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VERSES GRAVE AND GAY.
J. W. BENGOUGH.
WILLIAM BRIGGS, WESLEY BUILDINGS.
C. W. COATES, MONTREAL, QUE. S. F. HUESTIS, HALIFAX, N.S.
Entered, according to the Act of the Parliament of Canada, in the year one thousand eight hundred and ninety-five, by WILLIAM BRIGGS, in the Office of the Minister of Agriculture, Ottawa. [unnumbered page]
The Profoundest Respect
“WHEN at first I took my pen in hand Thus for to write, I did not understand That I at all should make a little book In such a mode,”
Says quaint John Bunyan in the rhyming Preface to hi immoral Pilgrim; and I may truthfully adopt his lines, although the present work may not quite achieve immorality. With a few exceptions the verse herein printed have appeared in the page of Grip and other journal of a more sedate description, but they were not written with a view to subsequent “collection,” excepting in my private crap-book. I have taken the somewhat venturesome step of putting these selections in a more public book by the advice of friends in whose judgment I have confidence. My hop I that the Gentle Reader may be able conscientiously to endorse that judgment also.
TORONTO, April, 1895. [unnumbered page]
VERSES GRAVE AND GAY.
THE LATER MR. COLUMBUS.
[illustration] In measure that is meant to be heroic I’d extol The doings of Columbus, that brave and dauntless soul! I cannot stand in silence by while everybody round Is singing of his praises, and college halls resound With poems and orations and eulogies and such— Am I to be “not in it”?—Gee, Christopher, not much! And so, in bold, heroic verse—tho’ plain and unadorned— I’d tell his story, so that cranks who now are jeer’d and scorned, May yet take heart of grace, and never yield to black despair, For C. C. was a crank, and yet, my brethren, he got there! [page 9] ’Twas in Genoa he was born, a little town near Spain; [illustration] Genoa the fact, of course, and so I needn’t now detain You with partic’lar mention of his birth and early life, Nor of his school-boy days, nor of the girl he made his wife; Tho’ I may pause to mention, what was just a little queer, The lady wan’t the daughter of an American millionaire. Twas when he’d come to riper years his career began, When he’d become a settled, grave and swarthy sailor-man (Or rather Navigator, which sounds some better, perhaps), And quite a monomaniac on musty charts and maps. For out of these pet studies there gradually arose A theory in his noddle—and everybody knows How such a plant is apt to grow; beginning very slim, [illustration] The man first gets the theory, and then the thing gets him; Or instances of this you may in history fairly gorge— Or, if you want a modern case, just look at Henry George! Columbus formed a theory, and thence forth couldn’t rest Until he’d give it a trial, to wit, that sailing west Would bring a Navigator to India’s distant shore Mush quicker than the reg’lar route—he’d save six months or more. [page 10] With sextant, chart, and compass he’d demonstrate the fact To anyone who’d listen—until they though him cracked; But when he asked for money to give the thing a trial, [illustration] The neighbors only answered with an aggravating smile. And so at last, disgusted, discouraged and cast down, He packed up his belongings and left his native town. “I’ll go,” said he, “to men of state, to prelates and to kings; They have appreciation, they understand these things!” [illustration] But the very first discovery this great Discoverer made, Was that men are very much alike, whatever be their grade. He tramped around from court to court, just like a Chancery client, And lobbied in the palaces with spinal column pliant, But all in vain! He found each king and potentate a noodle; They wouldn’t tumble to his scheme; he couldn’t rise the boodle. His talents as a canvasser were meagre, I’m afraid. If he had the gumption to enlist the Ladies’ Aid Connected with the parish church, and sent some spinsters forth, [page 11] To raise that money would have been the simplest thing on earth. [illustration] And ’twas at last to Woman, and her gentle influence, Columbus owed his triumph after long and sore suspense; For Isabella, Queen of Spain, she took him by the hand And introduced him to her royal partner, Ferdinand. Good Isabella, of Castile, whose name, inspiring hope, Gives an odor sweet to hist’ry, like the smell of Castile soap! She took Columbus by the hand and interviewed the king. Said she, “My darling Ferdy, I have looked in this thing,
And it’s not, as everybody says, a silly, cranky dream; In fact, I’m quite convinced myself there’s something in the scheme; [page 12] And if you’ll take your wife’s advice, as every man should do. You’ll forthwith do the financing, and put this project through. I’m so sure it’s a bonanza that—pray do not call me rash— My crown jewels I am willing to convert to ready cash; And rather than Columbus’ plan should fizzle and fall through, I’ll make another sacrifice, and give my back hair too!” So spake the royal consort, and Ferdinand caught on. Said he, “Columbus, chappie, the thing’s as good as done. I’ll act on Belle’s suggestion—it’s better for my health— [illustration] And may the project bring us fame in History—and wealth!” Columbus in that moment—the happiest of his life— Ejaculated blessings on old Ferdy and his wife, And in ecstatic frenzy, right there before the court, He danced a minstrel breakdown of an energetic sort. Why stay to give particulars of how the funds were raised, Or how the ships were chartered, or how the king was praised; Suffice it that upon a date in fourteen ninety-two Columbus saw his scheme afloat, and with his motley crew [page 13] He went aboard his vessels, and the band struck up an air Composed in special honor of the great Chicago Fair.
The royal party, in a hack, came down to see him off; No longer did the know-it-alls presume to jeer and scoff. By dignitaries of the Church the ships were duly blessed, [illustration] And then the king rose up and said, “Go west, young man, go west.” [illustration] While Isabella of Castile took out her handkerchief, And, in the most affecting style, indulged in female grief. Columbus, on the quarter deck, stood bowing to the crowd, When cries, “A song! a song!” arose in voices thunder-loud; So, tuning up his light guitar, in manner most refined he Rendered the Spanish version of “The girl I left behind me.” [page 14] And then, by the way of chorus, the crew came to his aid, And sang that fie old ballad, “Farewell” the anchor’s weighed.” Thus, ’mid the strains of music, and cheers and shouts that day. The ships were headed westward, and Columbus sailed away. [illustration] Let’s draw a sombre curtain o’er the next ensuing weeks, Of which in tones of sadness the grave historian speaks; A time so full of sorrow and anxious, carking care, For Christopher Columbus, the dauntless mariner. Surrounded by a shifty crew inclined to mutiny, Who voted want of confidence, a wretched time had he. They’d ask him silly questions, and kick against his rules, [illustration] And shiver all his timbers for the chief of cranks and fools; And then they’d weep and wail and cry, “Oh, take us home again; We want to see our mothers in the lovely land of Spain!” [page 15] Columbus then would stand up straight and stiff and answer, “Never!” “What, never?” then the crew would ask, and he’d say, “Hardly ever! We’re going to visit India first—belay and heave the log; If I hear any more of this, I’ll—I’ll—I’ll stop your grog!” And then they’d swear. This little glimpse I give you by the way. So things went on, until affairs came to a head one day. That crew rose up and called a halt, and told Columbus plain, This foolishness must stop right here—the ships must head for Spain! Columbus argued out the point, dissenting from that view; But he was one against a crowd, and what could one man do? And so he had to bow to fate, resign his cherished dream, [illustration] And—but at his grave crisis Columbus heard a scream, And swiftly looking up aloft, whence the alarms had come, He saw a sight that riveted hi eyes and struck him dumb. Upon the mizzen topmast yard a bird had just alighted, And all that crew fell on their knees astonished and affrighted. Columbus struck an attitude—a ☜ pose like this, you know— And in a voice of triumph cried, “Aha! I told you so!! The fact that it’s a bird,” said he, “proves we are close to land.” [page 16] And then he looked up through the glass that trembled in his hand; “The further fact that this bird is on the eagle kin, And wears a shield of stars and stripes tied on below its chin, [illustration] With arrow in its talons, and a ribbon from its beak Which says E pluribus unum in a patriotic shriek— This proves beyond a doubt, and I will bet a cart-wheel dollar This land upon our starboard bow—excuse me if I holler Eureka! We have found it. Hurray! Hurray! Hurray!— Behold the Land of Freedom!—this is Americay!” [page 17]
Enough! the lie is ended. God only owns the land; No parchment deed hath virtue unsigned by His own hand; Out on the bold blasphemers who would eject the Lord, And pauperize His children, and trample on His word! Behold the glorious temple, with dome of starry sky, And floor of greensward scented, and trees for pillars high; And song of birds for music, and bleat of limbs for prayer, And incense of sweet vapors uprising everywhere. Behold His table bounteous spread over land and sea, The sure reward of labor, to every mortal free; And hark! through Nature’s anthem there rises the refrain, “God owns the world, but giveth it unto the sons of men.” But see, within the temple, as in Solomon’s of old, The money-changers haggle, and souls are bought and sold; And that I called an owner’s which can only be the Lord’s, And Christ is not remembered—nor His whip of knotted cords. But Christ has not forgotten, and wolfish human greed Shall be driven from our heritage; God’s bounties shall be freed; And from out our hoary statutes shall be torn the crime-stained leaves, Which have turned the world, God’s temple, into a den of thieves! [page 18]
THE “WAR CRY.”
In the elegant rotunda of the fine up-town hotel (The favorite lounge of tourist, commercial man and swell), In little knots and circles, in coteries and sets, The idlers chatted gaily and enjoyed their cigarettes. The drummer from Kentucky (in the wine and liquor trade) His stock of bran new stories to a genial group displayed, And bursts of merry laughter acclaimed each happy hit, Like, thunder-peals responding to the lightning flash of wit. [page 19] Within the vaulted entry and across the polished tiles To’rds the group of flippant gossips, under fire of rakish smiles, Came a pair of mild-faced maidens, clad in modest navy blue, With scoop-bonnets of the Army and the badge of crimson hue; And with gentle step approaching, as the loungers stood at ease, Spake in accents low and wining, “Will you buy a War Cry, please?” Offering a sample paper from the bundle that each bore, “Will you please to buy a copy?—it will tell you of the war.” “Bless my soul!” exclaimed the drummer, with an air of mock alarm, Putting on his gold-rimmed pince nez—“A War Cry, little marm? Why I thought the war was over and ended long ere this— Been another Indian slaughter? or what’s the matter, miss?” A smile went round the circle at this clever, ready jest, And the hand that held the paper trembled as it fell to rest; But upon the jester’s feature the lass’s eyes were set, The sweetest yet the saddest eyes his glance had ever met. “No,” she said in earnest, quav’ring tones, and tears were in her voice, “The war is not yet ended, nor the time come to rejoice; [page 20] With dead and dying comrades the trenches yet are filled, And the field is strewn with victims—but not by Indians killed. “’Tis sinful human passion, the lust and greed of gold, That slaughters these our brothers to-day in hosts untold— That slays them, not with bullets, but with ardent spirits fell, With wine, and beer, and whiskey, the artillery of hell. “Oh, sir! are you a helper in this awful work of woe? Do eyes of murdered babies glare icily at you? Do ghosts of famished mothers and wraths of ruined sons Cry from the tombs for vengeance on you, who man the guns? [illustration] “May God forbid! but oh, sir! this long and weary fight Is raging all about us—nor ceases day nor night— And you, who praise the soldier who faces shot and shell, Have you no manly honor for us who fight as well? “Think you ’tis any pleasure that we, two puny girls, Should go where laughter greet us or the lip of scorner curls? Nay; but our Master’s colors we dare to hold aloft, And bear, as once He bore for us the taunts of those who scoffed. [page 21] “’Tis for your souls we labor; we do not prize your gold; But oh, don’t slight our Master, His love can ne’er be told. You do not mean to be unkind, your hearts are not all bad, But your thoughtless mirth makes sadder our souls already sad!” No man in all that circle now wore a leering smile, But moistened eyes were fixed upon that face so free of guile; And when the lass ceased speaking the jester, ill at ease, Said huskily, “God bless you! Sell me a War Cry, please.” [page 22]
SPRING POEM BY FITZDUDESON.
[illustration] THE spwing has come again With its gentle showahs of wain, And the wobin’s sweet wefwain, Deah boy, deah boy— And I wish it would wemain, Deah boy! I do adaw the spwing, When the bi’ds begin to sing, I think it just the thing, Deah boy, deah boy— New life it seems to bwing, Deah boy! In the wintah, doncher know, Theah’a a lot of beastly snow, And the mercury’s down low, Deah boy, deah boy— And your baggy twowsers blow, Deah boy! And in summeh-time it’s hot, “Seaside bweezes”? simply wot; You cawn’t find a decent spot, Deah boy, deah boy— And your collahs go to pot, Deah boy! [page 23] Autumn tints are well enough, But the weathaw’s sometimes wough, And the leaves are dwopping off, Deah boy, deah boy— Awftah all, the spwing’s the stuff, Deah boy!
[illustration: Drawn by J. D. Kelly.]
THE DOOMED SHIP.*
WESTWARD, on the sparkling sea, With vine-embowered Italy, Faint astern, and growing fainter— Land of poet and of painter— And to these her sons and daughters, Tossing on the strange blue waters, Dimmer yet she doth appear Through th’unbidden trembling tear,
*Some years ago cholera broke out on board and emigrant ship from Italy, bound to a Brazilian port, On arriving at their destination, the emigrants were not permitted to land, but were told to go down the coast, a hundred miles or so, to another port. Here again the wretched sufferers were warned off, and the ship put aimlessly to sea with her cargo of dead and dying. She has never since been heard of. A full account of the event was printed at the time in Once a Week, a New York journal. [page 25]
As they crowd the good ship’s deck. Westward! Home-land now a speck In the far uncertain East— Land of poet and of priest. Vanished now from every eye; And they turn with heart-born sigh To the bow that’s westward steering, To Gibraltar’s rock appearing— To Gibraltar’s fortress passed, To the wider sea at last; Westward, westward through the gate— Westward—and to such a fate!
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Days have dawned, and dragged, and passed, Each one longer than the last, Each one taking as it went Some morsel of the brave content That buoyed these hearts upon the sea, So far from beauteous Italy, As swooping gulls might snatch away His baubles from a child at play And vanish swiftly from his sight— So thieving days swept into night; And in the crowded space below, A weariness began to grow, And wives waxed faint, and children cried, And men sat silent side by side, Or sadly asked, “How long before We’ll see the far Brazilian shore?”
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On, on the ship crept like a snail, Spreading the ineffectual sail; [page 26] A lonely centre on the deep For the vast, empty circle sweep That bounded with a darkling sky. The waste of waters far and nigh. So fared they on, when o’er that waste There came a Presence—not love-faced, As to the fisherman came He Who walked the waves of Galilee, But gaunt and cruel—of horrid mien, If mortal eye could but have seen His ghostly form, as o’er the surge He strode—the Spirit of the Scourge! Now, in the fetid hole below the deck, ’Mid heat and stenches, comes this Scourge to rule A wretched kingdom, and before his throne Soon they fall prostrate—fathers, mothers, babes, Dying in agonies surpassing words, And making what was made of hell seen heavenly— The black, fell court of Cholera!
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But here is port, thank God, and here at last I help and human brotherhood! See how they swarm the deck and bring the sick Up from the hold to breathe the wholesome air; And mark in each deep-sunken eye the gleam Of laughter and delight at this relief— A swelling joy they are too weak to voice, Yet which, unvoiced, threatens to break their hearts! ’Tis quarantine, and for some days, mayhap, The law will hold the ship off from the port, [page 27] But what of that? Near by are fellow-men To succour and relieve their dire distress; And in advance they bless the unknown hand Of hospitality. . . . Too soon, too soon— They bless it all too soon! “Weigh anchor! Leave at once! Go down the coast A hundred miles or so, and there, perhaps, You’ll find a landing-place. Your ship of death Must not and shall not here pollute our port With its contagion! Hoist your sail, be off!” This was the voice of brotherhood they heard— The brotherhood of Cain—and all our hearts Rise in hot anger at the thought. Yet stay,-- Would you have spoken other words? Would I? Would we have had less prudent care than they For our dear wives and children in the town, Menaced like this with deadly visitation? We do not know these shore, and at their best Are such as we avoid, and their distress, Through it arose from no fault of their own, Was still less caused by ours. Nature demands That our first thought be given to ourselves, And not to strangers—let them put to sea! What say your hearts! Are they enough like Cain’s To give these words an echo secretly? Then take your place among the emigrants Upon that ship, as sadly, silently She shape unseamanlike, because her crew Are weak and sick, and have but faltering hands. Can you not find some argument of weight [page 28] Upon the other side? Has not a man some claim on fellow-men? Why should we thus be sent to certain death? Can any care for self make just the act That gives us banishment instead of help; That makes us outlaws in our sorest need? Here are our wives and children; they must die; We all must perish wretchedly, because To rescue us would be a risky thing! “Go down the coast,” they say, “a hundred miles”; And staggering out to the unpitying deep, From these our fellows not more piteous, We must obey! Yet Hope still lives, Though Death is in command. Perchance if God Shall spare our ghastly ship to see the port For which we now are making, it may be We shall find human beating hearts, not stones! And so the barque, like a black tossing hearse, Moves through the waves, while in her wake Follow the ghoulish sharks, that fight and feast, And feast and fight again; while overhead, Above the topmasts, wheel the birds of prey With gloating eyes, scenting the tainted air.
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At last! at last! the haven is in sight! Come up from Tophet; ye, who live, come up! Take heart, O frenzied ones, and thank your God That He vouchsafes another chance for life! Here is the port—and here’s the messenger To bid ye welcome, poor afflicted souls! “Go back! go back! or yonder fortress guns Will blow your ship to pieces!” Such the words [page 29] That voice the greeting from the port of Hope. But even this cruel mercy is denied— The guns are silent as the fated ship Turns in her tracks; no kindly hand Trains then upon her, and with fatal touch Sends her relief in swift oblivion: This were, indeed, too mild a punishment For such a crime as human helplessness! And so with gaunt Despair holding her wheel, And Hope stark dead, he drifts away—away To the far, dark horizon, o’er the wave Whose briny deep, if all its drops were tears, Would not proclaim that at this spectacle Pity had over-wept.
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Westward! westward o’er the sea, From vine-embowered Italy Came the ship. Where is she now? Cain-Brazil, upon thy brow Glares the ugly mark of guilt, Wash it, hide it as thou wilt! Thou art not thy brother’s keeper? At that answer, deeper, deeper Glows the mark—thou know’st thou art, And the lie burns in thy heart! Where are these thy brothers, Cain, Who appealed to thee in vain, Whom, unhelped, thou turned away— Where? God thunders, where are they? Where? But God alone doth know! Somewhere, helmless, to and fro, [page 30] Haunting, perhaps, the Southern sea Where no human life can be, Drifts a weird, unearthly wraith Like a phantom ship of death, With her groaning, swinging sail, Telling out her tragic tale Of man’s inhumanity To the icebergs cold and high; While the trembling polar star Looks down tearful from afar, On the frost-encrusted deck Of the lone and battered wreck; Where the meditative gulls Brood upon the whitened skulls! So, somewhere, the doomed ship rolls, So she’ll ever haunt our souls!
IN his study, on a Monday, sat the pastor good and grave, Meditating on the Gospel, and the world Christ came to save, When his reverie was broken by the door-bell’s sudden din, And his wife, a gentle matron, with a nervous step came in— And said, “A man to see you; he wouldn’t give his name; [illustration] Suspicious-looking person, with a furtive air of shame. Do you think you’d better see him?” “Why, of course, my timid dear,” Cried the pastor, quickly rising—“there is surely not for fear”— And a moment later found him in the parlor down below, In the presence of the stranger, all his genial face aglow With a sympathetic interest, as in frank, unstudied way He said, “You wished to see me? Very good. Be seated, pray.” Like a glint of summer sunshine seemed the pastor’s cheery style, And upon the stranger’s features came a faint and ghostlike smile; But it vanished in a moment from that hard, unhappy face, Like a conscious thing that felt absurdly out of place. “Yes,” he said, “I wished to see you, as a sort of last recourse— [page 32] But I thought I’d better do it ere I—well, do something worse. I’m a wretched man—a convict, fresh from prison—ah, you start; And the brand upon my forehead marks me as a thing apart. God knows, sir, I would fain redeem the dark and guilty past, And I’ve tried to get a foothold, but I’ve given it up at last— Or I will when you have told me, like all other honest men, That a wretch once mark’d a convict must a convict still remain; [illustration] That the world of upright people cannot bear his leper touch, And the marts of honest business have no use at all for such! That is what you’ll maybe tell me—and I do not call you hard, You must bow to iron custom, and you’re bound, sir, to regard The criminal an outcast; yet, last night I heard you say, In your sermon—I was present—I just happened up that way— I heard you say that Jesus held out a helping hand To save the lowest sinner and the vilest in the land; And so I thought I’d come, sir, and ask if that is true, For it’s not like what I meet with—my head is often light— And perhaps it’s just a fancy I heard all this last night; So I thought I’d call and ask you if it is really so, [page 33] Before I—but, no matter—that is, before I go.” “Before you do self-murder, and end it all, you’d say? Nay, nay, my hapless brother, put that black thought away! [illustration] ’Tis true—but any words of mine are weak to say how true— That Jesus, the compassionate, holds His hand to you; And at this very moment He’s whispered in my ear—” And here the pastor grasped the stranger’s hand with hearty cheer— “Where I can get you steady work, which I’ll be glad to do— So put yourself at case, my man, and do not look so blue. See, here’s my little wifey—ah, wife, I’m glad you’ve come, Shake hands with—never mind the name—he’s welcome to our home;” [illustration] At which the timid matron did as she was bid and smiled, And then into the room there burst a golden-headed child. “Our Dolly,” said the pastor, as the little, romping miss Stood all abashed—“Come, darling, won’t you give my friend a kiss?” And to that friend’s embarrassment, in innocent embrace, He hugged him round the neck and kissed his pale and haggard face; [page 34] And nestled in his bosom and, as his head bent o’er, She whispered to him gently, “What is oo cwying for?” And when he rose his cheeks were wet, and sobbing shook his frame, But from his eyes there seemed to glow a new and holy flame; And in a broken voice he said, “Brother, you’ve saved my soul; I’ve touched Christ’s garment through your love, and it has made me whole.”
[illustration] FIRST a kind, inquiring glance From papa at breakfast, Telegraphed across the board— Just a stare, asking where? Apropos an empty chair, Hinting looks, but not a word. Next, a dainty little note Found upon her table, Neatly sealed, with bold address— Giving news, raising “stews”; No one ever did peruse Such consummate sauciness! Then the window queerly raised, In the darling’s bedroom, Lets in light upon the case; Pater’s hope made to droop At the vision of a rope, In so very strange a place. Ah! those speaking prints of feet Underneath the lattice— Shapely “sixes” and prunellas— Tell a tale, somewhat stale, How sweet home may seem a jail, Through those curious things—the fellahs. [page 36]
THE LOSS OF THE STEAMSHIP “CITY OF BOSTON.”*
DOWN in the street, where whisperers meet, Pallor and gloom had struck every lip; Strong men weak in fears and fond women in tears Told the story again—the tale of the ship; How she sailed all in splendor and joy from the shore, How she passed the horizon—but no one knew more! Then the moon from her wane to her circle again Found the city in grief as the days lingered on, And the grief, like a pall made to shadow us all, Broadened over the land where the messages had gone— Till the sound in each ear was the sound of the surge, With its strange muffled music—a hymn or a dirge! Still the waves roar on the grief-stricken shore, Bringing no joy in their turbulent wrath; Still the wild gull has no story to tell, From the barren afar, from the hurricane’s path; Hoping ’gainst hope—dreading to dread— Shall they pray for the living or mourn for the dead? ’Tis the echo of Fate—“Mourn for the dead!”
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*In the year 1870, the steamship City of Boston sailed from New York for Liverpool, on one of her regular trips. In due time she was reported missing, and great public excitement ensued. A subsequent message announcing her safety turned out to be untrue. She has never since been seen or heard of. [page 37]
Sudden, athwart the black clouds of dismay The lightnings in wondrous characters play, Flashing a message of heavenly cheer To vanquish the gathering gloom of our fear. The city is gay and the bells ring out, Fearing takes flight at the marvelous shout! Tears are gone for the rapture of joy, Te Deums go up for the peril gone by! Heard all through night the electrical word— “The Boston is safe, and the souls on board!”
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But the cold tide of morn Brings back all our pain; The music is hushed; Heaven darkens again. ’Twas a mirage that mocked us and melted away From the sky of our hope, now sullen and grey And with doom overcast; We search the wide sea, but no light is agleam, No promise is there; The wind creep and whisper, and ghostly they seem; The vision is past— All is draped in despair! [page 38]
THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
ON, on we speed, as once the eagle sped, In wild, free flight through these vast solitudes; But not like her, on weary pinion borne. Here, lounging in a Persian luxury, We need but cast an eager, ravished eye Upon the ample window, whose square frame Encloses scene on scene of wonderland— An endless panorama of such views As mortal brush can never hope to match: Torrent and forest, rock and cataract Sweep grandly by, as now the early sun Lifts up the fairy veil of morning mist That drapes the white-capp’d mountains, which Like Titan matrons silent sit aloft, Nursing the baby clouds upon their giant breasts. [page 39]
A LEGEND OF THE OIL REGION.
“STRANGER, d’ye see that derrick, away off thar’ on the bluff? Well, jest beneath it it’s running a hundred bar’ls of the stuff; ’Course, that’s be’n known afore, sir, I don’t intend to blow, But then thar’s ci’cumstances—sort of a story, you know. [illustration] “Thank y’, sir—foreign tobaccer?—off here we git nothin’ but cut, An’it gits played out when you wet it, an’it’s dear as thunder—but Excuse my wanderin’ this way, from old things into new— Forgettin’ that you don’t live here, and that ain’t nothin’ to you. “Well, Judson, as lies here sleepin’, was a native of the soil, An’ owned the hull region mostly, afore they found the oil; ’Twas a mighty big plantation, but it wasn’t wo’th a red, ’Cause folks don’t build no houses whar’ they can’t make daily bread. [page 40] “By’m-bye he got an offer, and he sold the hull consarn For mighty nigh to nothin’—so I have heerd the yarn. He thought it a high old bargain, an’ was cuttin’ quite a swell, But his froth went down some, stranger, when the fellers sunk a well. That well, she fairly spouted a hundred bar’ls a day— An’ the fellers heaped up money in a powerful sort of way; While Judson, he got sober, an’ began to grow quite old; An’ looked like a man that’s made a bargain—an’ got sold. “If Judson wa’n’t lucky, sir, leastwise he was a brick, It wa’n’t in his natur’ fur to give it up an’ stick; So he scraped around a year or so, with a wrinkle in his face, An’ fin’lly picked upon a site, an’ went an’ bought the place. “He raised a derrick—that’s it thar’—an’ he got his rig complete, An’ bored, I’ve heerd ’em mention, bout two thousand feet; When he couldn’t git no furger, of course he had to stop; But luck went dead agin him—he didn’t get a drop! “Poor feller! he was dead broke then, his last red cent was gone, An’ they say ’twas hard to see him, the way he took in on; [page 41] But he didn’t wait to grieve to death—he wa’n’t of that kind— He went an’ got a pistol, an’ blowed it out of mind. “So that’s the end of Judson—that’s why he’s lyin’ here; He wa’n’t a pet of Fortune’s, that’s true, sir, as you’re thar’— The well? why, ’course it’s runnin’—it flows a perfect tide, An’ jest begun an hour or so after Bill Judson died!”
THE OLD CHURCH.*
FAREWELL, old Zion! Hark! the sacred walls In solemn echo whisper back, Farewell! And in that whisper, tremulous and low, Another dying Jacob seems to speak A benediction ere he pass away; And if it were in very truth a life That thus were ebbing out, The children standing bowed around the couch Could feel but little more the parting pain Than we feel now. Thu bricks and mortar, wood and sombre paint, Dead, pulseless aisles, and pillars tall and dumb, By the weird witchery of memory’s spell Assume a personality; And round that phantom form love’s arms would cling As round a patriarch whom impatient death Waited to snatch away. What is old Zion? To the curious eye of antiquarian stranger But a church—a quaint, old-fashioned church— Upon whose spire the summer sun has played
*Read on the occasion of the last meeting held in Zion Congregational Church.
It was one of the oldest churches in Toronto, and stood on the corner of Bay and Adelaide Streets. [page 44]
And winter storm has dashed For half a century! One time a haven of calm Sabbath rest, Peaceful beyond the busy city’s din,-- Now such a haven, but no more apart; A Sabbath island now amidst the roar Of Trade’s wild billows. So, with a glance, the stranger passes on, Knowing no more of Zion—caring less. What is old Zion? Ask yonder grey-haired man if he can tell All that is treasured in that simple name. For him it holds a thousand sacred thoughts Which language is too poor a fitly speak; For he has known it as a Sabbath home From eager youth to low-paced, silvery age; To him its homely air, its modest pews, Its pulpit smiling welcome down the aisle, Have all a beauty that could not be matched In any marble dream of Angelo’s Or miracle of Wren’s. Upon those walls, severe and unadorned, His quickened soul has pictured glorious things The while his ears drank in the sacred word Of promise and of hope. From out those pews he’s watched bright youth arise And mount the shining road of earthly fame; Anon he’s bowed his head with those she wept For dear ones ta’en away. Before his memory there passes now A line of saintly form, once known and loved, [page 44] Who spoke the words of life from yonder desk— Words full of power, because words Spirit-taught; Words, too, of liberty and human rights Against oppression when the State had need. A thousand varying pictures float and glow, Like water on the wall of Recollection; A thousand memories that will ever cling To this old church as once the ivy clung With fond embrace. Farewell, old Zion! Hark! the sacred walls In solemn echo whisper back, Farewell! And silence broods o’er all. [page 45]
GEORGE E. GILLESPIE.*
[illustration] THE drooping flags half-masted flow, Prefiguring no feignéd grief, No formal sorrow, hollow, brief, But honest, heartfelt, widespread woe. No brilliant wit has passed away, No tongue of eloquence is stilled, But manly honor, iron-willed— GILLESPIE! Our sore need to-day! Stern? headstrong? stubborn? Even so, Where to surrender and give way Were public interests to betray; Alone with Truth, he’d thunder, “No!” But where was ever kindlier heart Than beat within Gillespie’s breast? Aye, thousands whom his hand has blest Drop secret tears to-day apart. Death sought to take him unaware; But, in the Christian’s hope and faith, His dauntless spirit smiled t Death, Nor needed space for anguished prayer. No more his earnest mind may plan Our city’s glory to secure— He sleeps, yet will his fame endure In golden words—AN HONEST MAN!
*Alderman for St. George’s Ward, Toronto, died April 11th, 1891. [page 46]
KILLED AT THE PLOUGH.*
’Tis noon; the storm I over, the sun is riding clear, And o’er the cloud triumphant, he smiles through the vapory air; The farmer’s wife in her kitchen is buy, and blithe, and gay, And the little prattling daughter is at her innocent play. “Ma, was ’oo ’fyaid of the lightning? was ’oo ’fyaid of the big, big noise?” Asks the little maiden with wonder, as she leaves her dolls and toys. “No, darling,” says the mother, “in God’s good hands we rest, He is our heavenly Father, and our Father knoweth best. “See, now the sky is clear again, the storm is over and done, And God is smiling upon us”—and she kisses the little one. “So now put on your big straw hat, and go, dear, as yesterday, And tell papa dinner is ready, and tell him to come right away.”
*David Herlehy, of Bathurst, Ont., was killed by a stroke of lightning while ploughing on his farm. The horses were also killed. At dinner-time with Mrs. Herlehy sent a five-year-old child to bring the father to the mid-day meal, but the little one brought back the news that her father was asleep on the ground and she could not awaken him, and that the horses were asleep, too. At this the poor mother apprehended the fatal occurrence, and running to the field, saw her husband lying dead in the midst on his honest toil.—Local paper. [page 47]
Then the blue eyes dance with laughter and the baby hand are quick, And the bloom of the roses heightens with joy on the girlie’s cheek; And soon she is toddling nimbly adown the emerald lane, And the mother there is the doorway feels a pleasure akin to pain.
* * * * * * * *
Once more the pattering footsteps are heard coming up the way, And the mother is in the threshold—“Well, dear, what did pap say? Why didn’t you come on his shoulders, for the hills are long and steep?” “’Tause,” she says the innocent, panting, “I touldn’t, ’tause papa’s aseep.” “Asleep?” says the mother, smiling, “why, darling— —” “Yes, yight on the gwound, And Dobbin’s aseep, and Jerry—all sleeping, oh, so sound! I touldn’t wake my papa, and I twied and twied again— —” Then the wife’s lips turn to ashes, and her heart-beats cease for pain. “’Twas the lightning flash!” she gasping cries, “he is dead! O God! he’s dead! In the midst of his honest toiling four our humble, daily bread. O husband! Oh, my darling! Oh, desolate, stricken breast; O God, Thou art the Father! O Father, Thou knowest best!” [page 48]
THEY stood at the gate Very late, And the moon seemed to smile as she gazed from loft, For the anxious swain was decidedly “soft” In the pate. He stood there, half froze I suppose; For a climax had come in hi wooing of Ann, And intent in his mind he was brewing a plan To propose. They talked of the stars And the wars; Of the beautiful hues in the northern lights; Of gentleman’s collars and women’s rights, ’Till all hours. Time slipping by Rather spry, Put the lover in mind that he’d better make hate, Lest this golden chance of his life he should waste, Being shy. So, tho’ blushes would sneak O’er his cheek, He changed his feet in a resolute style, And, clearing his throat, he, with disciplined smile— Didn’t speak. [page 49] Half an hour, Or more, He struggled to muster up courage to vow, But his words stuck fast every time, somehow, As before. The speech wouldn’t come; He was dumb; He gazed on the girl with ineffable love, Internally burning, he struggled and strove— Then went home.
SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD.*
[illustration] DEAD! Dead! And now before The threshold of bereavèd Earnscliffe stand, In spirit, all who dwell within our land, From shore to shore! Before that black-draped gate, Men, women, children mourn the Premier gone, For many loved and worshipped old Sir John, And none could hate. And he is dead, they say! The words confuse and mock the general ear— What! can there yet be House and members here, And no John A.? So long all hearts he swayed, Like merry monarch of some olden line, Whose subject questioned not his right divine, But just obeyed His will’s e’en faintest breath, We had forgotten, ’midst affairs of State, ’Midst Hansard, Second Readings and Debate, Such things as death!
*Born at Glasgow January 11th, 1815; died at Earnscliffe, Ottawa, June 6th, 1891. [page 52]
Swift came the dread eclipse Of faculty, and limb and life at last, Ere to the Judge of all the earth he passed, With silent lips, But not insensate heart! He was no harsh, self-righteous Pharisee— The tender Christ compassioned such as he, And took their part. As for his Statesman-fame, Let History calm his wondrous record read, And write the truth, and give him honest meed Of praise or blame! [page 52]
THE OPEN GATES OF HELL.*
’NEATH the sheltering pall of night, ’Neath the stars that shine like tears, See this father hurrying on, With his warring hopes and fears, Swiftly—from his babies sleeping, Swiftly—from his poor wife weeping, Speeds he on—oh, manly part, Tempted, crushed, yet gallant heart! In God’s strength he travels well, Flying from the gates of hell. Through the city’s silent streets, Past the haunts of sin and sorrow, Hear his echoing, hunted steps, Hastening to the glad to-morrow. Thinking of his babies sleeping, Praying for his good wife weeping;
*The New York Voice contained the story of a man who left his home and family to start for a Prohibition State, to get away from the temptations of the saloons. He had prayed over the matter, and discussed it with his wife, and deliberately come to the conclusion that there was no other way of escape for himself. He could not bear to bid his babies good-bye, for fear it might weaken his resolution, but told his wife to tell them that he had gone to get another home for them. He did not dare to wait till the morning to take the train, as in that case he would have to pass by the open saloons, and so he walked nine miles in the dark of night to begin his journey before the saloons should be open. He told his wife that the saloons were like the open gates of hell to him, and when he was near them it seemed as though all the hosts of devil were after him to get him in. [page 53]
Past the churches tall and still, Past the mansions on the hill— Oh he flies—God speed him well, Flying from the gates of hell! In his tossing, troubled thought Church and mansion melt in one, Shaping forth a blessed spot— A home, a home! and that his own! Where in peace his babes are sleeping, Where for joy his wife is weeping, Where his noble heart may know Safety from this demon foe; Where’s God’s blessing rich may dwell, Far from open gates of hell! Christian man, with pitying thought, Use that ballot in your hand! Here’s the battle to be fought— Church of Christ, arise and stand! Shield the million babies sleeping, Succour all the poor wives weeping; Break these chains that bind our brothers, Dry the tears of pale-faced mothers, Rise and crush this demon fell, Shut up all the gates of hell! [page 54]
BEFORE THE MAGISTRATE.
BILLY ROUGH, loq.: “Do I want to ax the witness any questions? Yes, I do— If he’ll kiss the book and look this way I guess I’ll ax a few, Which the same ’ll show Your Worship what his story isn’t true. [illustration] “You say that you’re a peeler, and was on your beat las’ night, An’ that you saw me stavin’ drunk, or leastwise beastly tight, And also that, moreover, I had likewise had a fight. “You’re in your oath, remember—that’s a Bible there, you know— You know it? Well, go on then, but mighty suer an’ slow, For my character’s in jeopardy, an’ I ought to get a show. [illustration] “Don’t never mind the time o’night—that don’t concern the case, Nor ’bout them other fellers—say, jest turn around your face— I guess I’ve kind o’ got you in a pretty ticklish place! “Them’s the facts you say, policeman, an’ you haven’t twisted it? You’re on your oath, an’ swore it, that I was drunk and fit? I don’t know nothin’ ’bout it—don’t doubt your word a bit!” [page 55]
WITH bowed, uncovered head, Amid the throng of honest, tearful souls We stand, as old St. Michael’s bell out tolls, To mourn the Prelate dead. We mark the empty throne, Sic transit gloria mundi, sadly sigh, Yet tears like these are for no office high, But for the man alone. Honored and loved of Rome, None wore her dignities with simpler grace, Or, loved of people, held a warmer place In every Catholic home. And we, not of his fold, We, too, have known his kindly Irish heart, And in his people’s sorrow claim a part, As when his praise is told.
*Right Rev. John Joseph Lynch, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Toronto.
Born 1816; died May 12th, 1888. [page 56]
THE WOODPILE TEST.*
[illustration] No; I don’t like getting’ swindled, and dead-beats do abound; There’s lots of lazy lubbers always a-hangin’ around; The stories they tell sound truthful, an’ their tears seem genewine; But I know they’re frauds an’ humbugs ’bout seven times out o’ nine. Well, what’ll you do about it? Give ’em a stragit out No! When so frequent they come crawlin’, tellin’ their tale of woe— Askin’ for food or money, or beggin’ a job of work? Goin’ to ignore their cases ’cause some of ’em might shirk? I can’t do that no longer—p’raps I’m not wise as you, But I’ll never deny ’em a job, if I’ve got any chorse to do; I keep a woodpile a-purpose, an’ a bucksaw sharp an’ bright, An’ I’ve always kept ’em handy since a certain winter night.
*Based on an incident which occurred at the house of a friend, who mentioned it to the author. This gentleman subsequently wrote: “After reading your piece I felt twice as sorry for my wood-cutter as I had done at the time.” [page 57]
’Twas a cold an’ stormy evenin’ when a chap came to my place— A pitiful-lookin’ criiter, with a pale an’ haggard face; He asked for a job of some sort to earn a dime or two, An’ I thought for once I’d test him, an’ see what he would do. “Come ’round to-morrer.: I says to him, “an’ saw a cord of wood”— The fellow kind o’ started; says he, “You’re very good, But if you don’t object, sir, I’d like to start in now, Although it’s kind of latish.” I says to myself, “I swow!” “Alright,” says I, “go at it!” an’ I took him ’round t’ th’ shed. He tightened up his waist-strap, an’ nothin’ more was said; I went in to my supper, an’ while I set an’ et, I heerd that saw a-goin’ in a way that made me sweat. [illustration] “Poor chap, he must be hungry, he needs some food an’ drink;” “Yes, Samuel,” says my better-half, “that’s ’zactly what I think.” So she fixed up some good sandwich, and a red-hot cup of tea, An’ took it to the feller, an’ “Thank you, ma’am,” says he. [page 58] “Would you believe it, Samuel,” says she, when she returned, “He’s half way through that cord o’ wood; his money’s neatly earned;” An’ when a little later I took a saunter out, I’m blowed if he wansn’t through the job an’ puttin’ on his coat! “But what’s the matter with the lunch,” says I, “ for here it lays?” “Well, sir, I hope it’s no offence—it’s just like this,” he says, “If you ain’t no objection, I’ll take that home,” says he, “My missus an’ the young ’uns, they needs it more’n me.” [illustration] I couldn’t hardly speak at first, an’ then I says, “Come in!” An’ I made him sit right down an’ eat, an’ filled him to the chin. “An’ now,” says I, “we’ll settle up; jest mention what’s your charge.” “Well, sir,” says he, “would fifty cents?—er—if that ain’t too large.” “Git out!” says I. He trembled some. “Then say a quarter, sir.” “Git out ag’in!” I fairly roared: “what do you take me fur? [page 59] I won’t do no such measly thing! See, here’s a dollar bill, But don’t you get so flustered; go on an’ eat yer fill!” An’ if you ever see a chap ’at looked surprised an’ glad You’d seed one then; an’ off he went as spry as any lad, Right through the black and stormy night, straight for his little home, An’ maybe wife an babies wa’n’t glad to see him come! That’s why I’ve took the notion—p’raps I’m not over wise; An’ maybe I’ll git played on by frauds who tell me lies; But I’m agoin’ to trust ’em until I see the fraud, For there’s here an’ there a hero ’mongst the poor ones of our God!
THE SEASON OF GUSH.
[illustration] THE days of shaking hands have come— The kindest of the year; The candidates go smiling round With such profuse good cheer! [illustration] The aspirants for civic seats, The gents who would be mayor, Or fill some other office high, Confront you everywhere. [illustration] Each wears a gracious, genial smile, All day from door to door, And such intense good-will to men You never knew before. [illustration] Fine gentlemen, with soft white kids, Have thrown away their caste, And shake the horny of toil With unexampled zest. [page 61] And tho’ they didn’t seem to care For you a week ago, They ask about your family now With interest all aglow. Hath the millennium come at last, That everything’s so gay? Doth Christmas work this wondrous change— Or Nomination Day?
WILLIAM T. CROASDALE.*
COULD the poor dumb, driven cattle—toiling millions, blind, deceived--- Know their brother as we knew him, they would know themselves bereaved; And the badge of manly sorrow all around the world would show For our Croasdale, hero-hearted, by the shaft of death laid low. His the land that held the Standard, his the sword of burnished steel Flashing in the front of battle, pointing to the people’s weal; His the heart that never faltered in the grim unequal fight, His the soul that stood undaunted for the cause of God and Right! By this handful of poor ashes—all that’s left of him we knew— Let us swear the wrongs he fronted shall be turned to ashes, too! See! before our stricken column goes his spirit like a flame, Close the ranks, and forward! forward! in his talismanic name!
*Croasdale was the Editor of the New York Standard, the leading organ of the Single Tax Reform. Born 1844; died 1991. His body was cremated. [page 63]
THE LONDON DISASTER.*
THE river’s bank, in its fair morning verdure, Echoes the myriad voices of a throng Of merry-makers, loos’d from thralls of work, Free as the air, and thrilled with such a joy As queens know nothing of; For, though it be a royal holiday, The monarch, bound on golden chains of state, Must learn the art from the blest sons of toil, If she would keep it royally. The river’s bank at eventide is grim, And echoes cries of anguish, grief and woe; The grassy slope that nursed the morning beam Now bears a ghastly burden of the dead; And torched, held in trembling hands of love, Sullenly mirrored in the passive stream— As black and cruel as human avarice— Move to and fro, casting at once, alas! The light of hope and darkness of despair. Take up the dead ones; give them solemn shrouds Instead of these poor trappings of the park; Not let us be unapt to lay to heart The lesson taught at such an awful cost!
*Queen’s Birthday, May 24th, 1881. The wreck of a pleasure-boat on the Thames, at London, Ont., resulted in the death of many of the holiday-makers. [page 64]
ON THE RIVER’S EDGE.*
IN the calm evening of my life, As here in my bereavèd home I silent sit, my thoughts ne’er roam From the sweet memory of my wife. I do not think of her as gone, For here she seems to bless me still, And tokens of her glow and thrill In everything I look upon. The old clock ticking in the shelf, Discourses to my heart of her, The house plants, late her pride and care, Breathe forth the spirit of herself. Each keepsake on the mantel there, Recalls her touch, so fond and neat; In everything I seem to meet Her face, to me so ever fair. And while with rapt and moisten’d eye I see her form of yesterday, So venerable, bent and grey, The years unroll mysteriously.
*Lines inscribed to an aged man, who had recently lost his wife. He survived his much-loved partner but a shirt time. [page 65]
Age and its signals vanish slow; Her form is straight, her face is bright, I greet her with a strange delight, My bride of sixty years ago! And then once more we, hand in hand, Start down life’s way of joy and grief, And all that path, so long—so brief— I walk, and live o’er all we planned. The beauty of her youthful life Evanished not, but constant grew; More sweet to me, more kind, more true, Each year made my beloved wife. Till we had passed the grey fourscore, And slowly walked beside the stream, And then God called her unto Him, And I am left upon the shore. The old clock ticking on the shelf Discourses to my heart of her, And soon will make the happy hour When I shall cross the stream myself. And Christ, her shepherd, standeth nigh To comfort me, and in His faith I’ll triumph in the hour of death, And join my loved on in the sky. [page 66] Age and its signals vanish slow; Her form is straight, her face is bright, I greet her with a strange delight, My bride of sixty years ago! And then once more we, hand in hand, Start down life’s way of joy and grief, And all that path, so long—so brief— I walk, and live o’er all we planned. The beauty of her youthful life Evanished not, but constant grew; More sweet to me, more kind, more true, Each year made my beloved wife. Till we had passed the grey fourscore, And slowly walked beside the stream, and then God called her unto Him, And I am left upon the shore. The old clock ticking on the shelf Discourses to my heart of her, And soon will mark the happy hour When I shall cross the stream myself. And Christ, her shepherd, standeth nigh To comfort me, and in His faith I’ll triumph in the hour of death, And join my loved one in the sky. [page 67]
REV. E. A. STAFFORD, D.D.*
[illustration] A LITTLE span of half a hundred years He walked the earth; yet so benign that walk, He still will live when a half of a hundred more Have come and gone. Not that his fame was known in many lands, To be re-echoed from the trump of Time, But that within the sphere in which he moved, The narrower bounds of this, his native land, We knew his worth, and will not let him die. From sire to son that noble memory— A Sabbath sunlight round the tall, lithe form, Which shrined a soul wide as the human race, That looked abroad with sad and gentle eyes, Anon with humor kindling, yet which flashed The lightning of a righteous wrath at times; And spoke, through lips that wore a genial smile, The homely phrase that sent an old, old truth Upon its errand looking almost new; And his itself beneath the unschooled pose, The nervous attitude, the quaint, slow voice, That seldom rose to real eloquence, Unless real eloquence is simple speech, That holds the mid and captivates the heart— That noble memory from sire to son Will surely pass, to bless and to inspire. Bereavèd Methodism kneels and weeps At Stafford’s tomb, but no in solitude: Beside her all the sister Churches bend; Creeds count for nought; this plain dead preacher here Was great enough to love and reverence each, And so is mourned by all.
*Dr. Stafford was a distinguished minister of the Methodist Church. He was born in 1839, and died while pastor of the Centenary Church, Hamilton, in 1891. [page 68]
[illustration: Drawn by W. D. Blatchley.]
THE CHARGE AT BATOCHE.
WHO says that British blood grows tame, And that the olden fire is gone That swept the fields of deathless fame When heroes led our soldiers on? Let tyrant Czars, drown great on wrong, Believe that fable if they will, While I rehearse in martial song A story of Canadian skill— And Canada is British still!
*These lines were written for a baritone song composed my Mr. Barton Browne. The battle of Batoche ended the Metis Rebellion in the North-West Territories in 1836. [page 69]
In Duty’s name we lay before the pits All day, like targets for the rebel lead, Wasting our bullets on the sullen hill, In whose grim side the enemy was hid. In Duty’s name we choked out anger down, And clenched our rifles in impatient grasp, Blazing at random—waiting for the word— While comrades round us gave their dying gasp. Out rang the signal shrill, Each soldier’s heart to thrill, Along the line the inspiring signal—Charge! All eager sprang the gallant Ninetieth then, Up flashed the scarlet of each Royal Gren, Forth thundered Boulton’s scouts and French’s men, On dashed brave Howard’s gatling in the van— ’Twas Charge! Charge! Charge! With rousing British cheers, The loyal volunteers Swept grandly on! Blenched at the whirlwind dread, The shattered rebels fled— Batoche was won! Batoche was bravely won! [page 70] Won! but ah, dearly won those steeps, For on the field, in manhood’s pride, Lay heroes whom our country weeps— It was for Canada they died; For Canada, fair Canada Our gallant heroes fought and died. Who says that British blood grows tame, Or that the olden fire is gone, Must first forget Batoche’s name And how that day was fought and won! [page 71]
THE RUMMY’S APPEAL TO THE LADIES*
LET up on this thing, ladies; we ain’t doin’ no great harm— We’ve got a legal license for to keep the public warm; And we do our biz respectable as any other shop, Then, why this female raidin’ for to try and bust us up? We ain’t the only evil—social canker, and all that— There’s life insurance agents all around you, gettin’ fat; And there’s depots for new sewin’ machines up-springin’ everywhere, A sort of pesky niusances the public has to bear! While we—of course we’re publicans, but that don’t make us sinners; And bein’ only mortal, we can’t go without our dinners— But we’ve been marked for vengeance and come in for all the scorn, Because we do a business in—liquidated corn! If we were whiskey merchants in the wholesale line of trade, Or owners of the ’stablishments where the lquid stuff is made, You’d never band together our eveil work to stay, By preying on our custom till you prayed it all away.
*Apropos of the movement in Ohio, in which saloons were invaded by bands of women who held prayer meetings in the bar-rooms. Out of this movement sprang the now world-wide W. C. T. U. organization. [page 72]
We ain’t the only sort of chaps that nurses guilt and grief, that makes the ragged wanton, the murderer and the thief; You ought to rip the whole thing up—maker, seller, buyer, And the man that tipples moderate—he’s the cove that stirs the fire. Then draw it mild on our saloons—it’s nothin’ more than fair That bosses of distilleries should get a decent share; And in your kind petitions, that knock us out of time, Remember genteel people, our helpers in the crime!
THE sunlight glorifies the English fields; The bees seem drugged with summer happiness; The butterflies, ecstatic, flirt and dance To the sweet rhythm of the Sabbath chimes, And larks unseen assail the listening clouds With morning melody. The village gentry and the rustic folk, Old men in smock-frock, maidens fresh abloom, Lads bright of eye, constrained in Sunday dress, [page 74] Staid matrons, portly squires, The rich, the poor, the humble and the proud, Now gather in the quaint old Hawarden church, And on their heads, just and unjust alike, The mellow light, through multicolored panes, Falls like a benediction. And now a man has risen in the midst, Who reads the gospel lesson for the day, The reverently bows in silent prayer; And not the ploughman in you farthest pew Is more unconscious than this worshipper: A venerable man, whose frosted locks Are scant with more than eighty strenuous years, Yet whose eye glances with joys of like; Whose form is straight and lithe as happy as youth’s Whose voice has non of age’s broken notes, But in its wond’rous utterance give new grace To the divine evangel. A layman this, wearing no churchly garb, And consecrated by no priestly hands, But Priest withal, in truer, wider sense— Archbishop of all English-speaking men. The voice, but now so gentle in this task, Is that which with a lightning eloquence Struck dead the tyranny of Turkish rule, And woke Italian freedom; The form, now in devotion bent, the same [page 75] That stands erect betokening Ireland’s hope; That grey head resting o’er the open book Tops the great world, Like snowy summit of some master peak Which soars above its fellows of the Alps And stands alone in grandeur. Distant yet near, for this imperial man Towers not above us in the pride of caste, But of ourselves—the people’s champion— He’s throned supreme in eminence of love; Ennobled by no title but his name, We hail him, GLADSTONE, homespun gentleman, The Peer of all our hearts! [page 76]
THE DEATH OF PRINCE ALBERT VICTOR.
[illustration] ENGLAND in tears, and all the world in gloom; Betrothal bliss to funeral weeping turned, The royal purple changed to black of doom— Our young Prince mourned! The “old, old fashion, Death,” that doth not change, And doth not know our niceties of caste, But to this stark estate, so ever strange, Brings all at last! Tears for the Prince who, in his manhood’s pride, Sinks from the clinging arms of plighted faith, Claimed by a ghostly and imperious Bride— Pale, envious Death. Tears for the Prince whose father-heart is torn, And for the Princess fair and sweet, his wife; Deep with our Queen and Royal House we mourn This riven life. Tears, tender tears, for stricken Princess May, Who ere the nuptial wine tastes widow’s woe; The touch of nature makes us kin to-day— Tears world-wide flow. Our common Race doth mark her grief apart, And its divine compassion would attest; ’Twould fain enfold that sorrow-bursting heart On its great mother-breast. [page 77]
STUDIES IN THE TENDER PASSION.
[illustration] OF how the tender passion wakes In human hearts, and how it makes Its presence seen; Of Love and all Love’s pretty ways, Poets have sung a million lays— Nay, more, I ween! And all the signs are much the same, As touching Cupid and his flame, No matter where; In highest rank or low estate, Gentle or savage, small or great— With every pair. [illustration] First, sidelong glances of the eye, Then little acts, constrained and shy, The feelings veil; At length, a touch that thrills with bliss, The finally a mutual kiss— So runs the tale. [illustration] But has no poet ever gone— And interest looker-on— Once in a way, When picnic hoodlums on a lark Swoop down upon some quiet park To spend the day? [page 78] There, when love wakes within Jack’s breast, He chases Sue like all possessed, And runs her down; Then, with the tender touch of bear, He throttles her and spoils her hair, In horse-play fun. Then Sue, to coyly intimate His love she does reciprocate, Runs after Jack, And, having caught that prince of chumps, Give him some most terrific thumps, Upon the back!
THE IDEAL WOMAN.
COME, Artist, with pencil and color reveal On the easel thy dream of the Woman ideal. See, o’er the pale canvas there mantles a blush At the whispering low of the magical brush, And out from the multo-tint cloud grows a face— The fairest, the sweetest of all the fair race. Romancer, is this thy ideal as well? “No; beauty and passion together must dwell In the perfect conception. That forehead so fair Is meaningless; give it a shade of despair; Let a tragedy lurk in the depths of those eyes, Now tranquil and blue as the fair summer skies.” Oh, Poet, rapt gazing, speak! What sayest thou? “The woman I worship has marble-white brow, As there; she has beauty as perfect I ween, But no dimples, no laughter, no blushes are seen; ’Tis the soul of the woman illumines the face, And gives my ideal unmatchable grace.” Man—Man universal, Humanity’s voice— Here, render decision; come, utter thy choice. “Nay; cover the picture—no marvel of art Can rival the picture I hold in my heart, Of the being most near to the Father above, In purity, gentleness, pity and love. [page 80] “Her face, tho’ all wrinkled, is radiant with truth, And has an expression more lovely than youth; Her form, tho’ ’tis bent, has a beauty more real Than Romancer’s, or Poet’s or Painter’s ideal; ’Tis the beauty of goodness—a halo divine, The ideal Woman—your mother and mine.” [page 81]
HON. GEORGE BROWN.*
[illustration] THE varying noises cease; And pitying men, jaded or jubilant before, Pall ’neath the common grief. The cortege passes now in princely circumstances ’Mid quiet thousands in the city’s streets, Whose hearts, personifying Canada, Throb with the pain of widowhood. Ah! he was noble who lay coffined there— A peer in nature’s aristocracy, Bearing the unction of that generous grace Which in the life wins love from toiling men, And, dying, summons them like children round the tomb; So pass away, great spirit! But thy work, so well and truly done, Shall stand a witness to thy goodness and thy gifts. On that enduring pile a superscription, Written in letters that shall ever glow, May tell the rugged grandeur of his life In simple narrative:
*Hon. George Born, founder of the Globe newspaper, and an eminent Statesman of Canada. Born at Edinburgh, Scotland, November 29th, 1818; died (from the effects of a pistol shot, fired by one Bennet, an employee in the Globe office, who had an imaginary grievance), May, 1880. [page 87]
How homespun worth and royal honesty Braved the distempers of Ambition’s path, From youth of filial love and lofty though, To sterling manhood and vice-regal place; How on that height he bore a manly front, Lending his one to freedom’s sacred cause, Counseling wisely for the nation’s weal, And smiting down the ills that menaced her; Then, how at eventide his life was quenched By base assassination, and his star When down ’mid clouds of pan and weariness, While in its fading rats, ere yet ’twas gone, Sad-visaged friends, who knew and prized his worth, Paid, side by side, the tribute of their tears. His faithful fight is o’er; his work is done. He lived sublimely, and his footsteps mark A noble course upon the sands of time. “He was a man, take him for all in all”— But only man, and therefore had his faults: Not weakness that rose from recreant heart, But such as mark and mar the best of lives. He hated falsehood with a burning scorn, But may have erred, mistaking true for false; His nature was a rushing mountain stream, His faults but eddies which its swiftness bred. Yes, carve his name on marble monument; ’Twill mark his resting-place to reverent eyes Perchance of generation, until Time, The tireless sculptor, with relentless hand Has written an inscription over it [page 83] In weird, grim characters of mildewed moss- A grander line upon life’s fitful dream. Yet is his name deep graven in our hearts, A more abiding record, that will pass From dire to son, a proudly guarded prize, As long as Canada shall have true men Who love the memory of the great and good. And shall that ever cease? Shall ages come When man’s frail memory is clouded o’er, And History’s page is shriveled into dust? Comes there a day when all the lives on earth, The thoughts and actions, yea, and earth itself, Shall vanish in eternal nothingness? So be it; yet our Statesman’s name shall live! There’s an eternal tablet in the skies Where names are written that shall never fade. Perish, then, record on ephemeral stone; Fade, trivial ink, on human history’s page; For, with the blood on God’s anointed Son, His name is written in the Book of Life!
What! Hickory Jim? The same old Hick—here, Hank, take a look at this, And tell me if you make it Hickory Jim, or if I haven’t read it amiss? You make it the same? It’s a dead sure fact? Well, I’ll be essentially blowed If that don’t beat all the fairy tales that ever I’ve heard on the road! And he’s down to start in the one-mile dash—that’s what the cold type says— What? Know the horse? Well, I reckon I’ve known him all my days, [page 86] And I’ll be right there when he toes the mark and responds to the starter’s bell— Old Hickory Jim—good gracious—the same old Hick—well! well! But say, is he owned by Davis—just glance at the print again— Yes! D. D. Davis? I knew it—the fact is straight and plain. Well, boys, if I was betting I’d bet on old Hickory Jim; But meantime, perhaps you’d like to hear some facts concerning him? Old Davis—he’s an ancient chap, with grizzled locks of grey, And a raw-boned sort of figure, who’s been through many a fray; He’s owned this tough old racer for more than twenty years, And he bought him as a full-grown hoss, just as he now appears. He must be pretty aged, for when I was but a kid I used to hear them telling of the wond’rous things he did; How out in Arizona, and in all the south and west, He raced with Indian flyers and always came off best. He cleaned out every greaser’s ranch and every mining camp Of every sort of wagers, in goods or current stamp, Until at length they all owned up they couldn’t tackle him— So in the western region they barred out Hickory Jim. [page 86] That’s why old Davis brought him cast—and that’s how it occurred That there was sport at Lexington quite lately—as you’ve heard; Or, if you haven’t heard of it, I’ll give you here the facts Of how old Hickory got away the swell Kentucky cracks. When time was called a dandy string of thoroughbreds came out, And in the usual stylish way went capering about— A-flouncing round like ball-room belles whose dads are millionaires, And whose blue-blood entitles them to put on extra airs. And last of all, with clumsy gait, with flopping, weary ears, And draggled tail and mournful eyes, exciting shouts and jeers, Came forth a nag, whose drooping head and general low-bred style Caused men to roar with laughter, and ladies fine to smile. “What is this apparition?” “what mangy plug is that?” “Oh, cut his hair!” “He’s sound asleep!” “Give him some anti-fat!” So flew the chaff, while Davis, unsophisticated child, Went round and took up heavy bets at longish odds—and smiled. Clang goes the bell! They’ve got away—old rag-tag in the rear, The favorites is in the lead, —a wild tumultuous cheer [page 87] Greets numbers two and three and four, as now they spurt and gain, And no on thinks of Hickory, who lumbers in their train. They’ve passed the quarter gallantly—they’re nearing now the half— And sly old Davis’ child-like smile is growing to a laugh, For Jim is sorter waking up—he’s overhauled the crowd, And the backers of those horses don’t seem to shout so loud.
Zip! Just a long and limbered leap—as simple as you please, And done with every symptom of mere routine-business ease— And Hickory Jim goes to the front and makes the pace for home, And Davis stands there smiling, but the knowing ones are dumb. He’s won the race by seven lengths, which might have been fourteen, And Davis cashes in his bets and looks uncommon green; And as he leads his horse away, he sort of wink at him, And says, “They’ll know us after this, I guess, hey, won’t they Jim?” [page 88]
THE greatest moment in a great career! A crowded chamber, anxious and intent, The focus of an anxious, listening world, Awaited Gladstone’s speech. The Old Man rose, but seemed no longer old; Upon that mountain top of a good cause He stood transfigured; like a cloak His years dropped from his shoulders, And his form, erect, alert, in glorious second youth, Astounded all who looked; and youthful power Shone in his eyes and sounded in his voice, As, deep and rich, it bore the rapid words From his full soul—his matchless plea For Justice, Union, Peace! Not many hearts were proof against that plea; But there was one, reflected in a face Of cynic aspect, surly, grim and hard, That no word touched—the heart of Chamberlain.
* “Nobody has ever devoted more facile malignity to the task of enraging and affronting his opponent than Chamberlain, whose latter speeches, indeed, have been almost savage in their revelation of personal bitterness against his former leader. Last night Gladstone travelled quite out of his way to speak kindly of the maiden speech of Chamberlain’s son, which, he remarked, in deep, full tones, with a gracious bow, was one that must have been dear and refreshing to a father’s heart. Chamberlain, at the first mention of his son, lifted his head and turned his surly cynical gaze upon the speaker. When these courteous, flattering words came, he stared for an instant in blank surprise, then flushed, made a low obeisance, and covered his face with his hands for fully five minutes. Those near him said there were palpable tears in his eyes.” –Cable item in the press. [page 89]
This man, once Gladstone’s friend and follower, Had now become the champion of his foes, Outstripping every natural enemy In fierce, malignant hate. And now, indifferent to the orator, Whose maiden speech as member of the House Had just been made. And as the grand old man Poured forth his heart, no word seemed like to pierce That grim indifference. Then, suddenly he raised his head and glared Upon the speaker, from whose lips there fell The young man’s name. What would this critic say? What scorching phrase was coming? What keen thrust Would this past-master of invective deal To wound the father’s feelings through the son? All’s fair in war and politics, and he Who never spared the old grey head his scorn Now braced himself to bear retaliation. Hark! In an earnest, deep-toned voice. With gracious bow, the speaker simply said “The young man’s speech was one that must have been Dear and refreshing to a father’s heart.” The listener was crushed! He stared an instant in confused amaze, Then flushed and bowed, and covered up his face To hide remorseful tears! All’s fair in war and politics; but ah! The bitterest taunt, the keenest stroke of wit, Could not have broken an opponent’s heart As did that Christ-like blow! [page 90]
[illustration: AFTER LAMPMAN.]
THE streets are shaded ’neath night’s dusky wing, And all is still, but for my lonely feet That on the frosty sidewalk monstrous beat, Making exaggerated echoes ring Around the gloomy corners. Flickering lights From ghastly globes that hang on ghostly poles Hiss and burn low. A black tree-shadow rolls Before my feet and somehow me affrights; Then on the keen and silent air there falls The tinkle of a distant street-car bell, And in an attic near, a servant gal Lights an untimely lamp. I hear faint calls That come from hardy newsboys on their rounds; Anon the whirring trolley nearer sounds, And from an alley-way a milk-cart crawls And lumbers down the street. And now I halt Upon the corner for the coming car, [illustration] Whose red lights grows toward me. It is here— Th’ electric wire hums down the music scale, The motor crank is turned—the care is stopped, And I am off to catch that early train— Much rather in my bed would I remain! [page 91]
UPON the mountain side with Christ we sit, And listen to His words of truth and life; Then, lifting up His eyes, misty with tears, He looks upon the multitude beyond And says: “I have compassion on their souls; They faint with hunger and they must be fed; How many loaves, and fished but a few; Enough, perchance, for our own neediness— We had not thought of all these strangers’ wants.” “Strangers!” the Master echoes, and His tone Smites our dull hearts with infinite rebuke. “Nay, know ye not your brothers of the race? Bring me your loaves—your gifts of mind and heart— That I may touch them with my spirits here; I would the whole world bless and save from sin, But through my servants I must do the work; Now, take your loaves and fishes and go forth— ’Tis yours to feed; ’tis mine to give increase.” So we obey His word, and all around Behold the discords of the world do cease, And peace and beauty reign where late was woe. And, marvelous thing! the food we thus dispense Grows ever with the giving, so that we, Beginning poor, grow richer and more rich— From meager store have vast abundance left! Thus have we caught the meaning of that Life, And thus made plain the heavenly paradox— In blessing others we have blessed ourselves And glorified our Lord. [page 92]
[illustration: Drawn by F. S. Challoner.]
WE’D have had a friendly greeting for the lonely-looking tramp When he came, sad-eyes and weary, that evening into camp, But we weren’t feeling friendly, for our luck had not been good, And, on top of all our troubles, we were running short of food. So a scowl was all that met him, and we never asked his name,
* Poetic version of a story by C. B. Lewis (“M. Quad”). [page 93]
Nor how we could assist him, nor even whence he came; ’Twas not our usual conduct, for miners, as you know, Though sometimes rough, are genial chaps—he didn’t find us so. And yet our brutish manners didn’t seem to cuase surprise To the desolate new-comer, though within his sunken eyes An expression as of hunger for a sympathetic work Seemed to lurk, but nothing of the sort in all the camp he heard. He turned his lonely steps up what we called the Avenue, Staked out a claim that settled down, and all our surly crew Stood off, and day by day went by without a kind regard, Not even a sidelong friendly glance, or a simple “’Morning, pard.” For the “Jedge” had poisoned all our minds with shakings of his head, And gestures of suspicion, and more than once he said: “That chap’s a thief, or something worse, of I don’t guess a lie— I know it by his general style, especially his eye; And if some day a party of Vigilants don’t come To hang him up for something, jest call me deed and dumb; He’s a bad egg, boys, I know it; and while he’s hanging’ round, I ’dvise you all to put your goods where they won’t be easy found.” The Judge was our Sir Oracle, and in camp in dictum went, And we ratified his ruling by general consent, [page 94] Especially as the stranger, ’neath our glances keen and shrewd, Seemed to justify the verdict which had marked him down “no good”; His shyness and his silence—we never heard him speak— And his solitary working—all this proclaimed the sneak; His eyes, when we could see them, brought to mind the hunted deer, Or the refugee from justice—’twas the look of guilty fear: And thus in every move he’d make and everything he’d do, We saw corroboration of the Judge’s snap-hot view (We didn’t pause to reason, or we might have had the grace To suppose out conduct to him had some bearing on the case). No, he was tried, found guilty, and sentenced in advance— The one thing lacking was the crime; he hadn’t had a chance. But it came, as ’twould appear, within a fortnight, sure enough, A bag of gold was missing, and its owner cut up rough. “’Twas hidden in my cabin in a spot I knew alone, But it’s gone—my whole year’s earnings”—and the strong man gave a groans; And then ripped out a string of oaths, and pranced around, and cried, While the half-wit darkey cook turned pale and very nearly died. “I know the thief, by jingo!” the Judge jumped up and said, [page 95] “ I saw him in a dream last night, it’s running through my head; That stranger is the party!” We waited for no more; Seizing out shooting-irons, we rushed out through the door, And started in a frenzied mob straight down the Avenue, Where near his tent the stranger sat; and as we nearer drew, Like startled fawn he heard our savage shout and raised his head, And saw our black and vengeful looks, and trembles, turned and—fled! “Shoot him! Down with him! Kill the thief!” it was the Judge’s yell, And half a dozen shots rang out; the hunted creature fell, And rolled upon the rocks, and grasped, just as we reaches his side, “You’ve killed me! God forgive you, boys! You didn’t know,” and died. “Now for my gold!” the miner roared. “Here, Jedge, you searched his clothes.” “I’ll find it right enough, you bet,” that worthy said—“Here goes!” He tore the shirt-band loose—“Ha, ha! What did I tell you? See!” A bag suspended by a string—the mob yelled joyfully. But hold—the bag is opened now. What is there in it—gold? The Judge’s stubby fingers grow tremulous and cold. Not gold, but some poor trinkets—a woman’s brooch and ring, A lock of baby hair, and a little rubber thing, [page 98] And a piece of crumpled paper, with this faintly penciled line: “Dear Mary died Jun twenty-one; Baby, June twenty-nine.” And the Judge’s hands were palsied, and the shuddered, and was still, And we all stood around him silent, and gave our tears their will; When, to break the stillness, came the cook to say the gold was found, In the cabin of the miner, safely hidden in the ground— And the Judge still kneeling humbly, with his grey head bending low, Groaned—“God, O God, forgive us for this crime—We didn’t know!” [page 97]
THE NORMAN MINSTER.*
HERE, let us pause uncovered, reverent, Before the portal of this time-worn pile, And in our chastened heart commune awhile On life, that seems a fitful evening spent. Within this church, in some dark, silent spot, A meager dust-heap—just a trivial thing— We’ll look upon, and so we’ll face a king, Once the proud Norman, now how less than nought! Ashes to ashes, dust to dust again! The greatest of his race but yesterday, He lived and reigned, and ruled and passed away, And this poor ash-heap doth alone remain! Gone? vanished? All but this unkingly dust A little child could hold in one small palm? Nay! Mark his spirit, living, radiant, calm, Above the portal. Read ye there his trust!
* “One of the noblest of the monuments which the Norman race has left in Northern Europe is the minster reared by William, the greatest of the Norman name, to be the sleeping-place of his dust. Over the central portal of that ancient church, boldly carved within its arch, to meet the eye of every entering worshipper, is a cross. Upon the four limbs of the cross you read four Latin words reading inwards to the centre, and each of them terminating in the letter which forms a cross. The words are Lux, Pax, Lex and Rex.” —Rev. J. Oswald Dyken. [page 98]
See there the Cross, carved boldly in the stone, To tell the faith of him who once was king; In this a royal defiance he doth fling At death and dust—he sleeps, but is not gone. The king will wake again! Golgotha’s cross Will tower, he knows, unshaken and sublime, When this poor planet, at the end of time, Herself is ashes, and her treasure dross! Lux—Christ is light—the minster holds no gloom; Pax—Christ hath said of old, “I give thee Peace;” Lex—Christ hath kept the Law; its terrors cease; Rex—Christ is King, triumphant o’er the tomb. Sleep on, O Norman, in thy sepulcher; We read the sculptured legend o’er the door, And trust to sleep ourselves, when life is o’er, Beneath the symbol thou graven there. [page 99]
[illustration] PETER MCPETERS loved Janet McFee, A pale and poetical sort of a lass, But there was a bar to their union, you see— Two barriers, in fact, that neither could pass— For Peter belonged to the old Scottish Kirk And tenaciously clung to John Calvin’s philosophy; While Janet abode in the fantastic murk Of that Asian mystery—Buddhistic Theosophy. The courtship was hardly the regular thing, Nor marked by the usual billing and cooing; It had a distinct theological ring, With its arguing, explaining, combatting, reviewing. Said Peter, “Dear Janet, ’twere foolish to wed, If the yoke is to be, as the Book says, unequal; Take these works I have brought you; when these you have read, I’ll look for a more satisfactory sequel.” [illustration] “And Peter,” said Janet, “you likewise take these— The works of Blavatsky, Olcott, and Besant; [page 100] Just study them calmly and thoughtfully, please, And they’ll make the thing clear, as I certainly can’t.” So with mutual professions no labor to shirk, To get at the truth, whate’er it might be, Janet buried herself in the creed of the Kirk, And Peter plunged into deep Theoso-phee. With joy on his features—the joy of new light— Peter hastened at length to announce his decision— And to tell how the teachings of Calvin took flight When the truth of Theosophy burst on his vision. Janet didn’t enthuse when the statement he made— But to hide her distress she did vainly endeavor— “And I’ve been converted to Calvin,” she said, “So the yoke remains, Peter, unequal as ever!” [page 101]
THE DEATH OF HORACE GREEKELY.*
THE nation dons sad vesture over gay, And bows in shame at so severe rebuke; Her hot, quick-starting tear is caught Within the going wrinkle of the laugh Whose sportive echoes were the knell Of that unblest ambition. The grinning jesters trooping in his track Fall back and hush the gibes upon their lips, Dumb at the shock of his fit vindication— Dead Greeley’s answer of eternal silence; For from those pallid lips and death-glazed eyes There comes a power to smite ingratitude, Which even he, by living word or look, Could not have conjured to avenge his wrongs.
* Horace Greeley was the democratic nominee for the Presidency of the United States, against General Grant, in 1870. The campaign was unusually bitter, and was particularly distinguished for personal abuse of Greeley himself. His death, which occurred suddenly, is believed to have been hastened if not caused by the venom of his adversaries, more especially the caricaturists of the opposition journals. [page 102]
[illustration] UPON the shaft that marks his resting-place Engrave these words: “Here lies a Patriot.” And let it be a four-square, honest shaft Of close-knit Scottish granite, With no vain floriture of art adorned, But sternly upright, fronting all the world, To match the man we knew. And when the silent-working tooth of Time Has gnawed the pillar crumb by crumb away, Let History bring her book and read aloud His virtues and his services; A story writ in brief, straightforward phrase, Telling of purpose high and duty done: A simple story, in the plainest prose, Yet which time-serving knaves in office high Can never hear without compunction’s smart, And self-contempt, and scarlet blush of shame! No god-like gifts were his; His Scottish tongue could speak unvarnished truth, But knew no charm of witching eloquence; His mind was not supreme in breadth and force, But it was sound, and anchored to good sense; He was not over-rich in scholarship,
* Premier of Canada, 1873-1878. Born January 28th, 1822; died April 17th, 1892. [page 103]
But more than peer of many richer men— Better than Great, he stood for what was Right— Just plain MACKENZIE—nobly commonplace. Tho’ gold and silver of high power he’d none, Such as he had he freely gave the land In earnest service, anxious and exact. In History’s book perchance he may not have A record of great deeds of statesmanship, Nor any lustrous episode at all; But every line that deals with his career As party Leader and First Minister, Has note of something useful—and no blots! He was a Christian of that old-time sort— Unfashionable now and growing rare— Who knew no sacred barr’d from secular, But worshipped God by doing honest work, Whether with mason’s tools as artisan, Or in high place of State. His amplest service to the land was this: Beyond, above the toils he undertook, And those he finished—be not one forgot!— He gave the world and answer in his life That it seems grown into a monstrous truth! But ’tis not truth—’tis still a cynic lie, That for all time must cower away and hide At mention of MACKENZIE’S stainless name. [page 104]
[illustration: Drawn by P. S. Challoner.]
“Halt! Who goes there?” The sentry’s voice, Like sudden, splitting trumpet note, Awakes the startled camp, and brings His heart to every trooper’s throat. At midnight, in the prairie land— ’Mid darkness that was weirdly dumb, And silence that seemed robed in black— This challenge from the post had come. What stealthy foe was on the plain Save the coyote, on nightly prowl With padded foot? Nought else astir But gopher, p’raps, or prairie-fowl; [page 107] Or the lone cricket in the grass, Whose note, like measured tick of clock, Beat time to stillness, so that Sleep, The fairy, knew no sense of shock. No foe but these—nought else astir In all the prairie far or nigh— And these were friends to break the gloom— “Halt, or I fire!” the sentry’s cry Brings half the camp quick to their feet, Each man with ready guns in hand, And horses, clattering, scramble up, And with pricked ears set forward stand. ’Tis whispered round a human form Has crept up near the sentry’s post, And lurks there somewhere in the dark, Mysterious, like a furtive ghost. The listening troopers hold their breath— “Answer!” again the sentry cries; No horse now stirs a hoof, but waits With head erect and glistering eyes. “Is Jimmie here? My Jimmie’s lost, And mother’s lonesome. Is he here?” A woman’s voice, that smites each heart, In quavering tones of wild despair. [page 106] A woman’s voice! A broken wail From some lost creature, doomed to roam Demented, searching for her child An hundred miles from any home! “Come, Jimmie, come!” The captain turns, With tender voice and moistening eyes, And whispers to the troopers rough, “Bring mother in—but, gently, boys.” And fifty men go groping out From every side around the camp, And the wee cricket, frightened, quits His chirping ’mid the grasses damp. But vain the quest as if they sought That lurking cricket’s self to find; From far away the cry is borne Upon the ghostly midnight wind. The back to camp, but not to sleep, For soon again, close by, they hear The sorrow-laden voice that wails— “My Jimmie’s lost! My Jimmie dear!” “Come in, poor soul; come into camp; Your Jimmie’s here; don’t be afraid!” The captain spoke the coaxing words, Whose gentleness his heart betrayed. [page 107] But when at length the answer came ’Twas not within the sentry line, But in the darkness, dim and far, The tear-filled cry, “O Jimmie, mine!” Sleep fled the camp; that haunting cry Still seemed to come, and never ceased Till dawn in tardy chariot broke The portals of the purple east. The, with the first faint streak of light An hundred troopers scoured the plain, But for a sign of human life Their practiced eyes searched all in vain. No! “What’s that yonder ?—something strange Upon the grass!” cries Captain Ned, And soon he holds aloft to view A child’s small stocking, faded red. “Her poor hands clutched this little thing Last night when she was here,” said he; “We’ll find her near yon willow copse Down by the creek, boys. Come and see!” And Captain Ned was right. For there, Beneath the willow trees she lay Asleep in death—lone, weary soul, Half-naked, famished, gaunt and grey. [page 108] The wife of some poor emigrant Who, with her little child had fled From murd’rous Indian raid, perhaps, Leaving her other dear ones dead. And o’er the prairie’s trackless waste Had wandered, starving, night and day, Till death had snatched her babe, and grief Her reason next had stolen away. See, to her shrunken breast she holds, In frenzied yet in fond caress, A little stocking, two wee shoes, A tiny cap and cotton dress. With pious care these trivial things Are buried with her by the stream, While the bronzed troopers bowing stand, And weep a silent requiem. Nor are these weak, unmanly tears, For o’er that unknown mother’s clay Each soldier pays a tribute deep To his own mother, far away. And so they leave her silently, She’s found her Jimmie and is blest; For God has wiped her tears, and hushed Her anguished cry upon His breast. [page 109]
GEMS FOR RECITATION.
[illustration] ’TWAS summer time; along the country road Simon the Simple indolently strode; The gentle zephyrs played about his form, And stirred his heart’s blood into currents warm. The little birds on every twig and fence Sat caroling their songs of innocence; Still on he went—and on, and on, and on With sweeping gait toward you market town; Is robbery in his heart? Is murder there? No, Simple Simon’s going to the fair! [illustration] But see! upon the brow of yonder hill An apparition! Still, my heart—sit still! A figure comes—a towering, gloomy storm; Behold him—mark him! Ah—our terrors fade— The Village Pieman, with his stock-in-trade. [page 110] “I’d taste your wares,” said Simon. “Gi’me pie.” “A penny,” is the Pieman’s gruff reply. “I haven’t got one,” says the simple lad. Then says the Pieman, looking stern and mad, “When starving creatures, famishing and gaunt, Cry out for bread, to feed them is my want; But those I spurn and ruthlessly pass by, Who come in guise of Want, yet ask for Pie!” [illustration]
IL—JACK AND JILL.
(In easy narrative style.) The shades of eve were falling on the world, While in the west a faint and flickering ray From the descended sun shot feebly up, And lighted two young hopeful, happy forms The side by side walked through the grassy field, Bearing between them, as a tie of love, A patient-pail, which they swung to and fro; Jack, handsome Jack, and merry-heated Jill, Tripping with laughter to’rd yon frowning hill. (Thrillingly.) Little they think, these lovers blithe and gay, That Fate, a grinning form, invisible, [page 111] Awaits them, envious of their happy love, And even now, with eager clutching hands, Remorseless, feels for their unconscious lives! (More calmly.) Now, up the mountain’s rugged side they go, Up to the spring that sparkles bright and cool, And while Jill rests and looks admiring on, Jack fills the pail with water to the brim. With sturdy arm he lifts it, and adown The hillside he prepares to go, The laughing girl beside him, when—oh, oh! (Intense dramatic emotion.) [illustration] Horror of horrors! Suddenly he slips, And sprawling helpless, rolling o’er and o’er, Down, down he falls, and downward rolls the pail! Speechless stands Jill, poor maiden, paralyzed, And staring with protruding, startled eyes, To see her lover rolling swiftly down From knoll to knoll, while in his frantic hand Is clutched the handle, and a hoop and stave Of that ill-fated pail—the rest of it, Dismembered, shattered, rolling downward, too, A dozen different ways! At last—it seems and age—with one vast bound Jack strikes the plain upon his cranium, And one soul-thrilling sound, one awful crash, Tells that his crown is cracked! [page 112] (With redoubled intensity.) But scarcely has its echo died away Than underneath Jill’s feet the boulder moves, And in the twinkling of an eye she falls, And rolls and sprawls and hurtles down The mountain’s side, and lands beside poor Jack— While Fate, whose ill design has been achieved, Chuckles and says, “Aha, I told you so!”
LET not this gallant spirit still in death, Go to his grave on yon dark, friendless strand, Until upon his breast we’ve laid our wreath, And proudly claim him son of this our land. Oh, cruel Death! Could’st thou have found a time Less fitting for thy summons than this hour, In which, with glow of manhood’s happy prime, He faced to’rds home and love and honor’s dower? Yet having spoken out thy dread command, This soldier parleyed not nor blenched, we know, But breathed farewell to kin and native land, And calmly answered, “’Tis God’s will; I go.”
* A native of Halifax, N,S. The companion of Stanley in his last African journey, and one of the bravest officers of the British army. He died at Zanzibar on his way home. [page 114]
CANADA’S WELCOME TO THE EARL AND COUNTESS OF ABERDEEN.
[illustration] SOMETHING special you have noted In our hand-grasp, Aberdeen? Something more than custom-coated, Formal welcome might have been? True, we are a folk of vigor In this bracing, ample West, But our climate’s healthful rigor Was not all that grasp expressed. True, you bear a name of glory— You are of the Gordon blood— And we know the gallants story Of your clansmen brave and good; Still in thus their scion meeting With a touch of extra grace, We are not your lineage greeting— ’Tis not homage to your race. True, you are a Peer of Britain, Earl and Lord of high degree, And, perchance, we’re not unsmitten With heraldic witchery. Still, ’tis not your rank we honor In that grasp, transcending words— [illustration] We’d a Duke as your forerunner, And we’ve often welcomed Lords’! [page 115] Shall I tell you frankly, plainly, What it means, this subtle thrill In our voices, which you vainly Seek to understand?—I will. ’Tis that in your life and spirit We have marked the Christ-like plan; ’Tis that you yourself have merit— We are welcoming the Man! True, we greet an Earl high-seated, And a Countess nobly born, Who, in heart and mind well-mated, Do their high estate adorn; Yet, more high, as Man and Woman, Nobler still by noble life, We give greeting full and human To John Gordon and his Wife! [page 116]
THE SUPERSENSITIVE EYE.
A WELL-TRAINED eye and a critical taste Are very good things, no doubt, But they sometimes turn into courses, too, As poor M. Dash found out. M. Dash was a fellow who read the proofs For a printing shop in town, A serious, sober, steady man, As all who knew him will own. All day he sat with watchful eye As his pen o’er the proof-sheets crawled, And marked each error, however small, While the copy-holder drawled. In course of time his critical eye So very critical grew, That ne’er a proof-sheet left his desk Until it was perfectly true. But, tho’ he liked this irksome job, It began to wear on his nerves, And his eye was constantly pained by slips, That no other eye observes. [page 117] If h picked up a book to pass an hour ’Mid fiction’s joys and terrors, He forgot the tale in his eager search For typographical errors. [illustration] When he walked down street his optic sharp Each bill and sign detected, And if an error it chanced to mark He longed to have it corrected. If on a grocer’s window sign A blunder he beheld, He’d step in and inform the man The thing was wrongly spelled. And if the shopman wouldn’t go And fix it right away, M. Dash would lose his appetite And mope about all day. He read the papers carefully, Tho’ news ne’er met his eyes, He did it as a painful task— A final proof revise. In short, he grew to be a crank Upon this wretched fad, And in an erring world he lived A life extremely sad. [page 118] Like Hamlet, in his frenzied way, He’d cry, “Oh, wretched spite, That ever I was born to set These endless blunders right!” At last, that typographic flaws No more his soul should vex, He took to wearing ultra-blue, Dark, double-opaque specs.
THE HERO OF THE MINNESOTA FOREST FIRES.
FOLKS ’at thinks thar’ ain’t no heroes Livin’ ’round here nowadays, But you’ve got to go to find ’em Back in Hist’ry quite a ways; Or to story books and pictures, Or else to theayter plays; Let such folks step up an’ listen While my little horn I toot ’Bout a real livin’ hero— Engine-driver Jimmy Root. That’s his name, and don’t forget it, Jimmy Root, the engineer; His address is White Bear Village— Yes, sir, he’s a livin’ thar’ Ef his burns an’ wounds ain’t killed him (Which, please God, we need not fear), He’s the chap ’at backed that engine And its train from Hinckley town, While the fire fiends roared around ’em Mowin’ home and forest down. ’Twas like this: Says Jack McGowan (He was engine-mate with Jim), “Pard, I’m goin’ to set the headlight,” “Good idee,” says Root to him; [page 120] “This here afternoon’s so smoky That my sight is mighty dim.” So ’twas done, and then they started South from Carleton through the smoke, Due at 4 p.m. at Hinckley, And they made it on the stroke! There Jim seed the platform swarmin’ With a frantic, strugglin’ crowd, And the cars was packed with people ’Fore the train stopped, Jim allowed; And they cried, and prayed and hollered, Hidden in the smoky cloud Black and hot; the fire was near ’em— Mighty near—Jim felt its breath, And he knowed another minute Meant a sure an’ awful death. So he jumped to pull the throttle Meanin’ for to go ahead, When a sheet of flame and fury, Yeller, blue, an’ green an’ red, Rose up like a wall afore him, An’ his senses nearly fled; Quickly he revered the engine— “Six miles north’s a marshy place, ’Tis our only hop,” he whispered, “Jack, we’ve got to make the pace!” Back she moved, and faster, faster Grew the speed with every turn [page 121] Of the drivin’ wheels, and Jimmy, With a face so set an’ stern, Stood right up and held her to it, Knowin’ it was beat or burn, While the flames like hell-hounds follered Leapin’, roarin’ for their prey, Paintin’ Jim infernal colors As the engine backed away. One mile!—two! Jim wraps his jacket Round his head, and fireman Jack From the manhole, where he’s sheltered, Douses water on his back; Three miles—four! God help the hero Standin’ firm an’ roastin’ black; Five miles—six! The race is ended— Stop her! In a trice ’tis done; Here’s the shallow Skunk Lake marshes, Save your lives! plunge, everyone! Now the baffled flames roar madly Round about the scanty lake, In whose waters, wallowing gladly. All a speedy refuge take, Saved, because this homespun hero Did his duty for Christ’s sake. And they bless him; Oh, they’ll hold him In their souls forever dear, And we all shall love and honor Jimmy Root, the engineer! [page 122]
JUSTICE FOR IRELAND.
Go ’long wid Yankee impidince, An’ blowin’ an’ pretintions, An’ how they bate the world an’ all Wid makin’ av invintions; [illustration] An’ how that janius Edison Eclipses all creation, An’ knocks the spots aff ivery man Az ivery other nation. An’ also let the Englishman, Who’s purty fond av braggin’, Come aff the roof an’ hoide his head, An’ shtop his tongue from waggin’; An’ likewaise Germans, French an’ Dutch, An’ ivery other party— There’s none can howld a candle to The land av Moriarty. Invintive janius shows itself Supramely in the Irish, An’ but for thim the patent laws Moight miserably perish, For—here’s me proof—on ivery new Conthrivance that’s invinted, A countryman av mine, names “Pat,” Has his name plainly printed! [page 123]
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES.*
[illustration] AT midday, when the sun was zenith-high, Came the clear call for him Whose sweet renown had reached meridian, Whose eye was not yet dim, Though it had sparkled in its kindly mood For more than eighty years of ill and good. ’Twas fitting that the gentle “Autocrat” Who ruled the willing heart Of his own time, should thus, Elijah-like, From earthly triumphs part, Not dying, as it seemed, but caught away— Translated in the fullness of the day. His learning won our honor, and his wit Our ready laughter moved; But most of all we prized the man himself, For while we laughed we loved, And loving well, the common grief we share— Each Breakfast Table has an empty chair.
* Died October 8th, 1894. [page 124]
THE village was en fête, flags and bunting proudly flying, Crowds of visitors arriving by the trains from far and near, Streamers decked in gorgeous colors up and down the river plying, Whose shrill, triumphant whistles with the bands ashore were vieing— ’Twas a gala day, eclipsing any other in the year. Splendid arches spanned the streets and beneath them, gaily prancing, Moved the gentry’s polished horses with a noble, high-strung gait, To the strains of lively music with a conscious beauty dancing, Their round and fiery eyes with the gay excitement glancing, Their spirits, like the spirits of the multitude, elate. What means this splendid fête—this general celebration? Some extra civic function? Some hero’s natal day? Some noble deed achieved by a leader of the nation? Some triumph of the Church or the cause of education? Some national deliverance from threatened danger? Nay! The millionaire distiller of the of the town is celebrating The enlargement of his business by a new and costly block; [page 125] All this glittering display, all this public jubilating, He has planned and carried out as a method of creating A boom for his “Fine Whiskey”—it will make the country’s talk. See! The new palatial office, a very dream of splendor, Is now “ablaze with light and breathing with perfume” From the flowers that sweetly blush ’neath the ferns so tall and slender, In the stately banquet hall, where the guests now throng to tender Their warm felicitations to the hero of the room. The giver of the banquet has played a princely part (For are not chef and waiters from a city far away?), Each course, each dish, a marvel of the culinary art, And wine and spirits to delight the epicurean heart, While anon amid the foliage orchestral artists play. Good judges of such matters declare, with glowing unction (They are all select bon vivants invited from afar), That for a well-appointed, stylish and recherché function, For beauty, grace and richness in elegant conjunction, They have never seen a banquet that with it would compare. The Press is represented—the press that wins our praises— “Unawed by wealth and influence; unbribed by sordid gain,” And the skilled reporters lavish all their most luxurious phrases [page 126] In describing the occasion on all its splendid phases, Though they own to do it justice language is, of course, in vain. Now the hero is alone ‘midst the rows of empty benches; The guests have gone; the flowers now are drooping as in sleep; The lights are burning low, and in the perfumed trenches Of the banquet hall he stands—then suddenly he blenches, Affrighted by a wailing cry—a groan prolonged and deep. He trembles and turns pale, horror all his senses seizing, He stands as one transfixed—he can neither look nor linger— Again he hears the cry, wild and long and agonizing, As of some lost human soul from the deep foundations rising, While from out the shadows seems to point a grim and ghastly finger. He knows it is the curse of heaven that rests forever Upon the whiskey trade, in palace or in slum, And the groans that smite him now will be silenced never, never, In that temple he has built, for by no polite endeavor Can the perfume of fair lilies subdue the stench of rum! [page 127]
TO THE SNOW, ON NEW-YEAR’S MORNING.
WELCOME thee, heaven-born snow, to the earth again!! Welcome thy face, and the joys that follow thy train! Hail to thee, pale and beautiful bride of the plain! Coming on fairy-like wings in fastidious flight, Silently eddying down through the listening night, Coming to mantle us all in a garment of white. Kissing the city, and forest, and mountain, and moor, Broad over castle and cottage, for rich man and poor, Hiding the dross of the earth under vesture so pure. Welcome thee, crystalline, boundless and pallid and drear, The winding-sheet last night for the dead one’s bier, The swaddling clothes this morn for the new-born year! [page 128]
A PRETTY WEDDING.
“’TWAS a very pretty wedding,” the fashion journal said (’Tis one of Mr. Jenkins’ common phrases— A sort of social chestnut that is getting somewhat played In the list of his discriminating praises). [illustration] Yes, it was a “pretty” wedding, there is not the slightest doubt, Tho’ everything was very plain, we’re told; For the groom was pretty rakish, and pretty big and stout, [illustration] And the bride was pretty rich and pretty old. [page 129]
FATHER MICHAEL STAFFORD.*
[illustration] FATHER! Most sacred name, And never worn more sacredly by man Than by this gentle priest, Who held a widening parish in his love, And still had heart for more! Not by the majesty of princely Rome, The pomp of ceremony, mystic rites, Authority’s swift flat or fear’s spell He held his place, and won men to his will; But by the holier force of blameless walk, And tender pity, he made captive all. A priest most pure, a man, a patriot true, A Christian soldier fighting as he fell, See, a his tomb the mountains weeping kneel— Learning and Temperance, widows sore bereaved— ’Twere impious now to ask them of his creed; Leave that to God—we know He loves the good. Raise no vain shaft to mark his resting-place, None graven by cunning art of man’s device; His life-work rises grandly o’er his grave, And from its front, in gentle, steady flame, Shines forth a name revered by rich and poor, And loved by every creed, and honest men of none!
* Parish priest of Lindsay, Ont., and widely distinguished as an advocate of Temperance. [page 130]
OH, roaring, rushing rapids, Oh, swiftly swirling stream, Thou frothing, foaming vision, Thou crazy poet’s dream! From Erie’s placid waters Thy mute beginnings flow, And onward to thy horrid verge Wilder and wilder grow. But Oh, that plunge thou givest, In mazy, misty mass! It beggareth description— I gaze, and say, “I pass.” Poets have tried before me To find the fitting word, But thou roar with laughter, The thing is so absurd. Adown in power and splendor, Before our ravished eyes, Thou plungest; yet, thou could’st not— Could’st thou?—do otherwise! [page 131]
WILLIAM H. HOWLAND.*
[illustration] As, in the joy and pride of buoyant youth, Honored and courted, flattered and caressed, He sat in Pleasure’s perfumed banquet hall, Some touch of sanity divinely given Illum’d his eyes, and he beheld the Truth. Not that his spirit instant shrank and soured, Or that the smile died sadly on his lips— A new and higher happiness indeed Beamed in his face, for now he truly saw And truly measured unreal things of time ’Gainst the eternal verities beyond. Then sprang the Man within his soul to life— Immediately, conferring not with flesh and blood, He cried, “My life from this day forth for Christ; My hand, my heart, my labor for His poor!” And so he lived and died—and so to-day While church and city, trade and public guild, Whose several cause he served right earnestly, In sad procession bear him to the tomb, The anguished sob of Poverty and Want Moves all our hearts—his dearest requiem!
* Born 1844; died December 12th, 1893. A notable Mayor of the city of Toronto, and an earnest worker in religious and philanthropic circles. [page 132]
“THE honorable gent is a liar and sneak, And a trickster of lowest degree; He’s a dickering shyster of adamant cheek— A truculent rascal is he!” “Order!” the House all horrified cried; “Take that back! Take it back! Take it back!” Me. Speaker then said, “Yes, so I decide, The member will have to retract.” “I will,” said the member; “I meant to say he Is devoid of all sense of veracity, And is gifted beyond Machiavelian degree With a serpent-like, foxy sagacity.” [page 133]
WILLIAM R. CLIMIE.*
[illustration] OUR country, that has need of sterling men And journals of high faith, Is poorer for the passing of this pen, And well may mourn this death. Silent may be the brazen trump of Fame And tongue of eulogy; The teeming world knows little of the name Or work of such as he. Yet ’tis by such as he the world is bless’d, More than by heroes great— Men of the people, simple, and undrest In dignities of State. These, like the dew, in every humble sphere Perform their silent task, Not widely known, but known to be held dear, The sweeter fame they ask. And when, as morning dew, they pass away, They leave no mark behind, But for their living all the after-day Is purer and more kind.
* Editor of the Bowmanville Sun, and for many years Secretary of the Canadian Press Association. Died June 7th, 1894. [page 134]
[illustration] THE proof-reader came to the editor’s desk, His face “sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,” As is common with men of his calling, somehow— The editorial decision he sought. “In this Salvation Army meeting report, With the names of the officers little and great, Will you have the titles in ‘quote marks,’” asked he, “As is usually done, or put ‘em in straight? “Should the name of the chieftain, for instance, appear As ‘General’ Booth—in quotation marks framed— Or would you prefer to let it go plain, As any real General’s rank would be named?” The editor settled back into his chair And put on his eye-glass, and, looking serene, He gazed at his reader a moment or so, And slowly said, “What do quotation marks mean? [page 135] “They wouldn’t be thought of, as you have just said, In the case of any real General—so They plainly imply that Booth is not that, But a merely mock General, to which I say, no! “‘Inverted commas,’ in his case, at least, Are meant to convey a species of sneer— A mark of contempt for the man and his work, A small-witted, paltry and cheap sort of jeer. “They seem to imply that Reality lies In the literal sword and the physical scar— That the shedding of blood is the genuine thing, While the Salvation Army is ‘playing at war.’ “My judgment may possibly be out of gear, But to me it seems plainly the other way on— The higher the object, the more real the thing, The nobler the purpose the truer the man. “And the truer and nobler and greater the mane, The truer the title that fixes his rank; The leader of spirits a General indeed, And “real” Generals, play-boys—but perhaps I’m a crank. “You talk of Reality—here are two names, General Napoleon and General Booth— A laugh of derision goes up from the world, At the juxtaposition. Well, what is the truth? [page 136] [illustration] “Napoleon (whose title no paper would ‘quote’), Was a very great General—his thousands he slew— But wasn’t he also a very small man? He lived a great life—but what did he do? “If the shallow and flippant to laughter are moved That Booth should be named with Napoleon the Great, True souls may well smile that the scourge of his age Should meet such an honored and undeserved fate. “That name, like Napoleon’s, is known o’er the world, But is known to be reverened—not to be loathed; Is stands for Salvation, not carnage and woe, For the fallen uplifted, the destitute clothed. “If it’s higher and greater to save than destroy— If man is immortal, and not a mere thing, And if titles have meaning in marking degree, Then Napoleon’s an insect, and Booth is a king! “So, Mr. Proof-reader, print officers’ names Of the Salvation Army with unquoted rank, Keep such sneers for the ‘captains’ who glory in blood— That’s how I regard it—but perhaps I’m a crank!” [page 137]
[illustration] I AM paying my addresses to a girl with classic tresses, Who is gone upon that famous French philosopher, Delsarte; But I’m frequently surmising that her attitudinizing And her waves and genuflexions will break this faithful heart. When I first set eyes upon her, I assure you, on my honor, That I loved her with a passion my tongue can never tell; The facts I do not garble when I say she looked like marble,-- She really seemed to Challenge me to break her witching spell. [illustration] [illustration] I secured an introduction and soon felt love’s whirlpool sunction,— Beneath her smile my being seemed with gladness to expand; On Delsarte I grew quite cranky, and I said, “My dear Miss Yankee, Believe me to remain yours ever truly to Command!” [page 138] [illustration] When I met her shortly after, she indulged in scornful laughter; When I took her hand and kissed it, and muttered “By your leave!” Yes! She laughed a laugh so hollow that my heart I had to swallow My Horror and Astonishment you never could conceive! [illustration] Being plainly snubbed and slighted, I of course felt somewhat blighted, But my love was far too strong to wilt before this adverse breath; In fact, her heartless snicker only made my pulse beat quicker. “I’ll win this maiden yet!” I cried—“this is my steadfast Faith!” [illustration] [illustration] Next day I saw her walking and affectionately talking With a simpering summer Dudelet, who wore a blazer coat, And at once a surging passion ’gainst this paltry sprig of fashion— A passion known as Jealousy—my heaving boson smote. [page 139] I came very nearly swooning, but so deep were they in spooning That they never even saw me, though I boldly crossed their path; There I stood, ignored—not in it! and I posed one awful minute In an attitude of Anguish, which was not unmixed with Wrath. [illustration] [illustration] “This couple I will sever,” I hissed out, “now or never! I’ll bring this to a head at once, my fate this girl must seal!” So that evening I waited on the lady and so stated— In accordance with Delsartian rules I made her my Appeal. There I pleaded, and she listened, and her starry eyes they glistened, As she stood like Grecian statue until I had got quite through; When her arms (to mine unnerving) began mysterious curving, And she said, “You make me Weary, very Weary—so you do!” [illustration] [page 140] [illustration] “Do you mean?” I gasped out, choking—“oh, no, no! you must be joking,— Do you mean I make you Tired? Say I have misunderstood?” But to this appeal so craving, she did some more arm-waving, And finished with Rejection in Delsartian attitude. “’Tis this Dude you love!” I thundered, “and from him you shall be sundered, If I have to slay the creature—which I certainly shall do!” In reply she made a gesture, throwing back her classic vesture, And struck the pose Defiance, and merely said “Pooh-pooh!” [illustration] [illustration] Then I strode out full of fury, waiting neither judge nor jury, And I went and slew that Dudelet with a poisoned cigarette; While his hated prostate body, with its blazer coat of shoddy, I pounded with a racket as I roared “Revenge is sweet!” [page 141] [illustration] She came up just as I ended, and looked as tho’ offended, Then she beautifully posed as Grief, and dropped a pearly tear, While I, devoid of pity, just hummed a little ditty, And, exulting in my work, I cried, “Sie semper dudlets here!” At this she seemed quite fluttered; though no word at all she uttered, I could see a conflict raging in her palpitating heart; I could scarcely comprehend her, till she said, “Yes—I Surrender!” And she took the pose accordingly invented Delsarte. [illustration] [illustration] “’Tis not that I really love you, for I think myself above you,” She said; “I just surrender to get rid of you for good,” This was just a trifle chilling but I cried, “All right, I’m willing!” And thus I won my Triumph, and I struck that attitude! [page 142]
CHRISTOPHER FINALY FRASER.*
[illustration] ALL dark and gloomy the great building stood, Save where in one far window shone a ray, In the weird hour ’twixt midnight and the morn. The lonely watchman noted it and said, “’Tis Fraser’s lamp; some business of the State Keeps him astir, unmindful of himself— He should have rest.” Sir, peace; he is at rest. In yon high chamber, ‘neath the watchful light That falls upon his form and touches it With glory, so to symbolize our love, Prone on the floor beside his untouched couch, Alone, alone and dead, he lies in state. With morning’s dawn the news is fast afoot, And men are saying, as they shake their heads, “And yet ’twas like him thus to pass away; He did his noble service to the land Without parade and almost secretly; And had the choice been his, we may believe
* Born at Brockville in 1839. For many years Minister of Public Works in the Ontario Government. Mr. Fraser was found dead on the floor of his apartment in the new Parliament Buildings, Toronto, August 24, 1894. [page 143]
He rather would have gone thus unobserved Than to have heard, around a stately bed, Through weeks or months our whispering of praise. We mourn him truly, deeply, all—nay, hold! There’s one who mourns not, nor has any cause— The cynic of the time, whose role it is To say there are no honest public men, No single-minded patriots, alive; He mourns not Fraser’s death, because he knows There’s one MAN less between his lie and truth. Take a last look, Ontario, on thy son! Now say farewell, for here in solemn state Come consecrated priests of Papal Rome To claim the sacred clay. Yes; he was theirs, this statesman pure and true— He worshipped at Rome’s alter, and he’ll sleep, Until the judgment, in Rome’s holy ground. Yet bid them stay till Bigotry has come, With faltering step and shame-flushed brow, and looked Upon the dead, and marked the general grief, And caught the perfume of the flowers heaped By Protestants upon this honored bier, And realized that, had her will been law, This man had been denied a right to show He loved his country, and could serve her well!
THE GRIMSBY GIRL.
DELIGHTFUL recollection! I think I see her now, Reclining in a hammock, With intellectual brow, An pretty summer costume That caught my roving eye, As, conning o’er my lecture, I wandered idly by. Then later, in the Temple, The night I was to speak On the Esthetic Culture Of the Roman and the Greek, [page 145] I saw her posed to listen In Delsartian attitude, And I noted her approval Of my every platitude. I had come from Pennsylvania To deliver this address— I’m a rather noted preacher, As you may shrewdly guess— And I only wanted one thing To make my life complete— This lovely Grimsby maiden, So learned, fresh and sweet! The glamor of her presence Gave me inspiration rare, And I quite surpassed all efforts I had ever made elsewhere; When I spoke of Grecian beauty As portrayed in marble pure, I did it with emotion, And I fixed my eyes on her! I determined I would win her Ere I left that classic ground, And next day a friend who knew her I fortunately found. “Please to introduce me, will you, To that lady there?” I said; “With the greatest pleasure, brother,” He replied, “come right ahead.” [page 146] And so he led me over To her pretty cottage door, And I never felt so nervous In all my life before; But my heart stopped short its beating, And I felt extremely sick When he said—“Er—Brother Shouter, “Make you ’quained ’th Mrs. Slick.”
SIR JOHN THOMPSON.*
[illustration] HEIGHT after height achieved, And each new step will won, Now by his sovereign royally received, He stands before the throne. And gazing from that height Down the far slope to youth, He sees with kindling eye a pathway bright, Of honor and of truth. A course of fifty year, With many a scene of strife, Yet through it all—its work, its hopes, its fears— A good and worthy life. Yonder’s a trampled space Where he has met his foes, In politics’ fierce war, but face to face With no unmanly blows. And yonder is the spot, More sacred and more dear, Where the stern battle of his soul he fought, A warrior sincere. A goodly record this— And yet more good in store, More work, more fame, more honor—Peace, He’s dead; it’s o’er, it’s o’er.
* Born 1844; died at Windsor Castle, immediately after having been sworn in as a member of Her Majesty’s Privy Council, December 12th, 1894. [page 139]
ON THE CORNER.
“Mornin’ World! Globe! Mail an’ Empire! Get a paper—have y’ are!” Piped the urchins on the corner; As they stormed the trolley car; Sturdy, eager, pushing merchants, Each one with an anxious “phiz” That bespoke the down-town maxim, “Self for self, and biz is biz!” “Paper, sir!” a dozen voices, In a dozen different keys, Yelled the words, and I, surrounded, Stood uneasily at ease. [page 149] “Yes,” I said, I, “I guess I’ll take one From this boy—he asked me first,” And I motioned to a gamin Who a heap of dailies nursed. Dirty-faced and towzle-headed Was the lad, with ragged clothes, Used to Want’s grim rough-and- tumble And Misfortune’s cruel blows; But he instantly grew handsome, As his whispered order came— “Buy it from this boy here, mister, He is little, and he’s lame!” And the brave, unselfish fellow Pointed to a “Tiny Tim,” Hobbling on a pair of crutches— “That’s it, mister, buy from him!” Dirty-faced and towzle headed, Clothing ragged, thin, and old. Yes! but in that little bosom Christ-like spirit, heart of gold!
FARMER JINKS ON SUNDAY CARS.*
I’VE ben down to T’ronty, where my married darter stays, A-spending of a fortnight of some well-arned holidays; It’s the intellectual centre—as I s’pose, of course, you know— Full of ’varsities and colleges, that make a goodly show. And it’s only nater’l that the folks down there has extry sense, And when it comes to argyin’, they’re certainly immense. For instance, as I stood one day a-listenin’ to a tune An organ man was grindin’ out in front of a saloon, A chap that had a breath as if he’d just ben at the bar, Comes up to me an’ hollers out, “’Rah for the Sunday car!”
* Read at a mass meeting held in the Pavilion, Toronto, under the auspices of the opponents of Sunday cars, in view of the vote to be taken on that question. [page 151]
He seemed a little tipsy, notwithstandin’ which ’twas plain He was a intellectual giant, an’ had a powerful brain; He was spillin’ for an argyment, as I could understand, ’Caiue he had a mornin’ paper clutched in his dirty hand. He walks right up ag’in me, and he wouldn’t let me pass, Which, as we wasn’t introduced, was that I reckoned sass, But I jest had to be resigned, bein’ I couldn’t run— And the organ played a ’propriate tune, called “Johnny, git your gun!” Says he, “We must have Sunday cars to take us to the parks, Where we can worship Natur’, and have some quiet larks, We want to livelier Sunday, with a little bit of fun,” And the organ-man came in ag’in with “Johnny, git your gun!” “The workin’man,” says I, “is not the fool you take him for, And he can git along first-rate without your Sunday car; [page 152] He sees your little trap quite plain, to rob him of his day, And make him to seven days of work for jest a six-days’ pay. “Besides, he ain’t so flush of funds that he must ride around On Sundays in a city where parks and squares abound, And where nine workin’men in ten has got a nice back yard, Where they can lie around an’ rest as happy as a lord.” The feller then got mad, and sez, “The city’s full of slums, And these poor workin’men I mean ain’t got no decent hums, And they need Sunday cars, and so the cars has got to run,” And the organ-man struck in ag’in with “Johnny, git your gun!” Sez I, “Young man, you’re lyin’, if you’ll excuse plain talk; T’ronty hasn’t got no slums, whichever way you walk; And I’m ashamed to hear you a runnin’ down your town,” And the organ yelled out wilder still, “O Johnny, git your gun!” And then the feller took a tack; he seed he’d made a break— “We want the cars to go to church,” says he, “and no mistake; [page 153] And there’s the cemeteries, where we want to take festoons To decorate our dear ones’ graves on Sunday afternoons.” “Well, go; why, certainly,” sez I. “You have my full consent; The gates is freely open? There’s no one to prevent, If you feel such affections for your lost ones as you talk—” “We love ’em right enough,” sez he—“but not enough to walk!” And then he took another twist; says he, “Toronto’s grown, And doesn’t want to be behind no other near-by town; There’s Buffalo and Rochester and Cleveland and Detroit, They all have Sunday cars”—“Exactly so,” sez I; “you’re right; “And they likewise have beer-gardens, and open shops and shows, And lots of other evils that from open Sunday flows;” But he stopped me in a jiffy, and said it wasn’t right To bring up other cities in any such a light! The organ had stopped playing to hear what he would say, And then it sung, sarcastic like, “Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay!” And then the feller bristled up, and made a reg’lar speech, His voice a-growin’ louder till it ended in a screech. Says he: “Toronto’s Sunday, that is praised so much abroad, Because it’s kept a little ’cording to the law of God, [page 154] Don’t suit a certain section of the looser sort of fish, And so it’s got to be revised accordin’ to their wish. And first of all, the Sunday cars,” sez he, “has got to come—” Just here the organ drowned his voices with “Ta-ra-ra-ra-boom!” “Men don’t require no day of rest, I tell you that’s all rot, Though we don’t care particular whether they do or not; And if it ends in seven days’ work for only six days’ pay, That don’t affect our feelin’s—we’re bound to have our way. We want to make Toronto a place that’s ‘up to date,’ And have things run ‘wide open’; so let the parsons prate. It’s not the city’s interest we have in view, you know; It’s our own selfish pleasure—we want the cars to go. Nor do we really care a cent for the patted workin’man; Our gammon is intended just to help our little plan; And as to Bible argyment, we say the Sunday car Is ‘necessity and mercy,’ of course, so there you are, Although we know it’s nonsense; for once again I say, Our real, honest motive is—we want to have our way. The Sabbath is a weariness, to tell the simple truth, And far too dull and solemn for our animated youth. And Toronto on a Sunday is too far behind the times; We want to hear the trolley gongs as well as churchly chimes; And if, as trailers to the cars, in time we get saloons, And Sunday morning papers, and bands with week-day tunes, [page 155] And theatres, and concert-halls, and open stores and shops (Of course when you begin a thing you can’t tell where it stops)— Why, we will grin and bear it (especially we’ll grin), For we don’t look upon such things as what you call a sin. So that’s our real position; that’s really what we think, And now I’m through my discourse, come in and have a drink. The bar-keep he is with us, and sound on Sunday cars,— In fact, they’re with us solid in all the city’s bars.” “Excuse me,” I replied, “but if we never meet ag’in, I want to say your argyment is sensible as—then I paused for some comparison to fit in, in a way, When the organ made the finish with “Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay!”
AFTER THE VOTE.
FARMER JINKS HEARD FROM AGAIN.
I DIDN’T s’pose I’d be in toen so very soon ag’in, But when ’twas “single fare return” I thought I’d take it in; An’ so on Civic Holiday I jined in with the crowd, An’ went down to the city a-feelin’ pretty proud. I felt like seein’ T’ronty alter the cruel war To shake her hand for knockin’ out once more the Sunday car; An’ maybe I might meet that chap I talked to ’tother day, An’ have the fun of hearin’ what he had got to say. Well, sure enough, as I was jest a-comin’ up the road, Right ’gin a corner tavern door that very party stood; He didn’t have his hair combed, an’ he needed shavin’ bad, An’ he wore the gen’ral aspect of a chap that’s feelin’ sad; He didn’t see me comin’ ’cause his head was sorter bent, An’ on a mornin’ paper he seemed to be intent. I stopped right there afore him (tho’ I hate the smell of bars), An’ says I quite sudden—“Mornin’, sir—and how is Sunday cars?” He looked up quick, he knew me, an’ I thought he’d cut an’ run— [page 157] An’ I’ll bet that tune came back to him—“O Johnnie, git your gun.” But he didn’t run; he stopped right there, resumin’ his cigar, An’ slappin’ of the World, says he: “We’ll get that Sunday car! Don't you make no mistake, my friend, it’s shortly goin’ to come; We, the Progressive Party, is goin’ to make things hum; An’ as to this here vote we had on Saturday,” says he, “We’re mighty well contented; ’twas a moral victory.” “I ’gree to that—you’re right,” says I, “’cause the Sunday cars got beat!” “No, not at all,” says he; “’twas just a masterly retreat; But look at how we knocked to bits last year is was three; ‘We're goin’ to have another round,’ to quote the Sporting World, An’ Toronto’s ‘crown of glory’ will from her head be hurled— If it’s a crown of glory to make the poor man walk When he goes out on Sunday—I call that boshy talk.” “Another vote?” says I. “Indeed? Well, mister, look a-here, If you git up another vote within a couple o’year, The people of T’rony will rise up in their might An’ wipe your entire outfit completely out o’ sight!” “Oh, not at all,” says he; “in fact, ’twill be the other way, For things was all one-sided with that vote on Saturday. [page 158] For instance, lots of law-abidin’ folks was out of town Who would ha’ voted with us; and then you’ve got to own The antis personated to a horrible extent, And street-car cash an’ tickets most lavishly was spent To help defeat our efforts, an’ all the sports in town Joined with the young Endeavorers to keep our partly down. All these things were ag’in us, considerin’ which, methinks, It was a moral victory—come in an’ buy the drinks!” Says I, “I’m a teetoi’ler, but mister, look a-here, I vum if I won’t set ’em up, with whiskey, gin or beer” (The feller’s eye was sparklin’)—“Ah, you’re the stuff,” says he— “Hold on,” says I, “a minute, you’re interruptin’ me— An’ throw in some champagne as well, and likewise some cigars— But no to-day, exactly—when you git them Sunday cars!”
THE CHESTNUT TREE.
UNDER the spreading chestnut tree The city urchin stands, A vandal and scamp is he, With most mischievous hands; And sticks and stones he throws aloft And many a chestnut lands. What cares he though he breaks the boughs And knocks off leaves and twigs, And makes the sidewalk look as if ’Twere overrun with pigs? He’s not afraid of cops—if one Should come along, he “digs.” What does the city urchins do With the fruit of all this toil; This annual ruin of the trees Which cops don’t seem to foil? He “don’t do nothin’ with ’em, see?”— Just leaves ’em there to spoil; Or else, perchance, he gathers them All round, and hard, and green, And stores them in some safe retreat Awaiting Hallowe’en, When they are used for “pegging doors” And raising people’s spleen. [page 160]
[illustration] “SUNSET and evening star, And one clear call for me! And may there be no moaning of the bar When I put out to sea. “But such a tide as, moving, seems asleep, Too full for sound or foam, When that which drew from out the boundless deep Turns again home. “Twilight and evening bell, And after that the dark! And may there be no sadness of farewell When I embark. “For tho’ from out our bourne of time and place The flood may me far, I hope to see my Pilot face to face When I have crost the bar.”—Tennyson.
AND so it was, O singer rare, Upon a soundless, foamless tide Thy bark from out this bourne did ride, And Nature heard her lover’s prayer! ’Twas when all strifes of earth were spent Out to’rd the Vast she turned the prow, And a pale moonbeam kissed thy brow, Placid in death’s sublime content. [page 161] There was no moaning of the bar, ’Twas not an hour for pangs and fears; But that full tide was human tears, Reflecting back the evening star. And then thou crost the bar in peace, And passed away and gave no sign— Yet we belive that Christ divine, Thy Pilot, met thee, full of grace. [page 162]
THE HIGHER CRITICISM.
I SAW a Higher Critic, looking scholarly and cool, As he stood beside the portals of the new Negation School; And as I passed he stopped me by a motion of his hand, Saying, “Pray don’t look so much at ease—you do not understand.” Then he drew me gently near him, and with a pitying look He placed his slender finger on the cover of the Book Which I carried on my way to church. “I greatly fear,” said he, “You have a comfortable faith in Christianity. “You quite believe that Moses wrote the Jewish Pentateuch, And you find no great discrepancies in Matthew, Mark, or Luke; Hebrews you deem the work of Paul; nay, you are so far gone You od not even doubt the authenticity of John! “Such simple faith is touching, yet ’tis also very sad, When modern doubts and theories are so cheaply to be had; And I feel a sense of duty impelling me to state That Genesis is clearly of a post-exilic date. [page 163] “The story of Creation, of the Flood, and of the Fall, Are obviously poems, as is also Abram’s call. Indeed, as to the latter, he’s not literally real— Abram’s but a noun of multitude—a Hebrew race-ideal. “You’re in error if you think that David wrote the so-called Psalms, Or see a Messianic sense in the sacrifice of lambs; And your comforting assurance that the Canon is exact Is in painful contradiction to the Higher Critic fact. “In short, my simple brother, you must not feel so sure; The Book you think inspired is only Jewish literature. Its authorships, chronologies and dates are quite astray; You must wait and hear what future excavations have to say. “The book of Job, for instance, is, we know, anonymous, And the Patriarchs are heroes we may call eponymous; The law is post-Mosaic, which explains the question vext Of the gross anachronism of the Middle-Hebrew text. “In Exodus an Eloist and a Jehovist we see— Two distinct and separate authors, as the critics all agree; While a third did the compiling—these three seem fairly clear— But there yet are several counties, so to speak, from which to hear. [page 164] “I will not detain you longer, my friend, except to say These are tentative suggestions, thrown out in casual way. You are on your way to worship with your Book; you may be right, For though not, of course, the Word of God, yet is affords some light. “Pray don’t let me disturb your faith—that is not my intent; To hint at some Hypotheses was really all I meant.” “Don’t be afraid for me, good Higher Critic,” I replied, “My faith does not depend on what your grammars may decide. “My dear old mother, dead and gone, was a Higher Critic, too; This Book was hers—she loved it, and she knew it through and through. She told me ’twas from God direct, and she’d no doubt at all The Patriarchs had really lived, as well as John and Paul. “She told me how the world was made, and all about the Flood, And how the Israelites were saved by the sparkling of the blood. She wasn’t very learned, she didn’t know much Greek, And of ‘tentative suggestions’ I never heard her speak. [page 165] “But she was a Higher Critic of the very highest kind— she searched the Scriptures daily the pearl of price to find; She caught their inner spirit—which some Higher Critics miss— And Christ was formed within her, and filled her soul with bliss. “I have no quarrel with learning—wise doctors have their place— But the scalpel of the scholar can not dissect God’s grace. Adieu, sir, I must hasten; heaven bless all critics true, But with the Rock on which I build their task has nought to do.” [page 166]
[illustration] ’TWAS a sultry day in August—80 something in the shade, Just the sort of afternoon to pass in some dark, sheltered glade; But ’twas my ill-luck to be that day in perhaps the stuffiest spot That is known to human nature when the weather’s very hot— A frowsy, grimy railway car, with faulty ventilation, That seemed to gather dust and flies and heat at every station; Half-filled with weary-looking folk, who sat in ones and twos, Too listless now to talk or read—too comfortless to snooze. A lady in blue spectacles with her little pale-faced daughter; A fat man down beside the tank that bore the words, ice water (Altho’ its contents to the taste were innocent of ice, And even to the thirstiest throat were very far from nice); A travelling man with collar off, and in his stocking feet; A spinster with a busy fan, who fought the wooing heat; [page 167] A done-out looking woman, with despairing, sunken eyes, With a poor, sick baby on her lap—and flies, and flies, and flies. Now, it takes but very little under such like circumstances To awaken human interest in the shape of lazy glances; And the thrill that ran throughout that car may perhaps be understood, When there entered at a stopping place a full-fledged, living Dude. [illustration] A tall and fair young man he was, with a very natty coat, And a collar stiff and high enough to cut his dainty throat; And cuffs down to his knuckles, and trowsers good and wide, And gaiters in his boot tops, and necktie neatly tied; An eyeglass in his ocular, and gloves and cane as well, And the very latest style of hat—a regular haw-haw swell. With silken pocket handkerchief he dusted off the seat. In front of me, and then sat down, composed and cool and neat; And as he sat I sized him up, by way of mere diversion— My thoughts went rambling off upon a trivial excursion. But there was little food for thought—he was an empty noodle, With nothing to commend him except, perhaps, his boodle— [page 168] Though that was doubtful—certainly, he hadn’t any brains; And as for heart and character, it needed little pains To come to the conclusion he didn’t know their meaning. Thus ran my mental summary— When I observed him leaning Across the aisle where sat the tired, despairing-looking woman, And in his eye, beneath the glass, I saw a glance most human; And then he gently rose and said, “Madam, I see you’re weary, Let me take baby, won’t you?” His voice was sweet and cheery, And his manner was so winning that the woman looked her blessing As he took the sick child from her with a movement most caressing. “You have travelled quite a distance?” “Yes, from Omaha,” she said; “My husband—” but he stopped her, for the story he had read In the small pathetic bit of crape she fondled in her hand, And her voice so chocked and husky. “Yes,” he said, “I understand; And you can’t afford to travel in the sleeper. Going far?” “I am going to Quebec, sir, where all my people are.” He heard with tender sympathy, then said, “Now, take a rest; “I’ll nurse the baby for you, and I’ll do my very best.” [page 169] The woman looked her thanks, and then, done out for want of sleep, She dropped into unconsciousness, while he with pity deep Moved to his seat the aisle and held the fevered child, While I – I felt rebuked, ashamed—and no onlooker smiled. But presently a lady rose and came and asked the Dude To let her take the baby. “I feel,” said she, “I should Have offered long ago; but now, pray let me share the duty. Poor little thing! she’s fast asleep; poor wasted little beauty!” And having given up his charge, the Dude addressed us all— “My friends,” said he, “this is a case that seems for help to call. The sleeper is the place for this poor woman—can you doubt it? Then may I ask respectfully, What’ll you do about it?” [illustration] “Do!” cried the fat man, springing up; “we’ll take up a collection; That is, I guess, the proper thing to so in this connection; And as I wear a good-sized hat I’ll pass it round myself, And give you everyone a chance to spare a little pelf.” So saying, up the aisle he rolled, turning to right and left, And bringing to the Dude a hat of formidable heft, [page 170] Half-full of silver dollars, halves and quarters, bills and dimes (Notwithstanding that the country was suffering from hard times). And when the woman woke, the Dude, to her tear-told delight, Made her the presentation, and then in form polite Escorted her and baby to the sleeper in the rear, While I and several others aboard that stuffy car Sat and revised our verdict about that swell young man, And this is how, I reckon, our final judgment ran: ’Tis never have a noble heart tho’ his clothes are poor and vile. And, on the other hand, ’twould seem this incident made good, A man may be a Christian tho’ he dresses like a Dude!
“MOTLEY: Verses Grave and Gay.” Finis—put the book away. Nothing learned, nothing deep, Perhaps you say; True—but you’ve not been asleep Anyway! Sombre lines, and trifles, too; Verses light and verses blue, Very true; And since you have red them through— Verses of a motley hue— Now can you, Snug ensconced in easy chair, Quote us, as your judgment fair In this regard, From Avon’s bard, “Motley is the only wear”? [page 172]
The Dread Voyage
WILLIAM WILFRED CAMPBELL
Author of “LAKE LYRICS.”
CLOTH, 190 PAGES, – – – $1.00.
The Chicago Inter-Ocean paid the following tribute to Mr. Campbell’s famous poem, “The Mother,” when it first appeared in print: “The nearest approach to a great poem which has cropped out in current literature for many a long day is ‘The Mother,’ in Harper’s Monthly for April. A subject inviting poetic treatment, and rich in the pathos which gives to poetry its flavour and stamps it as being the choicest vintage of literary expression, is so treated in ‘The Mother’ that one feels that it could never be improved upon. There are many such poems. The bookshelves devoted to such a collection would not need to be large, but the catalogue would be a long one. It is no small thing to add another gem to such a collection, and the addition deserves to attract some attention.
“This little poem has for its basis of fact the death of a bride-mother whose infant soon follows her to the grave. How best to vitalize the thoughts natural to such a phase of human experience, and make its depth of sentiment appreciable by the dull clay of ordinary intellects, was the problem herein solved. It would be impossible to give in common prose even the most remote idea of the beauty and poetic sweetness of the poem. Nor does the charm lie in quotable lines. The picture as a whole needs to be seen in its unity to be felt in its personation of a high and tender ideal.”—Chicago Inter-Ocean.
“Mr. Campbell’s verses are characterized by an imaginative grasp of nature, and especially of nature in her sadder or sterner moods, that is often singularly impressive. The approach of winter, the sweep of the storm, and the majesty of the ice-bound northern wastes are the ones to which the author frequently recurs, and which he continues to associate with the corresponding phases of human emotion. The Interpenetration of the soul of man and the soul of the physical world may be taken as the predominant though of Mr. Campbell’s work.”—The Chicago Dial.
“The writer possesses descriptive powers of great strength. ‘Dusk’ and ‘Out of Pompeii’ are poems of great beauty and pronounced musical quality.”—Philadelphia Ledger.
WILLIAM BRIGGS, Publisher,
29-33 Richmond St. West, Toronto.
MONTREAL: C. W. COATES. HALIFAX: S. F. HUESTIS.
AND OTHER POEMS
FREDERICK GEORGE SCOTT,
“THE SOUL’S QUEST, AND OTHER POEMS,”
“ELTON HAZLEWOOD,” ETC.
Cloth, uncut edges, 73 cts.
Watered Silk Cloth, superior paper, $1.00.
“This is not our first meeting with Frederick George Scott and we shall hope to spend pleasant hours with him in the future, if he can only give us fresh work equal to the six best poems in ‘My Lattice,’ . . . This book is rugged in merit, as most books must be; but when Mr. Scott is at his best, he knows how to turn out verses that charm.”—NORMAL GALE, in London Academy.
. . . “Mr. Scott’s work is in a higher strain, and in part remarkable. In ‘Thor,’ ‘The Frenzt of Prometheus’ and ‘Dion,’ although he interests in spite of perilous comparisons, his muse staggers somewhat. It is in a short piece entitled ‘Samson’ that one forgets to criticize. Here also there is, of course, a dangerous comparison to be made; but that, too, passes away before verse like this.” [“Samson” here quotes at length.] “These are splendid verses; and this is probably the best American poem for many years. It rouses speculation that it should come out of Canadian from a poet called Scott.”—London Speaker.
“These poems display a delicate fancy, a mastery of chaste language and a literary culture that lift them out of the plane of commonplace rhymes. ‘The Everlasting Father’ s the name of a little poem that we admire very much. We think it will be admitted by all readers of poetic feeling that here our author touches the ‘heavenly strings’ of poetic melody.”—Christian Guardian.
WILLIAM BRIGGS, Publisher,
29-33 Richmond St. West, Toronto.
MONTREAL: C. W. COATES. HALIFAX: S. F. HUESTIS.
Songs of the Common Day
. . AVE . .
An Ode for the Shelley Centenary.
By CHARLES G. D. ROBERTS,
Author of “In Divers Tones,” “Orion,” etc.
CLOTH, – – Price, $1.25.
“Ever since ‘Ave!’ came, saw and conquered The Literary World we have looked with anxiety for a volume of short pieces by Mr. Roberts. At last our expectation is fulfilled, and we have an opportunity of testing this young Canadian poet searchingly and more severely . . . . He is delightfully poetical, and is able to state his observation in rich melodies.” —London Literary World.
“Here the local color is much stronger and more artistically given. The series of Sonnets, for instance, presents carefully worked pictures, the difficulty of the form having moved the writer, as is often the case, to successful effort. . . . . It seems, indeed, that Canada is going to be a land of poets.” —London Spectator.
BY STUART LIVINGSTON.
“Many thanks to Stuart Livingston’s little book. Who is he? Is he young? If so, then I feel sure he will do something. There’s the real stuff in some of these verses—fine stuff; and at times an inevitableness of phrase that can never be got by imitation or effort. I like some of the poems much—for instance, ‘Music,’ and ‘Her Eyes are Shaded Deep with Prayer,’ and several others as good.” —Charles G. D. Roberts.
“These poems, though mostly brief and fragmentary, have the true lyrical ring and descriptive power, and are as significant in what they promise as in what they achieve. In several of them true poetic feeling is blended with delicate fancy.” —Christian Guardian.
WILLIAM BRIGGS, Publisher,
29-33 Richmond St. West, Toronto.
MONTREAL: C. W. COATES. HALIFAX: S. F. HUESTIS.
In addition to the poems of CAMPBELL, SCOTT, ROBERTS and LIVINGSTON, noticed in the preceding pages, we have published the following:
|This Canada of Ours. J. D. EDGAR, M. P||$0.75|
|Recreations. Rev. E. A. STAFFORD, LI..D||0.35|
|Wayside Echoes. SOPHIA V. GILBERT||0.75|
|The Ministry of Flowers. MRS. NORTON||0.65|
|Jubilee, Patriotic and Other Poems. RUBERT AWDE||0.35|
|Lorenzo, and Other Poems. J. E. POLLOCK, B.A.||0.75|
|The Dream of Columbus. Rev. R. W. WRIGHT, B.D.||0.25|
|Motley: Verses Grave and Gay—(Illustrated.) J. W. BENGOUGH||1.00|
BY OTHER PUBLISHERS.
|Among the Millet. ARCHIBALD LAMPMAN||$1.00|
|Lake Lyrics, and Other Poems. W. W. CAMPBELL||1.00|
|In Divers Tones. CHAS. G. D. ROBERTS||1.25|
|The Magic House. DUNCAN CAMPBELL SCOTT||1.00|
|Low Tide on Grand Pre. BLISS CARMAN||1.25|
|Pine, Rose and Fleur de Lis. Mrs. HARRISON (“Seranus”)||1.25|
|Laura Secord: a Drama, and Other Poems. Mrs. CURZON||1.50|
|Songs of the Great Dominion–Compiled by W. D. LIGHTHALL||0.70|
|Songs of the Human. WM. P. MCKENZIE||1.25|
|Voices and Undertones. WM. P. MCKENZIE||1.25|
|Songs and Miscellaneous Poems. JOHN IMRIE||1.00|
|Rhymes Afloat and Afield. WM. T. JAMES||1.00|
Wesley Buildings, TORONTO.
C. W. COATES, Montreal. S. F. HUESTIS, Halifax.
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