And wise he must have been, to do more Than ever a genius did before, Excepting Daedalus of yore And his son Icarus, who wore Upon their backs Those wings of wax He had read of in the old almanacs. Darius was clearly of the opinion That the air is also man's dominion, And that, with paddle or fin or pinion, We soon or late Shall navigate The azure as now we sail the sea. The thing looks simple enough to me; And if you doubt it, Hear how Darius reasoned about it.
"Birds can fly, An' why can't I? Must we give in," Says he with a grin, "'T the bluebird an' phoebe Are smarter'n we be? Jest fold our hands an' see the swaller, An' blackbird an' catbird beat us holler? Does the leetle, chatterin', sassy wren, No bigger'n my thumb, know more than men? Jest show me that! Er prove 't the bat Has got more brains than's in my hat, An' I'll back down, an' not till then!"
He argued further: "Ner I can't see What's ta' use o' wings to a bumblebee, Fer to git a livin' with, more'n to me;— Ain't my business Important's his'n is? That Icarus Was a silly cuss,— Him an' his daddy Daedalus. They might 'a' knowed wings made o' wax Wouldn't stan' sun-heat an' hard whacks. I'll make mine o' luther, Er suthin' er other."
And he said to himself, as he tinkered and planned: "But I ain't goin' to show my hand To mummies that never can understand The fust idee that's big an' grand. They'd 'a' laft an' made fun O' Creation itself afore't was done!" So he kept his secret from all the rest Safely buttoned within his vest; And in the loft above the shed Himself he locks, with thimble and thread And wax and hammer and buckles and screws, And all such things as geniuses use;— Two bats for patterns, curious fellows! A charcoal-pot and a pair of bellows; An old hoop-skirt or two, as well as Some wire and several old umbrellas; A carriage-cover, for tail and wings; A piece of harness; and straps and strings; And a big strong boxs In which he locks These and a hundred other things.
His grinning brothers, Reuben and Burke And Nathan and Jotham and Solomon, lurk Around the corner to see him work,— Sitting cross-legged, like a Turk, Drawing the waxed end through with a jerk, And boring the holes with a comical quirk Of his wise old head, and a knowing smirk. But vainly they mounted each other's backs, And poked through knot-holes and pried through cracks; With wood from the pile and straw from the stacks He plugged the knot-holes and calked the cracks; And a bucket of water, which one would think He had brought up into the loft to drink When he chanced to be dry, Stood always nigh, For Darius was sly! And whenever at work he happened to spy At chink or crevice a blinking eye, He let a dipper of water fly. "Take that! an' ef ever ye get a peep, Guess ye'll ketch a weasel asleep!" And he sings as he locks His big strong box:—
"The weasel's head is small an' trim, An' he is leetle an' long an' slim, An' quick of motion an' nimble of limb, An' ef yeou'll be Advised by me Keep wide awake when ye're ketchin' him!" So day after day He stitched and tinkered and hammered away, Till at last 'twas done,— The greatest invention under the sun! "An' now," says Darius, "hooray fer some fun!"
'Twas the Fourth of July, And the weather was dry, And not a cloud was on all the sky, Save a few light fleeces, which here and there, Half mist, half air, Like foam on the ocean went floating by: Just as lovely a morning as ever was seen For a nice little trip in a flying-machine.
Thought cunning Darius: "Now I sha'n't go Along 'ith the fellers to see the show. I'll say I've got sich a terrible cough! An' then, when the folks 'ave all gone off I'll hev full swing For to try the thing, An' practyse a leetle on the wing." "Ain't goin' to see the celebration?" Says Brother Nate. "No; botheration! I've got sich a cold—a toothache—I— My gracious!—feel's though I should fly!"
Said Jotham, "Sho! Guess ye better go." But Darius said, "No! Shouldn't wonder 'f yeou might see me, though, 'Long 'bout noon, ef I git red O' this jumpin', thumpin' pain 'n my head." For all the while to himself he said:— "I'll tell ye what! I'll fly a few times around the lot, To see how 't seems, then soon's I've got The hang o' the thing, ez likely's not, I'll astonish the nation, And all creation, By flyin' over the celebration! Over their heads I'll sail like an eagle; I'll balance myself on my wings like a sea-gull; I'll dance on the chimbleys; I'll stan' on the steeple; I'll flop up to winders an' scare the people! I'll light on the libbe'ty-pole, an' crow; An' I'll say to the gawpin' fools below, 'What world's this 'ere That I've come near?' Fer I'll make 'em believe I'm a chap f'm the moon! An' I'll try a race 'ith their ol' bulloon." He crept from his bed; And, seeing the others were gone, he said, I'm a-gittin' over the cold 'n my head." And away he sped, To open the wonderful box in the shed.
His brothers had walked but a little way When Jotham to Nathan chanced to say, "What on airth is he up to, hey?" "Don'o,—the' 's suthin' er other to pay, Er he wouldn't 'a' stayed to hum to-day." Says Burke, "His toothache's all 'n his eye! He never'd miss a Fo'th-o'-July, Ef he hedn't some machine to try. Le's hurry back and hide in the barn, An' pay him fer tellin' us that yarn!" "Agreed!" Through the orchard they creep back, Along by the fences, behind the stack, And one by one, through a hole in the wall, In under the dusty barn they crawl, Dressed in their Sunday garments all; And a very astonishing sight was that, When each in his cobwebbed coat and hat Came up through the floor like an ancient rat. And there they hid; And Reuben slid The fastenings back, and the door undid. "Keep dark!" said he, "While I squint an' see what the' is to see."
As knights of old put on their mail,— From head to foot An iron suit, Iron jacket and iron boot, Iron breeches, and on the head No hat, but an iron pot instead, And under the chin the bail,— I believe they called the thing a helm; And the lid they carried they called a shield; And, thus accoutred, they took the field, Sallying forth to overwhelm The dragons and pagans that plagued the realm:— So this modern knight Prepared for flight, Put on his wings and strapped them tight; Jointed and jaunty, strong and light; Buckled them fast to shoulder and hip,— Ten feet they measured from tip to tip! And a helm had he, but that he wore, Not on his head like those of yore, But more like the helm of a ship.
"Hush!" Reuben said, "He's up in the shed! He's opened the winder,—I see his head! He stretches it out, An' pokes it about, Lookin' to see 'f the coast is clear, An' nobody near;— Guess he don'o' who's hid in here! He's riggin' a spring-board over the sill! Stop laffin', Solomon! Burke, keep still! He's a climbin' out now—of all the things! What's he got on? I van, it's wings! An' that t'other thing? I vum, it's a tail! An' there he sets like a hawk on a rail! Steppin' careful, he travels the length Of his spring-board, and teeters to try its strength. Now he stretches his wings, like a monstrous bat; Peeks over his shoulder, this way an' that, Fer to see 'f the' 's anyone passin' by; But the' 's on'y a ca'f an' a goslin' nigh. They turn up at him a wonderin' eye, To see—The dragon! he's goin' to fly! Away he goes! Jimmmy! what a jump! Flop-flop-an' plump To the ground with a thump! Flutt'rin an' flound'rin', all in a lump!"
As a demon is hurled by an angel's spear, Heels over head, to his proper sphere,— Heels over head, and head over heels, Dizzily down the abyss he wheels,— So fell Darius. Upon his crown, In the midst of the barnyard, he came down, In a wonderful whirl of tangled strings, Broken braces and broken springs, Broken tail and broken wings, Shooting-stars, and various things! Away with a bellow fled the calf, And what was that? Did the gosling laugh? 'Tis a merry roar From the old barn-door, And he hears the voice of Jotham crying, "Say, D'rius! how de yeou like flyin'? Slowly, ruefully, where he lay, Darius just turned and looked that way, As he stanched his sorrowful nose with his cuff. "Wall, I like flyin' well enough," He said; "but the' ain't sich a thunder-in' sight O' fun in 't when ye come to light."
I just have room for the moral here: And this is the moral,—Stick to your sphere. Or if you insist, as you have the right, On spreading your wings for a loftier flight, The moral is,—Take care how you light.
John T. Trowbridge.
Song of the Shirt
With fingers weary and worn, With eyelids heavy and red, A woman sat, in unwomanly rags, Plying her needle and thread— Stitch! stitch! stitch! In poverty, hunger and dirt, And still with a voice of dolorous pitch She sang the "Song of the Shirt!"
"Work! work! work! While the cock is crowing aloof! And work—work—work, Till the stars shine through the roof! It's oh! to be a slave Along with the barbarous Turk, Where a woman has never a soul to save, If this is Christian work!
"Work—work—work, Till the brain begins to swim; Work—work—work, Till the eyes are heavy and dim! Seam, and gusset, and band, Band, and gusset, and seam, Till over the buttons I fall asleep, And sew them on in a dream!
"O men, with sisters dear! O men, with mothers and wives! It is not linen you're wearing out, But human creatures' lives! Stitch—stitch—stitch! In poverty, hunger, and dirt,— Sewing at once, with a double thread, A shroud as well as a shirt!
"But why do I talk of Death,— That phantom of grisly bone? I hardly fear his terrible shape, It seems so like my own,— It seems so like my own, Because of the fasts I keep; O God! that bread should be so dear, And flesh and blood so cheap!
"Work! work! work! My labor never flags; And what are its wages? A bed of straw, A crust of bread—and rags, That shattered roof—this naked floor— A table—a broken chair— And a wall so blank, my shadow I thank For sometimes falling there!
"Work—work—work! From weary chime to chime! Work—work—work As prisoners work for crime! Band, and gusset, and seam, Seam, and gusset, and band,— Till the heart is sick and the brain benumbed, As well as the weary hand.
"Work—work—work! In the dull December light! And Work—work—work! When the weather is warm, and bright! While underneath the eaves The brooding swallows cling, As if to show me their sunny backs, And twit me with the spring.
"Oh, but to breathe the breath Of the cowslip and primrose sweet,— With the sky above my head, And the grass beneath my feet! For only one short hour To feel as I used to feel, Before I knew the woes of want And the walk that costs a meal!
"Oh, but for one short hour,— A respite, however brief! No blessed leisure for love or hope, But only time for grief! A little weeping would ease my heart; But in their briny bed My tears must stop, for every drop Hinders needle and thread!"
With fingers weary and worn, With eyelids heavy and red, A woman sat, in unwomanly rags, Plying her needle and thread,— Stitch! stitch! stitch! In poverty, hunger and dirt; And still with a voice of dolorous pitch— Would that its tone could reach the rich!— She sang this "Song of the Shirt."
Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas to-night! Christmas in lands of the fir-tree and pine, Christmas in lands of the palm-tree and vine, Christmas where snow-peaks stand solemn and white, Christmas where corn-fields lie sunny and bright, Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas to-night!
Christmas where children are hopeful and gay, Christmas where old men are patient and gray, Christmas where peace, like a dove in its flight, Broods o'er brave men in the thick of the fight; Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas tonight!
For the Christ-child who comes is the Master of all, No palace too great and no cottage too small, The angels who welcome Him sing from the height: "In the city of David, a King in his might." Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas tonight!
Then let every heart keep its Christmas within, Christ's pity for sorrow, Christ's hatred of sin, Christ's care for the weakest, Christ's courage for right, Christ's dread of the darkness, Christ's love of the light. Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas tonight!
So the stars of the midnight which compass us round Shall see a strange glory, and hear a sweet sound, And cry, "Look! the earth is aflame with delight, O sons of the morning, rejoice at the sight." Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas tonight!
I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers, From the seas and the streams; I bear light shade for the leaves when laid In their noon-day dreams. From my wings are shaken the dews that waken The sweet buds every one, When rocked to rest on their mother's breast, As she dances about the sun. I wield the flail of the lashing hail, And whiten the green plains under, And then again I dissolve it in rain, And laugh as I pass in thunder.
I sift the snow on the mountains below, And their great pines groan aghast; And all the night 'tis my pillow white, While I sleep in the arms of the blast. Sublime on the towers of my skyey bowers, Lightning my pilot sits, In a cavern under is fettered the thunder, It struggles and howls at fits; Over earth and ocean, with gentle motion, This pilot is guiding me, Lured by the love of the genii that move In the depths of the purple sea; Over the rills, and the crags, and the hills, Over the lakes and the plains, Wherever he dream, under mountain or stream, The Spirit he loves remains; And I all the while bask in heaven's blue smile, Whilst he is dissolving in rains.
The sanguine sunrise, with his meteor eyes, And his burning plumes outspread, Leaps on the back of my sailing rack, When the morning star shines dead; As on the jag of a mountain crag, Which an earthquake rocks and swings, An eagle alit one moment may sit In the light of its golden wings. And when sunset may breathe, from the lit sea beneath, Its ardors of rest and of love, And the crimson pall of eve may fall From the depth of heaven above, With wings folded I rest, on mine airy nest, As still as a brooding dove.
That orbed maiden, with white fire laden, Whom mortals call the moon, Glides glimmering o'er my fleece-like floor, By the midnight breezes strewn; And wherever the beat of her unseen feet, Which only the angels hear, May have broken the woof of my tent's thin roof, The stars peep behind her and peer; And I laugh to see them whirl and flee, Like a swarm of golden bees, When I widen the rent in my windbuilt tent, Till the calm rivers, lakes, and seas, Like strips of the sky fallen thro' me on high, Are each paved with the moon and these.
I bind the sun's throne with a burning zone, And the moon's with a girdle of pearl; The volcanoes are dim, and the stars reel and swim, When the whirlwinds my banner unfurl. From cape to cape, with a bridge-like shape, Over a torrent sea, Sunbeam-proof, I hang like a roof, The mountains its columns be. The triumphal arch thro' which I march, With hurricane, fire, and snow, When the powers of the air are chained to my chair, Is the million-colored bow; The sphere-fire above its soft colors wove, Whilst the moist earth was laughing below.
I am the daughter of earth and water, And the nursling of the sky; I pass thro' the pores of the ocean and shores; I change, but I cannot die. For after the rain, when, with never a stain The pavilion of heaven is bare, And the winds and sunbeams with their convex gleams Build up the blue dome of air, I silently laugh at my own cenotaph, And out of the caverns of rain, Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb, I arise and unbuild it again,
Percy Bysshe Shelley.
To a Skylark
Hail to thee, blithe spirit! Bird thou never wert, That from heaven, or near it, Pourest thy full heart In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.
Higher still and higher From the earth thou springest Like a cloud of fire; The blue deep thou wingest, And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.
In the golden lightning of the sunken sun, O'er which clouds are bright'ning, Thou dost float and run, Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun.
The pale purple even Melts around thy flight; Like a star of heaven, In the broad daylight Thou art unseen, but yet I hear thy shrill delight:
Keen as are the arrows Of that silver sphere Whose intense lamp narrows In the white dawn clear. Until we hardly see, we feel, that it is there.
All the earth and air With thy voice is loud, As, when night is bare, From one lonely cloud The moon rains out her beams, and heaven is overflowed.
What thou art we know not; What is most like thee? From rainbow clouds there flow not Drops so bright to see, As from thy presence showers a rain of melody:—
Like a poet hidden In the light of thought, Singing hymns unbidden, Till the world is wrought To sympathy with hopes and fears it heeded not:
Like a high-born maiden In a palace-tower, Soothing her love-laden Soul in secret hour With music sweet as love, which overflows her bower:
Like a glow-worm golden In a dell of dew, Scattering unbeholden Its aerial hue Among the flowers and grass, which screen it from the view:
Like a rose embowered In its own green leaves, By warm winds deflowered, Till the scent it gives Makes faint with too much sweet these heavy-winged thieves:
Sound of vernal showers On the twinkling grass, Rain-awakened flowers, All that ever was Joyous, and clear, and fresh, thy music doth surpass.
Teach us, sprite or bird, What sweet thoughts are thine: I have never heard Praise of love or wine That panted forth a flood of rapture so divine.
Chorus Hymeneal, Or triumphal chaunt, Matched with thine would be all But an empty vaunt, A thing wherein we feel there is some hidden want.
What objects are the fountains Of thy happy strain? What fields, or waves, or mountains? What shapes of sky or plain? What love of thine own kind? what ignorance of pain?
With thy clear keen joyance Languor cannot be: Shadow of annoyance Never came near thee: Thou lovest: but ne'er knew love's sad satiety.
Waking or asleep, Thou of death must deem Things more true and deep Than we mortals dream, Or how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream?
We look before and after And pine for what is not: Our sincerest laughter With some pain is fraught; Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.
Yet if we could scorn Hate, and pride, and fear; If we were things born Not to a shed a tear, I know not how thy joy we ever should come near.
Better than all measures Of delightful sound, Better than all treasures That in books are found. Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground!
Teach me half the gladness That thy brain must know, Such harmonious madness From my lips would flow, The world should listen then, as I am listening now,
Percy Bysshe Shelley.
I come from haunts of coot and hern, I make a sudden sally, And sparkle out among the fern, To bicker down a valley.
By thirty hills I hurry down, Or slip between the ridges, By twenty thorps, a little town, And half a hundred bridges.
Till last by Philip's farm I flow To join the brimming river, For men may come and men may go, But I go on forever.
I chatter over stony ways, In little sharps and trebles, I bubble into eddying bays, I babble on the pebbles.
With many a curve my banks I fret By many a field and fallow, And many a fairy foreland set With willow-weed and mallow.
I chatter, chatter as I flow To join the brimming river, For men may come and men may go, But I go on forever.
I wind about, and in and out, With here a blossom sailing, And here and there a lusty trout, And here and there a grayling,
And here and there a foamy flake Upon me as I travel With many a silvery waterbreak Above the golden gravel,
And draw them all along, and flow To join the brimming river, For men may come and men may go, But I go on forever.
I steal by lawns and grassy plots, I slide by hazel covers; I move the sweet forget-me-nots That grow for happy lovers.
I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance, Among my skimming swallows; I make the netted sunbeam dance Against my sandy shallows.
I murmur under moon and stars, In brambly wildernesses; I linger by my shingly bars; I loiter round my cresses;
And out again I curve and flow To join the brimming river, For men may come and men may go, But I go on forever.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
(From "The Vision of Sir Launfal")
No price is set on the lavish summer, June may be had by the poorest comer.
And what is so rare as a day in June? Then, if ever, come perfect days; Then Heaven tries earth if it be in tune, And over it softly her warm ear lays; Whether we look, or whether we listen, We hear life murmur, or see it glisten; Every clod feels a stir of might, An instinct within it that reaches and towers, And, groping blindly above it for light, Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers; The flush of life may well be seen Thrilling back over hills and valleys; The cowslip startles in meadows green, The buttercup catches the sun in its chalice, And there's never a leaf nor a blade too mean To be some happy creature's palace; The little bird sits at his door in the sun, Atilt like a blossom among the leaves, And lets his illumined being o'errun With the deluge of summer it receives; His mate feels the eggs beneath her wings, And the heart in her dumb breast flutters and sings; He sings to the wide world, and she to her nest,— In the nice ear of Nature, which song is the best?
Now is the high-tide of the year, And whatever of life hath ebbed away Comes flooding back, with a ripply cheer, Into every bare inlet and creek and bay; Now the heart is so full that a drop overfills it, We are happy now because God wills it; No matter how barren the past may have been, 'T is enough for us now that the leaves are green; We sit in the warm shade and feel right well How the sap creeps up and the blossoms swell; We may shut our eyes, but we cannot help knowing That skies are clear and grass is growing; The breeze comes whispering in our ear, That dandelions are blossoming near, That maize has sprouted, that streams are flowing, That the river is bluer than the sky, That the robin is plastering his house hard by; And if the breeze kept the good news back, For other couriers we should not lack; We could guess it all by yon heifer's lowing,— And hark! how clear bold chanticleer, Warmed with the new wine of the year, Tells all in his lusty crowing!
Joy comes, grief goes, we know not how; Everything is happy now, Everything is upward striving; 'T is as easy now for the heart to be true As for grass to be green or skies to be blue,— 'T is the natural way of living. Who knows whither the clouds have fled? In the unscarred heaven they leave no wake, And the eyes forget the tears they have shed, The heart forgets its sorrow and ache; The soul partakes the season's youth, And the sulphurous rifts of passion and woe Lie deep 'neath a silence pure and smooth, Like burnt-out craters healed with snow.
James Russell Lowell.
The Planting of the Apple-Tree
Come, let us plant the apple-tree. Cleave the tough greensward with the spade; Wide let its hollow bed be made; There gently lay the roots, and there Sift the dark mould with kindly care. And press it o'er them tenderly, As round the sleeping infant's feet We softly fold the cradle-sheet; So plant we the apple tree.
What plant we in this apple-tree? Buds, which the breath of summer days Shall lengthen into leafy sprays; Boughs where the thrush with crimson breast Shall haunt, and sing, and hide her nest; We plant, upon the sunny lea, A shadow for the noontide hour, A shelter from the summer shower, When we plant the apple-tree.
What plant we in this apple-tree? Sweets for a hundred flowery springs, To load the May-wind's restless wings, When, from the orchard row, he pours Its fragrance through our open doors; A world of blossoms for the bee, Flowers for the sick girl's silent room, For the glad infant sprigs of bloom, We plant with the apple-tree.
What plant we in this apple-tree? Fruits that shall swell in sunny June, And redden in the August noon, And drop, when gentle airs come by, That fan the blue September sky. While children come, with cries of glee, And seek them where the fragrant grass Betrays their bed to those who pass, At the foot of the apple tree.
And when, above this apple tree, The winter stars are quivering bright, And winds go howling through the night, Girls, whose young eyes o'erflow with mirth, Shall peel its fruit by cottage hearth, And guests in prouder homes shall see, Heaped with the grape of Cintra's vine, And golden orange of the Line, The fruit of the apple-tree.
The fruitage of this apple-tree Winds, and our flag of stripe and star Shall bear to coasts that lie afar, Where men shall wonder at the view, And ask in what fair groves they grew; And sojourners beyond the sea Shall think of childhood's careless day And long, long hours of summer play, In the shade of the apple-tree.
Each year shall give this apple-tree A broader flush of roseate bloom, A deeper maze of verdurous gloom, And loosen, when the frost-clouds lower, The crisp brown leaves in thicker shower. The years shall come and pass, but we Shall hear no longer, where we lie, The summer's songs, the autumn's sigh, In the boughs of the apple-tree.
And time shall waste this apple tree. Oh, when its aged branches throw Thin shadows on the ground below, Shall fraud and force and iron will Oppress the weak and helpless still? What shall the tasks of mercy be, Amid the toils, the strifes, the tears Of those who live when length of years Is wasting this apple-tree?
"Who planted this old apple-tree?" The children of that distant day Thus to some aged man shall say; And, gazing on its mossy stem, The gray-haired man shall answer them: "A poet of the land was he, Born in the rude but good old times; 'Tis said he made some quaint old rhymes On planting the apple-tree."
William Cullen Bryant.
Character of the Happy Warrior
Who is the happy Warrior? Who is he That every man in arms should wish to be? —It is the generous Spirit, who, when brought Among the tasks of real life, hath wrought Upon the plan that pleased his boyish thought: Whose high endeavors are an inward light That makes the path before him always bright: Who, with a natural instinct to discern What knowledge can perform, is diligent to learn; Abides by this resolve, and stops not there, But makes his moral being his prime care; Who, doomed to go in company with Pain, And Fear, and Bloodshed, miserable train! Turns his necessity to glorious gain; In face of these doth exercise a power Which is our human nature's highest dower; Controls them and subdues, transmutes, bereaves Of their bad influence, and their good receives: By objects, which might force the soul to abate Her feeling, rendered more compassionate; Is placable—because occasions rise So often that demand such sacrifice; More skillful in self-knowledge, even more pure, As tempted more; more able to endure, As more exposed to suffering and distress; Thence also, more alive to tenderness. —'Tis he whose law is reason; who depends Upon that law as on the best of friends; Whence, in a state where men are tempted still To evil for a guard against worse ill, And what in quality or act is best Doth seldom on a right foundation rest, He labors good on good to fix, and owes To virtue every triumph that he knows: —Who, if he rise to station of command, Rises by open means; and there will stand On honorable terms, or else retire, And in himself possess his own desire; Who comprehends his trust, and to the same Keeps faithful with a singleness of aim; And therefore does not stoop, nor lie in wait For wealth, or honors, or for worldly state; Whom they must follow; on whose head must fall, Like showers of manna, if they come at all; Whose powers shed round him in the common strife, Or mild concerns of ordinary life, A constant influence, a peculiar grace; But who, if he be called upon to face Some awful moment to which Heaven has joined Great issues, good or bad for human kind, Is happy as a Lover; and attired With sudden brightness, like a Man inspired; And, through the heat of conflict, keeps the law In calmness made, and sees what he foresaw; Or if an unexpected call succeed, Come when it will, is equal to the need: —He who, though thus endued as with a sense And faculty for storm and turbulence, Is yet a Soul whose master-bias leans To homefelt pleasures and to gentle scenes; Sweet images! which, wheresoe'er he be, Are at his heart; and such fidelity It is his darling passion to approve; More brave for this, that he hath much to love:— 'Tis, finally, the Man who lifted high, Conspicuous object in a Nation's eye, Or left unthought-of in obscurity,— Who, with a toward or untoward lot, Prosperous or adverse, to his wish or not— Plays, in the many games of life, that one Where what he most doth value must be won: Whom neither shape of danger can dismay, Nor thought of tender happiness betray; Who, not content that former worth stand fast, Looks forward, persevering to the last, From well to better, daily self-surpast: Who, whether praise of him must walk the earth Forever, and to noble deeds give birth, Or he must fall, to sleep without his fame, And leave a dead unprofitable name— Finds comfort in himself and in his cause; And, while the mortal mist is gathering, draws His breath in confidence of Heaven's applause: This is the happy Warrior; this is He That every Man in arms should wish to be.
The Charge of the Light Brigade
Half a league, half a league, Half a league onward, All in the valley of Death Rode the six hundred. "Forward, the Light Brigade! Charge for the guns," he said: Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred.
"Forward, the Light Brigade!" Was there a man dismay'd? Not tho' the soldier knew Some one had blunder'd: Theirs not to make reply, Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do and die: Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred.
Cannon to right of them, Cannon to left of them, Cannon in front of them Volley'd and thunder'd; Storm'd at with shot and shell, Boldly they rode and well, Into the jaws of Death, Into the mouth of Hell Rode the six hundred,
Flash'd all their sabres bare, Flash'd as they turn'd in air, Sabring the gunners there, Charging an army, while All the world wonder'd: Plung'd in the battery-smoke Right thro' the line they broke; Cossack and Russian Reel'd from the sabre-stroke Shatter'd and sunder'd. Then they rode back, but not,— Not the six hundred.
Cannon to right of them, Cannon to left of them, Cannon behind them Volley'd and thunder'd; Storm'd at with shot and shell, While horse and hero fell, They that had fought so well Came thro' the jaws of Death, Back from the mouth of Hell, All that was left of them, Left of six hundred.
When can their glory fade? O the wild charge they made! All the world wonder'd. Honor the charge they made! Honor the Light Brigade, Noble six hundred!
Alfred, Lord Tennyson..
October 19, 1864
Up from the South at break of day, Bringing to Winchester fresh dismay, The affrighted air with a shudder bore, Like a herald in haste, to the chieftain's door, The terrible grumble, and rumble, and roar, Telling the battle was on once more, And Sheridan—twenty miles away.
And wider still those billows of war Thundered along the horizon's bar; And louder yet into Winchester rolled The roar of that red sea uncontrolled, Making the blood of the listener cold As he thought of the stake in that fiery fray, And Sheridan—twenty miles away.
But there is a road from Winchester town, A good broad highway leading down; And there, through the flush of the morning light, A steed, as black as the steeds of night, Was seen to pass, as with eagle flight; As if he knew the terrible need, He stretched away with the utmost speed; Hills rose and fell—but his heart was gay, With Sheridan fifteen miles away.
Still sprung from those swift hoofs, thundering South, The dust, like smoke from the cannon's mouth; Or the trail of a comet, sweeping faster and faster, Foreboding to foemen the doom of disaster. The heart of the steed and the heart of the master Were beating like prisoners assaulting their walls, Impatient to be where the battle-field calls; Every nerve of the charger was strained to full play, With Sheridan only ten miles away.
Under his spurning feet the road Like an arrowy Alpine river flowed, And the landscape sped away behind Like an ocean flying before the wind; And the steed, like a bark fed with furnace ire, Swept on, with his wild eyes full of fire. But lo! he is nearing his heart's desire— He is snuffing the smoke of the roaring fray, With Sheridan only five miles away.
The first that the General saw were the groups Of stragglers, and then the retreating troops. What was done? what to do? a glance told him both, Then striking his spurs, with a terrible oath, He dashed down the line 'mid a storm of huzzas, And the wave of retreat checked its course there, because The sight of the master compelled it to pause. With foam and with dust the black charger was gray; By the flash of his eye and the red nostril's play He seemed to the whole great army to say, "I have brought you Sheridan all the way From Winchester down to save the day!"
Hurrah, hurrah for Sheridan! Hurrah, hurrah for horse and man! And when their statues are placed on high, Under the dome of the Union sky— The American soldier's Temple of Fame— There, with the glorious General's name, Be it said in letters both bold and bright: "Here is the steed that saved the day, By carrying Sheridan into the fight, From Winchester—twenty miles away!"
Thomas Buchanan Read.
O Little Town of Bethlehem
O little town of Bethlehem, How still we see thee lie! Above thy deep and dreamless sleep The silent stars go by; Yet in thy dark streets shineth The everlasting Light; The hopes and fears of all the years Are met in thee to-night.
For Christ is born of Mary, And, gathered all above, While mortals sleep, the angels keep Their watch of wondering love. O morning stars, together Proclaim the holy birth! And praises sing to God the King, And peace to men on earth.
How silently, how silently, The wondrous gift is given! So God imparts to human hearts The blessings of His heaven. No ear may hear His coming, But in this world of sin, Where meek souls will receive Him still, The dear Christ enters in.
O holy Child of Bethlehem! Descend to us, we pray; Cast out our sin, and enter in, Be born in us to-day. We hear the Christmas angels The great glad tidings tell; Oh, come to us, abide with us, Our Lord Emmanuel!
The Chambered Nautilus
This is the ship of pearl, which, poets feign, Sails the unshadowed main,— The venturous bark that flings On the sweet summer wind its purpled wings In gulfs enchanted, where the Siren sings, And coral reefs lie bare, Where the cold sea-maids rise to sun their streaming hair.
Its webs of living gauze no more unfurl; Wrecked is the ship of pearl! And every chambered cell, Where its dim dreaming life was wont to dwell, As the frail tenant shaped his growing shell, Before thee lies revealed,— Its irised ceiling rent, its sunless crypt unsealed!
Year after year beheld the silent toil That spread his lustrous coil; Still, as the spiral grew, He left the past year's dwelling for the new, Stole with soft step its shining archway through, Built up its idle door, Stretched in his last-found home, and knew the old no more.
Thanks for the heavenly message brought by thee, Child of the wandering sea, Cast from her lap, forlorn! From thy dead lips a clearer note is born Than ever Triton blew from wreathed horn! While on mine ear it rings, Through the deep caves of thought I hear a voice that sings:—
Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul, As the swift seasons roll! Leave thy low-vaulted past! Let each new temple, nobler than the last, Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast, Till thou at length art free, Leaving thine outgrown shell by life's unresting sea!
Oliver Wendell Holmes.
True worth is in being, not seeming,— In doing, each day that goes by, Some little good—not in dreaming Of great things to do by and by. For whatever men say in their blindness, And spite of the fancies of youth, There's nothing so kingly as kindness, And nothing so royal as truth.
We get back our mete as we measure— We cannot do wrong and feel right, Nor can we give pain and gain pleasure, For justice avenges each slight. The air for the wing of the sparrow, The bush for the robin and wren, But alway the path that is narrow And straight, for the children of men.
'Tis not in the pages of story The heart of its ills to beguile, Though he who makes courtship to glory Gives all that he hath for her smile. For when from her heights he has won her, Alas! it is only to prove That nothing's so sacred as honor, And nothing so loyal as love!
We cannot make bargains for blisses, Nor catch them like fishes in nets; And sometimes the thing our life misses Helps more than the thing which it gets. For good lieth not in pursuing, Nor gaining of great nor of small, But just in the doing, and doing As we would be done by, is all.
Through envy, through malice, through hating, Against the world, early and late, No jot of our courage abating— Our part is to work and to wait. And slight is the sting of his trouble Whose winnings are less than his worth; For he who is honest is noble, Whatever his fortunes or birth.
Who has seen the wind? Neither I nor you: But when the leaves hang trembling, The wind is passing through.
Who has seen the wind? Neither you nor I: But when the trees bow down their heads, The wind is passing by.
Christina G. Rosetti.
The Owl and The Pussy-Cat
The Owl and the Pussy-Cat went to sea In a beautiful pea-green boat; They took some honey, and plenty of money, Wrapped up in a five-pound note. The Owl looked up to the moon above And sang to a small guitar, "O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love! What a beautiful Pussy you are,— You are, What a beautiful Pussy you are!"
Pussy said to the Owl, "You elegant fowl! How wonderful sweet you sing! Oh, let us be married,—too long we have tarried,— But what shall we do for a ring?" They sailed away for a year and a day To the land where the Bong-tree grows, And there in a wood, a piggy-wig stood With a ring in the end of his nose,— His nose, With a ring in the end of his nose.
"Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling Your ring?" Said the Piggy, "I will." So they took it away, and were married next day By the turkey who lives on the hill. They dined upon mince and slices of quince Which they ate with a runcible spoon, And hand in hand on the edge of the sand They danced by the light of the moon,— The moon, They danced by the light of the moon.
The Frost looked forth one still, clear night, And whispered, "Now I shall be out of sight; So through the valley and over the height In silence I'll take my way. I will not go on like that blustering train, The wind and the snow, the hail and the rain, That make so much bustle and noise in vain, But I'll be as busy as they!"
So he flew to the mountain, and powdered its crest; He lit on the trees, and their boughs he drest In diamond beads—and over the breast Of the quivering lake he spread A coat of mail, that it need not fear The downward point of many a spear That he hung on its margin, far and near, Where a rock could rear its head.
He went to the windows of those who slept, And over each pane like a fairy crept; Wherever he breathed, wherever he stepped, By the light of the morn were seen Most beautiful things; there were flowers and trees; There were bevies of birds and swarms of bees; There were cities with temples and towers; and these All pictured in silver sheen!
But he did one thing that was hardly fair,— He peeped in the cupboard, and finding there That all had forgotten for him to prepare, "Now, just to set them a-thinking, I'll bite this basket of fruit," said he; "This costly pitcher I'll burst in three; And the glass of water they've left for me Shall 'tchick!' to tell them I'm drinking!"
Hannah F. Gould.
The Corn Song
Heap high the farmer's wintry hoard! Heap high the golden corn! No richer gift has Autumn poured From out her lavish horn!
Let other lands, exulting, glean The apple from the pine, The orange from its glossy green, The cluster from the vine;
We better love the hardy gift Our rugged vales bestow, To cheer us when the storm shall drift Our harvest-fields with snow.
Through vales of grass and meads of flowers, Our plows their furrows made, While on the hills the sun and showers Of changeful April played.
We dropped the seed o'er hill and plain, Beneath the sun of May, And frightened from our sprouting grain The robber crows away.
All through the long, bright days of June, Its leaves grew green and fair, And waved in hot midsummer's noon Its soft and yellow hair.
And now, with Autumn's moonlit eyes, Its harvest time has come, We pluck away the frosted leaves And bear the treasure home.
There, richer than the fabled gift Apollo showered of old, Fair hands the broken grain shall sift, And knead its meal of gold.
Let vapid idlers loll in silk, Around their costly board; Give us the bowl of samp and milk, By homespun beauty poured!
Where'er the wide old kitchen hearth Sends up its smoky curls, Who will not thank the kindly earth, And bless our farmer girls!
Then shame on all the proud and vain, Whose folly laughs to scorn The blessing of our hardy grain, Our wealth of golden corn!
Let earth withhold her goodly root, Let mildew blight her rye, Give to the worm the orchard's fruit, The wheat-field to the fly:
But let the good old crop adorn The hills our fathers trod; Still let us, for His golden corn, Send up our thanks to God!
John G. Whittier.
On His Blindness
When I consider how my light is spent Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide, And that one talent which is death to hide, Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent To serve therewith my Maker, and present My true account, lest He, returning, chide; "Doth God exact day-labor, light denied?" I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent That murmur, soon replies, "God doth not need Either man's work or His own gifts. Who best Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best. His state Is kingly: thousands at his bidding speed, And post o'er land and ocean without rest; They also serve who only stand and wait."
A Boy's Song
Where the pools are bright and deep, Where the gray trout lies asleep, Up the river and o'er the lea, That's the way for Billy and me.
Where the blackbird sings the latest, Where the hawthorn blooms the sweetest, Where the nestlings chirp and flee. That's the way for Billy and me.
Where the mowers mow the cleanest, Where the hay lies thick and greenest; There to trace the homeward bee, That's the way for Billy and me.
Where the hazel bank is steepest, Where the shadow falls the deepest, Where the clustering nuts fall free, That's the way for Billy and me.
Why the boys should drive away Little sweet maidens from their play, Or love to banter and fight so well, That's the thing I never could tell.
But this I know, I love to play, Through the meadow, among the hay, Up the water and o'er the lea, That's the way for Billy and me.
The leaves are fading and falling, The winds are rough and wild, The birds have ceased their calling, But let me tell you, my child,
Though day by day, as it closes, Doth darker and colder grow, The roots of the bright red roses Will keep alive in the snow.
And when the winter is over, The boughs will get new leaves, The quail come back to the clover, And the swallow back to the eaves.
There must be rough, cold weather, And winds and rains so wild; Not all good things together Come to us here, my child.
So, when some dear joy loses Its beauteous summer glow, Think how the roots of the roses Are kept alive in the snow.
What does little birdie say, In her nest at peep of day? "Let me fly," says little birdie— "Mother, let me fly away." "Birdie, rest a little longer, Till the little wings are stronger." So she rests a little longer, Then she flies away.
What does little baby say In her bed at peep of day? Baby says, like little birdie, "Let me rise and fly away." "Baby, sleep a little longer, Till the little limbs are stronger. If she sleeps a little longer, Baby, too, shall fly away."
Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
Up the airy mountain, Down the rushy glen, We daren't go a-hunting For fear of little men; Wee folk, good folk, Trooping all together; Green jacket, red cap, And white owl's feather!
Down along the rocky shore Some make their home; They live on crispy pancakes Of yellow tide foam; Some in the reeds Of the black mountain-lake, With frogs for their watch dogs, All night awake.
High on the hill-top The old King sits; He is now so old and gray He's nigh lost his wits. With a bridge of white mist Columbkill he crosses, On his stately journeys From Slieveleague to Rosses; Or going up with music On cold, starry nights, To sup with the Queen Of the gay Northern Lights.
By the craggy hillside, Through the mosses bare, They have planted thorn trees For pleasure here and there; Is any man so daring, As dig them up in spite? He shall find their sharpest thorns In his bed at night.
Up the airy mountain, Down the rushy glen, We daren't go a-hunting For fear of little men; Wee folk, good folk, Trooping all together; Green jacket, red cap, And white owl's feather,
The Wonderful World
Great, wide, beautiful, wonderful World, With the wonderful water round you curled, And the wonderful grass upon your breast, World, you are beautifully drest.
The wonderful air is over me. And the wonderful wind is shaking the tree— It walks on the water, and whirls the mills, And talks to itself on the top of the hills.
You friendly Earth, how far do you go, With the wheat-fields that nod and the rivers that flow, With cities and gardens, and cliffs and isles, And people upon you for thousands of miles?
Ah! you are so great, and I am so small, I hardly can think of you, World, at all; And yet, when I said my prayers today, A whisper within me seemed to say: "You are more than the Earth, though you are such a dot! You can love and think, and the Earth can not."
William Brighty Rands.
Be strong! We are not here to play, to dream, to drift; We have hard work to do, and loads to lift; Shun not the struggle—face it; 'tis God's gift.
Be strong! Say not, "The days are evil. Who's to blame?" And fold the hands and acquiesce—oh shame! Stand up, speak out, and bravely, in God's name.
Be strong! It matters not how deep intrenched the wrong. How hard the battle goes, the day how long; Faint not—fight on! To-morrow comes the song.
Maltbie Davenport Babcock.
Song: The Owl
When cats run home and light is come, And dew is cold upon the ground, And the far-off stream is dumb, And the whirring sail goes round, And the whirring sail goes round, Alone and warming his five wits, The white owl in the belfry sits.
When merry milkmaids click the latch, And rarely smells the new-mown hay, And the cock hath sung beneath the thatch Twice or thrice his roundelay, Twice or thrice his roundelay; Alone and warming his five wits, The white owl in the belfry sits.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
Master of human destinies am I! Fame, love and fortune on my footsteps wait. Cities and fields I walk: I penetrate Deserts and fields remote, and, passing by Hovel and mart and palace, soon or late I knock unbidden once at every gate! If sleeping, wake: if feasting, rise before I turn away. It is the hour of fate, And they who follow me reach every state Mortals desire, and conquer every foe Save death; but those who doubt or hesitate, Condemned to failure, penury and woe, Seek me in vain and uselessly implore— I answer not, and I return no more.
John J. Ingalls.
They do me wrong who say I come no more When once I knock and fail to find you in; For every day I stand outside your door And bid you wake and rise to fight and win.
Wail not for precious chances passed away! Weep not for golden ages on the wane! Each night I burn the records of the day; At sunrise every soul is born again.
Laugh like a boy at splendors that have sped; To vanished joys be blind and deaf and dumb; My judgments seal the dead past with its dead, But never bind a moment yet to come.
Though deep in mire, wring not your hands and weep; I lend an arm to all who say: "I can!" No shamefac'd outcast ever sank so deep But yet might rise and be again a man.
Dost thou behold thy lost youth all aghast? Dost reel from righteous retribution's blow? Then turn from blotted archives of the past And find the future's pages white as snow!
Art thou a mourner? Rouse thee from thy spell; Art thou a sinner? Sins may be forgiven! Each morning gives thee wings to flee from hell; Each night a star to guide thy feet to Heaven.
Sweet and Low
(From "The Princess")
Sweet and low, sweet and low, Wind of the western sea, Low, low, breathe and blow, Wind of the western sea! Over the rolling waters go, Come from the dying moon, and blow, Blow him again to me; While my little one, while my pretty one, sleeps.
Sleep and rest, sleep and rest, Father will come to thee soon; Rest, rest, on mother's breast, Father will come to thee soon; Father will come to his babe in the nest, Silver sails all out of the west Under the silver moon; Sleep, my little one, sleep, my pretty one, sleep.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
The Barefoot Boy
Blessings on thee, little man, Barefoot boy, with cheek of tan! With thy turned-up pantaloons, And thy merry whistled tunes; With thy red lip, redder still Kissed by strawberries on the hill; With the sunshine on thy face, Through thy torn brim's jaunty grace: From, my heart I give thee joy,— I was once a barefoot boy! Prince thou art,—the grown-up man Only is republican. Let the million-dollared ride! Barefoot, trudging at his side, Thou hast more than he can buy In the reach of ear and eye,— Outward sunshine, inward joy: Blessings on thee, barefoot boy!
O for boyhood's painless play, Sleep that wakes in laughing day, Health that mocks the doctor's rules, Knowledge never learned of schools, Of the wild bee's morning chase, Of the wild-flower's time and place. Flight of fowl and habitude Of the tenants of the wood; How the tortoise bears his shell, How the woodchuck digs his cell, And the ground-mole sinks his well; How the robin feeds her young, How the oriole's nest is hung; Where the whitest lilies blow, Where the freshest berries grow, Where the groundnut trails its vine, Where the wood-grape's clusters shine; Of the black wasp's cunning way, Mason of his walls of clay, And the architectural plans Of gray hornet artisans!— For, eschewing books and tasks, Nature answers all he asks; Hand in hand with her he walks, Face to face with her he talks, Part and parcel of her joy,— Blessings on the barefoot boy!
O for boyhood's time of June, Crowding years in one brief moon, When all things I heard or saw, Me, their master, waited for. I was rich in flowers and trees, Humming-birds and honey-bees; For my sport the squirrel played, Plied the snouted mole his spade; For my taste the blackberry cone Purpled over hedge and stone; Laughed the brook for my delight Through the day and through the night Whispering at the garden wall, Talked with me from fall to fall; Mine the sand-rimmed pickerel pond, Mine the walnut slopes beyond, Mine, on bending orchard trees, Apples of Hesperides! Still as my horizon grew, Larger grew my riches too; All the world I saw or knew Seemed a complex Chinese toy, Fashioned for a barefoot boy!
O for festal dainties spread, Like my bowl of milk and bread,— Pewter spoon and bowl of wood, On the door-stone, gray and rude! O'er me, like a regal tent, Cloudy-ribbed, the sunset bent, Purple-curtained, fringed with gold. Looped in many a wind-swung fold; While for music came the play Of the pied frogs' orchestra; And, to light the noisy choir, Lit the fly his lamp of fire. I was monarch: pomp and joy Waited on the barefoot boy!
Cheerily, then, my little man, Live and laugh, as boyhood can! Though the flinty slopes be hard, Stubble-speared the new-mown sward, Every morn shall lead thee through Fresh baptisms of the dew; Every evening from thy feet Shall the cool wind kiss the heat: All too soon these feet must hide In the prison cells of pride, Lose the freedom of the sod, Like a colt's for work be shod, Made to tread the mills of toil, Up and down in ceaseless moil: Happy if their track be found Never on forbidden ground, Happy if they sink not in Quick and treacherous sands of sin. Ah! that thou couldst know thy joy, Ere it passes, barefoot boy!
John Greenleaf Whittier.
Polonius' Advice to Laertes
There,—my blessing with you! And these few precepts in thy memory See thou character.—Give thy thoughts no tongue, Nor any unproportion'd thought his act. Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar. The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried, Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel; But do not dull thy palm with entertainment Of each new-hatched, unfledged comrade. Beware Of entrance to a quarrel; but being in, Bear't that the opposed may beware of thee. Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice: Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment. Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy, But not expressed in fancy; rich, not gaudy: For the apparel oft proclaims the man. Neither a borrower nor a lender be, For loan oft loses both itself and friend, And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry. This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.
The mountain and the squirrel Had a quarrel, And the former called the latter "Little Prig." Bun replied, "You are doubtless very big; But all sorts of things and weather Must be taken in together, To make up a year And a sphere. And I think it no disgrace To occupy my place. If I'm not so large as you, You are not so small as I, And not half as spry. I'll not deny you make A very pretty squirrel track; Talents differ; all is well and wisely put; If I cannot carry forests on my back, Neither can you crack a nut."
Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Suppose, my little lady, Your doll should break her head, Could you make it whole by crying Till your eyes and nose are red? And wouldn't it be pleasanter To treat it as a joke, And say you're glad "'Twas Dolly's And not your head that broke"?
Suppose you're dressed for walking, And the rain comes pouring down, Will it clear off any sooner Because you scold and frown? And wouldn't it be nicer For you to smile than pout, And so make sunshine in the house When there is none without?
Suppose your task, my little man, Is very hard to get, Will it make it any easier For you to sit and fret? And wouldn't it be wiser Than waiting like a dunce, To go to work in earnest And learn the thing at once?
Suppose that some boys have a horse, And some a coach and pair, Will it tire you less while walking To say, "It isn't fair"? And wouldn't it be nobler To keep your temper sweet, And in your heart be thankful You can walk upon your feet?
And suppose the world don't please you, Nor the way some people do, Do you think the whole creation Will be altered just for you? And isn't it, my boy or girl, The wisest, bravest plan, Whatever comes, or doesn't come, To do the best you can?
I Like Little Pussy
I like little Pussy, Her coat is so warm; And if I don't hurt her She'll do me no harm. So I'll not pull her tail, Nor drive her away, But Pussy and I Very gently will play; She shall sit by my side, And I'll give her some food; And she'll love me because I am gentle and good.
I'll pat little Pussy, And then she will purr, And thus show her thanks For my kindness to her; I'll not pinch her ears, Nor tread on her paw, Lest I should provoke her To use her sharp claw; I never will vex her, Nor make her displeased, For Pussy don't like To be worried or teased.
Over the river and through the wood, To Grandfather's house we go; The horse knows the way To carry the sleigh Through the white and drifted snow.
Over the river and through the wood,— Oh, how the wind does blow! It stings the toes, And bites the nose, As over the ground we go.
Over the river and through the wood, Trot fast, my dapple gray! Spring over the ground, Like a hunting hound, For this is Thanksgiving-Day.
Over the river and through the wood, And straight through the barnyard gate! We seem to go Extremely slow,— It is so hard to wait!
Over the river and through the wood; Now Grandmother's cap I spy! Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done? Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!
Lydia Maria Child.
I wandered lonely as a cloud That floats on high o'er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host, of golden daffodils; Beside the lake, beneath the trees, Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine And twinkle on the milky way, They stretched in never-ending line Along the margin of a bay; Ten thousand saw I at a glance, Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they Outdid the sparkling waves in glee; A poet could not but be gay In such a jocund company; I gazed—and gazed—but little thought What wealth the show to me had brought.
For oft, when on my couch I lie In vacant or in pensive mood, They flash upon that inward eye Which is the bliss of solitude; And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils.
To a Butterfly
I've watched you now a full half-hour, Self-poised upon that yellow flower; And, little Butterfly! indeed I know not if you sleep or feed. More motionless! and then How motionless!—not frozen seas What joy awaits you, when the breeze Hath found you out among the trees, And calls you forth again; This plot of orchard-ground is ours; My trees they are, my Sister's flowers; Here rest your wings when they are weary; Here lodge as in a sanctuary! Come often to us, fear no wrong; Sit near us on the bough! We'll talk of sunshine and of song, And summer days when we were young; Sweet childish days, that were as long As twenty days are now.
To The Fringed Gentian
Thou blossom bright with autumn dew, And colored with the heaven's own blue, That openest when the quiet light Succeeds the keen and frosty night,
Thou comest not when violets lean O'er wandering brooks and springs unseen, Or columbines, in purple dressed, Nod o'er the ground-bird's hidden nest.
Thou waitest late and com'st alone, When woods are bare and birds are flown, And frosts and shortening days portend The aged Year is near his end.
Then doth thy sweet and quiet eye Look through its fringes to the sky, Blue—blue—as if that sky let fall A flower from its cerulean wall.
I would that thus, when I shall see The hour of death draw near to me, Hope, blossoming within my heart, May look to heaven as I depart.
William Cullen Bryant.
The Song of the Camp
"Give us a song!" the soldiers cried, The outer trenches guarding, When the heated guns of the camps allied Grew weary of bombarding.
The dark Redan, in silent scoff, Lay, grim and threatening, under; And the tawny mound of the Malakoff No longer belched its thunder.
There was a pause. A guardsman said, "We storm the forts to-morrow; Sing while we may, another day Will bring enough of sorrow."
They lay along the battery's side Below the smoking cannon: Brave hearts, from Severn and from Clyde, And from the banks of Shannon.
They sang of love, and not of fame; Forgot was Britain's glory: Each heart recalled a different name, But all sang "Annie Laurie."
Voice after voice caught up the song, Until its tender passion Rose like an anthem, rich and strong,— Their battle-eve confession.
Dear girl, her name he dared not speak, But, as the song grew louder, Something upon the soldier's cheek Washed off the stains of powder.
Beyond the darkening ocean burned The bloody sunset's embers, While the Crimean valleys learned How English love remembers.
And once again a fire of hell Rained on the Russian quarters, With scream of shot, and burst of shell, And bellowing of the mortars!
And Irish Nora's eyes are dim For a singer, dumb and gory; And English Mary mourns for him Who sang of "Annie Laurie."
Sleep, soldiers! still in honored rest Your truth and valor wearing: The bravest are the tenderest,— The loving are the daring.
She Walks in Beauty
She walks in beauty, like the night Of cloudless climes and starry skies; And all that's best of dark and bright Meet in her aspect and her eyes: Thus mellowed to that tender light Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less, Had half impaired the nameless grace Which waves in every raven tress, Or softly lightens o'er her face; Where thoughts serenely sweet express How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
And on that cheek, and o'er that brow, So soft, so calm, yet eloquent, The smiles that win, the tints that glow, But tell of days in goodness spent, A mind at peace with all below, A heart whose love is innocent!
All are architects of Fate, Working in these walls of Time; Some with massive deeds and great, Some with ornaments of rhyme.
Nothing useless is, or low; Each thing in its place is best; And what seems but idle show Strengthens and supports the rest.
For the structure that we raise, Time is with materials filled; Our to-days and yesterdays Are the blocks with which we build.
Truly shape and fashion these; Leave no yawning gaps between; Think not, because no man sees, Such things will remain unseen.
In the elder days of Art, Builders wrought with greatest care Each minute and unseen part; For the Gods see everywhere.
Let us do our work as well, Both the unseen and the seen! Make the house, where Gods may dwell, Beautiful, entire, and clean.
Else our lives are incomplete, Standing in these walls of Time, Broken stairways, where the feet Stumble as they seek to climb.
Build to-day, then, strong and sure, With a firm and ample base; And ascending and secure Shall to-morrow find its place.
Thus alone can we attain To those turrets, where the eye Sees the world as one vast plain, And one boundless reach of sky.
Henry W. Longfellow.
The Brown Thrush
There's a merry brown thrush sitting up in the tree, He's singing to me! He's singing to me! And what does he say, little girl, little boy? "Oh, the world's running over with joy! Don't you hear? don't you see? Hush! Look! In my tree, I'm as happy as happy can be!"
And the brown thrush keeps singing, "A nest do you see, And five eggs hid by me in the juniper tree? Don't meddle! don't touch! little girl, little boy, Or the world will lose some of its joy! Now I'm glad! now I'm free! And I always shall be, If you never bring sorrow to me."
So the merry brown thrush sings away in the tree, To you and to me, to you and to me; And he sings all the day, little girl, little boy, "Oh, the world's running over with joy; But long it won't be, Don't you know? don't you see? Unless we are as good as can be!"
The Quality of Mercy
(From, "The Merchant of Venice")
The quality of mercy is not strain'd. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath. It is twice bless'd: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes. 'Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes The throned monarch better than his crown. His sceptre shows the force of temporal power, The attribute to awe and majesty, Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings; But mercy is above this sceptred sway; It is enthroned in the hearts of kings; It is an attribute to God himself; And earthly power doth then show likest God's When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew, Though justice be thy plea, consider this, That, in the course of justice, none of us Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy; And that same prayer doth teach us all to render The deeds of mercy.
Don't Give Up
If you've tried and have not won, Never stop for crying; All's that's great and good is done Just by patient trying.
Though young birds, in flying, fall, Still their wings grow stronger; And the next time they can keep Up a little longer.
Though the sturdy oak has known Many a blast that bowed her, She has risen again, and grown Loftier and prouder.
If by easy work you beat, Who the more will prize you? Gaining victory from defeat,— That's the test that tries you!
Incident of the French Camp
You know we French stormed Ratisbon: A mile or so away On a little mound, Napoleon Stood on our storming-day; With neck out-thrust, you fancy how, Legs wide, arms locked behind, As if to balance the prone brow, Oppressive with its mind. Just as perhaps he mused, "My plans That soar, to earth may fall, Let once my army-leader Lannes Waver at yonder wall,"— Out 'twixt the battery-smokes there flew A rider, bound on bound Full-galloping; nor bridle drew Until he reached the mound.
Then off there flung in smiling joy, And held himself erect By just his horse's mane, a boy: You hardly could suspect— (So tight he kept his lips compressed, Scarce any blood came through) You looked twice ere you saw his breast Was all but shot in two.
"Well," cried he, "Emperor, by God's grace We've got you Ratisbon! The Marshall's in the market-place, And you'll be there anon To see your flag-bird flap his vans Where I, to heart's desire, Perched him!" The chief's eye flashed; his plans Soared up again like fire.
The chief's eye flashed; but presently Softened itself, as sheathes A film the mother-eagle's eye When her bruised eaglet breathes; "You're wounded!" "Nay," his soldier's pride Touched to the quick, he said: "I'm killed, Sire!" And his chief beside, Smiling, the boy fell dead.
The Bugle Song
(From "The Princess")
The splendor falls on castle walls And snowy summits old in story: The long light shakes across the lakes, And the wild cataract leaps in glory. Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying, Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.
O hark, O hear! how thin and clear, And thinner, clearer, farther going! O sweet and far from cliff and scar[A] The horns of Elfland faintly blowing! Blow, let us hear the purple glens replying: Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.
O love, they die in yon rich sky, They faint on hill or field or river: Our echoes roll from soul to soul, And grow for ever and for ever. Blow bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying, And answer, echoes, answer, dying, dying, dying.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
[Footnote A: Scar, a deep bank.]
A Child's Thought of God
They say that God lives very high; But if you look above the pines You cannot see our God; and why?
And if you dig down in the mines, You never see him in the gold, Though from Him all that's glory shines.
God is so good, He wears a fold Of heaven and earth across His face, Like secrets kept for love untold.
But still I feel that His embrace Slides down by thrills through all things made, Through sight and sound of every place;
As if my tender mother laid On my shut lips her kisses' pressure, Half waking me at night, and said, "Who kissed you through the dark, dear guesser?"
Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
The Blue and The Gray
By the flow of the inland river, Where the fleets of iron have fled, Where the blades of grave grass quiver, Asleep are the ranks of the dead; Under the sod and the dew, Waiting the judgment day— Under the one, the Blue; Under the other, the Gray.
These in the robings of glory, Those in the gloom of defeat, All, with the battle blood gory, In the dusk of eternity meet; Under the sod and the dew,— Waiting the judgment day— Under the laurel, the Blue; Under the willow, the Gray.
From the silence of sorrowful hours The desolate mourners go, Lovingly laden with flowers Alike for the friend and the foe; Under the sod and the dew, Waiting the judgment day— Under the roses, the Blue; Under the lilies, the Gray.
So with an equal splendor The morning sun-rays fall, With a touch impartially tender, On the blossoms blooming for all; Under the sod and the dew, Waiting the judgment day— 'Broidered with gold, the Blue; Mellowed with gold, the Gray.
So, when the summer calleth, On forest and field of grain With an equal murmur falleth The cooling drip of the rain; Under the sod and the dew, Waiting the judgment day— Wet with the rain, the Blue; Wet with the rain, the Gray.
Sadly, but not with upbraiding, The generous deed was done; In the storm of the years that are fading. No braver battle was won; Under the sod and the dew, Waiting the judgment day— Under the blossoms, the Blue; Under the garlands, the Gray.
No more shall the war-cry sever, Or the winding rivers be red; They banish our anger forever When they laurel the graves of our dead! Under the sod and the dew, Waiting the judgment day— Love and tears for the Blue; Tears and love for the Gray.
Francis Miles Finch.
Good Night and Good Morning
A fair little girl sat under a tree, Sewing as long as her eyes could see, Then smoothed her work, and folded it right, And said, "Dear work, good night, good night!"
Such a number of rooks came over her head, Crying "Caw, caw," on their way to bed; She said, as she watched their curious flight, "Little black things, good night, good night!"
The horses neighed, and the oxen lowed, The sheep's "bleat, bleat" came over the road, And all seemed to say, with a quiet delight, "Good little girl, good night, good night!"
She did not say to the sun "Good night," Tho' she saw him there like a ball of light; For she knew he had God's own time to keep All over the world, and never could sleep.
The tall pink foxglove bowed his head, The violets curtseyed and went to bed; And good little Lucy tied up her hair, And said, on her knees, her favorite prayer.
And, while on her pillow she softly lay, She knew nothing more till again it was day; And all things said to the beautiful sun, "Good morning, good morning, our work is begun!"
"Lady Moon, Lady Moon, where are you roving?" "Over the sea." "Lady Moon, Lady Moon, whom are you loving?" "All that love me."
"Are you not tired with rolling and never Resting to sleep? Why look so pale and so sad, as for ever Wishing to weep?"
"Ask me not this, little child, if you love me; You are too bold I must obey my dear Father above me, And do as I'm told."
"Lady Moon, Lady Moon, where are you roving?" "Over the sea." "Lady Moon, Lady Moon, whom are you loving?" "All that love me."
Breathes There the Man With Soul So Dead?
(From "The Lay of the Last Minstrel")
Breathes there the man with soul so dead Who never to himself hath said, This is my own, my native land? Whose heart hath ne'er within him burned, As home his footsteps he hath turned From wandering on a foreign strand? If such there breathe, go, mark him well; For him no minstrel raptures swell; High though his titles, proud his name, Boundless his wealth as wish can claim,— Despite those titles, power, and pelf, The wretch, concentred all in self, Living, shall forfeit fair renown, And, doubly dying, shall go down To the vile dust from whence he sprung, Unwept, unhonored and unsung.
Sir Walter Scott.
The year's at the spring, And day's at the morn; Morning's at seven; The hillside's dew-pearled; The lark's on the wing; The snail's on the thorn; God's in His heaven— All's right with the world!
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
Twinkle, twinkle, little star; How I wonder what you are! Up above the world so high, Like a diamond in the sky.
When the glorious sun is set, When the grass with dew is wet, Then you show your little light, Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.
In the dark blue sky you keep, And often through my curtains peep; For you never shut your eye Till the sun is in the sky.
As your bright and tiny spark Lights the traveler in the dark, Though I know not what you are, Twinkle, twinkle, little star.
Crossing the Bar
Sunset and evening star, And one clear call for me! And may there be no moaning of the bar, When I put out to sea,
But such a tide as moving seems asleep, Too full for sound and foam, When that which drew from out the boundless deep Turns again home.
Twilight and evening bell, And after that the dark! And may there be no sadness of farewell, When I embark;
For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place The flood may bear me far, I hope to see my Pilot face to face When I have crost the bar.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
The Tree's early leaf buds were bursting their brown; "Shall I take them away?" said the Frost, sweeping down. "No, leave them alone Till the blossoms have grown," Prayed the Tree, while he trembled from rootlet to crown.
The Tree bore his blossoms, and all the birds sung: "Shall I take them away?" said the Wind, as he swung, "No, leave them alone Till the blossoms have grown," Said the Tree, while his leaflets quivering hung.
The Tree bore his fruit in the midsummer glow: Said the child, "May I gather thy berries now?" "Yes, all thou canst see: Take them; all are for thee," Said the Tree, while he bent down his laden boughs low.
Into the sunshine, Full of the light, Leaping and flashing From morn till night;
Into the moonlight, Whiter than snow, Waving so flower-like When the winds blow;
Into the starlight Rushing in spray, Happy at midnight, Happy by day;
Ever in motion, Blithesome and cheery, Still climbing heavenward, Never aweary;
Glad of all weathers, Still seeming best, Upward or downward, Motion thy rest;
Full of a nature Nothing can tame, Changed every moment, Ever the same;
Ceaseless aspiring, Ceaseless content, Darkness or sunshine Thy element;
Glorious fountain, Let my heart be Fresh, changeful, constant, Upward, like thee!
James Russell Lowell.
The Leak in the Dike
The good dame looked from her cottage At the close of the pleasant day, And cheerily called to her little son, Outside the door at play: "Come, Peter, come! I want you to go, While there is light to see. To the hut of the blind old man who lives Across the dike, for me; And take these cakes I made for him— They are hot and smoking yet; You have time enough to go and come Before the sun is set."
Then the good-wife turned to her labor, Humming a simple song, And thought of her husband, working hard At the sluices all day long; And set the turf a-blazing, And brought the coarse black bread, That he might find a fire at night And find the table spread.
And Peter left the brother With whom all day he had played, And the sister who had watched their sports In the willow's tender shade; And told them they'd see him back before They saw a star in sight, Though he wouldn't be afraid to go In the very darkest night! For he was a brave, bright fellow, With eye and conscience clear; He could do whatever a boy might do, And he had not learned to fear. Why, he wouldn't have robbed a bird's nest, Nor brought a stork to harm, Though never a law in Holland Had stood to stay his arm!
And now with his face all glowing, And eyes as bright as the day With the thoughts of his pleasant errand, He trudged along the way; And soon his joyous prattle Made glad a lonesome place— Alas! if only the blind old man, Could have seen that happy face! Yet he somehow caught the brightness Which his voice and presence lent; And he felt the sunshine come and go As Peter came and went.
And now, as the day was sinking, And the winds began to rise, The mother looked from her door again, Shading her anxious eyes, And saw the shadows deepen And birds to their homes come back, But never a sign of Peter Along the level track. But she said, "He will come at morning, So I need not fret nor grieve— Though it isn't like my boy at all To stay without my leave."
But where was the child delaying? On the homeward way was he, Across the dike while the sun was up An hour above the sea. He was stopping now to gather flowers, Now listening to the sound, As the angry waters dashed themselves Against their narrow bound. "Ah! well for us," said Peter, "That the gates are good and strong, And my father tends them carefully, Or they would not hold you long! You're a wicked sea," said Peter," "I know why you fret and chafe; You would like to spoil our lands and homes, But our sluices keep you safe!
But hark! Through the noise of waters Comes a low, clear, trickling sound; And the child's face pales with terror, And his blossoms drop to the ground, He is up the bank in a moment, And, stealing through the sand, He sees a stream not yet so large As his slender, childish hand. 'Tis a leak in the dike! He is but a boy, Unused to fearful scenes; But, young as he is, he has learned to know The dreadful thing that means. A leak in the dike! The stoutest heart Grows faint that cry to hear, And the bravest man in all the land Turns white with mortal fear; For he knows the smallest leak may grow To a flood in a single night; And he knows the strength of the cruel sea When loosed in its angry might.
And the boy! He has seen the danger And shouting a wild alarm, He forces back the weight of the sea With the strength of his single arm! He listens for the joyful sound Of a footstep passing nigh; And lays his ear to the ground, to catch The answer to his cry. And he hears the rough winds blowing, And the waters rise and fall, But never an answer comes to him Save the echo of his call.
He sees no hope, no succor, His feeble voice is lost; Yet what shall he do but watch and wait, Though he perish at his post! So, faintly calling and crying Till the sun is under the sea; Crying and moaning till the stars Come out for company; He thinks of his brother and sister, Asleep in their safe warm bed; He thinks of his father and mother, Of himself as dying—and dead; And of how, when the night is over, They must come and find him at last; But he never thinks he can leave the place Where duty holds him fast.
The good dame in the cottage Is up and astir with the light, For the thought of her little Peter Has been with her all night. And now she watches the pathway, As yester eve she had done; But what does she see so strange and black Against the rising sun? Her neighbors are bearing between them Something straight to her door; Her child is coming home, but not As he ever came before!
"He is dead!" she cries, "my darling!" And the startled father hears. And comes and looks the way she looks, And fears the thing she fears; Till a glad shout from the bearers Thrills the stricken man and wife— "Give thanks, for your son, has saved our land, And God has saved his life!" So, there in the morning sunshine They knelt about the boy; And every head was bared and bent In tearful, reverent joy.
'Tis many a year since then, but still, When the sea roars like a flood, Their boys are taught what a boy can do Who is brave and true and good; For every man in that country Takes his son by the hand, And tells him of little Peter Whose courage saved the land. They have many a valiant hero Remembered through the years; But never one whose name so oft Is named with loving tears; And his deed shall be sung by the cradle, And told to the child on the knee, So long as the dikes of Holland Divide the land from the sea!
Robert of Lincoln
Merrily swinging on briar and weed, Near to the nest of his little dame, Over the mountain-side or mead, Robert of Lincoln is telling his name: Bob-o'-link, bob-o'-link, Spink, spank, spink; Snug and safe is that nest of ours, Hidden among the summer flowers. Chee, chee, chee.
Robert of Lincoln is gaily drest, Wearing a bright black wedding coat; White are his shoulders and white his crest, Hear him call in his merry note: Bob-o'-link, bob-o'-link, Spink, spank, spink; Look, what a nice new coat is mine, Sure there was never a bird so fine. Chee, chee, chee.
Robert of Lincoln's Quaker wife, Pretty and quiet, with plain brown wings, Passing at home a patient life, Broods in the grass while her husband sings: Bob-o'-link, bob-o'-link, Spink, spank, spink; Brood, kind creature; you need not fear Thieves and robbers while I am here. Chee, chee, chee.
Modest and shy as a nun is she; One weak chirp is her only note. Braggart and prince of braggarts is he, Pouring boasts from his little throat: Bob-o'-link, bob-o'-link, Spink, spank, spink; Never was I afraid of man; Catch me, cowardly knaves, if you can. Chee, chee, chee.
Six white eggs on a bed of hay, Flecked with purple, a pretty sight! There as the mother sits all day, Robert is singing with all his might: Bob-o'-link, bob-o'-link, Spink, spank, spink; Nice, good wife, that never goes out, Keeping the house while I frolic about. Chee, chee, chee.
Soon as the little ones chip the shell Six wide mouths are open for food; Robert of Lincoln bestirs him well, Gathering seeds for the hungry brood. Bob-o'-link, bob-o'-link, Spink, spank, spink; This new life is likely to be Hard for a gay young fellow like me. Chee, chee, chee.
Robert of Lincoln at length is made Sober with work, and silent with care; Off is his holiday garment laid, Half forgotten that merry air, Bob-o'-link, Bob-o'-link, Spink, spank, spink; Nobody knows but my mate and I Where our nest and our nestlings lie. Chee, chee, chee.
Summer wanes; the children are grown; Fun and frolic no more he knows; Robert of Lincoln's a humdrum crone; Off he flies, and we sing as he goes: Bob-o'-link, bob-o'-link, Spink, spank, spink; When you can pipe that merry old strain, Robert of Lincoln, come back again. Chee, chee, chee,
William Cullen Bryant.
Ring-Ting! I wish I were a Primrose, A bright yellow Primrose, blowing in the spring! The stooping boughs above me, The wandering bee to love me, The fern and moss to creep across, And the Elm tree for our king!
Nay—stay! I wish I were an Elm tree, A great, lofty Elm tree, with green leaves gay! The winds would set them dancing, The sun and moonshine glance in, The birds would house among the boughs, And sweetly sing.
Oh no! I wish I were a Robin, A Robin or a little Wren, everywhere to go; Through forest, field, or garden, And ask no leave or pardon, Till winter comes with icy thumbs To ruffle up our wing!
Well—tell! Where should I fly to, Where go to sleep in the dark wood or dell? Before a day was over, Home comes the rover. For mother's kiss—sweeter this Than any other thing.
The Burial of Sir John Moore at Corunna
Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note, As his corse to the rampart we hurried; Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot O'er the grave where our hero we buried.
We buried him darkly at dead of night, The sods with our bayonets turning; By struggling moonbeam's misty light, And the lantern dimly burning.
No useless coffin enclosed his breast, Nor in sheet nor in shroud we wound him; But he lay like a warrior taking his rest, With his martial cloak around him.
Few and short were the prayers we said, And we spoke not a word of sorrow; But we steadfastly gazed on the face of the dead, And we bitterly thought of the morrow.
We thought, as we hollowed his narrow bed, And smoothed down his lonely pillow, That the foe and the stranger would tread o'er his head; And we far away on the billow!
Lightly they'll talk of the spirit that's gone, And o'er his cold ashes upbraid him; But little he'll reck; if they let him sleep on In the grave where a Briton has laid him.
But half of our heavy task was done, When the clock tolled the hour for retiring; And we heard the distant and random gun That the foe was sullenly firing.
Slowly and sadly we laid him down. From the field of his fame fresh and gory; We carved not a line, and we raised not a stone, But we left him alone with his glory!
How Many Seconds in a Minute?
How many seconds in a minute? Sixty, and no more in it.
How many minutes in an hour? Sixty for sun and shower.
How many hours in a day? Twenty-four for work and play.
How many days in a week? Seven both to hear and speak.
How many weeks in a month? Four, as the swift moon runn'th.
How many months in a year? Twelve, the almanack makes clear.
How many years in an age? One hundred, says the sage.
How many ages in time? No one knows the rhyme.
Christina G. Rossetti.
Here hath been dawning another blue day: Think, wilt thou let it slip useless away? Out of Eternity this new day was born; Into Eternity, at night, will return. Behold it aforetime no eye ever did; So soon it forever from all eyes is hid. Here hath been dawning another blue day: Think, wilt thou let it slip useless away?
The Wind and the Moon
Said the Wind to the Moon, "I will blow you out. You stare In the air Like a ghost in a chair, Always looking what I am about; I hate to be watched—I will blow you out."
The Wind blew hard, and out went the Moon. So deep, On a heap Of clouds, to sleep, Down lay the Wind, and slumbered soon— Muttering low, "I've done for that Moon."
He turned in his bed; she was there again! On high In the sky With her one clear eye, The Moon shone white and alive and plain. Said the Wind—"I will blow you out again."
The Wind blew hard, and the Moon grew dim. "With my sledge And my wedge I have knocked off her edge! If only I blow right fierce and grim, The creature will soon be dimmer than dim."
He blew and blew, and she thinned to a thread. "One puff More's enough To blow her to snuff! One good puff more where the last was bred, And glimmer, glimmer, glum will go the thread!"
He blew a great blast, and the thread was gone; In the air Nowhere Was a moonbeam bare; Far off and harmless the shy stars shone; Sure and certain the Moon was gone.
The Wind, he took to his revels once more; On down In town, Like a merry-mad clown, He leaped and halloed with whistle and roar, "What's that?" The glimmering thread once more!
He flew in a rage—he danced and blew; But in vain Was the pain Of his bursting brain; For still the broader the Moon-scrap grew, The broader he swelled his big cheeks and blew.
Slowly she grew—till she filled the night, And shone On her throne In the sky alone, A matchless, wonderful, silvery light, Radiant and lovely, the Queen of the Night.
Said the Wind—"What a marvel of power am I! With my breath, Good faith! I blew her to death— First blew her away right out of the sky— Then blew her in; what a strength have I!"
But the Moon, she knew nothing about the affair, For, high In the sky, With her one white eye Motionless, miles above the air, She had never heard the great Wind blare.
The Little Plant
In the heart of a seed, Buried deep, so deep, A dear little plant Lay fast asleep!
"Wake!" said the sunshine, "And creep to the light!" "Wake!" said the voice Of the raindrop bright.
The little plant heard And it rose to see What the wonderful Outside world might be.
Kate L. Brown.
Paul Revere's Ride
Listen, my children, and you shall hear Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere, On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five; Hardly a man is now alive Who remembers that famous day and year.
He said to his friend, "If the British march By land or sea from the town tonight, Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch Of the North Church tower, as a signal light,— One, if by land, and two, if by sea; And I on the opposite shore will be, Ready to ride and spread the alarm Through every Middlesex village and farm, For the country folk to be up and to arm."
Then he said, "Good-night"; and with muffled oar Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore, Just as the moon rose over the bay, Where, swinging wide at her moorings, lay The Somerset, British man-of-war, A phantom ship, with each mast and spar Across the moon like a prison bar, And a huge black hulk, that was magnified By its own reflection in the tide.
Meanwhile, his friend through alley and street Wanders and watches with eager ears, Till, in the silence around him, he hears The muster of men at the barrack door, The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet, And the measured tread of the grenadiers Marching down to their boats on the shore.