Edwardian and Georgian Canadian Poets
Along the Way with Pen and Paper
16th Sep 2013Posted in: Edwardian and Georgian Canadian Poets 0

[5 blank pages]

ALONG THE WAY
WITH PEN AND PENCIL
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[unnumbered page, includes illustration: A BIT OF OLD COBOURG]

ALONG THE WAY
WITH PEN AND PENCIL

BY
CARRIE MUNSON HOOPLE

THE GRAFTON PRESS
NEW YORK                                MCMIX
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Copyright 1909 by
THE GRAFTON PRESS
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TO
MY CHILDREN
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CONTENTS

ALONG THE WAY

PAGE

     A Common Dish

3

     No Respects

5

     At the Feast

7

     My Girl

8

     The Notice Column

9

     The Old Cradle

11

     The World Owes Me a Living

14

     Cherry Stones

17

     A Whole Soul

18

     Do You Know Her?

20

     The Baby’s Name

21

     Spring

22

     The Weeds of Cobourg

24

     The Canadian Voyageurs

25

     The Old Kirk

26

     A Photograph

27

     The Old Corner Cupboard

28

     Across the Way

29

     My Window Box

31

     An Attic Treasure

32

     The Post Box

34

     Mystery

35

     A Ship a Sailing

37

     The Time to Hold Your Tongue

38

     Our Fellow Man

39

     A Name

40

[unnumbered page]
     Old Songs

41

     In Ten Minutes

42

     At Camp

43

     The Corduroy Road

44

     A Bequest

45

     Belated

46

     The Captain

47

     Little Ships

48

     The Manitoba Farmer

49

     At Danville

50

     Wings

51

     The Deserted Farm

53

     Napoleon

54

     A Portrait

55

     Canterbury

56

     The Mill

58

     Olde Plymouth Towne

60

     Flatbush Gardens

63

     Fort Marion Gate

64

     Robert L. Stevenson at Baker Cottage

66

     The Lights of Saranac

68

     The Roofs of Sarnac

69

     Beyond

70

     Pre Existence

73

     Perfection

74

     The Half Way House

75

     A Journey

76

     A Bunch of Flowers

77

     This World and That

78

[page vi]
     Why

79

     Riches

80

     Some New thing

81

     Music

83

     You and Death

84

     Not Where to Lay His Head

85

     My Friend

86

     A Heavenly Touch

87

     The Wireless Word

88

     The World is Small

89

     A Song of Now

90

     Waves

91

     To an Egyptian Mummy

93

     Poor Jones

95

     The Window of Self

96

     The Key

97

     The Confessional

98

     Adrift

99

     Time Evens All

100

     Egypt

101

     Translation of the Lorelei

102

     Her Daily Bread

103

NATURE NOTES
     Alone

107

     The Realist

108

     My Window Pane

109

     English Violets

111

     To a Dandelion

112

[page vii]
     Clover Blossoms

113

     A Handful of Leaves

114

     A Bird Call

116

     A Dual Tongue

117

     A Valley

118

     Strength

119

     The Landlord

120

     A Lullaby

121

     Missisquoi in June

122

     A Message

123

     Twilight

124

     A Dimple

125

     Power

126

     The Nereid’s Dance

127

     The Maid of the Mist

129

     The Old Log Hut

130

     Light and Shade

132

     An Old New Hampshire Inn

133

     The Storm Signal

135

     S’conset

136

     A Fancy of Mine

137

     The Path through the Wood

138

     Flower Gossip

139

     The Dusk

141

     A Summer Night

142

     A Meadow

144

     Over Seas

146

     Reminiscence

147

[page viii]
MY FOREST QUEEN
     My Forest Queen

151

THE CHILDREN’S BOOK
     The Hole in the Fence

173

     Grimm and Gruff

175

     The Straight Line

178

     Follow Cat

179

     The Bold Rat

181

     Shinny

182

     The Cash Girl

183

     Whip Behind

185

     Don’t Touch

186

     Poor Little Thing

188

     Chicks

190

     Common Things

191

     A Picture

193

     Billy

194

     Three Gifts

195

     The Night After Christmas

198

     Three Years Old

199

     The Extra Handed Crab and Other Strange Things

200

     Pussy’s Fate

203

     The Country of Look-into-Things

204

     A Little Fly

206

     Nell and Lou

208

     Little Girls

211

     A Little Man

212

     A Little Lady

213

[page ix]

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FOREWORD

 

I CANNOT sing of written things,
   Mine is not knowledge conned from books;
How is it the bird of the meadow sings?
   What is the music we hear in brooks?

There is a gift that is given to man,
   Given to him who looks and hears.
He must forth tell it as well as he can,
   Just as of old did the ancient seers.

So in small measure, whatever I find,
   Secret of nature unfolded to me.
Treasure of happiness, visions of mind,
   Humbly I offer them all up to thee. [unnumbered page] 

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ALONG THE WAY

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A COMMON DISH.

‘TIS of a very common dish,
   A well known one, I’d sing,
The same unto the pauper
   As it is unto the king;
Known throughout the ages,
   Since first the world began,
Food for modern people,
   And for pre-historic man.
I fancy at creation,
   That the pot was set to boil,
Ever-giving, ever filling,
   Like the widow’s cruse of oil.
The elements within it,
   Are made up, I opine,
Of a nature part Satanic
   And a nature part Divine.
Stirred by Fate, or Chance, or Fortune,
   Or whatever we may call
That unknown mysterious power
   Which doth ladle it to all.
For a share of it is given
   At the moment of his birth,
Spiced with hereditary flavoring
   To each soul upon the earth. [page 3]
But alas!  Sometimes the atoms
   Not being mixed so very fine,
Some get more of the Satanic
   Than they get of the Divine.
‘Tis called “Human Nature,”
   The dish of which I sing,
The same unto the pauper
   As it is unto the king. [page 4]

 

“NO RESPECTS.”

SHE was the little serving maid
   And he the grocer’s man,
I really couldn’t tell you
   Just how it all began.

It wasn’t for her beauty
   That he loved her, I am sure
For I never saw a maiden
   Quite as plain as Ann McClure.

Nor it wasn’t for her neatness
   Nor her brilliant shining tins,
For that maid’s untidy habits
   Were among her greatest sins.

Nor it wasn’t for her smartness
   For she was as slow as time
If we ordered lunch for twelve,
   We were called as two would chime.

She was, to word it mildly,
   Just a bundle of defects,
But you know as Shakespeare puts it,
   “Love knows no respects.” [page 5]

I often used to wonder,
   What in Ann he saw to like;
But I wondered still more often
   What on earth she saw in Mike.

Of all the homely Jehus
   That drive a butcher’s cart,
The homeliest was Mike Gilroy,
   Who won our Annie’s heart.

His hair stood up in bristles,
   One eye looked up, one down,
His complexion like the roadway,
   On a muddy day downtown.

And he had a sort of general
   Melancholy air
That gave him the most horrible
   Expression of despair.

But the men that women marry
   Are not what one expects,
For you know, as Shakespeare puts it,
   “Love knows no respects.” [page 6]

 

AT THE FEAST.

THE guests are come, the feast is spread,
   Gay revelry doth claim the hour;
Soft lights around their lustre shed
   And music wields its magic power.
But seemeth it at second glace
   The merriment appeareath forced,
Though loudly rings the laugh perchance
   And brightest are the strains discoursed.
Who is the chosen guest tonight—
   The one for whom the feast is made?
Behold him there so rich bedight!
   What deference to him is paid!
Behold him in the honored place!
   But, do you mark how still he sits?
No muscle changes in his face,
   No answering smile across it flits
How fixed his eye!  He wears a mask?
   Earth’s revelry for him hath ceased.
You know him now, no need to ask
   “The Death’s Head at the Feast.”
An ancient Scythian custom this,
   Unknown to us, that way at least;
Though still we entertain, I wis,	
   Our death’s heads at the feast. [page 7]

MY GIRL.

STATELY as a Calla Lily,
   Sweet as any Rose,
Fresh as is a Daffodilly,
   In the Spring that blows.
      That is she.
Would you know her?
   Would you see her?
Would you touch her hand?
   Would you in her presence
Like a sun-kissed rose expand?
   Then among the highways
And the byways you must wind
   That, surely lead unto her
Enthroned in my mind.
   And all the time I think of her
I cannot help but feel
   That another maid will catch me
Not a bit like my ideal.
   For I’m poor and she has money,
And I can’t afford to wait.
   But I wonder if we’ll meet
When perchance ‘twill be too late. [page 8]

 

THE NOTICE COLUMN.

“BIRTHS” and “Marriages,”
   “Deaths” and “Amusements”—
So read the lines from day to day,
   But who shall decipher
The lines of living	
   That all unnoticed between them play?
There was Jim:  he was born
   Like every other
An heir to a portion of God’s fair earth,
   Knocked about and beaten,
Starved and abused,
   Almost from the day of his birth.
‘Tis a wonder he lived.
   But he did
And thrived, and married too.
   He was sent to gaol,
And staid for a week.
   They said he stole, but it wasn’t true.
In gaol for a week!
   Amid the essence
Of crime and sin from all the land,
   He went in pure,
But he came out versed
   In many a craft of that hardened band. [page 9]
He tried to get work—
   Just enough to buy bread
To keep the breath in himself and wife,
   But work is scanty for such as he;
“Gaol-bird” followed him all through life.
   Were it any wonder
He’d put in practise
   What he’d learned in gaol (how to snatch a purse)?
Driven by man’s
   Self-righteous justice
To do that, aye, and a great deal worse!
   Just to be born!
Perhaps to be married!
   To be amused, and then to die.
But who shall decipher
   The lines in column
That all unnoticed between them lie? [page 10]

 

THE OLD CRADLE.

THERE’S nothing grand about it,
   Just plain, old solid, oak.
But it has a sort of elegance
   That somehow makes me choke.

No muslin frills nor fancies,
   Nor fripperies of lace
Such as Hiram’s wife has dangling
   Above her baby’s face.

But ‘tis decked and ornamented
   Plenty good enough for me.
For around it like a trimming
   Hangs a fringe of memory.

And I can’t help thinking
   As I see it idling there,
Of the busy days it used to have
   Its resting spells were rare.

For there were a good many of us
   Rocked in it all told,
Lil, and Sue, and Benny,
   Our soldier brave and bold. [page 11]

Bess, our blue-eyed beauty,
   Then, forsooth, came I.
And if I were as restless as I am now,
   I needed many a lullaby.

One day I remember
   When the cradle stood quite still.
In it like waxen doll
   Lay little baby Bill.

I poked him with my finger,
   And asked them “If he slept.”
Mother moaned, “He’s gone to heaven.”
   Then I asked her why she wept.

For I said, “You always told us
   Heaven was a lovely place.”
She smiled a sort of dreary smile
   And tried to dry her face.

And I could not help thinking
   Young as I was then,
That folks tell tales to little boys,
   They might not tell to men.

Another time I think of,
   When the last babe came along,
Mother sent me in to rock it,
   And soothe it with a song. [page 12]

I had set my heart on fishing,
   My “Chum” was at the door,
And my too eager efforts,
   Rocked the baby on the floor.

Oh dear!  The tender memories
   About that oaken thing!
All the sweet, wild dreams of childhood,
   Drawn about it like a string

Of pearls, that broke and scattered
   When the world’s enlightening beams
Showed me knowledge for my visions,
   Gave me facts instead of dreams. [page 13]

 

THE WORLD OWES ME A LIVING.

THE world owes me a living,”
   The poor man said.
“It owes me at least
   My daily bread.
And I would not object
   To some butter too,
Why should the many
   Have less than the few?”
The demagogue smiled
   As he heard him speak,
And started a strike
   That very week.
For the demagogue
   Lives on the poor man’s gains,
While the poor man’s family
   Starves for his pains.
And the wise old world
   Jogs round the sun
Paying attention
   To neither one.
Doing the work
   It is meant to do.
But there’s something wrong somewhere
   I think, don’t you? [page 14]

“The world owes me a living,”
   The rich man said.
“It owes me more
   Than my daily bread.
It owes me of life
   “The sugar and spice,”
And, as the rhyme says,
   “All things nice.”
For why should any
   Have more than I?
To beat them all
   I’m going to try.”
The demagogue smiled
   As he heard him speak
And when on with the strike
   He started that week.
While the wise old world
   Jogged round the sun
Paying attention
   To neither one,
Doing the work
   It was meant to do.
But there’s something wrong somewhere,
   I think, don’t you?

Supposing the world
   Should stop and say
“There’s another planet
   That goes my way [page 15]
Has more circumference
   Than I,
To take its place
   I’m going to try.
The universe owes me
   A wider groove
And so on my axis
   I’ll cease to move.”
I wonder what
   Would the universe do?
There’d be something wrong somewhere,
   I think, don’t you? [page 16]

 

CHERRY STONES.

RICH man, poor man, beggar man, thief,
Merchant, tailor, doctor, chief,”
So sang a maiden to tell her fate
Counting the cherry stones on her plate.
“‘Rich man, poor man,’ Ah, no,” she said,
“The man must be rich whom I’m to wed—
Must have his carriage and money a pile,
For love in a cottage is not my style.”
Then she ran away with a young bank clerk,
With six hundred a year, (complexion dark).
So maidens, beware how you scorn your fate
Counting the cherry stones on your plate.
“‘Rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief,
Merchant, tailor, doctor, chief.’” [page 17]

 

A WHOLE SOUL.

HE was a little fellow,
Five feet and an inch or so,
The reason he wasn’t taller
   He used to tell us
Was because he didn’t grow.
   He had acquired a habit,
Which is rather rare, forsooth,
   (At least in these days,
Seems to have grown old-fashioned)
   Of always telling truth.
He hadn’t much to live on,
   The best men seldom do;
But what little that he did have
   (He wasn’t stingy with the Lord)
Was divided up in two.
   We all confided in him,
From the old down to the young;
   And, as you will notice
In such cases, about himself,
   He held his tongue.
The children used to smile at him,
   Halfway down the street,
The very busiest people 
Had time to talk
   When they would meet. [page 18]
And because he was so kindly
   And followed the Golden Rule
They called him just “the least bit soft.”
   I think an angel in our midst
We’d likely dub a “Fool.”
   Well he died, of course, quite young,
(Men always do like him)
   And the world goes on the same;
But whenever his name is mentioned
   Some eye grows dim. [page 19]

 

DO YOU KNOW HER?

DO you know her—the girl I mean?
   She’s pretty as pretty girls go.
A great chatterbox too,
   And so aristocratic, you know.

She never knows anyone “Common,”
   By the way an unusual fate,
Each friend and even acquaintance
   Seems related to somebody great.

She’s travelled around quite a little
   Last season was down at the sea
There met so many “Nice people,”
   Seemed so aristocratic to be.

Mr. Jones was very attentive
   Son of Judge So and So there
And young Mr. Smith, second cousin
   Of Sir Somebody Something, Somewhere.

‘Tis true that her grandpa Goodenough
   Went around with a plumber’s outfit
But then, she’s so aristocratic
   That doesn’t matter a bit. [page 20]

.

THE BABY’S NAME.

THEY christened the baby Margaret,
   Such a grand old English name,
So replete with associations
   Of old historic fame.

And then they called her “Tottie,”
   Well—because she was so small,
And such a dainty little wilful
   Bit of a human ball.

And one whom they call Pussy,
   Will never get Winifrid
Save in her wedding notice
   Or on her coffin lid.

Now why in the name of justice
   And all that’s common sense
Do you give your children names
   That are only a vain pretense?

If you christen the baby Helen
   Call her Helen, and not
Birdie, Petty, Pussy,
   Dolly, Daisy, Dot. [page 21]

 

SPRING.

‘TIS Spring!  and all the air
   A dimmy dustiness holds
That tells of beating carpets,
   Of the fire that smoulds
In back yards;
   Where with lengthy poles
The hired man labors,
   While the mistress scolds.
      Sweet Spring!

Tell me ye winged winds
   That round my pathway roar
Do ye not know some spot
   Where mortals sweep no more?
Some lone and pleasant dell,
   Some valley in the west,
Where free from toil and stain
   The weary man may rest?
The loud wind dwindled to a whisper low
   And sighed for pity as it answered “No.” [page 22]

Tell me thou mighty deep,
   Whose billows round me play,
Knowst thou some favored spot,
   Some island far away,
Where weary man may find
   The house for which he sighs—
Where stove pipe never lives
   And whitewash never flies?
The loud waves rolling in perpetual flow
   Stopped for a while, and sighed to answer, “No.”

And thou, oh cleanest moon,
   That with such lovely face
Dost look upon the earth
   Asleep in night’s embrace—
Tell me, in all thy round
   Hast thou not seen some spot
Where miserable man
   May live, and houseclean not?
Behind a cloud the moon withdrew in woe,
   And a voice, sweet but sad, responded, “No.” [page 23]

 

THE WEEDS OF COBOURG.

THE dusty burdock reigns supreme
   In every path, and lane, and road,
While close beside with noisome mien
   There grows that weed called “Toad.”

And grasses rise not short nor few,
   And other weeds their tribute pay,
So that a lady passing through
   Can hardly pick her way.

Old Cobourg, once a cleanly town
   Before the cow by-law
Is now a prey to thistle-down,
   Such weeds we never saw!

And while we pass the Scot Act through,
   About which all are talking,
Why can’t we have a weed act too?
   We need it for our walking. [page 24]

 

[illustration]

OLD COBOURG

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THE CANADIAN VOYAGEURS.

RIGHT gallantly went they,
   Five hundred strong,
With jest and with laughter,
   With brave, manly song;
Left father and mother,
   Left sweetheart and friend
To succour a brave man
   Brave assistance to lend.
Right gallantly sailed they
   O’er ocean’s wild wave,
But one of their number
   Found ocean his grave.
Right gallantly rowed they
   ‘Tween Nile’s sandy banks
And in Nile’s murky waters
   More joined the death ranks.
Right gallantly went they
   How did they come back?
With numbers diminished
   And death on their track.
But with duty accomplished,
   And courage proved high;
Having shown Mother England,
   For her they could die. [page 25]

 

THE OLD KIRK.

(At Cobourg.)

BOARDED up its windows,
   Taken off its tower,
Naught but graves around it—
   Graves without a flower.

Silent are its preachers
   Darkened are its aisles;
Gone to dust its elders
   In lonely grass-grown files.

Moss-grown are the grave-stones
   Choked with weeds each walk,
Broken are the railings—
   Rusted key and lock.

Still, like a mother watching,
   When is done her long day’s work,
O’er her children’s peaceful slumbers
   Stands the grey and time-worn kirk. [page 26]

 

[illustration]

THE OLD KIRK, COBOURG

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A PHOTOGRAPH.

A PICTURE of my little self,
A tiny, chubby looking elf,
   With dimpled arms and face,
Taken when just a few years old,
An orange in one hand I hold
   With stolid baby grace.
Taken when life was just the day
On which I ope’d my eyes to play
   While strength would last.
There was no future then to me,
I never thought what was to be,
   I had not any past.
Ah, little self who sittest there!
Upon your face a solemn stare,
   Your slippered toes turned in.
If wishing only could come true
I’d wish that I again were you
   Just where life’s path begin. [page 27]

 

THE OLD CORNER CUPBOARD.

AN old corner cupboard
   Stands out in the shed.
Gone is its beauty,
   Its glory has fled.
Old turpentine bottles
   And much damaged delft,
Repose in disgrace
   Side by side on the shelf.
But e’en as I pass
   Doth a vision appear,
For now it is spring
   And the house cleaning’s here.
A little black paint
   Into ebon wood grows,
Brass rod, silk curtains,
   And nobody knows;
The old corner cupboard
   Will end its career
In the studio corner
   A swell chiffonier.
And when all my friends
   Into ecstasies go,
I unblushingly say,	
   “Just the latest, you know.” [page 28]

 

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ACROSS THE WAY.

SHE lived at number seventeen
   And he across the way.
They used to play together
   Throughout the live-long day.

At early morn we’d hear him call
   “Come out, Babette, come out.”
And in a sweet high treble,
   “I’m coming, Jack,” she’d shout.

He dressed in kilts and blouses then,
   She wore pinafores.
Their hopes were centered on such things
   As tops and battledores.

But days go by, their ways diverge,
   No more at morn he calls.
He has taken to wearing cricket belts,
   And she to parasols.

Gone are his kilts and sailor suits,
   All shaven off his curls.
The head of an “Eleven”
   Would scorn to go with girls. [page 29]

But time the changes of us all
   Has oft a subtle plan
Of turning back to baby ways
   The habits of a man.

Again across the way Jack goes
   As in the days of yore.
The little beaux of five years old
   Are wed at twenty-four.

Time moves along and once again
   These two are separated.
He wears heavenly raiment now
   And she to sorrow mated,

In widow’s garb
   Awaits the day
When once again she’ll go to him
   “Across the way.” [page 30]

 

MY WINDOW BOX.

I MADE it all myself you know
   Of odds and ends of wood,
The hammer seemed erratic
   But I did the best I could.
And if I could not hit the nail
   As should be, on the head
I never failed to make a hit—
   I hit my nail instead.
This all took place last summer
   But I never shall forget
That little window garden
   With its fragrant mignonette.
True, there was blue Lobelia
   And crimson, blushing Phlox,
And dainty pink gypsophela
   All in that window box.
And though it grew last summer
   In my mind ‘tis blooming yet
That little window garden
   With its fragrant mignonette. [page 31]

 

AN ATTIC TREASURE.

‘Mid the treasures of an attic
   Broken things and new
Things that once have had their day
   And things that wouldn’t do.

Here an army of half-worn boots
   Saved up for the poor.
There a limp old darky doll
   That someone loved, I’m sure.

Camping-out utensils
   Put by until the spring.
Trunks with broken hinges
   And many another thing.

That the careful housewife treasures,
   Thinking ‘twere a sin
To throw away what some day
   “Might just happen to come in.”

Stands a small velocipede
   As whole as when ‘twas new,
Perfect is the saddle
   And the wheels are sound and true. [page 32]

But the children when they’re playing
   Never take it from its place;
It is sacred to the memory
   Of a little missing face.

And the mother when she’s searching
   Perchance for something near
Lets fall upon the senseless thing
   A mother’s saddened tear. [page 33]

 

THE POST BOX.

TIP, tap, there goes the lap,
   Another letter, I’ll just peep in.
I take, and I take, but I never give back,
   Tick, tack, tickety, tack.
This from a lady, I know the style,
   Dainty perfume and the daintiest paper
Would it be wrong the time to beguile?
   “Thanks for the fan, just awfully sweet
I’ll thank you better when next we meet,”
   Tick, tack, tickety, tack.
I take, and I take, but I never give back.
   This I see is another kind,
A wedding card in the latest fashion,
   And right on top in their sombre dress
Two black-edged envelopes closely press.
   And the baby card in its tiny case
Pushes its way to find a place,
   Thus you see I’m a world in myself,
Joy and surprise, love and pleasure,
   Grief and despair, and life and death,
All mixed up in common measure.
   Tick, tack, tickety, tack,
I take, and I take, but I never give back. [page 34]

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MYSTERY.

I CAN see it once more, the old sun dial
Whitened and loosely set
Around whose base on a grassy slope
   We children often met.

To blow the puffs of the dandelions
   To tell the time of day;
And never knew that the old sun dial
   Could have shown us another way.

Until I heard some one grown up
   To a childish question tell
That that quaint old wooden pillar
   “Could tell the time quite well.”

Then I looked at it and I watched it
   Till my wonder grew to awe.
Till instead of that old sun dial
   A mysterious thing I saw.

How could it, (a pillar of wood,
   With never a hand to mark the hour
And never a key to wind it up)
   Have such a wondrous power? [page 35]

But now I, too, am quite grown up
   The mystery’s cleared away,
I see how it was the old sun dial
   Could point out the time of day.

Yet life hath still its mysteries
   That with wonder fill my heart;
But I hope to grow once more to an age
   Where mystery hath no part. [page 36]

 

A SHIP A SAILING.

(Song)

“I SAW a ship a sailing,
   A sailing on the sea,”
How could I tell it was the ship
   That might come in for me?

“I saw a ship a sailing,
   A sailing on the sea;”
How could I tell it was my ship,
   My golden Argosy.

“I saw a ship a sailing,
   A sailing on the sea;”
How could I tell it was the ship
   That held my destiny?

I saw her pass the harbor
   And vanish from the land,
And did not make a signal
   Nor even raise my hand.

I saw a ship a sailing,
   A sailing on the sea;
How could I know it was the ship
   That might come in for me? [page 37]

 

THE TIME TO HOLD YOUR TONGUE.

WHEN your friend relates a story
   That he’s told you o’er and o’er,
Turning first to coolly ask you
   “If you’ve heard it e’er before.”
Though your provocation’s dreadful,
   And you’re bored almost to death
That’s the time, oh, tired brother!
   That’s the time, to hold your breath.

When the girl you hate so dearly
   Proudly tells you she’s engaged
To the man you used to flirt with
   And thinks that you’re enraged.
Don’t tell her that one small “No”
   You said, her fate has hung;
But remember, worthy sister
   That’s the time to hold your tongue.

In fact, on most occasions,
   When you think you’d like to speak
It is sure to be much wiser
   Not to even give a squeak.
For that bad “Unruly member”
   Is very lightly hung.
And the wisest thing you ever did
   Was that time you held your tongue. [page 38]

 

OUR FELLOW MAN.

WHO is he, this mysterious person
   Before whose mandate all must bend?
This omnipresent, calm, all-seeing judge of us,
   Now foe, now friend?

It isn’t Smith, our next door neighbor,
   We would not give a rap for him,
Nor his opinions on a subject,
   His principles are very dim.

It isn’t Jones across the corner
   We care no more for him than Smith;
But some way Smith and Jones together
   May constitute this potent myth.

Who holds a power more great than Juno,
   Whose sceptre rules o’er land and sea,
And from whose judgment, cool, unerring,
   There’s no reprieve for you nor me.

He goads the lagging steps of genius,
   He deals award of praise and blame,
And for his crown of commendation,
   “The great, the fair, the good” all aim.

Who is he, this mysterious person?
   Who rules from Beersheba to Dan,
Before whom all creation trembles
   This composite—Our Fellow Man. [page 39]

 

A NAME.

FAR greater he who carves
   Through poverty and toil himself a name
Than he, who swims between the sunny banks of ease,
   Unto the golden shores of fame. [page 40]

 

OLD SONGS.

I CANNOT sing the old songs now
   I sang long years ago.
For some are lost, and some are gone
   And some I do not know. [page 41]

 

IN TEN MINUTES.

YOU ask me to write
   In not ten minutes quite
A perfect piece of rhyme, Sir,
   And if I do, no thanks to you
And no thanks to time, Sir.
   If mine’s the worst
With my emotions I’ll burst
   Before me I‘ll be seen to cry, Sir,
But if mine’s the best
   Why, then let it rest
‘Twon’t be that I’m any the wiser. [page 42]

AT CAMP.

ANOTHER year and here again
   We idle as we did of yore,
We turn the night to day and then
   Late on into the morning snore.
No thought have we of care or pain,
   Too lazy e’en to make a fuss
When all the cold, relentless rain
   Comes through the hut and dampens us. [page 43]

 

THE CORDUROY ROAD.

HALF a log, half a log
   Half a log onward
Shaken and out of breath,
   Rode we and wondered.
Ours not to reason why,
   Ours but to clutch and cry
While onward we thundered. [page 44]

 

A BEQUEST.

ONLY a shrunken sunflower
   Withered and lean and tall;
But ah, the tender memories
   To me, those blooms recall!

I watch him woo a maiden,
   I see him raise his hand
To pluck those golden blossoms
   That now all withered stand.

He never plucked the flowers
   His words were all in vain,
He left that maiden’s presence
   Stung by a cruel pain.

Though he was a proud young lover
   And I but a humble bee;
But what was sweet for lovers
   Wasn’t honey for me. [page 45]

 

BELATED.

UP the road and over the hill!
   Trot along quickly Jerry,
There’s much of the road before us still
   And the friends that await us are merry.

Up the road and over the hill!
   The moments drag slowly and tardy,
Though Jerry is patient and jogs with a will
   And strong are his muscles and hardy.

Now we have reached it, over we go
   Ho, for the friends that await us!
Drat on the pitch holes that make us go slow,
   And drat on the roads that belate us! [page 46]

 

THE CAPTAIN.

(Song)

THERE are heroes too, who ne’er go forth to fight
   Never kill their fellow man as heroes do,
But the honour is to him, whether it be wrong or right,
   To the man who at the helm commands the crew.

And if things go wrong, it is he who takes the blame
   Not the man who’s down below or at the gun
For the obloquy’s to him, the disgrace and the shame
   To the man who has command of everyone.

Then if things go right it is he should have the fame,
   The honour, and the praise and fair renown,
For the credit is to him, the reward and the name
   To the man who is the head for everyone. [page 47]

 

LITTLE SHIPS.

(Song)

LITTLE ships that run to port
   When the weather’s stormy,
Find their calm in mother’s arms
   Harbor safe and balmy.

Little ships must drift away
   Out upon life’s ocean,
Fain they’d sail another day
   To that calm devotion.

Little boats must struggle on
   Battered, bruised, and broken,
Till they anchor far away
   In that port unspoken.

There the Harbor Master waits
   And the lights are steady,
While the waters smooth and calm
   Give them welcome ready. [page 48]

[blank page]

 

[unnumbered page; includes illustration]

THE MANITOBA FARMER.

WHERE wide and boundless prairies roll
He turns the soil, as black as coal
Six feet beneath him, mile on mile,
Those uncut diamonds glowing smile.
The earth below no longer sleeps,
It feels the touch, and stirs, and leaps,
Awakening from its centuries’ rest
Like some strong infant, glad, refreshed;
And breaking into gleeful smile
It heaps its treasures pile on pile
Of yellow wealth, a golden store,
That only grows from taking more.
No landlord’s foot upon his neck
His new born manhood’s ardours check.
No old world phantasy of caste
Shall hold him now from out the past.
New spirit, courage, and new soil
Make him a king, the king of toil. [page 49]

 

AT DANVILLE.

THE hills lift up their gentian heads
   Where mellow ‘neath the skies
The fields are ripening for the scythe,
   Where this breezy village lies.

And on the crest of a nearby hill
   The village fathers sleep
Among the fields they loved so well
   “Their silent watch they keep.”

No fret nor toil can reach them now,
   Nor tumult of the mart,
Quiet each hand and calm each brow,
   And still each honest heart.

Not for the sound of a name they strove
   Nor shout of the world’s applause;
But patiently turned their thoughts to the soil,
   And their minds to nature’s laws.

Some went afar in search of fame,
   Of honour, wealth or power;
But this sweet spot of their childhood’s days
   Has welcomed them home once more. [page 50]

 

WINGS.

WITH the speed we used to make those days
   The Railway wasn’t in it.
The Automobile and Aeroplane
   Couldn’t begin to spin it.

We fled in a trice to India
   And lived in a region tropic.
Or transplanted ourselves to Rotten Row
   In a period microscopic.

We aired our silks of the latest style
   With other dames of fashion,
And only came to ourselves again
   When the rocking chair took to crashing.

Into the furniture right behind,
   When we became too rocky
(Of course our horses were spirited
   And sometimes would grow balky).

And then when we grew tired of the “Row”
   We vanished off to France,
And drove in Paris and other towns
   With considerable elegance. [page 51]

We entered the drawing rooms of the great
   With manners chic and easy,
And lolled in our chariot through the Bois
   Or down the Champs Elysees

I was just enough older than she
   To win her admiration,
And she took her cue as quick as a flash
   In every situation.

She was a willing little slave
   To all my errant fancies,
And lent herself with an air of grace
   To our wonderful elegancies.

Now the little sister has travelled far
   In a chariot swifter still,
And I am left to reach vain hands
   O’er that space we cannot fill.

For I, alas, am sorry to say,
   Am neither here nor there!
And I wish I had wings as I had those days
   In that dear old rocking chair. [page 52]

 

THE DESERTED FARM.

QUIET now the portal where once the children played,
   Hushed the merry prattle at the door,
Smokeless the old chimney where erst the fire was laid
   Silent now the footsteps on the floor.
But the house is haunted
   With joys that now are past
Hospitality I never shall forget
   Memories of kindness that, aye, for time must last,
And their sweetness surely lingers yet.

 

[illustration][page 53]

 

NAPOLEON.

UP through the ranks of men he sprung
   Meteor-like, alone.
On his hold will the whole world hung
   While well he filled a throne.

He named his family kings and queens,
   His hand was on the helm.
He did not know what justice means,
   His game was making realm.

To peaks unscaled before by man
   He climbed, and shone, and strayed,
But having no strong grasp on God
   He wavered, flickered, swayed—

Then, like a rocket, black and spent
   He dropped from out the height,
Plumbed the dark depths of discontent
   And sputtered out of sight. [page 54]

[blank page]

 

[unnumbered page; includes illustration]

A PORTRAIT.

SHE sat for us to paint her so
   A member of the class,
With her beautiful auburn hair aglow
   A lithe and graceful lass.

We said we’d make a “scheme” of her,
   With her glorious hair so Titian,
That would make an artist dream of her
   And that manner so patrician.

We said we’d like to have on her
   With that wonderful hair aglow
Her soft kimona, lavender
   On her sloping shoulders so.

The soft, cool tone of that pale green light,
   Was the sheen of the woodbine there,
That rustled without in the summer night
   A background for her hair.

The red of her hair, and the green of the leaves,
   And that old, silk, mauve, Kimona,
Together a picture so queenly weaves
   That we gave her the name Corona. [page 55]

 

CANTERBURY.

THIS cathedral, old and hoary,
   Was the nurse of England’s faith.
Foster-mother of her glory,
   Reared the infant from its birth.

On this lap, so broad, capacious
   Lay the baby safe, and warm,
With her arms so strong and gracious
   Held the suckling safe from harm.

Cradled it, and soothed and scolded;
   Watched its tottering baby feet,
With her mother love enfolded
   Till it ventured out complete.

Through these arches, once so stately,
   Many a history maker trod,
Men who served their nation greatly,
   Served their sovereign and their God.

Great Augustine, godly, wary,
   Paced this spot so hallowed now,
Taught sweet Bertha, missionary,
   How to make her husband bow. [page 56]

 

[unnumbered page; includes illustration]

[blank page]

To the One God, and to love him,
   Baptized him in Christian rite,
Turned his thoughts to things above him,
   From the darkness to the light.

Chaucer, Odo, Anselm, Becket,
   Wandered here so long ago,
And their memories bedeck it
   With a never fading glow. [page 57]

 

THE MILL.

FROM every corner of the earth
   Our people are,
From distant lands that gave them birth
   From near and far.

Slav, Prussian, Hindu, border thief
   Come crowding in,
With Mohawk and Comanche chief
   And such like kin.

Old Sam proceeds to grind them fine
   With every man,
Each one drops in and falls in line
   American.	

The native from far Afric’s sward
   Begins to fade;
He’s part of us now fast and hard,
   Our brother made.

And from that sweet and verdant spot
   Old Erin’s Isle,
The mill wheel almost grows too hot
   And clogs awhile. [page 58]

But who when he is minced the same
   With every man,
Will fonder be of that proud name?
   American.

I’d like to know what we’ll turn out,
   ‘Twixt you and me,
When Sam’s been at it just about
   Another century. [page 59]

 

OLDE PLYMOUTH TOWNE.

WEARY and tired they put me down,
A Pilgrim in Olde Plymouth Towne
The spot I was to see at last
Rich with the relics of the past.
I’d dreamed of it for many a year—
That hallowed place by all held dear,
How leaning ‘gainst that sacred rock
I’d hear the diapason shock
Of waves, break on that rugged shore,
Taking me back two hundred years and more.
(Just here I’ll say I found the rock,
And incidentally the shock)
It lay up on a dusty street
Surrounded by a paling neat,
They locked at night for fear of thieves
(A husky one, that weight, who heaves!)
But then the shore, that rugged coast
Of prose and poetry the boast!
I found it, too, where sluggish waves
Acted for old tin cans as graves,
Refuse from names of ancient worth,
Aldens and Brewsters, and so forth.
They still remain to catch the eye
On sign and placard raised on high, [page 60]

[blank page]

                                       

[illustration]

OLD PLYMOUTH TOWNE

[unnumbered page]

And my sweet hostess, hospitable, gay,
Carried the name of Hathaway.
Of course I realized that time
Had altered things since that old rhyme.
The poet’s eye had pierced the past
And that grand picture, which must last,
Was true, for where the town,
Dips now, so sudden down
To that wide, stretching beach,
In that far day, the waves did reach:
And then a virgin forest stood
Where now is house, and street and road.
In this old lane I pictured there,
Still can I see Priscilla fair.
Tripping along, but not alone,
For near that quaint old wall of stone
John Alden comes to keep the tryst
From other lanes that curve and twist.
A man as trusted in his word
As he was doughty with his sword.
‘Tis true this lane was surely trod
By just those two, but every rod
Was covered then by those great trees
Whose “giant branches” stirred the breeze
(Or words something like that,
I haven’t got it very pat)
The same old spring still runs as clear,
As it did in that fateful year,
“God’s Acre,” now so restful and so still, [page 61]
Once echoed war whoops wild and shrill
Where the sturdy little stockade stood
Sheltering the dear ones from that brood
Of stealthy red men, pouncing down
To curdle the blood of Plymouth Towne,
Ah, it was full of valient men!	
(But I’m glad I saw it now, not then.) [page 62]

[blank page]

 

[unnumbered page; includes illustration]

FLATBUSH GARDENS.

HIDDEN away, like the petals
   That cling to the heart of a rose,
These dear old Flatbush gardens
   In the midst of the city repose.

Its hurrying tumult crowds them,
   And soon the thirst for gold
Will lick them up as the Simoon
   Licks up the streamlet cold.

But now their paths are fragrant
   With garden flowers aglow—
Old fashioned blooms of the country
   In sweet profusion blow.

And when I hear my hostess
   Announcing in accents clear
She “Must go to Brooklyn to market”
   I exclaim “Why, Brooklyn is here.”

“Stealthy, solid, and busy,
   It has crept up to her door,
But so strong is the force of habit
   That she goes “To town” as of yore.

 

[illustration] [page 63]

FORT MARION GATE.

NO Spanish sentry paces now,
   No guard is at the gate,
Where those ruined entrance pillars
   Stand grim and desolate.

The strong portcullis, broken,
   Now keeps no foe at bay
Where old Fort Marion’s rampart
   Stands staunch, and dark, and gray.

The dungeons long have loosed their bars
   And hold no stricken wretch,
No forms within those sodden cells
   In dread and anguish stretch.

But my mind as swift as the sea-gull
   Sweeps back to that long ago,
And pictures of that other day
   Kaleidoscopic show.

What gay Hidalgos enter
   From their galleys off the sea!
What dark browed priests are gathered
   In this little colony! [page 64]

 

[illustration]

FORT MARION GATE

[unnumbered page] [blank page]

 

Did they come to preach the gospel
   To the errant redman’s soul?
Or was it lust for booty
   Chose this garden for their goal?

They builded well and surely,
   On this spot beside the sea,
And their mission bells are calling
   Through four centuries to me. [page 65]

 

[illustration]

ROBERT L. STEVENSON AT BAKER COTTAGE

THE same old lilac guards at the gate
   Where once his footsteps strayed;
The same old chimney stands today
   Where those sweet tales were laid.

The kind old couple linger yet,
   Who catered to his wants;
And with reverence they handle
   The relics of his haunts.

But he has wandered far afield,
   Where wider vistas lure,
And richer gems of thought he strings
   On golden chains more pure.

The river glides below the same—
   The lazy Saranac.
Reflecting gorgeous maples
   And the fragrant tamarack. [page 66]

[blank page]

 

[illustration]

THE BOOKS OF SARNAC

[unnumbered page]

But he will watch its banks no more,
   Unless from higher plane,
Nor weave his fancies on its edge
   With the shuttle of his brain.

The beauteous mountains beckoned him
   To higher range of thought,
Their mystery and color
   His glowing visions brought.

And mind the lord of matter
   Laid the phantom for a time
As he spun his woof of fiction
   And wove his web of rhyme.

 

[illustration] [page 67]

 

THE LIGHTS OF SARNAC.

THEY sparkle in the village,
   They twinkle on the hill,
They dance upon the water
   In the night air, soft and still,
They light the river pathway
   A string of shining gems,
And Lake Flower’s skirts embroider
   Where the town her border hems.
They swing a dancing circlet
   Around Mt. Pisgah’s neck
And up and down, and round about,
   The whole long town bedeck.
They hang like fairy garlands
   Through pine and tamarack
They flash like glowing fireflies
   The Lights of Sarnac.

 

[illustration] [page 68]

[blank page]

 

[illustration]

ROOFS OF SARNAC

[unnumbered page]

THE ROOFS OF SARNAC.

SNUGGLED in the village,
   Sheltered ‘neath the hill,
Toppling on the river
   Go where’ere I will.
Spire, and tower, and turret,
   Picturesque and fair,
Posing to be painted
   Await me everywhere.
Clustered in the valley,
   Alone upon the height,
Glimpses down an alley
   That fill me with delight.
Like some old foreign city,
   Perched among the hills,
What beauty here to study
   Its every roadway fills,
Ahead, behind, and everywhere,
   Way off, and near, and back,
Compose for me unconsciously
   The roofs of Sarnac.

 

[illustration] [page 69]

BEYOND.

I HAVE a longing now and then
   A queer unsanctioned thought,
That I might wander back again
   Down centuries that are not.
That I might thread, in flesh and mind,
   The paths of other days,
And leave this era’s dust behind
   From my adventuring ways.
Not that I hold my own time least,
   “The heir of all the ages”
But that I long like some chained beast
   For freedom, bold, courageous.
To stroll where’er I would through time,
   To dally here or yonder,
To rest in some fame scented clime
   Or through some epoch wander,
Where joust and tournament took place
   And ladies fair awaited
With gracious mien and beaming face
   To crown their lords elated.
I’d like to press the hands of those
   I’ve loved in song and story,
I’d like to watch the armies close
   In battle fierce and gory. [page 70]

As, when on some fair English field
   The early Henrys wrested
In Norman hauberk, bow and shield
   With Saxon knights all crested.
And then to take a peep at France,—
   In all her pomp and splendor,
Before the wild beast, passion, chance,
   Of revolution rent her.
And even then, though slow my way,
   And loath to mix with madness,
I’d like some pitying word to say
   To her, the queen of sadness,
Who bore with dignity and grace
   Her cruel humiliations.
Bereft of all, her throne, her place,
   Deserted by the nations.
And when I thought I’d had enough
   Of other men and ways
Come tramping up the time worn steps
   That lead to our own days.
But here I am like some chained beast
   Tied to a peg of time,	
Condemned to dance until released
   My little runic rhyme,
Around and round the same old peg
   The groove may deeper grow;
But no far reaching circles spread
   That I may know. [page 71]

Allowed to wear the groove so deep
   Around and round, and round,
Or straining at my rope to creep
   An inch on further ground.
Some, who content to gambol loose
   With lax untensioned string,
Will never feel the galling noose
   That checks those wandering.
For some will stretch their rope too much
   And strain toward the vast
Out-lying worlds, whose borders touch
   Ahead, or from the past.
Now I must neither chafe nor fret
   The good Lord tied me here.
His meaning is not shown as yet,
   It has not been made clear.
Each link connects with other link
   To make the chain complete
And I must be content to think
   My little circle meet. [page 72]

 

PRE EXISTENCE.

I KNOW I am, and feel I am to be
   For evermore, and think it strange
There could have been a time
   Without a me.
What does forever more mean?
   If not always?
And always means not just from now,
   Until the then of future days.
Infinite, but from now till then,
   And back, so it doth seem to me,
E’en unto now again.
   And I do feel that I have been before
And in some other form perchance
   Did other spheres explore.
Who’ll tell me whence my soul did spring?
   Or who can tell what sponsors stood
At my soul’s christening? [page 73]

 

PERFECTION.

THERE is a point this side perfection
   Where genius halts,
And carefully steps aside,
   For fear from one false move,
One over touch, she ruin all
   That’s gone before.
Success more often crowneth him
   Who wisely leaves a part undone,
Than him who busily
   Does all too well. [page 74]

 

THE HALF WAY HOUSE.

“A LITTLE while we live,”
   We mortals say
As though out living were a thing
   Of just today.
As though the future wide and vast
   Had nought of life
Nor yet the past.	
   Forgetting this world’s
But a traveller’s inn along the way,
   A stopping place, a half way house
Where we may stay
   Until the plans unfold.
Just holding back
   Until our guide
Disclose the track. [page 75]

 

A JOURNEY.

WE travel by the land
   And we travel by the sea
But there is still a journey
   That is left for you and me.
Out of the gates of custom,
   Beyond the walls of clay,
Past the hedges of environment
   We all must take our way.
On through the mind’s fair regions
   Until we reach the goal,
The wide and glorious country
   Heaven-bounded, of the soul.
Then pushing on within it,
   On beyond the mind,
We smile at times to see how far
   We leave ourselves behind.
Old habits lose their ancient power
   Old hate is turned to love,
The world lies all beneath us
   And only God above.
Till pushing on still further
   We almost think we see
Beyond the merely visible
   Into eternity. [page 76]

 

A BUNCH OF FLOWERS.

LIFE threw me a bunch of flowers one day,
   A bunch of lilies rich and rare;
But it was not lilies I wanted then
   And so I left them lying there.

Again Life threw me from out her store,
   For she hath many both rich and sweet,
But I sighed for only “The Rose, The Rose,”
   And left them lying at my feet.

At last to my joy Life threw it down
   And oh!  to my sight it looked so fair!
But e’en as I stooped at my eager grasp
   The petals falling lay scattered there.

Then turning back I sought again
   The flowers I had carelessly thrust aside;
But not a bloom did I ever find,
   For all neglected they’d withered and died. [page 77]

 

THIS WORLD AND THAT.

THERE is no “This” world and no “That”
   We know that both are one,
And our heaven, if we will it
   Here on earth may be begun.

God works not as we do,
   And sees not in our way,
He can weave into His heaven
   Our common every day.

With its troubles and temptations
   That worry us and vex.
Its sordid cares of living
   That do so sore perplex.

Its routines and common places,
   Each petty mean detail,
The things that we succeed in,
   And the things in which we fail.

He can use them if we let Him
   In His own wondrous way
So as to make of heaven
   Our common every day. [page 78]

 

WHY.

WHY do we strive so hard to hold
   The New, we prize today so much?
When it tomorrow as the Old
   May better prove as such.

Why do we so regret the youth
   We think we’ve left so far behind,
When age is but the door, forsooth
   Through which eternal youth we find? [page 79]

 

RICHES.

I SAW a man grown aged with care
   In counting o’er his treasured gold,
Each stock, and bond, and railway share
   Had only helped to make him old.
And as he reckoned up his wealth,
   Countless it seemed so great a store,
I saw that it with subtle stealth
   Had made him sad and left him poor.
Then I saw a little boy
   Run out into the wayside sand,
And with a shout of happy joy
   He strained it shimmering through his hand,
And gloated over it anew
   As though he’d found a gift untold.
Which was the treasure of the two?
   The wayside dirt, or miser’s gold? [page 80]

 

SOME NEW THING.

COME poet now, and book me
   Some new thing.”
Thus to the poet
   Spoke the unhappy king.	

From our first baby days
   When nothing pleases like a shining shoe,
Through all life’s older, varied ways
   The mind delights in something new.
That which we have always doth tire,
   As words repeated oft their meaning lose,
To what we have not do we all aspire
   So from the beaten tracks we turn to choose
The fresher good, that beckons from afar;
   But often when we hold it near
We find it like some bright star
   That’s fallen, all dull appear.
No longer shining as we thought,
   As we approached its brilliancy withdrew.
But lo!  a marvel has been wrought!
   That which was old is once again the new.
So when this world grows stale and old,
   And nought seems fresh to me and you, [page 81]
We do but leave it and behold!
   Another world all bright and new.
Though I do think the next may be,
   But after all this same old life,
Made fresh and bright eternally,
   Without the pain, without the strife. [page 82]

 

MUSIC.

OUR life is like a harp
   Which we may tune, for well, or ill,
But on which God will play
   And make the music of our days
In His own way.

He will not always strike the notes of gladness
   Each joyous chord of life
Is close beside some minor key,
   Which must be sometimes struck
To well the tune to perfect melody. [page 83]

 

YOU AND DEATH.

DID you ever brush ‘gainst death?
   Feel the breath	
Of the monster on your face?
   Then some grace
Interposed, he withdrew;
   But for you
Ever after life was changed,
   Rearranged.
Side by side with your joys—
   Earthly toys,
Phantom-like and grim
   Knowing him
Still he talks.  You forget?
   Never yet.
Though at times dimly shown,
   Never thrown.
Turn and speak and maybe
   He will answer, ask him why
You must die.
   Turn and wrestle with him now,
Never bow,
   Till he whisper mid the strife—
I am Life! [page 84]

 

NOT WHERE TO LAY HIS HEAD.

THE bird had its place to nest,
   The flower its spot to bloom,
But in all this God created earth
   His Son could find no room.

The little child that slept,
   Was lulled on its mother’s breast,
But the child of the Lord who had given all
   Could find no place to rest.

Human he was, though God,
   Tired by His human care,
But so homeless on this cold earth of ours
   As to envy the beast his lair

Heir though He was to a crown,—
   Son of the Lord and King,
There was no beggar in all the land
   So poor in each earthly thing.

Who was to blame, the Jew?
   Who was to blame, the Greek?
Ye who reject him now reply,
   And ye who refuse him speak. [page 85]

 

MY FRIEND.

To M. H.

I LIKE her not so much for what she is,
   As what she means to be.
For like an open manuscript
   Her spirit is to me.

Not by cold words,
   The awkward chain of speech,
But by the joining hands of thought
   Each answers unto each.

And we hold converse sweetest often
   When our tongues are still.
No distance can divide us!
   No space we cannot fill!

She has her faults, I know them
   She also knoweth mine.
But e’en our very failings,
   Our spirits do entwine.

No aspersions, nor calumny,
   Could have effect on me.
Because, you see, I love her
   For what she means to be. [page 86]

 

A HEAVENLY TOUCH.

WAS it a dream, or was it a fancy?
   Was it some errant thing round in the night?
That breathed on my soul with a soft necromancy
   And filled all my heart with a subtle delight?

It wasn’t a dream, nor it wasn’t a vision,
   That faded and left me at breaking of day,
And I’m sure as I slept that something Elysian
   Had brushed ‘gainst my soul as it sped on its way.

I can’t say how far my spirit had travelled
   To meet and commune with that heavenly guest,
But I know in the morning I wakened and marvelled
   To feel, that my care burdened soul was at rest. [page 87]

 

THE WIRELESS WORD.

A CROSS my soul on vibrant string
   The message of his love is set,
The soul attuned that found me here
   Across the abyss can reach me yet.

Wireless and soundless, true and straight,
   As falcon’s wing that cleaves the air,
The message from the other side
   Vibrates, and keeps me from despair.

With such a mind he could not die,
   The flesh but loosed him, set him free,
And I who follow far behind
   Can feel him turn and beckon me.

There is so much we do not know,
   That little else it matters not—
Why we should live, why we should die,
   Or why we should have been begot.

But this is all I feel I know
   Somewhere, somehow, he waits for me.
Meanwhile the messages he sends
   Find me across that soundless sea. [page 88]

 

THE WORLD IS SMALL.

“THE world is small.”  Our neighbor flees
   To hide in parts unknown,
But when we take a trip that year
   His face next door is shown.

“The world is small.”  We travel far
   To leave our pain behind,
But when we get there, cheek by jowl
   The same old pain we find.

And worlds are small, and when we flee
   And leave this world behind,
My other someone says to me
   The same old world we’ll find.

So what’s the use of rushing off
   These fields so green to see
When the dear, old, arid wastes I know
   Are good enough for me. [page 89]

 

A SONG OF NOW.

ARE there no songs worth singing
   Save those that have been sung?
Are there no tunes worth ringing
   But the tunes already rung?

We sigh for the days that are vanished
   And dream of days to be.
But is all beauty banished
   From the present for you and me?

No, the days that are should be better
   Than the days that were by far
No thought of the past should fetter
   Our joy in the days that are.

For the past has shut forever
   Its adamantine door
And it may be that never
   Shall we traverse the days before.

So I’ll sing my song of the present
   I’ll sing my song of now,
For there is much that is pleasant
   In the days that are, I trow. [page 90]

 

WAVES.

I STOOD by the shore of the lake
   And watched the waves at my feet
Come up to rise and break,
   Go back with a sure retreat.

Some rose with a mightier force,
   Broke in a grander crest,
Left for a while in their course
   A mark higher up than the rest.

But just as surely went back
   Into the infinite deep,
Their foam submerged in the track
   Of the incoming waves in their sweep.

Some that were weak and small
   Went back with the undertow,
Scarce making a song at all,
   Just a soft murmur and low.

Which lingers long in the heart
   With a cadence far more sweet,
Than the noisier, brilliant part
   Of some of the waves at my feet. [page 91]

And I liken the waves of the lake
   Unto the lives of men
On the shores of time that break
   And then go back again.

Back to the boundless sea,
   The ocean from which they sprang,
Where, methinks, with a fuller melody
   Shall the rest of their song be sung.

 

[illustration] [page 92]

TO AN EGYPTIAN MUMMY.

COLD tenement of clay,
   From which the soul is fled,
Why lingerest yet among us
   Though numbered with the dead?

What mockery of nature,
   What mystic art of man,
Has kept thy poor form shapely
   While countless ages ran?

If thy shrunk eyes could open,
   With power thy voice could swell,
What marvels of antiquity
   Thy parchment tongue could tell.

While we who gaze upon thee
   With consciousness of power,
Would shrink before thy knowledge
   Thy wisdom’s mighty dower.

And how wouldst thou regard us,
   With wonder in thine eyes,
For wonders which we call our own,
   Discoveries which we prize? [page 93]

Or wouldst thou smile upon us
   With pity in thy face
To think that we may never know
   The science of thy race?

And as mid night for ages
   Thy sharpen form did lie
So it may now mid sunshine
   As ages more go by.

While he who brought thee hence,
   From far and ancient lands,
“Dust unto Dust” hath since returned
   With meekly folded hands.

Still this thy lesson teach,
   With this our minds imbue
That what to us seems latest found
   From age has been made new. [page 94]

 

POOR JONES.

“POOR Jones is dead!”
   The words go out from mouth to mouth,
‘Tis all that is or can be said,
   Just those two words in many tones—
“Poor Jones!”  “Poor Jones!”

Perhaps a word or two,—
   ‘Tis always thus when that is old
Which yesterday did seem so new,
   Will mingle now, of what he owns,
Or did, alas!  Poor Jones!

Why do we call him poor?
   Who dreamed at night of phantom griefs,
And wakened but to trials more sure,
   Who looked on death as some sweet, dim,
And restful touch, awaiting him.

It is our little earthly way,
   We mean it well for lack of else;
And we repeat (‘tis hard to look beyond the clay)
   Just those two words in many tones
“Poor Jones!”  “Poor Jones!” [page 95]

 

THE WINDOW OF SELF.

I LOOKED out at life one day,
   Out of the window of self,
And all the world looked hard and gray—
   Hard with the hardness from gold that starts,
And gray with the grayness of lonely hearts.
   I looked out at life one day,
Out of the window of self
   And all the world looked bright and gay—
Gay with the gayness of happy hearts.
   And bright with the brightness
That love imparts.	
   So do we look each day,
Out of the window of self,
   Judging life by our own alway
Whether our hearts
   Be happy or sad,
So will the world
   Seem goodly or bad,
Thought I to myself one day. [page 96]

 

THE KEY.

I HELD a treasure in my heart,
   But, when I wish it to impart
Its riches unto me,
   I found, alas, I had no key.
Then happiness was mine.
   And for awhile I basked in strong sunshine.
Ah, now!  I thought!  I tuned my lyre, I sang,
   But through it all a dullness rang,
Then I despaired and I forgot.
   Till all at once, unasked, unsought,
My treasure emptied at my feet,
   In accents pure, and strong, and sweet,
At last, at last, I’d found the key!
   When Sorrow laid her hand on me. [page 97]

THE CONFESSIONAL.

SHE stayed when all the congregation went.
   When down the lengthy aisles
In long decorous files
   The people gently trod.
While from the organ loft,
   The music sweet, and soft,
Breathed of a forgiving God.
   I did not know her sin,
Nor if, when she were all confessed,
   The priest with absolution blessed,
Or painful penance dealt.
   I only know while in her eyes
Like some poor hare’s before it dies
   Her agony was spent.
She stayed, when all the congregation went. [page 98]

 

ADRIFT.

I AM adrift upon a wide, wide sea.
The pitiless sun beats down on me
By day, and when there comes the night
I see no guiding harbor light.
My anchor gone, my rudder lost
I’m pitched and driven, tempest-tossed,
I hear the distant, grinding boom
Of waves that break in that dark gloom
On dangerous cliff, and treacherous beach
That I am heading fast to reach,
And yet through all that black despair
I feel my Harbor Master’s there. [page 99]

 

TIME EVENS ALL.

THOUSANDS of years ago—
   When Moses over Egypt reigned,
Almost a king, the records show,
   And Pharaoh’s daughter scarce obtained
More faithful love—	
   One day upon a temple stair
As Moses sought the door above,
   A fleeing sailor met him there,
Anguished his face and wild his eye;
   “Oh save me print by thy great power.
Oh save me prince!” but vain the cry
   No might had prince nor king that hour.
The raging people seized their prey
   And trampled him beneath their feet
Until a shapeless mass he lay,
   His fate considered meet.
“What was his sin?”  Ye ask with bated breath.
   It was that then and long years after that,
He merited such awful death,
   Who killed a sacred cat.
Now ton loads of this one time god,
   (Oh, how our gods do fall!)
Are sold for fertilizing sod,
   Time evens all. [page 100]

 

EGYPT.

OH, Egypt!  I could weep for thee,
   Is there no hand to stay thy desecration?
Cradle once for all the world,
   Now foot ball for each nation
That needs a plaything.	
   Shall it be that Cleopatra’s bones
Be hacked about a “Penny Show”?
   Her needle crumble
In a western snow?
   The very gods stooped down
To make thee great.
   And must I see thee now
So desolate?
   I’d rather dream of thee
In all thy proud entirety
   Than see thee scattered
Piece meal round
   Thy relics cumbering
   Barbarous ground. [page 101]

 

TRANSLATION OF THE LORELEI

Heinrich Heine.

I WONDER why such great sadness
   Disturbs me, as I tell
Of this old tale of madness,
   (Like a tolling funeral knell.)

The air is cool and darkling
   And rapidly flows the Rhine,
Where the mountain peaks are sparkling
   In the evening sunshine.

The beautiful maiden queen
   Upon that throne so fair
With wonderful gems is seen,
   As she combs her golden hair.

She combs it with comb of gold,
   And singeth gleefully
With a sweetness that can’t be told
   An enchanting melody.

The sailor in little boats
   Is seized with a wild desire.
He sees not the cliff as he floats,
   His gaze on that glittering spire.

I believe the waves will devour,
   In the end, both sailor and boat;
If he cannot resist the power
   Of the Lorelei, afloat. [page 102]

 

HER DAILY BREAD.

SHE works all day for her daily bread,
   Aye, and most of the night.
And the pittance she earns as her reward
   Isn’t worth the candle light.

Some must struggle, and strive, and pinch,
   They dare not wait nor stop,
On one side starvation and death,
   On the other the grim sweat shop.

And what is her life when its all been told,
   But the grind of a great sweat shop,
Where she earns her pittance as long as she can,
   Then must falter, and faint, and drop. [page 103]

[blank page]

 

NATURE NOTES

[unnumbered page] [blank page]

 

ALONE.

ALONE, to be alone,
   When leaves are blown
In rustling droves athwart the way,
   And grasses bend their heads to say
Some leafy gossip of the wind.
   Some whispered secret of their kind.
Alone?  When chipmunks scold,
   And in their loneliness made bold
Throw villanelles into my face,
   With gay, full-throated, saucy grace.
Alone?  When stooping down to nature’s shell
   I catch the far reverberate swell
Of nature’s mysteries out thrown.
   If this be loneliness, how sweet to be alone!

 

[illustration] [page 107]

THE REALIST.

HE stoops to paint the lines
   Beside the vein that marks a blade of grass—
And misses all the pageants of the sky that pass
   The shifting of the shadows on the hill,
The dancing of the light upon the rill
   He cannot paint.  He sees alone
By some small pool, a tiny stone
   Which he would make so real
That, being boys, we fain would steal.

He cannot reach the setting
   Of the sun behind the pines.
Some shrivelled twig, born by the winds,
   That hangs in limpness from a bough
Will strain his every effort now
   Until he will produce again
A thing of deadness of more pain
   Than was the first to look upon.
Meanwhile another sunset’s gone.

He tears up green things by the roots
   To see how they may grow.
Is only true what we may know?
   And what we touch alone the real?
Are not the hidden things we feel
   Much more reality
Than those we see?
   For things that show, to him who looks
Are but the title words of books. [page 108]

 

MY WINDOW PANE.

A PICTURE lies before me
   Pure are its tints and clear,
Surely the touch of a master
   Has lately lingered here.

Bits of frozen meadows
   Glint ‘neath a frozen moon,
And glimpses of stilly brooklets
   That melt not ‘neath the noon.

Against a sky all sparkling
   As if with diamonds set
Pine-like trees lift up their heads
   In sombre silhouette.

Flowers in starry bas-relief
   Intaglios of gold
Like fabled, fairy dancing grounds
   My dazzled vision hold.

Was it the North Wind’s spirit
   That homesick passing by
Wrought with his chilly fingers
   These beauties for mine eye? [page 109]

Methinks he brought on his palette,
   From regions of endless snow,
Sketches of his native land
   A land we do not know.

And I feel I have taken a journey
   Through parts man hath never seen.
But alas!  Is it only fancy,
   And the North Wind’s mystic sheen? [page 110]

 

ENGLISH VIOLETS.

DEAR little English violets
   How sweet and shy you are!
Hidden away in your green leaves
   Yet I find you out from afar.

You, you purple beauty,
   Decked out like a royal queen,
And you, you little girl fairy
   All in white with a tucker of green

Breathe you never so softly
   You cannot hide from me.
I will track you by your sweetness
   Though never a flower I see.

And though when you are blooming
   Your sweetness fills the air
‘Tis when you’re plucked and fading
   You are sweet beyond compare.

Like friends, who when around us
   Though their virtues all may show,
‘Tis only when they leave us
   Their real worth we know. [page 111]

 

TO A DANDELION.

AH, Dandelion yellow!
   Ah, Dandelion dear!
For me you have no fellow
   In all the flowery sphere.

You do not grow in choice spots,
   Nor flourish under glass;
But smile in common garden plots
   And gild the roadside grass.

I know you are plebeian
   Your life no culture knows,
You are no blossom queen
   Like the lily and the rose.

But then you look so cheerful,
   I can almost hear you sing,
As you come in April tearful
   The first warm tint of spring. [page 112]

 

CLOVER BLOSSOMS.

DOES your life seem full of worry,
   Do its daily cares oppress,
Is your pathway sometimes shadowed
   By some passing bitterness?

Then this lesson e’en from nature
   I would teach you, worried one—
Like the happy little clover
   Turn your face unto the sun.

Does your trouble seem too heavy
   For your weary heart to bear?
Is your pathway wholly shadowed
   By some overhanging care?

Then remember, darkest objects
   ‘Gainst the brightest lights are seen,
And for having known the dark spots
   ‘Twill seem brighter in between.

Life is full of little shadows
   Lying darkly all around,
And of course we needs must see them
   If our eyes are on the ground. [page 113]

 

A HANDFUL OF LEAVES.

THROWING some leaves in a brook one day,—
   A handful of crimson autumn leaves;
And idly watching them float away
   My mind a fanciful vision weaves.

I’ll take each leaf for a human soul
   Thrown down on the busy stream of life
And watch each one to its chosen goal
   Mid the rocky channels with danger rife.

But of all the leaves save the last that fell
   Floated lazily into a sheltered nook,
There to their end content to dwell
   Useless alike to rock or brook.

But the smallest of them all that day,
   The one that fell so far behind,
I watched it float o’er each narrow way
   And through each rocky channel wind.

Till, torn by many a jagged end,
   And cut by many a sharpened stone,
Its way to a mossy bank did wend
   Where at last in peace it laid it down. [page 114]

And in the spring when the snows are gone,
   And the moss springs up with fresher hue,
We will bless the leaf that struggled on
   From whose sweet dust its beauty grew.

We would not chide the leaves in the brook
   That sought their lives in peace to spend,
But nobler far was the leaf that took
   The troublesome way to a useful end. [page 115]

 

A BIRD CALL.

THERE is a bird that calls to me
   Throughout the live-long day,
A plaintive little melody
   That plainly seems to say—
Hark!  Listen!  there is one
   That’s singing now afar—
“You are too late, you are too late,
   You are too late, you are.”
I wonder what bygone event
   In its bird history
Gave cause for such a sad lament,
   That breathes of mystery.
I wonder why through all the day
   It should reiterate—
Hark!  there is one that’s singing now
   “You are too late, too late”
And as it doth chirp unto me
   With sweet bird-like persistence
It wakens up a memory
   That to an echo listens.
Which like the bird doth seem to sing
   That same, sad, plaintive bar,
“You are too late, you are too late,	
   You are too late, you are.” [page 116]

 

[illustration]

 

A DUAL TONGUE.

THE English think they hear it say,
   Near and shrill, and far away,
Far and faint, and near and shrill,—
   “Whip, Poor Will, Whip Poor Will.”

The Frenchman listens at his door
   Hark!  ‘tis singing now once more!
In purest French it seems to be
   “Bois Pourri, Bois Pourri!”

Oh wily bird so politic!
   Thou knowest such a clever trick,
Methinks thou knowest too,
   Of course ‘twould never do

In Canada, to sing thy lay
   In English, while across the way,
The Frenchman listens too.
   As premier thou wouldst do. [page 117]

 

A VALLEY.

A VALLEY where a river flows
   And wild sweet flowers bloom
And every living thing has joy,
   And peace, and room.

Where wide and sunny meadows reach
   All odorous ‘neath the sky,
While folded round in purple rims
   The circling mountains lie.

I saw it all as I passed by
   And carried it away
To lull the fret of city strife,
   And warm the winter’s day. [page 118]

 

STRENGTH.

I SAW the tiny petal of a rose
   Torn by a passing breath of air;
But held by thread invisible
   It hung rotating there.
A storm was brewing.
   In the sky.	
Like leaden chariots
   The clouds rolled by.
Then nature held her breath
   And for a space
Each leaf in terror
   Turned its face.
‘Twas past, fell havoc reigned!
   Upon the ground lay giant trees!
I turned, and still I saw
   That little flower rotating in the breeze. [page 119]

 

THE LANDLORD.

TO own some land, all by thyself!
   To have each tree and stone
Hold thee as overlord
   And for their rental dues
Pay thee with beauty, rest and peace!
   And all the sweet green reaches of the wood
Makes pictures for thine eye,
   And music for thy soul
So that it is a goodly rent
   They pay to thee in toll. [page 120]

 

A LULLABY.

THE waves are lapping on the shore
   In rhythmed cadence, soft and low,
One by one they come and go,
   One by one they ebb and flow.
A lullaby they’re singing
   Unto the setting sun.
And all the peace of eventide,
   And all of nature’s sweet refrain,
Fall back upon my heart again;
   And resting there in sweetest strain
A lullaby keep singing;
   A lullaby to pain. [page 121]

 

MISSISQUOI IN JUNE.

OH!  fair art thou Missisquoi
   In the smiling June time light
When the fields are full of clover
   And daisied armies white.

When shines the little buttercup
   Along the roadside way,
Where happy in their innocence
   The little children play.

And fair art thou, Missisquoi
   When the mystic twilight fills
All the air with dimmest shadows
   Lying soft o’er vale and hills.

Like the stealthy scouts of darkness
   Sent to find the night a place
Where in ambush it may hide it
   ‘Til the sun resumes the chase.

Oh!  fair are thou, Missisquoi
   In the scented month of June,
And my heart to thee in memory
   Will beat a pleasant tune. [page 122]

 

A MESSAGE.

“SOMEWHERE there’s a rest,” I hear it
   When unto my weary mind
Comes the message soft, and gentle,
   In the murmur of the wind.
When every throbbing heart beat
   Jars upon some tensioned string,
And the phantom of the darkness
   Haunteth still awakening.
When the tireless flute of memory
   Pipeth all in minor keys
Dwelling longest on the saddest
   Making mournful melodies.
Even then with whisper gentle,
   In the murmur of the sea,
Or the glimmer of the moonlight,
   Comes this message unto me,
“Somewhere there’s rest.” [page 123]

 

TWILIGHT.

A YELLOW light is in the north,
   A light that glows to red,
A paler moon through broken clouds
   Shines faintly overhead.
The birds from out the neighboring trees
   Their good night message call,
Upon my heart the benison
   Of twilight peace doth fall.
And as I drink the beauty in
   A wish comes unto me
That as the closing of this day
   May my life’s closing be.
A mellow glow within my heart,
   The glow of love for all
The shining of my little light
   E’en though through clouds it fall. [page 124]

 

A DIMPLE.

A DIMPLE on a woman’s face should be
   Like sunshine on a rose,
Which with every passing breath
   Gently trembles, fades and goes. [page 125]

 

POWER.

ROAR on proud ocean!
   Dash thyself against thy crags,
Bellow forth thy fierce emotion,
   Tear thyself in foaming rags!
Mighty thou art, and grand,
   But a Mightier than thou there is
Who holds thee as in the hollow of His hand. [page 126]

 

THE NEREID’S DANCE.

(Amphitrite singing)

(Song.)

COME my maidens, come ye Nereids,
   Hasten when I call!
Now we’ll step a merry movement,
   Trip it one and all.

Sea-weed wreathings be your garlands,
   Sea-foam drops your gems,
For the brows of Doris’ daughters
   Fitting diadems.

Come, ye dainty, dallying creatures!
   Haste ye lithesome maids!
(Not the sunbeams dancing
   Lighter fleck Aegean glades)

Unto Nature’s tuneful music
   Shall we dance today
Hark!  the waves are beating time
   Let Aeolus play! [page 127]

 

(They dance.)

Heigh-ho, merry, heigh-ho!
   Now we’re ready, off we go!
Who shall stop a Nereid’s pleasure
   When the hour is ripe?
All together, keep the measure
   While the winds do pipe!
Heigh-ho, merry, heigh-ho!
   Naught shall stay us,
Waves obey us,	
   The Present is all ours,
And we lay upon the Future
   Hands that rob her of her stores.
Heigh-ho, merry, heigh-ho!

Now the Sun has sought his pillow
   The sleepy waves beat low.
And the tired zephyrs
   Sighing, cease to blow.

Come ye dainty, dallying creatures,
   Hasten back with me
Ere the shadows wholly falling
   Cloud the Aegean Sea. [page 128]

 

THE MAID OF THE MIST.

OH, mariner upon the sea
   Beware, beware!
She’s blind this night
   Who guideth thee.
Her long damp hair
   Streams like a banner
Far behind.	
   Her face is fair, but oh, beware!
She’s blind, she’s blind!

The bells are ringing on the shore,
   The bells may ring, but nevermore
Shalt thou thy native country reach,
   Save thy dead body by the tide
Be cast upon the beach,
   If thou this night shalt guided be
By the fair spirit of the mist.
   For oh, beware!  she’s blind, she’s blind
Who guideth thee! [page 129]

 

THE OLD LOG HUT.

VACANT the doorway,
   Rotted the floor,
Gone all the glass
   Where the wind blows through.
Sunk in a bed
   Of long, lank grass,
Wet all day with the morning dew.

Giant pines shelter it,
   Maple trees shade it,
Little birds sing to it
   Many a song.
Who was it fashioned it,
   Planned it and made it,
Building so perfect, so straight, and so strong?

Falling nuts pelt it
   As though they felt it
A pity to see it
   So sad and alone,
Wanton winds fling through it
   Wing through it, sing through it
Hoping their company sweet may atone. [page 130]

Who was it planned it,
   Fashioned it, scanned it?
Placed those old rafters?—
   So brown and so true,
Clouds of smoke hung in it,
   Lullabys sung in it,
Soothed Young America, long years ago.

Who was it lived in it,
   Loved in it, died in it?
Oh, all the memories
   Around this old hut!
They seethe in it, wreathe in it
   Breathe in it, hide in it
Making alive a past that is not. [page 131]

 

LIGHT AND SHADE.

I LOOKED on a deep bow window
   While the moonbeams glinted in,
Painting the sleeping flowers
   With a brightness soft and dim.

Their shadows are lying before them,
   Like the hours that are past and dead.
The brightness so mingled with darkness
   One hardly knows when it is fled.

So the moonbeams and shadows, they teach us,
   Though sorrow and trouble are ours,
That the brightness will mingle with darkness
   As well with us as with flowers. [page 132]

 

[illustration]

AN OLD NEW HAMPSHIRE INN.

OLD stone fences mark the way,
   Tumbled down and rough and gray,
Efforts of another day.
Door stones mark the entrance where
Formerly good warmth and cheer
Welcomed weary travellers here.
Three great chimneys built of brick,—
Wide, and generous, and thick,
Former haunts of old St. Nick,
Now are lying on the ground,
Scattered widely all around.
Where the wild sweet flowers abound.
Degenerated apple trees
Murmur sadly in the breeze
Of other days than these,
When ruddy children sampled too,
Throwing old away for new,
Just indeed as now we do.
This old well!—What waters clear
For man and beast were drawn up here,
Away back many a year. [page 133]

Inside stronger waters flowed
For those wanderers on the road,
But I’m sure they weren’t as good
As this crystal shining spring
Free to all for the asking,
Leaving in its wake no sting.
And this bunch of lilac trees!
Marks the garden boundaries,
Once so full of flowers like these,
Purple mountains gird it round
Wild deer browse on nearby ground.
Where the partridge tame is found.
Roadways leading off unseen
Covered up in boundless green
Once were highways not so mean.
Poor old caravansary!
Nothing much is left of thee
Thou art but a memory!

[illustration] [page 134]

THE STORM SIGNAL.

WHAT means this low unceasing moan,—
   This never changing monotone,
That falls from the waters, storm presaging,
   Ere yet the stormy battle’s raging?

Meaneth it only that waves in breaking
   Over the stones this wail are making?
Or doth it means that up from the deep,
   Come the spirit voices of those who sleep?

Sleep, ah yes!  but no rest have they,
   Drifted by current and eddy away;
For awhile they lie in some shelly groove
   Then on with the current again they move.

And ever when the storm is nigh
   They send aloft this mournful cry,
A warning for some their lives to save,
   But a knell for others who find their grave. [page 135]

 

S’CONSET.

SWEET lanes that lead to nowhere,
   Quaint streets that guide to naught.
Cow paths that wandering go where
   The moors are beauty fraught.

With golden rod, and aster,
   With mist, and purple haze,
And time goes fast and faster
   Through the happy “S’conset” days.

 

[illustration] [page 136]

A FANCY OF MINE.

(Song.)

WAS it only a fancy of mine,
   Was it only a fancy of mine?
That as I walked in a garden fair
   A little bird that was singing there
Sang, “Twit a wee, I love thee”
   “Twit a wee, do you love me?”
But hush, don’t tell
   For ‘twas only a fancy of mine.

Was it only a fancy of mine,
   Was it only a fancy of mine?
That as I walked by the shining lake
   The little waves o’er the stones that break
Sang, “I love you, do you love me,
   I love you, do you love me?”
But hush!  don’t tell
   For ’twas only a fancy of mine.

Was it only a fancy of mine,
   Was it only a fancy of mine?
That as I walked in the garden fair
   That somebody else who was walking there
Said, “I love you, do you love me?”
But I’ll not tell, no, I’ll not tell,
   For it wasn’t a fancy of mine. [page 137]

 

THE PATH THROUGH THE WOOD.

THE highway may be straight and wide
   That leads right to the town	
And I be late and far from home
   As the setting sun goes down.

But though it may be farther round,
   And longer than it should,
I can’t help going home that way
   Down the pathway through the wood.

For there I brush the leaves aside
   That rustle as I walk,
And there the garrulous chipmunk
   Confides to me his talk.

The tall straight trees stand sentinel
   To guard me on my way,
And the little birds foregather
   At the closing in of day.

Many a woodsy secret
   They tell me as I stroll,
And it’s wonderful the things I hear
   That are soothing to my soul.

And though the highway is more direct,
   And go that way I should
I’m sure to choose that little path
   That leads me through the wood. [page 138]

 

FLOWER GOSSIP.

THE Hare bell sped with the news afar,
   The Jonquil wrote it up.
The Day’s-Eye spied it and hurried away
   To fill the Butter cup.

The Buttercup full to the brim sped on
   To tell the Dandelion,
Who roared it forth in the boldest way
   To his friend the Columbine.

She straightway carried it along,
   As a proper Columbine ought,
To a nice little friend she met that day,
   Who was called Forget-me-not.

She remembered it all and more,
   For a friend who had the blues
Lobelia by name, and a nice little flower
   Who was shocked at the terrible news.

Nevertheless she took it on
   To a neighbor, the Hollyhock
Who started out to seek a friend
   And found ‘twas Four O’Clock. [page 139]

The Star of Bethlehem shed her light
   Where the deadly Nightshade fell,
Who whispered it forth in a blighting tone
   That chilled the sweet Bluebell.

She shivered but tolled the news forthwith,
   To confessor true Monkshood
Who inflicted a penance on all the flowers
   As a proper confessor should.

The Canterbury Bell rang out
   To call them all to mass.
While Jack-in-the-pulpit made himself clear
   That things were at a bad pass.

Now what was the gossip that all these flowers
   Were worried so much about?
They said that the Rose and the Lily
   From the straight path had fallen out.

And what was more
   No flower that blows
Was as frail as the Lily
   Nor as full as the Rose.

 

[illustration] [page 140]

 

THE DUSK.

THE stealthy Dusk creeps down apace
   In velvet stockinged feet.
The noiseless shadows fall away
   Like soldiers in retreat.

The hillside slides into the plain,
   The plain into the sea,
And all the world falls back in space,
   A hollow harmony.

I stand upon the brink and gaze
   Far down, where out of sight,
The solid things I knew by day
   Are melted, in the night. [page 141]

 

A SUMMER NIGHT.

THE sun has fallen from the sky,
   The signals of the dark, unfurled,
Shake out their pennants there on high
   And trail like kite strings, o’er the world.

A myriad tapers flash and leap
   Before Jehovah’s altar vast.
I catch the breath of flowers asleep,
   Like incense, swinging past.

The great heart of the darkness throbs
   And pulsates with tremendous stroke.
The mystery of my being robs
   My senses of their sense, I choke

And strangle with the food for thought,
   The scintillating stars display.
The unknown things around are not
   The tangibilities of day. [page 142]

The why, the how, the where, the when,
   I leave them all, Oh God, to Thee!
Just give me my lost youth again
   And all it might have meant to me!

Thy heaven they say is simply love,
   A thing we neither see nor grasp,
So those bright things so far above
   More real are than things we clasp.

If love is God, and God is love;
   Then heaven submerged in love must be.
Oh, spare a little from above
   To knit this lower world to Thee!

We reason round in circles wide,
   We swing far out beyond our ground,
But our momentum fully tried
   Come back with sure rebound.

The orbit of our circle true
   Will surely hold us in our place,
These little journeys out from You
   But make us long to see Thy face. [page 143]

 

A MEADOW.

(At Widewood.)

I LOVE a meadow
   When the grass is long
And every tiny thing
   Can sing its little song.
I love a meadow
   When the grass is cut
Though every tiny
   Throat be shut.
When all the clover
   Blossoms gay
Lie trampled ‘neath
   The scented hay.
I love a meadow
   Where its reaches wide
Beckon me on
   To scenes untried
Where I’m repaid
   As the hill dips down,
Disclosing farms
   And woods, and town.
I love a meadow
   On the hilltop too,
Whose summit gained
   Unfolds a view
That stretches wide
   Like the “Promised Land” [page 144]
Before the Israelites,
   Where I stand.
I love a meadow
   When the twilight falls
And from the dusk
   The brown thrush calls
To his mate upon
   The neighboring hill
Who answers with note
   Antiphonal.
And heaven would be
   To me I think
That grove beyond
   Where the thirsty drink
In a crystal spring,
   Whose waters clear
Through shimmering sand,
   Bubble all the year.
And where the song
   Of old maple trees
Croons me to sleep
   In the summer breeze. [page 145]

 

[illustration]

OVER SEAS.

WESTERN skies may fairer be
   And reach in a higher dome;
But there are no skies, like the skies to me,
   That bend o’er my childhood’s home.
They tempted me forth with their tales of gold
   And joy in a land so new,
But the ache in my heart can never be told
   For my country, to which I am true.
My children’s children may wave the flag
   That floats o’er the land of the free;
But my old flag while there’s left a rag
   Is banner enough for me.
It takes more generations than one
   To water the blood of a Celt,
And though I may bask in a warmer sun
   My fondness for home will not melt.
I stand on the shore and watch the track
   Of the vessels, that call to me,
To follow the track of their salt spray back
   To my home far over the sea.

 

[illustration] [page 146]

REMINISCENCE.

THE perfume of a flower,	
   That’s wafted on the breeze,
Brings back another hour
   With unknown subtleties.

That moan, that’s in the wind,
   Like cry of anguished thing,
Or hopeless one who’s sinned
   Beyond all pardoning,

Stirs unplumbed depths of soul,
   Pre-natal histories,
Whose echoes round me roll
   In unsolved mysteries.

Some accent, sudden, nigh,
   Wakes slumberings of pain,
Like restless infant’s cry,
   That will not hush again.

A bird note on the air
   Wrings soundless sobs from me,
And still hands everywhere
   Strike chords of memory.

And many a spirit takes
   Our earthways, from above,
To soothe some heart, that breaks,
   With memories of love. [page 147]

 

[blank page]

MY FOREST QUEEN

[unnumbered page] [blank page]

MY FOREST QUEEN.

OH Nature, grand are all thy works!
The ocean where the monster lurks,
   And powerful currents run.
The mountain, with its heights sublime,
And snow-clad points, that e’en from time,
   Have glistened neath the sun.

The river and the desert main,
The valley, and the fertile plain,
   That food for all out-pourest.
All these are great and wonderful,
Each do I love, but over all,
   I love the verdant forest.

Its shady depths and vistas green,
Its mossy nooks, where ne’er I ween,
   A shy sunbeam would venture.
Its swaying boughs, and grand old trees,
Its never-ceasing melodies,
   From leaf and stream and creature.

Here a sweet flower in wildness blows,
And there a tiny brooklet flows
   Known only by its singing.
Between a moss clad limb reclines,
And up above the clambering vines,
   To branch and bough are clinging. [page 151]

And here aside some leaves we turn,
To find the airy lady fern,
   That hides in wild nooks flowery.
And there a bolder kind, beyond,
That opens out with feather frond
   In verdant, bell-like glory.

No dreadful depths to terrorize,
No awful heights that meet the skies
   And show man all his smallness.
But fairy dells, and rounded knolls,
And birds that pay their forest tolls
   In carols full of sweetness.

And I should love thee, forest glades.
‘Twas ‘mid thy cool and grassy shades
   That I first met My Queen.
It chanced one day in idle mind,
Weary of work and all mankind,
   I lingered in thy green.

The sun, far westward in its flight,
Shed o’er the earth that mellow light
   At close of day.
A breaking twig, and someone there;
Then looking up, a picture fair,
   Before my vision lay. [page 152]

Between me and the crimsoning west
A girlish form, in light robe dressed,
   Unconsciously did stand.
Her graceful sun crowned head was bent
And on the ground her eyes intent
   Saw me not near at hand.

Something she sought without success,
For with a gesture of distress
   She quickly searched the ground.
And as she turned she raised her eyes,
And looked in mine with sweet surprise
   As though she were spell bound.

Fearful of frightening her, I broke
The silence then, and spoke
   And asked what she would find.
A girlish blush o’er spread her face
And with a shy and childlike grace
   She answered “Sir, you’re kind!”

So taking this for full consent
My eyes and searching powers I lent
   To find her missing ring.
Her mother’s wedding ring she said
And from her mother long since dead
   She owned no other thing. [page 153]

As she talked I studied her
And wondered that a child so fair,
   For little more she seemed,
Should be in such poor garb arrayed,
Coarse was her gown and roughly made;
   But all her face redeemed.

Her eyes, in color, gentian blue
Just when that flower is drenched with dew,
   By curling jet seemed guarded.
Her hair a molted, copperous gold
In soft, caressing waves unrolled
   Around a snow-white forehead.

The sweet, shy mouth was somewhat sad,
As though through all her life she had
   Some secret sorrow carried.
Each feature some fresh tribute paid,
And each and all a fair shrine made
   Where I would fain have tarried.

Full often I had trod that road
To linger idly in the wood,
   And rest amid its green;
But I would go more often now
And with another aim I trow,
   To find my Forest Queen. [page 154]

Three days passed by, of busy case,
Such as men know who working, share
   A lawyer’s hard vocation.
But on the fourth, the court adjourned,
Toward the wood I fondly turned
   In happy expectation.

Perhaps I’d meet her on the way,
Or to that pleasant glade I’d stray
   And find her searching there;
As when the sunbeams gliding fell
O’er leaf and flower o’er glade and dell
   And made her e’en more fair.

But no one met me on the road
And through the path and in the wood
   A whispering silence reigned.
Still on I trod full hopefully,
Followed the track, but fearfully
   The little clearing gained.

Was this the house I’d seen before,
Was this the sheltering, opening door,
   That now stood strongly locked?
No curling smoke arose on high,
And no footsteps approaching nigh
   Responded when I knocked. [page 155]

And she was gone, my wildwood flower!
My love so beauteous, that an hour
   Had stolen my man’s heart.
If I had only asked her name,
Or who she was or whence she came,
   Before we had to part!

Then turning back I paced the way
That coming had seemed all so gay,
   But now was dull as night.
For when the heart is full of hope
All Nature sings, when sad we grope
   Through life, though all be bright.

At last I reached that pleasant glade
In which I met the little maid
   And helped her in her search.
And thinking here ‘twould be less pain
To know her gone I sat again,
   Beneath an aged birch.

Glancing sadly on the ground
My eye was caught by something round,
   A little, shining thing.
So this was what we sought that day,
And now when she was far away
   I found her missing ring. [page 156]

Oh, bitter irony of fate,
That tells us when it’s all too late,
   The words we should have spoken!
Or gives to one who prizes not,
The treasure that another sought,
   Like this small, rounded token.

But I did prize thee little ring
And I did love thee precious thing
   Because of thy possessor.
Something to have that she had worn,
Something to touch that did adorn
   And clingingly caress her.

Then holding it up to the light
I saw within the circlet bright
   Engraved an Irish name.
Her mother’s name, no doubt, Eileen
And if her mother’s, then my queen
   Might too be called the same.

And ever with that fair young face
My memory kept a sacred place
   For that sweet, Irish sound.
Its music filled my lonely heart
And in my thoughts it took a part
   As each new day came round. [page 157]

But days came round and weeks went by,
And though I searched both low and high
   No trace of her I found.
She’d vanished from my longing sight
As darkness flees before the light
   Or dew sinks in the ground.

But hope dies hard when love’s the goal,
And something whispered to my soul
   That we should meet again.
So shaking off my restlessness
I gave my mind to business
   And mingled more with men.

For work’s the best of all the cures,
For all the woes, which man endures
   That cometh from the heart.
The busy hand or active brain
Will often give a balm to pain
   That nought else could impart.

And so I struggled hard for fame
And safely built myself a name
   On Fortune’s favored road.
Until at last it almost seemed
So full my life I must have dreamed
   That forest episode. [page 158]

But dream or not I had the ring
And kept it as a cherished thing
   While six full years did run
Six years that brought me wealth and power
And many a pleasant, happy hour;
   But no hour dear as one.

One that I spent with a fair maid
‘Mid whispering leaves, and forest shade,
   And golden sunlight sheen.
One that I never can forget
Whose memory sweet lives with me yet
   Though years have gone between.

And many another maid I’ve met
Who well could wear a coronet,
   Or grace a royal throne.
Beauties who favored me with smiles
With gentle arts, and maiden guiles
   And e’en not maids alone.

For matrons too oft smiled on me
And thought a pleasant thing ‘twould be
   To call me son, perchance,
Not for myself, but for my gold
Which in their minds, though left untold
   My worth did much enhance. [page 159]

One there was a woman true
Whose hand, and even heart I knew
   I might have won with ease.
She seemed to like me for myself
And not for rank, nor sordid pelt,
   But e’en she could not please.

Sometimes I thought it was to be,
That she was very dear to me
   And my lost queen dethroned.
Whose beauty had, from absence, grown
Until at last through years it shone
   With brightness never owned.

‘Twas thus I reasoned with my heart
Until cold reason had in part
   Though not quite conquered love;
But might have save for her dear ring;
That little golden, shining thing
   Which all my heart did move.

For when I felt it in my hand
It seemed to me a golden band
   Between me and Eileen,
And brought to me all fresh again
The love that I had first felt, when,
   Her fair young face I’d seen. [page 160]

So I put the thought aside
Of ever winning other bride
   Than the owner of the ring,
And if I ne’er should meet with her
Still would my heart her memory wear
   As its most precious thing.

Now that those six years have flown
I find myself, strange and alone,
   On England’s sea-girt strand.
For I have left my boyhood’s home
And hence in search of health have come
   To roam through many a land.

First I linger with a friend,
Whom I have met, where Cornwall’s End,
   Stands out to sea so far.
Then together we depart
For England’s busy, throbbing heart
   Where souls, by millions are.

Where wealth keeps up its revels high,
While poverty slinks vicious by
   In starving irony.
Where stone work towers over head
That towered there when martyrs bled
   From sovereign tyranny. [page 161]

Buildings whose gloomy massiveness
Make me feel all my littleness
   As never felt before.
Thinking of all the countless souls
Who passed them by for earthly goals
   That know them now no more.

Men in their day, much more than I
And yet forgotten all they lie
   As dust when the wind endeth.
Perchance a few to memory cling,
Who by brave deed, or evil thing,
   A page to history lendeth.

But London has another side,
Its cheerful parks, and pleasant Ride,
   Its noted Rotten Row,
Where beauty loves to sun itself,
And where poor pride, and low born pelf,
   Together come and go.

And here it is one pleasant day
My friend and I both take our way,
   To spend an idle hour.
And while we watch the shifting scene
Two riders swiftly pass between,
   And one I’ve seen before. [page 162]

At first I do not know her face
Though on my heart its matchless grace
   Seems graven deep and clear.
Puzzling over it in vain
My glance rests on a golden chain,
   And a ring hanging there.

Then clear, as leafless branches show
Against the sunset’s golden glow,
   A scene comes back to me.
A scene within a forest glade
A sinking sun, a fair young maid
   And an old birchen tree.

I seem to hear the birds again
Trill out their joy as they did then,
   For life so glad and free.
I seem to feel the self same joy;
But with it mingles this alloy.
   How can I know ‘tis she?

So fast she rode, had it not been
For my old friend, I had not seen
   The swiftly passing pair.
But he had seen them first and said
“Here comes the noble Lord Gontred
   And his grand daughter fair.” [page 163]

How could it be, that stately girl
The one I knew, and he an earl
   Who rode past by her side?
It seems impossible and yet
I have the ring, and e’en by that
   I’ll prove if memory lied.

I’ve found the house, a stately place
And at a window see a face,
   The same and yet ‘tis not.
The eyes and head and shining hair
All but the mouth, just as they were
   In that fair forest spot!

The lips that then looked shy and sweet,
Now in proud hauteur firmly meet,
   With a slight touch of scorn.
As though she found the world unfair
And discontentedly did wear
   The lot where she was born.

The pompous servant ushers me
With most profound solemnity
   Into a stately room.
Presently I hear a sound,
A silken rustle on the ground,
   Soft footsteps and she’s come. [page 164]

She stops halfway between the door,
And bows, and then looks on the floor
   In haughty silence waiting.
I ask her pardon if I’m wrong
And tell my mission, and how long
   I’ve had the little ring.

The haughty look deserts her lips
The blue eyes fill, and then she steps
   And takes the ring from me,
And holding it with trembling hand
Examines close the little band,
   Her mother’s name to see.

I stand and study her again
As I did years ago, but then
   She was almost a child.
And now her costly draperies fall
Around a woman, queenly tall,
   And all my hopes seem wild.

What chance have I to win her love?
So high she seems, so far above
   My new world, self won rank.
But sad thoughts flee before her smile
And then we sit and talk awhile
   And she my care would thank. [page 165]

I, who cannot tell her all
Just pass it by and ask to call
   Again, some other day.
She little knows how loath to part
I am, nor how my happy foolish heart
   Beats music on my way.

What need to tell how oft we meet,
At home, abroad and on the street,
   Or riding in the row.
One day she tells me all that passed
Between this time and that, when last
   We met six years ago.

How she had lived in that green wood
With her grandsire in solitude
   Save for a maiden aunt.
They were her mother’s kin, and she
Brought up with them from infancy
   No other friends did want.

Her grandsire was an Irishman
And hated as the Irish can
   All English noblemen.
He had two daughters, one so fair
She won the heart of Contred’s heir,
   Who was in Ireland then. [page 166]

She was the darling of his heart,
His baby girl, who had in part
   Atoned her mother’s loss,
And he was loath to give Eileen
To Gontred’s son whose rank had been
   To him the heaviest cross.

Eight years of poverty and care
The young pair lovingly did share
   When Eileen’s father died.
And not long after she was left
Of all a mother’s care bereft
   Who faded from her side.

The poor old father’s bitter grief
In baby Eileen found relief,
   Who grew up almost wild,
And after years the Lord Gontred
Lonely in the life he lad
   Sent for the winsome child.

Perhaps he felt remorse at last
And thought to make up for the past
   By caring for Eileen.
The Irishman declared the earl
Should never have the little girl,
   And left his home unseen. [page 167]

He wandered here, and wandered there
Forever haunted by the fear
   That he should lose the child.
Until at last they crossed the sea
And after years were found by me
   In that fair forest wild.

And, so it seems he thought that I
Must be some clever English spy
   Who’d found them out at last.
And taking all his little store
Wandered from place to place once more
   As he had in the past.

But soon enfeebled by his years
He lost in part his brooding fears
   And sought his native land.
Gontred soon found that they were there
And anxious still to claim his heir
   Held out a friendly hand.

Eileen would not leave him then
Whose love for her had ever been
   The truest and the best.
And nursed him with the tenderest care
Until the old man journeyed, where
   All wanderers are at rest. [page 168]

Disliking her aunt’s means to share
She took the home was offered her
   Mid London’s stately halls.
But used to all a gypsy’s life,
The rooms with costly treasures rife
   To her were prison walls.

She chafed beneath the formal rule
Of London life, whose only school
   Had Nature’s lessons been.
And held aloof from revels, where,
Had she but wished, she was so fair
   She might have reigned as queen.

All this worried Lord Gontred
Who wanted his grand child to wed
   Someone of noble name.
She did not tell all this to me
But I who watched them both could see
   What went and came.

I knew the old lord hated me,
I read it in his eyes when he
   Saw me near Eileen.
She told him I was an old friend
And he could scarce his courtesy bend
   His strong dislike to screen. [page 169]

One day, when she was out, he said,
That his grand child was soon to wed
   A man of her own choice.
And in insulting manner, did
My visits to the house forbid,
   When we both heard a voice.

‘Twas Eileen who had just returned
And seeing me so rudely spurned
   She stood between the two,
With flashing eye and quiet tone
And haughty air that matched his own
   She said it was not true.

He, enraged at being foiled,
Over with fuming passion boiled
   And bade her choose between
Me and him, with all his land.
One look she gave, I clasped her hand
   She’d chosen me, My Queen. [page 170]

 

[blank page]

[illustration]

“YOUR FATHER’S A BRAVE”

[unnumbered page]

 

THE CHILDREN’S BOOK

[unnumbered page] [blank page]

THE HOLE IN THE FENCE.

JUST a picket or two,
   Left off for our use.
There was scarcely a day
   That we did not go through.
Our friendship was very intense;
   Got acquainted that way—
Through the hole in the fence.
   She always wore plaid,
With a yoke and full skirt,
   (I remember just how we dressed)
My style wasn’t bad;
   Gabrielle with a frill
But some way or other
   As children all will
I used to like hers the best.
   We aped “Lady ways”—
Wore rhubarb sunshades
   And burdock leaf fans.
(They were good enough those days)
   Called on each other
With much of pretense
   And a great deal of state,
Through the hole in the fence.
   Now we go around by the gate [page 173]
Leave our cards, have a “day,”
   Go to parties full dress
And come home very late.
   Have arrived, as they say,
At years of good sense,
   But life isn’t half that it was
When we played	
   Through the hole in the fence.
                                                      1890. [page 174]

 

[unnumbered page; includes illustration]

[blank page]

 

GRIMM AND GRUFF.

   GRIMM and Gruff
      Were good dogs enough,
   But horribly given to fighting.
      Grimm came out flat
   For chasing the cat
      And Gruff had a habit of biting.

   No matter what spat
      They were busy at,
   No matter what bones discussing,
      Let a cat show her nose
   Or tread on their toes,
      And whew!  they were off and fussing.

   Now one Pussy Mew,
      Who was fond of the two,
And strange it is what I’m recounting:
      Took liberties great
Were it early or late,
      Almost to danger amounting.

   She’d sleep on the rug
      With each little pug,
No matter what the weather.
      And eat from one dish
As sweet as you’d wish;
      So happy all together. [page 175]

   Now one day they saw
      Under pussie’s front paw
   A bundle of soft grey fur,
      And more that seemed
   Unless they dreamed
      A family had come to her.

   Now what more fitting
      Such friends unremitting
   Should call with congratulation.
      So each little pug
   With a happy “mug”
      Started off with great elation.

   Now it was one thing for kit,
   When she saw fit
   To have lived with each dog as a brother;
      But a different tale
   Which turned her pale
      When she’d become a mother.

   Her back rose up
      Like a reversed cup
   Her eyes blazed balls of fire,
      Her temper rose, and rose, and rose
   And rose, and rose
      Up higher. [page 176]

   She bit poor Grimm
      Till he cried for him
   Enough, enough, enough!
      And clawed and scratched
      Till almost despatched,
      That poor old doggie, Gruff.

   The two slunk off
      With a bark and a cough,
      Never to call any more.
      With such manners, they said
   She had better be dead
      And her temper they did deplore.

 

[illustration] [page 177]

THE STRAIGHT LINE.

“KEEP to the straight line,”
   My mother used to say,
When I was but a small child
   And used to write that way.

“Keep to the straight line,”
   I tried with honest might
But the letters would go crooked
   And the words not go quite right.

It’s not as easy as it seems
   Nor as simple as it looks
When walking down the paths of life
   Or filling copy-books.

But ‘tis well to have a straight line
   And keep it well in sight,
Though the lines may still go crooked
   And the words not look quite right. [page 178]

 

FOLLOW CAT.

SHE used to play so nice with me
   When we were all alone,
And let me be
   The mother
And things I liked the best,
   Like pour the tea,
And all the rest.
   And she’d be baby
And cry nice
   And let me pet her so;
But in a trice
   Before you’d know
When Susie Jones came in
   She’d sniff her nose
And point her chin
   And look just like a bear
And act like that
   And say to me
“Go home, go home.
   You ‘Follow Cat.’”
Then Susie Jones
   Would stick her tongue out
Most a mile
   And they would whisper so
And smile,
   And when I’d try to follow them [page 179]
And wonder why
   They’d act like that,
They’d both call out
   “I wouldn’t be a ‘Follow Cat.’”
Then I would run into the house
   And cry, and cry, and cry,
And wish that I was awful sick
   So that I most could die,
   And make them sad
   And sorry too.
Of course she was much more growed up
   Than me.
And it was awful good of her
   To let me have the bestest cup
And let me pour the tea.
   So when she would
Come in at night
   And say, “Why, Sis,
What makes you cry?
   You look just like
A great big fright,”
   And give me such a kiss,
And be as sweet as pie,
   Why I’d just blame
That Susie Jones
   For it always happened that
When she came in, they’d run off so
   And call me “Follow Cat.” [page 180]

 

THE BOLD RAT.

A BAD cat
     Met a rat	
     In a downtown flat.
“Scat!” said the cat.
     “Drat!” said the rat
     “I will not do that.”
“Spit!  Spat!”
     Said the cat.
     “My hat!”
     Said the rat,
And bit her a bat.
     Then they fought and fought,
     Till the day was done,
     And nothing was left
     Of either one. [page 181]

 

SHINNY.

A GAME we played when we were boys,
With all its bluster and its noise,
As men, a game we have outgrown
And yet, methinks, it could be shown
There are some we play at even yet
If to its pattern closely set
In many points would coincide;
But now, as then, we oft forget
To “Shinny on your own side.”

We cannot call it out so bold,
The rules are different that hold
The order of the game man plays;
And fairness judged from youthful ways
Has lost its old control.
Riches the ball and self the goal,
We follow after far and wide
Regardless now where’er it roll,
To “Shinny on your own side.”

There’s much we cast off with our youth
‘Twould be better be if kept forsooth,
As boyish games on larger plan
Are but the pastime of the man.
‘Tis different not at “Shinny” when
With boys we play who’ve grown to men;
By boyhood’s rules no longer tied,
‘Tis harder now than it was then
To “Shinny on your own side.” [page 182]

 

THE CASH GIRL.

ALL day long,
   On their little feet,
Trot, trot, trot,
   Some untidy, some of them neat,
Hot, hot, hot,	
   While outside the broiling street
Blisters the air
   Where they chance to meet,
To catch a breath,
   Ere the strident call—
“Cash, cash, cash,”
   Shall summon all.
They seem too young
   For the task imposed,
They are too tired
   Ere the shop is closed,
They grow too old
   While they still are young,
They grow too bold
   With a saucy tongue,
Who was so foolish
   To place them here?
Surely to someone
   They must have been dear; [page 183]
Ah!  The grind for bread
   Is a hard, hard grind,
They have to be fed
   And their food they must find,
So all day long on their little feet
   Trot, trot, trot;
Some untidy, some of them neat,
   They scamper and push
And struggle and call
   As they answer the summons
That hurries all.
   So all day long on their little feet
The cash girls scamper
   And push and run,
No time for mischief
   Or play or fun,
Just to be glad
   When the day is done. [page 184]

 

WHIP BEHIND.

I HEAR them calling on the street,
   Their voices carried by the wind,
Small boys who grudge another’s treat,
   “Whip behind!”  “Whip behind!”

   And with the words and with the wind,
A thought doth into being start,
   How down the path of life we find
Boys older grown to play their part.

   How eager ever man to call
When unto others luck’s inclined,
   (Jealous of good that may befall)
“Whip behind!”  “Whip behind!”

   Ah!  easier far our way might be
If all these tongues we could but bind,
   Which for themselves call fruitlessly,
“Whip behind!”  “Whip behind!” [page 185]

 

DON’T TOUCH.

THERE are so many things about
   I like so very, very much,
And yet my mother says to me,
   “Don’t touch, don’t touch.”

I wonder why they leave them here
   To tease me so, when they are such
Delightful things, then say to me,
   “Don’t touch, don’t touch.”

But father says it’s just the same
   Though he is grown up ever so much.
That there are many things he likes
   He must’nt dare to even touch.

It’s my big mother says to me
   That I’m not to handle such,
But he says it’s a “wee small voice”
   That says to him he mustn’t touch.

So I suppose it’s best for us
   Not to handle and have no choice;
But isn’t it queer when he’s so big
   That he should hear so small a voice? [page 186]

It seems to me that things are turned
   All upside down since I came here
And if I only knew the way
   I’d go right back, this very year.

I’m sure up there they’d never have
   A lot of stuff we’d like so much,
All lying round, and then cry out—
   “Don’t touch, don’t touch.” [page 187]

 

POOR LITTLE THING.

YOU look like a mouse that is caught in a trap
   Or a bird that is clipped in the wing
And I wonder just how when you’re taking a nap
   You manage, you poor little thing.

Can your toes rub together as baby toes will?
   Can you not give them a fling?
Must you forever be resting so still
   And cramped, you poor little thing?

Your body is plump and your cheeks are as fat
   As a prairie bird shot on the wing
And I’m sure I’d no reason to christen you that
   And call you “A poor little thing.”

Your moss bag is broidered with beads that are bright,
   The Lake of the Woods had no tree
Too grand in its beauty, too great in its height
   To be felled and shapen for thee.

Your father’s a brave, your mother for you
   Croons sweet an Indian song,
As she binds the ribs of her staunch canoe
   Or paddles it swift along. [page 188]

 

[unnumbered page; includes illustration]

[blank page]

And after a while when you’re leased from your bands
   Your back shall be supple and straight.
Strong shall your arms be and your hands,
   Powerful your muscle and great.

Free as a bird, where you will may go.
   Your dominions are fit for a king
And I’m sure I’d no reason to christen you so,
   And call you “A poor little thing.” [page 189]

 

CHICKS.

THE chickens strut about the yard
   “Cock A Doodle Doo.”	
They pick the crumbs up fast and hard,
   And so indeed would you,
If you were just a nice fat hen
   With nothing else to do.

 

[illustration] [page 190]

 

[illustration]

COMMON THINGS.

SOME must be beggars,
   And some must be kings,
But only the looker, it is, who sees
   The beauty that lies in common things.

Have you noticed the form of the common weed,
   That grows in the wayside dirt?
Have you seen the sparrow, that dullest bird,
   Twitter, and preen, and flirt?

Have you lain with your face on a summer day
   Turned down to the meadow grass,
To watch the tribes of that underworld
   As they struggle and seethe, and pass?

Have you studied the haunts of the busy ant
   As it fetches and carries and saves?
The Egyptians building the pyramids
   Were not more active slaves.

I have seen a chipmunk, with babies two,
   Exploring an old stone fence.
With what motherly patience she urged them along,
   On one and another pretence! [page 191]

When they came to a crevice, so big to them,
   And shrank from its edges rude,
How she chattered, and gabbed, and coaxed them on,
   With a mother’s solicitude!

I have seen two parents, mud-turtles, they were
   With their brood, on a log in the sun.
And when they saw me in a language unknown,
   They called “Duck.”  And they did, every one.

I was not flattered as you may think,
   To know I frightened them so;
But ‘tis wonderful how much common sense
   A common mud-turtle can show.

It would have been nice for some little boy
   To have kept them at home in a pail;
But they preferred the beautiful lake
   And so every one turned tail.

I have not told half the things I have seen
   In this underworld looking glass;
But ‘tis well to have eyes in the back of your head
   For these common things that you pass.

 

[illustration] [page 192]

A PICTURE.

WHAT is this on the window pane?
A bunny rabbit as plain as plain!
It seems to be nibbling the pretty grass
That grows so tall on the window glass.
The artists who painted it seems to be lost,
But I have my suspicions ‘twas old Jack Frost. [page 193]

 

BILLY.

LITTLE Billy went to school
Didn’t follow any rule.
Got there just as he would strike it,
Sometimes would walk it, sometimes bike it;
But his teachers didn’t like it:
Set the girls to tittering, giggling
And the boys to snickering, wriggling.
That was why they called him silly.
Just because his name was Billy
And because when he would come
He would sit and suck his thumb.
Sit there winking, blinking, blinking,
They didn’t know that he was thinking.
Now they all have grown up big.
Billy wears a gown and wig.
Doesn’t follow any rule
Any more than when at school.
Blinks no more than others do,
Had his eyes attended to.
‘Twas with his eyes he did the blinking
But ‘twas with brain he did the thinking. [page 194]

 

THREE GIFTS.

THREE piggies sought their fortunes”
   A nursery tale retold in verse.
It might be told better
   And might be told worse.

Mother Nature spoke up
   To three sons one day
As they started forth
   On life’s bleak highway.
I have three gifts.
   Which one most endures?
Just make your choice
   And the gift is yours.
The eldest called out
   In a voice so bold
And said “Dear Mother,
   I’ll take the gold.”
So on with his heavy
   Pack he rolled.
It kept him down
   To the dusty row,
It blinded his eyes
   With its glittering glow.
It kept him from knowing
   His friend from his foe. [page 195]

The second spoke up
   When his mother came
With her gifts, and said
   “Just give me fame.”
And he rose like a bird
   And travelled far
To the lands of delight
   Where the famous are.
Then she came to the last
   Her baby boy,
Her pride and delight,
   Her greatest joy.
“My son,” she said,
   “I have nought for you
But this bundle of words,
   With no choice you drew
The gift of all gifts,
   If you use them, true.”
The weight was light
   As he stepped away;
But he sang a tune
   As he went that day.
He whistled and trilled
   A roundelay.
He picked his words
   From his bundle light,
And joined them together
   From day to night. [page 196]

He wove them in patterns
   Of quaintest design,
And strung them in couplets
   Line on line.
He chose them with care,
   And puzzled them out,
Twisted them in
   And turned them about
And though they were light
   When he started along
They soon grew quite rich,
   With the weight of his song.
He shook them together
   Like dice in his brain
To see what new wonders
   Might greet him again,
And though he could never
   Their value have told.
They brought him both glory
   And plenty of gold,
And the words that he dropped
   As he trod on his way
Leave a trail of delight
   For all travellers to-day;
And a shining chain links us
   Like stringlet of pearls,
Though he long has been travelling
   More glorious worlds. [page 197]

 

THE NIGHT AFTER CHRISTMAS.

‘TWAS the night after Christmas
   And all through the house
Not a creature was stirring,
   Not even a mouse.
Mamma in her kerchief,
   Papa in his cap
Were settling themselves
   For a Night-Mary nap.
The children all tired out,
   Were tucked up in bed
With a pain in the tummy
   And one in the head.
Old Nick with delight,
   And I don’t mean the saint,
Was entering more names
   In his book of complaint,
For intemperance he said
   Is not just what we drink,
But the food that we eat
   And the things that we think.
And Christmas was never intended to be,
   Just a jolly, old, rollicking sort of a spree. [page 198]

 

THREE YEARS OLD

SWEET as sugar,
   Merry as fun,
Bright as a cricket
   This little one.
Playing with scissors
   Needle or knife,
Burning his fingers,
   Risking his life,
Telling a story,
   Singing a song,
From this to that thing
   The whole day long.
But we wouldn’t change him
   For angel or gold.
This dear little mischief,
   Just three years old. [page 199]

 

THE EXTRA HANDED CRAB AND OTHER STRANGE THINGS

DEAR me!  What would we do
   If the houses took to grinning?
I’d be sure to lose my head
   And up a tree go “skinning.”

To meet the household broom
   As I went out to walk,
In the middle of the room,
   Gave me such a shock.

It stood there quite alone,
   Like our grandma’s silken dress,
I nearly turned to stone,
   A little more, or less.

And then there’s what they call
   The wrong side of the bed.
I’d push it to the wall
   And have just one instead.

It is a dreadful loss
   When we get up that way.
It makes us tired and cross
   All through that dreadful day. [page 200]

It is an awful age
   When things inanimate
Can walk, and grin, and rage,
   At such a dreadful rate.

Once upon the rug
   Oh my!  I felt so queer!
I saw a horrid bug
   That grinned, from ear to ear.

I knew an apple tree,
   That blossomed in the fall.
If I, so slow, should be
   I would not grow at all.

The very worst I know
   Was a crab with extra hands.
One day I thought I’d go
   Out strolling on the sands.

I took it for thin air
   Out walking on two legs.
I thought it wouldn’t care
   So knocked it off its “pegs.”

Its eyes stuck out with fright
   A quarter of an inch,
But it pushed them in quite tight
   With two tiny hands.  “A cinch.” [page 201]

They were a special pair
   Crossed beneath its chin,
For using when it had a scare
   To push its eyeballs in.

I’d heard of eyes that stuck
   Right, straight, out of one’s head.
So wasn’t it the greatest luck
   To meet that crab, we said.

I saw a heap of snow
   They showed to each new comer,
It didn’t know enough to go
   Although ‘twas then mid-summer.

I suppose the next we’ll hear
   Is that animals can talk,
But if they do I fear
   Right off this earth I’ll walk. [page 202]

 

PUSSY’S FATE.

I HEARD a mouse at midnight stealing
   Down the oaken stair
I heard a kit itself concealing
   To catch a treat so rare.
Then pitter patter, pitter patter,
   Down the oaken stair
Frisky frisking, whisky whisking,
   Went that cautious pair.
I heard no more, I heard no more,
   So dropped me off to sleep.
Next morn when I descended
   For poor mousie took a peep,
And there in the corner sittin’
   Was the house to a huge rat grown,
While nought was left of poor kitten
   But an eye tooth and wish bone.
So now my little readers,
   A moral I’d relate
When you would like to play the cat,
   Just mews on Pussy’s fate. [page 203]

 

THE COUNTRY OF LOOK-INTO-THINGS

THERE’S a land that I know,
   And it’s not very far,
Where there’s much to be seen
   But where travellers are
Inclined to go through
   With their eyes shut.
There is much to be seen
   And there’s more to be thought,
We will just take a journey
   Our tickets are bought,
Through the country
   Of Look-into-things.
Here’s a blot on my paper
   That fell from my pen,
I wonder just what
   I was writing at then?
Perhaps ‘twas a sketch of the war,
   For the blot is a soldier
As plain as can be
   With only one arm,
And, oh dear me!
   How terribly sad he is looking.
His thoughts on his troubles
   Seem all to be set. [page 204]

Perhaps on a pension
   He never may get
For serving so well in the war.
   And here is a milk jug
Of quaintest design
   With a bas-relief pattern
So daintily fine
   You are sure to ask if its Wedgewood?
‘Twas formed from a milk drop
   That fell from a glass
And isn’t it wondrous
   Congealed it should pass
To the shape of a beautiful pitcher?
   A piece of old paper
That somebody tore
   I see in its edge
As it lies on the floor
   The face of a Psyche
Or Milo.
   Now I’m sorry to leave you,
But have to go home,
   Though I’m sure by yourselves
You often will roam
   Through the country
Of Look-into-things. [page 205]

 

A LITTLE FLY.

A LITTLE fly on a window pane,
   That was buzzing away
With might and main,
   Stopped all at once and sadly said,
“’Twill soon be winter,
   And I’ll be dead.	
So what’s the use of buzzing like this
   My work, I’m sure,
No one will miss.”
   Then off to a quiet spot she went
To idly rest
   Till her life was spent.
But a spider who watched her
   As she slept
Closer and closer
   Softly crept.
Till a dainty café of silken net
   All around her
Was safely set.
   And long ere winter
That poor little fly
   Found out alas,
What it meant to die. [page 206]
   Now you see, if the fly
At her work had kept
   The spider could never
So near have crept.
   So if all you can do is just to buzz
Why, buzz and buzz and buzz and buzz. [page 207]

 

NELL AND LOU

‘TWAS the work of two small maidens,
   Pretty Nell and dainty Lou,
To pick all the ripened currants
   That on Grandma’s bushes grew.

For several years they had done it
   And had always done it well,
So with interest one fine day,
   They heard their Grandpa tell

How the worms on the currant bushes
   Were just beginning to show
And he must have them “hellebored,”
   So that the fruit might grow.

Said Nell, “Oh, please dear Grandpa,
   Let them eat the leaves all up
And then ‘twill be so easy
   To fill the big tin cup.”

But Grandpa only muttered,
   As old folks often will,
“Tut, tut, my little maidens,”
   And so the two kept still. [page 208]

That evening in the garden
   Two little maidens strolled,
And put two heads together,
   Which makes just one, I’m told.

Said Lou, “They are so horrid,”
   Said Nell, “They wriggle so,
And even when they’re hellebored
   They don’t all die, you know.”

Why here’s a bush they’ve eaten at
   And nibbled up the worst,
And I’m sure they are the currants
   That are ripening the first.”

A few days after grandpa
   Came in in such a state
To say the worms had beaten
   And the sprinkling was too late.

“There’s scarce, if you’d believe it,”
   To Grandma, “A leaf upon a tree.”
Then two small two-legged worms
   Felt just as mean as mean could be.

Said Nellie to her mutton sleeve,
   “I wish we didn’t do it.”
Thumped Louie’s heart into her ear,
   “I told you you would rue it.” [page 209]

Then with a pretty lisp,
   A stammer and a cough,
“Oh, pleathe, dear grandmamma,” she said,
   “’Twuth uth who picked them off.”

And grandma crossly grumbled
   “You naughty little Lou,
They’ll be as sour as vinegar,
   And take more sugar too.”

“Yeth, but grandma dear,
   They won’t take tho much more,
And what you lothe on sugar,
   You’ll thave on hellebore.”

Then grandma only muttered,
   As old folks often will,
“Tut, tut, my little maidens,”
   And so the two kept still. [page 210]

 

LITTLE GIRLS.

LITTLE girls who like to climb
   Should chose most likely places,
For if they don’t they’re apt to fall
   And scratch their little faces. [page 211]

 

A LITTLE MAN.

 

To R.

 

THERE is a little man called Rolf
   When he grows up big
He’ll go outdoors
   And play at golf.

Like to play at football, too,
   And let his hair grow long,
Mother’ll let him do all those things
   If he won’t do things that are wrong.

Like to go into the back yard
   Throw the stones at cats,
Throw sticks at the little boys
   And knock off all their hats.

Like to go into the forest,
   Climbing up the trees,
Wearing off his stockings
   Scratching off his knees.

Like to go into the water,
   Try to learn to swim,
Mother’ll let him do all those things
   Though she’ll be afraid for him. [page 212]

 

A LITTLE LADY.

 

To E.

IT isn’t that she’s dressed so neat
Or always looks so fresh and sweet:
It isn’t that she’s round and fair,
With such blue eyes and pretty hair.
All of these things of course I see.
It’s her manner that appeals to me.

She never sits when grown ups stand,
And always offers the proper hand.
She tries to think, not to slam the door,
Nor to leave her playthings on the floor
And though these things all right may be
It’s her manner that appeals to me.

It isn’t that she’d never stare,
Nor rudely say she “Didn’t care”
Nor take the biggest piece of cake,
Nor sit too late up, wide awake
Nor speak too loud, nor cry, nor call.
It’s her manner that’s the best of all.

So modest, gentle, childish, sweet!
You’d almost think you’d like to eat
Her right up, like a great big bear;
But that of course would not be fair.
It’s the manner that appeals to me
Of this little chubby, sweet, ladye. [page 213]

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