Principal of Third Ward Grammar School, Long Island City, N. Y.
WILLIAM E. BARHITE,
270 Freeman Avenue, Long Island City, N. Y.
PRESS OF WEISEL, MEIER & WITTE, 109 NASSAU ST., N. Y.
During the past quarter of a century, it has been a pleasant pastime for me to obey the dictates of my feelings and inscribe them upon paper.
The present volume is a collection of these vagrant pastimes, some of which have wandered far, while others have never before appeared to any eye save the writer's.
To call them home, introduce them to each other, and properly house them, seems a parental duty.
If in them there is a thought that shall inspire others of my profession to feel the dignity and responsibility of the calling, their publication will not have been in vain.
The intent being good, the fruit cannot be evil.
TO THE MEMORY OF MY MOTHER, WHOSE DEVOTION, ENERGY, AND PERSEVERANCE LED ME TO DRINK AT THE FOUNTAIN OF KNOWLEDGE AND TRUTH, UNTIL I SAW BEAUTY THEREIN, THIS VOLUME IS AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED.
The true end of life is to elevate man In body, in mind, and in spirit, That here he may serve some beneficent plan, Then a mansion in heaven inherit.
A Beacon Light 129
A Boy 81
A Lesson from Nature 189
All Things are Second-handed 212
An Open Book 175
A Picture 200
Arbor Day Tribute 84
Artist Nature 119
Boding Snow 174
Buttercups and Daisies 87
Communion with Nature 96
Courage and Faith 26
Drifting Away 158
Duty Done 42
Ere and at my Call 173
Evil Habits 56
Faces I Read 214
Fact versus Form 29
Good Habits 53
Important Moments 166
Invocation to the Muse 9
Kindred Spirits 160
Lake George, N. Y. 106
Life's Emergencies 58
"Lo," The Departed 157
Maple at my Father's Door 115
Memory and Reason 32
Mind Awakened 71
Morning Flowers 118
Mountain Brook 99
My Brother's Birthday 196
My Choice 76
My Mother's Love 192
My Room in Boyhood's Days 202
Nature's Child 105
Nature's Voice 204
Needs and Powers 19
Oceanus' Mirrors 116
On Brooklyn Bridge 183
Our Battlefield 49
Our Politics 134
Our Profession 11
Pious Pie Poem Puns 218
Poundridge, N. Y. 205
Robin Redbreast 110
School Days 162
Some Characters I Can't Admire 180
Some Characters I Much Adore 177
Soul Speaks to Soul 48
Strand Despair 60
Survival of the Fittest 66
The Dandelion 90
The Desirable Undefined 34
The Difference 67
The Evening before my Brother's Fifty-third Birthday 194
The Farmer 112
The Flowers I Love 91
The Fringed Gentian 89
The Future 170
The Goldenrod 86
The Hair 152
Their Life is what they Make It 185
The Lone Bird 187
The Morning Glory 94
The Ogre 72
The Old Farm 114
The Requirements of the Hour 80
The Rose 85
The Second Sunday in May 104
The Senses 44
The Stream's Story 102
The Teacher's Soliloquy 63
The Thrush 108
The Tree of State 82
The Unwritten Letter 210
The Voice 198
To a Mountain Brook 101
To My Daughter Blanche in Heaven 197
Trailing Arbutus 93
True Wealth 217
Twilight Hour 150
Who Knows? 149
Who Shall Judge? 169
INVOCATION TO THE MUSE.
Didactic muse Calliope, Expand thy soothing silent wings, Touch chords of measured harmony Wherein the soul ecstatic sings, Let language fraught with living truth Find such expression by thy art, As shall assist the guides of youth To fire the soul and win the heart.
Remove the barriers which so long Have held in thraldom many a mind, Sing to the deaf a ransom-song, Be eyes to those whose souls are blind; Teach those who mould the plastic mind To know that God hath never given A mission weightier, more refined, To angels round the courts of heaven, Than that of training human minds Committed unto human hands, In which the spirit e'er survives And through eternity expands.
Paint truthfully the living dead Whose sensibilities were slain By tyros, oft unskilled, unread, In all the workings of the brain; Whose concepts of the avenues That reach the mind of tender youth, Are labyrinths of tangled views Devoid of art, science, and truth; Touch but that chord of magic power Which gives the soul augmented bliss, And lifts it for the present hour Above the world's base selfishness; Then let the search-light of the soul Illumine every page that's read, Until an animated whole Shall supersede the living dead.
Then, then shall dawn the golden day When Ignorance shall shamed-faced fly Before the potent living ray Of mind, touched by effulgency That pours its light in vital force, Upon the mind of plastic youth, And leads it gently to the source Of light and scientific truth.
There's an art in our profession, Which cannot be wholly learned From all books in our possession, Though their leaves be deftly turned Till the mind shall grasp the meaning Of each truth they may contain, Yet there remains a gleaning Not a product of the brain.
One may know the truths of science Till his mind may have full store, Or may place some great reliance On ancient and modern lore; He may count the stars in heaven, He may trace them in their course, And from data that is given He may prove creation's source; He may use the best of diction To portray his studied thought; He may draw from truth and fiction All the charm with which they're fraught; He may be a friend of Nature And may understand her laws; He may prove embryo creature Has within itself a "cause"; He may fathom all creation And dwell among the stars, Visit every land and nation And return with honor's scars; Yet he may lack a power,— Occult to scientific truth— Which is Heaven's richest dower To the guides of ardent youth.
Though all these may give a polish To the gem that lights the soul, They are weak, useless, and foolish, When they're taken for the whole Of all the powers required To entrance the youthful mind, With a spirit so inspired As to touch the eyes of blind With a bright illumination That shall prove itself to be More than a corruscation Of a short-lived ecstasy.
By intuition, children know A heart that cares for them; They recognize a friend or foe, At instantaneous ken. No mask can shield a fraud or fool, E'en from a puerile mind; It knows by rules not learned at school The way true hearts to find. An earnest love, unbounded, firm,— A God-gift from our birth— By far outweighs the noblest charm Can be acquired on earth.
Who has not drunk deep at the well Of childhood's innocence, Or thinks that he should ever dwell At such an eminence, That he can never bend to raise And cheer a longing heart, Will waste his precious hours and days, And finally depart Without such fruitage or reward As ever should be given To him, who serves master or Lord, And hopes for bliss in heaven.
Who sees no soul-buds here expand To blossom by and by, Hath fathomed not the great command For which we live and die. The State demands that every son And daughter shall be free From ignorance and vice which run Toward crime and misery. The future of our noble State Dwells now in plastic form; If she her past would emulate And meet the coming storm Of chaos, whose portentous wing Seems hovering not afar, In every school-room we should sing Of banner and of star That gave the land to Liberty, And with a bold huzza Proclaim that he who would be free Must honor right and law.
Who serves his State and fellow-man And plies his skill at best, Assists to carry out the plan To make all truly blest; He may not sit in marble hall Where legislators meet, Nor may he rear fine towers tall, Or dwell in a retreat Where monks and nuns with solemn prayer Pour out their orison; The test of faith is filial care, And duty nobly done. Minds let us mould, men may we rear, For God, for State, for man, Using the right without a fear To mar the heaven-born plan.
The test of great didactic skill Is not to train the few Whose active genius, tact, and will Are always plain to view; But he who takes an inert mind, Housed in a sluggish frame, And forms such man as God designed, Deserves an honored name.
Like Sisyphus some ever roll The same old round of things Which dwarf the mind and starve the soul, Until they long for wings To fly from dull monotony, Which carries in its train That wreck of thought—Despondency— Which preys on heart and brain.
The artist knows the colors best That blend in harmony With richest cloud-scenes, in the west, That gild the sunset sky; The minstrel knows what song to sing To please the multitude; His fingers deftly touch the strings That yield response subdued When weary soul would find relief From sorrow's withering sigh, Or when the heart is bowed with grief, And tear-drops dew the eye; But when the soul is full of joy, How jubilant the strain The tactful artist will employ To please the heart and brain.
If those who toil in lowly spheres Employ such artful ways To charm the dull and listless ears That such may sound their praise, Why should the artist of the mind Shrink from that noble aim That seeks to elevate mankind, And light a deathless flame! Or why should he who shapes the lives And destiny of man, Be less exact than he who strives From mercenary plan.
No instrument man ever made— None ever can be found— No matter when or where 'tis played, Will yield so rich a sound As that which falls from human tongue When heart speaks unto heart, Nor are its mysteries among The hidden things of art; A tyro on life's winding road Reads understandingly Each tone and word, each varied mode The tongue and form portray.
Our heart's intents are from our looks More plainly to be read, Than thoughts expressed in printed books Whose language oft seems dead, Because it lacks a living form— A voiceless, dull decree That of itself has little charm For youth's activity.
A potent charm of living light Flows with resistless force, Dispelling clouds of mental night That meet its onward course, When all the soul is centred in The great and primal thought That services which hearts would win, With price can ne'er be bought. Such service heaven alone repays E'en though on earth 'tis done, Its echoes last through endless days, And dies but with the sun. A mercenary soul must find A more congenial field Than that of training human mind Wherein a soul's concealed, If it would live out all the days Allotted unto man, And bask in all the genial rays Revealed in God's great plan.
No lubrication of the nerves Has ever yet been found, For him who like a menial serves Dull lesson's daily round; But gnawing friction, stern and gaunt, Tears flesh and brain away, While ghosts nocturnal ever haunt A soul with fell dismay, Whose mercenary greed has led Itself into a snare That counts by scores its strangled dead, Its hundreds, in despair.
He doubly lives who can forget Himself and his own ease, While toiling patiently to set New gems in crowns he sees, That may adorn some other head Than that he calls his own, And animate the germs wide spread In seeds already sown.
* * * * *
To skim the surface of knowledge, And seldom its root to reach, Is a recipe one may offer To direct "How Not To Teach."
NEEDS AND POWERS.
I know of no profession 'Mong profane or divine, Excelling in its mission The power embraced in mine.
It reaches earth and heaven Through heart and soul of man, It lives beyond the present— Eternity doth span.
Mind in its first formation, While in its plastic state, Receives primal impressions Which make it vile or great.
When soil of thought is fertile And ready for the seeds, It may bring precious fruitage, Or vile and noxious weeds.
No sower should be careless, For harvest much depends Upon the well-selected seeds, With mental soil he blends.
If field be rich and mellow And no good seed be sown, With tangled mass of vileness It will be overgrown,
And shield the deadly serpent, The basilisk of sin, That far exhales its pois'nous breath, Then crawls its den within.
No atoms of pollution In matter e'er was known, So vile or so destructive As soul by sin o'erthrown.
The vilest spot upon the earth, Through sunshine, air, and rain, May be transformed in ev'ry part And purified again.
The fields where chaos reigned supreme And Nature frowned aghast, By patient-toil have fruitage borne And blossomed fragrance cast.
The wreck of spheres by traction's laws Hurled wildly into space, May gather atoms round itself And find some resting place
Where it may serve creation's end, And 'mong the planets roll, True to the laws of gravity That marks its outer pole.
The mind and soul can never Within themselves find rest, When all the sin's pollutions Are harbored in the breast.
Then sow good seed, brave teacher, And deeply plant with care, That both here and hereafter Rich harvest it may bear.
The sowing may be silent— It may be but a tear, Its strength is in its purpose, Its aim must be sincere.
It should not be a rite or creed, But wider far than these, It should encompass God and man, Home and antipodes.
To learn the truths of science, Know tables, books and charts, To analyze the potent thrill That fires all earnest hearts,
To revel in the mysteries That lie deep in the earth, To give the proper data When planets had their birth,
To know the exact elements That constitute the sun, The causes why swift currents Within the ocean run,
The ratio of the vapors That color sunset skies, Time's infinitesimal fraction When planets set and rise,
To solve the problems of the air, The secrets of the deep, Are all intrinsic subjects And worthy of our keep.
But these alone are worthless, They need augmented force To lead mind toward the fountain From which it had its source.
They leave one vital question— Development of man— Without e'en crude solution, Without a working plan.
They leave the mighty problem Of Maker and the Made, Devoid of any sequence, Or any plan portrayed.
These are of greatest moment To persons and to State, Upon their wise adjustment Must hang progression's fate.
Cold are the truths of science, Lifeless their every plan, Until in living presence, They're crystalized in man.
As hidden truths are useless And aid not human skill, So slumber mighty forces Through lack of human will.
To know the right is not enough, It must be given power Through culture of the heart and soul, If it shall blessings shower.
To State, to manhood and to God Must mind be wholly given, Ere truth will shine a beacon light, To illumine earth and heaven.
All things were made but to subserve Man's powers to improve, And beautify his being here Through charity and love.
Power, gold, and wealth are agencies Placed in a creature's hand To serve an end, but not to rule,— Obey, but not command.
As mind and soul matter surpass And error flies from truth, So should we train the nobler parts Of plastic, trusting youth.
The sacred man by God ordained, Links sinful earth with heaven, But his success oft must depend On how instruction's given.
The holy task of training mind Is not a trivial thing, Its influence lives, grows and expands Till harvest it shall bring.
No task, to human hands assigned, Excels in force and weight The grave responsibilities Of those who educate.
Let knowledge of the sciences, Skill in didactic art, Power in the impulse of the soul A knowledge to impart,
A love for God and human kind, Forgetfulness of self, A heart devoted to the cause More than to worldly pelf,
Be given as a heritage To those who fain would teach, Then living truth shall flourish, And all mankind shall reach.
* * * * *
There's an ebb and flow of sentiment In educational tides, Which oft discards some solid old facts, And on wild new hobbies rides. The educator of modern times Must prove the false and the true, Hold fast the worthy of the old, Unprejudiced, test the new.
COURAGE AND FAITH.
Courage and Faith are of heavenly birth, Though sent down to our lowly earth To cheer the heart of man; They are only strong when the human soul Yields perfect trust and full control To heaven's benignant plan.
Nature expands when this God-sent pair Finds a fertile heart that needs the care Of a messenger divine, And permits their strength to succor give That truth may grow and honor live To yield their fruit benign.
* * * * *
Who gives no sunshine from his soul Must live in darkness ever, For Nature scorns to such degree, She blinds a sordid giver.
But he who scatters noble deeds, And lives to bless mankind, Shall see the beauties God reveals To men with hearts refined.
Sometimes our soul within us burns To see dark Ignorance aspire To move toward light a mind that yearns For knowledge that may lift it higher Upon the royal road of truth, While every word and act and thought Betrays an atmosphere so fraught With lack of common sense and lore, We plead for some almighty power To save from such our precious youth.
No ray of truth can ever shine To beautify and make divine The heart and mind of anxious soul, When doubts and fears have full control Of him who knows he blindly leads. If human minds and souls and hearts May not command those who have arts And power to waken, lead, inspire, Then knowledge fails of her desire, And Ignorance on Wisdom feeds.
Let science, art, didactic skill, Be guided by unyielding will Born in some earnest, patient one Whose heart glows like the summer sun And warms all by its ardent fire; Whose interest is so intense It readily itself imprints Upon the tender minds of youths, Precepts and scientific truths Such as their yearning hearts desire.
Then there shall come a brighter day, When darkness shall to light give way, And Wisdom on her throne rejoice, And speak with accent in her voice That charms and cheers a hungry mind. Then, students, beauty shall receive Instead of ashes that deceive, Their days and nights of earnest toil, Their struggles by the midnight oil Give recompense complete, refined.
FACT VERSUS FORM.
As shadows are to material forms, As mists to the copious shower As dead calms are to tornado storms That in tropical region lower So are educational fallacies That ignore and decry as naught The value and power that ever lie In the scope of original thought.
No smooth device with a soulless form Should obscure the living thought; It smothers the mind, destroys the charm That comes to him who has wrought To discover new truth, by a truth well known, On which he may safely build, Till his mental strength by use has grown To a giant strong and skilled.
When thought is secure, the reason clear, And the language to tell is pure, Abridgement comes like a friend sincere, For it cannot the mind obscure. The wasted time on a form-clad task Steals gems from youth's precious years, Leaves a wreck on life's shore, we cannot mask With our sorrows and sighs and tears.
If what we have learned has given no power To acquire what yet we must learn, If all our past struggles leave not a dower To which we may joyously turn And feel that a strength within us is given Through efforts already bestowed, In vain have we lived, in vain have we striven, Each task is the same weary load.
If task of to-day shall not lighten th' one May come upon us to-morrow, It is but a proof our work was ill done, And bodes to us grief and sorrow. Ev'ry effort of mind applied aright Augments the mental perception, For God aids the brave, and giveth a light To shine away imperfection.
There's a magic power in a task well done, There's a charm in solid reason, There's a mighty force in a victory won, Which an alert mind will seize on, And with giant strength that is thus acquired March on till the fields of science And the zones of thought wherein man aspired Shall be won by self-reliance.
Who has not seen the inert mind, Bowed down and sore oppressed, Start into life, and vigor find At touch of interest Some sympathetic soul has shown, By look in kindness given, Or word whose accent, cadence, tone, Gave joy akin to heaven?
No emanation from the heart Has greater power to win, Than that which lays aside all art And quietly steps in To soothe through sympathy, the cares And sorrows, one by one, Of timorous soul who scarcely dares Go forward all alone,
But needs some word of magic power To give him life and zest, Some animating heart-given dower Whose wealth is interest. Few, few there are who know the force That dormant lies in many a brain, Who trace inertia to its source Or see how mind o'er mind may reign.
MEMORY AND REASON.
Who stores the mind with richest truth Gathered from sages of all lands, May toil through days of sunny youth, And on till Death gives his commands, But fails to call to him the aid Of Reason, Judgment, and Good Sense, Will find himself at last dismayed At smallness of his consequence.
The choicest gems must polish bear, And metals must be purged from earth, Before a lustre they can wear That tells of their intrinsic worth. The brain requires friction of thought, Obtained through contact with the world, With which may skillfully be wrought The mental gems research unfurled.
Who builds alone on Memory Will find he lacks a needed force To fire and set the spirit free, And move him onward in the course That tends to lead him by a way Whose goal is sure, complete success, But wanting such, can but display Chaotic mass of nothingness.
Let Memory and Reason wed, Their product then may fully know The food on which great minds are fed, The founts from which great actions flow; Each holds its share of honored meed, But each requires the other's aid To stimulate the urgent need By which great genius is displayed.
* * * * *
Many a brave resolution Is formed on New Year's Day To annihilate some vices That on our morals prey; But before the year is ended They go so far astray We find our lives are pursuing The old, accustomed way.
THE DESIRABLE UNDEFINED.
I have often thought there's a power Unknown to science or art, That opens and closes the portals That lead to the human heart.
I have learned there's a secret something That remains yet undefined, That touches the springs and pulleys That open the human mind.
I have watched the glow of faces, As a light from this occult source Has touched some inert nature With an energizing force.
The effect was so magnetic, It seemed like creative skill From the hand of the Great Master, To give passive being will.
Sometimes its power seemed but presence, Sometimes, a soft, mild tone, Sometimes, a look of decision, Ofttimes, from a source unknown.
There's a something wrapped in th' nature Of those most adapted to teach That charms and holds the attention Of those whom its powers reach.
There's a sound from some vibration Within the human voice That arouses the latent spirit And makes the soul rejoice.
Its tone has a magic power Whereby the heart is impressed With the weight of its noble mission And unselfish interest.
There's a mystic charm most winsome In th' glance of a speaking eye Whose light shines in dark recesses And explores them in passing by.
It illumines the page of the student As his soul warms by its fire, And stirs him to greater action, And lifts aspirations higher.
Every word and look and action Has weight on trustful youth, That needs no sage to interpret Or explain its vital truth.
They are fully comprehended Through the instinct, every one, And need no labored searching In a massive lexicon.
Some call this power attraction, Some term it affinity, But all recognize its existence And wonderful potency.
There's also a power of repulsion That breathes with abated breath, Whose presence is best betokened By ominous signs of death.
No word has an inspiration, No look has a sign of cheer, Each act reveals that a burden Must be borne in sorrow and fear.
The wrecks that are made by its presence Have filled almshouses and jails With the deepest of lamentations, The saddest of human wails.
A selfish, terrible monster That drives away honor and truth Is the cold-blooded fiend Repulsion, The destroyer of tender youth.
The sea in its frenzy and fury, When lashed by the wintry gales Casts on the rocks its vessels Bereft of their spars and sails;
The path of the fierce tornado, Overstrewn with wild debris Of fallen habitations And uprooted forest tree;
The wreck of a world of matter That transforms revolving spheres, Which have gathered all their greatness Through the lapse of a million years;
The snow-clad mountain terror— The fearful avalanche— Whose thunders are heard in valleys Where imploring faces blanch;
The mouth of a raging Etna With its stifling breath of fire, Wherein the pride of a city In a moment may expire;
The trembling of the mountains When an earthquake passes by, And the terror of the people Struck dumb in their agony;
The rage of a foaming torrent, After the bursting cloud Has poured its liquid fury In destruction wild and loud;
Are but the potent protests Of Nature's elements Against some ill arrangement That brings them discontents.
But these in separate actions, Or in forces all combined, Leave not so sad a ruin As the wreck of one human mind.
The voice, the eye, and the manner Are all unlocked by a key That has for its great attraction A confiding sympathy.
The knowledge of books is essential To those who youth would guide, But the grace of earnest endeavor Excels all else beside.
Truth in its plainness is beauty, Science itself is a charm, But the frown of a tyrant tutor Puts both in constant alarm.
To receive a healthful impression, Mind must be free from fear, Will must be held by attraction, Soul, by a soul sincere.
Some persons in mind are but mirrors Reflecting what others have thought, That make no original errors, They are only able to quote. You may ask their opinion on matters That pertain to affairs of the day, Their minds are but shreds and tatters Of what all their neighbors say.
We respect the man who is careful With others his mind to compare, But who of himself is not fearful His honest opinion to share With men, when some public measure Upon the State has been thrown,— Who proves his mind a rich treasure He uses and calls his own.
Many a grand ambition Had birth and died in a day, From lack of vigorous nursing To keep it from decay.
Many a hope has faded And sunk in deepest despair, Through lack of careful pruning That fruitage it might bear.
Many a mind is ruined And becomes chaotic mass, Through want of systematic Training in the class.
Many a song of sweetness Has lost its harmony, Because at its beginning It had not the proper key.
Many a field most fertile Bears vile and noxious weeds, Through failure of the tiller To sow some worthy seeds.
Many a flower of beauty And sweetness blooms unseen, And dies in its seclusion On a bed of mossy green.
Better to have no talent, No excellence to give, Than permit vice to destroy The talent we may have.
* * * * *
No dam can restrain the water When leaks receive no care, When the tempest in wild fury Doth chafe and gnaw and tear, And no hand is raised to succor, No effort to repair, Till the torrent bursts in fury And fills us with despair. 'Tis too late then for repining, Too late, for work or prayer.
A duty done is victory won, E'en though in the doing, Efforts may fail to bring avail In lines we are pursuing.
Nothing is lost whate'er the cost, When efforts made are noble, Beyond the sky acts never die, And honor's crown is double.
Right cannot fail, but must prevail, If noble be the motive; Heaven is nigher if we aspire With hearts sincere and votive.
Much strength we gain when we maintain A truth for truth's sake solely; A mighty power guides effort's hour And stamps its cause as holy.
If honest heart act well its part, And ask the aid of heaven Its feeblest word will be so heard That succor will be given.
It matters not how low our lot We rise by honest trial; No effort made for needed aid E'er met complete denial.
The soul expands when it demands A right for self and others, And darkest night has ray of light For honest helpful brothers.
A noble soul spurns the control Would bind in servile fetters; No chains can bind God-given mind Inspired by love and letters.
An earnest will can ne'er be still Though oft its hopes be baffled, It will succeed though victims bleed And die upon the scaffold.
Loud shout and sing, "Crown Effort King," And let the watchword be This earnest prayer heard everywhere, "God and Humanity."
A duty done is victory won, For strength comes by the doing; There's no retreat, there's no defeat, If right we are pursuing.
Some eyes are trained to scan large field Till instantaneous glance may yield A knowledge full and plenty; While others keep a narrow ken And view the ways of active men With satisfaction scanty.
The optic nerve has power so keen, That ev'ry object by it seen Is stamped upon the brain; But they of sluggish mental mold No vivid photograph will hold, And scarce a scene retain.
The tympanum with perfect drum Hears not the sound when armies come With clarion notes and song, Unless its stimulated nerve Has fully learned to humbly serve In stations which belong
To those which God designed should live For special duties, He might give To move mankind along Upon the road toward perfect man, That He might thus reveal His plan, And happiness prolong.
The power that lies in perfect speech Dwells with the few who only reach That art through toil and care; A faulty tongue perverts the ear, Destroys the sense, augments the fear, And feeds on empty air.
A nation's destinies have hung Upon the influence of a tongue Whose magic eloquence Has swayed the thoughts of men, whose word Was mightier than the glittering sword Of armies most immense.
The manual touch when guided by The magic power of sympathy That animates the soul, May lead to fields of cultured art And cast an influence on the heart May through all ages roll.
The canvass and the stone may speak To more than Roman and to Greek Though in a foreign land; They show the might of cultured skill Directed by an iron will That guides a master's hand.
The perfumed fields of blooming May, The evening scent of new-mown hay Touch nerve olfactory, And carry to the thoughtful brain Loved memories of a long-past train That once was full of glee.
Though flowers to-day are choice and rare, In colors they may well compare With richest hues we meet; They lack the charm that gave them power Since past is youth's entrancing hour Their fragrance seems less sweet.
Five roads lead to the human brain And through these roads all must obtain The commerce of all lore; No thought can enter mental port Of any kind or any sort, Of modern days or yore,
Except such as a tariff pays To pass these honored, great highways Which lead to eminence, And follow closely every nerve Which God designed should truly serve Each mind of consequence.
* * * * *
Perhaps that star in yonder sky, May be my dwelling place on high, When life on earth is done; At eventide I love to gaze Upon its soft reflected rays, When silent and alone.
Its brightness charms and draws my soul, By some mysterious, strong control I cannot well explain, Unless it be within it dwell The friends of earth I loved so well, Who could not here remain.
SOUL SPEAKS TO SOUL.
Soul speaks to soul, eye speaks to eye, And mind by mind is read; The heart bounds in sweet ecstasy Whene'er a light is shed, That shines to illume a cherished thought That seemed to dwell alone, But on through years has nobly sought To solve some truth unknown.
The living truth that seemeth dead, Needs but a kindred touch To resurrect thought's vital thread, And give it influence, such As breaks the bands of fettered mind, And sunders thraldom's chains, Spreads benefactions, pure, refined, Where ignorance now reigns.
Magnetic touch of spark divine, Speak to the inert soul, Let light from out the darkness shine, And truth her page unroll; Speak to the minds that waiting, starve, And give them power to see, That he who patiently will serve Shall win the victory.
[Written for an entertainment given by the Fife and Drum Corps (36 uniformed members) of the Third Ward Grammar School of Long Island City, of which the writer is Principal.]
There are fields of martial glory Where the slain are ne'er bemoaned; There are victories though silent, Where grim monarchs are dethroned; There are scenes of strife and foray Where gigantic forces strive For the mastery and triumph Of the ends for which they live.
There are forces more puissant Than ten million armed men, There are banners that are emblems Of the mighty tongue and pen, That reflect upon their blazon Honest purpose grand and true, Such as never graced the victors Of Sedan and Waterloo.
There are weapons in these contests Keener than the Damask blade, There are metals of such temper As no crucible e'er made; For the dross must be extracted In the furnace of the soul Till no refuse or pollution Shall defile the perfect whole.
Though this army counts its millions, Each must face alone the foe, Each must bring a special weapon, Each must strike himself the blow That shall free him from the shackles Of that despot and his train, Who with ignorance and vices Would destroy the heart and brain.
Our true sword is Education And grim Ignorance our foe; We are battling with our passions, And our spirits are aglow With a full determination To accept the proven truth That the days of precious seed-time, Are the sunny days of youth.
Day by day the contest rages And each task that's daily done, Brings a soothing satisfaction That another victory's won. Thus the strength we gain in action Aids in each succeeding strife, To make the struggles lighter In the battles of our life.
There are avenues and byways Which lead into the heart, Whose intricate environments Require the highest art To tell what inspiration Shall touch a dormant mind, And fire it with a living zeal For a station more refined.
It is only voice of music That speaks universal tongue; It matters not in what accent A sweet melody is sung, It will find responsive feelings Which will aptly understand Though it be of unknown measure And sung in a foreign land.
We come with our martial music, With our noisy fife and drum To inspire the weak and weary, To open the mouths of the dumb, To train our every emotion For a better sphere in life, To enjoy for the passing moment The sound of the drum and fife.
We hope our notes may be peaceful And free from carnage of war; We would bind up the broken hearted And cover the wound and scar, But should foe our country menace And refuse to be just and calm, We would sound aloud the tocsin And march to defend Uncle Sam.
* * * * *
To plant an intellectual seed And guard its growth from noxious weed, That it may fruitage bear, Is solace more, a thousand fold, Than hoarding bonds and stocks and gold, Or sporting jewels rare.
A silent force marks out the course Of every man and woman, No matter what may be the lot Of creatures that are human,
The end attained is ever gained By means so strange and hidden, We call it luck, instead of pluck, Or fate by fairies bidden.
The human eye cannot descry All workings of the brain; At silent night, it gains a might Which bears a mental train
Whose lucid glow may thrones o'erthrow, Or bid new nations rise, May prove some plan whereby proud man May ransack earth and skies.
Think not such power a fairy's dower, Or influence from some star, It did not spring from anything Beyond what mortals are.
To man is given the keys of heaven If they be rightly used; No being born but must be shorn If blessings are abused.
Keep well the trust! Guard it we must, From in and outward foes, Strength will be gained, might be attained By efforts to oppose
The secret vice that doth entice To ruin and despair; But he who will hath power to kill Such vice within its lair.
Let habits grand the life command And Eden is regained; No future bliss need surpass this If habits are unstained.
Let smiling face your presence grace And earth will smile on you, Let from the tongue a song be sung, Its echo will be true,
And sing again the same refrain Upon the selfsame key, Till airs elate, reverberate, Heaven's sweetest minstrelsy.
If we extend a hand to friend Who needs a brother's care, Though it may hold no purse of gold The act he will revere.
Scarce do we know whence comes the glow That duty done e'er gives, Its altar-fire cannot expire— Here and hereafter lives.
Such habits then, for gods and men, Are but the means whereby They may prepare to gain their share To mansions in the sky.
Sing then a song, its notes prolong, In praise of Habit's power; Let custom be from evil free And it will blessings shower.
How habit grows no one e'er knows, And yet he is a giant That has a will and subtle skill That never yet was pliant.
'Tis very plain that he has slain More than the sword and spear, With wily art he charms the heart And quells the greatest fear.
His artful eye is wondrous sly And has bewitching glance, Where'er he moves his victim loves To see his powers advance.
He makes no noise 'mong girls and boys Whom he would call his own, His spell is cast, he holds them fast Till they are overthrown.
When this is done the field is won, And they are all his own, He heeds no cry, no choking sigh, No plea, no prayer, no groan.
If you would be forever free From tyrant so severe, Watch every thought before you're caught, For he is hovering near.
Your every word guard with the sword Of truth, which never fails, Its honor's sung in every tongue, Its power e'er prevails.
Act well your part, and keep your heart Free from the tares he sows, For at the end like traitor friend He leaves you with your woes.
Thus Habit mars with wounds and scars The favored of our race, Transforms the mind that God designed Should be the dwelling place
Of noble thought with heaven fraught Into a sterile plain, Whose atmosphere is dank and drear— A wild chaotic brain.
Man scarce may be entirely free From wiles and tricks and snares, Whose stealthy forms and subtle charms Approach us unawares.
Our eyes are blind or not inclined To see that powerful hand, That silently, yet forcibly Gives us its strong command.
How strangely dark are the vapors That sometimes obscure the way, Ere the light of truth advances To the noon of a perfect day.
As the unforeseen approaches In stealth from ambushed retreat, The mettle of soul is summoned Its emergencies to meet.
To shrink by its sudden coming, To surrender our control Without a struggle for vantage, Betrays a weakness of soul.
The conflicts with emergencies We meet in our daily call, Give strength or death to moral worth As we conquer them or fall.
To meet at once with valor true The attack from an ambuscade, In moral strife, or bloody war, Hath many a hero made.
Who has not trained himself to meet The vicissitudes that arise Upon the course of life's stern race, Must fail to secure its prize.
* * * * *
To hold a pessimistic view, And see the world as darkly "blue," And feel mankind is false, untrue, Is not a just conclusion; But Truth demands that Hope shall wear No false rose in her silken hair, To hide Deceit, Fraud, and Despair, That feed on wild Delusion.
The wrecks that lie on Strand Despair, Should serve as buoys on life's stern seas To guide the voyager safely, where He may escape the tides and breeze That drive to whirlpools, bars, and rocks, Where human vessels oft impinge And leave a ruin that but mocks The pleadings of persuasion's hinge.
An idle mind, companions base, A shrinking from a duty known, A sly deceit, a brazen face, A lying tongue, a sullen tone, Lead toward a wreck on Strand Despair, And none but self can move the helm To change the course for scenes more fair, To save from storms that overwhelm.
An alarm is sounding through the land That tells of a stronger foe Than that which marched on Lexington, To strike a fatal blow At the liberties our sires did claim For themselves and all mankind, For this foe is a product of deceit And sophistry combined.
Its victims fall by the smiling ways Of a charmed environment That lures him on to neglect and sin, And to final banishment Of the vital spark of an earnest man, And all that is noble and true, To the effete round of nothingness Which honor and strength will subdue.
No Spartan Helen of beauty and fame, No mermaid with winsome face, No Siren that sings an alluring song, No Pandora in her grace, Can soothe and charm to destruction's retreat, Like the foe that robs of power To meet the needs of life's true aim, The requirements of each hour.
It has filled our courts, our prisons, our jails, And filled our almshouses, too, Itself and distress walk hand in hand, No crimes but its victims will do; Though it seems like a true and trusty friend 'Tis a tyrant in disguise, It leads to distrust and uncertainty, It wins no enduring prize.
In homes it leads to disorder wild, In school, to defiance of laws, In nations, to strife on bloody fields, In man, to destruction's jaws; In business its office is but to destroy, In friendship, brings lack of respect, In love, oft a maddened, frenzied heart That can never endure neglect.
Parents, true kindness holds steady hand, Judges, know justice is kind, Teachers, remember the work for you Is to strengthen heart and mind. Kindness, dethroned by lack of control, Ruins our girls and our boys, Firmness is noble, honest, and true, Indulgence only destroys.
THE TEACHER'S SOLILOQUY.
And so another week has gone, And I once more am left alone Within my silent room; My mind is worn by fervent care, And, languishing, it needs repair For duties yet to come.
From all the cares which come on me I cannot be entirely free Thro' all this mortal life; But cares imported from abroad Make much more ponderous the load, And cause more bitter strife.
With patient labor, day by day, I work along this toilsome way Intent on doing good; My pupils' hearts I would inspire With noble thoughts and strong desire For intellectual food.
I note the various schemes and arts, As prompted by the different hearts, They lead to different deeds. As deeds and hearts will correspond, By observation it is found There should be different meeds.
The wish made known for some will do, And some a gentle frown would rue And feel extremely sad; While others need a sterner look, A reprimand, or sharp rebuke, And sometimes e'en the rod.
Most gladly would I hail the day When children cheerfully obey, (If e'er that day shall come,) But ere that happy day I see, A reformation there must be In government at home.
And what is my reward for all This watchful care and earnest toil To train the youthful mind? From Ignorance it draws a curse— Though pocket hold a puny purse— Yet one reward I find—
To see the young prepared for life And launched upon the outward strife Of its tempestuous sea, And know that I have trained that mind, With noble thought that heart refined, Is rich reward for me.
When all life's lessons have been taught, And my own soul with love is fraught For earnest, striving man, Perhaps an understanding Lord Will proffer as a great reward, Redemption through His plan.
* * * * *
A beautiful vision I sometimes see, That stands in the distance and smiles upon me; It points with a finger of radiance bright, To the fleeting shades of departing night. I would gladly know if this scene designed To be a true type of the human mind, When the mists and clouds of dark ignorance, Shall into the realms of the unknown advance.
SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST.
The survival of the fittest, The advancement of the best, The enthronement of the truest In the world's great crucial test, Is emblazoned on each banner Wherever man is found, And e'en 'mong plants and animals This holds, the world around.
Then prepare for the survival, Allow no base retreat, (Dethronement means delinquency,) Endure the cold and heat; The elements that meet us May all be overcome, With God and right ever in sight, The victory may be won.
I have scanned the roll of teachers, Have noted the Aarons and Hurs Who have stayed education's Moses, And removed the cumbrous bars That environed its anxious spirit, And bowed down its life with cares.
I have counted them all over, Have analyzed heart and brain, Have watched them in daily labor That I might some key obtain To unlock the magical power, By which some supremely reign.
I have listened with ear enraptured, Have caught the gleam of the eye, Have felt the glow of emotion When bright corruscations fly From mental touch and fervor, That prompted others to try.
The soul knows no fire so warming, No light so fervent and true, As the glow of the living presence Of one of the noble few Who counts her pain but pleasure, If good she may only do.
A teacher who knows her subjects And has much of didactic art, Will present the truths of science To the youthful mind and heart, In ways so apt and skillful They will never more depart,
But will gather strength and beauty With every day and hour, Until they become a fortress— An irresistible power To dispel the gloom of doubting That oft o'er the mind may lower.
No truth is learned by mere telling, The mind must conceive and apply; There is inspiration, knowledge, In one's own discovery That lead to efforts and struggles For a greater mastery.
Herein lies the power of teaching: A systemized method to do That reaches the understanding, And leads on to fields anew, Where Thought shall be the head master, And Truth shall Error subdue;
A heart that is wholly given To leading the youthful mind, To discover the powers and virtues They within themselves shall find, And mould them into actions Progressive, strong, refined;
A spirit that sees in the being A gift from God unto man, That must live on thro' all ages, Though influenced by some plan That here has been determined, But God shall hereafter scan;
A tongue that is but the voicing Of a heart aflame with its cause, That speaks of science and morals From a knowledge of their laws; That speeds the true and worthy, But bids all deception pause;
A judgment so wisely balanced As to know what must be done To avoid the indiscretions Into which so many run, Of telling, instead of leading, Till the victory has been won.
* * * * *
In reckoning the moral stock Of any man or woman, It is but right to recollect That all of us are human; If heart be true, the body frail, And honestly he's striven, Tho' oft a brother's plans may fail, He ought to be forgiven.
The battle is not to the mighty, Nor the race to the fleet of foot, The peak is not reached by bounding, Nor the goal by a devious route; The problems of science and culture Have been ages upon the way; The greatest vict'ries 'mong nations Have not been won in a day. 'Tis the steady tramping onward Of feet that will not turn aside From the path they are pursuing, That wins at the eventide. 'Tis the firm determination Of a strong and unyielding will, Moved on by gigantic action Of forces that cannot be still, That has won the greatest honors 'Mong nations whose moral power Have lighted liberty's beacon In despondency's darkest hour. The mind that is sometimes darkest When it struggles for light and power, Breaks off the bands of thraldom And itself like some strong tower, Becomes the bulwark of nations In defense of some sacred cause That looks toward the world's advancement, Through reign of beneficent laws.
There's an ogre abroad, boys, There's an ogre abroad, A three-handed monster That makes his abode In hamlet and city, In country and town, And revels in death As he drags people down. He's a sly old destroyer, Very loth to admit That the snares he is using Are fraud and deceit. He has slain and devoured More than the sword; By all earnest people He is greatly abhorred, For he leads to disease, To sorrow and death, As poison exhales From his presence and breath. He fastens himself On bright, innocent youth, And slyly allures him From virtue and truth. He holds by the throat The servants who wait To hear his excuses; And sad is their fate, For insidious smile Is his only excuse To victims who suffer Defeat and abuse. So sly are his movements, So stealthy his tread, Like a vampire, on blood He is frequently fed, While his victim, unconscious, Makes no defence; He steals mind and honor And good common sense. If you meet him, my boy, Beware of his grasp, For his smiles are so sweet; But on you he will clasp The shackles he carries Forever concealed, And when he secures you He seldom will yield. He will keep you away From duty and right, Destroy all your honor, Your hopes sadly blight, With promises made Which he cannot fulfill He robs of contentment And shackles the will. This monster has always A right hand and left hand That have powers of their own That ought to command. If he had only these And used them aright, His presence would ever Afford us delight; But the third hand he has Is a very unkind hand, For this ogre's real name Is Little Behind Hand. Little Behind Hand Is tyrant indeed, From which we would have Mankind ever freed. Little Behind Hand Can seldom find work, For he stumbles in blindness And gropes in the dark, He is sullen and mean, Near-sighted and sour, Ruin and trouble 'Bout him constantly lower. Drive him off! Drive him off! Ere he fasten on you His fangs of destruction, The pestilent dew That he breathes on his victim To deaden the sense Of his presence and power, And their sad consequence. Strike him down! Strike him down! With strong, sturdy blow, If you yield to him now He will soon lay you low, And when hand and foot Are at his command, You will feel he has grown To a Big Behind Hand.
* * * * *
The public tide is polluted With offal, fraud, and deceit; In ev'ry line of industry Its venomous forms we meet In men who sneer at truth and right, Who, Honor's path have decried, That they might gain the golden calf Whose power they have deified.
I would rather dwell a hermit In some silent peaceful wood, Where no voice of human being Ever breaks the solitude; Where babbling brook, and minstrelsy Of winged friends are heard To join the sylvan choruses Of leaves when gently stirred, Than live in costly splendor With a heartless, greedy throng, Whose only thought is sordid pelf Obtained by fraud and wrong.
I would far prefer a cavern On some rocky sea-girt isle, Where the constant intonations Of the waves as they recoil With their soughing and deep moaning For a momentary rest, Tell of liquid matter only That bespeaks itself distressed, Than to live where human bodies Bend and writhe for freedom's air, Till the heart breaks in deep sorrow, And the soul sinks in despair.
I would choose a lone oasis With one tree, one flower, one spring, One bird of sprightly plumage With throat attuned to sing; One whisper of approval From a voiceless power within; One perfect intuition Of freedom from all sin, Than dwell 'mid throngs and plenty And grovel in the filth That oft adheres to those who claim The boundless stores of wealth.
Some quiet nook in a valley With a canopy of leaves, Such as a forest Titan In fantastic beauty weaves; Or some vine-embowered tangle O'ershadowing murmuring stream Where scarce a ray of sunlight May on its waters gleam, Is a dwelling-place more restful To a man by right controlled Than the courts of kings and princes Ablaze with filched gold.
I would not shun the haunts of men Or bustle of the world, Nor would I see progression's flag Lie dormant or unfurled; If man for manhood would aspire, And less for gold and power, If noble thoughts and noble deeds Employ each passing hour, Then should the bustle be supreme, For manhood thus would rise Above the baser things of earth To honors in the skies.
I am not a misanthropist, Nor hater of just wealth, I love the presence of mankind, I love good-natured health, I love a true and noble soul In woman or in man, I love a being who would not Invert God's primal plan And keep in bondage soul and mind, Through base and false desire To trample fellow beings down, That he may rise still higher.
I know that hate deep in my soul Burns with an intense flame Toward him who scourges the oppressed, And unjust power doth claim, That he may gain some subtle coign By which to overthrow The balance Justice ever holds Alike for friend or foe; For such can never bless mankind By thought or word or deed; They laugh in glee whene'er they see Their victim writhe and bleed.
When all we teach in man is mind, And heart has no domain, Then fraud, deceit, and treachery Will form a tyrant train, For beacon light can never come Through those who legislate Unless good seed has been well sown By those who educate; But lift the soul by Sinai's laws And by the Golden Rule, Then legislation will have power Through truths taught in the school.
* * * * *
The world is wanting honest men Who know and dare to do aright, Whose honor brightens in the ken Of Justice's ever-searching light.
THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE HOUR.
It is hard to tell at the dawn of day What the sunset shades may bring, The plans we make may be astray, And our treasured hopes take wing.
We know not what strange environment May dwarf our most cherished plan, Or what obstructions may be sent To defeat our ends and aim.
Though we scorn the thought that fickle Fate Has Destiny in her hand, We all pay tribute at her gate And bow low at her command.
In spite of all the powers we boast Of independent action, An intervening hand may cost Our progress great detraction.
Few, few there be who lack the power To shape their own destiny, If each will improve th' passing hour To its full capacity.
A boy is a wonderfully curious thing, Of all creation he deems himself King, Yet give him for pastime a top and a string And he is instantly spinning; When fishes are ripe he tries them with hook, He thinks more of them than of a new book, And steals enough time to after them look, Not conscious that he is sinning.
The great possibilities within his scope Prompts to exertion, inspires him with hope, Till with the world he is ready to cope For the greatest laurels of honor; Glory and fame are attractive stars He may seek in strife, under bloody Mars, Till Wisdom revolts at the ugly scars Ambition has placed upon her.
Oh, active, mercurial, wonderful boy, The world is a top and you spin it with joy, Regardless of all the wiles you employ To gain the pleasure of seeing; No tree is so tall, but you reach its top limb, No water so deep, but in it you swim, No ice is so smooth, but o'er it you skim Like a phantom, a wonderful being.
ARBOR DAY POEMS.
THE TREE OF STATE.
[The Maple was chosen by vote of the children in the schools of N. Y. State as the State Tree, and the Rose as the State Flower. Nature's Tribute, The Rose, and The Golden Rod were written at the request of the State Department of Public Instruction of N. Y. and sent to the schools of the State for Arbor Day use. Nature's Tribute was set to music.]
Tree of our state and emblem of neatness, Beauty and grace abide in thy form; Not in thy blood alone courses a sweetness, Thy ev'ry unfolding is suavity born.
Down in the vale where cowslips are growing, Where violets breathe thro' sweet scented lips, Where brook o'er the bright pebbly bottom is flowing, And bee of the nectar of columbine sips.
A monarch it stands of regnative power, In a graceful symmetrical pose; Whose arms weave a fairy, majestical bower Where wood-nymphs their beauty disclose.
Its beautiful leaf of silvery sheen, And the grandeur it gives to the grove, Proclaim to th' world it of forest is queen, And most worthy our heart's purest love.
Honor we maple as type of all neatness, Yielding protection, beauty, and grace; None of its rivals boast of such sweetness, None can in typical form fill its place.
May th' state be as pure in motive and plan, As the maple from evil is free. May every son of the state, as a man Take his type from the pure maple tree.
Then hale be the state, and hail to the tree! And each halo of glory shall last Till from all tumult our state will be free, And no stain on her honor be cast.
This tree be our care, our state's honored prize. May virtue and glory assemble, And bid every man in dignity rise Till the tree of our state he resemble.
ARBOR DAY TRIBUTE.
With lavish hand our God hath spread Beauty and fragrance o'er the land; His smile revives the seeming dead; Nature awakes at His command.
He breathes upon the leafless tree; He whispers to the tiny flower. His touch awakes the slumbering bee, And each obeys th' Almighty power.
The perfumed breeze of smiling May, The dancing stream on mountain side, The wild bird's trill of joyous lay Proclaim Thy goodness far and wide.
Attune our hearts to sing Thy praise, Expand our souls to comprehend Thy attributes and all Thy ways, And ever be our Guide and Friend.
We plant to-day within the mould, The stock that needs Thy tender care; Send deep its roots, its buds unfold In answer to our faith and prayer.
When dewy morn of balmy June Awakes and blushes in the East, When song birds pipe their sweetest tune And Nature spreads her grandest feast, Among the rare and fragrant plants Whose petals most of heaven disclose, In foremost rank—far in advance— There stands the sprightly, smiling rose.
Its home is on the wide, wide plains, In valleys where wild torrents foam, In solitudes where silence reigns, And by the cotter's humble home. It cheers alike the rich and poor On Alpine heights, or by the sea, By castle wall or peasant's door— It justly claims ubiquity.
Could blushing beauty born of heaven, Or world-wide worship win the prize, Could fragrance, fancy, fame, or even The rich rays of reflected skies Soothe sorrows sharp and scorching sting And give the world complete repose, Then men should shout and children sing— "The flower of State must be the Rose!"
When August sunset's yellow blaze Streams out o'er meadow, field and lawn, It seeks some shrine wherein its rays May linger till returning dawn, And touching gently with its sheen That graceful plumage of the sod, Its constellated gems of green Are changed to glorious Goldenrod.
Its home is in the sterile soil Deserted by the rustic swain Because it yields not for his toil The recompense he would obtain. By wall and ledge, and rock, and mound, Where'er neglect and ruin reign In greatest beauty there 'tis found, To cheer and clothe the earth again.
Down in the soul there dwells a thought That finds expression not in word, That counts display and promise naught Unless a voice divine is heard, That speaks to cheer the desolate, That yields a balm distilled from God; Whose type should be the flower of State— The sun-lit, heaven-born Goldenrod.
BUTTERCUPS AND DAISIES.
Buttercups and daisies,— Bright children of the lawn— To the fields are nodding In the winds of June. Such beauty of the meadows Gives a charm so sweet, so strong, The robin's spirit bursts aloud In animated song.
Buttercups and daisies Bloom adown the narrow lane, Beside the brook in pasture, And over the wide plain; Tangles in the meadow Where ten million flowers bloom, Draw bee and bird and squirrel, With their beauty and perfume.
Buttercups and daisies Aglow in morning light, And pendant dew-drops sparkling— Bright diamonds of night— Send a matin greeting To the rising god of day, As he warms them gently With his golden ray.
Buttercups and daisies Are jewels to be worn By all sons and daughters Of Nature, truly born; They speak a perfect language, They lead to the divine, They cheer the weak and weary They strengthen and refine.
Buttercups and daisies May softly o'er me bloom, When I am sweetly sleeping Within my restful tomb, And when by mortal beings I may forgotten be, The buttercups and daisies Shall be dear friends to me.
* * * * *
Modest, meek anemone, Loved wind-flower of the spring, You fill our hearts with gladness, For with your smile you bring The vitalizing sunshine, The fruitful April shower, The pipe of feathered songster, And bud of sylvan bower.
THE FRINGED GENTIAN.
I remember well, in my boyhood's romp, The beautiful flower that grew near the swamp, With its spiral screw Of cerulean hue, While on the marge of its petals grew A fringe, such as art never weaves.
I plucked it with zeal, for my heart was aglow, Its color and form, my mother to show, And gladden her eyes With the exquisite prize I had found when autumnal zephyr sighs 'Mong the faded flowers and leaves.
Fair emblem of maiden adorned as a bride, The tintings of heaven within you abide; You smilingly stand In bridal robe grand, For a lover who offers an ardent hand, And a heart that never deceives.
When others have left us, we cherish the one Who remains firm and faithful till vict'ry's won; Though cold be the storm, The heart is e'er warm For the tried and true, who weave such a charm Round the heart of him who receives.
Meadows are dotted, far and wide, With velvet stars that bring A golden off'ring of delight,— Flower-goslings of the spring.
Then gray-haired pappus, downy, soft, Follows with pistils loose, And the gosling of the early spring Becomes a white-fledged goose.
Its feathers float on ev'ry breeze That fans the verdant mead, And children count the hours of day By breaths that waft the seed.
Soft, silent Time that comes apace O'er human flowers that bloom, You quickly change youth to old age, And lead life toward the tomb.
Bright turf-born gosling of the field, Teach us to smile, and give A perfume from a fragrant soul, That on and on shall live.
THE FLOWERS I LOVE.
I sometimes think I love the rose More than all other flowers, Because its fragrance falls on me In copious, dainty showers; And blushing in its modesty, I press it to my heart, As the idol of my dalliance That should no more depart.
But when I see the lily fair— The meadow's beauteous queen— Surrounded by her myriad friends All dressed in Nature's green, My heart goes out in ecstasy, And naught on earth to me Seems fairer type of loveliness, Than this daughter of th' lea.
When bright snow-flake-petaled daisy, Whose heart of yellow gold, Is richer vein of pure delight Than miner-kings may hold, Sends out her invitation warm, To search in her domain For berries like a bleeding heart, I cannot well decline.
And then the graceful goldenrod With flaunting, sun-lit plume, Whose lateness lends a special joy And sweetness to its bloom, Invites me with its wind-blown nod, To be its devotee, With honesty I must confess It has a charm for me.
There's a heaven-born flower—the aster, That drinks nocturnal dews From late autumn's chilly fountains, And steals the sunset hues; It smiles from wayside tangles And coyly casts its eyes, Yet holds me by its modesty A voluntary prize.
I know not which I love the most,— I know I love them all,— For God hath given each its grace, And each its special call; Each has a mission to perform, A purpose and an end, And sweet is the companionship Of each bright flower-friend.
Under the brown leaves meekly abiding, The gem of the spring-flowers nestles away, In copse near th' wood, where covertly hiding, It catches the glow of Aurora's first ray.
Where moss and leaf are strewn in profusion— A bed whereon gods might gladly repose— Apart from the world, in rural seclusion The pride of the moorland—arbutus grows.
In mossy fields, 'mong refuse of bushes, With rose-tinted lips, like herald of morn, With but a leaf to conceal secret blushes, Earth's first vernal offspring is sweetly born.
Modest, retiring, and beautiful sprite, Emblem of graces a maiden should wear, Great is the pleasure, supreme the delight Of searching for joys such coyness doth bear.
Child of the woodland in beauty abiding, Whose breath scents the air of early spring morns, Fairies of magical powers are residing In nooks and valleys your presence adorns.
Oft in the springtime I wander away To dwell for a time in your blest retreat, Counting such pleasure far sweeter to me Than bustle of city or throng of the street.
THE MORNING GLORY.
[On being requested to give some Morning Glory seeds.]
The sunshine seems much brighter, And the heart is ever lighter, When the rays of sweet Aurora Gild the radiant morning glory With a splendor, such as heaven To few favorites has given Among the beautiful rare flowers. So plant these seeds with care, In a place well-chosen, where The first rays of the morning May kiss their bright adorning, And teach your heart to see The beauties there may be In the early morning hours.
When pollen-dust from fields of rye Floats out on the dews of even, And stars of June bedeck the sky Of mild and cloudless heaven, 'Tis ecstasy to linger near The odor-laden quivers, Whose lance-like arrows then appear To be our pleasure-givers.
When Luna bright is wreathed in smiles, And breathes upon the flowers, A billowy greenness oft beguiles Our minds by magic powers; For like the waves of ocean grand When tempest winds are high, With speed sweep by the waves on land, In the fields of liquid rye.
Fragrant fields of beautiful June, Whose billowy, graceful green Is a mem'ry-gem that fades too soon From childhood's romantic scene, Sweet were my hours of ecstasy When by your side I was nigh; Joys I covet, long lost to me That came from sweet fields of rye.
COMMUNION WITH NATURE.
'Tis sweet to hold communion With Nature true and wild, And feel the thrill of gladness She breathes upon her child, When close upon her bosom We press the listening ear, And fancy that the minstrelsy Our raptured senses hear, Is sweeter than the chorus By angel choirs sung, Or richer than vibrations Of chords so deftly strung, That all their intonations Seem blended in one strain, By touch of fairy fingers Which enchant the sweet refrain.
The beauties of the sunset Upon the evening sky, When flecked with fleeting vapors, Detached and awry, Give colors that no artist Save God alone can show To eyes that seek such blendings, And hearts that long to know The hidden things in Nature Which ne'er can be revealed To those who find not heaven In mountain, sky, and field; For they who live the nearest To Nature's self shall find Joy boundless as the ocean, As pure and unconfined.
Deep in the leafy forest A thousand tones are heard,— The laughing, dancing brooklet, The song of bright-winged bird, The buzz of bee on flower, The leaf by breezes fanned, The hum of tiny insect Whose feeble notes command The modulated heart-beat To know the great decree, That frees the mind from slavery And sets the spirit free, Through knowledge of those hidden things Which God only reveals To him who loves all nature, And for a brother feels.
The dearest and the sweetest Of all the charms on earth, Are those that link our natures To feelings that have birth When leaf and flower and fruitage Steal our being for an hour, And we are half unconscious Of some mysterious power, That leads us close to heaven, And points to joys supreme, Where fields and flowers and happiness Are not an idle dream, But a true and soothing heritage Whose limit has no end, Where ev'ry rock and tree and shrub Shall prove a trusted friend.
If heaven is not shadowed Upon our spirit mind, Through all its gorgeous tintings And colorings combined; If Nature has no language To charm the ear and eye, And brooks and birds and forests Afford no minstrelsy; If waving grain and orchards, Freighted with fragrance rare, Draw not the spirit heavenward And lift the soul in prayer; Then orisons are soulless Though voiced on bended knee, And small must be our knowledge Of the Great Deity.
Beneath the shade deep in a dell, Where fairy spirits ever dwell,— Away from haunts of men, A living thing of godlike birth, By Nature's law springs from the earth To gladden vale and glen.
Ten thousand fairies clad in green Enliven the sequestered scene, With noiseless dance and mirth, And minstrelsy of heaven conspires With liquid laughs and wind-played lyres To charm the scenes of earth.
The rocks and trees bedecked with moss, The million leaves with shimmering gloss Drink from the dancing spray, Which rising from the dashing foam, Seeks its bright aerial home And greets the orb of day.
No discord here my spirit jars, No artful smile my comfort mars, For Nature's self is true; Here beauty, grace, and peace conspire To make my inmost soul desire Some heart with kindred view.
Who dwells in such companionship, Builds fountains whence the soul may sip Heaven's sweetest gift to man, Sees beauty reign as God designed, Has purer love for all mankind, And lives near Nature's plan.
Loved mountain brook, so pure, so true, I'd rather spend an hour with you, And harmonize my soul With the sweet melodies you sing, With all the joy your concerts bring, That sit where flowing bowl
And jocund laugh of merry crowd In accents wild, profane, and loud, Break on the midnight air; For you bring peace and joy and rest, Refreshment for a mind distressed, And banish grief and care.
When I shall sleep my final sleep, Fain would I rest where you will keep A tuneful voice for me; Then to my spirit will be given The foretaste of a promised heaven— Nature's sweet harmony.
TO A MOUNTAIN BROOK.
Shy sylvan spirit singing so sweetly, Dancing to measures that flow with your song Frolic your fairy feet faultlessly, fleetly, As down the mountain vale haste you along.
Babbling buoyantly by banks and bushes, Laughingly onward you speed to the sea, While from your mossy sides, joyously gushes Fountains from Nature's bowl, healthful and free.
Naiads and Nymphs hold revels at midnight, Dancing to music that swells from your flow; Dryad and Faun peep out at the moonlight, Thro' rents in green curtains that over you grow.
Here would I pour my soul out in wooing The spirit that dwells in your charmed home; Here would I linger gladly, if knowing My waiting might lead it at last to come.
Let me while here with you catch the spirit Of peace and comfort abiding in you, Then will my Nature truly inherit A love for the beautiful, noble, and true.
THE STREAM'S STORY.
I sat me down in a forest old, Beside a low murmuring stream; I lent my ear to the tale it told, For 'twas more than fancy's dream;
It spoke of days when the earth was young, When it flowed more cheerfully, When its water sang the rocks among, As they danced down toward the sea.
"In the ancient days my banks were filled, Nor shrank I from heat or frost, For the shaded, moss-crowned earth then held The drops, so that none were lost.
"The old forest then stretched far away, And its sheltering arms embraced Sweet perfumed plants and flowerets gay, Whose lives long ago have ceased.
"For the sturdy woodman plied the blade And the forest soon lay low; Then the burning sun and the want of shade Soon shrank my full crystal flow.
"Now when the rain comes, my waters roar, And my spoils are sad to see, For the earth-vaults where I kept my store, Hold no surplus now for me.
"Man's greed for wealth has my beauty marred And robbed me of early joys, But I sing again, with hope restored, When I see the girls and boys
"Who come with their songs in merry May, O'er valley, hill, and plain, To plant young trees on this Arbor Day, So in joy I smile again."
* * * * *
To wander all day, by a purling stream That flows through some mossy dell, And watch its silvery waters gleam, And list to its music's swell As it dashes down some wild cascade, On its race to the wide, wide sea, With sweeter strains than old Orpheus played, Is supreme delight to me.
THE SECOND SUNDAY IN MAY.
Softly the breezes dance o'er the meadows, Wafting the perfume of sweet-scented May; Flecked are the green fields with sunshine and shadows, Telling so gently of earth's perfect day.
From moss-covered rocks whereon we are seated, Nature spreads scenes such as art cannot yield; With flowers of rare beauty our vision is greeted, Our ears, with the bird-notes of forest and field.
Dogwood with tints from pink to pure whiteness, Columbine crimson with pinnacled sheen, Pinks of carnation, and orchards in brightness, Vie with the meadows of velvety green.
The bobolink chatters in notes of perfection, The oriole sings a love-song to his mate, The whippoorwill clings to his perch for protection, The crow laughs ha! ha! when the evening grows late.
Squirrel and humming-bird flit by like spirits, Jack-in-the-pulpit stands ready to preach, The roll of the anthem the wood-choir inherits, Surpasses the harmony mortals can reach.
The song of the bird-note, the hum of the bee, The tinkling of waters, the bursting of leaves, The perfume of flowers, the blossoming tree, Are sermons from Nature the pulpit ne'er gives.
My soul sings with these, with these has communion, They lift me in thought to realms pure and bright; They speak of a Nature with which to have union Dispels all my sorrows and gives me delight.
Every sigh of the breeze, every note of wild bird, Every plant that springs up from earth's fertile sod, Are sermons of eloquence when rightly heard, That soothe me and bring me nearer to God.
I would rather dwell with Nature And be her favored child, To love plant, tree, and creature That live in forest wild; And feel the satisfaction That I can understand The beauty and attraction Of motives, noble, grand, That fashioned for man's pleasure This brilliant world of ours, Than possess the jeweled treasure Of all earth's kingly powers.
LAKE GEORGE, N. Y.
Beautiful, beautiful Horicon! Over thy waters so blue, Sunshine and shadow in silence flit on, Painting fresh scenes on the ecstatic view.
Blue are the skies that kiss the green tops Of sentinel mountains grand, Pure are the waters descending in drops, Or rushing in torrents from mountain to strand.
Like emerald crowns thy islands rise, And mirrored back are doubly seen Gray rocks of the mountains, the cloud-flecked skies, Gorgeous adornments, and fringes of green.
Silent and wild are the fairy shores Save song of the warbling bird, Or the glen wherein the cataract roars, Or the pine tree's branch by strong breezes stirred.
When sunset purples the dark ravine And throws crimson on thy breast, Soft-tinged are the hues that e'er lie between Thy shores and the peaks that rise in the west.
I see in my fancy days long past, I hear the brave soldier's song, The bugle that summoned hosts at its blast, Whose notes died in echoes the green shores along.
I see in the past ten-thousand oars, And a thousand boats so grand, As they leave the marge of thy southern shores To meet the French foes of Montcalm's command.
I see Abercrombie grandly brave With his fifteen thousand men, Glide swiftly, silently over the wave To contest from which many came not again.
Beautiful, beautiful Horicon! How changed is the scene to-day, The pageant of war and carnage is gone Thy waters now bear the light-hearted and gay.
* * * * *
Who loves devoutly Nature wild, And sees in her a Master's hand, Will seldom be a wayward child Though foul temptations round him stand. Magnetic forces draw him back From following low and slavish ways, His soul revolts at the attack That foe of Nature—Vice, displays.
When on mountain road I travel, Stained with dust and dirt and gravel, In cool shade I sit me down; Oft I see among the bushes Feathered friends—shy brown thrushes, Sweetest singers of renown.
Smooth his coat though brown and dusty, His mellow voice is ever trusty And clear and soft and sweet; On the tree-top oft he's singing, In the woods his voice is ringing While hills his notes repeat.
I have heard him in the morning When the sun was just adorning Tops of tallest forest trees, Pour his soul of song so tender, That to God he seemed to render Thanksgiving harmonies.
Every feather he did quiver, As his song he would deliver In bursts so wild and grand, That creation's face would gladden As the air with music laden Seemed fraught with choral band.
Some notes that swelled his speckled breast Were like soft zephyrs from the west That fall on June-blown flowers; So full, so sweet, they lull the soul, And like a spirit voice control My reveries for hours.
Soulful song, enwrapped in feather, Harbinger of pleasant weather, Sing softly unto me. Your tuneful notes at morn and even Are antepasts of joys in heaven That bring felicity.
Attune your joyous song for me, And lift my soul that it may see The world in beauty bright; Sing on, sing on, until the wood Shall laugh aloud in merry mood, And sadness take her flight!
Sweet warbling bird in brown attire, Your notes of praise do me inspire With love for Nature wild; Your songs of joy so sweetly sung, By heart and throat divinely strung, Proclaim you Nature's child.
Low and soft and plaintive, Now distant and now near, Is the voice of Robin Redbreast, That in the tree I hear.
Sometimes 'tis but a murmur, So gentle and so sweet, It sounds like a dying zephyr That echo doth repeat.
And then in bursts of music That make the forests ring, Comes the swelling, happy ditty His birdship loves to sing.
And the voice is so enchanting, So perfect and so clear, All earth stands still to listen, And the clouds bend low to hear.
Again he tunes his liquid note To winds in tree-tops sighing, Or to the sound of waters That o'er the rocks are playing.
The sprightly, sweet ventriloquist Deceives you as to distance, You sometimes think him far away Beyond alarm's resistance,
And then again, you think him near The place you are abiding; He's in the same place all the time, In covert he is hiding,
And telling you in measured notes His mate is yonder nesting, While in the shade of leafy tree Near by in song he's resting.
Had I so sweet a voice as his I'd carol all day long, Charm with my presence all mankind, And cheer them with my song.
The woods and fields should echo far My choicest minstrelsy, While earth and sky would both unite To join the revelry.
Of war and love some poets sing, And some of fame and glory, But few there are a tribute bring To him whose only story Is written on the sterile soil With hand of honest labor, Whose plow and hoe bespeak a toil More grand than gory sabre.
My muse will sing of such as these, And claim a wreath of laurel, To crown each sturdy Hercules Whose only wish to quarrel, Is with the forest and the field To make them rich and fairer, To make old mother earth to yield Her fruits and flowers e'en rarer.
Let merchants in the busy marts Think farmers are mere cattle, But they who know the farmers' hearts And of his earnest battle With thorns and thistles scattered wide, Like earth's destructive Neros, Well know they are our country's pride— Our Nation's greatest heroes.
The lily-fingered, pale-faced men Who live by "A Profession," Need not despise the farmer, when He makes some slight digression Upon what they call etiquette; For in his heart he's civil; Though rough his hand, his brow asweat, His heart is free from evil.
He toils from early morn till night, Yet he is "Independent;" For Nature's God defends the right, And holds a crown resplendent To place upon His honored child Whose life is heavy laden, But keeps a spirit undefiled To enter into Eden.
* * * * *
Though brown and dusty be his garb From wrestling with the soil, The farmer is God's nobleman, Made so, by honest toil.
THE OLD FARM.
The dear old farm has a sacred charm That extends to farthest bound, Every rock and tree is dear to me, And hallowed seems the ground.
Its beautiful stream whose waters gleam As they dance on to the sea, Sings sweeter song, as it moves along, Than other waters to me.
No leaves are so green, as those that screen The revered old farm-house doors, From the burning sun of torrid June When his fiercest rays he pours.
Each grove and field doth a mem'ry yield Of dear childhood's blissful hours, And in accents clear, voices I hear That have now augmented powers.
My father's care and my mother's prayer Are now ended here on earth, But as time rolls on, since they have gone, I shall understand their worth.
There's a sacred charm in the dear old farm, For loved ones have trod its soil, And much I now see, appears to me As fruit of their faithful toil.
MAPLE AT MY FATHER'S DOOR.
On velvet green of grassy floor, 'Neath maple at my father's door My couch at eve has been; There gazing on the tranquil sky, With all its astral brilliancy, My spirit sang within.
Then far away beyond the blue, On Fancy's wings my vision flew And scanned the realms of space; Then like a dove far from her nest, Returned to find a perfect rest Within its dwelling place.
OCEANUS' MIRROR, TRINITY LAKE, N. Y.
[See Note on "Fidelity."]
I've been charmed by many a picture, That has brought its master renown; I have looked on beautiful valleys From the mountain's lofty crown; I have gazed on the sky at evening, When the heavens were all aglow, But they fail to charm me so fully As this scene in the waters below.
Fair Trinity lay in her beauty, Not a ripple was on her breast, Her borders of hemlocks and mosses With beautiful flowers were dressed; Clear as the air on her bosom Were her waters so pure and deep, They seemed like the magical mirror That Flora and Nereus keep.
Where the rocks and trees bend over The marge of her western shore, The boat glided slowly onward Without the aid of the oar; When glancing the eye at the shadows Reflected from shore near at hand, There appeared a bright panorama, Most charming—exquisitely grand.
Down, down, far down in the waters, And touching the brink of the lake, Was a picture no master painter With pencil or brush could make; Gray rocks, green trees, and bright flowers, Inverted and magnified, too, Seemed perfect in all but proportion And their upturned chimerical view.
It seemed like a fairy enchantment Inviting to feasts down below, Where grottoes and caverns of beauty Illumine the flowers that grow To charm the nymphs of the water, And beguile all the sylvan elves To the table of old Oceanus, Where guests ever help themselves.
Some spirit seemed calling me sweetly, Inviting me then to partake Of the fanciful pleasures reflected Far down in the clear, placid lake. O, beautiful scene of reflection! So perfect, so grand, and so pure, In my mind that mirror enchantment To the end of my days must endure.
The flowers all wash their faces fair With the dews of the smiling morn, Then turn to greet the god of the air As his light in the east is born.
They call th' breeze from th' slumb'ring west And a censer place in his hand, Then mingle perfumes, choicest, best, To waft o'er the festive land.
The flower of th' heart may lave in deeds That refresh the worthy poor, And th' soul's perfume is that which feeds The hungry, weak, and sore.
* * * * *
That spring unfolds to pleasure's eye; There's wisdom in the falling drop That had its birth in yonder sky. The breeze that fans the fevered brow, Or gives new vigor to frail man, Is but the breath of the Divine Sent to fulfill benignant plan.
When Aurora springs from her couch of clouds And opens the gate of a perfect day, And her brother Sol in his daily rounds Advances his steeds toward Polaris' ray, Then the vernal bloom and the warbling bird That follow his track as he speeds along, Send their fragrance pure on the morning air, And fill leafy groves with ecstatic song.
Oceanus lends invisible bowls, Well filled with vapors that rise from his breast, Eurus is summoned to waft them afar And scatter abroad in the distant west, Where Sol with his brush and an artist's touch, Paints on the sky all the glories of heaven, In colors more bright and blendings more true, Than ever on canvas by mortal was given.
One sunset scene in Hesperian sky, When the courts of heaven are all ablaze With the glorious tints and pageantry That to mortal mind so clearly portrays The mighty power of omnipotent hand, And the tender touch of a boundless love, Is an omen true—infallible proof Of a Deity who presides above.
When musical chords are tensioned To sentiments they should express, And touched by a master artist Whose deft hand gives the proper stress, The effect is so ecstatic When vibrations fall on the ear, The soul stands in silent rapture, And our being expands to hear.
At skillful touch of the master A creation of joy is given, That lends to the spirit pinions To waft it away toward heaven, While it sings to the same measure And becomes a part of the song, Enraptured by the magic power Which carries it gently along.
O the magic power of tension When a master hand has control! It wins the heart's approbation And augments the receptive soul; 'Tis a rapture born in heaven To entrance our expectant ears, 'Tis angelic diapason Such as harmonized once the spheres.
We each have an organ, tensioned With a thousand strings and their keys, All made by a Master builder Who permits us ourselves to please; Its wonderful combinations Far surpass all the works of art, 'Tis the master-piece of creation— The versatile, strange, human heart.
We have sole choice of the music That shall sound on the tensioned strings; We may choose if sad or joyous Shall be the final note it sings; Though fate may fling fiercest chaos, Its Maker reserved to us powers That we need not ever surrender, For the strength to possess is ours.
Let my tongue sing songs of rapture And my heart-strings sweetly respond, Till the notes shall pass earth's border And reach the bright portals beyond; And when in the great hereafter The tension shall be much increased, My joys will be there augmented To know that earth's songs have not ceased.
* * * * *
I often long for some quiet nook Away from the noise and strife Which come from the steady daily round That absorbs my busy life; Away in some shadowy forest Whose silence is supreme, Save the song of feathered minstrel And the murmur of a stream; Far away among the dark shadows That form Fauna's trysting-bowers,— But the time of this total seclusion Should ne'er exceed six hours.
When wearisome task is finished And flesh with fatigue is oppressed, When muscles are tired and languid And sinews are sorely distressed, No balm can renew their vigor Like that boon from heaven called rest.
We know not its composition, Nor can we expound all its laws, We grant the effect is pleasant Tho' we cannot explain the cause; We therefore accept the blessing And bid curiosity pause.
Foremost in its rank of agents Is a heavenly maid called Sleep, Who stands in unbroken silence, And ever her watch will keep O'er mortals whose labors and trials Seem heavy, oppressive, and deep.
Sometimes when sorrows are deepest This maiden refuses relief; She's no balm for the broken-hearted, No cure for a head bowed with grief, No soothing touch for the anguish That robs like a heartless thief.
She flies from deep woe and sorrow And recedes from the blinding tear; Yet hastes to fatigue and trials And offers to them smiles of cheer Such as turn to joy and gladness, Murky doubt and foreboding fear.
When death shall release the spirit From its prison-house of vile clay, It will speed to an elysian Of a cloudless, unending day, Where with others of its kindred, It will find a rest for aye.
* * * * *
Well filled with murky ink, When in my solitary den I sit for hours to think, And trace my thoughts in liquid flow Upon some virgin page, That in the future it may show What thoughts my mind engage.
Success knows no diminution, For failure hovers so near, That with trace of slight dilution, Success must cease to appear.
We look in vain for a substitute To take the place of success; A proxy saps its vital cords, It dies of paralysis.
Nothing can take the place of success, Its measure must be complete, If slightest imperfection is found It suffers a deadly defeat.
The marge that divides sturdy success From failure grim and gaunt, Is invisible space, but separates Abundance from woe and want.
Like pack of wolves on army's trail, Fell failure lives on distress, Devouring with greed th' foul refuse That falls from th' hands of success.
Success and failure closely abide— Success has a palace fine, While failure dwells in a dreary hut, Like a herding place for swine.
Success may not always achieve The object it has in view, But lives while its motives and acts Are earnest, noble, and true.
True failure can only be found In a being devoid of heart, Whose efforts and deeds are all dead, Or act but a sluggard's part.
Success has a heart that can sing, A hand and a spirit to try, A word that is fraught with good cheer, A soul that illumines the eye.
Failure is cheerless, sullen, and glum, His hand hanging idly by, His voice is an echo of woe, His face distorted, awry.
This world was made of fragments Each separate from the other, Yet in such close relation As to indicate a brother.
Each atom of the universe Has in itself attraction, That finds response so much allied To voluntary action,
That one might quickly recognize A power, supreme, benign, That emanates from master hand With forces so divine,
That every touch which nature gives To matter or to mind, Must indicate creative power Superior to mankind.
What scientist can ever tell The mainspring of all action, If all his reasons fail so prove Molecular attraction?
It has its source from out the space, Beyond the astral heaven; It had a purpose to perform, Or it had not been given.
We may not know its secret laws Or understand its source, But faith has taught us to be wise And recognize its force.
Of all the teeming millions now Upon this mundane sphere, Not one can give a reason For his living presence here.
'Tis strange, and yet we know 'tis true, We constantly are dying, All things are old, nothing is new, And life with death is vying.
We know not when this all will cease, We cannot understand Why matter never may increase, Or seas become dry land.
Enough we know to serve the end For which we were designed, God never yet was known to send The blind to lead the blind.
If we but act an honest part, And use the powers given, When from this earth we shall depart, We may be wise in heaven.
A BEACON LIGHT.
Adown the vistas of the past I cast my memory's eye, And see bright scenes receding fast,— Some hopes in ruins lie; Yet still there shines a beacon light Whose ray on me descends, And shows in its effulgency A circle of true friends.
The magic charm this circle yields Is richer far to me, Than cattle in a thousand fields Or gems from the deep sea; It whispers softly in my ears And cheers me on my way, Gives faith for doubt and murky fears, And comfort for dismay.
Earthly scenes are worth preserving, Bitter though they sometimes be; Who would wish to sink in Lethe All the fruits of Memory? None could dare offend his Maker By a wish so rash and vain; For by this kind boon from Heaven Life is all lived o'er again.
In the silent hour of twilight, Thoughts of by-gone days will come, Stealing o'er our better feelings, Bringing back our early home; All the soothing words of friendship Spoken by a tongue now still, Touch the fountains near our heart-strings, And our eyes with moisture fill.
Tender, oh, how sweetly tender, Are the musings of an hour, When the mellowing scenes around us Give to Memory magic power; Thought recalls those scenes long parted, Life epitomized appears, Moments then reflect a lifetime Reaching back through many years.
Oh, how blessed are those moments! Present scenes can never fire Such a rapture in our bosom As fond Memory can inspire; Naught on earth can e'er be spoken To attract the living ear, Like the words of the departed Uttered when among us here.
Time and Death have made them sacred, Memory calls them oft to mind, And her choicest, dearest treasures, She for them has oft entwined; This is but a simple homage, Richly paying him who kneels; He who's prompted by such feelings, For his fellow being feels.
Dark must be that soul enshrouded, Which Oblivion would prefer To the soothing power of Memory And the influence shed by her: Life itself is not worth having If deprived of such a bliss, Earth has not another treasure That we may compare with this.
Let quiet people talk of peace— Contentment of the mind, But he who lives at perfect ease Can never bless mankind.
If each no higher end should seek Than that which now he fills, But be content, subdued, and meek, 'Twould bring a thousand ills.