instead of walking,
    Of course she flew,
    As some of my female
    Acquaintances do.
    Her food was turnips
    And cabbage and steak
    And milk and peaches
    And pudding and cake,
    Weinies and kraut and the essence of bees,
    That is to say, honey and Limberger cheese,
    Horseradish to make an elephant sneeze.
    So by high feeding
    And very little reading,
    Her waist did gradually acquire considerable diameter,
    And her apron-strings were full as long as Tennyson’s hexameter.


IV.

    Beneath the castle window
      Each night were heard the strains
    Of a poor love-smitten noble,
      Who lived away out on the plains,
    And walked ten weary miles each night,
      To woo the Baron’s daughter,
    Who lived in the gloomy castle
      That stood by the Rhine’s blue water.
    Oh, Kleinfelter burned with a desperate passion,
    And he fixed it in music somewhat to this fashion:
        “Oh transcendental Hinda,
        Look from thy latticed window,
        As here I sadly linger
        And with a trembling finger
        I thrum the strings
          Of my sad guitar,
        Or knock the ashes
          From my fragrant cigar
    Fairest of Heaven’s handiwork,
    Sweetest of nature’s candy-work,
    Here I pledge upon thine altar,
    Love that knows not how to falter.
    Grant, oh, grant some sweet return,
    Nor my deep devotion spurn;
    Let me have thy gentle heart or
    Even a buckle of your garter!”


V.

    Now Kleinfelter’s singing
      Was undoubtedly splendid,
    And its musical ringing
      Could not easily be mended
    It was soft and sweet and then it was loud
      As a singing saint’s on a shining cloud;
    Clear as the lark’s own morning call,
    With a silvery chime like a waterfall.
    So he had scarcely uttered a note,
    When Hinda’s heart rose up in her throat,
    Her breast felt a pang and her head felt a dizziness,
    Oh, Kleinfelter’s serenade finished the business!


VI.

    I know a maiden,
      Her eyes are black
    As the flying cloud
      Of the tempest’s rack,
          And the radiant glow
            Of their glorious fire
          Would quell and tame
            A lion’s ire.
          Sometimes they brighten
            And lighten in gladness,
          Sometimes their dark depths
            Are shadowed with sadness,
          But pensive or mirthful,
            A soul flashes through,
          That will silently charm you
            And win and subdue.
    Often have I heard her play
    On the guitar some roundelay,
    And as her white hands swept the strings,
    Melody unsealed its springs,
    And her sweet voice, though low and soft,
    Rose like a seraph’s hymn aloft,
    Rising and sinking in gentle swells;
    Like a murmuring brook with its liquid bells,
    Till the vanquished soul was borne along
    On the rushing tide of resistless song.


VII.

        But I am digressing--
          I was going to say,
        That just as Kleinfelter
          Got in good way,
    The Baron, hearing Kleinfelter’s song,
    Thought he was piling it on rather strong,
    So taking along a burly old vassal,
    He quickly sneaked up to the top of his castle
        He lay down on his stomach
          And stuck his head over,
        And there was Miss Hinda
          And below was her lover.
    He gritted his teeth and he held his breath,
    And he inly vowed Kleinfelter’s death.
    So jumping up and wheeling about,
    He picked up a barrel of sour kraut,
    And frantic with rage he hurled it over,
    Plump on the head of the wretched lover.
    Of course it ended Kleinfelter’s strains,
    For it mashed his skull and scattered his brains,
    And knocked the musician _out of time_
    Into Eternity--horrible crime!
    So ended Kleinfelter, and so ends my rhyme.



          DR. JOHN A. BROADDUS.


    Modest, firm, bold, and sage as Socrates,
    Two Johns in one, the Harbinger and Seer,
    He stood a High Priest by the holy Ark,
    Aspiring as the upward-soaring eagle
    Quitting the sluggish vapors of the dark,
    To drink in heavenward flight the morning breeze,
    Clear dews, and golden sunshine of the dawn,
    And moist from fountains fresh and salted seas.

    He preached with reason lucid as the light
    Which flashed o’er chaos at Creation’s birth,
    When Eden threw its splendor o’er the night
    And the Divine Word said, “Let there be light!”
    Chasing foul phantoms from the infant earth;
    Strange was the power of that pathetic voice
    Whose sympathy made aching hearts rejoice.
    The mellow winding of the shepherd’s pipe
    Seemed from the fruitful Mount of Olives borne
    To ears of gentle women and strong men.

    It shamed and hushed the scoffers’ ribald scorn,
    It charmed the city’s lucre-loving throng,
    And melted all with Calvary’s lofty song.
    No painted web of rhetoric he wove;
    His speech was all sincerity and love,
    But sharp and pointed as a surgeon’s lance.
    Tender his touch, and searching his quick glance;
    A living faith to every work he brought,
    And lived the simple doctrines that he taught.
    The Man of Sorrows ever was his theme,
    Who taught by Galilee and Jordan’s stream;
    So in the Temple Jewish rabbis heard
    The wondrous Christ-Child speak his Father’s word.

    The admiring world oft tempted him in vain,
    And offered greater guerdon than his chair,
    In posts of honor and in golden gain,
    To him gay bubbles floating on the air.
    Far up the Mount he heard the warning cry--
    “Excelsior!” the watchword of the sky,
    The solemn mandate of Eternity.

    After long life of toil he sighed for rest,
    Like homing-dove returning to her nest
    Crooning her “La Paloma” in her flight--
    Duty his pole-star guiding him aright;
    He leaned his faint head on his Master’s breast,
    And his great soul was happy with the Blessed.

[Illustration: LEONORA]



          TO LEONORA.

    “One fatal remembrance--one sorrow that throws
    Its bleak shade alike o’er our joys and our woes.”

   --_Moore._


        The troubled spell is o’er,
    The wild delirious dream of bliss is broke;
    A spirit whispered to me as I woke,
        “No more--oh sleep no more,
    For love has died upon a dart whose sting
    Sped on a feather plucked from his own wing.”

        Oh, bright divinity,
    Bold and unfettered as the eagle’s wing,
    Oh soul of noblest impulses, the spring,
        And chainless as the sea,
    Why didst thou lend my sky thy glorious light
    Only to quench it in a blacker night!

        Oh, I have loved to bow
    Before thy shrine and burn rich incense there,
    Immaculate spirit of the upper air,
        Nor rose sincerer vow
    Nor sweeter wreaths in Dian’s temples hung,
    When on the Paphian myrtles Sappho sung.

        Thine is a magic power,
    A power the sternest hearts to tame and quell
    Thine own to mortal arts invincible,
        And glorious is thy dower--
    Love’s fire, ambition’s struggle, pity’s tear,
    Religion’s hope, and all--save woman’s fear.

        Thine is that fearful spell,
    In which the Orient poppy gardens steep
    The passer’s senses in luxurious sleep,
        While dreaming all is well,
    Nor knows he that the flower’s delicious breath
    Is the lethargic atmosphere of death.

        Too late--alas! too late!
    My heart once fresh with morning dews of youth,
    Dreaming that all the beautiful was truth,
        Is seared and desolate;
    Love’s star is shrouded in its last eclipse
      And its fair fruit is ashes on my lips.

        With bitter grief we parted,
    On thy dear lips I breathed a last adieu
    To peace, to hope, to sweet repose, and you,
        And left thee--broken-hearted:
    And every star in heaven was wrapped in gloom,
    And earth itself became a living tomb.

        And like a mourner’s wail
    Now piercing shrill, now smothered and half hushed,
    Convulsive tears and sobs all madly gushed--
        And gushed without avail;
    For our fond bosoms bore one stricken heart
    Forever wounded by a fatal dart.

        The night wind’s plaintive moan
    Sighed through the pendant branches of the trees,
    Whose leaf-harp’s sweet vibrations filled the breeze,
        And the far distant tone
    Of the blue waters of La Belle Riviere
    Stole in Æolian murmurs on my ear.

        The bosom’s quivering throes,
    The shuddering frame, the anguish of the heart
    Writhing with Love’s immedicable dart;
        The unutterable woes
    Of those whom destiny has doomed to feel
    The agony they never can reveal--

        All these were ours--and when
    The dying night-winds ceased a while to wake
    Leaf in the wood or ripple on the lake
        A murmur rose of pain,
    Doleful and bitter as the passing cry
    Of a lost spirit in its agony.

        Mine is the agony
    To perish where Elysian apples grow,
    To parch with thirst where Eden’s waters flow
        To pine--to droop--to die,
    Without one hope to ease my bosom’s pain,
    To know _I love, am loved, and all in vain_!

        One more fond parting word,
    While all my frame with agony is shaken,
    And my torn heart of every hope forsaken,
        To its far depths is stirred.
    A word will haunt me like a funeral knell,
    God bless thee, dear Leonora--and farewell!



          AT HIS POST.

IN MEMORIAM.

     [Midshipman Goldthwaite, Hopkinsville, Ky., who perished with
     eleven companions in the battleship Georgia, July 15, 1907.]


    Call up, Recording Angel,
      The roster of the dead;
    Who sleep in vaults or village graves,
      Or in the ocean bed.
    Call all alike--the wealthy,
      The humble or the great;
    Tell me how died they, Angel?
      How met their various fate?

    The Angel called out Marathon,
      And Bunker Hill sublime,
    Whose glory shall outlast
      The temples of old time.
    Myriads of true and loyal men
      In many a mighty host,
    All perished, said the Angel,
      Faithfully at their post.

    Some to fair science martyrs;
      Some to religion’s call;
    To truth and duty witnesses,
      In faith they perished, all;
    And bright, celestial splendor
      Shone all around each ghost:
    “I died,” proclaimed each pallid shade,
      “Faithfully at my post.”

    Oh, not in vain you perished,
      Goldthwaite, when fate’s sad blow
    Struck down the flower of chivalry
      And laid its promise low;
    Still, with true joy, salute we
      Your shade, oh, knightly ghost,
    And hail thee, loyal hero,
      Who perished at his post.

    Thy virtues high in heaven
      As stars forever burn;
    Long, long shall love bedew with tears
      Thy consecrated urn;
    In life’s young morn you perished--
      Perished, but not in vain;
    Your deathless, bright example
      Shall cheer young hearts again.

    The trumpet voice inspiring sounds
      Along the ocean shore;
    “Fear God and His commands obey”--
      Angels can do no more;
    From the ill-fated Georgia’s deck
      There booms a solemn roar;
    With strength renewed at the sad sound
      The country’s eagles soar.

[Illustration: MIDSHIPMAN FAULKNER GOLDTHWAITE]



          RECONCILIATION.

     [Carriers’ Address, written for the Nashville, Tenn., _Press and
     Times_, December 25, 1865.]


    The days have dropped, like withered leaves,
        From the dead cypress of the year,
    And Time, who neither joys nor grieves,
    Nor spares, nor pities, nor reprieves,
    Has bound the months, twelve ripened sheaves,
       Round his completed sphere.

    Dread Reaper of the centuries,
    The red strokes of whose sickle blade
    Clashed oft and harshly on the breeze,
    While in long swathes our dead were laid,
    And measured out with every blow
    That dark Olympiad of woe;
    Here, where thy dreadful bugles rang,
    With cannon’s roar and saber’s clang,
    And answering hell in chorus sang,
    Bidding the harvesters of Death
    Cut wider still their slippery path.
    Withhold thy fatal hand,
    And let thy crescent sickle shine
    The harvest moon of peace divine,
    And to full orb expand;
    For blood enough of kindred slain
    Has poured in streams of purple rain
    And soaked the thirsty sand
    To quench each living coal of hate,
    Assuage the fury of the State
    And reconcile the land.

    O, North! O, South! whose children claim
    From heroic sires a common fame
    More lustrous than the melted gem
    Of Cleopatra’s diadem,
    Drunk up one night for Antony
    In bacchanalian revelry,
    Will you a richer pearl betray,
    Whose incommunicable splendor
    None but a slave would cast away,
    None but a craven would surrender?
    Tells not each winged wind some story
    Of Revolutionary glory,
    Worthy of that immortal theme
    Which once inspired The Scian’s dream
    By blue Ægean’s tide;
    How Hayne, to his dear country given,
    Stepped from the scaffold up to heaven,
    Laureled and deified;
    How Lawrence dared the ocean strife--
    Breathing with pale and quivering lip
    His death cry, “Don’t give up the ship!”--
    Then perished in his pride,
    And Warren, in the morn of life,
    In front of battle died.

    O, Christ, whose Orient Star of Love,
    Illumed the primal Christmas morning,
    What cloud has spread its veil above,
    That we no more behold it burning?
    Shall we, despite the prayers and tears,
    Poured out for near two thousand years,
    In never-ending intercession
    For fallen humanity’s transgression,
    Shall we pluck from the temple’s shelves
    And trample under foot the Bible,
    Apostates base pronounce ourselves
    And Christianity a libel?

    Of what avail, if thus we err,
    Our gifts of frankincense and myrrh,
    Prayers, mummery, and holy water,
    To cleanse the air from smell of slaughter,
    And psalms, and organ chants sonorous,
    With all our damning guilt before us?
    Has sharp remorse no power to move
    The stronger agony of love
    In breasts whose suffering finds at last
    The madness of the conflict past,
    Which, having ’scaped the shock of steel
    In battle’s fearful expiation,
    Beside the slain at last shall feel
    The glow of reconciliation,
    Over the tombs which now conceal
    The flower and glory of the nation?

    Come where the slain, all pale and cold,
    Sleep ’neath the all-concealing mold,
    While evening’s melancholy breeze
    With sad voice in the forest lingers,
    Thrumming the spray of whispering trees
    Like chords beneath a harper’s fingers,
    In fitful, sobbing, plaintive tone,
    Thrilling the pained air with its moan,
    And wailing down the leafless aisles with low and dying groan.

    Let pity, warm as Love’s caress,
    Strew violets in tenderness
    Above our kinsmen dead;
    And myrtles clustering o’er their tomb,
    Enfold in robes of purple bloom
    Their consecrated bed;
    And let the fresh-winged morning air
    Now waft to heaven the nation’s prayer
    To spare the avenging rod,
    And weld the golden chain of love
    Between all human hearts above
    And all beneath the sod.

    No more; no more; for overhead
    The Christmas star renews its brightness;
    Its beams revivify the dead
    In garments of celestial whiteness;
    By our sad fate, the phantoms say,
    By all the griefs that wring the living,
    Cast each embittered thought away,
    And join the people by forgiving.
    Armies of slaughtered men have fed
    The Moloch fires of expiation,
    Whose blood, like Abel’s madly shed,
    Joins in the fervent invocation.

    Plead ye for peace? Expect it where
    Justice is equal as the air
    And vote and count are just and fair,
    Nor seek the fruitful olive tree,
    On the volcano’s breast of snow,
    While the flame-waved Vesuvian sea
    Consumes the sapless earth below.

    Redeemed from violence and fraud,
    All hail the resurrected nation;
    The Rights of Man shall be its broad,
    Deep and immovable foundation,
    And the Philanthropy of God
    The corner-stone of Restoration.



          OPHELIA


    Gaily she struck the sweet guitar,
    The maiden fair as a beautiful star;
    And her soft voice fell on charmed ears
    Like a seraph’s song from the upper spheres
    Joyous and blithe is the song she sings,
    As the morning lark on his heavenward wings;
    Little the list’ners dream that rest
    Never again shall dwell in her breast;
    Little they dream, while that strain she is waking
    That her heart with a secret grief is breaking.

    Sweet were the words from her lips that fell,
    As the mocking-bird’s song in the hazel dell;
    Like the honey of Hybla her words were fraught
    With sweets from the choicest flowers sought;
    Gloom from her beaming presence fled,
    Mirth and joy were around her shed;
    Little they know of the poisoned dart
    That rankles deep in her bleeding heart;
    Little they know that her beaming eye
    Tells but a hollow mockery.

    Bright were the jewels that flashed on her brow
    As the gleam of the stars on the mountain snow,
    And the trembling lustre of costly pearls
    Beams through the waves of her golden curls,
    As with queenly step she passes along,
    The loveliest one of that beautiful throng;
    But her heart with inward grief is bowed,
    And her cheek is as pale as the dead man’s shroud,
    And tears will start in her orbs of blue,
    Like a rose that weepeth with morning dew.

    A gentle heart that she once had known
    Had throbbed for her and for her alone.
    High and holy in him was her trust--
    Alas! it has turned to ashes and dust!
    Can she her sacred vows recall,
    Can she, can she forget them all?
    Never! although with an aching breast
    She ever obeys the stern behest,
    Yielding with smiles to her bitter lot;
    Meekly yielding and murmuring not;
    The memory of departed hours
    Shall weave her garland of withered flowers,
    But the hope that cheered her soul is flown,
    And she moves ’mid the throng, alone, alone.
    Her lips may smile, but her eye is chill,
    And her laugh may ring, but her heart is still;
    Her bosom is now the canker’s prey--
    She is passing away, passing away.



          DEATH OF THE SEASONS.


    Last night pealed out the dark Death-angel’s cry--
    “Another year is gone!”--and from the sky
    A myriad of voices, like a river,
    Reëchoed “Gone! forever and forever!”
    The deep roll of the night-wind’s muffled drum
    Mourned for the dead whose lips are pale and dumb
    Within whose pulseless and unconscious breast
    Reigns the nepenthe of a dreamless rest.

    Scatter sweet flowers on the season’s tomb,
    For oh, they perished in their early bloom!
    And o’er their dust this requiem be sung--
    “Weep not, for Heaven’s best favorites die young”

    Oh, Spring was very beautiful and gay
    When April mild and rosy-fingered May
    Rambled among the many babbling brooks
    And gathered wild flowers in their shady nooks,
    And waving them in gladness in the air,
    Scattered their fragrant dew-drops everywhere
    Beneath whose silver spray the delicate bloom
    Of Flora filled the air with rich perfume.

    Slender and gentle and surpassing fair
    Was blue-eyed Summer with her golden hair,
    Sweet-voiced as is the murmur of a dove,
    Whilst every look was eloquent with love.
    Where blooms the wild rose by the mountain spring,
    In whose clear waves the robin dips his wing,
    Where clustering berries tempt the longing eyes
    Like the forbidden fruit of Paradise,
    And the sweet mocking-bird, in carol gay,
    Enchants the listener with his wondrous lay--
    There, in the silence of her shady bowers,
    The Summer genius passed the dreamy hours;
    Death came and laid his hand upon her brow,
    And in eternal night she sleepeth now.

    Next Autumn came in robe of gorgeous dyes
    And stately step and melancholy eyes--
    In mien and look like discrowned Antoinette
    A queen--although the Bourbon star had set--
    Beholding with a proud, unwavering faith
    The scaffold and the officers of death,
    Mourning--not her own early doom, for she
    Knew well the hollowness of majesty--
    But grieving that the beautiful and gay
    In her bright train were doomed to pass away.
    So Autumn died, but oh, her couch of death
    Was balmy with the jasmine’s odorous breath,
    And every wind-harp breathed its hollow moan
    For the sweet soul that had forever flown.

    But lo! whilst mourning for the seasons fled,
    A phœnix from the ashes of the dead
    Rises in triumph, and the new-born year
    Round Time’s vast orb begins his swift career.
    The rising sunbeams herald his advance,
    And break on every hill a golden lance;
    Heaven plants her banners at the Eastern gate,
    To greet the monarch as he comes in state,
    And the loud harps of ocean and of earth
    Resound in strains of revelry and mirth.

    Welcome to earth, thou youngest child of Time,
    Unwarped by wrong, unspotted by a crime!
    Oh, may the blooming vigor of thy youth
    Ripen in wisdom, purity and truth.
    Spare in thy flight the innocent and gay
    And scatter pleasure’s garlands in their way;
    Repress the insolence of lawless might,
    And make the wrong submissive to the right;
    Uphold the patriot and strike down the hand
    That waves the traitor’s sword or treason’s brand
    And with the hand of charity redress
    Each form of human woe and wretchedness,
    So that the annals of all coming time
    Shall write thee as the Golden Age sublime.



          NEW YEAR ODE, 1861.

[CARRIERS’ ADDRESS FOR THE LOUISVILLE JOURNAL.]


    Oh, infant year, whose newborn limbs are swathed
    And cradled in convulsion--Oh, dread Heaven,
    Unsealing o’er this land of many woes
    The Apocalyptic vials--Oh, my torn
    And bleeding country, by thy sons deflowered
    And stricken of thy God--how shall I sing
    A festal anthem on a broken lyre--
    To ears made dull by sorrow?

                                From her dreams,
    With music lulled, all-queenly, and perfumed
    With odors from the Summer’s lips distilled,
    The startled nation woke--awoke to hear
    Rebellion’s war-cries in her citadel,
    By dark and frenzied sentinels invoked--
    Singing her dirge, like the volcanic bass
    Of Ætna’s organ chiming with the sea
    When groans the Titan in immortal pangs--
    The trepidation of conflicting hosts,
    Mixed with the wild alarm of clamorous bells
    The strife--the shout--the wailing of despair.

    Time, by whose hands the mouldering dust of death
    Is shovelled in the vaults of coffined realms,
    What Nemesis insatiate still inspires
    The suicide of Empires? In her breast,
    Greece nursed the serpent faction, with her blood,
    That stung her to the heart. Rebellion’s steel
    Pierced the fair bosom of imperial Rome
    By foreign foes unconquered; and the land
    Of God’s own people drank the fatal cup
    Which dark dissension pressed upon her lips.

    As midnight’s bell proclaims with double tongue
    One year departed and another born,
    Swift throng around me with imperial mien
    And godlike brow, and eyes of sad reproach,
    As angels look in sorrow, the great dead

[Illustration: MRS. ANNIE McRAE MERCER]

    Who walked Mount Vernon’s shades and Marshfield’s plains,
    And Monticello’s height, and Ashland’s groves
    Still vocal with unearthly eloquence,
    Statesmen and Chiefs who loved their native land
    And led her up to fame. With solemn air
    And thrilling voice they point to freedom’s flag
    War-rent and laced with sacrificial blood,
    By noble martyrs shed; and thus they speak--
    “O sons once named Americans, but now
    The world-mocked orphans of a nameless land,
    Why rush ye to destruction? Happier far
    Than ye the tawny tribes your fathers drove
    From the primeval forest--the red chiefs
    Who bravely perished on their hunting-grounds,
    Or passing o’er the mountains of the West,
    Went down in gloom, like nature’s final sun,
    To rise no more forever. Better thus
    Than live the foul dishonor of your sires,
    Whose progeny like Lucifer of old
    Rebelled against the power that made them Gods,
    And perished in their treason. Come, ye winds,
    Swift-winged couriers of the tropic sky,
    Heralds of death and ruin--come, ye fires
    That in volcanic caverns ever burn,
    And crush pale cities in your molten jaws--
    Come, burning plagues, and ye tempestuous waves,
    Who strangle navies in your watery arms--
    Earthquakes and lightning-strokes, all earthly ills
    Which Heaven inflicts, and trembling men abhor--
    Fell bolts in God’s red armory of wrath,
    With all your terrors in one stroke combined,
    Come; and in mercy blast the land with ruin
    Rather than we should see Columbia’s plains
    Drenched in a crimson sea of fratricide,
    Lust, rapine, malice, treachery, revenge,
    The tall and crowning Teneriffe of crime.”

    I hear a passing bell--the muffled drum
    Rolls its sepulchral echoes on the night
    Which spreads across the sky the starless pall
    Of desolation. And upon my ear
    Falls the wild burden of a dismal song
    Like that of mocking fiends in revelry.


THE DISUNION BANNER.


    Fiends who in the lurid gloom
    Of Hell do ply the fatal loom,
    Weave a banner of despair
    For Columbia’s tainted air,
    Like the boding raven’s wing
    All the land o’ershadowing.
    In the murky woof embroider
    Darkness, death, and Hell’s disorder.

    On the fatal standard show
    Every form of guilt and woe--
    Murder drinking deep of blood,
    Rolling round him like a flood,
    All the fetid gall that drips
    From the land’s infected lips,
    In the murky woof embroider
    Darkness, death, and Hell’s disorder.

    Weave ye in the magic loom
    Piles of slain without a tomb,
    Cities lit with midnight fires,
    Crashing walls and toppling spires,
    Famine’s sunken, ghastly cheek,
    Outraged woman’s helpless shriek,
    Hoary age and infancy
    Plunged in one wide misery;
    In the murky woof embroider
    Darkness, death, and Hell’s disorder.

    Let the banner’s fold be bound
    With a fiery serpent round;
    Eden’s destroyer shall recall
    The new temptation, sin, and fall.
    We have changed the stripes of flame
    To the burning blush of shame,
    And the streaks of spotless white
    To the pallor of affright,
    And the stars which blazoned all
    To Wormwood in its endless fall.

    The song of treason ceased--the phantoms fled,
    And as I mused in the dark bitterness
    Of grief to this sad prophecy of woe,
    I heard a sound, as when the ocean moves
    His moist battalions to the tempest’s march,
    To storm the fortress of the rocky isles,
    And hosts innumerable thronged around
    In panoply of war. From every height
    And every valley rolled the martial drum,
    And bugles calling to the gory charge
    The loyal and the bold, while streamed on high
    Gay banners glittering with the hues of heaven.
    “We come, oh, bleeding country,” was their cry,
    “To beat aside the parricidal steel,
    And shield the snowy breast that gave us life.”

    New England’s seamen swelled the rallying cry
    Along the coasts; the Middle States replied
    From thronging marts; the echoes leaped along
    The Mississippi Valley, whose vast floods
    Throb like the pulses of the Nation’s heart,
    And pale Virginia, all besprinkled now
    With War’s red baptism, to Kentucky spoke;
    Kentucky, tried but faithful unto death,
    To sad Missouri called; Missouri passed
    The kindling watchword to the vast Northwest,
    Ohio, Indiana, Illinois,
    Who louder sang than Niagara’s roar
    To the unconquered heights of Tennessee;
    Hoarse echoes, like the low sepulchral moan
    Of subterranean fires, disturbed the Gulf--
    The bleeding Gulf betrayed and overawed--
    Then swelling loud as an Archangel’s trump,
    Or shrill winds piping o’er the stormy flood,
    It thundered back from far Pacific’s coast.

    Come to the tombs by mourning millions thronged
    Beneath the oak of weeping. Glorious dead,
    Fame’s cemetery holds no hero dust
    More dearly honored in sublime repose.
    Pale ashes, with a nation’s tears bedewed,
    And fanned by sighs as numerous as the winds,
    The laurels that you nurture shall be green
    And bloom forever round the precious urns
    Of Baker and Lyon. Fortune smiled
    Upon them, casting from her ample lap,
    Her lavish stores of fame and wealth and ease,
    And wooed them to repose. Though sweet her song,
    She sang unheeded. Honor, fortune, life
    They offered freely on their country’s shrine,
    In the red heat and fury of the fight,
    Deeming the dearest jewels of the world
    Were nought when weighed against the nation’s life.


DIRGE.


        He who led our faltering ranks
        Up the ambuscaded banks--
        He who poured his heart’s red rain
        Over Springfield’s stormy plain,
        Heeding not the volleys deadly
        Nor the life’s blood running redly,
        Cold in death shall lead no more
        Where our country’s eagles soar.

        Such, oh War, thy fearful pleasure,
        Priceless blood and costliest treasure,
        Still the victims whom thou smitest
        Are the loveliest and the brightest.
        But the martyrs shall be glorious
        When our flag returns victorious;
        Death, who seals such patriot eyes,
        Opens them in Paradise.

    As wistfully I gazed upon their graves
    A vision passed before me. On a mount
    That glowed with light ineffable appeared
    The New Year, in imperial garments clad,
    Erect and tall and God-like in his mien,
    With strength immortal in his manly limbs
    And hope and courage beaming from his eyes.
    And lo, swift breaking from the clouds, he saw
    Coming in splendor like the morning sun,
    The reunited Empire of the West,
    Swelled on the ear the ever-murmuring hu
    Of populous cities on unnumbered streams,
    And marts of commerce by a hundred lakes.
    The teeming fields, with varied harvests, waved,
    And tinkling bells on distant hills revived
    Sweet memories of Arcadia’s pastoral days.
    Fair science led her train by every grove
    And hill and stream, and pure religion filled
    Her solemn temples with perpetual hymns
    And fervent supplication to her God.
    And from above the shades of years departed
    Sang with a voice that filled the firmament:
    “Hail, New Year, hail the noblest child of Time;
    The Power which brought the fathers o’er the flood
    Has saved the offspring from the sevenfold fire.
    A Union healed shall date its life from thee,
    Redemption’s golden era. From its shield
    No star shall vanish in forlorn eclipse,
    Nor exiled Pleiad chant in skies remote
    Her solitary song, nor sundered be
    The marriage bond of States, by law confirmed
    And the eternal oracles of God.”



          MONODY

ON THE DEATH OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

[Read at a Memorial Meeting, Nashville, held at the State House, April
16, 1865. Governor Brownlow delivered the address.]


    Soft breathe the vernal winds, the sky is fair,
    And April’s fragrance scents the dewy air.
    Yon Heaven looks down on earth with eyes as mild
    As a young mother’s on her sleeping child,
    Jealous lest aught should break her infant’s calm,
    And lulling its soft slumbers with a psalm.
    So soft, so holy, comes the forest hymn,
    From yon far hill-tops, misty, blue and dim,
    While war’s discordant tumult seems to cease
    In the sweet music of returning peace.
    Yet where the fount of joy in crystal springs,
    Some venomed asp its rankling poison flings,
    And where the violets shed their fragrant breath
    The nightshade pours the blistering dews of death

    What bloody phantom with a brow of wrath
    Stalks in the van of our triumphal path,
    And o’er our banners flings a funeral veil,
    Till Heaven grows black and mortal cheeks grow pale?
    ’Twas in the halls of mirth, a gala night,
    Bright lamps o’er joyful thousands shed their light,
    The nation’s Father sat amid the throng,
    Relaxed his brow and heard the festal song;
    He dreams not of conspiracy, nor sees
    Above his head the sword of Damocles;
    Wide opes the sepulchre its marble jaws,
    All nature seems to make a breathless pause;
    The deadly aim is made--the death-shot flies,
    And Freedom’s martyr passes to the skies.

    Oh, Statesman, Hero, Patriot, Friend, and Sire,
    Now the pale tenant of a funeral pyre,
    Whose red right hand four years has held the rod,
    The minister of Freedom and of God,
    Yet with the rod the blooming olive held,
    While the dark deluge of rebellion swelled
    And thundered round our Ark--an Argosy
    More dear than all the jewels of the sea,
    And still with outstretched arms essayed to save
    The shipwrecked seamen from the yawning wave!
    Thy love was strong as woman’s--who like thee
    Their interceding angel now shall be?

    A genial wit, a homely native sense,
    Nearer to truth than studied eloquence,
    A quiet courage to defend the right,
    And leave to Heaven the issue of the fight;
    A will of adamant, which seemed to be
    The very flower of maiden modesty,
    A conscience, holding truth of greater worth
    Than all the crowns and treasures of the earth;
    A love, whose strong affections seemed to bind
    In one the happiness of all mankind;
    These were the jewels whose celestial flame
    Shall burn with quenchless glow round Lincoln’s name,
    The virtues which shall make his memory dear
    While Justice reigns in yon eternal sphere.

    And millions shall lament, with honest grief,
    The People’s friend and Freedom’s fallen chief;
    The huntsman shall forget the eager chase,
    And pause to wipe his weatherbeaten face,
    The daring sailor, on the distant sea,
    Shall shed a teardrop to his memory;
    The widow’s tears shall quench her cottage fire,
    The soldier’s orphan moan his second sire.
    There need no glittering trappings of the tomb,
    No martial dirge, nor hearse with nodding plume,
    To tell their grief; but words devoid of art
    Show how this stroke has pierced the Nation’s heart.

    Precious the tears shall be the Nation weeps,
    And sacred be the sod where Lincoln sleeps.
    His fame shall be the jewel of the West,
    Like a rich pearl on Beauty’s throbbing breast.
    Mourn, O ye Mountains!--altars of the sky--
    Fit monuments of him who cannot die;
    Mourn, loud Atlantic! let thy thunder-dirge
    Chant the sad requiem with Pacific’s surge.
    Mourn, O New England! on thy granite base.
    Mourn, Illinois, thy desolate dwelling-place;
    Kentucky, mourn! thy second God-like son
    Sleeps in the dust, life’s duty nobly done;
    Mourn, Tennessee! The Hero of the Age
    Sleeps with the Lion of the Hermitage;
    Chanted the melancholy song shall be,
    By all thy streams which hasten to the sea,
    While Nashville’s echoing wall of cedared hills
    With mournful cadence all the valley fills.



          WASHINGTON’S BIRTHDAY ODE.

[Written for a celebration given by the young ladies of Elder Enos
Campbell’s School, Hopkinsville, February 22, 1861.]


    Hero, whose ashes sleep
    By Vernon’s sacred steep,
          Sire of the free!
    To-day thy name be blessed
    North, South, East and West,
    And swell each patriot’s breast
          With love to thee.

    Through tempests drear and dark
    The Union’s holy ark
          Thy hand did guide;
    The ark which rode the flood
    Of Revolution’s blood
    For freedom’s mighty God
          Was on thy side.

    Where’er thy eagles flew
    The world our glory knew
          In war and peace.
    Safe ’neath the fig and vine
    Our fathers did recline,
    And field and wave and mine
          Gave rich increase.

    Oh, that to-day might yield
    Once more the sword and shield
          Of Washington!
    Then freedom’s songs sublime
    Should peal in thrilling chime
    And, ’til remotest time,
          The States be one.



          TO APRIL.

[DEDICATED TO THE WEATHER BUREAU.]


(Begun April 1.)

    Sweet month of blue-eyed violets and fools,
    I’m glad to see you, dear. Take off your bonnet,
    While to your praise I pen a flowing sonnet.
    A thousand misses in the boarding-schools
    Now do the same on gilt-edged, scented paper,
    And bite their nails and trim the midnight taper.
    The clear lake like a polished mirror glows
    In the seraphic loveliness of morn;
    The speckled trout leap from their crystal pools,
    Waking the startled skylark’s mellow horn;
    On every hand new beauties still are born,
    Till lingering sunset’s amethystine blaze
    Illumes the vault of heaven with its far-streaming rays.


(Finished April 10.)

    Thus far without impediment I got,
    My sleek Pegasus on an easy gallop,
    Or ambling steady or on cosy trot
    Smooth-scudding o’er the airy fields of thought,
    As a Venetian gondola or shallop.
    To halt with sudden bump my pencil’s brought.
    “I can not tell a lie!” (Spring poems are “rot.”)
    Now all my pretty phrases come to naught.
    It’s just a shame! But then who would have thought--
    Wild polar blizzards, snow and blinding sleet
    Beat my Pegasus and benumbed his feet?
    And, most unlucky mishap for a poet,
    The brute has got the studs and will not go it.
    One solid hour of labor have I lost--
    I can’t write summer songs in winter’s frost.
    O April, sure you did not count the cost
    Of your confounded jag! I think you’re drunk!
    Well, bluster if you want to show your spunk.
    The Weather Bureau’s all turned inside out--
    But pray clear up, Miss April, or clear out!



          ODE ON THE DEATH OF LEO XIII.

DEDICATED TO MRS. MARY ANDERSON NAVARRO, LONDON.

    I see before me the Gladiator lie:
    He leans upon his hand--his manly brow
    Consents to death, but conquers agony.

   --_Childe Harold._


          The Eternal City, shrine of many lands,
          Slow fades; before his dying gaze expands
          The Golden-streeted City, not made with hands;
          Hail him with waving palms and loving eyes,
          Heaven’s solemn choirs and sweet societies,
          While sobs below him the great church he trod--
          “To Cæsar, Cæsar’s; God’s we yield to God.”
          Life’s duty done, he ends his manly part,
          Stop the great throbbings of that true, pure heart;
          Amid a sorrowing people’s prayers and tears,
          God greets the saint of two-and-ninety years.

          Not for the lust of luxury and beauty,
          Not for the miser’s or the conqueror’s booty,
          But for the still small voice of duty
          Bravely did all temptation spurn
          The immortal Lion of Lucerne.

    The Lion is at rest,
    With his awe-inspiring crest,
    In full-maned majesty and strength he has laid him down to rest.
    Of all earth’s mortal monarchs the bravest, strongest, best,
    His bright eye kindled with the love of Jesus and the Cross.
    Who gave mankind the Light Divine
    To save the world from loss.

    His grand life work is o’er,
    And nations now deplore
    The Lion of the Vatican, the warrior of the cross,
    From Italy’s bay-indented shore
    To where Columbia’s eagles soar,
    Is heard the voice of weeping,
    For the Lion softly sleeping,
    The Lion of the Vatican,
    Who never feared the face of man--
    The Lion o’er whose urn
    The mounting flames of glory burn;
    Who died in duty’s harness--the Lion of Lucerne.

    He sleeps, but not forsaken,
    For the Judgment trump shall blow,
    Its blast of joy or woe.
    The nations of the dead shall rise
    And the Lion of the Vatican shall waken.
    Once in earth’s Gethsemane by all but God forsaken!
    With glory crested on his head and splendor in his eyes,
    The kingdoms gather round the great white throne
    To hear the final sentence
    Of all who seek or scorn repentance.

    Long ere the dreadful conflagration
    Which shall consume each nation,
    Along each height or hollow shore,
    Loud shall reverberate the roar
    Which made the iron Bismarck bow
    Before the Lion’s calm, majestic brow;
    Which bade the hostile cannon cease
    And harmless pave the paths of peace,
    Who walked where princely Virgil trod
    And then like Enoch walked with God.

    Be patient, then, O Zion!
    And wait the wakening of the Lion
    Be patient still, for soon
    Thy God shall grant the boon
    Of universal peace;
    And War’s red banner shall be furled
    Throughout all the world.

    Paul Kruger’s diamond bribe[C] was worth
    The ransom of a hundred kings;
    Yet diamonds and pearls and all
    The riches of this world have wings;
    The Lion held God’s treasure fast--
    Honor and truth and Heaven at last.



          CHIABRERA’S EPITAPH.

Chiabrera, an Italian poet, is said to have written the following
inscription for his tomb:

    “Friend, I while living sought comfort in Parnassus;
    Do thou, better counselled, seek it in Calvary.”


    The setting sun shone down the Apennines,
    Gilding Vesuvius and his purpling vines,
    And his dark collonades of whispering pines.

    The tinkling bells of the returning flocks
    Rang through the lengthening shadows of the rocks
    And grateful coolness filled the shepherd’s walks.

    The Star of Evening trembled in the West,
    Like a rich pearl on Beauty’s throbbing breast,
    And Heaven was all aglow with rapture blest.

    Upon his death-couch Chiabrera lay,
    Life’s waning lights across his features play
    Like the last beams of yon declining day.

    And as departing day its glory shed
    Bright on the group which gathered round his bed,
    In faltering words the dying poet said:

    “Chill blow the gales across the sea of Death,
    Upon my brow I feel their icy breath--
    And the bright star of song forsakes my path.

    “No more Apollo’s mount shall I behold--
    The rainbow mist that round its summit rolled
    Fades into clouds all joyless, dark and cold.

    “The groves are withered on Parnassus’ side;
    The fields are dead--the streams no longer glide,
    And every fount by fiery heat is dried.

    “All dumb and shattered lies Apollo’s shell,
    Broke are the chords my fingers loved so well,
    Mourning the hand that wove their fairy spell.

    “Dread Calvary! beneath thy sheltering rock
    Oh, let the gentle Shepherd of the flock
    Shield me in mercy from the tempest’s shock;

    “There from the pelting storm and bitter blast,
    My weary soul its refuge finds at last.
    Behold the Cross! The pang of Death is past.

    “Parnassus! up whose steeps I long have striven,
    Thy summit, by the thunder-tempest riven,
    Stops in the clouds--but Calvary’s rests in Heaven.”



          ELEGY

On the death of Captain Bacon, Kentucky Volunteers, U. S. A., slain at
Sacraments, Ky., December, 1861.


    Oh, sacred mountain of Kentucky’s dead,
    Room in thy heart for Bacon’s honored head,
    Whose true blood streaming from his manly breast
    Shall dye with glories new thy marble crest,
    And caught by every sun upon the air
    Appeal to Heaven in everlasting prayer--
    Prayer for the rescue of our outraged land,
    From dark rebellion’s impious sword and brand;
    Prayer for the fiery bolt by justice sped
    To fall in vengeance for our slaughtered dead;
    Prayer which, becoming of the winds a part,
    Through all the land shall stir the nation’s heart,
    And summon martial millions to the field
    A patriot host, the nation’s living shield.

    Promethean sun! whose early splendors kiss
    These pillars of Death’s grand Acropolis,
    Of Boone the daring, Johnson stern and just,
    Hardin the true, and Daveiss’ glorious dust,
    Much-loved McKee, and gallant Henry Clay,--
    Oft as thy torch illumes the morning gray
    Touch Bacon’s tomb with thy reviving fire
    And it shall answer thee like Memnon’s lyre,
    With an inspiring voice whose kindling strain
    Shall rouse Kentucky to avenge her slain,
    And shed his base assassin’s blood as free
    As yonder waves which hasten to the sea.

    Oh, much-loved friend, for manly virtues dear,
    Untimely up yon hill ascends thy bier.
    We knew that _with_ or _on_ thy stainless shield
    We would receive thee from the battle-field!
    True to Kentucky’s and thy country’s call
    Thou wert the first to arm thee--and to fall.
    The plaintive dirge, the sob, the smothered groan
    Thrill the pained air with melancholy moan,
    While the slow river winding far below
    Whispers through all its waves the song of woe,
    And Frankfort’s echoing wall of cedared hills
    With mournful cadence all the valley fills.



          TO THE LAW AND ORDER LEAGUE.

AFTER JUDGE BRUCE’S ADDRESS At Hopkinsville.


    Take courage, ye people of order and law,
    Nor longer let Night Riders hold you in awe;
    Though your crops be destroyed, your barns burnt in ashes,
    Your women outraged, your backs scourged with lashes,
    Take courage! Remember that God reigns on high
    Who foredooms your tyrants ’neath His vengeance to die.

    When bad men conspire, let all good men unite;
    All crime must be conquered by organized Right.
    Though Satan conspire to persecute Job,
    And muster all demons which travel the globe,
    Though disease, war, and whirlwinds on all sides surround
    And the wife of his bosom be treacherous found;
    Though Judas and High Priest ’gainst Jesus plot,
    Though Herod and Pilate His overthrow sought;
    Though King George and Lord North and base Arnold swear
    That Sam Adams and Hancock shall hang in the air;
    Though the flood shall a whole world of wickedness drown,
    Noah’s Ark shall land safely on Ararat’s crown.
    So virtue shall triumph, ’tis Heaven’s decree,
    And God’s law shall rule o’er the land and the sea
    Job sees all his losses by Heaven restored,
    Quelled Satan retreats at the frown of the Lord--
    And Cornwallis at Yorktown surrenders his sword.
    And ye citizens banded for order and law
    No more let the Night Riders fill you with awe,
    Though croaking Glenraven plays the treacherous friend,
    And croaks at the crimes which he dares not defend,
    Though he reprimands gently his infamous tools,
    His _alibi_ G----s and his Paddy McCools.
    Remember, good citizens, nor harbor one doubt
    That your vengeance is sure and that murder will out--
    That the scoundrels who whipped the bare backs of your wives
    Shall pay the full penalty down with their lives.
    Remember, Night Riders, your infamous wrong
    Was the wrong of an hour, but its vengeance is long;
    There are crimes so inhuman, ’twere a crime to forgive;
    Who scourges a woman ’twere a crime to let live.
    Your lash unresisted mangled woman’s tender back,
    And till death her avenger shall press on your track.

    Then rally, O citizens, from border to border,
    One phalanx to fight for Law, Justice, and Order.
    Kentucky has no place for the Night Rider’s foot;
    What patriot tongue does not scorn to be mute?
    Remember all history repeats the same tale,
    That the wicked shall fail and the righteous prevail.
    Unite! and your deeds shall be crowned with success,
    Cheered on like old Scotland by “Bruce’s Address.”
    Yes; though Lucifer, “Star of the Morning,” rebel,
    His doom shall be closed in the torments of Hell.
    “Black Hands,” Mafias, and Night Riders, birds of one feather,
    Must go to the prison or scaffold together.



“WITH THY SHIELD, OR UPON IT.”[D]

DEDICATED TO COL. R. M. KELLY, SUPERINTENDENT OF THE NATIONAL CEMETERY,
LOUISVILLE.

[The loss of a shield was regarded as peculiarly disgraceful by the
Greek soldiers. The dead were borne home upon their shields. “Return
with thy shield, my son, or upon it,” was the heroic injunction of a
Spartan mother.]


    Sound, trumpet sound! The die is cast!
    The Rubicon of fate is passed!
    The loyal and the rebel hosts,
    Kentucky, throng thy leaguered coasts,
    And on the issue of the strife
    Hang peace and liberty and life;
    All that the storied past endears,
    And all the hopes of coming years;
    The startled world looks on the field.
    Thou canst not fly--thou dar’st not yield--
    Then strike! and make thy foeman feel
    Thy triply consecrated steel,
    And with or on thy shining shield
    Return, Kentucky, from the field.

    Strike! though the battle’s dead be strown
    O’er land and wave from zone to zone;
    Strike! though the gulf of human blood
    Roll o’er thee like the primal flood.
    Treason at home--beyond the sea--
    Its ally, ancient tyranny,
    Democracy’s relentless foe,
    Aim at thy heart their deadliest blow;
    Freedom’s last hope remains with thee,
    Oh, army of democracy;
    Then lead thy martial hosts abroad
    In the grand panoply of God,
    And with or on thy shining shield,
    Return, Kentucky, from the field.

    Wave, banners, wave, and let the sky
    Glow with your flashing wings on high;
    There’s music in each rustling fold
    Sweeter than minstrel ever told;
    Oh, who that ever heard the story
    Of all our dead who fell in glory,
    Still pressing where the starry light
    Streamed like a meteor o’er the fight,
    Till their expiring bosoms poured
    The red libation of the sword,
    Would leave Kentucky now, or thrust
    Her beaming forehead in the dust,
    Where treason’s reptiles writhe and hiss
    Like fiends shut out from Eden’s bliss?
    Better the freeman’s lowliest grave
    Than golden fetters of a slave;
    Then with or on thy shining shield,
    Return, Kentucky, from the field.

    If bribed by lust of power or gold
    Thy country’s welfare thou hast sold,
    Iscariot-like thy name shall be
    In Freedom’s dark Gethsemane;
    Disgrace and fell remorse shall plow
    Eternal furrows o’er thy brow;
    By angels, men, and fiends abhorred,
    Like Judas who betrayed his Lord.
    Outcast at home--across the sea
    Shunned like a leper thou shalt be,
    No spring shall slake thy burning thirst,
    The fire shall shun thee as accursed
    Day shall be cheerless--no repose
    At night thy swollen eye shall close--
    Lift to indignant Heaven thine eye,
    Curse God in black despair, and die!
    Kentucky, hast thou son so base,
    Thy fame unsullied would disgrace?
    Attaint his blood, disown his race,
    His line, his very name efface.
    Then charge! thy grand battalions free
    From all attaint of treachery--
    Charge on thy foes! make all the air
    Vocal with freedom’s holiest prayer,
    And with or on thy shining shield,
    Return, Kentucky, from the field!

    State of the “Dark and Bloody Ground,”
    The trumpet peals its final sound
    Down every mountain height arrayed
    Comes thundering on the long brigade;
    By every valley, pass, and river,
    Sabres and bayonets flash and quiver;
    Shame to the faithless son who falters
    When impious hands assail their altars,
    And fill each fount of happiness
    With waves of woe and bitterness;
    The dead their august shades present
    By Frankfort’s Battle Monument;
    Not now their souls can be at rest,
    Though in the Islands of the Blest--
    “Remember us,” their voices cry,
    “When comes the hour of conflict nigh,”
    And with or on thy shining shield,
    Return, Kentucky, from the field.



          CONFIRMATION AT ST. ANDREW’S.

[TO AGNES, LOUISVILLE.]


    I send this morning, Agnes dear,
      A white and fragrant flower,
    Emblem of maiden Hope and Love,
      In Confirmation’s hour.
    O, may the blessings which descend
      This moment on thy head
    On thy pure virgin heart and soul
      Like precious fragrance shed.

    I in life’s evening gloaming walk,
      Thou in the morning bright,
    Night’s blossoms I unfolding see,
      Thou the Auroral light--
    Yet all my heart in sympathy
      Attends thy morning dreams,
    For well I know the bitterness
      Of life’s delusive streams.

    A morning calm, a storm at eve,
      At morn we joy, ere night we grieve:
    So when the falling April showers,
      Bringing the joy of birds and flowers,
    ’Neath the quick brush of golden sun
      Catch rainbow colors one by one,
    The liquid gems quick fade away
      In dismal vapors cold and gray.

    Lo, Juliet’s girlish bridal bed
      With funeral flowers is quickly spread
    Ere the brief marriage vows are said.
      Sleeping in Capulet’s vault below
    Her wedding night with Romeo.
      Not “True Love’s Course” alone, but Man’s,
    Never ran smooth since Time began,
    Even ’mid the thunder shouts of friends
      McKinley’s breast the bullet rends.

    Wisdom, Wealth, Pleasure, Glory, Power,
      Made Judah’s king rejoice:
    Song, dance, and wine flowed free,--“Now comes
      God’s judgment!” spoke a voice,
    For earth is vain and life is frail
      Since first the world began;
    To fear and serve the living God
      Is the whole lot of man.
    Drink then, sweet Agnes, from the Fount
      Of Christ’s Eternal Truth,
    Till He shall bear thee o’er Death’s stream
      To everlasting Youth.



          THE CHRISTMAS FLOWER.

ON A FLORAL CARD.


    Far sweeter than the rose
    Which all the year round blows
      On Cashmere’s fragrant bosom,
    Is the fair flower which grows
    Amid December snows;--
      ’Tis friendship’s Christmas blossom.

    Its loving arms expanding,
    The Christmas cross is standing,
      The guide-post of the ages,
    To point to realms of glory
    And charm with simple story
      The children and the sages.

    Red rose and pallid lily,
    Pansy and daffodilly,
      Chrysanthemum and myrtle,
    Around the cross are clinging
    With wooing and sweet singing
      Of nightingale and turtle.

    The frozen Arctic splinter
    Shot from the bow of winter
      Will lose its power to harm us,
    While dreams of childhood’s Christmas,
    ’Twixt heaven and earth an isthmus,
      In nightly visions charm us.

    The angry gale may shatter
    Sweet Cashmere’s rose and scatter
      Its leaves o’er vale and river;
    The Christmas flower shall thrive
    As long as Love shall live,
      Forever and forever!



          TO THE SOLDIERS OF GENERAL DUMONT’S COMMAND.[E]

NASHVILLE, TENN., 1862.


    Ye soldiers of the Union
      With holiest valor fired,
    To shield the land whose sacred cause
      Your father’s souls inspired--
    Strike at yon black rebellion,
      Like a thunderbolt of dread,
    For the safety of the living
      And the memory of the dead!

    Bright Banner of the Union!
      By beauty’s fingers wrought,
    Around the world thy lesson
      Of glory has been taught.
    It tells of deathless battle-fields,
      To fame and freedom dear,
    And speaks of peace and happiness
      To man’s enraptured ear.

    Bright altar of the Union!
      Around thy spotless shrine,
    We swear disunion ne’er shall touch
      Thy offering divine!
    For our dead would sleep dishonored
      And the living have no hope,
    If in rebellion’s starless night
      Our land were doomed to grope.

    Charge, soldiers of the Union,
      In truth’s eternal might,
    Ye strike not for the lust of power,
      But liberty and right.
    The present and the Future plead--
      The past full well ye know--
    Strike home as your forefathers struck
      And Heaven will guide the blow!



          THE TWO GORDONS.

Dedicated to Mrs. Anna M. D. Gordon, Medical Missionary at Mungeli,
India.

    “Fear no more the heat o’ the sun,
      Nor the furious winter’s rages;
    Thou thy worldly task has done,
      Home art gone, and ta’en thy wages.
    Golden lads and girls all must,
    As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.”

   --General Gordon’s epitaph, from “Imogen’s Dirge,” in
    Cymbeline.

    General George Gordon, Khartoum, Egypt, January 26, 1885.
    Reverend E. M. Gordon, Hopkinsville, Ky., June 2, 1908.


    In the mystic land of Egypt,
      In the streets of old Khartoum,
    O’er the grave of martyred Gordon
      Does the rose of England bloom;
    By Mahdi, the false prophet,
      Borne down in hopeless strife,
    The Christian hero Gordon
      Laid down his priceless life.

    Thou Circean Cleopatra,
      Of legendary Nile,
    Luring to death the Roman Prince
      By thy pernicious smile
    A wine-inflamed and sensuous girl,
    Frenzied by passion’s giddy whirl,
    Thou once dissolved and drank a pearl
    Inflamed by bacchanal applause,
    Unworthy of a sovereign’s cause.
    Hadst thou the pearl which Gordon found--
    The pearl of boundless price--
    The healing drink had cleansed thy soul
    Like Magdalen’s sacrifice.
    Egypt redeemed had hailed the morn
    To a new life forever born,

[Illustration: REV. E. M. GORDON

His wife, Anna M. D. Gordon, Missionaries at Mungeli, India, and
daughter]

    And in thy glittering diadem
    Had shone the Cross--the hallowed gem
    Worn by the Babe of Bethlehem,
    Nor Africa had sent her fettered slaves
    To fatal fields and mines and Middle Passage graves.

    From the mystic land of India,
      In the flower of stalwart manhood,
    Another Gordon came--
      Counsellor, preacher, teacher--
    The foster son of Hopkinsville,
      Fearless and without blame;
    No gem in India’s richest mines
      Shot forth a purer flame.

    India’s best civic honors
      He calmly put aside--
    “I serve the Man of Galilee,
      Who upon Calvary died.
    Nor wealth, nor fame, nor earthly prize
      From Him shall me divide,
    For I am bidden a chosen guest
      To the Lamb’s holy marriage feast
    To stand by Heaven’s own bride,
      And I wear the rose of Sharon,
    As I stand by my Saviour’s side.”--
      O Hopkinsville! Thy foster son,
    Priest, teacher, the poor leper’s friend,
      Is thy eternal pride!

    A yawning gulf once sundered
      Rome’s Forum--’twas Jove’s will;
    Quoth the high priest, “Rome’s dearest gift
      Only the gulf can fill!”
    Leap, Curtius, on thy frantic steed,
      In panoply and plume,
    Down the dark gulf--it closes up,
      And thou hast met thy doom;
    High in Olympic halls great Jove
      For the martyred youth makes room.

    Immortal sacrifice! thy fame
    Shall fly o’er every sea;
    The loud seas shout to every land:
    “Great souls are more precious than golden sand,
    Or all the pearls on the ocean strand,
    And they sparkle as gems on God’s right hand;
    Death swallowed Curtius, but death itself
      Is swallowed in victory.”
    And Curtius and the Gordons twain,
    And all who in duty’s strife are slain,
      Shall live immortally,
    And the harps of love shall sound their praise
    In the choir above
      In sweetest melody.

    Immortal is the sacred prize
    Of him who for his fellow dies.
    Leap--not to death--a leap for life
    Was thine--far, far above the strife
    And stress of Earth’s uncertain life--
    Ungrateful oft to truest worth,
    Too oft the rabble’s hate or scorn or mirth.

    Curtius! thou bearest not the sword or shield
    Of bloody war, but to the psalms
    Of poets’ harps thou wavest the palms
    Which demi-gods in glory bear,
    Walking the green Elysian fields
    Forever free from toil or care,
    Chanting a soul-inspiring song,
    While pilgrims to thy shrine the Eternal City throng.

    Listen, O missionary brothers,
    The mighty Christian brotherhood
    Who toil in surplice, gown, or hood,
    The rulers of each English-speaking nation
    Proclaim the watchword of Salvation;
    Monarchs become Evangel-nursing mothers;
    The doves that perch
    Within the belfry of the Church
    Turn carrier-doves; their rustling wings
    Fan every breeze with song; soft sings
    Victoria’s low and gentle voice,
    In tones which make mankind rejoice;
    Of India’s Empress, England’s Queen,
    Unsullied Sovereign she of brow serene,
    Proclaims the law of Christ, her realm’s foundation.
    Gladstone repeats the lofty proclamation:
    England’s star-bannered colony,
    Home of the upright, brave and free,
    The States so wisely ruled by Washington--
    Like England lit by never-setting sun--
    Send from Columbia’s far-winding shore
    The peaceful words to Hague of Theodore;
    The Rose of Sharon’s fragrant hedge
    Shall guard our borders, surest pledge
    Of universal lasting peace,
    And love shall reign and bloody wars shall cease.

    From Khartoum’s streets red with his blood
    Went Gordon’s soul to greet his God;
    Long had he served his Master well--
    What mattered where or how he fell?
    Thou, Gordon, canst not miss the way--
    Go easily to Eden’s day,
    Death’s trackless passage through the air
    Goes straight to Heaven from everywhere.
    Or Hopkinsville or old Khartoum,
    Glorious alike the good man’s doom.
    Wide is Christ’s many-mansioned room,
    And endless Eden’s fadeless bloom,
    Rescued by Calvary’s mighty cost--
    Shall not one precious soul be lost.

      *       *       *       *       *

    Sleep quietly, O pilgrim guest;
    Let no ill dreams disturb thy rest.
    Thou hast blessed many, surely thou art blessed;
    The merciful shall sleep with peaceful breast,
    So summer twilights slumber in the West.

      *       *       *       *       *

    A kindly voice and tapping at the door
    Salute him in the early morning;
    Lovingly spake woman’s urgent warning--
    “Refresh thee for thy journey--the time is brief.”
    Too brief, alas, for us! but on that shore
    Where time is counted by the clock no more
    Thou art divine and Death’s sharp shock is o’er--
    O the dread silence and its bitter grief!
    Speak low--thou canst not wake him--knock no more!
    For him shall many bleeding hearts be sore.
    He hears not, for his love-illumined eyes,
    Sealed to Earth’s scenes, open in other skies,
    High in his Master’s Court in Paradise.
    Love’s magic lyre is mute,
    But yesterday his spirit-stirring voice,
    Distinct and clear and mellow as a flute,
    Made our enraptured hearts in love rejoice.
    The accents of his tuneful tongue
    Sounded like harp by angel strung
    To melodies of Eden sung,
    On which his ravished audience hung:
    Chautauqua’s white and fluttering salute
    Shall greet him nevermore--that wondrous voice is mute.
    Far India’s pangs and perils now are o’er;
    The fordless midnight torrent’s threat’ning roar,
    Plague, famine, cobra’s fang and tiger’s leap,
    In sunless jungle or Himalayan steep,
    Confront the intrepid soul no more
    Nor vainly menace him with scath
    As he pursued the Galilean path
    To help the friendless sick or starving poor,
    For India’s wretched succor to secure;
    Blessed Virgin, see another son!
    Like Him of Calvary his course has run;
    Greeting of friends and voice of loving wife,
    The applause of eager listening crowds,
    Rending the air as tempests rend the clouds,
    Are naught to him God calls from earthly strife
    To rapturous peace of Eden’s blissful life.

    Two nations in one common grief
      Lament the Gordons twain;
    Both perished in the flower of life,
      Swift-stricken, but not in vain;
    One in the storm of battle,
    One in his quiet room--
      Clasp hands o’er your untimely slain,
    Hopkinsville and old Khartoum.
      Ye both have found eternal fame,
      Through magic power of a noble name.

    Now face to face, and hand in hand,
      They talk in blest repose,
    ’Neath skies which know no deadly heat,
      Nor winter’s bitter snows;
    In the opulence of Eden,
      Where Life’s shining river flows,
    On the verdant banks of the River of Life,
      Where the tree of Calvary grows,
    Where Christ Himself is Gardener,
    Creator, Shepherd, Pardoner,
    And the sweetest flower in Heaven’s bower
      Is Duty’s thornless rose.

June 3, 1908.



          THE WESTFIELD HOME.

(DEDICATED TO MRS. GROVER CLEVELAND, “WESTFIELD,” PRINCETON, N. J.)


    The clamor of the clans is overawed,
    To mourn the dead made perfect with his God.
    Yet mourn we not the statesman’s death alone,
    His hearthstone’s glory far exceeds a throne.

    Though crowned with civic honors is his name,
    Husband and Father have a dearer fame;
    Glory attends the leader to his rest,
    But most she mourns the man who knew him best.

    Nor swiftest wind, nor farthest ocean’s foam,
    Visits a spot so dear to man as home;
    O, you who mourn an upright President,
    Mourn with a stricken wife in her lament.

    Lament a loving husband, nobler name
    Than King or Czar or Emperor can claim.
    Love, not oppression, built for her a throne--
    The tribute, gladly paid, was love alone.

    She needs no hollow pomp of heraldry;
    God gave the wife the greatest majesty.
    Pure as Madonna, whose celestial blush
    Glows in the tints of Raphael’s magic brush,
    Gems of the heart and jewels of the mind
    Enriched the wife and all her acts refined,
    And with a native majesty endued
    “America’s uncrowned Queen of Womanhood,”[F]
    For Home is ever woman’s grandest sphere,
    Whose fruitful virtues make her memory dear,
    While vice and ruin curse the falling land,
    Where childhood lacks the mother’s plastic hand.

    Through many changing years of good and ill,
    The name of Westfield shall be honored still.
    Pure homes compose the country’s best defense,
    The strongest, promptest, and of least expense,
    And round its coasts a surer guard will keep
    Than camps or forts or navies on the deep.



          THE HARP IN THE AIR;

OR

A NIGHT WITH GERARDI IN SEELBACH’S ROOF-GARDEN.

(A Family Epistle from a Girl full of “Grace” to “Big Sis” in Cherokee
Park.)


        Dear Sis--
    You’re losing fun galore, rusticating just at present,
    Although fresh eggs and buttermilk and country fare are pleasant.
    Music and mirth are in the air--not razors keen and sharp--
    ’Tis the touch of old Gerardi, a-twanging on his harp.

    Love rages in his silver flute; love pines upon his viol;
    Love pleads his cause with eloquence which lists to no denial;
    And he or she who will not bow to Cupid’s charming mother,
    I set him down a dullard--if you praise him, you’re another.

    The crowds keep sailing upward upon the elevators,
    And the boys are very, very small and the girls all sweet potatoes;
    There are taffetas and mousselines, and laces and illusion,
    Like all the rainbows since the flood, crushed in one grand confusion.

    Gerardi’s high on Seelbach’s Roof, with harp and flute and fiddle;
    Women divine crowd thickly round, and the devil’s in the middle.
    Did you ever hear a harpist like the Florentine, pray tell me?
    Like some sweet mocking-bird he soars, and his notes with
        rapture swell me.

    The moon and stars shine bright aloft; “on such a night as this”
    Lorenzo fled with Jessica, and kisses rhymed with bliss,
    “As far as Belmont”--this hanging bower hath treasure
    Of beauteous girls whose voice and glance are redolent of pleasure.

    The waiters hurry, skurry, with ring and clink of glasses,
    But the sparkling wines flow dimmer than the laughing eyes of lasses,
    And the myriad golden planets which glitter in yon skies
    Are eclipsed by eyes which soften at Gerardi’s melodies.

    Sore heart of baffled hopes, against consolation proof,
    Hast thou found life’s gilded web of rotten warp and woof?
    Drink deep of the nepenthe of woman’s witching tongue,
    And hear the Florentine repeat the songs which Petrarch sung.

    He culls the flowers of Paradise and squeezes their aroma
    With “Kentucky Home” and “Hearts and Flowers” and heavenly “La Paloma.”
    The very stars stoop down to kiss this old Italian wizard,
    While I--I just feel weak and faint and hollow round the gizzard.

    I soar aloft among the stars, inhaling the aroma
    Of the silver songs of Florence and Madrid’s “La Paloma,”
    And “Love Me and the World is Mine” in melody divine
    Breathes from Gerardi’s harp-strings like bouquet of Roman wine.

    And Weber’s “Invitation”--he pours it like old wine--
    “Come right on in, oh stranger! the water’s very fine!”
    And oh! my willing soul would stay ’mid girls and song like this
    And dream and sigh itself away in everlasting bliss.

    And there, within my vision’s range, I see a bearded “Colonel,”
    With jingling spurs--he fears no peers--it is the Courier-Journal.
    He mounts his foam-flecked war-steed, so spirited and gay;
    He’s going for a whirl to-night, around the “Milky Way.”

    He sings the old camp-meeting songs of Democratic Zion
    And Salvation Army melodies in praise of Billy Bryan.
    And from New England’s silver springs to the glaciers of Alaska
    He calls on all to march behind bold Billy of Nebraska.

    I guess he’ll skim its richest cream for Democratic butter,
    While many an unhorsed rival lies cussin’ in the gutter.
    His paragraphs are golden lamps which flare around a palace,
    And he pours the wine of genius from an overflowing chalice.

    Strong-limbed, sound-winded “Dark Horse”--he’s “bearded
        like a pard”--(Good-bye, old Pard!)
    An expert he in “sharps and flats”--the match of old Gerardi;
    Both artists, those old boys, “by gum!” of copious variety--
    Age can not wither, nor custom stale, their infinite--sobriety.



          DEDICATION HYMN.

SUNG AT THE REOPENING OF THE METHODIST CHURCH, HOPKINSVILLE, KY.,
JANUARY 31, 1902.


    Jesus, this earthly shrine once more
      Opes wide in majesty;
    The temple of our hearts anew
      We consecrate to thee.
    Redemption’s gates wide open swing,
    All hail, thou Galilean King!

    Faith laid the eternal corner-stone,
      Hope built aloft the tower,
    And Love shall call thy children, Lord,
      At worship’s solemn hour.
    Redemption’s glorious song they sing,
    All hail, Life’s re-awakening Spring!

    Here shall the Gospel’s splendor light
      The Christian’s upward way,
    From mortal to immortal life
      Unto the perfect day.
    The flowers and fruits of love we bring,
    All hail, Life’s re-awakening Spring!

    Bring, Holy Dove, to this pure shrine
      The olive-branch of peace,
    The perfect fruits of righteousness,
      Love, joy, and rich increase.
    Through Heaven’s blue vault her armies sing,
    All hail, Life’s re-awakening Spring!



          LYING IN STATE AT PRINCETON.


    What means this sudden hush of grief,
    O, brother Americans?
    This solemn silence, deep though brief,
    ’Twixt the mustering of the clans--
    Twixt Denver and Chicago--
    The shouting of the captains
    And the thunder of the bands?
    Some for Taft are shouting
    And some for Bryan cheer;
    Both pause to weep for the mighty dead
    At Princeton on his bier.
    The solemn shadow of a pall
    Darkens each great convention hall,
    While patriots, and spoilsmen, too,
    The great quadrennial fight renew.
    All bring their wreathes of laurel leaf
    With tears of deep and honest grief;
    Roosevelt and Bryan both in reverence stand
    Beside that coffined form, once mighty in the land.

    Shout, patriots and partisans,
    Each for your favorite son,
    But the people mourn with unfeigned grief
    For the chief whose race is run;
    No message has he for the Senate,
    No office to give away,
    But seldom the living wield the power
    Of him who is lifeless clay--
    It is as if the sun went down
    In the splendor of the day.

    Mourn, O, Venezuela,
    With long and loud lament,
    Lay in the dust thy beaming brow
    And weep with vesture rent;
    Remember how he stood for thee,
    Prepared to strike the blow,
    Teaching to South America
    The wisdom of Monroe:
    “Europe’s houses of royal blood
    Who claim a throne divine
    Shall forge no chains for freemen
    Upon Columbia’s shrine.”

    Champion of all the sons of toil,
    He crushed the Anarch’s serpent coil,
    Made dark sedition quake with awe
    And taught it reverence for law.
    In cottage, court, or Senate hall,
    He held one rule--Be just to all.
    But still his heart-felt, chief desire
    Centered around his household fire,
    Where loving children, honored wife,
    Dear idols of domestic life,
    Diffused a cheering fragrance round
    And made of Westland hallowed ground.

    “Four years more of Grover!”
    Was once a campaign song,
    The battle-hymn of millions
    In cadence loud and strong;
    Sang you, O minstrel, “Four years more”?
    Would you build a cage for the eagle to soar?
    “Four years more of Grover!”
    History shall proudly tell
    He won and wore his laurels well;
    “Four years more”--is all then over?
    Is all this anxious toil and strife
    But the short span of an infant’s life?
    Upon its nurse’s lap an hour to dandle
    And then--alas, the pity! Out, brief candle!

    O friend, you do your manhood wrong,
    You do the noble dead one wrong,
    This just man’s, this wise statesman’s life
    Is nobler than the mimic strife.
    Of jesters in a Carnival,
    The painted clowns in mimic brawl,
    With wooden swords and buffoon song,
    With grinning madness rife,
    Driving the hopeless suicide
    To poison or the knife.
    I dare not look upon this form,
    From which the breath has fled,
    And say no life again shall warm
    The dust of Cleveland dead.

    But the high recording Angel
    Sublimely calls above,
    In eloquent words of love,
    “A longer and a nobler date
    Is the man’s who at Westland lies in state,
    For Fame proclaims him truly great,
    Far, far above all earthly fate--
    The tumult and dust of mortal fate.
    The verdict of posterity,
    Written on a people’s heart, shall be:
    “No brief Olympiad can measure
    His fame who is a nation’s treasure,
    And Cleveland’s years in Heaven shall be
    A blissful immortality.”

    And from the far heights of the starry sky,
    Higher than Roman eagles fly,
    Comes the sweet echo, “Immortality!”
    And golden comets blazing through the spheres
    Of Heaven’s illimitable years
    Repeat the echo--“Immortality!”
    And in my ears still ringing seem
    The dulcet measures of a dream--
    “Virtue shall never die.”
    In the pure gleam of God’s own eye
    It slakes its thirst from the clear stream
    Of Immortality.



          IN THE MORNING.

[ANNIE MCREA, PADUCAH, 1902.]


    I looked at the hills in the morning,
      Sweet valleys lay smiling between.
    Then I lifted my soul to the Blessed,
      Whose love in His mercies are seen.
    The sun brought a flush as of roses
      To the green earth, and Heaven so blue,
    But a cloud hid the beautiful sunlight,
      And the sparkle died out of the dew.

    I prayed in my heart to the Savior
      That His love might illumine my way,
    That the sunshine and joy of His presence
      Would brighten each wearisome day;
    That strength for each duty be given,
      And each action be prompted by love,
    Till at last by the brightness of Heaven
      I should dwell with the angels above.

    The joy that to me has been given
      In language can never be told,
    And my dream of the glory of Heaven
      Is of Christ in the gateway of gold;
    And I pray that no cloud may o’ershadow
      The faith that my heart holds as true,
    Like the darkening clouds in the morning,
      When the sparkle died out of the dew.


FOOTNOTES:

 [A] McCool was shot the same night by Major Bassett’s men. He was a
 ruffian of the lowest type, and had terrorized his neighborhood for
 years.

 [B] The fourteen lines following are of course a later interpolation.

 [C] Paul Kruger, the unfortunate President of the Transvaal or South
 African Republic, offered $4,000,000 in diamonds to Leo XIII for his
 influence in the war with the British Government which overthrew his
 reign. The proffer was refused.

 [D]

    “This eloquent appeal stirs the soul like the soaring notes
        of the bugle.”
                                                --PRENTICE.


 [E] On a flag presentation by citizens of Nashville to the troops.

 [F] Honorable James A. McKenzie, late eloquent Congressman from
 the second Kentucky district, thus beautifully characterized Mrs.
 Cleveland.





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