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Songs and Other Verse by Eugene Field

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Vol. IX




"It is about impossible for a man to get rid of his Puritan grandfathers,
and nobody who has ever had one has ever escaped his Puritan grandmother;"
so said Eugene Field to me one sweet April day, when we talked together of
the things of the spirit. It is one of his own confessions that he was
fond of clergymen. Most preachers are supposed to be helplessly tied up
with such a set of limitations that there are but a few jokes which they
may tolerate, and a small number of delights into which they may enter.
Doubtless many a cheerful soul likes to meet such of the clergy, in order
that the worldling may feel the contrast of liberty with bondage, and
demonstrate by bombardment of wit and humor, how intellectually thin are
the walls against which certain forms of skepticism and fun offend. Eugene
Field did not belong to these. He called them "a tribe which do unseemly
beset the saints." Nobody has ever had a more numerous or loving clientage
of friendship among the ministers of this city than the author of "The
Holy Cross" and "The Little Yaller Baby." Those of this number who were
closest to the full-hearted singer know that beneath and within all his
exquisite wit and ludicrous raillery--so often directed against the
shallow formalist, or the unctuous hypocrite--there were an aspiration
toward the divine, and a desire for what is often slightingly called
"religious conversation," as sincere as it was resistless within him. My
own first remembrance of him brings back a conversation which ended in a
prayer, and the last sight I had of him was when he said, only four days
before his death, "Well, then, we will set the day soon and you will come
out and baptize the children."

Some of the most humorous of his letters which have come under the
observation of his clerical friends, were addressed to the secretary of
one of them. Some little business matters with regard to his readings and
the like had acquainted him with a better kind of handwriting than he had
been accustomed to receive from his pastor, and, noting the finely
appended signature, "per ---- ----," Field wrote a most effusively
complimentary letter to his ministerial friend, congratulating him upon
the fact that emanations from his office, or parochial study, were "now
readable as far West as Buena Park." At length, nothing having appeared in
writing by which he might discover that ---- ---- was a lady of his own
acquaintance, she whose valuable services he desired to recognize was made
the recipient of a series of beautifully illuminated and daintily written
letters, all of them quaintly begun, continued, and ended in
ecclesiastical terminology, most of them having to do with affairs in
which the two gentlemen only were primarily interested, the larger number
of them addressed in English to "Brother ----," in care of the minister,
and yet others directed in Latin:

Ad Fratrem ---- ----
In curam, Sanctissimi patris ----, doctoris divinitatis,
Apud Institutionem Armouriensem,

{Ab Eugenic Agro, peccatore misere}

Even the mail-carrier appeared to know what fragrant humor escaped from
the envelope.

Here is a specimen inclosure:

BROTHER ----: I am to read some of my things before the senior class of
the Chicago University next Monday evening. As there is undoubtedly more
or less jealousy between the presidents of the two south side institutions
of learning, I take it upon myself to invite the lord bishop of
Armourville, our holy père, to be present on that occasion in his
pontifical robes and followed by all the dignitaries of his see, including
yourself. The processional will occur at 8 o'clock sharp, and the
recessional circa 9:30. Pax vobiscum. Salute the holy Father with a kiss,
and believe me, dear brother,

Your fellow lamb in the old Adam,

(A. Lamb) SEAL.

The First Wednesday after Pay day,
September 11, 1895.

On an occasion of this lady's visit to the South-west, where Field's
fancied association of cowboys and miners was formed, she was fortunate
enough to obtain for the decoration of his library the rather
extraordinary Indian blanket which often appears in the sketches of his
loved workshop, and for the decoration of himself a very fine necktie made
of the skin of a diamond-back rattlesnake. Some other friend had given his
boys a "vociferant burro." After the presentation was made, though for two
years he had met her socially and at the pastor's office, he wrote to the
secretary, in acknowledgment, as follows:

DEAR BROTHER ----: I thank you most heartily for the handsome specimens of
heathen manufacture which you brought with you for me out of the land of
Nod. Mrs. Field is quite charmed--with the blanket, but I think I prefer
the necktie; the Old Adam predominates in me, and this pelt of the serpent
appeals with peculiar force to my appreciation of the vicious and the
sinful. Nearly every morning I don that necktie and go out and twist the
supersensitive tail of our intelligent imported burro until the profane
beast burthens the air with his ribald protests. I shall ask the holy
father--Pere ---- to bring you with him when he comes again to pay a
parochial visit to my house. I have a fair and gracious daughter into
whose companionship I would fain bring so circumspect and diligent a young
man as the holy father represents you to be. Therefore, without fear or
trembling accompany that saintly man whensoever he says the word. Thereby
you shall further make me your debtor. I send you every assurance of
cordial regard, and I beg you to salute the holy father for me with a
kiss, and may peace be unto his house and unto all that dwell therein.

Always faithfully yours,


CHICAGO, MAY 26, 1892.

He became acquainted with the leading ladies of the Aid Society of the
Plymouth Church, and was thoroughly interested in their work. Partly in
order to say "Goodbye" before his leaving for California in 1893, and
partly, no doubt, that he might continue this humorous correspondence, as
he did, he hunted up an old number of Peterson's Magazine, containing a
very highly colored and elaborate pattern for knit slippers, such as
clergymen received at Christmas thirty years ago, and, inclosing it with
utmost care, he forwarded it to the aforesaid "Brother ----" with this

DEAR BROTHER ----: It has occurred to me that maybe the sisters of our
congregation will want to make our dear pastor a handsome present this
Christmas; so I inclose a lovely pattern for slippers, and I shall be glad
to ante up my share of the expense, if the sisters decide to give our dear
pastor this beautiful gift. I should like the pattern better if it had
more red in it, but it will do very nicely. As I intend to go to
California very soon, you'll have to let me know at once what the
assessment _per cap._ is, or the rest of the sisters will be compelled to
bear the full burthen of the expense. Brother, I salute you with an holy
kiss, and I rejoice with you, humbly and meekly and without insolent
vaunting, that some of us are not as other men are.

Your fellow-lamb,



This was only one phase of the life of this great-hearted man, as it came
close to his friends in the ministry. Other clergymen who knew him well
will not forget his overflowing kindness in times of sickness and
weariness. At least one will not forget the last day of their meeting and
the ardor of the poet's prayer. Religion, as the Christian life, was not
less sacred to him because he knew how poorly men achieve the task of
living always at the best level, nor did the reality of the soul's
approach to God grow less noble or commanding to him because he knew that
too seldom do we lift our voices heavenward. I am permitted to copy this
one letter addressed to a clerical friend, at a time when Eugene Field
responded to the call of that undying puritanism in his blood:

DEAR, DEAR FRIEND: I was greatly shocked to read in the Post last night of
your dangerous illness. It is so seldom that I pray that when I do God
knows I am in earnest. I do not pester Him with small matters. It is only
when I am in real want that I get down on my wicked knees and pray. And
I prayed for you last night, dear friend, for your friendship--the help
that it is to me--is what I need, and I cannot be bereft of it. God has
always been good to me, and He has said yes to my prayer, I am sure.
Others, too--thousands of them--are praying for you, and for your
restoration to health; none other has had in it more love and loyalty than
my prayer had, and none other, dear friend, among the thousands whom you
have blessed with your sweet friendship, loves you better than I do.


I am still sick abed and I find it hard to think out and write a letter.
Read between the lines and the love there will comfort you more than my
faulty words can.

I have often thought, as I saw him through his later years espousing the
noblest causes with true-hearted zeal, of what he once said in the old
"Saints' and Sinners' Corner" when a conversation sprang up on the death
of Professor David Swing. His words go far to explain to me that somewhat
reckless humor which oftentimes made it seem that he loved to imitate and
hold in the pillory of his own inimitable powers of mimicry some of the
least attractive forms of the genus _parson_ he had seen and known. He
said: "A good many things I do and say are things I have to employ to keep
down the intention of those who wanted me to be a parson. I guess their
desire got into my blood, too, for I have always to preach some little
verses or I cannot get through Christmastide."

He had to get on with blood which was exquisitely harmonious with the
heart of the Christ. He was not only a born member of the Society for the
Prevention of Sorrow to Mankind, but he was by nature a champion of a
working Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. This society was
composed of himself. He wished to enlarge the membership of this latter
association, but nobody was as orthodox in the faith as to the nobility of
a balky horse, and he found none as intolerant of ill-treatment toward any
and every brute, as was he. Professor Swing had written and read at the
Parliament of Religions an essay on the Humane Treatment of the Brutes,
which became a classic before the ink was dry, and one day Field proposed
to him and another clergyman that they begin a practical crusade. On those
cold days, drivers were demanding impossible things of smooth-shod horses
on icy streets, and he saw many a noble beast on his knees, "begging me,"
as he said, "to get him a priest." Field's scheme was that the delicate
and intelligent seer, David Swing, and his less refined and less gentle
contemporary should go with him to the City Hall and be sworn in as
special policemen and "do up these fellows." His clear blue eye was like a
palpitating morning sky, and his whole thin and tall frame shook with
passionate missionary zeal. "Ah," said he, as the beloved knight of the
unorthodox explained that if he undertook the proposed task he would
surely have to abandon all other work, "I never was satisfied that you
were orthodox." His other friend had already fallen in his estimate as to
fitness for such work. For, had not Eugene Field once started out to pay a
bill of fifteen dollars, and had he not met a semblance of a man on the
street who was beating a lengthily under-jawed and bad-eyed bull-dog of
his own, for some misdemeanor? "Yea, verily," confessed the poet-humorist,
who was then a reformer. "Why didn't you have him arrested, Eugene?" "Why,
well, I was going jingling along with some new verses in my heart, and I
knew I'd lose the _tempo_ if I became militant. I said, 'What'll you take
for him?' The pup was so homely that his face ached, but, as I was in a
hurry to get to work, I gave him the fifteen dollars, and took the beast
to the office." For a solitary remark uttered at the conclusion of this
relation and fully confirmed as to its justness by an observation of the
dog, his only other human prop for this enterprise was discarded. "Oh, you
won't do," he said.

Christianity was increasingly dear to him as the discovery of childhood
and the unfolding of its revelations. Into what long disquisitions he
delighted to go, estimating the probable value of the idea that all
returning to righteousness must be a child's returning. He saw what an
influence such a conception has upon the hard and fast lines of habit and
destiny to melt them down. He had a still greater estimate of the
importance of the fact that Jesus of Nazareth came and lived as a child;
and the dream of the last year of his life was to write, in the mood of
the Holy-Cross tale, a sketch of the early years of the Little Galilean
Peasant-Boy. This vision drifted its light into all his pictures of
children at the last. He knew the "Old Adam" in us all, especially as he
reappeared in the little folk. "But I don't believe the depravity is
total, do you?" he said, "else a child would not care to hear about Mary's
Little One;"--and then he would go on, following the Carpenter's Son about
the cottage and over the hill, and rejoicing that, in following Him thus,
he came back to his own open-eyed childhood, "But, you know," said he,
"my childhood was full of the absurdities and strenuosities" (this last
was his word) "of my puritan surroundings. Why, I never knew how naturally
and easily I can get back into the veins of an old puritan grandfather
that one of my grandmothers must have had--and how hard it is for me to
behave there, until I read Alice Morse Earle's 'The Sabbath in New
England.' I read that book nearly all night, if haply I might subdue the
confusion and sorrows that were wrought in me by eating a Christmas pie on
that feast-day. The fact is, my immediate ecclesiastical belongings are
Episcopalian. I am of the church of Archbishop Laud and King Charles of
blessed memory. I like good, thick Christmas pie, 'reeking with sapid
juices,' full-ripe and zealous for good or ill. But my 'Separatist'
ancestors all mistook gastric difficulties for spiritual graces, and,
living in me, they all revolt and want to sail in the Mayflower, or hold
town-meetings inside of me after feast-day."

Then, as if he had it in his mind,--poor, pale, yellow-skinned sufferer,--
to attract one to the book he delighted in, he related that he fell asleep
with this delicious volume in his hand, and this is part of the dream he
sketched afterward;

"I went alone to the meeting-house the which those who are sinfully
inclined toward Rome would call a 'church,' and it was on the Sabbath day.
I yearned and strove to repent me of the merry mood and full sorry humors
of Christmastide. For did not Judge Sewall make public his confession of
having an overwhelming sense of inward condemnation for having opposed the
Almighty with the witches of Salem? I fancied that one William F. Poole
of the Newberry Library went also to comfort me and strengthen, as he
would fain have done for the Judge. Not one of us carried a cricket,
though Friend Poole related that he had left behind a 'seemly brassen
foot-stove' full of hot coals from his hearthstone. On the day before,
Pelitiah Underwood, the wolf-killer, had destroyed a fierce beast; and now
the head thereof was 'nayled to the meetinghouse with a notice thereof.'
It grinned at me and spit forth fire such as I felt within me. I was glad
to enter the house, which was 'lathed on the inside and so daubed and
whitened over workmanlike.' I had not been there, as it bethought me,
since the day of the raising, when Jonathan Strong did 'break his thy,'
and when all made complaint that only £9 had been spent for liquor, punch,
beere, and flip, for the raising, whereas, on the day of the ordination,
even at supper-time, besides puddings of corn meal and 'sewet baked
therein, pyes, tarts, beare-stake and deer-meat,' there were 'cyder,
rum-bitters, sling, old Barbadoes spirit, and Josslyn's nectar, made of
Maligo raisins, spices, and syrup of clove gillyflowers'--all these given
out freely to the worshippers over a newly made bar at the church door--
God be praised! As I mused on this merry ordination, the sounding-board
above the pulpit appeared as if to fall upon the pulpit, whereon I read,
after much effort: '_Holiness is the Lord's_.' The tassels and carved
pomegranates on the sounding-board became living creatures and changed
themselves into grimaces, and I was woefully wrought upon by the red
cushion on the pulpit, which did seem a bag of fire. As the minister was
heard coming up the winding stairs unseen, and, yet more truly, as his
head at length appeared through the open trap-doorway, I thought him
Satan, and, but for friend Poole, I had cried out lustily in fear. Terror
fled me when I considered that none might do any harm there. For was not
the church militant now assembled? Besides, had they not obeyed the law of
the General Court that each congregation should carry a 'competent number
of pieces, fixed and complete with powder and shot and swords, every
Lord's-day at the meeting-house?' And, right well equipped 'with
psalm-book, shot and powder-horn' sat that doughty man, Shear Yashub
Millard along with Hezekiah Bristol and four others whose issue I have
known pleasantly in the flesh here; and those of us who had no pieces wore
'coats basted with cotton-wool, and thus made defensive against Indian
arrows.' Yet it bethought me that there was no defence against what I had
devoured on Christmas day. I had rather been the least of these,--even he
who 'blew the Kunk'--than to be thus seated there and afeared that the
brethren in the 'pitts' doubted I had true religion. That I had found a
proper seat--even this I wot not; and I quaked, for had not two of my kin
been fined near unto poverty for 'disorderly going and setting in seats
not theirs by any means,' so great was their sin. It had not yet come upon
the day when there was a 'dignifying of the meeting.' Did not even the
pious Judge Sewall's second spouse once sit in the foreseat when he
thought to have taken her into 'his own pue?' and, she having died in a
few months, did not that godly man exclaim: 'God in his holy Sovereignity
put my wife out of the Foreseat'? Was I not also in recollection by many
as one who once 'prophaned the Lord's Day in ye meeting-house, in ye times
of ye forenoone service, by my rude and Indecent acting in Laughing and
other Doings by my face with Tabatha Morgus, against ye peace of our
Sovereign Lord ye King, His crown and Dignity?'"

At this, it appears that I groaned in my sleep, for I was not only asleep
here and now, but I was dreaming that I was asleep there and then, in the
meeting-house. It was in this latter sleep that I groaned so heavily in
spirit and in body that the tithing-man, or awakener, did approach me from
behind, without stopping to brush me to awakening by the fox-taile which
was fixed to the end of his long staffe, or even without painfully
sticking into my body his sharp and pricking staffe which he did sometimes
use. He led me out bodily to the noone-house, where I found myself fully
awakened, but much broken in spirit. Then and there did I write these
verses, which I send to you:

"Mother," says I, "is that a pie?" in tones akin to scorning;
"It is, my son," quoth she, "and one full ripe for Christmas morning!
It's fat with plums as big as your thumbs, reeking with sapid juices,
And you'll find within all kinds of sin our grocery store produces!"
"O, well," says I,
"Seein' it's _pie_
And is guaranteed to please, ma'am,
By your advice,
I'll take a slice,
If you'll kindly pass the cheese, ma'am!"

But once a year comes Christmas cheer, and one should then be merry,
But as for me, as you can see, I'm disconcerted, very;
For that pesky pie sticks grimly by my organs of digestion,
And that 't will stay by me till May or June I make no question.
So unto you,
Good friends and true,
I'll tip this solemn warning:
At every price,
Eschew the vice
Of eating pie in the morning.

Chicago, March, 1896.













































































Out yonder in the moonlight, wherein God's Acre lies,
Go angels walking to and fro, singing their lullabies.
Their radiant wings are folded, and their eyes are bended low,
As they sing among the beds whereon the flowers delight to grow,--

"Sleep, oh, sleep!
The Shepherd guardeth His sheep.
Fast speedeth the night away,
Soon cometh the glorious day;
Sleep, weary ones, while ye may,
Sleep, oh, sleep!"

The flowers within God's Acre see that fair and wondrous sight,
And hear the angels singing to the sleepers through the night;
And, lo! throughout the hours of day those gentle flowers prolong
The music of the angels in that tender slumber-song,--

"Sleep, oh, sleep!
The Shepherd loveth His sheep.
He that guardeth His flock the best
Hath folded them to His loving breast;
So sleep ye now, and take your rest,--
Sleep, oh, sleep!"

From angel and from flower the years have learned that soothing song,
And with its heavenly music speed the days and nights along;
So through all time, whose flight the Shepherd's vigils glorify,
God's Acre slumbereth in the grace of that sweet lullaby,--

"Sleep, oh, sleep!
The Shepherd loveth His sheep.
Fast speedeth the night away,
Soon cometh the glorious day;
Sleep, weary ones, while ye may,--
Sleep, oh, sleep!"


When the world is fast asleep,
Along the midnight skies--
As though it were a wandering cloud--
The ghostly dream-ship flies.

An angel stands at the dream-ship's helm,
An angel stands at the prow,
And an angel stands at the dream-ship's side
With a rue-wreath on her brow.

The other angels, silver-crowned,
Pilot and helmsman are,
And the angel with the wreath of rue
Tosseth the dreams afar.

The dreams they fall on rich and poor;
They fall on young and old;
And some are dreams of poverty,
And some are dreams of gold.

And some are dreams that thrill with joy,
And some that melt to tears;
Some are dreams of the dawn of love,
And some of the old dead years.

On rich and poor alike they fall,
Alike on young and old,
Bringing to slumbering earth their joys
And sorrows manifold.

The friendless youth in them shall do
The deeds of mighty men,
And drooping age shall feel the grace
Of buoyant youth again.

The king shall be a beggarman--
The pauper be a king--
In that revenge or recompense
The dream-ship dreams do bring.

So ever downward float the dreams
That are for all and me,
And there is never mortal man
Can solve that mystery.

But ever onward in its course
Along the haunted skies--
As though it were a cloud astray--
The ghostly dream-ship flies.

Two angels with their silver crowns
Pilot and helmsman are,
And an angel with a wreath of rue
Tosseth the dreams afar.


Cinna, the great Venusian told
In songs that will not die
How in Augustan days of old
Your love did glorify
His life and all his being seemed
Thrilled by that rare incense
Till, grudging him the dreams he dreamed,
The gods did call you hence.

Cinna, I've looked into your eyes,
And held your hands in mine,
And seen your cheeks in sweet surprise
Blush red as Massic wine;
Now let the songs in Cinna's praise
Be chanted once again,
For, oh! alone I walk the ways
We walked together then!

Perhaps upon some star to-night,
So far away in space
I cannot see that beacon light
Nor feel its soothing grace--
Perhaps from that far-distant sphere
Her quickened vision seeks
For this poor heart of mine that here
To its lost Cinna speaks.

Then search this heart, beloved eyes,
And find it still as true
As when in all my boyhood skies
My guiding stars were you!
Cinna, you know the mystery
That is denied to men--
Mine is the lot to feel that we
Shall elsewhere love again!


Prudence Mears hath an old blue plate
Hid away in an oaken chest,
And a Franklin platter of ancient date
Beareth Amandy Baker's crest;
What times soever I've been their guest,
Says I to myself in an undertone:
"Of womenfolk, it must be confessed,
These do I love, and these alone."

Well, again, in the Nutmeg State,
Dorothy Pratt is richly blest
With a relic of art and a land effete--
A pitcher of glass that's cut, not pressed.
And a Washington teapot is possessed
Down in Pelham by Marthy Stone--
Think ye now that I say in jest
"These do I love, and these alone?"

Were Hepsy Higgins inclined to mate,
Or Dorcas Eastman prone to invest
In Cupid's bonds, they could find their fate
In the bootless bard of Crockery Quest.
For they've heaps of trumpery--so have the rest
Of those spinsters whose ware I'd like to own;
You can see why I say with such certain zest,
"These do I love, and these alone."


Prince, show me the quickest way and best
To gain the subject of my moan;
We've neither spinsters nor relics out West--
These do I love, and these alone.


Suppose, my dear, that you were I
And by your side your sweetheart sate;
Suppose you noticed by and by
The distance 'twixt you were too great;
Now tell me, dear, what would you do?
I know--and so do you.

And when (so comfortably placed)
Suppose you only grew aware
That that dear, dainty little waist
Of hers looked very lonely there;
Pray tell me sooth--what would you do?
I know, and so do you.

When, having done what I just did
With not a frown to check or chill,
Suppose her red lips seemed to bid
Defiance to your lordly will;
Oh, tell me, sweet, what would you do?
I know, and so do you.


As once I rambled in the woods
I chanced to spy amid the brake
A huntsman ride his way beside
A fair and passing tranquil lake;
Though velvet bucks sped here and there,
He let them scamper through the green--
Not one smote he, but lustily
He blew his horn--what could it mean?

As on I strolled beside that lake,
A pretty maid I chanced to see
Fishing away for finny prey,
Yet not a single one caught she;
All round her boat the fishes leapt
And gambolled to their hearts' content,
Yet never a thing did the maid but sing--
I wonder what on earth it meant.

As later yet I roamed my way,
A lovely steed neighed loud and long,
And an empty boat sped all afloat
Where sang a fishermaid her song;
All underneath the prudent shade,
Which yonder kindly willows threw,
Together strayed a youth and maid--
I can't explain it all, can you?


How trifling shall these gifts appear
Among the splendid many
That loving friends now send to cheer
Harvey and Ellen Jenney.

And yet these baubles symbolize
A certain fond relation
That well beseems, as I surmise,
This festive celebration.

Sweet friends of mine, be spoons once more,
And with your tender cooing
Renew the keen delights of yore--
The rapturous bliss of wooing.

What though that silver in your hair
Tells of the years aflying?
'T is yours to mock at Time and Care
With love that is undying.

In memory of this Day, dear friends,
Accept the modest token
From one who with the bauble sends
A love that can't be spoken.


Away down East where I was reared amongst my Yankee kith,
There used to live a pretty girl whose name was Mary Smith;
And though it's many years since last I saw that pretty girl,
And though I feel I'm sadly worn by Western strife and whirl;
Still, oftentimes, I think about the old familiar place,
Which, someway, seemed the brighter for Miss Mary's pretty face,
And in my heart I feel once more revivified the glow
I used to feel in those old times when I was Mary's beau.

I saw her home from singing school--she warbled like a bird.
A sweeter voice than hers for song or speech I never heard.
She was soprano in the choir, and I a solemn bass,
And when we unisoned our voices filled that holy place;
The tenor and the alto never had the slightest chance,
For Mary's upper register made every heart-string dance;
And, as for me, I shall not brag, and yet I'd have you know
I sung a very likely bass when I was Mary's beau.

On Friday nights I'd drop around to make my weekly call,
And though I came to visit her, I'd have to see 'em all.
With Mary's mother sitting here and Mary's father there,
The conversation never flagged so far as I'm aware;
Sometimes I'd hold her worsted, sometimes we'd play at games,
Sometimes dissect the apples which we'd named each other's names.
Oh how I loathed the shrill-toned clock that told me when to go--
'Twas ten o'clock at half-past eight when I was Mary's beau.

Now there was Luther Baker--because he'd come of age
And thought himself some pumpkins because he drove the stage--
He fancied he could cut me out; but Mary was my friend--
Elsewise I'm sure the issue had had a tragic end.
For Luther Baker was a man I never could abide,
And, when it came to Mary, either he or I had died.
I merely cite this instance incidentally to show
That I was quite in earnest when I was Mary's beau.

How often now those sights, those pleasant sights, recur again:
The little township that was all the world I knew of then--
The meeting-house upon the hill, the tavern just beyond,
Old deacon Packard's general store, the sawmill by the pond,
The village elms I vainly sought to conquer in my quest
Of that surpassing trophy, the golden oriole's nest.
And, last of all those visions that come back from long ago,
The pretty face that thrilled my soul when I was Mary's beau.

Hush, gentle wife, there is no need a pang should vex your heart--
'T is many years since fate ordained that she and I should part;
To each a true, maturer love came in good time, and yet
It brought not with its nobler grace the power to forget.
And would you fain begrudge me now the sentimental joy
That comes of recollections of my sparkings when a boy?
I warrant me that, were your heart put to the rack,'t would show
That it had predilections when I was Mary's beau.

And, Mary, should these lines of mine seek out your biding place,
God grant they bring the old sweet smile back to your pretty face--
God grant they bring you thoughts of me, not as I am to-day,
With faltering step and brimming eyes and aspect grimly gray;
But thoughts that picture me as fair and full of life and glee
As _we_ were in the olden times--as _you_ shall always be.
Think of me ever, Mary, as the boy you used to know
When time was fleet, and life was sweet, and I was Mary's beau.

Dear hills of old New England, look down with tender eyes
Upon one little lonely grave that in your bosom lies;
For in that cradle sleeps a child who was so fair to see
God yearned to have unto Himself the joy she brought to me;
And bid your winds sing soft and low the song of other days,
When, hand in hand and heart to heart, we went our pleasant ways--
Ah me! but could I sing again that song of long ago,
Instead of this poor idle song of being Mary's beau.


When I remark her golden hair
Swoon on her glorious shoulders,
I marvel not that sight so rare
Doth ravish all beholders;
For summon hence all pretty girls
Renowned for beauteous tresses,
And you shall find among their curls
There's none so fair as Jessie's.

And Jessie's eyes are, oh, so blue
And full of sweet revealings--
They seem to look you through and through
And read your inmost feelings;
Nor black emits such ardent fires,
Nor brown such truth expresses--
Admit it, all ye gallant squires--
There are no eyes like Jessie's.

Her voice (like liquid beams that roll
From moonland to the river)
Steals subtly to the raptured soul,
Therein to lie and quiver;
Or falls upon the grateful ear
With chaste and warm caresses--
Ah, all concede the truth (who hear):
There's no such voice as Jessie's.

Of other charms she hath such store
All rivalry excelling,
Though I used adjectives galore,
They'd fail me in the telling;
But now discretion stays my hand--
Adieu, eyes, voice, and tresses.
Of all the husbands in the land
There's none so fierce as Jessie's.


There--let thy hands be folded
Awhile in sleep's repose;
The patient hands that wearied not,
But earnestly and nobly wrought
In charity and faith;
And let thy dear eyes close--
The eyes that looked alway to God,
Nor quailed beneath the chastening rod
Of sorrow;
Fold thou thy hands and eyes
For just a little while,
And with a smile
Dream of the morrow.

And, O white voiceless flower,
The dream which thou shalt dream
Should be a glimpse of heavenly things,
For yonder like a seraph sings
The sweetness of a life
With faith alway its theme;
While speedeth from those realms above
The messenger of that dear love
That healeth sorrow.
So sleep a little while,
For thou shalt wake and sing
Before thy King
When cometh the morrow.


Good editor Dana--God bless him, we say--
Will soon be afloat on the main,
Will be steaming away
Through the mist and the spray
To the sensuous climate of Spain.

Strange sights shall he see in that beautiful land
Which is famed for its soap and its Moor,
For, as we understand,
The scenery is grand
Though the system of railways is poor.

For moonlight of silver and sunlight of gold
Glint the orchards of lemons and mangoes,
And the ladies, we're told,
Are a joy to behold
As they twine in their lissome fandangoes.

What though our friend Dana shall twang a guitar
And murmur a passionate strain;
Oh, fairer by far
Than those ravishments are
The castles abounding in Spain.

These castles are built as the builder may list--
They are sometimes of marble or stone,
But they mostly consist
Of east wind and mist
With an ivy of froth overgrown.

A beautiful castle our Dana shall raise
On a futile foundation of hope,
And its glories shall blaze
In the somnolent haze
Of the mythical lake del y Soap.

The fragrance of sunflowers shall swoon on the air
And the visions of Dreamland obtain,
And the song of "World's Fair"
Shall be heard everywhere
Through that beautiful castle in Spain.


Many a beauteous flower doth spring
From the tears that flood my eyes,
And the nightingale doth sing
In the burthen of my sighs.

If, O child, thou lovest me,
Take these flowerets fair and frail,
And my soul shall waft to thee
Love songs of the nightingale.


When I am in New York, I like to drop around at night,
To visit with my honest, genial friends, the Stoddards hight;
Their home in Fifteenth street is all so snug, and furnished so,
That, when I once get planted there, I don't know when to go;
A cosy cheerful refuge for the weary homesick guest,
Combining Yankee comforts with the freedom of the west.

The first thing you discover, as you maunder through the hall,
Is a curious little clock upon a bracket on the wall;
'T was made by Stoddard's father, and it's very, very old--
The connoisseurs assure me it is worth its weight in gold;
And I, who've bought all kinds of clocks, 'twixt Denver and the Rhine,
Cast envious eyes upon that clock, and wish that it were mine.

But in the parlor. Oh, the gems on tables, walls, and floor--
Rare first editions, etchings, and old crockery galore.
Why, talk about the Indies and the wealth of Orient things--
They couldn't hold a candle to these quaint and sumptuous things;
In such profusion, too--Ah me! how dearly I recall
How I have sat and watched 'em and wished I had 'em all.

Now, Mr. Stoddard's study is on the second floor,
A wee blind dog barks at me as I enter through the door;
The Cerberus would fain begrudge what sights it cannot see,
The rapture of that visual feast it cannot share with me;
A miniature edition this--this most absurd of hounds--
A genuine unique, I'm sure, and one unknown to Lowndes.

Books--always books--are piled around; some musty, and all old;
Tall, solemn folios such as Lamb declared he loved to hold;
Large paper copies with their virgin margins white and wide,
And presentation volumes with the author's comps. inside;
I break the tenth commandment with a wild impassioned cry:
Oh, how came Stoddard by these things? Why Stoddard, and not I?

From yonder wall looks Thackeray upon his poet friend,
And underneath the genial face appear the lines he penned;
And here, gadzooks, ben honge ye prynte of marvaillous renowne
Yt shameth Chaucers gallaunt knyghtes in Canterbury towne;
And still more books and pictures. I'm dazed, bewildered, vexed;
Since I've broke the tenth commandment, why not break the eighth one next?

And, furthermore, in confidence inviolate be it said
Friend Stoddard owns a lock of hair that grew on Milton's head;
Now I have Gladstone axes and a lot of curious things,
Such as pimply Dresden teacups and old German wedding-rings;
But nothing like that saintly lock have I on wall or shelf,
And, being somewhat short of hair, I should like that lock myself.

But Stoddard has a soothing way, as though he grieved to see
Invidious torments prey upon a nice young chap like me.
He waves me to an easy chair and hands me out a weed
And pumps me full of that advice he seems to know I need;
So sweet the tap of his philosophy and knowledge flows
That I can't help wishing that I knew a half what Stoddard knows.

And so we sit for hours and hours, praising without restraint
The people who are thoroughbreds, and roasting the ones that ain't;
Happy, thrice happy, is the man we happen to admire,
But wretched, oh, how wretched he that hath provoked our ire;
For I speak emphatic English when I once get fairly r'iled,
And Stoddard's wrath's an Ossa upon a Pelion piled.

Out yonder, in the alcove, a lady sits and darns,
And interjects remarks that always serve to spice our yarns;
She's Mrs. Stoddard; there's a dame that's truly to my heart:
A tiny little woman, but so quaint, and good, and smart
That, if you asked me to suggest which one I should prefer
Of all the Stoddard treasures, I should promptly mention her.

O dear old man, how I should like to be with you this night,
Down in your home in Fifteenth street, where all is snug and bright;
Where the shaggy little Cerberus dreams in its cushioned place,
And the books and pictures all around smile in their old friend's face;
Where the dainty little sweetheart, whom you still were proud to woo,
Charms back the tender memories so dear to her and you.


I shall tell you in rhyme how, once on a time,
Three tailors tramped up to the inn Ingleheim,
On the Rhine, lovely Rhine;
They were broke, but the worst of it all, they were curst
With that malady common to tailors--a thirst
For wine, lots of wine.

"Sweet host," quoth the three, "we're hard up as can be,
Yet skilled in the practice of cunning are we,
On the Rhine, genial Rhine;
And we pledge you we will impart you that skill
Right quickly and fully, providing you'll fill
Us with wine, cooling wine."

But that host shook his head, and he warily said:
"Though cunning be good, we take money instead,
On the Rhine, thrifty Rhine;
If ye fancy ye may without pelf have your way
You'll find that there's both host and the devil to pay
For your wine, costly wine."

Then the first knavish wight took his needle so bright
And threaded its eye with a wee ray of light
From the Rhine, sunny Rhine;
And, in such a deft way, patched a mirror that day
That where it was mended no expert could say--
Done so fine 't was for wine.

The second thereat spied a poor little gnat
Go toiling along on his nose broad and flat
Towards the Rhine, pleasant Rhine;
"Aha, tiny friend, I should hate to offend,
But your stockings need darning"--which same did he mend,
All for wine, soothing wine.

And next there occurred what you'll deem quite absurd--
His needle a space in the wall thrust the third,
By the Rhine, wondrous Rhine;
And then all so spry, he leapt through the eye
Of that thin cambric needle--nay, think you I'd lie
About wine--not for wine.

The landlord allowed (with a smile) he was proud
To do the fair thing by that talented crowd
On the Rhine, generous Rhine.
So a thimble filled he as full as could be--
"Drink long and drink hearty, my jolly friends three,
Of my wine, filling wine."


A tortuous double iron track; a station here, a station there;
A locomotive, tender, tanks; a coach with stiff reclining chair;
Some postal cars, and baggage, too; a vestibule of patent make;
With buffers, duffers, switches, and the soughing automatic brake--
This is the Orient's novel pride, and Syria's gaudiest modern gem:
The railway scheme that is to ply 'twixt Jaffa and Jerusalem.

Beware, O sacred Mooley cow, the engine when you hear its bell;
Beware, O camel, when resounds the whistle's shrill, unholy swell;
And, native of that guileless land, unused to modern travel's snare,
Beware the fiend that peddles books--the awful peanut-boy beware.
Else, trusting in their specious arts, you may have reason to condemn
The traffic which the knavish ply 'twixt Jaffa and Jerusalem.

And when, ah, when the bonds fall due, how passing wroth will wax the
From Nebo's mount to Nazareth will spread the cry "Repudiate"!
From Hebron to Tiberius, from Jordan's banks unto the sea,
Will rise profuse anathemas against "that ---- monopoly!"
And F.M.B.A. shepherd-folk, with Sockless Jerry leading them,
Will swamp that corporation line 'twixt Jaffa and Jerusalem.


How calm, how beauteous and how cool--
How like a sister to the skies,
Appears the broad, transparent pool
That in this quiet forest lies.
The sunshine ripples on its face,
And from the world around, above,
It hath caught down the nameless grace
Of such reflections as we love.

But deep below its surface crawl
The reptile horrors of the night--
The dragons, lizards, serpents--all
The hideous brood that hate the light;
Through poison fern and slimy weed
And under ragged, jagged stones
They scuttle, or, in ghoulish greed,
They lap a dead man's bleaching bones.

And as, O pool, thou dost cajole
With seemings that beguile us well,
So doeth many a human soul
That teemeth with the lusts of hell.


If our own life is the life of a flower
(And that's what some sages are thinking),
We should moisten the bud with a health-giving flood
And 'twill bloom all the sweeter--
Yes, life's the completer
For drinking,
and drinking,
and drinking.

If it be that our life is a journey
(As many wise folk are opining),
We should sprinkle the way with the rain while we may;
Though dusty and dreary,
'Tis made cool and cheery
With wining,
and wining,
and wining.

If this life that we live be a dreaming
(As pessimist people are thinking),
To induce pleasant dreams there is nothing, meseems,
Like this sweet prescription,
That baffles description--
This drinking,
and drinking,
and drinking.


How cool and fair this cellar where
My throne a dusky cask is;
To do no thing but just to sing
And drown the time my task is.
The cooper he's
Resolved to please,
And, answering to my winking,
He fills me up
Cup after cup
For drinking, drinking, drinking.

Begrudge me not
This cosy spot
In which I am reclining--
Why, who would burst
With envious thirst,
When he can live by wining.
A roseate hue seems to imbue
The world on which I'm blinking;
My fellow-men--I love them when
I'm drinking, drinking, drinking.

And yet I think, the more I drink,
It's more and more I pine for--
Oh, such as I (forever dry)
God made this land of Rhine for;
And there is bliss
In knowing this,
As to the floor I'm sinking:
I've wronged no man
And never can
While drinking, drinking, drinking.



Once a fowler, young and artless,
To the quiet greenwood came;
Full of skill was he and heartless
In pursuit of feathered game.
And betimes he chanced to see
Eros perching in a tree.

"What strange bird is that, I wonder?"
Thought the youth, and spread his snare;
Eros, chuckling at the blunder,
Gayly scampered here and there.
Do his best, the simple clod
Could not snare the agile god!

Blubbering, to his aged master
Went the fowler in dismay,
And confided his disaster
With that curious bird that day;
"Master, hast thou ever heard
Of so ill-disposed a bird?"

"Heard of him? Aha, most truly!"
Quoth the master with a smile;
"And thou too, shall know him duly--
Thou art young, but bide awhile,
And old Eros will not fly
From thy presence by and by!

"For when thou art somewhat older
That same Eros thou didst see,
More familiar grown and bolder,
Shall become acquaint with thee;
And when Eros comes thy way
Mark my word, he comes to stay!"


Once came Venus to me, bringing
Eros where my cattle fed--
"Teach this little boy your singing,
Gentle herdsman," Venus said.
I was young--I did not know
Whom it was that Venus led--
That was many years ago!

In a lusty voice but mellow--
Callow pedant! I began
To instruct the little fellow
In the mysteries known to man;
Sung the noble cithern's praise,
And the flute of dear old Pan,
And the lyre that Hermes plays.

But he paid no heed unto me--
Nay, that graceless little boy
Coolly plotted to undo me--
With his songs of tender joy;
And my pedantry o'erthrown,
Eager was I to employ
His sweet ritual for mine own!

Ah, these years of ours are fleeting!
Yet I have not vainly wrought,
Since to-day I am repeating
What dear lessons Eros taught;
Love, and always love, and then--
Counting all things else for naught--
Love and always love again!



The Northland reared his hoary head
And spied the Southland leagues away--
"Fairest of all fair brides," he said,
"Be thou my bride, I pray!"

Whereat the Southland laughed and cried:
"I'll bide beside my native sea,
And I shall never be thy bride
Till thou com'st wooing me!"

The Northland's heart was a heart of ice,
A diamond glacier, mountain high--
Oh, love is sweet at any price,
As well know you and I!

So gayly the Northland took his heart
And cast it in the wailing sea--
"Go, thou, with all thy cunning art,
And woo my bride for me!"

For many a night and for many a day,
And over the leagues that rolled between,
The true-heart messenger sped away
To woo the Southland queen.

But the sea wailed loud, and the sea wailed long,
While ever the Northland cried in glee:
"Oh, thou shalt sing us our bridal song,
When comes my bride, O sea!"

At the foot of the Southland's golden throne
The heart of the Northland ever throbs--
For that true-heart speaks in the waves that moan,
The songs that it sings are sobs.

Ever the Southland spurns the cries
Of the messenger pleading the Northland's part;
The summer shines in the Southland's eyes--
The winter bides in her heart!

And ever unto that far-off place
Which love doth render a hallowed spot,
The Northland turneth his honest face
And wonders she cometh not.

The sea wails loud, and the sea wails long,
As the ages of waiting drift slowly by,
But the sea shall sing no bridal song--
As well know you and I!



O heart of mine! lift up thine eyes
And see who in yon manger lies!
Of perfect form, of face divine--
It is the Christ-child, heart of mine!

O dearest, holiest Christ-child, spread
Within this heart of mine thy bed;
Then shall my breast forever be
A chamber consecrate to thee!

Beat high to-day, O heart of mine,
And tell, O lips, what joys are thine;
For with your help shall I prolong
Old Bethlehem's sweetest cradle-song.

Glory to God, whom this dear Child
Hath by His coming reconciled,
And whose redeeming love again
Brings peace on earth, good will to men!


Star of the East, that long ago
Brought wise men on their way
Where, angels singing to and fro,
The Child of Bethlehem lay--
Above that Syrian hill afar
Thou shinest out to-night, O Star!

Star of the East, the night were drear
But for the tender grace
That with thy glory comes to cheer
Earth's loneliest, darkest place;
For by that charity we see
Where there is hope for all and me.

Star of the East! show us the way
In wisdom undefiled
To seek that manger out and lay
Our gifts before the child--
To bring our hearts and offer them
Unto our King in Bethlehem!


There are two phrases, you must know,
So potent (yet so small)
That wheresoe'er a man may go
He needs none else at all;
No servile guide to lead the way
Nor lackey at his heel,
If he be learned enough to say
"Comme bien" and "Wie viel."

The sleek, pomaded Parleyvoo
Will air his sweetest airs
And quote the highest rates when you
"Comme bien" for his wares;
And, though the German stolid be,
His so-called heart of steel
Becomes as soft as wax when he
Detects the words "Wie viel."

Go, search the boulevards and rues
From Havre to Marseilles--
You'll find all eloquence you use
Except "Comme bien" fails;
Or in the country auf der Rhine
Essay a business deal
And all your art is good fuhr nein
Beyond the point--"Wie viel."

It matters not what game or prey
Attracts your greedy eyes--
You must pursue the good old way
If you would win the prize;
It is to get a titled mate
All run down at the heel,
If you inquire of stock effete,
"Comme bien" or "Wie viel."

So he is wise who envieth not
A wealth of foreign speech,
Since with two phrases may be got
Whatever's in his reach;
For Europe is a soulless shrine
In which all classes kneel
Before twin idols, deemed divine--
"Comme bien" and "Wie viel."



There were three cavaliers, all handsome and true,
On Valentine's day came a maiden to woo,
And quoth to your mother: "Good-morrow, my dear,
We came with some songs for your daughter to hear!"

Your mother replied: "I'll be pleased to convey
To my daughter what things you may sing or may say!"

Then the first cavalier sung: "My pretty red rose,
I'll love you and court you some day, I suppose!"

And the next cavalier sung, with make-believe tears:
"I've loved you! I've loved you these many long years!"

But the third cavalier (with the brown, bushy head
And the pretty blue jacket and necktie of red)
He drew himself up with a resolute air,
And he warbled: "O maiden, surpassingly fair!
I've loved you long years, and I love you to-day,
And, if you will let me, I'll love you for aye!"

I (the third cavalier) sang this ditty to you,
In my necktie of red and my jacket of blue;
I'm sure you'll prefer the song that was mine
And smile your approval on your valentine.


Who I am I shall not say,
But I send you this bouquet
With this query, baby mine:
"Will you be my valentine?"

See these roses blushing blue,
Very like your eyes of hue;
While these violets are the red
Of your cheeks. It can be said
Ne'er before was babe like you.

And I think it is quite true
No one e'er before to-day
Sent so wondrous a bouquet
As these posies aforesaid--
Roses blue and violets red!

Sweet, repay me sweets for sweets--
'Tis your lover who entreats!
Smile upon me, baby mine--
Be my little valentine!



Grim is the face that looks into the night
Over the stretch of sands;
A sullen rock in a sea of white--
A ghostly shadow in ghostly light,
Peering and moaning it stands.
_"Oh, is it the king that rides this way--
Oh, is it the king that rides so free?
I have looked for the king this many a day,
But the years that mock me will not say
Why tarrieth he!"_

'T is not your king that shall ride to-night,
But a child that is fast asleep;
And the horse he shall ride is the Dream-horse white--
Aha, he shall speed through the ghostly light
Where the ghostly shadows creep!
_"My eyes are dull and my face is sere,
Yet unto the word he gave I cling,
For he was a Pharaoh that set me here--
And, lo! I have waited this many a year
For him--my king!"_

Oh, past thy face my darling shall ride
Swift as the burning winds that bear
The sand clouds over the desert wide--
Swift to the verdure and palms beside
The wells off there!
_"And is it the mighty king I shall see
Come riding into the night?
Oh, is it the king come back to me--
Proudly and fiercely rideth he,
With centuries dight!"_

I know no king but my dark-eyed dear
That shall ride the Dream-Horse white;
But see! he wakes at my bosom here,
While the Dream-Horse frettingly lingers near
To speed with my babe to-night!
_And out of the desert darkness peers
A ghostly, ghastly, shadowy thing
Like a spirit come out of the mouldering years,
And ever that waiting spectre hears
The coming king!_


One asketh:
"Tell me, Myrson, tell me true:
What's the season pleaseth you?
Is it summer suits you best,
When from harvest toil we rest?
Is it autumn with its glory
Of all surfeited desires?
Is it winter, when with story
And with song we hug our fires?
Or is spring most fair to you--
Come, good Myrson, tell me true!"

Another answereth:
"What the gods in wisdom send
We should question not, my friend;
Yet, since you entreat of me,
I will answer reverently:
Me the summertime displeases,
For its sun is scorching hot;
Autumn brings such dire diseases
That perforce I like it not;
As for biting winter, oh!
How I hate its ice and snow!

"But, thrice welcome, kindly spring,
With the myriad gifts you bring!
Not too hot nor yet too cold,
Graciously your charms unfold--
Oh, your days are like the dreaming
Of those nights which love beseems,
And your nights have all the seeming
Of those days of golden dreams!
Heaven smiles down on earth, and then
Earth smiles up to heaven again!"


Still serve me in my age, I pray,
As in my youth, O faithful one;
For years I've brushed thee every day--
Could Socrates have better done?
What though the fates would wreak on thee
The fulness of their evil art?
Use thou philosophy, like me--
And we, old friend, shall never part!

I think--I _often_ think of it--
The day we twain first faced the crowd;
My roistering friends impeached your fit,
But you and I were very proud!
Those jovial friends no more make free
With us (no longer new and smart),
But rather welcome you and me
As loving friends that should not part.

The patch? Oh, yes--one happy night--
"Lisette," says I, "it's time to go"--
She clutched this sleeve to stay my flight,
Shrieking: "What! leave so early? No!"
To mend the ghastly rent she'd made,
Three days she toiled, dear patient heart!
And I--right willingly I staid--
Lisette decreed we should not part!

No incense ever yet profaned
This honest, shiny warp of thine,
Nor hath a courtier's eye disdained
Thy faded hue and quaint design;
Let servile flattery be the price
Of ribbons in the royal mart--
A roadside posie shall suffice
For us two friends that must not part!

Fear not the recklessness of yore
Shall re-occur to vex thee now;
Alas, I am a youth no more--
I'm old and sere, and so art thou!
So bide with me unto the last
And with thy warmth caress this heart
That pleads, by memories of the Past,
That two such friends should never part!


There was a certain gentleman, Ben Apfelgarten called,
Who lived way off in Germany a many years ago,
And he was very fortunate in being very bald
And so was very happy he was so.
He warbled all the day
Such songs as only they
Who are very, very circumspect and very happy may;
The people wondered why,
As the years went gliding by,
They never heard him once complain or even heave a sigh!

The women of the province fell in love with genial Ben,
Till (may be you can fancy it) the dickens was to pay
Among the callow students and the sober-minded men--
With the women-folk a-cuttin' up that way!
Why, they gave him turbans red
To adorn his hairless head,
And knitted jaunty nightcaps to protect him when abed!
In vain the rest demurred--
Not a single chiding word
Those ladies deigned to tolerate--remonstrance was absurd!

Things finally got into such a very dreadful way
That the others (oh, how artful) formed the politic design
To send him to the reichstag; so, one dull November day,
They elected him a member from the Rhine!
Then the other members said:
"Gott im Himmel! what a head!"
But they marvelled when his speeches they listened to or read;
And presently they cried:
"There must be heaps inside
Of the smooth and shiny cranium his constituents deride!"

Well, when at last he up 'nd died--long past his ninetieth year--
The strangest and the most lugubrious funeral he had,
For women came in multitudes to weep upon his bier--
The men all wond'ring why on earth the women had gone mad!
And this wonderment increased
Till the sympathetic priest
Inquired of those same ladies: "Why this fuss about deceased?"
Whereupon were they appalled,
For, as one, those women squalled:
"We doted on deceased for being bald--bald--bald!"

He was bald because his genius burnt that shock of hair away
Which, elsewise, clogs one's keenness and activity of mind;
And (barring present company, of course) I'm free to say
That, after all, it's intellect that captures womankind.
At any rate, since then
(With a precedent in Ben),
The women-folk have been in love with us bald-headed men!


The image of the moon at night
All trembling in the ocean lies,
But she, with calm and steadfast light,
Moves proudly through the radiant skies,

How like the tranquil moon thou art--
Thou fairest flower of womankind!
And, look, within my fluttering heart
Thy image trembling is enshrined!


Yonder stands the hillside chapel
Mid the evergreens and rocks,
All day long it hears the song
Of the shepherd to his flocks.

Then the chapel bell goes tolling--
Knelling for a soul that's sped;
Silent and sad the shepherd lad
Hears the requiem for the dead.

Shepherd, singers of the valley,
Voiceless now, speed on before;
Soon shall knell that chapel bell
For the songs you'll sing no more.


Two dreams came down to earth one night
From the realm of mist and dew;
One was a dream of the old, old days,
And one was a dream of the new.

One was a dream of a shady lane
That led to the pickerel pond
Where the willows and rushes bowed themselves
To the brown old hills beyond.

And the people that peopled the old-time dream
Were pleasant and fair to see,
And the dreamer he walked with them again
As often of old walked he.

Oh, cool was the wind in the shady lane
That tangled his curly hair!
Oh, sweet was the music the robins made
To the springtime everywhere!

Was it the dew the dream had brought
From yonder midnight skies,
Or was it tears from the dear, dead years
That lay in the dreamer's eyes?

The _other_ dream ran fast and free,
As the moon benignly shed
Her golden grace on the smiling face
In the little trundle-bed.

For 't was a dream of times to come--
Of the glorious noon of day--
Of the summer that follows the careless spring
When the child is done with play.

And 't was a dream of the busy world
Where valorous deeds are done;
Of battles fought in the cause of right,
And of victories nobly won.

It breathed no breath of the dear old home
And the quiet joys of youth;
It gave no glimpse of the good old friends
Or the old-time faith and truth.

But 't was a dream of youthful hopes,
And fast and free it ran,
And it told to a little sleeping child
Of a boy become a man!

These were the dreams that came one night
To earth from yonder sky;
These were the dreams two dreamers dreamed--
My little boy and I.

And in our hearts my boy and I
Were glad that it was so;
_He_ loved to dream of days to come,
And _I_ of long ago.

So from our dreams my boy and I
Unwillingly awoke,
But neither of his precious dream
Unto the other spoke.

Yet of the love we bore those dreams
Gave each his tender sign;
For there was triumph in _his_ eyes--
And there were tears in _mine!_


'Twas in the Crescent City not long ago befell
The tear-compelling incident I now propose to tell;
So come, my sweet collector friends, and listen while I sing
Unto your delectation this brief, pathetic thing--
No lyric pitched in vaunting key, but just a requiem
Of blowing twenty dollars in by nine o'clock a.m.

Let critic folk the poet's use of vulgar slang upbraid,
But, when I'm speaking by the card, I call a spade a spade;
And I, who have been touched of that same mania, myself,
Am well aware that, when it comes to parting with his pelf,
The curio collector is so blindly lost in sin
That he doesn't spend his money--he simply blows it in!

In Royal street (near Conti) there's a lovely curio-shop,
And there, one balmy, fateful morn, it was my chance to stop;
To stop was hesitation--in a moment I was lost--
_That_ kind of hesitation does not hesitate at cost!
I spied a pewter tankard there, and, my! it was a gem--
And the clock in old St. Louis told the hour of eight a.m.!

Three quaint Bohemian bottles, too, of yellow and of green,
Cut in archaic fashion that I ne'er before had seen;
A lovely, hideous platter wreathed about with pink and rose,
With its curious depression into which the gravy flows;
Two dainty silver salts--oh, there was no resisting _them_--
And I'd blown in twenty dollars by nine o'clock a. m.

With twenty dollars, one who is a prudent man, indeed,
Can buy the wealth of useful things his wife and children need;
Shoes, stockings, knickerbockers, gloves, bibs, nursing-bottles, caps,
A gown--_the_ gown for which his spouse too long has pined, perhaps!
These and ten thousand other spectres harrow and condemn
The man who's blown in twenty by nine o'clock a.m.

Oh, mean advantage conscience takes (and one that I abhor!)
In asking one this question: "What _did_ you buy it for?"
Why doesn't conscience ply its blessed trade _before_ the act,
_Before_ one's cussedness becomes a bald, accomplished fact--
_Before_ one's fallen victim to the Tempter's stratagem
And blown in twenty dollars by nine o'clock a.m.?

Ah me! now that the deed is done, how penitent I am!
I _was_ a roaring lion--behold a bleating lamb!
I've packed and shipped those precious things to that more precious wife
Who shares with our sweet babes the strange vicissitudes of life,
While he who, in his folly, gave up his store of wealth
Is far away, and means to keep his distance--for his health!


The wind comes whispering to me of the country green and cool--
Of redwing blackbirds chattering beside a reedy pool;
It brings me soothing fancies of the homestead on the hill,
And I hear the thrush's evening song and the robin's morning trill;
So I fall to thinking tenderly of those I used to know
Where the sassafras and snakeroot and checkerberries grow.

What has become of Ezra Marsh, who lived on Baker's hill?
And what's become of Noble Pratt, whose father kept the mill?
And what's become of Lizzie Crum and Anastasia Snell,
And of Roxie Root, who 'tended school in Boston for a spell?
They were the boys and they the girls who shared my youthful play--
They do not answer to my call! My playmates--where are they?

What has become of Levi and his little brother Joe,
Who lived next door to where we lived some forty years ago?
I'd like to see the Newton boys and Quincy Adams Brown,
And Hepsy Hall and Ella Cowles, who spelled the whole school down!
And Gracie Smith, the Cutler boys, Leander Snow, and all
Who I am sure would answer could they only hear my call!

I'd like to see Bill Warner and the Conkey boys again
And talk about the times we used to wish that we were men!
And one--I shall not name her--could I see her gentle face
And hear her girlish treble in this distant, lonely place!
The flowers and hopes of springtime--they perished long ago,
And the garden where they blossomed is white with winter snow.

O cottage neath the maples, have you seen those girls and boys
That but a little while ago made, oh! such pleasant noise?
O trees, and hills, and brooks, and lanes, and meadows, do you know
Where I shall find my little friends of forty years ago?
You see I'm old and weary, and I've traveled long and far;
I am looking for my playmates--I wonder where they are!


Prate, ye who will, of so-called charms you find across the sea--
The land of stoves and sunshine is good enough for me!
I've done the grand for fourteen months in every foreign clime,
And I've learned a heap of learning, but I've shivered all the time;
And the biggest bit of wisdom I've acquired--as I can see--
Is that which teaches that this land's the land of lands for me.

Now, I am of opinion that a person should get some
Warmth in this present life of ours, not all in that to come;
So when Boreas blows his blast, through country and through town,
Or when upon the muddy streets the stifling fog rolls down,
Go, guzzle in a pub, or plod some bleak malarious grove,
But let me toast my shrunken shanks beside some Yankee stove.

The British people say they "don't believe in stoves, y' know;"
Perchance because we warmed 'em so completely years ago!
They talk of "drahfts" and "stuffiness" and "ill effects of heat,"
As they chatter in their barny rooms or shiver 'round the street;
With sunshine such a rarity, and stoves esteemed a sin,
What wonder they are wedded to their fads--catarrh and gin?

In Germany are stoves galore, and yet you seldom find
A fire within the stoves, for German stoves are not that kind;
The Germans say that fires make dirt, and dirt's an odious thing,
But the truth is that the pfennig is the average Teuton's king,
And since the fire costs pfennigs, why, the thrifty soul denies
Himself all heat except what comes with beer and exercise.

The Frenchman builds a fire of cones, the Irishman of peat;
The frugal Dutchman buys a fire when he has need of heat--
That is to say, he pays so much each day to one who brings
The necessary living coals to warm his soup and things;
In Italy and Spain they have no need to heat the house--
'Neath balmy skies the native picks the mandolin and louse.

Now, we've no mouldy catacombs, no feudal castles grim,
No ruined monasteries, no abbeys ghostly dim;
Our ancient history is new, our future's all ahead,
And we've got a tariff bill that's made all Europe sick abed--
But what is best, though short on tombs and academic groves,
We double discount Christendom on sunshine and on stoves.

Dear land of mine! I come to you from months of chill and storm,
Blessing the honest people whose hearts and hearths are warm;
A fairer, sweeter song than this I mean to weave to you
When I've reached my lakeside 'dobe and once get heated through;
But, even then, the burthen of that fairer song shall be
That the land of stoves and sunshine is good enough for me.


Come, brothers, share the fellowship
We celebrate to-night;
There's grace of song on every lip
And every heart is light!
But first, before our mentor chimes
The hour of jubilee,
Let's drink a health to good old times,
And good times yet to be!
Clink, clink, clink!
Merrily let us drink!

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