Advancement then would have an end. Progression then would cease, Invention have no earnest friend, And science no increase.
But Discontent, though called a fiend, Is progress in disguise, 'Tis this by which our end's attained, 'Tis this by which we rise.
The pupil may surpass the sage If such his aim shall be, May fathom truths for many an age Were wrapped mystery.
The genius may invent some plan To ease the laborer's toil, Or add facility for man To cultivate the soil.
Contentment never did aspire To elevate mankind, It never raised the standard higher Of science or of mind.
'Tis Discontent that gains the prize In every useful art; Although it brings us tearful eyes And restlessness of heart;
But then it has a sweet reward— Progression is the fruit, But some this sweetness have abhorred For others have the boot.
For he who blesses most mankind, Himself is seldom blessed, And he whose deeds should be enshrined Will seldom be caressed.
Yet, let our banner ne'er be furled, Our lives in quiet spent; For 'tis a truth that all the world Still thrives on Discontent.
"The purification of politics is an iridescent dream." U. S. Senator, John J. Ingalls, Kansas.
"Purification of politics Is an iridescent dream," Is the Ingalls way of saying that Corruption's power's supreme.
Have the people lost their honesty, Has the Nation sunk so low, That partisan strife can blind our eyes Till we know not friend from foe?
If such be true, this fair land of ours Must fail to mature the Hope That blossomed fair on Liberty's tree, But in impotence must grope.
Beautiful land! God's own favored land! Thy sons must united be, Statesmen should now hold the public helm, Throw factions into the sea,
Teach politicians with all their schemes, The people yet are supreme; That Augean stables—politics— May be cleansed by ballot's streams.
Softly the tints of expiring day Tinge th' vaults of Hesperian heaven, Leaving a trace of the sun's mellow ray To escort the shadows of even.
All of the gates of Phoebus are drawn, Yet his splendor has left to sight A trail of enchantment to linger till dawn, To charm the still hours of the night.
Scenes of such cloud-land often reveal A grandeur that augments the soul; Heaven has no beauties it seeks to conceal, No secrets inscribed on its scroll.
Through the earth for an age we may roam, And through space our vision may fly, Yet no pleasure is like that at home When we gaze on a God-painted sky.
When we think of the forces displayed To prepare for a cloud-scene at even, Of the elements deftly arrayed That a gorgeous effect may be given,
Of the mists and the winds and the light, Of the blendings that art cannot teach, Of the mysteries hidden from sight That our knowledge would gladly reach,
Of the order, the purpose, design, In the pictures that hang in the sky, We know that the hand is divine That arranged all their brilliancy,
Then our faith lifts the curtain that hides The Spirit that ordered the plan, And assures us He ever abides To encourage and elevate man.
At sunset my spirit shall sing Of the beauties the elements yield, Let my heart then its off'ring bring To the Artist of sky and of field.
When my soul from its dwelling of clay, Shall escape to that unknown sphere, May it be at the close of the day, When the glories of sunset appear.
Soothingly, sweetly comes unto me The thought that my soul may rest, In a land whose glory shall be Like cloud-scenes that glow in the west.
Who lives for self alone should be Placed in some lonely, hollow tree, And left to toad and bat and owl— To creatures man considers foul— Where he shall be perpetual prey For frightful ogres night and day.
A narrow soul that lives for self, Should stand on some old musty shelf, Where spiders, rats, and vermin throng, And listen only to the song Of filing saw and creaky mill, And owlet's hoot and whip-poor-will.
Who lives for self is not afraid Of meanest thing God ever made, For he himself is that same thing; Though peasant, plebian, or king, He thwarts the purpose of God's plan, He lacks the impulse of a man.
No soul enwrapped within itself, Or dwarfed by pride, or love of pelf, Can serve its Maker or mankind As nobly as was erst designed By the Great Architect above, Whose being is Unselfish Love.
I sit when the shadows are stealing The light of departing day, And think of the scenes and pleasures I enjoyed in my childhood's play.
I can picture them all so plainly, They seemed not a day gone by, I recall the fields and garden, The lake and the clear blue sky.
I can see the bright water flowing At the foot of the sloping hill, The dam that impeded its progress, The toy-wheel of water-mill.
I can trace every line and feature Of trees and the shadows they cast, The lanes, the rocks, and orchards, That on journey to school were past.
I can close my eyes for an instant And draw a scene to my mind, That seems like a photo-engraving, As true, as complete, as defined.
Time's flight has not dim'd or shaded One outline the scenes gave then, Though the years that have intervened, Are nearly two score and ten.
There's a central, attractive figure, With heart unselfish and warm, That always appears in the picture— 'Tis my mother's benignant form.
I can see her in all the beauty And glow of a mother's pride, As she patiently watched and labored For her children at her side.
How sweet to my soul is the power To so clearly these scenes portray; I pray that to life's latest hour This bliss be not taken away.
"And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him."—Gen. 2, 18.
Alone! God saw His creature man, Deprived of great felicity, And changed the order of His plan That earth in harmony might be With all the products of the spheres, Which move in such perfect accord, That through aeons of passing years They but proclaim a perfect Lord.
The earth was fair and fresh and young, The stars hung in a cloudless sky, Sweet perfumes on the air were flung From every breeze went laughing by; The brook and bird in wanton glee, Attuned their notes in such refrain That earth was full of minstrelsy, And heaven re-echoed it again.
God's image, man, heard not the strain, No beauty charmed his listless eye, Earth spread her treasures but in vain, In vain shone the bejeweled sky; Earth gave no food for hungry heart, No solace-cup from which to sip, Defective seemed Nature and Art, To soul robbed of companionship.
A "help meet" then to man was given, To soothe and cheer his lonely way; Eve was an afterthought of Heaven That crowned the last creation-day. Create anew, Almighty Power, A "help meet" for the desolate, Let no wild sophistry devour The solace Thou didst last create.
[Written after reading Shakespeare's sonnet commencing, "Love is not Love which alters when it alterations finds."]
Love is a sort of cannibal And lives upon its kind, It dares all dangers, fears no foes And to the world is blind, While faithful heart unswerving beats, Or pines in forced retreat; It deems all tortures fate may send Are perfumed with the sweet Aroma of implicit faith, Born of a kindred soul That to the outer things of life Spurns puny hate's control.
Love, undeceived, is perfect bliss When trust reciprocates The purest, sweetest touch that Heaven Within the soul creates; But fierce Vesuvius cannot burn With such destructive flame, As fires Love's victim of deceit Stung by the taunts that claim No truthful fountain as their source, No mild-voiced Justice to allay The cauldron of defenseless fraud Distilled through treachery.
Love that dissembles is not love, But a subtle treachery,— A siren with a charming voice That sounds o'er a mirror sea,— A beacon light set to allure From a harbor safe and calm,— A soothing drug whose deadly power Yields to no proffered balm,— A smiling face with winsome glow But poisonous, blasting breath, That breathes upon its victim, draughts Of sorrow, tears, and death.
Love that would gain a mastery To wield for pelf or power, Is not a love born clean and pure O'er which no evils lower, But like a miasmatic clime That yields delicious fruit, It hides the venom it distills, And seeks its sole repute In outward show and pageantry, Wherein are deep concealed The poisoned arrows plumed for death, It would not have revealed.
Unselfish love is but a spark Of God's own spirit dropped from Heaven, The richest boon, the sweetest joy, That unto mortals God hath given; Within itself it hath a power To lift the soul on joyous wings, Attune the heart to harmonies, And softly touch the tensioned strings That vibrate in such unison With other strings so like its own, That not a discord may be heard In cadence, blend, or tone.
* * * * *
As a cricket sang his song to me On a late September eve, The tone had a sadness in it, That over my spirit did weave A spell of gloom, at the requiem He sang in his solitude, For the dying year, th' fading leaf, And flowers by frost subdued.
If aught on earth my soul can fire, 'Tis the deception of a liar Who with soft smoothness of the tongue, Has promises and pledges strung To suit all needs that come to hand, To serve the purpose Satan planned.
Satan himself, I think, would shun The presence of that artful one, Who violates truth's sacred laws, Regardless of the end or cause, But deems it strategy to live For the sole purpose to deceive.
If hell has any corner where Vile culprits may be doomed to share The merits they richly deserve, It should be held in strict reserve For them whose flattery and art Are used to kill a trusting heart.
Let me abhor, loathe, and despise The author of those fiendish lies, Who would for pleasure, greed, or power, The confidence of youth devour, And blight the soul with foul distrust, Or trample honor in the dust.
No sting of pain can e'er atone, No purging fire was ever known For cleansing of a heart defiled By falsehood; though it may be styled In diction, affability, It poisons like the upas tree.
Beware the tongue that will deceive, At last 'twill cause your soul to grieve Though smooth its accents now may be, Its motive power is treachery, Its fruits are laden with disease, Although its tones may often please.
Dissimulation's oily tongue Will grace Simplicity, among Her unsuspecting, trustful throng, That he may do her greater wrong, And covertly defile the pure, Some envied purpose to secure.
The tiny trembling tendons That twine about the heart, Are chords that yield a music Unknown to vocal art.
Though soft the notes are sounded, Each vibration tells a tale Of the mellow, winsome sunshine, Or of fierce, destructive gale.
Though the strings be few in number, They have compass far beyond The myriad chords around them, That are less delicately tuned.
List we softly to the music As its volumes gently roll, Varied in their intonation By the tension of the soul.
Ecstatic measures fill us With a rapture so profound, That we fancy heaven's portals With such harmonies abound.
Each note is rich in meaning, Each tone is full and clear To the charming sweet delusion Of imagination's ear.
If you would hear this music And be charmed by its tone, Attune your heart to harmony, For the music is its own.
No lessons conned in schooldays, No studied forms of art, Can profit us so greatly As communion with our heart.
It will sing us songs of rapture, Though silent each may be; It will help to solve the questions Of life's great mystery.
If one would hear sweet harmony He carefully must live; For these songs will be an echo Of the keynote he shall give.
If heartstrings be but tuned aright Sweet melodies we hear; If strung with envy and deceit, The tone is doleful, drear.
Then let us tune our hearts with joy, And touch the strings with glee, For honor, truth, and purity, Will bring soul-ecstasy.
It matters not what be our lot Upon this mundane sphere, In spite of fears and burning tears While we shall linger here, We must depend on foe or friend For many things we need To give the soul that full control Which makes it strong indeed.
For noble end, make him a friend Who can reciprocate, A kindly act, not to it tacked The proof of reprobate. God only knows whom we may choose And safely trust as brother, The seeming saint may have a taint That proves him quite another.
In human dust we scarcely trust The egotistic pious, Who thinks that he from sin is free— Not subject to its bias; A holy man does all he can For God and human kind; He meekly lives, but counsel gives In language pure, refined.
[Set to Music by Com. T. C. Adams.]
I love to spend the twilight hour When stars their radiance o'er me cast, With that benign mysterious power Which calls up mem'ries of the past, And brings anew the scenes of yore, Like sacred perfume from some shrine Whose hallowed influence ever more Proves life and love of birth divine. Sweet twilight hour! sweet twilight hour! How blissful is thy magic power, At thy return new strength is given To lead me to the gates of heaven.
I love at such an hour as this To hold sweet converse with my soul, Anticipate a promised bliss, Or memory's charmed page unroll; To feel life's not alone for me, But has some aim, some end, some plan, Which to the soul gives dignity, And leads toward heaven a fellow man.
I love at twilight hour to see The lamps of heaven in glory shine With beacon-light effulgency, To guide me to that land divine, Where dwell the loved of former years, And where no sorrow e'er may come, Where God shall wipe away all tears, And I shall find abiding home.
Oh, twilight hour, how sweet thou art! Thy coming oft relieves my pain, Thy soft communings with my heart Prepare me for life's toils again; Drive thou away my sordid thought, And give my soul augmented power; Teach me to use thee as I ought, Thou holy, blessed twilight hour.
* * * * *
Let us not lose the heritage Our fathers did bequeath To sons whose grasp should hold secure The prize, till hour of death Shall still the heart, and loose the nerve Whose tension holds secure The magic love of Liberty And Justice, strong and pure.
Since the days of primal story Of Eden's happy pair, A woman's greatest glory Is her glossy flowing hair; It is a safe criterion By which to judge her life, To ascertain, if duly won, She'd prove a worthy wife.
Its color and arrangement, Its sunshine and its storm Prefigure an estrangement, Or friendship true and warm. We dearly love the sunshine Of locks with golden hue, That bear this blessed combine— Kind, tender, warm, and true.
We read volumes of character In every lock of hair; The life, the mind, the heart's prefer Are plainly written there; No printed index could portray The soul's environment, So plainly and so perfectly As capillary bent.
Beware the frouzy, unkempt lock That speaks of negligence; Regard cosmetic's fancy stock Of little consequence; Trust only such as speak of taste Born of a cultured mind, Whose purposes are pure and chaste Whose structure, soft, refined.
* * * * *
A thoughtful mind may lessons draw From faded leaf or broken straw; May beauty see in some lone star That cheers the storm-tossed mariner; May note in solitude some sound Wherein soft harmonies abound; May hear no voice from human lip; Yet dwell in blest companionship.
Into the port where Liberty stands Inviting the nations to woo her, Malefactors swarm from foreign lands, Whose tenets would surely undo her.
Criminals, paupers, the ostracised From all countries beyond the great sea, Flock into the land our fathers prized, And baptized "The Sweet Land of the Free."
They come not to build a hearth and home, Or to clear and improve our rich soil, But prowl like wolves that in forest roam, And prey on fruits of our honest toil.
Long were our shores a refuge secure, For the honest, the brave, and the true; With valor and pride, men would endure The trials that for State might accrue.
Men there are yet, who come to our shore, In honor high, of great moral powers, Whose hands give strength to homes we adore, And whose hearts are as loyal as ours.
For these there is room and welcome, too, For there's land quite enough and to spare, But we pray that all the vicious crew To their homes o'er the sea may repair.
Shall we quarantine disease and death, Whose subtle infections float in the air, And grant free power to the pois'nous breath That would strangle our Liberty fair?
Sons of the Nation, arise in might! And then swear by the God we adore, This vicious crowd shall be put to flight, And forever debarred from our shore.
Freedom and Liberty need our care, If from wounds we would e'er keep them free, For a frenzied brain would even dare To destroy through base treachery.
Long live the land unto freedom given, And forever may Liberty stand, With beacon flame from the throne of heaven, And a symbol of Light in her hand.
When stars shall fade from the dome of heaven, And sun shall refuse his golden light; When noon of Time shall be changed to even, And earth shall be lost to human sight;
When crash of worlds and revolving spheres Shall lose in chaos, identity; And Time shall be measured not by years, But on shall roll through eternity;
Then Liberty's form may sink in dust; But loyal sons shall transported be From the mundane scenes of moth and rust, To the perfect home of Liberty.
I ween that when such an hour as this, Shall marshal friends who have fought and died For the sacred cause of earthly bliss, And Freedom's cause have so magnified,
There shall be a special crown for him Who has stood undaunted in the fight; But the brightest star in the diadem Is steadfast love for the Truth and Right.
"LO," THE DEPARTED.
The Bison strong and the Indian wild Have departed from our plains; The land where they lived has been defiled By man's greed for worldly gains.
The human tide that on them has rolled In merciless energy, In search of that dazzling monarch Gold, Swept on like a mighty sea,
Till their prostrate forms, mingled with clay, Enrich the soil once their own; And naught but waters shrink in dismay, And winds in wild sorrow moan.
O, beautiful lakes and silver streams, May your names their mem'ry keep; Dear mountains, wake from your silent dreams, When your sides so wild and steep,
Shall hear your names in the Indian tongue; And echoes, reverberate The mellow tones of the songs once sung, At the hunter's evening fete.
How softly, how still, are we drifting away, On the wide Sea of Life as it beckons us on, Though the sunshine allure us 'tis but for a day, Then darkness comes o'er us and hopes are all gone.
We are drifting away in a bark that is frail, On a sea sometimes rough and whose waves often moan, Yet when all is peaceful we think not of gale, But are drifting away in our bark all alone.
So softly we float on a smooth flowing sea, That our helm and our anchors are cast to the shore, We think them a burden and wish to be free, From every encumbrance that can serve us no more.
We are drifting away with our hopes and our fears, To an ocean of life unknown to us now; We see a bright vision—though veiled by our tears, It appears like refulgence to lighten the brow.
Too slowly our bark seems to drift toward the prize, We in ecstasy wish it to speed faster on; But while we are wishing, a mist dims our eyes, And lo! that bright vision has vanished and gone.
A gloom of thick darkness now spreads like a pall, The winds of the tempest arise in their force, And amid their wild shriekings for succor we call On Him who reigns o'er us, to mark out our course.
We plead for protection from ruin and pain, Repiningly think of our anchor and helm, And could we secure those lost prizes again, No tempest could shake us, no wave could o'erwhelm.
But swiftly we're drifting, we cannot tell where, The current moves onward regardless of gloom, We raise our weak voices and utter a prayer That God in His mercy is drifting us home.
* * * * *
The silver stream by the farmhouse door Flows on and on forever, But the feet that trod its oaken floor Have crossed the mystic river, And no wind kissed by a vernal sun Can return them e'er again; Their earthly pilgrimage is done, They dwell in a new domain.
Oh, give me some heart of a kindred spirit That smiles when I smile, or that weeps when I weep, Whose solace is greater by far to inherit Than the wealth of the mines or the gems of the deep.
Some heart that will echo response to my feeling, That thrills with delight when I speak of my joy; That sorrows with sorrow too deep for concealing, When cankering griefs make my own heart's alloy.
Some heart that appreciates each little kindness, That knows all my feelings, tho' oft unexpressed, That sees not my faults with a passionate blindness, But clings to my soul when 'tis sorely distressed.
Some heart whose affection can never be blighted, That beats all in concert with that of my own, That revels in pleasures with which I'm delighted, And grieves at the sorrows which cause me to moan.
Some heart that can never be swerved from its mooring, Though tempests may thunder and billows may roar, That espouses my fate in spite of such roaring, And when trials are sorest will trust even more.
My heart would exult to find such a treasure, And return ev'ry throb in fidelity's pride, Would suffer if need be, and call it but pleasure To live or to die for a heart so allied.
No frown of the world could e'er cause me to tremble While trusting my all in a heart such as this, Too fond to deceive me; too true to dissemble— 'Twere a foretaste of Heaven, the acme of bliss.
Can it be, can it be, the world is so varied, Human hearts never beat on chords that are even! Is versatile man so odd, or so seared That perfect accord is known but in Heaven!
My heart shall rejoice that some kindred vibrations Soothe the devious marge of the pathway of fate, And gathering strength through many privations Shall learn in contentment to patiently wait.
* * * * *
To sit an hour on lichened stone, Or mould'ring log by moss o'ergrown, And use our ears and eyes, Will teach us the effect and cause Of many of great Nature's laws That now are mysteries.
Can we e'er forget our boyhood, And the days we spent at school, With the jolly youths and maidens Who with pencil for a tool, Squared the area of a circle, And minutely did compute The interest and discount On a promissory note?
As we worked those "grazing" questions, We could see the cattle eat; See the grass grow up by inches Beneath their cloven feet; We could surely hear a lowing That distinctly called our names, Inviting us to pastures To enjoy our childish games.
If the day were warm and pleasant, The calling seemed more clear Than when chilly winds were sighing, And the clouds were dark and drear; It was no imagination, For a schoolboy's mind is real, Though we heard that calling often We answered it with zeal.
Then we worked like real bankers And claimed "three days of grace;" Then we figured "hare and greyhound" In their leaping, jaunty race; We desired an illustration Of the problems to be solved, As no concrete computation From the abstract e'er evolved.
We solved the size of fishes, When some fraction and a part Were all the given bases To test our "number" art, But we never were contented With the fishes in the book, So we strolled off to the lakeside, Or down the purling brook.
Then we had some given acres In the form of perfect square, And a fence around its border With a circle must compare, Which would cost the greater money To fence it in with rails, Or build with posts and stringers, Sawed lumber, and cut nails.
Then we worked upon that problem Which has never yet been solved, How to live and be contented In the scenes life has evolved, Though in every operation Much must be inferred, We will find this root's extraction Will often prove a surd.
As life's day of sunshine lingers, Ere the darkness draws apace, 'Tis a blessed satisfaction To look backward o'er the race, And feel that in the running, Our best was ever done, And know that at the ending, Some trophy must be won.
Though the eye may lose its clearness And the touch may lose its thrill, Though the senses fail to gather All the promptings of the will, May the mind retain its power To recall the days of yore, Till the spirit casts its anchor On that far-off unseen shore.
When on that shore safe landed, It seems to be quite plain That the greatest satisfaction Will be to think of youth again; There must be a great transition From this mundane sphere below, If the thoughts of early boyhood May not set all heaven aglow.
Perhaps had I chosen some other profession Than that of moulding the human mind, I might have secured a greater possession Of lucre and treasures and powers combined, Than all I may now of these truly own; But I have in my casket some jewels I treasure Far more than all stocks and houses and lands, In gold and silver their worth has no measure, For none may compute warm hearts and true hands, When the shadows of years are over us thrown.
* * * * *
There are two kinds of discontent— Malignant, and progressive,— The latter is the proper sort, Of it, be quite possessive. The former, born of parentage Whose motive powers are evil, Serves but one purpose here below— To aid its father—Devil.
There are times when the fate of nations May hang on a moment's call; When spheres in their mute rotations May swing on a hinge so small, That the breath of a spirit's pinion Might unpoise a balanced world, And lost to law's dominion Through endless space be hurled.
There are times when the herdsman's calling May vibrate thro' alpine ranch Till the pendent drop, by its falling, Sweeps down in an avalanche, Till the mountain trembles and totters 'Neath the mighty force of snow, And the lives and homes of the cotters Are lost in the vale below.
There are times when the mind's inaction Has robbed the soul of power, When moments of deep reflection Arrive at so late an hour That they lose the force of their mission In the laggard way they come, And like withered buds of fruition, Are lifeless, powerless, dumb.
There are words that have been spoken That have echoed on thro' years; Though the vessel has been broken That voiced them to our ears, Yet they come with increased ardor As the years are passing by, Since the soul stood on the border Of vast eternity.
There are scenes that ever mirror Their forms in thought divine, That with lapse of time grow dearer Till we hold them as some shrine, Wherein are kept the treasures Of Faith and Trust and Love— A trio fraught with pleasures Drawn from the realms above.
There are hours upon whose decision The fate of a soul may be; Though clouds may obscure the vision And we pray for a light to see The way that shall lead to heaven, And keep our pathway bright, We can use but the knowledge given And walk in our purest light.
Let us scan each hour's requisition And answer every demand, Knowing that want of decision Is a foe we cannot withstand; If we shrink from performing our duty, Or tardily fashion our thought, Life loses its charm and its beauty And existence profits us naught.
* * * * *
We know that like all human Our work is imperfect at best, And will bristle with imperfections Till our hands shall be at rest; But to justify our blunders Or pass them lightly o'er, Is the fatal way of inviting A thousand errors more.
WHO SHALL JUDGE?
We know not all that we have done, Nor may we ever know; No field was ever lost or won, Until the final blow Has registered itself in Heaven, And every impulse known, That tells a reason why 'twas given, To Him upon the Throne.
Then let us boast not of our deeds, Nor let our true hearts fail, Because we think some plan succeeds While others ne'er prevail; For he who works as best he can With lofty, pure intent, Will not be judged by puny man, But God Omnipotent.
* * * * *
This earth is a place of probation, A school wherein man may secure A knowledge of his true relation, To the noble, the true, and the pure.
I know not what the future May have in store for me, I only know that God is God And He may trusted be.
The past with all its pleasure And all its sorrow too, Has been but a probation To prove me false or true.
If in my earthly mission No progress has been made Toward a higher spirit— No growth of soul displayed—
Then dark, sad, and foreboding The future must appear, The soul must shrink in terror When death's hour draweth near.
If in the past no brother Has felt my outstretched hand, To aid him on his pilgrimage Toward a better land,
No word of mine brought solace To a weary careworn soul; No hand of mine has pointed To the Christian's heavenly goal;
No thought, or word, or action To lead to better life; No balm to heal deep anguish; No anodyne for strife;
Then shall I hear the sentence, "You did it not to me," Come from the sacred Teacher Who taught in Gallilee.
If I have wronged my brother, In action or in thought; Have forced him into sorrow, Or counted him as naught,
Have borne false witness of him Or robbed him of his peace; Unjustly taken from him Or hindered his increase,
The words of condemnation, "You did it unto me," Will fill my soul with terror, Distress, and misery.
My soul has wronged no being Of just and honest part; But on this sole reliance It would not dare depart.
Not in its own weak merit, Not in itself alone, But in the great redemption Of Him who did atone
For man, and bid him enter, The gates of joy and rest, Through faith, and prayer, and penitence, Upon a Savior's breast.
I shrink not at the future Whatever it may be, But joy in full assurance Of faith's expectancy.
* * * * *
Let me pass away when my work is done, Like a cloudless day whose setting sun Leaves a smile on the evening sky; Let this transient clay when deprived of breath, With the earth yet stay, it alone knows death, Myself must live on and cannot die.
ERE AND AT MY CALL.
Ere I lay me down the burden That my soul on earth hath worn, Let me feel before departing, That my tree of life hath borne Fruitage that shall ever onward Move mankind along the road, Toward the haven of the blessed Toward the city of my God.
Let some word that I have spoken Or some act performed by me, Sound aloud thro' coming ages Making captive souls more free; Not to bring me earthly glory Nor to win me empty fame, But to prove the mighty power In a risen Savior's name.
Let my work be all completed When the summons comes to go; Let there be no cause for weeping, Let there be no sound of woe, When the spirit from my Father Beckons me from duty done, To appear at His tribunal, And receive the crown that's won.
Let there be a joyous sunset, Lighting all the realm above With the radiance and the glory Of a Savior's dying love; Let my faith be firm, unshaken, Let His hand be clasped in mine, Let me cross the mystic river, Leaning on His breast divine.
The sky that was blue and sunny, Has changed to a granite gray, The sun that was soft and cheery, Refuses it mellow ray; On the distant tree-top, cawing, Sits a solitary crow; These and the shivering children Betoken the coming snow.
Soon the flakes will be falling, Like down from an angel's wing, That is sent from the starry regions For Nature's covering; The trees, the plants, the grasses, With rev'rence bow their heads, For the pure and fleecy mantle That God above them spreads.
AN OPEN BOOK.
How strange are the stories we sometimes read In faces we meet by the way, They unconsciously tell of motive or deed That the tongue would refuse to betray.
Each lineament is a page set apart To be studied and understood By the shade that reflects the mind and heart, In their varied forms and mood.
The eye oft reflects the secrets of soul That are occult to all beside, And form of the mouth defying control Betrays what the heart fain would hide.
The quivering chin and tear-bedewed eye That respond to a kindred word That unconsciously fell from a tongue passing by, Oft betrays how th' heart has been stirred.
There are fountains so deep in some human lives That from them no draught can be drawn, Save the perfect mirage the face ever gives Of the soul when reflections dawn.
How varied the pages we daily read— Some are joyous and full of glee, While others may tell of brave hearts that bleed, And then break in deep misery.
The facial page to me hath a charm That no printed book can impart, 'Tis no fancied tale, 'tis no false alarm, But stern truths from the human heart.
Pencils write plainly each act, on the face, Each motive indulged is seen there, No after decision can fully erase The masks faces ever must wear.
If the face would be fair and bright and young, Wear a charming, a joyous hue, To truth and to right heart-strings must be strung, Every thought, every act must be true.
Let the pencil of truth inscribe on the face, Let honor illumine the eye, Let generous thoughts and acts ever grace The face-page the world shall descry.
SOME CHARACTERS I MUCH ADORE.
An honest man with noble mind, With heart sincere, true, and refined, Who lives for God and all mankind, Who cares for rich and poor, And opens wide his soul to see The sweet designs of Deity, Yet from all prejudice is free, Is character I much adore.
The man who all his rights will claim, But gives another just the same, And shares with equity the blame Of faults done long before, Who will not shrink when sorely tried. But firmly by the truth abide, E'en when his own faults are allied, Is character I much adore.
A man who will not plead a cause That violates the nation's laws, Or seek to give Justice a pause, For gold or worldly store, But Pallas-like will e'er defend, Alike for foe, or trusted friend, The rights on which morals depend, Is character I much adore.
A man who rises by his worth And not through fortune-favored birth, Who owns himself, though all the earth May bribes around him pour, Who wears distinction's jeweled crown, But not from trampling others down, Or acts that cause Justice to frown, Is character I much adore.
The teacher who sees soul and mind In pleasing harmony combined Within the clay to be refined, And scans it o'er and o'er, That through instruction, skill, and love, It may expand and so improve, To honor earth and heaven above, Is character I much adore.
The man of God who feels no loss To bear the burden of the cross Though waves of fury round him toss, That sometimes hide the shore; Who guides alike the rich and poor Toward Him who said, "I am the Door," And bids them come though sick and sore, Is character I much adore.
The man who fills a humble lot As best he can, and murmurs not At what he has, or has not got, But uses all his power To elevate his work and life, And knows no mean ignoble strife, With which the world is too much rife, Is character I much adore.
A faithful wife bent low in prayer O'er suffering one in wild despair, While tender hands relief prepare Upon th' uncovered floor Of him who cursed her life by drink And caused her trusting heart to sink Upon Despair's cold, cheerless brink, Is character I much adore.
* * * * *
Nature has printed the largest book That eye has ever seen, And filled it with colored pictures fair, In white and gray and green. She offers it free to all mankind— Noble, generous deed— But few there are in its pages rare, Have ever learned to read.
SOME CHARACTERS I CAN'T ADMIRE.
The seeming saint with long drawn face, Who thinks that he has so much grace He should be throned on highest place To which saints may aspire, And yet, when dealing with a man, Will use some vicious, subtle plan By which a vantage he may gain, Is character I can't admire.
The zealot who thinks God has given A delegated power from heaven To him, to see that men are driven To escape a burning fire, Yet draws no souls by filial love, But deems the world can never move By holy influence from above, Is character I can't admire.
The man whose prayer is long and loud, Whose knee is bent, whose head is bowed— With worldly goods richly endowed With all man can desire, Yet sees a worthy brother fall, Without responding to his call For aid to soothe starvation's gall, Is character I can't admire.
The teacher who devoid of heart, Unskilled in pedagogic art, With looks and acts severely tart Would loathesome tasks require, Of pupils dulled by daily grind, Or stirred by words unjust, unkind, Which leave a canker in the mind, Is character I can't admire.
The mother who aspires to be A beacon light of charity, Regardless of the nursery Whereof she seems to tire, Who thinks her husband needs no care, But drives him wildly toward despair By meagre love, and frigid fare, Is character I can't admire.
The husband who spends days and nights In low resorts, mid brawls and fights, In which his heart greatly delights, But stops not to inquire, If wife and child have needed care, Or from his draughts he may not spare The pittance they should justly share, Is character I can't admire,
The millionaire who doth obtain His wealth by brawn and muscle strain Of those he poorly doth maintain Through scanty meed and hire, Who will not justly, freely give A recompense whereby may live In health, the man who makes him thrive Is character I can't admire.
The man who feels no poignant ruth At the dethronement of a truth, That to old age from tender youth Has felt no fervid ire When hate and envy swayed the tongue, And took no pride in checking wrong, No matter where it may belong, Is character I can't admire.
The man who lives for self alone, The man whose truth and honor 've flown, The man who hears a fellow groan Or sees a soul expire, And lifts no friendly hand to aid, No sympathy of soul betrayed, No fevered brow with balm allayed, Are characters I can't admire.
ON BROOKLYN BRIDGE.
I stood upon the slender link That joins two cities into one, And saw from thence the storm-clouds drink Their moisture from the sun.
I watched their lowering, frowning edge, Girt round with silver band, Saw castles tall and towering ledge Assume their forms so grand.
I saw the marshalled hosts of heaven Join for the mighty fray, Their ranks by tempest-winds were driven Along their dark highway.
High in the heavens the giant forms Of chariots, horsemen, towers stand, Whose home is ever 'mid the storms— When chaos reigns, most grand.
I saw the fragments of the cloud Join with the nucleus form, Cirrus to Nimbus quickly bowed— Sure harbinger of storm.
These were but outward signs I saw, Portending danger, strife, and fear, Yet still I knew by Nature's law, Beyond the clouds, 'twas clear.
In spite of cloud and storm and strife, Of tempests wild, severe, There's sunshine in our daily life, If one true heart is near.
No battle vanquishes the true, E'en thought of death is sweet To him whose soul would e'er subdue The scorpion-sting—deceit.
One trusting, true, and tender heart Can cure a thousand ills, Extract the poison from the dart Of malice e'er it kills.
Oh, marshalled hosts of warring clouds! Teach me this truth to know, There's light beyond, though trouble shrouds The valley here below.
THEIR LIFE IS WHAT THEY MAKE IT.
Let melancholy mortals grieve And tell their tale of sorrow, Their gloomy spirits to relieve, But all returns to-morrow; For all the while they court their grief, Unwilling to forsake it, And in the way they seek relief, Their life is what they make it.
They brood o'er sorrow day by day, With dreams they are affrighted, But never strive to cast away What most their spirits blighted; And if fair fortune chance to smile And give no cause for sorrow, They're not content to rest awhile, But off they go and borrow.
Avoiding all life's pleasant ways Their life is always clouded, They see no happy sunny days, For all in gloom is shrouded; They never see the flowers that bloom As on Life's road they ramble, But in the darkest paths of gloom Are seeking for a bramble.
The pleasures of this life do not Depend on its surrounding, But if the heart's trained as it ought, Content will be abounding; The silent heart's the seat of joy, And by continual training Life's trials scarcely will annoy The soul where peace is reigning.
Then tell me not Fate made them so, And they cannot avoid it, That all their life is doomed to woe, And they have not alloyed it; For all the while they court their grief, Unwilling to forsake it, And in the way they seek relief, Their life is what they make it.
* * * * *
The atmosphere may be redolent With fragrance from some happy soul Whose unconscious influence has sent Attractive power, like magnetic pole, Till laugh of bright eyes is contagious, Infectious, the mirth of a smile, And the ominous brow umbrageous, Casts aside its lowerings vile.
THE LONE BIRD.
A solitary bird was seen by the writer, making its toilsome flight against a strong storm-wind. The peculiar undulating flight, the gathering darkness of the night, and the portentous indications of storm suggested this:
Whither away on such winged undulations, Breasting the winds and the tempests wild glee, Lifting your form in graceful vibrations As onward you move like a billowy sea?
Alone, all alone, on wing wide extended, Nerved for the tempest that sounds not afar, Night her dark mantle o'er earth has suspended, Thro' which may not shine e'en the light of one star.
Stop, lonely wanderer, and tell me why mateless, Tell me the story of your solitude; God, e'en a bird has not left so fateless But somewhere there lives a companion for you.
Tell me if death has robbed you of treasures That sweetened the tone of your vesper song; Tell me if fears have destroyed all the pleasures Which justice and right say to you should belong.
Tell me, yes, tell me, and tell me most truly, Is there just cause why your flight is alone? Is there some stain whereby you are duly Debarred from the pleasures that should be your own?
Still but your wing and confide me the story, Chant it to me in a short plaintive song; Perhaps it may speak of a sweet transient glory That faded and died 'mid disaster and wrong.
Perhaps I may speak some word that has healing For solitude's wounds, e'en sweet tho' they be, For sorrows augment by sacred concealing, And steal from the heart ev'ry wish to be free.
Dear blessed bird! you have stopped at my pleading, My soul aids my ears to catch your sweet tone: "If life is not sweetened by presence and breeding, 'Tis better by far to travel alone.
"I have learned as my wings have borne me thro' groves Where gods their ambrosial nectar sip, That the heart's best experience ever proves, Joy comes not from presence, but companionship."
A LESSON FROM NATURE.
O who has not felt his gay heart beat with gladness, As forth he has wandered some morning in May? It drives away care and relieves us from sadness, It cheers the lone heart and makes us feel gay.
We see how all Nature rejoices around us, The plants as they spring from the earth seem to smile, The fresh growing leaves of the groves now surround us, And soft sounds of Spring-time unite to beguile.
The earth is now teeming with bright vegetation, The early spring flowers are now in their bloom, And where'er we look there appears animation Just bursting the cells of the last winter's tomb.
The soft breeze of May-day, we welcome it near us, As filled with rich fragrance it comes thro' the trees, And the bright feathered songsters apparently fear us No more than the odors that float on the breeze.
They tune their sweet voices and sing their devotion, Their hearts seem so light, so merry and free, That ideal beauty graces each motion, While they playfully dart from bush and from tree.
Our hearts beat with rapture too great for expression While viewing sweet Nature, so lovely, so gay, And hearing those sweet lulling sounds in succession, We wished in our joy it always were May.
Thus tempted to linger and spend one short hour, In looking around us in bliss most supreme, We found a choice spot in a fine shady bower, Where near it there murmured a bright silver stream.
From this lovely spot we intently were watching The scenes that surround us on this merry May, Every strain of grove-music our ears were now catching, And we saw every movement that came in our way.
A sweet, tiny bird on a twig near the river, Was warbling softly his choice matin lay, While near on a branch we soon did discover A serpent preparing to make him his prey.
Then glancing the eye to a branch that was near them, We saw there a nest that contained a young brood; While this parent bird was singing to cheer them, The other returned to the nest with their food.
The worm which she held in her beak she soon gave them, Then off in the thicket she darted again, To seek for their food, and from hunger relieve them; But on her return how great was her pain!
For while she had wandered, this serpent intruder Had charmed her loved mate, as he sat on the spray, His sweet song had ceased, and his notes became ruder, But his fluttering wings could not bear him away.
We flew to the rescue—struck down the invader Before the sweet songster had yielded his life, Put an end to this cunning and mischievous raider, And quieted all of the songster's great strife.
We learned from the scenes of this morning's ramble That moments of happiness soon may decay; While plucking the flowers to beware of the bramble, Which hid among blossoms may sadly betray.
We learned that the joys of this world are not lasting; That what we call pleasure may be a vain show; While joys seem the sweetest they only are blasting, And happiness frequently ends in great woe.
We learned that when Nature seems most to invite us, To build some fond hope on some loved scheme of ours, That there may be sadness preparing to blight us, Which evades all our watchings, defies all our powers.
MY MOTHER'S LOVE.
Nine months after writing this poem, my mother died, Dec. 21st, 1894.
My vision eye beholds a form, Bent low by years of life's fierce storm, That moves with feeble tread; Though time has worn that weary frame The heart still keeps its sacred flame True, undiminished.
No power but Death can ever quell— No mortal tongue can ever tell A mother's boundless love; 'Tis shadowed in the secret sigh, Or in the moisture of the eye— E'en silence, it may prove.
Itself and I had but one birth, It came from heaven to gladden earth— And brighten man's abode; To feel the magic of its power Is richer boon than any dower The earth has yet bestowed.
Favored in this has been my lot; Relentless Death has robbed me not— Though fifty years have flown, Of all the ecstasy and joy That came to me when but a boy, Or since to manhood grown,
Of that benign maternal smile, Whose magic influence can beguile My heart from worldly care, And lead me toward that beacon-light Of motive pure and act aright, No matter when or where.
O blessed influence of the past! May all my mother's counsels last Until my heart shall cease To send its crimson current round The tenement wherein 'tis bound, And Death shall bring release.
Still let these visions come to me Of her I would so gladly see Though far from her I roam; They bring sweet memory of the past, Which but a few more years may last, Of happiness and home.
THE EVENING BEFORE MY BROTHER'S FIFTY-THIRD BIRTHDAY.
Dear Brother, how the time speeds on And leaves its trace upon our forms; The days of sunny youth are gone And age unfits us for the storms That gather oft for you and me— To-morrow you'll be fifty-three.
It seems but yesterday since youth Was all aglow within our hearts, But still we recognized the truth, Old age has pierced us with his darts Until from pains we are not free— To-morrow you'll be fifty-three.
Long years of toil and anxious care Have left their records all too plain; The failing eye, the snowy hair, The limbs and body racked with pain, Tell tales that all the world can see— To-morrow you'll be fifty-three.
Still on life's battlefield we'll fight And win such victories as we may, Believing still that right is might And faithful hearts shall win the day; Then let us shout and sing with glee— To-morrow you'll be fifty-three.
And when a few more days are past And we are bowed with years and care, The cheerful sunshine still may last To make declining years more fair; Ah! much I hope that this may be— To-morrow you'll be fifty-three.
'Tis sweet to think of boyhood's days And all the happiness they gave, To summon back life's earliest plays And call lost childhood from its grave; Thus memory gives us victory— To-morrow you'll be fifty-three.
Since manhood's form was given me Until this hour, our ways have been In different lines of industry, And scarce have we each other seen; Your birthday's held in memory— To-morrow you'll be fifty-three.
MY BROTHER'S BIRTHDAY.
Fifty-eight to-day, fifty-eight to-day! How years of your life have sped away, And left in the brown of the dying year A quiet content, devoid of fear At the onward march of Time's noiseless feet, Which ever advance, but ne'er retreat, As they bear you on to that silent shore, From which earth's mortals return no more.
With the night of time come the sunset cares, The faltering step, the snowy hairs, The tottering frame, and the stifled breath, Sure harbingers of approaching death, That bring with their train a tranquil repose Unknown to the tears and sighs and woes That belong to scenes of an active life, Whose atmosphere breathes of toil and strife.
As glorious day dies out in the west And sinks in crimson splendor to rest, While the stars of heaven come one by one With reflected light from th' sinking sun, So may life with you in its late decline, Leave a trail of light that yet may shine To illumine the path that others tread, And cheer the way of the vanquished.
TO MY DAUGHTER BLANCHE IN HEAVEN.
Died Jan. 4th, 1893, aged 11 years.
Darling of my bosom, Pride of my loving heart, Hopes were sorely shattered When I saw your life depart; In you I saw my future, Cheered by your smile and voice, Sorrow ceased its frowning, My spirit would rejoice.
Life was made much brighter By your presence sweet; At your cheery coming Heart-shadows would retreat; Soulful songs with meanings Beyond your years were sung; To chords of sweetest rapture Your heart-strings e'er were strung.
From out the realms of heav'n Still you speak to me, And fancy draws the curtain That I your face may see; Perhaps in the hereafter I yet may fully know The purpose of your going, Your mission here below.
To me comes a voice that none other Hath power to hear or to know, Its cadence so sweet and consoling Is a whisper so gentle and low, That the flight of an angel might covet The silence it bears in its tone; It speaks to me often, to comfort My heart when I sit all alone.
I oft close my eyes at the twilight And that voice comes floating to me Like the song of some fairy creature That dwells in a pearl-lighted sea; When the shades of midnight infold me That voice lulls me gently to rest, And tells me the time is not distant When my spirit shall dwell as its guest.
When shadows of night are departing And smiling Aurora appears, That voice of sweet invitation Falls soothingly into my ears; A form that I fondly cherish Like a vision of beauty I see, That comes on an angelic mission With counsel and solace for me.
How sweet is the voice that is calling— Is calling in rapture to me And leading me close to the border Where into its home I can see! It tells me the land is not distant, That soon when my boat I must launch, I shall know the voice that is calling, Is the voice my lost darling Blanche.
* * * * *
When Liberty lies wounded, And shrieks in wild despair, Then patriots will cast aside The party garb they wear, And honest hands and hearts unite, To wash away the stain That narrow-minded partisans Would selfishly maintain.
Dear Goddess of our fathers! Our hands shall e'er maintain The sacred trust of keeping free The realm where thou dost reign; And counting not our lives too dear To offer unto thee, We dedicate all that we are To our sweet Liberty.
I sat by the farm-house window When the winter's sun was low, And looked on the clear horizon O'er fields white-crested with snow.
A tree with its arms outstretching, Was limned on the distant sky, And my fancy saw a picture Such as gold can never buy.
Perhaps to no other vision Could the scene be just the same, For blendings in the picture Had on me a special claim.
My mother oft had looked upon That fair picture in the west, While sitting in that self-same chair, Ere she laid her down to rest.
This gave a charm to the picture Of especial power to me, And my vision saw a painting That none else on earth could see.
I can close my eyes at twilight Though now many miles away, And see that lovely horizon At close of expiring day.
I can see the true formation Of each rock and tree and field, In a perfect panorama That time has not yet concealed.
It is not an idle fancy For me now to paint the scene, Since my mother's form has faded From the place where she has been.
I know it affords me comfort To recall from day to day, That scene from the farm-house window, Since my mother passed away.
MY ROOM IN BOYHOOD'S DAYS.
After forty years.
Sacred these walls wherein I find Myself inclosed once more; Here in youth's pride my ardent mind On nightly tasks would pore.
Sweet were these tasks, for mental power Comes with each duty done; And ray of light charmed midnight's hour When thought its victory won.
Oft did the battle seem severe, Sometimes defeat seemed nigh, But pride and love must persevere When all our powers we try.
Struggles bring a development That will not brook defeat; Within us dwells an element That makes just contest sweet.
If barriers in our mental path Stand like a sullen foe, Summon the soul, in righteous wrath Strike a decisive blow,
And spare not till the victory Puts ignorance to flight; And let the battle-cry e'er be Science and Truth and Right!
Such victories, when fairly won, Put slaughter's field to shame, And Honor's self shall place upon Such victors, wreaths of fame.
O happy hours within these walls, But happier far to me Is the expanded mind which calls Deep thought, best liberty.
That mental power which sees the world As beauty, grace, and art, Wherein God's loveliness unfurled, Speaks to a living heart,
And leads it tenderly to see The harmony of laws Which unifies immensity, And tells of the First Cause,
Yields greater solace, richer lore, Than books alone can give; For mind and soul form the great power By which we act and live.
The wealth that dignifies mankind Is not in bonds and stocks, But in rich thoughts, noble, refined, Needing no bars nor locks.
When man for manhood more shall strive, And less for greed and gain, The humble poor may nobly live, And feel not hunger's pain.
These walls are sacred unto me, For thought here learned to soar And build the ark of liberty I love, exalt, adore.
Every tree and plant, every tiny flower That grows in wood or field, Hath a voice that calls aloud to me, And a beauty half concealed, That draw my ears to hear a strain Of music sweet and low, And paint for me far richer hues Than the sunset's evening glow; They speak to me as no tongue can speak; Their voices are sweeter far Than the tones that fall from human lips, Or strains of sweet music are.
POUNDRIDGE, N. Y.
Perhaps no spot upon this sphere, Has charms for me more sacred, dear, Than those of old Poundridge; I love her hills, her lakes, her streams, Her rural haunts, where Nature teems With joys naught can abridge.
Her dew-bespangled meadows shine With gems of radiance so divine, When touched by matin sun, That myriad pendant drops of dew, Lend to the mead a brilliant hue Like earth with diamonds strown.
The woods that sleep on distant hills, Or watch o'er gently murmuring rills, Seem restful to the soul; Their silence brings sweetest repose, A panacea for the woes That spurn M. D.'s control.
The healthful, healing, peaceful rest, To frame fatigued, to mind distressed, Seems but a foretaste here, Of that serene and blest abode, Which to the faithful child of God Hereafter shall appear.
I love the rustic's rough demesne, Which yields to toil a wealth unseen To those of civic life; For here I drank, in youth's bright dawn, The draughts of vigor which were drawn From labor's busy strife.
I love the house wherein I played, The yard o'erspread by maple's shade, The nearby babbling brook; The fields o'er which my youthful feet Sped onward toward the trout's retreat, With dangling line and hook.
I love the path across the wood Which once I trod in search of food For hungering, thirsting mind, The room where pupils used to meet And strive to make their work complete And manners more refined.
All these I love for what is past, And still must love while life shall last; But I do love still more The souls who fired my mental lamp, And on my character did stamp Truths fraught with richest lore.
I see my aged mother there, My father in his old arm-chair, And fancy hears their voice; My brother yet so full of joy, Has passed the limits of a boy, But still can much rejoice.
Upon the hill, the lakes between, Are sacred mounds of living green, Where sleep my precious dead; A vacant spot reserved for me, To which my heart looks longingly, Invites my weary head.
No greater boon could I e'er ask When I have finished earthly task, Than quietly to rest, Surrounded by her vales and hills, Her laughing lakes and singing rills, And friends that I love best.
Tho' many years now intervene, My mind recalls each boyhood scene Of field and wood and bridge; These cherished memories only prove Abiding faith and filial love Toward restful, old Poundridge.
We remember well when a schoolboy, When pliant in mind and limb, We had for a boon companion, A bright youth whose name was Tim.
He was sturdy, strong, and honest, In body and mind he had vim, So we learned by intuition, To place much reliance on Tim.
We fished and hunted together, In summer, the lakes we would swim, Skated their surface in winter, With mercurial, wonderful Tim.
Our tasks at school were a union, And when thoughts were distant or dim, A light illumined the pages, That seemed a reflection from Tim.
Reciprocal visits were often, He slept with me, I slept with him, Talked till near dawn of daylight, With fluent and scholarly Tim.
Decades have passed since that season, My hair is reduced to a rim, But my heart beats as warm as ever, For that friend of my youth, named Tim.
As years fleet away, we treasure The power of our mind to skim O'er the scenes of early doings, With valiant and trustworthy Tim.
A third of a century over, Still a friend have we now like him, Exact in his every bearing, And his name is—unchanged—Tim.
We wonder if in the hereafter, When we range with the Seraphim, Happiness will be augmented By the kindly presence of Tim.
We trust an expanded mission Will fill us with joy to the brim, As we ramble the fields of glory, With genial and faithful friend Tim.
THE UNWRITTEN LETTER.
On receiving sprigs of Forget-me-not and Lilly-of-the-Valley in envelope, through mail, with no note or name inclosed.
In form it was a letter, Unique in its every part, The expression could not be better, For it touched my inmost heart.
No pen had marred its beauty, No ink had traced a line, It did its silent duty Like a messenger divine.
Upon its page was written No English, French, nor Greek; But a universal language That only flowers can speak.
The colors were pure whiteness And heavenly tints of blue, Excelling all the brightness That art can bring to view.
The Lily-of-the-Valley And sweet Forget-me-not, That grow where perfumes dally In sweet secluded spot,
When sent to tell some story That words cannot express, Are fraught with special glory And richest tenderness.
Their perfumes speak of gladness, Their colors of delight, They neutralize dull sadness, Turn darkness into light.
They link the heart of sender To heart to which they're sent, And unto both will render The sweetness of content.
I love them for their clearness, Their whiteness and their blue; But added to such dearness Is the thought they came from you.
ALL THINGS ARE SECOND-HANDED.
On being asked to write an original poem.
"There's no new thing under the sun," Said the ancient priest and preacher; What seems now new is only done To quicken some old feature That lies effete, or badly worn, And lacks its pristine rigor, That needs an energizing touch To give it life and vigor.
The sun that shines on us to-day, Shone on our ancient parents Who walked upon the primal clay; And science fully warrants That not one atom has been lost, And not one atom added To all the atom matter host, Although some forms have faded.
The gorgeous colors that are cast On cloud-land morn and even, Are but reflections of the past That erst had spangled heaven With glories from that mystic throne Whose blendings none can rival, But whose expiring tints, alone, Admit of a revival.
The rain that drops has dropped before; Our flowers were another's; The songs we sing were sung of yore By long departed brothers; The sounds we hear are but the tones Or echoes of the past; We live among the mouldering bones Of forms too frail to last.
Then ask me not for something new, All things are second-handed, The old may sometimes be more true Than that more lately branded; But taking things as best we can, We know 'tis only human To shun a second-handed man, Or a second-handed woman.
But let us not be too severe On second-handed matter, For nothing seems to be more clear Than that we should not flatter Our souls into a fatal state, Of scoffing at the common, For who can tell what cruel fate May make of man or woman?
FACES WE READ.
One may read from the face at leisure, From the leaf that reflects the soul, The thought, the desire, and the measure That imprint on the facial scroll The innermost mind and its actions, The heart with its strongest desires, The passions, impulses, and factions Which animate clay oft inspires.
Ev'ry line of th' face has a father Whose hand has engraven it there, But shades of the spirit are rather Betrayed in the hue of the hair; The pencils of thought, true to nature, Have written their records so plain, That a skillful eye reads each feature That dwells in the heart and the brain.
One may peep into occult recesses Which only the face will reveal, May read what the tongue quite represses But the eye cannot fully conceal, May fathom the deepest depressions Where the soul has buried its woe, Where the heart would hold secret sessions With scenes and events long ago.
The writer applying for a room at Newpoint Inn, Amityville, Long Island, was informed that the house was full. Some friends, stopping near, kindly invited him to go with them. He accepted. After his departure he sent the following:
"I was a stranger and ye took me in, Hungry and ye fed me," No place for me at Newpoint Inn, So home you kindly led me.
Some say the world is cold and sour, Devoid of fellow-feeling, But day by day and hour by hour, To me comes a revealing
That warm hearts beat where'er we go, Kind hands are gladly serving The kindred hearts which ever show They truly are deserving.
The world, indeed, may frigid be When icebergs float around it, But warm, true hearts of constancy, Have uniformly found it
To be a place where fragrant flowers Deprive the thorns of stings, Where sunny souls spend happy hours, And Nature laughs and sings.
We make our paths, we dwell the lives Selected by ourselves; We shape the destiny that gives Our fate to gods or elves.
Then let us know this truth full well Wherever we may be, We have a power to help us dwell In the ville of amity.
* * * * *
Robin is a singer; sweet and pure and clear Are the notes he warbles from his covert near; Softly, oh! how softly, at the sunset's glow Does he chant his vespers, plaintive, sweet, and low.
Robin is an artist; he beautifies the stream, The vale, the hill, the meadow, until they truly seem To glow, because his presence gives to each a tongue To echo back the music his minstrel throat has sung.
The smallest type of manhood that lives, (If manhood it may be called,) Is that which knows no power but wealth That is measured in stocks and gold; It looks in disdain on a working man Who declines to bend his knee, Though in honor's scales he may outweigh The scorner, in great degree.
There's a wealth that far surpasses all The houses and stocks and gold, That ever was on the market placed, To be by a hireling sold; 'Tis the wealth of manhood, noble, free, And an independent mind That scorns to swerve from justice and truth, But faithfully serves mankind.
PIOUS PIE POEM PUNS.
Dedicated to my Ex-Pier.
One pious afternoon in June When pyronomics held full sway, My pilot, fancy, led me on To seek new fields, piebald and gay.
The pianet rested in shade, The lark, piano-voiced, sang not, But pining for some genial maid To pioneer me to a spot,
Where pine or oak might shield from heat, My thoughts turned piously to where Pierian pleasures one might meet, And pious converse jointly share.
Pyrometers were all at home— No doubt the figures mounted high— She sighed and said she could not roam, Then pitt (i) ed me with cherry pie.
Piacular may she not be, And thus escape the eternal pyre, No pirate's heart would dance with glee Like mine, to see that maid—Ex-Pier.
A Legend of Trinity Lake, Poundridge, N. Y.
Read at a Farmers' Picnic, Trinity Lake, Sept. 1, 1891.
The Rippowams were a tribe of Indians living along the Sound near Stamford and Norwalk, Ct., and extended their territory for some miles northward. The Kitchewonks were a tribe living on the Hudson, near Sing Sing and Peekskill, N. Y., and found their way eastward. In the early days of the Indian occupation of these lands the Rippowams followed up the stream running from the three lakes—Round Pond, Middle Pond, and Lower Pond—while the Kitchewonks followed that branch of the Croton which finds its source in Cross Pond, now Lake Kitchewan. For the possession of these grounds there were frequent battles between these tribes, as the lake-land abounded in fish and game. The intercourse between these tribes, both belonging to the Mohegans, was very limited, at first, but in course of time became more frequent and friendly. A lime and marble ridge separates Lake Kitchewan from the three lower lakes and forms a watershed between the Hudson and the sound.
In recent years a dam was constructed by the Stamford Water Co., and the three lakes were made into one, and very appropriately called thereafter, Trinity. The lakes are supplied almost entirely by springs, as no streams of any size empty into them.
For several years, in the spring time, a floating island appeared in Trinity, upon which vegetation grew abundantly. This island sank upon the approach of cold weather and remained in a state of hibernation until the spring came. Some person or persons who had no love for the romantic, curious, and beautiful, loaded it so heavily with stones that it sank to rise no more.
In its departure the lake sustained the loss of an attraction which is known in but few lakes in the world.
A large rock, estimated to weigh eight or ten tons, is so nicely poised upon another rook, upon a high point about fifty rods west of the lake, that a gentle pressure of the hand will cause it to rock perceptibly.
Directly opposite the picnic grounds are precipitous rocks, below which the waters are extremely deep.—THE AUTHOR.
When the infant world in its swaddling band Of mist and cloud and storm, Assumed its forms of sea and land, And the lakes and streams were born, In this western world, on the eastern shore, Four leagues from the inland sea, Came a liquid crown set with jewels four, But in union only three; For the northern gem was a solitaire And barred from the lesser three, By a marble wall wrought strong and fair By the hand of Divinity.
A silver thread from the Trinity Ran southward through the wood, Till it lost its flow in the land-locked sea, And was merged in old Neptune's flood; But the northern gem in a mystic race Sent a message toward the west, And linked itself in the kind embrace Of the Hudson grandly dressed.
Ten thousand moons had waxed and waned And flung on the mirror sheet A train of beauty, with no discord stained Since creation stood complete. Here antlered deer had slaked their thirst And fought their imaged form; Here rolling tones of thunder burst, As a harbinger of storm; Here song of bird and sigh of breeze Had ne'er met human ear; The beast on land, the fowl on trees Dwelt here in peace and knew no fear.
Brave Kitchewonks had traced their way Along the stream that westward ran, While Rippowams pursued their prey Until this lake-land was their van. 'Twas here Mohegan met again The blood that in Mohegan flowed, But each regarded not the vein, Though kinsmen, foes they firmly stood. This lake-land, rich in fish and game, Was ground for strife and war and blood; From west and south the warriors came In battle paint and surly mood. The Kitchewonks near northern lake Upon the Rippowams looked down, And hoped their power and pride to break E'er harvest-moon had fully grown.
ALMETA on the western stream Now mourned her absent PONOMO, For harvest-moon had sent its gleam Across the Hudson's tidal flow, And at its full he was to come, And her to lake-land safely guide, Where they should make their future home, And she should there become his bride. But he had with Rippowams' band, Marched forth to meet her kinsmen dear, And face to face they sternly stand Prepared for battle-storm severe.
Her heart bid her to dare the shock And seek him near the hostile camp; Her mind her heart would basely mock, And boding fears her ardor damp; The bondage of her heart so great Her coward mind could never free; She heeds no danger, dares all fate, And this her brief soliloquy:
"I know that tribal laws demand My life if I should thither flee, I must obey that great command— God's higher law—fidelity. No other lips my lips have pressed, No other arms encircled me, Since he my maiden form caressed And each breathed vows of constancy. For me at each returning moon He journeyed through the forest wild, Braved dangers that my heart hath won, And now I must not be defiled By any doubt or any fear That death or suffering may bring. I'd count such sacrifice not dear If I must be an offering.
"What though my blood may stain the soil, Devotion mark me for a slave Through weary years to strive and toil, Or fate should sink me 'neath the wave! 'Twere better far that such should be Than I should violate my heart And all that's sacred unto me By acting a base traitor's part. I must away, I must away To meet him by the silvery lake! 'Tis crime for me to longer stay I will not, cannot now forsake."
She speeds along the forest trail Where warriors late in painted form, Had marched through Kitchewan's fair vale To meet their foes in battle-storm. Her eyes are watchful to survey, Her ears detect the lightest sound, Her heart and mind to her betray Where barriers to her flight are found. She shuns them all by tact and skill; Most gladly she to him will prove The power that's in a woman's will, The faith that's in a woman's love.
From hill and ledge she scans the ground While dangers seem her faith to mock; But highest point by her is found, She stands upon the swaying rock, Which seems unsteady 'neath her feet, And makes her doubt if she can stand To make inspection so complete, She may discern PONOMO'S band. The trembling rock and trembling heart Are firmly fixed, no power can move; But from its crest she must depart In search of him her heart doth love. She stands beside the central lake Along whose shores the war-whoop rang, And softly for her own heart's sake, This song of harvest-moon she sang:
"The hunter's moon now floods the night Turns darkness into day, The wood and lake in mellow light, Charm grief and care away.
"The sparkling water's silvery gleam My sorrow soothes for me, And lifts my soul in fancy's dream To thoughts so pure and free.
"So bright the light that fills the night, The song-birds sweetly sing; From tree to tree they take their flight On swift yet noiseless wing.
"Now come, PONOMO, come to me, I wait your coming here; You promised 'neath this hemlock tree, At midnight to appear.
"My heart, my life, my all is yours, And you are all to me; Faith trusts your promise and assures Unchanged fidelity.
"I know your heart is warm and true, Your love not cold or dumb, No earthly power can it subdue; I know that you will come."
She hears a footstep drawing near; Her voice is mute, her song is done, She waits, PONOMO to appear, In shadowed silence all alone. Beneath lugubrious hemlock shade Her heart beats with expectancy, And Kitchewonk's own dusky maid Trusts Rippowam's fidelity. He comes! She sees him near the lake; She knows his form, his step, his voice; No other charm for her could make Her heart and soul so much rejoice.
They meet beside the water's edge Where hemlock boughs in silence nod, And there with mutual vow and pledge, In presence of their living God, They join the hand, the heart, the life, While harvest-moon a witness stood, That he the husband, she the wife, Should share in life's vicissitude. That sacred pledge was heard on high And written by an angel hand, Nor priest, nor king, nor majesty, Could marriage rites perform more grand.
No tribal laws or priestly hand Can rivet adverse hearts in one; Compulsion has no iron band So strong it may not be undone; But ties of mutual interest That spring spontaneous from the soul, Are never by themselves oppressed, Their silken cords have full control. To know, to feel, to fully share The joys and sorrows of this life, Unites the souls of mated pair, And make the husband and the wife.
PONOMO and ALMETA there, Where juts of rocks 'neath hemlock boughs, Had breathed a mutual, fervent prayer, And each to each pledged sacred vows, When o'er the lake the war-whoop rang, And Kitchewonks, on every side, Swept down with shout and yell and clang, Upon PONOMO and his bride. On north and south, and on the west, No way of flight then could they take, So from the rough rocks' rugged side They plunged into the central lake.
A hundred arrows cleft the air, But one alone had reached its mark. PONOMO felt it roughly tear Its way into his faithful heart. He shrieked and sank beneath the wave, ALMETA followed after him; Their bridal couch was watery grave, The war-whoop was their requiem.
The savage yell of victory Re-echoed then from shore to shore, While every rock and every tree Seemed deeply tinged with human gore, For when the moon from heavenly throne Looked down and saw the ghastly deed, It veiled itself and feebly shone, As if in agony to plead That human souls might ever know That God himself cannot approve The hand that strikes avenging blow, The soul devoid fraternal love.
'Neath crystal waters of the lake, In silent, undisturbed repose, Where sounds of strife no slumbers break, Heedless alike of friends and foes, They slept the long, long sleep of death, Through centuries of rolling years, While o'er their forms the zephyrs' breath In playful eddyings oft appears. Their race has faded from the shore And left few traces that they were; The war-whoop now resounds no more, They bowed before White Conqueror. Full many a fathom 'neath the wave, Their forms have mouldered side by side, While shadowy hemlocks fringe the grave Of dark PONOMO and his bride.
The waters then were deeper made Which gave their spirits much unrest, The lake their agony betrayed And seemed on every side distressed. One spring when Nature gaily dressed With charms that could the mind beguile, There rose upon the lake's fair breast A hibernating, floating isle. Devoid of life it seemed at first, Chaotic, dull, with beauty none, But rays of sunshine on it burst And changed it to a paragon.
Two alders sprang from near its edge And twined in close embrace, While ferns and grass gave certain pledge That Time should give it smiling face. But when the frosts of autumn fell It sank from sight, perchance to rest; No searching mind could ever tell The secret of its rising crest. For years, at each returning spring, The isle would rise from 'neath the wave, As if to memory to bring PONOMO and ALMETA'S grave. But when the harvest-moon shone bright, It meekly sank; as years before When on that dread, but fatal night, The faithful sank by rock-bound shore.
Its verdure grew, its alders spread, Its fame extended many a mile, 'Twas type of resurrected dead— This hibernating, floating isle.
But vandal hands destroyed the prize And sank it 'neath a weight of stones, While ALMETA sends forth her sighs, And PONOMO emits his groans. Here let them rest, if rest they may, Amid the beauteous scenes around, And wait in peace the final day, When at the angel's trumpet sound, The water shall give up its prey, The earth shall full surrender make, For heaven has not a type to-day, More perfect than this sky-blue lake.
After our labor is finished, After the struggle is done, A restful surcease awaits us At the setting of life's sun. If when our toil seemed the sorest The heart refused to retreat From a grand and noble purpose, Till the vic'try was complete, Then shall joyous crown await us, Resplendent with jewels rare, And a radiance of honor The face shall benignly wear; Not that our works were all faultless And free from error and wrong, But because our sincere purpose Made us brave and true and strong.
Results of labor thus rendered, Are safely trusted to Heaven, For He who knows ev'ry motive, Understands why we have striven. If to man were given the balance To adjust with equity, His weakness and imperfection, His greed and his jealousy, Might sway the poise from adjustment, And his judgment go astray, Through the frailties of his nature— Imperfect humanity
The Infallible in knowledge, Whose true balance never swerves, Knows every man's Gethsemane, And the merit he deserves. He will not ask figs of the thorns; Of talents will not demand A greater increase than is just From a faithful steward's hand. Feeling the weight of the mission Incumbent upon our care; Searching the heart's deep recesses That vice may not shelter there; Working courageously onward The truth and right to defend; And asking a perfect guidance, We calmly welcome the end.
[Transcriber's Note: The following errors in the original have been corrected in this version:
While we shall linger hear, While we shall linger here,
Is a receipe one may offer Is a recipe one may offer
FACT VERSUS FORM.
So are educational falacies So are educational fallacies
In love, oft a maddened, frienzied heart In love, oft a maddened, frenzied heart
That bring filicity. That bring felicity.
No secrets incribed on its scroll. No secrets inscribed on its scroll.
That seemes like a photo-engraving, That seems like a photo-engraving,
Regard causmetic's fancy stock Regard cosmetic's fancy stock
POUNDRIDGE, N. Y.
That spurn M. D's. control. That spurn M. D.'s control.