AND OTHER POEMS
REV. GEORGE SCOTT
SAINT JOHN, N.B.
THE SAINT JOHN GLOBE PUBLISHING CO. LIMITED
The Saint John Globe Publishing Co. Limited
Ballads of Disarmament
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]
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.
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.
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]
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]
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]
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 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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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.
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.
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.
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]
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.
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 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 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]
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]
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.
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]
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]