Edwardian and Georgian Canadian Poets
Ballads of Disarmament
28th Nov 2013Posted in: Edwardian and Georgian Canadian Poets 0

BALLADS
OF
DISARMAMENT
AND OTHER POEMS

BY
REV. GEORGE SCOTT

SAINT JOHN, N.B.
THE SAINT JOHN GLOBE PUBLISHING CO. LIMITED
1923
[unnumbered page]

Copyright, 1923
The Saint John Globe Publishing Co. Limited
[unnumbered page]


Ballads of Disarmament


I.

THERE’S a blessed rumour flying,
   Circling round into the east
That our ancient hates are dying,
   And the kingdom of the beast,
All our murderous ambitions
   From the greatest to the least.

For the earth was sore a-weary
   Of the burden of the years,
Of the carnage red and dreary,
   And of women’s helpless tears,
That a raging fiend might batten
   On their martyrdom of fears.

Long had death climbed in their casement,
   Snatched away the young and strong,
To their manhood’s foul debasement,
   While the cry went up, how long
Shall this bitterness continue,
   And this crushing load of wrong?

There’s a rumour ’mong the nations
   That their weird of woe is past,
That their bloody tribulations
   In the balance have been cast,
That our God hath pity on us
   And the morning breaks at last. [unnumbered page]

For Columbia hath spoken
   To the elders in her gate,
And she sent her seal and token
   Into every kingly state,
And she gathered them together,
   All the wisest and the great.

And they saw each other’s faces,
   Not as feudal foeman see,
And they stood up in their places
   Proudly knowing they were free,
And they clasped the hands of kindred
   Each to each across the sea.

So they came their wisdom bringing,
   To the council board they came,
And their challenges were ringing
   Like transcendent words of flame,
Cease your fratricidal slaughters
   And your centuries of shame.

There’s a blessed rumour flying
   Into every race and clime,
That shall end their bitter crying
   In a brotherhood sublime,
That the King of Glory enters
   On His own in His good time. [page 4]

II.

 
We have kept the seas in tribute
   With our dreadnoughts and our guns,
And we slaughtered tens of thousands
   Like a horde of fiendish Huns,
And we smote the mothers’ faces
   While we slew their stalwart sons.

Yes, we smote the mothers’ faces,
   And the helpless babes we killed,
And we feared no retribution
   For the blood that we had spilled,
And we blasted them with madness
   For their hopes all unfulfilled.

For our warships belched their thunder
   Wherever helmsman steered,
And never foeman waxed so strong
   But trembled as we neared,
And his cities sank in ruins
   As besotted nations cheered.

And we blasphemed earth and heaven,
   As we boated in our pride
That Jehovah, God of Battles
   Still was sighting on our side,
And we spake with bitter rancor
   Of the men for whom Christ died. [page 5]

So we slaughtered many nations,
   And we ravaged many a shore,
Till the land was sick with slaughter,
   And the earth was drunk with gore,
And the great red sun in setting
   Seemed bloodier than before.

And we worshipped this our Moloch
   And we offered of our best,
And we scoffed at woman’s pleading,
   And we spurned her tender breast,
For we deemed our crowning glory
   Was to do a madman’s ’hest.

Yet the seas shall shout with gladness
   To the cities on the shore
Thunderous songs of jubilations
   When grim war shall be no more,
When the Prince of Peace shall enter
   To His own well loved before.

III.

We have filled the earth with malice,
   And with dark and hellish greeds,
Our brides have doffed their garments,
   And have donned the widows’ weeds,
Our brows became as adamant,
   And we gloried in our deeds. [page 6]

For we compassed earth and heaven,
   Yea, we ransacked hell’s domain,
And we sang the song of victors
   Over hecatombs of slain,
What, my brothers, shall ye answer
   When the Christ shall come again?

All the lands are foul with wailing,
   All the dark is drear with dread,
Oh the piteous wail of children
   Sobbing for a piece of bread!
And shall not God require it
   With the blood that hath been shed.

Oh my brothers do ye hear it
   Inasmuch as ye have done
To the smallest and the weakest
   And the vilest ’neath the sun,
Even so have ye requited
   All the love of God’s dear Son.

Ye have sailed the seas for plunder,
   Death has followed in your wake,
With famine and grim pestilence
   And the furies all awake,
And the heavens were hung with blackness
   And darkness for your sake. [page 7]

Ye have mustered mighty armies
   And have stormed the city’s gate,
Ye have dared God’s blasting thunders
   With your hymns of cursed hate,
Ye have crushed earth’s weaker kindreds
   ’Neath the iron blows of fate.

As the Lord Jehovah liveth,
   Though ye offer sacrifice,
Though ye vow upon mine altars
   All your prayers will I despise,
For the precious souls ye slaughtered,
   These were priceless in mine eyes.

Yet a better day is dawning,
   When the glittering spear and sword
Shall be beaten into sickles
   For the harvest of the Lord,
When the kingdom of the God-like
   Shall assemble at His word. [page 8]

HEAVEN IS NOT FAR.

Heaven is not very far away,
   So near it is from where we stand
It almost seems as though we may
   Reach out and touch the angel’s hand.

So close to earth the heaven broods
   These brooding days of summer time,
Our turbulent half-hearted moods
   Are softened by its cheer sublime.

The white gulls range upon the beach,
   Above the sea the osprey glides,
The fishing schooners veer and reach
   And sway upon the swaying tides.

The breezes whisper secret lore,
   And violets to their soft caress
Yield their dear perfumes evermore,
   Their dreams of haunting loveliness.

So genial is the noontide heat,
   So pleasant is the afterglow,
We scarce can keep our willing feet
   From quiet woodlands that we know.

So close the earth the heaven lies,
   So thin the veil that hangs between,
So subtle are the harmonies
   ’Twixt what shall be and what hath been. [page 9]

Heaven is not very far away,
   Its quiet all pervading grace
Broods all about us where we stray,
   And sanctifies our dwelling place.

IN ARCADY.

Some space I dwelt in Arcady,
   All vibrant with confluent song
Of happy birds in every tree,
   I would that I had tarried long.

For every year the swallows came
   Twittering around the jutting eaves,
While tanagers like scarlet flame
   Flitted among the maple leaves.

And in the month the roses bloom
   With lilies in sequestered spots,
There gossiped in the fragrant gloom
   Vain blackbirds with red shoulder knots.

And white the dawning light was dim
   Some feathered minstrel pitched the notes,
The prelude of the matin hymn
   That bubbled from a thousand throats. [page 10]

I never knew such cheerful folk
   As nested in the garden trees,
Across my pensive moods they broke
   With sweetly wanton melodies.

Just so it was till radiant noon
   Gave place to sober eventide,
And in the hush that fell eftsoon
   All weariness was satisfied.

I watched the cranes sail slowly by
   Like specks against a silvery foam,
Trailing across the western sky
   Seeking their solitary home.

Fain would I dwell in Arcady
   And breathe its air of calm content
Where in the round ’twixt sea and sea
   All precious sights and sounds are blent. [page 11]

GOD’S WAY.

It is God’s patient loving way,
   Where rugged pits the hills have marred
To mantle the unsightly clay
   With lilies, violets and ‘nard.

To cover all the splintered stones
   With broideries of peerless tints,
With adder’s tongues and anemones
   With jewel weed and peppermints.

To draw from Winter’s angry gloom
   The nurture of Spring’s balmy showers,
And weave about her lovely tomb
   A bed of sweet arbutus flowers.

To fill with every winning grace
   The pleasing round of day and night
And bid the solitary place
   Be minister of His delight.

To plant a garden in whose street
   Wise men may hear at eventide
With bated breath the passing feet
   Of angels on the green hillside. [page 12]

KINDLY THOUGHTS.

Never yet was kindly thought
   Nourished in a loving breast
But through it was somehow brought
   Comfort to the world’s unrest.

And our kindly thoughts and wise
   Seeking birth in gentle speech
Bring the flowers of paradise
   Close within our human reach.

Kindly thoughts and gentle deeds
   Through the round of busy days,
These are better than our creeds,
   These our noblest songs of praise.

Beautiful is kindly thought,
   Beautiful the hands that bring
Courage to the overwrought
   Soothing for the words that sting.

Beautiful the feet that go
   Trained in her mercy’s holy rite,
And their passing leaves a glow
   And a hush full of calm delight.

Never yet was kindly thought
   By a loving deed expressed
But through it was somehow brought
   Peace to this and sad world’s unrest. [page 13]

BEAUTY CAME AND WHISPERED.

Beauty came and whispered lowly
     Of her potent spell
To my heart that learned so slowly
     Lore she loved so well
Thoughts of mystical transcendence
     More than I dare tell.

Tidings from the rushing river
   Hasting to the deep
Through the glens where aspens quiver
     And the wild deer leap,
Through rich meadows filled with cattle,
     And the mild-eyed sheep.

Secrets of the bending grasses
     On the mountain side,
Singing of the wind that passes
   O’er the restless tide
Music of the silent darkness
   Where all dreams abide.

Songs of great Orion glowing
     With his splendid train,
Soft perfumes of summer blowing
     Far across the plain,
And the maples by the fountains
     Laughing in the rain. [page 14]

Roses in the garden smiling
     On the glowing noon,
Sweet pond lilies all beguiling
     Lustre from the moon,
While the katydids in chorus
     Sing their merry tune.

Beauty came and whispered sweetly
     In the mellow haze,
Yield thief to me completely
     Walk in all my ways,
So shall life’s supremest treasures
     Glorify thy days.

Thou art mine, I’ve seen the ponder
     Where my paths might be,
Seen thine eyes grow soft with wonder
     Listening to the sea,
To its tales of strange adventure
     Wrought of mystery. [page 15]

DAYS OF HEALING.

I saw the springtime stealing
   By field and wilderness,
She laid sweet hands of healing
   On winter’s loneliness;
She loosed the frozen river,
   She breathed upon the stream,
She bade them sing forever,
   Her praises all their theme.

Her tear-dimmed eyes were yearning,
   Her passioned speech implores
The eager birds returning
   From far and foreign shores;
And eager captains waiting
   Deem waiting hours are long
Until the happy mating
   Until the mating song.

Lift up your hearts ye singers:
   And plume your ready wings,
Thrice welcome are ye, bringers
   Of bright and better things;
Through winter’s snow clouds drifting
   We too have waited long
Your messages uplifting
   Your benison of song. [page 16]

I saw the springtime stealing
   By waiting forest bowers,
Her balmy touch unsealing
   The slumber of the flowers;
They burst their bonds asunder,
   They lifted up their eyes,
When lo!  their fragrant wonder
   The woodland glorifies.

She taught them all her story,
   Her hands their gifts bestowed
Their healing touch of glory
   That lights a weary road;
These too are happy telling
   Their messages of grace,
The raptured music swelling
   Through nature’s holy place.

I saw the springtime stealing,
   The happy southland breeze
Her presence was revealing
   To all the bending trees;
She gave them of her blessing
   Her life their hearts expand,
Her gentle rains caressing
   With gladness filled the land. [page 17]

WATCH.

Think thus within thyself, this rising day
   May be the last whereon these eager feet
Shall pass along this homely pleasant way
   All kindly smiles and welcomes to greet.

May be the last!  so many things undone,
   So many hungry cravings unfulfilled,
So many triumphs waiting to be won,
   So many weary doubtings to be stilled.

So many evils clinging round our state,
   And firmly trenched behind the hoary years,
So little love, such treasuries of hate,
   So little laughter, such a wealth of tears.

So many achings waiting to be healing,
   So many shackles to be cut away,
So many sacred springs of love now sealed
   Yearning to burst and bless our mortal day.

Then gird the loins up and bow thine head,
   And waste no time in sorrowful regret
Be watchful to the end thy fearless tread
   Turn gladly home what time the sun has set. [page 18]

Be on the watch for thou can’st never be
   Assured some brother tempted far astray
Peering from out his shadow looks on thee
   As one who safely treads in virtue’s way.

Watch to do kindly deeds, thou can’st not know
   Nor guess what kindness means to broken souls,
Speak kindly words so shall thy spirit glow
   And radiate with power all ill controls.

Be this thine aim to breathe some larger hope
   Of loving tenderness to some poor heart,
Fret not thyself nor let ambition’s scope
   Wean thee from this true wisdom’s nobler part.

And strive to make this world an easier place
   For weak souls to do good, and harder still
For brutal greed to trample in the race
   On worthy men who have no strength or skill. [page 19]

MOONLIGHT ON THE SNOW.

Across the marsh the willow trees
   On the hard crust of drifted snow
Stern winter’s caryatides
   Their weird fantastic shadows throw.

The moonlight’s subtle witcheries
   Transfigure all the frozen wold
With marvellous carved ivories
   And silver chased with beaten gold.

And in the glory of the night
   The icicles are all a-gleam,
Like shafts of polished malachite
   Along the margin of the stream.

And glowing with rich opal sheen
   The mountains brood upon the sky,
Their woods of dusky tourmaline
   Banded with sparkling lazuli.

And searching every secret nook
   Insistently the keen winds rove,
As who should gladly pause to look
   On winter’s peerless treasure trove.

Across the marsh the willow trees
   Stand clear against the rigid cold,
Adorned with silver filigrees
   And bronze and ivory and gold. [page 20]

MORE LIGHT.

More light I crave, my Master, for the way is hard to find,
The cold grey mist hangs heavy and the trailing ivies bind,
Weary and cold I wander and I know not whither I go,
My breath goes up in the darkness like a rime of driven snow.

And a star gleam slowly, slowly fell at my faltering feet,
The moon shone out in splendor, and oh!  but her light was sweet,
And I blessed the star and moonlight, yea, and the sluggish breeze
Little recked I of the brambles or the snake-like roots of the trees.

And lo!  as my heart still pondered there rose from out the east
The glory of the morning, the sun like a great high priest
With his golden robes about him bowed to the darkened west,
And the evil sprites of the shadows fled at his quick behest. [page 21]

And the mist rolled like a vestment from the fields of waving grain,
And the brook flowed on in gladness to cheer the heart of the plain,
The throbbing soul of the woodland was lifted in songs of praise,
And I knew my Master’s pleasure was beauty and life always.

If dark be the way and darker yet give me the strength to bear,
If thorns be sharp on the hillside yet give me the courage to dare,
If ever my soul in weakness shrinks from the perils of night
Rise on the wings of the morning and pour on my pathway light. [page 22]

PERFECT DAYS.

Seldom if ever more perfect days
   Shall gladden the heart of the kindly earth
Than crowned in a glory of golden haze
   Watch when the tender spring hath its birth.

The sunshine broods on the rugged cliff,
   And the full tide breaks with a languid sigh
Where at its moorings the fishermen’s skiff
   Rocks in the glow of the azure sky.

The sunshine broods on the brooding sea,
   And hallows the pines on the mountain’s crest,
And the breeze dreams on of the time to be
   Crooning like babe at its mother’s breast.

The river pipes to the withered sedge,
   And the streamlet sings to the budding trees,
Sweet violets grow at the woodland’s edge,
   And coltsfoot out on the open leas.

Over and over and all day long,
   To welcome the hour of awakening earth
There floweth a silvery cascade of song,
   Floweth a river of gladsome mirth. [page 23]

THE VAGABOND.

There’s never a lordling in all the land
   Who owns an estate like mine,
For the woods and the fields on every hand
   I hold to the far sky line.

Oh I cannot breathe in your city streets
   And I hate the noisy towns,
But my home’s where the golden sunlight meets
   The golden gorse on the downs.

How I love to wake in the early morn
   When birds in the leafy trees,
And the skylarks soaring above the corn
   Are pouring their melodies.

My coat is shabby, but never a fear
   Have I as I bravely trudge,
My heart is light with a lightsome cheer
   I never hoarded a grudge.

I wend by the hill and down by the dale
   Where the lordly oak trees rise,
I know the haunts of the plover and quail,
   The pool where the salmon lies.

I know where the dun deer lies in the brake,
   And the pheasant steals her nest,
I know all the paths the poachers take
   When honest men are at rest. [page 24]

But I owe no debt and I scoff at pride
   Though the world is at my feet,
As free as the wind on the green hillside
   There’s no man I fear to meet.

Oh I long to fly from your city street
   With its grime and endless pain,
To be out where the wind and waters meet
   The surge and the dashing rain.

With my staff in my hand I gaily trudge,
   I love each mile of the road,
For I owe no debt and I hoard no grudge
   And light is my heart and load.

I love not the ways of your business men,
   Nor lawyers with costly deeds,
But I love to watch the ducks in the fen,
   And the wild geese in the reeds. [page 25]

SCOTLAND’S STORY.

The following lines were read at the Annual Celebration of Saint Andrew’s Night, in Saint John N. B., 1918, by Saint Andrew’s Society.

We’re met tonight to celebrate
   Old Scotia’s classic story,
The native land of heroes bold
   Enshrined in deathless glory;
Not hers the wealth of other lands,
   Her miles of misty heather,
Her rugged glens and mountain peaks
   Her dark and stormy weather.

Her fadeless scroll of martyrs true
   Who died in death maintaining
The Christ, the Covenant, the Kirk
   All meaner thought disdaining,
Have moulded all her sons alike,
   In combat stern and ready
Fair freedom’s quarrel to maintain
   In solid ranks and steady.

And when old Europe rocked and reeled
   And staggered near to falling
The fiery cross sped through the land
   Her sons to battle calling,
It sped by firth and lonely isle,
   By town and shepherd’s dwelling,
It sped by strath and wooded glen
   Its fateful message telling. [page 26]

The artisan forsook his task,
   The builder left his quarry,
The fisher left his nets behind,
   Nor longer might he tarry;
The weaver left his clanging loom,
   The engine ceased its whirring
What time the pibroch on the blast
   Old Scotia’s soul was stirring.

Oh would that other lips than mine
   In high sonorous numbers
Would tell the tale of Scotland’s might
   And soother her heroes’ slumbers;
Where fiercest raged the battle tide
   Amid the dead and dying
There ever in the foremost breach
   Was Scotland’s banner flying.

Strong men were there whose Highland blood
   Tingled to hear the story
Of how their grandsires fought and fell
   When Lucknow’s streets were gory;
Or how upon Crimean slopes
   The bearded Cossack trembled
To see amid the deadly hail
   The plaided clans assembled. [page 27]

Or when the Black Watch true as steel
   Napoleon rent asunder,
Leaping upon his serried ranks
   As leaps the blasting thunder;
Oh ever may their glory shine!
   Let Scotland fondly cherish
The memory of her heroes bold
   Nor let their laurels perish.

Four years their brows dropped bloody sweat,
   Oh agony appalling,
Up from the battles’ thunder blast
   We hear them ever calling
Calling to us who stayed behind
   In accents ringing clearly,
“Never forget ’tis Scotland’s boast
   To love true honor dearly.”

And so through all the shining years
   Let Scotland’s joy be ever
The genius worth and loyalty
   Her children’s high endeavor;
Old Scotia’s glory ne’er shall die,
   Embalmed in classic story,
Her worth in camp or council board
   Shall live in stainless glory. [page 28]

MOONLIGHT.

Graciously the moonlight broods upon the lake,
Weaving strands of silver in each shady brake,
Sighs with sweet contentment all the summer night
Nothing harsh or hateful mars the calm delight.

Graciously the moonlight broods upon the sea,
While the full tide whispers ocean’s mystery,
On the far off stretches of the hazy shore
All our great adventures dream forevermore.

Graciously the moonlight broods above the street,
Evermore in rapture leading toil-worn feet
To the restful meadows where the asphodel
And the nodding poppies weave their magic spell.

Oh the day has labour but the night has peace,
All our restless cravings find their sweet surcease
In the silvery splendor that the full moon brings
Brooding o’er our troubles with its healing wings. [page 29]

OCTOBER.

An amber mist is on the hills,
   Down in the vale a gauzy fold
Of silver fog the spaces fills
   Between the purple and the gold.

And over all the sun shines fair,
   The clouds sail in an azure sea
The light winds come and go and bear
   Faint whispers of far melody.

October’s heart is sound and sweet,
   October’s heart is good and wise,
Such restfulness can only meet
   Where one that’s fair and holy dies.

The leaves are falling yet so slow,
   So quiet in the woodland lane,
So dimly seen you scarce can know
   The droppings of the golden rain.

A chastened feeling fills the mind
   That is not sorrow but regret;
So we recall the greetings kind
   Of one but yesterday we met.

And so fair summer comes and goes,
   Even so the years steal on apace,
And summer into winter flows,
   And winter into summer’s grace. [page 30]

DO YOU REMEMBER?

Do you remember that far day in June?
   When you and I just schoolboys walked together
In the sweet perfume of the afternoon
   Along the hillsides rich with whins and heather.

And how we vowed the foolish vows of youth
   And clasped our hands in generous emotion,
We deemed nor time nor jealousy nor forsooth
   Could chill the ardor of our high devotion.

We watched the river winding down the glen,
   The swallows dipping in its silver reaches
How I delight to live those days again,
   Their sweet communion and romantic speeches.

Above our heads the skylark soared and sang,
   Down by the sea the noisy gulls were crying,
The blackbird’s chorus in the woodland’s rang,
   And the hoarse jackdaws thro’ the fields were flying.

And there we lingered till the gloaming sweet
   Stole o’er the land with its refreshing coolness,
Then homeward turned with slow reluctant feet,
   Such was one day with all its jocund fullness. [page 31]

And then we parted each his several ways,
   Ah!  friend, since then we’ve drifted far asunder,
And weary nights have come and restless days
   Yet in the press I sometimes pause to wonder.

How are you thriving now, I know right well
   Your high-souled courage never yet has faltered,
Ability like yours was sure to tell
   And so you’ve prospered or you’ve strangely altered.

And I’m content, ’tis true the passing days
   Have brought no riches whether lands or treasure,
You used to smile at my queer bookish ways,
   I’m still the same, my books are all my pleasure.

And do you ever think of those June days
   When you and I just schoolboys walked together
By the old mill and down the well-known ways,
   And sang and shouted in the golden weather? [page 32]

WRECKAGE.

All along the rocky shore,
   Swept up by the swirling seas
Lies the wreckage evermore
   Of man’s hopeless miseries.

Broken masts and broken spars,
   Broken cables, anchor chains,
Watched by the eternal stars,
   Bleaching in the summer rains.

Scourged by bitter biting spray,
   Dragged beneath by shifting sands,
All the weary winter day
   Buffeted by giant hands.

So upon the sounding shore,
   By the margin of our days
Drifting up for evermore
   From our crowded mortal ways.

Drives the derelicts along
   Urged by every stormy wind
Drifts the wreckage of the strong
   And the feeble passion blind.

Broken hearts and broken souls,
   Broken promise of the good,
Helpless in the cruel shoals
   Hopeless in their bitter mood. [page 33]

Withered by our social scorns,
   Dragged beneath by social pride,
On their heads a crown of thorns,
   Mocked and scourged and crucified.

So they drive upon the rocks,
   Drive upon the shifting sands
Buffeted by passion’s shocks
  Pointed at by scornful hands.

All along the rocky shore,
   Swept up by the swirling seas
Lies the wreckage evermore
   Of man’s broken destinies.

PARTING SONG.

So hardily the robins pipe
   So cheerily withal and bold
Where clustered nuts are brown and ripe
   And cherries crown the pasture wold.

So saucily he jerks his head
   And scorns me with impatient eyes
As chiding at my noisy tread
   Breaking upon his reveries.

I almost doubt the summer days
   Are passed, the season seems so brief
Since first we heard his merry lays
   Since last we saw the budding leaf. [page 34]

The ice has scarcely left the streams
   Or looking back it seemeth so,
Lo, now the mellow autumn gleams,
   Lo, now the autumn breezes blow.

High thanks good friend for all thy cheer
   Thy farewell benediciti
Shall keep our courage warm and clear
   When murky days of tempest be.

And thanks to every feathered friend
   Dear brethren of the cloistered wood
Whose precious minstrelsy shall blend
   And lift us to the highest good.

So mellowly the autumn-tide
   Sleeps in a calm blue monotone
On the far hills where echoes hide
   Scarce can we deem the summer flown. [page 35]

WHEN FOND FANCY.

When fond fancy goes a-faring
   All the happy sprites attend
And with melodies ensnaring
   Down the pleasant pathways wend;
Through the meads with daisies blowing
   And the groves where wild birds sing
And the tinkling streamlets flowing
   And fair lilies blossoming.

When fond fancy goes a-faring
   Sweetest memories bestir
And the graces follow bearing
   Rarest frankincense and myrrh
And from all her dainty fingers
   Drippeth recompense divine
And in every place she lingers
   Radiant floods of glory shine.

When fond fancy goes a-faring
   ’Mid the amaranthine flowers
Who can choose but follow sharing
   In the gladness of her hours;
As melodiously she fareth
   Through the dreamy ways and old
Lo, the sandal shoon she weareth
   Are right glorious to behold. [page 36]

When fond fancy goes a-faring
   All the happy sprites attend
And with melodies ensaring
   Down the pleasant pathways wend;
May I follow all her leading
   To the groves where wild birds sing
Where all gentle thoughts are pleading
   And sweet songs are burgeoning.

SPRING MADRIGAL.

I thought to weave a madrigal
   In honor of the birth of flowers
Soft as the phoebe’s far-off call
   And cheering as the vernal showers.

And I had hoped to catch some beams
   Of gladness from the shining sun
Some laughter from the laughing streams
   Brimming with joyance while they run.

And I had planned in wanton mood
   My tinkling dithyrambs to link
With fragrance from the solitude
   Of sweet arbutus pearly pink.

Some hint of azure from the sky
   The rustling of the leafy trees
The dancing of the butterflies
   The droning of the honey bees. [page 37]

And I would take the lilac hued
   Hepatica and bloodroot fair
And therewith I would weave a snood
   To bind the yellow coltsfoot’s hair.

And I would link the thrushes’ song
   With painted trilliums, virgin’s bower,
What time the blissful days are long
   And gladness waits on every hour.

But when my fancy strove to reach
   These wanton moods of mine to paint
To render music into speech
   I found my language all too faint.

THE HOYDEN.

April hath fascinating ways
   Her perfumed hair in winds a-blow
Her garmenture a filmy haze
   Of golden weave with sapphire glow.

And as she trips along she croons
   The most enticing melodies
She murmurs her seductive tunes
   To bursting buds upon the trees.

She is the hoyden of the year
   Capricious, teasing in her wiles
As prodigal of laughter clear
   As of alluring tears and smiles. [page 38]

And when she languishes in dreams
   The sweet birds carol in her praise
The monotone of far off streams
   In cadence with their roundelays.

Fair April hath a pleasant face
   With tender and persuasive hands
And where she comes our dwelling place
   With hopefulness and joy expands.

Fair April hath a varied mood
   She’s sometimes bold, anon she’s shy,
And to her bondage hath subdued
   All mankind with her roguish eye.

April hath fascinating ways
   The music of her tinkling feet
The promise of her brooding days
   Fills all the lands with triumph sweet.

LIFE’S BRIMMING CUP.

Here, here I stand upon my feet
   And God is high and lifted up
Oh, for the strength to drain the sweet
   Strong wine in life’s deep brimming cup.

To grasp the riddle of the years
   And in the tide of time control
Amid the whirl of hopes and fears
   The safe outgoings of my soul. [page 39]

To see the visions, dream the dreams
   That mortal eyes can never scan,
To know amid these changing schemes
   Some hint of God’s unchanging plan.

To be assured before I reach
   The portals of the sunset gate
Such halting words as mine could teach
   Joy to some soul disconsolate.

To be free-handed as the sun
   Strength-giving as the sweeping rain
As prodigal as streams that run
   With healing to the parching plain.

Here, here I stand upon my feet
   And God is high and lifted up
These things I crave to make complete
   The fragrance of life’s brimming cup.

Let all else go!  no gold I crave
   For hoarded wealth hath subtle sting
Just let me live the willing slave
   Of joys and beauties that I sing. [page 40]

HOLY GROUND.

Wherever men have toiled is holy ground
   No canting priest can say this is profane
Take off thy shoes in reverence profound
   For here men suffered, suffering not in vain.

The fevered rice fields of the southern states,
   The smiling spice belt of the Indian seas,
Wherever mortals questioning their fates
   Wrestled to conquer stubborn destinies.

The fertile prairies of the boundless west,
   The broad savannahs where the cattle roam,
Wherever men have plied a parlous quest
   ’Mid elemental laws to find a home.

In grimy factories ’mid the cities’ roar,
   In noisy workshops where escaping steam
Breeds in the minds of men for evermore
   Such tortured visions as the fiends might dream.

And in the noisome purlieus of the street
   Where women toil in cramped and murky rooms
Through hopeless days of striving incomplete
   And mad rebellion at life’s clanging looms.

Not for themselves these suffered, not their guilt
   Had chained them in the galleys hopeless slaves,
Not for themselves their perspiration spilt,
   Not for their shame they crept to nameless graves. [page 41]

Wherever men have toiled is holy ground,
   What though no fond tradition bless the clay,
No censers swing, no holy anthems sound,
   Nor sacred stations mark the tear-stained way.

Wherever men have toiled is holy ground,
   And holy were the lives of those who strayed
In quiet ways, their passing unrenowned
   Strong but to live and suffer undismayed.

SUMMER SONG.

Water lilies in the lakes
   With bur-reed in the shallows
Where the upland breeze awakes
   Red willow weed and mallows;
Birds are singing everywhere
   Beside the river reaches
Seagulls floating in the air
   High over sandy beaches.

Laurels on the steep hillside
   And wild rue in the meadows,
Buttercups in golden pride
   And sorrels in the shadows;
Lilies in the pasture lots,
   Pipsissewa and myrtle,
Ribbons of forget-me-nots
   To tie my lady’s kirtle. [page 42]

Oh this world’s a lovely place,
   So let us all be jolly,
For is neither help or grace
   In brooding melancholy;
Thrushes singing in the woods
   With robin redbreasts singing
Challenging our sombre moods
   Light hearted laughter ringing.

Harebells ringing fairy tunes
   To bindweeds in the clover
Where the breathless afternoons
   The blundering wild bees hover;
Bluebirds singing in the shade,
   The vesper sparrow calling,
Bullfrogs at their serenade
   What time the shadows falling.

THE WOODLAND POOL.

I know a quiet woodland pool,
   Only the vireos beside
Drink of its waters sweet and cool
   Or bathe in its pellucid tide.

Only the squirrel may invade
   The secrets of that calm retreat,
Or romp in its monastic shade,
   Or ply its round with nimble feet. [page 43]

There many a shy white violet,
   With orchid fair and trillium
Amid the soft green moss is set,
   Where spoiling foot can seldom come.

So jealousy the maple trees
   Weave far above a leafy screen,
To guard its fragrant sanctities
   That scarce the sun may peep between.

And vagrant breeze has never stirred
   The calmness of its placid breast,
Only the crooning of a bird
   To soothe the vigil of its nest.

The hazels throw their tangled shade
   Where ’mid the brackens cool and sweet
Shy creatures wander unafraid,
   And fairies may with fairies meet.

I know a quiet woodland pool,
   Only the veery’s bell-like notes
Re-echo in the spaces cool,
   And through the restful shadow floats. [page 44]

HAPPY LITTLE GARDEN.

 
Happy little garden in the sheltering hills,
Fragrant with the breathing of sweet daffodils,
Where the bluebirds singing from the apple sprays
Hails the springtime coming down the winding ways.

Hyacinth and crocus, tulips all a-row
Flaunt their peerless beauty in the noontide glow,
Lily of the valley shy and fair and frail
Babbles all her secrets to the fickle gale.

And an arbor covered with a trailing vine,
Hidden in a boskage of sweet jessamine,
Spikes of purple lilac, rose trees in between,
Plots of glowing color, lawns of coolest green.

And a laughing booklet shouts its merry tale
To the far off river winding down the vale,
Pleasant in its music leaping down the hills,
Now in tinkling measures, now in sharper trills.

And a hammock swinging from the bending trees,
In seductive coolness slumberous melodies,
Shrined amid the shadows grotto of the blest,
Oh delicious calmness soothing all unrest.

There are many gardens surely never one
Holds such priceless trophies from the circling sun,
And the bird songs echo from a thousand woods,
Here thy chorus sweetly in diviner moods. [page 45]

Happy little garden in the sheltering hills,
Fragrant with the breathing of sweet daffodils,
Glorious with promise of a thousand flowers
Filled with pleasant blossom dreaming all the hours.

SOME DAY.

Some day I know that I shall be
   Ashamed to think how small a cross
Could vex my soul, when I shall see
   The record of life’s gain and loss.

Some day the crown of my desire
   Shall surely come in longed for ways,
These broken songs which now inspire
   Dissolve in floods of sparkling praise.

Some day these feet of mine shall climb
   The very peaks of glorious thought,
And I shall tread in paths sublime
   By agony and heart-ache wrought.

Some day these hands shall be thrice blessed,
   Yea, sweeter shall their service seem,
More restful than the healing rest
   That blends into the fevered dream. [page 46]

Some day these vague unreasoned fears
   Shall be subdued and I shall own
The kindliness that hedged my years,
   And I shall know as I am known.

Some day some time shall surely come
   A messenger unto my place,
My trembling doubts shall then be dumb
   For I shall see Him face to face.

SIMPLE THINGS.

Simple tales are always best
   Sitting in the firelight’s glow,
In the homely language dressed
   That we loved so long ago.

Simple songs stir deepest chords,
   And by strong mysterious art
Through the magic of the words
   Burdened heart calls out to heart.

Lullabies are always sweet,
   These a mother’s wistful dreams
Watching over little feet
   Where the bright eyed future gleams. [page 47]

Simple things, ah me, how tight
   Cling the tendrils of the years,
How they temper our delight
   How they soothe our bitter tears.

Simple things, a broken crib,
   Or a tress of sunny hair,
Ruined toys, a broidered bib
   And a baby’s rocking chair.

Treasures of our secret shrine
   Where no other feet draw near,
Where the glories ever shine
   Of a far off fragrant year.

Simple tales are always best,
   How they grip us and control
Fiercest passions of the breast,
   Maddest currents of the soul. [page 48]

A LITTLE GLINT OF SUNSHINE.

 
A little glint of sunshine,
   A little bit of rain,
A vagrant hint of perfume
   That floated down a lane;
But past was winter’s bondage,
   And gone was winter’s pain.

A little bluebird singing
   Upon the lilac sprays,
And earth was filled with rapture,
   And heaven gave back the praise,
The rapture of the springtime,
   The glory of the days.

A brooding mist and tender
   Entangled in the trees,
A crooning breeze that wakens
   Fair old time memories,
And fleecy clouds a-trailing
   Above the sunny seas.

A little glint of sunshine
   Above the drifted snow,
A little touch of gladness,
   And icicles aglow,
And tiny streamlets trickling
   To valleys far below. [page 49]

INSPIRATION.

All good books are inspired of this be sure,
   Whatever lifts men from their sordid state,
That too is godlike and it must endure
   Unto all time to make the ages great.

For these are children of man’s inmost soul,
   And in their very essence all divine,
Born of his strength they yet his strength control
   And his base self in spite of self refine.

All good work is inspired whate’er it be,
   All honest work is sacred howso wrought,
This raised man from the brute and made him free,
   And gave him access to the world of thought.

Say not the former ages raised in vain
   Their monoliths and pyramids of stone,
The airy arabesques of Moorish Spain,
   Or hanging gardens of great Babylon.

These too were honest works, the workers aimed
   To stamp their genius on the rugged lime,
They passed away, their record unashamed
   That shall endure to earth’s remotest time.

All workers die but yet their work remains,
   However humble in men’s sight it seem
The cunning work of skilful hands and brains
   That shall endure while blazing comets gleam. [page 50]

Slight not thy task!  say thou within thy heart
   This must endure, then pause awhile and say
This thing I do shall also bear its part
   To lift men nearer to the perfect day.

Then be thine aim to dig that ditch so straight,
   To lay these bricks so perfectly and just,
So shalt thou in thy lowliness be great,
   So shalt thou live when kings are senseless dust!

IN SUNFLECKED WAYS.

Lingering in sunflecked ways
   Poets spend an idle time,
Weaving golden phrase in phrase,
   Moulding sense to subtle rhyme.

Bending thoughts to rhythmic speech,
   Such the magic of their skill
That their parables outreach
   Flights of the aspiring will.

And their mellow throated mirth
   Mingles with the gentle breeze,
When the evening star hath birth
   Far above the tranquil seas.

And the lilies bend their heads
   Gracefully upon the grass,
And the flowery meadow spreads
   Carpets where their feet shall pass. [page 51]

Not a bird but owns their art,
   Silencing their throbbing throats,
Lest their gladness should impart
   Discords in the dulcet notes.

And the billows of the deep,
    Flowing in their granite caves
Rhythmic time and measure keep,
   Strophes to their choral staves.

Poets are an idle race,
   Loving best to sit and dream
Where the flickering shadows trace
   Quaint inscriptions on the stream.

Lingering in sunflecked ways
   Poets spend an idle time,
Weaving rhapsodies of praise,
   Stringing precious pearls of rhyme. [page 52]

PATIENTLY THE SOUTH WIND.

Patiently the south wind wooes the flowers again
With the sweet insistent laughter of the rain,
Tenderly the sunbeams kiss them all awake
On the breezy hillside by the quiet lake.

Lovingly the south wind all the deep blue days
Seeks them through the forest by the tangled ways,
Seeks until she finds them, oh the fragrance rare,
Clasps them to her bosom, binds them in her hair.

Melodies entrancing borne upon the breeze,
Robins whistling clearly from the budding trees,
Catbirds in the orchard and the orchard lane
Add their limpid strophes to the glad refrain.

Winter’s gloomy silence merges in delight,
Mellow is the daytime calmly pure the night,
Subtle is the radiance of the shining noon,
Wondrous time of healing all the earth a-swoon.

Sweetly sighs the south wind on the intervales,
Whispers to the meadows quaintly pleasing tales;
Dallies ’mid the sedges, lingers o’er the pool
Where the watchers eddy ’mid the shadows cool.

Patiently the south wind wooes the flowers again
With the rippling radiance of the springtime rain,
Lovingly she calls them trooping to her side
From the breezy upland and the valleys wide. [page 53]

WAKING DREAMS.

Oh it’s rare must be the dreaming
   Of the slumbering earth today,
With the golden sunlight streaming
   High above the shimmering spray,
And the dulcet south wind stealing
   ’Mid the alders black and grey.

For the winter time is over
   And the valley and the plain
Smile upon the ardent lover
   As he melts their icy chain,
Till the tinkling of their laughter
   Is re-echoed back again.

And the music of the fountains
   Thrills the silent solitude,
Till the voices from the mountains
   Interweave through all their mood,
And the fair round of creation
   Finds their chorusing is good.

For the earth is filled with glory
   When the spring is at the gate,
And she listens to the story
   Of her blessed primal state,
Till she longs with mighty yearning
   For her innocent estate. [page 54]

And the skies in pity bending
   Whisper words of loving cheer,
Love and pity wisely blending
   Wondrous whispers for her ears,
Of a time of restoration,
   And the time is drawing near.

LIFE’S SWEETEST SONGS.

Life’s sweetest songs are all unsung,
   Their ecstasies we may not reach,
They linger on our trembling tongue
   And die for lack of fitting speech.

Life’s sweetest songs have swiftest wings,
   Quick soaring far beyond our sight,
They shun the soul where evil clings,
   They perish in our earthly night.

Life’s sweetest songs breathe calm content
   And healing from our yester-years,
Their melodies so strangely blent
   Of smiles that glow through hidden tears.

Life’s sweetest songs so softly steal
   In twilight hours and darkening skies,
Their ringing cadences reveal
   The nimbus of earth’s sacrifice. [page 55]

Life’s sweetest songs so deftly weave
   Into the texture of our time,
The wounds that bleed, the aches that grieve
   Are cleansed by alchemy sublime.

Life’s sweetest songs are all unsung,
   Too pure they are for mortal words,
They linger on our trembling tongue
   And die in fair melodious chords.

THE SEER.

He saw so many lovely things
   Our careless eyes may never know,
In budding flower and soaring wings,
   In sunrise, and in sunset’s glow,

And he could hear bewitching tunes
   Sung by the aspen’s quivering leaves,
Interpret all the mystic runes
   The stars write on the harvest sheaves.

He knew the secrets that the tides
   Were whispering to the pebbly beach,
The touching eloquence that bides
   Behind a poet’s rapture speech.

He stood beside our common ways
   The light of gladness in his eyes,
For in the drabness of our days
   He saw the world’s self sacrifice. [page 56]

He saw so many lovely things
   In forest or in crowded street,
The sweet divinity that clings
   Wherever man shall set his feet.

I know not why this man should see
   Those things to us all unrevealed,
Or why his ears responsive be
   To music when our own are sealed.

But I rejoice when he is glad,
   Because his spirit’s overflow
 Makes sorrow’s self seem not so sad
   And gladness take a warmer glow.

He saw so many lovely things
   Our duller eyes may never scan,
The heaven-born dignity that clings
   And glorifies the soul of man. [page 57]

WILD GEESE.

Whence come these flying squadrons?  what lure has called them forth,
What treasures are they seeking in the far and misty north?
Oh strong should be their pinions and fierce their hardihood
Who seek to beard the ice king and tame his sullen mood.

Well marshalled are these squadrons in warlike circumstance,
Not lightly shall their cohorts stay in their strong advance
With battle line formation and ringing challenge cries
Their way is always onward through bright or stormy skies.

These be the light formations the leaders of the host
Shall come with pomp and glory in all the conquered coast,
These be the strong contenders, revivers of the slain,
Shall reach life’s severed woof strings and knit them up again.

Spitzbergen’s beach shall know them and Hecla’s angry strait,
And theirs shall be the bulwarks that guard the polar gate, [page 58]
And theirs the wide dominions that know the midnight sun.
And theirs the high rejoicing in victories they have won.

Oh strong may be their boasting the vanguard of the host,
Brave heralds in life’s battle, redeemers of the lost,
Let courage gird your pinions the might of ancient kings,
And joy that laughs at danger in all your journeyings.

A SONG OF LOVES.

The goshawk loves the azure deep,
   The thrushes haunt the greenwood tree,
And swift the eagle’s pinions sweep
   The fastness where the glaciers be.

The osprey loves the shallow tide,
   The peregrine is free and bold,
He soars above the mountain side
   And hovers round his craggy hold.

The cuckoo loves the darkening woods,
   The bluebird hastens with the spring,
The catbird in its joyous moods
   With laughter makes the orchard ring. [page 59]

The swallows love the sunny walls,
   The mallard broods upon the fen,
And blithely robin redbreast calls
   To cheer the haunts of toiling men.

The flicker loves the hollow tree,
   The gull rejoices in the spray,
And orioles pour melody
   Upon the sparkling noon of day.

Kingfishers love to sit and dream
   Where in the silence of the swails
Above the babbling of the stream
   The blue jay pours his endless tales.

The falcon loves the singing pines,
   The humming bird flits to and fro
From clematis to columbines
   In alleys where wild roses grow. [page 60]
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