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Title: Bramble Brae
Author: Bridges, Robert
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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                           BOOKS IN PROSE BY

                            ROBERT BRIDGES

                                (DROCH)


                          OVERHEARD IN ARCADY

     Dialogues about Howells, James, Aldrich, Stockton, Davis, Crawford,
     Kipling, Meredith, Stevenson, Barrie. Illustrated, _Fourth
     Edition_, $1.25.


          SUPPRESSED CHAPTERS, AND OTHER BOOKISHNESS

     CONTENTS: Suppressed Chapters--Arcadian Letters--Novels that
     Everybody Read--The Literary Partition of Scotland--Friends in
     Arcady--Arcadian Opinions. _Third Edition_, $1.25.



                             Bramble Brae



                             Bramble Brae

                                  By
                            Robert Bridges
                               (_Droch_)

                               New York
                        Charles Scribner’s Sons
                                 1902

                          Copyright, 1902, by
                        CHARLES SCRIBNER’S SONS

                        _Published March, 1902_

                          THE DE VINNE PRESS



               To my Father


    You called the old farm Bramble Brae,
    And loved it till your hair was gray
    And footsteps faltered while you trod
    The sloping upland bright with sod.
    It blossomed in your quiet life
    With gowans from the Neuk of Fife;
    And while you walked the waving wheat
    You dreamed of heather and the peat.
    You’ve gane awa! My spirit yearns
    To hear you read the songs of Burns;
    The melody I’ve faintly caught
    Is just the lesson that you taught.
    If any hear your gentle voice
    In verse of mine, then I’ll rejoice
    And sing along my stumbling way,
    “He’s home again in Bramble Brae!”



CONTENTS


BETWEEN TWO WORLDS

                                                                    PAGE

THE UNILLUMINED VERGE                                                  1

FROM ONE LONG DEAD                                                     4

FATHER TO MOTHER                                                       6

THE CHILD TO THE FATHER                                                8

A PRAYER OF OLD AGE                                                   10

THE RHONE GLACIER--SUNSET                                             14

JAMES MCCOSH                                                          17

LE BONHEUR DE CE MONDE (_Plantin_)                                    18

THE HAPPINESS OF THIS WORLD (_Translation_)                           19

R. L. S.                                                              20

MCGIFFEN                                                              22

AT THE FARRAGUT STATUE                                                25

NEWS FROM A MISSING LINER                                             27

FOR A CLASSMATE DEAD AT SEA                                           29


BRAMBLE BRAE

A TOAST TO OUR NATIVE LAND                                            33

THE TOWERS OF PRINCETON                                               34

ROOSEVELT IN WYOMING                                                  36

UNCLE SAM TO KIPLING                                                  38

A NEW YEAR’S WISH FOR THOSE WHO WRITE                                 40

TO CHLOE                                                              42

TO THE ELF ON MY CALENDAR                                             43

CAPRICE                                                               44

RETROSPECT                                                            46

IN THE CROWD                                                          47

REMEMBRANCE                                                           48

OFF FORT HAMILTON IN SUMMER                                           49

OVER THE FERRY                                                        50

BRAMBLE BRAE IN OCTOBER                                               52


WITH FLOWERS

ON A SPRAY OF HEATHER                                                 57

THE HOTHOUSE VIOLET SPEAKS                                            59

A SONG                                                                61

WHAT THE FLOWERS SAID                                                 63

DIANA’S VALENTINE                                                     65

WITH SOME BIRTHDAY ROSES                                              67


WRITTEN IN BOOKS

IN A VOLUME OF HERRICK                                                71

IN “SHAKESPEARE’S SONNETS”                                            73

IN “SONNETS FROM THE PORTUGUESE”                                      74

IN GEORGE MEREDITH’S POEMS                                            75

IN “THE KING’S LYRICS”                                                76

THE SONG OF TEMBINOKA, KING OF APEMAMA                                77

IN THE MANNER OF KIPLING                                              79

FOR A NOVEL OF HALL CAINE’S                                           80

IN “HELBECK OF BANNISDALE”                                            81

A CHRISTMAS GREETING                                                  82

IN NICHOLSON’S “ALMANAC OF SPORTS”                                    83

IN NICHOLSON’S “CITY TYPES”                                           84

IN “THE GOLDEN TREASURY”                                              85

A VALENTINE                                                           86

IN “HALLO, MY FANCY!”                                                 87

THE BOOK SPEAKS                                                       88

IN HERFORD’S VERSES                                                   89

IN A BOOK OF GIBSON’S DRAWINGS                                        90

IN A VOLUME OF MISS GUINEY’S POEMS                                    91

IN “BARBARA FRIETCHIE--A PLAY”                                        92

TO C. H. M. AND H. H. M.                                              94

TO MY MOTHER                                                          96

A BOOK’S SOLILOQUY                                                    97

ENVOY                                                                 99



          BETWEEN TWO WORLDS

    On the dark decline of the unillumined
    verge between the two worlds.
                  _George Meredith._



       THE UNILLUMINED VERGE

          TO A FRIEND DYING


    They tell you that Death’s at the turn of the road,
      That under the shade of a cypress you’ll find him,
    And, struggling on wearily, lashed by the goad
      Of pain, you will enter the black mist behind him.

    I can walk with you up to the ridge of the hill,
      And we’ll talk of the way we have come through the valley;
    Down below there a bird breaks into a trill,
      And a groaning slave bends to the oar of his galley.

    You are up on the heights now, you pity the slave--
      “Poor soul, how fate lashes him on at his rowing!
    Yet it’s joyful to live, and it’s hard to be brave
      When you watch the sun sink and the daylight is going.”

    We are almost there--our last walk on this height--
      I must bid you good-by at that cross on the mountain.
    See the sun glowing red, and the pulsating light
      Fill the valley, and rise like the flood in a fountain!

    And it shines in your face and illumines your soul;
      We are comrades as ever, right here at your going;
    You may rest if you will within sight of the goal,
      While I must return to my oar and the rowing.

    We must part now? Well, here is the hand of a friend;
      I will keep you in sight till the road makes its turning
    Just over the ridge within reach of the end
      Of your arduous toil--the beginning of learning.

    You will call to me once from the mist, on the verge,
      “Au revoir!” and “good night!” while the twilight is creeping
    Up luminous peaks, and the pale stars emerge?
      Yes, I hear your faint voice: “This is rest, and like sleeping!”



          FROM ONE LONG DEAD


    What! _You_ here in the moonlight and thinking of me?
      Is it you, O my comrade, who laughed at my jest?
    But you wept when I told you I longed to be free,
      And you mourned for a while when they laid me at rest.

    I’ve been dead all these years! and to-night in your heart
      There’s a stir of emotion, a vision that slips--
    It’s _my_ face in the moonlight that gives you a start,
      It’s my name that in joy rushes up to your lips!

    Yes, I’m young, oh, so young, and so little I know!
      A mere child that is learning to walk and to run;
    While I grasp at the shadows that wave to and fro
      I am dazzled a bit by the light of the Sun.

    I am learning the lesson, I try to grow wise,
      But at night I am baffled and worn by the strife;
    I am humbled, and then there’s an impulse to rise,
      And a voice whispers, “Onward and win! This is Life!”

    And the Force that is drawing me up to the Height,
      That inspires me and thrills me,--each day a new birth,--
    Is the Force that to Chaos said, “Let there be Light!”
      And it gave us sweet glimpses of Heaven on Earth.

    It is Love! and you know it and feel it, my Soul!
      For you love me in spite of the grave and its bars.
    And it moves the whole Universe on to its goal,
      And it draws frail Humanity up to the stars!



          FATHER TO MOTHER


    This is our child, Dear--flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone;
    Here is the end of our youth, and now we begin to atone.
    Now we do feel what their love was--those who have reared us and taught;
    Now do we know of the treasures that neither are sold nor bought.
    Here is the joy of the Race--joy that must grow out of pain;
    Here is the last of our Self--now we are links in the chain.
    Body of yours and mine no more is the measure of grief--
    All that _he_ suffers is ours--and increased while we cry for relief;
    Yea, for our boy, our Beloved, we’ll yearn through the beckoning years--
    Toil for him, laugh with him, struggle, and pour out the
             fountain of tears!



          THE CHILD TO THE FATHER


    Father, it’s your love that safely guides me,
      Always it’s around me, night and day;
    It shelters me, and soothes, but never chides me:
      Yet, father, there’s a shadow in my way.

    All the day, my father, I am playing
      Under trees where sunbeams dance and dart--
    But often just at night when I am praying
      I feel this awful hunger in my heart.

    Father, there is something--it has missed me;
      I’ve felt it through my little days and years;
    And even when you petted me and kissed me
      I’ve cried myself to sleep with burning tears.

    To-day I saw a child and mother walking;
      I caught a gentle shining in her eye,
    And music in her voice when she was talking--
      Oh, father, is it _that_ that makes me cry?

    Oh, never can I put my arms around her,
      Or never cuddle closer in the night;
    Mother, oh, my mother! I’ve not found her--
      I look for her and cry from dark to light!



          A PRAYER OF OLD AGE


    O Lord, I am so used to all the byways
      Throughout Thy devious world,
    The little hill-paths, yea, and the great highways
      Where saints are safely whirled!
    And there are crooked ways, forbidden pleasures,
      That lured me with their spell;
    But there I lingered not, and found no treasures--
      Though in the mire I fell.

    And now I’m old and worn, and, scarcely seeing
      The beauties of Thy work,
    I catch faint glimpses of the shadows fleeing
      Through valleys in the murk;
    Yet I can feel my way--my mem’ry guides me;
      I bear the yoke and smile.
    I’m used to life, and nothing wounds or chides me;
      Lord, let me live awhile!

    And then, dear Lord, I still can feel the thrilling
      Of Nature in the Spring--
    The uplift of Thy hills, the song-birds trilling,
      The lyric joy they bring.
    I’m not too old to see the regal beauty
      Of moon and stars and sun;
    Nature can still reveal to me my duty
      Till my long task is done.

    O Lord, to me the pageant is entrancing--
      The march of States and Kings!
    I keenly watch the human race advancing
      And see Man master Things:
    From him who read the secret of the thunder
      And made the lightning kind,
    Down to this marvel--all the growing wonder
      Of force controlled by Mind.

    And this dear land of ours, the freeman’s Nation!
      Lord, let me live and see
    Fulfilment of our fathers’ aspiration,
      When each man’s really free!
    When all the strength and skill that move the mountains,
      And pile up riches great,
    Shall sweeten patriotism at its fountains
      And purify the State!

    But there are closer ties than these that bind me
      And make me long to stay
    And linger in the dusk where Death may find me
      On Thine own chosen day;
    There’s one who walks beside me in the gloaming
      And holds my faltering hand--
    Without her guidance I can make no homing
      In any distant land.

    Some day when we are tired, like children playing,
      And wearied drop our toys--
    When all the work and burden of our staying
      Has mingled with our joys--
    With those we love around--our eyelids drooping,
      Too spent with toil to weep--
    Like some kind nurse o’er drowsy children stooping,
      Lord, take us home to sleep!



          THE RHONE GLACIER--SUNSET


    Like the uncounted years of God it rolls
    From out the sky. The light of heaven shines
    Upon its wrinkled brow, that seems a part
    Of that stupendous dome of boundless blue
    Where, like a pebble in the ocean depths,
    This little world is lost. The sparkling sun
    Plays gently in the deep green, icy clefts
    Like moonlight in the tender eyes of one
    Who looks to heaven to find her lover’s face.
    Silent, serene, implacable it stands--
    A mighty symbol of the Force that moved
    Across the surface of the youthful earth
    And scored the continents with valleys deep,
    As children write upon the yielding sand.
    Back to the dawn of things its lineage runs--
    Countless ages back to that bleak time
    When frightful monsters played upon the hills--
    Always the same, yet moving slowly onward,
    In heaven its head, its feet upon the world.
    The Rhone that trickles from the glacier’s edge--
    Makes valleys smile with grain and flower and fruit
    And turns the wheels that forge the tools of trade--
    Is but the lash with which the giant plays
    And spins the tops that swarm with struggling men.
    “What is Man, that Thou art mindful of him?”--
    This pleasure or this pain, this wealth or want,
    This tragic comedy we call our life!

    Across the meadows as the evening falls
    A shepherd drives his sheep, and fondly bears
    Above the rocky stream the weakling lamb;
    The children hear the father’s kindly voice
    And run to greet and cheer his late return,
    While from his humble cottage gleams a light.

    The sheep are nestled in their sheltering fold--
    The door springs open to a welcome cry,
    And all at last are safe within the Home.

    In cold and awful majesty it stands
    Against the darkening sky,--Force without warmth,
    Strength without passion.
                            But at the touch
    Of homely human ways its terrors flee
    And Force is swallowed up in Life with Love.



          JAMES McCOSH

            1811-1894


    Young to the end through sympathy with youth,
    Gray man of learning--champion of truth!
    Direct in rugged speech, alert in mind,
    He felt his kinship with all humankind,
    And never feared to trace development
    Of high from low--assured and full content
    That man paid homage to the Mind above,
    Uplifted by the “Royal Law of Love.”

    The laws of nature that he loved to trace
    Have worked, at last, to veil from us his face;
    The dear old elms and ivy-covered walls
    Will miss his presence, and the stately halls
    His trumpet-voice; while in their joys
    Sorrow will shadow those he called “my boys”!



          LE BONHEUR DE CE MONDE

(Copie d’un sonnet composé par Plantin au XVIe siècle.)


    Avoir une maiſon commode, propre & belle,
    Un jardin tapiſſé d’eſpaliers odorans,
    Des fruits, d’excellent vin, peu de train, peu d’enfans,
    Poſſeder ſeul, ſans bruit, une femme fidéle.
    N’avoir dettes, amour, ni procés, ni querelle,
    Ni de partage à faire avecque ſes parens,
    Se contenter de peu, n’eſpérer rien des Grands,
    Régler tous ſes deſſeins sur un juſte modéle.

    Vivre avecque franchiſe & ſans ambition,
    S’adonner ſans ſcrupule à la dévotion,
    Domter ſes paſſions, les rendre obéiſſantes.
    Conſerver l’eſprit libre, & le jugement fort,
    Dire ſon Chapelet en cultivant ſes entes,
    C’eſt attendre chez ſoi bien doucement la mort.



          THE HAPPINESS OF THIS WORLD

          FROM THE FRENCH OF PLANTIN


    To have a home, convenient for thy life,
      With fragrant fruit-walls in a garden fine,
      Some children, some retainers, and rare wine;
    To live serenely with thy faithful wife;
    To have no debts, nor quarrels, nor legal strife,
      Nor separation from dear kin of thine;
      Expecting nothing from the Great, to shine
    With modest light and just, where greed is rife.

    To live with freedom, yet to be devout,
    Ruling thy well-curbed passions--and without
      Ambition’s scourge to thwart thy regnant will;
    Truly to worship God with ardent breath
      Among His shrubs and trees on plain and hill--
    Thus pleasantly shalt thou at home wait Death.



          R. L. S.


    “_Where hath fleeting Beauty led?
    To the doorway of the dead._”
    All the way you followed her
    Tripping through the palms and fir;
    All the way around you flew
    Splendid spirits from the blue--
    Dreams and visions lightly caught
    In the meshes of your thought.
    What a glorious retinue
    Made that arduous chase with you!
    Half the world stood still to see
    Song and Fancy follow free
    At the waving of your wand--
    While the echoing hills respond
    To your voice.

                   And now the race
    Ends with your averted face;
    At full effort you have sped
    Through that doorway of the dead--
    But the hills and woods remain
    Peopled from your teeming brain!
    All that stately company
    Linger where their eyes may see
    Beauty fling the laurel o’er,
    At the closing of the door!

          From _Suppressed Chapters_.



                  McGIFFEN

          THE HERO COMING HOME

     His body was clad in his uniform of Captain in the Chinese Navy,
      and sent home to his mother at Washington, Pennsylvania.

                   _Associated Press._


    I lent him to my country,
      And he wore the Navy blue;
    I bade him do his duty,
      And he said he would be true.

        It’s home they say you’re coming--
          And it’s home you came to me
        When you wore your first blue jacket
          At the old Academy.
        And the neighbors said, “How handsome!
          What a sailor he will be!”
        But I only drew him closer
          In my coddling mother’s joy,
        And said, “Well, what’s a sailor?
          He’s my brave boy!”

    And then they told the story
      Of his courage in the fight--
    How he ruled a heathen war-ship
      And fought it with his might.

        It’s home he wrote his mother
          When the smoke had cleared away:
        “I can _see_--so don’t you worry--
          Though I’m riddled by the fray.”
        And the neighbors said, “How glorious!
          What a Hero is your son!
        The world is all a-talking
          Of the battle that he won!”
        I said, “Well, what’s a Hero?
          He’s my brave son!”

    And now to me he’s coming,
      And he wears a Captain’s bars;
    It’s a foreign nation’s uniform,
      But wrapped in Stripes and Stars.

        It’s home at last you’re coming,
          And it’s home at last to me.
        You’re a hero and immortal,
          And you fought to make men free.
        But your heart is cold within you
          And your dear eyes cannot see!
        They say, “Be strong, O mother;
          Proud laurels crown his head!”
        Alas, what’s left of glory?
          My boy, my boy is dead!



          AT THE FARRAGUT STATUE


    To live a hero, then to stand
      In bronze serene above the city’s throng;
    Hero at sea, and now on land
      Revered by thousands as they rush along;

    If these were all the gifts of fame--
      To be a shade amid alert reality,
    And win a statue and a name--
      How cold and cheerless immortality!

    But when the sun shines in the Square,
      And multitudes are swarming in the street,
    Children are always gathered there,
      Laughing and playing round the hero’s feet.

    And in the crisis of the game--
      With boyish grit and ardor it is played--
    You’ll hear some youngster call his name:
      “The Admiral--he never was afraid!”

    And so the hero daily lives,
      And boys grow braver as the Man they see!
    The inspiration that he gives
      Still helps to make them loyal, strong, and free!



          NEWS FROM A MISSING LINER

            TO A CONVALESCENT


    Crawling back to port again, half her cargo shifted,
      Just enough of fuel left to steam her to the pier;
    Plunging through an icy gale when the fog has lifted,
      Battered by the breakers, but her lights a-burning clear!

    Hope almost abandoned, days and nights she floundered--
      Nights when not a star was out and no sea-lights were near;
    All the world believed her lost; men despaired, but wondered
      How the liner could be wrecked and Kipling there to steer!

    Now she makes her harbor-lights, glides through seas enchanted--
      Whistles shrieking gayly and thousands at the pier;
    On the bridge the Captain, pale and worn--undaunted!
      “Welcome back to life again!” Hear the people cheer!



          FOR A CLASSMATE DEAD AT SEA

           (W. F. STOUTENBURGH)


    His voice was gentle and his eyes were kind;
      No one among us but did call him friend;
    Fond woman’s heart and student’s thoughtful mind
      Together in him did with fitness blend:
            And now he is no more!

    We blindly murmur at the bitter Fate
      That summoned him in other lands to roam;
    And when upon him Sickness wrought its hate
      Half round the world, it brought him almost home,
            To die when near our shore.

    We blindly murmur--but we only know
      Calm rests his body in old Ocean’s deeps;
    While we are groping in the mists below,
      Serene his soul on other, cloudless steeps--
            Forever--evermore.



            BRAMBLE BRAE



          A TOAST TO OUR NATIVE LAND


    Huge and alert, irascible yet strong,
    We make our fitful way ’mid right and wrong.
    One time we pour out millions to be free,
    Then rashly sweep an empire from the sea!
    One time we strike the shackles from the slaves,
    And then, quiescent, we are ruled by knaves.
    Often we rudely break restraining bars,
    And confidently reach out toward the stars.

    Yet under all there flows a hidden stream
    Sprung from the Rock of Freedom, the great dream
    Of Washington and Franklin, men of old
    Who knew that freedom is not bought with gold.
    This is the Land we love, our heritage,
    Strange mixture of the gross and fine, yet sage
    And full of promise--destined to be great.
    Drink to Our Native Land! God Bless the State!



          THE TOWERS OF PRINCETON

             FROM THE TRAIN


    There they are! above the green trees shining--
      Old towers that top the castles of our dreams,
    Their turrets bright with rays of sun declining--
      A painted glory on the window gleams.

    But, oh, the messages to travellers weary
      They signal through the ether in the dark!
    The years are long, the path is steep and dreary,
      But there’s a bell that struck in boyhood--hark!

    The note is faint--but ghosts are gayly trooping
      From ivied halls and swarming ’neath the trees.
    Old friends, you bring new life to spirits drooping--
      Your laughter and your joy are in the breeze!

    They’re gone in dusk,--the towers and dreams are faded,--
      But something lingers of eternal Youth;
    We’re strong again, though doubting, worn, and jaded;
      We pledge anew to friends and love and truth!



          ROOSEVELT IN WYOMING

          TOLD BY A GUIDE--1899[1]


    Do you know Yancey’s? Where the winding trail
      From Washburn Mountain strikes the old stage road,
    And wagons from Cooke City and the mail
      Unhitch awhile, and teamsters shift the load?

    A handy bunch of men are round the stove
      At Yancey’s--hunters back from Jackson’s Hole,
    And Ed Hough telling of a mighty drove
      Of elk that he ran down to Teton Bowl.

    And Yancey he says: “Mr. Woody, there,
      Can tell a hunting yarn or two--beside,
    He guided Roosevelt when he shot a bear
      And six bull elk with antlers spreading wide.”

    But Woody is a guide who doesn’t brag;
      He puffed his pipe awhile, then gravely said:
    “I knew he’d put the Spaniards in a bag,
      For Mister Roosevelt always picked a head.

    “That man won’t slosh around in politics
      And waste his time a-killing little game;
    He studies elk, and men, and knows their tricks,
      And when he picks a head he hits the same.”

    Now, down at Yancey’s every man’s a sport,
      And free to back his knowledge up with lead;
    And each believes that Roosevelt is the sort
      To run the State, because he “picks a head.”

 [1] Tall, silent old Woody, a fine type of the fast-vanishing race of
 game-hunters and Indian-fighters.

  Roosevelt’s _The Wilderness Hunter_.



          UNCLE SAM TO KIPLING

               (1899)

    Take up the White Man’s burden!
    Have done with childish days.
                               R. K.


    Oh, thank you, Mr. Kipling,
      For showing us the way
    To buckle down to business
      And end our “childish day.”
    We know we’re young and frisky
      And haven’t too much sense--
    At least, not in the measure
      We’ll have a few years hence.

    Now, this same “White Man’s burden”
      You’re asking us to tote
    Is not so unfamiliar
      As you’re inclined to note.
    We freed three million negroes,
      Their babies and their wives;
    It cost a billion dollars
      And near a million lives!

    And while we were a-fighting
      In all those “thankless years”
    We did not get much helping--
      Well, not from English “peers.”
    And so--with best intentions--
      We’re not exactly wild
    To free the Filipino,
      “Half devil and half child.”

    Then, thank you, Mr. Kipling;
      Though not disposed to groan
    About the “White Man’s burden,”
      We’ve troubles of our own;
    Enough to keep us busy
      When English friends inquire,
    “Why don’t you use your talons?
      _There are chestnuts in the fire!_”



          A NEW YEAR’S WISH FOR THOSE WHO WRITE


    In this time of joy and cheer
    When we greet the buoyant year,
    Now, old friends, we cherish you,
    Bless the dreams you’ve brought to view--
    Kindly fancy, happy thought,
    Visions from the fairies caught,
    Rhyme and story, song and play,
    Fantasy for holiday--
    All the treasures of your mind
    Spent to make the world more kind.

    While we grope in dark and fog,
    Flounder onward through the bog,
    You, serene upon the height,
    Gambol in the cheery light--
    Toss your laughter from the steep,
    Bringing hope to those who weep.
    What fair visions brightly gleam
    Through cloud-rifts! Your dearest dream
    Clothed in beauty on the peak,
    Waiting for the Muse to speak.

    Here’s our wish at New Year’s time,
    Faint-expressed in halting rhyme:
      For the men who dream and write
      Make the future clear and bright;
      Thaw the cynic from their heart--
      Love and faith are highest Art.
      Let them picture with their pen
      Not our _manners_ but our _men_.
      Bless them all at New Year’s tide!
      May their skill and fame abide!
      And all women--charming, bright--
      Grant that they may never write!



             TO CHLOE

          FOR A MENDED GLOVE


    Fair Chloe looked upon the old torn glove,
      Then touched its ragged edges with her fingers,
    And lo! the rent was closed--as if for love
      Sweet healing follows where her touch but lingers.

    If all the rents that follow Chloe’s eyes,
      And all the hearts despairingly defended,
    Were healed so soon--we’d straightway realize
      That love and life are good as new when mended.



          TO THE ELF ON MY CALENDAR


    Sweet Elf, you’ll pipe a merry tune,
      Make days and months all gladness;
    The clear, bright note you sound in June
      Will cheer December’s sadness.

    You’ll never pout on rainy days,
      Nor when it’s cold will shiver,
    But sit serene and sing your lays.
      May Old Time bless the giver!



          CAPRICE


    Love laughed awhile,
      And ridiculed my daring
    To rashly crave a smile
      From her, heart-whole, uncaring.
        Oh, how Love laughed!

    Love angry grew
      And spoiled her pretty features;
    I was--she vowed it true--
      The most despised of creatures.
        Oh, how Love frowned!

    Love dropped a tear,
      Her anger with it falling;
    I felt her blue eyes clear,
      My heart and hopes enthralling.
        Oh, how Love cried!

    Her tears Love dried,
      And then she looked up sweetly;
    No more her glance defied--
      I pressed my suit discreetly.
        Love kissed me then!



          RETROSPECT


    At evening, when the breeze dies down,
    And regal Nature doffs her crown,
    When brown-limbed pines, like minarets,
    Fringe all the hills, and tired day frets
    To rest awhile--ah, then, I know,
    Into a shadowed room you go,
    And softly touch the organ keys;
    While pale stars blink amid the trees
    You sing a peaceful vesper hymn
    That rises from your full heart’s brim;
    Your kindly eyes are dimmed with tears--
    You wander through remembered years;
    From gay to grave your fancies fly,
    And end the journey with the cry:
    _My heart played truant from my will!
    I loved him then--I love him still._



          IN THE CROWD


    A pair of brown eyes--no matter where,
    In quiet street or crowded thoroughfare--
    Call up the image of your face to me.
    All others vanish, only you I see;
    Above the din of trade your voice I hear,
    And merry laughter, ringing sweet and clear,
    That fades into a smile away:
    Thus are you with me everywhere and every day.



          REMEMBRANCE


    No, not despair of ever quite forgetting
      The happy romance of those dreamy years,
    The painful weariness of vain regretting
      Through all life’s varied way of love and tear
    Not this the gladness of my heart represses,
      With shadow tinges still each sunny thought
    The fancy that with poignant touch distresses
      Is that by thee I am perhaps forgot!



          OFF FORT HAMILTON IN SUMMER


    Embrasured guns, like wearied hounds, all sleeping,
      Their muzzles resting on the cool, green turf;
    Along the Fort their peaceful watch now keeping
      Above the mimic battle of the surf.

    And you, dear one, now that my suit is ended--
      Let passion slumber in your cool dark eyes;
    The wiles by which your heart was well defended
      Embrasured there look love on summer skies.



          OVER THE FERRY

          ONOMATOPOETIC


              Clang! Ting-a-ling!
                Then a scream of the whistle.
        Sob! Sob! Sob! Sob!
    Heaves slowly the breast of the iron-sinewed giant;
              And the swift paddles fling,
                Like the down of a thistle,
    White foam from their blades, while the waters defiant
        Groan under their merciless tread; and the throb
    Of the heart grows exultingly faster;
    Now a race with a tug, and then it is past her--
    Glides under the bow of a stately Cunarder--
    The steel-lungèd giant breathing harder and harder
    While nearing the wharves of the City of Vanity
    To roll from its shoulders the load of humanity.
    And up near the bow, with arms crossed on the railing,
    The bold wind with kisses her fair cheeks assailing
    And tossing her hair from her brow, stands sweet Jennie,
    Who hopes on the way to the school to meet Bennie.
    And what he will say she is anticipating--
    Her heart full of pleasure, her blue eyes dilating;
    And what will she say? Ah, now she is blushing.
    There he stands on the pier! How the people are crushing!
    While out from the dock the churned waters are rushing.
    But the song of the wheels is, “I love him--I love him!”
              Then the pilot above
                Signals “Clang! Ting-a-ling!”
                And the slowing wheels sing,
              “Oh, my love--love--love!”
                        Clang!



          BRAMBLE BRAE IN OCTOBER


    And now the corn has ripened at Bramble Brae,
    And all the hosts are marshalled for Autumn’s fray;
    The quaint old farm is changing its green for brown,
    Save where the new wheat lifts itself to the light
    And huddles in rows, like wrinkles in some old gown.
    Along the lane the quail are running in fright
    At sound of guns on the upland--the cautious dogs
    Are coursing over the fields, and keen-eyed men
    Watch for the whir of wings; the hickory logs
    Are falling down in the clearing, while in their pen
    The big swine gloat on the heaped-up trough;
    In woods the dead leaves rustle, and red squirrels cough
    And chatter and screech--chasing each other from limb
    To limb, and gather their stores at the roots of trees.
    And part of it all is a boy, and the heart of him
    Glows with the sumach, and sings with the Autumn breeze.
    Down in the valley the ancient village rests,
    Drowsing along the curbs of its quaint old street;
    High and peaked are the roofs, and antique crests
    Are carved on the gables. Fair maids, discreet,
    Sit on the porches and talk with the passing youth;
    For Love goes by, sometimes in homespun clad,
    And sometimes rich in the wealth of truth
    That speaks in the heart and the eyes of the lad.
    For none that pass are the eyes of the bonny girl
    Except for him; she sits and waits by a climbing vine,
    Reading the verses of some old bard; the pearl
    She seeks is love, and only love is the wine
    That colors her cheeks and snaps in her sparkling eyes
    But the lad is shy, and dreams the livelong day
    That love and his lady are proof against all surprise--
    So up on the hillside he longs for the village far away.

           *       *       *       *       *

    Many Autumns have glowed on the hillside there;
    Slender saplings have sprung to giant trees;
    Gray is his head and furrowed his brow with care--
    The heart of the man cries out to the Autumn breeze.
    Dusk in the valley, and cold light on the hill--
    Brown is the sumach, the glory of youth has fled;
    Drowsing cattle shiver, the night is chill,
    Memory lives, but all of his hopes are dead.
    Years has he wandered over the land and sea;
    Friends he has cherished and lost, and women loved;
    Always that vision haunted his fancy free--
    The dreamer worshipped, but never the vision proved.
    Down in the valley the ancient houses sleep,
    Dotted with lights that break through the evening gloom;
    Dreams that stirred the face of the waters deep
    Cover their eyes and flee to a welcoming tomb.



          WITH FLOWERS



          ON A SPRAY OF HEATHER


    Far from its native moorland
      Or crest of “wine-red” hill,
    At sight or scent of heather
      The hearts of Scotsmen thrill.
    Though crushed its purple blossoms,
      Its tender stems turned brown,
    It brings romantic Highlands
      Into prosaic town.
    The clans are on the border,
      The chiefs are in the fray;
    We’re keen upon their footsteps
      With Walter Scott to-day.
    Peat smoke from lowland cottage
      Floats curling up, and turns
    Our dreams toward quiet hearthstones
      And melodies of Burns.
    And last our fancy lingers
      With fond regret and vain
    Where sleeps our Tusitala
      Beneath the tropic rain--
    Far from the purple heather
      Or gleaming rowan bough,
    Alone on mountain summit,
      “Our hearts remember how.”

          St. Andrew’s Day.



          THE HOTHOUSE VIOLET SPEAKS

             TO A FAIR WOMAN


    I’ve calmly lived my sunny little life
    Under the crinkling glass, and free from strife;
    The sky above and all around is blue,
    And from this haven now I come to you.

    Fair Lady, tell me have I heard aright
    That other flowers do not live so bright?
    That in dark forests and by noisy streams
    The pale wood violet sheds its purple beams?

    While we are merry in this fireside glow
    My humble cousin shivers in the snow;
    And yet a cricket whispered once to me
    That _I_ the captive was--my cousin, free!

    Sometimes I’ve dreamed the cricket told me true;
    I’ve longed for freedom and the pleasing view
    Of moss-grown hummocks and great whispering trees,
    With gold-winged songsters humming in the breeze.

    The dream is over--I have lived my day
    Nourished in sun with other violets gay;
    And now I’m borne afar to Paradise,
    To find my haven in your gentle eyes.

    If I may touch your lips I’ll die content
    Without one glimpse of freedom or days spent
    In woodland dells; oh, murmur, while I fade,
    Your own sweet mem’ries of the forest glade!

    Come, tell me quickly, for my brief hours pass;
    What! _You too captive in a house of glass?_



          A SONG

      WITH A RED ROSE ON HER BIRTHDAY


    _What the Rose thought:_
          Oh, to be one-and-twenty!
    But I am a rose that must bloom for a day;
    My life is like color and perfume in May;
    To-night I shall fade in her beautiful hair,
    And touch with my petals her proud neck and fair.
          Oh, to be one-and-twenty!

    _What She sang, exultingly:_
          Oh, to be one-and-twenty!
    To feel that the glorious days of my youth
    Are only the promise of hope, love, and truth--
    That all joyful things in my bright future gleam,
    And I am to _live_ them and find out my dream.
          Oh, to be one-and-twenty!

    _What He wrote, sadly:_
          Oh, to be one-and-twenty!
    To dream that the great world is still all my own,
    And cherish again the ideals that have flown;
    To follow them, hiding with cunning and art,
    And find them all sleeping within her warm heart,
          Her heart that is one-and-twenty!



          WHAT THE FLOWERS SAID


    Here are roses, red and white,
    Each to speak what I would write;
    For, when in your quiet room
    You may smell their sweet perfume,
    I shall whisper through these flowers
    Fancy’s thoughts for evening hours.
    Then, when in the crowded street
    You and I may chance to meet,
    I’ll discover in your eyes
    What you’ve half expressed in sighs;
    For if in your dusky hair
    One red rose you deign to wear
    I shall say, “I know that she
    Wears it for her love of me.”
    But if on your gentle breast
    One white rose may dare to rest,
    Then in rapture I’ll declare,
    “That’s my heart a-resting there.”
    But if neither red nor white
    May your hair or gown bedight,
    Still with confidence I’ll say,
    “That is lovely woman’s way--
    What of life is largest part
    Hides she deepest in her heart!”



          DIANA’S VALENTINE

          WITH A BUNCH OF VIOLETS


    _Good Saint Valentine, I pray,
    While around this town you stray,
    You will keep your eyes alert
    For a maid who loves to flirt._

    If among the hurrying crowd--
    Beauties fair and beauties proud--
    You should see one like a queen,
    Eyes of blue, with golden sheen
    In her hair that’s flecked with brown,
    And a grace about her gown,
      _That’s Diana!_

                          Catch her eye
    As she’s gayly tripping by;
    Say you know a sorry wight,
    Slow of speech and slow to write,
    Who would tell her through these flowers
    That her eyes are bright as stars
    In the blue; that her speech
    Haunts his mem’ry (out of reach
    Like their perfume faint but fine);
    That her laugh is like rare wine.
    As you leave her touch her lips;
    Say that men are like old ships,
    Easy towed, but hard to steer;
    Then just whisper in her ear,
    “Lovers change, but friends are true
    Like these violets.” Then, “Adieu.”

    _This, Saint Valentine, I pray,
    On the morning of that day
    When you keep your eyes alert
    For all maids who love to flirt._

          ARCADY, February fourteenth.



          WITH SOME BIRTHDAY ROSES


    If I were not a speechless flower
    I’d like to talk with you an hour
    And whisper many pretty things
    That thinking of your birthday brings.

    (For flowers can dream of happiness
    While you their velvet petals press!)
    But I can’t talk--I know a man
    Who often vainly thinks he can,

    And what he wanted me to do
    Was simply to look fair to you
    And wish you joy--and then surprise
    The gentle look in your dear eyes.



          WRITTEN IN BOOKS



          IN A VOLUME OF HERRICK


    Dear old worldling gone astray,
    You would rather sing than pray;
    While you wore the preacher’s gown
    How you longed for London Town!
    When your head ached, then, alack!
    You, repentant, gave up sack;
    Old and worn you ruthlessly
    Bade farewell to poesy;
    Full, you never cared for food,
    Sated, you were always good.
    Julia’s beauties you rehearse,
    Sing her charms in wanton verse,
    But to make poor Julia thine
    Not one pleasure you’d resign.
    Flattering, you tried to please;
    Generous, you loved your ease!
    Dear old Herrick, you’re a Man
    Built upon the human plan;
    To the world your fame belongs
    For the beauty of your songs--
    Glorious poet--not a saint--
    Lyric splendor without taint!



          IN “SHAKESPEARE’S SONNETS”


    The Sonnets--bound by Rivière
      And newly illustrated!
    As though the words that Shakespeare wrote
      By outward dress are rated!

    The soul--the fine, immortal part
      That lives without the binding,
    Is something from the poet’s heart;
      ’Tis here--and worth the finding.



          IN “SONNETS FROM THE PORTUGUESE”


    In this book a woman wrote her heart--
      Etching there the image of a Man.
    Faithful woman! But the years depart,
      And love is dust, and life a broken span!



          IN GEORGE MEREDITH’S POEMS


        Here is a forest tangle--
    Rank weeds, luxuriant ferns, and giant trees,
        All in a hoarse-voiced wrangle,
    With creaking branches swaying in the breeze.
        But if you care to listen,
    Above the noise you’ll hear the piping of a bird,
        Gay feathers in the tree-tops glisten,
    And over all the sweetest music ever heard.



          IN “THE KING’S LYRICS”


    Behold “The Lyrics of the King”!
    As though a crown on those who sing
      Could make their music sweeter!
    To-day we’ll choose the better part--
    The gentle music of the heart
      That masters rhyme and metre.



          THE SONG OF TEMBINOKA, KING OF APEMAMA

          TO ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON


    Sing, my warriors, sing! men of the sharklike race!
    Sing of the poet who came and greeted us face to face.
    He from the cold, gray North, I, in these tropic isles,
    Meet as brothers and bards, with eloquent songs and smiles--
    Meet as brothers, though singing words that are strange and proud.
    Pale and wan is his face, while mine is a thunder-cloud;
    But the heart of a man is hidden by neither language nor skin--
    To love as a man and a brother maketh the whole world kin.
    The tales that he tells are of heroes who fought like braves
             to the death--
    Bone of our bone are these heroes, the very breath of our breath!
    Then sing, my warriors, sing! men of the sharklike race!
    Sing of the poet who came and greeted us face to face!

          From _Overheard in Arcady_.



          IN THE MANNER OF KIPLING


    “Show me the face of Truth,” the Sahib said--
    “Show me its beauty, before I’m dead!”
    “Look!” said the priest, “with unflinching eyes;
    This is the World, and not Paradise.
    Look! It is wicked, and cruel, and strong, and wise!”

          From _Overheard in Arcady_.



          FOR A NOVEL OF HALL CAINE’S

              AFTER KIPLING


    He sits in a sea-green grotto with a bucket of lurid paint,
    And draws the Thing as it isn’t for the God of Things as they ain’t!



          IN “HELBECK OF BANNISDALE”


    The foolish story of a man and maid
    Who loved each other but were dire afraid
    To follow where their true hearts surely led
    And, risking all things, bravely to be wed.

    What’s in a creed to keep two souls apart?
    The universal solvent is the heart!



          A CHRISTMAS GREETING


    Good luck, good cheer, throughout the year!
      A bright fire on the hearthstone burning;
    A gleam of rose at evening’s close
      When, wearied, you are homeward turning!
    By ingle-nook a soothing book--
      A few old friends in Mem’ry’s castle;
    A bit of rhyme at Christmas-time
      To wish you fortune at your wassail!



          IN NICHOLSON’S “ALMANAC OF SPORTS”

(WITH VERSES BY KIPLING)


    In all your Calendar of Sports
      Why, Rudyard, do you slight the wheel?
    Were you, then, never out of sorts
      Until you felt the vibrant steel
    Skim over miles of level track?
      For youth, with all its hope and cheer,
    When we’re a-wheel comes rolling back--
      And it is Summer all the year!



          IN NICHOLSON’S “CITY TYPES”


    The City’s roar is rising from the street;
    The old, bedraggled “types” are shuffling through the strife;
    They plod and push, and elbow as they meet,
    And glare and grin, and sadly call it “life.”

    For us the fireside hearth is all aglow,
    And those we love make up the life we know.



          IN “THE GOLDEN TREASURY”


    The year is old, the way is far;
    I catch your image like a star
    That’s mirrored in a crystal brook;
    For love of you I send a book!



          A VALENTINE


    Though all the streams are white with frost
      And all the fields with snow,
    Though earth its greenery has lost,
      And biting gales do blow--
    Still I’ll recall the summer hours,
      The blue skies and the vine--
    The hillsides pink with Alpine flowers
      To greet my Valentine!



          IN “HALLO, MY FANCY!”

(BY CHARLES HENRY LÜDERS AND S. D. S., JR.)


    “Hallo, my Fancy! View Hallo!”
      The nimble game has broken cover
    And skims the valley to and fro;
      By cooling brooks it seems to hover,
    Then bounds along. “Ho, View Hallo!”
      The huntsmen cry from brake to loch;
    The chase grows ardent--“View Hallo!”
      From quiet shelter echoes, _Droch_.



          THE BOOK SPEAKS

          TO EUGENE FIELD


    I’m keeping jolly comp’ny
      In a room that’s full of books;
    I’m cheek by jowl with Horace
      And a lot of ancient crooks.
    But the boys I like to play with,
      When the boss takes off his coat,
    Are the wild and woolly heroes
      From Casey’s tabble-dote.
    And when the lamp is lighted
      And cosey hours ensue,
    I talk with All-Aloney
      And the little Boy in Blue.
    But when the man that owns the books
      Throws one kind glance at _me_
    I sing just like the Dinkey
      In the Amfelula Tree.



          IN HERFORD’S VERSES


    To weep with those who weep is human;
      We give our praises to the man of grit,
    And honor with our trust the true man;
      Let’s laugh a little with a man of wit!



          IN A BOOK OF GIBSON’S DRAWINGS


    You may turn these pages over,
      Looking for the priceless pearl;
    You may search from back to cover
      For the finest Gibson girl.
    You can save yourself the trouble--
      It’s no earthly use to look:
    The charming girl who takes the medal
      Is a-holding of the book.



          IN A VOLUME OF MISS GUINEY’S POEMS


    A maker of smooth verse and facile rhymes,
    And lover of quaint legends from old times;
    A joyous singer in New England bleak--
    Her heart is Irish and her mind is Greek.



          IN “BARBARA FRIETCHIE--A PLAY”

               TO J. M.


    We met her first in Arcady,
    Where visions fair are apt to be,
    Roaming beneath the arching trees--
    Her laughter cheering up the breeze;
    Sometimes as gay as _Colinette_,
    Then fond and sad as _Juliet_.
    And when we’d had enough of anguish
    She’d make us laugh as _Lydia Languish_.
    No mask or mood was twice the same--
    Yet one fair face behind each name.
    As that bright vixen of the mind,
    The fascinating _Rosalīnd_--
    As _Imogen_ or _Viola_,
    Or, best of all, sweet _Barbara_--
    Always the same alluring grace
    And wit that sparkles in her face!
    The road to Arcady is far
    And sometimes lonely for a star--
    But all the phantoms of the air
    And poets’ dreams that wander there
    Would miss the welcome we extend,
    Not to her Art--just to a friend!



          TO C. H. M. AND H. H. M.


    Here is the story--
      I haven’t half told it;
    The fun and the glory,
      A volume can’t hold it.
    But this is a spray,
      Withered leaves and pressed flowers,
    From a faded bouquet
      That was plucked in gay hours,
    Within sound of the waves
      Of the gentle Pacific,
    Where Nature enslaves
      And the days beatific
    Are sandalled with gold
        And wear gems on their fingers.
    All the tale is not told
      Which slow Fancy weaves,
        But a faint odor lingers
      About these dry leaves
        That may bring recollection
          Of prairie and loch
        With a hint of affection
            From
                Yours ever,
                        DROCH.

          Dedication of _The Monterey Wedding_.



          TO MY MOTHER


    Long years you’ve kept the door ajar
    To greet me, coming from afar;
    Long years in my accustomed place
    I’ve read my welcome in your face,
    And felt the sunlight of your love
    Drive back the years and gently move
    The telltale shadow ’round to youth.
    You’ve found the very spring, in truth,
    That baffles time--the kindling joy
    That keeps me in your heart a boy.
    And now I send an unknown guest
    To bide with you and snugly rest
    Beside the old home’s ingle-nook.--
    For love of me you’ll love my book.

          Dedication of _Overheard in Arcady_.



          A BOOK’S SOLILOQUY


    My lady’s room is full of books
    And easy-chairs and curtained nooks,
    And dainty tea-things on a table,
    And poetry, and tale, and fable,
    And on the hearth a crackling fire
    That welcome gives, and when you tire
    Of pleasant talk you still may find
    A tempting pasture where the mind
    May browse awhile, and read the pages
    Which poets wrote, or fools, or sages.

    And here I come to ask a place
    Among these worthies, face to face!
    To be allowed on some low shelf
    To rest and dream, and pride myself
    On being in such company--
    To watch fair women drinking tea;
    And if, perchance, on some lone day,
    The gentle mistress looks my way
    And softly says, “Now I shall see
    What’s going on in Arcady!”
    Then I’ll rejoice that I’m a book
    At which my lady deigns to look.



          ENVOY

     THE SHEPHERD TO HIS FLOCK


    The sun is warm upon the ridges now;
      The way was rough and steep;
    I’ll seek the shelter of a leafy bough
      And watch my grazing sheep.
    The smoke is rising from the valley there,
      The hum of wheels and trade;
    The stress of life is in the whirling air
      While I pipe in the shade.
    Where work is fierce amid the striving throng
      And music’s voice is mute,
    Some one may catch the echo of a song--
      The faint note of a lute.





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