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Songs and Other Verse by Eugene Field

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There's store of wealth
And more of health
In every glass, we think.
Clink, clink, clink!
To fellowship we drink!
And from the bowl
No genial soul
In such an hour can shrink.

And you, oh, friends from west and east
And other foreign parts,
Come share the rapture of our feast,
The love of loyal hearts;
And in the wassail that suspends
All matters burthensome,
We 'll drink a health to good old friends
And good friends yet to come.
Clink, clink, clink!
To fellowship we drink!
And from the bowl
No genial soul
In such an hour will shrink.
Clink, clink, clink!
Merrily let us drink!
There's fellowship
In every sip
Of friendship's brew, we think.


I'd like to be a cowboy an' ride a fiery hoss
Way out into the big an' boundless west;
I'd kill the bears an' catamounts an' wolves I come across,
An' I'd pluck the bal' head eagle from his nest!
With my pistols at my side,
I would roam the prarers wide,
An' to scalp the savage Injun in his wigwam would I ride--
If I darst; but I darsen't!

I'd like to go to Afriky an' hunt the lions there,
An' the biggest ollyfunts you ever saw!
I would track the fierce gorilla to his equatorial lair,
An' beard the cannybull that eats folks raw!
I'd chase the pizen snakes
An' the 'pottimus that makes
His nest down at the bottom of unfathomable lakes--
If I darst; but I darsen't!

I would I were a pirut to sail the ocean blue,
With a big black flag aflyin' overhead;
I would scour the billowy main with my gallant pirut crew
An' dye the sea a gouty, gory red!
With my cutlass in my hand
On the quarterdeck I'd stand
And to deeds of heroism I'd incite my pirut band--
If I darst; but I darsen't!

And, if I darst, I'd lick my pa for the times that he's licked me!
I'd lick my brother an' my teacher, too!
I'd lick the fellers that call round on sister after tea,
An' I'd keep on lickin' folks till I got through!
You bet! I'd run away
From my lessons to my play,
An' I'd shoo the hens, an' tease the cat, an' kiss the girls all day--
If I darst; but I darsen't!


Who should come up the road one day
But the doctor-man in his two-wheel shay!
And he whoaed his horse and he cried "Ahoy!
I have brought you folks a bow-leg boy!
Such a cute little boy!
Such a funny little boy!
Such a dear little bow-leg boy!"

He took out his box and he opened it wide,
And there was the bow-leg boy inside!
And when they saw that cunning little mite,
They cried in a chorus expressive of delight:
"What a cute little boy!
What a funny little boy!
What a dear little bow-leg boy!"

Observing a strict geometrical law,
They cut out his panties with a circular saw;
Which gave such a stress to his oval stride
That the people he met invariably cried:
"What a cute little boy!
What a funny little boy!
What a dear little bow-leg boy!"

They gave him a wheel and away he went
Speeding along to his heart's content;
And he sits so straight and he pedals so strong
That the folks all say as he bowls along:
"What a cute little boy!
What a funny little boy!
What a dear little bow-leg boy!"

With his eyes aflame and his cheeks aglow,
He laughs "aha" and he laughs "oho";
And the world is filled and thrilled with the joy
Of that jolly little human, the bow-leg boy--
The cute little boy!
The funny little boy!
The dear little bow-leg boy!

If ever the doctor-man comes _my_ way
With his wonderful box in his two-wheel shay,
I 'll ask for the treasure I'd fain possess--
Now, honest Injun! can't you guess?
Why, a cute little boy--
A funny little boy--
A dear little bow-leg boy!


Way up at the top of a big stack of straw
Was the cunningest parlor that ever you saw!
And there could you lie when aweary of play
And gossip or laze in the coziest way;
No matter how careworn or sorry one's mood
No worldly distraction presumed to intrude.
As a refuge from onerous mundane ado
I think I approve of straw parlors, don't you?

A swallow with jewels aflame on her breast
On that straw parlor's ceiling had builded her nest;
And she flew in and out all the happy day long,
And twittered the soothingest lullaby song.
Now some might suppose that that beautiful bird
Performed for her babies the music they heard;
_I_ reckon she twittered her répertoire through
For the folk in the little straw parlor, don't you?

And down from a rafter a spider had hung
Some swings upon which he incessantly swung.
He cut up such didoes--such antics he played
Way up in the air, and was never afraid!
He never made use of his horrid old sting,
But was just upon earth for the fun of the thing!
I deeply regret to observe that so few
Of these good-natured insects are met with, don't you?

And, down in the strawstack, a wee little mite
Of a cricket went chirping by day and by night;
And further down, still, a cunning blue mouse
In a snug little nook of that strawstack kept house!
When the cricket went "chirp," Miss Mousie would squeak
"Come in," and a blush would enkindle her cheek!
She thought--silly girl! 't was a beau come to woo,
But I guess it was only the cricket, don't you?

So the cricket, the mouse, and the motherly bird
Made as soothingsome music as ever you heard
And, meanwhile, that spider by means of his swings
Achieved most astounding gyrations and things!
No wonder the little folk liked what they saw
And loved what they heard in that parlor of straw!
With the mercury up to 102
In the shade, I opine they just sizzled, don't you?

But once there invaded that Eden of straw
The evilest Feline that ever you saw!
She pounced on that cricket with rare promptitude
And she tucked him away where he'd do the most good;
And then, reaching down to the nethermost house,
She deftly expiscated little Miss Mouse!
And, as for the Swallow, she shrieked and withdrew--
I rather admire her discretion, don't you?

Now listen: That evening a cyclone obtained,
And the mortgage was all on that farm that remained!
Barn, strawstack and spider--they all blew away,
And nobody knows where they're at to this day!
And, as for the little straw parlor, I fear
It was wafted clean off this sublunary sphere!
I really incline to a hearty "boo-hoo"
When I think of this tragical ending, don't you?


I cannot eat my porridge,
I weary of my play;
No longer can I sleep at night,
No longer romp by day!
Though forty pounds was once my weight,
I'm shy of thirty now;
I pine, I wither and I fade
Through love of Martha Clow.

As she rolled by this morning
I heard the nurse girl say:
"She weighs just twenty-seven pounds
And she's one year old to-day."
I threw a kiss that nestled
In the curls upon her brow,
But she never turned to thank me--
That bouncing Martha Clow!

She ought to know I love her,
For I've told her that I do;
And I've brought her nuts and apples,
And sometimes candy, too!
I'd drag her in my little cart
If her mother would allow
That delicate attention
To her daughter, Martha Clow.

O Martha! pretty Martha!
Will you always be so cold?
Will you always be as cruel
As you are at one-year-old?
Must your two-year-old admirer
Pine as hopelessly as now
For a fond reciprocation
Of his love for Martha Clow?

You smile on Bernard Rogers
And on little Harry Knott;
You play with them at peek-a-boo
All in the Waller Lot!
Wildly I gnash my new-cut teeth
And beat my throbbing brow,
When I behold the coquetry
Of heartless Martha Clow!

I cannot eat my porridge,
Nor for my play care I;
Upon the floor and porch and lawn
My toys neglected lie;
But on the air of Halsted street
I breathe this solemn vow:
"Though _she_ be _false_, _I_ will be true
To pretty Martha Clow!"


Down south there is a curio-shop
Unknown to many men;
Thereat do I intend to stop
When I am south again;
The narrow street through which to go--
Aha! I know it well!
And may be you would like to know--
But no--I will not tell!

'T is there to find the loveliest plates
(The bluest of the blue!)
At such surprisingly low rates
You'd not believe it true!
And there is one Napoleon vase
Of dainty Sèvres to sell--
I'm sure you'd like to know that place--
But no--I will not tell!

Then, too, I know another shop
Has old, old beds for sale,
With lovely testers up on top
Carved in ornate detail;
And there are sideboards rich and rare,
With fronts that proudly swell--
Oh, there are bargains waiting there,
But where I will not tell!

And hark! I know a bottle-man
Smiling and debonair,
And he has promised me I can
Choose of his precious ware!
In age and shape and color, too,
His dainty goods excel--
Aha, my friends, if you but knew--
But no! I will not tell!

A thousand other shops I know
Where bargains can be got--
Where other folk would like to go
Who have what I have not.
I let them hunt; I hold my mouth--
Yes, though I know full well
Where lie the treasures of the south,
I'm not a going to tell!


Your gran'ma, in her youth, was quite
As blithe a little maid as you.
And, though her hair is snowy white,
Her eyes still have their maiden blue,
And on her cheeks, as fair as thine,
Methinks a girlish blush would glow
If she recalled the valentine
She got, ah! many years ago.

A valorous youth loved gran'ma then,
And wooed her in that auld lang syne;
And first he told his secret when
He sent the maid that valentine.
No perfumed page nor sheet of gold
Was that first hint of love he sent,
But with the secret gran'pa told--
"I love you"--gran'ma was content.

Go, ask your gran'ma, if you will,
If--though her head be bowed and gray--
If--though her feeble pulse be chill--
True love abideth not for aye;
By that quaint portrait on the wall,
That smiles upon her from above,
Methinks your gran'ma can recall
The sweet divinity of love.

Dear Elsie, here's no page of gold--
No sheet embossed with cunning art--
But here's a solemn pledge of old:
"I love you, love, with all my heart."
And if in what I send you here
You read not all of love expressed,
Go--go to gran'ma, Elsie dear,
And she will tell you all the rest!



Cometh the Wind from the garden, fragrant and full of sweet singing--
Under my tree where I sit cometh the Wind to confession.

"Out in the garden abides the Queen of the beautiful Roses--
Her do I love and to-night wooed her with passionate singing;
Told I my love in those songs, and answer she gave in her blushes--
She shall be bride of the Wind, and she is the Queen of the Roses!"

"Wind, there is spice in thy breath; thy rapture hath fragrance Sabaean!"

"Straight from my wooing I come--my lips are bedewed with her kisses--
My lips and my song and my heart are drunk with the rapture of loving!"


The Wind he loveth the red, red Rose,
And he wooeth his love to wed:
Sweet is his song
The Summer long
As he kisseth her lips so red;
And he recketh naught of the ruin wrought
When the Summer of love is sped!


Cometh the Wind from the garden, bitter with sorrow of winter.

"Wind, is thy love-song forgot? Wherefore thy dread lamentations?"

Sigheth and moaneth the Wind: "Out of the desolate garden
Come I from vigils with ghosts over the grave of the Summer!"

"Thy breath that was fragrant anon with rapture of music and loving,
It grieveth all things with its sting and the frost of its wailing

The Wind maketh ever more moan and ever it giveth this answer:
"My heart it is numb with the cold of the love that was born of the
I come from the garden all white with the wrath and the sorrow of Winter;
I have kissed the low, desolate tomb where my bride in her loveliness
And the voice of the ghost in my heart is the voice that forever


The Wind he waileth the red, red Rose
When the Summer of love is sped--
He waileth above
His lifeless love
With her shroud of snow o'erspread--
Crieth such things as a true heart brings
To the grave of its precious dead.


Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name;
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, in Heaven the same;
Give us this day our daily bread, and may our debts to heaven--
As we our earthly debts forgive--by Thee be all forgiven;
When tempted or by evil vexed, restore Thou us again,
And Thine be the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory, forever and ever;


Of all the opry-houses then obtaining in the West
The one which Milton Tootle owned was, by all odds, the best;
Milt, being rich, was much too proud to run the thing alone,
So he hired an "acting manager," a gruff old man named Krone--
A stern, commanding man with piercing eyes and flowing beard,
And his voice assumed a thunderous tone when Jack and I appeared;
He said that Julius Caesar had been billed a week or so,
And would have to have some armies by the time he reached St. Jo!

O happy days, when Tragedy still winged an upward flight,
When actors wore tin helmets and cambric robes at night!
O happy days, when sounded in the public's rapturous ears
The creak of pasteboard armor and the clash of wooden spears!
O happy times for Jack and me and that one other supe
That then and there did constitute the noblest Roman's troop!
With togas, battle axes, shields, we made a dazzling show,
When we were Roman soldiers with Brutus in St. Jo!

We wheeled and filed and double-quicked wherever Brutus led,
The folks applauding what we did as much as what he said;
'T was work, indeed; yet Jack and I were willing to allow
'T was easier following Brutus than following father's plough;
And at each burst of cheering, our valor would increase--
We tramped a thousand miles that night, at fifty cents apiece!
For love of Art--not lust for gold--consumed us years ago,
When we were Roman soldiers with Brutus in St. Jo!

To-day, while walking in the Square, Jack Langrish says to me:
"My friend, the drama nowadays ain't what it used to be!
These farces and these comedies--how feebly they compare
With that mantle of the tragic art which Forrest used to wear!
My soul is warped with bitterness to think that you and I--
Co-heirs to immortality in seasons long gone by--
Now draw a paltry stipend from a Boston comic show,
We, who were Roman soldiers with Brutus in St. Jo!"

And so we talked and so we mused upon the whims of Fate
That had degraded Tragedy from its old, supreme estate;
And duly, at the Morton bar, we stigmatized the age
As sinfully subversive of the interests of the Stage!
For Jack and I were actors in the halcyon, palmy days
Long, long before the Hoyt school of farce became the craze;
Yet, as I now recall it, it was twenty years ago
That we were Roman soldiers with Brutus in St. Jo!

We were by birth descended from a race of farmer kings
Who had done eternal battle with grasshoppers and things;
But the Kansas farms grew tedious--we pined for that delight
We read of in the _Clipper_ in the barber's shop by night!
We would be actors--Jack and I--and so we stole away
From our native spot, Wathena, one dull September day,
And started for Missouri--ah, little did we know
We were going to train as soldiers with Brutus in St. Jo!

Our army numbered three in all--Marc Antony's was four;
Our army hankered after fame, but Marc's was after gore!
And when we reached Philippi, at the outset we were met
With an inartistic gusto I can never quite forget.
For Antony's overwhelming force of thumpers seemed to be
Resolved to do "them Kansas jays"--and that meant Jack and me!
My lips were sealed but that it seems quite proper you should know
That Rome was nowhere in it at Philippi in St. Jo!

I've known the slow-consuming grief and ostentatious pain
Accruing from McKean Buchanan's melancholy Dane;
Away out West I've witnessed Bandmann's peerless hardihood,
With Arthur Cambridge have I wrought where walking was not good;
In every phase of horror have I bravely borne my part,
And even on my uppers have I proudly stood for Art!
And, after all my suffering, it were not hard to show
That I got my allopathic dose with Brutus at St. Jo!

That army fell upon me in a most bewildering rage
And scattered me and mine upon that histrionic stage;
My toga rent, my helmet gone and smashed to smithereens,
They picked me up and hove me through whole centuries of scenes!
I sailed through Christian eras and mediæval gloom
And fell from Arden forest into Juliet's painted tomb!
Oh, yes, I travelled far and fast that night, and I can show
The scars of honest wounds I got with Brutus in St. Jo!

Ah me, old Davenport is gone, of fickle fame forgot,
And Barrett sleeps forever in a much neglected spot;
Fred Warde, the papers tell me, in far woolly western lands
Still flaunts the banner of high Tragic Art at one-night stands;
And Jack and I, in Charley Hoyt's Bostonian dramas wreak
Our vengeance on creation at some eensty dolls per week.
By which you see that public taste has fallen mighty low
Since we fought as Roman soldiers with Brutus in St. Jo!


There were two little skeezucks who lived in the isle
Of Boo in a southern sea;
They clambered and rollicked in heathenish style
In the boughs of their cocoanut tree.
They didn't fret much about clothing and such
And they recked not a whit of the ills
That sometimes accrue
From having to do
With tailor and laundry bills.

The two little skeezucks once heard of a Fair
Far off from their native isle,
And they asked of King Fan if they mightn't go there
To take in the sights for awhile.
Now old King Fan
Was a good-natured man
(As good-natured monarchs go),
And howbeit he swore that all Fairs were a bore,
He hadn't the heart to say "No."

So the two little skeezucks sailed off to the Fair
In a great big gum canoe,
And I fancy they had a good time there,
For they tarried a year or two.
And old King Fan at last began
To reckon they'd come to grief,
When glory! one day
They sailed into the bay
To the tune of "Hail to the Chief!"

The two little skeezucks fell down on the sand,
Embracing his majesty's toes,
Till his majesty graciously bade them stand
And salute him nose to nose.
And then quoth he:
"Divulge unto me
What happenings have hapt to you;
And how did they dare to indulge in a Fair
So far from the island of Boo?"

The two little skeezucks assured their king
That what he surmised was true;
That the Fair would have been a different thing
Had it only been held in Boo!
"The folk over there in no wise compare
With the folk of the southern seas;
Why, they comb out their heads
And they sleep in beds
Instead of in caverns and trees!"

The two little skeezucks went on to say
That children (so far as they knew)
Had a much harder time in that land far away
Than here in the island of Boo!
They have to wear clo'es
Which (as every one knows)
Are irksome to primitive laddies,
While, with forks and with spoons, they're denied the sweet boons
That accrue from free use of one's paddies!

"And now that you're speaking of things to eat,"
Interrupted the monarch of Boo,
"We beg to inquire if you happened to meet
With a nice missionary or two?"
"No, that we did not; in that curious spot
Where were gathered the fruits of the earth,
Of that special kind
Which Your Nibs has in mind
There appeared a deplorable dearth!"

Then loud laughed that monarch in heathenish mirth
And loud laughed his courtiers, too,
And they cried: "There is elsewhere no land upon earth
So good as our island of Boo!"
And the skeezucks, tho' glad
Of the journey they'd had,
Climbed up in their cocoanut trees,
Where they still may be seen with no shirts to keep clean
Or trousers that bag at the knees.


They told me once that Pan was dead,
And so, in sooth, I thought him;
For vainly where the streamlets led
Through flowery meads I sought him--
Nor in his dewy pasture bed
Nor in the grove I caught him.
_"Tell me," 'twas so my clamor ran--
"Tell me, oh, where is Pan?"_

But, once, as on my pipe I played
A requiem sad and tender,
Lo, thither came a shepherd-maid--
Full comely she and slender!
I were indeed a churlish blade
With wailings to offend 'er--
_For, surely, wooing's sweeter than
A mourning over Pan!_

So, presently, whiles I did scan
That shepherd-maiden pretty,
And heard her accents, I began
To pipe a cheerful ditty;
And so, betimes, forgot old Pan
Whose death had waked my pity;
_So--so did Love undo the man
Who sought and pined for Pan!_

He was _not_ dead! I found him there--
The Pan that I was after!
Caught in that maiden's tangling hair,
Drunk with her song and laughter!
I doubt if there be otherwhere
A merrier god or dafter--
_Nay, nor a mortal kindlier than
Is this same dear old Pan!_

Beside me, as my pipe I play,
My shepherdess is lying,
While here and there her lambkins stray
As sunny hours go flying;
They look like me--those lambs--they say,
And that I'm not denying!
_And for that sturdy, romping clan,
All glory be to Pan!_

Pan is not dead, O sweetheart mine!
It is to hear his voices
In every note and every line
Wherein the heart rejoices!
He liveth in that sacred shrine
That Love's first, holiest choice is!
_So pipe, my pipe, while still you can,
Sweet songs in praise of Pan!_



Down in the old French quarter,
Just out of Rampart street,
I wend my way
At close of day
Unto the quaint retreat
Where lives the Voodoo Doctor
By some esteemed a sham,
Yet I'll declare there's none elsewhere
So skilled as Doctor Sam
_With the claws of a deviled crawfish,
The juice of the prickly prune,
And the quivering dew
From a yarb that grew
In the light of a midnight moon!_

I never should have known him
But for the colored folk
That here obtain
And ne'er in vain
That wizard's art invoke;
For when the Eye that's Evil
Would him and his'n damn,
The negro's grief gets quick relief
Of Hoodoo-Doctor Sam.
_With the caul of an alligator,
The plume of an unborn loon,
And the poison wrung
From a serpent's tongue
By the light of a midnight moon!_

In all neurotic ailments
I hear that he excels,
And he insures
Immediate cures
Of weird, uncanny spells;
The most unruly patient
Gets docile as a lamb
And is freed from ill by the potent skill
Of Hoodoo-Doctor Sam;
_Feathers of strangled chickens,
Moss from the dank lagoon,_
_And plasters wet
With spider sweat
In the light of a midnight moon!_

They say when nights are grewsome
And hours are, oh! so late,
Old Sam steals out
And hunts about
For charms that hoodoos hate!
That from the moaning river
And from the haunted glen
He silently brings what eerie things
Give peace to hoodooed men:--
_The tongue of a piebald 'possum,
The tooth of a senile 'coon,
The buzzard's breath that smells of death,
And the film that lies
On a lizard's eyes
In the light of a midnight moon!_



When to the dreary greenwood gloam
Winfreda's husband strode that day,
The fair Winfreda bode at home
To toil the weary time away;
"While thou art gone to hunt," said she,
"I'll brew a goodly sop for thee."

Lo, from a further, gloomy wood,
A hungry wolf all bristling hied
And on the cottage threshold stood
And saw the dame at work inside;
And, as he saw the pleasing sight,
He licked his fangs so sharp and white.

Now when Winfreda saw the beast,
Straight at the grinning wolf she ran,
And, not affrighted in the least,
She hit him with her cooking pan,
And as she thwacked him on the head--
"Scat! scat!" the fair Winfreda said.

The hills gave answer to their din--
The brook in fear beheld the sight.
And all that bloody field within
Wore token of Winfreda's might.
The wolf was very loath to stay--
But, oh! he could not get away.

Winfreda swept him o'er the wold
And choked him till his gums were blue,
And till, beneath her iron hold,
His tongue hung out a yard or two,
And with his hair the riven ground
Was strewn for many leagues around.

They fought a weary time that day,
And seas of purple blood were shed,
Till by Winfreda's cunning lay
That awful wolf all limp and dead;
Winfreda saw him reel and drop--
Then back she went to brewing sop.

So when the husband came at night
From bootless chase, cold, gaunt, and grim,
Great was that Saxon lord's delight
To find the sop dished up for him;
And as he ate, Winfreda told
How she had laid the wolf out cold.

The good Winfreda of those days
Is only "pretty Birdie" now--
Sickly her soul and weak her ways--
And she, to whom we Saxons bow,
Leaps on a bench and screams with fright
If but a mouse creeps into sight.



Lyman and Frederick and Jim, one day,
Set out in a great big ship--
Steamed to the ocean adown the bay
Out of a New York slip.
"Where are you going and what is your game?"
The people asked those three.
"Darned if we know; but all the same
Happy as larks are we;
And happier still we're going to be!"
Said Lyman
And Frederick
And Jim.

The people laughed "Aha, oho!
Oho, aha!" laughed they;
And while those three went sailing so
Some pirates steered that way.
The pirates they were laughing, too--
The prospect made them glad;
But by the time the job was through
Each of them pirates, bold and bad,
Had been done out of all he had
By Lyman
And Frederick
And Jim.

Days and weeks and months they sped,
Painting that foreign clime
A beautiful, bright vermilion red--
And having a ---- of a time!
'T was all so gaudy a lark, it seemed
As if it could not be,
And some folks thought it a dream they dreamed
Of sailing that foreign sea,
But I 'll identify you these three--
And Frederick
And Jim.

Lyman and Frederick are bankers and sich
And Jim is an editor kind;
The first two named are awfully rich
And Jim ain't far behind!
So keep your eyes open and mind your tricks,
Or you are like to be
In quite as much of a Tartar fix
As the pirates that sailed the sea
And monkeyed with the pardners three,
And Frederick
And Jim!


Sweetheart, be my sweetheart
When birds are on the wing,
When bee and bud and babbling flood
Bespeak the birth of spring,
Come, sweetheart, be my sweetheart
And wear this posy-ring!

Sweetheart, be my sweetheart
In the mellow golden glow
Of earth aflush with the gracious blush
Which the ripening fields foreshow;
Dear sweetheart, be my sweetheart,
As into the noon we go!

Sweetheart, be my sweetheart
When falls the bounteous year,
When fruit and wine of tree and vine
Give us their harvest cheer;
Oh, sweetheart, be my sweetheart,
For winter it draweth near.

Sweetheart, be my sweetheart
When the year is white and old,
When the fire of youth is spent, forsooth,
And the hand of age is cold;
Yet, sweetheart, be my sweetheart
Till the year of our love be told!


Out of the woods by the creek cometh a calling for Peter,
And from the orchard a voice echoes and echoes it over;
Down in the pasture the sheep hear that strange crying for Peter,
Over the meadows that call is aye and forever repeated.
So let me tell you the tale, when, where, and how it all happened,
And, when the story is told, let us pay heed to the lesson.

Once on a time, long ago, lived in the State of Kentucky
One that was reckoned a witch--full of strange spells and devices;
Nightly she wandered the woods, searching for charms voodooistic--
Scorpions, lizards, and herbs, dormice, chameleons, and plantains!
Serpents and caw-caws and bats, screech-owls and crickets and adders--
These were the guides of that witch through the dank deeps of the forest.
Then, with her roots and her herbs, back to her cave in the morning
Ambled that hussy to brew spells of unspeakable evil;
And, when the people awoke, seeing that hillside and valley
Sweltered in swathes as of mist--"Look!" they would whisper in terror--
"Look! the old witch is at work brewing her spells of great evil!"
Then would they pray till the sun, darting his rays through the vapor,
Lifted the smoke from the earth and baffled the witch's intentions.

One of the boys at that time was a certain young person named Peter,
Given too little to work, given too largely to dreaming;
Fonder of books than of chores, you can imagine that Peter
Led a sad life on the farm, causing his parents much trouble.
"Peter!" his mother would call, "the cream is a'ready for churning!"
"Peter!" his father would cry, "go grub at the weeds in the garden!"
So it was "Peter!" all day--calling, reminding, and chiding--
Peter neglected his work; therefore that nagging at Peter!

Peter got hold of some books--how, I'm unable to tell you;
Some have suspected the witch--this is no place for suspicions!
It is sufficient to stick close to the thread of the legend.
Nor is it stated or guessed what was the trend of those volumes;
What thing soever it was--done with a pen and a pencil,
Wrought with a brain, not a hoe--surely 't was hostile to farming!

"Fudge on all readin'!" they quoth; or "_that's_ what's the ruin of

So, when the mornings were hot, under the beech or the maple,
Cushioned in grass that was blue, breathing the breath of the blossoms,
Lulled by the hum of the bees, the coo of the ring-doves a-mating,
Peter would frivol his time at reading, or lazing, or dreaming.
"Peter!" his mother would call, "the cream is a'ready for churning!"
"Peter!" his father would cry, "go grub at the weeds in the garden!"
"Peter!" and "Peter!" all day--calling, reminding, and chiding--
Peter neglected his chores; therefore that outcry for Peter;
Therefore the neighbors allowed evil would surely befall him--
Yes, on account of these things, ruin would come upon Peter!

Surely enough, on a time, reading and lazing and dreaming
Wrought the calamitous ill all had predicted for Peter;
For, of a morning in spring when lay the mist in the valleys--
"See," quoth the folk, "how the witch breweth her evil decoctions!
See how the smoke from her fire broodeth on woodland and meadow!
Grant that the sun cometh out to smother the smudge of her caldron!
She hath been forth in the night, full of her spells and devices,
Roaming the marshes and dells for heathenish magical nostrums;
Digging in leaves and at stumps for centipedes, pismires, and spiders,
Grubbing in poisonous pools for hot salamanders and toadstools;
Charming the bats from the flues, snaring the lizards by twilight,
Sucking the scorpion's egg and milking the breast of the adder!"

Peter derided these things held in such faith by the farmer,
Scouted at magic and charms, hooted at Jonahs and hoodoos--
Thinking and reading of books must have unsettled his reason!
"There ain't no witches," he cried; "it isn't smoky, but foggy!
I will go out in the wet--you all can't hender me, nuther!"

Surely enough he went out into the damp of the morning,
Into the smudge that the witch spread over woodland and meadow,
Into the fleecy gray pall brooding on hillside and valley.
Laughing and scoffing, he strode into that hideous vapor;
Just as he said he would do, just as he bantered and threatened,
Ere they could fasten the door, Peter had done gone and done it!
Wasting his time over books, you see, had unsettled his reason--
Soddened his callow young brain with semi-pubescent paresis,
And his neglect of his chores hastened this evil condition.

Out of the woods by the creek cometh a calling for Peter
And from the orchard a voice echoes and echoes it over;
Down in the pasture the sheep hear that shrill crying for Peter,
Up from the spring house the wail stealeth anon like a whisper,
Over the meadows that call is aye and forever repeated.
Such were the voices that whooped wildly and vainly for Peter
Decades and decades ago down in the State of Kentucky--
Such _are_ the voices that cry now from the woodland and meadow,
"Peter--O Peter!" all day, calling, reminding, and chiding--
Taking us back to the time when Peter he done gone and done it!
These are the voices of those left by the boy in the farmhouse
When, with his laughter and scorn, hatless and bootless and sockless,
Clothed in his jeans and his pride, Peter sailed out in the weather,
Broke from the warmth of his home into that fog of the devil,
Into the smoke of that witch brewing her damnable porridge!

Lo, when he vanished from sight, knowing the evil that threatened,
Forth with importunate cries hastened his father and mother.
"Peter!" they shrieked in alarm, "Peter!" and evermore "Peter!"--
Ran from the house to the barn, ran from the barn to the garden,
Ran to the corn-crib anon, then to the smoke-house proceeded;
Henhouse and woodpile they passed, calling and wailing and weeping,
Through the front gate to the road, braving the hideous vapor--
Sought him in lane and on pike, called him in orchard and meadow,
Clamoring "Peter!" in vain, vainly outcrying for Peter.
Joining the search came the rest, brothers and sisters and cousins,
Venting unspeakable fears in pitiful wailing for Peter!
And from the neighboring farms gathered the men and the women,
Who, upon hearing the news, swelled the loud chorus for Peter.

Farmers and hussifs and maids, bosses and field-hands and niggers,
Colonels and jedges galore from cornfields and mint-beds and thickets,
All that had voices to voice, all to those parts appertaining,
Came to engage in the search, gathered and bellowed for Peter.
The Taylors, the Dorseys, the Browns, the Wallers, the Mitchells, the
The Yenowines, Crittendens, Dukes, the Hickmans, the Hobbses, the Morgans;
The Ormsbys, the Thompsons, the Hikes, the Williamsons, Murrays, and

The Beynroths, the Sherleys, the Hokes, the Haldermans, Harneys, and
All, famed in Kentucky of old for prowess prodigious at farming,
Now surged from their prosperous homes to join in that hunt for the
To ascertain where he was at, to help out the chorus for Peter.

Still on those prosperous farms where heirs and assigns of the people
Specified hereinabove and proved by the records of probate--
_Still_ on those farms shall you hear (and still on the turnpikes
That pitiful, petulant call, that pleading, expostulant wailing,
That hopeless, monotonous moan, that crooning and droning for Peter.
Some say the witch in her wrath transmogrified all those good people;
That, wakened from slumber that day by the calling and bawling for Peter,
She out of her cave in a thrice, and, waving the foot of a rabbit
(Crossed with the caul of a coon and smeared with the blood of a chicken),
She changed all those folk into birds and shrieked with demoniac venom:
"Fly away over the land, moaning your Peter forever,
Croaking of Peter, the boy who didn't believe there were hoodoos,
Crooning of Peter, the fool who scouted at stories of witches,
Crying of Peter for aye, forever outcalling for Peter!"

This is the story they tell; so in good sooth saith the legend;
As I have told it to you, so tell the folk and the legend.
That it is true I believe, for on the breezes this morning
Come the shrill voices of birds calling and calling for Peter;
Out of the maple and beech glitter the eyes of the wailers,
Peeping and peering for him who formerly lived in these places--
Peter, the heretic lad, lazy and careless and dreaming,
Sorely afflicted with books and with pubescent paresis,
Hating the things of the farm, care of the barn and the garden,
Always neglecting his chores--given to books and to reading,
Which, as all people allow, turn the young person to mischief,
Harden his heart against toil, wean his affections from tillage.

This is the legend of yore told in the state of Kentucky
When in the springtime the birds call from the beeches and maples,
Call from the petulant thorn, call from the acrid persimmon;
When from the woods by the creek and from the pastures and meadows,
When from the spring house and lane and from the mint-bed and orchard,
When from the redbud and gum and from the redolent lilac,
When from the dirt roads and pikes cometh that calling for Peter;
Cometh the dolorous cry, cometh that weird iteration
Of "Peter" and "Peter" for aye, of "Peter" and "Peter" forever!
This is the legend of old, told in the tum-titty meter
Which the great poets prefer, being less labor than rhyming
(My first attempt at the same, my _last_ attempt, too, I reckon!);
Nor have I further to say, for the sad story is ended.


I'd not complain of Sister Jane, for she was good and kind,
Combining with rare comeliness distinctive gifts of mind;
Nay, I'll admit it were most fit that, worn by social cares,
She'd crave a change from parlor life to that below the stairs,
And that, eschewing needlework and music, she should take
Herself to the substantial art of manufacturing cake.

At breakfast, then, it would befall that Sister Jane would say:
"Mother, if you have got the things, I'll make some cake to-day!"
Poor mother'd cast a timid glance at father, like as not--
For father hinted sister's cooking cost a frightful lot--
But neither _she_ nor _he_ presumed to signify dissent,
Accepting it for gospel truth that what she wanted went!

No matter what the rest of 'em might chance to have in hand,
The whole machinery of the house came to a sudden stand;
The pots were hustled off the stove, the fire built up anew,
With every damper set just so to heat the oven through;
The kitchen-table was relieved of everything, to make
That ample space which Jane required when she compounded cake.

And, oh! the bustling here and there, the flying to and fro;
The click of forks that whipped the eggs to lather white as snow--
And what a wealth of sugar melted swiftly out of sight--
And butter? Mother said such waste would ruin father, quite!
But Sister Jane preserved a mien no pleading could confound
As she utilized the raisins and the citron by the pound.

Oh, hours of chaos, tumult, heat, vexatious din, and whirl!
Of deep humiliation for the sullen hired-girl;
Of grief for mother, hating to see things wasted so,
And of fortune for that little boy who pined to taste that dough!
It looked so sweet and yellow--sure, to taste it were no sin--
But, oh! how sister scolded if he stuck his finger in!

The chances were as ten to one, before the job was through,
That sister'd think of something else she'd great deal rather do!
So, then, she'd softly steal away, as Arabs in the night,
Leaving the girl and ma to finish up as best they might;
These tactics (artful Sister Jane) enabled her to take
Or shift the credit or the blame of that too-treacherous cake!

And yet, unhappy is the man who has no Sister Jane--
For he who has no sister seems to me to live in vain.
I never had a sister--may be that is why today
I'm wizened and dyspeptic, instead of blithe and gay;
A boy who's only forty should be full of romp and mirth,
But _I _(because I'm sisterless) am the oldest man on earth!

Had I a little sister--oh, how happy I should be!
I'd never let her cast her eyes on any chap but me;
I'd love her and I'd cherish her for better and for worse--
I'd buy her gowns and bonnets, and sing her praise in verse;
And--yes, what's more and vastly more--I tell you what I'd do:
I'd let her make her wondrous cake, and I would eat it, too!

I have a high opinion of the sisters, as you see--
Another fellow's sister is so very dear to me!
I love to work anear her when she's making over frocks,
When she patches little trousers or darns prosaic socks;
But I draw the line at one thing--yes, I don my hat and take
A three hours' walk when she is moved to try her hand at cake!


_When Father Time swings round his scythe,
Intomb me 'neath the bounteous vine,
So that its juices, red and blithe,
May cheer these thirsty bones of mine._

_"Elsewise with tears and bated breath
Should I survey the life to be.
But oh! How should I hail the death
That brings that--vinous grace to me!"_

So sung the dauntless Saracen,
Whereat the Prophet-Chief ordains
That, curst of Allah, loathed of men,
The faithless one shall die in chains.

But one vile Christian slave that lay
A prisoner near that prisoner saith:
"God willing, I will plant some day
A vine where liest thou in death."

Lo, over Abu Midjan's grave
With purpling fruit a vine-tree grows;
Where rots the martyred Christian slave
Allah, and only Allah, knows!


Ed was a man that played for keeps, 'nd when he tuk the notion,
You cudn't stop him any more'n a dam 'ud stop the ocean;
For when he tackled to a thing 'nd sot his mind plum to it,
You bet yer boots he done that thing though it broke the bank to do it!
So all us boys uz knowed him best allowed he wuzn't jokin'
When on a Sunday he remarked uz how he'd gin up smokin'.

Now this remark, that Ed let fall, fell, ez I say, on Sunday--
Which is the reason we wuz shocked to see him sail in Monday
A-puffin' at a snipe that sizzled like a Chinese cracker
An' smelt fur all the world like rags instead uv like terbacker;
Recoverin' from our first surprise, us fellows fell to pokin'
A heap uv fun at "folks uz said how they had gin up smokin'."

But Ed--sez he: "I found my work cud not be done without it--
Jes' try the scheme yourselves, my friends, ef any uv you doubt it!
It's hard, I know, upon one's health, but there's a certain beauty
In makin' sackerfices to the stern demands uv duty!
So, wholly in a sperrit uv denial 'nd concession,
I mortify the flesh 'nd smoke for the sake uv my perfession!"


Some men affect a liking
For the prim in face and mind,
And some prefer the striking
And the loud in womankind;
Wee Madge is wooed of many,
And buxom Kate, as well,
And Jennie--charming Jennie--
Ah, Jennie doesn't tell!

What eyes so bright as Daisy's,
And who as Maud so fair?
Who does not sing the praises
Of Lucy's golden hair?
There's Sophie--she is witty,
A very sprite is Nell,
And Susie's, oh, so pretty--
But Jennie doesn't tell!

And now for my confession:
Of all the virtues rare,
I argue that discretion
Doth most beseem the fair.
And though I hear the many
Extol each other belle,
I--I pronounce for Jennie,
For Jennie doesn't tell!


Happy the man that, when his day is done,
Lies down to sleep with nothing of regret--
The battle he has fought may not be won--
The fame he sought be just as fleeting yet;
Folding at last his hands upon his breast,
Happy is he, if hoary and forespent,
He sinks into the last, eternal rest,
Breathing these only works: "I am content."

But happier he, that, while his blood is warm,
See hopes and friendships dead about him lie--
Bares his brave breast to envy's bitter storm,
Nor shuns the poison barbs of calumny;
And 'mid it all, stands sturdy and elate,
Girt only in the armor God hath meant
For him who 'neath the buffetings of fate
Can say to God and man: "I am content."


There is a certain Yankee phrase
I always have revered,
Yet, somehow, in these modern days,
It's almost disappeared;
It was the usage years ago,
But nowadays it's got
To be regarded coarse and low
To answer: "I guess not!"

The height of fashion called the pink
Affects a British craze--
Prefers "I fancy" or "I think"
To that time-honored phrase;
But here's a Yankee, if you please,
That brands the fashion rot,
And to all heresies like these
He answers, "I--guess not!"--

When Chaucer, Wycliff, and the rest
Express their meaning thus,
I guess, if not the very best,
It's good enough for us!
Why! shall the idioms of our speech
Be banished and forgot
For this vain trash which moderns teach?
Well, no, sir; I guess not!

There's meaning in that homely phrase
No other words express--
No substitute therefor conveys
Such unobtrusive stress.
True Anglo-Saxon speech, it goes
Directly to the spot,
And he who hears it always knows
The worth of "I--guess--not!"


Good old days--dear old days
When my heart beat high and bold--
When the things of earth seemed full of life,
And the future a haze of gold!
Oh, merry was I that winter night,
And gleeful our little one's din,
And tender the grace of my darling's face
As we watched the new year in.
But a voice--a spectre's, that mocked at love--
Came out of the yonder hall;
"Tick-tock, tick-tock!" 't was the solemn clock
That ruefully croaked to all.
Yet what knew we of the griefs to be
In the year we longed to greet?
Love--love was the theme of the sweet, sweet dream
I fancied might never fleet!

But the spectre stood in that yonder gloom,
And these were the words it spake,
"Tick-tock, tick-tock"--and they seemed to mock
A heart about to break.

'T is new-year's eve, and again I watch
In the old familiar place,
And I'm thinking again of that old time when
I looked on a dear one's face.
Never a little one hugs my knee
And I hear no gleeful shout--
I am sitting alone by the old hearthstone,
Watching the old year out.
But I welcome the voice in yonder gloom
That solemnly calls to me:
"Tick-tock, tick-tock!"--for so the clock
Tells of a life to be;
"Tick-tock, tick-tock!"-'tis so the clock
Tells of eternity.


I'm thinking of the wooing
That won my maiden heart
When he--he came pursuing
A love unused to art.
Into the drowsy river
The moon transported flung
Her soul that seemed to quiver
With the songs my lover sung.
And the stars in rapture twinkled
On the slumbrous world below--
You see that, old and wrinkled,
I'm not forgetful--no!

He still should be repeating
The vows he uttered then--
Alas! the years, though fleeting,
Are truer yet than men!
The summer moonlight glistens
In the favorite trysting spot
Where the river ever listens
For a song it heareth not.
And I, whose head is sprinkled
With time's benumbing snow,
I languish, old and wrinkled,
But not forgetful--no!

What though he elsewhere turneth
To beauty strangely bold?
Still in my bosom burneth
The tender fire of old;
And the words of love he told me
And the songs he sung me then
Come crowding to uphold me,
And I live my youth again!
For when love's feet have tinkled
On the pathway women go,
Though one be old and wrinkled,
She's not forgetful--no!


To the willows of the brookside
The mill wheel sings to-day--
Sings and weeps,
As the brooklet creeps
Wondering on its way;
And here is the ring _she_ gave me
With love's sweet promise then--
It hath burst apart
Like the trusting heart
That may never be soothed again!

Oh, I would be a minstrel
To wander far and wide,
Weaving in song the merciless wrong
Done by a perjured bride!
Or I would be a soldier,
To seek in the bloody fray
What gifts of fate can compensate
For the pangs I suffer to-day!

Yet may this aching bosom,
By bitter sorrow crushed,
Be still and cold
In the churchyard mould
Ere _thy_ sweet voice be hushed;
So sing, sing on forever,
O wheel of the brookside mill,
For you mind me again
Of the old time when
I felt love's gracious thrill.



I hate the common, vulgar herd!
Away they scamper when I "booh" 'em!
But pretty girls and nice young men
Observe a proper silence when
I chose to sing my lyrics to 'em.

The kings of earth, whose fleeting pow'r
Excites our homage and our wonder,
Are precious small beside old Jove,
The father of us all, who drove
The giants out of sight, by thunder!

This man loves farming, that man law,
While this one follows pathways martial--
What moots it whither mortals turn?
Grim fate from her mysterious urn
Doles out the lots with hand impartial.

Nor sumptuous feasts nor studied sports
Delight the heart by care tormented;
The mightiest monarch knoweth not
The peace that to the lowly cot
Sleep bringeth to the swain contented.

On him untouched of discontent
Care sits as lightly as a feather;
He doesn't growl about the crops,
Or worry when the market drops,
Or fret about the changeful weather.

Not so with him who, rich in fact,
Still seeks his fortune to redouble;
Though dig he deep or build he high,
Those scourges twain shall lurk anigh--
Relentless Care, relentless Trouble!

If neither palaces nor robes
Nor unguents nor expensive toddy
Insure Contentment's soothing bliss,
Why should I build an edifice
Where Envy comes to fret a body?

Nay, I'd not share your sumptuous cheer,
But rather sup my rustic pottage,
While that sweet boon the gods bestow--
The peace your mansions cannot know--
Blesseth my lowly Sabine cottage.


Now lithe and listen, gentles all,
Now lithe ye all and hark
Unto a ballad I shall sing
About Buena Park.

Of all the wonders happening there
The strangest hap befell
Upon a famous Aprile morn,
As I you now shall tell.

It is about the Taylor pup
And of his mistress eke
And of the prankish time they had
That I am fain to speak.


The pup was of as noble mien
As e'er you gazed upon;
They called his mother Lady
And his father was a Don.

And both his mother and his sire
Were of the race Bernard--
The family famed in histories
And hymned of every bard.

His form was of exuberant mold,
Long, slim, and loose of joints;
There never yet was pointer-dog
So full as he of points.

His hair was like to yellow fleece,
His eyes were black and kind,
And like a nodding, gilded plume
His tail stuck up behind.

His bark was very, very fierce,
And fierce his appetite,
Yet was it only things to eat
That he was prone to bite.

But in that one particular
He was so passing true
That never did he quit a meal
Until he had got through.

Potatoes, biscuits, mush or hash,
Joint, chop, or chicken limb--
So long as it was edible,
'T was all the same to him!

And frequently when Hunger's pangs
Assailed that callow pup,
He masticated boots and gloves
Or chewed a door-mat up.

So was he much beholden of
The folk that him did keep;
They loved him when he was awake
And better still asleep.


Now once his master, lingering o'er
His breakfast coffee-cup,
Observed unto his doting spouse:
"You ought to wash the pup!"

"That shall I do this very day",
His doting spouse replied;
"You will not know the pretty thing
When he is washed and dried.

"But tell me, dear, before you go
Unto your daily work,
Shall I use Ivory soap on him,
Or Colgate, Pears' or Kirk?"

"Odzooks, it matters not a whit--
They all are good to use!
Take Pearline, if it pleases you--
Sapolio, if you choose!

"Take any soap, but take the pup
And also water take,
And mix the three discreetly up
Till they a lather make.

"Then mixing these constituent parts,
Let Nature take her way,"
With which advice that sapient sir
Had nothing more to say.

Then fared he to his daily toil
All in the Board of Trade,
While Mistress Taylor for that bath
Due preparation made.


She whistled gayly to the pup
And called him by his name,
And presently the guileless thing
All unsuspecting came.

But when she shut the bath-room door,
And caught him as catch-can,
And hove him in that odious tub,
His sorrows then began.

How did that callow, yallow thing
Regret that Aprile morn--
Alas! how bitterly he rued
The day that he was born!

Twice and again, but all in vain
He lifted up his wail;
His voice was all the pup could lift,
For thereby hangs this tale.

'Twas by that tail she held him down,
And presently she spread
The creamy lather on his back,
His stomach, and his head.

His ears hung down in sorry wise,
His eyes were, oh! so sad--
He looked as though he just had lost
The only friend he had.

And higher yet the water rose,
The lather still increased,
And sadder still the countenance
Of that poor martyred beast!

Yet all the time his mistress spoke
Such artful words of cheer
As "Oh, how nice!" and "Oh, how clean!"
And "There's a patient dear!"

At last the trial had an end,
At last the pup was free;
She threw aside the bath-room door--
"Now get you gone!" quoth she.


Then from that tub and from that room
He gat with vast ado;
At every hop he gave a shake,
And--how the water flew!

He paddled down the winding stairs
And to the parlor hied,
Dispensing pools of foamy suds
And slop on every side.

Upon the carpet then he rolled
And brushed against the wall,
And, horror! whisked his lathery sides
On overcoat and shawl.

Attracted by the dreadful din,
His mistress came below--
Who, who can speak her wonderment--
Who, who can paint her woe!

Great smears of soap were here and there--
Her startled vision met
With blobs of lather everywhere,
And everything was wet!

Then Mrs. Taylor gave a shriek
Like one about to die:
"Get out--get out, and don't you dare
Come in till you are dry!"

With that she opened wide the door
And waved the critter through;
Out in the circumambient air
With grateful yelps he flew.


He whisked into the dusty street
And to the Waller lot,
Where bonnie Annie Evans played
With charming Sissy Knott.

And with those pretty little dears
He mixed himself all up--
Oh, fie upon such boisterous play--
Fie, fie, you naughty pup!

Woe, woe on Annie's India mull,
And Sissy's blue percale!
One got that pup's belathered flanks,
And one his soapy tail!

Forth to the rescue of those maids
Rushed gallant Willie Clow;
His panties they were white and clean--
Where are those panties now?

Where is the nicely laundered shirt
That Kendall Evans wore,
And Robbie James' tricot coat
All buttoned up before?

The leaven, which, as we are told,
Leavens a monstrous lump,
Hath far less reaching qualities
Than a wet pup on the jump.

This way and that he swung and swayed,
He gambolled far and near,
And everywhere he thrust himself
He left a soapy smear.


That noon a dozen little dears
Were spanked and put to bed
With naught to stay their appetites
But cheerless crusts of bread.

That noon a dozen hired girls
Washed out each gown and shirt
Which that exuberant Taylor pup
Had frescoed o'er with dirt.

That whole day long the Aprile sun
Smiled sweetly from above
On clotheslines flaunting to the breeze
The emblems mothers love.

That whole day long the Taylor pup
This way and that did hie
Upon his mad, erratic course,
Intent on getting dry.

That night when Mr. Taylor came
His vesper meal to eat,
He uttered things my pious pen
Would liefer not repeat.

Yet still that noble Taylor pup
Survives to romp and bark
And stumble over folks and things
In fair Buena Park.

Good sooth, I wot he should be called
Buena's favorite son
Who's sired of such a noble sire
And dammed by every one!


My books are on their shelves again
And clouds lie low with mist and rain.
Afar the Arno murmurs low
The tale of fields of melting snow.
List to the bells of times agone
The while I wait me for the dawn.

Beneath great Giotto's Campanile
The gray ghosts throng; their whispers steal
From poets' bosoms long since dust;
They ask me now to go. I trust
Their fleeter footsteps where again
They come at night and live as men.

The rain falls on Ghiberti's gates;
The big drops hang on purple dates;
And yet beneath the ilex-shades--
Dear trysting-place for boys and maids--
There comes a form from days of old,
With Beatrice's hair of gold.

The breath of lands or lilied streams
Floats through the fabric of my dreams;
And yonder from the hills of song,
Where psalmists brood and prophets throng,
The lone, majestic Dante leads
His love across the blooming meads.

Along the almond walks I tread
And greet the figures of the dead.
Mirandula walks here with him
Who lived with gods and seraphim;
Yet where Colonna's fair feet go
There passes Michael Angelo.

In Rome or Florence, still with her
Stands lone and grand her worshipper.
In Leonardo's brain there move
Christ and the children of His love;
And Raphael is touching now,
For the last time, an angel's brow.

Angelico is praying yet
Where lives no pang of man's regret,
And, mixing tears and prayers within
His palette's wealth, absolved from sin,
He dips his brush in hues divine;
San Marco's angel faces shine.

Within Lorenzo's garden green,
Where olives hide their boughs between,
The lovers, as they read betimes
Their love within Petrarca's lines,
Stand near the marbles found at Rome,
Lost shades that search in vain for home.

They pace the paths along the stream,
Dark Vallombrosa in their dream.
They sing, amidst the rain-drenched pines,
Of Tuscan gold that ruddier shines
Behind a saint's auroral face
That shows e'en yet the master's trace.

But lo, within the walls of gray,
E're yet there falls a glint of day,
And far without, from hill to vale,
Where honey-hearted nightingale
Or meads of pale anemones
Make sweet the coming morning breeze--

I hear a voice, of prophet tone,
A voice of doom, like his alone
That once in Gadara was heard;
The old walls trembled--lo, the bird
Has ceased to sing, and yonder waits
Lorenzo at his palace gates.

Some Romola in passing by
Turns toward the ruler, and his sigh
Wanders amidst the myrtle bowers
Or o'er the city's mantled towers,
For she is Florence! "Wilt thou hear
San Marco's prophet? Doom is near."

"Her liberties," he cries, "restore!
This much for Florence--yea, and more
To men and God!" The days are gone;
And in an hour of perfect dawn
I stand beneath the cypress trees
That shiver still with words like these.


The stars are twinkling in the skies,
The earth is lost in slumbers deep;
So hush, my sweet, and close thine eyes,
And let me lull thy soul to sleep.
Compose thy dimpled hands to rest,
And like a little birdling lie
Secure within thy cozy nest
Upon my loving mother breast,
And slumber to my lullaby,
So hushaby--O hushaby.

The moon is singing to a star
The little song I sing to you;
The father sun has strayed afar,
As baby's sire is straying too.
And so the loving mother moon
Sings to the little star on high;
And as she sings, her gentle tune
Is borne to me, and thus I croon
For thee, my sweet, that lullaby
Of hushaby--O hushaby.

There is a little one asleep
That does not hear his mother's song;
But angel watchers--as I weep--
Surround his grave the night-tide long.
And as I sing, my sweet, to you,
Oh, would the lullaby I sing--
The same sweet lullaby he knew
While slumb'ring on this bosom too--
Were borne to him on angel's wing!
So hushaby--O hushaby.


JEST as atween the awk'ard lines a hand we love has penn'd
Appears a meanin' hid from other eyes,
So, in your simple, homespun art, old honest Yankee friend,
A power o' tearful, sweet seggestion lies.
We see it all--the pictur' that our mem'ries hold so dear--
The homestead in New England far away,
An' the vision is so nat'ral-like we almost seem to hear
The voices that were heshed but yesterday.

Ah, who'd ha' thought the music of that distant childhood time
Would sleep through all the changeful, bitter years
To waken into melodies like Chris'mas bells a-chime
An' to claim the ready tribute of our tears!
Why, the robins in the maples an' the blackbirds round the pond,
The crickets an' the locusts in the leaves,
The brook that chased the trout adown the hillside just beyond,
An' the swallers in their nests beneath the eaves--
They all come troopin' back with you, dear Uncle Josh, to-day,
An' they seem to sing with all the joyous zest
Of the days when we were Yankee boys an' Yankee girls at play,
With nary thought of "livin' way out West"!

God bless ye, Denman Thomps'n, for the good y' do our hearts,
With this music an' these memories o' youth--
God bless ye for the faculty that tops all human arts,
The good ol' Yankee faculty of Truth!


Sing, Christmas bells!
Say to the earth this is the morn
Whereon our Saviour-King is born;
Sing to all men--the bond, the free,
The rich, the poor, the high, the low--
The little child that sports in glee--
The aged folk that tottering go--
Proclaim the morn
That Christ is born,
That saveth them and saveth me!

Sing, angel host!
Sing of the star that God has placed
Above the manger in the east;
Sing of the glories of the night,
The virgin's sweet humility,
The Babe with kingly robes bedight--
Sing to all men where'er they be
This Christmas morn,
For Christ is born,
That saveth them and saveth me!

Sing, sons of earth!
O ransomed seed of Adam, sing!
God liveth, and we have a King!
The curse is gone, the bond are free--
By Bethlehem's star that brightly beamed,
By all the heavenly signs that be,
We know that Israel is redeemed--
That on this morn
The Christ is born
That saveth you and saveth me!

Sing, O my heart!
Sing thou in rapture this dear morn
Whereon the blessed Prince is born!
And as thy songs shall be of love,
So let my deeds be charity--
By the dear Lord that reigns above,
By Him that died upon the tree,
By this fair morn
Whereon is born
The Christ that saveth all and me!



There fell a star from realms above--
A glittering, glorious star to see!
Methought it was the star of love,
So sweetly it illumined me.

And from the apple branches fell
Blossoms and leaves that time in June;
The wanton breezes wooed them well
With soft caress and amorous tune.

The white swan proudly sailed along
And vied her beauty with her note--
The river, jealous of her song,
Threw up its arms to clasp her throat.

But now--oh, now the dream is past--
The blossoms and the leaves are dead,
The swan's sweet song is hushed at last,
And not a star burns overhead.


The gods let slip that fiendish grip
Upon me last week Sunday--
No fiercer storm than racked my form
E'er swept the Bay of Fundy;
But now, good-by
To drugs, say I--
Good-by to gnawing sorrow;
I am up to-day,
And, whoop, hooray!
I'm going out to-morrow!

What aches and pain in bones and brain
I had I need not mention;
It seemed to me such pangs must be
Old Satan's own invention;
Albeit I
Was sure I'd die,
The doctor reassured me--
And, true enough,
With his vile stuff,
He ultimately cured me.

As there I lay in bed all day,
How fair outside looked to me!
A smile so mild old Nature smiled
It seemed to warm clean through me.
In chastened mood
The scene I viewed,
Inventing, sadly solus,
Fantastic rhymes
Between the times
I had to take a bolus.

Of quinine slugs and other drugs
I guess I took a million--
Such drugs as serve to set each nerve
To dancing a cotillon;
The doctors say
The only way
To rout the grip instanter
Is to pour in
All kinds of sin--
Similibus curantur!

'Twas hard; and yet I 'll soon forget
Those ills and cures distressing;
One's future lies 'neath gorgeous skies
When one is convalescing!
So now, good-by
To drugs say I--
Good-by, thou phantom Sorrow!
I am up to-day,
And, whoop, hooray!
I'm going out to-morrow.


My baby slept--how calm his rest,
As o'er his handsome face a smile
Like that of angel flitted, while
He lay so still upon my breast!

My baby slept--his baby head
Lay all unkiss'd 'neath pall and shroud:
I did not weep or cry aloud--
I only wished I, too, were dead!

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