Part 5 out of 8
But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun!
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief,
That thou her maid, art far more fair than she.
"It is my lady; Oh! it is my love:
Oh, that she knew she were!"
She speaks, yet she says nothing: what of that?
Her eye discourses: I will answer it.
I am too bold. Oh, were those eyes in heaven,
They would through the airy region stream so bright,
That birds would sing, and think it were not night.
See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!
Oh, that I were a glove upon that hand,
That I might touch that cheek!
JULIET. Ah, me!
ROMEO. She speaks, she speaks!
Oh, speak again, bright angel! for thou art
As glorious to this night, being o'er my head,
As is a winged messenger of heaven
To the upturned wond'ring eyes of mortals,
When he bestrides the lazy-pacing clouds,
And sails upon the bosom of the air.
JULIET. Oh, Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father, and refuse thy name:
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I'll no longer be a Capulet.
ROMEO. Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?
JULIET. 'Tis but thy name that is my enemy!
What's in a name? that which we call a rose,
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo called,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title! Romeo, doff thy name;
And for that name, which is no part of thee,
Take all myself.
ROMEO. I take thee at thy word!
Call me but love, I will forswear my name
And never more be Romeo.
JULIET. What man art thou, that, thus bescreened in night
So stumblest on my counsel?
ROMEO. By a name I know not how to tell thee who I am!
My name, dear saint, is hateful to myself,
Because it is an enemy to thee.
JULIET. My ears have not yet drunk a hundred words
Of that tongue's uttering, yet I know the sound!
Art thou not Romeo, and a Montague?
ROMEO. Neither, fair saint, if either thee dislike.
JULIET. How cam'st thou hither?--tell me--and for what?
The orchard walls are high, and hard to climb;
And the place, death, considering who thou art,
If any of my kinsmen find thee here.
ROMEO. With love's light wings did I o'er-perch these walls;
For stony limits cannot hold love out;
And what love can do, that dares love attempt;
Therefore thy kinsmen are no stop to me.
JULIET. If they do see thee here, they'll murder thee.
ROMEO. Alack, there lies more peril in thine eye,
Than twenty of their swords! look thou but sweet,
And I, am proof against their enmity.
JULIET. I would not, for the world, they saw thee here.
By whose direction found'st thou out this place?
ROMEO. By love, who first did prompt me to inquire;
He lent me counsel, and I lent him eyes.
I am no pilot; yet wert thou as far
As that vast shore washed by the farthest sea,
I would adventure for such merchandise.
JULIET. Thou know'st, the mask of night is on my face,
Else would a maiden blush bepaint my cheek,
For that which thou hast heard me speak to-night!
Fain would I dwell on form; fain, fain deny
What I have spoke! But farewell compliment!
Dost thou love me? I know thou wilt say--Ay;
And I will take thy word! yet, if thou swear'st,
Thou may'st prove false; at lover's perjuries,
They say, Jove laughs. Oh, gentle Romeo,
If thou dost love, pronounce it faithfully!
Or, if thou think'st I am too quickly won,
I'll frown, and be perverse, and say thee nay,
So thou wilt woo! but else, not for the world.
In truth, fair Montague, I am too fond:
And therefore thou may'st think my 'haviour light!
But trust me, gentleman, I'll prove more true
Than those that have more cunning to be strange.
I should have been more strange, I must confess,
But that thou overheard'st ere I was ware,
My true love's passion; therefore, pardon me,
And not impute this yielding to light love,
Which the dark night has so discovered.
ROMEO. Lady, by yonder blessed moon I swear--
JULIET. Oh! swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon
That monthly changes in her circled orb;
Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.
ROMEO. What shall I swear by?
JULIET. Do not swear at all;
Or, if thou wilt, swear by thy gracious self,
Which is the god of my idolatry,
And I'll believe thee.
ROMEO. If my true heart's love--
JULIET. Well, do not swear! Although I joy in thee,
I have no joy of this contract to-night;
It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden,
Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be,
Ere one can say--'It lightens.' Sweet, good-night!
This bud of love, by summer's ripening breath,
May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet.
Good-night, good-night!--as sweet repose and rest
Come to thy heart, as that within my breast!
ROMEO. Oh, wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied?
JULIET. What satisfaction canst thou have to-night?
ROMEO. The exchange of thy love's faithful vow for mine.
JULIET. I gave thee mine before thou didst request it;
And yet I would it were to give again.
ROMEO. Would'st thou withdraw it? for what purpose, love?
JULIET. But to be frank, and give it thee again.
My bounty is as boundless as the sea;
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have; for both are infinite.
I hear some noise within. Dear love, adieu!
JULIET. Anon, good Nurse! Sweet Montague, be true.
Stay but a little, I will come again. [_Exit from balcony_.
ROMEO. Oh! blessed, blessed night! I am afeard,
Being in night, all this is but a dream,
Too flattering sweet to be substantial.
_Re-enter Juliet, above_.
JULIET. Three words, dear Romeo, and good-night indeed.
If that thy bent of love be honourable,
Thy purpose marriage, send me word to-morrow,
By one that I'll procure to come to thee,
Where, and what time, thou wilt perform the rite;
And all my fortunes at thy foot I'll lay;
And follow thee, my lord, throughout the world.
JULIET. I come anon! But, if thou mean'st not well,
I do beseech thee--
JULIET. By and by, I come!--
To cease thy suit and leave me to my grief.
To-morrow will I send.
ROMEO. So thrive my soul--
JULIET. A thousand times good-night! [_Exit_.]
ROMEO. A thousand times the worse to want thy light.
JULIET. Hist! Romeo, hist! Oh, for a falconer's voice,
To lure this tassel-gentle back again!
Bondage is hoarse, and may not speak aloud;
Else would I tear the cave where Echo lies,
And make her airy tongue more hoarse than mine,
With repetition of my Romeo's name.
ROMEO. It is my love that calls upon my name!
How silver-sweet sound lovers' tongues by night,
Like softest music to attending ears!
ROMEO. My dear!
JULIET. At what o'clock to-morrow
Shall I send to thee?
ROMEO. At the hour of nine.
JULIET. I will not fail: 'tis twenty years till then.
I have forgot why I did call thee back.
ROMEO. Let me stand here till thou remember it.
JULIET. I shall forget, to have thee still stand there
Remembering how I love thy company.
ROMEO. And I'll still stay, to have thee still forget,
Forgetting any other home but this.
JULIET. 'Tis almost morning; I would have thee gone,
And yet no further than a wanton's bird;
Who lets it hop a little from her hand,
And with a silk thread plucks it back again,
So loving-jealous of its liberty.
ROMEO. I would I were thy bird.
JULIET. Sweet, so would I!
Yet I should kill thee with much cherishing
Good-night, good-night! Parting is such sweet sorrow
That I shall say--Good-night, till it be morrow.
[_Exit from balcony_]
ROMEO. Sleep dwell upon thine eyes, peace in thy breast!
Would I were sleep and peace, so sweet to rest!
Hence will I to my ghostly father's cell;
His help to crave, and my dear hap to tell.
* * * * *
THE POTION SCENE.
(_Romeo and Juliet_.)
_Enter Juliet and Nurse_.
JULIET. Ay, those attires are best;--but gentle nurse.
I pray thee, leave me to myself to-night;
For I have need of many orisons
To move the heavens to smile upon my state,
Which, well thou know'st, is cross and full of sin.
_Enter Lady Capulet_.
LADY C. What are you busy? Do you need my help?
JULIET. No, madam; we have culled such necessaries.
As are behoveful for our state to-morrow:
So please you, let me now be left alone,
And let the nurse this night sit up with you;
For, I am sure, you have your hands full all,
In this so sudden business.
LADY C. Then, good-night!
Get thee to bed, and rest! for thou hast need.
[_Exeunt Lady Capulet and Nurse_.
JULIET. Farewell!--Heaven knows when we shall meet again--
I have a faint cold fear, thrills through my veins,
That almost freezes up the heat of life:
I'll call them back again to comfort me.
Nurse!--What should she do here?
My dismal scene I needs must act alone.
[_Takes out the phial_.
What if this mixture do not work at all?
Shall I of force be married to the Count?
No, no;--this shall forbid it!--[_Draws a dagger_.]--Lie thou there.--
What, if it be a poison which the friar
Subtly hath ministered to have me dead,
Lest in this marriage he should be dishonoured,
Because he married me before to Romeo?
I fear it is; and yet, methinks it should not;
For he hath still been tried a holy man.
I will not entertain so bad a thought.--
How, if, when I am laid into the tomb,
I wake before the time that Romeo
Come to redeem me? there's a fearful point!
Shall I not then be stifled in the vault,
To whose foul mouth no healthsome air breathes in,
And there die strangled ere my Romeo comes?
Or, if I live, is it not very like,
The horrible conceit of death and night
Together with the terror of the place,--
As in a vault, an ancient receptacle,
Where, for these many hundred years, the bones
Of all my buried ancestors are packed,
Where bloody Tybalt, yet but green in earth,
Lies fest'ring in his shroud; where, as they say,
At some hours in the night spirits resort;--
Oh, if I wake, shall I not be distraught,
Environed with all these hideous fears,
And madly play with my forefathers' joints,--
And pluck the mangled Tybalt from his shroud?
And, in this rage, with some great kinsman's bone,
As with a club, dash out my desperate brains?--
Oh, look! methinks, I see my cousin's ghost
Seeking out Romeo:--Stay, Tybalt, stay!--
Romeo, I come; this do I drink to thee.--
_[Drinks the contents of the phial._
Oh, potent draught, thou hast chilled me to the heart!--
My head turns round;--my senses fail me.--
Oh, Romeo! Romeo!-- _[Throws herself on the bed._
* * * * *
THE SISTER OF CHARITY.
Oh, is it a phantom? a dream of the night?
A vision which fever hath fashion'd to sight?
The wind, wailing ever, with motion uncertain
Sways sighingly there the drench'd tent's tatter'd curtain,
To and fro, up and down.
But it is not the wind
That is lifting it now; and it is not the mind
That hath moulded that vision.
A pale woman enters,
As wan as the lamp's waning light, which concentres
Its dull glare upon her. With eyes dim and dimmer,
There, all in a slumb'rous and shadowy glimmer,
The sufferer sees that still form floating on,
And feels faintly aware that he is not alone.
She is flitting before him. She pauses She stands
By his bedside all silent. She lays her white hands
On the brow of the boy. A light finger is pressing
Softly, softly, the sore wounds: the hot blood-stained dressing
Slips from them. A comforting quietude steals
Thro' the racked weary frame; and throughout it, he feels
The slow sense of a merciful, mild neighbourhood.
Something smoothes the toss'd pillow. Beneath a gray hood
Of rough serge, two intense tender eyes are bent o'er him,
And thrill thro' and thro' him. The sweet form before him,
It is surely Death's angel Life's last vigil keeping!
A soft voice says--'Sleep!'
And he sleeps: he is sleeping.
He waked before dawn. Still the vision is there:
Still that pale woman moves not. A minist'ring care
Meanwhile has been silently changing and cheering
The aspect of all things around him.
Some power unknown and benignant, he bless'd
In silence the sense of salvation. And rest
Having loosen'd the mind's tangled meshes, he faintly
Sigh'd--'Say what thou art, blessed dream of a saintly
'And minist'ring spirit!
A whisper serene
Slid softer than silence--'The Soeur Seraphine,
'A poor Sister of Charity. Shun to inquire
'Aught further, young soldier. The son of thy sire,
'For the sake of that sire, I reclaim from the grave.
'Thou didst not shun death: shun not life. 'Tis more brave
To live than to die. Sleep!'
He sleeps: he is sleeping.
He waken'd again, when the dawn was just steeping
The skies with chill splendour. And there, never flitting,
Never flitting, that vision of mercy was sitting.
As the dawn to the darkness, so life seem'd returning
Slowly, feebly within him. The night-lamp, yet burning,
Made ghastly the glimmering daybreak.
'If thou be of the living, and not of the dead,
'Sweet minister, pour out yet further the healing
'Of that balmy voice; if it may be, revealing
'Thy mission of mercy! whence art thou?
'Of Matilda and Alfred, it matters not! One
'Who is not of the living nor yet of the dead;
'To thee, and to others, alive yet'--she said--
'So long as there liveth the poor gift in me
'Of this ministration; to them, and to thee,
'Dead in all things beside. A French nun, whose vocation
'Is now by this bedside. A nun hath no nation.
'Wherever man suffers, or woman may soothe,
'There her land! there her kindred!'
She bent down to smooth
The hot pillow, and added--'Yet more than another
'Is thy life dear to me. For thy father, thy mother,
'I know them--I know them.'
'Oh can it be? you!
'My dearest, dear father! my mother! you knew,
'You know them?'
She bow'd, half averting her head
He brokenly, timidly said,
'Do they know I am thus?'
'Hush!'--she smiled as she drew
From her bosom two letters; and--can it be true?
That beloved and familiar writing!
Into tears--'My poor mother,--my father! the worst
'Will have reached them!'
'No, no!' she exclaimed with a smile,
'They know you are living; they know that meanwhile
'I am watching beside you. Young soldier, weep not!'
But still on the nun's nursing bosom, the hot
Fever'd brow of the boy weeping wildly is press'd.
There, at last, the young heart sobs itself into rest;
And he hears, as it were between smiling and weeping,
The calm voice say--'Sleep!'
And he sleeps, he is sleeping'
* * * * *
SIM'S LITTLE GIRL.
Come out here, George Burks. Put that glass down--can't wait a minute.
Business particular--concerns the Company.
I don't often meddle in other folks' business, do I? When a tough old
fellow like me sets out to warn a body, you may know its because he sees
sore need of it. _Just takin' drinks for good fellowship?_ Yes, I know
all 'bout that. Been there myself. Sit down on the edge of the platform
Of all the men in the world, I take it, engineers ought to be the last to
touch the bottle. We have life and property trusted to our hands. Ours is a
grand business--I don't think folks looks at it as they ought to. Remember
when I was a young fellow, like you, just set up with an engine, I used to
feel like a strong angel, or somethin', rushin' over the country, makin'
that iron beast do just as I wanted him to. The power sort of made me think
I was doin' well when I married, and I did well long afterwards. We had a
nice home, the little woman and me: our hearts were set on each other, and
she was a little proud of her engineer--she used to say so, anyhow. She was
sort of mild and tender with her tongue. Not one of your loud ones. And
pretty, too. But you know what it is to love a woman, George Burks--I saw
you walking with a blue-eyed little thing last Sunday.
After a while we had the little girl. We talked a good deal about what we
should call her, my wife and I. We went clean through the Bible, and set
down all the fine story names we heard of. But nothin' seemed to suit. I
used to puzzle the whole length of my route to find a name for that little
girl. My wife wanted to call her Endora Isabel. But that sounded like
folderol. Then we had up Rebeccar, and Maud, and Amanda Ann, and what not.
Finally, whenever I looked at her, I seemed to see "Katie." She looked
Katie. I took to calling her Katie, and she learned it--so Katie she was.
I tell you, George, that was a child to be noticed. She was rounder and
prettier made'n a wax figger; her eyes was bigger and blacker'n any grown
woman's you ever saw, set like stars under her forehead, and her hair was
that light kind that all runs to curls and glitter.
Soon's she could toddle, she used to come dancin' to meet me. I've soiled
a-many of her white pinafores buryin' my face in them before I was washed,
and sort of prayin' soft like under the roof of my heart, "God bless my
baby! God bless my little lamb!"
As she grew older, I used to talk to her about engin'--even took her into
my cab, and showed the 'tachments of the engin', and learned her signals
and such things. She tuk such an interest, and was the smartest little
thing! Seemed as if she had always knowed 'em. She loved the road. Remember
once hearing her say to a playmate: "There's my papa. He's an engineer.
Don't you wish he was your papa?"
My home was close by the track. Often and often the little girl stood in
our green yard, waving her mite of a hand as we rushed by.
Well, one day I started on my home trip, full of that good fellowship you
was imbibin' awhile ago. Made the engine whizz! We was awful jolly, the
fireman and me. Never was drunk when I got on my engine before, or the
Company would have shipped me. Warn't no such time made on that road before
nor since. I had just sense enough to know what I was about, but not enough
to handle an emergency. We fairly roared down on the trestle that stood at
the entrance of our town.
I had a tipsy eye out, and, George, as we was flyin' through the suburbs, I
see my little girl on the track ahead, wavin' a red flag and standin' stock
The air seemed full of Katies. I could have stopped the engine if I'd only
had sense enough to know what to take hold of to reverse her! But I was too
drunk! And that grand little angel stood up to it, trying to warn us in
time, and we just swept right along into a pile of ties some wretch had
placed on the track!--right over my baby! Oh, my baby! Go away, George.
There! And do you want me to tell you how that mangled little mass killed
her mother? And do you want me to tell you I walked alive a murderer of my
own child, who stood up to save me? And do you want me to tell you the good
fellowship you were drinkin' awhile ago brought all this on me?
You'll let this pass by, makin' up your mind to be moderate. Hope you will.
I was a moderate un.
(Oh, God! Oh, my baby!)
* * * * *
More things are wrought by prayer
Than this world dreams of. Wherefore, let thy voice
Rise like a fountain for me night and day:
For what are men better than sheep or goats,
That nourish a blind life within the brain,
If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer
Both for themselves and those who call them friends?
For so the whole round earth is every way
Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.
* * * * *
EXPERIENCE WITH EUROPEAN GUIDES.
European guides know about enough English to tangle everything up so that a
man can make neither head nor tail of it. They know their story by heart,--
the history of every statue, painting, cathedral, or other wonder they show
you. They know it and tell it as a parrot would,--and if you interrupt and
throw them off the track, they have to go back and begin over again. All
their lives long they are employed in showing strange things to foreigners
and listening to their bursts of admiration.
It is human nature to take delight in exciting admiration. It is what
prompts children to say "smart" things and do absurd ones, and in other
ways "show off" when company is present. It is what makes gossips turn out
in rain and storm to go and be the first to tell a startling bit of news.
Think, then, what a passion it becomes with a guide, whose privilege it is,
every day, to show to strangers wonders that throw them into perfect
ecstacies of admiration! He gets so that he could not by any possibility
live in a soberer atmosphere.
After we discovered this, we never went into ecstacies any more,--we never
admired anything,--we never showed anything but impassable faces and stupid
indifference in the presence of the sublimest wonders a guide had to
display. We had found their weak point. We have made good use of it ever
since. We have made some of those people savage at times, but we never lost
The doctor asks the questions generally, because he can keep his
countenance, and look more like an inspired idiot, and throw more
imbecility into the tone of his voice than any man that lives. It comes
natural to him.
The guides in Genoa are delighted to secure an American party, because
Americans so much wonder, and deal so much in sentiment and emotion before
any relic of Columbus. Our guide there fidgeted about as if he had
swallowed a spring mattress. He was full of animation,--full of
impatience. He said:--
"Come wis me, genteelmen!--come! I show you ze letter writing by
Christopher Colombo!--write it himself!--write it wis his own hand!--come!"
He took us to the municipal palace. After much impressive fumbling of keys
and opening of locks, the stained and aged document was spread before us.
The guide's eyes sparkled. He danced about us and tapped the parchment with
"What I tell you, genteelmen! Is it not so? See! handwriting Christopher
Colombo!--write it himself!"
We looked indifferent,--unconcerned. The doctor examined the document very
deliberately, during a painful pause. Then he said, without any show of
"Ah,--Ferguson,--what--what did you say was the name of the party who wrote
"Christopher Colombo! ze great Christopher Colombo!"
Another deliberate examination.
"Ah,--did he write it himself, or,--or, how?"
"He write it himself!--Christopher Colombo! he's own handwriting, write by
Then the doctor laid the document down and said,--
"Why, I have seen boys in America only fourteen years old that could write
better than that."
"But zis is ze great Christo--"
"I don't care who it is! It's the worst writing I ever saw. Now you mustn't
think you can impose on us because we are strangers. We are not fools, by a
good deal. If you have got any specimens of penmanship of real merit, trot
them out!--and if you haven't, drive on!"
We drove on. The guide was considerably shaken up, but he made one more
venture. He had something which he thought would overcome us. He said,--
"Ah, genteelmen, you come wis us! I show you beautiful, oh, magnificent
bust Christopher Colombo!--splendid, grand, magnificent!"
He brought us before the beautiful bust,--for it was beautiful,--and sprang
back and struck an attitude,--
"Ah, look, genteelmen!--beautiful, grand,--bust Christopher Columbo!--
beautiful bust, beautiful pedestal!"
The doctor put up his eye-glass,--procured for such occasions:--
"Ah,--what did you say this gentleman's name was?"
"Christopher Colombo! ze great Christopher Colombo!"
"Christopher Colombo,--the great Christopher Colombo. Well, what did he
"Discover America!--discover America--oh, ze diable!"
"Discover America? No,--that statement will hardly wash. We are just from
America ourselves. Christopher Colombo,--pleasant name,--is--is he dead?"
"Oh, corpo di Bacco!--three hundred year!"
"What did he die of?"
"I do not know. I cannot tell."
"I do not know, genteelmen,--I do not know what he die of!"
"Maybe,--maybe. I do not know,--I think he die of something."
"Ah,--which is the bust and which is the pedestal?"
"Santa Maria!--zis ze bust!--zis ze pedestal!"
"Ah, I see, I see,--happy combination,--very happy combination, indeed. Is
--is this the first time this gentleman was ever on a bust."
That joke was lost on the foreigner,--guides cannot master the subtleties
of the American joke.
We have made it interesting for this Roman guide.
Yesterday we spent three or four hours in the Vatican again, that wonderful
world of curiosities. We came very near expressing interest sometimes, even
admiration. It was hard to keep from it. We succeeded, though. Nobody else
ever did in the Vatican museums. The guide was bewildered, nonplussed. He
walked his legs off, nearly, hunting up extraordinary things, and exhausted
all his ingenuity on us, but it was a failure; we never showed any interest
in anything. He had reserved what he considered to be his greatest wonder
till the last,--a royal Egyptian mummy, the best preserved in the world,
perhaps. He took us there. He felt so sure this time that some of his old
enthusiasm came back to him:--
"See, genteelmen!--Mummy! Mummy!"
The eye-glass came up as calmly, as deliberately as ever.
"Ah,--Ferguson,--what did I understand you to say the gentleman's name
"Name?--he got no name!--Mummy!--'Gyptian mummy!"
"Yes, yes. Born here?"
"No. 'Gyptian mummy!"
"Ah, just so. Frenchman, I presume?"
"No! Not Frenchman, not Roman! Born in Egypta!"
"Born in Egypta. Never heard of Egypta before. Foreign locality, likely.
Mummy,--mummy. How calm he is, how self-possessed! Is--ah!--is he dead?"
"Oh, sacre bleu! been dead three thousan' year!"
The doctor turned on him savagely:--
"Here, now, what do you mean by such conduct as this? Playing us for
Chinamen, because we are strangers and trying to learn! Trying to impose
your vile secondhand carcasses on us! Thunder and lightning! I've a notion
to--to--if you've got a nice, fresh corpse fetch him out!--or we'll brain
However, he has paid us back partly, and without knowing it. He came to the
hotel this morning to ask if we were up, and he endeavoured, as well as he
could, to describe us, so that the landlord would know which persons he
meant. He finished with the casual remark that we were lunatics. The
observation was so innocent and so honest that it amounted to a very good
thing for a guide to say.
Our Roman Ferguson is the most patient, unsuspecting, long-suffering
subject we have had yet. We shall be sorry to part with him. We have
enjoyed his society very much. We trust he has enjoyed ours, but we are
harassed with doubts.
* * * * *
A very intelligent Irishman tells the following incident of his experience
in America: I came to this country several years ago, and, as soon as I
arrived, hired out to a gentleman who farmed a few acres. He showed me over
the premises, the stables, the cow, and where the corn, hay, oats, etc.,
were kept, and then sent me in to my supper. After supper, he said to me,
"James, you may feed the cow, and give her corn in the ear." I went out and
walked about, thinking, "what could he mean? Had I understood him?" I
scratched my head, then resolved I would enquire again; so I went into the
library where my master was writing very busily and he answered me without
looking up: "I thought I told you to give the cow some corn in the ear."
I went out more puzzled than ever. What sort of an animal must this Yankee
cow be? I examined her mouth and ears. The teeth were good, and the ears
like those of kine in the old country. Dripping with sweat, I entered my
master's presence once more "Please, sir, you bid me give the cow some corn
_in the ear_, but didn't you mean the _mouth?_" He looked at me a
moment, and then burst into such a convulsion of laughter, that I made for
the stable as fast as my feet could take me, thinking I was in the service
of a crazy man.
* * * * *
POOR LITTLE JOE.
Prop yer eyes wide open, Joey,
Fur I've brought you sumpin great.
Apples? No, a deal sight better!
Don't you take no interest, wait'
Flowers, Joe,--I know'd you'd like 'em--
Ain't them scrumptious, ain't them high
Tears, my boy, what's them fur, Joey?
There--poor little Joe--don't cry.
I was skippin' past a winder,
Where a bang-up lady sot,
All amongst a lot of bushes--
Each one climbin' from a pot.
Every bush had flowers on it;
Pretty! Mebbe' not! Oh no'
Wish you could a-seen'm growin',
It was such a stunnin show.
Well, I thought of you, poor feller,
Lyin' here so sick and weak,
Never knowin' any comfort,
And I puts on lots o' cheek;
"Missus," says I, "if yo please, mum,
Could I ax you for a rose?
For my little brother, missus,
Never seed one, I suppose."
Then I told her all about you--
How I bringed you up,--poor Joe!
(Lackin' women-folks to do it)
Sich a imp you was, you know--
Till yer got that awful tumble,
Jist as I had broke yer in
(Hard work, too), to earn yer livin'
Blackin' boots for honest tin.
How that tumble crippled of you--
So's you couldn't hyper much--
Joe, it hurted when I see you
For the first time with your crutch.
"But," I says, "he's laid up now, mum,
'Pears to weaken every day."
Joe, she up and went to cuttin'--
That's the how of this bokay.
Say! it seems to me, ole feller,
You is quite yourself to-night;
Kind o' chirk, it's been a fortnight
Sence your eyes have been so bright.
Better! well, I'm glad to hear it!
Yes, they're mighty pretty, Joe,
Smellin' of them's made you happy?
Well, I thought it would, you know.
Never see the country did you?
Flowers growin' everywhere!
Sometime when you're better, Joey,
Mebbe I kin take you there.
Flowers in heaven! 'M--I spose so;
Dunno much about it though;
Ain't as fly as wot I might be
On them topics, little Joe.
But I've heerd it hinted somewheres,
That in heaven's golden gates,
Things is everlastin' cheerful,
B'lieve that's wot the Bible states.
Likewise, there folks don't get hungry;
So good people when they dies,
Finds themselves well-fixed for ever--
Joe, my boy, wot ails your eyes?
Thought they looked a Jittle singler.
Oh no! don't you have no fear;
Heaven was made for such as you is--
Joe, what makes you look so queer?
Here--wake up! Oh, don't look that way!
Joe, my boy, hold up your head!
Here's your flowers you dropped 'em, Joey.
Oh, my Joe! can he be dead?
* * * * *
The thoughts are strange that crowd upon my brain
As I look upward to thee! It would seem
As if God poured thee from His hollow hand,
And hung His bow upon thine awful front,
And spake in that loud voice that seemed to him
Who dwelt in Patmos for his Saviour's sake,
The sound of many waters; and had bade
Thy flood to chronicle the ages back,
And notch His centuries in the eternal rock!
Deep calleth unto deep, and what are we
That hear the questions of that voice sublime?
O what are all the notes that ever rung
From war's vain trumpet, by thy thundering side?
Yea, what is all the riot man can make,
In his short life, to thine unceasing roar?
And yet, bold babbler, what art thou to Him
Who drowned a world, and heaped the waters far
Above its loftiest mountains? A light wave
That runs and whispers of thy Maker's might!
_John G. C. Brainard._
* * * * *
Let me lie down,
Just here in the shade of this cannon-torn tree,
Here low on the trampled grass, where I may see,
The surge of the combat, and where I may hear,
The glad cry of Victory, cheer upon cheer,
Let me lie down.
Oh! it was grand!
Like the tempest we charged in the triumph to share,
The tempest, its fury and thunder were there,
On! on! o'er entrenchments, o'er living, o'er dead,
With the foe under our feet, and our flag overhead,
Oh! it was grand!
Weary and faint,
Prone on the soldier's couch, ah! how can I rest,
With this shot-shattered head, and sabre-pierced breast?
Comrades, at roll-call, when I shall be sought,
Say I fought till I fell, and fell where I fought,--
Wounded and faint.
Dying at last!
My Mother, dear Mother, with meek tearful eye.
Farewell! and God bless you, forever and aye!
Oh, that I now lay on your pillowing breast,
To breathe my last sigh on the bosom first prest:
Dying at last!
I am no saint!
But, boys, say a prayer. There's one that begins,--
"Our Father;" and then says, "Forgive us our sins,"--
Don't forget that part, say that strongly, and then
I'll try to repeat it, and you'll say, Amen!
Ah, I'm no saint!
Hark! there's a shout!
Raise me up, comrades, we've conquered, I know,
Up, up, on my feet, with my face to the foe.
Ah! there flies our flag with its star-spangles bright,
The promise of victory, the symbol of might,
Well! may we shout.
I'm mustered out!
Oh! God of our Fathers, our freedom prolong,
And tread down oppression, rebellion, and wrong.
Oh! land of earth's hope, on thy blood-reddened sod,
I die for the Nation, the Union, and God.
I'm mustered out!
* * * * *
"You have heard," said a youth to his sweetheart, who stood
While he sat on a corn sheaf, at daylight's decline,--
"You have heard of the Danish boy's whistle of wood:
I wish that the Danish boy's whistle were mine."
"And what would you do with it? Tell me," she said,
While an arch smile played over her beautiful face,
"I would blow it," he answered, "and then my fair maid
Would fly to my side and would there take her place."
"Is that all you wish for? Why, that may be yours
Without any magic!" the fair maiden cried:
A favour so slight one's good-nature secures;"
And she playfully seated herself by his side.
"I would blow it again," said the youth; "and the charm
Would work so that not even modesty's check
Would be able to keep from my neck your white arm."
She smiled and she laid her white arm round his neck.
"Yet once more I would blow; and the music divine
Would bring me a third time an exquisite bliss,--
You would lay your fair cheek to this brown one of mine;
And your lips stealing past it would give me a kiss."
The maiden laughed out in her innocent glee,--
"What a fool of yourself with the whistle you'd make!
For only consider how silly 'twould be
To sit there and whistle for what you might take."
* * * * *
Yes, Tom's the best fellow that ever you knew.
Just listen to this:--
When the old mill took fire, and the flooring fell through,
And I with it, helpless there, full in my view
What do you think my eyes saw through the fire
That crept along, crept along, nigher and nigher?
But Robin, my baby-boy, laughing to see
The shining. He must have come there after me,
Toddled alone from the cottage without
Any one's missing him. Then, what a shout--
Oh! how I shouted, "For Heaven's sake, men,
Save little Robin!" Again and again
They tried, but the fire held them back like a wall.
I could hear them go at it, and at it, and call,
"Never mind, baby, sit still like a man!
We're coming to get you as fast as we can."
They could not see him but I could. He sat
Still on a beam, his little straw hat
Carefully placed by his side; and his eyes
Stared at the flame with a baby's surprise,
Calm and unconscious, as nearer it crept,
The roar of the fire up above must have kept
The sound of his mother's voice shrieking his name
From reaching the child. But I heard it. It came
Again and again. O God, what a cry!
The axes went faster. I saw the sparks fly
Where the men worked like tigers, nor minded the heat
That scorched them,--when, suddenly, there at their feet
The great beams leaned in--they saw him--then, crash,
Down came the wall! The men made a dash,--
Jumped to get out of the way,--and I thought,
"All's up with poor little Robin!" and brought
Slowly the arm that was least hurt to hide
The sight of the child there,--when swift, at my side,
Some one rushed by and went right through the flame,
Straight as a dart--caught the child--and then came
Back with him, choking and crying, but--saved!
Saved safe and sound!
Oh, how the men raved,
Shouted, and cried, and hurrahed! Then they all
Rushed at the work again, lest the back wall
Where I was lying, away from the fire,
Should fall in and bury me.
Oh! you'd admire,
To see Robin now: he's as bright as a dime,
Deep in some mischief too, most of the time.
Tom, it was saved him. Now, isn't it true
Tom's the best fellow that ever you knew?
There's Robin now! See he's strong as a log!
And there comes Tom too--
Yes, Tom is our dog.
_Constance Fenimore Woolsen_
* * * * *
The need of the hour is a grand tidal wave of total abstinence sweeping
over the land. The strongest protest possible must be made against
intemperance. Total abstinence is the protest. Will it be made with
sufficient force to save the people? This is the vital question for the
future of America, and I might add for the future of religion. What is to
be done? I speak to those who by position, influence, talent, or office
ought to take an interest in the people. In the name of humanity, of
country, of religion, by all the most sacred ties that bind us to our
fellow-men for the love of Him who died for souls, I beseech you, declare
war against intemperance! Arrest its onward march! If total abstinence does
not appear to you the remedy, adopt some other. If you differ from me in
the means you propose, I will not complain. But I will complain in the
bitterness of my soul if you stand by, arms folded, while this dreadful
torrent is sweeping over the land, carrying with it ruin and misery. The
brightest minds and the noblest hearts are numbered among the victims.
Human wrecks whose fortune it has dissipated, whose intellect it has
stifled, are strewn over the land as thick as autumnal leaves in the
forest. Alcohol directly inflames the passions; it is oil poured on the
burning fire. It turns man into an animal; it makes him the demon
incarnate. One week's perusal of the daily paper fills the mind with horror
at the shocking accidents, the suicides, the murders, the ruin of
innocence, and the crimes of all kinds caused by intemperance.
_Rt. Rev. John Ireland._
* * * * *
THE BALD-HEADED MAN.
The other day a lady, accompanied by her son, a very small boy, boarded a
train at Little Rock. The woman had a careworn expression hanging over her
face like a tattered veil, and many of the rapid questions asked by the boy
were answered by unconscious sighs.
"Ma," said the boy, "that man's like a baby, ain't he?" pointing to a bald-
headed man sitting just in front of them.
"Why must I hush?"
After a few moments' silence: "Ma, what's the matter with that man's head?
"Hush, I tell you. He's bald."
"His head hasn't got any hair on it."
"Did it come off?"
"I guess so."
"Will mine come off?"
"Some time, may be."
"Then I'll be bald, won't I?"
"Will you care?"
"Don't ask so many questions."
After another silence, the boy exclaimed: "Ma, look at that fly on that
"If you don't hush, I'll whip you when we get home."
"Look! There's another fly. Look at 'em fight; look at 'em!"
"Madam," said the man, putting aside a newspaper and looking around,
"what's the matter with that young hyena?"
The woman blushed, stammered out something, and attempted to smooth back
the boy's hair.
"One fly, two flies, three flies," said the boy, innocently, following with
his eyes a basket of oranges carried by a newsboy.
"Here, you young hedgehog," said the bald-headed man, "if you don't hush,
I'll have the conductor put you off the train."
The poor woman, not knowing what else to do, boxed the boy's ears, and then
gave him an orange to keep him from crying.
"Ma, have I got red marks on my head?"
"I'll whip you again, if you don't hush."
"Mister," said the boy, after a short silence, "does it hurt to be bald-
"Youngster," said the man, "if you'll keep quiet, I'll give you a quarter."
The boy promised, and the money was paid over.
The man took up his paper, and resumed his reading.
"This is my bald-headed money," said the boy. "When I get bald-headed, I'm
goin' to give boys money. Mister, have all bald-headed men got money?"
The annoyed man threw down his paper, arose, and exclaimed: "Madam,
hereafter when you travel, leave that young gorilla at home. Hitherto, I
always thought that the old prophet was very cruel for calling the bears to
kill the children for making sport of his head, but now I am forced to
believe that he did a Christian act. If your boy had been in the crowd, he
would have died first. If I can't find another seat on this train, I'll
ride on the cow-catcher rather than remain here."
"The bald-headed man is gone," said the boy; and as the woman leaned back a
tired sigh escaped from her lips.
* * * * *
A CHILD'S FIRST IMPRESSION OF A STAR.
She had been told that God made all the stars
That twinkled up in heaven, and now she stood
Watching the coming of the twilight on,
As if it were a new and perfect world,
And this were its first eve. How beautiful I
Must be the work of nature to a child
In its first fresh impression! Laura stood
By the low window, with the silken lash
Of her soft eye upraised, and her sweet mouth
Half parted with the new and strange delight
Of beauty that she could not comprehend,
And had not seen before. The purple folds
Of the low sunset clouds, and the blue sky
That look'd so still and delicate above,
Fill'd her young heart with gladness, and the eve
Stole on with its deep shadows, and she still
Stood looking at the west with that half smile,
As if a pleasant thought were at her heart.
Presently, in the edge of the last tint
Of sunset, where the blue was melted in
To the first golden mellowness, a star
Stood suddenly. A laugh of wild delight
Burst from her lips, and, putting up her hands,
Her simple thought broke forth expressively,--
"Father, dear father, God has made a star."
* * * * *
EVE'S REGRETS ON QUITTING PARADISE.
Must I thus leave thee, Paradise? thus leave
Thee, native soil, these happy walks and shades,
Fit haunt of gods? where I had hope to spend,
Quiet, though sad, the respite of that day
That must be mortal to us both! O flowers,
That never will in other climate grow,
My early visitation and my last
At even, which I bred up with tender hand
From the first opening bud, and gave ye names!
Who now shall rear ye to the sun, or rank
Your tribes, and water from the ambrosial fount?
Thee, lastly, nuptial bower! by me adorn'd
With what to sight or smell was sweet! from thee
How shall I part, and whither wander down
Into a lower world, to this obscure
And wild? how shall we breathe in other air
Less pure, accustom'd to immortal fruits?
* * * * *
READING THE LIST.
"Is there any news of the war?" she said,
"Only a list of the wounded and dead,"
Was the man's reply,
Without lifting his eye
To the face of the woman standing by.
"Tis the very thing I want," she said;
"Read me a list of the wounded and dead."
He read her the list--'twas a sad array
Of the wounded and killed in the fatal fray:
In the very midst was a pause to tell
Of a gallant youth, who had fought so well
That his comrades asked, "Who is he, pray?"
"The only son of the widow Gray,"
Was the proud reply
Of his captain nigh.
What ails the woman standing near?
Her face has the ashen hue of fear.
"Well, well, read on: is he wounded? be quick
O God! but my heart is sorrow sick!"
"Is he wounded? no! he fell, they say,
Killed outright on that fatal day!"
But see! the woman has swooned away.
Sadly she opened her eyes to the light;
Slowly recalled the event of the fight;
Faintly she murmured, "Killed outright;
It has caused the death of my only son;
But the battle is fought and the victory won;
The will of the Lord, let it be done!"
God pity the cheerless widow Gray,
And send from the halls of eternal day
The light of His peace to illumine her way!
* * * * *
LITTLE MARY'S WISH.
"I have seen the first robin of spring, mother dear,
And have heard the brown darling sing;
You said, 'Hear it and wish, and 'twill surely come true;
So I've wished such a beautiful thing!
"I thought I would like to ask something for _you_,
But I couldn't think what there could be
That you'd want while you had all those beautiful things;
Besides, you have papa and me.
"So I wished for a ladder, so long that 'twould stand
One end by our own cottage door,
And the other go up past the moon and the stars
And lean against heaven's white floor.
"Then I'd get you to put on my pretty white dress,
With my sash and my darling new shoes;
Then I'd find some white roses to take up to God--
The most beautiful ones I could choose.
"And you and dear papa would sit on the ground
And kiss me, and tell me 'Good-bye!'
Then I'd go up the ladder far out of your sight,
Till I came to the door in the sky.
"I wonder if God keeps the door fastened tight?
If but _one_ little crack I could see,
I would whisper, 'Please, God, let this little, girl in,
She's as tired as she can be!
"She came all alone from the earth to the sky,
For she's always been wanting to see
The gardens of heaven, with their robins and flowers,
'Please, God, is there room there for me?'
"And then, when the angels had opened the door,
God would say, 'Bring the little child here,'
But he'd speak it so softly I'd not be afraid,
And he'd smile just like you, mother dear
"He would put His kind arms round your dear little girl,
And I'd ask Him to send down for you,
And papa, and cousin, and all that I love--
Oh, dear' don't you wish 'twould come true?"
The next spring time, when the robins came home,
They sang over grasses and flowers
That grew where the foot of the ladder stood,
Whose top reached the heavenly bowers.
And the parents had dressed the pale, still child,
For her flight to the summer land,
In a fair white robe, with one snow white rose
Folded tight in her pulseless hand.
And now at the foot of the ladder they sit,
Looking upward with quiet tears,
Till the beckoning hand and the fluttering robe
Of the child at the top appears.
_Mrs. L. M. Blinn._
* * * * *
Did you ever hear two married women take leave of each other at the gate on
a mild evening? This is how they do it:--"Good-bye!" "Good-bye! Come down
and see us soon." "I will. Good-bye." "Good-bye! Don't forget to come
soon." "No, I won't. Don't you forget to come up." "I won't. Be sure and
bring Sarah Jane with you the next time." "I will. I'd have brought her
this time, but she wasn't very well. She wanted to come awfully." "Did she
now? That was too bad! Be sure and bring her next time." "I will; and you
be sure and bring baby." "I will; I forgot to tell you that he's cut
another tooth." "You don't say so! How many has he now?" "Five. It makes
him awfully cross." "I dare say it does this hot weather. Well, good-bye!
Don't forget to come down." "No, I won't. Don't you forget to come up.
Goodbye!" And they separate.
* * * * *
THE WEDDING FEE.
One morning, fifty years ago,--
When apple trees were white with snow
Of fragrant blossoms, and the air
Was spell-bound with the perfume rare--
Upon a farm horse, large and lean,
And lazy with its double load,
A sun-browned youth, and maid were seen
Jogging along the winding road.
Blue were the arches of the skies;
But bluer were that maiden's eyes.
The dew-drops on the grass were bright;
But brighter was the loving light
That sparkled 'neath the long-fringed lid,
Where those bright eyes of blue were hid;
Adown the shoulders brown and bare
Rolled the soft waves of golden hair,
Where, almost strangled with the spray,
The sun, a willing sufferer lay.
It was the fairest sight, I ween,
That the young man had ever seen;
And with his features all aglow,
The happy fellow told her so!
And she without the least surprise
Looked on him with those heavenly eyes;
Saw underneath that shade of tan
The handsome features of a man;
And with a joy but rarely known
She drew that dear face to her own,
And by her bridal bonnet hid--
I shall not tell you what she did!
So, on they ride until among
The new-born leaves with dew-drops hung,
The parsonage, arrayed in white,
Peers out,--a more than welcome sight.
Then, with a cloud upon his face.
"What shall we do," he turned to say,
"Should he refuse to take his pay
From what is in the pillow-case?"
And glancing down his eyes surveyed
The pillow-case before him laid,
Whose contents reaching to its hem,
Might purchase endless joy for them.
The maiden answers, "Let us wait;
To borrow trouble where's the need?"
Then, at the parson's squeaking gate
Halted the more than willing steed.
Down from the horse the bridegroom sprung;
The latchless gate behind him swung;
The knocker of that startled door,
Struck as it never was before,
Brought the whole household pale with fright;
And there, with blushes on his cheek,
So bashful he could hardly speak,
The farmer met their wondering sight.
The groom goes in, his errand tells,
And, as the parson nods, he leans
Far o'er the window-sill and yells,
"Come in! He says he'll take the beans!"
Oh! how she jumped! With one glad bound
She and the bean-bag reached the ground.
Then, clasping with each dimpled arm
The precious product of the farm,
She bears it through the open door;
And, down upon the parlour floor,
Dumps the best beans vines ever bore.
Ah! happy were their songs that day,
When man and wife they rode away.
But happier this chorus still
Which echoed through those woodland scenes:
"God bless the priest of Whitinsville!
God bless the man who took the beans!"
_R. M. Streeter_.
* * * * *
'Tis a cold bleak night! with angry roar
The north winds beat and clamour at the door;
The drifted snow lies heaped along the street,
Swept by a blinding storm of hail and sleet;
The clouded heavens no guiding starlight lend,
But o'er the earth in gloom and darkness bend;
Gigantic shadows, by the night lamps thrown,
Dance their weird revels fitfully alone.
In lofty hails, where fortune takes its ease,
Sunk in the treasures of all lands and seas;
In happy homes where warmth and comfort meet.
The weary traveller with their smiles to greet;
In lowly dwellings, where the needy swarm
Round starving embers, chilling limbs to warm,
Rises the prayer that makes the sad heart light--
"Thank God for home, this bitter, bitter night!"
But hark! above the beating of the storm
Peals on the startled ear the fire alarm!
Yon gloomy heaven's aflame with sudden light,
And heart-beats quicken with a strange affright;
From tranquil slumbers springs, at duty's call,
The ready friend no danger can appal;
Fierce for the conflict, sturdy, true, and brave,
He hurries forth to battle and to save.
From yonder dwelling, fiercely shooting out,
Devouring all they coil themselves about,
The flaming furies, mounting high and higher,
Wrap the frail structure in a cloak of fire.
Strong arms are battling with the stubborn foe
In vain attempts their power to overthrow;
With mocking glee they revel with their prey,
Defying human skill to check their way.
And see! far up above the flames hot breath,
Something that's human waits a horrid death;
A little child, with waving golden hair,
Stands, like a phantom, 'mid the horrid glare,
Her pale, sweet face against the window pressed,
While sobs of terror shake her tender breast.
And from the crowd beneath, in accents wild,
A mother screams, "O, God! my child! my child!"
Up goes a ladder. Through the startled throng
A hardy fireman swiftly moves along;
Mounts sure and fast along the slender way,
Fearing no danger, dreading but delay.
The stifling smoke-clouds lower in his path,
Sharp tongues of flame assail him in their wrath;
But up, still up he goes! the goal is won!
His strong arm beats the sash, and he is gone!
Gone to his death. The wily flames surround
And burn and beat his ladder to the ground,
In flaming columns move with quickened beat
To rear a massive wall 'gainst his retreat.
Courageous heart, thy mission was so pure,
Suffering humanity must thy loss deplore;
Henceforth with martyred heroes thou shalt live,
Crowned with all honours nobleness can give.
Nay, not so fast; subdue these gloomy fears;
Behold! he quickly on the roof appears,
Bearing the tender child, his jacket warm
Flung round her shrinking form to guard from harm.
Up with your ladders! Quick! 'tis but a chance!
Behold how fast the roaring flames advance!
Quick! quick! brave spirits to his rescue fly;
Up! up! by heavens! this hero must not die!
Silence! he comes along the burning road,
Bearing, with tender care, his living load;
Aha! he totters! Heaven in mercy save
The good, true heart that can so nobly brave.
He's up again! and now he's coming fast!
One moment, and the fiery ordeal's passed!
And now he's safe! Bold flames, ye fought in vain!
A happy mother clasps her child again!
_George M. Baker._
* * * * *
THE LAUNCH OF THE SHIP.
"Build me straight, O worthy Master!
Staunch and strong, a goodly vessel,
That shall laugh at all disaster,
And with wave and whirlwind wrestle!"
The merchant's word
Delighted the Master heard;
For his heart was in his work, and the heart
Giveth grace unto every art.
And with a voice that was full of glee,
He answered, "Ere long we will launch
A vessel as goodly, and strong, and staunch
As ever weathered a wintry sea!"
All is finished! and at length
Has come the bridal day
Of beauty and of strength.
To-day the vessel shall be launched!
With fleecy clouds the sky is blanched;
And o'er the bay,
Slowly, in all his splendours dight,
The great sun rises to behold the sight.
The ocean old
Strong as youth, and as uncontrolled,
Paces restless to and fro,
Up and down the sands of gold.
His beating heart is not at rest;
And far and wide,
With ceaseless flow,
His beard of snow
Heaves with the heaving of his breast.
He waits impatient for his bride.
There she stands,
With her foot upon the sands,
Decked with flags and streamers gay,
In honour of her marriage-day,
Her snow-white signals fluttering, blending,
Round her like a veil descending,
Ready to be
The bride of the gray old sea.
Then the Master,
With a gesture of command,
Waved his hand;
And at the word,
Loud and sudden there was heard,
All around them and below,
The sound of hammers, blow on blow,
Knocking away the shores and spurs,
And see! she stirs!
She starts,--she moves,--she seems to feel
The thrill of life along her keel,
And, spurning with her foot the ground,
With one exulting, joyous bound,
She leaps into the ocean's arms!
And lo! from the assembled crowd
There rose a shout, prolonged and loud,
That to the ocean seemed to say,--
"Take her, O bridegroom, old and gray,
Take her to thy protecting arms,
With all her youth, and all her charms!"
How beautiful she is! how fair
She lies within those arms that press
Her form with many a soft caress
Of tenderness and watchful care!
Sail forth into the sea, O ship!
Through wind and wave, right onward steer!
The moistened eye, the trembling lip,
Are not the signs of doubt or fear.
Thou, too, sail on, O Ship of State!
Sail on, O Union, strong and great!
Humanity, with all its fears,
With all the hopes of future years,
Is hanging breathless on thy fate!
We know what Master laid thy keel,
What Workmen wrought thy ribs of steel,
Who made each mast and sail and rope,
What anvils rang, what hammers beat,
In what a forge, and what a heat,
Were shaped the anchors of thy hope!
Fear not each sudden sound and shock;
'Tis of the wave, and not the rock;
'Tis but the flapping of the sail,
And not a rent made by the gale!
In spite of rock and tempest's roar,
In spite of false lights on the shore,
Sail on, nor fear to breast the sea;
Our hearts, our hopes, are all with thee:
Our hearts, our hopes, our prayers, our tears,
Our faith triumphant o'er our fears,
Are all with thee,--are all with thee!
* * * * *
ROCK OF AGES.
_"Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee!"_
Sang the lady, soft and low,
And her voice's gentle flow
Rose upon the evening air
With the sweet and solemn prayer:
"Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee!"
Yet she sang, as oft she had
When her heart was gay and glad,
Sang because she felt alone,
Sang because her soul had grown
Weary with the tedious day,
Sang to while the hours away:
"Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee!"
Where the fitful gaslight falls
On her father's massive walls.
On the chill and silent street
Where the lights and shadows meet,
There the lady's voice was heard,
As the breath of night was stirred
With her tones so sweet and clear,
Wafting up to God that prayer:
"Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee!"
Wandering, homeless thro' the night,
Praying for the morning light,
Pale and haggard, wan and weak,
With sunken eye and hollow cheek
Went a woman, one whose life
Had been wrecked in sin and strife;
One, a lost and only child,
One by sin and shame defiled;
And her heart with sorrow wrung,
Heard the lady when she sung:
"Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee!"
Pausing, low her head she bent,
And the music as it went
Pierced her blackened soul, and brought
Back to her (as lost in thought
Tremblingly she stood) the past,
And the burning tears fell fast,
As she called to mind the days
When she walked in virtue's ways.
When she sang that very song
With no sense of sin or wrong:
"Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee!"
On the marble steps she knelt,
And her soul that moment felt
More than she could speak, as there
Quivering, moved her lips in prayer,
And the God she had forgot
Smiled upon her lonely lot;
Heard her as she murmured oft,
With an accent sweet and soft:
"Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee!"
Little knew the lady fair,
As she sung in silence there,
That her voice had pierced a soul
That had lived 'neath sin's control!
Little knew, when she had done,
That a lost and erring one
Heard her--as she breathed that strain--
And returned to God again!
_F. L. Stanton._
* * * * *
BEETHOVEN'S MOONLIGHT SONATA.
It happened at Bonn. One moonlight winter's evening I called on Beethoven,
for I wanted him to take a walk, and afterward to sup with me. In passing
through some dark narrow street he paused suddenly. "Hush!" he said, "what
sound is that? It is from my symphony in F," he said eagerly. "Hark, how
well it is played!"
It was a little, mean dwelling; and we paused outside and listened. The
player went on; but in the midst of the finale there was a sudden break,
then the voice sobbing: "I can not play any more--it is so beautiful, it is
so utterly beyond my power to do it justice. Oh! what would I not give to
go to the concert at Cologne!"
"Ah, my sister," said her companion, "why create regrets when there is no
remedy? We can scarcely pay our rent."
"You are right; and yet I wish, for once in my life, to hear some really
good music. But it is of no use."
Beethoven looked at me. "Let us go in," he said.
"Go in!" I exclaimed. "What can we go in for?"
"I will play to her," he said, in an excited tone. "Here is feeling--
genius--understanding. I will play to her, and she will understand it!" And
before I could prevent him his hand was upon the door.
A pale young man was sitting by the table, making shoes; and near him,
leaning sorrowfully upon an old-fashioned harpsichord, sat a young girl,
with a profusion of light hair falling over her bent face. Both were
cleanly but very poorly dressed, and both started and turned towards us as
"Pardon me," said Beethoven, "but I heard music and was tempted to enter. I
am a musician."
The girl blushed and the young man looked grave--somewhat annoyed.
"I--I also overheard something of what you said," continued my friend. "You
wish to hear--that is, you would like--that is--shall I play for you?"
There was something so odd in the whole affair, and something so comic and
pleasant in the manner of the speaker, that the spell was broken in a
moment, and all smiled involuntarily.
"Thank you," said the shoemaker; "but our harpsichord is so wretched, and
we have no music."
"No music!" echoed my friend. "How, then, does the fraulein--"
He paused and coloured up, for the girl looked full at him, and he saw that
she was blind.
"I--I entreat your pardon," he stammered; "but I had not perceived before.
Then you play from ear?"
"And where do you hear the music; since you frequent no concerts?"
"I used to hear a lady practicing near us, when we lived at Bruhl two
years. During the summer evenings her windows were generally open, and I
walked to and fro outside to listen to her."
She seemed shy, so Beethoven said no more, but seated himself quietly
before the piano, and began to play. He had no sooner struck the first
chord than I knew what would follow--how grand he would be that night! And
I was not mistaken. Never, during all the years I knew him, did I hear him
play as he then played to that blind girl and her brother. He was inspired;
and from the instant that his fingers began to wander along the keys, the
very tone of the instrument began to grow sweeter and more equal.
The brother and sister were silent with wonder and rapture. The former laid
aside his work; the latter, with her head bent slightly forward, and her
hands, pressed tightly over her breast, crouched down near the end of the
harpsichord as if fearful lest even the beating of her heart should break
the flow of those magical sweet sounds. It was as if we were all bound in a
strange dream, and only feared to wake.
Suddenly the flame of the single candle wavered, sunk, flickered, and went
out. Beethoven paused, and I threw open the shutters, admitting a flood of
brilliant moonlight. The room was almost as light as before, and the
illumination fell strongest upon the piano and player. But the chain of his
ideas seemed to have been broken by the accident. His head dropped upon his
breast; his hands rested upon his knees; he seemed absorbed in meditation.
It was thus for some time.
At length the young shoemaker rose, and approached him eagerly, yet
reverently--"Wonderful man!" he said, in a low tone, "who and what are
The composer smiled as he only could smile, benevolently, indulgently,
kingly. "Listen," he said, and he played the opening bars of the symphony
A cry of delight and recognition burst from them both, and exclaiming,
"Then, you are Beethoven!" they covered his hands with tears and kisses.
He rose to go, but we held him back with entreaties, "Play to us once more
--only once more!"
He suffered himself to be led back to the instrument. The moon shone
brightly in through the window and lit up his glorious rugged head and
massive figure. "I will improvise a sonata to the moonlight!" looking up
thoughtfully to the sky and stars--then his hands dropped on the keys, and
he began playing a sad and infinitely lovely movement, which crept gently
over the instrument like the calm flow of moonlight over the dark earth.
This was followed by a wild, elfin passage in triple time--a sort of
grotesque interlude, like the dance of sprites upon the sward. Then came a
swift _agitato finale_--a breathless, hurrying, trembling movement,
descriptive of flight, and uncertainty, and vague impulsive terror, which
carried us away on its rustling wings, and left us all emotion and wonder.
"Farewell to you," said Beethoven, pushing back his chair, and turning
towards the door; "farewell to you."
"You will come again?" asked they, in one breath.
He paused, and looked compassionately, almost tenderly, at the face of the
blind girl. "Yes, yes," he said, hurriedly, "I will come again, and give
the fraulein some lessons. Farewell! I will soon come again'"
They followed us in silence more eloquent than words, and stood at their
door till we were out of sight and hearing.
"Let us make haste back," said Beethoven, "that I may write out that sonata
while I can yet remember it!" We did so, and he sat over it till long past
day-dawn. And this was the origin of that Moonlight Sonata with which we
are all so fondly acquainted.
* * * * *
OVER THE HILL FROM THE POOR-HOUSE.
I, who was always counted, they say,
Rather a bad stick any way,
Splintered all over with dodges and tricks,
Known as "the worst of the Deacon's six;"
I, the truant, saucy and bold,
The one black sheep in my father's fold,
"Once on a time," as the stories say,
Went over the hill on a winter's day--
_Over the hill to the poor-house._
Tom could save what twenty could earn;
But _givin'_ was somethin' he ne'er would learn;
Isaac could half o' the Scriptur's speak--
Committed a hundred verses a week;
Never forgot, an' never slipped;
But "Honour thy father and mother" he skipped;
So _over the hill to the poor-house!_
As for Susan, her heart was kind
An' good--what there was of it, mind;
Nothin' too big, an' nothin' too nice,
Nothin' she wouldn't sacrifice
For one she loved; an' that 'ere one,
Was herself, when all was said an' done;
An' Charley, an' Becca meant well, no doubt,
But any one could pull 'em about;
An' all o' our folks ranked well, you see,
Save one poor fellow, and that was me;
An' when, one dark an' rainy night,
A neighbour's horse went out o' sight,
They hitched on me, as the guilty chap
That carried one end o' the halter-strap.
An' I think, myself, that view of the case
Wasn't altogether out o' place;
My mother denied it, as mothers do,
But I'm inclined to believe 'twas true.
Though for me one thing might be said--
That I, as well as the horse, was led;
And the worst of whiskey spurred me on,
Or else the deed would have never been done.
But the keenest grief I ever felt
Was when my mother beside me knelt,
An' cried and prayed, till I melted down,
As I wouldn't for half the horses in town.
I kissed her fondly, then an' there,
An' swore henceforth to be honest and square.
I served my sentence--a bitter pill
Some fellows should take who never will;
And then I decided to go "out West,"
Concludin' 'twould suit my health the best;
Where, how I prospered, I never could tell,
But Fortune seemed to like me well,
An' somehow every vein I struck
Was always bubbling over with luck.
An' better than that, I was steady an' true,
An' put my good resolutions through.
But I wrote to a trusty old neighbour, an' said,
"You tell 'em, old fellow, that I am dead,
An' died a Christian; 'twill please 'em more,
Than if I had lived the same as before."
But when this neighbour he wrote to me,
"Your mother's in the poor house," says he,
I had a resurrection straightway,
An' started for her that very day.
And when I arrived where I was grown,
I took good care that I shouldn't be known;
But I bought the old cottage, through and through,
Off some one Charley had sold it to;
And held back neither work nor gold,
To fix it up as it was of old.
The same big fire-place, wide and high,
Flung up its cinders toward the sky;
The old clock ticked on the corner-shelf--
I wound it an' set it agoin' myself;
And if everything wasn't just the same,
Neither I nor money was to blame;
Then--_over the hill to the poor-house!_
One blowin', blusterin', winter's day,
With a team an' cutter I started away;
My fiery nags was as black as coal;
(They some'at resembled the horse I stole);
I hitched, an' entered the poor-house door--
A poor old woman was scrubbin' the floor;
She rose to her feet in great surprise,
And looked, quite startled, into my eyes;
I saw the whole of her trouble's trace
In the lines that marred her dear old face;
"Mother!" I shouted, "your sorrows is done!
You're adopted along o' your horse-thief son,
Come _over the hill from the poor-house!_"
She didn't faint; she knelt by my side,
An' thanked the Lord, till I fairly cried.
An' maybe our ride wasn't pleasant an' gay,
An' maybe she wasn't wrapped up that day;
An' maybe our cottage wasn't warm an' bright,
An' maybe it wasn't a pleasant sight,
To see her a-gettin' the evenin's tea,
An' frequently stoppin' an' kissin' me;
An' maybe we didn't live happy for years,
In spite of my brothers and sisters' sneers,
Who often said, as I have heard,
That they wouldn't own a prison-bird;
(Though they're gettin' over that, I guess,
For all of them owe me more or less;)
But I've learned one thing; an' it cheers a man
In always a-doin' the best he can;
That whether on the big book, a blot
Gets over a fellow's name or not,
Whenever he does a deed that's white,
It's credited to him fair and right.
An' when you hear the great bugle's notes,
An' the Lord divides his sheep and goats;
However they may settle my case,
Wherever they may fix my place,
My good old Christian mother, you'll see,
Will be sure to stand right up for me,
With _over the hill from the poor-house_.
* * * * *
THE WORLD FROM THE SIDEWALK.
Did you ever stand in the crowded street,
In the glare of a city lamp,
And list to the tread of the millions feet
In their quaintly musical tramp?
As the surging crowd go to and fro,
'Tis a pleasant sight, I ween,
To mark the figures that come and go
In the ever-changing scene.
Here the publican walks with the sinner proud,
And the priest in his gloomy cowl,
And Dives walks in the motley crowd
With Lazarus, cheek by jowl;
And the daughter of toil with her fresh young heart
As pure as her spotless fame,
Keeps step with the woman who makes her mart
In the haunts of sin and shame.
How lightly trips the country lass
In the midst of the city's ills,
As freshly pure as the daisied grass
That grows on her native hills;
And the beggar, too, with his hungry eye,
And his lean, wan face and crutch,
Gives a blessing the same to the passer-by
As they give him little or much.
Ah me! when the hours go joyfully by,
How little we stop to heed
Our brothers' and sisters' despairing cry
In their woe and their bitter need!
Yet such a world as the angels sought
This world of ours we'd call,
If the brotherly love that the Father taught;
Was felt by each for all.
Yet a few short years and this motley throng
Will all have passed away,
And the rich and the poor and the old and the young
Will be undistinguished clay.
And lips that laugh and lips that moan,
Shall in silence alike be sealed,
And some will lie under stately stone,
And some in the Potter's Field.
But the sun will be shining just as bright,
And so will the silver moon,
And just such a crowd will be here at night,
And just such a crowd at noon;
And men will be wicked and women will sin,
As ever since Adam's fall,
With the same old world to labour in,
And the same God over all.
* * * * *
Ye banks, and braes, and streams around
The castle o' Montgomery,
Green be your woods, and fair your flowers,
Your waters never drumlie!
There simmer first unfauld her robes,
And there the langest tarry!
For there I took the last farewell
O' my sweet Highland Mary.
How sweetly bloomed the gay green birk!
How rich the hawthorn's blossom!
As, underneath their fragrant shade,
I clasped her to my bosom!
The golden hours, on angel wings,
Flew o'er me and my dearie;
For dear to me as light and life
Was my sweet Highland Mary.